“Ah, you came Elizabeth. So this is the date…s?” Vulcan asked mischievously, looking from Darin to Caspian. I felt numb, what where the odds for ending up at Vulcans’ party, having both Darin and Caspian with me? I glanced at Caspian, who was having the same revelation as me, or perhaps he was realizing something else entirely. I eyed him, and he gae me the look that said: ‘I’ll explain later.’
“Hey my man, where’s that pretty, little sister of yours?” Vulcan asked Darin as he let us inside. Darin laughed.
“As far away as possible from you, player.” He said and smacked Vulcan on the shoulder. Vulcan grinned.
“Oh yeah? Well guess she’s off the map then.” He said sleazily, and gave me a good long stare, before giving all three of us a wave, and disappearing into the crowd.
Darin mingled a little, while Caspian stayed close to me, looking around suspiciously. I noticed how it seemed that everyone just backed away and avoided looking at Caspian when he came through. I could understand why, I mean, he was kind of intimidating; steaming hot, but intimidating.
“So, you’re all powered up?” I asked him casually, feeling awkward walking around not talking at all. He shot me a warning look and I put my hands up in defeat.
“Okay, sorry. So, you fueled the tank?” I asked, grinning. He sighed and turned fully towards me.
“There is something here, at this party, so I suggest you keep your senses alert. And yes, I have fueled the tank.” He replied and I could see a slight hint of a smile at the corner of his lips. I smiled.
“Sure. And one more thing, when you… received my energy, you didn’t… receive anything else, did you?” I asked uneasy. He looked puzzled.
“And what would that be?” He asked genuinely.
“Nothing really…” I murmured. Wondering if he was telling the truth or if he was playing me. I spotted Rachel, almost flinging herself at Vulcan, giggling, obviously quite drunk already. Vulcan had to peel her fingers from his neck, but he looked like he enjoyed her attention though, because his sleazy smile reappeared. I looked around, seeing if I could spot Darin. He had indulged himself by the old-school beer barrel and was now handed a large glass filled to the brim with beer. He met my gaze and grinned, waving me over. I supposed that meant he wanted to give me alcohol, and I was not having that. If I got fairly ill from metal and exhaust, I would almost double up and die from alcohol. It did not work well with my… genes.
Caspian snickered by my side and I eyed him.
“The human thinks he can get in your pants.” He said, giving me a leer I had not seen on his face before.
“We’re just friends, just like you and I are friends.” I said. He looked confused.
“Would you actually call what we have a friendship?” He asked.
“What would you call it?” I asked curiously, he looked like he was debating with himself before he opened his mouth to answer, just in time before a high pitch shriek tore through the music. Someone turned off the music and everyone looked around for the source of the shriek. Caspian was alert in a split second, and had moved in front of me, so that I was standing against the wall. My blue eyes searched the crowd.
“It’s coming from the pool!” Someone shouted in the crowd. I couldn’t tell who it was. Caspian was torn, I could feel it, because he needed to see if there was a non-human. I touched his shoulder lightly, and he looked at me over his shoulder.
“You go check up on it, I’ll manage.” I said. He seemed undecided at first, but then his green eyes became clear, and he ran through the crowd. I stared after him, almost feeling the cold draft from the empty space he left behind whenever he left my side. He truly was my guardian angel… well, demon.
Suddenly another scream came from the floor above our heads, but now most of the crowd had run to the pool room to see what was going on there. I hesitated at first, but the next minute I found myself bolting up the white, winding stairs, and up on another expensive looking floor.
No one was there. I was completely alone, and the person who had screamed, didn’t scream anymore. My pulse drummed in my ears like a freaking parade, and my breath came in ragged gulps of air. I wasn’t too used to adrenaline, well, not on beforehand of a possible crisis anyway. Usually the crisis just… crept up on me.
I came to a corner of the hallway. I slowly looked around the corner, but couldn’t spot any living creature. The air I had stored in my lungs got released and I rounded the corner completely.
