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The Wishing Map
Chapter Twenty: Tea for One (Continued)
Previously: Zack’s encounter with Rhema brought healing. Gina’s–contentiousness. Why? What had she done wrong?
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“You have falsely represented me,” said the queen of the Fae. “It will take me many years to regain the naims’s trust.”
“But I was only trying to save my brother!” Gina replied.
“That does not excuse your actions. Or undo their effect.”
“Why not? I mean this is so unfair! He’s the one who messed up. I thought I was pretty—what’s the word—resourceful, you know? I mean, I saved his life, for flying monkey’s sake! But me you get all ticked off at, and him you throw a frickin’ tea party for! This is so unfair!”
“If you use that word again, I may be tempted to ‘smote’ you,” Rhema said with the slightest hint of a smile. For just a moment she seemed beautiful and kind, but in a flash the kindness was gone and the stern demeanor returned. “You will go on a quest to redeem yourself. Zack may accompany you, but the quest is yours. Your brother cannot smite the Questing Beast for you.”
Rhema reached forward. Gina winced, expecting to be shoved somewhere again. But this time the Faerie Queen held a huge sword. Gina reached out to take it, not because she wanted to but because…actually, she had no idea why she did. It was the kind of double-bladed broadsword she’d read about, but never actually seen, at least not this side of a museum display case. She’d certainly never expected to hold one, let alone go on a quest with it. The moment Rhema placed it in her hands, Gina dropped it; it must have weighed at least five pounds. She bent to retrieve it, and when she looked up, Rhema was holding a sheath attached to a leather harness.
“This will enable you to carry the sword. Which you alone must do. You will not be able to remove it until your task is fulfilled.”
“The sword will lead you to your true enemy. When you find the Questing Beast, you must smite it.”
“But I’m not a knight, I’m just—“
“Are you not the famous girl knight, J’nah, the one who would be queen?”
“No! I’m just—“
“You have imagined a great destiny for yourself, Gina, and in this you are not mistaken, but it will only be fulfilled after you have faced your true enemy many times.” Rhema turned as if to leave.
“Wait! What does it look like? I mean, the Questing Beast?”
“You will know when you see it.” Rhema did not turn around.
“But we…we’re supposed to find the letter opener, I mean—oh, heck, you probably already know about it anyway—the Revealer. Aunt Aloysia said—“
“Aloysia again,” Rhema sighed, her back still turned. “You shall indeed find the Revealer, but only after you have found the Questing Beast. You must not fail at either task. And, Gina, this is not punishment.
Thoughts: Sins often masquerade as virtues–and pride is the cleverest chameleon of all.
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