Good Reef!

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Chapter 12

Soon enough the camp was just a memory, although some of the newcomers decided to stay and try to make a life in Blumenport, this now, most famous of villages. The sand was cleared of all signs of any fires and temporary shelters. King Komin and his soldiers were on their way back to the capital, with many civilians, unsure of how to deal with the Ancients on the way, travelling with them. They were also joined by a number of magicians (Thesius among them), who saw no point in staying any longer, especially, since Bee was of age and proved to be powerful enough to show them what she thought of their interest.

A certain Troll was eagerly awaiting them all (well, maybe not all) with the railing of his bridge adorned by a breathtaking portrait scraped with a piece of metal on a smoothed plank of wood.

Mateya and Mathias wanted to stay longer, but there was no escaping the fact that they now had to go and see their gran. She’d find out one way or another that they’d been nearby, and it would be better for everyone if they paid her a (very short) visit. The world wasn’t over, and they had to go back to work. After short, eloquent goodbyes, they were on their way, and only Bee could tell that although they were very scared they were also feeling rather gooey inside. Not that they would ever admit it.

There was much to be done. Houses had to be erected for the new villagers, all the other buildings needed to be moved forward and a gate had to be installed in the Wall with a separate, little cottage for the Seer. She probably wouldn’t use it just yet but it was good to plan for the future.

‘Well,’ said Bronek looking at the fresh graves nearby ‘It could’ve gone better. But I suppose it could’ve gone far, far worse.’

They were standing at the Wall with Bealla. The crumbled pieces of coral were slowly disappearing. Some of them were taken by the sea, others were claimed by witnesses to the morning’s events, who knew that in many years to come, they would take them out and say ‘I was there’ and it would mean something.

‘Hmm?’ said the girl after a moment and turned her unseeing eyes towards the bard ‘Oh, yes. Sorry. I suddenly have all this space in my head and my thoughts easily scatter. You know, last night I was so miserable that I thought my heart would break. But now I’m fine. When you don’t hear the thoughts and emotions of others’ you suddenly feel better. It’s quite sad, really. It’s almost as if you care less because they’re not permanently in your head. Horrific. But it’s so peaceful… Am I selfish?’

‘Of course not,’ replied Maya offering an arm to the girl and leading her across the beach towards her family. ‘You’re just like everyone else. We all need to make an effort to relate to others, but for you it was natural. If you still care for people when you can’t feel their pain or happiness as your own, then you can still call yourself a good person.’

‘I suppose it makes sense. It will all make a wonderful song, don’t you think?’

‘Or a few,’ laughed Maya ‘I can see him already thinking about it.’

‘Well, yes,’ Bronek interjected ‘But many people will be writing songs about what happened. I want to be original.’

‘What did you have in mind?’ asked his wife.

‘Hmm, returning to the old ways, having to learn to live among the Ancients again, both the friendly and the unfriendly ones. Maybe in some way, we’re Ancients?’

‘How did you figure that out, dear?’

‘Well, we are magical creatures, aren’t we? Not all of us, but some are. And the world belongs mostly to the Oorcheen, who, you told me, aren’t. Maybe if we treat ourselves as Ancients it would be easier to keep peace with the rest of them. What do you think Bealla?’

‘I couldn’t possibly comment. But we definitely aren’t rulers of this world. And the Great Oak has lots of room on its trunk. There must be other worlds on it. Maybe in one of them we own the land and seas. On this one, however, we need to prove ourselves worthy to the real rulers. Write your songs, Bronek. I’m sure they’re going to be wonderful. As always…’

‘Other worlds, you say? Well, there’s no reason the Tree of the World couldn’t be the Tree of Worlds, is there? There might even be people, who could travel between them,’ he said excitedly and once again got lost in thought.

‘Well, he’s gone,’ commented Maya with a smile. She caught a glimpse of Fala, the girl with a Secret, who was looking behind her as she followed her mother out of the village. ‘Travelling between the worlds. Things some people will believe.’

‘Exactly,’ agreed Bee with her unseeing eyes on the same girl. ‘Good grief, eh?’

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