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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, '11, 5:02 pm
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... But the Payback Is Not Over Yet

The group walked back to the old lady's house, still laughing about the fun they have had in afternoon. The unplanned visit to the arcade had a positive effect which none of the group members expected. For the first time, the group was somewhat united, at peace, though this peace was obviously hanging by a thread. The telemental kept his plans and secrets for himself. The golden-haired girl was still uneasy. She thought she had guessed part of the telemental's plans and they didn't look good. And she didn't trust the braided woman, no matter what the braided woman did to dismiss her suspicions.

The braided woman remembered of the fortunetelling cards.

"Well, it is time to know our future now."
"Do you mean the plans for our quest? I can't reveal them all yet." The telemental seems uneasy.
"No, you fool, I'm talking about the fortunetelling cards we have acquired at the arcade."
"Ah..." The telemental sighs in relief.
"Who will start?"
"Me! Me!" The purple-haired girl starts waving her card, excitedly.
"I don't know why you still ask. Just tell Nei to start. It will be the same."
"Oh, Anna, don't be so harsh at me!"
"Sorry, Nei, I didn't mean to insult you. Sometimes I wish I were like you, excited about the common things."
"That is OK, Anna. Well, sorry..." The purple-haired girl blushes. "I can't read it."
"Oh, yes, give the card to me, I'll read for you." The braided woman takes the card. "Ready?"
The purple-haired girl takes a deep breath, jokingly. "Yes."
"Here it says that you will soon find the love of your life."
"Really?" The purple-haired girl can't hide her joy.
"Yeah, the only problem, it says, is that your love has yellow eyes..."
"Ah, come on! You are lying!" The purple-haired girl is indignant and crosses her arms.
"Ah, oh, Nei... I'm just joking... you don't need... to be angry... at me..." The braided woman is laughing so much that she can barely speak.
"Oh, read the real message, please."
"Nei, wouldn't you like to marry a charming man like this one?" The golden-haired girl points to the telemental.
"Me? Come on, not even if he was the last man in this world!"
The telemental stares at the golden-haired girl with a serious expression. She lightly grins at him in return.
"Well, let's go to the real message. It says you are a gifted person who will live a long life and be able to achieve great things in your life."
"Me? That was stupid, everybody knows I'll not live a long life."
"Maybe they were referring to the fact you will do great things..."
"No, that was simple stupid and cruel to me. Are you sure you read it right?"
"Oh, Nei, sorry, it is what is written in your paper."
"I think the telemental was right about this one. The sentences are just random babbling."
"Oh, Nei, how could I know you'd get depressed by that? I think I shouldn't have suggested that. After all, it is all foolishness from my part to believe in that. Sorry."
"No, you didn't do anything wrong. Go on with your predictions."
"Alright. Who wants to be the next one?"
"Read mine, it is all foolishness and I don't mind, so you can go on with yours after that."
"Oh, Anna..."
"Read it."
"It says you will lead people and to achieve something remarkable."
"Me? Leading people? I'd rather stay alone."
"Looks like my idea was the worst possible..."
"Do you really believe in childish things like fortunetelling? What do your card says?"
"Well, Anna, let me see, it says my life will be one of sacrifice and advises me to not expect rewards from it."
"That must be wrong too, after all you are so amazing, so perfect..."
"Anna!"
"No, majesty, maybe she is right, maybe I'm just making a great fool of myself."
"Please, let's stop that, we were so happy a few moments ago."
"Blame her and her stupid idea."
"Anna, why can't you take these predictions lightly? You said you don't believe it, take it as a big joke. You have gone too far!"
"Sorry, Marlena."
"Please, read mine, I think I have nothing to lose." The princess hands the braided woman her card.
"Well, it says that you have a inner power that can change the world, you just need to learn to use it. "
"Really? It looks like you have written it."
"But that is true, look, this word here means power, this one inside, this one changes, this one planet."
"I trust you."
"It also says something else, that you will get back what you give in the same amount."
"Well, not too bad, I think..."
"And yours, telemental?"
"Read this garbage, I don't care."
"It says that you must lose something in order to achieve something. It advises you to take care to not lose the most important thing to achieve a minor thing."
"Random message. Pure garbage. Why would I lose my time with that?"
"At least it bears a strong message. Maybe you should think about it."
The telemental dismisses the braided woman advice with a wave of hands.

The group keeps walking towards the old lady's house. The sun has already set. When they are just a few blocks away from their destination, the princess feels a chill on her spine.

