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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, '11, 10:23 pm
The Girl With Pearls In Her Hair

The princess opens her eyes. She is lying in something soft. There is a strong scent of lilies in the air. She turns her head to the left to see where she is lying. It is a huge pile of lily petals. She looks up and recognizes the ceiling of the large building. She had already seen that building in a dream.

She feels a strange sensation of peace. She feels no pains, no exhaustion, no sickness. She just feels comfortable. She is at peace, a peace she has never felt before. “It feels so good... I wonder what may have happened...” She turns her face to the right and meets a woman, who is on her knees. She is wearing a beautiful white gown. She looks up and notices that the woman is with her hands crossed, praying. The woman has a very long brown hair, arranged in beautiful tresses. The braided woman is crying, tears falling like a waterfall from her green eyes.

“Go back!”
“Go back from where you came from! Now! Please!”
“Is it you? Didn´t you...”
“Go back, the universe needs your love!”
“Had I failed?”
“Go back, I beg you! Go back...”

The purple-haired girl starts crying desperately, cradling the lifeless body of the princess. The telemental and the golden-haired girl are shocked. The golden-haired girl kneels down beside the purple-haired girl and starts crying.

“No, that can´t be true! Marlena!”
“Marlena... she is dead! Dead!”
“Dead? Are you sure, Nei?”
“Her heart has stopped! Marlena is dead!”
“I can´t believe that... this shoudn´t have happened... not with the princess.. this can´t be true...”
“Damned girl! She failed! It is better for her to be dead!” The telemental despises the princess.
“What? How come you say that from the princess?” The golden-haired girl slowly rises from the ground, holding her slashers. “She did everything for you and you don´t care that she is dead.”
“I didn´t want her! I needed the other woman, but the stupid princess failed in bringing her back.”
“That damned witch, put the princess under a spell that cost her life! I wish we had never put our foot in this damned planet!”

While the golden-haired girl and the telemental are exchanging hate expressions between them and the purple-haired girl is sobbing over the princess’ dead body, refusing to believe she is dead, nobody notices what is happening beside them. The woman slowly opens her green eyes. She blinks once, twice, to make sure her eyes are really working properly. She takes a deep breath and shyly smiles. It is so pleasurable to feel herself alive again. Then she starts rearranging her thoughts, understanding what the stimuli in her senses are. She slowly rises her head from the ground and turns it to the right, in order to see what is happening. Her eyes meet a strange robed man with red eyes discussing with a strikingly beautiful blonde woman. She can feel the excitement in the air.

“The princess means nothing to me. She was only important to revive you, Nei and that woman. If she survived, that would be better. If she died, too bad for her. But she couldn´t have failed! This woman is not only the healer. She is also holy!”
“I will kill you! Or die trying! But I can´t stand seeing you talk of Marlena that way! You must pay.”
“Why all this rage? Just because the useless princess is dead?”
“You fool!” The woman screams while making a quick movement towards the princess. “She is the most important! She is the personification of love!”

Her quick movement and unexpected shouting takes everyone by surprise. Scared, the purple-haired girl jumps back, leaving the princess’ body slip to the ground. The golden-haired girl and the telemental turn their attention to the woman, who they believed dead. The woman jumps over the princess body, puts her right hand over the princess’ heart, her left hand on the floor, closes her eyes and shouts.

“I return the pulse of life to this woman! Her heart must beat again!”

The body of the princess rises a feet over the ground with the strength of the electric charges released by the spell. There is a sudden flash, a loud crack of lightining. The woman passes out. As the princess’ body falls back to the ground, the woman falls with her head on the princess *, unconscious.

“She... is alive! Alive! She is alive!” The telemental cries with joy.

The purple-haired girl, shocked by the unusual event, slowly moves towards the princess. She is somewhat afraid of touching the princess’ body after the electric discharge. But she notices the princess’ chest is slowly moving upward and downward.

“Marlena... you are alive!” The purple-haired girl starts crying abundantly.
“Marlena? Are you sure, Nei?” The golden-haired girl chokes a bit on her tears.
“Yes, our beloved princess is breathing again.”

The princess recovers her conscience. She is feeling a bit drowsy, but not only she is alive again, but her health condition is satisfactory, much better than she was in the last feel days, such was the power of the healer´s spell. She also came out of the trance which possessed her. Because of the trance, she doesn´t really remember much of the last days. As she feels a weight over her *, she is afraid it is one of the rogues who tried to take her by force on her way because it is one of the few memories she has from the whole trip, but as she opens her eyes and catches a glimpse of the woman´s face, partly covered by hair long hair, she feels a sense of relief.

“Oh, it is you...” The princess raises her head and chest, sitting on the ground. “Come here, my dear. I promised you I´d bring you back.” The princess embraces the woman with love, like a mother holding her child. The princess starts stroking the woman´s hair gently. “Ah, you are exactly the way I´ve seen you... so pretty... so sweet.”
“Nei! Come here, dear!” The princess stretches her right arm and touches the purple-haired girl´s face gently. “I missed you...”
“Oh, Marlena! It is so good to see you back!” The purple-haired girl starts crying again, but this time her tears are tears of joy.
“Nei... everything is fine now. Now I have to take care of this girl.”
“Is she alright?”
“Yes. She had just fainted.”
“Oh, Marlena, it is so good to see you back!” The golden-haired girl leaves the telemental behind.
“I´m so glad, Anna. It is finished. My task is over. Here she is.”
“We feared for your safety, Marlena. We thought you were dead.”
“And I was, in fact, but someone just healed me at the last moment.” The princess turns her eyes to the woman in her arms.
“Thank God! At least she was not evil. I thought she had put under a spell. You were acting so strange...”
“No, she didn´t. She is sweet, sweet as you two are.”
“And she has a scent of lilies... isn´t it strange?” The purple-haired girl gets closer to the woman. “Look, there is a pink ribbon entangled in her hair.”

The purple-haired girl takes the ribbon and starts pulling it our of the woman´s hair. At the other extremity of the ribbon, there are many colored pearls tied in it. The pearls shine with the light of the rising sun.

