The room fell silent as we waited for reinforcements to arrive, I never liked silence it always rubbed me the wrong way. To me it was important to speak, to get the frustrations out but most of my platoon were too exhausted or injured to speak.
I was so bored that I was counting the amount of columns there were in the room, the only sound that could be heard was the rushing of the big waterfall in the room.
The fancy room no longer held its former glory it was in disarray from the battle that took place: the marble floor had blood stains, the bookshelves were leaned to one side they looked like they were going to fall.
I looked at the mirror across from me as I leaned against the wall most had figured out there were various chairs and couches but I did not care I was too tired to move.
I sat on the floor alone far away from my team. I glanced at the light in the room it was a large dome that had a bright light bulb I watched it flicker and twitch as it lit the room.
" Fire, you are going to get a headache if you start at the light too much”.
I rolled my eyes while I turned my head to face Sarbe she was sitting down on her knees her hands on her lap, her eyes were closed but I knew Sarbe did not have to open them to see me,using her mind sight ability she can see everything without opening her eyes.
It still Intrigued me at how Luxurious this room was I guess I was so used to Peteus being described as a thing that I did not see him as a person with thoughts, feelings or style. That made my insides turn. I should have known better, I knew what it was like to be judged and treated like dirt.
Fire Crystal the helpless princess the Vanuke, the mistake.While, most princesses were admired I was not. My people hated me.
Most people hate me I was outspoken, stubborn had a problem accepting my “place” as a princess. But, for some reason my team loved that about me.
My dislike for womanly attire, the fact I were baggy t-shirts and kept my hair wild and unkempt instead of styling it my refusal for makeup and my lack of manners and discipline they saw me a a person not a symbol for power.
But, as an actual person which helped. But, most day I was so self conscious not of my body of my personality. The government uses the princes, princesses, lords,ladies like props. To lie to the people to sugar coat everything we have no freedom. We are trapped in our own titles we can change our names, go on another planet but the council will always, always find out.
But, I was not going to quit until I found a way to escape the old ways and traditions and create my own. If I’m going to lead this country of Carden I was going to lead it my own way, I was going to make sure something like this would never happen again.
" I’m worried”. I heard Danel say into the air to anyone who was listening to anyone that acknowledged his presence. Everyone looked at Danel with shock they knew things were bad if the stubborn, optimism prince was worried. Danel of all people was starting to crumple.
I knew that Danel was not as confident as he projected to the rest of the team, although Danel was not the shy awkward boy that he was when I first met him, he still had a very fragile state of mind that came from a lot of people doubting him.
Only people that knew Danel very well ever saw this side of him, the side that second guessed, the side that showed he was just as unsure or afraid as everyone else in the team. Danel had to face the burden of being the emotional pillar of team Nature. He always felt that everyone’s pain should rest on his shoulders.
It was then that I realized how selfish when it came to Danel, he had lead this entire rescue mission because he knew that I was in danger I never even thanked him, I just brushed off any lingering feelings I had for him so that Crisis, Water, and the other injured teammates could make it safely.
Danel made so many jokes and acted so childish it was hard to tell if he truly liked me or if it was all some big prank. I expected the old Danel Storm to come back and laugh in my face.
Then, I got kidnapped and sent to Peteus’s lair and I saw his face when I ran into him in the halls on the way out of the room he was so relieved to see I was okay, he hugged me in his arms and I knew that he was being completely serious Danel storm had feelings for me.
But, do I even like him back and if I do then am I a hypocrite for stating that I hated him and never will pursue feelings for the prince after my grandmother Nature had told me we were betrothed.
Not wanting to think about marriage or the events that led to this moment any longer I lean my head against the wall again staring off into space hearing the whispers of my teammates I want to speak but I had nothing to say.
“What are you so worried about we are completely safe here”? Sisube said
“Not of us . Dan and Arian they had not come back what if they got caught”? Danel asked I glanced over at him wanting nothing more than to go over and comfort him after all things he did to help me it was only fair I try and help him.
But, I was too weak from my fight with Echo to move, all I could was watch him, I frowned when I saw a small tear roll down his cheek. Dan and Arian were very good friends with Danel, probably the very few that do not openly mock him or call him names and now they were in danger and none of us could do anything.
" I could help you get your friends back Danel, after all Dan is a very special friend of mine too and I want to help him as well, if it weren’t for Dan I would not be standing here right now. I want to help”.Ying said with such determination her black eyes shimmering with confidence and something else, something more meaningful more intense, I could not recognize the feeling but it was strong, it was the look of someone willing to risk everything.
I could not help but gasp as I saw my shy cousin with low self esteem risk her life for someone without a second thought, this was twice since our journey back home have I been shunned into silence by the changing growth of my teammates.
