Found: Key, Part VII – Flash Fiction Friday Post

Key by pej0

Key by pej0

Part VII  Photo Key by pej0, http://www.deviantart.com/art/key-110125031

A month later Ying was having tea with Eleanor on Saturday afternoon.

“Why do you track these dusty old relics?” Ying put her empty tea cup and saucer on the tray in front of the sofa in the antique shop. “What do you get out of it?”

Eleanor smiled and dunked a cookie in her cup and delicately bit it. She chewed, lost in thought. “I was 22, just out of college when I was first approached. I had just graduated with a degree in French History and looking for a job.” She smiled and shrugged. “It was a passion. I loved everything about it. I just didn’t think about how that would pay for a roof over my head and food in my belly.” She sighed. “I was approached by a very distinguished gentleman. He took me out for lunch.” Again Eleanor shrugged. “It’s embarrassing, really, how I stuffed my face. I was so hungry.” She took a deep breath. “Anyway, I turned him down. I was young and full of myself. I was going to make my degree pay.” She chuckled. “Six months later, my girlfriend was giving me the eye about crashing in her apartment and the man approached me again. I wasn’t so dismissive that time. Again, I stuffed my stomach full but I actually listened. It was intriguing, being an agent in charge of historic artifacts.” She made a face. “That’s how he put it. But really, job prospects for a French History major are few and far between.” Eleanor sipped her tea. “I agreed.”

“And you ended up with an antique shop?” Ying was fascinated. This woman had taken a wholly different path but still seemed successful.

“Eventually. There was training. By the time I actually realized what they were about, I was fully invested. Talk about history!”

Ying organized her thoughts. “Jason and I have been dating. I’ve told you all of that.”

Eleanor nodded and refilled her cup.

“What I haven’t told you is that I don’t use the key with Jason.”

Eleanor’s cup hovered just off of the saucer. “Not at all?”

Ying shook her head and refilled her cup. She sipped. “Nope. What does that mean?”

The back of Eleanor’s fingers rubbed against the bottom of her chin as her eyes drifted to the elaborate antique tin ceiling, now painted white. “You’ve told me that you and Jason are happy. Good company, fine dining, happy outings.” She looked Ying in the eyes. “You’re in love?”

Ying was surprised to find her face flushing. She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve only known him a month.”

Eleanor smiled. “That’s enough, isn’t it?” She sipped her tea. “I like that you’re not using the key on him. You’re doing this for real, as the youngsters say. That’s good.”

Another flush rushed up Ying’s cheeks. It was suddenly clear to her why she’d not used the key. She didn’t want a man that had been coerced. Her hand shook and the cup rattled in the saucer. She put it down on the table. “So there’s nothing in your book about this?”

Eleanor shook her head. “Nothing. The previous owners were focused on becoming rich and powerful. You’re different. The key is behaving differently with you than our records indicate.” She grinned. A sheepish one that made her blush. “I have to admit. The other guardians are very interested in this case. It’s seldom that we get new data on an artifact’s behavior.”

Ying grinned. “Ah. You’re becoming a celebrity. Good for you.” She stood and smoothed her pantsuit. “I’ll keep you informed. I have a date with Jason tonight. I’ll let you know if anything unusual happens.”

#

They walked across the opera house lobby floor arm in arm. Ying could see the men’s eyes snap in her direction as they passed. She knew she looked good in her black ankle-length dress, décolletage cut to her navel. But more, she and Jason together were a power couple. She could see it when they passed in front of a plate glass window coming into the opera. Her entire body buzzed with it. The key, made into a necklace on a fine gold chain, hung between her breasts. The buzz must be the key, she thought, the subtle movement creating the magic, but this was different. The key usually made her dizzy or nauseated. This was like electricity flowing through her. She thought that if she held her hand out and pointed, lightening would come shooting out of her fingers. It was heady.

After the opera and stops to talk to people each of them knew, they were seated in a quiet bistro on a side street. The wait staff, even at nine-thirty at night were attentive and smiling. The chef came out to personally take their order.

“Impressive.”

Jason shrugged. “I come here a lot. I tip well.”

Ying grinned. “Maybe. But these people seem to really like you.” She watched a blush run up his cheeks.

“Yeah. Well. What can I say.”

While drinks and appetizers were served, they talked about the opera. Over dinner and wine, they exchanged their plans for the future.

“What about you, Jason?” Ying took a sip of the Beaujolais Jason had ordered.

She noticed him play with his watchband. It was something he did when he was thinking. “I want the company to grow, of course.” He spun the band around on his wrist. “Perhaps rival The River one day.”

Ying grinned. “Ambitious, going from a gaming company to a world-wide distribution corporation.”

“Why not?” He grinned. “The River was just a book seller when they started.”

She laughed. The tingling returned. The power she felt was intoxicating. “I’m sure you’ll get there one day.”

After dinner the night air was cool and refreshing after the heat of the day. “Come to my house for a nightcap,” Jason offered.

Ying hesitated.

“Come on. It’s been a month. More if you count the time I knocked you on your butt.”

She understood. Going to his house meant staying the night. On one hand tomorrow was Sunday so no having to get up to go to work. On the other hand, did she want to move to that step? She glanced at her phone, waiting for it to ring. Her mother always knew. “Yes.” She threaded her arm through his right arm. “It’s time.”

 

Thank You!

 

End Part VII: 1064 Words

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Found: Key, Part VI – Flash Fiction Friday Post

Fairy Keys by bodaszilvia

Fairy Keys by bodaszilvia

Part VI Fairy Keys by  bodaszilvia, http://www.deviantart.com/art/Fairy-keys-127068674

She met Jason at a coffee shop near her office building. It felt a little awkward when she walked in. He was already at a table, wearing Dockers and a polo shirt, and stood up to greet her when he saw her come in. Ying extended her hand, it seemed too early in the relationship to even kiss cheeks in greeting.

