I woke up screaming. Ever since I'd re-entered Mazany's world, I'd been overcome with pain and loss. Someone had been hurting Nature. Being closer to Nature and the Elements than anyone else meant I could feel their pain as they died. Even in sleep I could feel it. That was why I'd woken up screaming my head off. Someone had killed a tree sprite as I slept.
I staggered to my feet. I was sweating so badly and simply had to wash before putting on clean clothes.
I quickly grabbed some of the bread I'd brought with me and ate it as I jumped from the treehouse I hadn't used in twelve months. I headed, well stumbled, towards a river I knew was nearby.
I was about to step into the water when I saw my reflection. Oh Nature! Was that really me? I was so horrified because I didn't have the innocent, lively face of a Pixie anymore; instead I was gaunt, sunken and shockingly pale. I had bad bruising around my eyes. My hair was lank and my eyes had no sparkle to them. My mouth was set into a straight line, it had been too long since I laughed or smiled and now I had forgotten how. My skin was permanently cold. This was what the final payment had done to me; it was so awful I barely recognized myself.
I gritted my teeth and refused to look at myself in the water any longer. I washed and freshened up as well as washing my hair to give it some life. When I next saw myself I thought I looked better but then I sighed. Who was I kidding? Even clean and with lively, spiky hair again I still looked dead and unrecognizable.
I pulled on my change of clothes while calling up the Element Air to dry my old ones. I'd learned not to wear skirts when at any moment you could be ambushed and forced to fight so I had green combats and a brown t-shirt.
I was yawning as I trudged through the trees only to freeze when I spotted the morning sun glimmering on light blue hair. She seemed to feel my gaze and looked straight at me with horror on her own face. However, it was a second before she actually realized who I was.
"Zuri," I heard her breathe. I glared at her for a moment and muttered a single ugly word before spinning around and running off. It was her fault I was like this. What really annoyed me was the fact she wasn't horrified at what she'd done to me but horrified that I might have caught her at something. I wasn't going back to find out because I refused to be within ten feet of her but I did skid to a halt and turn back to her. She'd thought I'd gone and turned back to whatever she was doing.
"All Elements, please come to me I need you," I said under my breath. I created a glowing ball of all the Elements, and knew my eyes were flashing with the different colours. I aimed it carefully before flinging it away from me towards her. The impact was brilliant. It lifted Father's daughter right off her feet into the air. She screeched and crashed into a jagged rock. Blood gushed from her head.
"Just a little thank you for what you did to me," I called sweetly, my voice faint from disuse, before whizzing off.