Time: Morning, 205 years after the creation of the Fate Orb.
Location: Brenda's orphanage at The Village of Mossy Rocks at the Western edge of the Great Forest in the Eastern Continent.
Vynnie looked around. From the height she was being held at, she could see most of the room. There were small kids all around. All of them were older than her. There was no adult around except Gyrina who was carrying Vynnie. All the kids were curiously looking at Gyrina and Vynnie. They were drawing attention because of the way Gyrina was dressed - in a long black robe with hood. The kids were probably thinking she was some kind of witch - they were not far from the truth.
Vynnie had been brought here, because she kept getting into fights with Cindy who was one year younger than her. The witch sisters kept warning them that they would send one of them to an orphanage if they don't behave. Vynnie always hoped that Cindy got to be the one to go. During their last fight, they knocked some bottles off the table and damaged a lot of the experiments the witches were working on. The experiments involved water from the recently discovered Fountain of Youth and it had caused the two of them to regress by three more years. So, Vynnie was now two years old again. And what's worse the witch sisters had finally decided to send her off to this orphanage. All the kids here are older than her. She was reluctant to come to begin with and was whining and pleading. Now that they were here, she was starting to get scared.
Gyrina carried Vynnie to the counter. After a while, a woman three times the size of Gyrina came out of the next room and greeted them with a irritation in her tone which was not hidden by her smile. "I'm Brenda, what do you want?"
"I'm here to put this baby into your orphanage." Gyrina said without any introduction.
Brenda looked at Vynnie with a glow in her eyes, which could be easily mistaken for a glare. She gets more funds for taking care of babies. Vynnie could not bear her intimidating stare. She turned away and hid her face in Gyrina's shoulders. She was feeling embarrassed. She could not understand this one fact - she had been regressed so many times, but she still feels humiliated every time it is repeated. She whined in a very low voice, "I'm sowwy, pwease don't leawe me heah." Gyrina just smiled and tapped Vynnie softly on her butt.
"Is she your daughter?" Brenda asked.
"No, she's my little sister." Gyrina emphasized on the word 'little'.
"Sister huh? That young? Well, where's her mother? She isn't going to come for her, is she?"
"No, don't worry about it, she is not coming back. She had enough of her children."
Vynnie noticed the sarcasm in Gyrina's voice. She wanted to scream out that she was the mother, but she just hugged Gyrina more tightly and said in an even lower voice, "Pwease, I'm sowwy."
Brenda said in a slightly more excited tone, "I wouldn’t blame her. Children are a menace unless you know how to handle them. I'm the second most dangerous woman in these parts after Vynira the witch, but since she's gone now..." A genuine smile came across Brenda's lips. "And I know how to discipline kids, don't I kids?"
"YES, MA'AM." The kids said in one voice.
Gyrina was trying to keep herself from laughing. She could guess how Vynnie was feeling being reminded of her former self. She would learn her lesson well if she stays with this woman for a while.
Satisfied with the kids’ responses, Brenda said to Gyrina, “Alright, just fill out this form and sign your name, and then leave the baby.”
Gyrina took the form and placed it on the table. Vynnie was put beside the form. She couldn’t understand what was written on it; she wasn’t paying attention to it either. She tugged Gyrina’s robes, while she filled out the form. Vynnie was slowly beginning to cry. Gyrina completely ignored her. After signing her name, Gyrina handed the form and Vynnie over to Brenda. Vynnie tried to hold on to Gyrina, but wasn’t strong enough. She was now being held firmly by the huge Brenda, who tried to calm her down in a voice that lacked sincerity. Vynnie watched Gyrina walk out of the door and began to cry loudly. The moment Gyrina was out of sight, Brenda’s voice became stern. She called out, “Miranda!”
A girl of about 25 came out of the back room. Vynnie was handed over to Miranda.
“Take this new nuisance and put her to sleep or something. I don’t want any noise in the morning today. Got that?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Miranda said. She gently rocked Vynnie trying to calm her down while she carried her to the next room. “Shhh, it’s ok. Don’t cry anymore.”