That was when I suddenly, and out of nowhere, got whacked in the face with a cocking pan. For a few moments, stars blinked in front of my eyes, before I fell backwards. All I could hear before my world went blank was a high pitched voice shrieking:
“OH! I’M SO SORRY!!!”
“God damn it Elizabeth, you just can’t glue your feet to one place while I check up on something for a few seconds?” Caspians furious voice asked me when I started coming to myself again. I groaned as the headache slammed into my head like a wild train.
“May the forest damn you; could you keep your voice down?” I hissed and massaged my temples, opening my eyes to slits. Caspian, Darin, Vulcan and a girl I didn’t know stared down at me. I groaned again.
“I’m so sorry I hit you in the face. I was so totally afraid you’d be that… thing.” The girl wailed, completely torn up over what she had done. I tried to smile at her, but it hurt.
“I have a huge bruise covering my face, don’t I?” I asked no one in particular. Vulcan chuckled.
“Sure have love, but it doesn’t make you any less… mouthwatering.” He replied. There was so many aspects wrong with that sentence that I didn’t even care to spare him a glance.
“Wait, what’s that thing you’re talking about?” I asked the girl and sat up abruptly. I wasn’t ready for that yet though, obviously, as my eyes rolled back and I slumped back in the bed I laid in.
I woke up in my apartment later, alone.
Not even Darin or Caspian had stayed with me. Frankly it felt like being abandoned. It didn’t matter. What mattered was the banging headache. Or was that someone banging on my door? I sat up in my bed, and walked out of my bedroom, slipping a robe over the black dress I hadn’t managed to use to its full extent. I had barely been at the party at all.
Oh, it was someone banging on my door.
I hurried over to open up, only to reveal the girl that had hit me in the face with a pan. A frown automatically appeared on my bruised face, and her frightened eyes widened in fear. She couldn’t be much older than sixteen, or perhaps she was a sophomore even. What was she even doing at a seniors’ party?
“What do you want?” I asked, rather sourly, but what would you expect, warm welcome and a cup of hot chocolate? Not from this nymph.
“I came to talk to you in peace. I have a message.” She said. I raised an eyebrow. Her eyes flickered from side to side.
“A message from the emperor…” She whispered. Realization dawned on me, and I let her inside, even though technically she was the enemy. Her face was cute and innocent, with long red hair down to her waist. She was a naiad, a water nymph.
“The emperor told me you had been trying to contact him. So he sent me as a messenger. He wishes to know what it is you mean by contacting him in the middle of our holidays, and why you are causing a disturbance by being here.” She said in a light tone. I crossed my arms in front of my chest, defiantly.
“How do I know you’re the real deal? I have been played several times since I got here already; I need proof that you are who you say you are.” I said.
“My emperor thought you might request proof, so I have been allowed to show my true self, if you would please lock your door.” She said. I nodded and locked the door and closed the curtains. The girl nodded pleased, and suddenly, her skin started to flake off, revealing shimmering, metallic blue skin beneath. All of her human disguise fell away, and in front of me stood a fully grown naiad. I was speechless. Even though the dryads had been at war with the naiads for thousands and thousands of years, we rarely met each other. Her flaming red hair was like fire against her blue hue, and her large ice blue eyes was glowing in the dim light. She had gills at the sides of her neck, and skin between her long fingers. Even though nymphs are magical beings, we might be the supernatural beings which most resemble the humans.
“Okay, I believe you.” I said. She nodded, but didn’t change back. Instead she made a hand movement towards me.
“Now you.” She said. I didn’t hesitate, it would be wonderful to finally stand tall again. I summoned up the energy it took to change back, and released it. I could feel the joints in my toes and fingers growing outwards and one additional joint appeared on each finger and on each toe. My flickering green hue was as green as the forest in the Valley and my ears changed and lengthened into points.
