Chapter 21: A sunrise just for us
Darth, together with Limon were searching Marciant’s room for anything that could be useful to them. Dings was staying alert outside the room ready to warn them for “company”. Limon looked at the desk while Darth was looking at the walls for secret openings until he found a briefcase which contained blueprints of something that looked like a machine, parts of them were describing how that machine would work and he made copies using a magic glass that when it touched the surface of the blueprint it copied exactly all of its contents.
“We have found what we want. Limon lets get out…” and he felt an intense pain on his chest and the man leaned to the floor holding his chest and breathing heavily.
“Darth what happened?” the dragon asked worried. Only one thing could make him feel so much in pain. He got up and ran to the exit, following the corridors
“Limon, Dings he is here! Hurry up! Lily and the others are in grave danger!”
Lily had bowed just like everyone on the Hall making room for King Nevol to come in. She didn’t have to see in is Heart Stone. Everyone’s Heart Lights were flickering from fear when they saw him.
“Your Majesty! It’s an honor to have you with us!” and Marciant bowed smiling
“I believe that the fun has started without me” Nevol said and looked at Lily suspicious
“My Lord everything has been settled” another voice came behind Nevol and Lily recognized Semer who came in bowing with respect. Only one Heart Stone filled with hate for him and Lily started to shiver. She knew that Permer could possibly create uproar and started to call Dart’s name through her telepathy more and more. Marciant ordered her to stand up and he introduced her to the King. She bowed seeing the man with the violet eyes and the black hair looking at her intensely.
“Tell me dancer, why did you ask for Marciant’s Stone?” his voice was serious with a tone of demand.
“Your Majesty, the Duke said that as a reward I could have anything I want. I like that stone that shine like the eyes of my tribe, that’s the reason I wished for it” she said and felt her voice trembling.
“Well then Marciant, why don’t you give her your Stone? It is after all her reward” and Marciant with hesitation took off his necklace giving it to Lily. When the Stone was placed on her hands it scattered into pieces which flew over the room breaking down the chandeliers making the whole room dark. Screams of the people, movements filled with haste transformed the gala into a furious crowd which was trying to get out. Lily ran back to Monica and Permer, feeling their Heart Stones in the dark but a strong hand grabbed her and pulled her back
“Where do you think you are going little Priestess?” and she felt the cold blade on her neck
“Let me go Nevol!” Lily said angrily trying to hide her fear
“Not before he comes to your rescue” and something sharp cut off his arm freeing Lily who fell on the ground, making her ribbon appear. Someone was standing in front of her, while Nevol took his right arm and placed it back on his body like it was a part of a broken toy.
“Well, well Darthorian it seems that you haven’t changed much. Tell me how does it feel to protect the one you must kill at some time?”
“Nevol you bastard, after all these years you still like to play with human lives!” Darth said while Lily got up, trying to sense Monica’s and Permer’s Heart Lights; it seems that they were able to escape and felt relieved. Now she was focused on the man who stood before her and Darth ready to attack to them, but he didn’t make even a single move. He was just standing there looking at the girl in front of him
“Why do you think that he protected you all this time, Priestess? I am sure you have realized that he has no Heart Stone and he is reduced into a savage beast thirsty only for blood.” And a fire appeared burning everything and trapping the three of them inside a circle.
“So what if he is a monster? I will turn him back to the way he was!” and she moved her ribbon attacking him but he avoided easily her attack. Darth rushed to him and their blades crushed moving with incredible speed that even Lily wasn’t able to catch up with them. She looked at the fire and touched it with the edge of her ribbon. Suddenly the string caught fire without burning it and Lily felt Menfor speaking to her
“Give me blood, fight and victory Priestess! I have been waiting for you to come!” and the fire covered her body.
“Lily!” Darth shouted without being able to help her or even escape from Nevol’s murderous attacks
“What did you tell her Darth? That you would protect her? That you would remain by her side? Are you that determinate to kill her!?” and laughing he attacked again
I could hear their blades crushing together and Nevol saying something to Darth about killing me but the heat made the sound disappear. Only Menfor I could hear repeating again and again his desire to kill; I saw a man with red hair and a firing armor standing in front of me.
