The tall elf scowled.
“If there really is not much else that we can do in this place, I suppose a perambulation around the nearby town will be entertaining, although I do think that there are some issues that we should sort here first, sisters.”
“Aren’t we always ‘sorting issues’?” grumbled Mirage.
Elorrie nodded her agreement.
“Yeah, I could do with a new pair of earrings and a necklace.”
Erulastiel spread her arms out.
“Okay, into town it is, then,” she said.
Aliryia rolled her pretty eyes at how her opinion had so quickly been overthrown.
Oh well. If the worst comes to the worst, I always have my power to use as protection.
Besides, there were many places in the town where an elf could see the beauty of nature.
Lagging behind already, Aliryia, stopped and called to the others:
“A few seconds, sisters, before we head off. There’s one thing I must do.”
Aliryia crept upstairs to find Alkrya, sulking in the room she shared with Eru. When the elf entered, the lizard-girl jumped, and hissed automatically.
“Now, Alkrya… You’re amongst friends, and I am on your side.”
“I’m not going into town! The people there will pitchfork me to death!”
“It is still rather early. My view is that there may not be many people out. Besides…” She bit her lip, pondering whether to tell one of The Sistren, this girl whom she had hardly known for three days, about her invisibility. “Besides…I shall be walking alongside you. No-one will dare to cross a sword-wielding elf.”
Alkrya gave her a look. Aliryia was glad, for she had hoped that Alkrya would not believe the story that elves took swords up against other living creatures. It was absurd, but at least the edges of the lizard’s mouth were starting to curl upwards.
Aliryia sat on the side of the bed. She fingered the floor-length cloak that Alkrya had brought to The Sistren; grey velvet, a cool midnight sky, and a perfect place to hide.
“You can wear that cloak too, if you think I’m not to be trusted that much. Do come, sister of the rock, I do not think that things will be the same if you stayed put here.”
“Okay, Ali! But if I get hurt…”
As well as Aliryia and Alkrya, amongst the company traveling into town with Eru were Elorrie, Maine, and Mirage.
The small town was a busy place, but luckily the girls had picked an early time in the morning, and there were not many ‘common pedestrians’ about.
“Okay, this is some of The Sistren’s funds. I’ll give £5 to each of you. Spend it wisely and return any change, please.” Eru announced.
Elorrie and Mirage hurried off to a jeweler’s, giggling amongst themselves when they saw the rows of coloured gems sparkling in the sun. Aliryia smiled to herself; it was nice to see those girls were bonding a bit.
Maine mumbled something deliberately incoherent and wandered off in the opposite direction, thus leaving Aliryia and Alkyra with Eru.
Cloaked in grey, and looking uncomfortable in the morning sun, Alkrya studied Eru.
“How can you conceal your wings so well?” she asked.
Eru shrugged, “A bit of this and that. They’re actually quite cramped, but at least it’s not people pointing and staring, right? Sorry… I didn’t mean that you…”
But Alkyra’s expression had already set into a scowl. She turned to Aliryia.
“And you can hide your pointed ears behind those thick locks of yours. But what about me? I’m stuck here, boiling in this costume so that people don’t persecute me!”
Aliryia nodded, and turned to Eru.
“The Sistren is meant to be our safe haven, dark sister. When we leave it, we become as weak and vulnerable as before. Perhaps you should call back the others and we should return home?”
But Maine was nowhere to be seen, and the other two were darting in and out of the high-street shops, grinning at all the trinkets they had acquired.
“Tell you what, Alkyra, how about we go and buy you something else to wear that’ll cover your scales, but won’t be so…obvious. We’ll all chip in with our money, hey Aliryia?”
“I’ve never seen a piece of clothing so beautiful!”
”Indeed; it holds the aura of mystery and intenseness, yet is not overwhelming in colour or shape.”
They were looking at a stylish, long-sleeved, thigh-length dress, amber in colour, and so blended in with the scales that patterned their way across Alkrya’s body, minimalising them, instead of making them stand out or just covering them, like the cloak did currently. The dress was silk, or some other shimmering fabric, and it floated about the mannequin lightly.
“But I can’t afford that!” Alkrya exclaimed with a sigh, looking at the price tag; five plus five plus five would certainly not equal thirty.
Aliryia watched her friend’s disappointment, remembering the need of their earlier conversation, and then she glanced across to the alleyway nearby.
“Sisters, I have an idea. You must keep yourselves hidden over there if it is to work.”
Uncertainly, they made their way over to the alleyway. Once they were out of sight, Aliryia took a deep breath and watched her hands fade to nothing. In the faint reflection from the shop-window, there was no golden-haired girl, just a road of cars that rushed by.
The door was easy to push open, as though the wind had caught it; trickier was task of removing the dress from the doll it had been placed on. But Aliryia did it without hassle and, as soon as she made contact with the fabric, it too became transparent.
Materialising down the road and making her way back up to the others, guilt crept up on Aliryia.Oh my, didn’t I promise that I was only going to use my powers for good…?