~ Moon, Sun and Stars 2: Life of an Immortal~
by Kim Phoenix
Email: maskedshadowknight@hotmail.com

Story Type: Original Novel

Genre: Fantasy/Ancient

Copyright Disclaimer: Any relation the characters within the following story have to other people living, dead or fictional is purely coincidental. All characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.

Description: For every action there is a consequence. Yoshiko will find that saying more than just words. Chaos runs rampant through the mortal realm. Lives are on the line as she tries to restore balance. However her past slams into her and she is left to decide? the fate of the guardians rest in her hands.

Content warning: Contains violence.

Chapter 1

Blue eyes glanced across the room to the open balcony. Her slender long legs helped to cover the distance in a few strides even though she could have used her magic to instantly transverse space. Her long gentle fingers plucked her white long robe off and neatly placed it onto the bed which was in the middle of the room. She only had a silky white dress on which would never have a speck of dust on it even if she were to roll in mud. Her hips swayed hypnotically until she reached the balcony where she stood and surveyed her view with a light breeze blowing her long blonde silky hair that flowed almost to her feet.

Outside, the sun was brightly shining and nourishing the many plants that decorated the populated area of the city. There were barely any clouds and the air was cool and refreshing. There were many buildings made from white stone that oozed with natural life energy. Many people were happily walking along or had an air of business about them. They all wore white long robes which was the custom within this holy place. Anybody who did not wear one would be recognised as a pure soul. They were always escorted around by a robed person.

Blue eyes swept the large city and sighed. This place had grown and it was almost perfect. Her blue eyes could still see the minor flaws that covered the city and knew within her heart that something needed to be done before this world that she had spent so much time on would be covered in darkness for all eternity. She needed a person to take responsibility for the moon and also for the sun and stars. She feared what her fellow people would do if their realm plunged into darkness.

Swiftly turning on her heel, she walked to her desk which was located in the corner of her room which was closest to the door. She sensually pulled out the cushion seat and carefully sat down so that her dress remained comfortable against her soft, smooth, pale skin. Blue eyes swept her desk and she sighed exasperatedly. Her desk had a foot high stack of reports which she had to read and consider for the wellbeing of not only their realm but to another which was known as the mortal realm.

Slipping the first report right in front of her, she began to read through it thoroughly. Her mind was immersed in what was written so that she didn't have to read it a second time. Her mind was like a sponge of memories that never became full. She could remember what she had for breakfast three months or even three thousand years ago without having to pace her room or be frustrated like the mortals did. It was how she was, who she was, and what she was that made her life never a dull moment. She was immortal. Death could not touch her and she was thankful for it but that only meant that she would remain forever busy.

Empress and mother of all, she had worked diligently to make the immortal realm run as smoothly as it had. However, another report from the environmental bureau had stated that the condition of the sun and moon were dire if she did not find someone to take care of it. Her heart sank once more. She knew that she had made a flaw with the sun and moon. They were not self sufficient like the immortals that she had created. They were objects that served a purpose and did not have a will of their own to strive for life. Since the moon and sun were only objects, she needed to have someone oversee them but the task of finding someone suitable had been hard.

The sun and moon were powerful objects in their own right and she needed someone who was as powerful. She could easily have created someone but they would not have enough power to control and take care of the sun and moon. Her mind tried to come up with any idea that might help her resolve this problem that she had left unattended. She came to the conclusion that she had to split the task into two and have one person overseeing the sun and stars while another would oversee the moon. It was a good plan however there was one small problem. She couldn't create any more immortals since she had to wait for her magic to replenish after she had fixed a flaw that one of her subordinates had made in the mortal realm.

Knock, knock, knock?

The door creaked open and a head popped in. A young woman with black hair and black eyes swept the room to find its occupant. Her smile brightened up the room as she stepped inside without permission in a green flowing dress. Her name was Lila and she spoke in a light and cheerful tone. "Hello Empress Yoshiko, I thought I might find you here." said Lila.

"Where else would I be?" asked Yoshiko who smiled at her intruder. She quickly put the environmental bureau report away and turned around in her seat just in time to see Lila stick out her tongue. "I know, I know, I'm a hard woman to find. We are in private so you don't need to call me empress. I've already explained this many times to you. Anyways, what can I do for you?"

"I've missed you silly." replied Lila as she approached Yoshiko and gave her a tight hug before placing a kiss on her forehead. She smiled bashfully as she carefully sat on Yoshiko's lap knowing full well that the chair would not break. "I don't think this is very wise but I needed to see you. I have some news that may be unsettling." said Lila as her smile faded away and her expression was full of worries.

"What's wrong?" asked Yoshiko concernedly.

"Troy wants to marry me. He proposed to me after the meeting with the whole higher beings assembly. He said that he loves me and declared that I should marry him or he would die a lonely man." said Lila in a worried tone. Her black eyes slowly glanced at Yoshiko to see what she was thinking and how she would react.

"What did you tell him?" asked Yoshiko reservedly.

"I didn't say anything to him. I was shocked and he just slipped this?" Lila lifted up her hand to show Yoshiko. "He slipped it onto my finger without getting an answer from me. He then kissed me and left me standing there." Her face looked crestfallen as her worried eyes looked up into blue. It was clear that she was upset but she was more worried about how Yoshiko would react since they had been dating in secret for more than two years. The beautiful golden ring which was made of magical energy could not be taken off and it had a special binding spell that forever joined two people together. Tears started to well up into her black eyes which turned them into a muddy brown. "What should we do now?"

Yoshiko stared at the ring for a timeless moment. Her mind was blank at the boldness that Troy had shown in defiance to the customs set by the other immortals. It was true that Troy and Lila worked together almost everyday and that they were friends, however she had never known that he had harboured feelings deeper than that. Also it almost seemed like he was trying to win Lila's heart without a fight. She would show him how different eternity could be but right now her heart felt heavy at seeing Lila's crestfallen face.

"What should we do now?" repeated Lila again except in a softer voice which was muffled against Yoshiko's throat. Tears continuously fell down the sides of her cheeks as she glared at the ring. She detested it so much right now even though a few days ago she had proposed the idea to Yoshiko that they should deepen their relationship and commit to one another. She had actually already consummated their relationship and was pregnant with their child. However she had not told Yoshiko anything. Now her situation seemed hopeless. She would be bound to another when her heart and child belonged to Yoshiko. More tears swelled out of her already soaked eyes as the thoughts in her mind made her more upset.

"Please don't cry, Lila." said Yoshiko soothingly. "I will figure out something and make sure that we will be together. I will figure out something?" Yoshiko's heart sank further. These words that were meant to sooth the one she loved seemed so hollow since she really didn't know what she could do to make it right for them. The ring was too powerful, even for her, to change the fate of those who were bound. Slowly she rocked in her chair and kissed Lila fervently on the forehead to try and sooth her. Crying would not help Lila. She feared that the much younger Lila would become ill with worries and sadness. Carefully, she stood up while holding onto Lila and walked to the bed. Her blue eyes brimmed with a tiny bit of magic to loose the covers so that she could gently deposit Lila onto the bed. Sliding onto the bed, she caressed Lila lovingly and cuddled her until Lila fell asleep. However, her blue eyes could still see the tears that streamed out of her eyes as she slept and knew that her love must be having a nightmare. So she skilfully played with a little bit of magical threads in the air to induce a dreamless sleep for Lila to rest peacefully.

Slowly, Yoshiko slid out of bed and knew that she had things to attend to. She still needed to read the reports as well as try and figure out a way to get Troy to break the oath that came with the ring. Her blue eyes glanced at the sleeping Lila and knew that her love would be safe and sound in her quarters. No one would dare enter her room otherwise.


[Two mortal years later?]

Yoshiko studied the new moon and sighed. She had yet to figure out who she would assign to become the guardians of the moon and the sun and stars. Her life had turned upside down after Lila had informed her of what Troy had done. She had yet to figure out a way to undo it too. On top of matters, Lila had distanced herself and now they were not on speaking terms. Lila had kept to the oath as if it was the only solution and so Troy and Lila were together officially.

Blue eyes began to water as her heart began to ache. She longed to be with the one she loved but it was hopeless now. Lila had given up and she was swamped by one thing or another. She had even managed to fade out her existence from the immortals. Only a few select immortals knew that she still existed. Only a few knew that she was their maker, ruler, empress and mother.

Yoshiko had managed to create a new identity for herself. She was now known as Shiki and she had made friends with some of the higher immortals that worked with Lila and Troy. Her close confidant was actually Lady Felecia of the fates who had a younger apprentice named Arlem of the fates. They would only talk in private and would mainly talk at length since Lady Felecia was now represented as the overseer of both the immortal realm and the mortal realm. It was a duty that Yoshiko, herself, had devised so that she could erase her existence away.

Yoshiko stared out of the balcony window once more and surveyed the new city that sat at her feet. To her eyes, she could only see a meaningless attempt at creating a world which she would be able to love. It was not so since her love had been taken away from her by the callous Troy who still sat high and mighty within the higher beings hall. She had not found anything to revoke his privileges or to annul the ring of its purpose. Everything seemed to be out of her grasp. She had several conversations with Lady Felecia about leaving the immortals for a while. She had seen the horror that crossed her friend's face. However she believed that she needed a break.

Yoshiko had then left all of the unfinished matters that she was responsible for in the hands of Lady Felecia. She definitely needed a break and would not tell her friend where she was going. It was going to be a secret so that she could have as much freedom as she needed before she had to give it up and return. She was sweeping the room with her eyes to see if she had missed anything. She had already packed most of her stuff and knew that no one else would ever enter the room again until she returned.

Yoshiko stared at the bed and remembered how she had cuddled Lila to sleep after her outburst of emotions. She felt the need to leave her love with a little note. She didn't say where she was going or anything except that one day she would return and be able to make things right again. Her note was short and had little feeling in it. She knew that she had to be cautious in case Troy found out about the note. Closing her eyes she winked the note to wherever Lila might be. She only opened them again once she had weaved a magical portal that would take her to the mortal realm; her only option of freedom.


[One thousand and almost five hundred mortal years later?]

Yoshiko was in a village with few people who did not have many skills. She decided that the area with its lush, green fields would be a perfect place for her to be able to find some freedom. She had already spent one thousand and five hundred years in solitude. It was the right time now to know the mortals that she had created on a whim. Her knowledge had come in handy as she turned the village into a self sufficient town. Many of the people had become farmers and were making their own living. She, on the other hand, was running a corn business.

The corn fields were about ready to be harvested and she had enough workers for the job. She had been able to grow plants on these fields in particular with the use of her magic since it was the harshest piece of land that she owned. The others were divided among the people who used it for their purposes and those people were grateful since the land that she gave was thriving. She had smiled at everyone and became a well respected elder within the town of farmers.

She spent her days in the kitchen as she experimented with the corn to make different dishes for different times of the year or with a specific purpose. It had been a challenge at first but now she just had the knack for it. Her blue eyes would dance in freedom of having no responsibilities. Her long, blue dress and plain, dark blue apron was all she wore as she cooked and cooked. Her mind was free of stress and she could think clearly as well as enjoy the sunshine and moonlight.

However, that was about to change?


Yoshiko had been dancing around in the kitchen of her two storey wooden house. She was brewing a batch of corn that she wanted to try and make into a type of medicine for the common cough. So far she had no such luck but still she worked with her heart full of joy and excitement. However, the joy was halted when she heard a small rapping at the front door.

Yoshiko was not expecting anyone to come and visit her since it was still quite early in the morning. The workers were out in the fields trying to pick the corn which was ready to harvest. Her ears were alert as the rapping continued as she turned off the stove and walked to the door. Her aged fingers slowly pulled the handle and opened the door wide only to spot a young girl standing there.

Yoshiko could see the blonde hair and grey eyes of this girl. She knew that one day the little girl would grow up to be a beautiful person and would probably stop some men in their tracks. Her blue eyes studied the young girl who looked frightened under the intense regard. She slowly eased up on her gaze and smiled widely which showed every single wrinkle that was on her face. "Hello, little one, what can I do for you?" asked Yoshiko kindly.

The little girl just stood there for a while, not knowing what to do or what to say. She was fidgeting with the worn out dress that she had on and stared up at the elderly woman. Her grey eyes not sure she could express what was on her mind. She slowly opened her small mouth and whispered one word. "Talia?"

Yoshiko smiled and knew that it was pointless to just stand there. She could see that this was going to take some time and she also wanted to make the girl relax. It would be more efficient if the girl was comfortable and could talk clearly without having the people in the village staring at her curiously. Yes, Yoshiko and the little girl had noticed everyone staring at them oddly. She quickly led the girl inside and closed the door firmly from prying eyes.

"What is your name?" asked Yoshiko.

"Talia." replied Talia in her soft voice that clearly showed her reserved manner and fear. Her grey eyes were darting around the room very perceptively that if Yoshiko didn't know any better, she would have thought the girl was planning to steal from her. Talia idly sat in the chair that Yoshiko had directed her to. It was comfortable and soft but she was too antsy to feel anything.

"Where are your parents?" asked Yoshiko.

Talia gave a shrug of her shoulders and watched the elderly woman's blue eyes dawn on the situation. Her grey eyes stared at the elderly woman and tried to figure her out. Her observation skills were adequate and her logic was slowly catching up to the rest of the world's standards. She was smart for a young girl and she knew it since she had met some on the road. She could clearly see that this elderly woman in front of her was genuinely kind and generous. She knew that the elderly woman didn't show her wealth even though it looked as though she was doing pretty well by the standards of society. Placing her small hands into her lap, she nervously fidgeted with her fingers as her body started to relax sensing that she was in a safe place.

"How old are you?" asked Yoshiko gently and kindly. Her blue eyes had noticed that Talia was slowly relaxing since her entrance. She had seen that the young girl was so tense before that she could barely walk in without stumbling. Looking at the girl, she could tell that there was something wrong and familiar about the small girl but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. Slowly her eyes tracked Talia's hand as it slowly rose to her neck and then Yoshiko noticed that she was wearing a silver necklace. She watched as Talia unconsciously pulled out the necklace and started to play with the thing that was hanging from it. Blue eyes widened as she saw a blue rose diamond ring on a silver band and almost rose out of her seat to take a closer look. She recognised the ring.

Talia was oblivious to the elderly woman's actions. She sat there while looking out of the window. She could clearly see the blue sky and sunshine that always enveloped her with a sense of home. She didn't know why she felt that way but she knew that it was one good thing that she could always count on since she couldn't remember much anyway. She could feel the warm rays of sunshine across her legs as she stared out of the window. Her fingers were dancing around the ring that hung around her neck on a loose silver chain. Her grey eyes slowly tracked to the elderly woman and saw how her blue eyes were riveted on the spot just below her chin. She instinctively looked down to see what the woman was staring at and hastily put the ring back out of view.

"Forgive me, Talia. I didn't mean to stare. May I ask how you obtained it?" asked Yoshiko carefully. Her mind was flipping around as she tried to figure out how this young girl managed to get hold of such a ring that were only given to a rare few in the mortal realm. She recognised the ring as those that were given to gifted royals who were pure in heart and soul. Her mind tried to probe the mortal realm with the use of magic to locate each royal that owned such a ring. However no one resembled the girl that was sitting in front of her.

"I don't know. I've always had it." replied Talia slowly as she tried to rack her brain for an answer. She could see the interest that the elderly woman showed in the ring but she knew that the elderly woman would not harm her in any way like so many other people who happened to see the ring and wanted to possess it for their own greed. She had always been able to just close her eyes and wish with all of her might to just make the people disappear who were chasing her. She would end up opening her eyes and find herself in a different place to where she had been.

Yoshiko stared at Talia and could see that the girl did not lie. She had told the truth that was intensively strong. Yoshiko now had to figure out why Talia had such a ring since she knew that only a gifted person could obtain it. She released a small amount of magical energy and probed Talia's body. She was surprised to find a small amount of magical energy within Talia that she could use while another portion which was immensely larger was dormant. Her blue eyes widened as she could sense Talia's potential which could rival even the higher beings back in the immortal realm. She was stunned. She could barely move as her mind tried to adjust to the idea that a mortal could be so powerful and yet so young.

Talia sat there quietly as she saw the elderly woman become shocked by something. It was as if an idea had struck her like a lightning bolt and she was moving in slow motion. Her grey eyes could tell that there was something about the elderly woman that made her seem older than usual. There was just the feeling that she had to kneel in front of the woman as if she were the king or queen of the land. However she remained seated and waited patiently for the elderly woman to do or say something.

"Do you have anywhere to go?" asked Yoshiko as she reigned in her shock and tried to calm her sensors down. Her entire body was prickling with the need to be somewhere else to confirm how this young girl could be so powerful and yet so mortal. There was something fishy and she wanted to find out. She smacked herself mentally since she had removed herself from the immortal realm. If she were back there, she would have foreseen this and been able to do something about it if necessary. She could see that Talia was much more than she seemed. Even her grey eyes were piercing and intelligent. It was kind of hard to think that Talia was only a young girl.

Talia shook her head in the negative to the question. She could see that the elderly woman was thinking about something and was surprised to see a determined glint in her blue eyes. It was hard to tell what this elderly woman's intentions were but as far as Talia could tell, they were good. Slowly she sat on her hands so that they would stop fidgeting. She felt like playing with the ring again but she knew that it would be hard to explain to the elderly woman since her memories failed her.

"Would you like to stay here?" asked Yoshiko and was relieved that Talia nodded her head slowly. This small agreement would give her plenty of time to reacquaint herself with the immortal realm and still be able to stay anonymous. She didn't want to cause trouble in the immortal realm if she didn't need to. She wanted to maintain the minimum amount of contact in the immortal realm and thus she would be able to maintain her freedom. "Well then, you can use the guest room for the time being until I can get your room sorted out. Would you like something to eat or drink?"

Talia smiled for the first time and nodded her head as her stomach growled loudly which made Yoshiko laugh out loudly. Talia was then scooped out of her chair and ushered into the kitchen to fill her tummy.


Chapter 2

[One mortal year later?]

Yoshiko stood in the shadows of the huge room which was Lady Felecia's suite. Her blue eyes danced around the room to notice that there had been many changes made and was a little surprised to see another person's belongings in the room as well. She could see that being cut off from the immortal realm for so long had really placed her in an awkward position. She was forced to sneak in without being noticed by anyone and she was almost pursued by a handful of her kind when she had materialized into the great immortal city. She was lucky that the city had not changed that much and so she was able to out manoeuvre them with all of the short cuts that she knew.

Yoshiko waited. She knew that her friend would be overly busy and would probably only return to this room when she was tired. She wondered how her old friend would react if they were to meet like this but she didn't ponder on it for too long. It was inevitable if she wanted to find out what was really happening in both realms. She slowly sat in a chair that was facing the window in the middle of the room. Her blue eyes slowly closed to feel the warmth of the sun on her pale skin. She had been pleased that her friend had found two immortals to be guardians of the moon and the sun and stars. It was just a little unfortunate that she couldn't meet these two individuals for herself.

Yoshiko didn't sit there for a long time. She heard with her sharp ears that someone had entered. She remained sitting there with her eyes closed and her skin taking in the warmth of the sun. Her long blonde hair almost touched the ground as she sat there since she had resumed her immortal appearance so that it would be easier for her old friend to recognise her. Her blue eyes opened slowly and she turned her head to face whoever had entered since she now realised that it wasn't her friend.

Elaine of the earth stood near the door and her brown eyes were staring intently at the unknown intruder. She would have raised an alarm since she had heard earlier that there was an unknown individual within the city. However the individual in question did not seem hostile and deserved to explain themselves. So she waited for the beautiful, blonde, blue eyed woman to look at her. She waited near the entrance of the room in case she needed to run. Her secret lover was due to return any time now and she was supposed to have been in here waiting for her. "Who are you?" asked Elaine in a soft voice that clearly showed her fear.

Yoshiko smiled widely, showing teeth, and slowly stood up from the chair. Her posture was perfection as well as her graceful movements just to turn and face Elaine. "You must be Elaine of the Earth. I have yet to meet you but now here we are. It is nice to see that my opinion of you is spot on. You really are kind and gentle." said Yoshiko in her sweet voice. She slowly looked expectantly at the door and was rewarded by her effort when it opened to omit her old friend.

Felecia gasped in surprise and dropped the stack of files that she had in her arms when she had entered. Her blue eyes were wide in shock as she stared at old familiar blue eyes that she recognised at the first glance. She quickly knelt down onto her knees and bowed her head so that her forehead touched the ground. She was oblivious to her lover's confused expression and knew that she would not kneel either. "Welcome back, Empress, Mother, and old friend." said Felecia in a tearful and joyful tone.

The door closed swiftly with a wave of Yoshiko's hand and with another slight hand gesture, Felecia was once more on her feet with all of the files that she had dropped. "There is no need for that Felecia. Has it been that long that you have forgotten I do not want to be addressed that way? I would still like to remain anonymous among the populace and thus it is why you have an intruder alert." said Yoshiko with a slight smile. Another gesture with her hand and her magical tendrils of power swept both immortals and placed them in the chairs that were opposite to her.

"I'm sorry but I do not know who you are? Please excuse me if I am being rude." said Elaine gently. Her confusion was evident and her lover was not helping any since she was still tearful and mumbling things. However it was clear that she was happy and hopeful. Elaine wondered why considering they had been on a down hill ever since a thousand years ago.

"No need for apologies Elaine. Felecia here has kept a secret from you and I am sure that she will explain it for you in due time. However my time here will be short since I do not wish to impose the immortal realm more than I should. My name is? My true name is Yoshiko." said Yoshiko, although she had been hesitant at giving the woman her real name. Her blue eyes had considered giving one of her other names but it would do her no good either way. She felt as though the time were nearing that she had to return here and that feeling was growing every time that she looked into her friend's blue, weary eyes. "Can you please update me on what has been going on since my absence?"

"When you left, I made the decision to ask four of my fellow higher beings to produce two immortals who would be the guardians of the moon and the sun and stars. Elaine's father and mother, Christopher and Christine, produced an immortal girl by the name of Silvia to be the guardian of the sun and stars. Troy and Lila produced a girl by the name of Maria to become the guardian of the moon?" informed Felecia as she sat back and relaxed.

Yoshiko became rigid at the mention of Lila's name. Her eyes showed their shock but she quickly recovered. Her blue eyes drifted briefly to the window and looked at the sunshine before she turned her attention back onto her old friend Felecia who seemed to be pent up with a little worry. She was still wondering why her friend had looked hopefully up at her.

"The two girls worked together for five hundred years. However it was brought to my attention that Troy and Lila had not informed me about their daughter's condition. Maria was sick and she had bouts of sickness. After their five hundred years of being together, Maria fell critically ill while we were in a higher beings meeting to judge them. I hastily approved them as being higher beings since that had already been decided to begin with and rushed to see if I could somehow cure her." said Felecia as she sat there with her eyes slightly glazed as if she were reliving the memory. Her head then dropped and she continued sadly. "I could not cure her. Her body had taken too many bouts of sickness and was about to shut down completely."

"Why was she having these bouts of illnesses?" asked Yoshiko.

Elaine decided to speak since it looked as though Felecia was about to break down from her failure. "There was a flaw in her makeup when she was created. It was a minor flaw but the symptoms were disastrous on her body. The flaw had something to do with how Troy and Lila had created her. They had forgotten something or rather and would not speak on the matter when we questioned them later on." said Elaine as she moved a little closer and her voice showed anger when she mentioned their names.

"It seems very unusual for Troy and Lila to do something like that. They are perfectionist to heart. There is no way that they would not have known from the very beginning unless one or the other or both knew what they were doing. However we will address that matter later on. Please continue about what happened in the meeting." suggested Yoshiko as she sat back and stored that piece of information away for later on. Her mind now focused on what was worrying her friend.

"After I couldn't cure her, Silvia took it upon herself to heal her completely. She erased the flaw and used up all of her energy to do it. However she did not have enough energy to live as an immortal. Her soul was sent to the sea of mortals and we are waiting for her return. I managed to restore her powers as they were when she was an immortal but they probably won't show up until she is older and able to control them. So we don't know if she has left the sea of mortal souls yet to be reborn in the mortal realm or is still in there. Maria was devastated by what had happened and she had waited for almost one thousand years now for Silvia to return. However we found out a few years ago that she disappeared to the mortal realm. I'm sure she is searching for Silvia." explained Felecia as she finally stared at her friend now with blue, clear eyes.

"So are there any other important matters that need to be discussed?" asked Yoshiko in a clear and calm voice. She saw Felecia shake her head in the negative and plaster her eyes back on her. Yoshiko sighed heavily before slowly tapping the tip of her finger on her temple. She was thinking and knew now that she had solved the mystery back on the mortal realm regarding Talia. It was because Talia was Silvia except that she was still mortal. However that was going to change sooner than the immortals were planning. She had an idea that would twist things further in their favour.

"Why have you returned?" asked Felecia.

"I was just checking out how the immortals were going since I haven't been in touch for a long time. I thought maybe I should consider about rejoining. I know that all of you are very busy and one more immortal with perfectly good hands could lessen the work load. However I am finding that the other immortals are not yet ready for my return. So I will only be seeing you for the time being to sort out everything. I will look into the matter regarding Silvia and Maria. Don't worry, my friend, I trust you have done everything within your power to help them." explained Yoshiko before she leapt to her feet. She looked around the room and smiled. Felecia and Elaine stood up as well. "I hope the both of you are happy. I will take my leave now."

Felecia and Elaine were about to say something to Yoshiko but she disappeared into thin air before they could even think of what they were about to say. Yoshiko had to leave for the mortal realm. There was plenty of work to do now that she knew the real facts. It was just luck that she happened to come across Talia.

Now she understood why Talia had little or no memory of her childhood. It was purely because she was an immortal and the fact that Felecia must have tampered with the sea of mortal souls. The puzzle was falling into place. Talia would not have been born like a normal baby. She would have been ripped from the sea of mortal souls and appeared next to the most powerful soul in the mortal realm which happened to be her, Yoshiko. It explained why she did not sense anything from Talia until she probed her. It was also due to the fact that the sea of mortal souls had a small hidden function as well. The hidden function was to send any immortal soul straight to Yoshiko but because Felecia didn't know about the hidden function, the sea of mortal souls took longer to follow its hidden command.

Yoshiko walked the corn fields and her blue eyes looked around at where she had appeared. Her appearance and clothes changed back to the elderly woman that she had been. She could still see that it was quite early in the morning. The moon was still up and the night was dark. There was no way that anyone would have seen her but she was cautious anyway since she knew there were gifted people who lived just outside of the land that she owned.

Yoshiko entered the house and quickly walked upstairs to check on Talia who was fast asleep, well that was her intention. She had only been gone since dusk and knew that Talia would only be curious as to where she went. She smiled at the mere thought of a curious Talia standing at the kitchen door just looking at her. Indeed she was not disappointed by her thoughts since Talia was doing exactly that.

Talia stood at the kitchen door and waited. The sun had only just come up and its rays were lighting up the kitchen like wild fire. She could feel the warm sunrays on her skin and she felt so at home. Her grey eyes fluttered close for a moment before she found a bowl of some sort of corn dish in her hands. She looked up at Yoshiko but slowly ate what was given to her.

"You better go to the fields and start your work. I'm sure the others are on their way. So hurry up and eat before they start without you and leave you out there to finish up your share of the workload. I'll be here when you come back." explained Yoshiko as she stirred the contents of the big pot that she had stoked onto the fire. Her blue eyes could see that Talia had hurriedly eaten and disappeared to do her share. It was quite a feat for Talia to do the same workload as the adults considering her age but Yoshiko was not fooled. She knew that Talia was using magic that was slowly becoming familiar to her every time that she used it to pick the corn.


[One mortal year later?]

The midday sun shined brightly as the rays filtered through the windows of the kitchen and Yoshiko was busy trying to make sure that her corn stew had enough spices. Her nose sniffed the delicious aromas and with a nod of her head, she was satisfied with the results. Wiping her hands clean, she quickly doused the flames and let the pot cool off. She was going to give some to Talia so that she could try it out, considering it was a new recipe.

Yoshiko's blue eyes danced to the window and looked out to see how much work Talia had done. Her blue eyes widened at the fact that Talia was indeed finished. What surprised her even more was the fact that there were traces of magical energy in the air. Yoshiko knew instantly that Talia must have used her magic to help with her chores and now she understood why Talia's section of the corn field was thriving. She could see that the magical energy that Talia used would nourish the next batch while she picked the corn that was ready. Blue eyes narrowed at the amount of magic that Talia was using and an alarm rang loudly in her head.

Yoshiko quickly abandoned the window and rushed outside. She could see that there was someone who was gifted who was quickly approaching the village. There was only one reason that a gifted person would travel all the way out here. They were going to find out about Talia and try to dispose of her because of the amount of power that she exuded. However Yoshiko was lucky since she knew how to hide her own magical prowess. It would give her an upper hand against this gifted person, not to mention that she was also an immortal. There would be no one who would be able to harm her.

Yoshiko stood in the middle of the village that was close to the front of her house. She knew that the gifted person was on their way and she could only sense that whoever was coming was quite strong. They would have no trouble in dealing with Talia since she was not fully developed yet. She could also see that there was something familiar about the magical prowess that she sensed from the gifted person.

A man of middling age stepped into the centre of the village and looked around with his black, hard eyes. He looked scary in a determined sort of way that meant he was solely here for business and nothing more. He didn't even raise an eyebrow at the villagers who were gawking at him and whispering to each other. His black eyes searched the vicinity as a light breeze blew his short, curly, black hair into his eyes. He quickly raised a clean hand that was not marred by any work and hastily brushed his hair out of his eyes.

Yoshiko stood there for a moment and knew that this was going to be one big mistake on both of their parts. She could now see who was standing in front of her. She knew who it was and that knowledge only let her be even more curious as to why he was here in the first place. Her blue eyes took in his nicely dressed body that was covered in a simple shirt and trousers that suggested that he was from a wealthy family. He didn't wear any armour or weapons which was why the villagers were gawking at him. They were also curious since he didn't have any guards with him if he were a wealthy man. Slowly he approached her since it was the custom within any village that visitors were to greet with the eldest person there who would be the leader. It just so happened, Yoshiko was that person and she was truly the oldest person there. "Greetings?" said Yoshiko kindly.

"Greetings?" said the man gruffly. It looked like he had no patience for anyone. He narrowed his eyes at her and tried to impose his personality of authority upon her. "I wish to see everyone within this village. I am looking for someone."

"I'm sorry to disappoint you but the only person you will be seeing is me. You may take your leave now. I do not wish to see you here ever again, Troy. Do I make myself clear?" said Yoshiko in a gentle voice that belied the threat behind her words.

Troy was taken aback since the elderly woman in front of him just addressed him by his real name. His black eyes narrowed on the elderly woman before he raised his hand at her threateningly. He looked like he was going to level the whole village if his command was not followed. "I wish to see everyone whether you want to follow my command or not. I will see to it that it happens. Don't make me have to use force on you old woman." he growled.

Yoshiko only smiled before Troy released a burst of powerful magic towards her. Yoshiko gently lifted her hand up to capture it within the palm of her hand before she extinguished it within her fingers. Her blue eyes looked up at a shocked Troy who could only stand there and stare at her. It looked as though he didn't know who she was yet and she was going to leave it that way for now since there were still plenty of things that she needed to do. However she didn't expect him to send another burst of magic towards her with his full prowess. She was hit square in the chest and was thrown backwards.

The villagers were stunned by the display of magic. They wanted to rush to Yoshiko's side but knew that it was unwise to do so when Troy was still standing there waiting to fire another one at the old woman. So the villagers were left there to watch and wait for an outcome.

Yoshiko looked at the blue sky and smiled. She guessed that it would be only a little longer before she had to return to the immortal realm after all. She could see that there were going to be many changes when she returned and knew that no one was going to like any of it. However it had to be done for the safety of Talia and Maria. She gradually got up onto her feet while gently nursing her chest. The blast had hurt and if she were a mortal, she would be dead. She could now see that Troy had figured out that she was an immortal but knew that he didn't know who.

"Who are you?" asked Troy angrily. He could see that this old woman was more than she seemed. He had used enough magic to level out this entire village as well as enough to kill any low level immortal. However he had seen how she handled everything was ease and now she was standing as if nothing had happened. She was far more than a low level immortal. His black eyes narrowed as he invoked the entirety of his prowess to the fore. He was going to succeed one way or another.

"My?my? aren't you a grumpy one today. Why do you want her so badly?" asked Yoshiko in a gentle voice as her hand finally lowered to her sides after checking her mortal form over. The damage was extensive and she had to do something about it soon or she would lose her mortal form after this little skirmish. "What does she have to do with you?"

"I detest her and her type. I will obliterate her so that she will never be able to touch or poison my daughter with her beliefs. I will never let them work together ever again." yelled Troy as his anger boiled to the surface and he unleashed a burst of frighteningly powerful magic. He directed his attack at the old woman and smiled as his aim was perfect like so many other things that he did.

Yoshiko raised her arm like a lightning blade and flicked the burst of energy skyward. She was not surprised to see the look of shock that plastered his face. Her blue eyes scanned the vicinity to notice that the villagers were all unharmed although a little rattled. She lowered her arm and slowly stepped forward towards Troy who could not move an inch even if his life depended on it. She had imposed on him a pressure of unfamiliar magic that could endanger his life if he decided to do something rash.

Suddenly, a bright white light appeared between Yoshiko and Troy. It cleared to reveal a middle aged woman with long black hair and black eyes. She wore a white robe that the immortals considered fashionable but she also had a golden belt that distinguished her from the others. Her black eyes looked around alarmingly and settled on Troy before staring at the old woman. "Please let my husband go." said Lila.

"What are you doing here?" yelled Troy furiously.

"I'm saving you from total annihilation." whispered Lila towards her husband before she turned back to the old woman. "Please, I beg of you, let my husband go. Please show leniency and bestow upon me any punishment that you wish to oppose on him. Please spare him." Lila did an unexpected thing next. She knelt down on her knees in front of Yoshiko and bowed her head.

"Do you really love him?" Yoshiko found herself saying those words before she could stop them from flowing out of her mouth. Her tone had not been cruel or careless. She had been gentle and kind as if she were talking to the one that she loved. She still did love Lila and was crestfallen to see the person she loved, begging for another's life.

"It is my duty." replied Lila with her head still bent.

Yoshiko felt a flare of hope spark in her heart. She could now see that Lila was hiding something from Troy and knew that it must have something to do with her. She could tell that there was no love in her voice for Troy. There was no emotion there except her duty as his wife. Yoshiko stood there for a moment before she stepped closer to Lila and knelt down on one knee. She raised her hand and gently lifted Lila's black eyes towards her own blue ones. "Please stand up?" whispered Yoshiko as she gently helped Lila up.

"Please release my husband." whispered Lila once more before her eyes fell to the ground. She could not look into this old woman's eyes and not feel inferior or guilty for some reason. Her back felt like it was on fire, the way that Troy was staring at her. However the pressure of all of the stress that she was feeling was finally getting to her. Lila could already feel her eyes closing and her body losing all of its strength.

Yoshiko immediately caught Lila around the midriff and slowly let her down onto the ground. She could feel the villager's eyes on her and also those of Troy. She really did hate the person that Troy was for driving Lila to do what she had when it was clear that she was unwell. A quick magical scan of her body showed that she was just exhausted. She quickly gathered a small amount of magic in her right hand and sent a message to the immortals that she trusted most.

Elaine and three of her siblings arrived at the scene as soon as the message was sent. They looked around and were surprised to see an old woman carefully tending to Lila while Troy was held in a powerful magical clasp that had unfamiliar energy. Elaine quickly approached Lila and the old woman while her three siblings approached Troy.

Yoshiko spoke commandingly at the three siblings. "I do not wish to see him anywhere near here in the future. If he tries to come again, he will wish he never existed in the first place. I hope that the three of you can handle that." said Yoshiko as she continued to hold onto Lila. The three siblings immediately grabbed hold of Troy forcefully before she released him from her grip. She watched sternly as the three siblings disappeared immediately. Yoshiko then turned towards Elaine and smiled. "How have you been, Elaine?"

"I've been good. I think everyone is busy at the moment since it seems as though we are about to have some new laws put in place. One of my fellow workers informed me earlier today. It was quite unexpected that we received a message from my mum to come here. So have you seen her anywhere, elder?" asked Elaine as she looked Lila over.

"Christine will be wondering why she isn't here. I'm sure you can sooth her worries. How is Felecia faring with the new laws?" asked Yoshiko before Elaine finally clicked onto who she was actually speaking to. Elaine looked shocked and Yoshiko just had to smile. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure no one would have suspected me of all people to be here. Please take care of Lila and make sure that you keep Troy away from her. I want Lila to be excluded from all of her duties from now on until I say so. Don't tell her anything either." explained Yoshiko before Elaine nodded and disappeared immediately.

Yoshiko looked around at the villagers who were shocked that she had spoken to the immortals without a care in the world. Also she had sounded as if she could command them easily. She held about her an air of authority that only now they were able to see clearly. Some of the villagers approached her to see if she was alright but she had only nodded her head. There was still some time left before her body would fully give out. She just had to make sure that everything was put into place before she could return to the immortal world to sort through a few things.

Yoshiko smiled widely, knowing that Talia had not felt or seen anything happen. She had asked the villagers nicely to not inform Talia while also telling them that Talia was a gifted person and many people would be after her life. She also told them that there was nothing to fear since Talia was a good person and would always remain one. So the villagers had agreed with smiles and left Talia to be.


Chapter 3

[Three mortal moons later?]

Yoshiko sat on her bed. She was constantly yawning and now she could feel that her body was almost at its limit of use. There was little else that she needed to do in the mortal realm for now. She had already given Talia everything that she needed to survive without her presence. She had introduced Talia to a new family who would look after her a quarter moon ago and now Talia was truly happy and talking. She hadn't seen Talia for seven whole days and her blue eyes searched the window. The sunshine was warm and relaxing her torn up body.

Yoshiko slowly eased herself back on the bed and knew that it was already time to leave the mortal realm. She could not just simply disappear from the face of the mortal realm since it would raise too many questions for the neighbouring villages and towns. She wanted Talia to remain safe and if she had to leave, she wanted it to be a quiet affair so that the villagers could be put at ease. No one would touch this village without her knowledge or unless something major happened.

Yoshiko heard the door to the kitchen open and knew that Talia plus one had arrived. She was wheezing now as her body was struggling to remain alive from the wounds that Troy had inflicted three months prior. She had no way of healing herself and knew that it was the only way that things would progress in the right way. It was inevitable but she knew that she would cause Talia a huge amount of pain. She could see those sad grey eyes now just looking at her. Talia's magic was probing her body and shock was plastering her face as she remained lying down trying to breath. She mumbled the answers to Talia's questions and could see how distraught the fourteen year old was. Yoshiko could now see that Marina, daughter of David, was standing at the door. She could see that she was hesitating in her decision to enter or not.

"You are important?" whispered Yoshiko on her last breath. Her body finally gave out and she could feel her immortal soul drifting out of her mortal form. The shell of her soul was left behind. She had created such a thing so that she could interact with the mortals and now she loathed it for the pain that she was causing Talia. She had grown very fond of Talia and knew that it was going to be a long time before everything would be revealed.

Blue immortal eyes watched for a timeless moment as Talia began to let her rage loose. She wanted to comfort Talia but knew that this was necessary. How she loathed herself for putting the child through this pain which was vital to releasing Talia from her mortal shell. It was time for Talia to unlock the chains that she had stored around her dormant powers. It was time to see the real Talia. It was time to see Silvia of the sun and stars, be reborn.

However shock plastered her beautiful face as she stared at a white bone armoured Talia who was releasing an enormous amount of magical energy. She could see that Talia had not only broken the chains but her magical energy was manifesting in an unexpected way. It looked like bones from Talia had emerged to the surface of her skin but the truth was that it was pure magical energy which was so concentrated that it looked like bone. Her blue eyes were wide in shock. How could an immortal have so much power without her knowing about it?

