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PostPosted: Fri Feb 4, '11, 5:24 pm
The braided women loosen her embrace on her mother. She smiles to the old lady, who is still choking on tears.

“How can this be true?”
“Mom! It is me! I'm here!”
“How can this be true? You look exactly like the last time I've seen you.”
“Oh, mom, I thought I'd never see you again.”
“Oh, my darling, since the last time you have left this house, there was nothing I've wished more than to see your smile again.”
“I'm so happy.”
“But how can this be true?”
“Mom, let's take a seat, I'll explain everything to you.”
“Please, dear...”
“Oh, mom, I'm so happy! I'm with some friends, can I invite them in?”
“Of course, dear. My home is still your home.”
“Come on, people, feel as if you were in your own homes.”
“Excuse me, lady...”
“Do as my daughter have told you.” The old lady wipes the tears from her eyes. “Oh, my daughter! My daughter!”

The braided woman and the old lady seated, still embraced, on the smaller couch. The other three girls seated on the larger one. The telemental stayed stood up by the front door, not caring about what was happening.

“Daughter... how can that be true? You were dead. Now you showed up looking exactly like the last time I've seen you...”
“It is a strange story, but I'll tell you.”
“I thought I had died and your spirit came to take me to the other side.”
“No, mom, I'm alive, as you are.”
“So, please, tell me how that happened. When that friend of yours came to tell me about your death, I cried so much. I didn't want to accept the fact that I'd never see you again, your smile. I'd never feel your embrace...”
“Oh, mom, I thought I'd never see you again too. It is true that I was killed. But, can you see this girl here?”
The old lady adjusts her glasses. “The cyan-haired one?”
“She is so pretty. I've never seen a woman so pretty in my life. Err... besides you, my love.” The old lady smiles to the braided woman.
“Thanks.” The princess blushes.
“This girl, mom, she has a wondrous power. It is unbelievable, mom. She came from a distant star system... she revived me! Can you believe that? She revived me!”
“How can this be possible?”
“Nobody knows, but she exhales love from her soul. That is why I'm here.”
“Oh, I cannot put in words how thankful I am for you bringing back my dear daughter.”
“That was nothing... she deserves that.” The princess blushes even further.
“Oh, mom, can you see these girls? She has got them revived, as well.”
“Really? This woman is wonderful. She is holy! Is she like... you?”
“No, mother, I don't know too much about them, they are from another star system. I don't know how they came here, how they knew about me and they have chosen me, but all I can say is that I'm glad to be here again.”
“That is amazing... even more because she revived you, my daughter. Now my greatest wish has come true.”
“Oh, mom! Did you stay here all these years?”
“No, dear, that friend of yours, from that big company, came to tell me you had died and took me to a small village nearby for my safety. He did provide me with large amounts of money, as a compensation. I stayed there, protecting your friend's daughter. This city was razed, you know. Your friend's daughter said you had come back that day when the planet was saved. I can't tell you how much I cried that day, a mix of sorrow for not having you and joy for knowing what you were doing. I was always proud of you, my dear.”
“Oh, mom, you know, that was my destiny.”
“I know, dear. After some years, it began to be rebuilt. I returned here and, by miracle, our house was still standing, though it was not in a good shape. I returned here. Well, the city is not in a good shape, but at least it looks much better than at our times. There is vegetation, the sky is clear now.”
“I'm so glad the things are getting better.”
“Me too, my dear. I always wondered how you would feel if you had seen the changes in the past forty eighty years and now I know it. It is still difficult to understand what is happening, but I'm so happy to have you here. I'm afraid it is a dream and I'll suddenly wake up.”
“Rest assured it is not a dream, I'm here, with you.”
“Yet it still feels like a dream. Well, do you want to go upstairs? Some of your things are still there.”
“Yes. I know it is a foolish thing to do, but I preserved your room and your things as if I was expecting that you would return.”
“And, against all the odds, you guessed it right, mom.”
“It is still hard to believe, even after touching you, talking with you...”
“I understand, mom, it is really strange. By the way, would you mind if me and my friends stayed there for some days?”
“Of course not! I'll love that! I wish you'd stay forever, daughter.”
“Oh, mom, I'd love to be with you, but you know, I have a destiny to fulfill...”
“I know, dear.”
“The good thing is that I know exactly where is that place I was looking for.”
“Oh, dear, I know it is hard to be separated from you again, but the best thing for me is to see you happy. My greatest wish has become true, I've seen your smile again and I'm so happy that you are happy! I hope you find all the love your deserve, all the love you didn't find before.”
“Oh, mom, I love you so much!”
“I love you, dear, more than you will ever know. Well, maybe now you will have the opportunity to have your own sons, so you will know.” The old lady smiles.
“Well, I don't know. The lightning will not strike for a third time on my head.”
“Will your friend stay there by the door? Invite him in.”
“Oh, mom, he is like that, don't worry about him.”
“Look” The golden-haired girl whispers to the purple-haired girl “His eyes are becoming orange.”
“Last time his eyes became red, he seemed to be possessed by the devil himself.”
“Better keep our eyes open.”