“They are so beautiful.” The purple-haired girl is amazed with the pearls.
“Hey!” The telemental tries to be friendly again. “Princess...”
“What happened to you? Your eyes are yellow again.” The golden-haired girl is still suspicious of him.
“I don´t know. Princess...” The telemental kneels down beside the princess. “Are you OK?”
The princess stares deeply at his eyes. The fire in her eyes makes him shudder. “Don´t ever talk to me again.”
“Excuse me, I was anxious...”
“Don´t ever talk to me again! Do you understand?”

The woman shakes a bit, making the princess turn her attention to her. She opens her green eyes slowly, looks to the princess´ face and release a big smile.

“I´m alive! Thanks, majesty!”
“I´m so happy... I promised you I´d make it.”
“And I´ll always be thankful for that, queen Marlena.”
“You don´t need to call me queen...”
“A queen is always a queen, majesty.”
“But I don´t even have a kingdom...”
“Wherever you are, there is your kingdom. The kingdom of love.”

The woman gently frees herself from the princess’ embrace and stands up, leaving the princess thinking about her last sentence. She removes the dirty of her clothes with her hands and take her hands to her hair, in order to tie it.

“Sorry...” The purple-haired girl blushes. “Here is your ribbon.”
“It was nothing to feel sorry about, pretty girl.” The woman gently takes the ribbon and starts braiding her own hair.
“I was not stealing your pearls. I was only looking at them. They are so beautiful.”
“If your were a thief, you´d be a very bad one, given the amount of time I stayed unconscious, you should be able to hide it from my view.” The braided woman laughs.
“Well... yes...” The purple-haired girl feels embarrassed.
“Oh, sorry, I was just joking with you.” The braided woman playfully caresses the purple-haired girl´s hair.
“Well, well, well, finally you are there.” The telemental turns to the braided woman.
“Yes, I´m here. It is so awkward.”
“What will we do now?” The golden-haired girl asks the telemental.
“We have nothing left to do in this damned planet.”
“Hey, look how you talk of my planet!”
“Sorry, but we have had a hard time here. We were almost robbed, the stupid telemental here almost sold me and Nei...”
“Let´s skip the unnecessary details.”
“Anyway, we didn´t find anyone good here. Err, forgive me, besides you.”
“No need to excuse yourself. Why don´t we spend some days here, then we move on?”
“I think we should leave immediately.” The telemental answers harshly.
“We must spend some days here!” The braided girl uses a very defiantly tone.
“OK. But what will we do? We don´t have money, no place to stay, no friends.”
“Don´t worry, finding a way to survive in this planet is my speciality. Let´s go.” The braided girl pauses and turns to the princess. “Sorry, majesty. Do you feel better? Are you able to take a long walk?”
“I don´t think so... I´m still feeling weak...”
“Well, there is a place where we can rest in this city. I think you should go there and have some rest. The journey will not be that long, but it will be better if you have some rest before. Come with me, majesty.” The braided girl extends her hand to help the princess to stand up.

The braided woman starts leading the way. Noticing that there are four backpacks, she takes one, which was supposed to be the princess´ backpack and carries it herself. The three other girls follow her at some distance. The telemental walks alone, some yards on their left. His plans were not going well, so he decided to take a chance with the braided woman.

“Oh, I´m glad you are here with us.”
“I´m glad to be back again, though I don´t know yet what I will do.”
“Oh, I have great plans for you.”
“Really? Will you make my dream come true?”
“Yes, I always wanted to be a singer. Don´t you think I have a great voice?” The braided woman scats some phrases.
“Well, you do have a great voice, but...”
“Where do I sign, Mr... what is your name?”
“Just telemental for you.”
“Right, Mr. You. Your parents surely had strange ideas regarding names.” The braided woman laughs.
“Oh my...”
“I see, you don´t make the businessman kind. Maybe regicide fits better for you.” The braided woman stares at the telemental´s eyes seriously.
“There is something in your eyes... remind me of someone... I don´t like it...”

The telemental distances himself from the braided woman. He is feeling terrible. He has earned the hate from the golden-haired girl, from the princess and most probably from the purple-haired girl. He hoped to change the situation earning the braided woman´s trust in order to convince the others, but she seemed to be too free-spirited for that.

“This woman... she has something on her, I can´t explain...”
“Neither do I, Nei. I was afraid she had put you under a spell, Marlena.”
“No, it was not her... it was something inside myself...”
“Pretty strange, isn´t it? Why would you risk you life for her?”
“That must be the same thing that made me go to Motavia for the first time. Only this time I really didn´t want to revive her... not because of her, of course, she seems to be a nice person. But I didn´t want anything to do with this reviving business anymore, so I think I fell on this trance to not abandon her. Love was guiding me all the time.”
“Well, that still sounds strange for me. You looked like a crazy woman, Marlena.”
“Anna, though I don´t remember very well the things while I was under that trance, I just can´t tell you how many times she begged for me to leave her and save myself.”
“Could it be the telemental, so?”
“I doubt it. I think it has something to do with what she told me, that I´m the personification of love...”
“Oh well, I hope that don´t end killing you. If it was not for her powers, you´d be history.”
“I know.”
“When I look at her, I feel an awkward feeling. There is something in the way she moves... something on her lily scent... you can see she is special just by looking at her.”
“That is really strange, Nei. I´m somewhat afraid. We don´t know her. She is not even from Algol...”
“Yes. I can hear a faint crackle as she walks. I wonder what it all means...”
“Well, she really has something special about her. She could talk with me while dead. She even cast a spell to save me from some rogues in the desert... maybe that has something to do with the fact of her being holy, as that stupid telemental said.”
“Save you? What happened, Marlena?” The purple-haired girl was really worried.
“I don´t know, some rogues attacked me. They tried to take me by force. They had overpowered me, I was helpless. Then, she did something and every man of the band fell on the floor, like dead.”
“That is scary.”
“Anyway, she was powerful enough to protect me while dead.”
“Yeah, she really looks special in some way.”
“What is more awkward for me is that she always talked to me very politely, very seriously, I imagined she would be a different kind of person. She is certainly sweet and lovely, but she looks free-spirited, she makes jokes all the time. Look how she treated the telemental.”
“Yes, she is debonaire, she has a devil-may-care attitude.”
“Well, Nei, I hope we have the opportunity to know her better.”
“That is true. I hope she may help us against the telemental. He is really becoming mad.”
“I don´t even want to remember all the things he has told me...”

The braided woman leads them into a rocky path. At the crossroads, she turns left and is followed by closely by the group. The princess comes near her.

