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The Wishing Map
Chapter Twelve: Prophecies and Promises
Previously: Thanks to her brother Zack, Gina was rescued from the hands of a ruthless pixie princess and two immense black widows. Then she passed out.
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She was pretty sure she was hallucinating, which was weird because her head seemed clearer than before, but nothing her senses told her made sense. She was lying on her stomach across what seemed like a pile of warm laundry, sort of soft but sort of stiff too, like starched bed sheets or—this didn’t make any sense—giant feathers. As she raised her head, freezing wind blasted her face. “What?” The wind forced tiny yellow ice cubes from her filmy eyes.
“What?” was pretty much all she’d said since they found her in the cave, which was understandable considering she’d been tied to the ground, stung by spiders the size of toasters, and nearly tortured to death by a psychotic four inch tall princess!
“Don’t move around so much,” Zack hollered. She suddenly realized her brother was holding her down. She pushed her hands into the whatever-it-was beneath her and clutched a couple of thick shafts.
“Not the silver feathers!” a huge voice roared out of the wind.
Then it all came back to her, everything that had happened in the cave, Zack’s arrival, the giant bird. Somehow she knew that she and Zack were now on the back of that creature, and that they were flying! It was horrible and wonderful all at the same time. She was alive—her prayers had been answered—but was it only so that she and Zack might die in some other bizarre way? And what about her eyes? She looked up. She could see stars, and the double moon; it was all a little blurry, but still…
“Wherrre arrre weeee gooo-iiing?” she shouted.
“To the Sacred Circle. Aviar thinks we can get home from there.”
Aviar’s descent was a nearly vertical drop. Gina looked up to see Zack beaming like a kid on a roller coaster. What a wonderful little dufus. He made friends with a bird as big as a house and searched a whole world just to find me! “Zack! How did you do it?”
“How did you…” she began again, but realizing he’d never hear her over the roar of the wind, said, “You’re pretty amazing, Zachary Zinn!”
“What?” Zack asked again as they landed on a massive irontree limb.
“Nothing.” Gina rose shakily, squinting at the forest floor below. Zack jumped up like a seasoned airman.
“Good. No one is present,” said Aviar. “You must go now, prophecies be damned! Sorry, Lord. Melcarhassen is Regent and Ismara doesn’t need another.” His huge head tilted down; his great grey eyes narrowed. “But if you do return…errrrrrrmm!” He examined Gina’s face, then turned to Zack and asked, “Can she be trusted?”
“On your life? Yours for hers? You swear she will never betray the Prime Regent?”
“I swear,” Zack replied, the most solemn Gina had ever seen him. “My life for hers.”
“What’s going on?“ Gina asked.
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Thoughts: Have you ever awakened after, say, surgery or a near-death experience, and realized you were alive now because of someone’s else’s efforts to save you?
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