Reanski dragged me away from the room as I hung my head low. I hadn’t planned on killing anyone, but Nerospi’s words rung in my head.
You must do as she says.
I didn’t want to do as she said, but I knew I was supposed to stay alive or many others would be at risk. I held in a big sigh and raised my head slightly when we blew past the room I was staying in. I pulled against her grip to remind her, but she jerked me forward and I while stumbled, she exclaimed, “You aren’t staying in there anymore.” Hanile kicked my behind when I tried to stand up, but all he succeeded in doing was making me fall over again, bringing Reanski down with me. I landed on top of her, and as Hanile looked inexplicably terrified while Reanski removed her attention from me to yell at Hanile, and I seized my chance to escape, but not before seeing the necklace that held my key laying on the floor.
I pushed myself off the floor with my key held tightly in my hand and ran in the opposite direction just taking turns to get myself away. Not long after I heard the screech of Reanski.
I heard boots beginning to clomp down the hallways, but with the echoing, I couldn’t tell where they were coming from. I found a window and took a pause to look outside. I was on the third floor of what I had assumed was a house surrounded by a lake. I could see a shore in the distance, but from what I knew of these people, there was probably bombs hidden within the water. Then I remembered the flying I had done with Calimo, and I pushed open the window. I stood on the ledge as Reanski’s minions, led by the woman herself, appeared around the corner. She fished for her necklace which had held my key on it, before horror overtook her features as I waved it at her and jumped out the window. I willed myself to use the air around me to fly, as Reanski leaned as far as she could out the window with Hanile hanging onto her dress. She screamed profanities at me as I quickly flew across the lake, holding my key to my heart, happy the dull pain had disappeared. I landed on the other side and hid just inside the tree-line as I formulated a plan to get my Calimo back.
Night had fallen many hours ago, and still I waited. For once, I wasn’t in too much of a hurry, knowing Reanski wouldn’t do anything to Calimo under Kailas’s watch. At least, I hoped.
“Hey Amberlin,” I heard Raliki’s voice before he appeared from behind a tree. I smiled, glad my message had reached him. Iolis stepped in from behind him and I quickly frowned.
“I asked for you only, Raliki,” I said sternly then looked at Iolis, “I don’t want you getting hurt.”
She snorted before stepping confidently up to me, looking up at me with ferocity, “Don’t think just because I’m small, I cannot hold my own. Plus, I do have magic, and am more trained than you.” She didn’t say the last part rudely, more as if she was stating a fact, which in this case, she was. I nodded and turned back to Raliki, asking if he had brought what I asked for. He produced a pistol akin to the one I had trained with in my dream, and I hoped I wouldn’t have to use it fatally, or use it at all.
Let’s test it. I quickly disassembled the gun and reassembled it, loaded it and shot it at a tree in front of me, hitting it dead center.
Raliki let out a whistle, “Where did you learn that?”
“In my dreams,” I winked and grabbed both of their hands. “Come on, let’s go get my fiancé.”
I flew into the air with Raliki and Iolis and headed to the island once again. Luckily, I knew what window to approach, since I had been watching the house for so long. It had a balcony, where the three of us landed lightly on it. I put a finger over my lips, like they hadn’t known to be quiet, and peering through the glass doors to see Calimo lying in his bed. I smiled in spite of myself, but scowled when I realized Kailas was lying next to him, tightly wrapped in his arms.
“That might be a problem,” Raliki pointed out and I glared at him as Iolis poked him in the shoulder receiving a large exclamation of pain. I pulled out the pistol and twirled it in my hand, cocking it before opening the door slowly, making sure to not let it creak.
“I have an idea,” Iolis whispered, conjuring up a creepy-looking mannequin that she explained had the squishiness of a human being. We would swap the mannequin for Calimo and hope Kailas wouldn’t wake up. I tiptoed across the room holding the faux Calimo in one hand and the pistol in the other, pointing it at the ground. I grasped Calimo’s arm and gently pulled him away. Kailas began feeling for him in her sleep and I slid the mannequin between them. She grabbed the arm and pulled it across her, before continuing her slumber. Just as I thought we were going to get away with it, Calimo’s eyes shot open and he stared into my eyes before blinking a couple times. I took ahold of his dazed state, put my arms around his torso and flew out the window, Iolis and Raliki trailing me with their own powers.
