“Alright, follow my lead,” Obsidian commanded. We all nodded our heads, glancing around at each other in excitement. “Okay, let’s do this,” Sid muttered. Motioning with his hands, he concentrated on the water in the middle of our circle and suddenly it started to move. Boiling and gushing, a steady sphere of searing hot water appeared, to our delight.
“Now, Crystal!” Obsidian ordered. His sister’s pretty face scrunched up a little as she focused and slowly a thick layer of ice enveloped the spinning ball, although neither extreme of water was quite touching.
“Aaaand Serena.” My stomach jumped into my throat when I heard my name. Concentrate, I reminded myself, closing my eyes and picturing the frosty blue tinged ice. As I watched it change in my mind, I peeked with one eye to watch the real thing transform. The crystals took on a purple hue, with golden flowers blooming like stars in a violet night sky.
“Brynn,” Obsidian’s voice reminded me to focus. Brynn, unlike most, seemed to relax as she unleashed her power. While most of us had to concentrate to push our powers forward, it was as if the Celtic Princess was constantly restraining her light and it was a relief when she could finally let it shine. I smiled at the joy on her usually serious face as she lit up Obsidian’s orb of heat, illuminating the stained ice and casting a beautiful reflection of my art across the entire room. Even Scarlet, who sat with Jia, Zoey, and Destiny, allowed herself a tiny smile.
“Now, Waverlee,” Obsidian urged. Waverlee tossed her lustrous hair behind her shoulder and beamed. The waters around us rushed forward, sweeping past my tail and torso like a school of fish. The glowing sphere began to rise, rocking precariously at some points. Finally, it came to a steady halt near the ceiling and with practiced efficiency, Zoey and Destiny dashed into play. Zoey, communicating with Cal, ordered a hole be drilled into the ice nearest to the ceiling. With one decisive punch of his long blade, it was done. Destiny was then ready with the sturdy chain she’d found earlier. She lowered it into the hole made by Cal, and Crystal quickly sealed the chain in place.
“We did it!” Waverlee screamed.
Jia and Scarlet applauded us as we all congratulated each other. “Beautiful, Serena, really beautiful work,” Obsidian smiled at me and patted my shoulder.
“We make a good team, you and I,” Brynn grinned at me. I smiled back at her and spun Crystal into our conversation as she tried to scoot past. “Don’t forget about Crystal. I wouldn’t have any canvas if it wasn’t for her.”
“Well of course not! I say we have all the talent we need right here in the three of us. Come on lasses let’s go take the Seven Seas!”
Obsidian appeared behind us just then, wrapping his arms around Crystal’s shoulders and letting his weight fall on her. “What’s all this about ruling the world?”
“Ooo I want to rule the world. Don’t you think I’d look just perfect in a crown?” Waverlee perched herself in Brynn’s arms and smiled adoringly at her. Brynn looked at her with a serious expression and said, “Oh, of course you will. But aren’t you worried that the gold of your hair will clash with the gold of the crown, yer Highness?”
Waverlee’s eyes went big. “Oh…I, um…hadn’t really thought about it…” Suddenly she turned on me and, with a wild look in her blue eyes, she yelped, “Change my hair color, Serena! I can’t be a queen without a perfectly matching crown!”
Everyone laughed and I rolled my eyes at Brynn, gathering a panicked Waverlee in my arms and explaining to her that I could very easily turn her crown any color that she wanted. “This pretty hair of yours should always stay golden, dear.”
Once Waverlee’s mild panic attack had subsided, I studied the room as we all sat down to admire the beautiful lighting. Zoey was gone again, and so was Cal. As I glanced at the door, Jia slipped inside, unnoticed by the others. I narrowed my eyes as I watched her quickly join the group as if she’d never left. It wasn’t the first time I’d spotted Jia or Zoey sneaking around, and the others had noticed, too. But whenever anyone commented on the unusual absences, Destiny or Scarlet would reroute the conversation with impressive skill. Maybe they have another surprise for all of us! I thought hopefully. Yeah that must be it. They wouldn’t keep secrets from us otherwise. I settled back more comfortably, deciding not to worry. I can trust them, they’re my friends.
We were all quiet for a while, thinking and watching the suspended globe above us. I let my thoughts wander from friends to Leon to painting, back to Leon and finally resting on my little sister. I stifled a giggle as I recalled an old memory from home.
My sister and I were playing together, our imaginations untamed by age and experience. She held my hand as I whisked her through the many halls and rooms in our diamond palace. “Quickly, Nadine! The piranhas are catching up with us! They’ll eat all the skin and meat off of you and use your bones as toothpicks!” She squealed at my gruesome words and flipped her little pink fin as fast as it would go. Finally I threw myself into the tiny room that we’d claimed as a hideout and yanked Nadine in with me. “Ouch!” she cried, rubbing her arm and pushing her bottom lip out to pout. “Shhhh!” I reminded her. We pressed ourselves up against the wall adjacent to the partly open door and listened intently. After a few moments, a shadow appeared outside our hiding place and a deep growl sounded close to the wall. All of the sudden, two hands attached to strong arms pulled us from where we sat and then we were screaming and giggling as our father wrapped us in a big hug and rubbed his whiskers against our faces as he roared playfully. From a few paces away, our very pregnant mother smiled at us. She had her hands interlocked in front of her big belly and she laughed at the way Daddy tossed us around, pretending to eat our chubby little hands and cheeks. We all crowded around Mom, whispering to her belly and the two babies inside, begging them to be girls. Dad straightened and kissed Mom right on the lips, to Nadine’s disgust and my delight…
My memory was interrupted as Obsidian poked me teasingly in the side. “What’s the smile for?”
“I bet I know,” Waverlee smiled slyly at me and batted her eyelashes. “Leeeeooonnnnn!” she dragged out his name dramatically and I felt myself blushing.
“Look how she grins at even the sound of his name,” Brynn chuckled.
Crystal laid her head on her arm, lounging on a long cushion. “Tell us about him,” she said. “Yeah, tell us!” Everyone chorused.
“Alright, alright,” I caved. “But if I do, then we have to go around the circle and everyone has to tell us about their own splash!” Groans and squeals met my terms but everyone agreed, except Obsidian, who quickly made his escape amid a string of hurried excuses.
Then we talked and laughed and blushed and awwwed together for hours on end. And all the while I pictured Leon’s perfectly green eyes, and his sweet dimples, and that one lock of caramel hair that never quite stays put.