Vynnie found Miranda’s way of holding her very comforting. She actually felt a little safe and relaxed and started to calm down. She instinctively buried her face in Miranda’s breast.
As the sound of the crying died down, Brenda beckoned the kids in the room to come closer. She took out a sack from behind the counter and asked, "Marcy, how much did this one have?"
An 10-year-old red-haired girl, the eldest amongst the kids, took out a pouch of coins and handed it over to Brenda. Brenda took a long time opening the pouch and then counted the money. She didn't seem too happy with the amount, and that was causing the kids to get more and more frightened every second. Brenda put the pouch into the sack and growled, "What else?"
One boy took out a blue bottle filled with a clear liquid and a smaller boy produced a small container of what looked like seeds. They handed them over to Brenda who put them in the sack. She seemed annoyed. "Is that all?"
Marcy looked around at the other kids and said, "Y-Yes Ma'am."
"Tommy! Are you hiding anything?"
The smaller boy shook his head while his eyes became twice their original sizes. Brenda came over to Tommy and hung him upside down and started shaking him. After a while, seeing that nothing had come out of his clothes, Brenda put the sobbing Tommy back on the ground. Tommy ran over to Marcy and buried his face in her belly. Brenda tried to shake more things out of the other kids, but none of them had anything else. Frustrated she started mumbling, "Why can't they keep something other than garbage on themselves? Why is it always the poor one who bring in their babies?"
After she was finished with the children, they moved to the corners of the room, while Brenda examined the contents of the sack. She opened the bottle and tried to identify the contents by their smell. There was none, so she assumed it was water. The seeds looked like something one can obtain from plants growing on the roadsides. Except for the money, everything looked totally useless to her. She was about to take out her anger on the children, but was interrupted by a knock on the door.
It was a very familiar knock, and realizing who it might be, Brenda quickly put the sack away. The door opened, and a 25-year-old girl walked in. A look of joy appeared on each of the children's faces. Brenda tried to form another smile on her lips and said, "Miss Nina, what a surprise!"
Nina replied, "Hello children. Hello Brenda."
"HELLO MISS NINA" the children said all together with smiles on their faces.
"How is everyone today? What's wrong Tommy?"
A smile has formed on Tommy's tear stained face. He ran over to Nina. Brenda came over as quickly as she could, and gave Tommy a hug, which almost suffocated him. Before Tommy could say anything, Brenda said, "Oh the poor thing fell down while playing with the other kids."
Nina lowered herself while Brenda let Tommy go. Tommy put his arms around Nina and started crying. "Aww, Tommy. It's ok. It's going to be ok. I'm here." Nina tried to calm Tommy down.
Brenda suppressed her anger and started thinking of the different ways to punish Tommy after Nina leaves, but her face did not show that. As Tommy calmed down, Nina slowly handed him over to Marcy and got up. “Brenda how is everything? Any new child?”
“Yes Miss Nina, one of them was brought in just this morning by her sister. A lovely two year old girl.”
“Two year old! That’s a mere baby. Were they so poor that they can’t take care of a baby?”
Brenda tried to form a sad expression on her face. “I’m afraid they are, Miss Nina. The poor girl was dressed in rags only and was begging me to take her sister in. She also loves her baby sister a lot. It was heartbreaking to watch her tear herself away from the little thing. I don’t understand why fate has to be so cruel to these innocent souls.” Brenda pretended to wipe away tears from her eyes. The kids did not dare say anything.
“Where is she?”
“Miranda is putting her to sleep in the back room.”
Nina walked towards the back room. Brenda gave a stern glance at the children that meant, “do not make a sound”, and followed after Nina. Baby Vynnie had calmed down by then and was quietly sucking on her bottle on Miranda’s lap. She looked at Nina when she approached, but did not react. When her eyes caught the sight of the approaching Brenda behind Nina, Vynnie grabbed onto Miranda’s dress tightly and looked a little scared. It did not escape Nina’s eyes, but she did not say anything about it.
