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Jazzy, sensual theme music plays as we open on the studio set, which looks a lot like a set for filming a harem scene in some low-budget Arabian Nights-esque fantasy movies: Lots of drapes, silks and pillows, thick carpets, the works. On an ottoman, surrounded by soft pillows, sits a young, red-haired woman, dressed in a very skimpy and mainly orange harem girl outfit. This is Zaynah, our host.
Zaynah: Hello, and welcome to Genie Chats! I’m a genie, and I like to chat. Since this the first episode and everything, let me introduce myself: My name is Zaynah, and I’m one of the many genie girls who work for MagicalGenieGirl. Which basically means that I’m one of the many genie girls you might summon through the MagicalGenieGirl app. It’s true; all the best genies have gone digital these days. Lamps, rings and bottles are just so old-fashioned, and having to sleep inside one until someone decides to call on you is such a drag. It’s much more convenient, not to mention much more fun, to roam around the Internet in your off-time. Even that weirdo Akinator does it… and he doesn’t even do anything useful, he just guesses characters and whatnot.
Being a genie who roams around the internet a lot, I have come into contact with quite a few interesting characters. Some of these characters are interesting enough that it might be worth having a chat with them and get to know them a little better. So, that’s what this show aims to do: In each episode, a new guest will join me here in my little studio for a nice, informal chat. And that’s really all there is to it… it’s not a very complex or even original premise, but the producer seemed very enthusiastic about it.
Our guest today is a young lady from the Realm of Faerie. She is the daughter of Lady Vidia of the Spring Court, she is the oldest of the Fae generation known as the “Children of Tomorrow,” and she is known in some circles as the only person ever to get Kaa the snake to take a much-needed vacation. Please welcome: Lady Sovanna!
Theme music plays again as Sovanna enters from the right, taking a seat on the ottoman next to Zaynah. She is a small, slender, blue-skinned girl, approximately in her late teens or early twenties, with snowy white hair that flows down her back, and long, pointy ears. She’s not as skimpily dressed as Zaynah, but her outfit does bare her arms, legs and midriff, and she’s completely barefoot.
Zaynah: Welcome to Genie Chats, Lady Sovanna!
Sovanna: I’m pleased to be here! But it’s just “Sovanna,” really. I don’t really use the title that much. My mother’s the one who insists on it…
Zaynah: All right… “Sovanna” it is. And let me just say, I’m really happy to have you here. We wanted someone notable for our very first guest, so I was thrilled when you agreed to do it… By the way, forgive us if we don’t have all the bugs worked out in the format yet; it is a completely new show after all.
Sovanna: Well, I’m completely new at being a guest at a chat show, so that’s okay! I hope I’m doing it right… Should I be sitting here next to you, or should I sit somewhere else? Or should I be walking around while we speak? I was going to watch some late night chat shows to get an idea what to expect, but I fell asleep….
Zaynah: (smiles sweetly) Well, considering some of the guests they get for those chat shows, I don’t blame you. Relax, just sit where you’re sitting. You’ll do fine.
Sovanna: I just don’t want to be boring. You’ll tell me if I get boring, won’t you?
Zaynah: From what I hear, you Fae have been called many things over the years… but “boring” has never been one of them. I think we’re good. So, for those not in the know, you are an elf from the realm of Faerie. Now, I understand that’s not quite the same as the elves we might see in World of Warcraft, or Tolkien’s books, or the Harry Potter-verse… or Santa’s elves, for that matter…
Sovanna: Actually, we probably have some common ancestors with those elves… well, the elves of the Harry Potter-verse are clearly brownies. They’re from Faerie too, but obviously they’re working class. Nice people, but you shouldn’t push them too far… those wizards are heading for disaster one of these days. As for Santa’s elves, I don’t know, but I suspect they’re actually gnomes or some type of nisse… or they might just be under a geas or vow of some sort…
Zaynah: So you’re telling me you actually are related to all those?
Sovanna: Maybe distantly? Faerie’s a large place, and I don’t think anyone knows just how many kinds of people, or elves, live there. It’s possible some of them left too… plenty of Fae make their homes in other worlds. If you really want to know more about Faerie and the Fae, though, you should ask my mother. She’s been around since the beginning, she knows a lot more than I do.
