Sophie's Return: Part Two
Part Two: Reggie
“Reggie!” Sophie managed to finally say, after many moments of continuous silence as the swamp witch tried to comprehend exactly what was happening, also flickering back-and-forth between ‘this is an illusion’ and ‘it’s really him!’
“Sophie!” the Lupe cried, rushing in, shutting and locking the door behind him. “You won’t believe what I’ve been through!”
The normally clean and bookish Reginald now wore tattered, mud-caked clothes, his hair was ragged and loose, and there was a scar on his muzzle.
“I certainly won’t if you never tell me. Sit down, make yourself at home, and I’ll whip up some tea for you.”
“Thank you,” he said, gasping for air a little bit, even though he hadn’t before. It was as if he breathed differently when there was little to no activity. Maybe it was because he remembered something when there wasn’t a lot going on to distract him from it. “Earl Grey, if you don’t mind. I can make do with snowberry, though.”
“What about me?” Bainsley asked. “I know this guy. He would talk about you a lot. And I can never get back to sleep with you guys talking right by me!”
“Well, you are right, Bainsley. You can join in on the conversation. If you are going to be my apprentice you should know a bit about me and my family.”
Bainsley smiled and pulled up another chair, making three by the coffee table.
“Who is this?” Reginald asked as Sophie brought out three cups, pouring tea into them. “It’s not usual that you see a non-family member around, you know.”
“This is Bainsley. She is my apprentice. She just arrived tonight, and she offered to help. I’m not going to turn down an extra hand unless that extra hand happens to be rather annoying. Plus, she comes from Neovia, and she says that she’s seen you around.”
“Ah,” Reginald said. “I remember that I’ve seen you around. I even think that when I wasn’t reading something, I personally told you about the swamp witch, who’s really my sister Sophie! Name’s Reginald. Brother’s Bruno, mother’s Alice, and father’s Edmund. You’ve probably seen them.”
“The Gelert, Zafara, and Skeith?” Bainsley asked.
“Bingo! In order, too. Not often you see someone willing to be that intelligent. When you’re willing to be intelligent, you get intelligent.”
“Reginald, you’re getting off-topic.” Sophie said. “We need to know what the heck happened to you and why you’re here, of all places.”
“I will begin. Now, about three and a half months ago, a mysterious Lutari appeared. He was brown, and very nicely dressed. This Lutari said that his name was—”
“Mr. Slytri!” Bainsley exclaimed.
“Smart girl, but you would do well not to interrupt. Now, where was I? Oh yes, the Lutari first coming to Neovia. So, he said that he could help me with a certain shadow Lupe, who runs a place and is currently looking for scholars, which I would like to be. But ever since Mr. Krawley, I didn’t trust him. Until the day that Bruno disappeared. He said that he could help me get Bruno back. I tried to resist, but he has an eye made out of a jewel. A jade, I think. I looked at it, and hypnosis took me over. I agreed, and instantly snapped out of it. But every time I thought of saying something else, the jade got me again.”
“Hmm,” Sophie said, writing down in a journal ‘Jade creates hypnosis.’ She was afraid that she would not be able to read it in the future, because her handwriting wasn’t the best, but tried to keep hope up.
“So he led me to a huge building. It looked kind of like Lord Darigan’s Castle. He knocked on the door, and led me downstairs. I saw both Bruno and the shadow Lupe, Amery, both locked in separate cages they couldn’t get out of. I raced to get the key and set them loose, but by then Mr. Slytri had put another cage on me. A huge claw was right outside, so I grabbed it and spent every spare moment filing my way out. After two weeks, I finally got out. But Mr. Slytri was coming down, so I explained to Amery and Bruno that I had to go to you and would be back for them soon.”
“But then how does it explain your new scar?” Sophie asked. Subconsciously, Reginald ran his paw down the length of it.
“Well, when I finally got out of Neovia, I tried to tell Edmund and Alice what happened, but their home was abandoned. I was sure this was because of Mr. Slytri. More people were gone each day, so I knew that it wasn’t safe. I went out to find you. But the road, as you know, is very dangerous. A Werelupe leapt out at me, and pinned me down. With a small howl, the whole pack had come. The king confronted me, and then there was a slash. The small yowl I emitted was enough proof to them that I was too weak to pose a threat. So they let me go, and it was pretty much smooth sailing to your house. But I never recovered.”
“Well,” Sophie said, setting down her empty teacup, “you’ve had quite a journey. If only I could give you a nice bed, but I only have two and I’m too exhausted to make another, so I guess—”
“I’ll sleep on the floor,” Bainsley offered. “I’m used to sleeping on the streets of Neovia, so this is really no problem for me. Besides, I like to help people, especially when they’re like Reginald; I feel sorry for those people.”
Sophie struggled to find the right words to say, and never really got to that perfect sentence, but came as close as she possibly could as she said, “Well, if you insist. I mean, it is your choice to make and not mine. So as long as you and Reggie are fine with it, I guess that it can be arranged.”
So Bainsley took the little Meowclops Plushie, Orchid, and lay down on the floor without a blanket or anything. Reginald finished his tea before crawling into the bed out in the living room. The two of them fell asleep almost instantaneously and left Sophie to do one more spell and then get to sleep herself.
But then she woke up at the stroke of midnight to have Bainsley pawing at her. “Wake up! Wake up!”
So the groggy witch sat up in her bed only semi-tiredly to listen to what the little brown Kougra had to say.
“We have to get up and move now. All three of us.”
“And why is that?”
“Because...” She took a deep breath. “I have a power that I told nobody about before. Ever. When I’m asleep, I dream of what’s happening to people that I know and care about. Ever since I ran away, I haven’t been dreaming, because there was nobody I knew and cared about anymore. But tonight, I dreamt of Bruno, Alice, Edmund, and the Lupe Amery. They’re getting worse in their cages, Sophie. I think it’s what Mr. Slytri feeds them. Their eyes are turning green, and only green. They’re getting less resistant to being down in the dungeon. It’s either that or they stare at the jade eye. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we need to help them, now.”
Sophie knew that the little girl couldn’t be lying. “Or could she?” Sophie muttered to herself, but simply dismissed the thought. After all, even if she were lying, her brother Reggie couldn’t be, and he said that they needed to be saved. So no matter if it were urgent or if it weren’t, they would have to be saved some time, and what better time than now?
So Sophie got up, grabbed her staff, and went over to the gnarled tree bet where Reginald was apparently having fitful dreams. Well, who wouldn’t after being subjected to what he had to go through? She asked herself. Then she gently prodded him with the staff and he woke up promptly in a jolt.
“Please, no!” he screamed before opening his eyes and seeing his sister staring at him.
“Oh,” he said, breathing deeply, “it’s just you. Good.”
“Come on,” Sophie said, pulling him up and out of the bed. “Bainsley says that she dreams what’s going on to people she knows and has cared about and has seen our family and Amery in worse condition than when you saw them, so we’re getting up and going all the way to Neovia to help save them.”
“Well, I suppose it couldn’t hurt,” he said, standing up and walking along as if he had to do nothing to get ready (which, considering the fact that neither of the others were ready either, wasn’t too bad), and the three of them went out the door, out of the shack, and into the world that Sophie had not seen for such a long time on a mission that was more likely to fail than to succeed.
To be continued...