“Forgive me, I don´t want to be a nuisance, but I´m not feeling well. Are we too far from our destination?”
“Oh, majesty, you are never a nuisance.” The braided woman stretches her right arm and gently embraces the princess. “We are almost there. Can you see those wooden cottages carved in the trees?”
“I´m almost sure there is a place to rest in the nearest one. I don´t know for how long I´ve been dead, but this city is abandoned anyway. I don´t think anyone would care coming to this city besides me.”
“Hmmm. I´d like to know more about you. Thanks.”
“You are always welcome, majesty.”

The braided girl enters the building and checks if it is really what she had described to the princess. She feels an awkward sense of nostalgia, as if the time had stopped in that place. The place looks exactly like it was before she was killed.

“You may come in!”

The group enters the strange cottage. The girls are impressed with the wooden cottage carved in a tree trunk. It is large and comfortable. The telemental doesn´t pay attention to that, as usual.

“There are some beds in this room, you may rest on them.”
“Sounds good, I´m deadly tired.” The telemental walks towards one of the beds.
“Hey, you will not sleep with the girls. Take one of the mattresses and lay it on the floor, outside.”
“Why? I´ve slept with them before.”
“I think the girls prefer this way. Don´t make things worse.”
“Well, well...”
“Looks like the beds are clean. What a relief!” The purple-haired girl sighs.
“Very good. There must be a bathroom in the back of the room if you need it. Are you feeling fine, majesty?”
“It is nothing. Just a bit tired.”
“I see. Shut the bolts and have a good rest.”
“What about you?” The telemental seems worried.
“I´ll look for something for us to eat. There is a village nearby.”
“I´m going with you.”
“No, you stay here. And please, don´t do anything wrong.”
“Why do you think I´d do something wrong?”
“You know yourself better than me.”
“Isn´t it dangerous for you to go out alone, penniless?”
“Don´t worry, all my life has been like that. I´ll be back in a couple of hours.”

The braided woman waits until she hears the sound of the bolts being shut inside the girls´ room and leave the building. She heads to the lake again. She has something on her mind. She enters the spiralling wooden building, climbs up the ramps, climbs down the crystal stairway, jumps the stones and finally reaches an altar, elevated over the waters. She kneels down and crosses her hands and starts praying.

“It is so awkward to be here. It has been such a long time... the last time I´ve been here... I... was... killed... in this altar... but I´ve fulfilled my destiny... Now I´m alive again... I´ve learned so much during all those years... now I know where my goal is... I know what we all lived looking for doesn´t exist... yet... It must be built... over our blood, sweat and tears... I know I have a mission... this time I´ll not fail... even if we don´t exist anymore with our blood... we will exist with our minds... our thoughts... our teachings... that will be our legacy to the universe... our spirits will roam free... we will keep on living, just not in this world... but our hearts and minds will still be set in the good of every living thing... we will still help... teach... learn... love... be loved... through all the eternity... May your spirits be in peace and under the love of God... We must be bounded for infinity by love... I will never hate anybody anymore... not even him... not even him... I forgive you... I forgive you...”

The braided woman leaves the altar with tears in her eyes. The emotions were too strong to resist. But she is at peace. She feels so comfortable, so light that it feels like she can float in the air. Her heart is filled with love. She leaves the building, retracing her steps back to the building entrance. As she exists the building, she takes a deep breath. She feels at peace, a heavenly peace. But she knows her task is not over yet. She has to help at least two people. And she must hurry, for one person is in serious danger.

The braided woman leaves the city behind her and starts walking through a forest. She feels herself at ease in the wilderness, happy with the contact with nature. “In this place... it was the last time I´ve talked to him... I miss him... I miss them all... though I don´t have that feeling anymore, neither for him, nor for the one before... even so, I miss them... I wonder what my life could have been if it wasn´t interrupted at that point...”

The braided woman keeps walking among the trees. She has a ladylike posture, a peculiar way of walking, she was in touch with the nature, with the whole planet. After some minutes, she crosses a rocky passageway and finds herself in a village. The village is just a few cottages built on the mountainside. There are some people working, mining the mountain.

“Hi, there!”
“Hello!” One of the workers stop to chat.
“It´s been a long time since I´ve been here, but the village remains pretty unchanged.”
“Yeah, you know, there is not many things going on here. If it was not for the mine, it would have been abandoned decades ago.”
“Well, I´m glad to see the things are progressing, albeit slowly. I´ve been for quite a time in the northlands, I didn´t have much news about the cities down here. Is everything OK?”
“It is, in fact nothing out of the ordinary has happened in many years. As you said, things are just progressing slowly.”
“Neat. Sorry for disturbing your work. I´ll not take your time anymore. Thanks.”
“That was nothing.”

The braided woman walks through the village streets, which are ramps and ladders carved on the mountain wall. She makes her way to the main shop of the village.

“Hi there!”
“Hello!” The clerk answers with the usual fake smile of shop clerks.
“I came here looking for some food and medicine, but it looks like I can´t afford them.”
“Too bad.”
“Don´t you know about some job I could do to raise money enough for the medicine? A friend of mine is really sick, she needs help desperately.”
“I wish I could help you, but the only job available here is that of miner, which is not fit for a lady like you. Besides that, today people will stop working and they will come back only after the weekend.”
“Tough luck...”
“Yeah, the miners come here for some drinks and most will return home.”
“Right. Thanks anyway.”

The braided woman leaves the shop uneasy. She needs to get some food and medicines, but without money it will not be easy. She could sell one of her pearls, but she doesn´t feel like selling them, as they may be useful in the future. As she cannot work, the only thing she could get for free were some exotic flowers in the forest, but miners are not the target audience for a flower seller. Suddenly one idea comes to her mind and she returns to the shop.

“Hmm... hey, I have an idea!”
“Yeah. If they will return home for the weekend, most likely they want to take something to their wives, girlfriends, mothers or daughters.”
“Hmm, sometimes someone ask me for a gift, but I don´t have anything cool or romantic to sell.”
“What if I provide you something? You could sell it for a profit.”
“Bring them in, I´ll see if they are worthy.”
“Thanks! Could you lend me an empty bucket? I swear I´ll not steal it.”
“Alright, I´ll take it for you.”
The man goes to another room and soon returns. “Here, take it.”
“Thanks. If I don´t return in thirty minutes, you may call the cops.”