"Your time has come!"
"What?" The princess turns her head and notices a cloaked man walking behind her.
"It is time for the payback."
"Why don't you leave me?"
"We can't let you destroy the universe, evil woman!"
"I will not do any harm to anyone."
"Lies! We must stop you!"
"What is it?" The golden-haired girl turns back and sees the cloaked man.
"Oh, no, not again!" The purple-haired girl also sees the cloaked man.
"You will die now, damned witch! Your spilled blood now will save the future of the universe!"
"The one who will die is you!" The telemental turns to the cloaked man and raises his hand. "Nagra!"

Energy waves flow from the sky to the earth exactly at the point the cloaked man is, crushing all his bones and organs. For an instant, it appears as if the man's body has become liquid and flat. Then, a sudden gush of wind hits the group and blue sparks are seen over the cloaked man's body. "Noooo! Are you mad?" The braided woman yells at the telemental and runs to the fallen body of the cloaked man.

"Are you insane? Why would you kill him?". She starts casting some spell to try to keep the man alive.
"He was threatening Marlena."
"You can't go killing people just because you are powerful enough to kill them!"
"That was needed..."
"That was not. Oh, my God, what can I do? He is dying..."
"Is it so bad?" The princess kneels down beside the braided woman.
"Everything inside his skin was crushed by the power of the spell. His body has turned a liquid mass!"
"By Laya!" The princess is shocked.
"What do we do now?" The purple-haired girl seems worried.
"Go back home, tell mom I'll be late. I'll stay here trying to help him, if he is not already beyond help. If I don't return, you can dine without me."
"Without you? But it would be your special dinner with your mom."
"That doesn't matter now. I need to help him."
"Why do you need to help him?" The question of the golden-haired girl is more a stab at the braided woman than a real question.
"Because he is a man! A person!"
"These guys are always trying to harm Marlena..."
"It doesn't matter! That doesn't mean that you can go and kill them at will! He is a person! A life!" Tears start falling from the braided woman's eyes. "Leave me! Leave me now! I have to save him!"
"Let's go, Anna, Marlena, telemental. Let her work in peace."
"But..."
"No, Anna, leave her. Let's go."
"Thanks, Nei."

The group leaves the braided woman tending the injured cloaked man. The braided woman tries everything that is under her powers to try to stabilize the cloaked man life signals, but to no avail. Blood starts to pour from the cloaked man's skin, staining his cloak and the braided woman's dress crimson red. "I can't make it! I can't make it! There is only one way... but I still have to heal queen Marlena today, I will not survive healing both... But I can't choose, I can't leave this man to die... They said my life will be one of sacrifice... so be it." The braided woman casts a strong spell that is so exhausting that makes her collapse on the ground. Green waves of energy circle the body of the cloaked man. His body becomes solid again, blood stops pouring from his skin. Soon, he is breathing again.

Still feeling tremendous pains, as his body was crushed under the tremendous force of the gravity spell, the cloaked man makes an effort to lean on his left arm. He stares at the braided woman, who has passed out and is breathing with difficulty, making a loud wheezing noise. He produces a dagger from under his cloak and points it to the braided woman's throat.

"You... you..." The cloaked man shakes his head and hides again the knife inside his cloak. "No, you will never do that... you are on our side... you are one of us... you are our biggest hope." The cloaked man starts crawling away with difficulty, but soon he disappears in the blackness of the night.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The telemental, the golden-haired girl, the purple-haired girl and the princess arrive at the old lady´s house, but they are not motivated to enter. They are all with low-spirits after the last happenings and no one feels comfortable to tell the old lady the news. They stay standing in front of the house, in silence. The old lady looks through the window and notice their presence, so she opens the door.

"Please, come in, don´t stay there, outside."
"Err... thanks. We were waiting..."
"Where is my daughter?"
"She was with us, but she stopped to do something..."
"She will arrive soon..."
The princess can´t stand this talking and tells the truth. "She stopped to help an injured man."
"Oh, she has done the right thing."
"The man is seriously injured. She was not sure if she would be able to return soon, so she asked us to come and take you to the restaurant. As soon as she is finished there, she will meet us."
"Oh, no problems. You know, queen Marlena, the thing that makes me more proud of my daughter is her sense of duty. She may act like a foolish girl from time to time, but when the matters are serious, she is always willing to help, always ready to give her best."
"We admire her determination too. She must have been an excellent daughter."
"In fact she was. Of course every mom says that, but she was really excellent. She helped me for a long time, working to get money for us. She was a very hard worker, she would wake up very early and often return past midnight. I was always afraid something would happen to her for she was just a girl, but thank God nothing bad has ever happened."
"Hey!" The golden-haired girl elbows lightly his ribs and whispers at him. "Won´t you ask her mom about her job?"
"Shhh! Anna!"
"Who knows? Maybe you find an interesting answer."
"Shut up! I´ll discover, but I´ll never ask her mom about those delicate matters."
"Well, let´s get ready and leave. I´m sure your daughter will arrive soon."
"I do hope so, queen Marlena. Please, get inside the house."

