The Door Closes: Part Five
PART 5: ACTIONS
The next day we stretch and eat. The morning sun feels cleansing. I can only imagine how much more we'll enjoy it once we have Faith back once and for all. We lie on the grassy banks, waiting ominously hour after hour.
Amadeus comes. He keeps his head high. His figure looks well-travelled, tanned a shade darker, and all around healthier than he'd ever looked to us. "Well," Rubia announced, "You made it." Next to him stands a tall Rainbow Kau.
My heart sinks; we’ll have to tell Amadeus now. He stretches left to right with relief at first. But then he sees us. His features, at first shining with pride and hope, twist into confusion, and then shock. "What… Why are you…?"
"Here?" Rubia finishes for him. Once, she would have been critical over him, but guiding him gently at the same time. Now she's completely sympathetic. "We've come to get Faith."
"Manor kidnapped her and is taking her here," I clarify. "The Creator said that maybe we could stop him. And we believe her."
We go on to explain the rest to him. About the heart in dire love, and how it would possibly be consumed. And more importantly, about the door, and how what lie behind it was meant for perhaps nobody alive.
The Kau quietly introduces herself along the way. Her name is Yuandi. Although I have never met a sister – she is another Creator’s Child – she immediately feels welcome in my life. She shyly pats Anders on the head.
She and Amadeus have the other side of our story. And that side is a single sentence long.
“Manor said a long time ago that the door must not be opened.”
The last patch of the southern forests part to make way for us. The trees fall on either side, their branches snapping like a fire as they hit the ground.
And then the break. Sweet sunlight hits my face. I see the cliffs of grass and gravel twist and swerving back and forth, a ribbon of dangerous turf. They all rise up and merge to one point: a single rectangle, silhouetted black against the sinking afternoon sun. Manor waves his tail, and the gravel ripples beneath us, carrying us up the first cliff.
He's got a clear shot at it. I close my eyes, not knowing what will happen to me.
He slows down at the top of the first cliff, but I feel it as we begin the next.
I guess this is it. We begin to land–
Manor and I are hurled backwards into the air with the sound of a guttural bellow. I gasp as I'm separated from him, feeling suspended into space as my eyes meet the Creator's trusting gold ones. She roars again, impossibly deep and fierce. We are knocked back another several yards. Manor screams with pain, but manages to wave his wand so that soft earth catches both of us. He pants, taking in the opposition. Creator stands in the waters at the end of the cliffs, at the end of the world. From here I notice a few others standing at the door.
Rubia. Cerulean. Amadeus.
A little cry escapes my throat.
"Manor," Creator begins. "The years have changed you."
"Maybe they have."
I look back at Manor. I see sorrow in his eyes for a split second.
Creator continues, "I hope you understand the consequences of what you are about to do."
“I understand.” He cracks his fake smile again. Creator is unamused.
"From your expression, I doubt it. Before I defend what is rightfully within my territory, I ask that you take a second to consider your own territory, and how it would fare without you."
"I have already done that. My decision is made."
"Very well." Creator lifts her feathery tail and drapes it in front of the door, blocking it completely from view. "This is my final warning… you are nothing to me now."
"Nothing but an equal force."
Manor takes my arm in his and leaps into the air, coming down in front of the door. A hiss of fury as Rubia launches herself at Manor. Her tail lashes around his waist as she sinks her fangs into his shoulder.
Manor stumbles backwards, cringing. "Harmless," he whispers, as he waves his wand and launches Rubia from him. She gasps as she hits the turf. She fell several feet, but doesn’t seem hurt – and I have something more urgent to worry about anyways.
Amadeus grabs Manor’s tail. Manor takes in a breath, but before he can react, a grey light is shining from Amadeus' fingers. Stone rises up at Manor’s feet, encasing him from the ground up. Manor appears genuinely surprised, but with a snap of his fingers, the stone falls away.
"Amadeus! Try that again!" I shout. The Blumaroo lunges for Manor's wand, but Manor had ample warning. He waves his wand. Tentacles of rock lash around Amadeus, immobilizing him.
