Seeded: Part Four
Isabelle couldn’t see a thing. The entire clearing had been immersed in a supernatural darkness, heavier and blacker than even the most starless night.
“What the--?” Isabelle heard one light faerie yell out in confusion.
“Conjure up a light!” another hissed.
“Give me a second! This is strong dark magic.”
Isabelle suddenly felt someone grab onto her arm and yank her to her feet. She was about to scream when a hand clamped over her mouth and whispered in her ear, “Isa! It’s me!”
Ziya? Isabelle realized with a start. She couldn’t see her in the darkness, but she recognized the dark faerie’s voice.
“Come on,” Ziya whispered urgently, tugging at her shirt. “We have to get away!”
Isabelle nodded, relief flooding over her, and let her friend be her guide.
She couldn’t see a thing, and her hands were still bound in front of her, but Ziya pulled her along, guiding her through the trees and away from the clearing. Leaves and branches whipped at her face and tugged at her clothing, scratching her skin, but she didn’t care. She just wanted to get as far away from the three manic light faeries as soon as possible.
The farther they ran, the lighter it became. Isabelle eventually was able to see the stars again. Finally, after what seemed like a frantic dash through the woods for almost a half hour, Ziya let go of her arm and they both stopped.
“I’m sorry,” Ziya heaved, leaning against a tree, “that it took me so long to get to you.”
“How did you know I was in the forest?” Isabelle asked, breathing heavily. Her jade eyes scoured her friend’s pale and sweaty face and she couldn’t help but wonder if she looked just as disheveled.
“I didn’t at first. I was at the library and realized the child in my vision was you, so I came back as fast as possible. But you were gone and no one knew where you went.” She rubbed her dark eye. “Thank Fyora I had a vision of you walking into the woods. But now I’m drained. I didn’t have enough time to go on Seer rest, and that darkness spell...” She shivered. “I was so afraid it wasn’t going to work. I’m not good with magic like you are.”
“You got that darkness spell to work,” Isabelle said, “and that saved me.” She suddenly remembered her bound wrists and extended her arms towards Ziya. “Help me get this off?”
“Sure.” Ziya made easy work of the tight knot, and soon Isabelle was free.
“Tha—” Suddenly Isabelle felt a sharp stab in her chest, and a pained moan escaped her lips. She hunched over herself in pain and her body shook.
“What’s wrong?” Ziya asked frantically. “Isabelle!”
“My chest feels like something is going to rip out of it.” Isabelle’s eyes widened in horror and she latched onto Ziya’s arm like a leech. “The Seed! The faeries made me drink a potion, and now it’s going to—AGH!” She screamed.
“Dung dung dung!” Ziya cursed. “We need to get that Seed out of you now!” The faerie reached inside of her jacket and she pulled out a red leather-bound book. “I got this out of the library. It has the directions for drawing the rune that’ll remove the Seed from you.”
“Well, then hurry!” Isabelle cried. “Draw it now!”
“Isa,” Ziya said, looking worried, “this spell, even when performed by a fully capable faerie, is extremely unsafe. I don’t know if I’ll be able to...” She trailed off.
Isabelle noticed how shaken Ziya looked, more scared than she had ever seen her before. Ziya had always been the tough one. She was a dark faerie, a Seer. She had never let anyone bully her or Isabelle. But now a different side of Ziya was shining through. One who was truly afraid.
Isabelle took a deep breath, pressing her palm to her chest in an attempt to subdue the pain. “Ziya,” she said, looking up at her. “I trust you. Now please, write the rune.”
Ziya stilled looked shaken, but she nodded her head. “Okay, I’ll try. No.” She steadied her voice and locked her gaze with Isabelle, her dark eyes solid. “I will.”
* * *
Ziya was a nervous wreck.
They had just stopped randomly in the middle of the woods, so there wasn’t a ton of room to draw the rune. Ziya dropped to her hands and knees and quickly brushed aside some crinkly brown leaves, trying to make a clear surface to write on. She snapped a twig off of the nearest tree and flipped the spell book open to the proper page.
The dark faerie’s nighttime vision was almost as good as her daytime sight, so she had no problem reading the fine print in the near dark. But that didn’t stop her hand from shaking as she began to copy the intricate design from the book into the damp earth.
