Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Mirror of Dreams - Chapter 27
“When did she learn to ride a horse?” Kyle muttered in Ian's ear.
“Beats me!” Ian replied with a shrug.
I didn't hear them though, as I galloped closer. I did see them all waiting for me. Tension was almost palpable in the air.
“I'd have loved to see the looks of the people as she rode by naked,” Sir Barrett remarked with a grin.
“Me too!” Lord Antony agreed. “I'm sure it was a sight to behold!”
“Especially with that strange glow,” Sir Barrett added.
Finally arriving, I stopped my horse and tossed the orb at Nathan. “Hold onto that for me!”
As I dismounted from my horse, Nathan caught the orb, yelped in pain, and tossed it from hand to hand until Lady Sophia had the good sense to wrap the orb in a silk scarf she wore and then hand it back to him.
“It still stings,” he muttered even as he kept a hold on the orb.
“What's that?” Ian asked as I marched past him on my way into the palace.
“I'll explain later!” I promised. “For now, I'm going to get dressed!”
“Get dressed?!” Half my court asked in surprise.
This was just the right bit of humor I needed. Giggling, I stopped in my tracks and turned to look at them. “I do wear clothes on occasion...”
Lady Leeza stepped forward. “I dread seeing you in that awful uniform again! May I?”
I shrugged. “What did you have in mind?”
She pulled a very large spool of golden thread out of her work bag, and then wiggled her fingers at it. It rapidly flew around, forming itself into lace motifs and then joining together on my body until I was wearing a full body catsuit. A lacy and transparent one that felt as soft as butter. Utterly impressed, I grinned at her.
“Yeah, this'll do,” I stated, giving her a thorough kiss as a reward.
Turning to Lord Gregory, I lightly smacked him on the arm. “Did you honestly expect me to ride naked all the way to the border?”
He twisted his lips. “I would not put it past you,” he remarked dryly. He looked over my outfit with an expression that suggested he thought that this was not very covering anyway.
Chuckling, I looked around. “So... Are we ready then?”
“Yes Majesty,” Lord Gregory confirmed.
Looking at Kyle, I felt solemn again. “I should send you home...”
“Not a chance!” Kyle blurted out. “No way in hell am I letting my baby sister walk into danger without me! And unlike all these guys,” he gestured to my posse. “I don't have to do what you say!”
I kissed him on the cheek. Then I saw Nathan mounted on the horse we usually shared and held out a hand so that he could help me up. He kissed me before I settled myself in front of him.
“You rode your horse well,” he murmured a compliment in my ear as he wrapped his arms around me and held me tight.
“Thank you,” I murmured softly with a blush. “I didn't even think about it, I just did it.”
Everyone else was ready a moment later – even Kyle, who was riding with a soldier. Lord Gregory looked to me to give the order to move out, which I did. Lady Sophia practically wailed after us.
“Please take care of yourselves!”
“Don't worry, mother, we'll be fine!” Nathan assured her.
I waved at her cheerfully and murmured to my husband. “Aww, you're such a good son.”
To all of our astonishment, Lady Leeza also called out after us. “If you leave my child without a father, I'll never forgive you!”
Lord Gregory nearly fell off his horse he was so surprised. He looked at her over his shoulder for a long moment. “Understood!”
I reached over and lightly pushed on him. “Aww, she loves you after all.”
He merely harrumphed and pulled ahead of me so that I couldn't see the expression on his face. I'm willing to bet that he was smiling! I turned to grin at Ian, who chuckled softly from where he was mounted behind Sir Barrett.
“Did I miss something?” Kyle whispered to Ian. Ian then asked Sir Barrett and the soldier assigned to Kyle to fall back so that he could explain the situation without offending Lord Gregory. When they were done, they returned to their positions.
Now over his need for privacy, Lord Gregory turned to me. “May I ask, Majesty, why you are glowing?”
I shrugged. “I don't know why. It just happened when I kissed Bru – er, God.”
“You kissed God?!” Lord Gregory demanded incredulously.
