Heart of Glass

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

13 pages long. i had fun writing this - happy reading!

Teuila held the dripping rag out through the open window, watching the hot water dribble from the ends, and let her eyes and mind wander. The sun was bearing relentless rays that warmed her face, languid clouds rolling across an elegant blue sky, a faint, gentle breeze whispering around her. The island looked so inviting, yet she was fearful of venturing out too far from the safety of her little home. Days had passed since she did something so dumb and idiotic, she was sure that one of these achingly-slow hours would bring a downpour of trouble onto her soon.

She had stolen the queen’s Heart of Glass.

Teuila had to, though. That thing was horrible; it pulsed invisible beams of evil that soaked into Queen Moira’s unfortunate subjects and brainwashed them. Made them unable to think for themselves. Made them her servants.

“Teuila darling, are you feeling alright? Your mind seems so far away these days. Are you sick?”

Turning around sharply, the rag almost slipping from her fingers in surprise, Teuila came face to face with her mother, Sefina. A knot of worry scrunched up her beautiful face. Teuila hated to be the one that caused the worry.

“Oh! Yes, Mom, I’m fine. I was just watching -- the birds. Outside.”

Her mother raised her chin slowly in a half-nod. “I see. Well, these dishes won’t wash themselves. I will be out gardening in the front if you need me, all right?”

“Okay.”

As soon as Sefina ambled out of the door, her round belly unbalancing her steps, Teuila gazed out the window again. She submerged herself in that time when she snuck into Moira’s palace with Rangi and committed a crime against the royal people . . .

It was quiet. So quiet. The only sound was the faint, shrill beeping noise that pierced her ears. She screwed her eyes shut and gritted her teeth. Soon, she told herself. Everyone has to be asleep. Then I go. The beeping continued incessantly.

“Are you okay, Teuila? You’re trembling.”

Teuila turned to give Rangi a small smile. One year older than her, they’d become inseparable over the eight years they’d known each other. He didn’t have the money to have his dangerously-close-to-a-man-bun, charcoal-black hair trimmed, but Teuila thought that that just heightened his attractive features. His dark green eyes glittered even in the dimmest of light, like now. Faint stubble lined his sharp jawline. Perfectly shaped lips.

“Yeah. I’m fine. Just nervous.”

“Glad I’m not the only one.”

He was probably just saying that to make her feel better. As far as Teuila knew, the only time Rangi was truly scared was when his youngest brother, Ronan, got the Nightflower sickness. Ronan was bedridden for months, unable to talk, not even able to recognize his own family members, until two months ago, when he passed away in his sleep. Rangi had been inconsolable for weeks.

“When do we move?” Rangi’s voice prodded her back into reality.

Teuila listened for footsteps - for any sound, really, other than that infuriating beeping - then shook her head to clear her nervy thoughts. “Now.”

They crept out from where the large stone pillar met the castle’s wall. It was a miracle that they even got to the drawbridge without being seen. Guards marched back and forth in front of and behind the river, backs stiff, eyes cut straight forward, guns resting on their shoulders, leaving no footprints in the hard brown earth. Teuila and Rangi had waited almost two hours behind a sagging limpleaf plant before they could swim across the large flow of water and hide once again.

“Follow my lead and keep quiet.”

“You should be following my lead. I’m older, therefore responsible for whatever happens to us,” he muttered.

“Shut up and move,” she chastised gently, flicking his cheek before keeping a hand pressed against the smooth wall to warn of sudden turns or corners.

“How do we know where we’re going?”

She blinked in the darkness. That would’ve been smart to think of before you rushed headlong into some probably death-bringing task. Real smooth, Teuila.

“I--ah, haven’t thought about that yet. Chambers, maybe?”

“As in where she sleeps? I’ll pass and keep a lookout, how about it.”

“No way are we leaving each other. Maybe just in a separate room or something.”

He was silent behind her, then finally said, “Hey, do we have time to stop by the kitc--”

Rangi suddenly cut himself off, snatched Teuila’s arm, and dragged her into the shadows from a dip in the wall. She was squished behind him; a sharp pain shot up her wrist as it twisted behind her back.

“Rangi, what are you--”

“Hush!” he hissed. “Somebody’s coming.”

She shut her jaw as footsteps reached her ears. Since when did Rangi have better hearing than her? she thought, trying to calm her pounding heart. A long shadow rose on the wall, then that shadow became attached to feet. Tall, billowing black robes that loosely fitted a black-haired, fair-skinned lady, whose eyes glinted menacingly. This wasn’t a servant, most definitely not a guard, not even a maid. This was--

“Moira!”

