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I tried to lift my head so I didn’t look too unraveled, disheveled. A red tear left a long, heavy streak on my face. I couldn’t even move. Lying there, I felt I had failed. I had failed everyone. I was disgusted with the madman standing above me. He looked grim, like he knew what I was going through. How would he ever know! I failed. It echoed in my mind and I lay my head down. I closed my eyes and hoped the pain would stop. I heard the ungrateful filthy dog say, “You got what you deserved.”
That made me glows red with furious thoughts looming in my head. My eyes popped open, and I felt the urge to get up. With the last bit of strength, I pushed my muscles to the limit, pushing my back up right and using my useless sword to stand up. A little wobbly, but it’ll work for now. He backed away as I stood, sighing as if he thought I just couldn’t let go. I ground my teeth at the pain and said, “I can’t believe how low you really are, Jeru. How could you ever do this?”
“Rachna, please, stop…” With that being said, that mutt of an immortal blasted some spell on me that I didn’t have time to decipher.
I heard it hit me before I felt it. It hit me with such great force, even if I had my magic I wouldn’t have had the energy to block the blast. Of course, I would have won by now if I had my powers…and my sword…
“Ugh…” I groaned and felt ach override my body.
Once I could move, I slowly sat up rubbing my eyes at the blinding light. I opened them and all I could do was gap at the sight. He was right. He actually told me the truth. I was lost in a sea of sand. It was like I was stuck in the middle of Egypt, just sand. But this place wasn’t round like the earth it was flat. I wasn’t in my mother’s world anymore; you could see the never-ending sand go on forever. The sky was white. Pure white submerged the yellow-orange desert and I felt like I was going to go mad already. I started laughing hysterically. Then started talking like Jeru was there.
“Oh, you’ve done it now, Jeru! You’ve really got me cornered now! I can’t leave! I’ve failed!” I threw my hands up and turned side to side dramatically, surveying the desert. “I bet you kept promise, too eh? ‘Never gonna see your family again,’ you said? Well, I guess so! Nothing can help me now!” I felt like crying, so I did. There was no use stopping the tears anyway.
I sat there and sobbed until my throat hurt from the hollow sounds that echoed out into the distance. After an eternity of crying, the tears didn’t mean anything. They were just a way to vent anger. That wasn’t going to do anything. “Fine!” I shouted off into the distance, “I’ll rot down here! So be it!”
All it is was a flat, dry, ugly looking desert. It did go on forever, I knew that for a fact. I got up, renewed strength to show that thing that I was better than him. I started walking. There was no sun, no creatures, no cactus, no nothing except my thoughts and me. I couldn’t even taste the pale sand as I trudged along, kicking the burnt, shriveled grains over my head. All I could focus on were my thoughts, and they let me wonder.
I replayed the moments over and over in my mind. It all started out with a simple meeting with Jeru, to scream at him, again, for stalking me. Then he, somehow and someway, got me down into the Underworld. He brought me to his father, Perisu, who looked at me and smiled a hideous smile. I tried to run, but he’s a real Spirit, he didn’t have to fight for unlimited powers, they came naturally. He pulled me back and asked Jeru, “Are you sure, Son?”
“Yes, Father,” he said quietly, then turned away and closed his eyes.
Then Perisu raised his arms like a kind of God and whispered, “Sorry, honey.”
Then he took my powers. All of them. That flimsy dirt bag, Jeru, wanted to be able to beat me in a sword fight, to be able to use his magic without having to worry that I could fight back! All I had going for me was that I was immortal, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t bloody. It was a gruesome battle, with no way to protect me but my sword, I was toast. I mean, when he only used his sword, I was winning. But when murmured those spells, I was gone. He made me suffer through it, too. Telling me over and over how I’d never be able to see my sisters or Jared or Mother ever again. Laughing at my pitiful stance against his powers.
Once I get my powers back, I’m going to kill him. I’m going to make him suffer. Then I‘m going to find my sisters and rescue them. Yes…that’s what I will do!
