Over the next three years, Mariposa grows from baby to teen. It’s weird to look at her and see adult female far more than when I look at myself. She doesn’t mind at all. I think Yuriel is more annoyed than I am. It’s like he had a feeling Mariposa would bloom into adulthood before us. She did. She typicaly wears the same clothes as I do, but she always looks better in them.
At least, I’m a better flyer.
And I seem to have the biggest mana bank.
“Mother is still behind the briars,” Yuriel comments during our walk together. Mariposa hangs on my arm. She’s taller than me yet she’s lighter. Yuriel stops to shake the briars. “Ow!” I jump turning to see him with a finger in his mouth.
“Mother’s briars couldn’t hurt you before.” I reach out to prick myself. Yuriel stops me. It’s stupid to try to injure myself. “What’s going on inside?”
“I don’t know. I don’t like it.” Yuriel crosses his arms as we stare at the blocked path. It’s seriously briars in every direction. We cannot walk in, fly in, or dig our way in. Mariposa thought of that actually. It didn’t work.
“This Mother you speak of sounds unsettling.” Mariposa pulls me back to hug. I still stare at the brairs. “You’d make a better mother, Kura.”
Yuriel grins turning to us. “Yeah. We’d do better.” He thumbs his chest looking his typical prideful self.
“I didn’t say you.” Mariposa does that often. “Just Kura.”
“Damnit.” Yuriel slams his fists on the briars then screams. I move in to heal his new injuries. He’s bleeding all over. “When did Mother start hating me? What’d I do?”
“I don’t know.” I kiss the new scars so they disappear. “I don’t understand this at all.”
“She’s still offering us energy and blocking our full magic.” Yuriel huffs letting me hold his hands still. “I want to be me. I don’t even know what that means!? All I know is this ain’t it.”
“I don’t have the block you speak of.” Mariposa holds out her arms. She looks like a normal adult now. Three years brings her to max. We’re at thirteen and still not full growth. It’s like we did not change at all. The only real noticeable difference is Yuriel’s voice no longer cracks. He just constantly has a slightly deeper voice. And I mean slightly deeper. “Mother doesn’t block me.”
“You’re also not a child anymore.” Yuriel growls back. “Something’s up. A big something. And I hate being blocked from it. It has to be important.”
I hug myself stepping away from the other two. Something big. Mother is…
Dying. The voice in my head has me fall to the ground. I inhale sharply and then start hyperventilating. With every breath plant life grows around me. “No… No… Mother can’t die. She can’t. That’s…”
“What?” Yuriel pushes the newly spouted bush out of his way. It slinks back to the ground as he takes over the space. “What’s going on? Kura?”
I hold up my hands and feel a bucket of warmth drift over and through me. Life. This is life. As if on cue another form drifts in and out of the warmth. It’s a different form of warmth. “Death.”
“Death? What’s going on? Calm down.” Yuriel pushes off a vine trying to creep up his leg. Mariposa flits about outside my circle of life.
I reach to the death magic envolping me and sent it out to the circle. Yuriel shivers at the hit, but the rest just dies instantly. “I…”
“Don’t start hating me too, Kura. I don’t think I could handle that.” Yuriel offers a hand and accepting eyes. “Are you okay?”
“I didn’t mean it.” Mariposa drops to the ground before me. “I seriously didn’t mean it.”
“Mean what?” Yuriel is confused.
I can’t blame him. “I’m Life-Death Balancer.” I hold out my hands watching as the green and black switch out as the magic twists around me. “I’m the new Mother.”
“But she isn’t dead yet.”
“I know. And I’m…” I stops unable to say it. My head knows what I need to do. To fully accept my position I have to kill Mother. But I don’t want to. I can’t. The idea is horrible. To submit me to that? To force me to kill my own mother?
“Kura?” Yuriel rubs the back of the hand he has. “I’m here.”
I reach my cheeks to find tears. I’m crying. “I need to go somewhere….”
“No. Alone.” I stop as Yuriel releases my hand. I want to say I wouldn’t mind him joining me. But… I glance to Mariposa. She refuses eye contact. Yuriel treated me as an equal. He’s been my best friend, my confidente, my everything all these years. Mariposa is close, but she never took Yuriel’s place. She probably needs his support. I exhale closing my eyes. “I’ll see you.”
“I’m giving you five hours. If you haven’t reached me, I’m finding you.” Yuriel takes up Mariposa’s hand. He knows my desires. We don’t even need to say anything. I’ll figure this out. Five hours of alone time.
I don’t see how five months of alone time will help.
I’m supposed to kill Mother?
No. I refuse.