Monday, August 1, 2016
Chapter 50: On Your Knees
Geometric patterns. Luis has always found something comforting about them.
He even puts on shoes today.
The Goldbeards do not believe him about anything, but they are used to his presence, now, and trust him to not draw too much unwanted attention. Nobody bats an eyelash when he leaves the house.
Focus, he tells himself. Greta and Scarlett are gone... but then... where the hell does Eris go?
This is the first time he's seen Eris so clearly.
The first time he can remember, anyway.
Obviously, there had to be other times, and eventually he might remember those cycles in their entirety instead of in patches.
"Well, what do you think?" Her eyes were inhuman, but Luis wasn't frightened. The flowers on her head were still alive and smelled too strongly, causing his face to scrunch up in displeasure Eris must have been used to seeing, because her reaction to it was a tiny smirk.
Their surroundings refused to fill in. Wherever they were, once, maybe it did not exist anymore.
"I think you shouldn't let dryads touch your hair," he heard himself say. He tried to say something else, but couldn't.
Eris rolled her eyes. "About the dress. What do you think about the dress?"
"It's... symmetrical enough, I guess? Why are you asking me for fashion advice?"
"Because you're the closest thing I can get to a human's opinion around here."
"That hurts, Eris, it really does."
"I just don't want to offend our visitors. Surely you understand the importance of this..."
No. He doesn't understand. The voices fade, leaving only darkness.
Magic arcing between her hands and fingers, Cayenne is able to pull him out of the vision. Successfully, this time. "I sensed you were lost again," she says.
"Cay," he whispers her name. If only he did not exist, her choices would be so different...
"Dad, why can't you just buy a car? Then you could teach me to drive, and I wouldn't have to ride a BIKE to school." Lucida is not appeased by the perfect crepes this morning. "It's ridiculous that all we have is a motorcycle. It fits ONE person."
"Good morning to you too," Reggie says cheerfully.
Rain's young adult birthday is tomorrow, as is the twins'. Rain is excited about it.
"I can't believe we age up on the same day!" she squeals. "We should have a party! A huge party!"
Cayenne and Luis glance at each other. They don't think they deserve much of a party, which is exactly why Rain wants to include them.
Lucida's boyfriend turns out to be very helpful in the party planning. He knows how they can get their hands on a juice keg!
Luis visits the consignment shop across the street.
"What are you looking for, anyway?" Rain asks.
"Why are you following me?" Luis answers a question with a question.
Rain winks, mocking him. "Maybe it's just something I am predestined to do!"
"Ha ha," Luis's tone is deadpan sarcastic.
Then he begins to laugh for real... except it's not a happy sound.
Rain is kind of freaked out.
Luis stops laughing. After a moment, he speaks, as if nothing strange had happened: "I'm looking for a book. It's usually sold in Champs Les Sims... but I hoped it would be here."
Rain shifts uncomfortably. "Champs Les Sims is really far away, isn't it?"
"Not as far from here as it is from the Barnacle islands, actually."
"My sister and I visited Champs Les Sims when we were young. Our father had a business trip there. The place we were staying at had a book shelf... and a collection... a whole series. Cayenne really wanted to see the ending. But, we had to leave, before she was finished reading."
"You're here looking for a present for your sister," Rain concludes.
Luis nods. Birthdays have lost meaning for him, but Cayenne likes to celebrate them.
"That is so sweet," Rain remarks, smiling again.
"Maybe next age-up," Luis says, as he turns to leave the shop.
"You went out the wrong door," Rain laughs, as they end up in the junk yard out back.
"Are you sure?" he asks, in that quiet, detached tone he uses so much.
"Uhm... yeah I'm sure? Anyway I'm thinking, why don't we just go to Champs Les Sims and get the book? You've been there before." She puts a hand on his shoulder. "Sooo when I try to teleport us, it's very likely it will work. Just like when you were able to send me home."
"Rain, wait-" Luis's protest is cut off as they poof out of existence.
Rain and Luis reappear in the Champs Les Sims countryside.
Rain blinks several times. "Huh? Why is Cayenne here?" Did she screw up that teleport?
"Anti-separation hex," Luis answers. "I'm prone to getting lost, you see..."
This was the very reason he was pulled to the same location, on that beach, when Rain translocated Cayenne to heal Layla.
Cayenne walks down to them. "Guys, what the...? Where are we?"
"You don't recognize it?" her brother asks.
She glances around. Realization strikes. "This is.... oh... oh wow, why are we here?"
"Just a little shopping," Rain answers meekly.
Cayenne frowns, confused, and steadies her balance against the side of the house they're standing near. "I feel... strange..." she whines.
Luis narrows his eyes. "Our mother had cousins here. It isn't safe for us to be here."
"SC must have... set up a spell to recognize and react to me..." Cayenne convulses once, then collapses into the grass. "H-how...?"