“AH!” I screamed at a sound that came from under the sand, and square section of the gravel moved.
I walked up to it and a trap door opened. I jumped at the person. I grabbed Jeru’s neck and hoped I could choke him. Of course, rubbing it in he had powers, he threw me off without moving a muscle. Once I was on the ground, to resist temptation to try and kill him, I marched away form the ungrateful hag. I was screaming too, “WHY DID YOU EVEN COME DOWN! TO RUB IT IN MY FACE YOU WON? TO SEE ME AT MY DARKEST TIMES? WHY? WHY?”
He followed me in silence till I broke down crying again. I kept walking, tripping three times, till he started talking. “Rachna?” he said in a small voice.
“GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME YOU IDIOT!”
He stepped back then started to follow me again. “Rachna, your friend…Jared? He’s here, he wants to see you.” He was barely whispering, but my head snapped and I looked at him with hope, “Where? When? Now? Jeru! Get the hell out of my way! Where is he?”
He sighed and pointed at the open trap door so many feet and yards away. I ran all the way there, hoping. I jumped down the door without looking, and was soon in a rectangular boxy room with lights that hung from the ceiling. On the other side was Jared, he looked worried but when he saw me, he relaxed and ran at me. He hugged me, and wrapped his arms around me, and I had an impulse that I could stop. I kissed him.
He seemed too overwhelmed, but I guess he had the same intentions, because he kissed me the same way I kissed him. Fierce and desperate for him. It wasn’t till Jeru cleared his throat did he even let go. Jared shot ice at him, and I stayed close to him. “I can’t believe it! You two?” Jeru was outraged, “He’s barely even ten years! We’ve been here for thousands! How could you pick that rat over me?”
I stepped up and Jared didn’t stop me. “It’s not my fault he’s not a disgusting mongrel who runs to Daddy every time he got beat by someone with skill! Jared’s more important to me than anyone! You’re just a moron!”
Jeru crunched his teeth together, and I said sternly, “Let me back on Earth. Now.”
“Because I hate this place, it’s torture. I never agreed to winnings, either. So I’m not a part of it.”
“Sore loser, is what we call it down here.”
I glared at him, “I want to talk to my mother.”
He sighed, he knew he couldn’t deny that. Spirits and their sons and daughter have a bond, and they know when they want to see each other if they say it out loud. Unless Jeru wanted three Earth Spirits to come crashing down, he’d better let me go. It was quite blurry down in the underworld for Earth Spirits, though, but Jeru didn’t know that. Jeru snapped his fingers and I closed my eyes and held Jared’s hand. When I opened my eyes we were on Earth, without Jeru. I smiled huge and turned to Jared who smiled back and surveyed me. After his scrutinizing, he frowned, “What did he do to you?”
I looked down, gross. My legs were covered in scars and ugly brown and yellow bruises. My arms were all red with dried blood and bruises. I don’t even want to know what my face looked like. Jared went to a small pond and cup some water, and cleaned off my face, staring into my eyes. I was lost in his brown eyes quickly, and I couldn’t help but kiss him again. This was slower. I held him close and when he leaned away he was smiling. We looked up and saw the Earth Spirits sitting there, since we were now in their garden. They were giggling at us, and I could feel my face go cherry. “Um, hello Mother.”
“Come here Rachna!” she said laughing.
I ran over and hugged my mother. She held me tight and I sat on the rock next to her as Jared was called over by my aunts, who were giggling so hard if they were human they would turn purple. She leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I knew I felt something between you two.”
“Right! Sure, Mother!” I said sarcastically.
“Anyways, we are going to have to have talk with my Bother, aren’t we?”
“You will, yes.”
“Me? Are you not coming, darling?”
I didn’t want to admit it, but I knew that Perisu just wanted me dead. Embarrassing his son and being his cousin seemed to bug him. “He’ll understand you better, Mother. He never takes time to listen to me,” I lied smoothly.
“No, Rachna. You and Jared must come!” she insisted.