The group entered the house. Apart from the telemental, who stayed seated in the couch waiting, the girls exchanged her clothes and remade their make-up. The girls, specially the princess, were uneasy because the braided woman didn't come back after almost one hour. They gathered on the living room, waiting for the braided woman. The time passed and she didn't come back. The princess started to feel anxious.

"I think we should try to find her."
"Oh, don't worry too much." The old lady seemed unconcerned. "I know she will eventually show up."
"It is getting late. She was not too far from here, I think we should try to find her."
"I'm quite sure she is doing fine, queen Marlena. Don't worry too much about my daughter, she knows how to take care of herself."
"Still I'm worried."
"I understand. Let me see... it is half past nine. Hmmm, it is really late. If we don't leave immediately, we will not be able to get to the restaurant."
"Do you still wish to go there? Your daughter is not here."
"Soon she will be. I'll leave her a note, saying that we went there."
"Hey!" The golden-haired girl taps the telemental's shoulder and whispers. "Where do you think your sweetheart is?"
"My sweetheart? Oh, Anna, what are you talking about?"
"Do you think she is planning something with her cloaked friends? Or maybe she has got one customer. You know, old habits are hard to quit..."
"Anna!" The telemental gets angry. "Why do you say those things?"
"Why do you get angry? They are just hypothesis..."
"Anna!" The purple-haired girl was overhearing the conversation. "Why do you say those things about her? What do you have against her?"
"Oh, Nei, against her? Not much."
"So why do you keep saying those things?"
"It is all planned. Soon you will understand."
"Now it is you and your mysteries..."
"Oh, Nei, don't worry. Don't you trust your old friend?"
"I trust you, you know. It is just that I'm still trying to understand why I was revived and everyone seems to have a plan, but me. Maybe it is just me. Maybe I'm too silly, too immature."
"No, it is not that, Nei. Let's not think about that now."

The old lady left a note. They left the house and walked towards the restaurant. They could have called a taxi, but the restaurant was just a quarter of a mile from the house. Though the old lady was on her nineties, she could still walk with no difficulties, albeit slowly. The princess offered her arm to help the old lady keep her balance. After fifteen minutes, they have made it to the restaurant. The princess was still worried about the braided woman and surprised by the unconcerned reaction of the old lady.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The braided woman opens her eyes. She is laid in the middle of the street. It is very dark there and there doesn't seem to be anybody around. She doesn't know for how long she stayed there. After some seconds of numbness, she starts to remember why she is there. As she notices the cloaked man is not there anymore, she assumes she has successfully healed him, so she lets our a broad smile. She tries to stand up, but she is not feeling well. She is short of breath and feeling pains all over her body. As she stands up, she remembers about the dinner. As she doesn't know how many time has passed since she passed out and she is closer to the restaurant than from her home, she decides to check the restaurant first and then return home. Everything she wanted was to take a long shower, change her blood-stained dress for a clean one and sleep, but she doesn't want to spoil what may be her last dinner with her mother, so she moves to the restaurant anyway.

Arriving there, she tries to enter the restaurant, but the restaurant host, seeing her state, with her blood stained dress, breathing with difficulty, blocks her entrance.

"Halt! Where do you think you are going?"
"My mother and some of my friends may be inside. I have to meet them."
"I can't let you inside."
"Why not?"
"Look at yourself! Your dress is soaked with blood. I'll call the police."
"Hey, wait! It is not what you are thinking. These are paint stains. I had a small accident in my atelier."
The restaurant host eyes her suspiciously. "Even so, you are not properly dressed."
"I was late. What time is it? Ten? Soon you will not be admitting new customers. If I didn't hurry, I'd not be able to make it."
"Please, don't come up with excuses..."
"Can't you check if they are inside? It is a group consisting of an old lady, three young girls and a white-robed man."
"That yellow-eyed freaky? You are all weird people. If it wasn't the old lady, who is an old customer, I'd have not admitted that man."
"So let me in, I'm her daughter."
"Her daughter? Come on! As far as we know the old lady has no daughter. In fact, she had mentioned that she had adopted one girl, but I thought she had died fifty years ago."
"I have thought I died fifty years ago too, but it looks like I'm alive, am I not?"
"Oh, my..."
"Could you please tell her I'm here? She can explain you I'm her daughter."
"No way! I'll call the security instead."
"Really? Get out of my way!" The braided woman gently pushes the man aside.
"Hey, you can't do that!"
"Mom! Mom! I'm here!"
"Oh, honey! Finally!"

