Aysh Ra paced back an forth in the perimeter of their new jail. Marina could tell she was ready to blow. Their had to be a way out of this. They had to get out. Helen, on the other hand, was completely destroyed. She just sat in a corner and stared at nothing. She couldn't blame her; Helen had know Daniel for a very long time. They had been best friends, had trusted each other everything... or so she had thought. She now felt betrayed and used. Gaia was doing what she could to cheer her up, but that was to no avail. Deones entered the room, Dairniss waited at the door.
"Give up yet?" he asked Aysh Ra, who in return, gave him a glare that would make any normal person want to be swallowed alive by earth. Deones didn't seem to notice this. Instead he continued his approach.
"Has any one ever told you how lovely you look when you do that?"
Ok, Marina thought, he's flirting with her! Big mistake. To her amazement Aysh Ra didn't blow up on him as she expected. Instead, she gave him a sweet, charming smile Marina had never seen on her before.
"Deones," she said sweetly, "has anyone ever told you, to take your tongue, roll it up, swallow it, and choke on it?"
From the door, Dairniss smiled mischievously, Ouch, he thought. He watched as his brother turned and began to walk toward him.
"So," he asked innocently, "how did it go?" The only answer he got was suddenly feeling cold all over.
They had been stuck in there for hours maybe days, they had already lost track of time. Helen seemed to be getting better. At least she had stopped crying and started talking.
"I'm sorry," she said softly looking up at them. "I didn't mean for this to happen."
"It's alright, you never would have known," Gaia told her gently.
"But I got us trapped here...what can we do for my village now?" "We'll get out," Aysh Ra told her. "And when we do a certain two people are going to be the main course on Hydra's next barbecue dinner."
"How?" Vyndi asked her. The poor girl was exhausted and still recovering from getting the oxygen pumped out of her body.
"We'll find a way, don't worry," Gaia told her.
"Gaia..." Marina said, looking outside. Gaia followed her line of sight and saw small spec of blue light coming toward them.
"Saria!" she said in a relieved tone.
"Gaia! I thought I'd never find you guys!" she said stopping in front of the shield.
"Saria, listen to me," Gaia told her rapidly. "Round up the council, we need help."
"Yes," Marina added, "and send a messenger to the coast, someone fast, or better yet to the nearest river, call on the naiads, mermaids can't do anything about this. Tell them what has happened, they'll know what to do."
"Okay...anything else?" Saria asked.
"Yes," Helen said unexpectedly, "tell the villagers, they will help us also."
"Send a messenger to the flames, tell them to get the dragons and riders and come," Aysh Ra told her.
"The cloud nymphs...tell them, they can help also," Vyndi added.
"Ok, I'll go now. I'll be back as fast as I can," she said and flew speedily out of the room.
A few minutes later, Dairniss entered the room holding miniature version of their jail in his hands with a very frantic fairy inside.
"It seems to me you lost this," he told Gaia.
"Let me go, you two-faced son of a motherless goblin!" Saria screamed from inside.
"Your not low on spirit are you, little one?" Dairniss asked her, amused. "Such a big mouth for such a small size."
"Saria," Helen said unexpectedly and from inside their cell, "what is the difference between you and tree fairies?"
"That...Oh." Saria began. Seconds later she multiplied her size about twenty times causing the spell that trapped her to break.
"Hey!" Dairniss began, he held Saria's hand not letting her get away. Saria kicked him in his knee causing him to stumble and release her. She ran toward the door only to see it snap shut in her face.
"No!" she screamed before she ran into the door. Dairniss stood up and looked down on the fairy.
"Next time, listen to what I have to say first," he told her slightly annoyed.
"What did you come here for?" Helen asked him coldly, "gloat?"
"No, I came to see how you were doing when I stumbled on a fleeing fairy."
"The moment I get out of here," Aysh Ra snarled, "you are going to be roasted. I'll give you the benefit of choosing: original recipe or extra crispy?"
Dairniss looked at her and smiled. He then wave his hand carelessly causing the shield around them to disappear. Aysh Ra was true to her word. The second she found herself free, she sent a fire ball in Dairniss' direction. Stretching out his hand, he disintegrated it before it reached him. She sent three more, all having the same fate.
"Will you listen a minute?!" he said briskly.
"Why should we? Just so you can betray us again?" Marina told him.