I staggered to my feet using the wall as support as I tried to reach my cousin only to fall towards the ground, Danel rushed to my aid and helped me on to the couch he put my head on his shoulder but, I was too focused on Ying to care about Danel.
Danel could wait, I could not lose another one of my family. I lost my mom, dad, and even my older sister. I know Water is not dead, but she could not help us at the moment she was unconscious and not moving the only sign I had was the slow steady breaths that Water was still alive.
” Ying don’t do this, wait until the reinforcements arrive we are outnumbered here, we are in enemy territory I can’t let you do this!
Ying looked at me and bursted into tears and said, “How can you say that, what happened to the Fire Crystal that would do anything it takes to find a way out, to find another answer, what happened to the cousin that taught me that sometimes going by the book is the wrong thing to do!”
Everyone looked at me nervously, as if I were going to explode with anger even Danel moved further away from the couch, I rolled my eyes. I’m not the same as I was before, it takes a lot to make me angry, if I believe someone is angry at me for no reason I will yell back. But, at this very moment I understand how Ying feels.
The only thing I can do is lead the the team in a way that Water would, to be the leader team Nature deserves now that Water is down it is up to me to lead, All I can do now is pass down the wisdom Water had taught me over the years.
I sighed and said, “Ying, sometimes you need to follow the rules, to get things done, it is all well and good to be a rebel but you need to pace yourself, this situation is not meant to be taken lightly, this is the type of battle you can’t win on your own, we are a team its time we start acting like one”.
I looked around the room in silence for a moment or two I was not so sure, this would work, I have seen shows where the leader would give a pep talk to their team, but this is not television this was real life. Would words really be enough to change this bunch of unorganized fighters into a real working team?
" You can do it, I have faith in you, before you get mad at me for talking to you inside your head again, I just want to say that I’m sorry for not coming sooner I should have came in time to save Water.”
I look up at Danel and give him a reassuring smile, I scoot closer to him and give his hand a small squeeze. He smiles at me, and nods with understanding all the others were looking at us with confusion,shock and wonder. Danel and I just continue looking into each others eyes and smile as if were telling an inside joke, which in a way we were.
It was not like me to show public affection but for some reason, Danel was the one to break down that barrier, that is why I’m so afraid of being with him, but I know that if anything happens to him, I would never be the same again.
I used to think that when he spoke inside my head that it was creepy and annoying but, now I felt comfort in hearing his voice. Danel does not use our connection often, but when he does it brings a smile on my face.
He only does it when he knows I need him, he only does it when he knows I’m too hurt to speak out, when I’m trying to hide my pain so that I could help other people with their pain.
Danel smiles and said, “Go ahead Fire, you got this, be the leader that team Nature deserves your mother was the team leader so it is in your blood I will be with you”.
I blushed at his wording, he should have said, ‘We will be with you’. But instead he said “I will be with you”. I know he was just trying to encourage me but for some reason the comment seemed more than just a few words of encouragement. It felt like a binding promise, that no matter what happens he will always be there for me even when the others aren’t.
I sat up and and said, “Over the years this team has grown in skill in ways I can not help but bring a smile on my face but we are still weak as a team, we maybe powerful separate but together we can change the world, we can succeed where others had failed, and we can do it together!
Ying frowned and said, “We can not just sit here and do nothing, the last time we had to wait for reinforcements Yang was taking behind our backs and we were too weak to stop pledge. Now, we have a fighting chance, I cannot just sit back and do nothing, knowing Peteus has hurt my friends, if you want to stay here fine, but I’m going to save them”.
Sisube glared at her and said, “Ying, you can not let your crush on Dan fuel your actions, we have a better fighting chance if we wait!“.
Ying glared at Sisube and said, “My crush What about your crush, you would not defend Mikie if you had the chance, it is not about my crush on Dan it is about helping my teammates!”
Mikie blushed and thought, ‘Sisube likes me’? Mikie always thought Sisube was attractive in a gothic princess soft of way, he was oddly attracted to dangerous things. Sisube and Mikie were training partners, they trained together since they were small kids.
Mikie had always wondered why such a kind hearted girl could ever be mistreated and shoved aside by her own family. Sisube was strong, beautiful and smart she deserved to be treated better. Mikie hoped he would have the opportunity to talk to her when they got back home, to let her know he felt the same way.
But right now, he had to stay within the moment there was a time and a place for everything and right now, he had to make sure that everyone was calm and focused on using their anger against the enemy and not on each other but that was easier said then done.
" Everyone just calm down, we need to think of way out before we drive each other crazy, Fire is right we need to act like a team, we did not go through all those years of training to start a war with each other!”
Mikie yelled over Ying and Sisube as he stood in between them trying to calm them down. Sisube glared at Mikie her bright green eyes turned into a harsh dark green. Suddenly Mikie had a blade to his throat, Sisube frowned and said, “Do not make me hurt you, this fight has nothing to do with you, this is between the members of team Nature!”