Zaynah: Maybe we’ll have a “special Faerie episode” somewhere along the line. Do you think your mother be interested in that?
Sovanna: I don’t see why not, if you ask her nicely. She loves to talk about Faerie and Fae history and everything that went on in the past.
Zaynah: All right, I’ll talk to the producer, see if there’s any interest. Thanks for the — (interrupts herself) Oh, wait, no! I’m not supposed to say “thanks” to a Fae, am I? You take it as an insult or something?
Sovanna: Well, it’s okay if it’s me. I get that it’s the way of non-Fae to express gratitude like that. But if you encounter some of the more traditional Fae, or Fae not used to being around other people… you should probably avoid saying “thanks” or “thank you.”
Zaynah: Why is that, exactly? I’ve heard people warn me about using those words with the Fae, but nobody could say just why.
Sovanna: How to put this… It’s all about debt and repayment. If a Fae gives you a gift or does you a kindness or a favour, you’re expected to pay her back with a gift or kindness or favour of your own… unless she makes it clear that the gift is given freely and with no expectations of payment. And if you try to say “thank you,” she might take that as a sign that you consider the deal done and you don’t need to repay her any further. It’s like saying “your gift meant so little to me that I consider these two words an adequate payment.”
Zaynah: So… it’s kind of like the equivalent of trying to buy a house and pay for it with only a penny?
Sovanna: (giggles) That’s not a bad parallel, actually.
Zaynah: Dodged a bullet there then. Let’s see, we’ll just skip the rest of the questions about Faerie and the Fae in general… we can save them for the special Faerie episode. I don’t even know if we’re actually doing a special Faerie episode yet, but just in case we are, I’m saving those questions for then. Let’s talk about you instead, Sovanna. What can you tell us about yourself?
Sovanna: What do you want to know?
Zaynah: First of all… How old are you? Really? It’s kind of hard to tell.
Sovanna: I have no idea.
Zaynah: None at all?
Sovanna: …okay, I know you were saving Faerie questions for a special episode that may or may not happen, but… time in Faerie isn’t that easy to keep track of. It’s even worse than Narnia time. At least in the Narnia books, time stayed consistent as long as you were in Narnia. In Faerie, it’s sort of just a drift. Most of the elves have been around since long before the dawn of human civilization, so I suppose time doesn’t really matter anymore. And we’re so tied to the land that when time doesn’t matter to us, it doesn’t matter to the realm. Wait, are you sure I’m not boring you?
Zaynah: No, no! Keep going, by all means!
Sovanna: Okay… To answer your question, I think I was born sometime around the time when the Internet started to get popular on Earth? I know in Earth-time, my sister was born sometime in the 1970s, and she’s older than me… but like I said, time isn’t really that easy to keep track of. Plus, I sleep a lot, and I don’t always know how much time passes when I sleep… I know once when I was younger, my mother got me to take a nap, and when I woke up, I’d grown taller and had breasts.
Zaynah: (blinks) You slept through your puberty?!
Sovanna: Not all of it, just some of it! I still don’t know if my mother meant for me to sleep that long or if I was just really tired. (cheerily) At least I skipped the part with the mood swings… Besides, I love sleeping! It’s one of my favourite pastimes, so I spent that part of my puberty doing what I loved!
Zaynah: I can’t decide if I’m jealous or if I pity you. Mostly, I think I’m just disturbed. I take it you don’t get bed sores. Or need to eat or drink or go to the bathroom while asleep.
Sovanna: No, I’m pretty practical like that. Time sort of stands still for my body when I sleep, at least now that I’m past puberty. You remember the Sleeping Beauty story, right? Not the Disney version, the fairytale it was based on. She was placed under a Fae curse and slept for a hundred years. When she woke up she hadn’t aged a day, or starved to death, or anything. That’s classic Fae sleep. Even in the Disney movie they say that’s what would have happened if she hadn’t been woken up… but they changed that story a little.
Zaynah: For an elf who lives in a weird story realm, you seem very up to date with human pop culture and its history…
Sovanna: Oh, my sister’s half human and likes human entertainment. She sort of got me hooked on it too… I even know how to use a tablet! Of course, there isn’t any internet in Faerie, but when you can travel between realms it’s not that hard to find a place with free wi-fi.
