Chapter 44: Some Girls Are A Mystery
Read all the chapters here. Enjoy!
Previously: In Wonderland, Madnes and his group have decided to split up in their search for the 7 crystals of the Terraforming Spell (a dangerous spell currently threatening to destroy their home on Earth, Okinala island). When Madnes and Prince Oz got their hands on the first crystal, they tried to destroy it, but its hard surface proved indestructible… That is, until Alice touched it. She did something, and the crystal split in two. But how? Why? What is she hiding…?
The crystal lay cracked in two before Alice.
“What did you do? How? That thing was tougher than a leviathan’s hide!” Madnes stared at the damage, stunned. But she shied away, eyes big as a frightened doe.
“How could you break that crystal when nothing else could?” Oz demanded, suspicion written clear in his eyes. “What are you?” Alice shuffled backwards, and he took a step nearer. “Nothing has power like that. Nothing but a sorceress,” his blue glare narrowed. “Is that what you are? A wicked sorceress?”
“No!” she yelped desperately.
Oz took another step, but Madnes’s arm rose blocking his chest. “Come on, this is Alice we’re talking about. Of course she isn’t some sorceress,” he rebuked.
“Then explain your power, girl,” snapped Oz. “You’re not human. I could sense Wonderland aura surrounding you as that crystal broke.”
Madnes blocked the prince firmly, but there was no denying what he said. He met Alice’s gaze, sending an unspoken plea that she say something, that she not hide secrets. But he remembered his promise to her: that he would never ask about her. He thought he could be fine with it then, tried to be fine with it, but…
Alice took one more step back, before she turned and sprinted into the dark of night.
“Explain yourself!” Oz shouted and shoved Madnes’s arm aside. But Madnes blocked him again, and again, refusing to let him chase after her.
“She’s my friend. I’ll take responsibility for her,” he tried to sooth Oz’s suspicions. “She’s not a threat to you, I promise. If anything, she’s been of help.”
With his chance to pursue her gone, Oz relented. “For now,” he scowled. “But if that changes—”
“You’ll let me handle things,” Madnes hardened his tone. “Just as the crowv are your people to manage, my friends and anyone who calls Earth home are my people. Understood?”
For several drawn out seconds they stared each other down. Then Oz sniffed and turned away. “Don’t take that responsibility lightly,” he warned over a shoulder, and ducked inside one of the crowv huts for the rest of the night.
Madnes shut his eyes, the light from crowv firepits playing orange across his lids. ‘Fairy?’ He reached with his mind.
It had been quite a while since the Madness Solver power within him had spoken. The creature that resembled a fairy with wings he’d glimpsed inside his mind only several times. ‘Can you hear me?’ he tried. A fickle creature she was, but one with vast knowledge. She was the Madness Solver power itself, after all. And he was her host. ‘I need your knowledge. Can you tell me: what is Alice? You must be able to sense what she is?’
He waited. Something glowed white in the dark recess of his mind, a flutter of wings.
‘Hmm~ Yes, I do know.’
There she was, voice like a hum in his ears. ‘But why should I tell you?’
‘She’s my friend,’ he pressed. ‘Please tell me. How can I protect her unless I know?’
‘And have me betray such a valuable secret?’ the fairy scoffed. ‘Ha! How greedy of you, Madnes.’ She tsked slyly, her undertone almost mocking. ‘I refuse.’
He gritted his teeth. This fairy could be so irritating. ‘But I—’
‘You keep her safe by staying ignorant of it, human.’ She cut him off. ‘Stop asking questions and leave her alone.’ Then there was a pause. ‘Make sure Oz and anyone else leaves her alone, as well.’
Valuable secret? Keep her safe by staying ignorant? The fairy fell silent, gone back to wherever she resided inside him. He itched with curiosity, the desire for knowledge, but pushed it back and locked it up. If it would keep Alice safe, then he would resist the urge to know. But if only she could destroy the crystals, how could he keep that a secret from everyone?
Dawn approached, and the group was up and ready getting a decent breakfast before the journey ahead of them. Cheshire spotted the cracked crystal first, and soon everyone was buzzing about it. Madnes didn’t see Alice among them, but there was something hiding at the edge of the village treeline.
“It was me,” Madnes confessed to the crowd circling a boiling pot of breakfast over the firepit. “I kept trying, and then the power inside me grew—swelled like a leviathan!” He tried to sound as authentic as possible, and based on the stares and “oohs” he received, it worked.
“Yer just full of surprises, ain’t ya boy?” Cosmic slapped his back.
“Ak—yes,” he coughed. “I’m still new to this Madness power business.”
“Woowee! Who knows what else you can do!” Harrey grinned like an excited Labrador. “So, how are we gonna do this, bud? How’s our group gonna be split up for this new quest?”
Madnes combed a hand back through his hair, top hat on his lap. “I’ve been thinking that over,” he said, then spied Alice approach from the trees—now that he’d taken credit for the crystal. He greeted her with an assuring smile. “Here’s what I’ve decided…”
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This is my entry for this week’s #BlogBattle challenge by the wonderful author Rachael Ritchey, where the challenge is to write a short story based on that week’s chosen word. This week’s word was: “leviathan.” Check out the link, read other great stories there, and VOTE for your favorite 3 to win!
Hope to see you on Okinala Island (here) next Wednesday!
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