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Backstory

        Odysseus was walking towards Circe’s room with a tray of delicacies. As he arrived at the door, he shook his head and sighed upon seeing the breakfast he had delivered that morning remained untouched. Knocking on the door, he shouted, “Lady Witch, time for lunch! If you don’t eat, I’m going to force it in!”

        He knocked on her door to no avail, and attempted to open it to check what was happening in there. Unexpectedly, myriad vines suddenly burst out of the door, pinning him onto the wall!

        Since Circe had obtained the texts of magic from the foreign Ithaca tribe, she had immersed herself completely in it, neglecting meals and sleep. Although Queen Circe had granted the right for the Ithacas to settle in the city, but none from the tribe dared approach her or go near her castle — her turning of civilians into pigs had imprinted an unperishing fear onto the collective memory. Yet, the artifact they had enshrined through the generations had chosen Circe to be the witch of their clan, and therefore, the clansmen could only worship her with both fear and reverence.

        Among the clansmen, only the son of the clan leader did not believe that the artifact had chosen Circe. Instead, he felt that she had simply masterminded a plot to steal the artifact, and even proceeded to use its magic nefariously. However, he could do nothing to stop her because his father insisted that Circe was the one chosen by the artifact. Odysseus could only obey, taking up the responsibility of caring for Circe. He would deliver her meals daily, but at the same time, he was did not intend on letting of her lightly —

        “If there is a contest for being the most concentrated in magic experimentation, you would definitely win.”

        “Well, if there is “meddling into other people’s affairs” competition, I’m sure that you’ll be the champion too.”

        “Is there any magic in the texts that can keep you alive without consuming food? If there is, I won’t need to come here anymore!”

        “You won’t have to if you’re that capable of making the artifact choose somebody else.”

        Conflicts like these were almost a daily occurrence, and most ended with Circe’s magical vines blasting Odysseus out of the room. But this time, Odysseus was unusually quiet, leaving behind only a few words after he had put down the food: “The clan leader has passed away.”

        “It’s a good thing your father is dead. No one would ever pressure you to do things you don’t like again then.” Circe’s words inflicted pain in grieving Odysseus.

        “No wonder why you’ll die alone.”

        “What?” Odysseus’s retort stunned her, and lacerated her heart.

        “You’ve turned those people into pigs, but even actual pigs are not as heartless as you!”

        Upon hearing that, she hysterically yelled at him, “My son’s dead, and my daughter was the culprit! My entire family’s been torn apart! Heartless, huh? Why on earth do I still need heart? Tell me!”
 
        Odysseus never thought that such excruciating pain had struck Circe in the past. Regretting his spiteful insults, he muttered, “Sorry, I...”

        Yet, Circe had already casted a spell at him before he could finish his sentence; the room was again illuminated by the radiance of the spell.

        As the light dissipated, Odysseus was gone and in his place was a creature with boar’s head and human’s body.

        “Ahahaha...” Circe was frantically laughing at the sight, not noticing that tears were already streaming from the corner of her eyes. She continued, “Serves you right...this way, you can never malign me again!”

        But to Circe’s surprise, the boar-headed creature did not run away; instead, he grabbed her pen and notebook from the desk, and wrote down “I am sorry.”. The sight of these words brought a wave of guilt over Circe. She recalled that indeed no one had ever spoken to her in such an unfettered, honest way as he had.

        “I should be the one apologizing... After all, only you dared be frank with me...”

        As there was no record of magic recovery in the texts, Circe was unable to atone for her mistake. She could only take up the responsibility of looking after Odysseus; but it had the unexpected result of stopping her obsession with magic experimentation all day long.

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