Helen couldn't think of anything to say. This wasn't exactly what she had expected. Not even by long shot. An old hag and what she was seeing where very different indeed. Saria noticed her state of shock and broke the ice.
"We seek your help Gaia," she said humbly.
"Come inside then," Gaia said motioning for them to follow her.
The inside was just as amazing and grand as the outside. Everything was inspired in nature because everything was nature. Giant mosaics made of colorful leaves and flowers covered the walls. Stair cases made of tree roots perfectly polished and with no step bigger than the other. The rooms where divided by giant doorways of carved wood or by curtains of leaves sown together by silk. The ceiling was nothing less but the canopy of the trees above and all the way up, there were floors hiding who knows how many secrets coming out of the main wall. Gaia led them up the main stairway and into a room whose walls were hidden by silk curtains. In the middle of it, three divans grew. She offered both of them a seat, Saria change to 'normal' size and took one, Helen took another, and lastly, Gaia took the last. A female dryad entered the room and brought them tea, fruits, and some sort of biscuit. When they had finished eating, it was Gaia who spoke.
"What help do you need?" she asked Helen, who had finally re-gained her ability to talk.
"My village is in trouble," Helen told her.
"How so?" Gaia asked.
"There's this big'ol wizard," Saria interrupted, "who thinks he owns the place and...ok, ok, I'll shut up." She shut her mouth, noticing the expression on both girls' faces.
"Like Saria said," Helen started, "there is a wizard ruling our land. He has no right to be there, he invaded us fifteen years ago and we have been his slaves since. I came to you because we found this book, that said you could help us," Helen finished.
Gaia stood and turned to face the wall. "How long did you say? Fifteen years? Are you from the land of Azure?" she asked Helen.
"Yes to both questions," Helen told her. Gaia sighed and turned to face them again.
"I'm sorry...there's nothing I alone can do for you," she told Helen. Helen felt like she had just been slapped in her face. It couldn't be, after all she had been and all Daniel was going through, she couldn't take no for an answer.
"What? Why?" she asked her.
"He's too powerful, I cannot fight him."
"But, surely...the book said..."
"I said there was nothing I, alone, could do for you," she told Helen.
"Then there is a way?!" hope and color began to show themselves on Helen's face again.
"Maybe, I would have to call all the other guardians. Ask for their help, and maybe, it might be possible."
"Others? The book spoke only of you."
"Did you read all of it?" Gaia asked her.
"No, come to think of it, I barely had chance to skim through it."
"Then there is your answer," Gaia said smiling. "You shall stay here, while I go summon them. The dryads and tree fairies shall a attend you while I am gone."
Saria let out a long wail.
"What is it, daughter of dew?"
"Tree fairies! Why tree fairies?" Saria complained.
"A silly rivalry that your kinds must learn to end, such foolishness is hard to believe among you. Learn to put aside your differences and live together," she told her.
"I'll try, Gaia...but understand it has been an eternity of..."
"That is no excuse, where you live and how you are makes you no more important to this forest than a simple mushroom. You must learn that. And lucky you, you'll have the few days of my absence to put it into practice."
"Lucky me," Saria said sarcastically.
"Yes, I know," Gaia said ignoring her comment. "I shall be on my way then, the faster I am on my way, the faster I shall return."
Gaia stood and Helen followed her back to the entrance. There, she saw a chariot pulled by four unicorns awaited. Helen noted it had no driver. Gaia walked up to the unicorns and said something in words she couldn't understand, then she climbed on the chariot and was off. Helen saw how the trees parted to let them pass, and then returned to their normal position.
Gaia looked back at Helen and Saria seeing her off. She was worried, very worried. Things where happening too fast. Time wasn't right yet, they still needed...oh well, but it was time. Whether they all liked it or not.