The braided woman climbs up the stairs, followed by the other girls. She finds the upper rooms looking exactly like they were when she lived in that house. She hesitates before opening her former room. She feels as if she would return back to the days when she lived in that room. She feels a hand on her shoulder and, as she turns her face, she meets the smile of the princess, encouraging her, so she decides to open the door.

“I can'' believe it! Exactly the way the things were when I was living in this house. Look, there are my books, my staff, my jewels...” She opens her wardrobe. “My dresses, my clothes... I can't believe it! It is like... I've never been dead...” Her mood changes from excited to introspective.
“What happened?”
“No, nothing, majesty, I was just thinking how my life would be if I've never been dead...”
“Welcome to the club.”
“Oh, Anna, now I think I understand what you are feeling.”
“Well, at least I don't need to use your clothes anymore, majesty. Not that I didn't like them, but now I have my own. Besides, with my staff, I'll be more dangerous than I'm with this iron rod.”
“I think that came in a good time.”
“Why, Anna?”
“Did you see how the telemental is acting? I think we will have problems with him soon, Marlena.”
“I hope you are wrong, but somehow I know you are right.”
“Well, girls, please, act as if you were on your own home. I'll ask my mom if she needs my help.”

The braided woman left the room. After talking with her mother, she left in order to buy some food and household products for her guests. She was provided with a large amount of money by her mother, who told her that the amount the braided woman's friend has given her after she died was so large that she had never had to worry about money anymore. When leaving her home, the braided woman met the telemental standing up by the door, in silence. She warned him to act naturally. The girls stayed chatting.

“I know the braided woman is happy to return to her own home, but I'm feeling uneasy.”
“Why, Anna?”
“Nei, the telemental is acting like mad again, Marlena is still sick and now there are those cloaked men disturbing her peace.”
“Well, when you mention these things to me, I realize we are in a very delicate situation.”
“Look at Marlena, she seems to be in pain again.”
“Why can't the healer heal her?”
“Maybe she is not powerful enough. Maybe she is not even the healer.”
“How can you say that, Anna? Marlena was dead in my arms, she made the princess live again. Every time Marlena is in pain, she relieves her pain.”
“Oh, sorry, Nei. Maybe it is only me, but I still don't trust her.”
“You don't like her.”
“Maybe you are right. I just don't like her.”
“I don't know, it is something on her. You and Marlena consider her amazing, but I just don't like her. Though I love the way she confronts the telemental.”
“Yeah, she doesn't fear him.”
“And she accepts everything she orders him to do. I wonder why she insisted in being in this planet for three days.”
“I don't know, Anna, but I'd rather trust her than the telemental.”
“Well, even I prefer to trust her than the telemental. If she is evil, she can hide it, the telemental can't.”

The braided woman returned with many things. She went to the kitchen, in order to prepare the dinner, as the sun was already setting. The telemental was still quiet in a corner, but he didn't look so strange, just quiet. The braided woman prepared the dinner together with her mom, who just wanted to stay with her daughter. The dinner was served.

