A Bolt From The Blue
Time goes by and Ishandra with Aïsha, Alessandra, Timmy from Red Fountain and occasionally Bloom continue to regularly inspect the integrity of the force field about Alfea College. Darcy and Morgana make their presence felt by blatantly observing the field’s inspection from afar. Ishandra and the Faeries do their best to ignore the two Witches but Timmy and Alessandra are uneasy.
“They’re probing for weaknesses in our defences,” Timmy confides to Alessandra. “I wish Tecna were here,” he says for the thousandth time.
“Have you made progress in learning her whereabouts?” asks Alessandra.
“No,” replies Timmy with a look of worry. “I still have nothing more than the note she left me saying that she was off on a special mission. I even sent an enquiry to Binos… and… if I didn’t know better, I would think they were giving me the run-around.”
“We should still try to reinforce the field,” says Alessandra seriously.
“I think so too,” replies Timmy, “but this is Tecna’s and Miss Faragonda’s field. I know little about it and I think it best to keep my ignorant paws off of it lest I bring it crashing down.”
“Hmm…,” says Alessandra. “If we cannot strengthen Tecna’s field, perhaps we could add fields of our own on either side of it. The outermost would be like the Sky Dyke, Tecna’s field would be the Middle Dyke and the one on the inside would be the Lazy Dyke.”
“An excellent idea!” smiles Timmy, with an approving look at Alessandra. “I think that the new fields should also have different configurations. The Sky Dyke could be made more plasma resistant to thwart Morgana’s power and the Lazy Dyke… well… I need to think on that.
“Perhaps the Sky Dyke should be Dragon’s Fire,” says Alessandra, knitting her brow in thought.
“Why Dragon’s Fire?” asks Timmy. “It’s not proof against plasma fire that I know of.”
“True,” replies Alessandra, “but Morgana’s plasma fire may be the least of our worries,” and Timmy frowns. “We forget that Darcy is not only the Mistress of Illusion but she is also still able to call forth The Army of Decay. If Darcy completes her trix, the next generation of rot-monsters is going to be thrice as powerful and three times as many as before. A Dragon’s Fire field may be our only defence against them.”
“Yes, that is a distinct possibility,” says Timmy, nodding, “and we were really caught off guard when they attacked Magix, Red Fountain and Alfea College the last time. They nearly doomed us and we can be sure that Darcy’s not going to be caught by the same trick that defeated them before. We are going to have to make careful consideration on how to deploy the new fields and, most of all, keep any knowledge of them a secret from Darcy and Morgana.”
Meanwhile, in Flora’s dorm at Alfea College, a metal concave bowl floats in the air, moves slightly to the right, wobbles and then goes careening onto the floor spilling its liquid contents over taloned and down covered feet.
“Goddess!” cries Flora. “I don’t believe this. This should be child’s play!” and then looks into a multi-coloured down covered face in frustration.
“Patience, Little One,” chirps Alysoun, the Avian-Witch healer of Cloud Tower, while caressing Flora’s frowning face with the edge of her wing. “It will take time for you to learn how to use your cyberneticly enhanced hands. It is like learning to fly again: little step by little step. Don’t forget the progress you have already made. You have re-mastered all the manual skills of a non-magical being. Learning to direct magic is going to take a bit more time.”
“But I’m sick and tired of being patient,” protests Flora. “I am near the point of grabbing things and smashing them onto or through other things. So what if I have the motor skills of a non-magical being! A Faerie is defined by her ability to use magic and without that ability she is a cripple and totally useless.”
“Hey!” scolds Alysoun with an agitated flutter of her wings. “Let’s have no more such talk. You are not a cripple nor are you useless. You are still the most powerful empath on Alfea and that does not require the use of hands. What were the results of Timmy’s last evaluation?”
“According to him,” says Flora dejectedly, “nothing is wrong. So why can’t I control magic? I wish Tecna were here. She’d know what to do.”
“This is not the Flora I know who is a rock of peace and inner tranquility,” says a voice coming from behind Alysoun. “I think that my favourite Faerie is in seriously bad need of some huggies.”
Alysoun turns as a petite young woman with blue-black hair, stylized lightning bolts painted on her cheeks and a pulsating crystal glowing just below her collar bone enters the room.
“Leffi!” cries Flora, her face suddenly joyful as she sees the Storm-Witch and reaches out to hug her. “What a surprise! How are you, Sweetie? When did you get back?”
“I arrived at Magix about thirty minutes ago via the transportus,” replies Leffi, “and then flew directly here to find out how you are doing. Tecna also sends you her greetings.”
“Then she is on Binos and is well?” asks Flora excitedly. “Timmy will be so relieved to hear that. He’s been worried sick about her. So have we all!”
“You can’t say a word to anyone,” says Leffi with a dead serious expression on her woman-child’s face. “She is on a mission so secret she told me that if she tells me what it is then she would have to kill me. I may be putting her life in danger by saying just this much,” and Flora and Alysoun stare at her floored in utter disbelief.
“But…,” Flora finally begins to stammer.
“Not a word to anyone,” restates Leffi emphatically and the two nod.
“What is with the gloom, doom and tragedy?” asks Stella as she enters. “I think that more than my favourite flower is in need of some sunshine.”
“Hello, Stella!” Flora and Alysoun greet the blonde Faerie.
“Hello, Stella,” says Leffi with an air of apprehension.
“I come bearing gifts from Solaria,” announces Stella as she sprinkles Flora with Faerie dust. All look on as Flora’s dress transforms into a beautiful golden creation with a sunflower motif. “From the Royal Seamstresses of the Royal Palace of Solaria – so haute couture, dawling, so à propose and so you!”
