PART EIGHT: THE NECKLACE
Imani idly doodled on the back of her Magical Botany notepad, trying her best to keep up with what her teacher was saying. Life for the past 3 years since she had relocated to Timeline B-3 had been absolutely thrilling to a point where the Savior of the Dark World could proudly say that she was finally leading a normal life.
Like all Magick-bestowed children her age in the Magical Realm, she was working very hard in order to get selected to one of the Top Magical Apprenticeship Schools for students 13 years and above, the magical equivalent of attending High School.
So far, Imani had been doing exceedingly well in her studies, going on well to earn a high total magical efficiency score (or magical GPA) which made her a prime candidate for consideration for many esteemed Apprenticeship schools including her top choice, the Golden Acacia Apprenticeship School.
The Magical Botany class was suddenly disrupted by a pupil coming into class right in the middle of it. All her classmates gawked at the late comer in awe as she confidently strutted into class despite being several minutes late. Her teacher was certainly not amused by it and was about to tell the pupil off before the said pupil handed over a note to him.
The teacher angrily crumbled up the note before thinking better of it and straightening it out and seemingly skimming through the contents, nodding to himself and then excusing the pupil as she took her seat at the back of class.
Imani turned to stare at the pupil in awe, her senses suddenly stirring awake. She was surprised that the pupil was so bold and she could barely take her eyes off her, exchanging looks with her best friends Hannah and Abigail signalling to them non-verbally that they would revisit the issue again before turning to face the teacher.
The teacher’s behavior from when he read the note was nothing short of erratic and unexplained. He spoke faster than he usually did and periodically got lost in his own train of thoughts, mumbled to himself, shook his head and continued with the lesson. Imani wondered whether the note had been embedded with some kind of psychic spell which was what was affecting the teacher.
Imani turned to face the pupil again who soon stared right back at her smiling in a way the Savior found unnerving. Something was definitely off; Imani’s clairvoyance told her as much but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what exactly that was. She wondered whether this had anything to do with the Entity as she stared down at her doodles.
She had been playfully illustrating using some of the plant species she had learned in Magical Botany to fight the Entity and she chastised herself for letting herself get distracted. However, her attention span wavered every so often and between the teacher’s sudden pauses and mumbling, she turned to face the student who leaned into the desk, scribbling on her own notepad.
That was when Imani noticed something hanging on the pupil’s neck. Imani leaned closer to the back of her chair to get a better look on whatever was hanging on the pupil’s neck and was able to discern that it was some kind of necklace. On closer inspection, it appeared that the necklace was made out of some kind of gold alloy but Imani was not able to tell exactly what was inscribed or even drawn on the necklace.
Imani was somewhat drawn to the necklace, even going as far as to draw it on her notepad. She had never seen followers of the Entity use necklaces before and so she wondered what exactly it could all mean. The teacher suddenly halted the class altogether stating that he was feeling unwell and released class earlier. He grabbed a hold of all his teaching aids, hastily throwing them into his bag, a very uncharacteristic thing for the otherwise very well organized teacher, and he scrambled out of the classroom as if it were on fire.
When he was gone, Imani turned around to face the pupil in order to observe any kind of suspicious behavior, believing that the cause of their teacher’s sudden erratic behavior was the pupil. The pupil stood up and walked up to Imani leaning on her desk.
“Why don’t you take a picture, Imani? It’ll last longer,” she rudely asserted.
Imani stared her down and then her eyes settled on the necklace the pupil had and the moment she saw the graven image inscribed within the necklace, a piercing pain suddenly took over her entire body. It took everything in Imani not to scream in agony and she was barely able to hold back the tears of pain pouring down her face.
This was certainly not the Entity but something much more sinister and it scared her.
“I’m onto you, by the way,” the pupil proudly stated. She leaned in so that even the pupils within earshot could not hear her whisper, “Savior.”
The pupil then left the classroom not to be seen again. Her physical departure brought momentary relief to the sudden, unexplained pain coursing through Imani’s body.
Imani was barely able to concentrate for the rest of the day and was certainly glad at the end of the school day when she participated in Club Activities. Imani’s favorite club was by far the Art and Crafts Club for as in her previous life, she was particularly gifted in drawing and painting.
She gathered up her tool and suddenly found herself in a trance, recalling that piercing pain she had endured earlier and then the image of the woman on the pupil’s necklace became increasingly more focused in her mind’s eye. She drew and painted the woman whose image became clearer and then she began to paint the surrounding background.
By the time Imani’s masterpiece was complete, she had lost consciousness, falling down from her chair and right into the arms of her Protector.
“Aerlin?” she asked as her world faded to black.
When Imani arose, she was in the Med Bay, her mother, Oracle Emica, her father and Protector Nobu all by her side. Aerlin was seated on her bed, holding her hand. Imani sat up and noticed they were surrounded by some other Protectors in the room as well.
“Imani, are you okay, honey?” her mother asked worriedly.
“Mom, what happened?” she asked worriedly.
“You fainted,” Aerlin explained.
“You drew and painted something very worrying, sweetheart. Was it a vision?” asked Emica worriedly.
“I- I don’t remember,”
“That’s okay, sweetheart. Take your time,” her mother reassured her.
“How did you- how did you know I’d faint?” she asked her Protector surprised at his intuition.
“I felt weird earlier- the lesson right after lunch- I felt like you were in unbearable pain and then it just suddenly stopped. Then the pain came back again so I found out you were in Art Club so I stood outside and noticed like- your eyes were all blanked out…”
“You were in a trance, drawing and painting impossibly fast so I stormed in because I knew I had to get you back- you were slipping away from me, Char, I had to- I had to do something, anything. And then you just- you fainted and I’m glad I was there to catch you,”
“It was… it was all because of that necklace- it had… it had a- a powerful aura to it, I don’t know what- what that woman was but she’s… she’s dangerous, even more dangerous than the Entity,”
“What are you saying, Imani? What necklace is this that you speak of?” Emica asked terrified.
The Protectors in the room paid closer attention.
“A girl in my class came in wearing a necklace with a graven image of a woman. When I looked at it, that’s when I felt that unbearable pain. When I was painting, I- I saw that woman’s image clearer. She’s… she’s more powerful than the Entity. I don’t know why but I feel that- that she- she is dangerous,”
“This woman in your painting is more powerful than the Entity?” one of the Protectors asked, showing Imani the painting she had made of her.
“Any particular reason for the red background?” the other Protector asked.
“I… I think that she’s going to do something terrible soon- like, someone shall take something precious to her and she… she is going to fight back. Please- you need to stop trying to get close to her- you can’t stop her. She’s too powerful. She doesn’t belong here, in our world… in our reality,”
“What do you mean?” asked Emica worriedly.
“My lady, perhaps we can speak more outside to give this young lady an opportunity-“
“There is no need to shield her from this. In fact I believe it is imperative that you share whatever theories you have about this mysterious woman while we are all present,” Emica stated.
“Very well, my lady. This woman is a wanted fugitive in our Timeline. She purports herself to be a goddess and has been returning Rifters to their respective timelines thus endangering their lives. She calls herself Ilya, daughter of Ull,”
TO BE CONTINUED…
What threat does Ilya daughter of Ull pose to Timeline B-3. Is she truly more powerful than the Entity? Stay tuned to find out. Links to previous entries in the Savior’s Saga are displayed below: