The back room of the Occult Store was filled with shelves featuring books on genuine magical lore. These books, unlike the ones in the front, treated magical items and their role in history as actual fact instead of myths and legends. There were also genuine magical items such as mirrors of several different types of magic, magical bubble blowing wands of different sorts, and various necklace charms. There was also a round table with chairs, and a large empty area where mystical circles could be drawn.
Almost incongruous was a desk with a modern-looking desktop computer, a laptop, and a printer, as well as several file drawers.
Scarlett waited until Athena had situated her wheelchair at a good point near the desk, and then she headed over to the desk, where she opened a drawer. "This item came to me only just this past week. It came right around the time Zoe and her family were told that her grandfather passed away." Scarlett said.
She pulled out a small box, and opened it. What was inside looked very much like a USB flash drive. "It's another example of what I was talking about before." Scarlett explained. "It's magic disguised with the trappings of technology. It's a good way of sneaking magic items around inconspicuously."
Athena nodded. She knew that magic, like so many things in the world, had to change and adapt with the times. She patiently waited as Scarlett went on to explain what this item does.
"This item, according to the letter that came with it, is a magical Wish Detector and Recorder. All I have to do is plug it in to either my desktop or my laptop, and then type in a few inputs using the magical program, or app, included, and we'll be able to detect recent wishes within a hundred mile radius. If what my acquaintance said in this letter is correct, a number of people with magical wishing items may be in the vicinity of Lake Point and its neighboring communities, and this Wish Detector will tell us what wishes have been made recently, and with which wishing artifact."
"It can tell us which artifact made what wish?" Athena asked.
"The magical Wish Detector app comes with a database of hundreds of known wishing artifacts. Including the magical wishing stone known (among other names) as the Jewel of Cusco, and many of the magical imitations of it that have been created." Scarlett replied.
"The Jewel of Cusco?" Athena asked. "Do you think it might be what caused this?"
Athena had heard of the magical wishing stone known as the Jewel of Cusco before. She had even read about it in one of the books discussing magical items she had bought from the Occult Store, and Scarlett had mentioned it before. She even had heard that throughout its history, some imitations of it had been created. Each of these were similar to the original stone, but had some sort of other rule or effect that distinguished it from the original stone.
"It's likely. Especially since 'Merlin' Madison - as we in the magical community liked to call him - apparently re-discovered the Jewel of Cusco in South America not too long ago." Scarlett said. "And he may have sent it to his family before he either died or faked his death. I wouldn't rule out the latter, since when you have a magical wishing stone, it's very, very easy to fake your own death."
"Anyway, this acquaintance of mine - I'm not going to tell you who they are, because they wanted it kept secret unless it was absolutely necessary to reveal their identity - said that several people seeking the original stone might have tracked it to Lake Point, and some of them might have brought their own wishing items with them. So they sent me this magical Wish Detector app, which will detect any wishes made within a time period the user specifies, and then detect which artifact granted the wish." Scarlett explained.
Scarlett plugged the item into her laptop. She then clicked on an icon in the appropriate directory, and a colorful green, purple, and blue screen appeared. Aside from a basic 'Wish Detector' logo, there were a few input lines and instructions.
"Okay, now the changes in reality happened this morning." Scarlett said.
"It happened right at the start of the school day." Athena said. "One minute we were talking about what we were going to be doing later, the next, reality changed so that never happened."
"All right, that narrows it down a little. I think just to be sure, I'll have it search for wishes made within the last 48 hours." Scarlett said. "We can't just assume the wish's result was instantaneous. It could have also been part of a chain of wishes."
After Scarlett inputted '48 hours', new information appeared on the screen. It looked as if at least two dozen wishes had been made in the last 48 hours.
"Let's see. I think I can print this out for reference. The good thing about having a magic printer is that unlike certain printers from the 2010s and early 2020's, this one actually works." Scarlett said, with a smile. She activated the printer, which printed a few copies of the list on the screen.
"Thanks." Athena said. She wasn't sure she would have been able to read the list on the screen from where she was sitting.
"Here, I'll give you these glasses so you can see it better." Scarlett said, giving Athena some reading glasses as well as placing a copy of the printed list in front of Athena on the desk. Athena moved close to read the list. She hoped this list would have the answers she was looking for.