Creator roars again. Manor has the obsidian-starred wand in his hand now – he brandishes it violently, causing us to move back only a few feet. Creator lifts her forepaws into the air and brings them back down into the sea. Massive blades of blinding yellow light spawn from her blunt clawtips and slice through the cliffs.
The ground gives way beneath us. I scream. My voice joins those of others, but whose voices I can’t tell. Manor has my hand, and a rock spike abruptly juts from the ruins to catch us. Rubia and Amadeus spread their wings and descend safely to the ruins. The door floats in midair, several yards above the ocean.
Creator moves to block the door again. Her tips of her fur glow red with the setting sun like a warning. The golden circle on her forehead pulses with magic. Manor releases me to use both his hands. His wand floats within his tail. My heart pounds as he grapples at the air with his bare hands. He grunts, as though with terrible force.
Mountainous coils of stone rise up from the sea and lunge for the Creator.
She bellows with fright, rising onto her hind legs to battle them. One reaches for her waist. She deflects it with a movement of her foot. Another tries her arm. She ducks from its grasp, struggling to keep her ground. Her eyes flicker and flash erratically, the halo on her forehead burning bright yellow as she unleashes the blades of light from her claws once more. The rocky tendrils are lopped to stubs, but Manor just pulls more from the depths of the sea.
I have to do something. I launch myself at Manor, scratching and screaming, but it does nothing. His concentration is unbroken. He stares through me, using his foreign arm movements to fight his battle. I pull at his wand, but it doesn’t move from the circle his tail makes around it.
Manor is deathly silent, but Creator is worse. She continues to bellow and howl as Manor starts to hurt her. Her skin is scraped and her fur pulled, but it heals nearly immediately. She experiences the same pains again and again. Manor frowns, his first sign of emotion since he slipped into his trance of power. He then lets loose a scream of rage as half a dozen more of the tendrils rise from the waters, snap around her limbs and bring her down into the ocean. Mercifully, the front half of her face is exposed to the air.
Manor glances back to me once. His gaze is dull but determined. He begins moving our pillar of earth towards the door. Someone clings to the frame of it, as much of his body as possible plastered to the wood, his fingers bony with the pain of holding himself on.
Anders chirps. Cerulean's eyes meet mine, and then Manor's. His gaze is wild with fear and fury. "I barely know who you are, or why you are doing this, but please… don't."
"I'm sorry, everyone. I have to."
I glance at Manor again. The frown is back. He seems positively, genuinely miserable.
"What do you mean?" Cerulean asks, befuddled.
Manor closes his eyes. The door slowly cracks open behind him.
Cerulean inhales, his pupils shrinking. Manor opens his eyes, in a trance again. He snatches my hands into his. We depart from the pillar of rock, floating towards the opening door.
Manor's fingers twitch on my wrist. Cerulean yells as he's hurled from the door – but his fingers meet the bottom of the frame as the door opens further to reveal a land of swirling, dry orange. He's still hanging on.
The Creator wearily blinks a few times. Her wings vibrate, causing ripples in the ocean.
Manor grins, his feet connecting with the ground on the other side of the door.
And the air is filled with light. White. Blinding. Agonizing. Manor’s pupils shrink. He screams, "Temple, no!"
Manor's shoulder collides with the door and he seems to be pushed in by the light. He splutters on the ground within it. Something is happening to him – the crags on his body are retreating back into his skin.
Cerulean's stands in the night on the other side, the right side, his face wild with desperation, his arm extended to me. I leap up and grab onto it. He begins to pull me back to where I belong.
I slip slowly. Anders, in a moment of panic, leaps from Cerulean's shoulder and flutters onto mine. Even the Wherfy knows something is wrong. I dig my claws into Cerulean's arm. "No!" Cerulean yells with real pain, inside and out, as I slip a little bit more. Cerulean slips too. I think he’s about to tumble in after us.
Cerulean is right. Oh Creator, no.
I have slipped.
Cerulean reels backwards into Creation at the release of my weight. Hands grab my shoulders, pull me to the ground and hold me there as the earth begins to crumble and crack. Manor hugs his knees, dazed on the other end of our boulder, making little noises from his throat. The cliff we are standing shifts again and gives way completely.
Far, far above us, a wooden door clicks shut.
To Be Continued…