“Matt, we cannot agree to this!” said Anna, passionately, as she clicked the ‘stop’ button on the laptop and turned towards him.
“I know this,” he replied. “I feared you would be difficult.” Anna nodded, looked once, despairingly, at Aelvyn, and then back to Matt.
“I am going to be difficult,” she told him. “We have to rescue them.”
“That is exactly what we cannot do!” Matt told her, his voice an octave higher than normal with his anxiety. “Anna, did you not listen to what I told you?”
“I just can’t see what that’s got to do with rescuing my parents!” she replied, her colour high. “I can’t just leave them!”
“We cannot risk losing you, Anna,” replied Matt. “Without you, we’ll lose the entire universe!” It was a heavy burden on Anna’s shoulders, as the realisation sunk in.
“But my parents!” she said, but the conviction was gone. “I can’t ... leave them…” Matt took her in his arms, and she sobbed into his shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Anna,” he said. “I truly am, but do you not see? If you save your parents, you condemn the whole universe. We cannot take that risk – you will have to let them go.” Anna nodded.
“I know, but it’s hard.” She looked imploringly at her teacher.
“There’s nothing I can do, Anna,” Aelvyn said kindly. “You have to make this decision alone, though it’s so hard.”
“Nothing..?” Her voice broke; the very idea of the whole universe depending on her causing her shoulders to sag.
“No, Anna. I’m so sorry.”
She looked up at the stars, noticeably fewer of them than there had been. What would it be like, she wondered, if this sky was starless forever? The thought brought fresh tears to her eyes.
I won’t let it come to that. Whatever happens, I won’t let it come to that. Her determination shone through her eyes.
“Matt, I’ve made my decision,” she said. “I’m going to let them go. I’m going to save the universe.”
And she walked to the window, her liquid brown eyes drinking in the sight of so many stars, the streetlights all but forgotten with her heightened fairy senses. She could see whole galaxies – coloured swirls in a black sky, whirlpools of stars. She could not let them be destroyed, because they were her life. Could she live without stars?
Anna opened the door. She had to get out of the house, and breathe in some of the night air, for though she had not realised it, her training had taken up a large proportion of the day.
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” began Matt, worry in his young voice, but Aelvyn stopped him.
“Let her go,” he said. “She needs it.” Matt nodded, and Anna walked out of the back door, kneeling on the grass as she had done that afternoon with her teacher, learning to use her powers.
Anna looked up at the sky, and she prayed.
“Help me,” she said. “I can’t do this, not alone.” The stars were bright, and they seemed to burn into her eyes.
And as she watched, a single star fell from the sky in an arc, a mini rainbow in a dark sky.
The sealing of a promise.