He looked a little surprised but grinned as he held her chair. Jason waved a waitress over. “I’ll have coffee, a bowl of oatmeal and a side of fresh fruit.”

Ying was pleased. He didn’t go for a huge fry-up. “Coffee, soft boiled egg and I’ll have the fruit, also.”

“Right away, folks.” The waitress left.

“How’s your leg?” He sat quietly, not fidgeting with the salt and pepper shakers, his hands folded together on the table.

Ying liked that he looked interested. She held the leg out and pulled up her suit pant’s leg. The skin was scraped, a few streaks where blood had been drawn. He leaned over the table to look. “I didn’t want to pull stockings over it.” She dropped the pant leg.

“Sensible. You’re working today?”

“I am.” Ying paused as the waitress brought their coffees. “Thank you,” she told the waitress.

Jason thanked her, too, then reached for the cream.

Ying reached for the sugar. “I just made partner and six work days a week is kind of standard.”

“Congratulations.” Jason handed her the creamer as she pushed the sugar toward him. “What do you do?”

“Thank you. I’m a sales rep for Stein and McVie, selling financial products. You?” Now she’d find out how a young man could peel off hundred dollar bills to pay for cabs.

“Video game designer. Race to the Moon is one of our recent games.” He stirred the sugar into his coffee.

“Nice. I haven’t heard of it but good for you.”

Jason rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I get that a lot. But it doesn’t matter. It’s a big market anyway.”

“You have a company? I heard you say ‘our’?” Despite the fact they were seated in the middle of the coffee shop, the conversations going on around them felt like a curtain. Totally private.

“Yeah. I’m the owner, well, third owner. My two college buddies are the other partners.”

Ying smiled. “Very good! I’m impressed. You’ve done well for yourself.”

“So have you. Partner already and you’re what, twenty-two?” He arched an eyebrow and grinned.

“Cute way to ask. No, I’m twenty-seven. You?”

“Twenty-eight!

Just then the waitress brought their food. As they ate, they traded information on favorite hobbies and books. As she paid her check, Ying realized she never even touched the key in her pocket, she’d been that comfortable with Jason.

When she stood up to go, Jason stood with her. “Look,” he gave her a card. “Call my number, make an appointment with my secretary. We might be in the market for some financial products.”

Ying’s eyebrows went up. “Oh!” She took the card, confused. Had he called her because he liked her or because she was a financial rep? “Uh, sure. First thing Monday.” She turned and left the shop, tucking the card in her jacket pocket. All the way to the office she tried to puzzle out what just happened. She thought they were getting along so well.

In her office she researched video game companies and drafted out a plan to talk to them about. By three, most of the rest of the partners and associates had left. She tidied up her desk and left notes with the outline for Sharon to type up in the correct format and went home, still confused about Jason. Was the key keeping them apart or did he think she was just after his business? She changed into running gear and left her apartment. A run would help clear her mind.

Sunday morning, she was deep into the financial pages of the Sunday paper when the phone rang. “Hello?”

“Hey, Ying. It’s Jason.”

Her heart began to beat like humming bird wings. “Hi, Jason. I wasn’t expecting a call.”

“Well, I meant to ask you yesterday but you left me bemused. How would you like to have brunch? I hope you haven’t eaten. The Ritz has the best brunch on the planet. Tell me you haven’t eaten!”

She laughed with relief that it didn’t seem as though he was just looking for financial products and the way he was pleading. “Well, I did have some fruit a couple of hours ago but I think I can manage brunch. What time should we meet?”

“Let’s say noon. That gives you an hour to get ready.”

“Very considerate. I’ll meet you at noon at the Ritz.”

“Great! See you there.”

Ying, grinning, clicked her phone off. So, based on his enthusiasm, he liked her too. She took a deep breath and patted the key in her lounging pants pocket. “Thank you key,” she murmured and got up from her sofa, pages of the paper cascading to the floor. Time for a shower and a look through the closet. She wanted to strike just the right note when he saw her.

Thank You!

End Part VI: 865 Words

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Found: Key, Part V – Flash Fiction Friday Post

Available Keys by Art by Star LaMoore

Available Keys by Art by Star LaMoore

Part V Available Keys by Art by StarLaMoore, http://orig05.deviantart.net/37af/f/2012/185/3/f/available_keys__by_starl33na-d56176f.jpg

Ying waited a week before going back to the antique shop to see Eleanor. Once she was there, she told the guardian what she’d done the previous Friday.

Eleanor’s eyebrow arched. Ying watched as the fingertips of Eleanor’s right hand tapped on the sofa arm and Eleanor stared off into space. “Interesting,” she finally said. “No, no women, that we know of, have ever held the key. Times were different, women didn’t go into business, in general, anyway.” She smoothed the gray skirt over her legs. “What has the key done?”

“Nothing different than last month. My projects are all going well. I’m getting valuable clients. Presentations are flawless.”

“You haven’t met your dream match?”

Ying shook her head. “Nope. Not yet. But it has just been a week. It looks like the key wants to stay with me, so that’s something.”

“Indeed.” Eleanor’s fingers tapped again. “Not to pry, but I’d really like to follow this, if you wouldn’t mind sharing.”

“Why not.” Ying shrugged, then stood up. “You don’t want the gory details, just the progress toward making a family. I can do that.” She picked up her purse and briefcase. “You don’t mind if I email you, do you, with updates?”

“Not at all. You have the shop card. Use that email. I’m the only one that checks it.”

“Appreciate it. I’ve left early two Friday’s in a row, now. People at work notice these things.”

Eleanor stood and walked with Ying to the door, holding it for her. “Not at all. But don’t be shy. When you can, come by and we’ll have tea. I like our chats.”

“I’ll do that. Thanks again.” Ying started out of the door and as she cleared the recessed entryway onto the sidewalk, a young man in a gray business suit collided with her. She spun and the heel of her shoe broke. Her briefcase went flying, tangling with the man’s and both of them skidded off of the curb into the street. “Oh!” She landed on her hip, stockings shredding on the sidewalk.

