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The Wishing Map
Chapter Ten: Lost… (Continued)
Previously: Gina escaped in disgrace from the village of Rennou, but then lost her way. Meanwhile, Zack and Aviar had failed in their search to find her…
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Aviar and Zack returned to the Sheyaran temple drained and discouraged. Hours and hours of inquiry had produced absolutely nothing. Zack stared in defeat at the frozen turf and assumed Aviar was doing the same, but when he looked up he saw that the master hunter was watching something. He followed Aviar’s gaze, and after several minutes spotted what the keen-eyed bird was tracking: at first he thought it was an ordinary cloud, but then he realized it was denser and more cauliflower-like.
The moment it arrived at the cliff’s edge, he heard Liulah’s voice: “Zack! Zack! I know where your sister is!” He ran over to the cloud and pushed his way inside. Liulah dove onto him, hugging him with her whole body like a toddler. “Zack! I found out where Gina is! She’s—”
“Ahrrrrmm-errrr-hrrmmm!” Aviar’s massive head entered the chamber. Liulah screamed and fell back onto the ground.
Zack laughed. “It’s OK. He’s…”
Aviar raised a feathery eyebrow.
“Oh, right.” Realizing what the formal bird expected, Zack said, “Aviar, this is Liulah, the cloud shepherd. Liulah, this is Aviar, the, uh, big bir—”
“The greatest of the Sheyar!” Liulah rose to her feet. “In the name of Uol, I greet you, Revered Predator.”
Aviar’s eyes widened. “May he bless your eyrie with many eggs, Shepherdess.” He bowed his huge head. Liulah touched her forehead to his. Aviar turned, bumping Zack hard with his beak, and said, “You need to take lessons from her, manlet!”
“Liulah!” Zack remembered. “You said you found my sister? You found Gina?”
“Yes! Well…I didn’t. She was seen falling from the sky into Frenga. It has to be her! They said a human girl fell into the Light Forest.”
“The pixie’s Sacred Circle,” said Aviar, “of course. It takes two strangers to fulfill the prophecy, one who must choose and one who cannot. Though what in the name of Keldubar’s droppings that’s supposed to mean, no one knows!” An ominous rumble began in the back of his throat.
“Aviar,” said Zack, “My sister won’t betray the Prize Region, I swear.”
“It’s ‘Prime Regent.’ And none can swear for another.” He brought his eye close to Zack’s face. “I believe you, manlet. We’ll see about your sister.” Then he bowed his beak to Liulah and said, “Glorious skies, Shepherdess. We must wing. Onto my back, Shak.”
“But I have to say goodbye to Liiiiiiiiiiuuuuuu…“ Zack said as Aviar scooped him up and streaked off with him into the twilit sky.
Gina was staring vacantly into the thicket when a haughty little voice said:
“The warrior queen J’nah.”
She looked down and was grateful to see a semi-familiar face, but a bit startled at the presence of a large muscular crow as well. “I…I couldn’t find the Sacred Circle.” She hoped she didn’t sound completely pathetic.
“I will take you,” the pixie replied. “Come.”
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Thoughts: Have you ever been so lost that unless someone else rescued you you would never find your way home again?
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