(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Jade was written by C. A. King.)
A green mist swirled around on the tiny island for a few minutes before dissipating. Jade nodded at the large man who had brought her guest there. Faramund’s ability to teleport people was possibly the most used ability of all her people, with the exception of Willow’s, of course. “Hi. I’m Jade. You must be Kelly,” she said. “I’m glad you made it okay.” She thanked Faramund and he disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.
Jade offered her hand to Kelly in a welcoming gesture. “This will be an experience for both of us. I must warn you before we go we are breaking a million rules. We don’t usually allow Terunji into the city. You’ll have to stay close to me at all times and if we meet someone, let me do the talking.” Jade’s eyes scanned the small island for anyone who might be listening. Her illusion magic allowed her to detect most people who used the same energy as her own.
“The other thing I must ask before we proceed, is about your write up. We are allowing you access to the city and interviews, but we must ask that you restrict what you print about our friend. She has enough bad publicity at the moment. Keep in mind not all stories you may hear in passing are true. If you agree, we can continue.” She motioned to the water behind her shrouded in mist.
Kelly took all this into consideration. She really didn’t have much say in what was shared with others, but she also knew her audience was like no others. She smiled at Jade, accepting the hand shake. “I assure you, there won’t be any bad press coming from me.” Then she looked around at the water and the mist. “What is this place? And why so many rules?”
Jade flashed a pearly white smile. “This is the entrance to Pewterclaw. It is one of a few magical Cities located in the main world. You have to trust me. We need to walk on what looks like water.” It took about ten minutes of slow walking before the mist gave way and they were standing on a bridge.
This was an interesting experience for sure, but Kelly didn’t argue as she stuck close to Jade. Now that they were on a bridge, Kelly furrowed her brows. “All right…now what? Are we going someplace specific for our conversation, or going for a walk?”
Jade pointed to a sign that read ‘Welcome to Pewterclaw.’ She walked by it and the population number updated by one. “The city.”
They walked into the city, and Kelly took in her surroundings but stuck close to Jade. “So, you said that ‘Terunji’ aren’t allowed into the city. I’m assuming that I’m a Terunji? Or what exactly?”
“Yes, it is basically a person born into the main world and usually with no magical abilities. The Empyral are those that come from different worlds and make this realm their home.” She stopped and placed her hands on her hips. A light breeze caught her blonde hair, revealing beautiful green earrings that matched her eyes.
“We can go wherever you like. To meet the mayor? A walk through the park, perhaps sit on a bench and chat, a cafe? You must have noticed that with the exception of some unique individuals the city isn’t much different from an ordinary one.”
“Let’s take a walk in the park.” Kelly nodded. “I am here to speak with you after all.” And they began walking. “So I understand you and some others found a book of prophecies. How did that happen?”
Jade looked at her guest from the corner of her eye. “Willow found it would be more accurate. She is after all a Keeper and it was in the Keeper’s library. She was the only one who knew it existed at first. At that point I was still in shock.” A few birds took flight from the path before them. Jade led them to a park bench neatly tucked away in a small garden. “Very few people use this area of the park,” she said. “We should be fine to talk here.”
They sat down, and Kelly considered her next question. “Are you close to Willow, or do you find yourself at odds with her?” She glanced at Jade.
Jade chuckled. “There was a time I hated her. I wanted her to be miserable. I genuinely believed I was better. That I was born into having everything my way.” She sighed. “Now, she is the best friend I have. I know she is trying to do the right thing. She saved my life, my father’s a couple of times and my brother’s. You could say we owe her.”
She slouched backwards against the bench hooking her arms around the top. Her head fell backwards, eyes closed, as if she were taking a nap.
Kelly observed her but was certain Jade wouldn’t fall asleep in the middle of a nap. “Why did you think you were better than her?”
Jade sat forward again. Her gaze fixated on the ground before her. “There was a prophecy written about my world that the council had. It said that our realm was going to be destroyed by another world. We had lost contact with all the guardians and keepers that had left to fight Cornelius. It didn’t look good.” She paused for a moment. “You have to understand my father did what he thought was best for everyone. He closed and destroyed all known portals into our realm and formed a new council. All talk of the past was forbidden. The council moved into the castle and everyone else lived in the one town. I didn’t know any of this of course at the time. I just knew I was born into luxury and she was a girl who grew my vegetables.”
