Part Two of our queer switchblade-and-sorcery web novel, Those Who Create and Destroy, is here, with a new free chapter coming every Monday for the next six months! ✨
In this week’s chapter, “If You Can’t Ride Two Horses at Once… You Should Get Out of the Circus,” nameless apprentice alchemist Cyrano Almonte contemplates whether to hitch his wagon to Jules’s or Hunter’s star.
Download the full Part One free for e-reader, for those who need to catch up.
(Just a quick note that, through Cyrano’s POV, we venture deeper into Hunter’s patriarchal world in Part 2, and things get pretty intense, so we encourage y’all to check the content warnings and take care of yourselves. We’re always available for conversations to process and contextualize the dark subjects we delve into with Nullweaver—so please feel free to reach out to us on Discord, Twitter, or through Emrys’s Mastodon or email.)
“If You Can’t Ride Two Horses at Once… You Should Get Out of the Circus”
story by Mabel Harper & Emrys Webb
written by Emrys Webb
Content Warning: TRANSPHOBIA, MISOGYNISTIC LANGUAGE, BULLYING, HOMOPHOBIC LANGUAGE, MALE SEXUAL HAZING
When Cyrano Almonte walked into the Alchemy department’s prep room that workday morning, where the apprentice alchemists’ colors awaited them on wooden clothing racks and their lab assignments on a chart pinned to the wall, he knew from the looks on Silas Eads’s and Teddy Grenville’s faces that he was going to have either a very good or a very bad week.
“How’s it going, Cyr?” Silas clapped him on the shoulder. He was the tallest, the handsomest, the most confident of the three, and from the most venerable family—the kind of guy that, if you had him on your side, could really help you go places.
…At least that’s what Cyrano was banking on.
“You seen your new assignment yet?” Silas asked.
Cyrano switched his gaze between Silas and Teddy. Both of them were grinning like wolves. “No…” He turned, edged his way through the small crowd gathered near the posted schedule, scanned the document for his own name.
…Didn’t have to scan far. The team for Lab 1 was printed top left:
Team Lead: G.P. Nimri
Team Assists: M.-S. Winter, M.-S. Durand, App. Almonte
“What…?” he muttered under his breath.
It was technically an honor to be chosen for the Grand Philosopher’s team, and alongside brilliant researchers like Masters-Savant Winter and Durand, no less. But anyone who managed to curry favor with Nimri was destined to end up on Master-Savant Lockwood’s shitlist. And seeing as rumor had it it was only a matter of time—and a couple of supposedly-inevitable political shakeups—before Nimri was out and Lockwood back in as head of the department, this was a no-win scenario for a small fry like Cyrano.
He heard cackling behind him. Turned to find Silas and Teddy hovering, showing their teeth like beasts of prey.
“I guess this means you’re Nimri’s pet now,” Silas leered.