The man was down on one knee, having done his best to catch her when she fell. He was looking at her face, an arm around her shoulders.

Eleanor hurried to them. “Are you all right?”

Ying took a breath. His face pulled her in, high cheek bones, deep brown eyes and sandy brown hair framing it all. She blinked the second time Eleanor called her name. “Uh, yes. I think so.”

“I’m so sorry,” the man said as he helped her to her feet. “I didn’t see you there.” He hurried to the curb and picked up both briefcases. “A little scuffed, but I’m afraid I’ve ruined your shoes and your suit.” He handed Ying her briefcase.

Ying was brushing off. “I’m sorry. I didn’t look before I came out of the doorway.”

“My fault entirely, miss.”

He looked so upset she had to smile. “I’m Ying Lee.” She held out her hand.

“I’m Jason Fitch.” He shook her hand. “I am like a bull-dozer. I am so sorry.” He looked at Eleanor. “Thank you for rushing to her aid.”

Eleanor smiled. “No problem at all. I wasn’t much help, I’m afraid.” She turned to Ying. “I’ll leave you to it, then.” She quirked an eyebrow out of sight of Jason and went back inside.

“I should catch a cab, I think.” Ying took off both shoes. There was no way to walk in them with one broken.

“Let me pay,” Jason said. “It’s the least I can do.” He walked to the curb and went between two parked cars and began to wave down an approaching cab.

“That’s not necessary. Really.” Ying picked her way to the street beside him. Gravel dug into the bottoms of her feet.

“It is, Ms. Lee. I won’t take no for an answer.”

The cab pulled up and Jason opened the back door. “Please. My treat.”

Ying sighed. “Very well, then.” She got into the cab and pulled a business card out of the brief case. “Call me.”

His face brightened. “Certainly. I’d be happy to.” He closed the cab door and leaned in the front passenger window. “Please take the lady where ever she’d like to go.” He pulled his wallet out and handed the driver a hundred-dollar bill.

“Yes, sir.” The cabbie gave him a salute.

As the cab pulled away, Ying could see Eleanor in the shop window watching. She told the cabbie her address and settled back into the seat. She patted her suit jacket pocket. Thank you, key.

She thought about Jason Fitch’s eyes. How she’d just fallen into their depths. She tingled with excitement. He seemed nice. Polite. Considerate. Well dressed. And obviously successful the way he paid the cabbie. Her cell phone rang. She pulled it from her purse and looked at the screen. Perfect timing.

“Hello, mom.”

“Hello, Ying.”

“You have perfect timing. I just met someone.”

“Really!”

Ying had to chuckle at the excitement in her mother’s voice. “How do you know exactly when to call?”

“I’m your mother. Now. Tell me all about this young man.”

“Okay, mom. I’ll tell you everything.”

She was still talking to her mother when the cab pulled up in front of her building. “Hey. I’m home. Let me call you later.”

“You’d better.” She blew her daughter a kiss.

“I will, mom. I promise.” Ying clicked off and thanked the driver. In her apartment she tossed the shoes into the trash, the stockings too.

She’d just finished washing the blood from her scraped leg when her phone rang. Unknown number, she noted. “Hello?”

“Is it too soon to call?”

 

 

Thank You!

 

End Part V: 945 Words

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Found: Key, Part IV – Flash Fiction Friday Post

heart_keys_by_dementedviking

Heart Keys by DementedViking, http://www.deviantart.com/art/Heart-Keys-78977694

Part IV Heart Keys by DementedViking,  http://www.deviantart.com/art/Heart-Keys-78977694

Ying hurried out of the shop and onto the street where she had room and air to think. No family? She’d always assumed there would be a family. There had never been a rush before. She was only twenty-seven. As she walked to her apartment, the briefcase she carried seemed heavier than usual. Like a boulder, trapping her in a job she was no longer sure she wanted. Her steps were slow, not at all her usual brisk pace. Her eye caught every woman with a child that came along the sidewalk. It occurred to her there weren’t a lot of those. There were plenty of shops, even a toy store but not a lot of children. Why?

At home unusually early, only five p.m. she changed into casual clothes and took a walk to the park. Ying sat on a bench near the playground and watched. Moms with little kids in close view chatted on benches. Kids screamed with delight as they raced each other up slide ladders or dared each other to swing higher. Mothers called to children and they left in ones and twos, to go home and make supper, Ying guessed. What was that like? Get supper on the stove, get the kids washed, send a fast kiss hubby’s way when he came home? Maybe it was all rush, rush. Ying remembered soccer practices and games, or skating lessons, or piano lessons most every night of the week. Sure, there were sit down dinners but generally only on Sunday.

Is that what she wanted? Domestic bliss? She shook her head. It hadn’t seemed important before today. She pulled the key from her pocket and studied it as it lay in the palm of her hand. The scroll work on it was now free of dirt. The key was beautiful—more art than function. She mused on the original owner and the castle study. Was it a den, books lining the walls, or a lab, beakers and flames and mysterious bubbling colored potions? An alchemist, Eleanor had told her. Ying pictured an old man in robes and a pointed hat, more wizard than scientist. More Merlin than Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Slipping the key into her pocket she rose and wandered through the park, trying to sort her thoughts.

Her cell rang. A glance at the screen showed a picture of her mother. “Hey, Mom.” Appropriate her mother would call now.

“Ying. I was thinking of you and decided to call.”

The woman must be psychic. “Nice to hear from you, Mom. How are you and Dad?”

“We’re fine. Your father insisted on fixing the bathroom sink himself. Now the sink is completely broken. We have to use the guest bath.”

Ying chuckled. Her father was an excellent attorney, but a terrible handyman. “Ouch. Will it cost much?”

“More than it would have.” Her mother’s voice was dry. “Anyway, I thought you’d like to know your old best friend, Lena, is having a baby.”