“Destroying all portals and isolating yourself is not exactly the best idea.” Kelly shook her head. “But I can understand the motive behind it. “So, you grew up in luxury. You’ve mentioned your father before, but what of your mother?”
Jade glared at Kelly. That was a bad topic to bring up. “She was murdered. On the day that changed all of our lives. It was my fault.” A tear streaked down the perfect white skin of her face catching on the corner of her lips and disappearing. “I was mad. I was jealous. I didn’t understand. Prince Joseph came to me in a dream. I had no idea what dream walking was then. He was so handsome and suave. He offered me everything I desired. He said he would take me away and make me his queen. He played me like I had been playing the boys in my world for so long. It wasn’t until the hole between our worlds opened that I knew the mistake I had made. I caused the prophecy to come true. I caused the destruction of our world.”
Kelly furrowed her brows as she heard all this. “Wait…you were dream-walking and caused the destruction of your world?” She looked at Jade confused. “How does that happen?”
“Prince Joseph is a dream walker. He came to me in a dream and told me how to help him open a hole between our worlds. He was supposed to take me back with him. I, once awake enlisted the help of a boy named Neil, who happened to have a rather large crush on me at the time. His ability is to bend things. Usually rocks or metal. That day I convinced him to bend space. It weakened the veil between worlds enough for Joseph’s forces to push through. They took prisoners, including my younger brother. They killed those who resisted.” She paused. Her mouth was dry and her voice cracked a little as she spoke, “Joseph snapped the neck of my mother before my eyes as a lesson. He left my father and me there to die.”
Kelly listened as she took all this in. She felt bad for accidentally bringing up this entire topic, but she was learning interesting things about Jade. “And what became of Joseph?” She asked softly as she met Jade’s eyes. She was fairly certain Jade likely didn’t want to continue this line of the conversation, but Kelly wasn’t ready to let it go just yet.
‘He returned with his two brothers Lance and Simon to their world. They are Cornelius’ sons. The king who is trying to bring down the barriers between worlds. The one our ancestors left to fight. A fight they lost. The fight Willow has now continued.”
For a long time Kelly was silent as she pondered all this, trying to comprehend it. At last she spoke, “What was life like before Joseph invaded?”
“Well, I had everything and still felt empty. I always needed more. Willow had nothing, not even parents, Nothing ever happened, until I accidentally poisoned a few boys with a love potion and stole some jewelry that had been made for Willow. I got myself arrested. It was at the hearing that everything went into chaos. In the end Willow solved a prophecy from the book that told her how we could escape before Lance’s necrid flames destroyed every living thing.” She fell silent. That seemed so long ago.
Kelly felt there was a lot she didn’t know or understand of this world, but she tried to keep up. However, she didn’t want to focus on Jade’s responsibility for the destruction of her world although it seemed Jade kept coming back to that. Instead, Kelly narrowed in on one aspect. “What was your mother like though—before everything?”
Jade took a while before answering. The whites of her eyes showed tiny red lines. Not crying was something she had learned over the years. “She was a devoted mother and wife. Are you sure you wouldn’t like to meet a few of the others?”
Kelly shook her head. “No, I’m here to meet with you and you alone. Unfortunately I don’t have time to meet with others. Maybe some other time.” She gave her a small smile. “Did you get along with your mother though? You sound as though you were quite headstrong as a child.”
“I did. After Jordan was born he became her focus. I resented them both at the time. I wished Jordan would disappear and my mother was dead. Joseph said he would make all my wishes come true. He did just that and let me know. I don’t really have anything else to say at the moment. I loved her. I would take back what I said in a second if I could. But, I can’t”
“And you haven’t forgiven yourself for what happened, have you?” Kelly decided to be blunt and shifted in her seat to look at Jade. “You resent yourself—and Joseph, of course.”
Jade laughed. “I offered my life to Acacia, the tree of justice, but was refused.I was given a second chance to travel a different path. That is what I am focused on now. My family and I have careers here in the main world. We are making a difference. Hilary did teach me one thing when I was her assistant. I can work for the nice things I have always been accustomed to. I can still wear pretty jewels and not hurt anyone. Well she did, but, I don’t have to. Joseph I doubt I could ever forgive.”
