I drove us to the marketplace in what my friends affectionately
called 'the big green buggy.' Unfortunately, it only seated five people so two
of my pets had to ride in the back, which was just trunk space that connected
with the rest of the vehicle. Un-eairkagh and MoonFall volunteered as the Uni
had trouble fitting in the seat and Un-eairkagh just liked being different.
"And if we get pulled over?" Sakuko asked as
she buckled herself into the front seat.
"Then we get pulled over and I get a ticket,"
She settled back and I tried to ignore the bickering
that was starting up in the backseat. Aldrai and Netsuko sat and quietly talked
while Terraile gazed out the window. She had her bow with her. I started out
the door and backed out of the driveway and onto the street.
We were almost to the marketplace when disaster
struck. I was making a left turn and the light turned red while I was still
in the intersection. So I made the turn to get out of the way of traffic. However,
the person in the opposite lane didn't stop like he was supposed to. I only
glimpsed the front of his vehicle in my side mirror before it hit us. I was
thrown forwards, my seat belt stopping me from hitting the steering wheel. As
it was, my shoulder was wrenched rather badly as we spun from the side collision.
There was the horrible noise of twisting metal and my pets were screaming in
terror. There was the sound of breaking glass. The buggy stopped moving finally
and I sat there, dazed, aware of someone in the back seat crying. Who was on
the side that was hit…? My addled mind struggled to make sense of what had just
happened. Sakuko in the passenger side and Netsuko… Netsuko had taken the window
seat. I unbuckled my seat belt and twisted to face Sakuko. The entire right
side was crunched in. Sakuko was slumped in my direction, eyes closed but breathing
fine. There was a big bruise on her forehead, probably from hitting the side
window or dashboard.
"Sakuko?" I whispered.
"Nuhh… uh… wha…?"
Her eyes fluttered open.
I nodded and turned my attention to the back
seat. Terraile was curled up on the far left, visibly shaking. Aldrai was crying,
pawing at Netsuko's ear. She was on the right side of the vehicle, not moving.
"No," I whispered, and climbed over into the
"She's gotta be okay, she's gotta be okay,"
Aldrai whispered over and over.
I gathered my magic to me and examined her.
She was hurt, her ribs broken. Then I heard MoonFall weakly whisper my name.
They were in the back. No seat belt.
"Aldrai. Listen, I need your help here," I said,
"I can only heal one person at a time. MoonFall and Eair need me, you have to
heal Netsuko. You have the light magic, you can do this."
I climbed over the back seat and into the trunk.
MoonFall lay up against the far side, glass covering her fur. The back window
was shattered and Un-eairkagh wasn't in the back.
"I'll… be okay… see to Eair," she gasped.
I nodded and hauled myself out the broken back
window, ignoring the glass that cut into my palm. The striped Eyrie was laying
a short distance away, not moving. Already a small crowd of onlookers had gathered.
I ran to his side and lay my hands on him. He was still alive, but very badly
hurt. I gathered the strands of light and water to me, weaving them together
and laying them on my Eyrie's prone form. It was a delicate spell, requiring
much concentration. The world around me seemed to fade, even the sound of the
distant sirens headed our way. Everything vanished except for my magic, my Eyrie,
Suddenly he gasped, his eyes snapping open and
his claws scrabbling on the pavement. I sighed and leaned back on my haunches.
Un-eairkagh staggered to his feet, starring in horror at his bloodied feathers.
"What the heck happened?" he exclaimed.
"Crash. I healed you," I said wearily.
I turned back to the buggy. Everyone but MoonFall
had staggered out, Aldrai carrying Netsuko. He laid her on the ground as I watched
and knelt beside her. I could see him gathering the currents of magic around
him, tangible light only we could see. Then he gestured and my vision was blinded
with pure light emanating from him. I gasped and stood. Like a flame suddenly
bursting from nothingness, my Zafara was alight with pure light magic. He spread
his arms out and it covered Netsuko. I could see his fur lightening to white
and angelic wings springing from his back. Then Netsuko's eyes flew open and
she gazed up at Aldrai in fear and wonder. The light mage Zafara.
He then turned to my vehicle. Light flooded
it and I could see Lady MoonFall struggling to stand amidst the brilliance.
Suddenly she burst out from the ruined back window, her horn gleaming in the
magical brightness and her mane flying. She stood there proudly and then turned
towards the person that had hit us. Aldrai dropped his hands and folded his
wings, walking over to stand before the driver. His mouth was agape and his
green Nimmo stood nearby, shivering.
"Why didn't you stop?" Aldrai hissed, "You almost
"I - I…"
"Tried to run the red light!" the Zafara snapped,
"Didn't you see us in the turn lane?"
The man was practically cowering at that point.
I quickly stepped in.
"Calm now… no one was hurt," I said.
"Thanks to you and me," the Zafara replied sullenly.
Aldrai shrugged and allowed his wings and color
fade back to spotted. He walked away to see to Netsuko.
"You're very lucky," I told the man, "When the
police get here you'll have a lot to answer for."
He looked positively ill.
My buggy was towed away for repairs. At the
police station, I called Sabreur and told him to pick us up. Then I turned to
face the officer who had taken our report.
"Since there are technically no injuries now,"
he said, "You won't have to take this to court. Unless you want to, that is."
"No, that's alright. I'm sure he'll have paid
enough when his insurance company gets the repair bill."
"That's settled then. Now… you have a bit to
answer to yourself."
I groaned inwardly. I knew this was coming.
"Seven people in one vehicle? Two pets in the
back, with no seatbelt? That's a major violation if I've ever seen one. You
are extremely lucky no one was killed. As it is, only your magic saved this
from becoming a major tragedy."
He picked up a chart and scribbled something
on a piece of paper.
"I'm issuing you a citation," he said, handing
it to me, "any more violations of this manner and you can kiss your license
"Yes officer," I said meekly and hurried out
the door to where my pets were waiting.
Sabreur was also there, along with Melody.
"Let's just go home," I said wearily, shoving
the citation in my pocket, "I'm exhausted."
They nodded understandingly and led the way
to the buggy. It was a tense ride home, made worse by the fact my brain was
replaying every moment of the crash in my head. It was slowing, but it didn't
stop. Why didn't I wait for it to stop? The impact. Un-eairkagh lying on the
pavement, not moving. Aldrai and his magic. I sighed and leaned my head against
the window. My back and neck ached and I imagined they would hurt much worse
the next morning. Why didn't it stop? Why didn't I wait? I could have lost my
pets. So stupid… such a stupid thing to have done. And Aldrai's magic lighting
him up like a flame -- a white candle flame.
To be continued...