The restaurant host stops chasing the braided woman, surprised. The braided woman hugs the old lady and kisses her cheek.

"Sorry, mom, I'm late."
"Don't worry, dear. You friends have told me why."
"Sorry for making you all wait." The braided woman starts speaking in a paused rhythm to conceal her difficulties in breathing.
"What about the man?" The princess looks worried.
"I think... I could save him."
"Oh, that is amazing!" The princess caresses the braided woman's hand, smiling.
"Yeah, he looked like he had been trampled by a tow behind roller." The purple-haired girl adds.
"Oh yes, amazing..." The golden-haired girl rolls her eyes.
"Oh, mom, forgive me, I came here in this state. I think we may never see each other again, I wanted to leave you a beautiful last image for you to remember, but I came here looking terrible."
"Don't worry, my dear, this is the way I want to remember you. Remember that you have just helped someone. That is the way I'll remember best of the magnificent heart you have ."
"Oh, mom, you will make me cry... well, have you made your orders?"
"Not yet. They can't understand the menu and I can't read them because I forgot my reading glasses at home, so we were waiting for a patient waiter to help us."
"Oh, now I can help you."

The braided woman helped her friends to order and ordered her food as well. The whole dinner went calmly, it was more an intimate mother-daughter moment between the braided woman and the old lady, but the braided woman tried to take it easy to make the others comfortable, though she cried many times. Even the telemental, who lacked social skills, tried to behave, if not as a gentleman, at least in an unremarkable and acceptable way. All the waiters were treating the princess in a special way, being somewhat flirty, but the princess was not so annoyed.

There was a person, though, who was feeling uneasy. The golden-haired girl did not feel comfortable at the situation. She didn't like sharing intimate moments with other people, specially a stranger like the braided woman. "Ah, I can't stand it! I'm not her friend. I don't know her. She scares me. How can she be so perfect, always right? It gets on my nerves! Look the way the telemental accepts that she leads us all. Look the way Nei considers her a friend. Look the way Marlena... damn! Who is this girl? How could she know about us? How could she talk with Marlena while dead? How could she know she'd be revived? I wonder if she knows about the telemental's plans. Either she is agrees with his plans or she has plans of her own. If so, which are her plans?"

"Anna, are you feeling OK?"
"Huh? Oh yeah, I am." The golden-haired girl was surprised by the braided woman remark.
"Was it the food? Wasn't it tasty?"
"No, in fact it is."
"You look bored."
"Oh, sorry, I don't want to spoil your party."
"No, Anna." The braided woman holds the golden-haired girl's hand. "it is important for me that you don't feel this way."
"Why?"
"I don't want to see you feeling bad because of me." The braided woman holds Anna's hands across the table, caressing it lightly and staring deeply at Anna's eyes.
"Please, don't look at me like that."
"Anna..."
"Sorry."
"Please, Anna." The braided woman smiles a pure and compassionate smile at Anna.

Anna released her hand from the braided woman's grip and left the table. The braided woman looked saddened by the golden-haired girl reaction. After some minutes, the golden-haired girl returned and took her seat as if nothing had happened. She avoided eye-contact with the braided woman for the rest of the dinner. The dinner went on, with the purple-haired girl ordering five desserts and eating them all. When they were about to leave, the restaurant owner went to the table to have a fake friendly chat with them, using all the flattery he could. His main intent was to flirt with the princess, but she didn't pay attention enough to him to realize that.

The group leaves the restaurant and returns home, walking. The braided woman addresses the telemental.

"Well, that is it. We can leave tomorrow, if you want this way."
"Good, that is what I was expecting."
"It is difficult to leave all this behind, but life must go on."
"I see. Sorry for being angry at you, your nostalgia trip was not so bad after all."

The group arrives home and, as they were getting ready to sleep, the braided woman opens a chest and starts taking out some pearls.

"You do own lots of pearls." The princess is surprised by the amount of pearls in the small chest.
"Oh, these. Well, they are somewhat special, though not too valuable. I'll need some of them for the night." The braided woman separates some of the pearls.
"Why?"
"I have a most important task tonight." She starts bucking some pearls in her bracelets.
The golden-haired girl, who was overhearing the conversation, rolls her eyes and whispers at the purple-haired girl. "I wonder how important is this task, as she needs to dress gorgeously."
"Anna!" The purple-haired girl gets angry.
"That means you will not sleep here tonight." The princess doesn´t look happy.
"No, I will. In fact, I'm very tired, we have had a full day." The braided woman smiles at the princess.
"Me too. At least today I'm not feeling that tiredness, that pain anymore."
"You will never feel it again, if everything goes well..."

