lassarina: (Matoya)
[personal profile] lassarina posting in [community profile] rose_in_winter
Characters: Matoya, F!Black Mage
Rating: G
Contains: N/A
Wordcount: 362
Notes: Written for 2017 Kiss Battle, prompt: "Matoya/Black Mage, any gender combo, fire"
Beta: None
Summary: Even a witch's books might burn.

"Mind your flame by my brooms, girl."

Stella would not admit aloud that she jumped a foot or more when Matoya's cranky voice came from behind her. She swallowed hard and doused the little fireball with a thought before she turned to face the old woman with her vividly shining crystal eye, who stood with her arms folded, tapping her foot impatiently on the floor.

"Haven't you enchanted them to withstand it?" She couldn't help the question.

Matoya snorted. "Don't be pert, girl. It's worth your time to take proper care. You never know when spells might fail."

Meek agreement wasn't in her nature, but Stella nodded anyway.

"Humph," Matoya said. "Well, make yourself useful, girl." She turned and stomped away, her cane clacking fiercely on the floor.

Stella followed her to a deeper part of the cave, where books lay piled in massive drifts. Matoya's magic brooms swept in wide circles around them, occasionally seeming to trip on a book that had fallen far from its pile.

Stella opened her mouth to say that she hadn't come here to do manual labor, but Matoya thumped her cane on the floor impatiently. "Yes, yes, you aren't here to do drudge work," she said. "Nothing comes free, girl. My eyes aren't what they used to be, and even the crystal doesn't help much anymore. So I'll make you a deal. You shelve these books, and you read to me when I need it, and you can spend as long as you like with them for your own purposes."

Stella turned to survey the pile. There were titles she'd only heard whispers of, and some she couldn't afford if she killed monsters from here back to Chaos again.

"Someone has to have them when I'm gone. Might as well be one who knows what she's about," Matoya said, behind her, and Stella's breath caught in her throat. No one had ever offered to trust her with so much knowledge before.

She turned back to the old woman and impulsively kissed her wrinkled cheek.

"Now what was that for?" Matoya demanded.

"For believing," Stella said, and turned back. "I don't suppose you have dust rags?"
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