While I waited for Mazany to return, I heard a strange whispering. Curious, I jumped from the treehouse. I walked until I came to a clearing. In the centre was Ice, sitting perfectly still and staring up at the sky. She turned to look at me with a smile playing around her mouth.
"Had you forgotten you owe me four debts, Zuri? I've only told you one; which you did," Ice inclined her head as if in respect but I knew she was mocking me.
"What is it this time?" I asked flatly. Ice smiled angelically.
"I am collecting the second debt you, Pixie Zuri, owe me, Pixie Ice. The second payment is you must stop connecting with Nature to see Grandmother. Next time if you will yourself hard enough then you shall not see or hear her. The same conditions apply; you are only allowed to stop giving payment in the event of my death or yours. I think thats everything," Ice stood up and stared at me. My face didn't change expression as she gave the payment. I had learned how to stop any emotions showing through if I didn't want them to. Ice coughed as if clearing her throat and continued to stare at me pointedly.
"I, Pixie Zuri, agree to the second payment you, Pixie Ice, have asked me to pay," I spoke in a quiet monotone. Ice narrowed her eyes briefly and then disappeared. I sighed in relief she was gone. It wasn't as bad as before... Well it was but I saw Grandma so rarely I was hoping that it wouldn't effect me as much.
"Zuri! Zuri!" Mazany was calling my name. I whirled around to see him running towards me smiling hugely, looking very pleased with himself.
"Why are you so wet?" I asked baffled. He grinned and spun around so I could see.
"Oh, Nature! You gained a tail!" I exclaimed.
"Yep," he said with a bunch of satisfaction. I reached out to stroke them but then I remembered that first day and how he'd flinched. I didn't think he'd do that now but I didn't want to test the theory or offend him. I snatched my hand back and simply smiled at him, although he probably saw the slight sadness in my eyes that I couldn't erase from Ice's visit.
"You think you can be stronger than me?" I teased, "Not a chance!" I lunged and tackled him. We fell down on the ground and laughed. I leapt off him quickly and wrinkled my nose.
"What?" he demanded.
"You're all wet and stink of the Lake. You need a shower or at least some way to clean up," I giggled. He growled and tripped me up but I could only laugh harder. Maz quickly made me forget my sorrow and Ice and the intruder and my debts...
Maz just made me smile and forget everything horrible.