No way I could get out of it now! “We must leave now, sisters!” she called and three heads turned seeming to be annoyed with her. “We must go and fix things with our brothers,” she sighed, “it seems they still don’t have the message, we don’t tolerate this nonsense!”
The Spirits laughed and got up, and I truly saw the dazzling dresses they wore. Tini wore a blue dress that had scales embedded all over and it glinted a glassy green. Dectas, goddess of soil, had on a deep brown with diamonds from huge to microscopic rooted in hers. Last, but certainly not least, Linerati, the goddess of the sky, wore a beautiful gold dress the exact color of the sun. “Wow,” Jared said as they passed him.
As Dectas passed, she whispered in my ear, “Nice choice,” and Linerati, “I Love the boy.”
I giggled and turned red, “Oh no! Not you too!” Jared said.
“Well, they are my aunts, so I must get it from them.”
He shrugged and we followed them through the forest around us, holding hands, and I didn’t even realize we were losing altitude. Soon we were at the same hole with the spiral staircase that led down to Perisu’s study. When we went down, he was sitting at his desk, in his dark jeans, black shirt and leather jacket. He had glasses on and was reading a newspaper, obviously from the Underworld because it was nothing like the newspapers on Earth. This was all about fire, and it had moving pictures. He looked up and sighed, then snapped his fingers and his other brothers came in. They all wore the same thing, jeans, black shirt and jacket. Tini spoke first, “Brother, you have broken so many laws, I can not count.”
“Yes, Ancient laws Brothers!” Dectas added.
“And had almost succeeded in killing Rachna! Jeru, your son, must be punished for all that he has done, and you must fix all that you have tampered with.” All the Earth Spirits were talking like the really were millenniums old, and had odd accents.
Perisu snorted a laugh, “No! We have nothing against the Ancient laws!”
“You have let your son go on Earth without ours, or our daughters’, permission. You have forced my daughter to come down and fight your son. You have taken away my daughter’s powers, and you have been denying my daughter of seeing her sisters, and-“
“Bures said waving his hands at Tini’s red face, “But we aren’t going to let you parade down here and take everything back, are we?”
“No, we aren’t Bures,” Fexil agreed, with a smug smile.
Fexil snapped his fingers and vines grew from the rocky walls rapidly. They were black with green thorn fingers. They held the Earth Spirits in place firm. The Spirits easily threw the vines off, but more came tumbling down from the ceiling and floor. “There’s no point in fighting it, sisters,” Perisu said looking more bored than he actually was. “It’ll just keep coming.”
“Stop it!” I yelled at him, and all three of the Judges looked at me like they just noticed me. “Stop it right now! Let them go!”
“No, sissy,” Bures growled at me, “You’re the reason we’re in this mess!”
“Then take me!” I shouted in frustration.
The Brothers looked at me and considered it for a moment. “No, you’re worth nothing compared to all three of the Earth Spirits!” Fexil said through his yellow stained teeth.
“We’ve been working for centuries to get the Vines ready! Now we can finally claim what is rightfully ours!”
“No!” I shouted and looked over at the Earth Spirits. “No,” I whispered to myself again.
“Ah, what are we going to do with you two, small ones?” Someone said, but I wasn’t looking.
Jared must have poked me, because he didn’t talk to Spirits a lot anyways. I looked over at the Brothers, laughing and smiling smugly. I had ice in my veins and I was ready to murder the Brothers if it was possible. “Fight.” I said simply.
They looked at me with wide eyes and open mouths. Perisu just laughed like what I said was the funniest thing in the world. “You are half-Spirit! You don’t stand a chance! You don’t even have powers!”
“I was thinking more of the primeval sword fight, Perisu.”
He forehead crunched and his eyes narrowed. As his smiled faded, he opened his chapped lips to say something, but closed them and said smoothly, “You think you can beat us, do you?”
“I never think, I only know.”
He smiled a half smile, and said “You’re wager?”
“Mother, Earth Spirits, Sisters, Jared and me. Everyone free back to Earth and my powers.”
