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Chapter 13: Winning and losing

Clamira Lampsha was a slightly pretty. She had platinum-gold hair.

But it was wet and sticking to her neck. Her eyes were slightly droopy in a cinnamon color with fake lashes and the black eyeliner smeared over her cheeks. Her lipstick had trickled down her chin giving her the effect of a vampire which had been drinking blood. Her designer pink top matched with her designer skirt and stilettoes were wet and utterly uncomfortable.

Her companions, two other girls were in a similar condition. Rivola could hardly control her laughter looking at them. She said between her laughs,

‘You look absolutely, vampire-ish. What were you thinking of this Quest? A Halloween party?’

‘Oh shut up! What’s wrong with your hair? Did you allow a friendly hamster make a nest on it?’ Clamira retorted.

Rivola knew that her hair was in a mess but she decided to keep her mouth shut. She said coldly and fiercely,

‘Whatever. That trophy is ours. Now move your helpless selves out of my way.’

Clamira narrowed her eyes,

‘What do you mean that Trophy is yours? We saw it first. You get out of here.’

‘Excuse me? I think you’ve mistaken this tree as your Vampire Get-together Party Hall. Get out of here!’ Shahir retorted.

Clamira stepped forward and said,

‘So it’s battle to the crown is it?’

‘How about,’ Rivola said her eyes twinkling, ‘a race? Whoever gets to the top, wins. They will have a right to the Trophy.’

‘Rivola,’ Shahir hissed, ‘I can’t climb so fast.’

Rivola ignored him as Clamira accepted the challenge. ‘It’s a deal.’

She hasn’t yet finished her business…The voice murmured sleepily. Five chanters were seated cross-legged around the pool. The rest had gone somewhere else presumably in various missions. Siva looked around observing each person around him.

None of them struck him interesting. The voice murmured again edging towards anger, she is sending a message. Listen and tell me what you think of it. The was a whirring noise and that wavy-haired girl’s voice said,

Greetings, lord. I have discovered a few strange details. Would you like me to elaborate or should I just kill them in their sleep? The Dark Lord said,


The girl said again a bit more nervously,

We were, like you said attacked by tat wood nymph. Grecia or some such sort. But I am very surprised to say that Rakhio handled it all by himself.

The Dark Lord remained silent. He spoke a few moments later in a half-admiring voice,


The girl continued more nervously,

Then we met this guy who started, fire, rain and winds. It was I am ashamed to say, Roy’s plan that saved our lives…

She sounded like she had expected the Dark Lord to go angry but the Dark Lord merely said,


My Lord, his fire is very different from others. He was able to burn winds.

‘What!’ Siva said slightly irritated, ‘That’s impossible!’

I agree. That is impossible. The Dark Lord said. The girl said,

That was what I thought too lord. But I saw it happen. I felt it happen. The tiny molecules in the winds caught fire and transformed to smoke. I fear he is a very strong opponent.

Well then, The Dark Lord said, I shall send you reinforcements as soon as you reach your destination. But beware of the Water-User. He is not as he seems…

The world was swirling around him. Faces were blurring together. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. Kai was carefully pouring a small quantity of a red liquid into his mouth. Roy gulped it down and things became still.

‘How do you feel Roy?’ Aila asked as she helped him sit up.

‘Bad. This is the third time I ruined myself.’ Roy said.

‘Ruined?’ Kai laughed corking the vial. Rika began to smile. Roy stood and tried to recollect his thoughts. Just then, he noticed a man before them. He was tall and broad-shouldered wearing a formal shirt and trousers except for a golden long cape reaching his ankles.

‘Who are you?’ he asked.

The man chuckled and said, ‘Doesn’t matter. You defeated my little game Rakhio Inferno Crimsonelve. I simply stopped by to congratulate you.’ He offered his hand. Roy shook his hand and said,

‘That’s it?’

‘Yes. I think, I’ll take my leave now.’ The man said. He flicked out a wand and vanished into sparkles. Roy asked,

‘What just happened?’

‘Roy, we just conquered another hurdle and are another step closer to the Platinum Cup.’ Kai said. He slapped Roy’s shoulder. Roy grinned and said,

‘I was awesome wasn’t I?’

‘Sure.’ Rika smiled.

Aila nodded and said, ‘Anyway, I think, it will do us good to have a long nice rest. It’s night already.’

Roy looked up to see that she was right. The stars were out and shimmering but Roy’s stomach grumbled. ‘I’m hungry.’

‘Sure you are. I can see a lot of fruit trees around.’ Kai said.

‘You’re right.’ Aila agreed. ‘You mayn’t believe it, but I climb like a monkey.’

‘That, I believe.’ Roy said and they all laughed except Roy who merely smiled.

Aila was a pretty good climber. She loved climbing the tallest trees to hunt for the ripest fruits but Roy was rather worried,

‘What if you fall?’ he asked.

‘I won’t.’ Aila said rolling her eyes. Roy was pacing around restlessly. It was clear that he was the leader. Aila was rather glad. But now she felt slightly irritated, she looked at Kai in desperation. Kai seemed to understand. He said,

‘Then, I’ll go behind her. If she falls, I’ll catch her.’

Roy’s worry lines eased and he seemed to think over it. He looked up at the tall many-branched tree laden with fruits and nodded,

‘Fine. But be careful.’

Aila made up her mind not to fall. It would be embarrassing to fall and have Kai save her life. She hated those damsel in distress things. She was not damsel in distress. She was a warrior.

So Aila proceeded climbing. This was a Butter-fruit tree. One of her favorite foods. Her experience told her very well where she could put her legs and hands. She could sense where the nicks and corners were. At last she paused at one of the highest branch of the tree. Almost sixty feet high and said,

‘The fruits seem good. Shall I start picking?’

‘Go on.’ Kai said. She placed a foot on the thick branch beside her and reached her hand to catch one Butter-Fruit when she heard a crack. Aila’s heart almost stopped for a moment. She kept her mouth shut as she tumbled down when someone caught her waist.

She gasped as she saw that it was Kai. So much for a warrior. His hand was trembling with effort and the footing he was holding on slipped and they tumbled down quite disoriented towards their premature deaths.

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