Jenna the Goldfish
Part of the Tower of Tanee series.
Jenna meets Aurea, a goldfish. And discovers they're going to exchange their bodies for the time being.
Jenna stared at her teacher, a horrified grimace on her face.
“Yes. I want you to experience medium range memory first hand.”
Lady Tanee was grinning a predatory smile.
“Don’t worry,” she reassured her, “goldfishes actually have a three months long memory span. You’ve got a fair margin.”
“Any objections, faithful student?”
“Well, I don’t want to be a fish,” came the immediate answer. “I mean, what’s the point? They don’t do much, and-”
“That is the point, actually,” her master interrupted her. “Knowing how being weak feels is important if you are to become competent. If it is any consolation, Aurea’s able to use magic too – you won’t be completely helpless.”
“The goldfish you’re going to swap places with. That’s her name.”
“Well… Hello Aurea, I guess…”
“Hi, Jenna,” a mental voice answered her, making her jump. “Don’t worry, being a goldfish isn’t that bad! I’ll keep you well fed!”
Jenna frowned. She had a feeling she wasn’t going to enjoy this ‘exercise’.
“Thanks, Lady!” Jenna said while looking at her former self, which was furiously swimming around in her bowl. “How long am I staying human this time?”
Lady Tanee’s nonchalantly amused answer made a very large grin form on Jenna’s lips.
“You’re pretty bad at telepathy, aren’t you?”
The goldfish didn’t appear to react at first, but Jenna got the message when she noticed some embers on her boots.
“Okay, okay.” She smiled, and removed the burning shoes. “Does that mean you’re more comfortable with enchantment?”
The goldfish silently cast a few other spells, prompting Jenna to remove more and more cursed clothing. And then, she stopped, upon realizing the young girl was still smirking. “These are your clothes, remember?”
“Normally, your memory of being human should be getting hazy by now”, Jenna stated in a matter-of-fact tone while observing her little fish. At the moment, ‘Aurea’ was busy eating the food Jenna had scattered on the water’s surface, but the young girl had learned to know better than lowering her guard – even trapped in a goldfish’s limited body and memory-span, Jenna remained an excellent magic-user.
“Do you remember how having hands feels?”
“I really don’t know, Aurea,” Lady Tanee said. “Three months already was pushing it…”
“But,” Jenna protested, “I’ve been behaving! I’ve been making honest efforts!”
“You have, but… how would you feel in Jenna’s fins?”
A small smile formed on Jenna’s lips. “She hasn’t been complaining.”
“Well, of course she hasn’t. She’s a complete dummy when it comes to telepathy.”
“She may be, but that doesn’t invalidate my previous statement.”
Lady Tanee laughed softly. “You really are desperate, aren’t you?”
“Okay, I’ll see what I can do…”
Recently, ‘Aurea’ had turned strangely cooperative. Jenna wasn’t sure what had changed, but she knew for a fact she’d never been able to pet the fish until the previous day.
At the same time, Lady Tanee’s tutelage had suddenly started to feel very amateurish. The Tower’s master had apparently lost much of her characteristic assurance, and Jenna had actually busted her triple-checking formulas in her grimoires.
Something fishy definitely was going on.
Lady Tanee stared back at her, a blank expression on her face. “What do you-”
“Who are you,” Jenna repeated her question, “and what are you up to?”
“I- I’m Lady Tanee,” the older woman blurted out, “and I’m here to teach you magic?”
“Liar. Lady Tanee wouldn’t be that destabilized by my questions.”
“Okay, time out, girls,” a mental voice unexpectedly pronounced, making them both jump in surprise. “So, ‘Jenna’” the voice continued, “you finally noticed my little game. I’m right here, Aurea. In your water bowl.”
Jenna frowned, and glanced at ‘Aurea’, who was gently swimming around on the table. Suddenly, things made much more sense. Well, to a point. “Why are you in my body?”
“I didn’t want to extend Jenna’s time as a goldfish,” came an astonishingly calm mental answer, “but your efforts deserved a recompense. So, I gave her my body instead.”
‘Lady Tanee’ was blushing a little by now.
Jenna assumed she was struggling with the body swapping spell clause that kept her from recognizing her actual name. Then, she noticed the hidden message in the fish’s words, and a bright smile formed on her lips.
“Does that mean I get to stay human for the full year I asked?”
“Jenna’s getting her body back, but you aren’t,” ‘Aurea’ confirmed.