“But when you lose, both you and you’re boyfriend are never going to see the light of the surface ever again. You will be servants and work in the machinery, with our sons as your masters.”
I looked over at Jared, and he nodded small. “Deal,” I said loudly.
We shook hands. “Come with me,” Bures said smiling.
As we left the rooms I looked over at the Vines. “I’ll get you out,” I promised.
AS we walked down the long corridors, Jared asked, “What do you mean ‘primeval sword fight’?”
I tried to explain quickly in a hushed whisper, “Back when all the Spirits and the world first began, the Spirits didn’t know they had powers, so they fought without powers, but much harder than any other fighting. They would go incredibly fast in their swings, and when they learned they had powers it slowed the games a lot. You just keep fighting till one of you falls or you do enough damage that they fall.”
“That’s it? They just have to fall?”
“Once you’re down, you might as well be dead, Jared.”
We walked into the same horrible arena and Perisu held out a sword. I took it and smiled, realizing it was my sword. “It can’t kill us, we are Spirits, not only immortal.”
I sighed but was glad I would at least be able to use it to fight. I glanced over my shoulder, just in time to see him getting carried away by shadows, and I felt my face get red hot. We stepped out into the middle and he was smiling at me, “Goodbye, little girl.”
“Adios, my evil uncle.”
Then it started he made the first move and took a slice at my side. I quickly parried it and was in self defense-mode for a while, he was so fast, and he kept stabbing at my sides, like it was a weapon or something. Personally, I think it hurts more when you slice an immortal in the neck but I really didn’t have time to think about it. The blade was coming so fast; at first all it seemed like was a blur. Then, instead of sidestepping or parrying one of his blows to my side, I leaned back and the sword barely missed my stomach, my feet closed in on the blade and I was swept into the air. It took a second too many for Perisu to realize he was swinging me around on his incredibly fast blade.
Once I was behind him, I jumped up and went for a stab through his head, to make my point. But he was too fast and stepped back. Once my sword was in the ground, he took a stab at me, but I quickly jumped up and was soon in a handstand on top of my sword. As soon as the blade was near my wrists, I pushed off from my hands and landed with my feet on the ground and sword in hand just in time to block another swipe towards my head. He pulled away and kicked me away. I tried to take a quick slash at him but stumbled. It was just enough time for him to raise his sword to make it look like he was going to slice me in two. Once he was close to my head, I raised my sword from the side and pushed the angle of the sword right into the ground and raised it again above his head like he was going to stab me. As it was heading down to kill me, if I were mortal, I did something crazy.
I jumped and flipped in the air, my hands landing precisely on the flat part of his blade, and flipped above his head. My foot was planted into his face by surprise and he fell back and my feet landed on his chest, the point of my sword on his throat, and his sword stuck in the sand a few yards away. If he were mortal, he would be dead. I smiled, out of breath and the crowd cheered. He was gazing at me like I was crazy. “Y-You won.
I stepped off of him, my smile faded, “I want everyone out, now.”
“I had to shake on it,” he said under his breath. He walked off the field, ashamed. I looked out into the crowds of dead people, smiling and giving me thumbs up. I smiled at them and waved. I walked off after Perisu.
First, my Mother and Aunts. They were over-delighted, of course. Hugging me all at once and knocking the wind out of me. They were all were saying how proud they were of me, and how they knew I would win. I knew most of the things they were saying were lies; I bet they didn’t even know what exactly had gone on. After a while I had to push them away. “PERISU!” I screamed, at least my aunts and mom backed off.
He trudged over as soon as he heard his name. “Don’t get cocky,” he said simply.
“Sorry, I want to get my sisters out. Now.”
“Fine, I’ll get Jeru to bring you over.”
I did not want Jeru escorting me over, but I had no choice. My Mom and Aunts retreated to higher ground, the confided with out nature really seemed to bother them. I couldn’t blame them I hated it too. Jeru and I walked in awkward silence all the way there, with him glancing at me like he wasn’t sure what to say. I decided to ignore him. Finally, we got to the door. “Here it is,” Jeru said.
