Sunday, August 14, 2005

Mall of Mâvarin, Part Twenty-Two

(Revised 8/21 to include a first paragraph that was accidentally cut from the narrative somehow.)

Once again it's very late, and I have no clue what I'm about to write. Well, maybe a tiny clue.

The easiest way to catch up on past installments of this serial is on Messages from Mâvarin at Synopses to Parts One through Six can be found at the top of Part Seven. Synopses to Parts Eight through Thirteen can be found at the top of Part Fourteen. Synopses to Parts Fourteen through Eighteen are at the top of Part Nineteen. The installments themselves can be read in order on Blogspot using the sidebar.

Part Nineteen: Li Ramet, Lee Ramirez and Joshua Wander go off to try to reverse the effects of Li's modified portal spell, which, along with the appearance of Josh's magic castle, apparently caused all the trouble. Meanwhile, Rani and Randy announce they have successfully returned their own minds and spirits to the right bodies. Rani sets out to try to help Carl and Carli do the same. Despite being only a bookish high school student in a strange and magical land, Randy Foster thinks he has acquired sufficient magic and knowledge to sort out Cathma and Cathy as well. They sit down together to let him try.

Part Twenty: In mindtouch with Randy, the girl who thinks of herself as Cathma is told that she is really Cathy after all. According to Randy, Li's spell is more an accidental "mindpush" (magical brainwashing) than an actual transfer mind and spirit. Randy takes Cathy on a whirlwind tour through the memories of her own life, until she feels like herself again rather than the Queen of Mâvarin. At the same time, Randy helps the real Queen Cathma to reclaim her own identity. The process leaves Randy exhausted—and there are still dozens of people from Dewitt and Mâvarin who need similar help.

Part Twenty-One: Since Rani and Randy are too tired to do mind magic with anyone else for the moment, Cathy suggests going back to "Plan A"--seeing that Li, Lee and Josh successfully reverse Li's spell, getting everyone home both mentally and physically. Although leaving the castle once again floods Cathy's mind with Cathma's memories, this time it does not overwhelm her sense of who she is. Shoppingtown Mall now looks intact again, albeit in Mâvarin instead of Dewitt. Li and Lee are proud of this accomplisment, Josh less so. Cathy points out that the point is to get the mall and the people back where they belong, not to reassemble the building in the wrong world.

Part Twenty-Two: The Reason It's Called Shoppingtown

Art by SherlockCarl, Randy and others were coming out of the castle now, in response to Cathy's shout. Cathy barely noticed, however, because of the next words out of the real Li Ramet's mouth.

“Why can't we just leave Shoppingtown here?” he asked. The fact that he didn't know he was the real Li did nothing to make the question less extraordinary.

“Are you kidding?” Cathy asked. “You can’t just leave a big hole in Dewitt where the mall was. Dewitt would never recover.”

“I don’t mean forever,” Li said defensively. “Just until we get everything else under control.”

“And how are you coming with that?” Cathma asked. “Cathy’s right about the building being important, but right now I’m more worried about all these people. What are you doing to help them?”

“Which people do you mean?” asked the young man who thought he was Li Ramet and wasn’t. “The ones who have been hanging out in Joshua Wander’s castle, or the ones who have been sitting around in this mall?”

“Both,” Cathma said, “along with anybody else who has been affected by all this.”

“Well, the ones who were transported with the mall itself are feeling much better now,” Lee said.

“Oh, really? How did you manage that?” Carl asked.

Li shrugged. “Hey, sometimes a mindpush can be a good thing. We just made them feel better, is all.”

“Hmm. I doubt that,” Rani said.

“Come see for yourself,” said Lee. “They may not be in perfect shape mentally, but they’re not standing around looking glassy-eyed any more.”

“What are they doing?” Shela (really Sheila Crouse) asked.

“Well, selling things, mostly.”

“To whom?” Jamie asked.

“To each other, and to shoppers who traveled with the mall, and even to some Mâvarinû.”

“You mean, some of us?” Carli asked. “The people who got confused by memories from Dewitt?”

“He means that people have started walking in here from outside,” said Joshua Wander. “This mall is sitting right outside your capital city, next door to an inn. The locals have started checking it out.”

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