Ying rolled her eyes. This was how her mother reminded her that they wanted grand-children. “How nice. She’s been married, what, three years? Her wedding was so beautiful.”

“Yes, it was.”

There’s another hint. “I took off of work early today. I’m in the park.”

“Good. You work too hard. No wonder you’re so skinny. Men don’t like boney girls.”

“Mom! I’m perfectly healthy. I work out and eat right, that’s all.”

“Hmmpf,” sounded clearly over the cell. “Maybe. Are you coming home for Thanksgiving?”

“Thanksgiving is four months away. I’ll see. I’m a new partner, I don’t want to seem too privileged.”

“You didn’t come last year.”

There was that tone. “True. I was trying to make partner, Mom.”

“Well, now you’re a partner. You come home.”

“I’ll do my best, Mom. Look. I have to go.” Ying blew a kiss into the phone. “Tell Dad I love him.”

“I will.” She blew a kiss back to her daughter. “Find a husband!” She clicked off.

There it was. Ying wondered when she’d toss that into the conversation. She slid the phone into her pocket. What if I do want children? What if that’s what makes me happy? Were any of the other owners women? Perhaps the key would work differently for a woman? Ying stopped in the shade of a huge maple and pulled the key out of her pocket. A short distance away, a young family was spreading out a blanket, the two toddlers hindering in their efforts to help. She smiled as they all laughed at the mess they were making. So, key. What do you think? If I want a successful family and success in business, can you give that to me? She stroked the key, wrapped her hand around it and closed her eyes. Ying formed a picture in her mind of a husband and a child, laughing at the beach, her taking a picture.

A wave of nausea roiled her stomach. She opened her hand and stared at the key. “What did you give me, key? What did you do?”

 

Thank You!

 

Part IV: 842 Words

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Found: Key, Part III – Flash Fiction Friday Post

Keys by KororowoxDD

Keys by KororowoxDD 

http://www.deviantart.com/art/keys-79877806

You can see Part 1 here.

Part III

The new account needed to be set up and work begun on sending the client the required products. Each time she sent the owner an email or talked to him on the phone, she fingered the key. It occurred to her about the third time she did it, that she knew the key was working because she’d feel dizzy or nauseous. She did her best not to be fingering the key all day long. It seemed greedy, somehow. But for important transactions, dealing with her clients, sitting at the partner meetings, she would stroke it once or twice and then take her hand out of her pocket.

At the end of the month she remembered the antique store owner, Eleanor. I need to talk to her. Get more information about this key. Ying left her private office early, telling the partner’s secretary, Sharon, “I have some personal business to take care of. See you on Monday.”

Outside of the antique store, Ying hesitated. The tray of keys was no longer in the window. What did that mean? She took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders. I’ll have to ask.

Inside Eleanor was ringing up a customer. She nodded at Ying and went back to her transaction. Ying wandered the store. She saw a carved, enameled screen, black with gold edging, an oriental scene done in the same pastel colors she had decorated her apartment in. It would look stunning in the living room corner.

Eleanor arrived as Ying was turning over the price tag. “It is a lovely piece, isn’t it?”

Ying’s eyebrows rose at the $3,000 price. Too much for her. She wasn’t used to her new pay scale yet. She dropped the tag. “Yes. Very pretty.” She turned to Eleanor. “I’ve been using the key.”

Eleanor’s cocked an eyebrow. “Interesting. Let’s sit down. Tea?” She led Ying to a small seating area near the counter.

“Yes. Thank you.”

Eleanor went into the back and came out a few minutes later with a china teapot on a tray, two cups on saucers and a plate of cookies. “I do believe the English tea time ranks right up on the civilized behavior scale with the European mid-afternoon nap time.” She poured for both of them and sat back, cookie on her saucer and cup in hand. “Tell me all about your month.”

Ying settled back and related the subway terrorist incident, her other uses of the key and that it made her dizzy or sick when used.

“The sickness is in the book. I can confirm that. I’m interested in the key saving you the first morning. You were taking care of the key. It seems to me it was reciprocating the favor.”

Ying sipped her tea, now cold. She leaned forward and poured more into the cup to warm it. “I hadn’t thought of it like that.” Cup returned to the saucer she sat back. “What happened to the tray of keys in the window?”

“Those?” Eleanor looked over the rim of her cup. “I change the display often. I moved them into the back.”

Ying had the feeling the tray was supposed to attract her inside the day she found the key. “Does the key show up on a schedule?”

“Perceptive. It does have a cycle. It was time for it to appear. We never know where, though.”

“We? Who are you? Your group?”

Selecting another cookie from the tray, Eleanor dunked it lightly into her cup. “I suppose you could call us guardians. We know the history of many powerful objects and do our best to keep track of them.”

“And the key is just one?” Ying’s mind began to race at the thought of many of these objects circulating through the world.

“One of many. When one does show up, we try to offer the finder help.”

“Why not just get the things and lock them away?”

Eleanor chuckled. “That was tried, centuries ago. The objects have a mind of their own. They select their users and will not be denied. The key is benevolent, for the most part.”

A shock ran through Ying. “What do you mean?”

“Magic has to be paid for. Nothing is free, in this world or the arcane world.” Eleanor shrugged. “How have you been?”

“Fine, except for when I use the key. But that’s just a little momentary discomfort. Why?” Ying put the cup and saucer back on the tray and waited for the answer.

“Have you been out at all? Socialize, date?”

“I’ve been too busy. I was just made partner. I’m working eleven or twelve hour days, six days a week.”

Eleanor nodded. “The key is giving you what you want. You’re a professional woman. You’re focused on your job. You’re young and already a partner. Did you have any plans for a family?”

Ying blinked. “Someday. Of course. When I find the right man.”

Eleanor sighed. “In the key’s history, there has been no mention of the users ever marrying or having a family. That’s the price your object charges.”

