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The Wishing Map
Chapter Eleven: …and Found (Continued)
Previously: Zack and Aviar sought the pixies’ help in locating Zack’s sister Gina. Meanwhile, Gina, had awakened in a cave with a furious pixie princess and two immense black widow spiders on her face.
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Just before moontop, the last of the bat riders landed at the entrance to the Palace of Light. The little king, Prince Jenblevó’s father, introduced himself and greeted “the mighty Aviar, Lord of the Sheyar.” He praised Zack’s sister as “the one who would be queen, the noble girl knight J’nah, the Dragonmeer of Frenga.” The pixie queen remained peculiarly silent.
It was as if everyone in Ismara had come into contact with an alternate reality version of Gina. Zack wanted to snark, “You mean Gina the butt-girl, that Gina?” But he didn’t because for some reason everyone seemed to think Gina was a hero or a dragon-slayer or something.
One of the bat pilots had actually managed to glean some useful information. About four hours ago, a family of stoats had seen a human girl enter the northwestern edge of the Forest by the arched bridge, near the mill. The girl had been seen again a couple of hours later, by a young owl on his first solo hunting expedition. “He insisted that there was a pixie female on the human’s shoulder!” the pilot remarked.
The little queen let out an involuntary gasp, and then whispered something to Jenblevó’s nurse, who instantly hurried into the castle. Jenblevó watched this pantomime from the corner of his eye.
“But the owl was very excited,” the pilot continued, “so I do not think he can be trusted. Besides, we all know how owls exaggerate.”
“Mother?” Prince Jenblevó said, turning to the little queen, “What do you know of this?”
With everyone, including the twenty-three foot tall Sheya staring at her, the little queen disintegrated. She drenched the king’s spidersilk nightcoat with her tears.
“Shhhhh,” said the king. “You must tell us if you know something, my jewel.”
The queen lifted her trembling chins. “Well, the…the way our little Blevy looked at the Dragonmeer J’nah, and the way he spoke of her…”’
“Little Blevy? I am not a child!” the princeling scolded.
“…and then when she said she was destined to become a queen like her aunt and royal namesake…”
“Aunt Gina from Toronto?” said Zack. “But she’s an accountant.”
“Well…when she saw that her betrothal would be challenged, Feyrdú…”
“Yes?” the king asked, “Our wistful ward, the Princess Feyrdú?”
“Yes…well, Feyrdú swore she would kill before she would relinquish her hold on the Prince’s heart.“
The forest gasped.
“Pah!” Jenblevó exploded, “What ‘hold’? Feyrdú is only a child. Whereas J’nah, the Dragonmeer of Frenga, is…” He gave a knowing wink at the other pixie boys.
“Is my fourteen year old sister!” Zack snorted.
“And so,” the little queen continued, “Feyrdú saddled a crow and flew to find the Dragonmeer, but certainly she must have returned by now. She will tell us herself where—“
“My Lady!” Jenblevó’s nurse burst out the front doors of the Palace. “The Lady Feyrdú is not in the castle!”
There was something unsettling about the ravishing little savage’s use of the third person. Was she distancing herself from Gina so that it would be easier to kill her? “I truly regret what I must do to the great girl knight. It is not that I do not respect the glorious and beautiful J’nah—“
“Oh, hey, listen, you’re way prettier than me, Feyrdú!” Always compliment people, and always use their name. “Um, could you…” Gina’s eyes darted back and forth between the two immense black widows that remained poised with their knitting needle-sized stingers pointed at her eyes.
“That does not matter! Prince Jenblevó does not care for beauty. He does not desire you because he thinks you are beautiful.”
“It is because you are proud and cruel, and because you have carelessly toyed with death…”
“Oh, well, um, that’s sort of untrue, actually—“
“…and because you are the Dragonmeer of Rennou who is destined to be queen.”
“You know, people keep saying that, but actually—”
“All names are prophecies. A child learns this when she is still being carried in a leaf pouch. Your name means ‘he who fights’ in Frengan. And where you are from, you say, it also means that you are destined to become a queen. So you will fight to become queen of the South Frengan pixies, and then Prince Jenblevó will marry—“
“No, no, no! Hey! Now that is a total, crazy misunder—“
“Which is why I cannot let the magnificent Dragonmeer J’nah live.” There was that third person thing again.
“What? This is insane!”
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Thoughts: Wounded pride. Without it there would be no killing, no wars. We all have it. Oh, we may only respond with angry words, but angry words are the seeds of violence.
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