This week’s Friday Fiction is hosted by the talented Patty Wysong @ her blog, Patterings. Click here to read and share more great fiction.
Author’s Ramblings: I’m afraid the story’s a bit muddle at this point (hence, the increasingly shorter installment,b ) but be assured, the end is fairly close. I can still see it-lol. It’s been a long week, but I thought I’d at least attempt to post this before midnight, so in keeping with that goal, I’m posting this installment as is. A bit of scene jumping happens, but it’s easy to keep track of, Eira @ her uncle’s house and family, then the DP and the White Phoenix. More fun to come, I promise! Anyway, it’s been an exhausting week, I’ve been getting quite a few things worked out for my fall writings, etc. so I haven’t had much time to keep up here, but thanks for all the comments (and emails!) Y’all are wonderful. Happy reading and have a great weekend!
RECAP: The DP and Eira have finally finished their epic, night-long conversation on…secrets. All has yet to be revealed, but for now, there is business to attend. Eira’s insisting on staying at her Uncle’s for breakfast, while the DP attempts to avoid his legend counterpart, the White Phoenix. Rory is also officially confirmed as Eira’s Lyrith.
HUNT FOR THE DARK PHOENIX : THE MINI RESCUE MISSION
The Master and apprentice duo appeared in the dining room as the morning meal was being served. The aura of darkness seemed to bind them together, as they moved silently as one, the matching cloaks flowing in their wake.
“Ah, Sorora. Good morning,” The Phoenix seated himself to her left, Eira taking the chair at his right. “Though I can’t say that there is anything good about seeing your plain face at this hour in the morning. I see age has done nothing for you, still as-”
“And the same to you as well!” The young woman sputtered, dropping her spoon in the broth. “Excuse me for returning the insult!”
“That was an insult?” He calmly passed her a napkin. “Your left sleeve. You really need to work on your comebacks, they are lacking.”
“You!” She snatched the cloth square from his hand and promptly threw it in his plate, stabbing it in the contents with one finger. A flicker of white energy rippled over her, erasing the stain on her blouse. “For someone as-ooh, why do I bother? I’ve been waiting all morning, since last night to-!”
“I’m not interested in hearing or doing whatever it is Tyla sent you here for.” He leaned back in his chair, allowing an android to replace the dish with a fresh serving. “And I’d appreciate it if you would save your breath and kindly refrain from mentioning anything Tyla-related.”
“Because if I don’t hear it,” The phoenix turned, one black-clad arm snaking out to catch her round chin in his gloved hand. “Then I don’t have to act on it.” He stood, moving his chair back, hands dropping to his side.
“However, I know the temptation is simply too much for such a young thing as you…so…” His hand flashed over the table, grabbing a fork and hooking her sausage out of her plate and into his. “I’ll leave. I wouldn’t want to ruin your breakfast.” The hand flashed out, snatching away Eira’s sausages as well.
“Hey!” Eira reached back for them, only to have her hand smacked away. “But I like those!”
“Not any more you don’t.” The phoenix sighed. “It’s illegal…can’t you smell it?”
Sorora frowned. “I wasn’t…” She leaned forward with a delicate sniff. Her nose wrinkled at once as she turned to glare at their host. “Why that-! He should be arrested for-!”
“Now, now…no business at the breakfast table. People are eating here. On second thought,” The hand caught hold of her ear, jerking her upwards to her feet. “It’d be best that you come with me. I wouldn’t want you causing trouble for everyone.”
“Hey! Ow…let go you-!” A brilliant flash of white light exploded outward from her chest. Sorora was flung backwards a few feet, but she recovered easily, the white fire brimming her eyes, the energy at her hands. “I’m not some little doll that you can-”
“You are causing trouble after all.” Spirals of black energy spun out from beneath the heavy cloak, and reached forward. “It seems we’ll have to finish this conversation elsewhere.”
“As if I can let you do that! You started it!”
“I wouldn’t have started if you hadn’t-”
“Don’t you dare try to make this my fault!”
“It’s always your fault.”
Sorora rolled her eyes. “Yes and for what reason, would you suppose that it always is?”
Eira watched them go, still happily stuffing her face as the two legendary figures exited, still bickering like children. Her mouth was still full when her uncle switched seats to sit beside her.
“Good morning, Eira.”