Up until now, a husband and family were just vague future plans. Her parents had been riding her since high school to find a husband and start a family. They were very Chinese that way. But she kept putting it off, first for college, then to work. They approved of her every advancement but grand-children were their primary goal. “I. Um, I’m not sure.”

“Sure of what?”

“Whether I want a family. What if I do? Will the key leave me? Has anyone tried to have a family while they had the key?”

“If they did, the other guardians never made a note of it.”

Ying stood up. She had to think. “Here’s my card.” She pulled a card out of the little pocket on her briefcase. “Has no one given up the key?”

Eleanor shook her head. “Not that we know of.”

 

Thank You!

 

Part III: 989 Words

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Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 15 – The Leprechauns Win

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Fifteen – The Leprechauns Win (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

The Leprechauns Win

It was then she realized she and Shamus weren’t alone. Beside them marched tall people, dressed in armor that looked as ancient as her own. They carried lances of blue flame and shields that were so bright white that Becca couldn’t look at them.  She looked into the face of a woman warrior passing by. “She looks like me! Shamus…” She turned to her protector. “They look like me!”

He watched the newly arrived warriors pass them by. Becca saw his face fill with wonder. “Attack!” he screamed as he waved his sword around his head. “Attack and win this day! The Tuatha De Danann are with us!”

The leprechauns charged forward with renewed energy through the dark, the freezing rain and across the cracks in the earth. Becca could see all along the ranks, the tall people, grim-faced and fearsome, charging forward with them.

The companies hit the robots hard. The clash of metal on metal carried across the battlefield to her. She saw the leprechauns race through the robots and charge the wizards. Now a fierce wind blew, icier even than the rain had been. Becca leaned low over the neck of her pony who had put his head down into the wind. It was hard to see what was going on at the front line. She and Shamus picked their way across the now ice-covered meadow to where the King was fighting. The tall people were at the front and surrounded the wizards. A glow appeared from the tall warriors, golden against the darkness the wizards were throwing.

Becca sat up as the wind died down. There was tension in the air, like the way the day felt as a thunderstorm built up. The golden glow grew brighter and the darkness increased around the wizards until she couldn’t see them any longer. With a huge thunderclap, the glow sparked outward and the darkness disappeared. The rain and wind and darkness vanished and the day was again sunny and warm. The tall people were gone, too. Becca searched all around the meadow but they were nowhere to be seen.

The companies stayed two days in the meadow, nursing the wounded and repairing the damage done to the land. Then they moved through the ruined castle’s gate and back to the sidhe. The next day the Princess met Becca at breakfast.

They ate in the rose garden. The morning was full of sunshine but still cool. The scent of the roses filled the garden. “You have recovered well, Miss Becca.” Princess Lyeen buttered a scone and spread honey on it.

“I’m still a little tired, but yes, thank you. I have recovered.” Becca nibbled at a fresh strawberry. “How are the wounded soldiers?”

“They are well. Our physicians are treating the broken bones and the frost-bite.”

The two of them listened to a bird-song. Becca thought the song sad. They hadn’t been able to find the soldiers that had fallen into the earth. “I’m sorry about the soldiers who died. I wish I could have done something.”

“You did what you could with only a month’s training, little one. Their families are being cared for and the soldiers will be named among our honored. I’m sorry about your uncle.”

Becca put down her scone and wiped her hands, a faraway look in her eyes. “He was a good uncle. I’ll miss him.”

Lyeen reached across the table and patted Becca on the shoulder. “I understand. No one is all good or all bad. I’m just sorry he didn’t come to us in friendship.”

Her eyes began to tear up and Becca quickly wiped them, turning to a new topic, embarrassed to grieve for the man who would have destroyed her hosts. “Were those really Tuatha De Danann?”

Lyeen spoke softly. “It’s all right to grieve, little one. He was your family and you deserve time to remember him.” She took a deep breath. “To answer your question, I believe so, from what you have all told me. There is a legend that they will return to fight beside us in a just battle. I envy you, Miss Becca. The Tuatha De Danann have not returned to fight among us in all of our long history. I wish I could have been there to see them.”

Becca reached across the white linen tablecloth to take Lyeen’s hand. “The battle was horrific, Princess. I would not wish for anyone to have seen it. But I am sorry you did not get to see the ancient gods among us.”

Princess Lyeen smiled. “Thank you, Miss Becca.” She took a deep breath and grinned. “Let’s finish our breakfast. We’re preparing a welcoming home feast for the returned warriors. There hasn’t been a feast like this in many a year.”

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

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Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 14 – The Battle Goes Poorly for the Leprechauns

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Fourteen – The Battle Goes Poorly for the Leprechauns (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

The Battle Goes Poorly for the Leprechauns

Becca shut her eyes and tried to block the screams from her hearing. What did the Princess tell her about calling lightning? Becca took several deep breaths. She thought about a stormy sky, how the clouds turned black and blended together. Twice she lost her concentration as the screams broke through her focus. The third time, she had the picture firmly in mind. She raised her hands and visualized lightning streaking out of the sky and hitting the robots. Over and over again, she pictured the lightning falling from the sky onto the robots.

Like the time she did this magic with the Princess and the Advisors, she felt her fingertips tingle. Becca took another breath and as she flung her arms forward, fingers outstretched; she screamed a word she didn’t know. Lightning flashed down from the sky and the robots in front of them began sparking and exploding. The leprechauns that were still standing dashed away from the fires and watched as the robots fell.

“You did it!” Shamus screamed as he controlled the rearing pony and his own horse, both animals frightened by the electricity.

Becca dropped her arms and slumped in the saddle. She was so tired.

Horses under control, Shamus jerked his water-skin from his side and raised her chin. “Drink, regain your strength.” He poured water into her mouth.

She didn’t think she had enough energy to swallow. Half of the water ran out of her mouth onto her armor.

“Becca! Drink!”

She swallowed a little, then a little more. “Enough,” she said weakly. “I’m fine.” She pushed the skin away and struggled to sit up. “How are our people?”