“How did that work?” Ian wondered curiously. “He's not exactly a solid person...”
“I was surprised too,” I murmured, grinning at Ian. “I mean, I've waved my hand right through him, so I always thought he was some sort of projection.”
“You waved your hand through God!” Lord Gregory, Sir Barrett, and Nathan blurted out in unison.
“I did too,” Ian admitted with a sheepish grin.
“But when I hugged him, he was just solid enough that I decided to kiss him,” I explained with a shrug. “And that's when we were struck by lightning and this happened. He says we were both re-energized by it.”
“You look good in gold,” Nathan murmured in my ear, pressing a kiss to my shoulder.
I simply smiled and snuggled into him, enjoying our closeness.
To my relief, we made it to the border just in time. The border itself was a dried up old riverbed that was edged on either side by a hill. It traveled for miles in either direction, and must have made sense as a border back when the river had existed. Now, it just seemed like a strange place to mark the line between two Kingdoms.
“I see Prince Guy over there,” Ian announced, pointing to the Nibal side of the border. “Looks like he's made camp to rest for the night before carrying out the attack.”
“How can you see him?” I wondered, squinting my eyes to try and see him too. “I can just barely make out a flag on what must be his tent.”
“Yeah, he's there, standing right in front of the tent,” Ian stated confidently.
“I see him too, Majesty,” one of the soldiers confirmed. “My magical talent is sight.”
“Hmm...” I hummed with a smirk at Ian. “I was beginning to wonder when your magic would show up.”
“I think my power is air, like yours,” Ian murmured in thought. “That would explain why we never notice me using it while we spin, though I must...”
“That makes some sense,” I agreed softly. “But technically, my power is everything!” I gave Ian a grave look. “Did you bring my wheel like I asked?”
He nodded, letting me know that he had been paying attention when we came home from the last attack. I had mentioned that it might have been interesting to have the cyr wheel on hand for something to do on the way back when we traveled much slower and took frequent breaks. Now, I had an idea.
“I think it's in one of the supply wagons,” Ian mused.
“I've got it!” A soldier called out helpfully. He dug it out of a wagon and brought it over to me. “I've heard glorious stories about you using this, and I rather hoped I'd be able to see it for myself.”
I kissed him in thanks, making him blush. “I'm sure you will, but I have something different in mind,” I informed him, and then waved him away so that I'd have space.
Ian gave me an amused look. “What... are you planning to spin them away?”
“No,” I assured him with a smile. “God told me that I should try putting my power in things...” Closing my eyes to concentrate, I willed my cyr wheel to fill with my power and form a solid disc that levitated. Satisfied, I stepped onto it. “Hey, what do you know? It works!”
With just my mind, I made the disc float higher and lower, and then jumped off it and nodded as if patting myself on the back. “This should theoretically remain floating even if I... don't...”
“Good!” Nathan grunted, really not wanting to see me fall like I did before.
“Nathan, my love,” I drawled with a grin. “Can you please return the orb I asked you to hold onto?”
He untied the sash from next to his sword, and then tossed the bundle to me. I caught it and leapt back up onto the platform created by my cyr wheel. Once I was floating high enough, I held my hand out in front of me like a microphone. I figured that if it worked once, it should work again.
“PRINCE GUY... HAVE YOU ALREADY FORGOTTEN WHAT I DID TO YOU THE LAST TIME YOU DARED TO ATTACK MY KINGDOM?”
To my surprise, he had a person with the magic to amplify his voice too.
“YOU BEWITCHED MY FATHER AND I HAD TO HAVE HIM EXECUTED! I WILL NOT REST UNTIL I HAVE YOUR HEAD TOO!”
“Oh is that all?” I muttered softly to myself.
Prince Guy roared out a command to charge, but his army was far enough away from the border that I had time to uncover the orb and look it it. It had cleared to reveal what looked like a dragon made entirely out of multi-colored – but mostly green – smoke flying around inside it.
“Oh great, please don't let this be a real dragon...” I murmured, not sure what I'd do if I let a dragon loose to rampage.
