PART FIVE: THE LOST GIRL
For several moments, Aisha and Flint and the strangers at their doorstep simply stared each other down. There was nothing particularly intimidating about the five strangers who were all young adults, generally of average build except for the woman who appeared to be their leader who was taller than the rest of her team. To put both Aisha and Flint at ease and to corroborate their utterances claiming that they were indeed there for professional reasons, the strangers showed them official identification documents. However, both Aisha and Flint were sceptical. There was no telling for sure if these people were truly sent by Mr. Deon Kanda, the oldest living Kanda clan member and possibly Aisha’s great grandfather or if they were sent by her presumed wicked Grand Aunt, the Vila Lerato to assassinate her. Either way, the strangers simply could not be trusted.
“I’m sorry for your wasted journey but I am not willing to hear you or anyone from that family out. If they truly cared about me, they would have sent you sooner- never stopped searching for me- or rather for Imani. It is uncertain whether I am truly the lost girl…”
“There is only one way for us to ascertain whether you really are the lost girl. I assure you that it will take no more than five minutes of your time. The results of the test are of interest to Mr. Kanda but they do not, in any way, bind you to any sort of action. Miss Soromon, we are only doing our job,” said the team leader.
“I believe Miss Soromon has given you her final answer; please return from whence you came and explain that she is not interested. I am certain Mr. Kanda has the means to compensate you for all your trouble,” Flint said firmly. Nothing the strangers said or did after that was important.
Flint and Aisha immediately packed up their bags the second the strangers had left. Aisha had to admit that she was more than a little curious whether she really was Imani. Everything pointed towards that conclusion but there was no way she could prove it for sure. However, it appeared the strangers could not take no for an answer. It appeared that Mr. Kanda was not one to take no for an answer and went to great lengths to ensure the team followed them everywhere they went, badgering them to a point of annoyance.
The only way of truly finding peace, it appeared, was allowing the test to be done which Aisha eventually agreed to against Flint’s advice. He begrudgingly stood in a corner in the nth hotel they had moved into as the strangers began cleansing the room. The examiners sat down with Aisha in a circular formation and dimmed the lights setting up the table with white, yellow and lavender witch candles and lighting them. The chief castor among them, the woman who usually spoke to Flint and Aisha, took out a beautifully carved object made of some kind of white wood that Aisha had never seen, embedded with mystic symbols. She then began to draw a pentagram on the table and it was suddenly absorbed onto the table as if it was a part of the original design.
“Right, let us begin. Please hold hands,” said the team leader. Aisha reluctantly held hands with the two strangers seated next to her and looked at the team leader who was sitting directly facing her. The woman and the other strangers then began chanting some strange spell in a language Aisha had never heard of before then the flames on the candles began moving erratically and the carved pentagram glowed ethereally.
“Miss Aisha, please give me your right hand,” said the female leading the ritual.
Aisha nervously parted her right hand from the stranger holding onto it and stretched it towards the woman who beamed at her. The woman then took out a sterilized needle from her bag and pricked Aisha’s right index finger. She overturned the latter’s hand onto the pentagram’s right side and let two drops fall on it. She then took out a vial of blood from her bag and precisely measured out two drops of blood on the left side with an eye dropper. Aisha was then instructed to resume holding hands with the others just as they presumably finished the ritual with more chanting in their strange language.
The light in the candles suddenly all burned up north and joined together over the pentagram. Aisha was astonished, as always, at what magic was truly capable of doing. Suddenly, the two drops of blood on each side joined together began to move towards the center of the pentagram where they mixed thus completing the ritual. Aisha looked at the strangers all seated in the circle but their faces gave nothing away so she turned to Flint whose anger appeared to have been temporarily abated. He was still standing on the corner but he wasn’t defiantly folding up his arms or cursing under his breath as he had been doing for the entirety of the ritual. Instead, he was standing with his lips partially ajar in awe.
“What does this mean?” she demanded of the woman who had headed the ritual, pointing at the pentagram.
“You are of like blood with Mr. Kanda. It appears that you are indeed the lost girl,”
“But- but how can that be? Are you certain?”
“Blood magic is the one of the most powerful branches of magic there are, Miss Soromon. It is a fact. Like blood attracts like blood. There is no way your blood would have attracted Mr. Kanda’s in the pentagram if you were not even the least bit related,”
“I- I don’t know what to say,” Aisha said completely stumped. She went on auto-pilot again and in no time, had received an invitation from Mr. Kanda himself to visit him at his Manor in the Magical Realm, all expenses paid for by the remaining descendant of the clan. She begged Flint to tag along because she was afraid of meeting Mr. Kanda alone and he agreed to come with her although he seemed very reluctant to do so.