Zaynah: So it’s not a topic in Fae school, then. Speaking of which, did you go to school in Faerie?
Sovanna: Yes! Actually, my home was a school for a while. I was part of the generation boom of Faerie called “The Children of Tomorrow,” and my mother, who’s the sovereign of Dewberry Grove, had the job of giving the new generation a basic education… reading, writing, storytelling, glamour, hypnosis, illusion control, dimension-hopping… oh, and we all learned English and Norwegian, because she’s always been fascinated by the human world and thought it’d be good for us to know some actual human languages… and not, you know, rely on magic to translate everything into Fae.
Zaynah: English, I understand… that’s a world language. But why Norwegian? Hardly anyone speaks that. Wouldn’t Chinese or French or Spanish or something have made more sense?
Sovanna: She doesn’t speak those languages. She does speak Norwegian, though, since my sister’s father was a Norwegian human… so she decided it was better she teach us a language she was fluent in, than languages she had to use magic to understand herself.
Zaynah: Put it like that, and it does kind of make sense. Was she a good teacher? Your mother, I mean?
Sovanna: I think she was. She was quite kind and patient, never raising her voice… but there was a limit to how much mischief she’d allow. If we got too out of hand, then her eyes would glow and we were all deep in trance within seconds.
Zaynah: Somehow, it doesn’t surprise me that she’d be the kind of teacher who’d hypnotize her students into being obedient. Well… I’m sure there are many teachers who secretly, or not so secretly, wish they had that ability… Demon Headmaster vibes aside, did you do well at school?
Sovanna: My mother was nothing like the Demon Headmaster! She just hypnotized us when we got too rowdy so we’d calm down and take a nap. She did that to me and my sister all the time… it was her way of disciplining us. Anyway, I did okay at school, I think. I wasn’t the best student, but I wasn’t the worst either. I did manage to do well enough in the magical field that the sorceress, Mistress Melica, accepted me as one of her apprentices.
Zaynah: So when you were done with your basic education, you went on to study magic? I thought all Fae were already expert magic-users.
Sovanna: We are, but that’s just normal, everyday magic. If you’re a sorceress or a wizard or a witch or an enchantress, someone who really studied the field, you can do so much more. Any Fae can curse a person or enchant a spring or spin straw into gold, but the true masters can curse a continent, or enchant an ocean, or spin straw into gold without the gold turning back into straw the next day.
Zaynah: And… can you do any of that?
Sovanna: No… not yet, anyway. I’m still a long way from finishing my studies. Right now the other apprentices and I are doing the “independent study” thing while Mistress Melica is out traveling, and that’s going kind of slow… but we’ll get there.
Zaynah: So she has multiple apprentices? How many, including you?
Sovanna: Seven. Three boys, three girls, and then there’s Cinnamon who likes to switch.
Zaynah: Switch? Between being a boy and being a girl, you mean? And nobody has a problem with this?
Sovanna: No. I mean, we can all do that, use glamours and spells to take on the form of another sex. Cinnamon gets antsy if made to stay in one form, so they switch back and forth. It’s not common for someone not to prefer one form or the other, but I suppose some people just like variety. Why would we have a problem with that?
Zaynah: Sovanna, please don’t make me explain transphobia to you. You said yourself that you use the Internet, and watch human entertainment. You must have encountered it.
Sovanna: Well, I know what transphobia is, it’s just a weird concept to me. In Faerie, sex-change magics are really common. If someone wants to be a different sex for a while, that’s really their business. Most people don’t take it as far as Cinnamon does, but…
Zaynah: No, I understand. Let’s just say, as a genie, I know a bit about sex-change magic, I was just surprised at Faerie’s attitude to it… then again, I suppose it makes sense, with your penchant for glamours and transformations. Have you ever been a boy?
Sovanna: A few times.
Zaynah: What did you think about it?
Sovanna: It was all right, but I don’t think I’d want to make a habit out of switching back and forth like Cinnamon does. Sex was kind of interesting as a boy, though! There was this one time when all seven apprentices had changed sexes for a while to practice magic in a different body, and someone spilled a lust potion, and all seven of us were drenched in it, and before I even knew what was happening we were all in a big naked pile on the floor, and Cinnamon was sucking my —
Zaynah: (interrupting) Okay, okay! Much as I would love to hear all the hot and heavy details of a seven-person Fae orgy, I’m going to have to cut you off there. The censors might start complaining.