Miranda smiled at Nina. Nina sat down on the bed beside her and said, “She’s a pretty baby.” Miranda only smiled. Nina continued, “Could you give her to me for a moment?” Miranda handed Vynnie over to Nina. The baby did not protest, but started glancing now and then at Brenda who was standing nearby.
A moment of silence passed before Brenda said, “Yes, she is a very pretty baby. I’m sure she will grow up to be a wonderful child. I’m going to take care of her and make sure she does.” Brenda approached Nina and seeing that the baby got a little agitated and clung tightly to Nina’s dress. Nina said quickly, “Brenda, did you talk to the builders yet about fixing that roof?”
“Yes Miss Nina, of course I have. They’ll be coming around any day now. I’ve also talked about building that extra room for the children. But they want a lot of money for it. They just don’t seem to have any feelings for the poor unfortunate children.”
“Is the last fund all used up already? Did the children lose some money again by ‘accident’?” Nina said with no surprise and a bit of sarcasm in her voice.
“I’m afraid the expenses were more this month Miss Nina. Since little Tommy was put in, I had to spend some extra. I want to keep the children as comfortable as possible. It breaks my heart to think why fate has been so cruel to them.”
Brenda was about to start crying again, so Nina quickly said, “Do you have the bills for last month? I’d like to see them.” Brenda started leaving the room. Just before she reached the door, Nina added, “And bring the ones for this month as well.” Brenda left the room trying to hide her irritation.
When Nina was sure that Brenda was out of hearing range, she asked, “Miranda, are the children really alright?”
“I don know what you mean, Miss Nina.” Miranda answered without looking at Nina.
“You know what I mean. A lot of money is sent here to improve the children’s health and lives, but the only person whose health seems to improve more than necessary is Brenda. And I’m certain that a part of the money goes to the local authorities as well. You’re not being kept well either, why can’t you help us, at least for the children’s sake?” Nina tried to watch Miranda as she spoke, but Miranda kept hiding her face.
She finally said still with her face turned away, “I don know what you’re talking about Miss Nina.”
This time Nina gave up more quickly than before. She did not ask any more questions to Miranda. Brenda came in a moment later with the bills, a lot of which were fakes.
When Nina had finished examining the bills and had left the room, Miranda began to think about what Nina said. She can’t make herself go against Brenda, not because she had lived with Brenda since she was seven, but because she was still afraid of the giant woman who could lift her up like a twig and beat her while she cried helplessly. The fact that Miranda was 25 years old did not reduce her fear one bit. She really wanted to help the children, but her fear did not allow her to be an adult. She felt like she was one of the children.
Nina spent some more time with the children. When it was time for her to leave, the spark in the children’s eyes started to loose its glow again. Some of them hugged her tightly and she tried to keep them from crying by reassuring them that she would come back very soon. When Marcy hugged her, Nina whispered into her ear, “Marcy, if you meet a little blue eyed girl, trust in what she says.” The confused Marcy stared into Nina’s blue pair of eyes and wondered what she meant, but she did not ask anything. Saying goodbye to the children and glancing at Brenda, Nina left the orphanage. She had decided to carry out the only method left for catching Brenda red-handed.
Some of the children stared at Nina through the windows as she went towards the center of the village. After Brenda was sure that Nina was out of hearing range, she walked over to the windows and shut them. Then she picked up Tommy and hit him hard on his backside. He started crying immediately. Brenda growled, “If you whine that much when she comes back again, I’ll hit you so hard that you won’t be able to sit or walk for weeks. Do you understand?” Tommy nodded. Brenda put him down, and he ran over to Marcy again. Brenda screamed at everyone, “All of you go inside your rooms. I don’t want to hear one single noise today. Whoever makes a sound will go into the box.”
Nina entered the small inn at the middle of the village. She smiled and nodded at the innkeeper before walking up the stairs towards the room she rented. A 28-year old wizard with blonde hair and brown eyes was waiting for her in the room with an open book in front of him. When Nina entered, the wizard closed the book and enquired in a light tone, “What did you find out?”
“No hard evidence yet.” Nina said as she sat on the bed, sounding slightly disappointed. The wizard sat beside her and put his arm around her shoulder.
“Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough. I’m sure you will.”
Nina put her head on his chest and wrapped her arms around him. “I’m glad it has turned out this way. Now I have an excuse to catch her red-handed. Luc, thanks for all your support.”
“It’s my pleasure Nina.” Luc said. As Nina looked up, he lowered his head and kissed her. “It really is my ‘pleasure’.” Luc smiled.
“It’s all about that, isn’t it?” Nina said while trying to conceal her smile.
“C’mon, don’t tell me that you hate it. I’m sure you enjoy it as much as I do.”
“No, I don’t enjoy it as much as you do.” Nina looked away and blushed.
“You can’t hide it from me. I know you like it, maybe not as much as me, but you still like it. That’s why you chose to do things this way.” Luc insisted.
“This is only work, Luc.”
“Volunteer work.” Luc corrected.
Nina laughed, “We won’t get anything done if we argue all day.”
Luc smiled but did not say anything further. Nina started taking out magical items from a bag and placing them on a table. Luc arranged the items and prepared a blue liquid mixture. He poured some of the mixture from a flask into a vial. Nina took the vial and drank all of the content. A glow formed around Nina and slowly her body started changing. Luc smiled at her and shook the flask, “There’s still some left.”
Nina winked and said, “That’s for you after I come back.”
Luc smiled, “We’ll see who its really for.”
Nina giggled and moved towards a mirror. Her clothes felt loose already. She looked in the mirror to find her twenty-year-old-self staring back at her. Slowly she went passed her teenager hood and her clothes felt like a tent. When the changes stopped, Nina looked at the seven-year-old girl in the mirror and smiled and blushed at the same time. Luc noticed her expression and said, “Hmm, what were you saying about not liking it?”
“Oh stop it.” Nina said in her high pitched voice and blushed even more. “Give me those clothes.” She pointed at some old torn child’s clothes lying on the bed. Luc picked them up and walked over to little Nina. Nina looked at the tall figure of her boyfriend and blushed again. Luc took off Nina’s old clothes from her body. Nina gasped and tried to cover herself with her small arms. “What are you doing!”
Luc smiled, “Its ok, Nina, I’ve seen you naked lots of times.”
“This is different.” Nina said blushing even more.
“Don’t worry Nina, little girls don’t have anything to hide.” Luc said while trying to put the small clothes on Nina.
“Oh Luc, you’re impossible. We’ll do this sometime later, not now.”
“Ok ‘baby’. Whenever you want. My God, you look so cute!”
Nina blushed again and sighed, “You’ll be in big trouble mister, when I do this to you.”
Luc smiled, “I just can’t wait.” The torn clothes were put on Nina and they fit well.
After a while, Luc and Nina were walking towards Brenda’s orphanage. Luc was covered with rags and a cloak with his face hidden from by-standers. Nina, dressed in rag-like clothing, was trying to look as miserable as possible. Luc’s hands were charmed to look as if he did not have anything to eat for days. He used those hands to knock on the door. It was answered by Miranda. Miranda was shocked when she looked at Luc and how his hands were shaking. Even Nina was surprised by how convincing Luc’s acting was. Luc pointed at Nina with his shriveled hand and begged, “Please take this child into your care. Soon she will have no one in this world. May the Lord bless you. Please give her some shelter.”
Luc kept begging until Miranda spoke, “Wait here. I’ll be back.” Miranda went towards the back rooms. Nina looked inside to see that the front room was empty. The children were nowhere to be seen. She could hear Brenda telling something to Miranda in a very loud voice, a voice she had never used in Nina’s presence before.
Luc said, “If anything happens, just send a signal. I’ll be watching from the inn.” Nina nodded.
Miranda came back looking a little shaken. She spoke in a low voice “You can leave her here. You just have to fill a form.” She paused. “Can you write?” Luc said nothing. Miranda did not wait long for an answer. “I can fill it for you.”