The braided woman leaves the store smiling. She returns to the small forest and start collecting exotic flowers. It is a pleasurable task for her, as she loves flowers. She tries to collect quantities already considering the aesthetic aspect, for she doesn´t want to collect more flowers than needed, after all they are living things. After a few minutes, she is back to the store.

“You are back again. What do you have there?”
“Nothing yet, but if you lend me your back room for some minutes, I´ll make you something special.”
“Well, what can I lose? Just go on.”

The braided woman goes to the back room and starts making flower arrangements with great dexterity, using some spare materials found in the room. In fifteen minutes, she comes with very beautiful flower arrangements.

“What do you think? Don´t you consider them a good souvenir for the miners wives, girlfriends, mothers?”
“Wow, they look quite nice. Who about twenty-five each arrangement?”
“Let´s make a fair deal. I need some of your stuff, so why not exchange each arrangement for thirty-five worth in goods from your store and the rest you pay me twenty-five?”
“That is not a bad deal. What will you need?”
“Some food.. this, this and that. That makes fifty... I also need some medicine for my sick friend. That potion and these herbs make another fifty. I think that is enough.”
“Very well, lady. Don´t you want anything else?”
“Not for now, thanks.”
“So, as you´ve made nine arrangements, I owe will a hundred and fifty. Take there.”
“Thank you very much. You have saved my life.”

The braided woman takes her packages and is ready to leave, but then she remembers something.

“Sorry, I have forgot something. There is an iron rod in the pile of junk outside...”
“The metal bars? They are useless.”
“I think I have some use for one of the bars. Can I take it?”
“Of course. I still owe you five from our exchange. You may have it. I just don´t know what you will do with that.”
The braided woman takes the iron rod and returns. “You don´t know how useful it can be in the right hands... or dangerous... en guarde!”

The braided woman mockingly thrusts the rod towards the shop clerk, but refrain from hitting him by half a hair width. She leaves the store laughing, while the clerk is shocked by the performance. The braided woman leaves the village at ease, as she managed to obtain what she came looking for. “I´ve told them surviving without money was my speciality!” The joy turns into worry as she remembers of the medicines, so she runs through the forest back to city where she had left her companions.


Meanwhile, at the wooden house, the girls are getting ready to sleep. The purple-haired girl and the golden-haired girl are tired after a long and eventful day. The princess is in a much worse situation. She is awake for more than three days, without rest, and completely exhausted. Though the braided woman´ spell has helped her a great deal, she was still very weak.

“Girls,I hope you don´t mind if I take my shower first.”
“Of course not, Marlena, you really need it. You need some rest as well. Please, dear, go ahead.”
“Thanks, Nei.”

The princess chooses a nightgown from the ones she has saved from her home and enters the bathroom. The golden-haired girl and the purple-haired girl stay at the bedroom, chatting.

“Whew, that was close, Anna. I really thought we had lost Marlena forever.”
“You can say that again.”
“When I took her in my arms and realized her heart had stopped, I felt as if I was dying with her.”
“And that damned telemental seemed content to see her dead. He only cared about the woman Marlena revived.”
“Luckily that woman was able to bring Marlena back. As for the telemental, I wonder what he is up to. Now he has me, you and the other woman revived.”
“It is better for him that he is not playing any trick, otherwise he will have to face my anger.”
“I´m glad it is all over and Marlena is well. If the telemental has some insane plans in his mind, we can just refuse to follow him.”
“If it depended only on me, we´d have already got rid of him.”
A knock is heard on the door. “Marlena? Marlena?”
“Buzz off. Didn´t you hear her saying that she doesn't want to talk to you anymore?”
“Oh, Anna, let me speak with her, it is something important.”
“Leave me alone!” The princess screams from the bathroom.
“Did you listen to her? Now leave us alone!”
“Oh, what can I do...”
“Damned telemental! I regret not slicing his neck when I had the opportunity.”
“Well... Anna, what about the girl...?”
“You mean the healer? We don´t even know her name yet.”
“Yes. I don´t know what to think about her. She doesn´t seem to be like us...”
“She doesn´t, indeed. She has some strong ideas on her own. She forced the telemental to stay in this planet. I wonder what she does have in mind.”
“I don´t know as well. Anyway, she cured Marlena, she protected us... I think she is not a bad person.”
“Even so, it is better to keep a wary eye on her.”
“Do you think that necessary?”
“I think. She appeared on Marlena´s dreams. She talked to Marlena while dead. She also knows things about us, about the telemental. Now that I thought better, she even speaks our language while no one else in this planet does. Isn´t it strange?”
“Pretty strange, but she has saved Marlena. For me, that is proof enough she is not evil.”
“I hope you are right.”

The princess leaves the bathroom ready to sleep. Her looks impress the girls, for she was in such a desperate state when they have found her. Now, after just one shower, she looked stunningly pretty again.

“Nei.. Anna... do you mind if I don´t wait for you? I´m not feeling very well...”
“What are you feeling?”
“Nothing special, Nei. Fatigue... some pains... I´m sure some good hours of sleep will make me feel better.”
“Don´t worry about us, Marlena, you deserve this rest after all you have endured.”
“Thanks, Anna.”

The princess lays on one of the beds and soon she is sleeping. The purple-haired girl takes her shower and then takes another bed. The golden-haired girl is the last to take her shower. When she is finished, the other girls are sleeping, so she lays in another bed and tries to sleep as well.

The telemental, laying on a mattress outside, was deeply worried by the current state of things. He lost the control of himself when the princess was reviving the braided woman and had lost the control of the situation. She tried to ask forgiveness, but the girls didn´t even want to listen to him. He tried to conquer the trust of the braided woman in order to use her to convince the other girls to forgive him, but she was not the kind of woman that he could easily convince. “Damn... I lost the control of myself. How could I know Marlena was needed as well? After all I have said and done, how will I convince Anna, Nei, and specially Marlena of my plans? And this woman... she has a free spirit, she knows things I don´t know... she is not exactly what I thought she would be... And that magazine... Damn, I cannot fail, cannot fail!” After much thinking, the telemental falls asleep.


The braided woman arrives at the city where the group was left and hurries to the wooden house. She tries to get inside without making much noise, but the telemental has placed his mattress in a way she couldn´t see him before stumbling over him and nearly falling to the floor.

