"Varmasha per toga me skar!" Flint cursed in Elfish, grabbing the video game out of Wyck's hands. "You're taking too long, it's my turn!" Wyck responded with a slap to his brother's fingers.
"I haven't died yet! Come on, two more minutes!" I turned the volume up on my iPod to drown out the squabbling between the twins. Dawn had said this flight would be six hours. I'm not sure if I can handle six hours of this.
The townspeople, having heard of the predicament, paid for tickets to bring us to the magical world. It surprised me, such tickets were highly expensive, but we got them none the less. Our group had driven to Denver that morning, all five of us sitting in a van belonging to Jewel who had graciously offered to drive us to DIA, Denver International Airport. It was the closest airport that offered flights through one of the interworldly portals. Arrow had told me there were four portals to the other world from Earth, one in Paris, one underneath Mt. Kilimanjaro, one near Juno, Alaska, and the other in the air above the Pacific Ocean. That was the one we were going to, above the ocean. Dawn said it was the fastest. I'm not sure if I believe her.
We had arrived at the airport greeted by the statue of a cobalt bronco with piercing red eyes. Dawn shivered in its presence, but I loved it. I saw in the guidebook that horses similar to that one roamed the grasslands of Saralinka and devoured mortal flesh. Fascinating.
When Jewel said goodbye, it made my nerves jump on edge as she cried hard, giving each of us a long, tight hug. She acted as if we weren't coming back, as if this were the last goodbye. Dawn almost cried too, but the dragons pulled her away. When Jewel reached down to hug me, she instead pulled my ear to her mouth and whispered, "Be safe and trust no one." As she pulled away, her eyes reflected an immeasurable fear. Okay. I don't know what she was getting so worked up about. From all the stories I've heard, Saralinka was at peace after the war. What could possibly be dangerous? But then again, Havenears were disappearing.... I shook my head. I just need to remember we’re here for Crane.
As one would expect, the lines through security took the most time. Dawn asked a security officer who pointed us to a small room near one of the restaurants. Inside, a door led us to a completely different part of the airport. One humans weren't allowed to. Magical creatures of all species crowded the terminal.
My sword almost didn't make it through security. Apparently even magical creatures have to take off their shoes and empty their pockets. I grabbed the sword and whispered the most recent spell I had learned. Arcana. The sword dissolved into the air, becoming just a haze in front of me which I easily wrapped my fingers around and carried through the metal detector with no problem. I had it in my backpack, taking up little space as it was just air now.
From there, we sat and waited, until at last we boarded the giant metal plane. The outside was painted various colors of red with the words, Fenix Airways painted in the side of the tail. For a magical flight, it seemed pretty normal. There was a jerk in front of me leaning his seat back all the way, his two heads yawning simultaneously, a young nymph was screaming his little head off, and the flight attendant looked as though she was gonna spit acid at me. So normal, right?
Somehow all of us had managed to get seats in the same row, so I was stuck between Flint and Arrow. Arrow never let go of my hand and this hardly bothered me. I did smack the dragon once or twice though. Hm, four more hours.
When we were about over California, I rested my head on Arrow's shoulder. I didn't realize I was asleep until I saw in my dream the wolf lady again.
Only she wasn't talking to me this time. She was on her knees in what looked like some kind of throne room, white polished marble with silver and red tapestries hanging from the walls. The shape of a crescent moon was etched into everything, the stone, the floor. Two shadowy figures stood on either side of the werewolf and would once in a while poke at her with the long sabers in their hands. I couldn't tell what they were, the image was too blurry, but they were at least twice the size of the wolf. Three thrones of shining copper were before them. I wondered for a second why they weren't silver too, but then I remembered, silver burns werewolves.
In front of the thrones were three female wolves, each in a different color dress, each with a white crown atop their heads. The image blurred again and I lost sight for a moment, but three very different voices rang out in the blur. They were speaking in grunts and growls, but I still managed to understand.
"Let's kill her!" One voice said, a gruff, almost manly voice.
"She is immortal, you fool! She will not die!" said another, this one younger and more inexperienced.