Luc thanked her and loudly prayed that all the people in the orphanage be blessed. Nina started crying and Miranda had to pull her away from Luc while trying to keep her from crying too loudly. Luc left and disappeared quickly. Miranda was getting afraid that the crying would disturb Brenda. She was disturbed once, and had only agreed to let this new child stay because she did not want anything to go wrong while Nina was in the village. If the crying woke her from her sleep, then she would probably not care about Nina’s presence anymore.
Miranda carried the new child to the next room, which had all the children in it. Nina slowly calmed down. Miranda was relieved. She put her next to the bed on which four children were sitting. “Don’t be sad anymore. See, you have so many friends here. Are you hungry?” Nina shook her head saying no. Miranda was a little surprised but was also relieved at the same time. “Alright, then you can lie on the bed with your new friends, but don’t cry anymore. Just let me know if you are hungry. I’ll be in that room over there.” Miranda pointed to one of the back rooms. Nina nodded and Miranda put her on the bed and hesitantly left the room.
Nina was sitting next to Tommy and another slightly older girl called Lulu. They were both looking at her. She could also see the other children around the room looking curiously at her with Marcy at the far corner. Tommy whispered, “What’s your name?”
Nina did not decide on a name yet, so she stuttered a bit and said, “I… Its… My name is Meena.” It did not come out as a whisper, so all the children gasped.
Tommy put his fingers to his lips and said, “Shhh. Don’t talk to loudly. Brenda will hear you.”
Nina was glad she was already making progress. “Who’s Brenda?”
Tommy looked too scared to talk. Lulu whispered, “She is scary and mean. She punishes us.”
“Why? Do you do bad things?” Nina asked in a low voice trying to sound scared.
“No. She punishes us because she gets angry. My father used to do the same thing to my mother. He would come back at night being very angry and beat my mother. He would beat me too.” Lulu stopped talking.
Tommy whispered, “She is angry today because the lady who came in the morning with the baby, did not have much money with her. Brenda makes us take things from people who come here, but today she did not get much. So she is angry.”
Nina was shocked.
A 9-year-old boy called Max sitting next to Lulu whispered, “No. She is angry because Miss Nina is here. She always has to act nice when Miss Nina is here.”
“Wh-Who is Miss Nina?” Nina asked.
Tommy answered, “She is a very nice person. She is very nice to us.”
Lulu said, “She also knows magic.”
Max said, “No she doesn’t. If she did she would know that Brenda is mean to us.”
Lulu protested, “She does know magic. Everyone at the city knows magic. That’s what my mommy used to tell me.”
Nina’s voice was quivering, “Why didn’t anyone tell Miss Nina that Brenda is mean?”
Tommy said, “If we do then Brenda will put us in the box. She puts someone in the box when she is very angry. Its dark and scary inside the box.” Tommy shivered a little.
Nina was shocked and afraid. She did not imagine the situation was so terrible. She was finding it hard to control her emotions at this age. Her face was pale and tears were rolling down her cheeks. By this time, Marcy had walked up to the bed from the far corner. She told the three kids, “Stop scaring her like that. She just came here.” Tommy, Lulu and Max became quiet. Marcy told Nina, “Don’t worry. If you stay quiet, it’s going to be alright.” Nina felt the urge to put her arms around Marcy. Marcy could sense it and so she reached out and hugged Nina. As Nina came close, Marcy noticed that she had blue eyes. Nina hugged Marcy and felt relaxed and safe. The intensity of her emotions started to decrease.
Cindy was having the time of her life. With Vynnie gone, she was getting more space and feeling more relaxed. There was no constant fear of being bullied. She would enjoy it even more after she had become older. Being only one year old, she couldn’t move that much. She hoped that Vynnie was going to stay away permanently. She also hoped that the witch sisters would continue quarrelling with each other like they were doing now. She heard them say that the quarrels might allow the Fate Orb to use them against each other. If that happened, Cindy might be freed from this life and might be lucky enough to grow up in a normal family away from all the black magic. However, she was also afraid that the witch sisters would destroy each other and she would be left all alone in the middle of the forest. Cindy stopped thinking about it. Thinking about complex things like these usually put a lot of pressure on her young mind.