Now we stood facing each other, two enemy species that had been at war since before either of us had been born. We were finally talking, I felt joy building up inside and smiled a brilliant white smile at my nymphian sister.
“I wish to end the war, and I want to know what the dryads can do differently to change this misunderstanding that exists between our species.” I said. The naiad nodded.
“That is easy to answer without consulting the emperor.” She paused. “You must kill your corrupted Elders: they are the ones who turned against us so many years ago. Peace won’t come until they are eliminated.”
“I understand, but your elders were just as retched during that first battle.” I answered. Her eyes narrowed.
“You were there?” She asked, I shook my head.
“Then how can you know what the truth is?” She said.
“And you were?” I asked, feeling angry with her lack of will to see things from both sides.
“No, but I speak on behalf of the emperor, he was there.” She said. I snorted.
“And what makes you think he’s only telling the truth?” I snapped. Her eyes were burning with rage now, but she fought to keep herself calm.
“Because he is, it’s the simple truth.” She hissed. This peace negotiation wasn’t going so well I realized, at the moment I didn’t give a rats ass though, because the little water nymph was pissing me off. Luckily I towered almost twenty centimeters above her, so I looked down at her, smiling satisfied when she craned her neck to meet my blue eyes with her own.
“You’re terribly confident in your emperor, had I not been kicked out of the Valley, I would have attacked you for talking bad about my own leaders.” I said and smiled crookedly. Her eyebrows shot up like projectiles, clearly stating that this was new information.
“If you can’t go back, then why are you negotiating peace with my people?” She asked. I shrugged.
“Perhaps to prevent more of the young ones like me getting kicked out as well. It’s been like this the past thousand years.” I said. Her eyes were wide with wonder, and she dragged long fingers through her hair. I could see a shimmer of shells in her skin when she moved.
“We weren’t aware of this; I need to bring this information back to my emperor.” She said with a brooding face. I nodded.
“While you’re at it, you could ask him if he knows anything about why all the young dryads are disappearing outside of the Valley. It seems like something is capturing all of them.” I added. She nodded, this information didn’t seem new to her, so I raised a quizzical eyebrow to urge her on.
“We have noticed the increased demonical movements in the human world, but we supposed this was only because of the nearing of dooms day. It’s not too far away you know, but we weren’t aware of the abduction of dryads. I’ll pass along this information.” She said and bobbed her head to mark her words. I thanked her.
“By the way, Caspian, is he what I think he is?” She asked. My eyes widened.
“What do you think he is?”
“Er, yeah, he is. How did you notice?” I asked, surprised she’d noticed that quickly.
“Just the naiadian intuition. We know very little of each other, despite being at war.” She said and chuckled. I nodded, having come to the same conclusion.
“My name is Cornelia by the way. You are Elizabeth, right?” I nodded. She smiled and flicked her long red hair over her shoulder.
“For a dryad you’re not so bad.” She said and grinned, showing off her pure white teeth, and a pair of sharp canines. The naiads devoured fish, so I supposed they needed the weapons, the dryads on the other hand were mostly vegetarian.
“Yeah, well you’re not so terrible for a naiad either I suppose.” I said and smiled lopsidedly.
After restoring our human disguises, Cornelia left for the closest bay so she could tell her emperor what she had learnt. And I went to the fridge to get myself something to eat, as the headache after the blow from the frying pan was giving me nausea. I sighed and brought out different vegetables, putting them in a bowl and bringing them back to my living room. It really sucked having a concussion, because I was certain that was what I had. I would be all better in the morning though, compared to humans we might be just as fragile, but our body restores itself almost ten times quicker than the human body. I checked my watch, realizing I had been out far longer than I originally had though. It was already four in the morning, only five hours until I had to be at school again. I moaned, ate my vegetables and buried myself beneath my covers, falling asleep immediately. Only one sentence restored itself in my mind before it went blank: “I was so afraid you’d be that… thing.”