I didn’t even thank him. He wasn’t worth it. I burst open the doors and looked around. I saw the brilliant green grass, the lush trees, and the quaint pond. Then I saw my sisters. Jumi, Vala, Mallee, and Linya ran at me and I was thrown to the ground. “Oh my Goodness! Oh my Goodness! I can’t believe it! Yachri, Jeru’s brother, told us what happened! We can’t believe your alive!”
Everyone was freaking out, but I was concerned, “Where’s Kinita?”
They kind of looked around, and Linya, who was so excited she could burst, said, “I’ not really sure, last I saw she was over there.”
She pointed a long sharp fingernail at a small forest of trees, “I’ll be right back.”
“I gotta go find her!”
“Rock,” Vala said, “She’s in there all the time. Almost never comes out.”
I turned for the forest, despite protests. When I got in the foliage was almost choking off you air. It completely surrounded you and all the happiness that you could see from outside was strained out as you got deeper and deeper. The farther you got the more the bushes had spikes and thorns. After calling her name a million times, about, I heard something in the bushes. I turned, sword and hand and called out one more time for her. suddenly she burst out of a tree and hugged me and started crying madly. “Oh Rachna you’re ok! Thank goodness! Thank the goddesses! You’re alive!”
I hugged her back and it felt good to see my big sister again. After she was done crying, I asked her, “Why aren’t you out there, with the others?”
“I’ve been here almost all the time, I was ashamed because this was all my fault. if I had just listened to you in the first place we wouldn’t be here.”
“Kinita! Never feel that way! You know that’s not true.”
“I know but-“
“No! Come with us! Come!”
She sighed and smiled a little, and we raced back. When we got back my sisters cheered. Then we had a huge hug, which we ended up falling and laughing. “Come on you guys! Come back to Earth with me!” I said as we went over to the door and they all stopped dead and looked at me like I was crazy.
“We can’t, Rachna. We’re dead, we aren’t allowed back on earth,” Linya said.”
I started laughing and they were asking me with their eyes what was wrong, “You guys never studied anything, did you!” I laughed some more and started explaining. “We’re immortals, we can’t actually die. Your souls only get sent down here, your bodies are waiting upstairs! You just need one of the Judges to let you go!”
I kept laughing as they slowly started to understand, “So you have gotten us out by winning a swordfight with a Spirit…”
“Yep, and I did, so come on! Let’s go!” so then they stepped out, and we were back to the long and winding hallway, with Jeru. The first thing Kinita did, was punch Jeru. I laughed harder than I think I’ve ever laughed before. “That’s for messing with my sister.”
We laughed harder as he got up with his bloody nose and watched as it healed. He wiped away the blood and silently, probably listening to me tell my sister what happened and how short it was and how exhilarating and how amazing it felt afterwards. We made our way down the hallway till we got to another door, but it was huge with a enormous brass lock on an at least three feet think steel door. When Jeru opened the door he smiled, and me and my sisters gasped.
It was like one huge machinery, with people covered in black mud and ripped clothes. They were pulling these huge wheel that must have weighed three thousand pounds and had ten people per, but it wasn’t enough. There were tigers prancing around them, shouting orders. They were harsh, and would scratch the person if they weren’t satisfactory, or if they were just bored. They all looked eternally tired. It was like you were stuck in a volcano when you stepped in. The wall were glowing red and black. There were so many people, even for a big room, it was overflowing. I could barely see anything, but I was disgusted with what I saw. “JARED NASH! FRONT AND CENTER,” I heard Jeru yell, but I could barely hear it over the squeaks and squeals of metal rubbing against each other.
Suddenly, from somewhere far away, a very athletic handsome boy ran up, cover in soot from head to toe with only a couple spots where you could see the brown of his clothes. He didn’t see me at first, my sisters and me where still too afraid to step in the place. It was so gruesome and appalling, and against everything we believed in, we couldn’t. But when I saw Jared I got over excited, I ran towards him and hugged him. He seemed extremely surprised at first, then hugged me back. It felt good to have him in my arms again, the he leaned away and smiled. Then he kissed me. It had felt like forever since I had. It was like heaven all over again.