Teuila didn’t realize she had breathed the Queen’s name aloud until her companion slapped a hand over her mouth. She wriggled out to peek over his shoulder. The lady gave no acknowledgment that she had heard the gasp; instead, she stopped five feet in front of them and waited as another shorter, wider person approached her. Maybe they’ll lead us to our destination.

“Aaron,” Moira said curtly.

“Your Majesty,” Aaron rasped, bowing low. His voice was deep like he was speaking with a throat of gravel; it grated against Teuila’s ears. He doesn’t sound Samoan. He sounds . . . English?“I have news from the village of Satapuala.” 

A jolt of surprise shot through Teuila’s stomach. Satapuala was her village. Anxious thoughts crowded her mind. Were her mother and father okay? Rangi’s family? Was there an attack from that country called the United States? Satapuala had already failed one war. Is there going to be another?

“Well then, say it, I haven’t got all day,” the Queen snapped pointedly.

“Of course, Your Majesty. Forgive my . . . impudence.” Aaron wet his lips before continuing, “There has been an uprising among the peasants.”

Teuila narrowed her eyes at the insult.

“What for?”

“They are demanding more pay, less work. They want more food.”

Moira’s face twisted in annoyance. “That’s all? Humph, what a waste of my precious time, Aaron. Tell them that they’ll receive all that the day I die,” she said, flitting an unconcerned hand. “Now tell me, what’s on the menu today? Any more towns to conquer? My goodness, ever since they killed dear old Laupepe, I’ve been itching for another war . . .”

Their voices faded away into the background. Teuila could only stare after them in shock. Another war? Life was still settling back to normal after the first Samoan Civil War. Rangi’s father was still lost, no sign of him being alive or dead. Her local farmer’s market was still touching up their normal spot. Her dad had to work extra hours to make ends meet, and this person wants another fight with the people who beat them? She’s completely psycho!

“I can’t believe this woman!” Rangi fumed quietly. “Oh, if I had my hands on her she'd disappear off the face of this Earth . . .”

Teuila tugged his arm. “I know, but we got to move now or never. Come on, maybe it’s up here.”

She edged out from behind him and hurried out of the safety of the wall. She turned, ready to wave her friend over when her back rammed into something sturdy and hard as metal.

“And where do you think you’re going?” a strangely flat voice asked her.

“Hey! Teuila! Lean out any farther and you’re gonna fall out the window!”

Teuila shook her head to clear her thoughts and looked at who shouted.

“Rangi!”

Teuila hopped off the stool, flung her rag into the sink, and flew out of the house and into her best friend's arms.

“Where’ve you been? I’ve been so bored, Rangi, I’ve resorted to doing dishes and vacuuming and -- oh jeez, you stink!” Teuila scrambled away, wrinkling her nose. “What’d you do, roll around in chicken manure? Man, that’s disgusting.”

Rangi grinned at her. “Somewhat like that. Brothers and I’ve been helping ol’ Grandpa with his farm, and Loto pushed me down into a pile of fertilizer, so naturally I had to wrestle him to the ground too.”

“Go take a shower, then come back and hug me.”

“Can I use yours?”

She sniffed and immediately regretted it. “I suppose. Clean up after you’re done, though. Mother will want to get in after she’s done gardening, and I don’t want her to slip.”

He nodded and vanished inside. Teuila leaned against the wall and watched the thin white clouds float by. Once more, in the silence of nature, memories flooded into her mind . . .

Teuila jerked her head up. “Oh - oh, me?” she said, voice squeaking a little in fear. She cleared her throat and said, “I am just going to check on the - the thing. What we’re not allowed to speak about. Out loud?”

“Izzatso?” the man said. “I thought she said to leave it alone. Besides, you sound a little too young anyway. Are you sure she said to check on it now?”

“Mo-The queen told me to go to the room and make sure it’s still - uh, shining in all its glory, if I have it right. However, since you won’t let us - me, pass, I suppose I’ll have to go report this interruption to her. She will not be happy with you, Sir . . .?”

“Niali,” the guard said, stepping away. “And no need to report, I’ll be leaving right now. The door is unlocked; be sure to bolt it once you’re done,” he continued, gestured towards a metal door behind him, finished with “Good day, ma’am,” and marched away.

Teuila sagged with relief as Rangi squeezed her hand.

“You did great, Ginger,” he whispered. “Sounded just like a close maid to Moira. Come on - let’s just hurry in, out, and be home in no time.”

“I hope so.”

“Ahh, back and smelling like - what, vanilla? No, coconut. Nice soap, Teuila, I wholeheartedly approve,” Rangi announced, jogging down the steps. His hair was still damp, flattened down to his hair, dressed only in plain black shorts.