Right after we exited the window, Calimo let out a yell that was sure to wake everyone on the island up, “Help! Help me! She’s crazy!” I struggled with him squirming in my arms since he was already too heavy, plus I knew he was still hurt. Raliki and Iolis each grabbed a leg as we continued our hurried flight across the lake, Calimo’s shouts echoing across the rippling water. I glanced behind me to see lights flicking on all throughout the house, and smirked when I saw Kailas step out onto the balcony shaking the faux Calimo above her head in anger.
“Would you shut up already?” Raliki said annoyed, but Calimo’s shrieks just got louder. I was able to shift his body weight to one arm and clasped my hand over his mouth.
I whispered into his ear, “I have a gun and am not afraid to use it.” Which was a complete lie, but he seemed to buy it and quieted down. The three of us sighed in relief at the absence of noise and entered the tree line on the other side of the lake. We weaved around the trees until reaching the car Raliki had brought. I pulled open the back door and told Calimo to get in, and he did only when I pulled out the pistol and showed it to him. I clambered in the backseat with him, leaving the gun in my lap. I wanted him to look at me, even say one word, but he just sat still and stared out the window. Raliki and Iolis talked quietly in the front seat as I pouted and crossed my arms, staring at the back of his head. One hair was out of place and I was itching to fix it, even reaching my arm out once before pulling it back.
“You can fix it if you want,” Calimo stated with no emotion in his voice. I was surprised he realized what I wanted to do, but I reached over and brushed it into place, my fingers lingering longer than necessary. “I don’t know why you’re doing this, I don’t know who you are, or why you kissed me, or why you were even there when I woke up!” He threw his hand into the air and he turned to me almost pleadingly, “But now you’ve kidnapped me and are taking me to who-knows-where, while my love is back with the Eternal Knights!”
“I…I…” I stuttered still shocked at his outburst, as he looked intensely at me.
“And even after all that, I wanted to kiss you back!” He yelled before angrily turning around again and continued staring out the window like it hadn’t happened. Raliki whistled and Iolis had turned around to look at us, her brown eyes big and mouth hanging open slightly.
He flipped around suddenly, his eyes still flashing angrily, “Oh, and what the heck is this?” He shook his key in front of my eyes before shoving it back into his pocket, not waiting for an answer as he turned his back on me again and huffed. I pulled out my key and gently placed it on his knee as the pain once again found its way into my chest.
“I…I have one too.”
He glanced at it before picking it up and moving it around in his hands, bringing out his own and looking at them side-by-side, “This one looks like it should be yours, not mine.” He handed me my old key and once it left his hands, he placed a hand against his chest, trying to squeeze it, “Why does my chest hurt?” I explained to him how the key worked, and he asked if I could give him an easy command.
“Pat your head,” I said to him and his face scrunched up when he tried to resist, like I had told him. “You relieve the pain when you stop resisting, complete the task, or if you get your key back.” I handed him back his key and he grinned in relief, before looking down at my key.
“Does it hurt you too?” He gestured to my key, and I saw Raliki go ridged in the front seat, and we both were thinking the same thing.
Was he going to use it on me?
“Yes,” I stated cautiously, ready to grab it out of his hands.
“Okay, then tell me who you are and why you’re obsessed with me,” he demanded and for a second I retaliated, my ribcage seemingly crushing my heart, before I gave in.
“Like you know, my name is Amberlin, but I am in love with you and I’m your real fiancé,” I said quietly, before gesturing to the ring I wore around my finger. He stared hard at the ring, and without making eye contact, handed me back my key before turning his back on me and leaning his forehead against the window. Raliki relaxed in the front seat, glad Calimo gave me my key back. All four of us stayed silent the rest of the trip, until we pulled off the road to a small, but neat, house nestled between some trees. By now, we had put a considerable distance between us and the Eternal Knights and Raliki felt as though we could take a rest. He stopped the car and the four of us got out, Calimo not trying to run away. He followed Raliki into the home, with Iolis and I trailing behind.
“Do not worry,” Iolis patted my arm, “everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to.” I grumbled at the vagueness even though her words comforted me. We continued into the house and we were greeted with a small living room, kitchen and dining area, with a loft that held only a bed.
“Amberlin and Iolis can take the bed, Calimo, I mean Wentar, you take the couch and I’ll take the floor,” Raliki handed out blankets and gave Calimo a pillow, before taking one for himself.