“I hope you like it. I don't know what you are used to eat, but I tried to prepare something tasteful.”
“Oh, I wanna taste it.” The purple-haired girl is excited with the opportunity of taste something new.
“Well, so you can start eating.”
The telemental is with his head down, staring at his empty plate.
“Hey? Won't you eat?”
“Me?” The telemental acts as if surprised.
“Do you think I've forgotten?” The braided girl removes the cloth that was covering one of the plates. “Here, it is for you.”
“Tha... thanks.” The telemental inspects the food and notices that it was specially prepared specially for him, with no animal ingredients. “Hey, how did you know that? I've never told you...”
The braided woman only winks at the telemental.
“Hmmm, that is delicious. If we are to stay together I already know who will be the cooker.”
“Oh, Nei, thanks.” The braided woman blushes.
“No, she is not exaggerating, you are a great cooker.”
“Oh, majesty, you flatter!” The braided woman blushes even further. “Let's say I have had an excellent mentor.” She lightly squeezes the hand of the old lady, smiling at her.

After the dinner, the group went upstairs, as there were two free rooms for them. The old lady was too old to be climbing up and down the stairs constantly, so her bedroom was on the lower floor. The braided woman arranged her bedroom with two beds for the girls and left the other room for the telemental. She stayed chatting with her mother as the telemental and the girls took a shower. Then she took her shower, put on one of her nightgowns and went to her room, in order to get some rest.

“Well, girls, are you tired? I think it is time to sleep.”
“Well, yeah...” The purple-haired girl looks concerned about something. “There are only two beds...”
“Sorry, dears, my humble house is not prepared to accommodate so many guests. I know the beds are not so large, but I thought we could sleep in pairs, two on each bed.”
“Well, who will sleep on each bed...?” The golden-haired girl is a bit embarrassed.
“It doesn't matter. We are friends, aren't we?” The braided woman seems unconcerned.
“You and Nei.” The princess answers dryly to the golden-haired girl. “And you know exactly why.”
The braided woman looks puzzled. “Well, majesty, if you don't mind...”
“No, lay here, it is your bed after all.”
“Marlena...” The purple-haired girl has a tone of frustration on her voice.

The girls laid on their respective beds. The single beds are not very comfortable, but they are large enough for two thin girls to accommodate themselves. The purple-haired girl and the golden-haired girl did not have problems because their longtime friendship made them intimate enough to sleep at the same bed. As for the braided woman and the princess, it was a different matter. The braided woman leaned her body on the wooden wall leaving a comfortable space for the princess. She was uneasy as they were almost strangers to each other.

“Uh, oh!” The princess starts sighing.
“You are not feeling well, are you?” The braided woman whispers very lightly, to not disturb the other girls.
“No, I'm not. It is that pain again.”
“I know, majesty. I'll help you.”
The princess turns to face the braided woman. “What is happening to me?”
“Oh, queen Marlena, you have suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.”
“Does that mean it is impossible to heal me?” The princess’ cyan eyes are shining with despair.
“No, I will heal you, majesty, I swear. No matter what it takes to have you feeling well again, I'll do that.”
“It hurts so much.”
“I know, I can't see it in your eyes. Oh, your eyes...”
“Is there something wrong?”
“No, no.. there is so much love in your eyes, majesty...”
“You all say that. What does it mean?”
“Don't come closer, please. Wow, it gives me goose bumps.”
“All this love. Oh, that is embarrassing!”
“Oh, queen Marlena, please, I'm embarrassed to tell you that. I've never felt something like that, at least not this way...”
“Please, tell me. I must know it.”
“I'm feeling ashamed of myself...”
“Please, tell me.”
“All this love coming from you... makes me feel... aroused...”
“What?” The princess can't keep her voice low. “You too?”
“Oh, majesty, don't be angry at me...”
“Why does that happen to all you? Are you...”
“No, queen Marlena, I'm not!”
“So why did this happen to you, Nei and Anna? Oh, that pain...”
“Calm down, majesty, I'll explain it to you. Please, don't be angry at me.”
“I don't know if I can still trust you.”
“Please, listen to me.”
“Alright, alright.” The princess is angry.
“Queen Marlena, haven't I told you you are the personification of love?”
“Yes, but what does that mean?”
“You exhale love from your soul, towards everyone.”
“Your love makes us feel like that.”
“No, I can't accept that. Love doesn't have anything to do with that.”
“It doesn't in theory. But it does somehow. Your random waves of love towards us makes us feel confused...”
“So you are blaming me.”
“No, queen Marlena, you have got me wrong...”
“I don't know who you are and I don't know what you want from me. You are always saying things about me as if you knew me better than I know myself.”
“Please, majesty, I don't want anything from you. Let me heal you, then you can go if you want.”
“What are you waiting for? Heal me. I can't stand this pain.”
“Let me wrap my arms around you...”
“Hey! Do you think I am a fool? After what you have told me, do you think I'll let you touch me?”
“How many times I'll have to tell you I just want to heal you?”
“Why should I trust you?”
“Whatever I may say, would it make a difference, majesty?”
“You are right, it wouldn't .”
“Let me heal you, please. It is the only reason why I am here.”
“Alright, alright, but mind your manners with me. I hate when people touch me.”

