The Mirror of Memories: Part Nine
I knew I should have returned Kin to his parents the second I found him back by the stream. But oh, no, I had to procrastinate and decide to have a little company on my little adventure through the stupid little mirror in Nera's stupid little attic. Now that Kin was gone... what would happen? How would Malin and I be able to get him back? Cel had kidnapped him, but we had no idea who this dude was, or how dangerous he might be. We didn't know what to expect if we were to meet him at said place the next day.
I wiped the beady sweat off of my forehead with the back of my claw and opened the front door. I felt abnormally hot, though we were outside in the freezing cold. I went inside, and Malin followed, looking extremely worried.
I should have read all of her journal. I should have been prepared, knowing what would happen next. But then again... she didn't really say anything specific in her journal entries, so I guess I wouldn't have known Kin would be kidnapped even if I had read the entire thing. I sighed as I entered the kitchen and sat down in front of the table, deep in thought.
"Who would do such a thing?" Malin murmured, sitting down across the table from me.
I shook my head, blankly staring out the window, where there was a tree whose leaves were turning brown. "Someone who wants power. I figured it out, Malin."
She looked at me interestedly. I didn't avert my gaze from the window.
"That jewel... I think it can make whatever you want happen. Well, not whatever you want... but it pretty much has infinite power. You say you saw your grandmother's ghost, and when you were mad at Enzie, she flew across the room..." I couldn't prevent my lips from forming into a tiny smile as I remembered what had happened to Enzie, awful as it is. "So, I think the only reason anyone would ever want the jewel is to be powerful. I think the Tonu who had it in the restaurant was a nice guy; hence nothing terrible had happened in the world or anything. Maybe it's just a stupid theory, but that jewel is..."
"Freaky?" Malin questioned, plainly making fun of something I would say.
"So... what shall we do?"
I was shaking. A nervous sort of shaking. Not a cold shiver. I was shaking like I was about to get a tooth pulled at the dentist's office. I was afraid. Afraid for Kin, afraid for what might happen to Malin... Afraid for myself. "I-I... don't know. We could go there... I mean, to the park... and meet him tomorrow, and try to get Kin back. I mean, it's the only way. If his parents ever found out I lost him, they'd probably literally k--"
"I thought you said that you and Kin... didn't have parents...?" Malin asked, her long Cybunny ears perking straight up into the air. My eyes widened. Once again, I'd said too much. I didn't think I'd be able to cover myself up this time. She'd been suspicious of me already, but now it was sickeningly obvious that I'd been lying to her the whole time.
There was a knock at the door before I could speak and try to explain myself.
Malin got up to answer it. I took at deep breath, resting my chin in my palm as I waited.
Malin opened the door. "...Enzie?" I heard her say.
"Hi, Malin..." Enzie said softly. I could barely hear her. "I just... I just wanted to apologize for yesterday. I overreacted."
Malin was silent for a few moments. Finally she said, "It's okay. Come on in. It's freezing outside."
I heard Enzie step in and the front door close. Moments later, the spotted Kougra was walking into the kitchen. She sat down in a chair next to me. Malin poured some steaming tea into a couple of mugs for us.
"So... What's going on? You two seem... tense," Enzie noted, frowning slightly.
I glanced over at the clock. It was eleven A.M. "We have twenty-five hours..." My voice was hushed and frightened. Enzie could tell something was up. She looked over at Malin for answers.
"Twenty-five hours to do what?"
"This morning, we noticed that the baby Ogrin who was staying with us had disappeared. On my front doorstep, we found a note..." Malin's eyes wandered over to the other side of the counter, where the note lay. Enzie stood up and picked it up gently, skimming it over.
She set the note down, gulping audibly. "I didn't know there was a baby Ogrin here yesterday..."
"That's awful. What are you going to do?"
Malin sighed. "Well, that's what we need to figure out. Either we take the jewel, which seems to have infinite powers to the strange person who wrote this note and get the baby back, or we just sit here and do nothing... The thing is, who knows what could happen if that jewel got in the hands of that shady character holding Kin captive?"
"Why don't you just call the Chia Police?" Enzie questioned.
Malin hesitated. "I-I... don't know." She looked over at me.
"If we went to the police, they'd interrogate us and eventually wonder where we got the jewel from in the first place. And that's not good, since we kinda stole it..." I explained. It was a no-win situation. I hit my head down on the table miserably. "What're we gonna do...?" I groaned.
