Thirteen

What happens when everything you love changes for the worst?

Danielle Miles wants to be normal. She wants to feel normal.
And yet she can never be normal because of her secret; the one thing she despises about herself most of all.
But what happens when she if forced to use her secret to help others who are just like her?
Who are... different.

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15. Thirteen: Chapter Fourteen

The girl was beautiful with long curly golden hair tumbling down to her breasts in light waves and large silver eyes staring up at us with hidden curiosity. Her lightly tanned skin looked as if touched by the sun and it made her heart-shaped face full of beauty but I could also detect a sense of pain, which she would have been able to hide completely if I wasn't a shapeshifter. She was dressed like a princess and judging by the castle she obviously was.
    "Qui sunt vobis?" She asked again.
    "What did she say?" Naida whispered, keeping one eye on the girl.
    "She asked who we are," I replied. "Abraxas told me when the other guy said it" Naida nodded and shifted me on her arm. I could feel myself becoming heavier on my feet the more blood I lost.
    "I'm Naida and this is Dani," Naida smiled politely, looking down at the girl. Naida took a tighter grip on me when the cuts started burning and the room spun. "Can you help us? My friend got cut and I don't know what to do" Naida helped me back down the stairs.
    "May I have a look?" I removed my hand and the girl took hold of my arm gently. She studied the deep cuts and tried to clean it a little with her lace handkerchief. "I'm sure a little magic can clear this up. Come with me"
    Naida followed and dragged me through the grand castle to a backroom that looked like a medieval kitchen.
    A large stone island was placed in the middle of the vast room and counters lined the wall to our left. The wall at the back was just glass, picturing the monumental snow-dusted mountains and thousands of trees covering the surface below. Steaming pots and pans stood haphazardly on the stoves and oddly shaped vials and beakers sat on the marble-topped islands in the middle.
    "Please sit down," The girl smiled and sat down on a stool. I sat next to her and she took my arm in her soft hands, prodding gently at the cuts and I sat silently, observing as she made strange gestures and chanted odd words. Staring with my head tilted, I watched wide eyed as the cuts seemed to stitch and mend themselves back together and then there was peachy skin covered in blood, no signs of cuts at all. "So why are you here?" She asked, dipping a rag in water and dabbing at the blood.
    "Someone asked us to come because of a problem he has," I explained. "You might know him. He had dark blue hair and red-"
    "Red eyes? Yes, that's my brother John," She sighed. "Father was worried he would go find help..."
    "So, do you have a problem?" Naida asked, fiddling with a beaker.
    She nodded and looked grim. "I'm afraid so. John went to Earth in search of other magical beings who could help us. Father was against it but John refused to listen," She looked hopeful then. "Is he with you now?"
    "No. One of our... friends," I swatted Naida when she tried to protest to my choice of words. "They annoyed him and he threw us into the portal. After we landed in the forest the portal changed colour and we couldn't pass through it again"
    "You must've disabled it went you were forced through," She thought aloud. "Maybe it can sort itself out in a couple of weeks-"
    "What?!" Naida gasped and almost knocked over a strange pink liquid. "How long is a couple of weeks?"
    The girl paused and dipped the cloth in water again. Almost all of the blood was gone now. "It would take at least three weeks for the portal to fix itself. That means you'll have to find somewhere to stay..."
    "Hold on," I held up my hand to halt her nervous babbling. "Can you tell us what this problem is first?"
    She shook her head quickly. "Oh no. It's far too dangerous and you've just arrived; I couldn't ask for so much as a favor from you"
    "Excuse me," Naida raised her hand and we looked over at her. "I'm positive that's the reason we're here in the first place. Please tell us"
    The girl bit her lip and dropped the rag into the bowl of blue water. "I'll tell you but you'll have to wait until tomorrow; my father would want to meet you to discuss the issue," She stood up and tugged a thick piece of paper off the table. "If you go to the Night Sky Inn tonight show this to the owner and he'll give you a room for the night" She quickly scribbled a message and handed it to me.
    "Thanks," I smiled, shoving the note into my pocket. "And thanks for fixing my arm"
    "You're welcome. And if you come back tomorrow afternoon, ask for Princess Alisha. They'll call me and I can take you to my father"
    "How do we get to the Night Sky Inn?" Naida asked, repeating my thoughts.
    "Just go to the bottom of the hill and continue until you see the sign for Geneva. Keep walking and you'll find the village gates," Alisha smiled. "I'm not sure exactly where the Inn is but I'm sure you'll find it" We thanked her again and she walked us out.
    Nadia and me jogged down the hill, concentrating on not falling flat on our faces, until we got to the bottom. We stood in the middle of the dirt track checking the trees for any animal. When we saw nothing we started moving down the lane.
    "Let's go find this town" Naida yelled excitedly.