Luis buckles just as quickly, like a cartoon character. He falls down to his knees, next to his sister. His hands clench up and twitch open a few times. It takes him a moment to speak through the nausea, but when he does, it's in that emotionless, matter-of-fact tone, again. "They must have predicted we would flee here someday. They must have used Parsley. And dark magic."
"Rain," Cayenne whimpers, "get us out of here..."
"No," Luis warns sharply. "Don't take us back to Monte Vista. They might be able to track our arc from here. We need to disable these traps first-"
Rain is a little distracted.
By the sudden appearance of this bizarre... thing???
The eyesore fairy sighs plaintively at the sky, obviously unhappy to be here.
"What an ugly mutt you are," a second fairy pokes out from behind the first. "WHERE are your SPOTS?"
Rain backs away slowly. "My... my spots?"
"By the stars, you are an idiot," a small figure complains.
Even from several yards away, Rain can feel the chill emanating off of him.
Luis twitches. Serril, he telepaths to Rain, we're in no shape to fend off Serril right now...
The little kid?! Rain thinks back.
He's not a little kid.
Serril approaches the twins. His voice has the high pitch of a child, but the acidic weariness of someone older. "Cayenne and Loki Archer. By now the tracking hex will have installed itself in your blood. So go ahead and poof away again... it doesn't matter. We're going to find you."
"The heck?" Rain whispers.
"What do you want with us?" Cayenne sobs fearfully.
"I just want to execute you and be done with it. However, your escape abilities... were once thought to be unique to a very dangerous terrorist. So your case interests my superiors."
"Eris, they're just like Eris!" The purple fairy has one of her verbal outbursts. "That one IS probably Eris, she's just changed her appearance slightly!"
"Foxglove," Serril corrects impatiently. "Shut. The fuck. Up. For the last time, the Eris suspect is female. You keep murdering random boys. I'm getting a little sick of it."
The yellow fairy barely moves. He studies their quarry carefully.
"Actually..." the words are slow and careful, when he deigns to speak, "Foxglove may have a point. Eris and Loki look quite similar."
Foxglove's eyelids drop half closed. It's so embarrassing to be defended by Larkspur.
"Eris is my daughter," Luis says, with a small, joyless smile.
The pain of the spell has begun to subside. Cayenne's eyes open just slightly. Her vision is blurry, but she assumes the dark spot she's staring at is her brother. "...Wha'?"
"It's true," he says softly. "Every time the world ends, she reappears, at some random day, in some random place... her existence is even more maddening than mine."
Cayenne winces. "You told me... Eris's mother was erased from existence..."
"I have no memory of her," he responds. He leaves it unsaid that Eris, having been taken out of the flow of normal existence, does remember her mother.
Or at least, did remember, until Greta's super epic combo breaker screw-up. Who knows what's left over in Eris's mind now? The SC agents probably have a better idea of what Eris is up to and why...
"Well, capture them!" Serril barks. "Why are you just floating there like a couple of blinky fireflies?! Useless !@#$ing fairies!"
Why doesn't he interfere himself? Rain shuts her eyes, shivering. Somewhere else, they've got to be somewhere else...
Since the story would be sad otherwise, Rain, Cayenne and her brother do escape. The cowering Rain was greatly underestimated by the agents, since they expected Luis to be the one with the teleportation abilities.
The teens find themselves in sand again, but this time, not on a beach.
The dry, dusty air causes Rain to cough. Her smile does not match how she is feeling inside. "Oh wow... oh wow..."
"Aarrgh..." Cayenne moans. "My head."
"So. Um. Your brother's real name is-"
"We have to move," Luis cuts Rain off. "Unless you both want to get dissected again."
"Again?!" Rain shrieks.
"I may remember the way to someplace they can't find. We're... we're going to have to hide there until I or another mage can get these blood curses off us."
"Let me go with you..." Rain murmurs. Not just because going home would endanger her family, but because they're talking about finding other mages, possibly other mages who don't want to kill her, and that's exciting.
"What about Ceth?" Cayenne cries.
The grass under Serril's shoes begins to frost over. "Any particular reason you let them get away?"
"You didn't want me to just kill them," Foxglove mopes out an excuse.
"I'm distracted, keeping the illusion up so no one sees us," the male fairy chirps. Feigning innocence, as he always does, when things go awry.
"Foxglove, report to headquarters," Serril orders.
"Report the Archers have been found with an adolescent female accomplice. Most likely an RHS cured of vampirism."
Foxglove tilts her head, rage forgotten. "What is an RHS?"
"Riverblossom Hills Syndrome, you bloody moron. It makes vampires blue."
Etc.: Some vampires in the Riverblossom Hills custom world are blue. I have now explained the joke from chapter 1, and it wasn't even a funny joke. *shakes head*
There is, naturally, a reason Serril didn't grab the teenagers himself and needed the fairies to do so. But this story doesn't care much about that so I left it out, and maybe it will be revisited some other time, in some other blog. I cut, like, a lot of crap from this chapter. I'd like to move on instead of bog us down with too many aside details.
Lucida needs to age up someday, right? We can't just stay in generation 2 forever, can we?