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Outcast (Part 14)
I don’t know what happened. After Moonrider did his little trick, there was a blinding light, and I found myself floating in a cold stone room. There was no roof, and the sky was gray. I wasn’t hovering on my own. Someone was using magic to make me float. I couldn’t move up or down, or to the side. I was stuck in the center of the room. Then the door opened. A tall, thin man walked into the room and looked up. His thin lips curled into a sneer.
“So my servant has caught the Moon Holder Princess. A success. A victory for the true rulers of the World, the Cloud Bringers.”
I wanted to speak, but the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth. I felt myself drifting to the floor, slowly. My feet touched the floor and I searched for my dagger, but someone had taken my belt. He laughed. Now that I was closer to him, I could see that he was pale, as if he never went outside.
“Even if you had your little toy weapons, you would not kill me. I am already dead.” He laughed again. An evil laugh that chilled me to the bone. With his mouth open, I could see two of his teeth were elongated into fangs. I realized that I was in more danger than before. Not only was this man a Cloud Bringer, he was a Vampire. The living dead. Taking the blood of innocent people in the night. There was an antidote, and if applied quickly after being bitten, you would live. I took a step back. He laughed again.
“Even the bravest Moon Holders stay away from me. It’s only natural that you should step away. They are a scared of Vlad.”
Vlad, I took to be his name. I forced myself to stay still when he walked toward me. I smelled some sort of perfume. I felt like taking a long nap. I swallowed and closed my eyes as he walked around me. I started to relax and felt as if I was lying in a soft bed. I forced my eyes open. The Vampire was reaching a hand out to touch me. In a sudden movement, I grabbed his wrist and jerked it to the side. There was a snap, and he howled in pain and rage. The door flew open and another Vampire ran in. I don’t really know how, but my dagger appeared in my hand. I didn’t stop to think. I threw the long knife and it caught the new Vampire on the shoulder, sinking in up to the hilt. He sank to the floor, clutching the knife. I ran to him and pulled it out of his shoulder. I turned around, ready to face Vlad, but he had disappeared. I turned back to the other in time to see his form dissolve through the floor. The door was still open and I walked out cautiously. The corridor I was in was made of the same cold, gray stone as the room. There was no roof here, either. I concentrated on moving up. I found myself above the walls and looked around. It seemed that I was on an island. The there was only one building, directly in the center of the island. I was hovering over a long corridor with only two rooms on it. I had a crazy thought and concentrated on moving to the other room while floating in the air. In other words, flying. I was pleased to find that I could, in fact, fly. But when my feet touched the stone floor, I was very, very tired. It seemed that flying took a lot of energy. I looked around the room. There was a polished wood desk. I opened one of the drawers. It was empty. There was a faint humming sound that any ordinary person wouldn’t have heard. It was so faint that I, with my Moon affected hearing, almost didn’t hear it. I shut the drawer. The humming grew louder and I looked up. The door to the room opened. There was nowhere to hide, so I would just have to fight. I dropped to the floor and opened another drawer. Lying in the bottom of the drawer was my belt. I silently put it on and stood. There was a woman in the room. She didn’t look like a Vampire; at least she wasn’t extremely pale. She seemed to be floating a couple of inches over the floor. She almost looked like the first Moon Holder Queen, whom Ixol had shown me. She was wearing a white gown that fitted her perfectly.
“Greetings.” She said. Her voice was melodious and I immediately knew that she meant me no harm. “I am Moongazer.”
I bowed my head.
“I was the first Moon Holder Queen. I wrote the prophecy that you must live up to, Moonbeam.”
I stayed silent.
“You are wondering how it is that I came to know who you are.”
I arched a brow. “How do I know you aren’t a fake? A ghost sent by Vlad?”
She laughed, sounding like a hundred tiny bells. “You have no way to trust me.”
I crossed my arms.
“I was bequeathed the gift of foresight. You have something similar. Where I could see things before they happened, you can only see them as they happen.”
I thought back to the vision I had of Ixol.
“It was most unfortunate for Ixol.”
“I suppose you knew it was going to happen?”
“Yes. I also saw you in Moondancer’s mountian home. I saw you on the North Plains during the Shift. I saw you with Moonrider, the night you killed that doctor.”
I blushed. All we did was kiss, but it was an intimate Memory.
“I knew you were the one who would defeat Vlad. He is not only a Vampire; he is the King of Cloud Bringers. It was his arrow that felled me. Not even my powers could heal the wound. His power was too strong for me.”
“What makes me any different?”
“You are stronger than I. You overcame his power in the first chamber.”
There was a sound from the corridor. Moongazer floated toward me. “Stand still.”
I stood perfectly still. I felt a sudden chill. Moongazer seemed to have floated into me. A Vampire walked past the door and peered in. I expected him to see me and walk in, but he moved on. The cold feeling left and Moongazer stood in front of me again. At my questioning look, she smiled.
“I also had the gift of invisibility. I only had to touch another person and they would be invisible. It works even now.”
“I apologize for the chill. Ghosts have no warmth.”
I rubbed my arms and nodded.
“When he came nearer to you, he was trying to relax you. You smelled a strong, pleasant fragrance?”
“If you had relaxed enough to let him touch you, he would have bitten you.”
I thought back to the sight of those fangs and grimaced.
“Yet you stayed free of the confusing cloud. You are strong. I chose you because of your strength.”
“I suppose I have no choice in the matter.”
Moongazer shook her head. “There is no one else.”
I sighed. “I can’t do this on my own.”
“I know. I will guide you. You must allow me to guide you from within. I must enter your body again.”
I nodded unenthusiastically.
Moongazer laughed. “You will become used to the cold feeling in time, Moonbeam.”
She dissolved into a shimmering mist on the floor. I felt the cold creeping up from the floor through my boots. The mist on the floor lessened as the chill in my body grew. When the mist was gone, I heard her voice in my head.
I will help you off the island and back to Moonrider. You must trust me completely.
I nodded. She must have understood me. I realized that I was walking. I didn’t really like being controlled from the inside, but if it would get me back to Moonrider and Nightflame, I would bear it.