"No, I have something to tell..." his voice broke and he seemed to choke on his own words.
"Do you think I like being suffocated?" Vyndi told him angrily.
"Wait...must..." his breathing worsen.
"I don't care. You may stop Aysh Ra's fire, but you won't stop me."
"I said I didn't care."
"...ife...itch," he said and fell on his hands and knees.
"Wait!" Gaia told her, "What did he say? Vyndi, drop him." Dairniss seemed to reach around him for air.
"I said drop him!" Gaia told her again.
"I did," Vyndi said surprised. A few seconds later, Dairniss began to gasp for air and breath again.
"What did you say?" Gaia asked him. After catching his breath, he began.
"I said that the prophecy is complete. The time has come and so has the witch of life."
"Oh really?" Aysh Ra said in a sarcastic tone, "then where is she?" He looked at Helen and smiled.
"There," he answered, pointing at Helen.
"Me?" Helen said in a disbelieving tone.
"Impossible! Gaia would have noticed long ago, and if she would have missed her, we surely wouldn't have," Marina said.
"Test her," he said firmly.
"Helen, give me your hand," Aysh Ra said.
"Why?" she asked suspiciously.
Helen gave Aysh Ra her hand. Aysh Ra touched Helen's index finger with her own. Helen pulled it quickly away.
"Ouch, that hurt." She looked at her finger and saw it was red and burnt where Aysh Ra had touched it.
"Liar," Aysh Ra told him. "She got hurt."
"Order it to heal," Dairniss told Helen rapidly. "What?"
"Just do it."
Helen looked at her finger and closed her eyes. "Heal," she said to herself. She opened her eyes and saw how the burnt skin began to regenerate until it had completely healed. She looked at Gaia wide eyed.
"Did I just..."
"Oh my goodness! All this time she has been staring at us in the face and we did not see her!" Gaia exclaimed.
"We can't feel her, what do you expect?" Vyndi said happily. Helen looked at Dairniss.
"Why did you tell me this?"
"Because I want to prove to you I haven't betrayed you. If I had, I can guaranty my brother would have handled you long ago."
"How come he doesn't know?" Gaia asked him suspiciously.
"That's a long story. It begins long ago when I was about five. Deones was fourteen and was already a master at this magical stuff, thanks to my father. He was always bothering me as older brothers tend to do. I tried to hide things from him, but never could, he being way more powerful than myself. My mother felt sorry for me, and she being an enchantress herself thought, gave me a spell that could 'hide' objects. Magical objects mostly, making them seem like normal ones." He looked at Helen. "Do you remember the first time I met you?"
She thought for a while. "A long time ago..."
"It was the same day my brother conquered this land. He ordered all to show up in his meeting. He was looking for the life witch because he knew it would be found with Earth," he said pointing at Gaia, "and wanted to neutralize it. I of course, being ten, knew that I had found something important when I met you. I also knew that it was what he was looking for, but I thought you where a cute kid and didn't want to see you under his whip, so I hid you." He smiled. "I was the one that stalked you the whole night, your parents even told me to go bother someone my age. I hid you then, and I have been hiding you ever since."
"For fifteen years?" she asked in disbelief.
"Yes," he told her smiling, "it wasn't easy. As you grew up, you grew more powerful. By the time you where ten, even if you didn't know, you could influence peoples moods and decisions. By the time you where fifteen, you could make people feel better both physically and emotionally. And now, you can heal. And, of course, influence on all life."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Helen asked him.
"Because I feared you would want to fight Deones alone. I knew you needed help from the rest."
"Then why did you let your brother trap us?" Aysh Ra asked him.
"What better way to enter a place than to get captured?" he said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Good point," Vyndi mused
"Wait," Marina said, "where do you come in?"
"Doesn't that book say that life shall bring with her the key to defeat the evil?"
"You?" Vyndi asked him skeptically.
"Why not? I know him better than all of you right? And Helen did bring me to her side because I fell in love with her..." he told them and smiled at Helen, who smiled back, "and for one other small thing."
"What's that then?" Gaia said interested. Dairniss reached into his clothes and pulled out a giant pearl.
"Do you recognize this?" he asked them.
"The Pearl of Life!" Gaia said astounded, and pulling out of her clothing an emerald. Vyndi got out a diamond and Marina a sapphire. Lastly Aysh Ra took out her ruby and smiled. Finally, the match was even.