Yoshiko could see the enormous pain that flittered across blazing white eyes as the pure magical energy was slowly becoming unstable. Quickly acting in haste she landed gently near Marina and placed her hand on the child's shoulder. It was enough to stir her awake and make sure that she could move. She knew that what she was about to do was against all of the immortal's beliefs but desperate times called for desperate measures. She forced her immortal soul into Marina's body and took over her consciousness.

Yoshiko felt the pressure of magical energy that made her immobile against the wall but was relieved when it ceased. She fell to the ground and slowly crawled back to the doorway. Marina's body was already severely stressed and there was little that she could do at the moment to restore it to its normal state. Looking out of brown eyes, she raised her head but it was immediately slammed down to the floor because of another wave of pure energy making gravity intensely heavier.

Suddenly the rush of magical energy disappeared and Yoshiko was finally able to lift her head. She had already sensed that Talia had moved to kneel right in front of her and it was her turn to act. She had to return Talia back to her mortal form or she would damage her existence beyond repair. So she gradually raised her hand and gently grasped Talia's cheek. Yoshiko smiled as she stared into those grey eyes which had shown fear and guilt. Slowly, she was rewarded as Talia reverted back to her normal mortal form and then she slowly slipped from Marina's body.

Yoshiko knelt beside Talia and Marina before placing her hands gently on both of their foreheads. She had to heal their wounds and make sure that no extenuating damage had been caused to their souls. She also had to relieve Talia of her tension and to see to the villagers who were now hurrying up the stairs. She smiled sadly as Talia looked over to the rush of people before her consciousness slipped from her grasp. Yoshiko hastily checked Talia again before she filtered a slight amount of magical energy into the girl and once more Talia was awake.

Yoshiko looked around and could see that there was nothing else that she could do here. There was another realm that she had to infiltrate and calm down immediately. So she swept the whole area magically with her blue eyes before she was satisfied and left without anyone noticing that she was there in the first place. Her immortal soul reappeared in the immortal realm where alarms were blazing as if hell had frozen over.

Yoshiko looked around with her blue eyes and smiled. She had suspected that all of the immortals would have felt Talia release that amount of magical energy. She wondered what was going through their minds but knew that she couldn't dwell on it since another alarm was blazing of an unknown intruder. She had to leave the area and move quickly so that she could evade the authorities without being seen. It was still her intention to remain anonymous since there were still many things that she had to do.

Yoshiko once more found herself in Lady Felecia's room. She sat at the messy desk and sighed at the mess. It was not like her best friend to be this untidy unless she was over stressed about one matter or another. Her wait was short since Felecia and Elaine arrived shortly after she had sat down. She was going to have a peek at the files but turned around to look at her two immortal friends.

"I knew it was you." said Felecia as she unceremoniously collapsed onto the chair in the middle of the room. Elaine also sat down but with more patience and elegance. Felecia watched as Yoshiko made her way to the centre of the room and also took a seat to face the both of them. Her blue eyes were amused that Yoshiko was once more in her immortal appearance but her fashion sense was still those of the mortals. "Did you have trouble finding immortal clothes?"

Elaine elbowed Felecia in the ribs and glared at her. "Don't say such things to her. I have caught you in worse and I am not talking about that one incident where you became intoxicated in the mortal realm with the immortal's wine that you managed to bring along." said Elaine with a sneer as Felecia gave her an outrageous look back.

"Anyways, what have you been doing and why have you returned so soon? I thought that maybe you were thinking of staying away from us for another extended period and you show up when we have a crisis on our hands. Not to mention we also had a report come in three moons ago that there was an incident in the mortal realm and I had to find out from Elaine that you were involved. So what is going on? What are you planning?" asked Felecia as her blue eyes looked at Yoshiko seriously.

"How is your little side project coming along with Maria and Silvia?" asked Yoshiko as she summoned beverages out of thin air. She smiled as Felecia and Elaine looked at her in surprise since an immortal didn't display any of their magical prowesses unless it was vitally important to do so. Such trivial things were looked down upon since it was more common with the youngsters or those with less power. "Don't worry about me. I've stored more magical power than anyone in both realms. Now how is your project?"

Felecia nodded her head in acknowledgement before she took a cup and sipped from it. She was surprised that her old friend still remembered her favourite drink and wondered where she had gotten it from since only a few immortals made the drink. However she put that aside for later on since Yoshiko wanted to know about other matters. "The little side project concerning Maria and Silvia has progressed only a little bit. We have yet to find Maria and Silvia is still unknown. We don't even know if Silvia has left the sea of immortals yet. So on top of that project, I have been appointed to deal with the complaints that Troy has made about an unknown immortal parading themselves as an elderly woman as well as complaints from Lila telling me that she was stripped of her duties and confined to a room away from her husband. Then I have a commotion today that there was a report of an enormous amount of magical energy being released in the mortal realm that rivalled even our most powerful immortal present at the moment. Now I have you setting off the alarms since they don't know who you are." explained Felecia in an almost complaining voice.

"It looks like you are very busy." commented Yoshiko with a smile. She could see that her old friend was frazzled but knew that Elaine had a twinkling of an idea of what was going on since she knew that she was in the vicinity on every one of those occasions. "So would you like me to put your mind at ease and tell you what I have in store for the immortals?" asked Yoshiko with a smile.

"Yes please." replied Felecia shortly, having no more patience.

Yoshiko smiled at her old friend and took a sip of her own beverage before continuing. Her voice was light with a hint of amusement. "I have taken over your little side project and now things are closer to completion than you can imagine. I have found Silvia." said Yoshiko as both immortals gasped and their eyes bulged out of their sockets. Yoshiko immediately continued. "Three moons ago, Troy came to the place where Silvia was staying and he was going to destroy her. I intervened since I have been keeping an eye on Silvia since she came to me about five mortal years ago. So that was why he is kept in a cell until an investigation is completed. Lila had turned up at the incident and I could see that Troy was putting too much stress on her. Lila had collapsed in front of me and so I forged a message from Christine to send to Elaine to detain Troy while making sure that Lila was alright. I stripped Lila of her responsibilities for her own good."

"So Silvia is alive and well?" interrupted Elaine with teary eyes.

"She is well." replied Yoshiko with a heartfelt smile that soothed Elaine's and Felecia's immortal souls. She could see and feel the tension that was in the air loosen a tiny bit. Her blue eyes had seen this happen many times since her smile was infectious to the point where someone who was angry with her would walk away with a smile. "Although today she gave me a bit of a scare?"

"What do you mean?" asked Felecia straight away.

"In the mortal realm, Silvia is known as Talia. Talia is the mortal shell that Silvia had unknowingly created for herself when she arrived in the mortal realm. Silvia had to break out of the chains that she had placed around herself so that her shell could finally be released. It was the enormous magical surge today that was the releasing of Silvia from her shell. She had enough magical energy to destroy the mortal realm but luckily I was there like always. I managed to get her to retain some of her shell so that she could acclimatise with her power or risk damaging her immortal soul. However with all of this I am still uncertain what will happen. Her future is still clouded." explained Yoshiko as she slowly took a sip of her beverage.

"So are you saying that you have a handle of all matters happening at the moment and I don't need to lift a finger?" asked Felecia as she looked at her best friend wide eyed. She got an amused nod of agreement. Her blue eyes quickly zoomed to her lover, Elaine and saw how she was somewhat relieved by all of the news. "So why did Troy want to destroy Silvia for?" asked Felecia, still not comprehending Troy's intentions.

"I will explain that later on when I have more proof but at the moment I need to figure out something so that Talia remains safe. I have already placed her in another mortal's care so that she can learn the art of war to protect herself if she needs it. I suspect that the man will only show her the basics since fighting is not a woman's place but I had already spoken to him about it and he reluctantly agreed." explained Yoshiko as she put down her empty cup and waved all of the empty cups away into thin air. Her blue eyes glanced to the window and saw that the sun was shining brighter than it ever had before but she knew why. She only hoped that everything would fall into place soon to relieve the immortals of the burden of maintaining the sun and stars with their small knowledge of the duties.

"If she has shed her shell, doesn't that mean her sword would return to her?" asked Elaine as she directed her question at Felecia. It was almost comical, the way that Felecia sat upright as an idea entered her vast mind. Her blue eyes looked at brown and the message was clearly conveyed as if talk was not even needed. Elaine decided to speak up when Yoshiko looked at the both of them with a confused but curious expression. "Shawn of the sword can watch out for her since he is the one that is caring for her sword in her absence. I'm sure he would not mind at all and would be more curious as to why this sword made by him for Silvia was sent to Talia. He can keep an eye on her while you can do what you need to do." suggested Elaine.

Yoshiko smiled. She knew of the presence of the sword and had wondered when it would return to Talia but knew that it wasn't anytime soon. She could feel it in her soul that Talia was not yet ready. There was still one more thing that needed to happen and she had to wait one more mortal year to find out what that was.


[One and a half mortal years later?]

Yoshiko stood on a vast plain of lush green grass as chaos spread out around her. She had known that mortals were prone to disagreements but this one had escalated into an all out war and she was about to return to the immortal world but stopped as blood trickled near her feet. Her blue eyes danced among those individuals who were fighting but could see that there was one person who had caught her eye.

Yoshiko slowly stepped closer to that individual who had short, black hair and black eyes that were colder than ice. She was certain that this person wouldn't be able to see her because of the unique magical energy that was wrapped around her being. She would even be invisible to the immortals that would come for a brief glimpse before going elsewhere. She had just about enough of this fighting but this one individual held her attention as if there was something that belonged to her within this person.

Yoshiko swiftly waved her hand and made time stop on both realms. She had saved enough magical energy to use in two of her lifetimes but considering that she was immortal, her power was limitless at the moment. Her blue eyes raked the individual's weak mortal form and were surprised that it was a girl in a black dress with black armour and a black sword. Her heart almost stopped when she had a closer look at the girl's dark blade.

Yoshiko examined the piece of metal that was not of this realm. It didn't even belong in the immortal realm either. The piece of metal was actually made from very strong magical energy that could only have come from her body. It was frightening that she did not remember ever creating such a piece for a mortal. Her blue eyes narrowed even further when she traced the blade with her finger and it felt like home as well as something else. She couldn't quite put a finger on it until she looked deeper into the girl's black eyes.

"Lila?!" she gasped as she stared at the young girl. The girl in front of her who was amidst a raging battle was an immortal whose parentage was Lila and someone else. She didn't know who 'the' someone else was but it certainly was not Troy. She would have sensed that part of the girl long ago since she had felt first hand his magical prowess which only slightly lingered on her immortal soul but was too diminutive to ascertain. She now knew that this immortal in front of her could only be Maria who had been missing for more than fifteen and a half mortal years.

Yoshiko quickly resumed time and watched bleakly as Maria fought for her life to defend a mere villager from being attacked. Her blue eyes followed every single movement that Maria made as she gracefully blocked a sword thrust and easily danced back to defend again. She could see clearly that Maria would not strike unless she was in immediate danger or the people she was protecting were in danger.

Maria danced around in a tight circle as she blocked a downward thrust and easily bleeding off the opponent's energy by sliding their blade along hers and away from her body. She could feel that her opponent was physically stronger and it would be his downfall since he did not have any speed. He attacked again but she outmanoeuvred him and delivered a nice slice along both arms which rendered them useless but not beyond repair. She smiled as he ran away from her cold black eyes.

Yoshiko was amazed by Maria's skill with the sword. She was wondering how long Maria had been practising to refine her skills to match even the strongest in the mortal realm. She stayed in the vicinity to watch without being involved in any way. Her mind running wild as she tried to figure out why she was so fascinated by this one immortal posing as a mortal warrior who was Lila's daughter.

Suddenly Yoshiko received an urgent message from Shawn of the sword that claimed he would probably need assistance. Her blue eyes looked up at Maria and knew that she had to tag the girl magically or risk losing track of her for good. So she carefully approached her and gently swept her hand through Maria's hair as if a breeze had blown through it. She smiled as she had left her own mark on Maria. It would be easy for her to track down the girl and there was no need for anyone to know just yet. She could feel her mind twisting around a splendid idea but right now she needed to attend to other matters.

Yoshiko quickly disappeared into thin air and reappeared right next to Shawn. It was obvious that Shawn did not know that she was there since she still had her invisibility cloak on and refused to remove it. Her blue eyes quickly scanned the area and noted that they were standing in the middle of the forest. She could hear nothing but two sets of feet that she knew belonged to Talia and Marina. Her focus was on their wellbeing and she was glad that they were alright and not involved in the war that was raging on in the west of where they were.

Shawn quickly stepped out and only appeared to Talia who was shocked to see him. However she didn't reveal to her best friend that he was standing there since every thing that they had gone through so far. Shawn seemed a little off for the meeting since it was very unlike him to actually grab another person, let alone a mortal that he barely knew. He had grabbed her by the shoulder and whispered warnings and dangers that lurked in these parts but Talia had ignored him. He tried multiple times to try and detour her away from this place but she wouldn't listen. Her logic was clear and right since it had been very quiet and there was nothing that could stand in her way.

Yoshiko smiled sadly since she knew that another one of her tests was about to start any moment now. She was sad that Shawn had left her to be but was still around in case he could lend a helping hand. Her blue eyes could see that she was armed with a sword that she knew belonged to her. It was forged for her as the sun and stars guardian.

Yoshiko's eyes darted to the side as she felt a group of men sneakily trying to creep up on the two unsuspecting girls. Yoshiko had let out a shrill whistle that would stop the group of men for a moment and also alert Talia to the impending danger. She smiled widely as she saw how easily Talia took up the role as protector and quickly impeded Marina from going any further before she checked their path.

Talia looked around and saw the rush of men coming towards her. They were armed and yelling their heads off. Only a few wore chain mail with plain trousers and a shirt while others had chest armour or just shoulder pads. She hastily drew out her sword and defended herself against the rush of men who were trying to disarm her and not inflict any bodily harm. Her grey eyes could clearly see that they were after their bodies rather than anything else which meant that they either had to stand and fight or quickly run away. Running away seemed like a good choice but there was nowhere to run to since the group of men had surrounded them.

Talia slowly lowered the tip of her sword so that it pointed towards the ground at an angle. Her grey eyes were dancing from one opponent to the next while she made sure none came close to her or Marina. She could hear them muttering about Marina's looks and that she, Talia, looked even better. Her body made sure that Marina stayed behind her at all cost. It was just a coincidence that they still had the safety of the tree that they had somehow managed to get to and protect their backs. However Talia now felt like a cornered cub and was about to lash out but her logic smacked her mentally to stay calm and focus so that she could come up with a way to get them out of this mess.

Talia had already acknowledged that she had been stubborn with Shawn and now she was paying the price tenfold. She wondered what he would say and thought better of it. Her grey eyes shifted around as the armed men tried to disarm her unsuccessfully. Her sword skill was proficient enough for the men to take her seriously but she knew that it would be a matter of time before they did disarm her. She could feel Marina at her back and knew that she was scared. It was already bad enough that they had to detour into the forest so that they could go around the battle that raged on towards the west.

Grey eyes watched in shock as Marina suddenly pulled her out of the way of a sword thrust from one of the men. She saw the pain that swam across Marina's face as her upper arm was sliced and blood started to stream down, staining her dress. Quickly pulling Marina back behind her, Talia hastily blocked another sword thrust that would have sliced Marina's back. She could slowly feel her anger building up as she looked at these men as if they were the vilest creatures ever.

Marina stayed close to the tree and watched avidly with brown eyes as Talia defended the both of them. She held her hand over the cut on her upper arm to try and stem the bleeding and slightly dull the pain. Her eyes flickered from one armed man to another and could see their sneers of delight at cornering Talia and her. She could even tell what was running through their minds since this was not the first encounter that she had with such people considering her father, David, was a smith. She knew exactly what these men were. They were slavers and they had found two innocent girls in the forest without protection save a sword.

Marina watched as Talia bravely fended off the slavers. She could see that the pressure of trying to stay safe and make sure that no harm would become of her was taking its toll. She only had to have a better glance at Talia's eyes to notice that they were blazing silver and the slavers were no longer interested in capturing them. The fighting became more intense as Talia grabbed Marina to push her out of the way. Her brown eyes could see that Talia was wordlessly saying something.

"Shawn of the sword, I need your help. Lend me your knowledge so that I can protect my friend from any harm. Lend me your power so that we can escape with our lives. Please, I beg of you to come before me now and pass on your power like so many other times you have done before." whispered Talia as she deflected a sword thrust that had been aimed at Marina. Her blazing silver eyes were slowly relaying the necessary information into her mind to fend off the slavers but she knew it was not enough. She needed experience which she did not have and only would obtain it through magical means.

Suddenly Marina grabbed Talia by the upper sword arm and pulled with all of her strength. She literally used that momentum to thrust Talia through a small gap between the slavers and smiled as her friend was clear. She had left the slavers stunned and quickly ran to attack them so that she could distract them long enough for Talia to escape unscathed.

Talia stumbled for a bit before she turned around to look wide eyed at Marina. Her blazing silver eyes saw the bright smile beamed in her direction. She saw one of the slavers grab Marina's arm and delivered a stab to her abdomen which caused blood to trail out of her lips. Her blazing silver eyes saw how another slaver stabbed her defenceless form again before turning to look at her. She was too shocked to know what to do. Her instincts kicked in and so she turned around and ran for her life. She ran away with tears sliding down her face for abandoning her friend.


Chapter 4

[Shortly after the slavers attack]

Yoshiko had watched as Talia ran away. She had seen how Shawn had given chase and knew that what was in store for him was not going to be any good. Her blue eyes swept the vicinity with her magical sight and found each of the slavers who were still standing around Marina's body. She could see some of their indecisions to either give chase or not. She felt repulsed by some of the slavers actions who had taken it upon themselves to start to look at what could have been their merchandise.

Yoshiko's blue eyes darkened in a flash of a moment after she realised what the slavers were going to do to Marina's body. Her eyes narrowed dangerously angrily as she flicked her hand and a magical thread bound the men in their act. Her magical prowess held their bodies tightly so that not even a muscle could twitch. She looked deeply into each of the slavers' eyes and could see clearly the evil that spread throughout their souls. She could not fathom where all of this madness was coming from but she would figure it out soon enough.

Yoshiko slowly approached Marina's body and was shocked to see that Marina was actually still alive, only just barely. Blue eyes could see that Marina's brown eyes were glazed over but she still had breath in her and a very weak pulse. There was still time to save her if she wished for it. Sweeping the area with her eyes, she could see that there was an immortal that was on their way over. Her magic continued to hold the slavers in place but she knew that it would not be questioned. She slowly bent down and gently placed her hand on Marina's cheek to give the poor child a little warmth.

Elaine appeared out of the trees and rushed over to Marina's frail form. She slid to a halt on her knees to try to attend quickly to Marina's wounds. Her brown eyes magically scanned Marina's body while not even noticing that the slavers were around or even held in place by magic. She didn't even notice that the slavers could see her or the fact that Yoshiko was standing right next to her.

Yoshiko gently placed her hand onto Elaine's shoulder and quietly whispered into her ear. She could see that Elaine was going to be crestfallen but this was how the realm functioned and she also needed this incident for the good of all of her creations. "Elaine, please stop. That is enough. She has already given her peace to this realm. I have already let her soul move on." said Yoshiko while still being invisible but Elaine already recognised her voice.

Elaine slowly lowered her hands and took another look at Marina's face. She gradually moved her hand to Marina's face and then her eyes before she gently closed them. Her shoulders were slumped and her eyes had gone muddy from tears. She spoke in a quiet, broken voice that showed every ounce of her sorrow. "Why are you doing this?" asked Elaine. "Why are you putting this soul in so much pain when she could have made her happy in this life? Why are you inflicting so much pain on Talia? What is driving you to do all of this? Why?"

"Tonight there will be a nice breeze. It will rain here and over at the battle field to cleanse it of the mortal's deeds. Hate and all that is evil has sprouted up among the mortal realm. We must be careful if we wish for it to end. We have to plan carefully so that peace can return here. Don't worry about Talia or Marina. Everything is as according to plan and I'm sure the future will be fruitful. Can you please tell Felecia to send Marina to me when she is summoned? I was a tad too late to do anything before Willow of the wind guided her soul away just before you came. I will leave you to do as you wish with these mortals and to do what you see fit with Marina's body." Yoshiko looked around at the trees and could see that the wind had left them finally since Willow's exit. Her blue eyes which had been dulled by the slaver's acts were now normal as she held onto Elaine's shoulder. However she knew that she must leave the mortal realm to attend to business and to see the outcome of Shawn's situation. Before she left to the immortal realm, she whispered in Elaine's ear "The moon will be very bright..."

Elaine felt Yoshiko's presence disappear completely and the slavers binds were slowly weakening. She hastily stood up and looked at each of the men that continued to stare at her. She knew that killing them would be a cinch but that was the easy way out for them. She didn't want to give them that option. She wanted them to suffer the way that Marina had suffered. So she left the slavers to relive what had been done to Marina by them with the use of her magic. It would take a very long time before the images would fade away but she had an inkling idea that they never truly would. She slowly lifted Marina's body into her arms and had one destination in mind. She was going to go to Marina's family and tell them what had happened to Marina and Talia on this very day.


Felecia sat at the front of the group of higher beings who had assembled in the central hall for a meeting. They were all waiting on the mortal soul that was going to be judged to see if they were going to be tossed back into the sea of mortal souls, go to punishment or become an immortal. Her blue tired eyes roamed the room and she internally sighed.

The room was dome shaped and the seats were arranged so that whoever was judged could see everyone's faces. There would be nowhere for both parties to hide, and made for a fairer system. Since Felecia was pretty much the head of all of these higher beings, she was situated at the front on a slightly raised platform with two male higher beings beside her.

Felecia looked around once more and noted many of the missing seats. She knew that the higher beings assembly was dwindling because of the work load that had been dumped on them ever since the mortal realm was thrust into chaos. Her usually impeccable posture was broken by all of the stress. Her shoulders were hunched and her elbows rested on the podium as she continued to try and find her lover.

Felecia was sad and worried since Elaine had been so busy with all of the affairs that were happening in the mortal realm. She would only get a glimpse of Elaine before the latter disappeared to the mortal realm. Her blue eyes had seen the stress and worry that made Elaine so tense even while walking. She had been quite worried once when she saw that Elaine was extremely upset and she had run and gone to the mortal realm. She tried to stop her from going but it was too late and now all she could do was worry.

The main doors to the meeting hall began to open and a beautiful white, long, silky haired woman with white eyes stood at the entrance. Her entire being was almost as airy as a puff of cloud. She walked elegantly forward with grace that befitted her as one of the immortals. By her side was a young girl in her late teens with brown hair and eyes. They both walked to the centre of the room and looked up at Felecia before the door could close behind them.

"Greetings Willow of the wind and Marina, daughter of David. I am Lady Felecia of the fates." Felecia then gestured to the other immortals that were in the room. "These are my fellow immortals that are also known as higher beings. You, Marina, are brought here to be judged by this panel. Do you have anything that you would like to say?" asked Felecia as she stared down at the mortal girl.

Marina stared up at Felecia and then at the other immortals. She had been wide eyed when she had first met Willow and then shocked when she entered the realm of immortals. She had been further stunned that she was to meet with the council of higher beings for a meeting since she didn't think that any of this was possible. She had believed all of her life that after a person died that there would be nothing left. They would just be remembered by those that were left. She had talked to Willow for a little while and could still remember being pulled out of her body even though she could have sworn that there was somebody else there for an instant. Her brown eyes glanced at Willow who gave her an encouraging nod before she proceeded. "I have a small request" she whispered.

"What is this request?" asked the immortal that was on Felecia's right.

"I would like for Talia to be safe from any harm for the entirety of her life back home. I don't want her to suffer. I don't want her to be sad. I want her to live a peaceful life. Can you please give that to her?" asked Marina in a sincere voice.

The immortals in the room began to murmur with their neighbours. It had indeed been an odd request but not one that they hadn't heard before. It was usually a request that a mortal soul would ask for their lover or family member. However to ask this for a person who was only the girl's friend baffled almost everyone in the room.

Felecia immediately silenced the room with her next words. "Your request has been noted. You are most loyal to your friend. However in this particular case, I cannot grant you your wish. It is simply beyond my power to make it happen. Now do you have anything else that you would like to say?"

"Why can't you grant it? Willow of the wind has told me of many cases that this request has been made and none have been denied. I don't understand and from the looks of most of the other immortals around you, they don't understand either. Why can't you help Talia?" asked Marina.

Suddenly the main doors to the meeting hall burst open in a rush to omit Elaine who walked briskly towards the podium in which Felecia was now standing behind. Elaine flew past Marina and Willow with a smile before she looked into her lover's eyes with a slight smile on her gentle lips. She slightly stood on the tip of her toes to speak to Felecia.

Felecia bent over the podium and moved her ear closer to Elaine. She could already feel tendrils of magic being woven around them so that the effects of the hall didn't apply to them. So the conversation that they were going to have was not going to be public to the rest of the people present in the hall or be recorded by the chronicler. She smiled at Elaine as she noticed that her lover was trying to get a tad closer to her by going onto her toes.

"Please close this meeting. There is no need to judge her. Marina, daughter of David, will be sent to the high inquisition hall where she will be judged there by you and another. This is the message that she wanted to pass onto you." informed Elaine without giving too much away to prying ears. She knew that her magic was in use and it would keep most of the members from hearing but the two immortals on either side of Felecia had very sharp ears. "Please don't keep her waiting. She said she has some other matters to attend to also and would need to hurry."

"Whom are you speaking of?" asked the immortal on the left.

Felecia ignored him and stood erect while staring down at Marina. She gave a brief nod to Elaine and watched her step to the side of the hall. She could feel the many immortal eyes that were upon her but since she was the leader of sorts of all of the higher beings, then it was within her power to stop this judgement after what had happened to the other judgement which had cost them a valuable member to the higher beings.

"I will adjourn this judgement and have a private inquisition regarding Marina and her request. The judgement will be pending upon the outcome of the inquisition. Please excuse us." said Felecia as she hopped over the podium unceremoniously and approached Marina. Elaine also came up from her right side and both looked at the scared girl. "You will follow me." ordered Felecia as she headed out of the main doors without even making sure that Marina was following.

Willow watched as Felecia walked away. She was confused as to why Felecia would take Marina away. She quickly looked at Elaine who she knew would follow Felecia and stopped her from even attempting to follow. "Lady Elaine, please tell me why Lady Felecia is taking Marina? What will be her fate?" asked Willow in a wisp of air.

"Felecia is the only one who can answer you but I doubt if you will ever get the chance. She will be too busy to converse in general matters and right now I have other things to attend to besides making sure that Marina gets to where she needs to. I know that there might be someone interesting to meet if you were to stray around the area that you had picked up Marina. Shawn may be around." suggested Elaine before she placed her hand onto Marina's shoulder and guided her out while leaving Willow just standing there.


Elaine walked silently with Marina. She could see that Marina wanted to ask so many things but with a small smile and some few words, Marina had halted. Her brown eyes saw how much Marina had cared for her sister and knew that there was potential for them to get to know each other further or even be closer like sisters. However Felecia or others seemed to think that Marina should part from the mortal world at a time when Talia needed a friend most.

Elaine continued to get lost in thought but caught herself in time to not bypass the door that they were meant to go through. She stopped abruptly and almost frightened Marina who had also been deep within her own thoughts. She looked down gently at Marina and gave her a soft smile that slowly lifted away some of the worry that she had seen on the small girl. She swiftly opened the door and gestured for Marina to precede her.

Marina hesitantly entered the room and looked around with wide brown eyes. She had entered a person's quarters since there was a bed and messy desk. There were also two people sitting in the middle of the room where a sitting area had been set up. She recognised one of them as the one named Lady Felecia but she did not recognise the other. However her mouth hung open at the others beauty with her blonde hair and blue eyes. She had thought that Lady Felecia had been beautiful but now she knew that she was wrong.

"Marina, please come over here and sit with us." suggested Felecia as she quickly poured tea into four cups. Blue eyes glanced up at Elaine and smiled since it had been some time since she saw some of those stress lines on her face disappear. She had a feeling that it was not just because of the tea that she was pouring which happened to be Elaine's favourite type. "I would like to introduce you to someone who is even more important than me?"

Yoshiko raised her hand for her friend to stop. She slowly stood up with the grace of no other in the two realms and slowly moved over to Marina to kneel before her. She slowly lifted her hand and gently placed it on the child's cheek which resulted in Marina gasping as if she had just come to a realisation. Yoshiko smiled and walked back to her seat while leaving the other two immortals in complete confusion.

"You were the one who was with me when I died." exclaimed Marina.

"It was I who released you from the mortal realm so that you would not feel the pain of the physical world. It was I who stopped them from doing what else they were going to do when you were just barely alive. You may call me Yoshiko." explained Yoshiko as she smiled in a motherly way. She carefully collected a cup of tea and began to sip from it which encouraged Marina to do so as well. "You have entered the realm of the immortals. Only those mortal souls which are pure can remain here if they wish it. You have a pure soul and so you will have a choice. You can go back to the mortal realm and be reborn a new person or you can remain here."

"Will I be able to meet Talia again?" asked Marina.

"If you remain here that is a possibility but if you go back you may never see her again. It is the way things are since if we do send you back, it could take many years for you to be reborn. If you do remain here, you will be given duties and in time you may be granted immortality." replied Elaine in her gentle voice. Her brown eyes continued to stare at Marina and wondered what type of feelings the girl harboured towards Talia.

"If I do remain here what will happen to Talia?" asked Marina.

"She will live her life and fulfil her destiny. Only time will tell when she will be tested and if she can succeed since many people are depending on her. She has a big and bright future. I doubt she will disappoint anyone." replied Yoshiko with a gleam in her eye. She could see clearly that Elaine and Felecia were looking at her questioningly. It was strange that she had to go behind their backs and sneak around but it was to the benefit of all. She still had many things to sort out since chaos overtook the mortal realm.

"I wish to remain here then." replied Marina with a smile. She liked this place and there was really nothing in the mortal realm that pleased her except to be with her friend. However she knew that with time she could meet Talia again and they would be friends once more. She hoped that Talia would live a long and prosperous life before having to come to the immortal's realm.


Yoshiko returned to the mortal realm. She was once more cloaked in magic to make her invisible to all beings including immortals. Her blue eyes surveyed the darkened battle field that was littered with dead or moaning bodies. The smell of blood almost made her convulse but she held her grace and started to walk through. She was heading in the direction of a large war camp that had been hastily erected after the savage battle. The village had been burnt to ashes but it was clear that the victors of this battle didn't harbour any ill will towards them. She noticed that some of the villagers were among those that were sitting around some of the camp fires and they were talking to each other as if all of them had been farmers.

Yoshiko had been shocked by the carnage but she was relieved that there were still mortals who knew goodness and were protecting what they believed in. Her heart suddenly pounded at the thought that maybe the small immortal girl that she had tagged earlier was one of the littered bodies. Her blue eyes began a frantic search of all of the faces that were around the campsite. She could hear raised voices coming from a tent and saw a man leaving it in anger.

Yoshiko could feel the small thread of her magic emanating from the tent and so she slowly approached it. Her hand was on the front covers of the door which was just a flap of material. She swiftly entered without the flap even moving, thanks to a very well timed breeze. She sighed in relief that no one had spotted her and then she mentally slapped herself. She was an invisible immortal. She was no longer an old lady. She had to remind herself periodically since it had become a habit for her to hide and squirm around like she was a thief until she realised that she had magic at the tips of her fingers.

Blue eyes widened at the sight of what was in the room. The room itself was bare except for a bed which had a very young woman lying face down on it. Yoshiko was shocked at seeing the many slashes that the young woman had taken and knew that what she was seeing was not possible. There was no way that an immortal could get wounded like this even if they had been struck dead on by a blade. It would require magic of the highest quality to do something like this. She quickly approached the moaning girl and knelt by her side. She hadn't imagined that Maria could have gone through all of this.

"Who's there?" asked Maria in a soft, strained voice.

Yoshiko was a little stunned since she was the only person in the room besides Maria and she was supposed to be invisible to all. Her blue eyes stared at Maria and could not understand how this was possible. Her keen blue eyes could still see the wounds and so she gently placed her hand over some of the wounds where she flinched as soon as Maria flinched. She heard Maria moan and knew that these wounds were real as if Maria were a real mortal. "How did this happen?" asked Yoshiko in her clear, gentle and feminine voice.

"Who are you?" asked Maria.

"I'm just an immortal." answered Yoshiko since it was true but not the whole truth. She could see that Maria was in pain and she wanted to relieve some of it but something inside of her told her that she needed answers first. "How did you get these wounds?" asked Yoshiko in a sincere voice.

"Well I've never seen an immortal like you before. You can stop an entire battle field of mortals with a wave of your hand and not even feel strained by the effort. It was strange that you approached me. I could still see you like I can see you now even though you are trying to cloak yourself. However I couldn't move. You must be very powerful." replied Maria as she smiled. "I can see that you know I am immortal otherwise you wouldn't be talking to me right?"

"I was curious to know why an immortal was masquerading around like they were mortal. I was actually surprised to find out that you are Maria of the moon, daughter of Lila and Troy. You have been missing from the immortal realm for more than fifteen mortal years. You are searching for Silvia of the sun and stars." She paused knowing that one bit of information she had sprouted was still unclear. "How could you be wounded like this?" asked Yoshiko.

"You seem to know a lot except for how an immortal can be wounded like this. I was struck down by many swords and by a gifted individual. I was temporary distracted by a feeling that was pulling me towards the east. I wasn't able to defend myself from the strikes and the captain that had hired my services has fired me because of my wounds. He thinks I am unfit to travel with him and that I won't be able to battle along side him. How funny it is when they do not know my healing abilities?" Maria slowly tilted her head up so that she could look at the woman who was speaking to her. She was a little shocked to see blue eyes and long blonde hair. She thought for a moment that it was Lady Felecia but she could now tell the small differences. Now that she did think about it, this immortal looked more different to Felecia in many ways.

Yoshiko smiled and gently placed her hand back on Maria's shoulder. "Do you wish for me to speed up your healing process?" asked Yoshiko but she didn't wait for an answer. She felt the magical energy rippling from her core and was at her fingertips ready to be used in any way she wanted to shape it. She sent a gentle flow that engulfed Maria's body and rapidly healed her so that she was returned back to her healthy state. A gentle prod in various places and she was satisfied that the healing had been successful. However she had also discovered why the girl had been injured in the first place. It puzzled her but she put it aside for later on and focused her attention on Maria. "How do you feel now?"

"You have a very gentle and warm touch. I'm feeling fine now thank you." said Maria as she slowly sat up and met Yoshiko at eye level. Maria then patted the spot next to her that was on the makeshift bed. She was glad that Yoshiko got the hint and sat down. It was kind of distracting to have someone look similar to the person who she was looking for sitting in front of her. She knew for a fact that the woman was not Silvia since their magical energy had been different. If she could explain it in colours, she would have described Silvia as a bright yellow light while the woman next to her was an ocean blue. "So why have you sought me out?"

"I didn't and I'm not. I just thought I could look to see if you were alright. It's just a feeling and now it has passed. Since we are talking and it seems you are out of a job, would you consider taking my advice?" asked Yoshiko in a sincere tone. She smiled at Maria who slowly nodded her head in agreement. So Yoshiko continued. "You need to head south. There you will meet a lady who will have blonde hair and blue eyes. Just follow her and I am sure that it will not impede in your search to find Silvia."

"Why do I need to follow her?" asked Maria confusedly.

"She will be joining with another two women and they will find a way to stop this war. The immortals can't help and it is only up to this group of women that peace can return to the land. They will need your wisdom and strength. Of course you can always leave if it does not suit you. There are no strings attached, just a way to make sure that you have a place to return to in the mortal world should you need it while you are searching for Silvia." explained Yoshiko in a motherly way which struck Maria as odd. She looked deep into black eyes and knew that there was a mysterious half to Maria that she didn't know where it originated from. However she put that out of her mind and smiled at Maria encouragingly before she disappeared in a cloud of sparkling dust.

"I will take you up on that advice." said Maria to the air before she started to gather her things. Her black eyes surveyed the tent and could see nothing else that she required before she hefted a bag over her shoulders and left the campsite in the middle of the dark. There was no need for her to say anything to these people and she knew that her hiring captain would soon regret his decision of dismissing her services.


Chapter 5

[One mortal year later?]

A woman walked the edge of the woods that neighboured a small farm. She had been following Talia's progress across the land after she had returned back to the corn village and delivered the news of Marina's death. She had watched her from afar since it was clear that Talia did not wish to have Shawn's presence. It was also equally clear that her powers were growing and she was more proficient with her blade. Her blue eyes followed down the slightly steep hill that led down to the main road that bypassed the village centre. She saw the figure who was Talia, walking slowly with a pack on her back and her sword hidden well under some rags.

The woman could already smell smoke coming from the village and knew that something bad was happening. She could see that Talia was hesitant to see what the problem was or to just keep on walking. Her blue eyes and blonde hair were of mortal quality since she had obtained another disguise that even fooled Maria. She had to be very careful since it was vital that she remained anonymous while she planned out their reunion. However, right now, she was wondering when it was the right time to approach Talia to propose to her the same idea that she had presented to Maria.

Talia looked away from the dusty road and towards the dark, ominous clouds of smoke that was coming from the village. She could feel her body wanting to move in the direction of the danger while her mind wanted to just keep walking. Her right leg took a step towards the village unconsciously and before she could think about it, a scream rendered the air. She was moving before she could think of what she was doing. She was running into the centre of the village and then going through since the scream had come from the fields on the outskirts of the village.

Talia rushed to a shocking scene. The fields were blazing red with hot flames that licked the crops as if it craved it like life. Some of the villagers had also caught on fire since it looked as though they were trying to put the fire out. However the flames almost looked like they were out of control as it swept through the crops as if blown by the wind. The heat was ferocious as the threat seemed to increase and the main village was almost in danger of being alight.

Talia didn't think. She just acted. She ran forward and stood at the start of the flames. A small shift in wind would have scorched her but she still stayed. The heat was giving her a thin sheen of sweat however the flames didn't seem threatening to her. She slowly took a step forward into the flames to the shock of all of the villagers that were present. The flames welcomed her and licked her skin but didn't burn her. She stared at the flames around her as she continued to walk forward and make her way to the centre of the flames.

Talia could feel magical energy swirling from the core of her being. The endless flow surfaced to the fore of her skin and started to envelope her in a light yellow sheen that made her glow like the sun. She slowly sent rivulets out to collect buckets and dampen the edges of the fire so that it wouldn't spread any further. She knew that there was nothing that she could do for the crops. It was all lost but she knew that she couldn't just wait for the flames to settle. She knew that there was still a chance for the villagers to regrow the crops if the roots of the crops survived. There would still be the next season. So she looked around at the vast fire that surrounded her.

Talia looked up to the sky and knew that she would need a lot of power to be able to put out the fire in one swell swoop. She needed the wind and a vast amount of water that she would be taking from beneath her own feet. The ground water was sufficient to drench the land but she needed the wind to disperse the water everywhere. Her mind tried to figure out how she could do this.

Suddenly Talia felt a gentle swell of wind pass through her fingertips. It would have been barely noticeable for an average gifted person. She quickly closed her eyes and opened them again to clear her vision. She now looked with blazing silver eyes and could see the natural and magical energies of the land around her. Vibrant colours stood out. There was blue, yellow, red, green and all colours in-between in long thin threads of energy that flowed like water all around her. She could feel each strand caress her skin gently as it moved passed her. Talia lifted her arm before her and swiped the air to grasp a white strand of energy that was part natural and part magical. She had seen few of this kind but knew that it was what she needed to help her disperse the underground water that she was going to gather.

Talia looked around carefully and could see that the fire was still not letting up yet. She ran her fingers of her other hand through the air and gathered more of the white strands of energy that matched the one in her grasp. Slowly she slipped a small thread of her own energy into the ground and waited as she felt her feet become damp. Soon she was standing in a small puddle and before long, it was a pond. Her eyes saw more than the villagers. She could see that beneath the pond at her feet was a pool of water that was waiting to burst out but she couldn't make it surface yet since the fire would simply make it all evaporate.