She swallowed quickly, downing the mouthful with a large gulp of fruit juice. “Hi yeah. G’morning.”
“Sleep well?” He passed her the season-shaker.
Her hand hesitated for a moment, then reached out and grabbed the bottle, liberally pouring the mixture over her heaping plate. “Fine. You?”
“Good to hear.” A large forkful was shoveled into her mouth, her attention focused on the quivering pudding in the cup before her.
“Yes…considering you weren’t in your room last night.”
“My room?” Eira switched plates, opting to hold the pudding cup in one hand.
“You shouldn’t eat sweets in the morning.”
“I’ll eat whafwever iz want.” Eira spoke around the spoon, choosing not to look at him.
“But it makes you grumpy.”
“Where did you go last night?”
“I can’t believe you’re asking me.”
“I have a right to know.”
“Why, because your stupid security system couldn’t find me?”
“Or what? Chessy was feeling hungry and you ran out of innocence to bait her with?”
“It seems…you’ve forgotten a-”
“Mysha still burns the milk when she makes custard.” Eira pushed her plate away, reaching for the serving bowl of fruit.
“Since when do you like fruit?”
Eira pushed the chair back from the table, pulling her feet up on the chair to sit cross-legged, she cradled the bowl in her lap and began to fill her mouth. “Since I felt like it.”
“The sugar content is going to-”
“I don’t care what it does to my powers, Unk!” She winced, wiping her forehead. “And the sooner you make them stop doing that…ow.” She stabbed the spoon into a slice of fruit and held the cold specimen up to her left temple. Sticky fruit juice trickled down her chin as she angled her head forward for it to drip back into the bowl. “The…more…inclined, I might be to listen to you for longer than five seconds.”
“Listen to me?” He scoffed. “I knew it…that-”
“Don’t call people names when you don’t know anything about them!”
“I know enough about him. He turned you-”
“I let him!” Eira glared at him with all the feeling she could muster. The heavy pounding in her head was becoming progressively worse. “Of my own free will…which is something you can’t even say.” She coughed, the spoon dropping into the fruit bowl as she cradled her head, feeling the energy beginning to rearrange inside of her.
“Ah, but niece, you make it sound as if you really don’t want to do this anymore.”
“I-I don’t…” Eira moaned, twisting handfuls of hair in her hands. “It’s too long.”
“You really shouldn’t have cut it in the first place. Besides, you look much better with it at this length-”
“Is it Chessy, Unk? Or do you just think it’s fun to…ohhh…my head.” The giant bowl of fruit splattered on the thick carpet as Eira sprang to her feet and to the nearest wall. She braced against it, grinding her head into the smooth surface.
“I can make it stop, Eira.”
“…d-don’t…want you to…” Eira gasped, backing away from him, feeling for the edge of the wall and the doorway leading out into the house. “Just leave me alone. Leave me out of your ridiculous…” Her legs began to tingle, the feeling continuing upwards, causing her to wobble as she staggered out of the dining room.
It took a few moments of concentration to pull on the energy around her before she gathered the strength to continue her walk down the hallway. Her uncle’s footsteps were behind her, slow, calm and quiet, his shadow looming forward as Eira began to run.
The bell rang from somewhere and Eira found herself standing at the front door, turning the locks to admit the guest. It was the best diversion her mind could handle.
Eira stood stared, dumbly, at the face and figure standing before her in the guest foyer.
The young woman standing opposite of her could have been a mirror image, excepting the shaggy crop of brown hair, the rest of the image seemed to fit, with a flabbergasted expression and decidedly black wardrobe.
“What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here!”
“Neither should you.”
“I have an excuse.”
Dana snorted. “Mine’s better. Bryan called.”
“Bryan! What happened?”
“A lot, especially since you left.” Dana reached in and pulled Eira out, closing the door behind her. “You look awful, you okay?”
“N-not really.” Eira rubbed her face and then yanked again at the long tendrils of hair. “Stupid hair.”
“Stupid hair?” Dana folded her into a hug. “I thought you liked your hair. What’s wrong with it? It’s pretty. I didn’t think you’d grow it out this long. Better, ne?”
“Ah…no…yes.” The pounding in her head began to fade. “You really shouldn’t do this for me.”
“As if I care. He can’t do anything to stop me…I should’ve spoken up sooner.”
