The AscentMature

‘Well it was pretty easy to get in,’ Sarah commented cheerfully as the girls entered the ground floor room and began climbing the stairs in front of them ‘I think getting to this Queen will be as easy as pie!’

‘Of course, she wants it to look easy to get our hopes up,’ Amber raised an eyebrow at her.

‘Oh she does, does she?’ Sarah put her determined face on ‘Well, we will storm this tower, with or without deceitful hope!’

‘I think the air is too thin for you up here,’ Sheela sighed as Sarah jogged up the stairs at a faster pace.  Amber watched Sarah and began jogging after her.  Vienna joined in when she saw Amber run.  Saphira followed Vienna when she saw her go.  Sheela kept climbing at a leisurely pace, not really willing to waste any energy.  Really, everyone was so restless around her.  When she reached the top of the staircase, she spotted that they had reached a dead end.  There was a window of a water tank next to them.  Inside was a grotesque merman, circling the water tank moodily, armed with a rusted trident.  Sarah swallowed nervously as his yellow eyes saw them.  He bared his yellow overgrown fangs at them and Sarah squirmed, hiding behind her sister.

‘He doesn’t look friendly,’ she commented as Sheela narrowed her eyes.

‘Yeah, he looks cursed,’ Saphira observed.

‘Aw, the poor thing!’ Vienna cooed and pouted.

‘Wait, look what he’s circling around.’  Sheela pointed to the large round white switch in the centre where the merman was circling.  There was a cord nearby and Sheela bent down to look up, seeing a large block of stone suspended over the tank.  ‘I suppose we use that to click the switch.’

‘But how do we get in there?’ Saphira asked with a raised eyebrow ‘I don’t see how we could get in…!’  Vienna yelped when a hole appeared under Saphira, sending the poor girl falling down.

‘Saphira!’  The hole closed up and a hole opened up on one of the walls of the tank, sending Saphira into the tank.  Saphira blinked through the water blearily and swum upward immediately when she saw the dark blur of the merman rush towards her.  She jumped out of the water to take a sharp breath of air and form a quick bubble charm around her head to breathe and have a good or decent line of vision underwater.  The bubble was somewhat cracked and blurry but she had a better view when she was underwater.  As she landed back into the water, she swerved immediately to avoid getting speared by the rusted trident that was thrown at her.  Sarah cheered as Saphira began darting around the tank, feeling a bit disorientated.

‘Go, Saphira!  You can do it!  We believe in you!’ she cheered and Sheela just pinched the bridge of her nose irritably.  Saphira found her way to the cord eventually and tugged down on it hard.  The block of stone came crashing down and nearly squashed the merman when it clicked the switch down.  A doorway opened before the girls and Amber tilted her head.

‘Well that was easier than I thought,’ she commented ‘But how do we get Saphira out?’  The girls stared at the tank for a little longer while Saphira began wrestling the mutated merman.

‘She can handle herself,’ Sheela decided ‘Come on, before the doorway closes.’  Amber took Vienna by the hand and dragged her away from the window so they could ascend the next flight of stairs.  They arrived in a dark room with black walls and white lines decorating it.  Golden music notes appeared on the wall in front of them and Amber tilted her head to the side with a confused frown.

‘What are they?’ she asked.

‘Music notes,’ Sheela replied as words were written underneath them ‘They tell the reader what note to sing to make music.’  The girls remained silent as they read the lyrics.  Amber just squinted, trying to make some sense of the words and failing miserably so she gave up, folding her arms moodily.

‘Nya, nya, nya!’ Sarah suddenly belted out of tune making Vienna yelp and plug her ears ‘I want to climb!  I want to pounce!  I want to change my body into that of a cat’s!  I will eat as many fish as I want and no-one will stop me when I go out to enjoy the beautiful nature!  Oh, yes, I want to be free and purr loudly like a motor!  I don’t want to be a dog or rabbit or rat!  All I want is to be a cat!’ 

‘Please don’t do that again,’ Sheela sighed as she pulled her fingers out of her ears ‘You really can’t sing.’

‘But I enjoy singing,’ Sarah whined with a pout as Amber continued having her ears plugged.

‘What kind of song is that?’ Vienna asked while staring at the lyrics ‘It sounds like some children’s song…’

‘I don’t think it even qualifies to be a children’s song, I can’t imagine children singing about wanting to turn into a cat,’ Sheela sighed as she ran a sweaty hand through her long messy silver hair ‘I’m really sorry, Sarah, but you sung it out of tune so I’ll do this by myself.’