“How did you know where everything was?” I asked as I headed up to the loft with Iolis, yawning.
He shrugged, “This is my place.” I was surprised, but I crawled into the bed, covering myself up with the blanket, and began falling asleep but not before hearing:
“I’ll take the floor, you can have the couch,” Calimo’s soft voice reached me and I smiled in spite of myself. Guess he was still the gentleman I used to know.
I awoke to a soft pattering and I turned to see Iolis had disappeared. I rolled across the bed to look down from the loft and saw Raliki had disappeared as well with Calimo still asleep on the floor, curled in the blanket as though he was cold. I grasped the blanket from Iolis’ side of the bed and creeped down the stairs to cover him up with it. With my blanket still wrapped around my shoulders, I walked to the front windows to see Iolis and Raliki sitting on the steps outside, facing each other. I recognized tarot cards sitting between them, and they seemed to be interpreting the meanings, Iolis occasionally pointing at a part of the card and then speaking and gesturing with her hands. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, so I decided to push open the door and join them on the porch. They both turned to look at me, before looking back at each other and continuing their conversation. I didn’t pay attention to what they were doing, but rather stared off into the forest, enjoying the scenery and the company. Not long after I dazed off, I heard Iolis say my name and I turned my attention to her.
“Would you like a reading?” She gestured to the cards now stacked together nicely by her side.
I shook my head with a smile on my face, “Maybe another time.” She shrugged her shoulders and placed the cards in a green fabric pouch before sticking them in the pocket of her jacket. I pondered the thought, knowing that I would, in fact, like a reading, I just wasn’t up for it at that moment. Raliki crawled over to me and sat down, facing the same direction I was. I sighed and pulled the blanket around to my legs, almost like I was in a cocoon of fuzziness. Raliki leaned his head on my shoulder, as we sat quietly looking out into the forest. I covered up a yawn with my hand, surprised I was already tired once again, before realizing I hadn’t attempted contact with Emmiale and the others. I groaned, angry at myself for not taking the opportunity to train and learn more.
“What’s the problem?” Raliki lifted his head from my shoulder and I explained the anger at myself. He nodded thoughtfully, but before he could answer, Calimo opened the door behind us.
“So what’s the plan, people?” he asked rubbing his hands together. Raliki and Iolis looked at each other before Iolis began.
“Raliki and I decided heading back to the cabin, although protected, was too easy and predictable of a move to the Eternal Knights. I was thinking about bringing you all, and your two friends, Amberlin, to my family’s home. In a family full of protectors and mystics, you’ll at least be safer.” Everyone looked to me for my opinion and I put a small smile on my face.
“As long as it’s okay with your folks, it’s alright with me.”
Iolis jumped up and gave me a quick hug, before disappearing inside to grab her shoes. Raliki gathered a few things from his home, before we all stepped outside and he locked it behind us. With the same seating arrangements as the day before, we headed back to the road and off to Iolis’ place.
Calimo was much more agreeable during the ride, making sarcastic jokes with Raliki and small talk with Iolis. He hadn’t said much to me, but I was sure he was still a little shell shocked at the news I dropped on him only a few hours before. When silence settled over the car, I took a chance and glanced in Calimo’s direction to see a content smile on his face as he traced his key.
“I have a feeling this one was once yours,” he said quietly and I smiled slightly. “Would you tell me how I have it?”
“Well I was fatally shot,” I left out the part where it was his father, not wanting to overload him with more emotions, “and we switched keys because you wanted to.” I pulled out my own and we silently looked over the two of them. “The idea is, when you switch keys with the incantation, which somehow you had, the other person is supposed to stay with you forever, since you can only switch keys once.”
He nodded and traced the crown on top of mine, “What does this mean?” I debated in my head weather or not to tell him, but I ended up telling him anyway. “So you’re a descendant of the first Key’d person? Wow.” I grinned at his comment as he held the key to his heart, before bringing it to his lips to lightly kiss the crown at the top. I looked away in embarrassment realizing I had been staring at his lips.
“I want to remember,” Calimo stated before staring at me with his magnificent eyes. “I want to remember you, and us, and me. You say my name is Calimo, but that doesn’t even feel right. Please help me,” Calimo frowned and pleaded at me, before encircling my hands in his. “Please, I’ll do anything.”
Iolis whipped her head around in the front seat and smirked, “Anything?”