Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Twenty-One: “Hey-fah for the Sea!” (Continued)
Previously: Gina and Zack confessed that they’d come to Ismara in search of the lost Revealer, first of the Thirteen Objects.
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“We came from another world, which, I know, sounds totally bogus, but—” Zack began.
“’Lest they fall into erroneous hands,’” Shelcor recited, “the Thirteen Objects were ‘ta’en to another world until the Time of an End and a New Beginning, when they would finally return by the hands a’ strangers.’”
“So…you believe us, then?” Gina asked.
“Yer fell from the sky,” said Maerith.
“And though yer spake Kellish,” Shelcor added, “we knew yer were not of Sur Kellan, nor even Gar Kellan. Yer didn’t even know that spiffwits cannot fly.”
In a revelatory gush, the Dore siblings told Maerith and Shelcor all about the Objects and the Map, and about accidentally scattering the Objects throughout Ismara. The fisher folk listened with poker faces, but glanced furtively about the room from time to time.
The Dores went on to tell of the near-civil-war Zack had started in Naimian. When Zack spoke of his encounter with Rhema, his eyes reddened and his voice grew husky with shame and gratitude. Maerith touched his eyebrows.
“Without forgiveness it’s none as can live,” said Shelcor.
“Well, obviously not everything is forgivable,” Gina objected. She told about her own encounter with Rhema, and about the absurd quest the Faery Queen had assigned her in the midst of her urgent mission to find the Revealer. “She says it’s not punishment, but it is. Where’s my forgiveness? Plus she tried to poison me!”
“So yer must smite this Questing Beast,” Shelcor summarized, “yet yer know not where it is ter be found. And Rhema says—”
“That the sword will lead me to it…or to my ‘true enemy,’ whatever the flip-flap that’s supposed to mean.”
The moment they walked out the front door of the inn, the sword began nudging Gina toward the shore. The others followed as it pulled her to the water’s edge. “I think it wants me to go out there.” She pointed at the roiling jade abyss. “What if I have to fight some kind of sea monster?”
“Then we’ll fight it with yer, lass,” Shelcor assured.
Gina sat down and stared at the sea. She’d managed to put the quest out of her mind as long as she was eating and enjoying the company of her friends, but now that the adventure was about to resume, her courage plummeted like a broken elevator. “What does a Questing Beast look like?”
Maerith put her arm around her and said, “Nay two alike. Kellish lore says there’s a different Questing Beast for every knight.”
“My ‘true enemy,’” Gina murmured.
Thoughts: Courage is the greatest of all weapons, but also an invisible one. You don’t know whether you have it until you’re called upon to use it.
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