“What is that?”
“Oh, sorry... I didn´t see you. You should have put your mattress in a corner, not blocking the only passage. Did I hurt you?”
“Not really. Where have you been?”
“Getting food for you.” The braided woman throws a pack of snacks at the telemental.
“Do you call this food?”
“What did you expect? A feast?”
“Something better than this junk.”
“Don´t eat if you don´t want.”
“Well, if there is nothing better, I settle with that. What else have you got there? An iron bar?”
“It may be useful for me to protect myself from men like you.” The braided woman laughs.
“Oh, my...”
“And, most important, money.” She takes the bills from her bra and waves them to the telemental. “Look here... look here...”
“How is the village?”
“Not nice. Just a bunch of miners, only men. Nothing to work at besides mining.”
“So how did you get all that money?”
“Well, I sold my talents to earn some money.”
“Oh, so that must magazine must be true...” The telemental speaks to himself.

The braided woman leaves the telemental, lightly knocks the girl´s room door and whispers. “It´s me.” The princess, who is awake, crying and feeling an acute pain on her chest, makes a lot of effort to stand up and unbolt the locks. At the sight of the braided woman, the princess abandons her body on her. The braided woman hugs the princess to prevent her from falling on the ground and slowly pushes her back to her bed.

“Oh, majesty, I knew you were not feeling well, so I hurried back.”
“I don´t know what it is... I feel a sharp pain on my heart...”
“Lay down... I´ve brought you some medicine.”

The braided woman leaves her packages on the floor, kneels beside the princess´ bed, takes the potion and the herbs out of the package, mix them inside the potion flask. The princess watches the scene anxiously, as the pain is too strong to endure. Then, the braided woman opens the flask, closes her eyes and lays her right hand over the flask opening. The princess watches the contents of the flask change from yellow to blue.

“Drink it, majesty.”
“Tha... thanks...”

The princess raises her head to drink the potion. The princess´ hands are shaking, so the braided woman helps her drinking the contents of the flask. After she finishes drinking, she lays down again. The braided woman gently strokes the princess´ hair.

“Soon you will be feeling better. You can rest now.”
“I´ve bought some food. You must be starving.”
“Yes, but I don´t feel like eating now.”
“So rest a bit, majesty. I´ve got some money as well. When you are feeling better, we may move to a bigger city, where I can take better care of you.”
“Thanks. You have been so kind to me. How did you get money enough to all those things.”
“I´ve sold my talents to be able to help you.”
“No! Are you saying you sold yourself in order to help me? You shouldn´t have done that, I feel so bad...”
“No, majesty, I didn´t sell myself, I´d never do that. Well, maybe I would if that was the only way to save your life. Anyway, I made some flower arrangements with exotic flowers I´ve collected in the forest and sold them to the shopkeeper.”
“Amazing! You really know how to take care of yourself.”
“It has always been like that. I´ve always been poor...”
“I see. Well, thanks, the pain is going away...”
“Nice, get some rest. I´ll take a shower and get some rest as well.”
“Do you need some clothes? You can take one of my nightgowns in one of the backpacks.”
“Really? You are so kind.”
“That is nothing after you have done to me.”
“That is nothing after you have done to me first, majesty.”

The braided woman winks at the princess and leaves to the bathroom. Arriving there, she takes out her dirty dress, her underwear, opens the shower tap and lets the warm water fall on her head and shoulders. “I can´t believe it, I´m alive again! Thanks, God, for sending this blessed woman to me! I promise You I´ll do much more for the universe in this second chance. Thanks!” The braided woman takes a long shower, using the time to think of her life. Past, present and future.

The braided woman finishes her shower, dries herself and puts on the princess´ nightgown. It doesn´t look so bad as she is a bit shorter than the princess, so it is a bit large for her, but comfortable. The exits the bathroom and moves toward the free bed, which is the first to the left, besides the princess´ bed. As she lays on the bed, the princess turns to her.

“Uh, sorry, I woke you up.”
“No, you didn´t. I was awake.”
“Are you feeling better, majesty?”
“Yes, the pain has almost gone. Breathing is normal again.”
“Thank God you are feeling well. Now rest a bit.”
“I´m not feeling sleepy anymore. Do you mind talking to me a bit?”
“No, not at all.”
“I want to know you better.”
“I see.”
“By the way, is this gown OK for you?”
“Yes, it is a bit large, specially on the chest, but comfortable.”
“Good. Luckily my dresses are good for you and the girls, otherwise we´d be in trouble.”
“Well, you know, you are all almost the same height. You all are thin and... What do you have among your people that all the girls are like that? You all have large... well... you know, I don´t... ”
“But you are strikingly beautiful the way you are.”
“Thanks. I had a friend who used to have them large as yours and I somewhat envied her, but now I´m glad just to be alive. I hope she... and him... got together... after all I was not there anymore...”
“Sorry, of whom you are talking about?”
“Nevermind, people from my past.”
“I see. There are many things I want to know about you. How could you talk to me? How could you bring me back? How could you cast spells to protect me while dead? What means that I´m the personification of love? You seem to be powerful and wise. Besides that, I want to know you as a person as well, the reason why the telemental needs you.”
“There are lots of things. I just don´t know from where to start...”
“Oh, if you don´t feel like talking...”
“No, I don´t mind, that helps me know me better as well...”
“Well, I don´t know myself very well... I was adopted. I have spent most of my childhood imprisoned. They say all my people was annihilated. I remember being in laboratories with a woman... probably my mom... One day we escaped. That woman died and a kind woman adopted me. Then I started living my life as a common girl... But it was never like that, there were strange things happening... voices in my head... my powers...”
“Your story is really sad. By the way, we all four share sad fates.”
“I´m sorry to hear that, majesty. I know what has happened to you...”
“This is something that puzzles me. How can you know?”
“While dead, we stay in contact with the universe. We learn these things...”
“Strange, the other girls didn´t tell me they were able to learn things.”
“Maybe it is just another weird thing about me..”
“I see.”
“It is not easy being this way... Sometimes I wish I were only a common girl. I wish I could have a normal life...”
“Sometimes I feel this way too...”
“I know... after all you have such a special power.”
“Can you tell me more about it? I´m completely confused about that.”
“Well, you are the personification of love.”
“And what does that mean?”
“As I was made to heal, the blonde girl, Anna, was made to protect, Nei was made to bring hope, you were made to bring love.”
“Yes, you may not notice, but you exhale love from your soul. I imagine people usually fall in love with you.”
“Well, I can say that happens a lot. Even with girls...”
“That is because you are the way you are. Now I´m near you, I feel an awkward feeling.”
“What do you feel?”
“I don´t know. You get that certain something on my mind.” The braided woman blushes. “Oh, it is embarrassing.”
“Nevermind, queen Marlena. How about some rest now? We will have time to know ourselves better tomorrow.”
“Oh, sorry, I was excited to hear more from you, I forgot how tired I was.”
“No problems, majesty. Tomorrow we will have a longer journey, so it is better if you get sleep a bit. Bye.”