Talia stopped collecting the white strands of energy. She noticed out of the corner of her eye that there was an accumulation of the type of strands she was collecting and it looked as though it were standing still. Her eyes almost bulged out of her head when she heard on the edge of her hearing a soft whispery voice. She almost dropped the strands of energy that she had collected and also the pool of water that was beneath her.

"What are you doing?" whispered the wind in an airy voice.

Talia responded immediately without considering how bizarre it was that she was talking to somebody who was made out of the white energy strands which consisted of the wind. "I am going to use the wind to help disperse the pool of water just beneath my feet. I know it could backfire if I don't have enough water but I have gathered enough to put out this field of fire. The wind that will help disperse the water might also help the fire spread even further but I am willing to take the chance. For some reason, I know that this will work. All I need to do is gather enough energy to create the perfect swell of wind to disperse the water evenly across the fire and put it out. Do you think you can help me?" asked Talia in a confident voice.

"I shall help you this once but be warned that if you cannot control it, I will not be here to save you." replied the wind before the strands of white energy dispersed and started to envelope Talia's body. It caressed her skin and left a tingling sensation that made both of them connected far beyond their imaginations.

Talia felt the swell of energy that surrounded her and could feel the uncertainty of the wind wear off as it was replaced by open surprise. However she put these feelings that were coming from the wind aside and concentrated on the pool of water beneath her feet. She flicked her right hand up and slowly began to dance like she had practised in the corn fields. She twisted and turned. She lifted her arms and let them gently fall gracefully in artistic fashion that made her glow even brighter. She felt the world around her almost freeze at the beautiful sight that she was creating. Her concentration was solely on putting the fire out as she danced around and leapt on long legs as she waved her hands around while manipulating the natural and magical energies that surrounded her. The wind was actually giving her a boost of energy that slightly chilled her skin and she was starting to feel her soul being set free.

The woman watched from afar. She could see that Willow of the wind in her ghostly state was helping Talia. Her blue eyes focused on the energy that Talia was creating as well as manipulating. It was a little strange to think that Talia almost had enough power to rival her own but she knew that there was a perfectly logical explanation for it. She carefully scanned the area with her gifted sight and was pleased that Talia seemed to be handling the magical energy with ease. She was proud that she had not inhibited Talia from practising her gift when they were both on the farm and Talia had only just been assigned to do field work.

Blue eyes, looking from afar, could see that Talia had made water from underground explode into the air. The water had then spread out as if a cloud had been formed right over the fire and was now dampening the ground. The flames that had been ferocious were licking the droplets with distaste as it retreated. Soon enough, smoke filled the air and the smell of damp carbon reigned over the field. The crops were black ash and Talia was still standing in the middle. Her clothes which had been clean were black and she seemed to be looking up at the sky. The woman narrowed her eyes and could now see that Talia was talking. She knew that it had to be Willow.

"Thank you for your help." said Talia in a tired voice. Tension rippled her body at the overuse of so much energy and she knew that she had to find somewhere to rest and recover. Her blazing silver eyes which looked up at the sky as the last bit of water dripped onto her face were slowly fading to their original grey. She was relieved that her plan had worked and the wind had been easy to use.

"You are most welcome. If you ever need my help again, please just call my name for I am Willow of the wind. Farewell for now. I will be watching you." replied the wind as the white strands of energy finally dispersed so that it was no longer concentrated in the one area. The strands of white energy intertwined with all of the other colourful strands and were finally not as distinguishable.

Talia closed her eyes and finally lowered her head. She opened her grey eyes to look at the blackened ground and then sighed as she tried to gather enough energy so that she could walk out of the field. She only noticed then that the villagers were all looking at her with a mixture of fear and hatred. So she gathered herself and slowly took a step towards them. She walked gradually out of the field and looked into the villager's eyes. Some of the villagers made a show of distancing themselves from her but she could read their minds very well. She knew that they were thankful but not enough to show their generosity to a gifted individual. The fear of war must have spread all the way out here, she thought.

Talia kept walking but she was wise enough to heal the people who had been burnt while she walked. The villagers were scared but still sceptical and grateful. They did not thank her publicly or show any sign that they wanted to talk to her. She could feel each person and their eyes on her as she continued to head through the village. She made it back to the road that she had deterred from and kept walking on without a backwards glance.

Talia felt sad and discouraged. It looked as though it were the same everywhere. No one wanted to talk to her simply because she was gifted. If she had been talking to them, once she had revealed that she was gifted, they would shun her away as if they and she had been strangers. She was depressed as she trudged along. Her guilt over her friend's death had not left her. She had failed her friend. She had failed David and now she was walking. She was going far away from the people that knew her. It was the only way that she could think of to not be reminded that she was different. However with the war and chaos spreading, there was little chance of that since the gifted people were being recruited by bands of armies, intent to claim a piece of honour within all the fighting.

Talia suddenly came to a halt as a woman stood in the middle of the path. She looked like she was in her mid thirties. She had beautiful blue eyes with long blonde hair tied back by a blue bow in a ponytail. Her blue dress looked so nice and clean that Talia could have thought the woman lived in the area but it was highly unlikely since she saw a bag over the woman's shoulder. Talia could see that her face which had a soft cheekbone structure and pale skin would have stopped several men in their tracks from her beauty. She also noticed that this woman was obviously oblivious to this fact since it was clear that she didn't have any sort of weapon on her.

"Do you want that to stop?" asked the woman.

"Do I want what to stop?" replied Talia confused. She stared at the blue eyed beauty for a while to try and figure her out. She could feel her heart calm at the sight of the woman but she didn't know why. It was strange that she felt like this woman was a person who she could instantly, instinctively trust.

"Do you want them to stop staring at you like that?" asked the woman in a calm and gentle voice. Her blue eyes raked over Talia's form and could see that she was only standing up through sheer will power. It looked as though Talia had used up a lot of energy to perform what she had done to save that village from a flaming demise. She stood there without a care in the world and looked on with blue amused eyes.

"What do you mean?"

"Do you want to go somewhere that the people will not look at you with hate or any sort of prejudice? Do you want to come with me so that I can take you there and introduce you to people who are like you? Do you want to feel free?" asked the woman in an excited rush as she stared at grey eyes that were narrowed with a little suspicion. Her blue eyes could see that Talia was thinking about what had been said. She was confident that Talia would agree.

Talia could feel her body wavering. She didn't want to pass out in front of a stranger, even a weird one at that. She just wanted to get away from people and rest somewhere. She wanted to be away from all of this after having to save those people who did not like her anymore since they had found out that she was gifted. She just wasn't up to thinking about anything at all. Slowly grey eyes looked passed the woman and saw the dusty road ahead.

The woman stood there for a moment but knew that an answer was not going to come anytime soon. Her blue eyes could see that Talia was at her limit. She would need rest to decide if she wanted to follow her or not. She didn't even get a chance to say something since her body had instantly moved to catch Talia before she hit the ground. She quickly gazed at Talia with her magical sight to ascertain if there were any further injuries. She was glad that there had been none and now she had dead weight on her side.

The woman was a little relieved that Talia had not recognised her as the elderly lady. It would have caused a major set back in her plans. Also with the magic that she had used, her body was more mortal and would be prone to anything a normal mortal would experience. She knew that it would only be a matter of time before her plan came into fruition so being mortal was not something that she detested. She lifted Talia up onto her shoulder and began to walk away from the village. She headed towards the woods since it would be the safest place for them to go without having prying eyes.

The woman was tired by the time that she managed to carry Talia into some cover. She had not considered that a mortal had to work so hard to carry one person over a farm and a half. She did have second thoughts about using magic but she knew that there was a possibility that she would blow her cover to Maria who was known as Nester by the people that she wanted Talia to meet. It would be a good chance for Talia to grow and a better chance for Talia to be reunited with Maria. She quickly put Talia down gently and laid out a sleeping roll before placing Talia on it. She manually built a fire and was soon just waiting for Talia to wake up before getting an answer.


The woman found herself walking with Talia trailing slightly behind. The road was slippery and wet since it had only just stopped raining. She was drenched but it was a small price to pay to almost be at the place that she had described to Talia. Her blue eyes followed the road further ahead and she could see the start of the new trail that would lead them into the most dangerous forest that there was in the mortal realm. She had picked this place specifically so that she could hide the few gifted people from the chaos that was consuming the land. She had yet to find the source but with a little time she would have help to stop it.

The forest was quiet and beautiful with its many shades of green and brown. Ripplets of water broke through the path and almost made it treacherous but the woman was careful of where she was stepping and had warned Talia to be sure footed. She led them through since there was no other way to get to the place that they were going and she wanted Talia to know how to get to and from there. She was confident that Talia would accept the offer of joining once she proposed the idea. They had only agreed to going to the place to see what it was like before Talia made up her mind if she wanted to stay or not.

The forest was thick with foliage and Talia could barely make out the blue sky with her grey eyes. She could feel that the temperature had dropped once more as she walked along. It was a little unsettling but she somehow knew what time of day it was and was dreading that night would come before they made it to the place. She didn't hold any hopes of this place that the woman, who she hadn't even gotten a name off, was leading her to. They hadn't even talked to each other. She had expected an explanation but all she got was a simple question. Will you come with me? So she had simply answered it honestly. There was really no destination that she had in mind and following this woman seemed like a good idea.

The woman picked up the pace a little since they were almost there. There was one more, small hill that they had to climb before they reached the end of the forest. She smiled as she looked behind her to see that Talia was following closely behind and seemed to be taking in every detail around them. Her blue eyes sparkled as they got closer to the crest before heading to the place that she had built with her own magic. She was proud that she had carved a piece of land out near the huge lake that habited this dangerous place. She had kept in mind what was needed for her plan and made sure that she didn't forget a single detail. She couldn't wait to see the surprise that was going to plaster Talia's face when she saw it all.

Talia almost slipped but quickly regained her balance by grabbing onto the back of the woman's shoulder. Her grey eyes looked around expectantly since her slip had not been a simple accident. She had felt something that was close to them but hiding from view. Her heart had fluttered for a moment and she didn't know why. Slowly letting go of the woman, she nodded her head to indicate that she was alright before they continued on at a quicker pace.

Talia stood on top of the crest and looked down to a large field of grass. Her breath caught as she could see out of the forest and her grey eyes took in the beauty that outmatched the forest. She could see a large house that could have passed as a castle with its large oak front doors and many windows. She wondered how many people lived in such a place since it seemed like it could fit a few people. She could barely make out the path that led to the house because of the lurking darkness. She didn't have time to take in this picture of beauty since the woman was already tugging at her arm to continue forward.

"It is best if we get there before dark. It can be dangerous at night if you lurk outside. Come along now, there will be a few people who I would like to introduce you to." said the woman as she kept on tugging and if Talia hadn't been moving her legs, she had a little suspicion that she would be dragging her to the house. This was the first time that they had spoken in a while and she knew that she had to keep it up or she would probably scare Talia away with her silence. "The house is a fairly big establishment and there are already a few people living here. The house sits on top of a cliff that overhangs the huge lake. There is a small beach of sorts and a stairwell that hugs the cliff to get down there. We do have a boat but we don't do any travelling yet. I'm the only one that does so far besides another."

"What do you do out here?" asked Talia curiously since she was impressed by the location even though it had a couple of bad points. However if she considered it carefully, the bad points actually played in her favour at staying away from the main populace. She could do what she liked without anyone prying into her business. Her grey eyes looked around and then up at the sky which was pink and getting much darker.

"I will explain once I have introduced you to the others and we are all safely inside. I have a sneaking suspicion that there is one person still lurking about and they won't come inside until everyone else is, including us. Anyways, I'm sure that everyone is quite hungry. We will probably have dinner a little late today." explained the woman as they got nearer to the house and were about to step into the small courtyard.

"I'm sorry but I didn't catch your name yet. May I know your name please?" asked Talia very politely. Her grey eyes were still dazzled by the surrounding area and were almost stunned at the beauty that the house was. She had never seen a place that looked so elegant and wondered who actually kept the place. It seemed very tidy from the outside. She kept walking like she was told but her attention was now plastered on the woman.

The woman smiled. She had wanted to wait to introduce everyone else first before she introduced herself. There were a few things that she needed to do before she could propose the idea. She still had to let the others know that she was considering Talia as one of them. She didn't want to disappoint the other people if she were to come back empty handed. "My name is Caitlyn Austere and I'm sure that the others will be able to explain the rest."

Caitlyn quickly headed to the big oak doors and slid a key into the keyhole before pushing it open. The door creaked open and she smiled as she heard that there were feet scrambling to meet them. She looked up towards the stairs expectantly as Talia walked into the threshold and closed the door behind her. Running footsteps could be heard as a brunette with hazel eyes emerged at the top of the stairs and she was flying down. The woman had to think fast and put down her pack gently before opening up her arms to catch the youngster.

"MUM?! I'm so glad you're back. You can't make me eat what they've been cooking ever again. It was horrible!" said the youngster as she pulled faces which indicated how nice the food tasted. Her hazel eyes looked beseechingly up at Caitlyn. She looked quite adoring even though she was in her early teens. Her small frame showed that she was no fighter to Talia's eyes.

Caitlyn smiled and hugged the girl. "It's alright. I won't leave without preparing something in advance next time. I'm sure that you will be alright with that at least." said Caitlyn reassuringly as she slowly released the youngster and turned her to face their guest. "Now this young lady here is Elizabeth and she is the youngest person here in this household. Elizabeth, this here is Talia." said Caitlyn as she indicated to Talia with a nod of her head.

Talia looked at the small girl and then back up at Caitlyn but could not see the resemblance at all. She thought she had heard the small girl call the woman, mum. A thought flittered through her mind as she stood there. Where am I? What have I gotten myself into? Am I in someone's home and this lady is going to offer me to work for them all the way out in nowhere?

"There are three others but I'm sure that they will come and greet you at dinner. Elizabeth will be able to show you to the guest room where you can clean up. Dinner will probably be ready soon since it will be a cold dinner. It would take much too long to have a nice hot one." explained Caitlyn before she tapped Elizabeth on the shoulder and walked into the kitchen.

Elizabeth stood there for a moment while she looked up at Talia. She smiled a little nervously before she ran to the stairs. She stopped at the bottom and smiled while she waited for Talia to follow her. As she saw Talia make one step towards the stairs, she bolted up the rest of the flight of stairs and was standing at the top on the second floor landing. Her hazel eyes looked down and she was smiling nervously as she watched Talia walk up the stairs.

Talia followed and made sure she knew where the little youngster had run off to. She finally found herself in a small room that had the bare necessities in it. There was a wooden table and chair as well as a bed. However Talia noticed that there was a balcony which opened up to the huge lake and she believed it would give her a stunning morning or afternoon view. She carefully placed her pack near the door and quickly washed her face in the bowl of water that was on the table. Dirt and grime was washed off as she efficiently scrubbed her face clean. She did not know what she had looked like with all of the dirt that was now in the bowl of water and wondered if that was the reason Elizabeth had been shy.

Talia walked over to her pack and quickly retrieved her sword to check it before she put it away. She had become a little paranoid that someone would steal her sword or it would be too damaged to repair. The same thing occurred with her ring which she continued to hide underneath her shirt on a chain. She would always grab the both of them in the morning and before she set up camp. It had literally become a routine for her. She had wondered at times what would happen if she were to lose them since they held such strong ties to who she was.

Talia's mind was filled with doubts about following the woman, Caitlyn Austere, who was also known as Mum. She wondered if the woman didn't have any more children on the premises since the household was quite large. She had made sure that she mapped out the path to getting to this house and knew that if she needed to, she could go back to the main road. Her grey eyes had noticed that there were a lot of places on the path that would have been inaccessible if the weather changed and she wondered how Caitlyn was able to travel.

All of this thinking set off her stomach which growled voluminously loud in protest at having to have a quick lunch and walking non stop for some time. She was lucky that she was fit enough that she could keep up with Caitlyn but she had a feeling that the woman would have waited up for her in the end. She slowly walked to the door and was about to open it when she heard someone behind her. Talia quickly turned around but a body slammed into hers and pinned her to the door with a threatening sword against her neck.

"Who are you? How did you get in?" asked the young woman. She had jet black hair that was kept in a tight bun and dark brown eyes. They showed no fear and looked quite threatening. Her slender body was quite muscled for a woman and could be clearly seen since she was only wearing a brown vest and plain brown trousers. She pressed the blade closer to Talia's neck and demanded the answers to her questions.

"I'm Talia and Caitlyn Austere invited me here. She said I could freshen up in the guest room." replied Talia cautiously. She had no intention of letting herself be harmed in any way but knew that there was still a chance that she could underestimate the woman. She had to find out her abilities so that she could defend herself completely even against something unexpected.

Suddenly Talia moved swiftly to her left side since the woman was right handed and managed to make the woman stab the door. She had only shuffled a mere two steps to sufficiently be out of harms way as well as be able to pick up her choice of weapon which was her sword. She held it defensively in front of her but did not strike the woman while she pulled her sword free. Grey eyes watched carefully as the woman lowered her sword and smiled.

"You are quite talented at getting out of tight situations. My name is Michelle but I am happy if you just call me Mila. So Mum is back then?" asked Mila as she watched Talia put her sword away. She was a little amused that Talia had carefully wrapped the sword up tightly so that it didn't even look like a weapon. She wasn't even sure if Talia even knew how to use it but she figured that she would find out eventually if she got the chance to.

"Yes, she is here." replied Talia as she stood back up.

"Dinner will be ready soon. You better head down before the others arrive. It will give you a chance to greet and meet them all without having you be confronted by each one like the way I did. Sorry about that, we don't really get many new people around here. You will be the third one since we have come here. Mum seems very content with the location and I don't mind it either. If she has brought you here, I guess you have agreed?" asked Mila as she placed her hand on the door knob and had opened it to exit.

"No." replied Talia deadpanned.

Brown eyes pinned Talia with a confused stare. She could see that Talia was being serious. There was no reason for Talia to lie about such a thing. However Mila knew for a fact that the people who were invited to stay here were asked first and once they agreed they were allowed to come here. The fact that Talia was here before agreeing baffled her. She wondered what Mum was thinking. Slowly she shrugged her shoulders and left silently since Talia wouldn't have the answers that she needed.


Chapter 6

[Three mortal days after Talia arrived?]

Mum stood in the kitchen while she kept an eye on the stewing pot. Her thoughts had been keeping her distracted for the majority of the time and she had almost burnt the lunch. It was only early morning but her mind was troubled. She had led Talia to this place and introduced her to everyone. She had even asked if Talia would stay with them which she agreed to. Everyone had accepted her but there was something very troubling.

Mum had thought that when Maria, who was nicknamed Nester, appeared that there would be some sort of spark. She was surprised that not only did Nester not have a moment of revelation; Nester actually looked hostile towards Talia. Well that was the feeling that she felt coming from Nester. She was shocked that Nester had also been confused by her own reaction. It didn't seem to add up.

Mum had made sure that dinner had been on time even though it was a cold meal. She had made sure that Talia got a chance to meet with Nester even though Nester had been a little late. She could feel Talia's emotions and knew they were a good sign but it was still unclear whether it was just lust or not. She was slowly developing a headache with all of this thinking.


[Three mortal days prior at dinner?]

Talia sat at the dinner table with a plateful of raw meats and fruits. It was a colourful display of nutritional food that explained where Caitlyn Austere had travelled through. Some of the fruits were just perfectly ripe for eating as if they had been picked at the right time to travel all the way from where it had been picked to where they were. Talia had stared at her plate in wonder since Caitlyn had surprised her with how much she was actually carrying with her. She also wondered how all of this food managed to fit in her quite small bag. However her stomach had protested and she began to entertain her palate with the new tastes and textures.

Talia heard the back door that entered into the kitchen open and close. Her grey eyes looked up and her heart jumped at the sight of the young woman standing there. She could see that she was armed and armoured in black attire with a black sword that clung to her back which made her alluring. It was strange that she was stunned by this person and managed to see that there was something about this person that made her melt. She wanted to hear this person's voice and learn all of her secrets.

Talia slowly stood up after watching Caitlyn rush over to the young woman and greet her warmly. Her grey eyes noticed that they were quite friendly with one another even though they were in no way related. She had found out earlier that none of the occupants of the household were related. They all met under different circumstances and Talia was sure that this new young woman would have a similar story. She could see that there was something similar between all of them but her mind wasn't working at the moment as she hesitantly approached Caitlyn and the young woman.

Mum turned her head and smiled. She could feel the waves of energy that were oozing from Talia in a strange pattern that she knew well. It was one of lust and love that would have confused any other immortal since no one had seen such a thing between two people. It was a strong bond that was trying to re-establish with its other half and the yearning could be seen clearly in her mage sight. Blue sparkling eyes could see that rainbow coloured strands of energy were flowing towards Nester and kept swivelling around to reach what was just out of its range. She smiled knowing that this was a good sign that Talia was indeed Silvia of the sun and stars. "Talia." she called with a smile on her lips that would have been heard even if they didn't see her. "I would like to introduce you to Nester. Nester, this is Talia."

Nester looked over towards this newcomer. She stared deep into grey eyes for a moment and felt anger sweep through her entire body. She felt as though she hated Talia but she didn't know why considering this was their first meeting. Her black eyes flared for a moment as a small thread of magical energy slowly reach over to Talia. The thread was about to probe Talia but stopped. It quickly withdrew as soon as Talia's yearning magical threads was touched. Nester felt confused by all of this. She had felt anger erupt in her heart so rapidly that it surprised her. Slowly she extended her hand in a kind gesture and as soon as she felt Talia's soft skin, her black eyes narrowed. Her inner desires wanted to rip this person up into a million pieces and let the world be damned.

Talia slowly retrieved her hand and felt blissful as she was able to feel soft skin if only for a moment. She was a little surprised by her feelings and behaviour considering she never felt this way about another woman before. Carefully she made sure that there was a constant distance between them so that her body didn't do anything rash. She didn't want to scare anybody. She politely nodded her head and could feel that there was something about Nester that wanted to make her see a small smile on that face, even once and it would make her feel giddy for an entire moon.

"There is food on the table that we saved for you. It's a cold meal but it will suffice for tonight. I suggest that you hurry or you will find some of it missing. I can see Elizabeth eyeing your fruit." said Mum in a joyful manner to break the tension between the two that was growing without their notice. She watched as Talia sat back down and Nester took a seat catching her food before Elizabeth could steal it. Her mind was troubled by their magical interaction and she felt a little confused. However there was nothing more that she could learn tonight since rest was what they all needed.


Mum sat on the back porch that led into the kitchen. She needed some fresh air to try and clear her mind of all of the thoughts that were swirling around in her head. She had wanted to have Nester meet with Talia and something was meant to happen so that everyone would be happy. She thought everything would fall into place after a few days but nothing had. She had even consulted with the other occupants of the household to see their reaction towards Talia's and Nester's interaction. However she could not learn one single thing that could help her with the current problem. She still had to talk to Talia and to deal with the chaos that was happening in the mortal realm.

Mum sighed loudly and looked up at the bright blue sky. The serenity around her was slowly soothing her troubled mind and she was grateful for choosing this location. She had been so overwhelmed by all of the trouble that had been brewing in the mortal realm that she needed to have a 'hands on' approach. She had once more separated herself from the immortal realm so that she could personally investigate around but she had first wanted to reunite Talia and Maria. If everything had gone according to what she planned, she would have had two immortals at hand to help her deal with the crisis.

Carefully standing up and brushing the dirt off her blue dress and flowery apron, she was about to re-enter the kitchen but stopped when she saw Talia standing by a tree. Her footsteps were loud in her ears as she tried to approach Talia without alarming her but it was quite difficult since Talia seemed to be off in her own little world. She was saved the awkwardness when Talia turned her head to acknowledge her presence.

"Lovely out here, isn't it?" asked Mum.

"We have very good weather today and it will probably last until tomorrow. The wind is fresh here and this tree is as good as any to provide enough shade so that we can at least talk under without being overheard. What is it that you want? Why did you bring me here?" asked Talia with a sudden change in her tone.

Mum was a little taken aback by the directness. She took a deep breath and surveyed the surrounding area with her keen blue eyes. She could now see with her magical sight and saw the many threads of magical energy that became a shield around them from prying eyes and ears. She smiled at the intricacies of the woven pattern to create such a magical field without so much effort.

Talia studied the woman, who she now called Mum like the rest of the occupants in the household, for a while and knew that there was something that the woman was hiding from all of them. Her instincts were screaming at her to stay put while her mind wanted her to not get involved with such a woman. She didn't feel threatened but she knew that her life would soon be spinning out of her control. Her grey eyes looked at Mum and wondered how her mind and appearance were two sides of the same coin. She could see that Mum was a formidable woman in her own right with dealing with each individual in the household but she also looked the most fragile out of all of them.

"I brought you here because of your capabilities. You can be very valuable to us. We want you to join us in our cause to stop the world from falling into madness. The war that has wreaked the lands has to stop and we are going to do that. With your help, we will be a step closer to stopping this war. Will you join us?" asked Mum in a flurry.

"Who are you people?"

"Mila and I formed an organisation called Blaster and its sole purpose is to create peace among the land. To create peace, we need capable people who can fight for us and our cause. Preaching will not help. Praying to the gods will not help. Doing something about all of this using our heads and abilities will. Nester has only joined us for a full moon and now we have invited you. We are hoping that you will join since Nester is our only fighter. Elizabeth has not mastered her abilities yet and will not be able to join until later on. Mila will be handling what has to be done while supporting Nester and Melanie who you know is Laney will be managing equipment. I will be making sure that everything is running smoothly from here." explained Mum. She smiled as she saw a small gleam in Talia's eyes which meant that she was thinking.

Talia could now understand why Nester and Mila had weapons. She could even understand why Laney was so involved in working with different materials while experimentally trying to make gadgets of all kinds. Elizabeth was still a tiny mystery but if Mum was being truthful, which she was, there was no reason to doubt her words that Elizabeth would eventually help in the cause. She knew that Nester and Mila were skilful with their blades and she could become as skilful as they were. Her magic could also become useful. Slowly she could see that she could belong to this group who called themselves the Blaster Organisation. She could see herself fitting in and becoming friends with all of them. She could call this place her home.

Talia slowly looked deeply into Mum's blue eyes and nodded her head firmly with no hesitation. "I will join your cause and do whatever is necessary to rid this world of war." said Talia solemnly as she remembered Marina. Her face became hard and determined as she remembered her dear friend who had died because they had to flee the war and some hooligans were trying to profit from slaving all of the refugees on the run. She could still remember how they had stabbed her friend and all Marina had done was smile at her and told her to go.

Talia quickly shook herself out of the memory and rooted herself to the present. She didn't want anyone to know that she had already failed. She wanted a fresh start and this was her chance. This was her chance to make a difference and defend those who needed their help. She smiled brightly as Mum clasped her on the shoulder and smiled in return.


[One mortal moon later?]

Mum stood by the back door that led into the kitchen. She had watched Talia train with Mila for half a moon right after Talia had agreed to join before assigning them all with their first mission as Blaster members. She had sent them east to a village nearby who would soon bear the grunt of the war that was stretching west. She was waiting for their return since it had been another half moon since they left.

Mum had cleverly schemed up a plan to put up defences in the village so that in the future it would be a safe haven for anyone who wished to live there. She had organised so that Mila would train some of the villages to defend themselves while Nester and Talia made some rounds around the area so that they could figure out the best options to place up posts to warn the village if it were attacked. She had also instructed Nester to place up a magical field around the village that would alert Blaster organisation in time for its members to show up and help.

Mum's gleaming blue eyes watched the horizon as she could barely make out the flight of birds in the distance with her mortal eyes. A nice, soft, cool breeze was blowing against her pale skin and her ears were filled with the sounds of wildlife. Birds were chirping above her and the insects were buzzing around her. She could feel the serenity healing her strained muscles from the stress of all of the problems that seemed to be piling up on her. Her mind was tired and so was everything else.

Within a month of recruiting Talia, Mum had made a brief visit to the immortal realm to scoop up the latest information on the mortal realm. She didn't expect to be bombarded with problems that dealt with the immortal realm as well. She was almost tempted to reveal who she was to everyone and start the two realms from scratch. She had smiled at the thought since it had been so easy to create the two realms but now the simple fact of maintaining the two realms was getting to be a little much. She had pawned off most of the immortal realm work to Felecia and the mortal realm work to Elaine. Both were not very happy but it couldn't be helped since she had taken over their small project to reunite Silvia and Maria.

Quietly, footsteps could be heard coming from inside the house. They were getting louder and faster as they approached the back door. Swiftly, the door swung right open and almost hit Mum if she hadn't gotten up in time. Elizabeth stood there a little breathlessly with a smile plastered onto her face. She hopped off the porch and landed gently on the grass before spinning on her heel to face Mum.

"So what has gotten you so perky?" asked Mum with a smile.

Elizabeth smiled and slowly extended her hands in front of her. Her brunette hair and hazel eyes started to become shrouded by a mist that had formed in her hands. Slowly the mist began to envelope her entire body and started to stretch out and creep further around her. Soon the area around the back door was shrouded and Elizabeth hadn't finished yet.

Mum turned to her magical sight and saw the magical threads that Elizabeth was manipulating to make the thick mist. The threads were woven in a thin pattern that only a skilled and gifted mortal would be able to detect that it was magical and not natural. She smiled as Elizabeth was able to surpass her limits and manipulate the natural energies to enhance her own ability. It was quite a sight to see in her magical sight since she could see the silver threads of magical energy that belonged to Elizabeth. The silver threads were winding around to weave the magical mist and the natural energies were urged into the pattern to stabilise the links. This was how Elizabeth was able to make the mist thick and if she wanted to she could form a mist over the entire lake with her newfound technique.

Suddenly the mist faded away and Elizabeth was standing there. She was a little breathless but had a toothy smile that lit up her face. She could see that Mum was smiling as well and it could only mean that she had accomplished something. "Did I do good, Mum?" asked Elizabeth breathily. "I tried to do it differently from before. I tried to make it bigger and better."

Mum nodded her head and quickly looked around to make sure that no one had seen. She was once more glad that she had picked this location. She beamed at Elizabeth proudly. "I think with a little more practise you will be ready to join the others on their little outings. I think they will get back soon, maybe later today. You can show them then since Laney is locked in her room trying to make a new gadget. I don't think she wants to be bothered at the moment." explained Mum.

Elizabeth nodded her head before she rushed back inside and left Mum standing there. Mum just smiled. She had never seen someone so energetic since Lila. She could still remember everything as if it were yesterday. Her mind was so clear at this point that she could remember every little detail.


[One thousand and five hundred mortal years ago?]

Blue eyes swept the field of green grass on the mortal realm. Her magical sight was stunned by the intricacies that a certain person was weaving. Her breath had caught in her throat at the sight of such a lovely woman who looked like she was just simply dancing. Her magical sight actually hinted her in that the simple dance was more than it seemed. She could barely move as she watched the woman dance in circles on top of the hill. Her long black hair was swaying with the currents of energy that flowed all around them. It was an amazing sight to see.

The woman suddenly stopped as black eyes finally registered that there was another individual present. She stared calculatingly at the blue eyed, blonde haired woman before smiling. Slowly and gracefully she was about to kneel before the watcher but was stopped by a gentle and soft hand that held her upright. She blushed at their proximity to each other but did not voice anything since she was comfortable where she was. She had little thoughts of what the watcher must have been thinking.

Yoshiko smiled at the woman and slowly swept the area with her blue eyes to see that the magical threads were still held tightly by the weaver. She could even see that the woman was still doing her work even though her dancing had stopped. She wondered why the woman would have the need to dance but thought otherwise since she wanted to know other things about this woman. She could feel her heart clench tightly as her hand was on the woman's upper arms. Yoshiko stared into black eyes that had a shine about them that was unnatural. She knew however that this was merely because the woman was also an immortal.

"My name is Lila." said Lila in a soft voice that was elegant in every single way. She batted her eyes as the blush crept onto her face and Yoshiko then managed to notice their proximity. Lila smiled and was a little sad that Yoshiko had let go of her and had stepped back. She had wanted the watcher to stay where she was. "May I help you?" asked Lila.

Yoshiko smiled and replied in a soft musical voice that could enchant anything that she desired. "I was just fascinated by your work. I just had to stop and watch. You have a really unique style that I have never come across before. Is it alright with you if I watch some more?" She battered her blonde lashes and was so friendly that she knew no one could refuse her.

"I'm sorry but I'm finished for today." replied Lila shyly. The blush on her face had gotten worse after Yoshiko's comments. Her posture had also become more stiffened since the comments started to flow. She was about to retreat hastily when Yoshiko gently grabbed her arm.

"Please don't leave." said Yoshiko before she could think about what she was doing or saying. Her blue eyes widened and she froze while staring at Lila who was just as shocked as she. Slowly, she retrieved her hand as Lila grabbed it unconsciously. She was so mesmerised by those black eyes that she didn't even notice that she had involuntarily taken the both of them to a secret place that she held dear to her heart.

The sky was bright blue with a few fluttering clouds dancing across with the aid of the nice cool breeze. Cold, salty air brushed up against the high cliff that was hugged by the sea in an eternal embrace as wave after wave made a rush of sound that was power and grace combined. The sun which was blazing red looked upon the land with its final orange light as it began to fade away and descend beyond the horizon.

Lila stood a few inches away from Yoshiko but didn't even notice the change in scenery. Her eyes were glued to vibrant blue eyes that wanted to make her melt. She was enchanted and she couldn't do anything to relieve herself of this feeling because it felt too good. Her skin was starting to glow since the flame inside her immortal soul was ignited beyond the heat of all the stars united.

Yoshiko leaned forward. She wanted a taste of Lila so that she could see why this woman held her so. She wanted to feel and learn all of her secrets. Gently, her lips met soft willing lips that indulged in her taste as she was indulging in Lila's. Her blue eyes closed as a feeling of joy, peace and something more swept over her like a tsunami. Their lips parted. She felt as light as a feather with her ears ringing and her heart pounding uncontrollably. She then had to think fast because Lila fell unconscious and was about to fall. She moved swiftly to fully embrace Lila and smell her wonderful scent before she lifted Lila into her arms. She was surprised that Lila was so light and soon enough she had them both back in her room.


Mum watched the road as she saw two figures emerging onto the path that led to the front of the house. One of them she knew to be Mila because of the way she swaggered and the other had to be Talia. Her blue eyes then saw that there was something on Talia's back. She hastily extended her magical sight and saw that Talia was actually wrapped up well in bandages. She swiftly made her way over to the two arrivals and scanned Talia with her magical eyes to see the extent of the injuries.

Talia stumbled, a couple of steps. She hastily waved Mila's gaze away with a hard stare. She could see that Mila was concerned but she didn't need anyone caring for her. It had been her own mistake in meddling in Nester's affairs that she had been seriously injured. Her mind snapped back to the present when she saw that Mum was heading their way with a worried look in her blue eyes.

Mum halted Talia in her tracks and looked at Mila questioningly but only got a shake of a head in response to her silent question. She looked at Talia carefully and knew immediately that there was something wrong. She could see an internal conflict playing within Talia's grey eyes. Slowly she stared at Mila who nodded her head at the silent order that was given. Blue eyes watched as Mila continued towards the house and they were left alone.

"How did it happen?" asked Mum in a gentle manner.

"Nester was going to be attacked and I got in the way to spare her. I don't know what happened after that. I woke up a couple of days later and was wrapped in bandages. They said that it would be best for me to return and get medical treatment rather than risk getting help from the villagers. They wanted to carry me but I refused." explained Talia as she stood rigidly.

Mum stared at Talia in amazement. She could see that Talia was only standing because of her sheer will power. She had nothing left to give and if she didn't get medical treatment soon then she was bound to become severely injured. She sternly held Talia's upper arm and started to help her into the house. There was no way that Talia could refuse the help since she had a firm hold of Talia.

"Where is Nester?" asked Mum.

"Mila said that she left just before I woke up. We don't know where." replied Talia as she almost fell up the steps but was saved by Mum. The pain was slightly bearable but Mila had wrapped it tight so that she wouldn't bleed out. She could tell without looking that blood was seeping through the bandage. She tried to ignore it though and believe that she was perfectly normal.

Mum carefully helped Talia to their room which they shared since the spare room was in case they had another visitor. They had separate beds and Talia's part of the room was sectioned off so that it was sort of like a small room with an extra door that gave her access to the hallway as well. She quickly helped Talia onto her bed and made her lie down before continuing her magical scan more thoroughly.

Mum could see that it had been a sword wound which had plunged into Talia's abdomen and gone straight through to exit through Talia's back. The bleeding was going to be a problem and she knew that it would take some time for it to heal if they used conventional means. She stood beside the bed and could see the stoic mask that covered Talia's face to hide the pain that she was in.

Suddenly a figure emerged from the balcony window. Nester was standing there looking a little dishevelled and worn out but her posture was still ramrod straight as if she had been strapped to a pole. Her face was smeared with dirt and her entire outfit showed signs of distant travelling. She slowly approached the bed with hatred in her eyes.

Mum stayed where she was. Her blue eyes knew that Nester wanted to try her own way to heal Talia since from what Talia had explained earlier, Talia had saved Nester's life. She could see that Nester was determined to immediately repay the debt and her body was still as she blended into her surroundings. Her magical blue eyes scanned the room and widened as she saw what was happening.

Through magical eyes, the room was filled with many magical strands of blue that circled the air around Nester's body. The magical threads became visible to the naked eye as Talia fell unconscious as pain racked her body. Nester unleashed all of her magical prowess as different shades of blue thread swam eagerly around the room. Her black eyes turned blue and slowly caressed Talia's body. A breeze blew around the room because of the magical threads motion. Nester began to glow dimly as she worked to heal Talia's body quickly.

Mum watched as Nester did not notice her or elected to ignore her. She could see that Nester had grown and she felt proud for some reason for Nester. Her body felt like moving forward to interrupt Nester and just give her a hug but she held back. She stilled her instincts and clamped down her own desires. She couldn't understand these feelings. It was as if she wanted to take care of Nester and make sure that she was out of harms way. However her blue eyes remained focused on Nester and just watched as Talia's body was restored to its previous condition before she was injured.

Nester closed her eyes and stepped away from the bed. Talia looked like she was sleeping deeply now which was a good sign. Colour had returned to her face and she was totally relaxed from head to foot. Nester opened her eyes and could see that her work was done. Her debt had been repaid and she was satisfied with herself. There was no need for her to communicate with Talia unless she really had to. She could still feel the hatred that coursed through her body and was directed at Talia. The feeling was so strong that she wanted to draw out her sword and finish what the guy had started in the ambush.

Suddenly Nester heard a noise and turned to see Mum just standing there watching her intently. Her eyes which had been blue before had already turned back to black as she stared at her watcher. She was a little shocked that Mum had been in the room the entire time and was a little weary about what to say. There was no doubt that Mum had witnessed her using magic when she had stated to her that she was not gifted but just an excellent warrior. Now the curtain had fallen and she was busted however she didn't see surprise in Mum's eyes for that reason. There was something else within that gaze that was unreadable.

"I have to go again." stated Nester as she watched Mum carefully.

Mum nodded her head in agreement and saw Nester retreat out the way that she had come in. Her eyes were still plastered on the balcony window and wondered why Nester felt the way that she did. She had seen the hatred and the twitch in that body that wanted to act on her strong feelings. She was totally confused as to why Nester had healed Talia even though she had felt so much hatred. She was also confused by the feelings that were coursing through her own body. She could feel that there was something wrong but she couldn't figure it out.

Slowly Mum looked at Talia who remained asleep. She could tell that Talia would not remember a thing except that she had come up here. She felt obliged to help Talia out of her blood stained clothes and knew that it would be best if Talia didn't remember all of it. She wondered if Talia had felt hostility from Nester the whole time that they had been on the mission. It was one thing that she wanted to find out and knew that she would only be able to talk to Talia and Mila. There was no way that she could confront Nester about it since she was likely to run away or change the subject. So she was going to wait for the answer.