The witch sisters were arguing about the recent loss of materials caused by the activities of Cindy and Vynnie. Gyrina had still not returned from the village. Katria was not supportive about sending Vynnie to the orphanage. She thought that it would be a cruel decision for which the Fate Orb might come after them. She was agreeable when it was decided that Vynnie would be kept there temporarily only to teach her a lesson. Katria was worried that the Fate Orb might have done something to Gyrina while she was at the village and it might come after them very soon.
The other three wanted to get rid of both the babies so that there were no more problems like this in the future. They had not carried that out because Katria thought it might draw the Fate Orb’s attention even more. Drusina thought that Katria was overreacting and that sending the babies off to some orphanage would not be such an unfair thing to do since both the babies were very cruel people as adults. Although there was no known method of measuring the magnitude of good or evil involved with a certain act, Drusina was quite confident about it.
To Lygine, it did not matter what decision was made about the babies. She did not think it would be a cruel act if the orphanage were a good one. Over the last three years she had noticed that they were following the same path that their mother did. They were trying to be very powerful. Although Lygine was interested in it at first, she had thought about it over the years and had understood that it was not worth it. The only powerful people who are still standing are on the good side. She tried to convince her sisters to stop trying to achieve power in this way, but it was no use. Now she was worried that the Fate Orb will strike them while they were quarrelling with each other. She supported the sending away of the babies because she thought it might help to decrease the tension between the sisters and give them a better chance of avoiding the Fate Orb. While Katria and Drusina argued, Lygine kept quiet trying to think of a way to stop the argument.
The situation got worse when Gyrina arrived. Gyrina did not seem to care much about the Fate Orb or the quarrels. She believed that she had received the worst treatment from her mother all her life, and for that reason the Fate Orb would not bother with her too much. She had already tried out some small evil acts on people she met in the forest, but received nothing from the Fate Orb. That had confirmed her belief. Now she just had to figure out the correct balance between her different actions to avoid the influence of the Fate Orb. If that was successful, she can roam around the whole world, doing small evil acts, and the Fate Orb would do nothing to stop her.
Gyrina walked into the house and headed towards her room ignoring the whole quarrel. She kept walking until Katria called out to her. “Gyrina! What took you so long? Where did you go?”
Gyrina turned around casually and answered, “Where else? I just put little Vynnie in the orphanage.”
Drusina asked, “Were they convinced?”
“Yes, why won’t they be?” Gyrina smirked, stroking the big blue jewel on her necklace.
Drusina said victoriously, “See? I told you. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Katria’s felt relieved for a moment, but Drusina’s comment did not reduce her anger. She was about to say something to Drusina, when she noticed Gyrina’s necklace. “Where did you get that?”
Gyrina smiled, “Oh this?” She paused just to annoy her sister, smiled again and said “Its an interesting story. A love story actually.”
Drusina had noticed the necklace by then. The volume of Katria’s voice went up with impatience and anger, “Where did you get it? Where did you even get the money for it?”
“Sister, you assume right away that I had bought such a pretty thing? Do you really think there’s a jeweler in this region capable of working with such a large jewel?” Gyrina said with a irritating calmness in her voice.
“Then where did you get it? What kind of jewel is that?” Katria was almost shouting.
Gyrina took a deep breath. “Well, it all started when I was about to enter the forest. I saw a young couple trying to be stealthier than I was. They were walking along the same path. Curiosity made me follow them deep into the forest. I was being very careful. They did not have any idea that they were being followed. Well, they were so very involved with each other, that they hardly noticed anything else. Oh, their young love was just overflowing into the surrounding. She had such a delicious toy to play with….”
“Get to the point! What does this have to do with anything?” Katria looked like she was about to burst with anger.
“Alright, alright. There’s no reason to be so impatient, sister.” Gyrina smiled again. “I found out soon that they were eloping. The boy had just sneaked the girl out of her father’s house. They were going ‘far and away’. That’s what they said. Ah, such is the power of true love.” The sarcasm was very obvious in Gyrina’s voice. “The boy did not look like he was good enough for any real work and the girl was naïve and innocent. I just could not let them make such a big mistake.” Gyrina smirked stroking the jewel again.
