Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Ten: Lost… (Continued)
Previously: After being mistakenly celebrated as a great warrior princess and given a mansion to live in, Gina was exposed by blackmailers.
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Gina rubbed Puff’s soft, drooping ears until he drifted off to sleep; he was exhausted from his first two days in the world, especially from the traumatic events of that night. She kissed him on his inflamed horn nubs, then went and found a quill and parchment. She was tempted to tour her might-have-been palace one final time, but then decided not to torture herself. The note she left beside the sleeping dragon pup simply said:
Please take care of Puff.
It wasn’t that late when she left. But Frengan farmers went to bed early, so the main street was mercifully empty.
She made it to the Mill in half an hour. The only creature that saw her was a large crow circling overhead. Is he following me? No. Absurd. Why would a crow follow me? Physically and emotionally spent, she considered sleeping in B’frona’s bed until sunrise, but that felt like a double betrayal, so she went on, walking along the river until she reached the stone bridge. It’s the same bridge, isn’t it? It must be. Except that it looks different. Probably just because I’m seeing it in the moonlight.
Where was she going anyway? To find Zack. But where was he? She had no idea. He could be anywhere, a mile away, or ten thousand miles away, and in any direction. “I just want to go home. It’s the only place I have left.” Maybe Zack’s already there. The thought cheered her for a moment, but then she thought, What if he’s not? What if we can’t go home ever? What if we never find each other?
Rhema’s words came back to her: “You will be able to return to your home…when it is time.” For once she found the Faerie Queen’s words comforting. Only—“when it is time”—what does that mean? It might not be “time” for another ten months…or ten years! “I have to get back to the Sacred Circle.” The moment she said it, she knew she could get home from there. If I can only find it.
Just before she entered the Light Forest, she saw a crow and couldn’t shake the thought that it was the one she’d seen twice earlier. “It’s not,” she told herself, “and it’s not watching me. This is farmland, there are bajillions of crows around farms.” She entered the Light Forest.
Only then did she remember there was no path—B’frona had made his way by memory through the dense, glowing woods, and they’d walked several miles before coming to the edge of the forest.
Two hours later she heard the little dragon’s song. Even though she was deep in the Light Forest and miles from Rennou, she heard it. He sang in the hopes she would hear and come to him, but after a long agonizing hour, his tone began to change; it grew sadder and lonelier.
It was no longer a chanson of heart-warming joy, but a dirge of heart-wrenching loss, and its anguished tones pierced the night for miles around. Now hopelessly lost, Gina lay down and sobbed. She’d been cut off from everyone she loved and, at least in part, deserved it.
“But he doesn’t!” she sobbed. “Puff doesn’t!”
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Thoughts: What’s worse: letting others down, or letting yourself down? We celebrate in public. But when we fail we go home.
To read The Wishing Map 43, click here!