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Wig_Powder

Blesséd Powder

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Wig_Powder

This is a relatively short (for me) fic exploring an idea that's been kicking around my head for a long time. Hope you enjoy!

 

Holding his breath in anticipation, Hikmat tipped the ground crystals into his mixture, mixing it in before grinding it all into a powder. When he set the pestle aside, he exhaled slowly, then brought up his hands and pointed them at the bowl. “Incipe!

White sparks flew from his fingertips, surrounding the bowl before disappearing. A few seconds later, he heard a humming noise and saw the bowl vibrating slightly, indicating that it was awaiting the permanent activation spell. Hikmat bit back a whoop; there would be time to celebrate shortly, but first, he had to apply an appropriate phrase. Fortunately, he had the perfect one in mind.

Picking up the bowl, he brought it close to his face and said the words loudly and clearly, so there’d be no potential for error. “Bless you.”

There was a flash of light, and both the humming and the vibrating stopped. Biting his lip in excitement, Hikmat tipped the grey-brown powder into the container he’d gotten ready, corking it firmly. There was still a bit of the powder left in the bowl, and he pinched it between his fingers and brought it over to his test item; a bust of the great sorcerer Plamen. He sprinkled the powder on the top of the statue, took a step back to better observe, then said “Bless you.”

The bust immediately started quivering, and a second later, he heard the unmistakable sound of hitching breath. “Ah…ahh…” Moments later, the bust trembled more violently, emitting a sharp “Ah-KITCH!” To Hikmat’s surprise and slight disappointment, Plamen’s face hadn’t moved at all; it was as if the stone itself had sneezed instead. However, that was an encouraging sign for the rest of his experiments, and the mere fact that the powder was working as intended quickly washed away any frustration on Hikmat’s part.

After the sneeze, the bust grew still again, as though nothing had happened. “Bless you.” Hikmat said again, but this time, the bust didn’t even twitch. Hikmat nodded in satisfaction; the powder was single-use, as he’d hoped. It would be far too complicated (and embarrassing) if it activated every time he said “Bless you”. Not that he expected to have that situation pop up very often, but he wanted to be prepared for the eventuality.

There were four more tests to be done before he could consider himself fully satisfied. After appreciatively and apologetically brushing the powder off Plamen’s head, Hikmat picked up the container and moved to a small wooden model of a dog. Uncorking the stopper, he took another pinch, sealed it up again, then sprinkled the dog. As soon as the last of the powder had left his fingers, he said “Bless you.” and watched intently.

This time, there was no build-up; the model just shook with a “Pt-CHK!” before returning to normal. Once again, the dog’s face hadn’t moved, nor did the sneeze sound like a dog’s sneeze. If anything, it reminded Hikmat of the sound a twig made when it was broken. And now that he thought about it, the sneeze from Plamen’s bust was similar to the sound of a pickaxe chipping into stone. Grinning at how well things were going, Hikmat got another pinch of the powder and sprinkled it onto the dog. “Bless you.”

The model immediately sneezed again, sounding much the same as before. “Pt-CHHK!

Quickly dusting it off, Hikmat moved on to the next test, a fur collar. The powder worked on items in the shape of living things, now it was time to see if it affected something that was made from a living thing. Sprinkling the powder on one end of it, he said “Bless you.”

The whole collar started to tremble. “Hih-hih-hih…” After a tiny pause, it released a “Hip-chiff!”, the fur seeming to puff out a bit before smoothing out again. Giving it a pat, Hikmat took another pinch and prepared for the final test. His target was a rock he’d picked up from outside and washed off thoroughly, to make sure that there was nothing that could potentially be considered alive about it. If this worked, then he could officially call his invention a success.

Heart pounding, he quickly sprinkled the rock. Then he crossed his fingers and said “Bless you.”

His whole body seemed to get lighter as the rock quivered. “Uh…huh…hut-kklk!” The sound reminded Hikmat of the noise two stones made when they were clacked together. Hikmat finally allowed himself to whoop, even hopping a little in excitement. There was still no guarantee that the powder would work on every inanimate object there was, but he was willing to state with conviction that he had invented a powder to make non-living objects sneeze. Of course, there was no actual use for this powder, and no one would understand his joy if he tried to explain. But he didn’t care; it would allow him to indulge in his odd little interest whenever he wished, instead of having to rely on hoping for the best whenever he went into town or received a customer. That alone made all the effort worth it.

***

While there was a great temptation to immediately go around his home and shop, sprinkling everything he owned, Hikmat knew he should savor the novelty for as long as he could. Therefore, he kept the container of powder safely on the dresser in his bedroom, and every evening before bed, he’d take a pinch and seek out an item to sprinkle. It was fascinating to hear the different sounds that emerged from the various things, and how similar they sometimes were to noises they’d have made on their own anyway.

Hit-CHEE!” sneezed his wineglasses, almost sounding like when you ran a wet finger along the rim.

Eehhh-shhhh!” went his drinking flask, echoing slightly while also sounding like the faint creak of cured leather shifting.

Kisst!” came from his candles, almost perfectly mimicking the sound of a match being struck. The matches, by contrast, sounded more like “Kkrrrk!”, or the brief scraping noise that preceded them being lit.