‘Let’s do a duet!’ Sarah suddenly decided.

‘No!’  Sarah was suddenly tackled by Vienna and Amber, Amber stuffing her hand into Sarah’s mouth to prevent any sounds.  Sheela cleared her throat as Sarah thrashed about with the younger girls and looked up at the lyrics.  She took a deep breath to prepare her voice and opened her mouth to begin singing.

‘Nya, nya, nya,’ she sung while following the notes ‘I want to climb, I want to pounce.  I want to change my body into that of a cat’s.  I will eat as many fish as I want and no-one will stop me when I go out to enjoy the beautiful nature.  Oh, yes, I want to be free and purr loudly like a motor.  I don’t want to be a dog or rabbit or rat.  All I want is to be a cat.’  Everyone went still and silent, staring at the golden strip of music.  Nothing happened and Sheela frowned, placing her hands on her hips.  ‘What’s the matter?  I sung it perfectly in tune.’

‘Maybe you missed a note,’ Vienna commented and began singing.  Sarah let out a muffled protest and attempted to sing around Amber’s hand when Sheela argued against Vienna and began singing at a different pitch to her.  Amber wanted to plug her ears but she didn’t want Sarah joining in.  So she just closed her eyes and endured the singing.  Suddenly the room shook and the girls stopped singing, Vienna falling over.  The room stopped shaking and the girls just stared at each other.  Sheela then gave an accusing look to Sarah who shrugged hopelessly, Amber’s hand still wedged in her mouth.  Sheela hummed thoughtfully and sat back.

‘If it wasn’t Sarah then I think we might have triggered something,’ she said with a shrug.

‘Perhaps you need more than one voice?’ Amber suggested.

‘Or this room wants a harmony,’ Vienna said as she saw two more lines of music write themselves on the wall in front of them.

‘Well it could have said that before,’ Sheela huffed grumpily with her hands on her hips ‘But to make a complete harmony we need three voices…’  Vienna looked at Sheela.  Sheela looked at Vienna.  Sheela and Vienna looked at Sarah and Amber.  Sarah and Amber tilted their heads to the side questioningly.

‘Well Amber can’t read music,’ Vienna saw one flaw.

‘And Sarah can’t sing,’ Sheela saw the other flaw.  Sarah let out a muffled protest with a frown as she struggled against Amber again.  Amber sighed tiredly as she continued to wrestle Sarah to the floor.

‘If only Xeann was here,’ she muttered sulkily.

‘Don’t worry, you don’t have to read the music, I’ll teach you the part you have to sing,’ Sheela suggested.

‘No, that will take too long and I want to reach the top as soon as possible!’ Vienna whined and Sheela sighed.

‘Amber, try to mimic us and Sarah…you can try to sing in case you hit the right notes.’  Sarah cheered while Vienna and Amber groaned, plugging their ears in anticipation of Sarah’s singing.  Amber tried to sing but she kept on forgetting the words so had to keep unplugging her ears to hear the song once and then plug them again to continue singing.  It took them about twenty times or more, no-one was really keeping count but the room shook again and began shaking at a steady pace, a small rumbling coming from behind the music on the wall.  The wall parted to show stairs and Amber took a deep breath, tired from singing over and over again. 

‘Sarah you can stop that infernal singing now!’ Vienna snapped as Sarah continued singing out of tune even when the room had stopped shaking.  Sarah closed her mouth obediently and cheered once she saw that the wall had parted and the staircase was available to them.

‘Let’s get going!’ she cheered, grabbed Amber and shot up the stairs.  Sheela hitched the wedding dress up with a sigh as she and Vienna followed them.  Sarah eventually ran out of breath and let go of Amber, sitting down on a step to regain her breath.  Amber raised an eyebrow.

‘Out of breath already?’ she said as Sheela and Vienna caught up ‘I lasted longer than you.’

‘There are too many stairs!’ Sarah whined and yawned tiredly.

‘Well I suppose you’re out of breath from all the…singing you’ve just done,’ Sheela suggested as she sat down too.  Amber and Vienna sat on the stairs with them, catching their breath.

‘How far up to you reckon we are?’ Vienna asked Amber who shrugged.

‘I can safely say that we’re further up than when we left you,’ she said as she looked up the staircase ‘I left Xeann a little bit further then reached the top somehow.’  She heaved a heavy sigh and rested her elbows on her legs with a sad face whilst she remembered Xeann’s smiling face.  ‘It’s been over a month and she isn’t back yet.  I’m worried about what might have happened to her.’