“You danced really beautiful, enough to make even a God desire you” and I felt the flames becoming hotter around me
“I will give you the red of my eyes, the color of blood, and you will grand me power to defeat my enemies, but I will not kill them! Mercy is a virtue even the Fire God must have!” I said and I opened my hands calling him to come to me
“I accept your offering my Priestess, let the Light be your guide forever” he said after hearing my answer and he hugged me filling my body with the strength of the fire and the passion of the burning flames while at the same time I felt my world becoming darker and darker again.
Darth was bleeding all over after Nevol’s attacks. He raised his sword ready to cut his head but a flying dagger broke his sword. Both of them turned to the direction the dagger came; Lily was standing not holding her ribbon but a burning sword that was emitting fire, her body was covered with red cloth armor at the color of the red roses while her hair from black had turned back into blond, still short through. Nevol walked back, looking at her with hate.
“Do you really think that you will beat me like this? You who had been used from him (and he showed Darth) from the beginning? I will tell you then! In order for him return back to normal he must consume your Heart Stone after you have gained the powers of all Gods!”
“NEVOL!” Darth screamed with hatred and stabbed him right though his chest, but he disappeared into a black cloud laughing with wicked joy
“I will be waiting for you at Selemir my Priestess! If you will still be alive until then” and he disappeared from their sight. Darth stood up and looked at her; her face was expressionless as she was still holding the burning sword on her left hand. She moved it and the flames covered both of them making them disappear from Marciant’s burning mansion.
Monica and Permer ran outside from the mansion dragged by the frightened people, who when they saw that the lights went off they thought that Nevol would kill them, and now they were watching the mansion burning in front of them. Monica was shouting her sister’s name but Permer held her on her arms trying to calm her down. She noticed that Semer was looking at them intensely and she hid Monica into the crowd, telling her not to come out from there until Dings or Limon find her.
“Don’t worry, Lily has Darth with her, she will be fine. Do as I say please” and she hugged her “I wish that you would be my child Monica. You and your sister have such a gentle soul. Thank you” and she disappeared leaving Monica alone into the crowd looking for her and at the same time looking for Limon or Dings. She found the puppy running around trying to avoid the feet of those who were standing outside the burning house
“Dings!” and Monica grabbed the puppy tightly
“I finally found you Monica! Limon is searching from the sky for any danger and for Lily and Darth”
“No tell him to come back! Permer left to Semer’s direction!” and both of them headed to where Permer had gone.
“So it was you after all. You helped them sneak into the Mansion”
“It is Semer indeed true, but I didn’t tell them about Nevol, you see I have been waiting for you to come!” and Permer attacked to him creating magic fireballs from her hands. Semer avoided them and revealed his sword, at the form of a katana*, and attacked her. Limon flew with speed and burned the sword with his fire landing in front of Permer while Monica and Dings came to her aid, Monica aiming Semer with her bow and Dings made a strong angry sound, like a wolf ready to attack its prey.
“Everyone stand back!” and Permer got in front of Limon “He is mine!” and she created, through her spells, a spear with a shaft made of a sparkling citrine and pieces of moon stones appeared. Semer smiled sadistically and attacked again; their weapons swatted together creating thunderous sounds making Monica lose the flow of the battle. Permer was fast but Semer was faster; he broke her spear and threw her into the ground, stepping above her ready to kill her, but before he makes any move Permer crossed her hands and started to speak into a lost language making Semer stop immediately just before he stabs her. She got up and looked at him:
“You were fooled Semer” she said with sarcastic voice “the spear you broke had moon stone pieces from the red moon. Whoever dares to touch them he will become a living stone statue for all eternity!”
“W-what? Y-you... How d-dar-re…!” Semer tried to speak but his body had already started to transform into stone making him unable to speak anymore. The stone statue was standing in front of everyone, who were seeing it without speaking. Monica caught Permer before she collapses; she stretched her hands to the sky screaming her husband’s name, crying from her pain and for her victory. Dings was standing in front of the statue, looking at it with hatred; he turned his back and pissed on it.
“That’s for the Forest” he murmured and turned to Limon asking him if he had found anything about Lily or Darth.
“I will come with you Limon” Monica said
“No you three will return back to the mansion and I will search for them” and before he receives an answer he flapped his wings and the dragon flew to the sky.