“You used my soap? Why didn’t you use Dad’s?”

He shrugged indifferently. “Eh. I didn’t want to go around like a human beach. Coconut is much more relaxing. Can I get a hug now?” He spread open his arms.

“Of course you can.”

Teuila nestled into his embrace and breathed in his scent. The trace of coconut was strong, but his lingering signature of cinnamon scent still hung on him. Rangi’s mother put that spice in almost anything that tasted good with it.

“I’m getting so sick of cinnamon,” he’d once told her, although he still accepted it just to make his widowed mother pleased. “Dad loved - loves her cinnamon addiction, so I guess it’s my turn too until he comes back.”

Teuila pulled away. “What’s on the agenda this evening? I need to help Mother with some stuff later, then get the doctor to check on the baby. He said she’ll be born one of these days.”

Excitement bubbled up in Teuila’s stomach. Her mother was going to have a baby - she was going to have a little sister! She’d wanted a little sibling ever since she turned seven, just a year before she met the best person in the world - Rangi - and realized having a brother/sister and a best friend would make her life amazing.

“That’s great, Ginger. I, in fact, have something to show you but you need to get the Heart.”

She gave him a surprised look, then obediently went through the back door so her mother wouldn’t see, and came back with the Heart of Glass wrapped in tightly woven wool. She was afraid that it would somehow burst into flames if she wasn’t careful, so she stored it in the fabric, then placed it in a box near her fish tank - just in case.

“Smart thinking, Teuila. C’mon, we have to hurry.”

“Get a dang shirt on, idiot.”

After shoving her and wrestling on a T-shirt, Rangi led Teuila up Rainmaker Mountain. The earth was wet and muddy due to the constant rain that fell; once she had to grab her friend’s arm when she lost her footing, almost bringing him down with her.

She rubbed muddy hands on her shirt and called out, “Good thing I didn’t wear a puletasi - hey, where are you going? The path goes that way.”

Ou te iloa e moni,” Rangi responded in their native language, then quickly switched back to English. “I know it does. Where I’m taking you to is somewhere else, so hush up and follow.” 

“Fine, fine.”

Rangi finally stopped at a high rise in the mountain. He led her up a semi-rocky path, a smile splitting his face, then startling colors of a pink- and red- and orange-streaked sky flared in her face. It was one of those days when the sun hit just right and the most beautiful sunset played in the darkening vault of Heaven.

Teuila laughed and shimmied up the rock that jutted out the farthest.

“Oh Rangi, it’s - it’s gorgeous. How’d you know it was gonna be like this?” she asked him, delighted.

“I didn’t, I just hoped it would be.”

“Well then, your prayers have been answered. Thank you, Atua, for this amazing night.”

Rangi echoed her gratitude to God, then said, “We need to wreak havoc on the Heart, Ginger, before it gets back into Moira’s hands, I was thinking that we could smash it with a rock, break it into a million pieces and --”

“No.”

That wasn’t me! Teuila jumped and almost fell off the rock she was perched on at that uttered syllable. Someone was in the forest watching them -- one of Moira’s guards?

She tilted her chin up defiantly and called, “Who’s that?”

A man stepped out from the trees. He didn’t look like a palace soldier. He was dressed in nontraditional, deep blue-and-gold robes that flowed down to his feet. His face looked drawn and tired, yet alert. Ruffled brown hair with a slightly scruffy bead and icy blue eyes to match. And he was holding a long, thick stick, as if he used it as a walking stick to climb up the tall mountain, but he didn’t seem out of breath.

“Who are you?”

“I am Magus, Augur and sorcerer of the Samoan Islands and keeper of To’aga village.”

“But - but that village’s abandoned, y’know, that legend of the pharmacist and his wi -”

“Not all myths are actual myths, my child,” Magus replied. “The Heart of Glass. That used to be a myth, a story to frighten little ones, yet is that not what is in your hands?” He gestured at her tightly clasped palms.

Teuila stared at this man, this person who seemed to just appear behind them and claimed to be a Seer. “How do we know you’re not pretending to be a-a sorcerer, and are a guard ready to take the Heart? You could be tricking us.”

Magus angled his head sideways. He seemed amused as he inquired, “If I were one of Moira’s guards, would I not have taken it already and forced you back to her palace?”

“Ah - well, you could be planning to gain our trust, become an “ally” and make us give you the Heart, and then run back down Rainmaker and give it back . . .”

The possible Augur glanced at Rangi, saying, “Is she always this stubborn?”

Rangi nodded. “Most definitely.”

