In Land, in the laboratory of baron Charles Lewis, havoc reigned. As soon as Alta Vystra departed, Lord Lewis’s back arched, his fists clenched, spittle flew from his lips, and an unnatural glint reappeared in his eye. 

“What have you done?” cried Obsession, speaking through Lord Lewis’s lips. “She is my star; mine! How dare you let her go?” Obsession was livid. “We must build another machine and drag her back from Heaven! What are you waiting for, foul human? Get my star back!”

Obsession had vowed to someday return to influence Charles’s mind, but Charles had not expected Obsession’s re-invasion to come so soon. Nor did he expect Obsession to be so intemperate as to flagrantly manipulate his body and tongue. It was only because Charles was no longer disheartened by his fear of going mad, that he could use his free will to fight back against the unseen intruder. 

On the other hand, Kevin considered Charles’s current struggle to be merely part of his life story. A Master of Enlightenment constantly hears people’s stories; and once heard, the Master can vividly imagine what happens after the story ends. That is to say, Kevin Galwynn was expecting Obsession’s return.

Master Galwynn rummaged in the voluminous pockets of his tunic, retrieved a familiar object, and concealed it in his fist. The possessed Charles Lewis had his back turned to Galwynn while he trawled randomly through magical and mechanical paraphernalia trying desperately to create a makeshift orrery to capture Alta Vystra again. 

Galwynn grabbed Lewis forcefully by the shoulder and spun him around. Then he hooked his left hand behind Lewis’s neck and pulled Lewis’s face inches from his own. Obsession was so shocked by Galwynn’s unusually aggressive gesture, that Lewis’s body became paralyzed in place. 

Galwynn peered deep into Charles’s eyes and could see an unnatural glint of light flickering within; like a moth in the night flittering madly around a candle’s flame. Seen close, the outline of the glint was almost human, with a hairless head and torso, and two splayed arms and legs.

Defiantly, Obsession used Charles’s mouth to bitterly decry, “It’s all your fault, Kevin Galwynn! You did this. Your meddling enlightened this foolish human, and made him give away my star!” Obsession pressed its face hard against the cornea of Charles’s eye and glared. “But you just wait, I’ll get her back. And after I do, ‘Master of Meddling,’ I will make you pay for your interference—“

Abruptly, Kevin took the object he had retrieved from the voluminous pockets of his tunic and jammed it between Charles’s eye and his own. The familiar object was Galwynn’s small crystal ball with white crazing running through. Kevin’s children called it a cat’s-eye.

As seen through the cat’s-eye orb, the glint in Charles’s eye was projected, magnified, distorted, refracted, and entangled among the orb’s streaks of white crazing. Obsession’s image was trapped like a fly in a spider’s sticky, white web. 

“What have you done to me?” Obsession exclaimed through Charles’s lips. “I am still in the Unseen Domain, and yet at the same time trapped in Land in a crystal prison. How can this be, Master of Meddling?” Feeling the sting of losing its freedom for perhaps the first time, Obsession wailed, forlornly, “Let me go-o-o!”

If you tie a leaf of grass into a loop, and then capture a raindrop in that loop, the raindrop will magnify the tiniest of creatures so that they can be seen with ease. Kevin looked through his cat’s-eye at the distorted image of Obsession trapped within, and said, “Do you not savor the taste of your own medicine?”

“No, no I don’t,” cried Obsession. “I am somehow trapped in these alabaster silks, while the stench of free will fouls the air in waves. It is damnation itself! Let me go, Galwynn, and I promise to never vex you again. I know your heart, Galwynn, my friend; you are a gentle man, a kind man, a learned man. I know it is in your heart to show me mercy.”

“You know it is in my heart to show you mercy that you have not shown to others? To Charles Lewis, the haggard man? Or to Alta Vystra, the kidnapped star? Or to me, the ‘Master of Meddling’? Or to all the despairing denizens of Sky and Land awaiting the end of the world? But you’re right, it is in my heart to show mercy. And yet, foul knave, know that this is also in my heart: I am Kevin Galwynn, the King’s own Master of Enlightenment, and I know many things! 

“I know that the gods of all the domains are siblings, and that they frequently meet in a private, common existence, to discuss how best to rule their domains. I know that the gods are proud, and are eager to prove to the Cosmos that they are good stewards of their domains. I know that the gods are jealous, and are not willing to suffer their siblings interfering in their domain’s affairs.

“I know that the welfare of each domain’s folk is ultimately the responsibility of their gods. If a denizen of one domain grievously wrongs the folk of another domain, then the rulers of those domains can commission their priests to beseech their gods to right the wrong. And as I said, the gods take umbrage at interlopers interfering in their affairs. 

“So, Obsession, when the gods of Land, Sky, and the Unseen learn that you are the knave who instigated the kidnapping of a deity, and almost caused two domains to be unjustly razed to the ground…well, I know… the gods won’t be pleased.

“Keep your false promises and threats, Obsession. You are in more than enough trouble with the gods without adding one more lie or menace. Instead, my mercy to you is to advise you to hie to the farthest corner of the Unseen Domain, and that when the gods come to find you—and they will find you—hope that it is they who will be merciful to you. Now begone foul knave, interloper, criminal, and leave the Seen domains in peace!”

Master Galwynn clutched his cat’s-eye so hard that the image of Obsession was squeezed out of the orb, leaving the glint only in Charles Lewis’s eye. But in the next instant, that glint abruptly disappeared from Charles’s eyes once and for all, never to be seen again… At least, not in this tale.

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