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Chapter 18

Jeannie glared at her sister as Jasmine and Holston stood in one corner of the room talking. She couldn’t believe that she’d fallen for the stupid trick Jasmine had used on them, glancing to one side she saw that Logan and Laurie were still unconscious while Grey was immobile with burning eyes that Jeannie was very glad she wasn’t on the receiving end of the glare. Davin had been unceremoniously dragged into the room and dumped in the other corner.
“Did you know this was so much easier than we anticipated,” Jasmine said as she strolled towards Jeannie, “We actually thought we might have trouble from the half-breed but she walked out and left you all completely defenceless.”
“If you believe that then you’re a bigger fool than I thought,” Jeannie shot back.
Jasmine laughed again, “Oh I’ve been looking forward to doing this, sister. At least you’ll have plenty of company stuck in that little bottle of yours.”
“You’ve tried to trap me before,” Jeannie reminded her, “And every time I’ve escaped easily. Why bother?”
Jasmine leaned forward until their noses were practically touching, “Because by the time you manage to get out it won’t matter anymore. I’ll see you later.”
Jeannie grimaced as Holston placed the bottle in front of them and made the wish. She wasn’t looking forward to the conversation that was going to happen once everyone woke up.

“They ambushed me when Arianna sent me outside,” Davin explained, “I tried to call to her but I didn’t manage it.”
“So what happened to her?” Jeannie asked for Grey who was still unable to move and Logan who was still unconscious.
Davin shook her head, “I’m not sure. I’m hoping that they went in while she was closing the rift and she accidentally blasted them but I think they might have been smarter than that.”
Jeannie slammed her hand against the curved glass wall, “I don’t understand why they went to these lengths? Arianna has been working as a Peacekeeper for years within the same building as Godwin, so why hasn’t he gone after her before now?”
“I’ve been trying to work that out for weeks now,” Davin replied, “It just seems so stupid and over the top. Stealing the stones, opening the rift, Holston and Jasmine I don’t understand either.”
“It was a test,” Grey spoke up, his mouth being the first thing to become unfrozen, “He wanted to see how powerful she truly was. Godwin wanted to know if she could access the powers gained from me. He didn’t expect her to contact Tor or go to the Keep.”
“Why is that so important?” Jeannie asked confused, “Sure, she got to meet wonderful me but...”
“And she got to find out about her family,” Grey reminded the genie, “The knowledge of her family’s legacy opened up a window in her mind, the knowledge of who she is and the dark cloud that hangs over the family makes her more dangerous to him.”
“So he needed to trap her and in having us in here Godwin has the perfect way to make sure she does what he wants,” Jeannie sighed.
“I wouldn’t count on it,” Davin told them, “I’ve known Arianna longer than either of you and I know for a fact that if he tries to put her back against a wall then he better make sure he has a lot of protection. I’ve seen Arianna in situations where she’s felt trapped once or twice and trust me the end result is never pretty but she will walk out of there.”
“I just hope she remembers to let us walk out too.”

Arianna woke up confused. Her head ached as did most of her body and she tried to remember what had happened.
She could remember the rift and her attempt to close it but nothing after that. She managed to become aware of her surroundings and realised she was in a hospital. Sitting up Arianna looked around the white room wondering how she’d got here but her memory was a complete blank.
As the door opened she spun and smiled in relief at the woman who walked through the door.
“Dr Ellis,” she smiled, “What happened?”
Ellis gave a small frown before writing something on her clipboard, “Have you any memory of what happened?”
She shrugged, “I tried to close a rift but I don’t know why.”
“What is the last thing that is actually clear in your mind?” Ellis asked.
Arianna covered her cheeks with her hands and grimaced, “I remember the explosion. I remember running towards the building and...” she paused, “I think I was hit by something.”
Ellis sighed, “No one actually knows. You were brought in yesterday unconscious. None of us know what happened to you.”
“Am I injured?” Arianna asked.
Ellis shook her head, “There are no injuries at all, other than your lack of memory.”
“What do you suggest?” Arianna asked worriedly.
“My basic suggestion is for you to go home and get some rest,” Ellis told her, “I will call headquarters for you and get them to send someone over to keep an eye on you for the next few days.”
“Thank you,” Arianna let out a long sigh annoyed.

Arianna looked around her house with a strange feeling of apathy. There was something just wrong about everything but couldn’t work out what it was that felt out of place. Tendy, one of the apprentices was standing just inside the door waiting to be dismissed.
“Are you okay?” he asked nervously.
Remembering suddenly that he was there Arianna turned, “Yes. Thank you for accompanying me home. I’ll be fine.”
Tendy grimaced, “Are you sure you want to be left on your own? Dr Ellis said you had amnesia.”
“I may not remember the past few weeks,” Arianna told him, “But I think I can find the way around the home I’ve lived in all my life. If I need any help my neighbours are quite happy to help me. Besides, several unicorns live in the forest behind the house.”
“I’ll call back on my way home from work?” Tendy suggested.
Arianna rolled her eyes, “If you have to. Thanks.”
Finally to her relief he left her alone and Arianna dropped onto the couch. There was something she needed to remember, something so important that she felt it pressing on her but she couldn’t remember.
With a long sigh she decided to make herself some dinner.

