Warteen placed his hands on the front of Queen Jaine's crystal, quietly praying for psychic help. Closing his eyes, he felt himself being pulled forward, landing on the grassy ground with his eyes still closed.
Warteen: One, two....three.
On three, he opened his eyes, finding himself in front of a modest cottage. Brick-faced, with an efficient thatched roof, the front walk was neat but still overflowing with wildflowers of every variety. He stood, brushing the grass and dirt from his hands, glancing around.
The small house sat in a clearing in the middle of a forest that he was unfamiliar with. The air was warm, with a steady breeze, and he heard dogs barking from behind the house.
Warteen: Laine? er..Jaine?
From inside the cottage, Laine's head lifted from the book she was reading, while her parents talked quietly in front of the fireplace and her sister did the dishes, quietly humming to herself.
QL: Raine, listen. Do you hear something?
Warteen: (from outside) Jaine! Are you here?
QR and QL met eyes, and with a nod of her head, QL went outside. She opened the front door, sticking her head out in time to see Warteen turn in an apparently confused circle. Smiling, she called to him.
QL: Hey! Over here!
Warteen turned, relieved that he was not alone in the admittedly idyllic scene.
Warteen: Jaine, we have to talk, and -
QL: Not "Jaine." Just me.
Warteen: Laine? But...how?
QL: Don't know. Raine and I -
Warteen: Never mind. I know how.
QL: Always with the interrupting me. (she walked outside, picking flowers as she went.) If you're so smart, then why are we seperated?
Warteen: It's your ideal world, I think. But that's all there is to your ideal world? Nice weather, a cute house, and being seperated from Raine? There has to be something...
He trailed off as a woman and a man exited the house. At a glance, he knew who they were, for the woman's bearing and the man's eyes were echoed in his friend.
Turning back to QL, his eyes radiated empathy.
Warteen: I'm sorry, Laine.
QL: Sorry? What are you sorry for? Why are you looking at me like that?
Warteen: It's a trick. The master, he imprisoned all of you into crystals that held you while you lived in your dream world. He killed Erronius.
QL: Why are you saying that? It's not a trick. You should meet my parents.
Warteen: (grabbing her arm as she turned away) We have to go back. I haven't gotten Chad out yet, I think I'm going to need your help. And everyone else is sitting in the cave, waiting for the master to come back and kill them at this point.
Taking a deep breath, Laine turned back.
QL: (quietly) I can't leave them again.
QR came running from the house to stand in front of her sister, angrily facing a further saddened Warteen.
QR: How dare you? You think you have a right to come here?
QL: Raine, it's not -
QR: (whirling to face her) I heard everything he said. Residual "twin" thing. It's *not* a trick, Laine. Those are our parents.
QL: Our parents who have been dead. For years, Raine. (glancing at Warteen.) We need to go back to protect the ones who are still alive.
QR: I can't. I won't.
QL: It's your decision.
QL ran quietly back to her parents, gathering them in. QR glared at Warteen.
QR: You have no right to take her from here.
Warteen: I can't, unless she's willing, Raine. We need your help too.
QR: (turning angrily) No.
QR and QL passed each other on the way back, lightly touching hands in farewell. Blue sparked between them, curling and then fizzling into the ground.
QL: Raine, please?
QR raised a hand in front of her face like a shield, fingers spread. Pushing the air in front of her, she whispered.
Landing in twin heaps on the cold rock floor, QL and Warteen picked themselves up. After a brief smile for her fellow travelers, QL turned to the crystal that still contained the body and spirit of her sister. Laying a hand on it, she lowered her head, aching with the loss of her family all over again.
Warteen: Are you alright?
QL: (lifting her head quickly while discretely wiping her eyes) I'm fine.
Warteen handed her an extremely dirty handkerchief with a tentative smile. Laughing slightly, she accepted with a nod of her head.
QL: Thanks. I need to go back in.
Warteen: What? I don't know if I can get you out again, Laine, why would you -
QL: Not for my parents. For Raine. I need to try to get her out, surely you can see that.
Warteen: But we need to get Chad out.
QL: So you go get Chad, I'll get Raine. Unless you think Raine could help with Chad.
Warteen: I don't know, it's hard to -
Bartender: Warteen. Your majesty.
QL: Just a second.
Turning to face them, QL and Warteen both stopped talking.
The Master: I personally think you should get The Great Chad out, first. In all honesty, that's really a moot point, as I'm just going to kill all of you now.