The braided woman turns to the other side and tries to sleep. The princess keeps looking for her companion for a while. “I don´t know what this girl has... I feel as if I´m attached to her in a supernatural way... How I regret refusing to bring her back...”


The telemental wakes up in the middle of the night, hungry. He unwillingly eats some of the snacks the braided woman has bought him. He feels uneasy. “Now it is time to put my plan to work. I just don´t know how I will make it. This girl... she is my last chance... but I thought she had a purity aura over her... I just don´t know what to think about that. I only know I need to make the things work out, even if that means using all my power.”

The girls start waking up, hungry. The purple-haired girl notices some snack packs, very similar to the ones she used to have in Motavia. She takes a chocolate bar and eats it. “Not bad. It is a pretty decent chocolate.” Then she moves on to potato chips. The noise wakes up the golden-haired girl.

“Sorry, Anna, I woke up hungry. Do you want some?”
“Yeah, I´m so hungry that I´d start eating my pillow.”
“Looks like you are hungry, girls.” They can hear the braided woman whispering. “Sorry for not being able to bring better food. Those were the only things available. I hope they are edible.”
“Don´t worry, it is fine. It is as tasty as the ones back home.”
“I´m glad to learn that, Nei. By the way, the day is almost dawning. I think we can break up camp as soon as queen Marlena wakes up.”
“Let´s get ready for our journey and let her rest a bit more.”
“Alright, Anna, I´ll exchange my clothes.” The purple-haired girl drops the potato chips pack and goes to the bathroom.
“I´ll take a breath of the fresh air of the dawn.”

The braided woman unlocks the door and leaves the bedroom. She meets the telemental outside, seated in a chair, eating.

“Hey, come here.”
“I... I need our help!”
“What for?”
“I need that you help me to get along with the girls again.”
“After all you have said and done...”
“I´ve made a mistake. Everybody can make mistakes. Now, will you help me or not?”
“What will I get from you if I help you?”
“I´ll allow you to be my wife.”
“My God, get real! Don´t offer love as a reward for a favor. It doesn´t work...”
“Well, could you just help me?”
“You know it depends much more on you than on me.”
“That is really important for me.”
“I don´t want to see you on bad terms, but you must change your ways.”
“I will... I will...”
“You must learn to be humble. You must learn compassion. You power is useless without that.”

The braided woman exits the building. She walks to the lake. There, she sits in its margin and looks to the east, in order to catch the glimpse of the first rays of the rising sun. She is not worried about the cold breeze that blows in the dawn. She stays watching the wonderful colors of the sunrise painted in the sky while she meditates. “It is not easy being here. It is not easy to overcome our human nature... But I must keep on trying... keep on trying... doing the things right... as You expect me to do...”

She returns home to find everybody ready for the journey. The telemental is trying to talk to the princess, who acts as if she was deaf. The braided woman exchange her clothes, putting on her pink dress and her bracelets, ties her braided hair with her ribbon, takes her iron rod and leaves the bedroom to meet everybody at the entrance.

“I see everybody is ready. But, girls, we are not going for a party.”
“We know that.”
“So why are you wearing these luxury dresses?”
“They are the only ones we have.”
“That is not fair, you are prettier than me already. If you wear those dresses, I´ll look like a girl from the slums.” The braided woman shrugs her shoulders. “Well, that is exactly what I am, so let´s start our journey.”
“Where are we going?” The telemental asks the woman.
“We are going down south. We need to go to a certain city, bigger than these villages from the north.”
“I see. Show us our way.”
“Let´s make a deal first.”
“Which deal?”
“I´m aware of your difficult relationship and I´m not here to judge you. I just ask one thing from you. Let´s not make the things more difficult. I don´t ask you to be friends, but try to treat each other with respect...”
“See, Marlena? Stop ignoring me...”
“That includes not talking when it does more harm than good.” The braided woman raises her voice to interrupt the telemental. “Do we have a deal?”
“Yeah... I´ll try...” The princess answers, still unsure.
“So be it. Thanks for your cooperation.”

The braided woman leads their way through the rock path that takes them out of the city. Soon they reach a forest, the same forest the braided woman has crossed the day before. The purple-haired girl and the golden-haired girl are interested in the exotic plants and flowers. The princess is more interested in knowing that woman better.

“Oh, majesty! Are you feeling fine?”
“Better than yesterday.”
“I´m glad to hear that.”
“Now I´m worried with my feet. I´m not used to long walks.”
“I see. Specially wearing high-heeled shoes. That is why I use these boots. They are not beautiful, specially for a charming lady like me, but they save my day when I take long walks.”
“I´d borrow one pair from you if your feet where not so small.”
“I´d lend you one pair if I haven´t died. You know, that old saying that you don´t take anything with you in the death trip is true.”
“Ha ha, you are right. Would I bother you if I asked you some questions?”
“Not at all. I´d like to know you better as well.”

The golden-haired girl starts a conversation with the purple-haired girl.