Darth opened his eyes and realized that he was inside a bubble; his body was in pain but he noticed that his injuries were healing thanks to the small water drops that were inside the bubble. “The red moon is still on effect” he said looking at his body and tried to look outside but there was no sign of Lily. Nevol had revealed the worst reason about his condition and sadly it was true, he had to explain to her the reasons and his decision but he couldn’t see her, neither could feel her presence close enough to him on her necklace. The bubble around him disappeared and transformed into a shining water line, the enchanted string of her ribbon, and began moving back. Darth stepped out from the small opening he was in and started to walk following the string until he reached a small cliff and on the top of the rock Lily was sitting staring at the east sky waiting for the dawn. The string disappeared on her left hand, transforming back into her tattoo, but Darth couldn’t find the words to begin.
“Was that true?” Lily said with calm, but trembling voice “do you really need the heart of a Priestess in order to return to your real self?”
“Yes, it is true” he said, hesitating in the beginning and Lily started to tremble even more. Darth pulled her into his arms, ignoring her tries to escape from his touch, and held her in front of him:
“This was the only way I knew! But this world can’t survive without a Priestess! That’s way I cooperated with Elder Fin in order to find the new Priestess, restore her into her position, and perhaps she could know something, anything that could save me.”
“Did you do all that just to solve your curse?” and he let her go from him; she was standing right in front of him, but he couldn’t see he r face clearly, like two warriors ready to fight each other. She was looking really small and fragile in front of him, a girl who out of nowhere bears the responsibility to save an entire world.
“In the beginning, yes. I even thought about killing you back at the Foggy Cliffs and take your Heart Stone but then everything changed! You defended us; you tried to protect me so many times, even if that meant that you were on the brink of death. In the end I couldn’t even think about killing you and so I decided to stay by your side until the day you will be the Priestess, protecting you and atoning for my hateful thoughts” he kneeled in front of her, without daring looking at her face, unable to hold his pain and sorrow. He felt her hand touching his hair just a little and then he saw her moving again to the edge of the cliff looking at the dawning sky.
“I will become the Priestess and fulfill my role in this world. You spoke the truth Darth and I appreciate that even if it hurts. Promise me one thing only: don’t forget, no matter what the price is, don’t forget even if it takes you a whole eternity.”
“I promise.” And he stepped near her looking at her left arm; her ribbon’s string was now at the height of her shoulder, creating a perfect curve around her hand until her palm where her star-shaped tattoo was.
“What a beautiful dawn” Lily said looking at the sky, holding Darth’s hand
“A sunrise just for us” he said while his body was turning back into that of a kid’s. When the transformation was complete he turned to her and he remained surprised.
“Your eyes…” he said, looking at her amber eyes, which had turned back, in order to obtain Menfor’s powers.
“The price has been paid and the dream has ended” she answered looking straight, as her tears were flowing on her cheeks.
Chapter 22: Nebolia
Monica pulled together with Limon the doors and the storage finally closed. They moved out from the Hall to the upper inside of the wagon and got out. Finally after two days of resupply they were ready to travel again. Lady Permer gave them everything they wanted, considering the fact that she used them for her revenge, and she was apologizing even now, as also some new Ebu branches for instant teleportation into any direction. Monica saw Limon returning the next morning with Darth and Lily. They didn’t spoke to each other until now; Darth was busy with the cargo and Lily had concealed herself together with Fin reading and learning everything about the Selemir Records. The atmosphere was really awkward and when she asked Limon he too was worried about them.
Now Limon was ready to pull the wagon again, Dings was seating next to Darth on the driver’s front seat and Lily, together with Monica, were saying goodbye to Countess Permer and everyone who helped them. Fin instructed them to travel to Nebolia; the most neutral area and the safest:
“Also this time of year there is held the Ebu Festival on the city. You will have some time for you and also you will be able to pay your respects to the Mother Ebu tree on the Topaz Temple.” He said while looking at Lily
“That would be great! Thank you Fin” Monica said and hugged him.
“Where will you go from now on?” Lily asked him
“I will join the Northern Rebels and wait for your arrival, my Lady” and bowed to her
“Girls, you can come anytime you wish. I will be waiting for you” Permer said and hugged them tightly.
“You would be a great mother Countess, I am sure of that!” Monica said and Permer held her tightly.
