The girl with fair hair of medium-length, dressed in jeans trousers and grey sweater entered a small shop in the district of some British small town. She looked around in search for the selling person. All walls of the shop, as well as the ceiling and the creaking floor were made of wood, and almost every square centimeter of the room was filled by high bookshelves that created a very odd maze in the interior. Aromatic substances of different herbs sold by the old herbalist to which the shop belonged floated in the air. Almost all bookshelves were full of large jars with substances prepared by the woman and living plants, which the lady grew for many years. Soon the old woman with a bun on the head, wearing round specs and dressed in a green dress emerged from a backroom.
“You came early today, Owena.” The seller told with a smile.
“I have some important business here.”
“I understand. You live in a hurry as other people at your age. In the future, you will learn to be pleased with every passing moment, as I am now. Unfortunately, I don’t have good news for you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Unfortunately. The track turned out to be false again. The book which I told you about turned out to be a fake. Somebody wrote it in the 19th century and it was most probably a stage prop in some club for rich people who loved to play with magic.”
“Damn. I’m sorry that because of me, you had to deal with a rubbish.”
“That’s OK. Only thanks to you I’m still coming out of this burrow and have a contact with the outside world. What are you doing in our city, if I can ask about it?”
“I... this is business connected with my work as the Guardian.I won’t tell you, because I don’t want to expose you to a danger.”
“All right. I only hope that you won’t do everything alone.”
“No. I have to meet with Loranir. He is probably waiting for me on the market.”
“Loranir... poor man...” The old woman became sad.
“Did he accepted the past?” She asked.
“No. He did not, although he claims that it’s different. It happened so quickly. He lost sister and his entire race, which actually he never got to know.”
“My proposal is open. I can prepare potion of oblivion for him. It was cooked on water from the river Styx.”
“No. Loranir still hopes to find his sister and I don’t to take it away.”
“As you wish. But perhaps you cause him more damage.”
“I must go. Loranir probably started losing patience.”
“Take care, Owena.” The old woman said goodbye to the walking away friend.
Owena came to the city market. Because of the early time of the day, there weren’t too many people in surroundings and tenements on the square seemed to be abandoned. The girl noticed Loranir, standing near a strange looking contemporary sculpture made of bronze. Loranir was the man with a pale complexion and long, black hair which hid elf ears. He was dressed in a dark, leather jacket and black trousers. Owena saw him and went up closer quickening the pace.
“Are you ready to go?” Loranir asked her.
“Yes... I have the sword.” The girl answered showing the rucksack.
“Good. Today we’ll be hunting one of the ones who killed the previous Guardian. She turned up at some of nearby small towns. She is an anomaly in this reality and thanks to that we can easily locate her, as soon as she uses her abilities.”
“I’m not able to sense a magic from kilometer distances. Neither do you.”
“Exactly. But it is equally close to everywhere from Nexus. We will sit there for a while and wait until our Tylwyth Teg becomes apparent.”
“Nexus... I thought that we could avoid it. I hate this place.” The girl was very dissatisfied.
“You must get used to it. Now you are the only one able to travel to that place. It rejects even Marcon.”
“I know. I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it, but I really don’t like to do it. Let us walk somewhere into the remote backstreet, because I don’t want some tourist to enter the portal behind us by a chance.”
Blue haired girl with a pale, almost white, complexion was sitting on a stone wall surrounding a man-made lake. She fixed her eyes on waves formed on the surface of water under the influence of the slight wind. When she raised her right hand, waving changed gentle character to more dynamic, like under a strong wind. Grass growing around and crowns of trees pointed that the air hadn’t caused the change on water mirror. The girl smiled. Water became even more restless, and waves on its surface assumed a very complex shape resembling shape of normal modes on the membrane stretched on a circular rim. Then water launched above the lake taking the form of snakes slithering around each other. Young enchantress of elements got up from a stone wall. Drops of water splashed across her face. Water escaped from fetters of the container and hanged in the air in a form of balls connected with streams changing volume to the orders of the girl. Meanwhile, Owena and Loranir observed unusual performance from a hidden place.
“Beautiful.” The long-haired man said.
“You’re right. It’s unusually beautiful. Are you sure that she is our target? Looking at her work, I can swear that she has a gentle soul.” The blonde announced sadly.
“The gentle soul does not rule out what she is. Beings such as she... such as I... they have inborn love of the beauty. According to Marcon, She is called Elenaril, a Changelling belonging to the group responsible for the death of the previous Guardian of the Liminal Zone. During the birth, she was connected with the magic of water. Her beautiful face hides really dangerous person.”
“I know. Let us take care of her and let us get back home. I’m ready.”