They traveled from the Island of Vanuatu to the anti-meridian in Fiji where one of the entrances from the Mortal Realm to the Magical Realm existed. After going through rigorous checks by the Protectors and Mialand Army officials they found at the borders, they were finally allowed into the Realm. They found a man with an expensive car waiting for them with their names clearly printed out into a piece of paper that he held up. They approached him cautiously and he provided them with his identification documents. Apparently, he was sent by Mr. Kanda himself and was to ensure that they arrived at Kanda Manor safe and soundly…
Though weary and on guard at first, Aisha’s attention to personal safety soon began to wear off as she found it nearly impossible to register everything new she was seeing from the wild scenery rich with plant and animal species she had never seen before to the farmlands with varieties of crops that also seemed to defy everything she had ever known. The trip from the border to Ankhelion took two hours and there was another rigorous check before being allowed into the Capital City.
Aisha was surprised that it looked so much like any other major city you’d find in the Mortal Realm with tall sky scrapers and all manner of businesses lining up the streets. The city streets were littered with magical folk of all kinds and from all walks of life. There were open air markets in the alleyways selling all manner of wares from cheap clothing to potions that apparently enhanced power, strength or endurance. Even Flint occasionally dropped his guard down to give some much needed exposition and clarity to Aisha pointing out to his absolute favorite places to visit in the city. Aisha made a mental note of them and begged Flint to take her once her meeting with Mr. Kanda was over before they returned home. Flint did not respond to her request and she prodded the matter no longer.
They continued driving until the city’s tall buildings seemed to disappear and nothing but miles of roads were left before them. They arrived nearly at the border between Ankhelion and another of Mialand’s famous Cities called Meander Valley City where the most affluent estate was enclosed in a self sustaining private community. There were some rigorous checks before they were allowed in and Aisha felt as if she was being driven through the Bel Air of the witch nation which had nothing but the most architecturally astounding homes- homes that were an art form of their own that only very wealthy could afford.
As they drove further into the community, the chauffeur commented on whose home was whose and Aisha began to note the houses she found most appealing. The last home before their final stop at the Kanda Manor definitely made the biggest impression on her and the chauffeur explained that it belonged to the second wealthiest family in Mialand and undoubtedly one of the most influential families in the entire Magical Realm; the infamous Alison Witch clan Manor. There, the chauffeur explained, the family’s leader, the Matriarch, who was usually chosen based on merit and experience running family run businesses or seeing to the overall welfare and prosperity of the family, lived in an impenetrable fortress. Like the Queen, seeing the Alisons’ family Matriarch was something that required approval from her months in advance and rarely did she ever receive guests either way.
Aisha tried to wrap her mind around everything she had learned that day as the chauffeur finally arrived at their final destination and dropped them off at the front door. Flint got out of the car first and opened the door for Aisha, holding her hand so that she could exit safely. Aisha thanked him and still held onto his hand as they walked towards the artistically carved door.
The door was embedded with mystic symbols which Flint explained were powerful wards used to keep dark energies at bay. Suddenly, Aisha began to worry that she would look and seem like a fool. She was, after all, very new to the magical world. She then began to worry about how she appeared- was she decent enough? Was she worthy of meeting such a renowned family head?
Flint rang the doorbell waking her from her reverie. A maid came to open the door and appeared stunned and short of breath on meeting the two initially before ushering them in towards the den upstairs where Mr. Kanda was waiting for them. Aisha’s legs felt rubbery and it took a while of taking breaths as well as Flint’s encouragement to finally knock on the door and wait to be welcomed in.
“Please, come in,” said an elderly voice from within the room in fluent French. Flint and Aisha walked in wearily.
The elderly man was seated on a wheelchair and but he did not appear frail. Instead, he appeared to be very dignified even in his old age. His facial features were fatherly and stern although his smile was warm and welcoming. He opened his mouth upon seeing Aisha and immediately used the automated wheelchair buttons to get closer to her.
“Imani, my child, you have finally returned home,” he said in a relieved tone. He held her hands in his own and his grip was very firm.
Aisha smiled kindly at the elderly man. “You must have so many questions. I shall be glad to answer them all. And please, forgive my French, I am a bit rusty on it,” he told her.
Aisha nodded and turned to Flint who smiled encouragingly at her.
“Hmm, I see you’ve brought a friend. Young man, it is a pleasure to have you with me. Allow me to introduce myself; I am Mr. Deon Kanda,”
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir. My name is Flint, son of Dara and Markum,”
“Ah, I see. Where are you from, Mr. Flint?”