The braided woman carefully wraps her arms around the princess' body and stares intently to the princess' eyes, with a serious expression. The princess is somewhat scared by the braided woman behavior, as she doesn't blink. After some minutes, the pain is gone and the princess is feeling well again.

“Are you feeling better?”
“Yeah, the pain is gone. I feel a bit drowsy...”
“Get some sleep, it is already late.”
“I'll try... won't you release me?”
“I'll stay here, healing you.”
“No problems. It feels so comfortable... I've never felt like that before... I always thought... I was unable to feel it... I've never imagined... I'd feel... that.. way...” The princess whisper fades out and becomes impossible to hear. “In... your... arms...”


The day dawns and the princess wakes up. She opens her eyes and sees the emerald green eyes of the braided woman staring at her. The braided woman appears to be breathing with difficulty. Her breathing makes a wheezing sound.

“Good morning. Are you feeling better, majesty?”
“Yes, I am. Thanks.”
The braided woman takes her arms from the princess and smiles. “I'm so glad you are feeling better. Stay there resting, I'll get up and prepare the breakfast.”

The princess stays watching the braided woman get up and exit the room noiselessly, breathing with difficulty. The princess feels a strange mix of feelings while she looks at the mysterious woman, leaving the room in her usual ladylike pose.

The braided woman took a shower, dressed herself and then prepared the breakfast. Meanwhile, the princess got up, took a shower herself and went to the kitchen to have her breakfast. There she met the braided woman chatting with the old lady.

“Oh, there you are, majesty! How are you feeling?”
“I'm fine. I was worried about you. You didn't look so well.”
“Oh, don't worry about that, queen Marlena. Mom, did you know she is a real queen at her world?”
“Really? A real queen? Oh, I'm pleased to meet you. Forgive me my lack of manners...”
“Don't worry, treat me just as your daughter's friend.”
“Thanks. You are so kind. And so pretty. I'll always be thankful for what you have done to my dear daughter.”
“She just deserved that. What will we do today?”
“Well, majesty, we don't have anything specific to do. Why don't we go out and have some fun?”
“Yes, majesty. We don't have anything better to do. Let's have some fun!”
“Oh, dear, if you need some money, just ask me.”
“No, mom, I don't want to spend your money. You know I can survive by myself.”
“I know, but what will I do with all those millions?”
“Millions?” The braided woman spills tea all over the table.
“Yes. Millions. The money your friend has given me was too much for me alone. I kept my simple lifestyle, so my savings grew to millions after all those years.”
“Wow! Mom! You are a millionaire! In this case, I won't mind spending just a bit.” The braided woman laughs.
“Have fun, girls, you deserve it.”

The braided woman and the princess finish their breakfast and go upstairs again. There they find the purple-haired girl alone, waiting for her turn to take a shower. The golden-haired girl is in the bathroom.

“Good morning, Nei! Ready for some fun?”
“Yes, me and queen Marlena will go out to have some fun. Do you want to join us?”
“Yes! Fun! Of course!” The purple-haired girl is very excited.
“Great! Let's wait for Anna. There is a tasty breakfast waiting for you downstairs,”
“Oh, I'm so hungry. Do you mind if I go have it?”
“Of course not, dear. Feel as if you were at your home.”

The braided woman sits at her bed and the princess sits beside her.