The girls lay on the bed. On the other bed, the purple-haired girl starts a friendly conversation whispering.

"Oh, Anna, today was so fun. I've never had so much fun in a day."
"Good for you."
"I'm so glad to be with the girls. They know me for just weeks or days, yet they treat me as a longtime friend."
"Yeah."
"You know, Anna, I faced so much rejection in my life. Now I'm being accepted, loved. I always longed for close relationships, this sense of family. I hope we four can stick together after helping the telemental."
"Four? No, thanks."
"Anna? What are you doing?" The purple-haired girl notices that the golden-haired girl is staring at the other bed. "You should take the things lighter."
"Oh, Nei."
"Who do you treat her so bad? What has she done to you?"
"I'm not in the mood to discuss that."
"Oh, Anna... you make me feel worried. You are my best friend, the person I trust most."
"Thanks Nei. We talk tomorrow, OK?"
"OK, Anna."

The golden-haired girl stays staring at the other bed. The braided woman is with her right hand over the princess' heart. The golden-haired girl feels a mix of anger and sorrow when she sees the expression in the princess' face in the braided woman's arms. It is an expression of peace, comfort, pleasure, that makes her go mad. "Damned witch! I hate you!".

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

During the night, while the princess is sleeping, the braided woman keeps casting a healing spell on her, exhausting herself more and more. The princess dreams a streak of pleasant dreams, until some strange images come to her mind.

Strong energy rays cross the vacuum of the space, directed to distant planets and galaxies. Soon the images focus on people on those planets. In an aerial overview, many different civilizations, intelligent lifeforms, fauna and flora are depicted, each one with its particularities, each one with its way of life. Many human and humanoid people appear, in a succession of frames which shows their lives in large cities, exquisite towns, performing different activities. The focus returns to the energy beams, one which approaches one of those planets. As the beam hits the planet, images of people dying, wounded, crying in pain, sorrow and despair flash on the princess mind. A succession of beams hitting the other planets show all those different people dying and suffering. The roar of their screams, moans and wails of pain is deafening. The smell of the charred bodies, blood and rotten corpses almost make the princess throw up. The apocalyptic visions are very strong and look real, leaving a deep impression on the princess' mind.

Suddenly, all the images fade way. The princess is in an open space. There are hundreds of cloaked men, surrounding her. The circle is closing over her. Before they touch her, one cloaked man starts speaking.

"Have you seen it? This is what will happen in the universe. Uncountable lives will be wiped out in an instant. All the lifeforms will be extinct in millions of planets. And one person will have her hands stained with all this blood. One person will be responsible for all these deaths. This person..."
"Who is this person?"
"Look at your hands!"
The princess looks at her hands and see they are covered with blood. "What is that?"
"It is you!"
"No, I'll never do that!"
"You will be the person who is responsible for all these deaths."
"How? I can't even kill a fly."
"Because you revived them. You played of being God. You made very serious things recklessly."
"But it was not me..."
"You were the one who have made it. Remember this man?" The cloaked man points to another cloaked man by his side. It was the man wounded by the telemental. "You killed him."
"No! I didn't kill anyone!"
"You killed him. If it was not you, he'd be alive."
"That is a lie. He was healed!"
"But you killed him. And there is only one way to prevent that tragedy."
"How?"
"Killing you!"
The eyes of all the cloaked men shine in crimson red. They all produce very thin pokers from under their cloaks.
"No! No! Stop! I swear I'll never let that happen!"
The cloaked men seem to ignore her.
"Please, stop! Stop! I don't want to do any harm to you! I love you all!
"Liar!"

All the cloaked men stab the princess' heart at the same time, from all the directions, causing a terrible pain, with blood gushing to all directions.

"Nooooooooooo!"


The princess wakes up in the middle of the night, scared by the last dream. The images were so vivid that she needs some seconds to understand it was only a dream. Her heart is racing like mad, she is trembling a bit and feeling a strange feeling inside her chest. She notices the braided woman's arm is loose, hanging by her waistline. She turns back and sees the braided woman motionless, not breathing, with her emerald green eyes wide open, but lifeless and a smile on her lips.

"No!" She shakes the braided woman lightly. "No! That can't be!" She shakes her again, more vigorously. "What have you done?". The princess gets desperate. "You are... dead? Dead! Why?" She keeps shaking the braided woman, who doesn't move. "Please, don't say that you sacrificed yourself for me. No... please... don't go! No!"