Kelly nodded as she took this in. “All right, so tell me about Gavin. I understand he’s a vampire. How did the two of you meet?”
“Gavin?” Her voice squeaked. “How on earth did you hear about him?” She paused for a moment to watch a group of men roll passed. Their feet were shaped like roller blades. It wasn’t an unusual sight for Jade, but, she didn’t want anything to be heard by the wrong ears. After they were safely gone, she continued. “Gavin is working for my father. It’s rather hush hush. We actually met him around Halloween. He took an instant liking to Willow. Of course, most guys do. We’ve been working rather closely together as of late.”
“But you’re interested in him, aren’t you?” Kelly smiled softly.
Jade could feel the heat rising to her face. There was no doubt that she was completely pink at the thought of her vampire man. “We’ve agreed to take things slowly. There is something about him I can’t deny. I don’t know what it is, but I can say I have never felt like this about anyone before. I suppose I need to be sure that he isn’t in love with Willow before I can commit to him fully.”
“That would be a good idea, but is he pursuing you? Has he expressed interest in you? Why do you hesitate and think he may be in love with Willow?” Kelly furrowed her brows.
Jade let out a breath of air in a huff. “It’s a hard situation to explain. Willow has a unique ability to draw people to her. Gavin explains it as a feeling of need rather than love. I’ve seen it before and others have gone on to find a true love after realizing that it’s a different emotion. I suppose what it comes down to is there are different types of love. Sometimes it can be complicated to distinguish between them.” She shrugged her shoulders.
Kelly nodded. She could understand that to an extend. “And what does Willow feel of this ability of hers?”
“It confuses her most of all. She grew up alone, with no parents. She did have her guardian family. They are cats. But through most her life they were pictures on her skin that talked to her telepathically. Technically, she never knew what love was. Now she is overwhelmed by it. Even from the outside it is hard to tell who she will actually fall in love with. I am pretty sure it won’t be Gavin. They are good friends but the field is much narrower for her.”
“I think she’s a bit too busy to worry about love though,” Kelly pointed out. “It’ll come in it’s own time. But in the meanwhile, back to you and Gavin…what is it about him that you draws you to him?”
The red crept back into Jade’s face. “Everything,” she said. “His scent. His warmth. I get a strange feeling in my stomach when he draws near to me. He’s so sure of himself. He’s so strong. I suppose he’s a lot like my father in that regard.” A light playfully danced in her eyes.
Kelly smiled when she heard this. She could tell Jade was really in love with Gavin. “So, if you could have anything in the world–or worlds–what would it be? What would be the future you would wish for yourself if anything was possible?”
“A safe secure place for my family to live,” she said without hesitation. “I want to make that place. My father wants to make that place too. Willow is our best bet to ever achieving that goal.” She smiled. There was something almost sinister in her grin that could have made the hair stand up on a unicorn.
Kelly noticed this slight shift in Jade and arched a brow. “You plan to use Willow? Perhaps to your own gain and to her hurt?”
Jade frowned. “Of course not. We are supporting her. We are helping her. I only meant that she has the ability to take on Cornelius and whoever else might be lurking in the shadows and make the worlds all safe again.” Her expression changed to a pearly white smile.
“She is after all,” Jade said, “my friend.”
Kelly tilted her head to a side. Some reason she didn’t believe completely believe her. However, she had to sigh. “I’m afraid our time is about up. I do appreciate the time you’ve taken to speak with me and answer my questions—regardless of all the rules it has broken.”
“Keep the location of the city a secret and no one will bother you. Please also remember we will be reading what you write.” Her voice ended with a stern sound. “It has been a pleasure. I will walk you back out to where Faramund is waiting.”
Kelly took note of her warning. Jade, and the others, could read the interview Kelly would post, but Kelly knew there was very little Jade could do to change anything that was said. Her own words had been recorded, and they would be shared–not to reflect a poor light on her but rather to intrigue people in the story. However, Kelly smiled at Jade, “I should best be going..” And she accompanied Jade back to where Faramund waited to take her back to her own world.
Jade had no intention of ever hurting Kelly, but there was a concern with Kasper, the director of secrecy reading her article. He could be rather difficult to deal with and had power equal to he father’s.
C.A. King’s novel, ‘The Portal Prophecies: A Keeper’s Destiny’ is available online. Be sure to follow her on social media for updates!