I stood up and looked around the room frantically. There was only one escape route that was vaguely possible, and that was the window. How could we get through the chicken wire though? Snow’s eyelashes fluttered and she opened her eyes. She sat up and looked around in shock.
“Uh, I don’t mean to bug you guys, but why are we here?” she asked.
“We just appeared in here and now we’re all trapped,” I replied.
“Window got chicken wire in it?” she asked. We nodded. “Not a problem.”
She stood and went to the window. She motioned for us to stand back. We slammed against the opposite wall, just in case. She did exactly what I thought she was going to do. She unstrapped the machine gun from her back and blasted the glass almost halfway to camp. The chicken wire? It didn’t stand a chance. It went flying with the glass.
“Like I said, not a problem. Let’s go, and watch out for glass.”
Jamie got up and followed her down the side of the tower eagerly. I was slower because I was thinking about what Manny had shown me. Why did he hate me all of a sudden? Was it because I left Jack? Manny couldn’t manipulate me into going back to him. I wasn’t ready to forgive him. I was strong enough to know that, if anything. I followed Snow and Jamie down to the diamond where this Thimble girl was supposed to be trapped. Now that I thought about it, it did look like there was a girl in it. The brown and crème were her clothes, the russet was her hair. Even the form of the colors looked like a girl. I tensed suddenly. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, as though someone was behind me. I turned and looked. There was nothing. Then I heard the voice of an Australian girl in my head.
Come on, I’m not stupid! I know you were inside diamond too. How did you get out?
Umm…I have no idea. And who are you?
I’m Princess Thimble of the third district. I’ve been framed and trapped here. Help me, please, and I can give you anything you’d like.
How am I supposed to get you out?
Don’t you think that if I knew how to get out of here, that I would have a long time ago? I can do magic! I’m talking to you from inside a freaking diamond! You don’t think that I could get out of here if I knew how? Come on; just give a jackal a hand!
Okay, one question first. When exactly did you lose your mind?
Three months ago. I woke up married to a pineapple. An ugly pineapple. But I loved it anyways.
Ooooo-kay then. Let me think for a minute.
I’m not going anywhere!
I wanted to help her; I just didn’t know how to get her out. How had Manny gotten me out? Willpower? If that was all that you needed to have, she wouldn’t be in there still. I reached out and touched the diamond. I focused on the image of a girl standing in front of me. The diamond froze. I focused even more. Chunks of the diamond fell off, some small; some so large Jamie and Snow ran for cover. Then it was stripped down to a girl.
Her skin was pale, but that was understandable considering the fact that she’d been inside a diamond for god only knows how long. Her hair was the source of the russet. It was up in a high ponytail, held up by what looked like a little belt with a gold buckle. Her hair couldn’t have been very long, because the ponytail didn’t go very far down her neck. It was pretty messy, with lots of wisps of hair all over the place. Her eyes were emerald green, like Rapunzel’s. Resting just on her forehead was a pair of goggles with green lenses that matched her eyes. They went over in either direction and there was this weird circle thing covered in gears over her ears. Her shirt was crème colored and long-sleeved, with a collar. She wore a brown vest over the shirt that was held together with three brass buttons. She had a shoulder pad over her left shoulder and a knife strapped to her arm just below that. She wore a belt with her shirt tucked into it. It flowed down farther in the back than in the front. She had another belt that hung down her side, covered in pouches and a set of keys. She had on really short shorts, brown and with two sets of zippers, one on either leg. On her right leg, she had a sort of strap thing from the hem of the leg down to just above her knee. There were two more pouches on that. Then her boots…they went up to just below her knee and they were really strange looking. They had pipes and gears and strips of leather and buckles. I couldn’t imagine how she could walk with that much metal on her feet. The whole style of her outfit just shocked me.
She ran over to me and threw her arms around me.
“Thank you so much! I can’t believe it! Who would toss a twelve year old princess into a diamond because they think she murdered her family? Why would I murder my…”she trailed off. She let go of me and walked slowly toward Jamie, as if in a trance. She reached her hand out to him. “Hi. My name’s Thimble.” She sounded like and moved as if she were a robot.
“I know. You talked to me before,” he replied, shaking her hand.
“Oh! Right! Ha…” I suddenly understood her weird behavior. She had a crush on Jamie! It sounded so weird that I laughed. Thimble waved her hand at me, with her eyes still fixed on Jamie, and my lips were instantly stuck together. “So…what brings you here?”
“Uh…I already told you. Remember?” asked Jamie.
“Jamie, she has a crush on you!” I blurted. Thimble turned around and smacked me across the face so hard, I’d have a red mark on it until I was two thousand and some.
“I may not have murdered my family, but do I look like I wouldn’t hurt someone if they annoyed me?” I shook my head because she really didn’t. If you looked past the fact that she was really short and tiny, then she looked deadly serious. “Good, so we understand each other.”
She was crazy and demented and giggly and flirty and nervous all at the same time. It almost gave me another headache. Snow came over to me and watched with the same look on her face as I had a look that said, “Whaaaaaaaaaat?” Jamie laughed at something Thimble said, but all I saw was Jack and I when we met at the school. Laughing and flirting, all though he hadn’t meant to fall in love with me nor me with him, Manny was doing some love guru work behind our back. I understood why now, because we had to be in love, but neither of us remembered when we were in love. It was a complicated relationship and now he’d never know that we were engaged once. I looked down at my left hand instinctively. I gasped in shock, because on my ring finger was the ring that Jack had given me all that time ago. I didn’t even remember ever wearing it. What was it doing there all of a sudden? I tugged on it, trying to get it off, but it wouldn’t budge. I tugged harder. Nothing. By then I knew it had to be Manny doing this, for some odd reason.
Really Manny? Seriously? This what you’ve come to? Forcing me to wear his engagement ring? Of all the weird things that have been done to me, this takes the cake. Not even dying and being resurrected was this weird!
You are his forever, whether together or apart. The ring is just there to remind you of that. You are supposed to be together, so if you won’t go back to him on your own, then I’ll be forced to make your life so terrible, you’ll beg me to give you Jack. That’s only if you start to be romantically involved with that Derek boy.
You are twisted and evil. How can you protect children? You don’t seem like someone who would.
I am protecting you. Just not in the way that you could imagine. I must go. I have to remind Jack what’s important. Until tomorrow evening, Miss Frost. Just make sure you take Thimble with you. She’s more valuable than she seems.
His voice stopped. So, now I had a ring stuck on my finger and a promise that if I started to like Derek again, I would be very miserable. Unfair. Thimble and Jamie came over to us holding hands. Thimble was fast and good, if she could get to hand holding in twelve minutes flat.
“So, the next part of the plan, what is it?” asked Jamie.
“Well, I was thinking that we could stop him,” said Snow.
“Stop who, Derek?” I asked.
“No, not Derek. Him. He just wants to make another comeback. He’s going to use Derek this time because he Guardians won’t hurt him if he’s inside Derek, because they can’t hurt kids, no matter what,” said Snow.
“Wait. Another comeback? The Guardians? Hold on…is it…is it Pitch?” asked Thimble.
“Yes…how…how did you know that?” asked Snow.
“I know everything,” said Thimble.
“That’s awfully arrogant of you,” said Jamie.
“No, I really do. The fairies of the Steampunk district blessed me to know everything. Oh, and Vanessa? Manny’s right. You and Jack belong together. That’s why you need the ring, to remind you of that. Jamie, Sophie’s okay. They didn’t hurt her. She’s safe at home. Snow White, you’re going to get the fight of your life soon, and it will be the most fun you’ve ever had. Unfortunately, if Jack’s not there, we’ll all die.”
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