“Havana, Breanna, sir,”
Mr. Kanda smiled. “It is obvious that my great granddaughter has taken quite a liking to you. I’ve noticed that many Vila tend to choose fairies for their mates and my great granddaughter is no exception,”
Flint responded by smiling kindly.
“Please, please, make yourselves at home. Take a seat,” he said wheeling himself across the room just as Aisha and Flint settled on the comfortable love seat next to the fireplace. Mr. Kanda, after taking several photo albums and placing them on his laps, wheeled himself to position himself next to his great granddaughter.
He handed the photo albums to Aisha and slowly explained who each of the people in the photographs were. Aisha saw the leader of the clan herself from whom she had been named after. She saw Mr. Kanda’s lost brothers and sisters and felt a pang of pain knowing she’d never get to meet them. However, it was seeing her parents that truly broke her.
“Your parents were two of the bravest people I have ever known. Even when you were kidnapped, they never stopped searching. They even went to the war thinking you had been taken by the dark one’s forces. If only I had had their hearts- I am certain that I’d have found you so much sooner,”
Aisha wept for her lost parents. It was apparent that she and her great grandfather were all that was left of the Kanda clan. Mr. Kanda then pulled up some old home videos and Aisha cried through every one of them showing her parents and how happy they’d been to have her. She watched the day they got married, the day they had her and many other happy memories they had shared with the rest of the family. Her mother had even written letters to her future daughter- she had been absolutely confident that she’d find her. Aisha felt as if she had failed her.
“Your mother would have been proud to see the woman you have become. She was the best granddaughter I could ever have asked for and she lives on in you, my child. She was brave and strong, a true warrior and she died the hero that she was,”
“How can I live up to her- her legacy?”
“You are already living up to her legacy. See, what got me into the family business was I was duped by a Vila- your great grandmother. She had hoped to ensnare me with her charms and I fell hard. My family saved me and from then on, I dedicated my life to ensuring no witch or warlock would ever be susceptible to the false charms of creatures that would abuse their power. The Vila abandoned her own daughter, your grandmother and I am grateful that she never got to raise her. Your grandmother, my darling Imani, was the kindest soul you’d ever meet. She used her abilities to help the side of good and raised your mother, Zari, to take up the mantle in the fight against evil. And you, my darling, have lived up to their good names. I have done my research and I know of your suffering even before that evil Vila’s daughters tried to end your life,”
Aisha gasped. “You know about that?”
“Yes, my darling. I have the full report from Mesi Azara and I know she could speak nothing but the truth,”
“I am- I am truly sorry,”
“Don’t be. Your grandmother’s half sisters chose the path of darkness. In truth, I had grown quite fond of Lerato. She took care of me all those years and I consider her children my very own granddaughters and I assure you that they will always be cared for. However, I realize that like her mother, Lerato was only manipulating me and all for what? My money? Our family has enough to last us several lifetimes. Family- family is what really matters to me and you, darling, have proven to me that my famous name is of little consequence to you. You were willing to abandon this life even though you have heard of the immense wealth I possess. That proves your true nature. You are not like Mesi or Lerato. You are like my Imani and my Zari. You are good,”
Aisha shook her head still weeping. “I am not worthy of all of this, sir. Thank you for showing me all this and for giving me my mother’s letters but I- I cannot accept this,”
“All this is your birthright. Our family name is a burden and I know it is quite unfair asking you to take it upon your shoulders especially now when everything is so fresh and new but I am confident that you will bring honor to this home and to my life. There is no other way for you, child,”
Aisha tried to absorb that. In time, she would grow very fond of her great grandfather. She would learn several other languages among them, better command of the English language. She grew fond of her Aunts of sorts, the children of Lerato whose mother went to prison with her sister for trying to murder Aisha. She was happy to enroll in magic classes and even happier to travel around the Magical Realm and beyond. Mr. Kanda was always very pleased with her as Aisha was with him; her last remaining true relative. Flint would eventually return to his country and be dispersed on more diplomatic missions across the realms but both he and Aisha fought for what they had which they both felt was worth the struggles. She never forgot about her friends in Vanuatu or even the friends she’d made along the way such as the Mystai Priestess, Sybil.
Aisha embraced what it meant to be a Kanda and spent the rest of her days proving that Vila could be kind, responsible and strong. Eventually, she even adapted her birth name, Imani Kanda, the last heiress to the Kanda name and fortune.
Didn’t read any of the previous parts? Whoopsie daisy, let’s fix that:
Part One: https://wordpress.com/post/elenaverseblog.wordpress.com/2440