The golden sunshine Faerie next turns her attention to the Avian-Witch healer. “I was hoping to find you here for I have a little something for you too.”
“For me?” chirps Alysoun, surprised.
“I noticed that your medicine bag is near its last days and is also so last millennia that it needs to be replaced… so…,” and then sprinkles Faerie dust over Alysoun’s hands and, while all look on, the dust mutates into a beautiful, golden medicine bag decorated with pale blue jewels. “It is made from the silk of the Solarian sun spider,” explains Stella, “and the stones are Solarian blue opals. It’s supposed to be the healer’s totem – I hope we got it right.”
“Yes, it’s exactly right,” says Alysoun in awe. “You know that this is just what I was going to have to get myself… but why?”
“You saved Flora’s life,” says Stella humbly, “and that to me is more precious than anything I can say or give to you. This is but a small token of my thanks.”
“Thank you,” coos Alysoun, caressing Stella’s cheek with her wing. “I shall treasure this always.”
Stella turns again to Flora and sees that she is near tears. “What is so the matter, Flora?” she asks her.
“I still can’t use magic,” sobs Flora. “I failed even the simplest levitation tests,” and Stella looks at Alysoun who nods in confirmation. “I can feel my plants, my babies, calling to me. I feel them suffering and I can’t do a thing to help them!” and tears spill from her eyes.
“Yikes! That’s mega-harsh!” exclaims Stella taking the Empathic Faerie of Nature into her arms.
“I may be able to help,” says Leffi and Stella frowns at her. “Give me your hand a moment, Flora.”
Flora extends to Leffi her hand which she takes between her own and then goes into a state of deep concentration. “Ah!” says Leffi. “Here’s your problem.”
“What problem?” asks Flora, concerned. “Timmy’s latest tests indicated that there was nothing wrong.”
“That is because Timmy does not have a neural net as do Tecna and I,” explains Leffi. “Our neural nets can detect things that even the best of Timmy’s gadgets can not.”
“So what’s the problem?” asks Flora.
“Tecna seems to have miscalculated the amount of bio-electricity you generate,” says Leffi.
“Tecna making a miscalculation?” asks Stella incredulously. “I find that hard to believe. It would be a first if she did,” and then winces as she feels Alysoun’s taloned hand take her shoulder with slight pressure.
“Be quiet, Stella,” warns Alysoun. “Continue, please,” she requests the Storm-Witch.
“Flora’s cybernetic hands will only be able to direct magic when they are working at full capacity. Right now they are working at about only quarter capacity. Enough for the everyday tasks but not nearly enough for directing magic. They require a jump start of electricity Flora is unable to give them to be fully functional but which I can.”
Alysoun requests Leffi to give her the details of the procedure. When finished, Alysoun makes a trill of agreement and tells Flora, “The procedure is safe. Do you want it done now?”
“Yes,” replies Flora, her face somewhat brightened with hope. “Let’s do it.”
“You are not going to like this at all,” warns Leffi. “But as someone once said, my pretty Faerie: if there is no pain then there is no gain,” then magics forth a heavy wooden table with insulated manacles designed to hold one’s arms flat against the top. Before Flora can utter a word in protest, Leffi has an arm in each manacle and has them locked firmly down. Leffi places her palms against Flora’s and the air is filled with a humming sound and the sharp smell of ozone as lightning jumps from her hands into Flora’s.
“Owwe-wah!” screams Flora. “By the Goddess and the Tree, that hurts!”
“I’m sorry,” Leffi tells her, “but this is the only way. Well…, we have made some progress but you still require one or two more shocks,” and sends another shock through Flora’s hands which makes Flora scream in agony and Stella look at Leffi in panic and Alysoun with concern.
“We are almost there, pretty Faerie,” says Leffi comfortingly. “Be brave just one more time,” and sends a final shock into Flora’s hands.
As Flora recovers from that final shock, Leffi releases her arms from their manacles, takes her hands and announces, “We have full power. Your body should be able to sustain that level from now on. Do you feel any difference?”
“I don’t really know,” replies Flora.
“Try casting a spell, something simple,” Leffi encourages her.
Flora waves her hands hypnotically and from them flow vines that appear first to be covered in nasty spines but as they wrap themselves about the petite Storm-Witch, they mutate into stems that burst into sweet ornamental flowers.
“She’s done it! I’m completely cured!” cries Flora as she leaps and spins in the air while a cascade of flower petals tumbles over a golden haired Faerie whose face is radiant with sunlight, an Avian-Witch healer who is warbling for joy and a Storm-Witch who is smiling excitedly.
Flora lands and sweeps up the Storm-Witch, wrapping her in both her arms and her Enchantix wings. “Thank you, Leffi, thank you,” she cries but the tears that tumble from her eyes are ones of joy. “I guess I now owe two Witches a life debt,” she smiles at both Leffi and Alysoun.
Leffi finds herself at a loss as to how to respond for never before has anyone ever given her such wholehearted and grateful thanks for anything nor ever declared owing her a life debt. “I hope my pretty Faerie still likes huggies too,” she finally says.
“Of course, of course she does,” coos Flora softly while hugging Leffi and kissing her forehead.
Stella turns to Leffi who looks back at her anxiously. “I guess…,” begins Stella hesitantly. “I guess it is time to do as Aïsha has told me I must do and let bygones be bygones,” then kissing each of Leffi’s temples she whispers, “My Sister.”
Leffi hesitates for a moment, then too kisses each of Stella’s temples and with a sweet smile gracing her woman-child’s face and beautiful blue fire glowing in her eyes whispers in her ear, “My Sister.”