literature

The Makeover (working title), part 1

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From the outside, she had gazed up a little fearfully at the dark gray stone building, the sign over the door proclaiming it "Salon DYAL" in graceful gold lettering, with "Dark, Yet Always Lovely" in similar but much smaller lettering underneath.

She had delicately pressed at the door for a moment, with no effect. Then she gathered her wits and pulled on the handle instead, which worked much better, and slid in through the small gap she had created.

It was nothing like she had imagined.

The waiting room - really more of a socialization room, from the look of things - held an astonishing array of customers on its equally astonishing array of furniture.  To her, at least, as it all bore tasteful black and occasionally earth-tone leather upholstery, without a single spike, pit of boiling lava, massive blade, or bloodstain to be found anywhere.  The skull motif on the metal accents was so subtle it could easily be mistaken for something more benign, or even missed entirely.  The walls themselves lacked even that, painted a pleasant sort of ivory off-white color, and the tile floor was a soft gray speckled with black and white.

Petra Bivolo, water mage of the Light Kingdom of Marino, found herself completely at a loss.

She had lost a bet - or rather, her party had lost a bet - with a Dark Lord, and none of them could deny that it had happened so... fairly. In return, the Dark Lord had offered them a choice: kneel and apologize for their trespass and transgressions, or attend an appointment made for them at this salon.  Being just and holy defenders of the Light, none of them could bring themselves to kneel before a Dark Lord, even if he had rather uncharacteristically done so first - admittedly, not to them, merely in front of them.

So they went to their separate appointments; perhaps foolishly, as they were unable to draw strength from each other to stand against the Dark, but they resolved to brave the dangers of this 'salon', even if it had to be done alone, for no true Hero of Light would consider kneeling to Darkness!

And yet...

Petra just stood there for a moment before remembering her manners and moving to the side so as not to block the doorway.  She looked around and spotted the receptionist, who was standing in a recessed area with a counter separating her from the rest of the room, and made her way over.  A few heads turned idly, following her, but no one moved to bar her path or said a word.  It was a little unnerving, actually. "E-excuse me," the mage squeaked, her pale cheeks flushing a bright pink, as she came to a stop in front of the counter.

"Yes, dear?" the receptionist - whose name tag said Andi - replied, glancing over the rim of her glasses.  "Is there something I can help you with?"

Petra gave the woman a once-over.  Flame-red hair styled in a loose bun, pale and freckled skin, bright red eyes, the black-rimmed glasses of course, and a conservative black turtleneck sweater with "DYAL" in gold script over her left breast.  Red nails to match, too, slightly longer than normal.  "I..."  The mage flailed about inwardly.  Why am I here, again?  "... !  I have a card..."

Andi arched an eyebrow, vaguely amused as the mage in front of her slipped a hand into the folds of her robe and then offered her a small off-white card with the salon's logo on it - and something scribbled on the back, she saw.  "Oh!  Oh, I see, you're the one with the special appointment.  We should be ready here in just a moment, actually.  What's your name, dear?"

"Um... Petra!  My name's Petra."

The receptionist managed to professionally hold back the giggle treacherously building inside her.  These Lightsiders are so much fun...  "Well then, Petra, go ahead and have a seat anywhere you like.  I'll call you up when your technician's ready, okay?"

"Okay..." Petra mumbled, half-stumbling away and finding a nearby spot on one of the brown leather couches, gingerly sitting down to avoid triggering any traps.  There had to be traps, she told herself. There was no other reason for these Dark ones to be so, so polite to her.  Didn't Darkness always oppose the Light?  Shouldn't she be doing the same?

Unbidden, the memory of the Dark Lord's words flashed through her mind.  "If you can somehow restrain yourself, nothing bad will happen to you.  But if you lash out, or pick a fight, or anything else uncivilized..."  He had left the sentence unfinished, merely smiling in his ominous way as his mistress pulled herself close to him, snuggling up and tilting her-

No.  No, there are things that should not be dwelled on.  Especially things that make one's heart waver, that provoke jealousy-

... Am I jealous?  Jealous of... her?

Petra shook her head to rid herself of the thoughts.  It must be this place, she decided.  It's part of the trap.  Maybe it is the trap.

Looking around, the mage took in the variety of ... clients, she supposed, in the room.  It was packed.  Here and there sat some darkly armored forms, helms resting on their laps; quite a few dark-robed figures, with vaguely unsettling staves leaning on the furniture or floating nearby; even some patrons wearing rather revealing and outright licentious outfits, which did nothing to help calm Petra's nervous blush.

By contrast, Petra herself wore a long-sleeved, hooded blue robe with delicate, understated gold trim, though she never wore the hood up because it did terrible things to her long brown hair.  Underneath - though no one would ever see, of course - she wore a white blouse, white shorts, and opaque brown leggings covered by equally brown leather traveling boots that reached to her knees.  Fair skin and soft hazel eyes, combined with her general avoidance of cosmetics, made the mage fade into the scenery rather than stand out.

Or at least I would have, she thought, glancing around furtively, if I wasn't in this den of iniquity and leather and... spike heels!
The first chapter of the Light/Dark story I've previously mentioned, though at the time of writing this the name's not set in stone. Originally it was going to be Dark Side Story, but I think this particular thread will be focusing a bit more on the salon itself.

Next: [link]
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goggles2114's avatar
Very much reminds me of Robert Aspin's Myth series (not the dragon thing i don't know what was going on in his life then but the dragon books just... felt like a train wreck.)