“Queen Marlena, Nei is always so excited about the things, she really enjoys every small pleasure life provides her. She is always in a good mood, passionate about things. She often cheers us up. It is impossible to not feel happy when we are with her.”
“Yes, she has helped me a lot these days. It has not been easy. She is really sweet.”
“She is. She told me she is like that because she thinks she will not live for too long.”
“Yes, poor Nei, she will most probably live less than ten years. It is so sad.”
“I'll not let her have a sad fate like that. I'll do something about it. You three don't deserve to suffer anymore.”
“You know, I was used to an uneventful life, but this year is being very hard on me. I was not like Anna, Nei or you, who always had exciting lives, so it makes it harder for me.”
“Exciting, but that doesn't mean good. I'd rather be a princess, living in a comfortable palace with nothing to do, just waiting by the window singing Someday my prince will come, someday I'll find my love...
“Oh, you paint it as if being a princess was a fairy-tale thing when it isn't.”
“Sorry, majesty.”
“If I was there, singing this song, I'd be married to that rascal who is my cousin.”
“Thinking this way, it is not so good to be a princess.”
“Apart from the money and protection, there are no advantages in being a princess, specially in a patriarchy. In my world, if you are the queen and marries a commoner, he become the reigning king and you become just a queen consort.”
“That is unfair!”
“I know, but this is the way the things are there.”
“You have not had an easy life, majesty. Would you care to share it with me? I'd like to know you better.”
“No, not at all. Well, I was born the princess heiress, but people didn't care too much about that as a child because if my parents had a son, he would be the heir, so I was raised to be a good wife, with all the comfort a princess have, but no special care. As my mom died when I was still very young and my dad never married again, I became the presumptive heiress of my former kingdom, so my dad started educating me to rule the kingdom, if needed, though he always planned to marry me to my cousin. My childhood was not exciting because I was tended with so much care that I couldn't enjoy the adventures the other children could. I was mostly lonely, with occasional company of my cousin, who is a few years older than me and didn't care for me.”
“That is not what I'd call a happy childhood. Of course it was better than mine, but it wasn't good anyway.”
“I'd not call it a childhood at all. Well, when I became a teenager, things became worse. I was always very pretty, or at least people said so.”
“And they were not lying. You are the prettiest woman I've ever seen, majesty.”
“Oh, you flatter!” The princess blushes. “I was not allowed to go out, but for very special occasions. My dad was afraid something bad could happen to me, but I know that he was mostly afraid I'd fall in love with a commoner. So I just stayed home, the whole time, under strict vigilance, learning how to be a good ruler and mainly a good wife.”
"That is really not nice. To be a teenager and be kept locked inside your house."
"Yes, but that was all without purpose, if I wanted so badly to have a man, there were plenty of servants inside the palace. But I've never fallen in love with anyone and I think I'll never will."
"Well, I can't say it is all bad because I must be the silliest girl in the world when talking about falling in love. I go completely crazy. I've spent my teenage years writing letters for someone who never answered.”
“That is sick.”
“I know, but when it comes to emotions, I'm very weak, very immature. Anyway, sorry for digressing, majesty. Why do you think you will never fall in love?"
"Because... well... I've never been taught about these things, my father would arrest anyone who tried to talk about that in my presence, but we eventually learn some things anyway... I've never felt... those impure things you and the girls say you feel when you are near me."
"Oh, sorry, I never intended to make you feel this way." The braided woman blushes.
"Funny, isn't it? The personification of love, as you call me, is a cold desert."
“Queen Marlena...”
“You know, one day I washed up in the shores of a strange place. I was rescued by the prince, tended for and he fell in love with me. I, who was suffering with total amnesia, had nothing, no past to cling to, no memories to make me know how I was before. As he seemed to be a good man, I accepted his proposal, what else I could expect? Though I was not in love with him, I did so in earnest, thinking I could be a good wife for that good man. On the day of the wedding, I was kidnapped and brought back to my former home. There I learned I was a princess and that man was from our sworn enemies. Even so, I did not hate him, I still wanted to marry him because he was good and I didn't want to play with his feelings. He came to rescue me, but then, when he learned the truth about me, he ditched me and married a princess from his own people.”
“It is a very uncommon story. I feel sorry for you, majesty.”
“Oh, well, the weirdest thing is that, though I recovered part of my memory, I don't know how I ended on these shores. Nobody knows.”
“That is really weird.”
“And, if that was not enough, after a month or so, the telemental appeared.”
“Oh, this is really being a hard year for you. You deserve more love. You are such a wonderful person, queen Marlena. You deserved to receive the same amount of love you give to the others.”
“Well, that is not the way the things are meant to be.” The princess shrugs. “It ain't easy. Many things happening... I don't have the time...” The princess holds the hands of the braided woman and stares at her eyes. “Now that... I've never felt like that before... It makes me so confused...”
“Oh... you...”
The golden-haired girl opens the bathroom door. “Damn, Nei, I've forgotten my towel... Ahhhhhhhhh!”

