Gwendolyn snapped when she heard the word ‘consolation’. She swept her right hand in the air, and the broken pieces of tea pot turned into water then turned into needles. The needles darted toward the guards and hovered at the level of their throats. The sudden attack lightly cut the bearded guard’s right cheek.
Clover stifled a scream. Leon remained calm; he had witnessed Gwendolyn’s abilities before.
“What fine needles you got here,” the clean-shaved guard, now standing a couple of feet away from his superior, said, a bit scared. “So this is the ‘skill’.”
“Aye, mister.” Gwendolyn said.
“That is…” the Lady remembered the travelling artisan’s face.
“You personally know the attacker?” The lady shook her head at the guard who asked. Most people she knew in Greendale were in their late twenties or older, and high-ranking craftsmen. She only became acquainted with the travelling artisan when she bought a ceramic ornament from her less than a year ago.
Lord Petrarch’s wife clasped her hands together tightly. Rowan’s brother was still a toddler when a similar event took place in The Land. Although she was already a Lady back then, she had no idea how to handle the scene upon her: an artisan threatening Soleil guards using the ability to morph.
Her husband only allowed her to assist in record keeping at the Archives. Occasionally, she would go out of the manor to identify and list social issues that need immediate attention.
With what the artisan did, it would be difficult for the young woman not to be punished. Even so, as the Lord’s wife, she must try to save her. She opened her mouth to say something but strong hands covered it.
“Lady of Greendale, can you calm that girl down?” the guard turned his gaze from the scene to the lady. She was no longer there. He and his companion looked for her in the crowd but were unsuccessful.
Gwendolyn searched the contents of her huge bag of trade goods with her left hand, her right hand raised at her shoulder-level to keep the needles’ positions. A few guards from the barricade saw that as an opening and moved towards her. She said to them, “You might not want to move.” The needles inched closer to her captive's throats.
The bearded guard only chuckled at her threat, “Soleil soldiers are not like that.” Greendale folk were in uproar as Soleil guards continued push forward toward Gwendolyn. Clover stood confused at her fellow refugees’ cries.
“Get that guard!”
“Send her to the mines too!”
“Show Soleil folk not to mess with Greendale folk!”
Displeased with the way things were progressing, Leon collected the remaining liquid in the teacups with a wave of his hands. With a whisper, the yellow liquid turned transparent.
Gasps, shrieks and murmurs burst after the guards advancing towards Gwendolyn fell. One would not notice the stab on their throats if not for the trail of blood. Leon had formed needles with the purified water and sent them darting to the attacker’s throats.
“Leon!” Gwendolyn glanced at her cousin.
“Evil children!” the bearded guard grunted.
The aggression caused a handful of the refugees to run back to their tents. Others - Soleil native or not - stood silent at their spots, some shaking.
“They’re not dead.” A couple of terrified guards checked their companions’ pulses.
One guard tried to ran away. Gwendolyn sent a needle to his nape and he fell. “Arrgh! I hate doing that!” she said.
Clover freaked out, ‘ ”hate doing that?” Had Gwendolyn killed someone before?’
“From whe-” the bearded guard did not finish his sentence when three needles floated to the level of his mouth.
“S-st-stop,” Clover stuttered. “Stop that!”
“I’m sorry you have to see that kid,” Gwendolyn said “But, you’ll get used to it once you jump into our bandwagon.”
Clover was dumbfounded to hear Gwendolyn’s statement. She wondered if the invitation to escape meant: an invitation to join a band of wicked people. She wanted to get out of this trouble immediately. Hope came instantly when she heard Hana’s voice from the crowd calling her.
“Are you bad people?” Clover turned to Gwendolyn then to Leon. Neither answered her. “Why are you doing this? Your actions make you look like you're in a wicked lot. I won’t be going with you.” She went towards the direction of Hana’s voice, but a tight grip around her left elbow stopped her.
“Where are you going?” Leon held Clover with strength she could never think a small boy could have, “Take responsibility!” He was mostly right since Clover conjured that light ball. That thing which she cannot properly make to emanate yellow. That thing which captured the guards' attention.
Gwendolyn still held her captives in their place. “Leon! Don’t drag her deeper into this,” she exclaimed. Clover’s words got into her. Suddenly, she could not take to taint a pure soul.
“Oh yes, she will no longer be involved after this.” Leon looked at the people surrounding them, “Stay in your place.” Nobody moved as he and Clover slipped out of the crowd.
“Leon!” Gwendolyn contended.
The boy dragged Clover past the crowd. “Where are you taking me?” He did not answer her.
Leon only conjured a very small yellow light ball, enough to see a step ahead of them. The two ended in a spot near a well. “We need four people for this you know,” Leon said as he planted Clover on a specific spot.
“Would you like more light?” Clover cringed when she heard a female voice from her right.
“No, it’s best that she don’t know you,” Leon said.
“I don’t see the need of another participant,” a male voice said.
“We will need every help, we can have,” Leon moved to Clover’s left side and maintained a grip on her left arm. He whispered something and instantly, phrases flooded into the girl’s mind.
Clover could not stop her mouth from speaking gibberish as she uttered a chant in unison with the three others. Their gibberish seemed to have an effect on the water in the well. She wanted to struggle free from Leon’s grip but she found no strength to do so. Suddenly, she felt like an unknown force peel off from her body. Then, everything went black.
YOU ARE READING
Minutes before the Crafting Ceremony, Clover did her final act. With agile but graceful arm movements, she bent water into her will. A delicate, beautiful art piece laid in front of her. It would take time before she can do that again, so she though...