Nebolia was a city located at the South of Denmor, South-East for accuracy. The city was surrounded by the largest number of Ebu trees, which were used as transportation inside Denmor, and all the houses were built on the roots of the Ebu trees. The central square was a huge lake which had on the center the Topaz Temple, the proud and joy of the whole Denmor, because inside that Temple was residing the Ebu Mother Tree, the only one which could create the small golden spores of the newborn Ebu trees and sent them across time and space, traveling through numerous worlds. This time of the year, stone bridges were connecting the Topaz Temple with the rest of the city as all residents from around the country were visiting the Temple, praying to the Great tree, for anything an Ebu tree could bring them. For the rest of the year the entrance to the Temple was forbidden for everyone, except from the Priestess.
Monica was looking at the pink flying petals enchanted as they were moving inside the city in order to find an inn for the night.
“Yes they are, and their songs are echoing everywhere!” Lily said having her hands catching the petals on the air, although she couldn’t see them.”
Monica realized that her sister was acting more noble than usual, as if her powers had started to change her character. She held her hand and gave her a kiss on her cheek. Lily laughed and together with the others they moved into an open air camping.
“The rent for the night is 3 silver coins, a good price I could say” and Darth gave the coins to the Manager.
“It’s good and the weather will remain sunny for the next days. So what do you want to do?” Limon asked everyone
“I want to eat at the best restaurant!” Dings said happily
“I want to look at the stores!” Monica continued
But Darth and Lily agreed with everyone by simply moving their heads.
“I can’t stand it anymore!” Monica said and grabbed Lily’s hand getting inside the wagon, going down to the Hall
“What’s wrong with you Darth? You are not your usual self” Limon said looking at him with observation.
“I don’t feel like having fun, that’s all. There are more important things to settle now”
“And you are a completely idiot man! Don’t remain too focused on your purpose Darth! At the end you will lose the most important moments” and Limon looked at the wagon’s entrance
“Monica we don’t need to change! We are fine like that!”
“No, we are going to a festival! When was the last time we had been into one?” Monica said while searching their wardrobe quickly
“With mum and dad” Lily murmured sadly and Monica placed in front of her the big white box Clyone had given to them the last day before they continue their journey.
“The card said to open it when the circumstances demand it. Now is the best time!” and she opened the box.
“Sorry for the delay!” Monica said while getting out from the wagon
“You are late Monica! We…” but Limon’s words disappeared with the wind when he saw Monica and Lily getting out from the wagon.
Monica was wearing a tight dress, knitted with golden thread creating shining small golden birds at the ending of the dress, with short sleeves while her naked back was showing from behind together with red flat shoes, comfortable for both walking and dancing. Her long, blond hair was tied into a single braid tied along with red string at the end; her red earrings were shining while her lips were painted red.
On the other hand Lily was wearing a dress at the color of blue with the pattern of pink petals spread on it, leaving her shoulders naked but with long sleeves which covered her hands completely. Her shoes looked like those of a ballerina’s with the blue string tied tightly on her feet. Her short blond hair was decorated little crystal hairpins and her eyes were shining even more after the little makeup Monica had put on her.
“Hey guys we should be moving. The crowd…” and Darth stopped walking, gazing at the twins, after returning from the Manager’s office.
“We are ready now Darth!” Monica said happily “why don’t you begin walking to the Temple together with Lily? We will follow you from behind” and pushed gently her sister to Darth’s side and the two of them awkwardly began walking, following the crowd which was also going to the Topaz Temple. Small lights were hung on the trees creating a general feeling of festivity to the people; shops with food, markets with jewelry and clothes, even small orchestras were creating a different feeling to the people driving them away from the sadness of the war and the loss for a little.
“What are you plotting Monica? This is your doing right?” Limon whispered to Monica’s ear while they were following Darth and Lily from behind.
“I don’t plan anything.” She said with a sneaky smile while holding Dings on her arms
“Yes you are!” both of them said with a voice.
Finally their turn to enter the Temple had come. They passed though the big gate of Topaz Temple and entered the main room staying petrified for a while. In front of them there was a giant white tree with pink petals which was spreading its giant white roots inside and outside the lake’s water creating many curves around it. You could walk close enough to the tree’s trunk by stepping into the small stone steps, which were on the water’s surface, one by one. The cleric who came to guide them told them to walk one each time close to the tree, make their request by praying and return back to the entrance. First went Monica, after Limon and Dings went together. Darth touched the tree’s trunk and Lily felt a strong vibe coming from the tree. When her turn came, she stepped on the stone steps, guided by Clomin, until she arrived close to the tree; she placed her left palm on the trunk and a joyful voice welcomed her.
