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Zoe Meet Zoe.png

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Short Story • 5 Minute Read

Meet Zoe

By Odin Austin Shafer

The moment she thought of the cake store, Zoe dove into the air, surrendering herself to gravity. While falling, she reached out with her consciousness to form a gateway. Instantly, a portal opened beneath her and connected to the other place. She fell into the gate. Her mass collided and imploded as she traveled.


The moment she thought of the cake store, Zoe dove into the air, surrendering herself to gravity. While falling, she reached out with her consciousness to form a gateway. Instantly, a portal opened beneath her and connected to the other place. She fell into the gate gate. Her mass collided and imploded as she traveled.

It kinda tickles.

Unfortunately, Zoe did not appear at her intended destination. Instead, she emerged from a second portal only a dozen strides away, propelled through the air by the momentum of her previous fall. Then, after a brief moment of equilibrium, she was pulled back into the second portal. Again, time and space twisted around her—all swooshy-like, as she would describe it—before flopping her back at the starting point. Both portals then folded into space and disappeared.

A powerful magic was distorting Zoe's ability to travel. It probably related to whatever change she was supposed to herald, and, obviously, she hadn't succeeded yet. It was a problem, but not an unfamiliar one. She wasn't really sure what the message was, who it was for, or even what it meant, but, in her experience, those details rarely mattered. The holy mathematics wanted to advance, and the messages generally fell into place shortly after she arrived. Zoe felt that was a pretty cool advantage of being an aspect.

Of course, there was now the question of what to do while she waited. Zoe glanced around. Beside a nearby tree, she spotted a small, fuzzy creature with a huge tail. It looked similar to a tiny yordle, though Zoe noted how this creature's connection to the spirit world was comparatively miniscule.

The small animal's life-pattern flashed in Zoe's brain. It would live only a dozen rotations before returning its spirit. To her, the brevity of its life made it more adorable. Zoe jumped up and ran toward it.

"So cute!"

The tiny animal scrambled up the tree away from her.

"Hey, come back!" she pouted.

Without slowing her pursuit, Zoe created a time bubble time bubble, turning it only half a planet's rotation, before launching it at the tree. The anomaly bounced before bursting against the tree's trunk.

For a second, the cute animal's past merged with the present. The night sky overtook the area, and twilight butterflies pulsed around it. The small creature fell into the tired, restful sleep of the previous evening, as its past's spiritual and mental state overwhelmed its current consciousness.

Zoe ignored gravity for a moment, floated up into the branches, and came to a stop beside the tiny animal. Her hand hesitated above its downy fur. She knew the moment she touched the creature, her spell would break.

"Zoe is a friend," she whispered. But when she caressed the tiny animal's head, it burst awake and dove away from her in a panic.

With a disappointed moan, Zoe floated a bit higher before flipping upside down. She considered visiting Aurelion Sol Aurelion Sol after she finished here. The dragon didn't like being petted either. But, she thought, he was easier to catch without harming. This notion vanished as, thanks to her new altitude, Zoe saw past the hills and spotted a village on the horizon.

She willed a portal to the town into existence and dove into it. But, again, Zoe was only able to create a gate to a few yards away. Worse, it collapsed upon itself, as before, and pulled her back to her starting point.

The summer grass did seem inviting, so with no better option, she walked through the forest to the village.

She arrived at the outskirts of the walled town as the sun began to set. Hearing laughter, she dismissed gravity for a second and floated up to one of the village's rooftops.

In the center courtyard, a half dozen mortals were playing. They were almost exactly Zoe's size, unlike the children or adults she had encountered more recently in her tour of the planet.

One of the males chased a female around in a circle. Both were laughing. The rules of the game were unclear.

Zoe focused on the girl's beautiful red dress—wondering if the coloration represented something. Even if it wasn't a part of the game, Zoe liked it. The girl seemed taller than the other females, and Zoe felt the girl might know things she needed to learn.

The male was also interesting, but in a completely different way. She could tell his current incarnation would be short lived, but Zoe suspected it would be amazing if he chased her. There was something wonderful about his chin and the shape of his lips.

She swallowed nervously. It had, after all, been a very long time since Zoe was a mortal or had even visited this realm. She was strangely worried the group wouldn't accept her, and she would be left out of whatever they were playing.

Two of the other boys, decidedly less interesting ones, began kicking a ball between themselves. This game, Zoe remembered.

Emboldened by this connection, Zoe swooped down from the rooftop to the middle of the group.

"Hi!" she said, while turning the base of her hair into a color that mimicked the tall female's dress.

"A spirit," the interesting boy said with wide eyes. Then he screamed, "Run!"

Zoe felt she should point out she was an aspect rather than a spirit, but she was uncertain if his cry was part of the other game's rules.

"Actually, I'm here with a message. But if you wanted to play, I have plenty of time," she said, as she launched after them.

Then she flew, as casually as she could, alongside the tall girl.

"Your red outfit is so cool! Does the color mean something?" Zoe asked. But her attempt at starting a conversation hardly mattered. As she spoke, the tall girl was pulled into a house by the interesting boy. He then slammed the heavy, wooden door shut, blocking Zoe's path.

Zoe glanced around, discovering the other mortals had similarly disappeared, but a commotion could be heard coming from a keep near the center of the town.

After a moment, a dozen men in armor came running toward Zoe with spears. They reminded her of Pantheon's Pantheon's weapon.

Local guardians, she surmised.

Assuming she was a spirit, they screamed warnings, while their leader attempted a banishing spell. It was a very good spell, in Zoe's opinion, but not one she wanted wanted. She wondered if, perhaps, spirits frequently plagued the town.

When the men began throwing their weapons at Zoe, she manifested an arcane meteor arcane meteor and sent it on a flight path around the keep. Then, the twilight girl created a pair of portals to dodge the guardian's spears, before finally redirecting redirecting the shooting star at her attackers.

The meteor's impact created an implosion, causing a chain reaction with the small particles it had gathered while flying, which resulted in a secondary explosion that thundered through the guards and their tower—annihilating the area into a fine dust.

"Hello?" Zoe asked as the clouds of destruction whirled around her. She wondered if the tall girl or the interesting boy had run away. It seemed likely.

Momentarily dispirited, Zoe decided to visit a larger mortal settlement next. It seemed like someone might be willing to play with her at that sort of location.

Zoe remembered where a...city had been a few thousand years ago. On instinct and despite her previous failures, she willed a portal to it. And she was pleasantly surprised when a gateway opened to her intended destination.

"Oh cool!" she said, happy to be able to travel again, and eager to deliver her next message.

As Zoe stepped out of reality, she wondered if the new crater would lead some mortals to find the World Rune that was nearby. The tall girl or that interesting boy might even be the ones to discover it.

It would probably be funny if they did, she decided.