Malin sat the cups of tea in front of Enzie and I, but neither of us touched them.
"I'm sorry, Sepra..." Malin murmured, hanging her head to the ground. Her long ears drooped down.
"It's my fault," I said. "It's all my fault. I was the one who told you to take the jewel that Tonu had left behind. I told you not to return it to him. And I should have brought Kin back to his parents the second I got back to the house..." I hadn't realized what I had said until nobody said anything. Great, I'd done it again. I'd gone and blabbed my secret to Malin and Enzie. What would Malin think now? She probably wouldn't trust me ever again.
"Enzie..." Malin whispered. "Come into my room. I need to show you the jewel. Sepra, you can stay here. It isn't very important." I saw the Cybunny wink at Enzie, but I pretended that I hadn't. I nodded my head, and Malin and Enzie went down the hall into her room and closed the door loudly.
I knew what Malin was up to. She couldn't fool me. I tiptoed down the hall as quietly as I could, and I pressed my ear against the door so I could hear what they were talking about.
"There's something up with that Sepra girl," I heard Malin say softly. "I just know it. I found her in my bathroom floor a couple days ago, and she didn't leave so I thought I would be generous and offer her to stay for a while. She told me that she had crawled into my house on accident, thinking it was her own. Then she says that she is actually homeless. She claimed that the Ogrin was her cousin... I don't know if I believe that, but..."
Malin paused. Enzie didn't say anything. Or maybe she did, but I certainly didn't hear it.
"I know, I know," Malin sighed. "There's more. Just before you came, we were talking, and she said something about Kin having parents, but she clearly stated before that neither her nor Kin had any. I know it's awful, but I just can't help being suspicious of her. Her stories don't match up. I think she's lying to me."
I frowned. Great, she knew. I went back to the table as fast as I could, making the least amount of noise possible, and resumed the position I was in when they had left. Seconds later, Malin's door opened and she and Enzie came out.
"That jewel is so mysterious," Enzie remarked, to make it look like they had actually been looking at it. I turned my head away from them and rolled my eyes.
Malin came over to the table and sat down across from me, lacing her Cybunny paws together. I wasn't looking at her, just resting my head in my palm, my elbow on the table. I could feel her eyes burning a hole through my head. I slowly looked over at her.
"Sepra..." she started, looking over at Enzie, who nodded. The spotted Kougra was standing beside her. "I... I know something's up. Please, I won't get mad, I just want to know who you are. You've clearly been lying since the day you came here. The things you say... they just don't match up. Not having parents? Then Kin mysteriously having parents? You and Kin mistaking my home for yours? Then you and Kin live on the streets?"
I didn't say anything. I looked down at my Bori claws. I fiddled with my sharp nails. I could feel little droplets of sweat forming on my face.
"Sepra..." Malin pleaded, puffing out her lower lip. "Please, just tell us. I need to know who you really are."
I took a deep breath and held it in for a few seconds. I exhaled loudly, slumping back in my chair. "Okay... here goes. My name is not Sepra. It's Aina."
"Well, that's a start," Malin replied. "Why did you lie?"
I shrugged. "I guess... I just didn't want strangers to know my real name. I wanted to protect myself."
Enzie smirked. "I knew it! Sepra is a brand of soap. I knew it the whole time. You dirty little liar..."
Malin elbowed Enzie in the stomach and the Kougra held herself in pain.
"I'm sure there is something else you should tell us." Malin nodded for me to continue.
"I do have parents. And so does Kin. You see, his parents sent me out to go and look for him. I found him, and instead of returning him to his parents, I..." I paused, careful to avoid the subject that I was from the future. "I... came here."
"Because..." I sighed, shaking my head. It was no use. "You'd never believe me."
Malin smiled at me. "Sep-- I mean, Aina..." The Cybunny reached across the table and squeezed my claw. "It's okay. I promise I won't call you a liar."
"Fine. The reason I'm here... is because..." Come on, just get out with it, I told myself. "The reason I'm here is because... my parents kicked me out. I had nowhere else to go. It was rainy and cold, and... I needed a place to stay."
I was lying again, but I didn't want to risk Malin freaking out.
"... Okay." Malin stood up, and went behind the kitchen counter without saying another word.
Enzie glared at me. I turned away.
Malin said softly, "I'm going to make lunch. We need to make a decision about the jewel... and the baby."
To be continued...