Chapter 7

[Six mortal years later?]

Yoshiko once more stood in Lady Felecia's room in the immortal realm. She was actually wearing her formal robe for once since she felt it appropriate for the occasion. She was waiting for Felecia to be released from the higher beings meeting although she didn't know how much longer she had to wait. She had been there for most of the morning and had not alerted the immortals of her presence like the other times that she had visited.

Yoshiko sat on the comfortable lounge as she stared off to the small view of blue sky that she could see from where she was. She was content with how a soft breeze could easily enter the room and make it feel fresh and relaxing. She didn't know how long she sat there for but knew it had been quite a while once the door opened and closed hastily.

Lady Felecia walked briskly to her desk and unceremoniously plopped the stack of paper work on her already untidy desk. She then flopped back into her chair and momentarily closed her eyes while letting out a deep sigh that slowly released some of the tension in her muscles. She sat there for a little while to enjoy the peace and quiet that permeated around in her room. However she jumped in surprise.

"Stressful meeting?" asked Yoshiko from her seat.

Felecia stood ramrod straight and turned around with wide blue eyes looking in the direction of her lounge set. She stared at Yoshiko and wondered when the woman had let herself in. She hadn't noticed when or how she had appeared there. Her mind tried to comb through her short memories and could have sworn that she had not felt an ounce of magic being performed within the vicinity of her room.

"Sorry to frighten you. The meeting must have been stressful after all if you are so unaware of your surroundings. I've been here a while waiting for you. So no need to be alarmed." explained Yoshiko as she gestured for Felecia to sit as though the room was actually hers. A slight wave of her hand made some refreshments appear on the table and she smiled as her friend helped herself to her favourite cup of peach tea.

Felecia sipped gingerly from the cup so that she could saviour the taste. Her friend was the only person who had this special blend and knew how to make it. She had often asked for the recipe but Yoshiko would never give it up. So she took her time while she enjoyed her little break from reality. She could feel the fresh air and the warm sunlight on her skin as the peach tea slid across her tongue and entertained her taste buds. She was content and it showed since she was smiling softly. However she was pulled from her reverie as soon as Yoshiko spoke the next few words.

"She liked that blend as well." whispered Yoshiko as her gaze seemed far away.

Felecia looked up into distant blue eyes but knew to whom Yoshiko was referring to. It was the only thing that she had known about Yoshiko in which she hadn't told anyone including her own lover, Elaine. She could see with her own blue eyes that Yoshiko was sad and even though she knew the reason for it, there was nothing that she could do. So she sat there quietly and listened to the few words that Yoshiko had to say.

"She liked a lot of things." whispered Yoshiko in a distant voice.

"Since we are talking about her, would you like to help me with that small problem concerning her and your command since Troy is still pestering me about the decision. You do remember that we could not hold him for attacking a mortal. It is within his right as well as everyone else's right to do as they please with the mortals as long as they make sure that the equilibrium remains intact. So we had to release him considering no one besides Elaine knew who you were. So keeping her contained with no duties is really detrimental to her health as well as confusing a lot of other immortals including those within the higher beings ranks." explained Felecia in all seriousness which drew Yoshiko back from drifting off into her own little world.

"She has only been secluded for almost eight years or so. That is not a lot of time. Why would this be detrimental to her when she is taken away from the person who is causing her all of the stress that she is under?" asked Yoshiko.

"Why don't you go see her then?" asked Felecia tactfully.

"You know that I can't. Why are you trying to push me into doing it?"

Felecia sighed and placed her empty cup down dramatically. She shifted herself in her seat so that she was sitting on the edge and looked deep into Yoshiko's eyes. "You are avoiding her. You know that she still loves you. You know that Troy is still bound to her. You know that he is causing her health to deteriorate. So why don't you find out the reason why your solution to her problem is not working?"

Yoshiko tilted her head back to rest on the head of her seat as she closed her eyes. It had been a round argument which always came up and always came to the same conclusion. She was always left with a question why she just didn't go and sort out the problem herself. She had felt miserable every time that she replied the same answer that she couldn't. Her mind had already firmly come up with a list of reasons that made going to see Lila an undesirable option. However she still felt like there was a need for her to go.

"You do want to see her, don't you?" asked Felecia.

"Yes I do want to see her." replied Yoshiko in frustration. She placed her own empty cup back onto the table top and rested back into her seat. She could start to feel all of her muscles becoming even tenser as the topic of their conversation remained on Lila. She could see the point that Felecia was making but she was afraid to see the woman that she loved. She was afraid of what would happen if she were to go there and she couldn't control herself.

"Then you should take Christine with you." suggested Felecia. She smiled as Yoshiko looked confused for once. "Christopher won't mind being away from her and Christine will get the chance to finally understand why there had been a missive written by her to detain Troy as well as having Lila become isolated from her duties. I think Christine will remember who you are since you did work in the higher beings meetings for those couple of years before pawning the work off to me."

Yoshiko nodded her head in agreement and understanding. She did really need to clear up the confusion among the higher beings since she had noticed of late that there were rumours of Felecia's spontaneous behaviour which was so unlike her. She knew that all of the changes had made positive changes to the mortal realm and that the chaos was slowly being controlled. She had seen how the Blaster Organisation made a name for itself. She also knew how they were being labelled as the revered peacemakers. The only thing that she still had to work out was why the chaos appeared in the first place.

Yoshiko slowly got up and smiled as Felecia did the same. Her manners seemed to be intact even though she was tired and it showed in the many new lines of stress on her face. Yoshiko slowly made her way to the door. "I will go find Christine and we will go to see Lila. Hopefully everything will turn out fine." she uttered the last part in a mere whisper.

Yoshiko found herself standing in front of the door that led into Christine's and Christopher's shared private suite. Felecia was still standing next to her since it would have been questionable to be walking around when the majority of the immortals did not know her face. She had seen many immortals staring at her as they both walked through the halls. She almost could see what they were thinking as well.

A male immortal opened the door. He had grey eyes and blonde hair while his wife had light hazel eyes and light brown hair. His brows met his hairline as he stared at Felecia and then at the other immortal that was with her. It was clear that they were there for business purposes but he had made it clear that other immortals had to go to the office to leave a message. He hated his privacy being invaded by his work. He always kept the two separate since it was the only way that he could function.

"I believe this is important." he assumed in a less than polite tone.

"It is, Christopher." confirmed Felecia. "May we come in?"

Christopher moved to one side of the door as he let his unexpected guests in. He could just imagine the rant that Christine was going to be in when she saw that their evening had been interrupted by fellow immortals even though one of them was a fellow colleague of higher rank. He unconsciously straightened his back and waited for the chaos that was going to come crashing down on his somewhat quiet day.

Yoshiko breezed into the main room as she followed Felecia. There was no reason for her to confirm to the others of her position when she was truly not ready to inform everyone. She had already gone to great lengths so that she could separate herself from the immortals. She knew that there was going to be a lot of questions but at the moment she was glad of the peace that the room afforded.

Christine and Christopher had paid a lot of attention to detail in the room so that it was not flamboyant. The room was reserved enough to just be cosy for guests but still revealed to others with the simplicity of the room that they were important people. The room also gave off a calming effect that soothed Yoshiko's soul. The brown and green mingled with a light yellow that would have caused any designer to panic and would have been shocked to see this room.

Yoshiko slowly sank into the couch that was unoccupied as Felecia did the same on the opposite side. Christopher looked at both women and slowly sat on the edge of his seat since he knew that his wife would surely come out of the inner room at any moment to see who had disturbed their time off. His grey eyes could see that Felecia was tired and wondered what was so important to drag her away from her own room with another immortal that he did not know. He didn't even recognise her and he had been sure to meet all of the immortals even if they were new or of a lower rank.

"Chris, what is it? Who was at the door?" called Christine from the inner room. Her voice was slowly becoming louder as she made her way into the main room. Her light hazel eyes swept the room with a critical eye as Felecia, Christopher and another stood upon her entrance. She raised her eyebrow at Christopher who just slightly shrugged his shoulders in reply. "You have business to discuss." stated Christine as she glided into the room and sank into the seat next to her husband.

The statement had been directed at Felecia however she only rested her eyes on the immortal that Christine and Christopher did not know. However Felecia saw the sparkle in Yoshiko's blue eyes and knew that the ball had been thrown into her court and she had to enlighten the two higher beings that were both her friends as well as the parents to her lover. She drew a deep sigh and rested her blue eyes onto Elaine's parents. "There are a few matters that need to be attended to immediately."

"May I interrupt for a minute?" asked Christopher before Felecia accented to the request. "May we know who this young lady is? We understand that she is an immortal but we don't mean to be rude or anything, we just wanted to know how classified this information is if she is present. We both understand that this must be important for you to come here in person."

"I think it is best if we just continue and not consider if the matter is to be classified or not. I would rather this be over and done with since I do have other things of import to attend to." whispered Yoshiko as she rested her chin on her propped up hand. Her blue eyes swept both faces and knew that she actually had not met either of them which was a good thing since there would be many questions directed at her if they did. She could see their minds trying to unravel the mystery that was presented to them in the shape of an immortal. "I am only here to do business with Christine and to inform the both of you of some matters that you may find shocking."

Christopher was now listening more intently. "What information would you have that would interest us so?" asked Christopher as he slowly shifted to sit on the edge of the seat to listen better. His grey eyes had not missed the reluctance that was held deep in her eyes at revealing that she did have information.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" asked Felecia suddenly.

"They need to be informed if they are to follow my directives." replied Yoshiko deadpanned as if Felecia had no effect on her emotional state. She could tell that Felecia had been worried ever since they had walked over. She was also certain that Felecia was the only friend who could read her like an open book. She would have smiled at the fact that Felecia knew that she were about to reveal a lot more than she intended. However it was necessary if she was going to get to the bottom of why the chaos had existed in the first place. She had already narrowed it down that it was the workings of an immortal but didn't know who.

"Excuse me," said Christine defensively, "we do not follow anyone's orders. We have our own duties to attend to. You have no authority or power to give us orders. We do what we please and what is in accordance to the laws of the immortals." Christine slowly sank back into her seat as she was stared down by Yoshiko.

"I do have the authority and power to make you yield to me. However I came here solely to ask for your help. If you refuse to lend me your help then I have no choice but to erase this visit from your memories. I will move onto a more suitable candidate who will help me." explained Yoshiko in a gentle voice that seemed to have the power of thunderstorms.

Christine, Christopher and Felecia were shocked into silence as they stared at her. Different thoughts were racing through their minds at this immortal that looked so gentle that she wouldn't be able to kill a fly except for Felecia who was just surprised at her friend's assertiveness. All eyes were fixed onto Yoshiko.

Yoshiko kept up her superior fašade but knew in her heart that she had accidentally stepped over a boundary that she was not ready to face. She didn't want any more power over other people unless it was out of great need for the well being of the two realms. She knew that this was a private matter and forcing her supremacy over these two well respected and rightfully powerful immortals, was going to backfire. She stared at the two immortals only since she knew that Felecia was going to try and blend into the surroundings.

"My name is Yoshiko and I will require both of you to help me without asking too many questions. It is better if you remain in the dark about the majority of the things I am going to ask you to do. However first of all I would like Christopher to keep a trace on Troy." informed Yoshiko as she sighed deeply since there was no other way of not giving herself completely away.

"Why?" asked Christopher.

Yoshiko ignored the question and continued. "I want you to keep a tab on everything he does and report it to Felecia. Felecia will keep me informed." Yoshiko then turned toward Christine who was still shocked by the sudden turn of events. Her blue eyes saw into Christine's immortal soul and knew where Silvia's stubbornness came from. The corners of her lips curved up slightly as she slowly spoke the next few words to try and get Christine to digest the entire situation. "You and I will go and pay a visit to Lila who was ordered into isolation after a missive was sent with your name on it."

Christine's hazel eyes quickly returned to the present as her eyebrows shot into her hairline. She had been trying without luck to see who had sent such a missive to her children but no one could tell her anything. She had even tried to ask for favours but no one could give her a clue. It was like the missive had been written by her hand or by an invisible person who did not exist. Now right in front of her, a clue appeared like magic. Her mouth dropped open to say something but no words came out. They were jumbled inside her mouth that all she could produce was a small gasp.

"I think it is best if we go now." said Yoshiko as she slowly made to get up.

However Felecia stood up first and collected everyone's attention. She quickly glanced around the room to try and collect her thoughts before speaking them aloud. "I think it is time to inform them of one other thing that they have been worried about for a very long time." suggested Felecia as she stared into strong blue eyes of Yoshiko.

Yoshiko's head dropped as her eyes dropped to the floor. She had wanted to tell Christine and Christopher about their youngest daughter's wellbeing but it would be quite difficult to make sure that they did not contact her. She knew their caring and loving nature to oversee all of their children. She had even seen them without their knowledge after she had been informed of the situation and knew that both were immersed in their work to cope with the entire situation. She could feel their eyes upon her and knew that she could at least give them a small measure of peace since they were going to help her.

"I have some news about your daughter, Silvia." informed Yoshiko as she watched for their reaction and wasn't disappointed when she fully saw their shocked expressions. "I have been looking out for her personally. She is safe and well. She is however still in the mortal realm and cannot return here yet. Both of you must not see her yet. She is not ready and you could risk losing her forever if you try to see her."

"Why have you appointed yourself to look out for our daughter?" asked Christopher. His grey eyes were glad that his youngest daughter was alive and well. He could also understand the risks of seeing her since it could shock Silvia enough to cause damage and risk losing his daughter forever.

"I did not appoint myself to look out for your daughter. I just happened to cross her path. Anyways I think Christine and I should go and see Lila. Some people around here have been informing me that she is really upset and her health is deteriorating. I think it is a good idea to see if we can see what we can do to cheer her up." said Yoshiko.

"She is in isolation from everyone and all of her duties. Anyone would be upset if they were cut off from their work and family. She is probably mostly upset because she can't continue the search for her daughter. Maria is everything to her and Troy doesn't seem to be helping either." informed Christopher.

"Apparently, Troy is actually forbidden to see her for some reason." corrected Christine as she slowly stood up. "I guess now is a better time than any other to at least try to sort out this matter. I wonder who actually gave those orders though." Christine knew that those orders were signed by her but she actually didn't do it. It was due time she found out who actually did.


Yoshiko and Christine stood outside of Lila's assigned room which kept her isolated from everything. An immortal sentry hovered above the door. It was a small statue like figure which was shaped like a lion and its mouth could move, baring its fine sharp teeth. It had a golden glow to it and spoke in a growl like manner to the two immortals. "How may I help you two ladies?"

Yoshiko smiled since the lion had been her own creation after there had been many complaints about the boring job. No immortal wanted to stand guard for all eternity and there was little else she could do unless she wanted to stand guard herself. She had too many responsibilities to do the job herself and knew that this would be the only solution besides appointing the duty to someone who would only do the job unenthusiastically.

Christine glanced at the talking lion head with some amusement. Her small funny thought springing forth from a well of memories about her children and their antics. However at the moment there was no time to dwell on such things since Yoshiko was already trying to open the door to Lila's temporary room. She rolled her hazel eyes as Yoshiko stood looking up at the lion head deep in thought. She wondered if the young immortal knew the new password which had only recently been updated due to the many unexplained security warnings that had been going off for the last few mortal years. However her hazel eyes bulged out of their sockets as Yoshiko did something totally unexpected.

Blue eyes were fastened to the lion head as she thought about all of the passwords that she knew of. She knew for a fact that the password had been changed under her directive but she had yet to know what the new password was. She could feel hazel eyes staring at her with some interest and her mind slowly drifted to what was beyond the door before she pulled herself back. She didn't want Christine to see how she felt and knew that she had to act very cool otherwise Christine would just assume that she was a novice that didn't know anything.

Yoshiko was glad that she had a detailed report about this device and her hands had created it to perfection. She knew everything there was to know about the lion head and knew how dangerous it could become if she didn't give the right password or tried to force her way through. She gently lifted her hand and patted the lion head which started to purr happily. This simple move had shocked Christine. "It has been a long time my friend." whispered Yoshiko to the lion head.

The lion head suddenly became more animated and more real. It brushed its head more firmly against Yoshiko's fingers and purred loudly. As soon as Yoshiko withdrew her hand, the lion head roared loudly before assuming its full form and becoming a real lion. It skittered around Christine's legs as it sniffed her but then approached Yoshiko and started to rub its long furry body against her legs before he sat on his hind legs to face her. "It has indeed been a long time Yoshiko. What brings you here?" asked the lion head in a deep growl.

"I need to visit someone you are guarding." replied Yoshiko simply.

"Can I come with you?" asked the lion.

Christine stood there shocked at the interaction between the lion and Yoshiko. She had not known that the lion head could transform or become so real as if it were a real lion. She had always thought of it as a device only but now her views were changing rapidly. Her mind was trying to keep up the fact that Yoshiko could actually bring out the true nature of the lion stature. There was definitely more to Yoshiko than she was letting on.

"Let's go then." replied Yoshiko as she gestured for the lion to open the door before her. The lion complied without even showing any sign that she needed the password. She waited for the lion to precede her before walking through the door and into darkness that swallowed her whole. She only managed to grab Christine's hand to pull her inside before the door was slammed shut and no one could see anything besides the lion.

Christine stood within the darkness at a complete loss as to what to do since she had already tried to use a bit of her magical energy to illuminate the space around her with no luck. She could still feel Yoshiko's hand on her arm and knew that the young immortal kept it there for her since she was a little shaken. She hated the darkness and every immortal in the immortal realm knew that. She had briefly felt the lion brush against her leg and had it not been for Yoshiko, she would have jumped out of her skin. She was scared but with Yoshiko's reassuring hand, she felt protected.

Yoshiko could clearly see into the darkness since this room was also of her creation. She remembered where everything was placed and knew that the lion which she had named Furry could see clearly. Her bright blue eyes pierced the darkness and she could see the lone figure lying on their front with their face buried into the soft feather filled pillow. Her entire body cringed at the sight and she had to hold back everything within her just to not rush to Lila's side and try to make her feel better. Carefully aware that she still had a hold of Christine to steady her, she felt deep inside of herself to draw upon her own magic to conceal her looks. She didn't want Lila to know who she was and she definitely didn't want to alarm Lila either.

Yoshiko turned slightly towards Christine and placed her other hand on the immortal's shoulder. Slowly she formed a mind link so that she could explain the situation and her disguise so that Lila would not suspect that there was something wrong. She could feel that Christine was a little confused but knew that she understood and would follow her lead. So slowly she turned back and faced Lila before patting Furry on the head to give him the signal to illuminate the room.

Blinding light consumed the room as Furry began to glow. He was almost like the blazing sun itself but after their eyes adjusted, Furry was just like a normal light bulb. The room became alive with colour as the bare basics of the room came into view. There was a table and chair as well as a bed where Lila was lying on. Lila didn't stir.

Yoshiko felt anguish pass through her body at seeing Lila like this but she placed a mask over her face and iced her heart so that she could get this over with. She needed answers and Lila was going to provide them. She had the mother's of the two immortals who she was looking out for in the same room and knew that she would find her solution here. So slowly she walked forward and shook Lila's shoulder gently before she lifted her head. She saw into Lila's worried black eyes and could see far more than what she was willing to see. She saw a worried mother and a heart that was slowly breaking.


Chapter 8

[Meanwhile, back in the mortal realm?]

Nester was relaxed in her room for the past three days since she was forced to take a reprieve from all of her duties and outings. Her black eyes roamed the room and she could see that there were a few things that she needed to take care of before she could widen her search further. She had already searched most of the east and was slowly making her way west. She could feel deep in her gut that the person she was desperately searching for was on this land mass that she was on at the moment. She had many invitations to cross the large seas but had always turned them down. Her heart told her that she needed to stay even though her mind had berated her on a number of occasions about the possibility that her heart was wrong.

Nester sighed as she tried to relax all of her muscles while lying on the single bed. It was soft and clean, thanks to Mum, and she knew that there would be no other place that she would be able to sleep pleasantly. Even on her many outings, she had sleepless nights. It wasn't even because of the fact that she needed to keep guard at night. It was because of the same unpleasant dream that occurred incessantly every time that she managed to drift off.

Nester sighed as she remembered the awful dream. It made her heart break in two at seeing Silvia for the last time and not being able to do anything to help her. She couldn't grab hold of Silvia as Silvia faded away. She couldn't even stop Silvia from doing what she did since Silvia had used her own life energy to heal her.

Nester would wake up screaming. Her heart would pound loudly in her ears and she would be drenched in sweat. She would be a little confused at the tears that slid down her face and the reason why she had her arms before her trying to hold onto someone who was no longer there. Her mind would then slowly sift through her surroundings to pull her back to her reality.

Nester slowly closed her eyes and was about to have a little nap but a light knocking noise was heard on her door. Her eyes slowly opened and glanced over but the knocking continued. So she slowly got up and went to see who it was. However she wasn't prepared to see who was out there. She didn't know what she was going to do and so she stood there with a stoic mask over her face.

Talia stood in the hallway and stared at Nester for a little while. She quickly mentally slapped herself and lifted the note that was in her hand to Nester. It was their next mission which would require three of the main members of the Blaster Organisation to take action for a chance of success. She had already read it and knew that it would just be easier to pass the message on rather than let Mila drag herself from all of her paperwork to deliver the mission.

"What's this?" asked Nester with her black eyes guarded. She could feel anger erupt in every pore but didn't act on it. She was still confused by the reaction but had learned over the years that it was something that happened when she always interacted with Talia. She had always kept an eye out to try and figure out why she had this hatred coursing through her veins. It was the only reason why she had always looked out for Talia.

"This is our next mission. Elizabeth, I mean? Misty, has already left to prepare for our arrival. We don't need to be there until next week. So we don't need to leave here until two days time." informed Talia in a hesitant voice since she was trying to be very careful with her tone and actions.

Nester read the mission brief and slowly handed the missive back. Her part in the mission seemed to be the most difficult out of the three parts. However it matched her abilities perfectly since she had become deadly with her sword. She had also improved and simplified her use of magical energy so that any proficient gifted person would not suspect that she was anything more than a novice. So she could handle any situation which always put her in the most dangerous places.

"Mum won't be back until next week some time. So she won't be back to see us off and Laney will be taking care of the little girl, Michaela. Hopefully this mission won't take too long. We might be able to make it back before Mum gets back if we can fast track the plan." suggested Talia as she looked through the mission brief again.

Nester shook her head at the suggestion. She had seen Mila work for a long time and knew that there was a reason for this certain timetable to be included in the mission. "Mila has a reason for the timetable and we are going to stick to it like we always do so that there are no mishaps. I'd much prefer coming back in one piece rather than ten million for messing with the timetable and having something go terribly wrong." replied Nester. She looked up and down the hallway before looking directly into Talia's grey eyes. "I need to get some rest. You need to do the same because we will leave tomorrow so that you can map the area. It is one of her small requests since you are in the area and won't have much to do."

Talia watched with grey confused eyes as she was brushed off. She saw Nester's back and then the door was slammed in her face. She wondered for a moment what was going through Nester's head but thought better of it since she had yet to figure out her own reactions towards her. Slowly she did as Nester suggested and hoped that nothing else came up.


[The next mortal day?]

Talia walked quietly behind Nester as they headed towards their mission location. They had left early that morning since Nester wanted an early start and Talia couldn't think of a reason not to. With their armour and other gear, from afar, they looked like male warriors. However, close up, they looked like young puppies ready for slaughter. Neither of them looked very dangerous and that just added to their advantages.

Talia's grey eyes swept the wooded area which was fairly covered and could feel the peace emanate from the plants and animals about. She felt really good despite just coming back from a prior mission without much rest compared to Nester who had a week vacation. However she couldn't complain since she really didn't mind and she liked the travelling. Her good mood was being a little tampered since she was constantly fighting herself.

Talia's grey eyes looked up at Nester's back and wondered what was going through her mind. She could feel her own body wanting to touch Nester's flesh by hugging or running her hands through Nester's black hair. She felt warm and fuzzy just walking casually behind Nester. Her mind only thinking about what it would be like to give her body full rein of whatever she was feeling. However she determinedly held back since they still had a mission and anything that she might cause may hinder it. So she watched her every step and every word even though some times she sounded a little airy, slow or distracted.

Nester, on the other hand, was keeping a tight lid on her anger towards Talia. It was exceptionally harder this time since she knew that Talia was watching her. She just wanted to peel those eyes away so that she could have a moment of peace. Her walking was kind of stiff since her body was so tense and she feared that she might snap out at Talia for no reason. She knew that their working relationship was of the utmost professionalism but one small mishap could change that entirely. Her muscles kept twitching to turn around and let Talia fall under her wrath. Her black eyes would always glance at her sword hilt which was over her shoulder since she had it strapped to her back but she made sure that Talia didn't notice.

Nester was already rechecking the straps of her pack for the hundredth time since they started out that morning. Her fingers fidgeted non-stop on the little things while they were travelling since she had few things to distract her from the anger that pulsed throughout her body towards Talia. She had always wondered why she felt like this since there was no obvious reason for her to actually hate Talia. So she kept a distant eye on her workmate. It was the only thing that she could do without having to think of excuses to excuse herself because she had done something that was a bit over the top.

Slowly Nester's ears twitched as she heard something rustle around them. Her whole body became rigid as all of her senses were extended to locate and identify the source. She continued to walk with Talia close behind but was glad to know that Talia was also alert. It had taken quite some time to help Talia develop this skill since they were targeted all the time while on the road. Maybe it's the cloak that we normally wear or the fact that we seem small and helpless that attracts danger to us. She wasn't really sure which fact outweighed the other however she knew right at this moment that they had been surrounded by unseen individuals.

Talia became alert as soon as she saw Nester's ears twitched. She had seen Nester's body transform from being totally relaxed to alertness in a couple of steps. She had extended her own senses out and had already counted twenty grown men. She could hear metal rub against leather and knew that they meant business even though her eyes had not located them yet. Her ears counted nineteen swords being drawn and wondered how long it was going to be before they continued with their ambush.

Nester's ears had picked up the slight stirrings of twigs and leaves being trodden on. The heavy crunch of the sound identified the group of men to be well armoured and most likely well built. She had a gut feeling that this was no normal ambush since one of them which she considered to be the leader had not drawn their sword yet. She was also curious as to why they had not attacked yet since they had been walking for some time and the group had been able to surround them. She knew that they were well organised and wondered the meaning behind all of this.

Nester's thoughts were put on hold as three men leapt out of the trees and blocked their path. Her black eyes could see that they were big men with heavy long swords. She glanced behind her since she had stopped with Talia guarding her back. Black eyes saw how three more men blocked their rear. Three men appeared on either side of them and stood a few metres away without engaging yet. This didn't seem like the typical warlord type of behaviour. So she made sure that she kept their identities anonymous by appearing to be unarmed and quite powerless. Her face was the classical frightened little girl look that was typically used for being ambushed so that they would underestimate her and who she was with.

A man, cloaked and hooded in black, stepped out of the trees and stood carefully behind his three armed and dangerous looking men. A strong, large hand slowly lowered his hood with dramatic effect as if he had been practising to perform the task and try to intimidate his victims. His scarred face came into view which looked like he had seen too many blades and just forgot to duck. His brown short hair looked more like he had a bad hair day with the barber. His gruff voice filled the air in a deep and menacing tone. "HAHAHA? What do we have here?"

Two more men appeared on either side of them and Nester could feel that Talia was trying to come up with a plan even though the situation seemed dire if they had only been helpless villagers. Her back was completely leaning against Talia and their hands were clasped. Her body wanted to revolt at the touch but at the same time craved it which made her become confused. She hid her emotions and wondered if she could hold her body at bay. She didn't want her instincts taking over and targeting Talia by accident.

Finally three more men appeared at the front of their path. The man that was standing between the other two also wore a black hooded cloak. He slowly lowered his hood to reveal a handsome youthful face that did not belong with the other faces around. It was clear that this youth was in charge since the ugly scarred man had just stood and gloated. The young leader had black long hair that was tied in a ponytail and black eyes that raked them as if his eyes were a scanner. The corners of his mouth lifted up slightly at what he saw.

"What are your orders, Pallie?" asked the scarred face man.

"Seize them!" replied Pallie in a soft tone that seemed to whisper into the trees. His eyes slitted as the men around him acknowledged his command. His black eyes never left the two women as his men slowly approached the two women cautiously. His smile became wider and more pronounced as he saw the flicker of realisation dawn on the faces of the two women.

Nester's eyes widened. This was no normal band of thugs out for small pickings. They were an organised group of warriors who were out hunting and it looked like both of them were in real trouble now. She looked around carefully and noted the serious expressions on everyone's face as if they were out hunting for a formidable monster.

"What do we do?" asked Talia through a mere whisper that only Nester could hear. Her grey eyes were wide as she realised they had gotten a lot more than they bargained for. They were trapped with the group of men somewhat aware that both of them were dangerous. If they had not underestimated the group of warriors, they would have had a chance to flee but it was too late. There was no escape and the only way out was going to be through them somehow.

"We will fight our way out." replied Nester as she slightly stepped away from Talia and let her hand go. Her black eyes became deadly serious and her face became still in concentration. The aura that she emanated was one of pure danger which the men could now clearly see. "Get ready!" said Nester.

Nester sprung forward, drawing her sword in a flash, as she charged at three of the men that were to the sides. The other two men that were to the sides stayed back and out of the fray since it looked like they were ordered to make sure that their prey could not escape. Nester's sword flew up and slammed mightily at the surprised warrior as she pushed him back and off balanced. She put a little more force into her push to make sure that he went flying, landing on his back on the hard ground. She then quickly turned and placed her sword up into a guard position to block an attack that was aimed at her exposed back. However she turned and used his momentum against him by redirecting his attack away from her so that she could block the other warrior's attack. She quickly released her hand from the sword hilt and pummelled the warrior's face with a fisted hand.

Nester's black eyes watched carefully as the warrior's head snapped back by the force of her blow which also loosened his grip on his sword. She took the open opportunity to apply more force behind her blade to effectively send his sword flying with the pointed edge aimed and imbedded deeply into a tree. A swift leg sweep and arm hook, dumped the warrior onto the ground with such force that he stayed there groaning in pain.

Nester looked up just in time to see that the other two were charging towards her. She skilfully waved her sword around to ready herself for anything that they might throw at her. Nester's black eyes watched as one of the warriors raised his sword high and was thrusting his sword in a downward motion. She could see in the corner of her eye that the other warrior was coming at her from the side and if she were to block the first warrior, she would be wide open for the other to attack. So she waited for the downward sword stroke to reach her own blade before she swiftly redirected it to the side to block the other warrior from attacking her. She hastily kicked the first warrior's wrist and made him drop the sword while she clobbered the other warrior with the hilt of her sword as he was about to stop because of the first warrior's attack. She then kicked the first warrior in the groined and punched him with her free hand to knock him out along with the warrior who was clobbered by the hilt of her sword. Both fell to the ground to join the other who was still groaning in pain.

Nester looked up just in time to see that the three who were at the rear of their path rush towards her but this time with deadly intent. She jumped back to avoid the first warrior and quickly raised her sword to block the second attack before the third was able to place a clean horizontal slice on her right side. She was very lucky that she managed to shift to the left to avoid being stabbed through. She could feel the warm blood flow down her side but she blocked out the pain. She hastily jumped out of their grasp before they could inflict more damage. However they never let up and continued to engage her without mercy.

Nester could feel her body getting a thorough workout since she couldn't use her magical powers in front of Talia or any of these warriors. She just had a really strong feeling that it would be the wrong thing to do to introduce magic into this skirmish. She knew that Talia had felt the same way since she couldn't sense any magic flowing from her. However she was too busy to see what Talia was doing and how she was holding up. Her black eyes quickly found one danger after another as the three warriors skilfully engaged her. It was almost like these three were of different rank from the initial three. She had never faced such an organised group that it almost seemed like they knew exactly what they were hunting.

Nester swiftly swung her sword up and swept the first attack towards the second warrior who was just about to engage her. She then quickly stepped to one side as the third tried to stab her through. Her movement was timed precisely since the third warrior actually stabbed the first warrior through the back. Talk about backstabbing someone? Nester had to smile at that thought as she jumped back once more and was successful in putting some distance between them. It looked like they were in disarray now since one of their comrades had been injured by another.

Nester watched curiously as the third warrior left his sword and grabbed his fallen comrade's sword instead. Her black eyes could see that their anger was slowly boiling now. She raised her sword and prepared for their anger fuelled attacks. She could just see the bond that knit the three together as if they were brothers and knew that they wanted revenge since she was the cause for the accidental stabbing.

The first strike of the next round of attacks was shocking. Her arm trembled under the force as she held their sword at bay with her blade. Her black eyes stared into her opposing opponent and knew that the other was not far behind. However she couldn't move. The warrior skilfully held her in place and she was barely holding him off. Her eyes widened as she felt the searing pain through her side as the other warrior's sword pierced through her clothing, skin, tissue and bone. She could feel the warm blood trickling out as the warrior savagely yanked out his sword to cause more pain.

Nester felt a surge of physical energy run through her body and used it to push the warrior that held her in place away. She used such force that it not only surprised the warrior but also caused him to leave the ground and go flying backwards, slamming into a tree painfully and knocking him out cold. She turned her head to look at the other who was frozen in shock and grabbed him around the throat with her free hand. She lifted him up off the ground and smiled at the terrified look that passed his face as well as the fact that she was choking him from the cruel grip. Her black eyes were filled with menace as she threw him towards a tree next to the other warrior which successfully knocked him out cold as well.

Nester rushed towards the two remaining on the side and knocked them out with a flick of the wrist from side to side to hit them in the temples with the flat of her blade. She turned and only just managed to raise her blade in time to block the scarred face man from slicing her in half vertically. She swept her sword to the side and effectively used his brute force against him which made him overbalance. His side was wide open and she didn't hesitate to slice his gut open and make him try to catch his intestines from falling out. She smiled at his pained and shocked look but didn't have time to think as the leader of the mob called to her.

"Stop!" whispered Pallie into Nester's ear. He had somehow managed to sneak up on her and now had a blade resting across her throat with the intention of using it if she struggled against him. "Drop your weapon and don't try to resist me or I will slit your throat where you stand." he said in a menacing low tone that whispered dangerously into her ear.

Nester could feel the cold steel against her throat. She could see now that Talia had dealt with most of her portion of warriors and there were only a few left who had been at the front of their path. She saw how Talia was doing significantly well against all five of the warriors at once. However she knew that it was going to come to an end.

Pallie smiled as Nester complied with his demands. His cold black eyes looked over at Talia and he smiled as he watched her defend herself. "Talia!" called Pallie. "Drop your weapon and kneel on your hands. You don't want your companion here to die now, do you?" His smile broadened as Talia's grey eyes met his. He saw how she was thinking of the opportunities that were available and knew that she really had none. His black eyes watched her carefully as she tossed her weapon to the ground and slowly knelt down onto her hands. His warriors stood behind Talia and were preparing to bind her so that he could do what he wished to do.

Talia's grey eyes were icily cold as she stared at Pallie who held Nester captive. She could feel her whole body wanting to unleash everything that she had but knew that there was a chance that he might be able to kill Nester. Her mind kept trying to find possible solutions that would minimise the risks for Nester. However with each solution that she could come up with, the risk of Nester getting killed by Pallie's hand was still there. So she had to abide with his requests for now until she could figure out something.

Talia saw the impassive look that was plastered onto Nester's face and knew the code that the Blaster organisation held. The mission was above all else and sacrificing a team mate to achieve it was the absolute rule. The mission was everything but in this case, they needed Nester for the mission to succeed. So Talia was running out of options. Her mind was still baffled that Pallie had managed to capture Nester. Her eyes narrowed as she felt a wave of energy pass through her body that was caused by the wind and knew that she still had one more option.

Talia knelt onto her hands and felt the cold bare earth. She lowered her head and closed her eyes which anyone watching would interpret as a sign that she had given up. However she only closed her eyes so that she could concentrate. She needed to feel all of the magical and natural energies that surrounded her. She had to form a mental picture in her head so that she could wield all the power that she could summon with ease. She opened her eyes and looked deep into Pallie's now shocked black eyes.

Nester had closed her eyes as soon as Talia lowered her head. She stood as still as she could and made sure that she was not accidentally cut. Her wounds were starting to worry her as the adrenaline from the fight was wearing off since she was being held. Her mind tried to struggle to find a solution that would get them all out of this mess. However her thoughts were interrupted as she felt the first stirrings of magical energy. She felt Pallie's rigid movement and knew that something was happening but her eyes remained closed since the pain was starting to become overwhelming.

Talia felt the magical energy surge through her body as if someone had given her a boost and she could see that Pallie was shocked. Her grey eyes had gone silver with power and the ground began to tremble lightly. The warriors standing around were confused and fled the scene in fear, muttering legends of gods and other such folk that used to roam the land. Only Pallie remained and two of his loyal bodyguards. Talia didn't really mind but she knew that she had to do something drastic to release Nester from Pallie's clutches. So she summoned the magical energy within her and slightly flicked her head to bind the two bodyguards to the earth. The bodyguards sank into the soil and soon were stuck as the ground became hard once more.

Talia slowly forced the magical air currents to converge on Pallie and hold him in place. A small smile dawned onto her face as she saw how Pallie's eyes became frightened and his muscles were trying with all of his might to move. She could see the determination on his face to just move his arm and slit Nester's throat but the magical air currents were like twenty men holding him in place. It was almost as if he was encased in stone. Gradually she stood back up and approached Nester hastily since Nester was still as ice. Her silver eyes could see that Nester was in pain even though Nester was trying her best to hide it.

Talia removed Nester from Pallie's grasp and caught her before she hit the ground. It was clear now that Nester was injured since she lifted her hand and saw the stark red blood that stained her palm crimson. Her eyes found the gaping wound on Nester's side and could not imagine how Nester was able to still be alive or even conscious. She found the other wound which was fairly superficial and knew immediately that Nester needed medical attention. She looked around and noticed that there were fourteen either unconscious or moaning bodies. Two of the mob, only had their heads sticking out of the ground and their leader stood frozen in place while she noted that three had already ran off. So all of the twenty men were accounted for and she didn't need to worry about another ambush.

Suddenly Talia felt an enormous wave of magical energy sweep the area. She then felt a humongous ball of magical energy blast her from the side and sent her and Nester flying since she was protecting Nester with her own body. Searing pain erupted along her side and she grudgingly lifted her head to seek the source of the new danger. However she first noted that Pallie was no longer under her hold and he had a wide smirk across his face. Her silver eyes found icily cold black eyes staring at her. She could feel the dangerous aura that surrounded the man who was dressed in a pure white robe.

The white robed man took in the surrounding area and his eyes narrowed onto the two females. He looked directly at Talia and wondered how it was possible for two female mortals to subdue seventeen men without killing them. However he had more pleasant things to ponder. He had found what he was looking for and those silver eyes were the key. He slowly approached her as he formed another ball of magical energy which fizzed like electricity. His entire body emanated power and unworldly terror.

Talia gazed into his eyes and saw the truth that he was not just a gifted being. She saw that he was far more powerful than even the person who had appeared with the appearance of the blade that she wielded. Her eyes widened as she saw what was going to happen. Her thoughts immediately rushed to the well being of Nester and she glanced briefly at her comrade before staring back up into formidable black eyes.


Chapter 9

[Meanwhile back in the immortal realm?]

Yoshiko stared at the broken form that rested on the only bed in the room with anguished eyes. She had not wanted to see this ever but knew that it was a possibility and now she craved to change it. Her creation and fiend, Furry, stood beside Christine as Yoshiko saw into the broken form's black eyes. Her heart iced over and her mask firmly in place, she tried to read through the emotions that were embedded in the black eyes.

"What do you want?" asked Lila in a broken voice as she stared into blue eyes. It was clear that she had been crying but she didn't care. No one cares about me anyways. Two more immortals seeing me like this won't kill me. I have already lost the two things that I hold dear to my heart. She looked over the shoulder of the blue eyed immortal and saw that Christine was standing there. Her black eyes then swivelled back to the blue inquiringly.