“You did enough.” Eira buried her head in the crook of her sister’s neck. She could feel the faint thrums of healing energy radiating from the charm helping to regulate Dana’s gift.
“I could’ve done more. How are you managing?” Dana stiffened. “No, wait…what the-”
“I was just staying for breakfast.”
“Breakfast?” Dana sputtered. “For whatever reason that you’re here…breakfast? Of all the reasons to be here by yourself, you’re here for-”
“I’m not here by myself! Master Phoenix came too!”
“Master Phoenix…? The legendary phoenix is here?” Dana’s eye grew wide as she held her sister at arm’s length. “Eira what did you do that for? You’ve got to get out of here, the both of you!”
“Well, he’s not really here right now…he kind of-”
“I thought you said you weren’t here by yourself.”
“Technically?” Dana shook her. “Don’t give me that! You were…he almost got you again, didn’t he? And you weren’t even going to do anything about it, were you?”
“That’s not true!”
“Then why did you open the door? Wasn’t it to create a diversion?” Dana smacked Eira’s head. “Didn’t he teach you anything? Wasn’t the whole point of your splendiferous scheme to be-”
The door swung open and both girls skittered backwards.
Bryan stepped through, with a careful glance over his shoulder. The door swung shut beside him as he opened his arms to catch his wife. “Dana.” He murmured into her hair. “You shouldn’t have come.”
“As if I could let you handle things on your own, we both see how well that’s going.”
“Uh…right…I’m gonna give you guys a moment.” Eira felt her face growing warm and she turned on her heel to give the couple some privacy. She counted on her fingers and toes until the numbers blurred. The headache was still lingering in the back of her mind, now that Dana’s touch was no longer repressing it.
“…thanks..E.” Dana’s voice wobbled. “We’ll be fine, just get out of here.”
“If I say no and ask what’s going on—will you tell me?”
The couple exchanged a glance and then Bryan sighed. “Sorry…I guess we can…though I don’t want to burden you. Dana is right, you should go while you can.”
“I’ll go when I feel like it.” Eira struggled to tamp her temper down. She could feel it protesting within as her toes curled and her hands turned to fists. “What’s going on? I can help you know!”
“I-I know.” Dana’s shoulders slumped. “That’s why I don’t want you here…it’s too dangerous. We can’t afford for-”
“I’m not a kid, Dana. I’m not like Grena! Stop treating me like that! I can make up my own mind on what to do, okay? Besides…I’m a…League apprentice now, officially and all that. I’m sure I can call for back-up or something if we need it.”
“No need. This is a family affair.” Bryan’s hands tightened on Dana’s shoulders. “There’s no need to get the League involved for a trivial matter like this.”
“How can you say that?” Eira strode forward, only to be stopped by Dana, who immediately placed herself between her sister and husband. “Dana…”
“He’s…right, E.” Dana tried to smile. “It’s Grena.”
“Grena?” The anger froze as Eira stood in shock. “Grena? That can’t be right…I saw her…yesterday. She was fine. She was happy!” A slight tremor washed over her. “She was fine! What did you do to her! Weren’t you supposed to keep an eye on her?”
Dana grunted, struggling to keep her at bay while Bryan shifted backwards. “I was! Until that…stupid stunt of yours!”
“Stupid stunt? Me? What did I do? Since when it is my fault? Why is everything always my fault?”
“Eira!” Dana caught her wrists, holding them tight. “Listen to me! And stop trying to hit him, he’s on our side!”
“Your side, not mine!” Eira pulled away. “Lemme go! I’ll just go ahead and leave, I can tell when you don’t-”
“He said you did your swirling knife trick again…in the middle of a dinner show. Before that, Grena accidentally caused…a disturbance. She kicked someone on the way out and things got messy.”
“and Unk got involved?” Eira felt her temper simmering to a usable level. Her headache was now the very last thing on her mind. “But that wasn’t a problem…she was with Master Phoenix…before, I saw her. Are you sure?”
“Absolutely.” Bryan met her gaze. “I wouldn’t have called Dana if I wasn’t.”
“Huh. I don’t really believe that, but I don’t really like you anyway, so answer me this. What were you two going to do? Seriously, I mean it. You didn’t even tell her I was here, did you?”