Shamus surveyed the field. “The robots are down. The soldiers still whole are running to the King’s side. It looks like about fifty are still able to fight.”

“What about the other companies?”

“I can’t tell, Becca. They’re behind the ruin.”

She took a breath and rubbed her eyes. “That was very hard.” Becca spotted the King. He and the remaining soldiers were near. The wizards had retreated behind the ruin. “Uncle will have a plan, Shamus. We need to join the King.”

When they reached the rear of the King’s remaining company, Becca could see that the Captain’s company had the same kind of trouble as the King did. She stared. “Shamus, there aren’t as many robots here. I know I saw two companies of them march around the ruin.”

“The leprechauns made them disappear. We have that much magic at least. The problem is that they’re so large, it’s hard to do. Like you, Miss Becca, magic drains our strength.”

As the two of them watched, they saw the Commander’s company working its way toward the King. The wizards were nowhere in sight. The fighting was difficult. This part of the terrain was overgrown with trees and thickets. Becca watched as many a leprechaun soldier tripped over a bush as he tried to fight. The robots also found the terrain tough going. “Look, Shamus!” She pointed. “The robots are having a hard time moving along the uneven land.”

“Good eye, Miss Becca.” He left her alone and rode up to the last line of fighters, pointing at the robots and waving his hands. In a moment, the leprechauns surged forward, swarming a robot and tricking it into tripping over fallen pieces of castle, bushes, and downed trees. Shamus returned to Becca. “That helped.” He wiped his face with a handkerchief. The early summer sun was beating down on the fight, making it hot. He drank a swallow of water. “Are you recovered, Miss Becca?”

Becca felt light-headed and too hot. What she wanted was to lie down and take a nap. “I think so, Shamus. Look, the companies have joined, now they can eliminate the robots.”

They saw the King directing the soldiers as the Captain and the Commander’s companies merged. They were nearly in battle order when the wizards appeared around the ruin from the direction the Commander had come. This time, they all had staffs.

“We were afraid of that.” Shamus reined in his excited horse. “If they all have staffs, they must all have magic.” They heard the King’s signaler blow the horn blast for retreat. “We’re going back to the meadow, Becca, where there’s room to fight.” They wheeled their horses around and raced back to the meadow where they’d started.

The King stayed in the rear guard and Becca saw him fighting off the remaining robots so that his soldiers would have time to get to the meadow. The soldiers raced past the fallen robots and their friends who lay wounded on the field. There was no time now to provide aid.

The leprechaun army formed up at the far end of the meadow, where they had descended the hillside behind them earlier in the day. There were only half the soldiers forming up compared to how many they had started the day with. Becca and Shamus joined the King when he arrived. She asked, “Can you make the wizards disappear, like the robots?”

The King shook his head. “Not living beings, no. More’s the pity.” They watched the robots form lines in two groups, one group on each side of the wizards. The wizards began to pound their staffs on the ground.

“What are they doing?” Becca had to sharply rein in her pony. It began to rear and squeal.

Shamus was having the same problem with his horse. “I don’t know, but the horses don’t like it.”

Soon the leprechauns could hear the pounding, a low rumble at first, then growing louder until it sounded like thunder. The companies grew uneasy. Then the ground began to shake.

“Earthquake!” Becca screamed. Her pony reared and whinnied.

“Charge!” The King waved his sword over his head and pointed it forward. The soldiers charged. Before they had gone fifty feet, the ground opened up in great yawning cracks. Several of the leprechauns fell in, screaming. The sky grew dark and lightning began to strike randomly among the charging soldiers.

Shamus held Becca at the rear of the charge. “Can you do something?” He had to yell to be heard over the quaking and lightning and now, a torrential rain.

Becca had nothing. She’d only studied for a month. There was no way for her to counter the magic of one hundred well-trained wizards. It was all lost; her uncle was going to win and conquer the leprechauns. Tears began to fall, mixing with the stinging, cold rain.

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

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Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 12 – The Leprechauns Face the Wizard

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Twelve – The Leprechauns Face the Wizard (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 12 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

The Leprechauns Face the Wizard

The Leprechaun King’s army exited the magic road one stop away from the ruin where the wizard’s mirror sat. The Captain of the Guard formed three companies of one hundred leprechauns each and posted them across the southern end of the valley where the road continued toward the sidhe. The King’s small pavilion had been erected and the King was inside with Shamus, Becca, and the army Commander when the Guard Captain reported his deployments.

“Well done, Captain. Join us at the map table.”

The King and the others were at a table in the middle of the pavilion, maps spread out across it. The Commander pointed to the spot on the map where the wizard Bannon was still spewing the mechanized soldiers through the mirror. “Spies tell me the wizard has at least three times the soldiers that we do. They come through the mirror, line up in perfect rows and stand there.” He ran his hand across the top of his red hair, pulled back smoothly into several braids that hung down around his shoulders. “We don’t know how to fight these machines, Sire. How do we kill them?”

Becca spoke up. “If you will permit, Sire…” She looked to the King for approval to go on. He nodded. “Machines use power from devices hidden within their chests, usually. The metal of the chest will be very hard.” She looked at the leprechauns, forehead furrowed. “The metal may be too hard for your lances or swords to penetrate. Chopping off legs will cause them to topple, then it would be easier to find the access door to their chests, either on the front or back, open it and destroy the inside.”

The Commander shook his head. “That takes a lot of time, miss. Our men would be killed as they fussed over getting inside the chest. At least the machine would be down, though.”

The group all nodded.

“What about the wizard?” the Captain asked the girl. “Will he have other wizards with him?”

Becca shook her head. “I don’t know. I didn’t know until Shamus came to my house that my uncle even was a wizard. I have no idea what power he has or how many other wizards there may be.”

The two soldiers’ faces were grim. Shamus and the King frowned. The King asked, “And you, Miss Becca, what powers have you mastered since your training with us?”