Jeru’s throat must have been really blocked, because he kept coughing. Once we finally walked outside, all my sisters were staring wide-eyed at us. I had forgotten to tell them this whole time! I just laughed and said, “Jeru, one last thing.”
He nodded small and I swore I saw tear, but he faced away too fast and sped off in the other direction. The whole time I asked Jared about how it felt. And he seemed really depressed as he explained it to me briefly, “Well, without you it felt like forever, and guess since time is slower down there it really was. Every hour up here is three days down there. With thirty-two hour days, we’re exhausted, but it doesn’t end. We have to pull the machinery and work with the beasts for two days straight, then you sleep on top of the hardest, coldest thing ever, I bet it’s not even on earth. But it’s like sleeping on ice that doesn’t melt, and you only get two hours! Then they force you take showers, while standing on hot coals and acid coming down, but the acid, it doesn’t leave a mark, it just burns your soul and all you feel is pain. And some of the people there…”
He shivered and I knew he didn’t want to talk about it. It was hard to comfort him when he towered above me, but I tried. I held him close and so did he. I cursed at Jeru in my head, and as we made our way back down the hall, I almost felt myself cry but wouldn’t let my self. Once we made it down to the end, he opened a door, and we were back in Perisu’s office. I was still holding onto Jared, and I had to pry him off to talk to Perisu. I whispered to Jared, “I just got one more thing, then I’ll be right back.”
Jared looked at me, frightened that I would be away so long. But Kinita came and pulled him back. He kept staring at me, and I nodded but it didn’t give him any reassurance. Now he probably hated all Spirits. Even Half-Spirits, even though he was one. I hope that wasn’t the case.
When I stepped up, with full confidence, I put it simply, “My powers. Now.”
Perisu sighed and nodded and grumbled as lazily got up from his leather chair. He still had on the dark leather jacket, dark wash jeans, and sunglasses. I took a deep breath and I felt him touch my forehead slightly then bring his hand back and go over to sit down. All I felt was lightness. When I opened my eyes, I realized I was floating and forced myself back on the ground and I smiled. I turned to Jared. He was too frightened to smile, since he just saw the who enslaved him for must have been gone for a week in the time down there, touch me. He must have been revolted but as soon as I got my unlimited powers back I went straight back to him. He held me closer and whispered, asking me if I was okay. “Better then ever.”
He looked around and then I made a turn and suddenly, we were walking back out into the sunshine from a tree. When we were out, it was like heaven, except this had an actual sun and sky. The sun was blinding at first. Then it focused and we realized that were back in our moms’ garden. The Aunt’s giggled then everyone ran to their mother except Jared and me. We walked over to my mom Tini and watched as she hugged Kinita.
Everyone was overjoyed, and I wished it could stay this happy forever.
“K, now Jared, you’re really coming along. Just don’t give up, that’s the key.”
He held his blade high, but the angle was off, I lowered my sword and fixed it. “Oh come on, we both know I suck.”
He dropped his sword and went upstairs and sat down next to Mallee. “Still as bad as I remember?” she asked smiling.
“Yep,” he said grimly.
I sighed, “No, he’s much better. I bet he could beat you, Mal.”
She scoffed, “Doubt it.”
“It’s on,” Jared said smirking.
Everyone laughed and head downstairs, where it was like a ballerina studio with all four walls covered in mirrors, even the door, but it had carpet. Me and the rest of my sisters sat down against a wall to watch. Mallee made the first move, perfectly executing a way to disarm your opponent, by twisting it out of your hands, but Jared made a counter-offense and got a little tangled. He was the first to recover from the shock of not knowing what to do, and immediately, while she was still dazed for a few seconds, he strikes for her side. Just in time she recovers and bounces back. She parries the blade, twists so she steps to his side and hits the flat part of his blade on the back of his knees. Once Jared is on the ground the tip is at his back. The blade hit one of the mirrors and it shattered.