"We have been sent here to try and help you." replied Yoshiko gently.

"How can you help me? Are you going to let me go back to my duties? Are you going to return my freedom?" said Lila as her voice rose and her anger became apparent. She gradually sat up and pierced her two visitors with icy black eyes. "It is obvious that you can't help me. No one can?"

Christine slowly approached the two and sat on the bed next to Lila. She carefully pulled Lila into a warm hug and waited for the inevitable. She wasn't mistaken when Lila started to cry on her shoulder. "A mother's intuition." muttered Christine as she gently rubbed Lila's shoulder to try and calm her down.

"I wouldn't know." replied Yoshiko in a sad voice. She had created many immortals and other beings. They all referred to her as their mother but she never felt it. She never knew exactly what they were thinking and feeling. She didn't even know if they would be good or bad. She only had a little feeling of hope that all would be well under her supervision and guidance and so far it had been alright. However she could feel that things had already gotten out of hand because of the simple fact that she wanted to remove herself from the immortal's realm. She wanted them to govern themselves and look after each other as she looked after them. However all of that did not ever give her the feeling that a normal mother had with their children.

Yoshiko slowly stood up and could feel her mask slipping. However she didn't care. She had lost what was precious to her anyway and now she was causing them pain. She slowly turned and faced Furry who was supervising the proceedings. Her lips twitched into a brief smile as Furry walked over and started to rub against her legs affectionately. She was oblivious to the two pairs of eyes that were sitting on the bed. She knelt down and patted Furry on the head. She was glad that she had her back turned since all of the emotions that she had locked away came to the surface. Tears fell down her cheeks and she was warmed by the fact that Furry decided to lick them away.

Yoshiko's bare voice filled the room which could only just be heard. It was raspy as if she was pained by a decision that she had only just made. "You both just wish to find your daughters and make sure that they are alright. You just want them to be happy and safe. I can give both of you that. However the price of it will be high." said Yoshiko.

"How can you give us that?" asked Christine who was as curious as Lila.

Yoshiko slowly stood up and felt the weight of responsibility rest on her own shoulders. Her eyes momentarily closed as she tried to settle the new weight. Furry was by her side and felt that he was saddened by her resolve. "You just have to promise me one thing. You have to promise on your immortal soul that you will not interfere when Silvia and Maria reveal themselves in the mortal realm. You must not go to them or see them."

"Is that the only price?" asked Lila.

"For you it is." replied Yoshiko.

"What are you trying to say?" asked Christine as the alarms in her head began to go off. She knew that there was something wrong. She knew that Yoshiko was hiding something. Her mind wanted to speak out and her heart craved to see her daughter but the promise that she made earlier was ever present on her mind. She could not ask this person too many questions. It was what was requested and she had to abide by it for reasons she did not know. "Caitlyn?" called Christine gently.

"I will have to pay a higher price. I will have to give up my immortal soul. I won't die." interjected Yoshiko before either could protest. "I will become a mortal if I survive. If I do become mortal, I will still have a chance to return to being an immortal by living as a mortal until such time I am whisked away back to this realm."

"So there is a chance that you might die and disappear forever?" asked Lila.

"There is that chance but if Silvia and Maria can perform their duties, it won't be a problem. I will have everything else settled as well. They both will return here as immortals in their rightful place as higher beings and guardians of the moon, sun and stars. As I said before, you must not interfere or everything will fall out of place and my soul forfeited. Can you both perform your parts?" asked Yoshiko.

Lila looked at Christine and Christine stared back. It all seemed easy enough on their part and they would both get what they truly desired in the end. It seemed like an easy choice and they were both about to agree when suddenly Furry began to growl angrily and his illuminated body became flaming red. Yoshiko patted Furry gently on the head to calm him down which he did and stared at him for an answer to his sudden burst of anger. She was not disappointed. She saw his eyes meet hers and felt the growl of his voice vibrate through her hand.

"Yoshiko? someone wants to speak with you." growled Furry.

Lila's eyes immediately perked up at the name. She glanced at Christine who had a confused look on her face and knew that the lion must have said something else and her hearing was playing tricks on her. She could see that Caitlyn was a normal immortal who wished to pay a high price for their happiness even though it was obvious she wasn't going to get anything in return besides restoring both realms to their proper place. She wondered if Yoshiko had anything to do with Caitlyn's presence or her erratic solution to all of their problems.

"Give me a link to the door so that I may see who it is." requested Yoshiko even as Furry was doing just that for her. He knew that she was on a tight schedule since things always seemed to pop up at the most inopportune times. Yoshiko waited and was surprised to see Elaine's frazzled image appear. Yoshiko immediately sent a voice link to where Elaine was frantically pounding on the door. "Elaine, what's wrong?" asked Yoshiko hurriedly.

"Father sent me to get you now. You have to hurry." replied Elaine in a frantic voice. She looked around as if she were trying to figure out where the voice was coming from but didn't have to stand there long before the door opened to let out Yoshiko who was still wearing her disguise as well as Furry, Christine and Lila. Yoshiko looked at her inquiringly but she momentarily glanced at Lila before continuing with Yoshiko's permission. "Father said you were right to tag him and that your presence is required immediately."

"Christine, Lila, please wait for me to return in Felecia's quarters. She would have been already informed. Elaine will come with me and Furry will obviously stay here. I will be back after I sort this out." instructed Yoshiko before she swiftly followed Elaine out of the holding area.


[Meanwhile back in the mortal realm?]

A ball of white light which electrified as if it were about to burst was resting in the newcomer's hand. His white robe and elegance had already set off alarm bells for Talia but he had already attacked her before. He stood over her with the intention of using his second and final attack to finish what he was there to do. His black eyes were cold and angry as he looked at Talia.

"Why are you doing this?" asked Talia as it was the only thing that she could do unless she wanted to end up stiff dead. Her silver eyes were ablaze with power but she did not wish to use it against this man. She knew it must have looked absurd from Pallie's point of view and would have thought the same thing if she had not been the target. Her hands held Nester close to try and unconsciously reassure the woman that everything would be fine. "Why are you here?"

The black eyes grew colder and he looked angrier however he slightly pulled his hand back to answer her. His voice boomed around the clearing but only Talia could hear him. "You will be the downfall. I am only trying to restore what is right. You being here is not right, your very essence isn't right and I am obligated to destroy you. This is the only way to return things to their proper place." said the white robed man as he held the fierce energy ball as if it were a mere piece of fruit.

"You are wrong." replied Talia as she saw no reason now to not defend herself. She could see clearly that his logic was flawed. There was no way that she didn't belong where she was since she was a mortal and she could see that he was not. Her mind had already made up the fact that the man was someone of importance and belonged in Shawn's world.

The black eyes narrowed as he sensed that Talia was about to do something. He quickly flicked his wrist and released the energy ball at Talia. A smile was about to make its way to his lips but stopped as he saw what Talia was going to do with it. His mind was stunned as he watched and was even slightly awed.

Talia quickly placed up a wall of defence that was made of wind. She had used it many times before and it was prudent now that it stayed intact. She was aware that she had only used it on other gifted mortals but the person in front of her was another matter. She hoped that she could at least stop this strike or deflect it away. However she was as surprised as the immortal in front of her.

The energy ball became entangled within the wind threads of magic and stopped the attack at a dead stop. The ball of energy was then quickly absorbed into the threads as if the wind threads hungrily lapped it up to maintain its form. The energy was converted and the threat to Talia was nullified. The wind threads formed a wall around Talia and her immediate charge as it sensed the danger that was just outside of its barrier.

The white robed man didn't wait one moment longer. He immediately created another ball of powerful energy and decided this time to release it at point blank by forcing his way pass the wind energy. He stepped forward and placed his free hand on the wind energy before pressing his hand against it and draining it as he went. He could see the fear that was slowly growing in those silver eyes.

The wind barrier fell apart in a shimmer of visible light that floated gently to the ground as if it were glowing dust particles. Silver eyes watched in fear as the white robed man stepped into her space and began to smile. Time seemed to slow as she saw his hand come up and the ball of energy was aimed at her head. All he had to do was release it and she wouldn't be able to do anything. Her silver eyes were ablaze with power but her mind could not think of anything to save herself. So her eyes rested on the icy black ones with questions whirling around in her head.

Time seemed to stop as the white robed man released the energy ball. His face was alight with the wickedest smile of triumph. He was going to get his revenge and he was going to get his family back. He felt the ball of energy leave his hands and knew that at this close range, that there was no chance for her to dodge it. He knew that she wasn't fast enough and she didn't have the capabilities that she had once before.

Suddenly the ball of energy was stopped from hitting Talia's face. A slender white hand impeded its path and Talia was saved. The ball of electrifying energy rested lightly in the pale hand before it was crushed inside the palm of the owner's hand as if it were nothing. Talia and the white robed man both stared at the newcomer with surprise written on both of their faces.

Yoshiko stood there with her face hidden beneath a white, thick cloth which only revealed icy blue eyes. Her white robe was laced with blue thread and flowed to the ground with such elegance that she could be anywhere and still not have anything out of place. She took a step so that she was standing between Talia and the white robed man. She knew who the white robed man was. It was Troy.

Yoshiko felt anger rise within her at Troy's actions and behaviour. She stepped into his personal space and was satisfied that Troy felt threatened enough to take a step back. She could clearly see that he was trying to judge her and she was going to take another step forward but a hand grabbed hers. Her blue eyes glanced down to see Talia's worried face. It was then that she noticed that Nester was there and injured. Her rage began to boil at the sight of the battered and bleeding form of Nester. She turned back to face Troy and only by reflex was she able to deflect the energy ball that he sent towards her. She released Talia's grip and was about to unleash her most powerful attack but Elaine managed to seize Troy.

Elaine quickly acted and slammed Troy face first into the dirt. She could see that Yoshiko was angry beyond words of reason and knew that only action was going to stop her. So she knelt on top of Troy's back and immobilised him from moving. She was relieved that Yoshiko had stopped and was reviewing what she needed to do. Relief seemed to fill the area as Elaine's father and her siblings were present but not visible. She could clearly see the confusion on Talia's and Pallie's faces.

Yoshiko turned swiftly on her heel and knelt down to see to Nester. Her blue eyes became worried as she found the first wound which was superficial and on her right side. However her anger erupted once more as she spotted the second wound which had entered Nester's left side and was a gaping whole. She could hear Nester's laboured breathing and knew time was against her. So she didn't have any time to disguise her own magical energy. She quickly placed her hands over both wounds and poured an enormous amount of magical energy into the wounds. She was speeding up the healing processes of Nester's body as well as creating tissue and blood to replace the damaged organs. She only had eyes for Nester and knew that she needed to be quick. "Come on Maria. Hang in there." she whispered as she worked. Sweat formed on her brow and time was fast running out as she heard Nester's heart skipping in her chest.

Suddenly Yoshiko stopped pouring magic into Nester and just knelt there. She slumped over Nester and immediately felt hands on her pulling her upright. She didn't have the energy to protest and knew that they just wanted to get answers from her. However she was relieved that Nester was fine although a little exhausted. She could see that Talia's grey eyes were filled with gratitude.

"Where is Yoshiko and who are you?" demanded Christopher as he held onto her. He could see that the woman was exhausted and immediately turned to his eldest daughter. Elaine had already handed Troy over to one of her brothers and was swiftly making her way over. "Elaine, please explain to me what is going on."

Elaine was already prepared for these questions since Yoshiko had given her the heads up before arriving. She had gone on ahead with her brothers and had questioned who the masked woman was. However she was made well aware once the magic was flowing and understood that it was something important otherwise she wouldn't have gone through all of the trouble. "This here is Yoshiko's friend. She doesn't have a name. Yoshiko said that she had some things to tend to that required her personal attention. She will be back by the time that we return though." informed Elaine easily.

"Don't you understand? I haven't felt this kind of power since you know who disappeared. She could be her." insisted Christopher. It didn't look like he was going to drop the matter and Elaine had to sigh. Her father was very persistent and he always got what he wanted in the end. However this time she wasn't so sure.

Yoshiko stood there for a moment and was gratified that Christopher had helped her up. She looked at the sleeping Nester and knew that her work here was done. She could see that Talia was curious about her but she was still worried about Nester. Yoshiko was glad that Talia's worry over her friend won out over curiosity. She nodded her head at Talia before turning around and facing Pallie with his two subordinates. She walked over to them and saw the fear that was written over all of their faces.

"Tell me where you got the swords from?" asked Yoshiko in a mere whisper.

Pallie went pale as he stared at the masked woman. "We individually got our swords from different places. We are mercenaries after all. It was just that he summoned us to him and said we would be invincible if we did what he asked. So we followed him and he touched each of our swords in turn." informed Pallie nervously.

All of a sudden, one of Elaine's brothers screamed in pain and fell to the ground before the other three followed. Troy laughed at all of them and sent several energy balls at them which Christopher and Elaine had to deflect or endanger the mortal's lives. Troy laughed fanatically as he launched several more energy balls aimed for the mortals before he disappeared from sight.

Yoshiko slowly stood up after having to create a shield to protect everyone after the first set of attacks. She knew that Troy would remain somewhere on the mortal realm but searching for him now seemed a waste of time when she had other matters to attend to. She could see that Talia and Nester remained safe while the mob of mercenaries were either speechless or unconscious from the shock. Her blue eyes wandered over towards Christopher as he went to see to his sons while Elaine made sure that the mortals were alright. She knew that the stakes had just risen since she now knew where the swords that could inflict damage onto an immortal were coming from.

"Thank you for your help." said Talia as she stared at the masked woman.

"Caitlyn sends her regards. She just wished to know that you and your friend were alright. It was lucky that I saw to her request immediately rather than wait for her to finish her shopping. You will be able to continue your journey once Nester has rested for tonight. She should be fine and I am sure that you will need the rest as well. Is there anything else that you would require of me?" asked Yoshiko in a gentle, motherly voice.

"You have already done so much for us. I don't wish to impose on you. Please just send my regards to Mum and tell her that we are alright. Also can you please not mention this incident to her? I don't want her to worry too much while we are gone." requested Talia as she slowly stood with Nester in her arms. She was satisfied that the masked woman nodded her agreement and then Talia turned on her heel to try and find a nice cave.

Yoshiko watched carefully as Talia and Nester left. She was a little amused that Nester seemed to snuggle into Talia's shoulder when she was actually unconscious. It was also a little sad under the circumstances. However she turned her mind back to the present and walked over to the other mortals. It was high time that she put her bottom into gear and got things started.


[Shortly after, back in the immortal realm?]

"What is taking them so long?" asked Christine frustrated. They all had been waiting in Felecia's room for over a mortal hour. She was getting a tad restless since several members of her family had been called to go with Elaine and that didn't include anyone else who was already there. She had been moving from seat to seat as she worried about her family and the likeliness that they would come into contact with the new mortal toys that could harm immortals. Her blonde, usually kempt hair was now a mess as worry gnawed at her insides. "They should have been back by now. Why don't we send somebody to chase them up?"

Felecia sipped from her cup of favourite peach tea and wondered how much longer she could cage two restless mothers for. She was quite amazed that Lila was sitting calmly but new that just below the surface, she was warring with herself to go to the mortal realm herself. It was quite interesting to see the mothers of the guardians of the moon, sun and stars. They were quite opposite from each other and no one in their right mind would pair the two together for anything.

"I'm sure they are just double checking everything." replied Lila as she too sipped from her cup of tea. One raging mum seemed enough at this point and she was a little surprised that Felecia hadn't run away yet. "They will give us an explanation when they return. You should just drink your tea and wait patiently. You are not the only one that is worried. Now sit and drink."

Felecia sighed in relief as Christine decided to oblige to Lila's request. It almost seemed like a miracle that they got along. Her private quarters were becoming less tidy as both mothers tried to relieve their worries. It was alright when they first came but after a few moments, one was trying to tidy her desk while the other was opening the balcony doors and magically letting air into the room which turned out disastrous. Her room was now a complete pigsty of papers. She managed to calmly call for some tea to try and get them to settle. She also wondered how long she was going to have to be stuck with them since Yoshiko definitely owed her one big time.

Suddenly the room was filled with white magical strands of energy and several people appeared in the room at the same time. Felecia just gave up another huge sigh as her room was crammed with people as well as becoming messier since her paperwork was once more blown around the room. However she quickly dashed to the centre of the room towards the only kneeling person.

"Yoshiko, are you alright?" asked Felecia as she stared at the masked woman. She then realised her mistake when she heard a gasp behind her and knew that she shouldn't have said her friend's name so loudly. Her blue eyes darted to her friend and she could see the tired eyes staring back at her. "What happened?"

Yoshiko gently lifted her hand and placed it against Felecia's cheek. A small warm sensation filled the both of them as Yoshiko passed on the information that was necessary for the next stage of her plan. "I have to go. Please just do what I asked and don't question it. It will all work out in the end. I have faith in you to see to everything. It is time to pass all of this back onto your shoulders for a while." said Yoshiko tiredly. She slowly stood up and was glad for Felecia's supporting arm. Her eyes swept the room once to make sure that everyone was accounted for. Her blue eyes met black anguished eyes but she turned away from her and disappeared in a shower of white light.

"Felecia, what is the meaning of all of this?" asked Christopher as more puzzle pieces landed into his hands and he was no closer to solving any of his questions. He could see that all of his sons were healed and that he too felt a lot better than he was before. His grey eyes stared into hers knowing that she had no other option but to answer him since there were so many people present.

"Why did she come back?" asked Lila as she stared at Felecia's back. Her nervous and upset voice broke the tension in the room. It was clear that no one knew who Yoshiko really was except for a select few in the room. She felt the many eyes turn towards her and knew that she had stolen the spotlight from Christopher.

"She had a few things to tend to." replied Felecia sadly as she turned to face Lila. Her blue eyes softened as she stared at Lila. She knew that Troy had forced the union and it was cruel that Yoshiko had left without a word. She felt sorry but knew that deep inside herself that she was a little angry with Lila for not being able to stand up for herself when it really mattered. "She didn't want to disrupt your life anymore and so she was finishing up a few things. I'm sure that she will find some time to talk to you once she has finished everything."

"I hope so." replied Lila before she collapsed into the seat that she had been occupying. She looked around the room for the first time and noticed that there were quite a number of people present who were mainly a part of Christopher's family. "So what happened?"

"Troy attacked two mortals by the names of Nester and Talia. Yoshiko stopped him before he could kill them. Yoshiko and Elaine worked together to detain him. Yoshiko then questioned the mortals and we found out who was responsible for the weapons that could harm immortals. Troy was behind it all. He then escaped by subduing three of us before attacking all of us. Yoshiko managed to summon a shield to protect all of us even though she had used a vast amount of energy to heal Nester. She then went to heal the rest of us." explained Christopher.

"Why would she use so much energy on a mortal?" asked Christine.

"Why did she have the need to question the mortal mercenaries about their swords?" asked Christopher. He had already figured out that Nester was not mortal but he didn't know who she was. It was clear that Yoshiko knew exactly who they were and she wasn't going to reveal to them about their identities.

"Yoshiko left me a set of instructions." said Felecia to try and get things back on track. She looked around the room and was glad that everyone was now paying attention. She was also looking forward to getting people out of her room so that she could start cleaning it. Her blue eyes wandered to each person before she smiled and asked everyone to take a seat. There is much work to be done?


Chapter 10

[A few mortal days later?]

Black eyes scanned the mountainous terrain as Nester tried to determine the best course of action to fulfil her mission. Her part in the mission was vital and the hardest to complete but she had a plan. The many trees and shrubs as well as the tough terrain were going to be perfect for her plan. Since she had to scout the area out before making camp, she had determined the best places that she could set up her traps as well as figuring out which path her targets were going to use.

"This should be a nice spot." muttered Nester as she stood at the top of a high cliff that overlooked a large area of flat land that would become the most important aspect of her plan. She had to lure all of her targets into the area and make sure that no one could escape until she was finished with them. Her black eyes scanned the area and were satisfied that the surrounding area had ample amount of trees that she could use. She smiled as the pieces of her plan began to fall into place.

Nester walked back to her small camp and picked up a supply of wood on the way. She wanted to start on her plans but knew that her body needed rest. She was still a little tired from the whole mercenary incident and would need to be in top condition to complete the mission. She had woken up the next morning after the incident with Talia sitting next to her but fast asleep. She had wanted to run away but as drained as she was feeling that was out of the question. However she was grateful that Talia had looked after her even though she knew it would have been better if she just left.

Nester wandered around her camp site and quickly made sure that her area was clear and hidden. She didn't want anyone trying to come into her campsite without her permission. Also she couldn't use any magic yet because she needed to rest and also because she might get detected by gifted people around the area. It was a risk she wasn't going to take.

Nester poured herself some hot soup and ate heartily. She was relieved that she didn't need to go hunting since Talia had somehow managed to snag some rabbit before they parted ways. It was quite funny since Talia actually didn't know how to skin a rabbit and so had brought her the cute, live, little thing. She almost didn't have the heart to kill it but she had a mask on at the time and she needed the energy. So she had done what she needed to do and given Talia her share before parting ways.

By the end of the next day, Nester had already managed to place up all of her instruments that she needed for her plan. It had been a lot of work for one person but she somehow managed. Her black eyes looked around at her small cosy campsite and felt relief wash over her. She had seen a few people wandering around throughout the day and didn't know if her campsite was safe or not. It was easy enough for people to stumble into the small area if they were out hunting. So now she sidled up to the fire pit and began to get it going. She would have a nice and warm meal before she did anything else.

Looking up at the night sky, she could barely see any stars. There was a lot of cloud cover which obscured the moon's rays. It was strange that she felt like returning to that place just to remember the good memories that she had. However she was here in the mortal realm waiting and searching for the person who had created those memories. She felt sadness wash over her briefly before mentally slapping herself. I need to stay focused? Nester quickly finished her meal and set it aside before rummaging through the rest of her gear. She needed only a few daggers. She was going to go hunting.

Nester left her camp in less than a quarter candle mark. She was lightly dressed in her dark attire with no armour since it would make too much noise and slow her down. She hid the few daggers on her person where they were easily accessible but hidden from view. Her mind made a checklist of everything she had completed so far and now it was time to check out her targets.

Nester ran along the uneven ground with ease. Her eyes were continuously scanning the area in case she stumbled upon some people. She didn't want to reveal herself just yet. Her long legs propelled her forward with ease and her arms giving enough momentum and balance. She ran like the wind; always moving without making a sound. A smile was on her lips as she felt the night air calm her thoughts and relax her body. She was still a little miffed about the whole mercenary incident even though Talia would not tell her what had happened.

Leaves rustled and a stick cracked. Nester immediately stopped dead while staying in shadow. Her black eyes were frantically looking around to find the source that alarmed her. She could only now sense that there was something close by. She wasn't sure what it was but knew that it was not a threat just yet. She listened carefully, siphoning out the unnecessary natural sounds of the mountainous woods. She heard another leaf rustle and turned her head slightly in the direction from which it was coming from. Her ears pinpointed the disturbance and her black eyes narrowed as she finally spotted what it was.

A strangely dressed middle aged woman was slowly making her way through the darkness with a mere flame torch. It looked as though she wasn't going to have much light left since the flames were already flickering. Her brown eyes were searching the trees and bushes but she failed to spot Nester. Her patchy cloak covered most of her frail form but it was clear that she was stumbling around. Her steps were unsure and she was holding the torch shakily.

Nester watched the woman from the shadows. It was best for her mission if she was unseen. Her black eyes followed the woman and she felt a little uneasy just watching her go. Should I follow her? She might be lost? She might accidentally end up in my little campsite? Nester finally made her mind up to follow the woman and if required she could detour the woman away from her campsite.

Her steps were cautious as not to stir up the ground too much in case someone managed to find her tracks. Her body moved gracefully without a hint of sound as she found one shadow after the next. Her black eyes were always on the fragile woman as she moved between trees and followed silently. Her mind was sorting through all of the possible solutions to this dilemma without having to reveal herself. She wanted to help the woman so that she was out of harms way but knew that it could endanger her.

Slowly realisation dawned as the woman continued her path. Nester had felt many eyes preying on the fragile woman. She hung back in the shadows to make sure since it was the only thing that she could do now since the woman had obviously walked into a predator's nest. Black eyes spotted the many campfires spread out to keep the warriors warm. It looked like a hundred men or so were all staring at the fragile woman with a little surprised look on their faces.

The woman looked around. She had found other people but now she was scared that she had found the wrong people. It seemed like there were many men in armour and leather. Some were armed and others were relaxing around campfires. Her torch slowly flickered out and she knew that if she ran, the armed men were sure to follow her. She couldn't run even if she wanted to since a few of the armed men had circled her back. She looked around and could see the crests that were on their uniforms. It belonged to Altreum Kingdom.

The woman's eyes were at first confused but then were fearful as her mind found the only reason for the Altreum warriors to be camping there. She had already heard rumours that Altreum Kingdom had sent an army to attack Ruric's Kingdom. Her fear was slowly overcoming her better judgement as she began to retreat the way she came. It was clear that the Altreum warriors must have already invaded and had gotten this far into the kingdom. However she wondered why they had chosen the most difficult way to journey to the next town. They were obviously unaware that they were at Isolde Mountains which was the most treacherous region of King Ruric's Kingdom.

The woman took another step back and was almost going to run but her back slammed into another warrior who had circled her. Her brown eyes looked behind her in fear as the warrior placed his hands on her shoulders with a slight smile. She could just see his predatory eyes glimmer and knew that she was in terrible danger. Fear completely took over and she tried to scramble free but the warrior held onto her with ease. She somehow managed to elbow him and was able to pull her shoulder free. She ripped her other shoulder away from him and now made a run to go between two other Altreum warriors but both made a grab for her and succeeded.

Nester watched as now the woman had lost all of her nerve to run free and was being playfully thrown from one warrior to another. She could hear the laughter that erupted from the other warriors and could feel a sickening feeling start in the pit of her stomach. They were toying with the woman and all she could do was watch for now.

The woman finally fell to the ground after becoming completely off balanced. She slowly lifted her upper body off the ground and looked fearfully up at the warrior who was standing over her. Her blue eyes watched as he swung his armoured leg back and then kicked her on the shoulder. She was lifted off the ground and rolled to a stop near a tree.

Nester's eyes narrowed as anger erupted in her core. She hastily slipped from her hiding spot and managed to creep behind the tree that the woman had landed near. She was still out of sight and could feel that the woman was still on the ground. Her black eyes glanced around the tree swiftly to see exactly how many there were. It looked like a large battalion had been sent. This meant that the field that she had chosen for the battle ground would be perfect for the Altreum warriors.

Suddenly Nester's sharp hearing picked up a herd of horses galloping closer. She could tell that they were mounted and the entire army had turned their attention to it. So she swiftly stepped out from behind the tree and grabbed the woman before returning to her position. Her eyes scanned the army and knew that no one had seen her which was a plus. She turned to the frightened woman and placed her forefinger to her lips to make sure that she didn't make a noise.

Hastily standing up, Nester lifted the woman to her feet and placed a supporting hand around her hip while the woman placed her arm over her shoulder. It was going to be difficult to outrun the Altreum warriors with the woman but she had found several places that they could hide to wait for a better chance to get out of the area. So she completely supported the woman and made a run for it. Her boots, treading lightly over the littered ground to leave as little of a track as possible, were quiet while she ran with extra weight.

Nester could feel the woman beside her become nothing more than a sack of potatoes. She was limp to make it easier for Nester to carry her. It did make it somewhat easier but it was still a little awkward. Her black eyes were scanning ahead while her ears were listening out for any pursuers. She heard the first crunch of leather boots a fair distance behind but knew that it was still a threat if she didn't want to be seen. Quickly scanning the area with her black eyes, she saw a tree with thick foliage as an idea began to form in her head.

Nester ran towards the tree and skilfully climbed even with the extra weight. She managed to get a fair way up before getting the woman to sit on a nest of branches. She was about to climb back down but the woman grabbed her arm. It was clear that she was frightened by the whole situation as well as being abandoned. Nester had to smile at that but she looked deep into brown eyes and squeezed the hand gently back to reassure the woman.

"I will be back." explained Nester softly, her voice a gentle caress. "Please wait here for my return. No one will be able to find you if you keep quiet. I need to lead them astray."

The woman finally nodded her head nervously. She held onto the branches like it were a lifeline and watched as Nester climbed back down the tree. It was clear that her saviour was going to return since she could also hear that the warriors were approaching. Her brown eyes were fearful but a glimmer of hope had sparked to life at being rescued from that barbaric mob.

Nester found her feet and hastily backtracked to where the last of her visible foot prints were. She then quickly ran, making sure that her tracks were the same weight as the ones before and was glad that she was leading the group away from where the woman was holding up. Her black eyes scanned the area as her mind tried to remember what she had mapped out when it was light. She found the familiar path and knew that it would lead to a rock face where she could easily lose her pursuers.

Black eyes saw the top of the cliff. It was a sheer rock face that was a complete dead end. However she was determined to stop her pursuers here. She looked up and tried to calculate how high the cliff really was. From her position, she imagined that it would be at least four storeys high. She approached the wall and started her ascent with strong fingers and lithe body. She climbed quickly but carefully since she didn't have any rope to save her if she took a misstep or slipped. She had already outrun the pursuers but knew that it was only a matter of time before they found her tracks and followed her here.

Nester made it half way up before she heard the warriors approaching. Her black attire came in handy since she was almost camouflaged to the cliff face. However she didn't stop in case one of the warriors managed to spot her out. So she began to move faster. Sweat beaded across her face as she willed all of her strength to help her climb. She could feel the strain in her arms and legs. She was glad that she had practised this sort of thing before otherwise her mission would be for naught and she would have to fight them all off. This would have meant that she would have had to wipe out her other targets as well.

Finally, just as the warriors found the wall of rock, Nester made it to the top of the cliff and smiled in glee. She had done it and the warriors below were looking at each other with confused expressions. It was clear that they did not know where their prey had gone and so were confined to search the area in which they could access. She would have laughed out loud at them but knew that her work was not yet done. She had to find another way back to that tree to help the woman down and help her to find her town.

It was almost dawn by the time that she managed to get back to the tree. The Altreum warriors had fanned out some distance. It seemed like they were trying to make sure that no one knew about their presence. Nester had been a little annoyed but was relieved that the woman had followed her directions and stayed in the tree. It was quite funny considering that the woman had fallen asleep even though it would have been quite uncomfortable for her as well as a little frightening.

Nester helped the woman down and gave her a few supplies before pointing her in the right direction. The woman had given her name as Sheryl but Nester did not give one in return. She had just placed the items in the woman's hands and pointed in the direction that the woman needed to go in. The woman had looked over and by the time that she looked back, Nester had already disappeared. The woman seemed a little spooked but Nester heard her send up a prayer to the gods before following the instructions of her saviour.

Nester managed to make it back to camp and was glad that there was no indication someone had found it. The fire had burnt out and she had to start a fresh one since dew had soaked through the ashes. She managed to eat a light warm meal before her mind started to wander.

Talia should be arriving at the castle by now. I wonder if she made it in without any incident. She probably has since Misty delivered a whole lot of information about the kingdom. Nester could feel something, niggling in the back of her mind. She wondered what it might be. She had felt strange waking up that morning with Talia sitting tentatively next to her. Why won't she tell me what happened? She had been a little worried but Talia would not say anything. It had become a little frustrating and she had somehow felt a little different than before. She had found magical threads of energy that were undefinable. They didn't belong to Talia. It was strange considering the power that was within those threads were mind boggling considering she only had a tiny sample left on her.

As much as she wanted to sit around and ponder more about the mysterious magical thread, she had to get some rest. It was going to be another long night since she had to check up on her other target. So she fed her fire and pulled her cloak out to keep warm in the cold mountainous area. Her eyes were already closed and she fell asleep even before her head hit the pillow.


Talia quickly packed her gear that had somehow managed to scatter around the room during the night. She had managed to deliver the message that was intended for King Ruric as well as safely retrieve his daughter, Princess Rebecca. Her grey eyes fell on to her partner for this mission who was also preparing her own bags for the journey. The only person who wasn't moving about was the princess.

Princess Rebecca of Ruric Kingdom, daughter to King Ruric, was a strong young woman in politics. She had listened to Talia's explanation as to why they had taken her away from her room without her consent. It was a very serious accusation that Talia had claimed would be true if she had remained in the castle. So she had quietly thought it over and come to a decision to follow Talia's advice. She had no reason to believe that Talia was going to lead her astray since she was actually given the choice to return.

Rebecca stared out of the window with her brown eyes so much like her father's. Her long brown curly hair was thanks to her mother who had tragically passed away when she was only ten. So she had to grow up fast to fill her mother's shoes and lift some of the burden off of her father's shoulders. So now she had the fate of her kingdom in her hands. If she didn't listen to Talia, there would be a possibility that the kingdom might fall. So she really didn't have a choice considering she loved the citizens of the kingdom very much and they had showed their respect and love in return.

Rebecca sighed heavily. She could imagine the consequences that would follow after everyone had discovered that she was missing. However everything was for the best. It was the only way that she could see to make sure that her father and people were safe for all time instead of the edginess that they felt at the moment. It was because their land happened to be between two rivalling nations that wars broke out over their land where they had to try and mind their own business. It just seemed so unfair. She just couldn't understand why the two nations could not just get along like everyone else.

"Excuse me Princess Rebecca but can you please stand up? I need to retrieve my weapon that I had left under the mattress for safe keeping." said Misty, Talia's younger partner. Her brown hair had been tied back into a pony tail after last night's little mission. She had grown a little weary of it since it kept getting in the way until Rebecca's kindness had allowed her to find something that would tie her hair back. Her hazel eyes sparkled in mischief as Rebecca gingerly got up off the bed. Misty casually dipped her hand under the mattress and pulled out a massive sword that was almost as big as she was that it certainly stunned Rebecca. Misty smiled and sheathed her sword before clipping it to her back. "Thank you."

Talia smiled at Misty's childish antics as she finished clipping her pack tight. She had already clipped her own blade to her hip and was prepared to go once Misty and Rebecca were prepared. Well it would actually be when Rebecca was mentally prepared since it had taken quite some time for Rebecca to understand the situation that she was in. It was a relief that she had agreed to follow them after they had pretty much kidnapped her from her own bedroom in the middle of the night. She had feared that she might have to use the special vile of liquid that had caused Rebecca to fall into a deep sleep. It would have caused more problems than they were willing to handle.

Talia scanned the room once more, satisfied that everything was where it was supposed to be. She had already placed the empty breakfast tray at their door for the servants to collect it. She could still feel the wind marks that were on her skin after summoning a friend to help her since she knew that she needed a disguise. She also needed to disguise Princess Rebecca and magic was the only way that she knew how. She turned toward Rebecca and nodded her head. Rebecca understood since they had explained the plan earlier and now stood before Talia. Talia could feel heat rise from her skin and slowly she could make out the fine strands of magical energy. Concentrating on her task at hand, she was able to weave a magical cloak over Rebecca's body.

Rebecca no longer looked like the Princess. She was a shabbier and slightly more tanned young woman. Her nose was not as pointed and her hair was blonde. The only thing that hadn't changed was her eyes. Talia didn't want to accidentally blind the woman because it was clear that Rebecca had not been in contact with this sort of magic before. She quickly swivelled around on her heel to try to feel for the different clothes that now adorned her body. It was clear that no one except an exceptionally gifted person would be able to see her for who she was.

"Are we ready to go?" asked Talia as she hefted her bag over her shoulders and jumped a little to settle the contents. It was nice to see that Misty was prepared with her own disguise but it would still be difficult to get out of the city since she was the only one that was actually registered as entering and the other two weren't. Well Rebecca lived inside the castle and Misty had snuck in skilfully. "Misty, you can go and collect the donkey that I have housed with one of the merchants. I will go with Rebecca and see if I can't just walk through the front gate."

"You still want the donkey?" asked Misty incredibly.

"It will make Rebecca's travel easier since she is not accustomed to walking for long periods of time. We will also need any of the wares that the merchant hasn't sold yet. I think I can whip up a story that will fool the guards long enough for us to be well away before they figure it out." explained Talia as she walked over to the door.

"What will we be doing?" asked Rebecca a little nervously.

"We will be collecting a few supplies from the market before meeting up with Misty." said Talia as she opened the door. She was pleased that there was little sound coming from downstairs, considering it was still early. It would mean that they had a better chance of leaving without being questioned about by many people. Her grey eyes were determined to face the unknown day that awaited them.


Nester awoke from her fitful sleep as dusk was approaching. She had been asleep on and off the entire day since it was quite unusual for her to be resting so. She would normally be up and about trying to find the one person that she was looking for while also maintaining her missions. So sleep was a little foreign to her but she knew when she needed sleep and so it was alright. Her black eyes adjusted to the afternoon light as she rekindled the fire and put on a pot of soup to boil. It would be a quick meal before she left once more to check on her other targets.

Black eyes looked up at the darkening sky, where clouds covered it sporadically and the moon was as bright as it can be. Her whole body longed to be up on that moon instead of in this mountainous region with two targets that she needed to keep an eye on. She wanted to fly away and search for the one thing that had been denied her for so long. Her heart yearned for the person that could give her that treasure and yet she was tied to this world with this mortal image.

It had been a long time since anyone had uttered her real name. Everyone just called her by her nickname, even mum. It was kind of sad to think about since she was burying who she truly was. She was abandoning her responsibilities for a chance to find her partner. She wished that Silvia had not done what she had. She had wished that there had been some other way. However her wishing was for naught. She was still standing on another hill, looking down on another camp of warriors who were as boisterous as the Altreum warriors. She could see their crests and knew that they belonged to Matri Kingdom which was far to the south. It seemed like it was almost time to get ready for the main event since she had seen how ready they all were.

The Altreum warriors and the Matri warriors were going to clash against each other once more on Ruric's lands. It was sort of a neutral land to fight on considering King Ruric didn't want to take sides and was inevitably stuck in the middle. It would be a never ending battle between the two kingdoms and the only one to truly suffer would be Ruric's people who were always caught in the middle.

Nester could still remember the many small missions that she had taken to come out to this land. She had secretly solved many of their conflicts without either one being able to blame the other for anything. However these small missions would end after she had finished this final mission. She had seen too many senseless deaths and injuries that could have been resolved in other ways that did not involve weapons. Mila, who had become their mission coordinator for the duration of her life since she had put her sword down, had also agreed that enough was enough. They were going to resolve this conflict once and for all.


Chapter 11

[Two mortal day later?]

Nester felt well rested and her energy levels were back tenfold. She had been depleted after the incident with the mob of mercenaries and had been slowly recovering. Now she felt like she could take on the world, well mortal world. If she were to face an exceptionally gifted person, they would probably take a run for her money since she had not recovered totally in that area. She had become quite frustrated with it considering she needed some control to release some of her traps simultaneously.

Slowly meandering onto the lush green grass that would be turned into a dusty battlefield, Nester concentrated on checking that she had everything that she needed in place. She was going to be something much more than just a young woman. She was going to be a warrior, the best that Blaster Organisation had to offer. She was finally going to prove that her title was not just for show.

Thudding of horse's prints could be heard in the distance. Stomping of feet and the clang of metal armour hitting against leather and more armour. It was one of her targets, who were right on schedule since she had left a forged note informing them the battle area. She could feel the stirrings of battle fever start to cleanse the land before a battle was to ensue. Her black eyes stared off into the distance at the slowly setting sun. There would only be enough light for at least two candle marks.

Nester smiled as she heard the Altreum warriors approaching as well. It almost seemed surreal for her to stand in the middle of the battle ground with two armies about to confront each other for battle. She could hear that they were both near the area enough for each to know that the other was present. So she turned on her heel and walked off into the trees to wait for the meeting. There was no way that she was going to just stand there and watch them fight around her. It would be most likely that she would be killed in the first attack and would be listed as an unfortunate onlooker. Slowly she climbed up the tree and waited for the inevitable.