“Not in as many words. But I told her about the knife thing, that includes you, doesn’t it?”
“Shut up!” Eira scowled. “Fine. How long has Grena been missing?”
Both heads snapped up. “Eira, it’s really best if you don’t get involved with-”
“You don’t have the kind of power you need to beat him.” Eira took a deep breath and tried letting it out slowly. “Even the two of you together don’t have much of a chance. Besides, he’ll probably be expecting you anyway, he wouldn’t think I’d really bother with this sort of thing.”
“Hey! I can handle this without your interfering-!” Bryan started forward, but Dana caught hold of his shirt collar. “Dana!”
“Bryan…please…I…” Dana sighed. “She’s right. You’re right. I must be wrong somewhere, but I don’t have the time to figure out where. You two are some of the most important people to me, I can’t have you arguing and about to kill each other over something like this. Right now, I want my daughter back. I want to hold her in my arms and I want to hear her squeaky little voice as she pretends she can sing. I want to feel her energy—untainted.”
“Fine.” Eira shooed them away with one hand, stepping carefully around Bryan to reach for the door.
“What? Eira, what are you-”
“Just trust me, all right?” Eira sighed. “Dana, you know me. I know what you’re worried about, so just trust me okay?” She scowled. “And that goes for you too, idiot. I know this place better than anyone…and I definitely know him better than you two. You’ll just get in the way if you come, I’ll look for Grena and when I find her, I need you two to be ready to get out of here, okay?”
“Hey! This is my family you’re deciding all the-”
“Because you’re family, I’m helping.” Eira said, pointedly. “Now be a good boy and stay here…Dana…you know how listen for me. In the state both of you are in now…it’d just be a disaster if you charged in there looking for Grena. I’ll find her. I’ll bring her back, okay? Just wait here. Be ready. Listen.”
Dana offered a teary smile. “Be careful.”
“Let go of me you big jerk!” Sorora finally pulled free of the iron grip, sprawling on the floor with the sudden momentum. “Ow. You know, I really hate-!”
“Are you all right?” The tone had changed immediately. The black cloak was hurriedly pushed back over his shoulders, the white-tipped stick, reattached to his utility belt as the phoenix stooped to her level, keeping a deliberate distance between them.
“Now you ask?” She huffed. “Perfect. I’m doing perfectly fine, no thanks to you!”
“My apologies. We don’t have time for pleasantries.”
“We? There is no, we! What exactly have you gotten into this time? Tyla’s going to have my head—when she’s finished with yours!”
“So now you’re pretending you don’t hate me?” He questioned, innocently.
“I would, but you’re always saying things that make no sense at all, so I can’t help but try to clarify them.”
“If I said, shut up again—you still wouldn’t listen, would you?”
“No. Probably not.” He shrugged. “But you are alright?”
“My question first. What have you gotten into?”
“Nothing for you to worry about, just do as I say and everything will be fine.”
“And if I don’t want to?”
“Then I won’t use a barrier next time.”
“So that was real…I almost thought…for a moment there.” She shuddered. “You’re pretty dark, aren’t you?”
“In the high seventies.” The phoenix smirked. “But it is nothing to worry your plain self about. I only want you to explain-”
“If you keep on yapping, then I’ll skip the barrier as well.”
“…jerk…okay, fine, but how dark are you anyway?”
“That’s low, not high!”
“I expect it to change this afternoon.”
“Fairly confident in your predictions, how nice, because it couldn’t be that you’ve-”
“Am I wrong?”
There was a crackle of white energy from her finger tip to her ear. “…no.”
“So this afternoon?”
“You’re cutting it close, what do you want me to do?”
“Are you afraid?”
“Of fighting you when you turn completely black? No. Of getting my head chewed off when you die, yes!”
“Then I’ll try not to die.”
“Yeah. You do that.”
“Sorora…if you fought me dark this time…I’d win.” He smirked. “Now listen, all I want you to do is….”
It was a flicker of red energy and a touch of white.
Eira materialized in a white hallway.
A very familiar white hallway.
A lump welled up in her throat and she took a moment to swallow it and get her bearings.
Hallway. Door. Security. Think, Eira…think. Ah yes, okay, let’s take the security first!
“Looking for something, niece?”
“No, not really.” Eira turned around, forcing a smile. And security is right on time… “Sorry to leave you with that mess in the dining room.”