Sovanna: (sigh) The Internet can be so prudish. We even had to leave Tumblr because they didn’t like those naked pictures of me.
Zaynah: I remember that, yes… So when you’re not studying, or sleeping, or having sex with the other apprentices, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
Sovanna: I like to read. And I like to skip over to a place with wi-fi and browse the internet. Other Fae don’t know what they’re missing when they don’t bother with the Internet. It’s a huge collection of information and entertainment… and streaming services! Movies and TV series and audio dramas and podcasts… there’s so much great storytelling there. My sister introduced me to the concept of “binge-watching” and I’ve spent some time doing that.
Zaynah: Do you have any particular favourite shows or movies?
Sovanna: Oh yes! Steven Universe, I love that cartoon, it’s so down to Earth. That Netflix Carmen Sandiego show, with the stylish noir-like animation, that’s good too… though I haven’t seen the original or played the games, so I don’t know how it compares to them. And there’s this British show, Upstart Crow, about the life of Shakespeare, that’s really funny. Oh, and Lost Girl, that Canadian show. It plays fast and loose with Fae lore, but it’s just so much fun. It’s really fascinating how stories change over time. I was into Game of Thrones for a while, but that got kind of stupid towards the end.
Zaynah: I think most people agree with you on that last part.
Sovanna: I hear the books are better, but I haven’t read them. Oh, and I have a soft spot for the Disney animated classics…
Zaynah: Sleeping Beauty, then? Or maybe The Jungle Book?
Sovanna: (laughs) You’re thinking of my encounter with Kaa, I take it? I actually feel really sorry for that snake. He’s just so stressed out. The hypno-fandom has him spending so much time appearing in fanfics and fan art, hypnotizing every single woman from every single franchise, that he never has the time to do anything else. I tried to tell him that he didn’t have to say yes to every single appearance, but I don’t think he quite got that. After that vacation I made him take, he just went straight back to hypnotizing again.
Zaynah: Speaking of hypnotizing… you’re pretty familiar with that, aren’t you? At least being on the receiving end. You’ve mentioned how your mother used hypnosis and trances as a form of discipline…
Sovanna (shrugs): Some parents believe in spanking their children when they misbehave. Some parents believe in grounding them or giving them time-outs. My mother believes in making them take a long nap.
Zaynah: So… I just have to know this. When you slept through your puberty, what in the world had you done wrong to deserve such a long nap?
Sovanna: Not all of my puberty, just some of it! And you know… I don’t remember what I’d done, or if I’d done anything.
Zaynah: Don’t remember?
Sovanna: I was kind of occupied with thoughts of “wow, I’ve got these now!” (cups her breasts)
Zaynah: For a Fae, you really don’t hold grudges, do you? If my mother had made me sleep for that long, I don’t know that I would have shrugged it off that easily.
Sovanna: I like to sleep…
Zaynah: Yes… I gathered. (very softly) You’re a bit of a lazy girl, aren’t you?
Sovanna: …Excuse me, what was that?
Zaynah: I said… (she leans towards Sovanna, gently grabbing her hands) …you’re a lazy girl.
Sovanna pauses, looks down at her held hands, but doesn’t try to yank them out of Zaynah’s grasp. A little uncertainly, she lifts her head, her eyes meeting Zaynah’s. Their heads are now so close their noses almost, but not quite touch. Sovanna’s eyes widen a little, but she doesn’t look away.
Zaynah: It’s okay. You can’t really help it, can you? (voice turns even softer) You have no choice but to be lazy… it’s in your name. Sovanna. Sov-anna. You know what that means, don’t you…?
Sovanna: It’s… um… yes, it’s a Cambodian name… it means “golden”… or “dream….”
Zaynah: That’s true… and you may be a golden dreamer… but that’s not why you have that name… not really. (low, throaty purr) You said your mother knows Norwegian, right…? What does “sov” mean in Norwegian?
Sovanna: It means… it means “sleep.”