“Can you two go once without breaking my mirrors?” I said.
“At least you’re better, this time,” said Mallee as he grabbed her hand helping him up.
“Yea, yea, whatever. I can beat Vala and Jumi no problem.”
“Hey!” Jumi protested.
“Watch it! Rachna never taught us personally…” Vala said giggling.
Me and Kinita laughed, “Well, you’re not getting married to Rock, now are you?” Kinita said cracking up.
It was good to see how close we are. I stood up and said, “Well, I think he’s coming along. And technically, the wedding’s tomorrow.”
“Of course you do, Rock,” Linya said smiling.
I walked over to Jared and kissed him. “EW,” Jumi and Vala said together.
Linya laughed, “Do we really need the visuals, guys?”
I pulled away, “Just to make you mad, of course!”
We all laughed. As we headed upstairs, I waved my hand the mirror pieces reattached themselves together and melded into one. We walked up the stairs and finished breakfast. I spent most of the day trying to show Jared some tricks, but he seemed preoccupied. “Gosh, I guess I’m just anxious for tomorrow or something,” he said finally.
“Don’t worry about it!” I said trying to be encouraging, but to tell the truth, I was nervous too.
We tried to keep focused, but with Jared acting like some sort of Jedi and every few seconds we kept getting off track with laughter. Finally, we ended the day with a sword fight between me and Kinita. We’re both competitive and that makes it interesting, but we try not to hold grudges or judge since what had happened last time… “I’ll get you this time Rock!”
“Yeah rite!” I yell over as she picks out a sword and heads downstairs, “I’ve beaten you five times in a row!”
“Well that’s about to change!” she says smiling.
Our other sisters and Jeru make their bets and put them in a bowl and stash it in a corner. Kinita and I raise our swords and smile, “You’re going down, Rock.”
“After you, Kin.”
At first she pauses then starts stabbing. I deflect a couple swipes then step aside as she stabs again. With my sword, I twist hers, which would have normally disarmed my opponent. Instead, she hung on and straightened out her body. She was spinning in midair! She landed precisely on the balls of her feet, and started swiping again.
Then she does a tricky move that caught me off balance. She made a swipe at my knees that made me jump high. But that gives her the advantage of me being caught off guard. In one swoop she brings her arms up and the blade starts coming down on me. Immediately, I fall to the ground instead of landing on my feet as I dismount my jump to give me an extra second. Then, I point my tip up, and hit the blade with all my strength. My blade went through hers! Now it looked like a T, with my tip through her blade. While Kinita was still a bit dazed, I snapped my wrists back and her blade goes flying off my blade and hits the mirror and it shatters. I kick her to the ground and am just about to put a jinx on her to freeze her, but she quickly throws a spell at me.
It was a freezing spell, too. I use my powers to levitate myself above the ground and it missed me by inches. Sadly, I put a bit too much power in that, and hit the ceiling. I fell to the ground, and all I could see was wood splinters everywhere. Before Kinita had time to even laugh I cast a spell that left her blind, and once the dust cleared, I saw her aimlessly swinging her sword. I quickly put a freezing spell on her and put my tip of my sword to her throat, “Ha!” I said. “I win again!”
I unfroze her and took off the blinding jinx and she coughed at all the dust. “Nice one there with my sword.”
We shook hands and smiled and hugged. “It’s good to have you back, Rock. We missed you.”
“Same to you.”
The whole floor was covered in dangerous wood full of sharp points and nails from above. Insulation and some kind of lighting was sticking out of the debris, too. You could barely even See Jared and Linya splitting the pot. I yawned and waved my hand to fix everything. The ceiling was first. Insulation and lighting flew back rapidly and wood covered most of it back up. Then the mirrors replaced themselves again and Kinita’s sword flew back into her hand. Everyone said goodnight and hugged each other, wishing us a good nights sleep for the big day tomorrow. They insisted we sleep in separate rooms, so that all I had to do tomorrow was get up, show up, and say “I do.”
