Stormy – Another World Ch. 5

Archival Note from The Jewel Riders Archive: This story is presented as it was originally published on Stormy’s “Avalon” fan site in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It is presented for archival purposes and for the enjoyment of the Jewel Riders fandom. If you are the author of this story and wish to have it removed from the Jewel Riders Archive (or wish to share more!) please email us at archivist@jewelridersarchive.com. Happy Reading!


Another World 5, by Stormdance

Disclaimer: They’re all mine, so there ūüėõ

Stormy babbles: don’t worry, things’ll be hotting up in this chapter. This chapter written to the third Magic Knight Rayearth theme mp3

Gwennie was dozing in history class when the¬†look here¬†feeling jolted through her brain. She shook herself awake and looked up. The teacher was doing a current event article about a famous historian coming to teach at the university. When the teacher’s rather boring speech was over, she raised her hand and asked to see the article.

The professor was a world renowned, so it said, historical scholar of ancient legends and their relationship to real history. He seemed like the kind of guy Gwennie had seen on those weird shows on the Discovery Channel, who went around looking for the remains of Atlantis and such. The article said his favorite myth was the Holy Grail, and he had a private collection… of ancient cups and reproductions of other ones… supposed to be the Grail. Gwennie’s reading had slowed down with her shock and the classroom babble around her faded. She blinked herself back into reality and said matter-of-factly. “That’s what you call a clue.”

That afternoon the four of them faced each other over the table in Gwennie’s basement. They were looking at the Arthurian books and comparing notes and writing papers for English class. That had been Gwennie’s idea, make the game do double duty.

“Gotta be.” Tas said. “I mean all those knights never found it, why shouldn’t it be here in CO?”

“Because if it was then the Indians would’ve had the visions to look for it.” Kitty said dryly from where she was lounging in a beanbag chair, a book propped on her knees.

“Score one for the cat.” Forest noted, then stopped, “Kitty, what’s your whole name?”

“Katrina Heather Smith.”

“Katrina… like Trina. Her.” Forest was the only one not doing something school related; she was reading the little game book, now she held it out. The sections about the jewels were each topped with a little cartoony picture of a girl holding the jewel in question. “You even¬†look¬†like her…” there was an incredulous almost-disgust in her voice.

Kitty looked at the pic and shrugged, “Um, yeah, I do. Actually you¬†all¬†look… kinda…”

There was momentary chaos as they all looked at the little book and around at each other. “Weeeeird.” Tas whistled.

“What are we, Jewel Rider reincarnations?” Forest asked, sounding annoyed.

“Can’t be, they’re still alive.” Kitty said, but Gwennie outshouted her.

“No way no way! That’s tooo creepy!” Gwennie said. She stepped back, waving her hands in front of her in a keep away gesture. “Let’s just put that idea back under its rock and forget about it.”

“No, in the oubliette!” Forest suggested and, grateful for the new direction, they started doing Labyrinth impressions until the subject was completely changed.

_*_

Forest was in the car, leaning her arms on the ledge by the window and her head on her arms so she could stare out at the buildings. She was more thinking than looking, not paying attention to the store fronts going past until her mother cursed and said, “Just look, and with a bigger sign too.”

It was another New Age store, one with all kinds of interesting sparklies in the front and big windows, and a much flashier sign than Forest’s mom could afford. And she felt a funny humming in her side, from the pocket her jewel was tucked in. “Huh?” The humming was definitely connected with the shop, like the Moonstone was sensing something from there. “Mom, can we check that place out? You oughtta know your competition.”

Inside, Forest turned around so the Moonstone could face each side of the room. The humming oriented on an ordinary looking woman bending over a glass case of crystal pyramids. Forest looked at her for a long moment, but found nothing suggesting real magic in her short hair and ordinary plum business suit. The woman pointed at a really pretty gold glass pyramid, looked at it on the counter, then let the clerk put it back. They both had annoyed expressions and the clerk said something about looking at every single one. The woman replied waspishly in a strangely accented voice, and Forest caught a name, Summersomething. Summerhill? Could be.

Wait. Didn’t Merlin say the wizard from Avalon… was called… “Ooooooooh my.” Forest muttered, and went to hide behind her mother.

She probably wouldn’t have even mentioned it to the rest of the group, except that within the week all of them had spotted the same woman hanging around. It was creeping them out.

In Gwennie’s basement, the temporary princess called the meeting to order. “I think we’ve gone on to level two, to speak in game terms. The quest has become clear and the enemy has appeared!”

“So we have to get a Holy Grail from a grownup professor guy? As if!” Kitty said caustically.

“Hey, he might!” Tas shot back.

Forest sat herself physically between them. “Guys. We’ll give it a shot and if it doesn’t work we’ll try something else. So say useful things!”

Kitty subsided and sat back, holding a book up in front of her face. But within a few minutes the book had gone down again.

“So do we write him and tell him about the game, write him and tell him we want to talk to him for a school project, what? And if one of his cups is the real thing, what then?”

“Then we take it to Avalon. But we need to do this first!” Tas added the last part hastily, since none of them had any idea what would happen when they got the object of the quest. It seemed pretty unlikely that they’d actually travel to another world though.