The screams wake up the golden-haired girl and the purple-haired girl.

"What happened, Marlena? Why are you screaming?"
"Anna... she... she is not moving... she is not breathing..."
"Really?"
"No, you can't die. Please, stay with us..."
"How did that happen?"
"I don't know. I just woke up and she was like that."
"What was she doing to you?"
"Please, don't tell me you are dead! You cannot die!" Tears start rolling down the princess' cheeks.
The lips of the braided woman jerk a bit, broadening her smile, but the princess thinks it is only her imagination. "Did you die to save me?"
"Stop asking her questions. If she is dead, she won't answer!" The golden-haired girl gets angry at the passionate behavior of the princess.
"No! No! That can't be true! After all you have done for me, why did you have to die?"
The braided woman lightly shakes her head negatively.
"Oh! You are not dead! You are alive!"
The braided woman nods lightly.
"Thank Laya, I was afraid you have died."
The braided woman tries to breath. She takes a long breath, producing a strong wheezing sound. She jerks her body in pain.
"What is that?"
"Don't... worry..."
"What are you feeling? What can we do for you?"
"I... will... be...fine..."
"Thank Laya! I was frightened."
"It... is... over... now..."
"Thanks, thank you so much. Now I understand that strange feel in my heart. You almost sacrificed yourself for me." The princess embraces and kisses the braided woman's forehead. "Thanks!"
"I... owed... you... that..."
"What is happening over there, Anna?"
"Nothing, Nei. Looks like someone has got what she wanted. Let's resume sleeping."
"Oh, well..."
"I... I thought I'd lost you ." The tears in princess eyes have turned into tears of joy.
"No... I'll... be... fine..." The braided woman breathes painfully.
"Oh, please, rest a bit. You need it."
"Every... thing... is … alright..."
"Rest a bit. You deserve it." The princess stays stroking the braided woman's hair lightly and smiling at her.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Morning broke and the braided woman is the first to wake up. Though she was exhausted from the efforts of the last sleepless nights, she was feeling pains all over her body, so she couldn't get quality sleep. She tried to get up, but her body was aching and it was painful to breath. Even so, she managed to free herself from the princess embrace and got up. She crawled to the bathroom and took a brief shower, as she was not feeling well enough to stay standing for long. She put on a long white gown and crawled down the stairs. Arriving at the kitchen, she has found her mom, already awake.

"Good morning, mom!"
"Good morning, my love. Oh, today is the day we will part ways again."
"Yes, mom. I wished I could stay longer with you. But you know, my task here is finished. I must go and fulfil my destiny."
"I know, dear. I wish you could stay forever, but only to have seen you smiling again was a gift no mom has ever got. No mom who has lost her daughter the way I have lost you. To see you leaving, with a big smile on your face and ready to live your dreams is something that makes me happy."
"Oh, mom, I'm glad you've always understood my special nature."
"All in all, it's just the same as if you were a common girl."
"You're right."
"Well, as your mom, I'm worried about your current health state, my dear."
"Oh, I'll be fine."
"I do hope so, I don't like to see you suffering."
"I've exhausted myself to save the life of queen Marlena. Now it is over, she is completely healed."
"I'm so glad to hear that. I'm proud of you and will always be."
"Thanks, mom. No matter where I be, I'll always have you in my heart."
"Me too, I'll always have you in my heart, my love."

The braided woman insists in preparing the breakfast, despite her mother's protests. Despite the difficulties in breathing, the braided woman is better, so she manages to get the breakfast ready. After some time, the princess wakes up and, noticing the braided woman is not on the bed, starts looking for her.

"Oh, my, you were there! You should be resting."
"Don't worry, majesty, I'm OK. The breakfast is ready."
"I can't believe it. You have even prepared it. You should care more about your own health. By the way, how are you feeling?"
"Quite better. I'm still feeling pain, but now it is as if I was having an asthma attack. Nothing to worry about."
"Oh, I'm deeply indebted with you..."
"No, no, queen Marlena, you were that way because of me, so I had the obligation to heal you. That is why I kept you here. Besides, it is nothing to worry about, that may be needed in the future and I'm ready to give myself completely to people who may need my help."
The princess smiles at her.
"Well, I'll take a short run to the market in order to buy something that may be needed for our journey. I'll be back soon, majesty. Do you have any request?"
"No, thanks. Are you sure you are feeling well? "
"Yeah. If you don't have any specific requests, I'm going."

