The young woman danced in the studio alone. Her knee-length white dress twirled as she turned, executing each move with grace and style. She enjoyed the dance simply for its sake now, away from the eyes of her students and peers. Her movements were not precise, but rather, flowed. Lost in the simple sensuality of the dance, she dipped, twirled, and hopped. Alone in the silence of the studio, she allowed herself to imagine her dancing in the garden of her childhood, where she had been discovered. In that garden, sheltered from the bright early morning sun, she had begun her first dance, clumsily but joyfully. She had moved because she wanted to, not because others had told her to.
When she had been discovered, there had been a huge ruckus. She was forbidden to dance alone there again, and was taken away and made to go for dance classes instead. The classes had brought out the talent lying beneath her first dance, but she had never been allowed to dance in any surrounding of more than 70% plant and animal life, for when they had taken her out of the garden, the early spring frost had melted and the garden bloomed as though it was summer. She had thought nothing of it then, but it pained her that she could not dance there any longer.
She could hear nothing but the silence in the studio, which was perfect to her as it meant that she would be able to follow the music within her mind clearer. To an observer, she danced to a quick, summer tune, her movements bringing to mind the heat of a summer’s day, with the lazy clouds floating above and the happy babbling brook. She did have someone watching her though, but he was not there as an observer. He raised the long range gun and kept her in his viewfinder as she danced. He would not have time to hit her again; he would only have one chance. If she knew he was there, he would probably be dead.
It was at the precise moment his finger touched the trigger that a flock of birds flew overhead, one dropping a feather that landed in his sights. When the feather fell, he had shot, missed, and had a dagger in his forehead. He did not miss completely though; his bullet had lodged itself in the woman’s shoulder. She fell, clutching her shoulder, but the bullet was not too dangerous she thought and so she made herself walk out of the studio, seeking help.
Sukina woke up with little fuss when her sister shook her gently. She rolled off her sister’s lap and got to her feet, kneeling before the Lady Celeste. Her siblings followed suit, with Kishan remaining on his knee, not rising at her earlier command. He could hear Celeste take a deep breath, as though sighing. Some habits were hard to break. When Sukina intoned the same words he had done earlier though, he saw the Lady’s shadow over them loom larger. She had stood up from the table and was looking down at them, not a comfortable position to be in if you did not know the Lady well.
“The child Feliciana has disappeared from the sight of the Weavers. Continue thy search, for the time of her Awakening draws near. Seek out Child of the Moon, for she has to be present when Feliciana is awakened. Mysticality hangs in the balance; Gaia cries out to be heard. The Anchor is loose; We drift away. Hurry and complete thy tasks, for the Scales Ma’at holds will soon be overturned,” the Lady’s soft, gentle voice had become much deeper and more lilting, with a very flat and monotonous tone.
As she finished speaking, Kishan rose to his feet and caught the Lady as she fell. Without thinking, he carried her and laid her gently on the couch. Sukina went to the minibar and began making some cold tea, while Naoko gently wiped the Lady’s forehead with a cold towel. It was not too long till the Lady regained consciousness, and even then she felt disconcerted. The two young women knelt at her side, concern written all over their faces. She focused on their familiar faces until the dizziness had gone away, then she sat up, putting her hands on Naoko’s and Sukina’s heads affectionately.
“I am fine, little ones,” she smiled at them fondly, aware of Kishan’s stern gaze on her.
“Karma needs to learn to stop giving us orders in your voice, Lady Celeste,” Kishan was clearly irritated.
“Could not be helped. Circumstances have changed. Karma only discovered what she did a few moments ago, and she knew better than to ask you directly,” the woman smiled weakly.
“Command us then, Lady. We are yours, Lady Celeste, not the Goddess of Fate’s,” Sukina’s voice was gentle in contrast to her brother’s.
“We can no longer use the Weavers to search for Feliciana. We must assume that she has been taken to another realm where the Weaver cannot find her,” the woman was saying, but Sukina cut her off.
“Feliciana is being held somewhere within this city. Of that, we are certain. It’s just a matter of time to track her down. But as to the rest…”
“We will use our powers as necessary, Sukina, Lady. No need to worry about the Judgement until everything else is settled,” Naoko reassured her sister, smiling enigmatically. “I’ll lead the operation to retrieve Feliciana.”
“That sounds good, Daughter, but no, you will not. Sukina will do so. Your cousin Bella needs you more,” Celeste said, then sighed and explained further when she saw the look of utter confusion on Naoko’s face. “Your mother’s brother’s daughter from the Rosella school. When you reach her home, you will know the full story.”
“Kishan, you too have a task. Seek out your old master and find out what you can about the Daughter of the Moon having to be present. This is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. Sukina, remind the Queen Felicity that we have not abandoned her, nor do I intend to. That does not mean though, that she should neglect her kingdom. Her duties to the Diadem come first,” the Lady got up and walked towards the window where the afternoon sun shone in gently.
“May your Paths be clear, my Children,” the Goddess walked into the sunlight, fading away.