His books made a pretty unusual sound—“Uh…Ucshhppppbt!”—a slightly wetter version of the sound he got when he rapidly fanned through the pages. They’d gotten a revenge of sort on him, though; each sneeze (he’d tried it on multiple books in different positions to see if it changed the sound) dislodged a good deal of dust from their spines, causing him to sneeze. He decided he’d have to wipe them down before he ever tried that again, but it did give him an idea for another avenue of exploration. For a solid week after that, he made allergens sneeze, as a sort of “turnabout is fair play”. Pepper was harsh and sharp (“IK-tchh!”), dust had a long buildup and a soft release (“Huh…huhh…huhhh…tshh!”), and quill pens generally sounded kind of fluttery (“heh-heh-heh-hetishh!”). His bottle of scent produced two different results—when he sprinkled the powder into the liquid, its noise was too muffled to hear clearly, but it did produce a lot of bubbles, while the bottle itself made an elongated “Hissssssssssssshhhhhh!” Disappointingly, the powder didn’t work on flowers, since they fell under the category of “living beings”, but it did give Hikmat the idea to try to work on something that would affect them at some future time.

After two months, Hikmat decided to start sprinkling the powder on his lab equipment. This had the potential to be more dangerous than his other “experiments”, but his curiosity soon got the better of him. He’d just have to take precautions (like not sprinkling it on anything he was in the middle of working on so he wouldn’t skew the results) and hope for the best. He started with his various empty beakers and vials (which all sounded clear and sharp, but had various levels of volume depending on their shape and size), then his cauldron (a big, booming “HAH-CHOOOOO!!!”), and then turned his attention to his ingredients. Much like the cologne, the various liquids bubbled but had muffled sounds, which was a bit disappointing but probably to be expected. The powders were more satisfying, generally fairly soft but with different vocalizations depending on what they were made of. Ground wood stretched out the buildup (“Heeeehhhhhh….tchh!”), ground bone was fast and almost made a cracking sound (“Kitchh!”), and ground stone made a weaker approximation of the whole stones he’d experimented with previously (“Hipkllsh!”). Once he’d finished with those, he moved on to his other tools, from his mortar and pestle (the mortar had a rounded “Ashooo!!” while the pestle had a small fit that sounded like “chtt chtt chtt!!”) to his mixing spoon (a quick “Tchak!”, almost sounding like it had struck the side of his cauldron). Hikmat greatly enjoyed the variety and trying to puzzle out the reason for each sound, and was glad that he had so many different items he could experiment with. It was well worth the time and resources to make it, even if it had no practical use.

***

Summer came to Mawyrld right around the time that Hikmat finished “dusting” his lab. This didn’t impact his plans—he moved on to the objects in his kitchen as he’d always intended—but it did mean that things began to get noticeably warm. When the first heat wave struck, Hikmat cast a few cooling spells and started preemptively making potions and powders that could help with heat-related problems, but otherwise thought no more of it.

But then one morning, after a week of high temperature, Hikmat went to his dresser to fetch his clothes for the day and discovered that the heat had caused the wood to swell, which in turn caused the drawers to stick. He tugged as hard as he could (which admittedly wasn’t much; there was a reason he was an apothecary and not a knight), but the drawers wouldn’t budge. Thumping on the top or sides, even with a heavy object, didn’t seem to dislodge them either. In previous years, he’d cast a cooling spell on the dresser and waited for the wood to contract, but that could take upwards of an hour, and he was expecting a customer to come pick up an order at some point in the morning. He was sure they would chuckle in understanding when he explained why he was in his nightgown, but he’d rather not have to deal with that embarrassment.

As he stepped away from the dresser to look it over and consider his options, his eyes landed on the container of powder. He wasn’t sure what caused the thought to enter his head, but it occurred to him that the stuck drawers could theoretically be analogous to a blocked nose, a stuck sneeze, or an irritant lodged in the nostril. And he hadn’t actually tried the powder out on the dresser yet…

Shrugging, Hikmat moved back to the dresser and opened the container. There wasn’t any harm in trying, and at least he’d get some enjoyment out of the situation. Once the cork was firmly in place again, he sprinkled the powder on the corner of the dresser and said “Bless you.”

The dresser immediately trembled, causing Hikmat to grab onto it to minimize the risk of things falling over. “Hah…hahh…” There was a pause, and then the dresser trembled even harder with a powerful “HA-KTT-TT-TTT!!!

Once the dresser was still again, Hikmat carefully grabbed the drawer handle and pulled. It was still a little jammed, but some sharp tugs managed to dislodge it enough for him to access his clothes. Perhaps another application of powder directly on the drawer would help with that, though that was an experiment for later. Wiggling the drawer to try to prevent further sticking, he slid it closed and started to dress.

It was only as he was buckling his belt that Hikmat realized he had found a practical use for the powder after all. Granted, it still wasn’t something he could sell to customers, but the unexpected usefulness caused him to laugh. Giving the container a grateful pat, he left to tend to his shop, his mind already starting to consider other potential ways the powder could come in handy.

 

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haa chewww hank

Loved the concept    interesting to see how it an develop 

 

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Wig_Powder

@haa chewww hank Glad you liked it! I currently don't have any plans to continue the story, but I'll definitely update if something comes to mind!

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HarryPotterGeek

Great story

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Wig_Powder

@HarryPotterGeek Glad you enjoyed it! It was a fun concept to play with!

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