Owena took the sword hilt out of her rucksack. She closed her eyes, simultaneously reciting words of the spell. After a moment, a bright blade emerged from the hilt. When glitter disappeared, it turned out that the blade with strange, runic symbols had appeared. Loranir summoned a snowstorm, pointing at the odd fountain created by Elenaril. The water sculpture was frozen. Tears appeared in the eyes of blue-haired girl, and her fists clenched in a gesture of anger. Turning around, she noticed Owena and Loranir standing close by. Runes on the girl’s sword glittered with a internal brilliance.
“Who are you? What did you do to my art?”
“I am the Guardian of the Liminal Zone and he is my defender.” Owena introduced herself and her comrade.
“You are accused of murder of the previous Guardian. Together with your allies you killed her in a cold blood, although the woman wasn’t active and didn’t use the magic for many years.”
“I didn’t kill her! It is true, that I was there when this woman died, but I didn’t kill her. Amadee’s spells and this horrible child killed her! I’m not with them anymore and I don’t want to have anything with that world. I simply want... to admire the beauty of this place!”
Loranir rested his hands on the shoulder of the girl, when he noticed an indecision in her face expression. He communicated with her without any words.
“Even if what you say is a true, you are an anomaly here. I must send you back to Annwn.”
“Who gave you such a power!?” Elenaril became nervous.
“Perhaps you should start with your surroundings?! Can’t you see who you side with?! He’s Dark Tylwyth Teg! Same changelling as I! Send him to Annwn, because he’s place is there!”
“Enough! I won’t talk with a murderess! Directly or not, you contributed to the end of this woman your accepting order from Queen Mab!”
Elenaril broke one of ice shapes hanging above the fountain. She directed a stream of water freed from it at Owena. Loranir generated an ice gale, thanks to which the stream didn’t hit the girl, but instead it fell on her in a form of a gentle snow.
“You think that I had any choice?! I was created artificially in order to carry orders of the Faerie manor house out! Same as your companion who was born only to serve Sallos and his Guardians! Dark Tylwyth Teg! Convince her, because she isn’t able to understand it!” The Girl turned at Loranir.
“I now know that it isn’t possible to talk to you...” She added. The ice sculpture, in which there was trapped water controlled by her, started vibrating, and after a moment it exploded dispersing into thousands of ice chips. The wall of the rain hit the blonde and her defender, cutting them off from magician. When the downpour ended, it turned out that Elenaril had used all confusion, in order to escape, moving magically into the unknown place. Loranir picked up the sword which fell out from the girl’s hands when she was attacked. Owena was drenched and very angry.
“Let us get back home. I must change.” She said through clenched teeth.
“You must use Nexus...”
“No. We will go by the hitch-hiking. But only when we both dry or people will get scared of us”
Marcon arrived at ruins of the old Romanesque church, standing on the edge of a big forest. He crossed doorless entrance gate, simultaneously making a magic gesture by his right hand. When he was inside, he noticed symbols invisible for ordinary mortals leading to the place which appeared to him in dreams a few weeks ago. The grey haired, long-haired man stopped for a moment inside the temple looking at the vault above the head, full of holes letting light and sounds of the forest into the interior. Marcon reached a room hidden behind the wooden door in the side part of the church. He sat down on the floor, taking the locket with the symbol representing one of Goetian demons out of the pocket. He plunged into a trance and let the black magic which was asleep in the symbol enter his mind. The place in which he was started changing under the influence of energies lying dormant in the magic object. For Marcon, it wasn’t obvious, whether there was a true physical change of reality surrounding him or only a change of his perception of reality, but it made any difference for the meeting for which he arrived there. Soon, the man got up and came back for main part of the temple. Marcon looked at the church as it had been in the moment of its creation, full of wooden benches and candles burning near the altar. Figures dressed in black habits sat in benches. They looked like gloomy apparitions, repeating words of ancient spells. At some point, the man with a long, dark hair, dressed in a dark armour decorated with jewels, turned up at the wooden door. Marcon took the symbol of the demon out, showing it to the stranger.
“I know who you are, carer of the Guardian.” The long-haired man spoke.
“I expected only you in my thresholds. Forgive me this spectacle. It is really not my style, but I am not as strong as in the past and I must use human spells from before centuries.”
“Welcome on the Earth, Duke Sallos.” Marcon said looking at the locket.
“Welcome, Marcon. Our meeting will concern Annwn, the land which is under my protection. The land which was recently torn by gales of changes, carrying inconceivable crime. Let us walk to basements, my dear Marcon. There is a wine brewed by Tylwyth Teg which you certainly never tried out living in this land.” The demon with dark hair pointed at wooden stairs leading to the floor which was not there when Marcon had crossed doorsteps of the ruined church for the first time.