John-John frowned and said, “Leave Mikie alone, I know everyone is upset right now, but we have to stop this”!
Sarbe sighed and said, “John-John is right it does not matter what team we come from or how far we have come now, We are all trapped here, right now the rest of Team Harmony is trying to find a way to get us out of this barrier”.
Danel rolled his eyes and said, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Sarbe is right, it does not matter how smart, or skilled we think we are, we lost this battle for now, all we can do now is train harder and hope we can find a way to defeat Peteus together.
Suddenly everyone started yelling at each other, most of them were trying to get the others to stop fighting but their words only got drowned out but the raising voices.
I sighed and shook my head. We were supposed to be a team, a well trained unit, a platoon of fighters fighting for the same cause together. But, instead we were bickering like children in the background blinded by our own selfish desires.
I clenched my fists and then punched the ground making the ground burn and crumple a wide crack making everyone but me stumble and scream forcing them to look up at me.
“Everyone shut up, I did not come all this way for us to start falling apart, after all these years of friendship we are really going to let one slip up tear apart years of teamwork”?
“Shut up Crystal who died and made you the boss of this team, if I remember correctly it was your sister Water who commanded this team where is she now, when we need her now!” Sisube screamed
I frowned and lowered my head tears spilling down my cheeks, as my sister Water came into my mind, all the memories we went through and hardships we shared over the years.
" I’m sorry Water I failed, no matter what I say they just won’t listen. I lack the confidence to be the type of leader you were. I thought sadly
" Hey look at me when I’m talking to you, it is because if you we are in this mess if you were not so bent on playing the hero, maybe we would still be at camp on our way home. Maybe the royal court was right, you do not deserve to be a ninja let alone be on this team”. Sisube said
" She is over there Sisube see for yourself, you think Water choose to end up like this, No. We trained all these years hoping we could stop them, but they just stomped on us like we were pests invading our home. You are right I do not deserve to be on this team, as soon as we get home I’m going to quit being a Ninja police officer for good”.
I lifted my head up everyone gasped when they saw tears falling down my face, my eyes bloodshot, I fell down on my knees and for the first time in years I felt powerless..I bent down near Water and cradled her in my arms I did not care if people were watching.
" I will finally be the princess the Fire city deserves, and I will stay by my sister’s side until she gets better, I will just stay out of everyone’s way”.
Underneath all the fights, and arguments I loved my sister. She saved my life so many times, and I wanted to be the one to save her this time, but instead I nearly got everyone else killed too. Sisube is right, I’m a failure.
I sobbed as I held Water in my arms, I removed a few stray hairs from her face and handed her to John-John I know he will keep her safe, he always does. I hope when Water wakes up, she finally moves on from her abusive boyfriend and ends up with John-John instead.
Sisube frowned and said, “Fire, don’t quit I did not mean it. I did not know what happened to Water and I was confused. I was just upset because, I was worried about you, you are a good friend and an even better officer then me.
You are brave, determined and fierce, you do not have to try to be the princess the Fire city deserves because you already are at least to me.”
Everyone cheered and nodded with agreement. I looked at them shock and excitement, I wiped my eyes and said, “Thank you, you guys are the best friends I could ever ask for, I hope to be the leader that you need, I’m not as good as Water but I will try my best”.
Danel smiled and said, “That is the Fire I know and love never talk about quitting again” Danel said as he hugged me, I looked at him with shock but hugged him back hiding my face in his chest so he did not see me blush I cleared my throat and gave him a stern look.
Danel blushed and said, “Sorry, I was just glad you were back to normal you should not be so hard on yourself, you can’t be perfect all the time, everyone stumbles every once and a while, but then we learn from it”.
I smiled and said, “I could not agree more, which is why I’m allowing Ying to go and save Dan and Arian. It was unfair of me to think of you as the helpless little girl you once were if you think you can save them then go ahead”.
Ying nodded and said, “I will not let you down Fire, I will be back soon”.
I nodded and said, “Ying please be careful”.
Ying smiled and just like that my cousin was gone, I hugged Danel tightly hoping that she would be okay, Suddenly I realized what I was doing and punched Danel down on the ground with embarrassment.
“Ow what the heck was that for”? Danel asked with confusion
I blushed and said, “Sorry Danel”.
Danel smiled and said, “Its okay, I know you are worried but everything is going to be fine trust me”. he said softly as he held on to my hand, I grabbed it and then looked at him.
As I looked at Danel I knew everything was going to be okay, If there is one thing this exprince has taught me was that I truly did trust Danel.
I would trust him with my life. I knew as long as Danel was around that my hope for a brighter future could be seen. I just had to be brave enough to follow the path that will bring us closer together.
Little did I know that fate would grant me my wish when I returned home.