Why is it so hard for me? she thought anxiously. She glanced over at Isabelle for a moment. The earth faerie was lying against a tree, her eyes screwed up in pain as she suppressed her groans. Her one good wing trembled slightly as the air grew cold.
Ziya had never cared about Isabelle’s wing. She didn’t judge people by their appearance; she had always hated it when other faeries stared at her strangely, taking in her sleep-deprived eyes and assuming that she was working her dark spells throughout the night. The truth was, being a Seer made for a lot of sleepless nights, and she had never been one to keep up with her appearance, save for a little bit of nail polish every so often.
She and Isabelle had bonded over time. True, there had been a strange aura around Isabelle when she had first met her, no doubt from the Seed planted inside of her, but Ziya overlooked it and over time didn’t sense it at all. And even when Ziya made other friends, Isabelle was always the one she was the closest to, who was always there for her.
But there was one thing that Ziya was slightly envious of about Isabelle. Despite her wing and her isolation from others, she could work magic.
“Your powers will kick in soon enough,” he mother had told Ziya one day after a particularly scary vision. Ziya had been lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering why she was easily wracked with visions but couldn’t even levitate a pencil.
What if something goes wrong? Ziya thought, carving the complex design into the earth. But it can’t go wrong, another voice in her head said forcefully. Because then Isabelle... She couldn’t complete the thought. Instead, she steadied her hand and forced herself to draw all the necessary lines, symbols, and designs, following the guidelines written in the spell book.
“Zi,” Isabelle gasped after some time had passed. “Zi... it hurts a lot. Are you almost done?” The earth faerie looked pale, and she was shivering violently.
“Almost,” Ziya promised. She had already finished the drawing, but now she was checking for errors. She had already caught two and had smudged the symbols out and redrawn them in the dirt. She wanted the rune to be perfect. She didn’t want anything to happen to Isabelle.
Unfortunately, the Seed didn’t want to wait.
“ZIYA!” Isabelle’s scream echoed throughout the woods.
Ziya whipped her head around and gasped. Streams of light were coming out of Isabelle’s chest, burning her skin and lighting up her face in a grotesque cast. The Seed was going to escape her body now, and if it succeeded, the results were going to be horrific.
“Help,” Isabelle begged, tears in her eyes. However, with another burst of light, her eyes rolled back and she crumpled in a little heap on the ground.
Ziya immediately got to her feet and dragged her friend into the circle. The time for caution was over. She needed to perform the spell now or never.
She grabbed the spell book off the floor and took a deep breath. The incantation swirled in front of her eyes. “Please work,” she prayed, and she began to read.
“Ashra ecki demi blad kiresh.” After just the first line, she knew it wasn’t going to work. The ancient words were swallowed up by the forest, completely powerless. The rune didn’t glow like it was supposed to. Ziya didn’t feel the rush of power that others had described when working such a massive spell. She couldn’t do it.
No, she shook her head. I promised Isa. I may not be a great sorcerer, but I’m a Seer, and I will save her.
She clenched her fist and began again, refusing to cry, refusing to let her eyes water and obscure her vision. “Ashra ecki demi blad kiresh!” she intoned again, but this time she poured her entire being into it. Her will, her hopes, her fears... and when her voice echoed around her this time, it sounded entirely different. A buzz filled the clearing, and the edge of the circle began to light up.
Encouraged, she continued the chant, reading the lines of text flawlessly, turning the pages with ease. She had been worried about pronouncing something wrong, but as she read, she fell into the rhythm of the chant. She was swept up in the magic, her magic. And it was nothing less than magical.
The spell fed off of her, and she felt it using up her energy, but she powered through it, refusing to collapse in exhaustion. The entire clearing was ablaze now, obscuring Isabelle completely in bright white light.
And then Ziya read the final line. “Aly javrem keir lexi ras!” she shouted, thinking frantically please work!
Isabelle’s back arched, and with a final flash of light, a ball of energy flew out of her chest and floated in the air above her head.
Ziya fell to her knees, feeling completely drained as the rune disappeared into the earth.
“I-Is it over?” Isabelle mumbled, slowly waking up. Ziya was so happy to see her but had no energy to move. She watched as her friend pushed herself up slowly and then as her jaw dropped at the sight of the Seed floating above her head, pulsating as if awaited her command.
Ziya shook her head and swallowed. “Not quite over.”
To be continued...