Chapter 2. Changes (Part 2)

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It had been two full days since Ada left the safety of the Fairy Queen's Nest and struck off on her own—in her own natural vessel. What she was doing felt right, but this initial self-satisfaction was gradually eclipsed by hunger, thirst, and other less familiar flavors of physical discomfort.

Thus far in her short career as a naturalist, Ada had learned to drink only flowing water, avoid green fruits, and consume the gooey insides of caterpods for lasting nourishment. Even if she had been quick enough to catch a mouse or a bird in her present state, she doubted such a meal would agree with her Yili stomach. Fish, on the other hand... Fish might be nice.

As rose-tinted visions of trout and salmon swam through her half-starved mind, Ada's path began to converge with a nearby river. In truth, she couldn't have gone another way if she'd tried. Her feet moved on their own, and her head simply tried to keep up. As she completed each step, she imagined it was voluntary, for what else could it be?

Ada soon reached the marshy bank of the river and began makings making her way downstream. After a short while, a faint of, warbling tune seemed to emerge from the water:

Come to thy house. Come to thy house.

O my darling, come to thy house.

My love hath gone away to the Sea.

O my darling, come home to me.

Thou hast departed, but somehow I find

I hear the sweet sound of thy voice in my mind.

I wade and I wander through infinite space,

But only in memory can I see thy face.

The sun is diminished and distant it seems.

I feel thy warmth, but only in dreams.

Thou dwellest in dreams and memory and thought.

I know thy name, but I speak it not.

Come to thy house. Come to thy house.

O sweet child, come to thy house.

As the song was cycling back in on itself, beginning to repeat, Ada crested a hill and spotted the singer. It was an old Shadow woman clothed in a long, billowy gown which at some point must have been white. Around her head was wrapped a blindfold of similar fabric. Sewn onto this were two black buttons, one over each eye.

Not wanting to startle the woman, Ada stopped where she was, cleared her throat, and spoke up: "Ex— excuse me, ma'am."

At this, the blindfolded woman turned her head and let out a startled yelp. "Who's there?" she asked in a quavering voice.

"It's only me, ma'am," Ada began. "I'm just a girl, hungry and tired and all on my own. I don't mean any harm. I'm just— I'm just so lonely." Ada had only meant to calm the woman's fears, but once she'd started talking, she found it hard to hold anything back.

The woman cocked her head to one side and pursed her lips just a bit. It was difficult to tell with that grotesque blindfold over her eyes, but she seemed to be making an expression of pity. In any case, the woman was no longer afraid. She held out her hands and said, "Come on, dear. Kàlu's got you now."

Adelaide in Ozghard, Book 2: Over the Rainbow 🐇Where stories live. Discover now