"No," the third voice demanded, silencing any words from the others. "We shall chain her. Make sure no one knows she is still alive. No one knows she is immortal but us. Spread the word, the Queen is dead!" The others cackled as the whole vision turned black. Before I stirred in waking up, I heard Luna's voice again.
"Find me, child...."
I'll try, the voice in my head answered. I didn't understand why. This trip was to find Crane, not the lost queen. But I couldn't help but answer yes.
That was when Arrow nudged me up into a sitting position. My eyes opened back up to the grey interior of the plane. Flint was passed out beside me and his brother next to him. The seatbelt sign on the ceiling blinked on. I checked mine, it was tight.
"We're going to be going through the portal soon. They don't want us to be bouncing around in the turbulence. I figured you would want to be awake," Arrow said, stroking my hair with his gentle fingers. I smiled and nodded.
"Hey, Raven!" Dawn called from two seats over. She was the one by the window with a scholarly looking faun next to her. She wave across the aisle. "Come here, and switch me spots! It's cool when you look out the window!" My face was red with excitement as Arrow let me past him. Dawn asked the faun in Elfish to stand and we quickly changed seats. Once my butt touched the cushion, I immediately opened the blind over the glass window.
We were above the clouds, their soft, milky whiteness visible under the metal wings which outstretched far enough to tug at the nearest cloud, pulling it apart like cotton. Small whispy strands trailed the engines, swirling around each other, more delicate than a spider web. It was beautiful. Only when the faun chuckled, did I realize that my face was squished up against the glass.
"This your first time here?" he asked in a broken English. I nodded. He chuckled again before adding, "Drägon, will you be surprised." I didn't know if he meant this as a good or bad thing, so I merely nodded and turned back to the window.
The clouds were beginning to change now. They were no longer white and fluffy puffs of cotton candy. They were now a solid grey mass, stretching from far behind us to far in front of us. All its shapes began to blend together to the point where it looked like we were flying through dirty snow instead. Ice crystals began to form on the tips of the wings and soon coated the window. I could no longer see out, it was just a grey haze. A bright light flashed for a moment, then faded back into the slur of the storm. Lightning.
We hit an air pocket or something and the entire plane lurched upward, sending many of its passengers flying to the ceiling. I tightened my belt and felt my fingers claw into the armrests. Another air pocket, another bash to the wall. My head hit the glass as the entire plane tilted right. Lightning flashed again.
Like a jeep on gravel, for what seemed like ten minutes, we bumped up and down constantly, dodging randomly to the side. I looked over to my neighbor. The faun was perfectly still. He didn't move. Then me beside him, "Hooooow aaaaare youuuuu doooooing thaaaaaaat?" He flashed me a corny smile.
"Falin, karme, rodi, tora," he began counting down in Elfish. Ten, nine, eight, seven... I ignored him. I was too concentrated on not covering him with my stomach contents. He kept counting though, slowly hitting the last number. "Alim, mutro, karde, shin, lemont." Zero. As soon as the word left his lips, the plane stopped. I mean, it just didn't stop shaking, but stopped completely, engines cutting and everything. I felt my butt sink lower and lower into the seat. We were falling.
I almost screamed, but then I saw everyone else in the row. Arrow was sitting completely still too, along with Dawn who just blankly stared straight ahead. The dragons, however, were freaking out, not screaming, but their eyes were at least as big as softballs.
I looked ahead. No one moved, no one breathed even. The nymph baby had grown quiet too. The silence was unnerving as we continued falling. Out the window, the sky was turning from the grey blob to a lighter blue. Pretty soon I saw the ocean line draw closer and closer. That's it, I thought, we're gonna crash. I closed my eyes and prepared for impact. It never came.
The plane shuddered again. And then, the engines leisurely turned back on, the plane regained its balance and we continued forward. It seemed like the entire passenger board breathed a simultaneous sigh. I looked out the window. I could no longer see behind us the ocean line, only clear blue skies with no clouds. "Okay, what just happened?"
"Welcome to Saralinka, little Havenear," the faun said without looking at me. I turned back to the window. What met my gaze made it perfectly clear. I was for sure not on Earth anymore. So this must be the magical land?