 

 

    After walking for ages and seeing nothing but trees we started getting really bored so Naida decided to ask me some questions.
    "So what's it like living forever?" She asked, twirling her hair round one finger. I bit my lip and debated weather to tell her. She would be the first person I'd told, first person to ask, and I didn't know where to start. "Please tell me" She pleaded, seeing me hesitate.
    "Well, you learn a lot and see lots of weird stuff. Like... I had to watch when Hitler killed all of those Jewish people. I even helped some of them escape. Just don't tell anyone because I might get into a lot of trouble" I babbled, glad to be able to tell someone.
    "Wow," Naida breathed. The way she looked at me was what I had feared. She stared at me like I was an old woman and no amount of therapy was ever going to help me from being crazy. "Is it hard having the knowledge and you can't tell anyone because they'll ask how you know?"
    I blinked. "Yeah. It is," I raised my eyebrow at her and Naida just smiled obliviously. "It's hard knowing things other people don't know and I have to keep my mouth shut when people get historical facts wrong exactly for that reason"
    "But at least your life doesn't have to end," She reasoned. "You can see the world change right in front of your eyes"
    "It's no fun when you're on your own" I murmured.
    "What was that?" Naida asked, coming closer.
    "I said it's no fun watching the world fly by on your own!" I yelled and it echoed around the thick forest, scaring colourful birds. "It's no fun having to watch your friends die and to go through childhood, being a flipping teenager and then adulthood over and over and over again!" I huffed and settled into a sulking silence.
    We walked on in silence for a while before Naida had more questions for me.
    "So you can turn into anything?" She asked.
    "Only things I've seen before," I explained, still a little sour. "Before we came to Maridia if you told me to turn into Leo I wouldn't be able to do it"
    "Is it annoying sometimes?" Naida still held that curious hint in her voice and I had to hold in the happiness I felt then. She still cared about what I was.
    "Not really," I shrugged. "If I don't know it, I don't need to transform into it"
    "Yeah but-"
    "Hey, what's that?" I cut her off and pointed ahead of us, where the dirt track widened and faded into a lighter colour. "Is that the village?"
    "Let's find out" She smiled, but she was a little in a foul mood from being cut off.
    We picked up the pace to get to the high wooden gate. It was open and inside the village was bursting with life. People of all ages were walking about, shopping at the markets or going into the shops down the street, and I suddenly felt very out of place in my Nova jumpsuit. These people were dressed in odd clothes and their hair was either very short or tied up in strange updos.
    "Where do you think this Inn is then?" I asked, looking around in awe.
    "I'm not sure. Maybe we should ask" Naida suggested.
    "That's a plan" I smiled.

 

 

    "How can we go round for hours and not find the Inn?" I sighed, leaning against a brick wall. We'd asked everyone we'd come across about the Inn and they had either looked at us as if we were crazy or just conpletely blanked us.
    Naida shrugged helplessly. "What time is it?" She asked, yawning loudly.
    "I'm not sure. Let me ask," I walked up to an older woman and she smiled when she saw me approaching. "Excuse me, but do you know what time it is?"
    "Of course darling," She laughed, a little surprised by my English. "It's about nine o'clock. You'd best get home"
    "Why?" Naida asked.
    "The Night Shadows, minions of the Ringmaster," Her voice took on a darker edge, as if trying warning us. "They come out at night and steal the souls of young people. It's said that the Ringmaster uses the stolen souls to fuel his circus because his soul was taken many years ago. He's been terrorizing our town of Geneva for a while and no one knows what the Royals are planning to do about it"
    I found myself leaning forward, being drawn into the story as well as Naida. Shadows that steal souls? How was that even possible?
    "Okay..." I shook my head, trying to get out of the daze I was in. "Can you please tell us where the Night Sky Inn is then?"
    "Up the road, right on the corner," She smiled. "Have a nice night" She started walking away, humming a little song that was foreign to me.
    "Thanks. You too," I called after her. I turned to Naida and motioned to her, saying, "Come on, let's go"
    As we walked down the road I noticed young adults and children hurrying on their ways home. Was that woman right? You couldn't even go out at night because of the threat of having your soul stolen? People must've been really paranoid when they were out in the day; always having to check the time and having to stay close to home, ready to run if needs be. What kind of life was that?
    When we got a little further I saw the plain sign of the Night Sky Inn. A nice man held the door open for us and I found the note to give to the owner. Once he read it he became really excited.
    "You were sent here by Princess Alisha?" He gasped. Everyone stood in the Inns lobby stared at us with a sense of awe and I started wondering what she'd actually written on the paper.
    "Yes, she said you could give us a room but if there's a problem we could leave-"
    He cut me off. "No, no, it's no trouble at all. Please, let me show you to your rooms" He led us up the stairs and brought us to the biggest rooms he had, helpfully adjoining, and wished us a good night.
    "Dani?" Naida asked, lounging on my bed as I brushed my teeth, compliments of the owner when he saw we had no suitcases.
    "Yeah?" I finished up and wiped my mouth.
    "What happens if we have to stay here?" I halted in the bathroom doorway. What would happen if we did have to stay in Maridia? Would we live in the Inn forever? Or would we search for a job and somewhere to live?
    "I don't know" I sighed. Obviously that wasn't the answer Naida was looking for.
    "Okay," She nodded, taking in my expression and leaving it at that. "I'll see you in the morning then" She got up and quickly went into her own room.
    "Night" I whispered, even though I knew she was gone. I climbed into the cool soft sheets and flicked the lamp off.
    What will happen?

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