The commander of the Altreum warriors sat high on his mount to view the field that was slowly appearing before him. His eyes lit up at the vast area considering that they were in the mountains and flat land was quite rare of this size. However he squinted to look at the other side of the field and his nostrils began to flare angrily as he spotted their enemy. "Hold!" he commanded to his men as his fellow companions began to see what he had seen.

"What do we do now?" asked the commander's second. He looked over to the field and could see that the enemy was there. The Matri warriors were standing on the other side of the field, looking shocked as they were. He could see that all of the warriors were looking nervous having heard that it was a possibility that the Matri warriors would try to intercept them.

"Form a battle line as quickly as possible. It doesn't look like they are ready either. We'll attack before they are ready. The odds seem even enough. Battle formations!" said the commander hastily. His eyes narrowed as he wondered how the Matri warriors knew where they were going. It was a stroke of luck that he made his army take this path since it was the only one that was unhindered by tumbling rocks and he didn't feel like wasting his men's time by trying to clear the paths.

"Battle formations!!!" yelled the commander's second as he heard the same call from the Matri warriors. He quickly directed his horse towards his own warriors which the commander had handed him. He was a little frightened by the prospect of the battle and knew after riding in just a few nights ago that it was way different to what was heard at home. He missed his family a lot but knew that his duties lay where his father commanded him to go and it was out here. He glanced back at his mentor Commander Louis and could see how brave and courageous he looked.

"Sir Phillip." called one of the warriors to the commander's second.

"Yes, what's wrong?" replied Phillip hastily. He had told all of his subordinates to call him Phillip and they had all obliged even though some of them did protest. He had made sure that no one else knew who he was otherwise he would have been thrown into more danger. Only Commander Louis and the warriors who rode in with him knew who he was. It was sort of a blessing that he could mingle with all of the other warriors without being treated differently and now it was going to be a major test. He was going to lead them into battle.

"Every one is ready." replied the warrior.

"Wait for the commander's signal." said Phillip before he manoeuvred his horse to stand in front of his garrison of warriors. He smoothly drew out his polished sword like he had been taught to and saluted it in front of him before giving up a small prayer. He looked up and down the battle lines and knew that it was going to be quite a battle since he knew for certain that he wasn't the only unseasoned warrior there was. He knew that the Matri warriors had also brought their own prince to experience battle who was only sixteen years of age. Phillip was actually twenty and quite experienced with the sword from practising back home with the other warriors.

His brown eyes looked across the field and sighed. He could clearly see the other prince who was wearing the most ostentatious clothing for battle. It was clear that the Matri commander was talking to him and preparing the kid for battle. He could see that the Matri warriors were almost ready for battle but felt his leg muscles clench his horse forward. Louis had waved his sword forward with an almighty roar. Phillip felt his horse charging forward with the wind whipping in their faces.

The Matri warriors had also charged forward without their commander's signal. Mounted and unmounted warriors were going to come together in an almighty clash of steel. The ground was already rumbling and the wind had picked up all around them. There was only less than a candle mark of light left since they were in the mountains. There was no time for fire arrows, no time for any sort of preparation. There was only steel and people's strength. The battle was going to come down to numbers and strength of will.

Phillip could see the Matri warriors charging towards him but he held up his sword high. He wasn't going to run away and disappoint his family. He shouted a loud roar "For Altreum!!!" which echoed across the field with the help of his fellow warriors. He was fifty metres from Louis but they were in line with each other while charging. It was one of their tactics to try and break the enemy lines. He could see that they were all getting closer to each other but then he heard a whistling sound like arrows.

Phillip looked up into the air and saw arrows about to hit where they were going to meet. He yanked on his reins to stop his horse and halt the line of warriors from falling into the trap which he assumed had been Matri's plans. He looked over to Louis who had done the same thing and halted the line on his end. However he was surprised that the charging Matri warriors were also surprised by the attack of arrows.

Rows upon rows of arrows rained down at the point where the two armies would have clashed, separating the two away from each other in the nick of time. All of the warriors were stunned and confused since it was now obvious that the attack didn't come from either side. The commanders were quickly calling up and down their battle lines to prepare for a second attempt at their charging after the rain of arrows.

Nester watched in fascination as the two sides halted before her arrows could do damage to either side. She had specifically made each one so that they would be obviously loud with their whistling. The wind had picked up at the right time and the warriors were sharp to stop their attacks. However she could see that they still wanted to try and attack each other since it would only be understandable in this case for them to blame each other for the surprise attack when neither of them were responsible. So she hastily unsheathed her blade from her back and prepared for battle.

Phillip waited patiently for the arrows to die down before he was ready with his line of warriors. He could see that everyone was waiting for it to end. It would only be a matter of moments and then there would be blood. He, by chance, glanced at the arrows on the ground and wondered why holes were put into them to make a whistling sound. However he didn't have time to ponder as the arrows stopped their whistling. He was about to urge his horse forward but saw something in the corner of his eye.

Nester ran towards the arrows even though they were still raining down. She could feel the cool wind whip against her face and the cattails whip against her legs. Her legs were taking her forward while her blade flashed in the air to divert the remaining arrows from stabbing into her. She rushed up the centre and had everyone's attention with her dark attire and a cloth covering her face.

Matri's archers fired a set of arrows towards Nester but she twisted around in a tight circle with her blade flashing in the sky to manage to deflect all of them. She could see the stunned looks of the warrior's faces on both sides. She felt all eyes were upon her and smiled that she had gotten their attention away from each other. Her black sword gleamed in the waning sunlight but it warned every one to stay away for the time being. She could hear that they were calling to others to come forward. It looked like someone gifted had been able to see that she was also gifted and it was going to turn into a magical battle.

Nester felt ten warriors from each side approach her cautiously. She already felt them manipulating the strands of magical energy in the air to summon different weapons to their hands. Some of the gifted had balls of fire within their grasps while others held balls of energy. She could feel the other warriors just watching and waiting. It was going to be a test since she had yet to recover the magical side of her.

Suddenly attacks were launched at Nester at high velocity. She hastily erected a shield to deflect all of the energy attacks and dodged all of the fire attacks by twisting and shifting her body around. Her eyes were alight with glee at the look on the gifted warrior's faces. They could all see her black eyes which were laughing in their faces. She was having fun despite herself.

Unexpectedly, Nester felt pain erupt against her back as she felt another magical attack. She cried out in pain and fell to her knees before slowly glancing behind her to see who had attacked her. Her black eyes stared unbelievably at Troy of the storms, her father. She was confused and scared as to why her father would attack her. Slowly and determinedly, she slowly found her feet and stood slightly hunched with her sword pointed at the ground in a non aggressive move.

Troy stormed his way over to the female warrior who stood in the way of his best work to stir up the mortals. He had been brewing these two nations to fight each other for over ten generations. He had even blessed some of the mortal's weapons so that they could pierce immortal flesh so that the mortals would remain in war. He had been secretly advising both Kings as well as causing the surrounding mortals to suffer along with those involved. It was the only thing that he had total control over and he wasn't going to see it all sink down in the drain or crumble in front of his eyes.

Troy swiftly formed another energy ball and threw it at the black clad, female warrior who had put a halt to the battle. "How dare you interfere?" yelled Troy in an outrageous boom of thunderous voice. He quickly created another and watched in satisfaction as he hit her again and again. He watched as she would fall to the ground but would eventually get back onto her feet. "How dare you stop them? I am sick and tired of you people from the Blaster Organisation interfering in my affairs."

Nester felt each blast and could feel her strength waning. However she managed to find the strength to gradually get back onto her feet. She stared confusedly at Troy and wondered what had gotten into him. This was a side of her father that she had never seen before but it was unmistakably her father. She slowly did the one thing that she thought she would never have to do and raised her sword.

Troy laughed out maniacally and used pure air force to push the female warrior back. He watched in delight as she was thrown backwards and landed on some of the arrows that she had used to stop the battle. His smile was wide across his face which made him look quite evil as he saw how two arrows had pierced her clothes.

Nester hesitantly stood back up with a tight grip on her black blade. She had felt two arrows pierce her right shoulder but she didn't care. The arrows were natural wood and no magic had been used to create them so there was no lasting damage. She reached over her shoulder with her right hand and pulled out the two arrows before throwing them to the ground. She looked up at the darkening sky and slowly felt her body healing itself from the mortal wound.

"Why do you keep insisting to keep in the way of this battle?" yelled Troy as he marched towards her with another energy ball in his hands. He knew that the Blaster Organisation had very good warriors but this female warrior was slowly getting on his nerves. He had thrown enough energy at her to kill a mortal ten times over and yet she was still on her feet. It only meant that this female warrior was gifted. However he had already calculated that in and after three energy balls she should have been at least knocked out and be lying on the ground. He threw the energy ball at her and waited.

Nester could see it flying towards her and she did the only thing that she could think of to do. She carefully stepped to the side and watched as it flew pass her face taking the cloth that was covering her identity. Her black eyes saw how Troy's eyes had widened and now he looked even angrier than he was before.

"You're the one that was with that girl, Talia." said Troy with a sneer. "I will take your life with pleasure and present it to her before she falls at my hands. I can just imagine her face but at the moment, yours is priceless." Troy formed another energy ball and threw it at her again.

Nester didn't know what was going through her mind but something had snapped. She lost sight of who the person in front of her was. Anger erupted out of every fibre in her body as she recalled and pieced together what must have happened. "So you were the one who attacked us before." said Nester in a low feminine voice.

"She is destined to die at my hands. I will kill her one way or another and there will be nothing that anyone can do. Even you must know that much." taunted Troy as he walked closer and slowly formed another energy ball. He was going to make sure that this one hit its mark so that the battle could resume where it had left off. "You will be first on my list before I get her."

Nester felt the fear rise within her for the first time in a long time. Her father had always got what he wanted and there were never any consequences to his actions. He had achieved everything through hard work and she knew that deep in his core that he would stop at nothing. She could see his anger and couldn't fathom it. However she had already made a choice. She needed to survive to see the one person who owned her heart again. So she raised her sword against him. Her legs took her forward and she watched from outside her mortal shell as she relentlessly tried to attack her father.

Everything seemed surreal. She couldn't believe that she was actually doing this. She couldn't believe that her father would try to harm her. However it suddenly hit her that he didn't recognise her for who she was. He didn't see that she was his daughter. Slowly, questions upon questions started to mount up in her mind as to why her father would do this. There had to be a reason. She had to believe that he had a true purpose to all of this madness. Otherwise she had to believe that he had truly lost his mind.

Gradually Nester's mind focused onto her reality as she narrowly dodged another energy ball as well as tried to land a slash of her own against his body. Her blade was as swift as the wind as it was flying through the air. Her body was lithe and flowing like water as she fell into her normal rhythm of fighting. She was letting the skills that she had honed over the years come forth against him. She felt relaxed as her body gradually overcame the hurt that she felt from the energy balls as well as the mental hurt that her father had caused.

"You fight well for a mortal." commented Troy after a while of dancing around each other. He had also started to relax into his own rhythm of fighting. He threw kicks and punches as well as an energy ball. It was quite amazing to see since he was up against a sword. However he was able to dodge her attacks while trying to injure her in any way. "You could always work for me instead of the Blaster Organisation. I will pay you well and give you anything that you want."

"The one thing that I truly want is something that you can never give." stated Nester as she danced around another set of attacks. Her black eyes looked deep into her father's black eyes and saw only a stranger in them. She didn't know the immortal that stood in front of her. Her mind was zooming with activity as she launched a set of attacks with her sword. She couldn't use her magic here since she was still recovering.

"Are you certain that I can't give it to you? Why don't you tell me and I can see if you are right or not? You will never know unless you ask. I can give you anything. If you want gold, castles, armies, slaves or anything, I can get it. What is it that you truly desire?" asked Troy as he tried to play with her mind. He could persuade this Blaster member into joining him and then it would make it harder for the Blaster Organisation to interfere.

Nester jumped back and put space between them. She could hear his words inside of her mind and knew that he was trying to manipulate her. His words felt enticing and alluring but she knew deep in her heart that he could not give her what she wanted. Her body was starting to tremble since it had been quite a while since she had a fight like this one. However her mind was also weakened by his magic, his words and his presence. She could feel her hand losing grip on her black blade and knew it was pointless against him.

Suddenly an idea sparked into her mind. There was still a way that she could win and banish him from ever interfering with these mortal lives. It was going to be a long shot but it was going to be worth it if he agreed. Slowly she let the blade slip and watched as it clattered to the ground. She eyed Troy and saw amusement spark into his eyes. "Why don't we have a wager?" asked Nester.

"Oh, what do you want to wager?" asked Troy.

"If I beat both sides and make them yield to me, you will have to leave this place and leave their lives for all eternity. Do you accept my offer?" asked Nester as she watched him carefully. She could see that he was thinking it over thoroughly and felt as though she was placed under a microscope or worse. She just needed him to accept her terms and then she could complete the mission.

Unexpectedly, Troy launched an energy ball that was the size of his head at her. He watched merrily as she was flung backwards by the force and landed flat on her back. He laughed as she struggled to get up. "I will accept your wager now. Do you think you will be up to it?" taunted Troy as he continued to laugh with everyone still watching them. "Have fun trying because you will only have until dawn to try and make them yield. I will be watching you." said Troy before he disappeared in a shower of sparks.

Nester slowly got to her feet. She watched their confused faces change into angry sneers at her. It was only right for Troy to turn them all on her so that she could complete the wager. She hoped that she was up to it since the last attack had pretty much drained her reserves. She gradually walked over to where her sword lay and picked it up before standing defensively as the warriors started to circle around her like vultures.

All of the warriors from Matri and Altreum charged at her. Some were mounted while others were on foot. Each warrior was brandishing their weapons at her to try and kill her. She could barely dodge some of the attacks and now it was a full on brawl to survive. She felt several swords contact her skin. Some of the attacks only caused minor scratches while others were clean slices. She could feel the blood drip down from her wounds as she only knocked the warriors unconscious. There was no need to kill people who were being controlled. All she had to do was make them yield and it would all end.

Nester twisted around and then took to the air by flipping over three warriors so that she wasn't skewered. However it only gave her a few moments to take a breath before she had to try and defend against the lot of them again. She felt exhausted and her body was on the verge of giving up but somehow she had managed to at least knock out twenty people on each side. She was too tired to attack back and her defence was slipping badly. She felt the slices across her arm as well as on her back and legs. She was lucky that no one had been able to stab her yet though there had been a few chances that they had missed.

Fluidly moving through the crowd with the rest of her strength, she managed to diminish the number down to fifty warriors left on both sides. So only half the number of warriors was left which was a major feat. She noted that the warriors had backed off a bit and were rethinking their plan. She could see that they hungered for her blood even though her blood was the only one that was staining the field. However her mind swept through everything that she had set up for this day. She could feel as though it might be her last considering she could barely lift her blade or even her arm.

"Are you getting tired?" whispered Troy as he taunted her in her mind.

Nester ignored him. He had been trying to talk to her the whole time while she was struggling to survive. It had been a minor distraction and it had been the reason she had mainly narrowly dodged being stabbed through. She had pushed his voice into the far recesses of her mind so that she could concentrate. She remembered each trap that she had set up to make sure that both sides met at this field. She had set up the arrows to stop the battle momentarily. Now she had to release the second set of weapons which were sleeping darts. She momentarily closed her eyes and felt the fine stirrings of magical energy. She found the right string and yanked it to let loose the darts which would come raining down.

Nester opened her eyes as she felt the warriors around her begin to stir. She raised her sword to block an attack and quickly pushed him away so that she could block another attack. It seemed like an endless cycle however she could hear the whistling. It was the only clue that she had to know where the darts were since the sun had set and they were only left with the light of the moon. The darts rained down and she lifted her blade to redirect the ones that had rained on her. She smiled as the number of warriors standing was again reduced to half.

Nester was slowly getting there. She had a little hope that she could still make it through the night. She would complete the mission even if that meant that she wouldn't be able to return. Her black eyes searched the night sky as a few stars sparkled far above. The moon was full and she smiled at how beautiful it was. It was majestic as it shone silvery light onto the battle field. I've missed being up there? Nester turned her attention back onto the remaining fifty warriors. She placed the tip of her blade into the dirt and leaned heavily against it for support. Her legs were giving out and she was only standing through sheer will power alone.

The warriors slowly approached her. Their swords were at their sides as they watched her standing there in the brilliant light of the moon. It was almost as if she were glowing in it. Half of them slowly raised their swords and began to charge towards Nester. The other twenty five stood by to watch and see what the outcome would be. Among those twenty five that were watching was Phillip, Louis, the Matri Prince and the Matri commander.

Nester saw them charging at her. However she didn't have the energy to do anything. So she stood there as ten of them tried to slash her in half but her body responded to the threat and gripped the blade with her bloody hand. Her arm positioned the sword in a defensive block above her head while her legs were bent to absorb the force. She waited and felt the weight of the ten men. She hastily stepped to the side as the weight was too much. She watched amusingly as the pile of swords slid down her own blade and landed on the ground at her feet. The hilt of her blade slammed into all ten faces and watched them all fall down as she had hit them in a precise spot to knock them out.

The next group only had five members who tried to stab her through since she was standing there relatively vulnerable. Nester felt their swords closing in on her and managed to leap into the air to avoid being stabbed. She somersaulted over the five men only to almost be slashed by another group of five. She had fortunately instinctively raised her blade in time to block. Her black eyes could see that they were straining against her and she was slowly falling to one knee with their weight and strength. However the first group of five ran over to try and stab her but she managed to roll out of the way. She placed her hand inside her cloak and pulled out ten of her last darts which she let fly to land on each of them. She was glad that she had saved some just in case.

Nester ungracefully got back up onto her feet before she was stabbed through by five swords. She looked around her unbelievingly. She had seen them coming. Pain erupted throughout her body as they all stood around her with smiles on their faces. Her black eyes turned blue and blazed with the last of her energy to force all five away from her body. They were all knocked unconscious by the unexpected magical force. Her blue eyes looked around the field and saw the twenty five men left standing watching her closely.

"It would seem that I have won my wager." whispered a voice into Nester's ear. It could only be Troy who appeared right next to her. "I gave you the chance to join me and instead you make a wager that will cost you your life. However I still have the power to save you if you wish for it. In return, your soul will be mine to use. Will you accept my last offer?"

"I thought I knew who you were. Obviously I was wrong. You have drifted away from what I saw you as." whispered Nester as she tried to breath but only raggedly managed. Her blue magical eyes looked deep into his and saw how confusion was present in them. She smiled at him and gently placed her free hand on the hilt of one of the swords that was sticking out of her. "Now I can truly see who you are. I will never ever accept an offer from the likes of you." Nester yanked out the sword and grunted in pain as she flung it harmlessly to the ground. She gently placed her hand on the next one and pulled it out as well as the other three.

"You are truly stubborn. Maybe I'll see you in your next life." said Troy as he waved at her and disappeared as quickly as he came. He had smiled when he left but he had not truly seen her. The shower of sparks inhibiting his vision and he was already gone before he saw what happened next.

Nester felt all of her wounds. The pain seemed overwhelming but somehow she managed to stay standing and alert. She looked at the last twenty five warriors and saw how none of them were willing to continue the battle. Slowly she took a step forward, knowing that each one she took would bring her closer to death even though she truly didn't know what awaited her since she was immortal. She took another and watched as four of them approached her un-aggressively.

"We yield to you." said all four of them at the same time.


Chapter 12

"We yield to you." said all four of them. They were Phillip, Louis, Matri Prince and Matri commander. They had stepped forward after watching the entire battle. They had seen enough and knew that for the female warrior to be standing meant that they had lost and continuing would be dishonourable even though their two kingdoms were against each other. They knew that the rest of them were the only ones that were not under the influence of the man that they had seen before. Somehow they had retained all of their actions to themselves. Respectfully, all four knelt and laid their swords on the ground in front of them.

Nester smiled as she felt the wager fulfil itself. She felt the stirrings of magical energy around her which meant that Troy of the storms was banished from these people's lives for all eternity and that he could not interfere with their affairs. Her blue eyes looked around at the battle field full of sleeping or unconscious people. "I did not hurt anyone too badly. Most are asleep or unconscious. There is no need to worry about them too much. The people who are sleeping will wake up at dawn." said Nester raggedly as she tried to breathe. She could feel her lungs filling up with blood and knew that it would only be a matter of time.

"Is there anything that we can do for you?" asked Phillip.

Nester didn't respond as she started to fall forward. Her legs could not hold her any longer and she didn't have enough strength to save her pride. She would fall to the ground, barely conscious with nothing left but a mission well done and her trusty blade. The only thing that was on her mind was the sole fact that she would not be able to find the one person who held her heart.

Suddenly a blue laced, white robed woman with a thick white cloth covering her face which only left her blue eyes visible, appeared. She gracefully grabbed Nester before she fell to the ground and gently eased her down. "Nester, you are going to be alright. Just stay with me." whispered the woman into Nester's ear. Her blue eyes had gentled as she stared at how battered Nester was.

Nester stared up at the white masked woman and the only thing that came to mind was the strand of magical energy that she had found on her person when she had awoken from being injured. Her blue eyes stared up at blue that were so familiar but she couldn't pinpoint who it was. Her mind was already slipping away to find a place where she could forget the pain that she was in.

"Nester, come on, hang in there." said the masked woman as she gently placed her hand on Nester's stomach. She slightly hesitated as she thought about what she was going to do. There was a possibility that her healing power might not work again on Nester so soon after just being healed. However she pushed those thoughts away and initiated her healing energy into Nester. It was the only way for her to survive since there was no one else around who was in the area and could heal her.

She poured in a handful of magical power and could already see the difference in Nester's complexion which had gone pale before. The colour to her face was returning and her breathing was less ragged. She could see that Nester was gradually returning back to good health. Her blue eyes were ablaze with power as she watched Nester fall into a light sleep. She slowed the input of magic until it was a trickle before removing her hand. She hadn't fully healed Nester, only the major wounds that would eventually lead to her death if she hadn't intervened. She had felt how fragile Nester's body had become and anything more would do more damage to her body.

Yoshiko sighed in relief and then realised that she had an audience. Her blue eyes looked up into the stunned faces of the four people who could change the course of the long war between the two kingdoms. "You men should go and organise some sort of camp around here because your men will be disorientated when they wake up. I would hate for any unnecessary misunderstandings to arise and cause another war." commanded Yoshiko with a stern voice that warranted no comments.

Yoshiko watched as they each got up and retrieved their swords before separating to organise their army. She could see that it was going to be a long night seeing that everyone was mixed together and a brawl could start at the misunderstood look from one person to another. She slowly turned her attention to Nester who was resting peacefully on the ground. It seemed very unfair that she had to go through all of this pain for this one mission. Yoshiko couldn't understand how this could happen. She hadn't seen what had transpired in this area otherwise she would have jumped in to help. She would have even if her actions did alter the future that she was looking forward to. Someone had erected some sort of shield around the entire area. She had been hoping that either Nester or Talia could figure it out on this mission. Now that the shield was broken, she could clearly see the area for the first time and was a little disturbed at the chaos.

However Yoshiko turned back towards Nester. Her blue eyes took in the immediate surroundings and saw that Nester was a good distance away from everyone. There was no more reason to actually hide away from the Atreum or Matri warriors. They both would still be needed here to keep the peace even though Nester would probably be unconscious for the majority of the time. Slowly she stood from where she had knelt to tend to Nester and gently closed her eyes. She could feel the natural energies that were around her and feel the magical energies slowly rise to her commands. Out of what seemed to the onlookers as thin air, a white tent erupted which was fully furnished with the basic necessities.

Yoshiko slowly knelt and gently lifted Nester into her arms. Once again she had the strangest feeling pass through her body at holding and dealing with Nester. However she put her thoughts aside and quickly walked into the tent without a backwards glance. Her goal was to try and get Nester as comfortable as she could so that she could rest. So within a few short moments, she had successfully gotten Nester settled with blankets and a soft pillow.

Yoshiko walked outside to see what the mortals were doing. Her blue eyes could see that a fair number of warriors were still lying about while some were waking up and others were trying to calm everyone down. It was clear that she had to take control of the situation or risk another bout of chaos which could cause more harm to those that were still asleep or unconscious. She walked with a purpose towards the mortal who was Commander Louis. Her determined steps and bizarre outfit helped to part the way to him.

"How may I help you?" asked Louis politely. He could feel that most of his subordinates were questioning who this woman was to warrant a polite attitude from their commander. He could also tell that the Matri Commander was staring at them as well and was slowly making his way over thinking that it might be something of importance.

"I'm just watching for now. You may proceed with what you were doing." replied Yoshiko quietly and slightly shyly to make sure that she didn't intimidate anyone. She stood with her hands clasped around her back as she stared back into his eyes and could see him puzzling over her motives.

Louis hesitated for a moment before he turned his attention back to his subordinates. They needed instructions from him since he was the commander and he didn't think that his men would approve the other commander, giving them orders. "I want all of you to move our men over to that side of the field." commanded Louis as he indicated the area which they had come up from. "Make sure there is someone there to explain what is happening and then tell them to help out." He watched as his men dispersed out to start dragging their men to the area he had pointed out.

"Good plan Commander Louis. I haven't had the pleasure of introducing myself. I am Commander Wyatt and I command the Raging Legions. I am honoured to meet you, Commander Louis of the Roaring Lions. However, niceties aside, we still have a matter to settle." informed Wyatt. He stood at ease with his hand resting on his sword hilt as his hazel eyes looked over Louis with amusement. It was clear that Wyatt did not have as much experience as Louis since he was so young but it said a lot about his skill.

"I see that you still have a matter to settle but it would be nice if we made sure that our men don't continue with what we started earlier. We are at the agreement that the battle will be forestalled until things are settled. I will see to my men and you may see to yours. I hear that there will be plenty of time afterwards for talk." suggested Louis without being condescending. He bowed slightly to Wyatt before he walked off.

"What a nice fellow?" commented Wyatt as he watched Louis' retreating back. He just couldn't figure the man out and it was even more confusing that Louis' second was organising the majority of things as well as contributing with all of the others. It was strange since the second in command was to follow the commander and make sure that they agreed on the decisions. However it was clear that the second was in his own right a commander as well.

"You look confused." commented Yoshiko as she smiled beneath her mask. She had been listening to his thoughts and was intrigued by what she heard. She was still trying to find out what had happened but everyone's thought were on their tasks and she could learn little from them. Slowly she stepped up to Wyatt's side and stared at the standing Matri warriors. "It would seem that your Prince is his own man. He is commanding your army with ease and your men seem to take great pride in him."

"Prince Naigee is the finest swordsman that Matri has to offer. He is also a Prince and is loved by his people. He is kind and generous as well as deadly smart. It is no wonder that the men take to him like a hive of bees to honey. I am just lucky enough that he is my best friend and has helped me with my army since I can't remember. He is a prodigy after all." explained Wyatt before he walked away towards his own men.

Yoshiko was left standing there. She was annoyed that she couldn't learn what had happened to Nester and now the two commanders looked like they were going to settle the matter one way or another. So it was in her best interest to find out what was going on or risk having the battle start up again; in which case she would just leave with Nester and damn the people to their misery. She really was angry that mortals could hold a grudge for centuries without remembering what had caused it. She had a little feeling that it must have been something minor that was blown out of proportion because of politics.

Slowly Yoshiko turned around and almost bumped into Commander Louis' second in command, Phillip. "Sorry." muttered Yoshiko as she mentally berated herself at being a little too careless around the mortals. However this mortal didn't seem like he wanted to harm anyone and was actually staring at her as if the world depended on his actions. "How may I be of assistance?"

Phillip stood there with his hands clasped in front of him as if he were very much intimidated by her. He could feel nervous sweat drench his brow as he looked into her blue eyes. He could see that she had seen more of the world than he had and he sensed that there was more to her than just being gifted. "So you are her healer?" asked Phillip.

Yoshiko smiled and it showed through her eyes. It helped to calm him down a little so that it would be easier for them to talk freely. "For now I am." replied Yoshiko as her blue eyes wandered over to the tent that she had erected. Her mind was partially on what was happening while the other half was worried about Nester. It was now up to Nester if she wanted to live or die but for now she was looking at it positively. "Is there anything else you would like to ask?"

"Is it alright if I go to see her? I would like to express my gratitude for what she did and how she saved all of our lives. I would very much like to thank her in person. Do you think I will be able to do that?" asked Phillip as he stared up at her thinking that she would deny him. However his fears were for naught as she smiled through her eyes and nodded her head in the affirmative.

"May I come along as well to express my gratitude on behalf of my people?" asked Prince Naigee as he had quietly approached them. His young face and flamboyant outfit did not fit with his mannerisms. "I too would like to see if she is alright?"

Yoshiko led the two men to the tent as eyes were glued to the trio. She wondered if they were more interested that two men from opposing sides were entering the same tent or the fact that she was with them. However her concerns over trivial things were put aside as she saw that Nester was actually awake and trying to get up. She immediately rushed over and halted Nester's attempts. "You should rest. So far everything is being settled and you need to heal."

"I need to make them yield." muttered Nester as she continued to try and get up from the bed. Her eyes were fixated on the tent flap that Yoshiko and the two men had entered from. Her eyes were still blue with magical energy and it was clear that she was not aware of the things that were happening around her. "I need to stop them from spilling blood."

Yoshiko used her physical strength to keep the struggling Nester from getting up. She was a little surprised that she was even up. She had calculated that the extent of her injuries would have kept her knocked out for an entire day not to mention the stress of rapid healing that she had performed on her. "Nester it is alright. You need to rest. You need to calm down and think clearly."

Nester struggled and pushed Yoshiko away from her. She was determined to get up and finish the wager. It was still night and dawn had yet to come. She could feel the stirrings of magical energy in the air and knew that everything was not fine. The wager was still on and there was still work to be done. She was going to stand up but two men pushed her back onto the bed. She didn't even realise that they were Phillip and Naigee. She was blinded by her determination to succeed.

Phillip quickly held one shoulder while Naigee held the other. They both looked at each other before bracing themselves for the inevitable. They both saw what was coming. They could feel it in the muscles that they were holding onto. In an instant they were both thrown backwards towards the entrance of the tent. However they were alright and were quickly on their feet to try and stop her from injuring herself even more.

Yoshiko slowly got to her feet since she had hit her head pretty hard on the ground. She could feel the magical energies that were slowly condensing within the tent and knew instantly what was going to happen next. She quickly rushed over to where Nester was and shoved both men out of the tent flap. "Get everyone ten yards away from here." yelled Yoshiko through the tent flap in a commanding tone which forced the warrior in the two men to act immediately.

Yoshiko looked deep into blazing blue eyes and knew that nothing good was going to follow. She could see that Nester was building up magical energy at an alarming rate and that if she didn't stop, she could destroy the whole mountain and take the three kingdoms in the area with her. She quickly erected a shield that was one hundred yards in radius so that it at least covered the battle field. If she made it any smaller, it would likely shatter upon impact of the explosive magical energy.

Yoshiko reached out her hand and placed it gently on Nester's shoulder. "Nester I want you to listen to me. Please hear my voice." she said gently. Her blue eyes became alight with white magical energy that was soothing. She enveloped Nester in her magical energy and slowly started to bind her to the bed. She could see that Nester was trying to struggle free and that her skin was burning from the contact of the magic that she was using. However it was the only way for her to secure Nester before she did something that she would regret for all eternity.

"Let me go!" yelled Nester as she tried to toss and turn to get free.

"Yes why don't you let her go?" whispered a wicked voice next to Yoshiko. It was Troy once more. He stood there with a huge smile on his face and an energy ball threatening Yoshiko with its lightning sparks right next to her face. "I would stop what I was doing if I were you and let her go. You've been interfering me every step of my way. I know it was you who got the Blaster Organisation interested in this affair."

Yoshiko's blue eyes stared at the lightning energy ball next to her face. She could see that his fingers were poised to attack her if she tried something. It would be extremely dangerous if she let him do as he wished but even more so if she allowed him the satisfaction of blowing her face off. The energy ball with its lightning sparks was energised to the point where an immortal would instantly die if they were hit by it. So with it right next to her face meant that he wanted to make sure that he would hit her.

"So what say you?" whispered Troy.

Yoshiko glanced at Nester who was still struggling against her grip. Slowly she withdrew the magical energy that she had placed around Nester and let her go. She could feel anger erupt inside of her towards herself for being caught in this predicament. She knew that Troy was involved but because of the shield placed in the area, she hadn't known how involved he was. Now it looked as though he had personally had his hands full the entire time. She now realised where some of Nester's injuries had come from.

Troy laughed as Nester shrugged off the hands before she was fully released. He could see that she would make the perfect candidate to escalate this feud into a world war. It would be fun to watch and it would increase the chances of him getting what he truly desired. He could feel the magical energies swirling around him and knew that with a slight command, his plan would be fail proof. No one would be able to stop him. He watched as Nester walked to the tent flap and was about to exit to launch her wrath against all those on the mountain.

"How can you do this?" mumbled Yoshiko.

"What are you talking about? I'm an immortal. I can do whatever I wish to do and there is no one that can stop me. No one will give me orders ever again and I will rule this realm forever." laughed Troy maniacally.

"How can you do this to your own daughter?" whispered Yoshiko in a restrained voice that showed her anger towards the man behind her. It was clear that he had not heard her over his own laughter and so she repeated what she had whispered a little louder. However he was caught up in himself to realise that she was saying something. "How can you do this to your own daughter?" yelled Yoshiko as her fury was unleashed with a wave of magical energy. She managed to push Troy back and absorb his attack before it even touched her skin. She tried to rush after Nester but a shield was placed around the entire tent which prevented her from pursuing.

"What are you saying? You can't lie to me. I know who my daughter is and she is well away from here. You can't fool me. I won't fall for it." said Troy as he formed another energy ball in his hand. He threw it at her and watched as she easily dodged it.

"She is Maria, guardian of the moon." yelled Yoshiko as she readied herself for another attack. It was obvious that he was starting to think. He looked a little confused but thinking was a good sign since it would give her time to figure something out. "She has been searching for the person who you are trying to destroy. She has been there every time and watched your madness."

"It's not possible." said Troy uncertainly. However his mind kept going back to what Nester had rambled on about. "I thought I knew who you were. Obviously I was wrong. You have drifted away from what I saw you as? Now I can truly see who you are. I will never ever accept an offer from the likes of you." They had been only a few words which he had dismissed as unimportant. He had assumed that she was just referring to his immortal life and the privileges and responsibilities. Now he was unsure. If he believed what this masked woman was saying, then what Nester had said would not just be ramblings of a desperate warrior.

Suddenly Yoshiko blasted the tent flap with enormous magical energy and waited as her goal was achieved. She rushed out in horror to see that Nester was kneeling in the middle of the field and she was glowing as if she were the moon. Yoshiko quickly ran towards Nester and skidded on her knees to a halt in front of Nester. She looked deep into the blazing blue eyes in front of her. Her fears were met when Nester didn't respond in any way. It was obvious that it was too much for her to handle in her condition and she had been knocked unconscious. However the magical flow continued since she did not stop it and her body was locked on the task.

Yoshiko pooled magical energy into her eyes which turned white with unimaginable power. This was only going to work once and she hoped that it would stick otherwise she would require the entire hall of higher beings to come and resolve this situation. So she waited anxiously as the energy pooled and she was brimming with restrained power. Her white robe was about to burst into flames but she reeled in her power and concentrated it onto Nester.

The white magical energy manifested visibly like a cloak slowly covering Nester's entire being. It was so rich with power that it began to burn Nester's skin and seep into her body in any possible way. White magical strands of energy pulled apart the energy that Nester was building. Nester's clothes were turned to smouldering ash as the white cloak of magical energy shattered what was left of Nester's energy. Slowly the white energy began to settle and it began to sooth Nester's shattered body.

Yoshiko was concentrating on her task as she made sure not to accidentally kill Nester from the overload of magical energy. She had mixed in natural energy from the earth so that it could sooth her pure energy and make it less harmful. She had watched in satisfaction as Nester's body started to respond to her methods.

The one thing that Yoshiko didn't notice was Troy standing slightly behind her with anger on his face and an energy ball poised to blast her away. However Troy froze as he stared down at Nester. One word escaped Nester's lips as she stared up at him with black tired eyes. "Father?" Troy had stood there and didn't even realise that he was now surrounded by a platoon of immortals with weapons on hand. He didn't even notice that the energy ball that was in his hand had faded away from the shock. He was stunned as the consequences of his actions finally came crashing down.

"Take him away." growled Furry the lion. He pattered up to Yoshiko and rubbed his body gently against her back to reassure her that he had arrived to assist. It had taken a long time for him to actually get the attention of the immortals that by the time he found Christine, every one in the immortal realm had felt the shock wave of tremendous magical energy in the mortal realm. He had only just located Yoshiko's whereabouts when another wave of tremendous magical energy was felt and he had rushed to her side whether the rest of the immortals were going to follow or not. "We came as fast as we could."

Yoshiko smiled as Nester fell into a healing sleep. It seemed as though everything had forced her into overload and now she was finally healing like an immortal that she was. Yoshiko felt her friend and creation next to her. It was nice of them to show up even though they were a tad late. "Is everything almost ready?" asked Yoshiko in a mere tired whisper. She had exhausted a lot of energy that she could spare and now only had enough for her plan. She wondered if it would be enough.

"Everything has been set up." replied Christine who stood with Furry. She was the only one left since she didn't have anywhere important to be. Her family and a few others had taken Troy away. She had been disturbed by Troy's actions as well as his behaviour. It was like he had seen a ghost, however she could talk to him later. "We are just waiting for the go ahead."

Yoshiko slowly stood up and faced Christine who gasped in shock at what she saw. Yoshiko could understand. She had seen herself once before after performing such a vast amount of energy. Her face was as white as snow and her eyes were those of a blind person. She looked so frail that it was almost like looking at ice. She stared at Christine for a while before she felt like herself again. Her face gradually changed back and her eyes were once more blue. "I know." said Yoshiko to Christine's silent request. "I need to stay by her side anyways until she recovers. I don't think she will remember any of this and I hope she doesn't. You will need to question Troy and see if he had other things already in motion. We don't want to get an ugly surprise."

Christine nodded her head and waited for Furry to finish his body rub before they both disappeared. She had work to do and knew that Yoshiko could sort out the rest instead of getting tangled in the mess that the immortal realm would be in after that incident. Her mind, still swimming with many questions, was puzzled by Yoshiko.

Yoshiko stood there for a while before she mentally smacked herself. She quickly conjured up Nester some new clothes since they had burnt off. She then swiftly placed her in the tent with a shield and walked back out. She smiled as the sun started to rise with the lightening of the dark sky. She looked around and wasn't surprised to see the mortals coming back with different expressions on their faces. It looked like they respected her and they were in awe by her as well as a little dumbfounded. It couldn't be helped but now she knew that everything was sorted. The magical and natural energies around her had settled back into their normal rhythms.

Phillip and Naigee slowly approached her before they knelt in front of her. "We will sort out this matter peacefully. It is after all what she wished to happen even with her life on the line. It is also what you wish as well or you wouldn't be here helping us." said Phillip with his head still lowered.

"We wish to thank you for your kindness but we are not sure how." said Naigee as he lowered his head a little further. It was clear that he was nervous but he didn't want to lose out to Phillip. "Is there anything at all that you wish for us to do for you?"

Yoshiko smiled. The key players to the solution of the problem had presented themselves to her. She knelt down and made them raise their heads to look into her sparkling blue eyes. "There is one thing that I would like to do first before you can do me something." said Yoshiko. She gestured to Naigee and spoke in a soft motherly tone. "This is Prince Naigee of Matri." She then gestured to Phillip who looked nervously at her. "This here is Prince Phillip of Altreum. Your commander's will follow you. I need all of you to return home with the news that the war is over. An alliance will be formed between the two of you and King Ruric who has been waiting an awfully long time for this war to end. I hope you can do that for me." said Yoshiko with a huge grin. She almost laughed when the two princes stared at each other and almost couldn't hold it in at the look on everyone's faces at revealing Phillip's true identity. However she stood back up and left them to their own devices.