Katria became a little concerned at this point. “What did you do?”
“Oh, nothing much.” Gyrina’s tone sharply contrasted Katria’s. “I just turned the girl into a naked stone statue in a seductive pose and left her in the forest. And I changed the pretty boy into this pretty necklace.”
Katria was furious. “Do you realize what you have done? Have you forgotten about the Fate Orb? Are you going to get us all into trouble?”
Drusina found it hard to disagree with Katria this time. Gyrina had gone really far this time.
Gyrina was totally unconcerned. “Don’t worry, they’re only temporary. By tonight, both of them will turn back into human. Then she would run back to her father like a good girl and I will leave the boy at the village before he turns back. And he is not conscious right now, so you don’t have to worry about him knowing about our secret little home. Tell me this. Doesn’t he make a pretty necklace?”
Katria did not say anything. Drusina nodded after a while, “Well, if that’s the case, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. I mean it wasn’t that evil a thing to do.”
“What’s wrong with you?” Katria shouted at Drusina. “How far does she have to go before you stop supporting her? I am not going to put up with this. Just because you don’t have the brains to understand that the Fate Orb may strike through things like these, doesn’t mean I have to suffer along with you as well.”
Drusina shot back, “Oh, now you’re the smarter one, just because you can do some more lousy spells than I can?”
“Its not about how many spells we can do…” Katria started.
Gyrina did not wait to hear the rest. She went to the next room. Cindy was lying in the crib. She looked at Gyrina as she entered the room. She was concerned again about the sisters fighting amongst each other. She wanted to express her fear about being left alone in case the Fate Orb acts on the sisters. Gyrina walked over to the crib. “Hello baby, I just left your playmate at the village orphanage. She has a big nasty woman taking care of her now. You should consider yourself the lucky one.”
Cindy wanted to tell Gyrina about her concerns, but only managed to babble.
“Aww, does wittle Cindy want to say something?” Gyrina tickled Cindy while the baby giggled and thrashed her limbs about helplessly. “Just wait another year or so, you’ll remember how to talk again.” After Gyrina stopped tickling, Cindy decided not to make any more efforts to communicate with Gyrina, as it might provoke her to tickle her more. Tickling is something Cindy hated since she was mercilessly tickled and regressed by her lover three years ago. Gyrina moved away from the crib. Cindy put her thumb in her mouth. To comfort herself, she had started thinking again that she will be freed rather than left alone, when the Fate Orb strikes the witch sisters.
Gyrina went to her room. She spent the next hour modifying her outfits and trying them on. She focused mainly on whatever seemed to go with her new necklace. Drusina called her after an hour. She reluctantly put on her robe again and went to the central room. She found Katria performing a mapping spell – a spell that would help them create a map of the region surrounding the Fountain of Youth. The map would point out the positions of the wizards and witches who are currently surveying the area. Katria planned to get more samples of the water from the Fountain of Youth. Katria was standing in the middle of a circle drawn onto the floor. She was chanting. As Gyrina approached the circle, Drusina asked her, “Give her the seeds now.”
Gyrina reached into her robes and searched for a while. Her expression of indifference changed into a look of concern momentarily, “They’re not here. I must have dropped them somewhere.”
Katria lost her concentration and looked at her suddenly. “What?” Katria’s sudden reaction created a disturbance in the spell. The circle became distorted and the ground shook violently for a few seconds. Katria and Drusina lost their balance and fell on the floor and some containers got knocked over from the tables. Katria did not seem to be bothered much by the fall. She glared at Gyrina and said, “What do you mean you dropped them?”
Gyrina looked through her robes again. “Actually, I think I lost my money and the bottle as well.”
Katria was furious. “How can you drop all three items?”
“I don’t know.” Gyrina was indifferent again. Then she frowned. “Hmm, maybe there was a pickpocket. I couldn’t have dropped all three items on the way.”
“You went into a crowded place! How many times have I told you to be careful?”
“Hmm, I didn’t go into a crowded place. The only people I came into contact with were the…” Gyrina’s voice trailed off making Katria become impatient again.
To be continued…