‘I suppose the worst really did happen to her,’ Vienna leaned against the wall with a soft sigh ‘I can’t imagine that she could possibly be knocked off like that, she’s too stubborn to get killed so easily.’

‘She did tell us to expect the worst if she didn’t come back within a week,’ Sheela shrugged and sighed.  Sarah suddenly started wailing.

‘Poor Xeann!’ she cried ‘She was a good friend!  She was scary but she was a powerful ally that would have helped us to the very day she died.’

‘Technically she’s already dead, she’s a vampire,’ Sheela corrected her and sighed mournfully.  Amber began circling the stair thoughtfully with her finger and sighed, leaning her head back against the metal wall behind her.

‘I hope she really isn’t…you know, gone,’ she said and Vienna scoffed.

‘Please, this is my nan we’re talking about,’ she said ‘The only thing that can stop her is silver poisoning and even she managed to live through that!’

‘Statistics suggest that vampires won’t be able to survive silver poisoning a second time,’ Sheela said grimly and Sarah wailed more.

‘We should build a memorial once we get out of this tower!’ she declared ‘To our beloved Xeann who died of silver poisoning whilst trying to save the world!’

‘I’m not suggesting that she actually has been killed by silver,’ Sheela raised an eyebrow at her younger sister ‘Anything could have killed her, from holy water to a stake into the heart.’

‘Holy water’s nasty, it burns and leaves nasty scars,’ Vienna hissed at the mention of it, her eyes flashing red then hissed in pain ‘Gah, need blood.  Sorry guys, I don’t have to feed that much but when I need a feed, I need a feed.’  Sheela held her arm out to Vienna but Vienna shook her head, pushing the pale looking arm away.  ‘I can’t, you won’t be able to hydrate very well from the lack of water here and you drain easily anyway.’  Sheela yelped when something hit her head and landed on her lap.  Amber stared at the bottle of water and growled.

‘She’s watching us,’ she said as Sheela rubbed her head and stared at it in bewilderment ‘And as her ‘guests’ she wants us to be in top condition when we reach the top of the tower.  Or rather, she wants at least me to make it to the top of the tower.’  Vienna gave the bottle of water a suspicious look but the smell of Sheela’s blood throbbing underneath her pale skin eventually became too much for her to handle so she leaned forward and sunk her fangs into Sheela’s arm.  Sheela winced painfully as Vienna drank a few gulps and pulled away, licking the bite mark to heal it.  Sheela took the water bottle and began drinking to hydrate herself again.  It seemed pretty normal and tasted pretty normal so she drank as much as she needed.  After half of the water bottle was gone when she passed it to the other girls who took a sip each.  Eventually the water bottle was empty and Sheela placed it on the step that she was sitting on.

‘For a young teenage pregnant Queen who’s taken over the world with two demons and made everyone’s lives a misery, she’s rather generous,’ she commented with a raised eyebrow.

‘Yes, I do try to be a good Queen.’  Sarah screamed while Vienna yelped at the sudden sound of a strange voice.  Amber looked up and glowered at the ceiling.

‘If you want to be a good Queen then you would get rid of the Nightmare Blanket,’ she retorted.  Florence simpered delicately. 

‘I’m afraid I can’t do that, Amber,’ she said simply.

‘Where are my parents?!’ Vienna growled at her.

‘My, my, someone’s snappy today,’ Florence commented ‘Have you started your period yet, dear?’

‘None of your business,’ Vienna said moodily and folded her arms huffily.

‘You have our sisters, Your Majesty,’ Sheela growled to Florence’s voice ‘Release them at once or I will come up there and force you!’  Florence laughed more boisterously than last time.

‘Release them?  Oh dear, Sheela, is that what you think happened to them?  You really think I kidnapped them?  My, my, you really ought to get to know your siblings a bit better, no matter how many you have.’

‘They would never go to you by their own will!’ Sheela snarled as she stood up while glaring icily at the ceiling ‘Iris may be a handful and a bit of a rebel when it comes to rules but she works for no-one!  As for Cecilia, she would definitely be against you and your views on how to rule the world!’

‘Oh and by the way,’ Florence continued as if she hadn’t heard Sheela ‘that is a lovely wedding dress you have there, getting married soon?’

‘No!’ Sheela screeched and took in a deep breath ‘Ladies, we are continuing this ascent!’  The girls nodded and continued running upstairs while Florence’s laughter echoed along the stone walls.  Only Amber paused when she heard a small pained grunt at the end and frowned.

‘That was different,’ she muttered while following the others.

The End

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