The braided woman left the house, still breathing with difficulty, but able to walk, albeit slowly, using her staff as a walking stick. She headed to the market street. Meanwhile, the telemental and the girls woke up and started getting ready for journey. The braided woman also paid a short visit to the strange building they had visited upon their arrival, where she prayed and collected some flowers. Then she returned with many things, some for her mother, some for the group. She went upstairs to pack her things. She took one large travelling luggage she had just bought and started choosing clothes to take with her. Then, the golden-haired woman, who was having her breakfast, entered the room.

"Wow! I was impressed with your performance last night. You're surely a good actress."
"What are you talking about, Anna?"
"You latest trick. Oh, I almost believed you have died. I almost shed a tear for you."
"Anna..."
"Poor Marlena, with her innocent heart, she was really scared. She is so pure and innocent, she believed you."
"Enough! I've exhausted myself all these days to save her life. She had had a fatal cardiac arrest and needed to be healed. Don't you remember her pains, her unnatural tiredness?"
"Oh, I see, you are only trying to make Marlena feel good. Very good, by the way..."
"I don't know what you have in mind, Anna, but if that pleases you, I can stay out of your way."
"That wouldn't be bad if you stayed out of our way."
"If that is what you all want, that is fine for me."
"Listen, I don't know what you are up to, but if you think you can fool me, you are completely wrong."
"Fool you about what? Oh, Anna, I know you have grown quite a disliking for me, but I swear you I have nothing to hide from you or anybody else. I was forced back in this life, just the same as you. I did not care if I've never lived again, my spirit would carry on, but as I'm here, I'm just trying to make the most of it."
"Liar! You begged Marlena to revive you, didn't you?"
"If only you knew why..."
"Why won't you tell me? Do you really need to keep this secret?"
"Anna..."
"I knew it. You are hiding something from me, from us."
"Oh, well, do you really want to know why you need the healer?"
"Yeah, tell me. There must be a better reason that to play with the feelings of a pure girl."
"Anna, the healer must be here to heal someone, lest the future may be doomed. Besides, the healer be here to let that new-one to bring hope and achieve new things, the guardian to protect and the personification of love to share her love."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Well, it doesn't matter. You don't like me, you will not trust me anyway."

The braided woman kept packing her things, with a saddened expression on her face. The golden-haired girl felt somewhat guilt for making her feel sad, but she was still confused about that woman. She went to pack her things, along with the purple-haired girl and the princess. The telemental didn't have things to pack, but he helped to rearrange the belongings that were originally in the backpacks in the new travel luggage. They also packed up some food because the telemental said he didn't know how long it would take them to return.

"Looks like it is farewell's time."
"Well, dear daughter, for me it is as if I was dreaming and now I have to wake up."
"I know, mom, but you can rest assured, I was really here with you. Look what I have brought to you!" The braided woman shows two small vases filled with flowers.
"Oh, lilies! Just like in the old days."
"Just like in the old days. Oh, mom..."
"Before you go, I want to ask you something. Please, let me take a picture of you. I want to remember your smile, to be assured it was not just a dream."
"Of course, mom!"

The braided woman poses for a picture, smiling. The old lady asks the golden-haired girl to take the picture because she was too moved by emotions to take a proper picture. The golden-haired girl doesn't feel comfortable, but acquiesces.

"Well, I think that is all. Thanks, daughter, for coming and returning to me that part which was taken when I lost you."
"Oh, mom, give me a big hug! Farewell, mom!"
"Farewell! Please, stay out of trouble, dear!"
"Don't worry, I'll be fine this time. And don't overwork, mom, you are not young anymore."
"I know, I know. It is just that I like to keep myself active." The old lady then whispers on her daughter's ear. "Take care with that man."
"Oh, you don't need to worry. I know that."
"Really?"
"It is part of my task to help him out of that."
"I see. Take care anyway." Tears start falling from the old lady's eyes. "Goodbye, dear."
"Goodbye, mom!" The braided woman is with tears in her eyes too.

The old lady gives a long kiss on the braided woman's cheek and they depart from the house. The girls thank the old lady's hospitality. As they move away, the braided woman stays looking back and waving to her mother, who waves back, till the house becomes out of sight.