“It has already been taken care of.”
“Of course, just like everything else, right? Even little girls?”
“Hmm? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Try remembering.” Eira sucked in a short breath and let it leave her body through her right fist. The result was enjoyable. A bright burst of red flame. “Or maybe you need some help?”
“I think you are the one in need of assistance.” Garret said, smoothly. “You seem to have forgotten that you can’t just come and go as you please.”
“I’m not a pet, Unk. You can’t collar me and keep me in a cage.”
“Ah, but you had such a lovely cage, didn’t you like it? Or did I neglect to buy you some pretty toy?”
“I was bored. You never bought me any toys.” Eira yawned. “But you don’t have to worry about that anymore and I’m sure it was a great expense to you, so you should be relieved. I won’t trouble you anymore…in fact, I’ll even take a few more…troubles, off of your hands. After all, I should be looking after my elders.”
“If you keep pushing the boundaries, something will-”
“Yes, you know. About four years old, small…cute, white-blonde hair. Very pretty eyes.”
“Does she have any powers to her name?”
“Of course not.”
“Ah, then I wouldn’t know. Sorry. I’m afraid I don’t pay attention to things that don’t interest me.”
“So that means that you have her and you can’t wait to take her apart…just like you did with me?”
“If you have something to say, Eira-”
“You shouldn’t have done that.” She glared at him. “You really shouldn’t have done that. You should know better, Unk. You know I like Dana…you know I absolutely adore her. I would do anything for her.”
“For her or the little angel? I seem to recall that-”
“Dana’s the closest thing I had a mother. With all the women that came and went and your precious, empty-headed sister, it was always Dana. Of course I care about her. I like her and I love Grena. Bryan’s just part of the family. I live for Grena. She’s my angel…not yours. Give her back.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You won’t be my puppet, but you’ll be hers?”
“You’re right. You don’t know what I’m talking about. Dana raised me. If anyone had a right—with everything you did to me—Dana had it first. You didn’t even register.”
“Ah. I’m heartbroken.”
“The fact that you’re talking with me means that you’re stalling for time—when you don’t answer right away—and the fact that you’re here, means that someone you trust must be taking care of business for you. I’m not leaving without Grena, puppet or angel, or whatever. Okay? So let’s try again. Where’s Chessy?”
“The woman has a mind of her own. How could I possibly know?”
“Which means that you left her and came here.” Eira snorted. “How very foolish of you, Unk…cause you’re the one that taught me this.”
“Taught you what? Have you forgotten everything else?”
“Not this.” Eira walked up and punched him in the stomach. The flash of red energy was enough to stun him so the rest could be taken care of. Her movements were quick as she clipped his jaw, elbowed his neck and tackled him to the ground. It wasn’t hard to flip him over and sit on him from behind, tying his hands with the sash from her training tunic. “And most certainly…not this.” She licked her index finger on her right hand and then rubbed the thumb and finger together. Blowing lightly on them produced a bright white glow of energy.
The limp body did not protest as she traced a circle on his back and then drew a second, smaller circle inside. The white glow pulsed as Eira walked her fingers around the circle, drawing shapes as quickly as she could. When the circle was complete, she hurriedly climbed off and away, waiting.
At first the light dimmed and then with a sudden flare, every symbol and circle burned bright and white. A pillar of white energy spewed out, shooting straight to the ceiling, forming a direct beam, pinning the body to the ground.
“Transport complete.” Eira murmured, wiping her hands on her tunic and moving forward. “Grena? Grena, baby, if you can hear me, it’s Aunty E, okay? I’m going to pull you out of there. Trust me, okay?”
There was no answer from the light pillar, but Eira didn’t care about that.
Closing her eyes, she reached with both hands into the whiteness. Her fingers touched cold metal, rough marble and warm skin. It took a moment before she was able to get a secure hold on the small, chubby wrists. With a deliberate pull, she yanked the girl out and into her arms.
The child was unconscious with several beads of blood on one arm as if needles had been hurriedly removed.
Eira felt her body quiver with anger, but she didn’t dare touch the energy it promised.
Calm. Peace. Quiet. Calm. Tranquility. Have to stay calm. Can’t lose my temper now…Grena…Dana…Master Phoenix…
© Sara Harricharan