Chapter 13

[Fourteen mortal days later, back at Blaster Organisation?]

Yoshiko stood at the foot of her shared bed with little Michaela. She had a foreboding feeling the entire day. However she could do nothing to ease the feeling. She was glad that both Nester and Talia had returned after the mission since she had asked Christine to take her home after Nester had been fully healed and was about to wake up. She didn't want Nester to remember what had happened and it looked as though she hadn't although she was a little more edgy around everyone. She was also glad that Misty had returned as well unscathed although she had laughed when Misty explained what Princess Rebecca did in her sleep.

Yoshiko looked behind her to see the quartered off area that was Talia's sleeping place. It was more like a hiding place than anything else but it didn't seem like the members noticed. It was a good thing after all since Talia had the tendency to accidentally release a little bit of her magic while she slept and the curtain was empowered to hide that from everyone.

Yoshiko had checked the grounds twice as well as searched the entire house and yet she came up empty about what was bothering her. She just had a bad feeling that wouldn't go away as if she had forgotten something or missed something. She had received many reports from the immortal realm which told her that Troy had gone mental. He was locked in a room that sucked his magic dry and kept him confined. However the immortals had reported that he had laughed at everything and wasn't even coherent. She remembered reading the reports and they had found nothing at all to help them to see if Troy had anything up his sleeves after the Altreum and Matri war.

"Are you going to sleep Mum?" whispered Michaela through the darkness.

Yoshiko smiled at the endearment. She had grown fond of it again since being called that in the immortal realm and growing tired of it there. Somehow these female mortals had given her the spark to do what she always wanted to do and that was to make everyone happy. "I will be Michaela, in a little while. Go back to sleep, you need your rest." replied Yoshiko in a whisper. She watched as Michaela closed her eyes.

It was sad that Michaela also had her own problems with being a mortal. The little girl had developed some unknown sickness over the past seven moons and she had been too busy to have a look into it until she got back from healing Nester. It had been too late then to heal the girl since she had spent so much energy already and needed the rest to go through with the plan. She sighed and looked around. There was nothing that she could do to ease the little girl's suffering unless Nester, Talia or another immortal had a look at her. Her eyes were already drifting shut as she stood there and decided that she could figure out what was bothering her on the morrow.


A sword plunged through skin, flesh and bone. Yoshiko was frozen as sudden pain passed through her entire body. She felt the cold metal penetrated through her and knew instantly what must have happened. She had been stabbed and as she felt underneath the covers to check Michaela, she could feel more blood. She knew then that Michaela must have been stabbed as well as she heard that there were two people. She was about to use her healing magic on Michaela but the sword that rested through her was ripped out. The pain was excruciating and all she could do was look feebly up with her blue eyes at who had done this.

Yoshiko almost laughed at seeing Joshua and Steven, members of a royal family who lived in the area. She knew of their family since their family had been chosen to be apart of a select few who knew about immortals. She would have scolded the both of them and laughed it off if it weren't for the un-healing wound that was left in her body. Her eyes slightly narrowed onto the weapons that they had used and she cringed at her stupidity. She had known about the swords that Troy had created. She had known that he knew which families of the select group would be in the area and she knew that he would have something up his sleeve. Troy's plan was coming to fruition except that his pawns had delivered it to the wrong people. She could feel her body slowing down and knew that it must have been from a specific poison that only targeted immortals.

Yoshiko slowly glanced over to Michaela and could see her barely clinging to life. Her blue eyes looked up and saw that Steven had raised his sword once more. She saw the determination in his eyes to finish what he started and end the suffering of his two victims. She could see that Michaela was watching him and waiting for the inevitable. Her blue eyes were about to spark out and try to erect a shield but she heard the slither of a blade rub against leather as it was being drawn. She would have smiled at seeing Nester standing there shielding the both of them.


Nester blocked the final blow that would have ended Michaela's life. Metal hit metal and grinded against each other as Nester stood there until she forcefully pushed him back and slightly off balanced. She watched him carefully as he studied her. A quick glance towards the other intruder revealed that Misty had apprehended him without a fight. It was like the man had lost his nerve at what he had done. She turned back to her opponent and was poised to defend her friends.

Yoshiko watched carefully as the door slammed into the adjacent wall as Mila and Laney arrived. She could see their looks of horror as they ran over to try and stop the bleeding. She could see the tears coming and knew what they knew. The wound could not be healed normally. They would need a gifted person or immortal. She felt the pain intensify as the poison spread further throughout her body. She couldn't even utter a single word. Her tongue had gone numb and she was beginning to see stars. She could feel the warmth of her blood around her but it was not doing her any favours. She was starting to feel cold and that was a bad sign.

Yoshiko heard the door slam against the wall once more as she felt an immortal enter the room. She knew that it was Willow of the wind since she had disguised herself earlier to check out the organisation. She didn't blame her for being curious but it would have been nice if she healed them. However it was clear that she would not do such a thing since she was under the impression that she could not interfere. Also it didn't seem like she would have been able to tell her otherwise. She would have yelled at Willow if she had the strength to do so.

"What happened?" asked Willow. Misty answered her swiftly since everyone else was busy. It was the short version of the events but her mind was worried about something else. "Where is Talia?" asked Willow hastily as fear began to colour her words. She looked around the room and noticed that Talia was not present at all which only meant that her sleeping incantation was still intact. She rushed over to the curtained off area and almost wept in relief at seeing Talia still in a deep sleep which she very much needed. Instead she sighed and turned around to see a number of shocked faces. She then realised that she must have dropped her disguise in her rush to see Talia.

Willow was once more herself with her white eyes and white hair. She was almost a perfect white ghost except that she wasn't a ghost. She looked around the room and saw everyone's shocked faces except for the two injured, Talia and Nester. She would have laughed at her predicament but Joshua and Steven had dropped their swords as realisation dawned upon them. She could barely hear their thoughts as she stared at them. Something was interfering with her control but she didn't know what it was. She could feel magical energy swamp the room as the two brothers knelt down on one knee to bow to her.

"You're a god!" stated Misty as her hazel eyes widened.

Willow would have responded to that statement but something was bothering her. She could feel strange magic fill the room but she couldn't figure out who was controlling it. She tried to find the source but it was as if she were searching for something that she was immersed in. Her white eyes swept the room and glanced at Mila who had a question on her lips. She shook her head in the negative at Mila's question. "I cannot do anything for them. It is not within my power to meddle with their fates." she said in an airy tone like the whisper of a wind. She slowly turned to Talia and raised her hand to undo her incantation. She knew that Talia would be angry at her but she needed to be informed. "I wish there was a better way for her to wake up but she has to be informed about what has happened."

Yoshiko could feel the air around her intensify with magical energy. It was time to fulfil her promise and leave her life in the hands of Nester and Talia. She slowly mumbled a few ancient words that were to be her last if it came to that. She had left behind so much for them to follow her and make the realms a better place. She wished that she had been better prepared but it was now or never. She reached into the depths of her magical energy and prepared for the inevitable. She was going to trade her life for Talia's so that Talia could return to being an immortal. Her fate on the other hand would be clouded by this decision. Everything had been set up so that Yoshiko could sacrifice herself once Talia had remembered but now this was the only way. She would grant Talia an immortal life with the rest of her magical energy. All that was required was for Talia to bind her magical energy to Yoshiko. She smiled as she heard Talia sit up in bed. She could hear Talia's heart stop for an instant at the horror of the situation.

"I'm sorry Talia. I had placed you under a deep sleep so that you would heal faster. If I had known that this was going to happen, I wouldn't have set up the healing field." whispered Willow as she lowered her head at the disappointment she saw in Talia's eyes. She regretted that she had done such a thing as putting up the healing field without informing her. If she hadn't erected the healing field then it was possible that Talia would have stopped the two men from stabbing her two room mates.

"Willow of the wind, please excuse me but I need to help my friends. I trust that you will stay so that we can have a talk after I am done." said Talia with authority drenched in the tone of her voice. It sounded like she was Willow's senior and she would have been less commanding if she didn't feel the pressure of everyone's expectations. She wasn't surprised to see that everyone was shocked by the manner in which she had spoken to Willow. She swiftly reached the foot of the bed and looked at the blood soaked sheets. There was only a small amount of time left to save her friends.

Talia closed her grey eyes and concentrated on the anger that was seething in her heart at Willow's actions. She used that emotion to spark her own magical energy for her to quickly resolve the situation. She could feel her entire body and hear her own heart beat as she breathed deeply and relaxed her body. She felt the pool of magical energy that was within her body and called it forth to rest lightly in her hands so that she could wield it as she pleased. Her eyes opened to reveal blazing silver eyes that illuminated the room so fiercely it was as if the sun itself had decided to pop into the room.

Talia's sight had enhanced and she could see the flows of natural and magical energy. She could even see life energy that was slowly leaking out of Michaela's and Mum's body. Her silver eyes sparkled as she watched what was happening to their bodies. Time was of the essence since she could see that the flames that represented their lives were being diminished.

Carefully, Talia lifted her hands without disturbing the energies around her. She slowly discharged a few strands of fine magical threads and started to cocoon Michaela and Mum to her body. Her silver eyes blazed as she touched Mum and the strands recoiled momentarily. She looked closer but could see that there was nothing wrong so she continued and was satisfied that she had successfully wrapped all of them in a cloak of her energy. She had limited knowledge about healing people with magical energy but she had seen it done and had done it to herself on occasion. So she started to pool all the magical energy that she possessed so that she could heal both of them at the same time.

Nester stood in shock as she watched the proceedings. Her black eyes had settled onto Talia's silver eyes with a thousand emotions running through her body. How can this be? The one person that I was looking for was right in front of my face? She felt the magical energy and she remembered what had happened that had separated their lives in the first place. She closed her eyes as the images filled her mind.


Maria had stood weakly in front of an assembly of about a hundred higher beings in the immortal realm. The person that she loved dearly was standing slightly in front of her while holding her hand and trying to sooth her. She had felt great that morning when her love had showed her the most beautiful sight before coming to this place. She had been happy and now she was nervous. Butterflies swam in her stomach and she was starting to have cold and hot flushes which was not a good sign. She tried to focus on the hall but her eyes became blurry.

The hall was an impressive place with its horse shoe like seating formation. The white stones rose high towards the glass ceiling where the clear sky could only just be seen. Maria had noticed all of this and the fact that her parents weren't present. She didn't even see her love's parents either. However she could point out all of her love's siblings. She stood there trying to calm herself down but the feeling became worse and she was becoming light headed which was unusual. She had never felt this bad before and her concentration was shattered. She wasn't even paying attention to the proceedings.

Maria looked up at the back of her love's head and slowly tugged on her arm. She needed her attention. She needed to lie down somewhere. She could almost feel her legs going but she held on. She needed for this meeting to stop. Her mind was focused on wanting to leave. She didn't want to collapse in front of all of these important people. She didn't want to scare her love either.

Silvia of the sun and stars slowly moved closer and bent her head a little so that Maria could whisper into her ear. Her eyes widened and worry coloured her face as she heard Maria whisper. Before she knew what she was doing, she had turned to face Maria and was assessing her magically even though it was forbidden to use it within the hall. Her grey eyes had become blazing silver as she tried to assess Maria's body. Her surroundings became naught as she was trying to figure out how to make Maria feel better. She had thought that it was only stress but now she could see much more than ever. This was the first time that she had been able to look at Maria like this and she was shocked that she hadn't before.

Silvia held onto Maria's shoulders as she raked Maria with magical energy. She could see the flaw but she couldn't quite figure out how to solve it without resorting to drastic measures. She felt Maria gently place her arms onto her chest before Maria's legs gave way. She quickly held on tight to Maria and gently eased Maria to the ground within her embrace. She felt the presence of her siblings and Lady Felecia of the fates. Her blazing silver eyes looked up pleadingly. "What's wrong with her?"

Maria felt her love holding onto her tightly. It was the only thing that was anchoring her so that she wouldn't drift off. She had heard Silvia's voice and cringed that this had to happen in front of her. It had been a good day? Why does this have to happen to me now? Out of all the times that I have had these bouts it had to be during the most inopportune time? She could feel the unease that passed through Silvia's body and her determination to stay put even though Elaine, Silvia's eldest sister, was trying to tug her away. She could hear the faint whisperings of voices and the slight use of magic. She would have opened her eyes but she was too weak. She was too drained. She just wanted to drift away and have the pain fade into oblivion.

Maria slowly woke up after a few minutes. She could feel tremendous magical energy within the hall. Her mind groggily took in her surroundings as she blinked her eyes to clear them. To her stark horror, she saw Silvia's dimming eyes. The magical power of the sun and stars was slowly fading from her body. She knew immediately what had happened and what it would cost. "What have you done?" whispered Maria. Tears streamed down her face as she hastily sat up with Silvia. A gentle hand brushed them away. Her mind fumbled around for a solution to help Silvia that she didn't comprehend what was being said to her. She wanted her ears to work. She wanted to stay with Silvia. However everything was falling apart. Silvia was fading away in a dust of twinkling light and all that Maria could make out from Silvia's lips was "I love you."

Maria grabbed at Silvia but she was gone. Her arms just went around herself as the horror of the moment began to sink in. The one person that she truly loved was gone. Anger coursed through her entire body at Silvia's decision. It should have been me? I prepared everything? I even gave you the ring that holds my heart? Why? She tried to do something. Her body was in shock. Her mind was furious. She didn't even realise that Lady Felecia was scanning her and talking to her. She wasn't listening. She had lost her. Tears fell unbidden as her hands clenched into tight fists of anger. She unconsciously nodded her head and wiped the tears away before looking determinedly at Lady Felecia. I'm going to find her and bring her back?


Nester pulled her mind away from her memories. She stared at the blazing silver eyes that were about to perform the same magic that saved her immortal life. She could feel the hatred of that moment long ago resurface and knew it for what it was. All the hatred that she had felt for Talia was the last thread of emotion that was passed on. She felt her hand loosen its grip on her black blade. She heard the loud clatter and felt her legs move forward. No, not again? She rushed forward as Talia was about to put the finishing touches to the preparation of the healing process.

Nester's black eyes had begun to water. She didn't want to lose her again. The memories of the ancient past resurfaced again and again in an endless cycle as time seemed to slow down. She needed to stop her. She needed to make sure that Talia didn't give up her life. She ran with all her might as the words that Silvia had spoken in her last moments became clear in her mind. "?I know you will be here for me? I love you?"

Nester crashed into Talia and took them both to the ground in a heap of arms and limbs. She managed to get to her feet as she heard Talia's perplexed question at trying to find out why she had done that. However Nester quickly waved her hand and forced the magical energy around her to erect a sealing field that was like a glass prison. She could see that it was perfect in creation and knew that Talia would not be able to break out so easily. It would take her time but she knew she would be long gone before Talia could do anything. She watched the blazing silver eyes and saw her lover within them.

"What are you doing?" asked Willow.

Slowly Nester faced Willow of the wind and saw her slightly retreat away. It was slightly funny but she didn't laugh. The magic that freely flowed around her body was enough to show any immortal that she should not be meddled with. Gradually her eyes became blazing blue shiny gems which were concentrated with so much magical energy that it was hard for Willow to look away. Her hair which she had kept short for her disguise began to grow back to full length. It became shiny black strands that flowed down her back as if it were a cloak. Her attire was suddenly replaced by an elegant white robe and dress that was fit for any immortal. The mask that she always wore to hide her feelings crumbled away as she looked at Talia.

Yoshiko kept her eyes closed. The pain was starting to get too much. She could feel the change in the room and hear the noises. It seemed like everyone was either talking too loudly or too quietly. There was no balance. Magical energy flowed around the room as if they were at a disco party but she was unconcerned. She had completed her part and now it was up to them to see if she would live or not. She had transferred all of her magical power over to Talia in a blink of an eye that Talia was unsure of why her magical threads had recoiled. She just wished that Nester and Talia remained safe.

Nester only had eyes for Talia. Her sad expression was there for everyone to truly see for the first time. Her hand gently clutched her chest where her heart was as tears slowly seeped out of her eyes. She had shocked everyone with her transformation back into an immortal. Her friends for more than seven years could only see a stranger standing in front of them. Nester was no longer just a warrior. She had seen how Mila and Laney had flinched upon setting their eyes on her. She knew that they were beyond shocked.

The full moon began to cloak the entire room with its eerie light. It became much more concentrated as Nester stood there brimming with power. Her sparkling blue eyes looked deep into silver eyes and smiled tearfully. Her hand gently brushed against the barrier towards Talia before she turned away and faced the bed. She had to save her friends but knew that it would be too dangerous to do it here. She glanced around the room at the occupants and smiled sadly. This was going to be a farewell since she would not be able to meet them again. She was sure that she would be thrown into the sea of mortal souls like Silvia had been after she had finished the healing process. She didn't expect anything less from her position.

Nester extended her arms elegantly in front of her. Her pale hands reached out over the bed as she felt the power within her stir. Her blue magical strands became visible to the naked eye as she wrapped her two patients up ready to transport them to a safe place for healing. She could feel the moon calling to her and knew that it would be the safest place since nobody ever went there anymore. She took one more look at Talia before she closed her eyes and in an instant disappeared in a shower of blue sparks. Nester's two patients then disappeared in a shower of white petals as if they were pulled away by an invisible force.

Talia continued to thump on the walls of her prison. She was frantic by the time her mind registered that Nester was about to leave. She didn't know where this feeling of urgency was coming from but she knew that she had to stop her even if she were an immortal. Her blazing silver eyes tried to find a weakness in the shield but she was in such a hurry she had missed the tiny cracks. It was only once Nester had disappeared with Michaela and Mum that the cracks appeared sharply and she was able to break free. She walked swiftly up to Willow and was about to let her have a piece of her mind but was forestalled.

"She is one of my people." answered Willow.

Talia clenched her fists in frustration. She had begun to ramble on to try and figure out what was going on. She couldn't comprehend why Nester an immortal would be here disguised as a warrior and fight along side mortals. She felt confused by Nester's actions. It was almost like she was saying her farewell. Talia didn't know what to do. Her fingers were unconsciously rubbing the metal band that hugged her finger. There was something that she was missing and she couldn't figure out what it was.

Suddenly Shawn of the sword appeared in the room. He had been hesitant to return to Talia's side but he had felt the magical energy and knew that he would be needed. He also received a mighty shove from Lady Felecia as well to deliver a message. He was a little antsy and knew that he looked pretty ragged. He quickly captured silver eyes and delivered the message. "You need to find her and stop her. Lady Felecia commanded me to tell you that. She came warring out of the meeting hall of the higher beings looking quite furious. I just happened to cross her path and she pinned me to the wall before making me come here." explained Shawn.

"How is she meant to find an immortal that doesn't want to be found?" asked Willow. She looked quite perplexed by the message. It was strange that Lady Felecia would act like that in front of the lower classed immortals. "Are you sure this message is for her?"

Talia stared at Shawn for a while before she took a step towards the open balcony window. Her fingers were rubbing along the ring that adorned her finger. She glanced down at finding that she was actually doing it without knowing why. Her eyes found the ring that had been with her for all of her life. She could have sworn that she left it on the necklace and now it was back on her finger. Her blazing silver eyes stared at the metal band for some time before she felt a tremendous amount of energy burst open from her being.

Talia fell to her knees in a blinding white light that filled the room. Her entire body felt like it was on fire as she hugged her body to ease the pain. Her silver eyes looked towards the ring that was on her finger and her mind was being tortured by various images. She almost cried out in pain as her mind felt like it was going to explode from the pressure. Slowly the light faded and the pain receded. She felt Willow and Shawn immediately by her side.

"Are you alright?" asked Shawn.

Talia looked around at everyone before she saw the two immortals. Her mind had become clear. Her memories from long ago had returned and now she knew why Nester had done what she had. She smiled as she slowly stood up. She was finally reborn as an immortal. She looked at her skin and could see that it was covered with bone fragments as if they were her armour. Carefully she broke them away to see her normal skin. She quickly patted down her entire body to relieve herself of the barrier that had kept her from the truth for so long. As she glanced around at the shocked faces she knew what she had to do.


Chapter 14

[Meanwhile, on the surface of the moon?]

Maria stood on the white dusty surface of what she used to call home. It had once been a splendid place where vegetation littered the ground and animals would walk around carefree. It was a place that the immortals would visit now and then to just relax. However now it was a shell of its former self. There was nothing beautiful except the white emptiness. Her memories of this place had been dimmed by the cruelty of the mortal realm. It just didn't feel like it used to. She had neglected the moon and now she could feel the difference starkly.

Tears slowly streaked her face once more as memories of happier times flooded her sight. She had been sure that she had pushed them deep into her heart so that they would be locked away forever. However they just kept coming back to taunt her at what she used to have. She wondered if she would ever be able to reclaim that love that she had lost so long ago. She looked at the makeshift beds that she had conjured for her two patients. They were placed under a deep sleep to ease their pain. She doubted that she would be able to claim that love again.

Maria hastily wiped away the tears. She had to stop crying so that she could perform her last duty as an immortal. She sealed away her feelings and put them into the deepest corner of her heart. Her feelings would never know the light of day again for what she had planned. She looked up at the bright stars and knew this would be the last time. Her fond memories of Silvia and her sitting beneath them while trying to map out the constellations that the mortals had described, filled her mind. However she locked those memories far away into the recesses of her mind. She needed to concentrate and thinking about the past was not going to help her.

Slowly kneeling on the ground at the foot of the bed of her two patients, she gradually intertwined their life forces with her own. She smiled as she felt the presence of two others on the moon with her. She could feel their magic and knew exactly who they were. "I have spent five hundred years in pain but in love. I have spent a thousand agonizing years waiting for her to be reborn but she won't be able to see me again. I won't be waiting in our realm to welcome her back." said Maria calmly and clearly. Her sparkling blue eyes glowed as she continued with the ritual of this particular healing process. There was no way for the two immortals to interfere without risking the lives of all three of them.

"Why won't you wait for her?" asked Elaine. Her sad earthen brown eyes looked at Maria in concern. She could see clearly what Maria was doing and knew exactly what the consequences would be since Silvia had already paid for it in exchange for Maria's life. She was a little confused as to why Maria had returned here to the moon. She could understand why Maria had to leave the mortals but she had plenty of help around her. On the moon there was nobody saved those who travelled all the way out here to see what Maria was doing, which included Felecia and herself.

"A thousand years is a long time. I have experienced more than she can remember. Even with Felecia managing to pull her out of the sea of mortal souls and restoring her slowly to what she used to be, she is not the same person that I knew." explained Maria as she continued the healing process. Tears once more threatened her composure to stay strong and concentrate. "If she were to come back fully restored, she won't remember the five hundred years that we had spent together. She won't remember the sacrifice that she made for my sake. All she will remember is the hatred that I have shown her for seven mortal years. Even so, no one will be able to erase the thousand years that I have waited for her return. It just won't be the same. It will never be the same. It just won't be right."

Suddenly Felecia made her presence known and appeared on the surface of the moon. She had been waiting for Elaine to give her some sort of signal so that she could smooth things over but it looked as though it were for naught. She angrily walked up to Maria with a raised hand poised to slap some sense into her but was stopped by Elaine. She was furious. Her anger almost made her blind as she tried to control herself. Elaine shook her head and held her back. It was the only thing stopping her from slapping Maria silly.

"Why couldn't you just listen to me? You spent the last seven years running around in the mortal realm when I explicitly told you to stay put. You've disregarded all of your responsibilities and now you want to erase your memories and jump head first into the sea of mortal souls? I won't be able to pull you out with your powers intact. Silvia was an exception since she had rectified a problem which your parents should have brought up in the higher beings meeting. However for reasons I can't comprehend they didn't. Your parents were reprimanded for their actions however they were able to prove that they could perform proficiently and were restored to their rightful positions." Felecia sighed heavily after that outburst and glanced at the patients who were slowly recovering. She couldn't understand why Maria would want to save these two but she could figure it out later. Slowly she turned back to Maria with a resigned look since there was no way of interfering. "Is this truly what you want?"

"I don't want to remember all of those years that I have spent just waiting for her. I would rather start as a new mortal who will fall in love and not know the pain of losing someone who is more apart of me than I realise. Would you be able to spend the rest of your life knowing that you had been separated?" ranted Maria.

Voices floated to her ears. She could hear them arguing. She could hear Maria and Felecia. Why are they fighting? Her mind was a little foggy. Her body ached terribly and she could feel magic filling her body. She was slowly returning from unconsciousness. Her blue eyes fluttered slightly open before they shut tight from seeing so much light. It was so bright because of Maria's magic. She is healing me? Her mind tried to grasp where they were and she could feel that it was desolate. It was cold. Maybe she took us to a desert at night. There is one near the house which no one travels through during the night. Slowly she tried to lift her arm but it was for naught. She felt extremely drained and her body was still fighting off the poison. She listened to the argument some more to try and pass the time.

"Did you know that I had to make up her fate and make sure that I had sent two of our kind to watch over her? Shawn and Willow were sent to the mortal realm without any piece of knowledge about this. They willingly went and made sure that Silvia was always protected. They had to twist mortal souls to do their bidding so that Silvia could survive. Her powers are still growing and she will have to die one day before she returns whole to us. That was what we had agreed to do. You told me that you wanted her back whole." said Felecia as her voice became heated once more with anger.

"Is she really whole if she doesn't know who I am? Is she whole if she can't remember the things that we did together? Would she really love me like she did before but now knowing all of the bad deeds that I have done? What would you really know? You still have the person you love right here without anything wrong with her." retorted Maria as she gestured towards Elaine.

Felecia and Elaine were taken aback. "Where did you hear this? Who told you?"

Yoshiko almost laughed if she could. Her two friends were so obvious in their relationship that it was hard to miss. She had seen them on several occasions drifting off in each other's arms even though she had been present in the room with them. Even outside of their private quarters she could see the looks between the two. It really wasn't hard to put the two together as a couple. She was pretty sure that even Elaine's entire family knew of their so called secret relationship.

Slowly Yoshiko tried to test her mobility again. Her arm was still useless but her body was slowly healing. She could feel Maria's magic swamp her entire body to slowly heal everything one bit at a time. It was going to be a long process but she figured Maria, Felecia and Elaine still had a lot to talk about. Her senses slowly picked up another presence that was not so far away. However this person remained out of sight for the time being. They were clearly just watching.

"You understand the consequences?" asked Felecia a final time.

"I am aware." replied Maria as she slowly closed her eyes. The healing process was almost complete and she could feel that she was almost drained of energy. She intertwined her fingers among the magical strands that she had summoned for the process and slowly continued. Her mind was becoming more muddled as she continued and she could tell that she had to use a lot of effort to talk. She just hoped that this would work for all of their sakes.


[Meanwhile back at Blaster Organisation?]

"What is going on?" asked Misty exasperatedly. She was having a hard time trying to follow what was happening. It was clear that everyone besides the immortals were shocked. "Why did Nester take them away? What does she know about healing? Why did she put Talia in that prison thing?"

"Misty you have to calm down and think about it." replied Mila calmly. Her nerves were shot and she was covered in her friend's blood. She wasn't even sure if they were still alive or not but the chances were high if immortals were involved. She slowly moved away from the bed. She wasn't even sure if she would be able to clean it but knew that Laney would definitely steer clear. "I'm sure that Nester did it for a reason. She always has a reason."

"Did you know that she was gifted?" asked Laney.

"I have never seen her use any and assumed that she was just a warrior. Well a very good warrior and a little hard to handle but she is what makes our organisation run smoothly. Even Talia's help has smoothed things along. If they weren't involved, I don't think we would be here right now." explained Mila as she pulled the covers completely off the bed. She even took the blood soaked mattress. They would have to replace the entire bed at this rate and she would have to try to clean the floor. "Let's get this cleaned up. I don't think either of them would like any reminders of what happened."

"Those two gods talk a lot to each other. Anyways what do you want me to do with these two?" asked Misty as she stood there with her huge sword resting on her shoulder while she watched the two men carefully. She could see that they weren't going to fight back but it didn't hurt to be cautious. "Do you want me to take them to the cellar?"

"That is a good idea. You can come back up and help." said Laney as she pulled the sheet that she had been using on Michaela off the bed and onto the pile that Mila was making. She saw Misty's small smirk and knew that she would take her time on the way back. They were all worried but she knew that Misty always tried to cheer everyone up. She could see that Mila was trying to keep busy while she was left trying to help. She didn't want to escalate the tension in the room and didn't want Mila to snap at her either.

Willow and Shawn stood near the balcony window. They had been explaining what had happened to each other. However they were still confused by the events and what it all meant. They were surprised that Nester was an immortal that was actually a higher being. They had been even more surprised that Talia had shown signs that she was an immortal. It was confusing why this was happening and why they had to be assigned to stay put once things were underway.

"Do you even know who gave the order for us to stay put?" asked Willow frustrated. She was staring out into the night sky while pondering what was happening. She could feel an immense surge of magical energy that was coming from the moon and she was as curious as ever. Her white eyes glanced at Shawn who looked quite dishevelled. "You look like hell."

Shawn smiled at the comment. He felt like he had been thrown from one end of the world to another. It was Felecia who forced him into a portal to go to the mortal realm to deliver the message. He didn't even have time to brace himself or think. As for the order, it was a missive that everyone in the immortal realm received. He didn't know where it originated from but knew that it had to be important since there was such turmoil in the mortal realm. "I don't know who gave us the order." replied Shawn calmly.

Willow continued to stare up at the night sky towards the vibrant moon that stood majestically among its court of bright stars. She wished she hadn't read the missive because it would mean that she could satisfy her curiosity and find out what was happening. She could feel the magic that was radiating from the moon. It was so concentrated and powerful that she had never felt the likes of it before. It was a little nerve racking to be able to feel it from so far away that she had a feeling that the immortals in the immortal realm would be having a field day. She wondered who had planned all of this to be able to send missives to all immortals that were not involved and have them obey whether they wanted to or not.

"I think we should help out. The mortals look like they are in shock." suggested Shawn as he surveyed the room. He could see that Mila and Laney were trying to clear the bed but they were having some difficulty since their hands were shaking. He wondered if they would recover soon since he could feel that there were still a few things that needed to be done here. "Let's go and help."

Willow nodded in agreement and slowly made her way over to the bed. She was so gracious and quiet that she almost frightened them out of their wits. However her smile made sure that she didn't get an earful and she wouldn't have anyway since they were mortal. She gestured to the bed and watched as Mila and Laney moved away. "I think this will be much quicker and better." commented Willow in a howling voice. She slowly blew air over the bed as her magical strands gathered up everything that was stained or soaked with blood. Her white eyes were mirrors of a cloudy sky that was rapidly swirling as if a twister were about to form.

Mila and Laney watched carefully. They could see the sheets and bed lift off the ground. Wind from nowhere began to swirl around the items and slowly the blood was being erased. It looked so complicated the way that the blood was removed but watching Willow, it was like it was so easy. They were surprised at Willow when she finished cleaning everything, even the floor, and put everything back.

Willow fell to her knees as she had exhausted a lot of energy for a simple task. She was as puzzled by it as Shawn was who could see how much magical energy she was putting into the task. Her white eyes looked up at him and they both wondered what it meant. Slowly with Shawn's help, she stood and looked at her work. Everything had been restored back to its original state. She looked at the items with confusion written all over her face.

"Are you alright?" asked Shawn.

"Yes." replied Willow hesitantly. She carefully probed the bed once more with her magic to see if anything strange were to occur but nothing happened. "That was very strange. I don't even know what happened to begin asking why. It was like removing all that blood was for some reason forbidden as if it were somebody else's responsibility to remove."

"Well, we'll figure it out later. At the moment, it looks as though something major is going to happen. We might have to return." said Shawn as he felt the magical energies on the moon begin to surge. It was like a wave of pure energy had just swept the entire surface of the moon which made it glow slightly more than usual.


[Meanwhile back in the immortal realm?]

Christine looked around the crowded higher beings meeting hall. She was sitting up on the podium just a fair way up next to an unusually calm Lila. Her hazel eyes took in the mutterings of the other immortals and could see a large number of the lower caste standing on the floor, waiting for news. She had been a little alarmed that Felecia had left in a hurry as soon as the intended meeting was about to start. No one had made a move to question her and only a few minutes had passed before they all received the missives.

"Do you know what is happening?" asked Christine as she glanced over at Lila.

"Can you feel all of that magical energy from the mortal realm? I think it has something to do with that. Although the volume of energy is a bit much, I can feel the core threads and I know that they belong to my daughter, Maria." replied Lila as she sat there tapping her fingers on the table. Her black eyes had already noticed the outrageous ideas that sprang up to explain the happenings of the mortal realm.

"You would think that someone would come forward to tell them to stop their blabbering mouths from spewing up rumours and allegations." commented Christopher who was on Christine's other side. He looked around the room and could see that there were a few of the immortals who were doing the exact same thing that they were. "I think some of us are going to want to leave soon. The room is very crowded and there are many of the immortals wanting answers. I think the environmental bureau is also having a field day."

"I think the lore keepers would be busier than them." batted Christine as she smiled at some of the higher beings who looked at her with the same bored look that she was giving to the crowd of people. "I wonder where Felecia ran off to. I believe our eldest daughter is off somewhere as well. I haven't seen her at all and she was supposed to be presenting some of her suggestions today."

"If the two of them are missing, it is most likely that they are together." replied Christopher while giving Christine the knowing look. He had actually been the one to spot out the relationship that their daughter was having with Felecia. It was quite funny how he would catch her sneaking out and she would give him a lame excuse for her goings. He would actually play along and so it was a joke in the family. He wasn't even sure if she knew that they all knew yet. "I wonder how long the missive intends to keep us here for."

Christine sighed once more. She had felt the magical energies but wasn't concerned since it was occurring on the moon and no one would be up there unless they were immortal. So she had guessed that a powerful immortal had gone there to do something that was important and dangerous for others to be around. She wondered what Maria would be doing since Lila had pointed out who the culprit was. "I need a drink." she muttered under her breath although Christopher and Lila heard her perfectly well.


[Meanwhile back on the moon?]

Yoshiko made sure to keep her eyes closed. She could feel that most of her life had been restored and so she would be able to live as a mortal. She wasn't worried by that fate and was even glad that Michaela was doing just as well. She could sense that Michaela's life had been restored fully and that Maria had also done her a favour by healing what was wrong with her before.

Yoshiko could feel the touch of the magical energy that was around her and noticed a lot of similarities between Maria and herself. The energy strands were powerful but they also were imbedded with the natural energy that was around them. It was like Maria had unconsciously mixed the two energies and used it as her own. She wondered if Maria knew of this. It would have been highly unlikely for her to notice though since she had rarely seen Maria use magic.

Yoshiko slightly moved her arm, glad that the healing process was almost to completion. She could freely move any of her limbs without a problem and did so in a manner in which no one could see her moving. She had noticed a lot of things while she was waiting. She could still feel the onlooker staying out of sight while watching the proceedings. She wondered if there was something else that the watcher wanted to do.

Maria continued her healing process. She didn't care that Felecia and Elaine were watching her. She only cared about getting this over with so that she could be finally free from everything. She would be able to discard all of her memories and strive to do other things besides reminiscing about things that could have been in her long immortal life. Her fingers had become tender with the exhausting amount of energy that she was using. She wasn't even surprised that her eyesight had blurred or the fact that she could barely keep herself up. Only her strong determination kept her at her task.

"Are you really aware of the consequences?" asked Elaine cautiously.

"Do? you think I would be? doing this blindly?" asked Maria tiredly. She couldn't help the slur in her words. She couldn't even keep her eyes open now. She was exhausted and she was running out of energy. Her mind was slowly getting befuddled and it showed in her speech. "Mum said to wait for her? I went to find her? I didn't know that I did find her? I'm still looking? I'm still waiting? Mum said to wait?" muttered Maria as her body was starting to shut down because of the stress of the healing process.

Suddenly strong arms wrapped around Maria into a fierce hug and a silver haze surrounded all four of them. They were all inside a bubble that was filled with healing energies from all the suns and stars everywhere. Silver eyes blazed with energy as she looked around the moon for the first time. She could see the shocked looks of Felecia and Elaine and knew exactly who they were. She was piecing together the mound of information that she had been pummelled with by the ring that adorned her finger.

"Talia?" whispered Elaine in shock. She wasn't sure she believed what she was seeing since it was Talia and yet the magic that she wielded was that of her youngest sister's. She had seen the person in front of her on many occasions and had never suspected a single thing. Yoshiko had never said anything and hadn't implied anything either. "What are you doing here? How?"

Felecia was also shocked to see this person whom Elaine identified as Talia. With the way that Talia was dressed in a robe that befitted an immortal and the magical prowess to tame all of the suns and stars in existence, it would mean that this Talia was the same immortal as Elaine's sister. Her mind tried to believe what she was seeing. She thought that Talia would only become Silvia when Talia had finished her mortal life. "This is not possible." stammered Felecia as she tried to hold Elaine back. It was evident that any interference would result in unimaginable pain by the culprits.

"Hello Silvia, I've missed you." whispered Maria weakly as she looked at the blur that was holding her. She could feel the warmth of her lover and knew that it must just be her imagination that she was seeing her and feeling her. Her mind believed that she was nearing the end of her immortal life. She would be sent to the sea of mortal souls shortly. She could feel the last of her energies pass onto her patients and knew with confidence that they had been healed with her dying touch.

"I've missed you as well, Maria." Silver eyes stared into blue eyes that obviously were clouded over. She could feel the body beneath hers becoming more relaxed by the second. It would be only a little longer before the sea of mortal souls would take her if she hadn't appeared and had only stood watch. "Rest, my love, I will handle everything else."

Maria smiled weakly but closed her eyes. Her body became limp and Felecia and Elaine turned to each other in comfort. The entire moon looked like it was going to weep since a magical wind had risen and swept the dusty area. She was motionless as she stayed in the arms of her lover. However silver eyes continued to blaze on.

"That is enough Silvia. You can't bring her back this time." said a defeated Felecia.

Silvia smiled mainly to herself. She had no intention of stopping. She was already half way through with the healing process and knew that it was not for naught. Her eyes had seen a lot more than Felecia or Elaine could since her body was partially blocking their view. "Please be quiet. I'm trying to concentrate."

"Silvia?" called Elaine but she was interrupted by Silvia.

"She isn't dead. It is quite the opposite of what you are thinking. She is still breathing and is?" Silvia completed the final touches to the healing process and smiled like a Cheshire cat. "She is perfectly fine and will be awake in a few hours." Silvia stood up abruptly while carrying Maria in her arms. She turned to face the two stunned immortals. "So if you don't mind, I will take my leave and take her somewhere nice to wake up. I believe the two of you will send our two friends back to the mortal realm?"

Elaine was about to open her mouth to answer her youngest sister but Felecia's hand was over her mouth. She stared at Felecia as if she had grown a horn or something since this was very unusual behaviour for Felecia. However she waited for Felecia to continue her investigation since she had that look of intrigue in her eyes.

"What is your name?" asked Felecia, aware that she had called her by her goddess name from the shock. She had not been thinking straight and knew that things could develop in a negative way unless she was certain about what she saw in front of her. Her blue eyes were scrutinizing as if she were staring at a specimen on a dissecting table. "What is your name?" she repeated.

"In which realm are you referring to?" asked Silvia as if she were having a leisurely stroll in the park. It was as though healing Maria and making sure that all was alright had been a cinch. She had completed a complex healing process that Maria was unaware of. Only Felecia and a few others had seen it since it was a technique that was only shown to those that were in Christine's family. Her hands had danced among the threads of magical energy to achieve her goal of stopping Maria from being thrown into the sea of mortal souls. She smiled as she answered Felecia's question since her question had earned her a scolding look. "In the mortal realm they know me as Talia but in the immortals realm, I am Silvia of the sun and stars. So who do you want to talk to? Do you want to talk to the goddess or the mortal? Because I am both although at the moment I am more a goddess."

"How is this possible? When you were thrown into the sea of mortal souls, you should have forgotten everything. There is no way that you could have been reborn with your memories intact." explained Felecia incredulously. Her blue eyes were critically analysing Silvia for any falsehood in her answers.