“Yes, Anna.”
“I´m not feeling well.”
“Are you sick?”
“No, it is not that, Nei. It is a feeling of uselessness.”
“Why do you feel like that?”
“Well, I was revived, but I don´t know what for. The telemental don´t care about us, he only cares about Marlena and this new woman. Marlena is always with her, there is something going on between them. As for me... well, I used to be a loner, but I was very concentrated on my job before I met you and Rolf. Now, I don´t have any reason to keep me alive.”
“Oh, Anna, sometimes I feel like that too, but we must wait and see what will happen.”
“You know, there is something about this woman, I don´t understand. She seems to have put Marlena under a spell. Did you see how she suddenly became attached to this woman? Marlena went mad before because of her. I know she doesn´t look like an evil woman, but we know that the evil lurks everywhere, so I´m not comfortable with this woman yet.”
“Well, Anna, I don´t see her as you see, but I admit Marlena is overjoyed with her. But I feel comfortable. Did you notice that the old joie de vivre in Marlena is coming back again?”
“Yes, I did notice that. I hope that it is for her good.”
“Me too. We have to wait, trust her and see what happens.”
“Well, we don´t have any other choice, have we? By the way, I can´t take Rolf out of my mind...”
“Oh, Anna...”
“Why? Why did the things have to be this way? Why couldn´t I have a happy life beside your brother, Nei? Why can´t all of us be happy? Why do we need to suffer this way? You know, Nei, I´m not that kind of girl who cries for anything, I´ve faced the worst in my life, but I´ve never complained, I´ve never lost control. I always try to take a rational and pragmatic approach to things in life, but it is too hard, too hard to hide in my own shell, conceal my feelings. I suffer, like you do. I love, like you do. It is all the same. I loved Rolf. I suffer to not be able to have a happy life by his side. All I wanted was to have him as my husband, you as my sister-in-law. To abandon the days as a hunter or guardian, to have a peaceful life...”
“Oh, Anna... I´ve never seen you crying like that...”
The princess slows her pace. “Come on, girls, join us.”
“Why can´t we all be happy...” The golden-haired girl sobs bitterly.
“You know, life is not the way we want it to be, life is the way it is. Even so, we must still be the same, no matter what happens. It is easy to be nice when everything is perfect, but to be a fantastic person like you are, with all the hardships you had to endure, is so rare. I´m proud of you, Anna.” The braided woman embraces and kisses the golden-haired girl´s head.
“I know, but yet it is too painful to endure...” The golden-haired girl embraces the braided woman and buries her face on the woman´s shoulder.
“I know... I know exactly how it is...”
“Really...? Oh, Rolf... I really loved him...”
“Well, let´s go on.” The golden-haired girl releases the braided woman, wipes the tears from her eyes and resumes walking. “Forgive me...”
“There isn´t anything for what you should ask forgiveness. Your love is true.”
“Thanks. How can you be so wise? You are not much older than us. How old are you?”
“I´m 22.”
“I´m 19. You must have had a tremendous life. I´ve had a life filled with hardships, challenges, I´ve learned a lot, but when I compare myself to you, I know nothing. You always have a wise answer to give us.”
“I don´t know, I don´t consider myself so wise... I think I still have to learn a lot... but I´m glad that I can help you all.”
“I wonder how your life has been...”
“Most probably like yours. I was just a common girl, living my life as such. Someday I got involved in the process of trying to save my planet from tyrants who wanted to rule it. Then, I´ve got killed while trying to save it.”
“Just like me, though I´ve never had a normal life.”
“Neither did I, Anna, but that was the way the things were meant to be. What can I do, if not try to make the best out of it?”
“You are probably right again and that makes me feel bad. I feel guilty for not thinking the way you think...”
“Please, Anna, don´t feel guilty for that. You didn´t do that on purpose, in malicious or evil ways. You´re just learning and trying to become a better person, just as me and all the good people in this whole universe.”
“Please, I´ve had enough of that!”
“Forgive me, I didn´t mean...”
“No, no, it is me who have to ask you forgiveness. I´m not being sarcastic or bad intentioned, but I´m drowning in your wisdom and it makes me feel bad. I feel so insignificant, falling through the cracks of your amazing story...”
“Sorry, Anna, take your time. I just want to help you, if I can.”
“I really appreciate your willingness to help me. Thanks.”

The golden-haired girl slows her pace again in order to have a private conversation with the purple-haired girl.

“My God, I know I shouldn´t, but I feel worse now than ever. I´m depressed, I wish I could hide myself from them. I wish I could be sent back home... or to the oblivion... That woman scares me. She must be holy, as the telemental has told us. I´m just a poor sinner, I can´t take it any longer.”
“Oh, Anna...”
“I know, Nei, you are scared. You have never seen me acting this way. I always seemed to have the situation under control, regardless how bad it looked. But this is mentally devastating. I feel shunned by the light of the princess and that woman. I´m nothing...”
“Don´t say that, Anna, you once saved our entire solar system with your courage, with your wisdom, with your hope, with your love...”
“I wonder why the telemental wanted us when he can have them...”
“I prefer to think we will have our value. You are an excellent person, Anna. Don´t you feel happy to be alive, to have the opportunity of participating in something great again? I feel so happy to be here! To be here, walking in a distant planet, 1,000 years after I died, in the company of amazing people as you and Marlena! Not even in my most optimistic dreams I have dreamed with something like that! It is already something to rejoice over and over.”
“The telemental must not be so mad as I think he is because he must be right about you being the Hope. I wish I could see the world though your eyes, or that woman´s eyes.”
“Don´t be so negative, dear. Let´s wait and see. It can´t be so bad.”
“Given the telemental don´t try to sell us, kill us or marry us by force, it may not be so bad after all. If only Rolf was with me here, I´d feel confident, safe, happy.”
“I know I´m not him, but as his sister, I hope I can mean at least one percent to you as he meant to you, excluding the romantic feeling, of course.”
“Oh, Nei, if it wasn´t you to keep my spirits high, I´d have already taken drastic measures.”
“Like the ones I´ve taken with that pimp, Don I-don´t-remember-well-his-name?” The purple-haired girl sticks her tongue out of her mouth, mockingly.
“Oh, Nei, you beat me on that one... maybe that is not a bad idea...” The golden-haired girl winks at the purple-haired girl as she jerks her head towards the telemental.

The group advanced through the forest and eventually made it to the village the braided woman has been the day before. There, the braided woman asked for advice on how to cross the sea that separated them from their destination. She was taken to a communication station, from where she radioed to the docks on the other side of the continent.

“There is an old captain with a sail boat, if I remember well, who was kind to me and brought me here for free. If you could hire him...”
“Oh, majesty, thanks, I´ll ask for him.”
“Hi there! I need transport for five people from the north continent. It is not a long trip. Do you think you can make it?”
“Of course. But why don´t you hire a steamship? It is safer and more comfortable than my old sail boat.”
“Someone has suggested you to me. How about a hundred for that?”
“A hundred? If I could make a hundred everyday, I´d work only on weekends!”
“So be it. That person who suggested you told me you had saved her life, so I´m willing to compensate you for that.”
“Thank you very much. I´ll me in the old pier in two hours. Wait me there.”
“We will be there. Thanks, captain.”