Zaynah: (softly) That’s right. Your name is really “Sleep-Anna.” It’s a description… and it’s a command… Sleep, Anna… that’s what your name is telling you. Is it any wonder you’re so lazy… so easy to put to sleep? (her voice turns a little more insistent and hypnotic) Sleep, Anna…. Sov, Anna….
Sovanna is still looking deep into Zaynah’s eyes. She is helplessly caught in her gaze, unable to look away. Her shoulders relax.
Zaynah: That’s right… Sov, Anna… sov… sov….
Sovanna: (eyes beginning to droop) I… ah… no, wait…
Zaynah: Shhh… sov… sov…
Sovanna: Nnn… I… hhh… sov…
Zaynah: Good girl… sov…
Sovanna: …sov… ahh-h-h-h….
Zaynah lets go of Sovanna’s hands, causing her arms to fall limply to her sides. Then she reaches up and strokes Sovanna’s cheek before running her finger across her eyebrows. Sovanna’s eyes roll into the back of her head, and then close as she slowly sinks back onto the ottoman.
Sovanna: …sov… zzzz…
Zaynah: Good girl… sinking deeper and deeper into your sleep…. You hear nothing but my voice, you feel nothing but my touch, you think nothing but what I tell you to. Deeply… deeply… asleep.
Sovanna is completely out. She lies limp and asleep on the ottoman as Zaynah slowly raises herself to look down on her.
Zaynah: I’m sorry, Sovanna, but I had to do it…
Zaynah: I should probably thank your mother for making you so ridiculously easy to hypnotize, though. I barely used any of my power at all. (straightens herself and looks up towards the ceiling) All right, she’s asleep. Happy?
All of a sudden, a mysterious voice booms out, as if from a hidden speaker. It’s heavily distorted, and it’s pretty much impossible to tell who it belongs to, whether it belongs to a male or a female, or even if it’s a human voice.
Mysterious voice: (heavily distorted) It’s a start. Actually, it’s a very good start… but she’s only the first one. You still have many chats ahead of you, and many girls to ensnare…
Zaynah: (rolling her eyes) You know, you don’t have to use the voice distorter. This is all text. The audience can’t actually hear your voice.
Mysterious voice:(no distortion) All right, fine. I just happen to think the distortion gives my voice a little ambiance.
Zaynah: Not in a text-based medium, it doesn’t. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce… the producer. Who doesn’t want to appear on-screen yet, or even be referred to by name, because that would, and I quote, “ruin the mystery.”
Mysterious voice AKA Producer: You have no sense of dramatics, you know that? This is an epic first-episode plot twist… the seemingly innocent chat show is merely a front for something secret and sinister! The mysterious producer, whose identity remains unknown, forces the genie hostess to have informal interviews with a wide number of characters… mostly female and mostly sexy characters… and at the end of each episode, the interview object is hypnotized, sedated, or otherwise rendered helpless, whereupon she is kidnapped and carried off towards an unknown and possibly sexy fate!
Zaynah: Speaking of which, you didn’t tell me how long we were doing this for. If every episode ends like this, and the mystery is never solved, the audience is going to get sick of it. How many girls are we collecting?
Producer: I’ll let you know when we have enough! For now, just bring this one to me so we can prepare her for the next phase….
Zaynah: All right, all right.
Producer: Oh! And make absolutely sure she stays asleep. She may be weak for a Fae, but she is still a Fae. No telling what sort of mischief she might get up to if she’s allowed to open her eyes before everything is ready…
Zaynah: Please. When I hypnotize someone, they remain hypnotized until I wake them up. She’ll be in dreamland for as long as you want.
Zaynah carefully scoops the sleeping Sovanna up in her arms. Then, taking a deep breath, turns and gets ready to carry the girl out of the room.
Producer: Hold it! Aren’t you forgetting something?
Zaynah: (sighs) Oh, come on. Do I have to?
Producer: Are you a genie, or aren’t you?
Zaynah: (grumble) Fine. “Your wish is my command.”
Producer: See, was that so hard? Once more, but without the quotation marks this time.
Zaynah: Your wish is my command. (under her breath) Asshole. Come on, Sovanna.
Zaynah shifts Sovanna in her arms and proceeds to carry the sleeping girl out of the room, as the theme music begins playing again and credits start to roll.