She took a deep breath. “The Advisors and your daughter, have been very patient with me. Princess Lyeen has been suggesting powers that she’s made note of in the archives. I’ve tried to perform each of the powers. I’ll have to admit, the only one I’ve come close to mastering is the making of fire.” Her hands twisted in front of her and her eyes were downcast. It was a poor showing from her and not helpful in the least. She was surprised by Shamus’s next remark.

“Well done, Miss Becca.” He grinned at the others around the table. “Without someone with the power, it’s very difficult to even attempt so many uses of magic. Well done. No doubt we’ll be able to use whatever magic you can control to great advantage.”

Becca raised her eyes to see the leprechauns all smiling. Perhaps she wouldn’t be useless. She stood up straighter as she resolved to do whatever she could in the fight against her uncle. Since she’d been in the sidhe and the King’s Hall, she’d encountered nothing but kindness and generosity. She and Princess Lyeen, despite the wide gulf in ages, had became good friends. The Princess explained life in the sidhe and Becca told the interested Princess all about life in the modern world. The girl was grateful for the kindness and the friendship. It was so different from her life with her uncle.

The next morning, the King rode to the front of the deployed leprechaun companies. The plan was to approach the castle ruin and prevent the wizard from sending his mechanical army into the nearby Road Gate and on to the leprechauns’ main stronghold.

The day was beautiful with a warm early summer breeze and sunshine pouring out of a clear blue sky. Puffy white clouds floated overhead as song-birds sang from the hedgerows and trees they passed. Wildflower heads bobbed in the breeze in drifts of white, yellow, orange and purple. It seemed unreal to Becca that soon they would have to fight with her uncle. Her heart was heavy. While he had never been fatherly, he had been kind and interested in her school-work and hobbies. The difference between her cold existence at home and her life with the leprechauns was extreme. She understood now that her uncle had been preparing her as a weapon to use against her new friends. Becca pulled on the reins of the pony she was riding as he reached for a bite of grass from the side of the road. Shamus dropped back from the King’s side to ride with her.

“Miss Becca, you look very sad.”

“I was just thinking that my uncle was going to use me as a weapon against you.” She waved a fly away from her face.

“I think he was, Miss Becca.” He looked at her with concern. “But that is not you. We would not fight your uncle if he was not attacking us.”

“I understand.” Becca’s voice grew tight. “But still, he is my uncle. I wish he had not come.”

The sun was high in the sky when the leprechaun army reached the hill overlooking the Magic Road gate. Out of sight of the activity below, they saw rows of highly polished silver man-like machines standing stock still in the meadow in front of the ruined castle. A pale yellow silk tent stood next to the ruin.

“Majesty, there must be six hundred of the machines,” the Commander said quietly.

“What do the spies say?” the King asked.

“Sire, the wizard has been bringing through men that look exactly like the wizard. There are at least a hundred of them within the ruin. The wizard Bannon went into the tent three hours ago and has not emerged.”

The King turned to Becca. “Is it possible for the wizard to copy himself?”

Becca wanted to cry. “I’m sorry, Majesty. I don’t know.”

The King scratched at an ear. “We don’t know if the other men are wizards or not. If they can use magic, we will be in dire straits indeed.” He turned to the Commander. “We need to know where the other men are, wizards or not.”

He turned to Shamus. “Stay with Miss Becca. She is a prize I will not allow the wizard to have. If it goes ill for us, get her back to the sidhe and assist the Princess with the defense of our land.”

King Shadenan spoke to Becca last. “Miss, I’m sorry I must do this. You understand your uncle is attacking us?”

Tears formed in her eyes. “Yes, Sire. I understand.”

He looked on her face with sorrow. “I must protect my land, Miss Becca. I ask that you help me do that.”

She swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. “I will help you, King Mac Shadenan.” A tear ran down her cheek.

He nodded, face grim, and turned back to his Commander and his Captain of the Guard. “Gentlemen. We’ll circle around the ruin, a company each at a third of the way around. I will attempt to talk to wizard Bannon. If he refuses to return to his own land, I’ll give the signal to attack. Use Plan A.” He looked down the hill. “May the wind be at your back.”

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

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Serial: Chapter 11 Lost Rainbows – They March to War

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Eleven – They March to War (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 11 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

They March to War

Shamus began with his examination of the treasury and ended with his return with the gold late last night. No one interrupted. Becca thought it was because he told the story as though it happened to someone else, long ago. She was captivated by the story, even though she was in part of it. He made it seem as though it were someone else.

When he finished, the King nodded. “A good tale, Shamus.” He looked at his counselors. “Any questions?” The three of them picked at Shamus’s story. Why he did one thing and not another. Soon the King interrupted. “It seems,” he said, giving the advisors a glance, “that aside from some very minor points, we accept your tale.” He sighed and looked directly at Becca. “That leaves us with your assessment of Miss Becca and, more importantly, what to do about her Uncle Bannon.”

“I’m sure, Sire, that he will be back. We didn’t destroy his mirror and he wants Becca to assist him in conquering our land.”

“The question is, how soon?” The King turned to his daughter. “You have the best knowledge of the Tuatha De Danann. Is it possible that the gods can return?”

Lyeen nodded. “It’s part of the lore that the Tuatha De Danann intermarried with the Formorians, the ancient race of giants that were the original inhabitants of this land. So, they may have intermarried with humans. Of course that would have diluted their blood line. It’s not inconceivable that within the families, they would have maintained records of their own kind and intermarried to bring the true line back. It would have taken hundreds of years, maybe thousands.”

The oldest advisor spoke up. “They’ve had the time. It’s been thousands of years since the Tuatha De Danann were led underground by their leader, Manannan mac Lir after their defeat by the Milesians.” He raised a bushy red eyebrow at Becca. “We’d like to test the girl, of course.”

The King scratched his beard. “I agree some testing should be done.” He turned to his daughter again. “Lyeen, you will accompany the girl and the advisors. She’s not to be hurt. If she is indeed the Tuatha De Danann returned to us, she needs to be kept safe and trained in whatever power she might possess or grow into.” He rose from his chair, and the others followed. “Shamus, with me. We need to plan for the return of her uncle.”

