Gaia went out to greet her friends. Aysh Ra then ordered Hydra back. Gaia looked at Marina amused. She still was covered in soot and completely black.
"I need water," was the first thing she said the moment she touched the ground.
"Second door to the right." Gaia told her. Vyndi met her at the entrance. She covered her mouth to avoid laughing.
"Don't ask. Just don't ask." Marina said storming past her and disappeared inside, Vyndi followed.
"I think she looks better that way," Aysh Ra told Gaia. "It's good for her ego."
"C'mon Aysh Ra. You couldn't live wet all your life, nor could she live covered in that stuff."
"Still, it felt good to see her like that," she said with a grin.
"I bet she didn't find it so funny," Gaia said.
"No. Nor did I when she drenched me."
"So your even now, let's see if we can work together in peace..."
"Ok, I'll cooperate. So what's the problem?"
"Come," she said motioning for her to follow, "we have lots to discuss."
Helen sat, feeling a little awkward in a room similar to the one she had first seen in Gaia's place. None looked even remotely close to her idea of a witch. Mostly, they were all younger than her, or at least it seemed that way. From the way they dressed she could pretty much place them with fire, water, and wind. Gaia seemed to always be mediating between them.
"I called you all here," Gaia started, "because I have some good and some bad news."
"Mostly bad," Marina added. Aysh Ra glared at her, so she decided to keep her comments to herself.
"What is it?" Vyndi asked.
"Well, the good news is that our time of waiting is over," Gaia said.
"Really?!" Vyndi said excitedly, "That's great! So where's..."
"The bad news is that we aren't ready yet."
"Oh," Aysh Ra said, "So what are the good news."
"That we can finally do something for Helen," Gaia said looking at her.
"And get ourselves killed in the process," Aysh Ra said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Technically, we have a chance..." Vyndi said.
"A microscopic one, yes, I wouldn't relay too much on it, though."
"That's what I thought," Marina added, "even if we try, what are our chances of succeeding?"
"A whole lot more than by sitting here talking!" Vindy told them.
"Please," Helen interrupted, "I know it will be hard, we've tried to find a way out for years but...you are our only real chance."
Aysh Ra sighed. It was hopeless trying to reason with these people. She had no chance but to give in. If she didn't go...their outcome would be worse, and she wasn't going to fight some psycho alone. "Fine. So what can we do?" she asked. There was silence in the room.
"You could give him a tour of your place, Aysh Ra, that is a horrible enough punishment for anyone," Marina mocked.
"If you liked it so much, you could do it again sometime," Aysh Ra shot back.
"You could try to outsmart him." Helen suggested.
"How?" Marina asked.
"Our only chance is that whatever we do, we do now. We have to catch him by surprise. The more we wait, the more prepared he'll be for anything we do," Gaia told them.
"So what's the plan?" Aysh Ra asked.
"That we get going now...and we figure it out as we go," she said smiling.
"That isn't very reassuring."
"Do you have a better idea?"
"Not really, so I guess I'll go with yours then."
"Good, so we are all in it then?" Gaia asked. They all looked at Marina and waited for her answer.
"I told you I would be," she told Gaia smiling.
"Then you will help me?" Helen asked them exitedly.
"Yes, or try to at least," Aysh Ra told her.
"Then we should be on our way then, I know a faster path through the forest to your village, Helen, we should be there by morning," Gaia said.
"What about me?" Saria, who had been silent throughout the whole conversation asked.
"You, my friend, will stay here," Gaia told her.
"Why?" she asked in an annoyed tone.
"It's too dangerous, if something happens to us, you'll be able to warn the rest of the forest so they can take action."
"But, Gaia, I want to go," she said stubbornly.
"No buts about it, Saria, return to Azzic now." Helen walked up to Saria and gave her a hug.
"Thanks for trusting me," she told her.
"That's ok, Helen, you're a nice person."
"Tell Azzic thank you for me, ok?"
"I will, don't worry," she said with a mischievous smile and flew out.
"Guess we should be on our way then," Gaia said watching Saria go.
"Lead the way!" Vyndi said happily.