The Puppeteer

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"So what will it be? Surely your own parents and grandparents are more important than the Belt." Dain sneered. Anna knew that the Belt was more important, but... the cost was too expensive.

"Mother. Father. Grandma and Grandpa! Where are they?" Anna murmured, adding her last statement almost like a curse.

"Anna! Listen to me!" Shouted her mother. "Listen!" Anna's head shot up at the sound of her name. Kree cawed and Filli, who was on Anna's shoulder, squeaked in terror.

"Anna, you know the right decision. We are of four people-" Anna's father was interrupted by a soundless choke. She raised her gaze up towards the castle torrent that held her family hostage, with death around the corner. Their lives were hanging on the puppeteer's hands. Her hands, she reflected grimly.

"Mother?" Lief called. Sharn managed to move, despite the ropes that bound her to a large wooden stake. "Are you alright?" She nodded. Lief sighed a long, sorrowful, pitiful sigh. Jasmine saw her vision blur as tears burned behind her eyes, threatening to fall. She blinked, cloed her eyes and twisted her hands in a vain attempt on freeing them.

"What will it be your majesty?" Dain sneered as he mocked a bow. Lief heard Doom curse and Jasmine swear under her breath.

Barda cursed the day they met Dain all over again. Lindal's face was creased into a snarl. Rye's face was full of worry. Lisbeth's hand was cupped over her mouth, fear dazzling in her teary eyes. Sonia, emerald eyes wide in shock but full of determination. Every member of the New Resistance stood before the monarchs of Deltora and their parents. The embarking wind, eerily whistling, blowing despair, spreading depression, continued to strengthen as Anna delayed.

Anna screwed her eyed shut, fighting back the tears. She touched the Diamond for strength, the Emerald, symbol of Honour, reminded her of what needed to be done. The Lapis Lazuli reminded her that her parents and grandparents were good, they would rest in Heaven, the Topaz cleared and sharpened her mind, but she skipped the Opal, for fear of what it will show her. The Ruby encouraged happiness for her family, that they will have in Heaven, that she should be happy for them. And finally, the Amethyst which calmed and soothed her. Then she looked up. Up into her Grandfather's green eyes, her Grandmother's soft brown, her father's gentle, warm chocolate eyes, her mother's determined emerald gaze.

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