Holding the orb out in front of me in my right hand, I used my left hand to amplify my voice again. “BY MY WILL AS QUEEN OF ROLANDIA AND THAT OF OUR MOST BELOVED GOD, I HEREBY VOW THAT SO LONG AS YOU INTEND US HARM YOU SHALL NEVER BE ALLOWED INSIDE OUR BORDER AGAIN!”
The miniature dragon in the orb seemed to burst out in a blaze of fire and rapidly grow in size in front of me. It flew at the enemy, but before it could do more than scare them into slowing down, it stopped and blew fire directly on the border between our Kingdoms. Where it blew, a wall of what looked like shimmering green glass formed, sort of wavering for a few moments before solidifying and becoming a subtle yet definite barrier. I'd be willing to bet that if I touched it, I'd feel nothing except the hum of energy that maintained it. I knew without need to test it that no one – with the possible exception of me – would be able to pass through the barrier.
Prince Guy sent a handful of brave men to test it after the dragon shrank once more and returned to the orb. I slowly lowered myself back to the ground as I watched them. No matter how hard they attacked the barrier, they could not get through it.
Landing back on the ground, I grinned at first Nathan – tossing the covered orb to him again for safekeeping – then Ian, and finally Lord Gregory. “I told God that my wish was to be able to create a barrier around our entire Kingdom for as long as necessary to protect ourselves from attack. God promised that so long as there was land and any other elements left in Rolandia, this barrier would not falter or weaken.”
“That was amazing!” Nathan cheered as he swept me off my feet and spun me in a circle.
I chuckled even as I spotted a couple of brave soldiers in my army hesitantly approach the barrier and test it for themselves. They also proved that it was impassable, and then traded insults with the soldiers on the other side. I felt a deep sense of relief and pride that I had basically made it impossible for the enemy to wage war on us ever again.
Lord Gregory was so impressed that he showed a full emotion for possibly the first time in his life. “That was brilliant!” He cried out as he also hugged me. He didn't get carried away like Nathan had, but I was pleased enough that I kissed him anyway. The entire army cheered.
“I told you that we wouldn't be needed,” Ian said to Kyle with a grin. “She can handle everything all by herself.”
Kyle shrugged, smiling at Ian softly. “Yeah, well that may be true, but I notice that everyone still insisted on coming with her and bringing an army.”
While we were busy celebrating, Prince Guy was getting ever more furious by the minute. “YOU COWARD!” He roared via magical amplification. “COME OVER HERE AND SURRENDER YOURSELF TO MY JUDGMENT OR I'LL KILL SOMEONE EVERY MINUTE UNTIL YOU DO!”
To prove his point, he withdrew his sword and ran it through the nearest soldier that wasn't important to him. I could just barely imagine him consoling his men by saying that they would be avenged when I was in their hands. No matter his reasoning, this was unforgivable!
I didn't have time to think. All I knew was that this man was evil and he needed to be stopped. Blue flames erupted from my skin as I walked forward. Nathan tried to stop me, but he literally couldn't touch me without hurting himself. Ian tried next, shook his hand in pain, and then pulled Kyle back when he also tried to touch me and got burnt. I'd heal him later if necessary, but at the moment, I couldn't think of anything but punishing Prince Guy.
My mouth opened as I walked forward. Lyrics came out very softly at first, but then I sang them strongly as called for. Note, the original song is actually screamed, but I dislike that, so I sang it instead.
“Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the.. FLOOOOOOOR!”
My singing was guttural and not much better than screaming, but I didn't really care at the moment. As I sang, I shot streams of raw power out of my hands to see if I could get through the barrier. To the screaming terror of the enemy army, I could. I could also hear Ian cry out: Oh no! As he recognized the song and immediately worried about what I was going to do. My pace picked up speed as I went.
“Beaten, why for? Can't take much more. Here we go, here we go, here we go now. One, nothing wrong with me; two, nothing wrong with me; three, nothing wrong with me; four, nothing wrong with me. One, something's got to give; two, something's got to give; three, something's got to give, noooooow!”