Silvia smiled again. She negligently lifted her hand where the blue rose diamond ring on its silver band caught the light and sparkled. She could still remember the time that it was given to her by Maria as clearly as if it were only yesterday.


Chapter 15

[Twelve mortal years ago?]

"Elder, Elder!" called young Talia as she raced through the cornfields and headed up to the main house where the elder was. Her grey eyes were vibrant as she spotted her quarry. Her little frame allowed her to squeeze through the door before it was fully open and get to the side of the person she was looking for. "Elder?"

Yoshiko stood in front of the sink. She had been doing minor chores that were required of her as a mortal since she had removed herself from the immortal realm. Her blue eyes looked down to her side to see an excited Talia bouncing around on the balls of her feet. She smiled at the young girl knowing full well that she had been in the fields all morning. "Yes, Talia, what is it?"

"I finished my chores and was out in the corn fields. I had a nap in the shade and had the most amazing dream." said Talia excitedly. She fairly bounced as she spoke and her eyes lit up with each word. It was almost as if happiness had engulfed her and wouldn't let her go. With a gesture from Yoshiko, Talia sat at the table as a cup of juice was placed in front of her. She sipped the cup thirstily.

"Tell me about this dream." prompted Yoshiko gently.

Talia smiled and stared at her cup as she tried to remember the dream. She could remember it hazily but had a feeling as if it were real. She tried to clear the image that she was trying to see. Her grey eyes looked up from her cup and could see the sparkle in the blue old eyes in front of her. Somehow she felt more at ease and the images that she was trying to remember became clearer as if she were standing there on another world.

Yoshiko sat there waiting and knew that Talia would need a little push. So she had gently prodded Talia with a little magic and the results were astounding. Her blue eyes widened as Talia's eyes turned silver and an aura of immense power seemed to surround her small body. She could see that this dream was more than it seemed and only had a feeling about it before. So she waited and listened to the story that Talia was going to weave.


Silvia of the sun and stars stood on a grand field of vibrant flowers. Her silver eyes looked around and she could feel the beauty seep deep into her skin, into her soul. She gently closed her eyes and began to swirl around in circles. She was dancing. Dancing to a tune that only her ears could hear and her mind was at peace with her surroundings. She could feel the energies of the land call to her.

Silvia danced around in an arc and felt the land submit to her will. She could sense the energies of the land become excited as she swept her hand through the natural energies. Her own magical energy filled her body and made her glow as bright as any sun. Her silver eyes became alive with happiness that brightened all of the plants around her. She smiled as the flowers seemed to stand up straighter and follow her every movement.

Slowly she came to a halt as sweat plastered her hair to her forehead and she was too numb to feel how tired her body was. Her duties for the day were finished. She had given energy to the land and it had rejoiced at her tender touch. Gradually she turned around to see a perfect smile that was only meant for her. It automatically put a smile on her face as well, as she approached the one person who held her heart.

"That was beautiful." remarked Maria as she sat there entranced by Silvia.

Silvia smiled and casually sat down next to Maria. Her silver eyes swept the land once more to see the magnificent view before her attention was fully captured by Maria. A soft, gentle hand held her hands in Maria's lap and she could feel that Maria was actually nervous since her hands were ever so slightly trembling. Concerned silver eyes looked deep into blue and she could tell that Maria was hiding something.

A soft finger was gently placed on Silvia's lips to prevent her from speaking. Maria was unsure of where or how she should explain what was bothering her. She knew that Silvia had sensed her minor distress but she could see that Silvia was going to be patient. It was one trait that was rarely shown to others besides her. So she carefully soaked up the support and love that radiated from Silvia before she began.

Gently Maria removed her finger and caressed Silvia's face. She could feel the smooth skin that was soft and warm. Slowly she moved forward and lightly pecked Silvia on the full lips before nestling close as arms surrounded her. She sighed contentedly but knew that Silvia was waiting. "I made you a gift?" started Maria as she looked directly at Silvia to make sure that she was listening. "I want you to promise me that you will always wear it or have it on you. I want you to promise me this before I show it to you."

"I promise." said Silvia succinctly.

Carefully reaching into her robe, Maria lifted out a small box. She held it out to Silvia and watched as Silvia opened it with care. She smiled at the wondrous look that she received and only nodded her head. Her blue eyes watched as Silvia lifted the gift out of its box and stared at the shining gem that seemed to glow.

Silvia stared at the little gift with awe. She had never received something like this before. It was a ring with a blue sparkling gem shaped like a rose on a silver band. It was simple and elegant. The ring dangled effortlessly off a silver chain that now was grasped in Silvia's fingers. She looked closer to see the detail that the crafter had taken care of to allow the gem to sparkle as it did in the waning light of day. Her silver eyes looked back at Maria for an explanation.

"I made it specifically for you. I thought you might like it. I picked out the design and found the gem. I also did a few other things to it but you don't need any specifics." explained Maria as she stared at the ring and then lovingly at Silvia.

"It is exquisite." replied Silvia. She hastily put the chain around her neck and clasped the chain closed. She smiled as she looked down and felt the cool metal start to warm against her skin. She wondered what those other specifications that Maria had made were and gently probed it with her magical energy. She was a little surprised to feel a warm feeling touch her soul and it eased her mind. She had closed her eyes momentarily as she memorised the feeling even though she didn't have to. Slowly silver eyes opened and she stared at blue enquiring eyes. "I love you." said Silvia simply before she sealed the memory with a kiss.


Talia stopped talking. She slowly rested her head on top of her folded arms and began to doze off. Yoshiko had not expected anything less since Talia had unknowingly used magic to coax the dream out of her memory. She smiled as she negligently cradled Talia in her arms and walked upstairs to set her down to rest. Her smile slowly faded at the peaceful look that plastered Talia's face. Sad eyes watched since it was clear that this one memory would not surface ever again until Silvia had returned. She wished that there was something that she could do but at the moment she just had to watch.


[At present, back on the moon?]

Silvia stared at the blue rose diamond ring and smiled at the memory of receiving it from Maria. She could remember what she had done that day and what they had done together after Maria had presented her with the ring. Her eyes watered slightly from knowing that her previous actions would have prevented her from ever being able to claim what was rightfully hers. Silver eyes looked up towards Felecia and Elaine who were looking at the ring enquiringly.

"I have always had this ring with me while I was a mortal. I didn't know what it meant or if it tied me to some place. All I knew was that this ring was important to me and that I needed to keep it with me at all times. There was little effort on that part since the ring would always find me. It would always return to me whenever I had misplaced it somewhere. I thought it were just a gift from the immortals at the time in exchange for my memories." explained Silvia as she cradled Maria in her hold. "You see, I thought that the immortals had taken away my childhood memories so I could have that ring. I went about trying to get an explanation to find out who I truly was. It was then that I had met the elder who took me in and cared for me."

"The elder at the corn field." interrupted Elaine. She was a little startled that she had spoken her thoughts and knew that she was getting a questioning glance from Silvia. On the other hand, Felecia was staring at her as if she had blown up the mortal world in a crazy frenzy. She knew that she had to be quiet so that Silvia, her youngest sister, could explain. However now she had to side track the explanation so that she could explain how she knew about the corn field. "I read a report from another immortal that explained a few things about the happenings at the corn field where the elder was staying."

Silvia continued her explanation. "Quite a few years later I had found out that the ring actually resembled those that the few select royals wore. It was only on my last mission to Ruric's kingdom did I understand that I did not belong to them. They had found a few differences from theirs to mine since only my one seemed to sparkle even though there was no light. It was only when I was back at Blaster organisation that everything came back to me. You see, Maria had actually used her magical energy to force me into a shield to confine me. The energy from that actually released the seal that was placed on the ring after I was thrown into the sea of mortal souls. The ring actually stored all of Maria's memories from the time she created it to the time that she gave it to me. It also stored all of my memories from the time that I was given it. So since I have never let anyone else have it and it is bound to my soul, all of my memories returned to me whole. I am Silvia of the sun and stars."

"So what will you do now little sister?" asked Elaine endearingly, showing that she accepted the outcome of the events just passed. She smiled as Felecia seemed to ease as well. It seemed like they were both on edge in case the person in front of them was an impostor.

"I will take her to the place that she gave me this ring. We will return to the immortal realm once we are ready to face the rest of the immortals. So until then we will be out of touch for a while. However I am sure that the moon and the sun will return to how it should be." replied Silvia as she smiled at her eldest sister.

"Take care of her and I will pass on the message to your other brothers and sisters as well as mother and father. Go now and I will take care of the rest while Felecia will surely return to the immortal realm to sort out the fiasco that is happening up there after today." said Elaine before she smiled at Felecia who looked resigned at the prospect of having to deal with the aftermath.

"Excuse us then? See you in a few days." replied Silvia before she vanished into thin air without leaving a clue that she had even been there.


[Many mortal years later?]

Yoshiko stood in the kitchen of the blaster organisation home base. She was hovering over a large pot since she was making stew for the day. Her blue eyes sparkled as she stared at her wrinkling hands and scooped up a handful of herbs to sprinkle into the stew. She moved with grace and danced around enjoying her hobby with as much fun as she always had. The years of being mortal had aged her body but inside she was still the same as before. Her joints would crack now and then but she flowed smoothly around that it looked as though she were a young lady.

Blue eyes fell to the blue dress that she wore which was longer than she remembered. She could see everything clearly and yet she was confined to this body. Her mind had circled twice over about her own decision but she was glad. She had solved the problem that had been happening with the mortal world and had also resolved a few matters in the immortal realm. Her body could still feel the magical energies that flowed around her but she didn't use any. She chose not to so that she could fit in more easily to her mortal role. Her long weeks of being away on business had ended as soon as Michaela was old enough to do the long treks of shopping herself. So she was left with plenty of time to just wander the grounds and think.

Yoshiko missed the immortal realm but she was at peace with herself. There was nothing that she needed to do. Everyone was happy and it was the only thing that really mattered. She had heard on the wind that a few people whom she had identified as being immortals had been looking for her. They had not recognised her which was a blessing since they had only been looking for her other identities. She had kept this identity safe and knew that she could firmly escape the responsibilities that would burden her shoulders on her return. She did miss it a little but she was more content with just living as an immortal for the time being. She considered it as a well earned holiday.

Yoshiko turned her head swiftly at the sound of the kitchen door swinging open. Her blue eyes brightened at the three people who entered. She smiled widely at them as she turned to listen to what the youngest one said who was a member of the blaster organisation and the top dog in the current list of members. Her name was Annette and she nodded her head in respect.

"Mrs. Austere, I'm sorry to have to disturb you but these two guests arrived to see the boss. They happened to find the cooking smelling very enticing. I'm sure that the other members will be down shortly for lunch since it is our only recorded holiday. I will call the retirees down as well." informed Annette. "Do you mind taking care of them while I go?"

Yoshiko smiled at the polite mannerism. Her eyes sparkled as she spoke next. "Thank you Annette, I will entertain these guests while you go. Make sure to inform the boss first though." she replied as Annette left in a little hurry. Her blue sparkling eyes were still staring at the two guests who had not aged at all over all the years that she had been confined to this one body. She hugged the two guests and used their mortal nicknames. "How are you, Nester and Talia?"

"We are fine and happy." replied Silvia as she responded to her mortal name. She nudged the giggling Maria as she suspected that Maria had seen her hesitate but quickly recovered. "I see that you are still dancing and cooking as usual, Mum."

Yoshiko smiled at the sentiment. It had been a long time since someone had called her by her nickname that she had acquired around the time the organisation was being founded. Her blue eyes danced with unknown joy at seeing the two people that she cherished and had given up her immortal life for. It was hard to keep a smile from gracing her lips at seeing her work completed successfully. "Are you here for the holiday?" asked Yoshiko with a giggle.

Suddenly five female heads popped into the kitchen. Yoshiko looked amusedly at Silvia and Maria since they were seeing the other members for the first time. She speculated at what they were thinking and knew that one of them would most likely be counting how many gifted there were. She could see that two of the members who were gifted were eyeing the two guests as if they had been offended in some way. However the five members took their seats and turned a blind eye at the guests. Yoshiko could barely contain herself, she wanted to laugh out loud at the ridiculous situation that Silvia and Maria had put them in at being present.

"We are here partly for that and a few other matters that need to be sorted." continued Maria after their little interruption. She smiled as she spoke and her dark fašade was kept securely in place since the five members had arrived. "I'm sure that we will hold the business part later on after the party is over. Speaking of which, how many have you got under your wing now?"

Yoshiko smiled as she saw the mask fall into place. This was the Maria who had filled the organisation with its success. She could feel the cool exterior that Maria was putting on and knew that Silvia would do the same unknowingly. She suspected that it was so ingrained in them that it was like a second skin that they wore with ease. She wondered how that would change when they returned to the immortal realm. "We have these five here and the one that you met earlier. They are Mary, Tory, Helen, Paige, and Elizabeth. They are all valuable members and had to take the test. I'm sure that you will never have to though." replied Yoshiko as she toyed with her five eavesdroppers.

"So when can we see the boss to talk? Rumour around here is that the organisation is a shell of what it used to be. I'm sure that we will be able to change that." commented Maria as she played along with Mum's joke. She had seen the twinkle in her eyes but what she had said had been true. She could feel the rage coming from behind her and knew that the five women had felt insulted.

Suddenly the kitchen door swung open and Michaela marched in with a purpose. She was now a middle aged woman. Her face was set as though she were ready to tackle another business related matter. Her hazel eyes glanced around the room seeing the five members and stopped dead on seeing the two guests that Annette had informed her about. However she recognised them immediately and the business aura around her faded away as a smile broke her face. Her hazel eyes lit up as she stood there looking at her two friends. She was oblivious to the five stares she was receiving.

"Hello little Michaela." greeted Silvia softly so that the five eavesdroppers did not hear. She ruffled Michaela's hair childishly and was amused by the ogling eyes that swept her way looking as though they had seen an alien. She ignored them as she gave Michaela a long warm hug. "It has been a while now. How have you been?"

Michaela smiled from ear to ear as she hugged Maria as well. "I've been very good. Business is going smoothly. What brings you both here? There must be a million things that you need to do with all of the responsibilities that you have." replied Michaela with a wide grin. Maria and Silvia could see that she had grown from being an adorable child to a lovely young woman who could be gentle or fierce.

"I think it would be best to discuss business later." said Maria as she slowly released Michaela a bit stiffly. She could see them clearly in her sights and tried to ignore them the best that she could but those five members looked so funny. Their antics were amusing as well as they tried to talk quietly but were actually trying to eavesdrop with little success. "There is a party right?"

"We were invited." reminded Silvia.

Michaela smiled appreciatively as Maria helped to serve lunch with Silvia since she had been gently nudged over to the table with the five members. "Well, you are actually late for the invitation that we somehow managed to send to you. I'm really surprised that you could finally make it. All we heard about the two of you was that you were busy sorting out various matters. So I just assumed that you would be too busy but it is a good surprise to see you." replied Michaela as she collected her serving from Maria's outstretched hand. They all sat and started to eat as everyone was served and a few plates were left for the stragglers.

"Did you tell them that we were coming?" asked Maria around mouthfuls.

"I'm sure that no one has told them anything besides lunch is served. They are old and grumpy most of the time except for Misty." replied Michaela with a mischievous smile. She glanced over at her two friends who could see that they were going to cause quite a shock to their old friends. "Well Misty isn't as grumpy; she is more? um? talkative. Mary had made the mistake of falling into a conversation with her, mind you it was mostly one sided."

Yoshiko smiled as she ate her favourite meal. She loved this stew and her likes were shared by all of the members, new and old. Her expectations of the next few moments were not disappointed as she watched the retirees enter. She noticed that they had gone straight to their prepared bowls and had not seen their two guests. It was mainly luck that Silvia and Maria were seated between Michaela and herself.

"I remember the good old days," started Misty, "when most of my work was reconnaissance. I could wield a sword that was bigger than me and heavier." She didn't even notice that anyone was listening and didn't really care since the young members were only interested in their own things and missions. However she continued on. "I could get into any place without being noticed and get out without anyone being alerted about my presence. I could make mist to conceal my whereabouts when I needed to. I remember one day particularly where I had to fight two armies that had a feud with each other. Obviously the feud ended after I was finished with them and now their kingdoms are at peace thanks to the two Princes who were present."

Yoshiko smiled gleefully as twin smirks appeared on Maria and Silvia's faces. Her sparkling blue eyes were fortunate to see the look of shock that plastered Misty's face as well as the other two retirees when Misty was ousted by Silvia with a pillow duty remark involving Princess Rebecca of Ruric's Kingdom. She would have laughed her head off but that wasn't the character that she was playing. She had to be a sensible old woman with a small smile; although if anyone were to look at her, they would be able to see the humour in her eyes.

Yoshiko was pleased with the rest of the day. They did have a little disagreement between Annette and Silvia but everything worked out. She had managed to calm Annette down after the mock test and even seen the humour that now shown out of everyone's eyes. She was still aware that most of the new members were awed by Silvia and Maria, being who they were, but knew that there was another reason for them to come personally to the blaster organisation.

Yoshiko sat by the fire with everyone present reviewing the stories that Misty shared over the years. It was quite a feat considering each story was about one of the missions that the organisation embarked on during her time and they had been on many. She was glad though that everyone was present for what Maria and Silvia had in store for her.

Silvia stood next to the fire mantel and faced Yoshiko with blazing silver eyes. Maria also stood next to her with shining blue eyes and Yoshiko knew that her time on the mortal plane was up. She glanced around the room to see the confused mortal faces. She smiled at all of them to ease some of the tension but knew that an explanation was required and she felt that Maria or Silvia should explain. She was awarded by her patience as Silvia spoke.

"You have completed a long and hard journey for a mortal. You have founded the blaster organisation and restored peace throughout the lands. It is with great honour that on behalf of the immortals in the immortal realm, you have been summoned." stated Silvia with great pride. Her blazing silver eyes looked at Mum with a smile as she helped her up.

"What do you mean?" asked Michaela unsure of what was unfolding before her.

"Caitlyn Austere has been chosen to come with us to the immortal realm." explained Maria gently. "Her life here is over and she will continue in the immortal realm as one of us hopefully if that is what is granted to her. It is time for her to say her farewells to all of you. She will not be able to return once the final decision is made."

Yoshiko turned to the room and smiled widely at the sad faces that she saw. She could see the respect that everyone had for her but she knew that her time was up. She had purely been maintaining her body through magic and sheer willpower. It was only now that Silvia and Maria had shown up that she actually really looked at what was left of her mortal body. She could see that she had withered into an old lady but her spirit was strong and held her body together only because she was who she was.

"Don't be sad. Look at the bright side, I won't be nagging you about eating." said Yoshiko light heartedly. She could hear their thoughts and knew that some of them were also thinking about how they would be missing the incredible food that she cooked. She would have laughed but it was inappropriate. "I will be seeing all of you shortly anyways. I'm sure that these two won't be able to stop me." said Yoshiko as she smiled with a twinkle in her eyes that Silvia and Maria could not read.

"Shall we go?" asked Silvia softly, sincerely.

Yoshiko nodded her head fiercely. There were a few things that she had to do on her return but firstly she wanted to reclaim her youthful look. She smiled and waved good bye at everyone before turning back towards Silvia and Maria who smiled warmly back at her. There was little time to think before she was wisped away with Silvia and Maria.


Chapter 16

[Afterwards?in the immortal realm?]

Yoshiko stood in the middle of the immortal realm's formal entrance. She was amused to see that there were two guards posted and a lot of immortals busily going about their own business. Only a few eyes actually glanced her way since she was being escorted by the two guardians who were well known higher beings by now. Her blue eyes sparkled excitedly as she felt and looked at her renewed immortal self. She was glad that she had returned whole and Maria and Silvia had not noticed that she still had a magical barrier around her soul that protected her true identity. So the only face that they saw was that of Caitlyn Austere.

"Welcome to the immortal realm." announced Silvia as she gestured around her at the glamour and purity that surrounded them. She was a little off balanced since her charge had not ogled at her surroundings or seemed overexcited by it either. She was a little confused but put it aside as she hooked arms with Maria and they started to walk.

Yoshiko looked around to see that there had been little differences to the immortal realm that she remembered. There were more guards around which were actual immortals and not just something created by an immortal like she did with Furry. Her blue eyes sparkled as she saw the improvements that she could issue once everything was cleared. "So where are we off to?" asked Yoshiko in a childlike manner.

Maria smiled and replied "We are off to the higher beings sanctum. I have no idea why they changed the name to that but it is what it is called now. It used to be the higher beings meeting hall. Obviously someone must have objected to that."

"I would believe that it must have been your mother's idea after that fiasco of us returning." said Silvia with a light laugh. She smiled wickedly as Maria pouted at being picked on. "Don't worry my dear, I think my parents had something to do with it as well as a few of my siblings and others within the higher beings sanctum."

"It sounds very interesting." commented Yoshiko as they walked. It had actually been her last suggestion made before she started to plan her leaving. However back then it was not something that the members wanted to discuss since there were only a few of them. She knew for certain that there were more members now and soon they were going to have another problem to deal with.

It was only a short while later before Yoshiko was standing within the walls of the higher beings sanctum. She was curious to see that Maria and Silvia stayed by her side instead of seating themselves next to Lady Felecia's left. The immortal who had previously sat there had retired after being convicted of having connections with Troy's atrocities. She was glad that every one had agreed to his removal although he had done some magnificent work in the past.

Yoshiko nodded her head respectfully to the quiet room and knew what this was. She was being judged like so many immortals before her had been. However she remembered that she had been the one who sat where Felecia was. She smiled at everyone and waited patiently, knowing that speaking on her part was improper.

"Welcome Caitlyn Austere to the higher beings sanctum. I am Lady Felecia of the fates and you have been brought before us to be judged." explained Felecia in a commanding tone that bristled with impatience. It almost looked as though she were putting on this act to appease the other immortals in the room. "It is within our power to either grant you or deny you immortality. However you are in a unique position of also being granted higher being status if you are granted immortality."

Yoshiko half listened to the explanation as her blue eyes searched every single face. She saw Christine and Christopher who were seated right behind Felecia and also their children who sat in the same row. She even spotted a few other immortals that she knew personally and then her eyes were glued to black eyes. She stared at Lila for what seemed like an eternity before she heard her own voice being projected throughout the room.

"I have nothing left to give but what is left;

Words of wisdom will fall on deaf ears.

I thank you for giving me a life to live among friends and family;

To be able to experience the joys and sorrows of what all people have in life.

I leave you with my journal that I have kept secret over the years;

May you learn and become better than I will ever be.

With what little life I have left,

I grant you your birthright and return to you immortality.

Fare thee well all of my children?"

"This was what the chroniclers recorded without comprehending any of it. They were only alerted to this by the return of both of the guardians. The guardian for the sun and stars will be indebt to you." explained Felecia as she sat in her high seat on the podium within the halls of the higher beings. Her blue eyes studied the blonde woman that sat comfortably in the seat that had been conjured for this meeting. She was well aware that both guardians, Maria and Silvia, were a little confused to the meaning of it all. She was also at a lost as to why such an old report would only surface now when the blonde woman in front of her had reached the end of her mortal life with old age.

"Silvia might feel that way but I only did it for the benefit of the immortal realm." replied Yoshiko which confused everybody within the meeting. She smiled at all of the confused faces and could feel the nervous tension in the room as if somebody was playing a trick on them all. However her eyes once more met Lila's and she could hardly break the contact knowing that she had no idea of what had happened with Lila and her situation.

"What are you saying?" asked Silvia a little stunned to hear the words coming out of the woman's mouth. She wasn't even sure if she was hearing properly. She didn't even understand why they had replayed something that Caitlyn had said when she almost died. She stood closer to Maria as they both were afraid that she would lose her chance at being an immortal when she was so wise and caring.

Yoshiko gracefully stood and had a good look at the robe that she now wore once she had stepped into the immortal realm. She was amazed that it was just a plain white robe. She danced around trying to eye every single piece of material that clothed her body and smiled at the outrageous looks that she was receiving. "This will not do." she muttered to nobody in particular. Slowly she closed her eyes and felt the tendrils of unused magical energy flare to her hands. She weaved the most beautiful robe that the immortal's had ever seen. It was actually an old robe that she usually wore but had hidden it away when she was planning to leave all those centuries ago.

Lila stood upright from her seat near Christine and watched with wide black eyes at what she was witnessing. Her entire body felt the familiar magical energies that belonged to only one person. Her body responded without her permission as she glided onto the main floor and stood directly in front of the cheeky woman. "Is it really you?"

"Is there something that you require Lila?" asked Yoshiko politely but everyone could see the cool fašade that she put on. Her blue eyes were guarded as she stared at Lila. All of her senses were screaming at her to run from the one person who had given up on her, on them. She casually put on the robe and coolly took her seat again without a care in the realm.

"Are you Yoshiko?" asked Lila as she started to get frustrated by the attitude that was displayed in front of everyone. She was about to burst in fury if this person was not her since the woman would then be seen as being very rude to a person who was of a higher class than she was. She stepped up to the chair that they had provided in sincerity since this meeting was expected to take longer than normal. "Are you Yoshiko?"

"What is it to you?" asked Yoshiko without holding back her own anger at the woman. She could feel all of the emotions that she had locked away because of the hurt that Lila had caused. She could feel everyone watching her carefully and knew that they would not understand. No one would understand except those that she had contacted and knew her. "Why do you care?"

Lila looked hurt and it also looked like she was about to cry. Her emotions were on a rollercoaster. She could feel that her heart was telling her that the person in front of her was actually who she thought it was but her mind was having doubts. There was no real reason for her to actually believe that this person was actually Yoshiko. She had even introduced herself as Caitlyn Austere.

Maria slowly approached her mother and slowly placed her arm around her shoulders. She could see that Lila was making a spectacle of herself and breaking down in the middle of the meeting was not a positive option. She could see that her lover was facing the person who they had called friend with an unreadable expression on her face. However she steered her mother away to the side where she could pull herself together.

"What is your game?" asked Silvia directly.

Yoshiko smiled. She could feel that she was being unsettled by Lila, and Silvia was slowly bringing back her centre. She was slowly calming down and wondered if she had made the right decision in returning. It was the only way for her to save the immortals that she had begun to take a liking to and now she was facing a dilemma. She wondered what was next. She had played this scene out in her head many times and none of them had accounted for Lila being present. Why does she have to be here?

"Why are you being like this?" asked Silvia as she was bewildered.

Yoshiko had had enough. That last thought and the sniffling Lila had broken her. She rose gracefully from her seat as if she ruled the entire room and with her motion came magical power that the likes of no one in the room could imagine. Magical threads gathered in her hands as she watched the stunned and scared immortals. Slowly her fašade fell and with it her mask that hid her true identity. She turned to Lila who looked at her with tearful eyes. "Are you happy now? I removed Troy from your presence. I have brought your daughter back to you. I have made sure that your daughter has stayed alive and well as well as given her lover her immortality back. What more do you want from me when you have taken everything that I wanted away from me?"

Felecia was immediately at her friend's side trying to restrain her and calm her down. She could see the hurt that she had bottled up inside of her for almost one thousand and six hundred years. Yoshiko's anger had manifested into magical energy and the room trembled under her wrath. She had to do something to try and contain her friend but knew that they could not change the setting or kick any of the immortals out since the judging rules were in place.

"What more do you want?" yelled Yoshiko as her blue eyes blazed with unspeakable power. Her eyes were only on Lila and everyone else seemed to fade from her vision. She had wanted to make Lila at least happy. She had done what she had to, to fulfil what she had promised since the union between Lila and Troy was annulled as soon as she had broken the ancient magic embedded in the rings. She had made sure that Maria had not died on many occasions and had gone one step further by making sure that Maria's lover was returned to her fully. She had sacrificed everything, even her immortal soul for all she had done.

Suddenly a stricken look crossed Yoshiko's face. Pain filled her vision and she fell to her knees. She could feel the power within her growing since the anger she had felt had released the restraints that she had placed up. Her blue eyes dulled to an almost black as pain erupted throughout her being. She felt hands immediately on her who belonged to Felecia and she tried gently to push her away. However she heard the woman go flying but was caught safely in Silvia's arms.

"Stay away from me." yelled Yoshiko as the power grew stronger within her body. She had cut herself away from the immortal world to rejuvenate her magical power within herself. She had placed magical restraints in her body so that she could store up as much as she could without taxing on what she was using to defend herself or others. She had not realised how much she had stored within her body and now she wanted to slap herself for her own stupidity.

A blue light flared around the room emanated from Yoshiko's body. She could feel the fabrics that held her body together become more fragile as it tried to rip her apart. She carefully rose to her feet although it was obvious that the strain was intense. She could tell that the fabrics of time were starting to tear because of the enormous magical energy that was radiating from her body.

Lila fought her daughter's grip and ran towards Yoshiko. This was not going to happen. She could see what the power inside of Yoshiko was doing to her. She couldn't let it happen since there was more that Yoshiko could do for her and in return there was more that she could do for her. She tore a path through the magical energy that exuded from Yoshiko's body that formed a natural barrier around her. She could see the dull blue eyes and knew that she had to get there in time. Her hands were electrically shocked when she gently placed them onto Yoshiko's shoulders. However she held onto them for dear life as her black eyes filled with energy.

Yoshiko looked up sadly at Lila. She had not planned to return and cause harm to the one person that she truly cared about even though she was angry at her. It had never been her intention to leave but she had to when she lost hope in them since that was what Lila had done. In hopes of saving what was left of her heart, she ran away to the mortal realm and now she could see her actions for what they were. She was a coward.

"Please get away from me. Take everyone with you. Just leave me behind. You know what is to become of me after this. Please just let me go." pleaded Yoshiko as she tried to hold herself together but the strain was getting to her. A kaleidoscope of colours was shooting out of her body. Energy, natural, magical and pure, poured out of her from every pore as she tried to contain as much of it as she could. The stress on her fragile soul was showing as cracks appeared along her skin. White light was slowly but surely shining out of those cracks and Yoshiko screamed in terrible pain. Tears streamed down her face as she looked into black magical eyes that captured her soul tightly and grounded her so that she could fight longer and harder to live.

Lila could see the strain and the sweat that was so unlike the person that she loved. She had always seen Yoshiko as a strong woman, invincible at times but always gentle and caring. They had shared soft caresses and lips that defined that Yoshiko was incapable of causing true harm to anyone for no reason. She looked deep into those blue dull eyes and could see that she was only just hanging on.

Maria and Silvia hastily erected a shield around Yoshiko and Lila. Felecia and Elaine followed suit as Christine and Christopher were figuring out ways to retrieve Lila. All of the other immortals were moving away, as far away as they could. They were all scared by the return of the maker of their realm. They all felt it deep in their core that she was definitely the mother of all and knew that her power would most likely be able to destroy them all.

Lila stepped closer to Yoshiko so that the lengths of their bodies were touching. Her black eyes filled with magical energy for her own protection were gazing deep into Yoshiko's unshielded soul. However all she could see was that Yoshiko loved her more than anything and would do anything to make sure that she and her family remained safe and alive. Her heart pulled her closer to Yoshiko and before she knew what she was doing, her lips gently caressed Yoshiko's lips. Her arms circled around Yoshiko and she slowly closed her eyes as the kiss was returned. She felt Yoshiko's arms circle around her shoulders and suddenly darkness claimed her?


Where am I? Lila looked around but there was no light to be seen to show her where she was. She felt cold and alone as she tried to get her bearings. It was as if she were floating in midair. She couldn't feel solid ground and the area around her was of nothing. Her heart began to race as panic tried to claim her but she took a few deep breaths to calm herself down.

Lila could tell that this place was not natural. She had never seen such a dark and dreary place that was filled with nothing. She remembered the room that she had been isolated in but that didn't even come close to what she felt here. What's going on? I need to get back to where Yoshiko is? She tried to call upon her own magical energy to form a light but it didn't work. She was powerless in this place. Hopelessness started to fill her heart as she tried to figure out a way to leave this place and return to Yoshiko's side.

"What would you give to return to her?"

Lila frantically looked about as soon as she heard what was being said. It was a male voice but she didn't know who it belonged to. Still all she could see was darkness and yet she had heard that voice. Whoever it was didn't seem angry or malicious. It was like they were just enquiring in a polite manner. She didn't feel as though it was something in her head but she knew that she could trust this voice. It was almost instinctive.

"I would give up my immortality to return to her side." replied Lila. She was still unsure if this was a figment of her imagination or a cruel joke on someone else's part. Slowly she tried to figure out where the voice was coming from. Her ears were cocked and she waited for the reply.

"What would you give for her life?"

"What are you trying to say? She isn't going to die. I'm going to stop her at any cost. I will die trying." replied Lila a slight heatedly at the absurd question. She didn't know who this person was but she knew that he was starting to get on her nerves. She didn't like it that she couldn't see him and the darkness was making it clear that she would remain separated from Yoshiko until she answered all of his questions.

"She has made several choices and all of them have consequences. This is the final consequence that she has to face and accept. She is not above consequences. She understands this and she will pay the price which she freely accepts. Otherwise she would not be in this position."

"What choices did she make that led her to this end?" asked Lila.

"The rings that bound you to another soul had powerful magic within them. She could not break it with her own magical prowess. She needed something more than herself to cut the union that was forged."

"How did she do it then?" asked Lila apprehensively now.

Suddenly a gentle female voice interrupted the conversation that was happening between Lila and the male voice. "Cut that out you old lump." chided the female voice. Slowly the darkness began to dissipate and the area around Lila became bright with blinding light. Two figures stood side by side in the far distance but in a blink of an eye they stood in front of Lila.

Lila didn't know what to think or say. She suddenly found that she was standing upright and her eyes were likely deceiving her. She saw a man and woman standing side by side but they could have been brother and sister since they were both blonde and blue eyed. They stood tall and demanding but their robes which were light blue gentled their harsh features. It was only when the female smiled that Lila could feel the warmth of a thousand suns run through her entire body. She couldn't believe her eyes. Who are they?

"I am Youshi and my husband is Ushiko. We are Yoshiko's parents, so to speak." said Youshi as if she had read Lila's thoughts. She smiled once more and her features gentled like she was looking at someone that she loved. Ushiko did not smile and his features remained hard and calculating. It was clear that these two people were powerful and the world that they were in was vaster than what Lila knew of.

"You have to help her if what you say is true." said Lila pleadingly. Her black eyes were tearful and strained as she tried to convey the urgency which she was currently in. She had to return to Yoshiko's side so that she could try to save her. However questions about Yoshiko began to spring to mind and she became quiet while her eyes were drawn within herself.

"She used the fabrics of her soul to break the union that the ring bestowed on you and 'the other'. She did this when she used the sword that 'the other' had enchanted as a catalyst; to break the union, restore an immortal life as well as break the hold that 'the other' had on the mortal realm, and to secure the safety of your daughter as well as her mate. So that is a lot of magic and she has to pay for the consequences." informed Ushiko boldly.

"Why would she do all of that?"

"Now that is a stupid question." replied Youshi. She smiled at her husband who smiled in tangent. It was clear that they loved each other and Lila could see their bond manifest physically by the way that their robes would constantly change the shade of blue on them in unison. "Why do you think she did it? Who do you think she did it for? Aren't you supposed to be smart?"

"How can she still love me after what I put her through?"

Youshi smiled and slowly released her hold on her husband to gently caress Lila's face. She smiled widely at the tearful face and gently moved forward to place a kiss on her forehead. "The only reason why we have interfered with her life at this moment in time, since we have actually stopped time and pulled you away, is to see you for the first time. You have held my daughter's heart for what seems to her as an eternity and she has conveyed this to me and her father on her last visit to us. We could not stop her even if she wanted us to since it was her choice. She chose to fall in love with you, well she didn't really choose but anyways she fell in love with you. No matter what pain you may cause her she is still in love with you."

Ushiko slowly stepped up behind Youshi and looked at Lila. "The real question is? do you still love her?" asked Ushiko as he stared deep into her soul seeing the truth there but needing her to confirm it. He actually liked Lila a lot and although she was the cause of his daughter's current situation, it wasn't her fault for what happened. He had already found the culprit that Yoshiko had caught and taken him from the immortal realm. He had him and was still figuring out what he should do to exact the right punishment since oblivion was too easy an option for him.

"I love her. I love Yoshiko." said Lila as she stared at Yoshiko's parents.

"Welcome to the family." replied Youshi and Ushiko in unison.


Lila slowly opened her eyes and saw blazing blue orbs staring concernedly at her. She slowly lifted her head to adjust to her surroundings but a burst of pain shot through her head and all she could do was slump back down and moan in pain. She closed her eyes and tried to will it away. Gradually her surroundings started to inform her of where she was. She felt strong arms holding her close and the warmth of a body at her back. Gently opening her eyes, she stared up once more into blazing blue orbs.

"Lie still. You must have the worst headache ever after the stunt that you pulled." said Yoshiko gently. She smiled widely and gently caressed Lila's face. "I thought I almost lost you until I figured out what you were doing. Well until I figured out what your instincts were telling you to do."

Lila was sort of out of it. She was sure that she had been standing before and hugging Yoshiko for dear life. She then had the strangest dream that she had met Yoshiko's parents. Slowly she looked around at her surroundings to find Maria and Silvia kneeling beside the both of them as well as Felecia and Elaine. She could hear Christine and Christopher in the background obviously shooing away the other higher beings from the room.

Lila slowly closed her eyes as she tried to listen to her body. She was sore all over and the headache had subsided since she stayed still. What fell on me? She could still move every part of her body which meant that nothing was broken but she felt weak as a newborn kitten. Her chest felt heavy and she could barely get enough air in. She could hear soft murmurings from Yoshiko which soothed her soul and slowly the welcoming darkness claimed her.

"Is she going to be alright?" asked Maria concernedly.

"She will be perfectly fine." replied Yoshiko sweetly as she cradled Lila closer into her embrace. She had been shocked when Lila had kissed her while she was being torn apart but something had happened. Lila had somehow managed to draw out the excess energy and absorb it into her own being. It was scary to see that she had managed to accomplish her task and smile before she collapsed into her arms. She wondered what had actually gone through Lila's mind because she could see magically that Lila was different from before.

Suddenly magic could be felt in the air and two people appeared directly behind Yoshiko. Yoshiko smiled as she knew exactly who they were. She had a tiny feeling that her parents were somehow involved to perform this small miracle. Her blue eyes looked up as she tilted her head back to see Youshi and Ushiko. "Hello, father and mother. I didn't expect you to drop in." said Yoshiko casually. She only just then realised that everyone around her except Lila and herself were bowing towards her parents with utmost respect.

"Did you think we would just interfere and run off like little children?" asked Ushiko laughing heartily as he smiled at his second favourite person in all of existence. He was glad to see that Yoshiko looked perfectly healthy thanks to Lila. He was amazed that they had managed to get Lila to perform as she did. "We wouldn't do that seeing how we are still unsure of the outcome."

"He is right deary. We can only suggest things to people and they make their own progress. It was just something we had to see in person rather than hear it from the chroniclers. You know how boring they can turn an event into." commented Youshi as she knelt and placed a gentle kiss on her daughter's forehead. She smiled beautifully as she looked at the two of them.

"Daughter, she will be exhausted when she wakes up again but she will be one of us. Make sure that she has plenty of rest and you know the drill. I will be expecting a visit from you later on though so don't forget it." informed Ushiko as he smiled happily at his daughter.

Youshi and Ushiko turned to leave since they had seen enough and had other important matters to attend to. Yoshiko waved good bye and promised to see them in the near future while the rest of the immortals continued to bow their heads and stay absolutely quiet throughout the whole affair. However Youshi turned her head back and smiled before she spoke. "Don't forget to bring your daughter, Maria." said Youshi before they were both gone.

Yoshiko was left staring at Maria as pieces of another puzzle started to fall into place and she looked down at the peacefully sleeping Lila. You didn't betray me. You've loved me all along. How could I have been so blind? However before her thoughts could run rampant she heard a small voice from Lila.

"Silly you, how could I not?"


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