So, after my sisters pulled me away from Jared after our Goodnight Kiss I headed upstairs to my room. I was extremely tired, and fell asleep with almost no bad dreams at all.
The next day came all too quickly. And my lovely sisters awaked me. Linya was freaking over decorations over at the hotel. Vala was going crazy over my dress. Jumi was practicing on the piano over the songs. Mallee kept starting over and over again with my make up, and curling my hair uncontrollably. Then there was Kinita, who seemed all too happy to laugh at me as I was poked and prodded. “Well, you’re face is looks great except you obviously aren’t too happy about being the center of attention for once, the dress is tight, but beautiful, from what I saw at the hotel is magnificent, and the piano is brilliant! What more could you ask for in an hour by your wonderful sisters?”
Everyone laughed and looked like they had just run around the world. “Thank you girls so much! You don’t know how much this means to me! You truly made me look beautiful!”
I looked in the mirror, and I looked so pretty! I had a perfect complexion with my blonde hair curled to perfecting at my shoulders. My dress was white and had beads embroidered all over in brilliant patterns. Music was playing in my head from the piano and Linya had just arrived in whirlwind, so I knew it must be gorgeous at the hotel, too.
Soon we were there, at the church. It was too soon, I didn’t feel ready. I could hear Jumi playing wonderful songs as everyone went prancing down the aisle. First, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids, my sisters and their current dates. Then Kinita, my maid of honor, smiling so real it could have been fake! Then a little girl, about three or four pranced down the aisle. It was Jared’s new little sister. We had to make sure Jared’s parent knew he was getting married, but still though he was getting older. So I put a simple charm on him that made him look his actual age, twenty-nine.
Then it was my turn. I looked over my shoulder and saw Jared’s Dad, who thought I was the same age as Jared, and thought I looked it, too. We had spent a lot of time together, and had really gotten to know each other. He was a nice guy, tall and bulky, who loved to play golf on the weekends. He smiled at me and I heard the song I had been dreading all week. The wedding march rang in my ears, and bounced around in my skull. It must have altered my feelings, because I felt like running away. “Don’t be scared,” Dave, Jared’s dad, whispered.
I took a deep breath as he opened the doors for me. Everyone had stood up, my mom and aunts, all of Jared’s freakishly large family, and even my surprise guest. Yachri stood up and waved and I smiled a little at him. I was nervous about being here with all these people, staring at me waiting for me slip and fall into the punch bowl, or accidentally say “Sure,” instead of, “I Do.” All the eyes were looking at me, and I was looking everywhere. “Just look forward,” Dave said calmly.
I raised my head, and saw who was waiting at the end. Jared, in his monkey suit, was standing there, smiling. As soon as I saw him, I wanted to sprint up there with my overly tight dress and kissing him, but that would be embarrassing. I had borrowed the shoes from Linya, I had the new dress, I had my old wooden bracelet on, and I had a blue ribbon in my hair. Everything was going according to plan, and seeing Jared, I dropped all of my worries and relaxed. When I got up there I quietly thanked Dave and he smiled and everyone sat down but me and Jared. Now, it was time.
We went through the vows smoothly, smiling the whole time. The ancient little sayings that hadn’t meant so much to me ever before seemed to glow with my pride that day. Even the ring exchange went Ok. Then he asked the biggie, the question I’d been dreading for months. “Do you, Jared Nash, take this women, Rachna, to be your wedded wife?”
He took a deep breath, “I do.”
He was way too calm. Internally, I was freaking out. All of my muscles just wanted to hold him, but I knew I had to wait. Then he asked me! “Do you, Rachna, take this man, Jared Nash, to be your wedded husband?”
All I wanted to say was, “Oh yea, he’s all mine now!”
But instead I was feeling rather proper, or normal, that moment so I whispered softly, “I do.”
“I now pronounce you, Mr. and Mrs. Jared Nash.” The old man gave a crooked smile and said, “You may now kiss the bride.”
I never believed in happily ever afters until that day.