The princess and the braided woman are scared by the scream. The princess releases the braided woman's hands and jumps back. She and the braided woman look to the golden-haired woman, who is naked. The golden-haired woman nervously slams the bathroom's door shut.

“Sorry, I didn't see you... I thought only Nei was there...” The golden-haired girl's voice denotes embarrassment.
“Oh, Anna, don't worry.” The braided woman catches the towel and takes it to the bathroom door. “Here is your towel.”
“Tha... thanks... From my bed, I couldn't see the bathroom, sorry...” The golden-haired girl opens the door just enough to put her hand out of it and take it from the braided woman's hands. Her cheeks are crimson red.
“Wow, she scared me with that scream!”
“Poor Anna, she is so embarrassed. Well, what were we talking about.”
“Nothing important.”
“Well. I'll spend some time with my mother, if you don't mind, majesty.”
“No, no, it is fine.”

The golden-haired girl dressed herself and had her breakfast while the purple-haired girl took her shower. After they all had finished, they got ready to leave.

“Won't you call the telemental?”
“Of course not, majesty, do you think being in company of that man can be called having fun?”
“Oh, you are right.”
“That lazy man won't be awake before noon.”
“Why, Anna?”
“I had to wake him up at 1pm the day after we reached this planet.”
“Rascal! He used to wake me at 5am!”
“When it is his interest, he wants to get up early. When we wanted him to get up early to look for you, Marlena, he didn't care.”
“That man... well, where are we going?”
“I don't know. What do you want to do?”
“Well, I don't want you to feel offended, Marlena, but couldn't we buy some clothes? It is not that we don't like your dresses, Marlena, they are gorgeous. But they are not our style.”
“Oh, Nei, really? Sorry...”
“No, Marlena, I deeply thank you, but those dresses are too long, too heavy. I'm used to wear light clothes. Anna too.”
“No problems, Nei.”
“Well, where will we get the money to buy things, Nei?” The golden-haired girl looks worried.
“Don't worry, I have money enough for you all.”
“Great, let's go shopping! Yeah!” The purple-haired girl jumps and shouts out loud.
“Oh, Nei, always so excited. You make us look like common girls who go crazy when shopping for clothes.”
“Aren't we common girls, majesty? Let us go crazy, forget about our problems.” The braided woman winks at the princess.

The group walked for some time, moving towards the market street, where most of the stores are. The golden-haired girl approached the braided woman.

“I want to tell you something serious.”
“What is it, Anna?”
“Stop doing that to Marlena.”
“Doing what?”
“Do you think I didn't see? She is just sixteen. She is just a girl. You are much older than her.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Do you think you can fool me with your long white dress and your ladylike pose? I can see you are very experienced. I don't care about what you like or not, but just leave her out of your filthy desires. She is just an innocent and pure girl.”
“You have become mad, Anna.”
“I can see it in your eyes. I've seen it in your eyes when you saw me today. It is disgusting! Leave her alone.”

The braided woman just shook her head. After some walk, they reached a market street, with many shops.

“Well, girls, feel free to browse the stores. If you need my help, I'm glad to help you. Here you can find dresses, short skirts, shirts, blouses, tank-tops, pants, leggings, shoes, anything but dresses as gorgeous as queen Marlena's ones.”
“That is great! Let's get inside that big store!” The purple-haired girl walks fast towards the store.
“Just don't buy any more leotards, Nei!”
“Don't worry, Marlena, I won't.”

The girls go inside the store. The purple-haired girl gets crazy and chooses dozens of pieces to try on. The golden-haired girl is not so excited, but choose many for her as well. The princess shyly browses the clothes and reluctantly chooses two or three long dresses, similar to the ones the braided woman owns. The braided woman just stays there, smiling at the happiness of the girls.

After almost one hour waiting, the braided woman looks to the street and catches a glimpse of someone familiar outside. She exits the store unnoticed by the other girls. After one hour more, when they are finished choosing the clothes, they start looking for the braided woman to help them paying the clothes. They search, search and don't find her inside the store, so the purple-haired girl suggest them to take a look outside.