Teuila shot him a pointed look, then asked of Magus, “All right then, show us a spell. Prove you’re an Augur and do something spectacular.”

Magus’ brows twitched. “I have no reason to prove anything, seeing as though I am a true Seer and do not doubt my abilities.”

Rangi whistled. “Whoo, smart response, man. Teuila, he’s the real deal. Let’s trust him. Can you get rid of the thing?” He grabbed the Heart and handed it to Magus, who examined it with a mildly curious gaze.

“The only thing that can destroy the Heart of Glass is the fire that made it,” the older man murmured. “A fire hotter than the crust of the sun, dark as the heart of Satan, its creator.”

Teuila squeaked. “You mean -- you mean that I’ve been keeping an object made by the freaking devil itself?” She felt a bit lightheaded.

“It would seem like so, yes.”

“How’re we supposed to make a fire hotter than what, ten thousand degrees?” Rangi asked skeptically. “Glass melts at like three thousand, let’s just make that somehow.”

Magus shook his head. “This thing is made of the purest of evil, deep in the pit of the underworld. You cannot play with Satan’s fire, boy, not when you are mortal.”

“Ooh, are you gonna make me immortal?”

“Shut up, Rangi. Immortality isn’t rea -- y’know what, I’m not even going to finish that,” she sighed, and Rangi gave her a smug look. “Magus, sir, can you make this dark fire?”

“You’ll need to back up,” he warned. “It would destroy you, too, in seconds.”

Teuila scrambled back, Rangi right with her, as Magus raised his stick -- staff, of course -- and closed his eyes

Ou te siitia oe, afi mai Tartarus, na faia le fatu o tioata. Tulai i luga o le lalolagi faitino, fa?aumatia le fatu seia o?o ina le toe.”

His words rang around her head, causing a swirl of fear and interest to rise up. I raise thee, fires from Tartarus, maker of the Heart of Glass. Rise on the surface of the mortal world, consume the Heart until it is no more.

His voice grew in size as he repeated the words. Unexpected winds suddenly gusted around them, buffing the sorcerer’s blue robes and causing a storm of green leaves. Teuila clustered closer to her friend and watched with wide eyes as the rock in front of him glowed red. She had a feeling that the minerals were hotter than they looked.

I summon the fires from the Underworld to dispose of the heart filled with evil.”

A column of jet black flames roared up suddenly, blacker even than Le Lagoto’s black beach, bursting out of the rock in front of Magus. Teuila shrieked, more in surprise than pain, as the heat seared her face.

Magus didn’t even flinch. He threw the Heart into the fire and raised his hands.

Loto o tioata, ou te poloa?i ia te oe e ave?ese au mea leaga na fai, ia ave?ese Moira, o le na mauaina ma fa?aaogaina oe e faia lana fa?atonuga.”

Heart of Glass, I command thee to rid of your evil doings, to rid of Moira, who found and used you to do her bidding.

Be no more.”

The fire let out an oddly loud scream, like the Heart itself was screeching in pain. A few more seconds did the blaze continue, then it just - disappeared. Like it was never there. The Heart of Glass was completely gone.

“No way - no freaking way -” Rangi muttered, eyes round like green plates. “He actually just summo - oh my God. Teuila, did you see that?” he demanded. “You can’t possibly doubt him now. Magus, dude, that was incredible.”

“I can’t believe it,” Teuila said, staring at the was-the-fire spot. “It’s gone. The Heart of Glass is actually gone. Rangi, we did it! We actually did it!”

Rangi grinned. “We’re so special.”

“We had more help than exact achievement, though. Thank you so much, Ma-”

Magus was gone, vanished in thin air just like the fire. The only sign that the Augur could’ve possibly been here was the wind that sighed along the ridge; the ground where his feet had touched was barely disturbed.

Rangi hugged her tight. “We can go home,” he whispered. “Magus got rid of Moira. She had appeared in Satapuala with no warning, remember. I bet you she’s dissipated or something like that. Now we don’t have to worry about being caught, Ginger. You can safely wait for your sister to be born, for my father to come back -” His voice caught, but he quickly cleared it as she smiled into his shoulder.

Without any thought of her next move, Teuila stretched up on her toes and planted her lips on Rangi’s. 

“Why did - what was that for?” he asked, looking slightly nervous but extremely thrilled.

“For being the best friend a girl could ever ask for. Come on, let’s go back. I have a feeling that we’re going to be in for a special treat . . .”

She didn’t tell him about the tiny sliver of glass that burned into her heart when she got too close to the fire.

 


Submitted: November 10, 2021

© Copyright 2021 tazzyd. All rights reserved.

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