"Well, it is over. Where are we going?"
"Back to Motavia." The telemental answers.
"Really? Great! I missed my planet!" The purple-haired girl is excited.
"Well..."
The purple-haired girl feels the tone of sadness in the braided woman's voice. "Sorry. Nothing against your planets, girls, by you know, it is always good to be back home."
"Surely it is Nei." The braided woman smiles at Nei. "How will we get there?"
"By teleport. The telemental teleports us."
"Interesting."
"Girls, I'm somewhat worried. You know, this time I have another person to teleport, much more belongings, which means much more matter. To make things more difficult, remember we have just get to this planet with the help of the sages..."
"Strange, you always complained about my belongings, but you didn't complain about hers." The princess says so in a sarcastic tone.
"Oh, let's not start with your nasty temper, Marlena."
"What do you need? Stronger magic? Take that!" The braided woman throws a strange pearl at the telemental.
"What is that?"
"It is a gift I've just bought for you."
"Gift?"
"Yeah, use it when teleporting."
"Of course." The telemental rolls his eyes. "We must get out of the city because the explosion will be huge."

The group went to the train station to take a ride to the city entrance. The short trip was uneventful. The braided woman hoped to see the old man who had recognized her days before, but she didn't see him. "Oh, well, that would be too much luck. I think I'll always be in doubt if it was him or not." The group disembarked in the station they embarked when they arrived the city. The streets were crowded of people. Suddenly, it looks like a small riot is going on, with a large crowd on the streets barring their way.

"What the hell is happening here?" The golden-haired girl is irritated.
"I don't know, I've never seen such a crowd in my life."
"Oh, where are you?"
"Here, Nei! Take care to not get lost in the crowd."
"Where are Marlena?"
"I can't see her, neither the telemental."
"Marlena! Marlena!" The purple-haired girl shouts to no avail.
"Let's keep moving, we may find them when the crowd disperses."
"I have a bad feeling about this..."
"You can't come this way!" A man stops the girls.
"What?"
"The road is blocked! You can't come this way!"

The girls look around and see that the road is blocked by concrete blocks and warning tapes. "From where all this stuff came? I had not seen them before." The golden-haired girl looks suspicious.

"I don't know. Well, let's take the detour."
"Better get ready for trouble." The golden-haired girl grabs her slashers.

Meanwhile, the princess and the telemental are pushed by the crowd to a large round square, that is empty. They walk puzzled to the middle of the empty square. The streets that lead to the square are all blocked with large concrete blocks and warning tapes.

"What is happening here?"
"I don't know. We must find the girls, Marlena."
"I'm scared... this square looks familiar..."

As they reach the center of the square, large quantities of cloaked men starts coming from the nearby roads, surrounding them. The cloaked men yell at them, specially at the princess. The circle draws nearer and nearer. The princess is really frightened.

"I... I... have dreamed... with them... they... they... killed... me..."
"What?"
"These... men... I... dreamed with them... they... killed... me...here... in... this... place..."
"Watch out!"

Many of the cloaked men raise their fists against the princess and the telemental. Some of them carry different kinds of weapons as knives, pokers, batons. The crowd gets closer and closer. When they are less than one yard from the princess, they stop. One of the cloaked men steps up to talk with the princess.

"Your time has come!"
"Why? What have I done?" The princess starts crying.
"You are already associated with them. We must stop you, lest the universe will be destroyed."
"I don't want to do any harm to anyone. You are mistaken. Stop that, please!"
"No, your time has come. You shouldn't have done that. You brought them back."
"Please..."
"You are the one who will be blamed for all the destruction caused by your reckless acts."
"I will not do any harm, I swear..."
"There is only one way to prevent that and you know how." The cloaked man winks at the princess and grins.
"Nafoi! Nafoi! Nafoi!"

The telemental raises his arms and starts casting spells like mad. Fireballs fall from the sky over the large crowds of cloaked men, who are set on fire. The cloaked men start screaming in pain, their screams being so loud that they cause pain on the princess' ears.

"Stop that! Stop that!"
"Nafoi! Nafoi!"
"Please, stop! Stop! I can't stand it!"

The smell of charred flesh almost makes the princess to throw up. She sees cloaked men running like crazy, with their bodies set on fire. Many start falling on the ground, dead. Blood is scattered all around.

"Stop! You are killing them! Stop!" The princess punches the telemental, to no avail.
"You... I've told you..." The cloaked men who stepped up to talk to the princess is burning to death.
"No! I don't want it! Stop... please... Stop!"
"You... are... responsible... for... that..."
"No, no, no..." The princess is choking in tears. "Laya, help me! I don't want them dead... No, I don't want them dead... stop it... please... stop... I don't hate them... I love them all..."

After some seconds, it is finished. The telemental stops casting spells. In the open square there are hundreds of charred dead bodies lying all around. The princess keeps sobbing bitterly. She stares at the telemental, whose eyes had turned red.

"I... I've trusted you! I've trusted you. You shouldn't have done it! I... have... trusted... you... I have... done... everything... for... you... I... never... doubted... you... I thought... you... were... good... I... trusted... you..."
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