“What? What is that? There is a lion outside?” The princess is shocked by the sight of the large animal.
“A lion? Isn't it dangerous?” The golden-haired girl puts her hand instinctively on her slasher.
“It doesn't look like it is, otherwise people would be running and screaming.”
“You are right, Nei. Hey, he is attacking...!”
“In fact, the lion is with his head on her lap and she is petting him.” The princess looks puzzled.
“Looks like they are talking. How weird!” The purple-haired girl looks puzzled as well.

The girls stay looking at the strange scene. After some minutes, the braided woman hugs the lion, kisses his forehead and he departs. She waves to him at distance and when he leaves her sight, she returns to the store.

“What were you doing? Petting a lion on the street?”
“Oh, majesty, he is not really a lion. He is just an old friend. He sensed my presence and came to visit me. I´m so happy to have found him.” The braided woman has tears in her eyes.
“A friend of yours? How strange.”
“He is. If we had the time, I'd introduce you to him. He'd like to know you. Well, girls, what did you choose?”
“Not too much, just that.”
“I think I'll have to hire a truck to carry them home. Let's pay for these things and return home, it is almost lunch time.”

Meanwhile, the telemental woke up and ate his breakfast. He acted rudely towards the old lady, who was annoyed.

“Who are you?”
“I'm the man who brought back your daughter.”
“Wasn't the queen who revived her?”
“She just revived her. If it was not me, your daughter would still be dead. It was me that wanted her revived, that brought the queen here.”
“Why did you want her revived?”
“It is none of your business.”
“Hey, mind your manners!”
“You are a nuisance! I should have obliged your daughter to return to my planet immediately.”
“What are you up to?”
“It is something that concerns only me.”
“I can see you are evil, aren't you? You intend to do harm to my daughter. Come on, tell me.”
“Harm? Well, if that can be called ‘harm’, then I will do her ‘harm’.”
“Why did you disturb my daughter them? Why didn't you leave her there?”
“Because I want her. I want her to be mine. And you will not say anything to her, lest you want to see her dead.”
“Why do you want to do that cruel things to her?”
“If she collaborates, she may even enjoy it. I'm not evil, I just want what is my right.”
“I can believe it. You are insane.”
“Remember that, don't mess with me, don't ever tell her about our conversation today and I will not harm her. Otherwise you will have the pleasure of having her dying in your arms. Do you understand?”


The braided woman paid for the clothes the girls had chosen and they left the store. As they were walking home, the princess felt a strange presence by her side.

“Do you think this will go unpunished?”
“What?” She turns her head and see one cloaked man beside her.
“It is time for the payback. We must stop you before you start ruining the whole universe.”
“Me? What have you done?”
“You know what you have done!” The cloaked man produces a dagger from under his cloak.
“Hey!” The golden-haired girl grabs the cloak man's arm with her left hand and pushes him to the ground. “Are you mad?”
The man answers with a grim on his face. “Go on, start your murdering streak! You all will pay for that! Murderers!”
“Leave him alone, let's return home.” The braided woman puts herself between the cloaked man and the golden-haired girl to avoid further confrontation.
“Your time will come!”

The group distances itself from the cloaked man. The princess burst in tears.

“Why? What have I done? I'm so scared.”
“Oh, Marlena, don't cry, we will not let them harm you.”
“Oh, Nei, I can't take it anymore.”
“Who are those men? You must know, they are from your planet.” The golden-haired girl speaks harshly to the braided woman.
“I don't know them, I've never seen these people before.”
“The sooner we can get out of this planet, the better.”
“We just can't Anna. Not now. Two more days and it will be over.”
“If you are hiding something from me, I'll make you return to your peaceful rest very soon.”
“Anna...” The braided woman shakes her head.

The group returned home. The braided woman soon perceived that something has happened between the old lady and the telemental, but the old lady denied it. The braided woman prepared the lunch and they had their lunch, but the tension among them was very strong. The telemental ate alone, the golden-haired girl convinced the princess and the purple-haired girl to not have the company of the braided woman, so that the braided woman had lunch with her mother. The afternoon was uneventful. The princess was very scared and decided to not go out again that day. The other girls decided to stay with the princess, so only the braided woman went out again to buy things for the house. The purple-haired girl spent her time trying to cheer up the princess. The golden-haired girl, on her turn, stayed alone, keeping an eye on the telemental and another on the braided woman. She had a terrible feeling that something evil would come soon, either from the telemental or from the braided woman. Or from both. The braided woman, having nothing better to do, decided to split her attention between her mother and the girls, though she didn't find much opening with any of the girls. She took chances with the telemental, who is sat at a corner of the living room.