Turning to the princess, the braided woman announce the good news.

“Good! We will have a ride for the southern continent. The old captain seemed to be happy.”
“That is great! Let´s get going. By the way, where is Nei?”
“Oh, majesty, she must be chit-chatting with the villagers, wasting the telemental´s translating spell.”
“I´m so happy to see her so excited with the things...”
“Surely she has a lot of things to learn from this planet. Let´s find her because we have to climb down the canyon and reach the shores in two hours.”

The braided woman starts searching for the telemental and the purple-haired woman. Soon she spots her exiting the store where she had bought stuff the day before.

“Did you like chatting with people from my planet?”
“Well, it was interesting. You have a different way of life, less bounded to technology than we used to have. The guy had some interesting stories.”
“Really? Great! Let´s move because we are getting late. Did he tell you something interesting?”
“Yeah. He told me about a crazy woman who almost crushed his face with an iron bar yesterday.”
“Really. He told me she had sold some beautiful flower arrangements for him, that ended being very profitable, but suddenly she almost killed him. He is still deadly scared of her.”
“These guys can´t take a joke. We can´t have fun anymore!”
“Was it... you?”
“Yeah, queen Marlena, but I was just joking with him. What is the problem? Must I have to be serious all the time? This world is already too serious...”
“I wish I was there with you to see that. You and Nei together would bring every house down!” The three women laughed.
“Well, telemental, Anna, let´s move. We must climb down the canyon. Please, be careful.”
“Marlena, could I have some words with you?” The telemental approaches the princess shyly.
“Didn´t you want me dead? Consider myself dead!” The princess dryly barked back.

The group exited the city and started climbing down the canyon. It was not a difficult task, but the group had to be focused on the task because some passages were narrow and steep. Any mistake could be fatal.

The telemental, annoyed with the current situation of his plans and the attitude of all the girls towards him, loses the focus and misses a step. He loses balance and tries to recover, but his left foot slips under loose rocks. He is going straight to the cliff, which is hundreds of feet high. The princess notices he is falling and hurries to him, grabs his arm and pulls him with all her strength. Though she is not very strong, she manages to stop his movement downwards and throw him towards the rocky wall, where he falls in safety. He releases a sigh of relief and looks back to see who has saved him for a certain death.

“Ma... ma... Marlena?”
“Different from you, I don´t want to see you dead.”

The princess jumps over his body and keeps walking without looking back. Still puzzled, the telemental just babbles her name, as he stands up. The braided woman, who looked back to see the commotion, mumbled to herself. “Thank God she did the right thing!”

The group reached the bottom of the canyon and started crossing some plains to reach the shores were the old pier was located. The plains contained some sparse trees, low grass and was easy to cross. The braided woman lead their way, followed closely by the princess, the golden-haired girl and the purple-haired girl, who occasionally chatted, and the telemental some yards behind. As they passed a small grove, suddenly two man appeared. One embraced the braided woman from her back and pointed a gun to her right temple. The other pointed a sub machine gun to the rest of the group. He screams to the group.

“Halt! Everyone! Hand us all your possessions and you may leave alive!”

The group was surprised by the attack. The golden-haired girl instinctively moved his hand towards her slasher.

“Hands up or I´ll kill everyone!”

The golden-haired girl, fearing for the braided woman´s life, raises her hands. The others from the group raise their hands as well.

“Surrender you possessions now! And don´t try any trick!”
“Hey, this beauty here will not lose only her possessions...” The man holding the braided woman hugs her maliciously.
“What are you talking about?”
“Look at these babes? Do you think I´ll lose this chance? Fate smiled upon us! I´ll have them all!”
“Don´t make the things worse, we came here only to steal them.”
“I´ll steal something else from this beauty.”

Both the telemental and the golden-haired girl were tense. They knew that both had powers to annihilate both opponents, but they had to wait a mistake, a lapse, otherwise they would not be fast enough to kill their opponents without harming the braided woman. Attacking someone drawing their weapons was one thing, but faster as they were, it was a completely different thing to attack someone with his finger on the trigger. Everyone was tense, specially the princess, who was on the verge of crying.

Suddenly, with a fast movement, the braided woman swung her iron rod, hitting the right temple of the man holding her. The force of the blow made the man stagger and release her. The group had only time to focus their attention on the girl when they saw her jumping toward the man with the sub machine gun. She swung her rod over her own arm, hitting the arms of the man, making him drop the machine gun. While on the air, she rotated her body and swung the rod again, now holding it with both arms, to give more precision and strength to the blow and hit the man exactly on the base of his head, knocking him unconscious. The other man tried to regain balance and aim at the braided woman, but as she landed facing him after the spin she performed in the air, she jumped again, towards him, swung her rod and hit the man full-force on the top of his head, before he could pull the trigger, knocking him unconscious, as well.

That was too much for the golden-haired girl. She threw her slicers and a wheezing sound filled the air. Everybody but her was static, shocked by the performance of the braided woman. They were surprised again by the loud sound of metal against metal. The golden-haired girl was shocked to see her slashers fall on the ground, after hitting the braided woman´s rod, chopping its extremity. The rod has blocked the attack which was meant to chop off both rogue´s heads.

“Why? Why that?”
“Enough, Anna, we have already defeated them. We don´t need to kill them.”
“But... they are rogues. They would rob us. They would rape you.”
“Even so, they don´t deserve to be killed so mercilessly. Don´t make your hands dirty with their blood. You don´t need to do that. They have already learned their lesson today. Let them live. Let´s resume our journey!”

The braided woman wipes the dust from her pink dress with her hands, rearrange her hair and resumes walking. The rest of the group stay motionless. The purple-haired girl is delighted with the braided woman combat skills with a mere iron rod. The princess seems to be unable to believe what her eyes had just seem. The telemental just left his lower jaw drop. The golden-haired girl, still incredulous of seeing her deadly slashers blocked by a weak iron rod, shakes her head.

“I wonder if someday I will understand what is inside the mind of this girl with pearls in her hair...”
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