When I sang the prolonged word now, I suddenly zoomed the rest of the way to the barrier and right through it. As I chanted the lyric: let the bodies hit the floor, I zoomed around knocking soldiers onto their asses.
“Push me again! This is the end! Here we go, here we go, here we go now!”
Somewhere inside, I was really having fun flying around and scaring people. A part of me wanted nothing more than to cackle like a maniac and squish them all with my power like ants. As I sang the song – especially each time I chanted the deadly lyric – and knocked more people down, it got a bit harder to stop myself from actually hurting them.
Two thirds of the way through the song, I got to the point, and landed next to Prince Guy. I immediately withdrew my sword and defended myself as I sang. “Skin to skin, blood and bone. You're all by yourself but you're not alone. You wanted in and now you're here; driven by hate, consumed by fear!”
“Get her! Save me! Kill her!” Prince Guy screamed frantically as he tried to hide behind various guards and soldiers.
I imbued my sword – the one inherited from my father – with the power to fling people away like I was hitting a ball with a bat as I stalked him. I still sang out a promise to let the bodies hit the floor, and no one could stop me. If I had even a moment to stop and look at me through their eyes, I would have been terrified too!
Soldiers cast spells and fireballs at me and made the earth tremble beneath us, but none of it deterred me. As the song came to an end, I got tired of chasing the deranged Prince and throwing still living bodies everywhere. So I threw out a thick vine of power and snared him so that I could pull him to me. It was reminiscent of a rubber band snapping back after being stretched too far. He came flying at me, screaming in mortal terror, until a well-aimed strike of my sword separated his head from his shoulders.
Letting him fall to the ground, I was silent for a few seconds, and then I raised myself into the air again to look around at all the soldiers who were cowering at my feet. Now that I had the time to evaluate myself, I felt like cowering too! I really didn't think I had that in me...
“KING FRANCIS, A BELOVED FRIEND OF MINE, WAS MURDERED BY HIS SON FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN HE DESIRED PEACE. HIS LAST WORDS WERE A REQUEST TO ME TO FULFILL A PROMISE I HAD MADE HIM. HE ASKED THAT I REMOVE PRINCE GUY FROM THE THRONE AND PLACE PRINCE GEORGE UPON IT. I HAVE FULFILLED MY PROMISE AND EXPECT THAT NIBAL WILL HONOR KING FRANCIS' PROMISE TO NEVER ATTACK US AGAIN!”
With that, I slowly flew back towards the barrier, also gliding a descent until I touched the ground only a few yards before the barrier. I am not sure what my posse saw on my face, but it must have been some mix of grief, misery, and horror. They were all pressed against the barrier as if trying to come after me, which meant that I didn't have any space to get back through it. I solved the problem by scrunching my body up slightly and leaping over all their heads.
But before I did, I looked back towards the enemy army. The fact that I had taken a life weighed heavily upon me even though I had taken great care not to harm anyone else. I tried my best to push the hard feelings into a corner at the back of my mind.
After I was on my side of the barrier, I let my power fade. I still had approximately a gallon or so in the tank, but I was still more or less on empty. Everyone stared at me in shock. My brother even had his mouth gaping open. No one knew what to say or do.
Except for Fritz' loyal guards. They got to their knees before me and bowed their heads. I could see tears leaking from them, but they tried hard to ignore them.
“Thank you, Queen Kaitlynn. You have done our Kingdom a great service this day,” the one on the left praised.
“And thank you for doing so in a way that took as few lives as possible,” the one on the right added. “We'll see to it that no one in our Kingdom ever forgets how kind, benevolent, and heroic you are.”
At the moment, I felt the complete opposite of heroic, so I simply nodded once in acknowledgment and walked right past them. When I felt like I was far enough away from the border for now, I ordered a soldier to set up my tent. I wanted nothing more than to fall into bed and cry until the end of time, but I needed to keep it together for a little while yet. I had to wait and see with my own eyes that the Nibal army left for good, and then I would get rid of the barrier until it was needed again. After that, I could go home...