“Did you talk with my mom while we were outside?”
“Huh? No, no, I didn't.” The telemental is with his head down.
“I know you did. She doesn't want to tell me, but something happened in this house while we were away.”
“That was nothing important.”
“Why do you have to fight with everybody? Why can't you be reasonable?”
“Why should I be reasonable?”
“I know you are a powerful and knowledgeable, but you must have a better relationship with people.”
“Why should I? Most of the people are fools! They will never understand me, they will just bother me with their stupid things.”
“So you think we all are fools. Why didn't you leave us alone?”
“You will not understand.”
“Well, keep going with your mystery, but put in your mind that you gain nothing when acting rudely with us. If you need us, if you want to be forgiven by queen Marlena, you should stop acting like that, being rude, not caring about us.”
“Stop your sermon. Save it for the fools who need it.”
“Hey, I'm trying to help you, but if you don't want to be helped, if you think we are only a nuisance, pack your things and teleport away from this planet. Leave us alone, we can survive by ourselves.”
“You know I can't. Do you think I'd waste my time reviving you if I didn't need you?”
“If so, think about what I've said you. Really.” The braided woman places her hand in his shoulder in a friendly way. “I'm not mad at you. I just want to help you.”

The telemental raises his head and looks at the braided woman's face, who is smiling at him. He is surprised to see her smiling at him. The braided woman leaves the living room. The telemental feels confused, climbs up the stairs and locks himself at his room. He abandons his body on his bed and starts crying. “Why... why can't she be like the others? Why... why can't the things be the way I want? I don't want to do any harm... I don't want to do her any harm... why can't she still be the way I wanted her to be... Why couldn't I be there before... to be the one...” The telemental's eyes turn to blue. After many minutes, he stops crying. He was very disturbed by the current situation of the things. “I don't know what to do, they will never agree with me. I'm getting tired of all this.” The telemental stays thinking in his possibilities “I'm getting angry! I want it, I shall not fail!” His eyes return to the usual yellow color.

The telemental spent the rest of the day acting like a shadow to the braided woman. He was afraid her mother would tell her something about their conversation. He knew she was his last hope of improving his relationship with the other women and he knew that the needed a much better relationship with the girls if he wanted to succeed on his plans. But he was more afraid of losing the favor with the braided woman. Not that he had a good relationship with her, but she was the only of the girls who would listen to him. “But sometimes she has a temper as nasty as Marlena. And that magazine, that damned magazine...” his eyes grew a bit redder each time he remembered of that magazine.

Night has come, the dinner was served. This time all them ate together, but no meaningful words were spoken. After the dinner, the telemental excused himself and left for his room. The princess started feeling tired again, but not so tired as in the previous days. Even so, she followed suit and left for her bed. Soon, everybody went to their beds, but the braided woman who stayed a bit more with the old lady. The golden-haired girl started questioning herself about the real need of them staying on that planet, but, as the braided woman insisted it was needed, she didn't have anything to do but wait. When they were ready to sleep, the princess demanded that the girls slept on the same beds as in the day before. The golden-haired girl looked less than happy with this decision.

“Nei.” The golden-haired girl whispered to the purple-haired girl when both were already on the bed they shared. “I'm worried.”
“About what?”
“Shhhh. I don't want them to listen to us, let's talk under the sheets.”
“OK.” The girls covered their heads with the sheet.
“I think that is something going on between Marlena and that woman.”
“Can't you see the way she looks to the princess?”
“I haven't noticed anything wrong.”
“Eh? Look at them now and tell me what you see.”
The purple-haired girl uncovers her head and peek over the golden-haired girl, then recovers her head.
“Looks like they are sleeping embraced.”
“Yes, but pay more attention to the woman. She is staring intently the princess. She doesn't even blink.”
“I can't see it, but if she is doing so, it is really strange.”
“I think she doesn't get any sleep.”
“I don't think she is trying to harm Marlena. In fact, she has helped Marlena many times. Do you think her insistence in staying in this planet has to do with those cloaked men?”
“No, Nei, I think she has other things on her mind. I think she is trying to be too good to Marlena.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Soon you will see...”
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