Scarblade's Pearl: The Revenge - Part One
Isca knew a dream was beginning. A special dream which would warn her of the future. Truth be told, they were more like nightmares which she did her best to keep from coming true.
From the blackness, a picture began fading into view. It was blurred at first, and so Isca didn't recognize it. But then it truly began to come alive and she could feel and smell as well as see it. She coughed as stifling smoke filled the air. The sound of fire thundered, louder than she'd ever heard before. She blinked, and the image before her became clear as if she were really there. A once-beautiful little house stood back from the beach, almost completely consumed by flames. Isca realized she was just off shore, floating in the shallows. Her eyes widened in horror as she watched the building burn, the fire spreading to the nearby trees.
Her attention snapped to the beach when she heard a muffled shout. Her heartbeat quickened when she saw five figures moving away from the house. Four walked. One was slung over the shoulder of a Draik. Isca felt an icy fear run down her back as she recognized Nira.
“No!” she screamed.
Suddenly she was sitting upright in bed, the scream from her dream echoing in the room around her. She was breathing heavily and her heart was still racing. She put a hand over her mouth, absorbing all she had seen.
Nira... she thought. She's in danger!
Isca glanced at the doorway to her chambers. The guard was floating in stiff attention, which meant he'd probably just replaced the last guard. Isca hurriedly wriggled out of her bed and swam to his side.
“Sir, I must see the king!” she declared. The guard, a brown Peophin, turned to face Isca, but used a spear to block her way.
“You are confined to your room, by the king's orders,” he said firmly.
Isca scowled at him.
“You don't understand! I've had a dream!” she exclaimed. The guard's eyes widened knowingly, and he nodded. Without another word, he turned and began swimming hurriedly down the hall. Isca followed right behind. When they reached the throne room, the guard let Isca in, the dashed away to wake the king. While she waited, Isca swam over to the throne and hovered in front of it, head bowed.
A few minutes later, King Kelpbeard III came through a door behind the throne, swimming irregular as he groggily took a seat.
“What is the meaning of this, Isca?! Why have I been woken at this late hour?!” he asked grumpily, rubbing his eyes.
Isca's face set determinedly.
“I've had a dream, your Majesty,” she said simply.
The king seemed to snap to attention, instantly awake.
“What have you seen?” he asked.
Isca took a deep breath and let it out.
“Fire. A house burning. I was just off the coast of Mystery Island. I could feel its heat, taste it's smoke...” Isca closed her eyes, wishing she had never dreamed such a thing.
“Do you know who might have owned this house? Who might have lived there?” the king asked.
Isca cast her eyes to the ground, not sure if she should reveal the truth.
“Answer me! I can see from your face that you know!” the king said firmly.
No turning back now.
“The house was Nira's, or at least where she lived. While the house burned, I saw four other figures carrying her off. They-”
King Kelpbeard's eyes grew wide.
“Nira?!” he roared.
Isca swallowed, heart beginning to race again. The king looked furious! She hadn't seen him that way in a very long time.
“Y-yes, Nira!” she said, her tone becoming a bit desperate. “She is in danger, your Majesty! Her friend Lightning, that must have been her house! We must help her!”
The king's eyes narrowed darkly, in a gaze that made Isca flinch.
“No,” he whispered ominously. “We will not help the Shoyru.”
“But your Majesty-”
“Enough! After what that witch of a girl did to our people, why should we help her?! Let her suffer! She deserves no less!” roared Kelpbeard.
Isca could feel tears in her eyes, which of course could not be seen underwater.
“Your Majesty, please-”
“Silence! We will not help the Shoyru and that is final!”
Isca could feel a lump rising in her throat. Without waiting to be dismissed, she turned and fled out the throne room doors. They closed behind her with a slam. The guard outside tried to make a grab for her, but Isca was too quick. She slipped by him with ease. Carefully as she could without slowing down, Isca made her way through the castle, slipping past a few more guards as she did. When she made it outside, she swam as fast as she could for the city exit.
She had to find help! There was no way she could let this happen to Nira! If the king would not help her, she could find it elsewhere. And she knew just where to find it.
“WOOHOO!” Lightning cried delightedly as she surfed a particularly large wave. Nira, watching from the beach, giggled. Lightning's spirits were lively as ever now that she had come home. Only two days had passed since she had finally made her way back. Nira could have gone to the training school today for class, but she'd skipped. She and Lightning had both suffered from their long separation and were aching to spend time together. Even now, with Lightning out on the waves and Nira on the beach, they felt like they were “together”. It was a big difference to know someone was nearby and to know they were not.
Nira let out a quiet laugh as Lightning's foot slipped and she fell from her board.
Into the water she went. She didn't resurface until the wave had passed and crashed on the shore. Her eyes instantly went toward the beach and locked on Nira. She gave a thumbs up. Nira returned the gesture. Signals were their main source of communication at times like this.
Lightning climbed back onto her board and paddled back to shore. Nira sat back on her hands as the Eyrie came up the beach and sat by her side.
“Nice wipe-out,” Nira teased. Lightning gave her a rueful grin.
“Hey, it's not as easy as it looks!” she protested.
“I know, I know. 'Balance is key,' and all that,” she replied.
Lightning rolled her eyes.
“Still not going to try?” she asked.
Nira flinched, face suddenly serious.
“Try what?” she asked, trying for innocence.
Lightning gave her a look.
“You know what. Come on, Nira! You told me yourself you're over that fear of water! Why not try?”
Lightning's eyes were pleading with Nira now. She had to look away, or else she wouldn't be able to resist saying “yes.”
A silence passed between them.
“There aren't any Maraquans out there.”
“But what if-”
“No, there aren't any under-cover agents.”
“How do you-”
“I don't, but I doubt there would be.”
“Nira, you know you're just making excuses!”
Nira fell silent, biting her lip. Lightning was right. She was making excuses. She sighed in defeat.
“I... guess I could try....”
Lightning beamed so brightly, Nira couldn't help smiling in return. The Eyrie reached over and pulled Nira into a firm hug.
“I knew you'd say yes! Go on and get changed~!” she exclaimed excitedly.
Reluctantly, when she had been released, Nira headed up the beach and back to the house.
Nira was surfing! Surfing! It had taken her less than ten minutes to firmly balance herself on the board and travel across the waves. Less than ten minutes! Even Lightning couldn't believe it!
“You're a natural!” she called from where she surfed a short distance away. Nira smiled. She truly was a natural. It was almost as if the waves did their best to hold her up. A truly amazing experience.
It was many hours before Lightning and Nira headed up the beach for home. Nira had enjoyed herself so much, that they hadn't even left the water until it was almost too dark to see. At home, they showered, ate a quick dinner, and collapsed into bed.
It's so good to be home... Nira thought, nuzzling her head into her pillow.
Little did she know that she wouldn't be home for much longer.
Nira slept deeply that night. More deeply than she had in a long, long time. Her deep sleep, however, was not dreamless.
She saw herself back at the Golden Dubloon with Rai. Their argument echoed in her mind. And then she was creeping toward Scarblade. She reached for his pocket. Almost there...
Nira was startled awake by the sudden noise. Her eyes flew wide and her heart pounded as she listened to the now eerie silence. Slowly, she sat up and slipped out of bed. Pausing for a moment, she decided to belt her sword. Quietly as she could, she drew the sword from its sheath, then crept down the hall. The sound seemed to be coming from the kitchen.
Cautiously, she poked her head into the room. Nothing. She took one careful step inside.
To be continued...