“Don’t say anything about the game, he has to think we’re mature.” Kitty advised, “Say it’s for a school project, then we should¬†do¬†the project…” Groans arose, and Kitty squashed them with a very forceful “Just how serious¬†are¬†you guys then!” which shut them up.

“So we write a letter asking if we can see his collection? Or we could call, but I really don’t want to, he probably has a secretary and junk…” Gwennie said, trying not to sound as reluctant as she really was. She hated calling business-type places, her voice went high and she sounded about five years old from nervousness. Luckily the others agreed writing was better.

_*_

Kitty sat at the kitchen table in her apartment, doodling character faces and writing notes for the further adventures of her angel heroes. She had the story planned almost to the end and was feeling pleased with herself. The light hanging above the table cast an island of light in the dark house, since Kitty hadn’t bothered to turn any other lights on. Her parents were out to dinner with some person from their work, and Kitty had already made her favorite dinner of instant stuffing, frozen corn, and ground beef cooked in three pans then dumped into three piles in one of the pans and eaten like that.

Something pulled her attention up to the window. Was there something behind her reflection? Kitty got up and walked over to put her face to the window and look out. Something dark against darkness fell past the edge of the balcony.

Frightened, Kitty opened the glass door and stepped out. She leaned over the balcony railing. On the street below a person walked, but Kitty thought the person had been standing still a second ago, looking up at her. And had that same person been hovering in the air outside the kitchen?

Out of nowhere Kitty felt something physical but invisible, like silk or feathers flowing over her. The person below looked up and shook its head, and walked away faster. Kitty looked at her hand and could see right through it. She had become a shadow, or the shadows had hidden her from the watcher.

_*_

Gwennie bent over her spiral notebook and wrote:

Dear Professor Warren,

I am in middle school and my friends and I have to do a report for history class. Could we maybe come and talk to you about your collection of Holy Grails? It would be a big help with our projects, and we’re all really interested in King Arthur and everything from that legend. If you don’t want to that’s ok and you don’t have to answer this letter.

She considered. It should be longer, but what else could she say without sounding chatty? And she was way too shy to be chatty with a big important adult. This letter had to be perfect, it was that important. For the game… But she couldn’t see any improvements. She would rewrite it in better handwriting and mail it to the university tomorrow.

_*_

Kitty looked up at the ceiling, dim in the light of her tiny nightlight. Under her blanket one hand touched the smooth facets of her jewel. She brought it out and looked up at it. The pulsing light inside had dwindled to a faraway spark, but when she held it the her chest she felt a sound like blowing wind, or the sea.

She dreamed wind too, wind and echoes. “Far away…” Someone was saying, or thinking, in a strange almost medieval accent, “Such great distance, I’ll never see you again… show me the way…” A light flared and died, Kitty had the confused impression of someone holding a long blue crystal. That couldn’t be right… Something flew at her; she caught it. A feather. Turning, Kitty found herself face to face with… not herself, but maybe herself in a few years. Just for a moment, before the apparition faded like a mirage and she saw instead a sprawl of green forest and bright cities, so vast but far away like pictures on an ancient map.

“Do you ever just want to fold your wings over the wide land and keep it close, forever.” This time Kitty saw who was speaking; a woman with angel wings stretching up behind her, three pairs of wings that cast a soft golden light. “You could. One wish, trade yourself to the world forever.”

Frightening. And annoyingly mysterious. Kitty frowned at the angel, “Why me?”

“Why not?” There was not a trace of laughter, as Kitty would have laughed when she said that. “It’s your choice and your wish. And if you use it, I’ll find you.” The words had a ring of not threat but promise.

“You could be more specific!” Kitty exclaimed, and woke herself up. She sat up and looked around. Normal room, normal night light and half-seen pictures on the walls. She wanted to draw the gold angel.

_*_

Dear Gwennie and friends,

I’d be pleased to help you with your reports and show off my collection. I don’t have any classes right now so you can come in any day after school. My office is in the back of the library building, take the door by the greenhouse and go left, you’ll see it. I look forward to meeting all of you.

Sincerely, Dr. Henry Warren

“Great!” Tas said, then, “I’m nervous now!”

“Yeah. When can we go see him?” Kitty asked. She was sitting hunched over her notebook at the library table.

Forest was hunched over too, to hide that she was eating carrot sticks. She hadn’t finished her lunch when Gwennie stormed into the lunchroom and dragged them to the library. “Friday I’m free. You guys?”

“Yeah.” Gwennie said for herself and Tas, “But what are we going to ask him? We need a plan.”

“He sounds nice at least.” Kitty said, and hmm-ed off into thought.

“With all the books we’ve been reading we can get some questions together, at least I can. I just wish…” Tas lowered her voice to a whisper, “I wish we’d get some kind of message from the game about this.”

“Don’t ask, you might get your wish!” Gwennie exclaimed and laughed. She wished they’d get a message too, it had been too long for her since anything really exciting or scary had happened with the game. She didn’t know how real it was, and the game would have to be very real for… for… her train of thought unraveled there.

“Let’s ask the tape after school, maybe it’ll play longer now that we’re farther in the game.” Kitty suggested, and went back to her writing. The story was moving along very well, soon would come the big battle with the evil sorcerer and then the angels would have to choose whether to return to earth or stay in the other world where they’d keep their wings.

 

 

 

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