“He’s managed to make her forget,” Ilea cried to her brother, “Merlin, he’s going to win unless we do something.”
“Like what?” Merlin demanded, “I can’t get to her and neither can you.”
“What about her friends?” Ilea asked, “What about the genie you sent to help her?”
“Jeannie and her friends are all trapped inside Jeannie’s bottle,” Merlin grimaced, “There’s no way out and I can’t enter the world until it is too late.”
“Then what can we do?” Ilea sighed, “We’re going to lose and in the same time Arianna will either die or worse be enslaved to that bastard.”
“I know,” Merlin assured her, “And I’m trying to think of something.”
“She’s the only one left,” Ilea whispered achingly, “I don’t want anything happening to her.”
Merlin took a deep breath, “There is something I can try but I can’t promise you it’ll work. It might be dangerous to both Arianna and myself.”
“I understand,” Ilea whispered softly, “Merlin, I don’t want anything to happen to you but Arianna is our last hope. Without her then the future doesn’t matter.”
Merlin nodded, he wished he could step into the world she was in so he could comfort her but that wasn’t possible.
“I’ll contact you as soon as I can,” he promised.
Ilea watched the mirror surface return to her reflection instead of her brothers and closed her eyes hoping that he could break through the magic surrounding Arianna.

Arianna slept in her bed curled around her pillow dreaming of a stranger. He was talking to her and although she couldn’t hear a word he was saying she was fascinated by him. She winced as something sharp poked her in her ribs and woke up suddenly looking around in confusion. Arianna stood and quickly slipped on her shoes to check the house, she knew something was off just by the feel of the air surrounding her.
This was her home; it had been since two days after she was born when her mother brought her home from the hospital and Arianna knew absolutely every part of it. Walking forward Arianna started casting a simple spell to catch whatever was in her house.
“You must come.”
Arianna spun around as she heard the voice confused to find no one standing there. She didn’t like when strange things happened in her sanctuary and today strange things seemed to be happening constantly.
“Hello?” she called knowing it was a dumb thing to do but it was all that came to mind.
“You must come.”
The voice seemed to reverberate through every fibre of her body and Arianna shuddered as she felt a pull towards the forest. Although she’d told Tendy that there were unicorns in the forest behind her house what she hadn’t mentioned was the fact that there were other things in that forest that were extremely dangerous.
“You must come, Arianna. You must come.”
Taking a deep breath Arianna did something she would never normally do and cast a spell to change into suitable clothing before she left the house. Standing at the edge of the forest she stared at the darkness beyond the trees.
“You must remember never to go into the forest alone,” her mother’s voice floated to her, “It is dangerous and you could get lost very easily. Promise me you will remember this.”
“I remember, Mother,” Arianna breathed, “I just have to break the other promise not to go in there.”
There was a strange shiver of the world as she stepped across the threshold from the field into the forest.

Logan gave a cry of pain as he kicked the wall. As he dropped onto the couch he grimaced in annoyance.
“I told you already,” Jeannie said, “You can’t smash the bottle from the inside. You can’t smash it from the outside either so there’s no point in breaking your foot.”
“We have to do something,” Logan yelled.
Jeannie rolled her eyes; from the moment he’d woken up he’d been irritable and angry. She could understand it as he was in love with Arianna and they all knew she was in trouble.
“Logan, the only way I can get out of the bottle is if someone lets me out,” Jeannie reminded him, “And that includes all of you too.”
“So, that’s it?” Logan demanded, “That’s all we can do is sit and wait for someone to open the bottle? I don’t believe that. Can’t I make a wish or Davin a potion or Grey do something? All three of you have magic, you have to do something?”
“Logan,” Grey spoke up from his spot on the couch, “A Genie’s bottle dampens all possible magic within it. We have no powers in here.”
“You can’t turn into a dragon and smash the bottle?” Laurie asked hopefully from her spot beside him.
Grey chuckled, “I’m afraid not. Even that part of my magic is inhibited.”
“So what can we do?” Logan snapped.
“We’re not Arianna’s only allies,” Jeannie reminded him, “Merlin released me to aid her, he will be watching and will do whatever he can. We just have to hope it’s enough.”

Arianna followed the trail lit by the moon through the darkened forest; she knew that following the trail of magical breadcrumbs was probably not the best idea in the world but there was something in the magical signature that was drawing her forward.
She could see a clearing in front of her, a circle of moonlight that she knew was her destination and she stopped. Arianna knew that she shouldn’t be here; she knew that there was something about this that was dangerous but the magical signature kept pulling her forward.
“I’m here,” Arianna called as she stood in the centre of the circle, “I’m here.”
As she stood Arianna began to wonder if this was a good idea but before she could move shapes appeared in the shadows. Fear filled her as a Centaur, a blue wolf, a unicorn and a fairy all stepped into the circle.
“Are you who called me?” Arianna asked, trying not to let the worry in her voice leak into her words.
“Yes,” the Centaur stepped forward, “I am Calias. Your uncle has summoned us here.”
“My what?” Arianna asked confused.
They looked confused as she did, “Your uncle,” Calias repeated.
“I don’t have an uncle,” Arianna told him, she looked at the beings surrounding her, “I think you’ve made a mistake.”
A voice made her spin to look behind her and to her surprise a man appeared before her.
“Arianna, you need to remember,” he told her, “Many people depend on you.”
“I don’t...”
“Your future depends on you remembering what Godwin is planning to do,” he said.
“Godwin?” she stared at him, “I’ve to go see him tomorrow. I don’t know anything about plans he has to find the stones.”
“You found the stones,” he told her, “Arianna, I’m sorry but since you can’t break the spell he’s placed on you we have to do something to help. I’m sorry about this.”
Arianna stared at him before screaming as the Unicorn ran at her and stabbed her through her stomach with his horn.

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