“Welcome my Lady! May the Gods bless your life and the lives of your friends! What is your wish?”
“Great Ebu Mother, I pray only for my companion’s safety and health as also for the success of my mission.”
“That is very brave of you my child, but do not forget to look sometimes around you except from your mission. There was once one who lived like that and at the end tragedy was fallen. You know what to do when the time comes, so don’t forget to smile and live your life to the fullest”
“Thank you for your words Great Ebu Mother”
“Also I forgive you for my child’s rude behavior and from now on you are receiving my blessing young Priestess” and a wind blew from the tree’s branches as the pink petals touched Lily’s skin while she walked back to her friends.
“I thought that we wouldn’t be able to escape from there! Now what should we have for dinner?” Dings said excited after they got out from the Temple.
“Do you always think about food Dings?” Monica asked him while looking at Darth and Lily
“Of course! It comes after supper and before breakfast! The best meal of the day!”
“There is…” and everyone turned to Darth’s side “there is still that shop at the small dancing square. There are making some strange sweets with thin crust and chocolate inside them”
“Crepes!” Lily shouted amazed “Don’t tell me there are crepes here!?”
“Regarding the fact that Ebu trees make people travel from world to world there’s no need to wonder why…” but Lily was already dragging Darth telling him to take all of them there.
Limon turned to Monica; an expression of satisfaction was written on her face and she walked with the others:
“I think that you are sneakier than me.” He said smiling and with his wing he covered her naked back
“What do you think you are doing?” Monica said annoyed and pushed his wing back
“It irritates me when others are looking at you dressed like that” he said looking her straight at her eyes, making her blush from his bold answer.
“Sadist…” Dings murmured smiling and followed Darth and Lily.
They ate together sitting at the small square’s benches when the orchestra from before began playing many dancing songs. The people who were gathered started to dance together creating dancing circles, hopping and clapping their hands under the music’s guidance. Lily’s face was covered with chocolate when she stood up ready to join the people. She felt someone grabbing her hand, lowering her head and cleaning the chocolate from her face
“You are like a baby from time to time” Darth said while looking at her lips, cleaning the remaining chocolate.
“Sorry but I couldn’t stand it. I want to dance!”
“I know, come” and he pulled her into the crowd making her hear the steps according to the music changes and before he realizes it, he was dancing with her all around the square, either on pairs, either together with the rest of the people. When the song was over, a slower rhythm began and Lily realized that it was a different song. She felt the people’s Heart Stones around her merging with each other and slowly she started to walk back but Darth’s hand held hers tightly.
“Where do you think you are going?”
“I am not good on these songs. Besides I have never danced one like that too!” she admitted, lowering her head from shyness.
“To tell you the truth, neither have I” and together they found their own pace inside the square, without caring about steps.
Monica saw Lily dancing with Darth and relaxed, while Dings had fallen asleep on her lap. She said that the girl who was slowly dancing with a smaller boy was definitely a cute sight and Limon laughed too with her comment and he stood before her asking one dance from her
“Don’t underestimate my form; I am quite a good dancer” and stretched his wing to her. Monica placed Dings near her and covered him with a small fabric they had bought earlier and placed her hand on Limon’s right wing. His left wing covered her back and they started to make circles slowly becoming one with the music’s rhythm. Lily felt again Monica’s and Limon’s Heart Lights merging and laughed
“Why are you laughing?” Darth asked
“I just felt something that made me happy” and Darth saw behind Lily’s back Monica and Limon “dancing” and smiled
“That’s good for him. He has been alone for a long time”
“And you Darth? How long have you been alone?” Lily asked but she closed her eyes when she realized what she had said. Darth told her to open her eyes again and looked at her directly
“Until this day I was alone. I am not anymore…” and he stopped moving, touching Lily’s left cheek softly. She placed her hand on his and lowered her head slowly. But then the darkness covered them and the only thing that Lily could remember from that night of joy and love was Darth’s unconscious body on her hands and her screams that could even make whole mountains crumble.