Shamus turned to Becca. “Go with the Princess and the advisors. They will not hurt you.” She nodded as the Princess joined the two.

“I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Becca.” Lyeen held out her hand.

“Nice to meet you, Princess Lyeen.” Becca shook hands with the Princess and did a curtsy before they left side by side.

 

#

 

A month later Draum, son of Fitz, hurried into the King’s office. Draum had been assigned with three others to keep watch on the wizard’s mirror. “Sire,” he called out as he entered. “Mechanical beings are coming through the mirror.”

The King turned to the guard standing at his door–“Sound the alarm.”

The guard hurried off.

“Tell me what you saw,” the King told the young scout.

Draum caught his breath. “Machines, Sire, in the form of men, coming through the mirror, one after another. They were lining up on the field in front of the ruin when I left. It looks like an army.”

The King nodded. “Where are the others?”

“They stayed to spy, Majesty. Another will come to warn us when the machines are finished coming through.”

“Good. Arm yourself, Draum. I fear a battle is near. Send a courier to the others. Tell them to fall back to the next road gate. That’s where we’ll come out.”

Draum gave a brief bow and hurried from the room.

An hour later the King was in the courtyard, dressed in battle armor. The courtyard was a mass of confusion. The signal had gone to the outlying farms and holds and leprechaun families were flooding into the Keep. The King’s pages, too young to go to battle, were directing them to the rear of the sidhe, out of the way of the fighters.

The fighters, armored like the King, were milling around the courtyard checking each other’s gear and saying their goodbyes to family.

His advisors, all too old to fight, were with the King. He was giving directions to them for the defense of the sidhe. Princess Lyeen, also in armor, stood by her father, with Becca beside her. They’d found ancient armor for her in the small Tuatha De Danann memorial hall. It fit her perfectly.

Shamus strode up to the small group. “Sire, your commander is ready.”

“Thank you, Shamus.” The King turned to his advisors. “Princess Lyeen will remain. She and I have discussed what needs to be done.” The advisors glanced at Lyeen and gave a short bow. “Should things go ill, she is my heir. Follow her in all things as you would follow me.”

The advisors began to protest that nothing would go wrong. “Nonsense,” King Mac Shadenan, said. “It’s a battle. Things always go wrong.”

The advisors bowed and retreated to the steps of the Hall.

“Father.” Lyeen put a hand on her Father’s arm. “Take care.” She looked into his eyes. “It’s too soon for you to leave us.”

He nodded. “Take care of the Kingdom, Daughter.”

She bowed, turned and walked to the Hall steps to join the Advisors. Shamus stopped her half way. “Do you have everything you need, Princess?” he asked.

Lyeen smiled sadly. “Enough, Shamus. I fear for Father.” She looked into his eyes. “And for you.” She reached out and toyed with the scarf she’d given him on his search for the treasure. “You still wear it.”

“I do. It brings me luck.” He shuffled his feet. He wanted to kiss her goodbye, but knew that would be overstepping his bounds.

“Keep Father safe for me, Shamus,” the Princess said. Then she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.

He stood in shock, the kiss burning on his face. She turned and joined the advisors. The King called. Shamus took one more look at Lyeen on the steps. She smiled and gave him a nod. Then he turned and hurried to the King, heart still pounding. “Here, Majesty.”

“Stay close to Miss Becca. The Advisors tell me she has great potential but she’s still untrained. Protect her as you would me. I will not have the first Tuatha De Danann return to us only to lose her in a battle.”

“Yes, Sire.”

“Let’s march!” the King called to the company of leprechauns dressed for battle. The gates opened and two by two they marched out of the sidhe, the Guard Commander in the lead, the King in the middle with Shamus and Becca right behind him.

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

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Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 10 – Becca Meets the King

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Ten – Becca Meets the King (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 10 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

Becca Meets the King

He opened the door and they stepped out into the midday sunlight. It was hot. The birds were quiet. When Shamus closed the door, it disappeared into the hillside. Becca looked closely. Barely visible in the green grass, she grinned at Shamus. “I can see it!”

“Good. You’re developing your magical talent. Let’s go to the King.”

She nodded and they walked to the left along the dusty road. When they approached a small hill a voice called out. “Halt! Identify yourself.”

“Shamus O’Malley and a guest. We have news for the King.”

Becca gasped as the hill dissolved in front of her and a wooden gate appeared. Two leprechauns, dressed in uniforms of red and green with brass buttons down the front, appeared in the gate. One guard said, “You I know, Shamus.” He eyed Becca. “You bring a human to the sidhe?”

“I do, Morest. It’s a long tale to be sure. But first I must tell the King.”

The guard gave Shamus a look that meant he was doubtful of that course of action. “I’ll send Dan with you.”

Shamus nodded and led them off to the King’s Hall. Becca marched beside him and Dan trailed along. The guards in the hall called out his arrival. Two more guards joined Dan. By the time Shamus reached King Mac Shadenan in the gardens, there were five guards. They were announced as they entered. The King stood up from pruning his roses. “Shamus!” he called out,–then stopped as he realized Becca and a troop of guards were with his representative.

“Sire,” Shamus swept his hat off in a bow. “I’ve recovered your gold.”

The King stepped forward. “Well done, Shamus.” He eyed Becca. “You bring a human to the sidhe?”

“It’s a long tale, Sire. But I believe she’s Tuatha De Danann.”

The King stared. “A tale indeed.”

“Before we discuss that, Sire, the gold is hidden in a castle ruin, six hours away by the leprechaun road. I think your first order of business sould be to secure it.”

“Good advice, Shamus.” He looked at Dan. “Get a squad together and fetch the gold.” He turned back to Shamus. “You’ll have to go with them, of course.”

Shamus nodded. “I understand, Sire. I recovered the rainbows as well. Then, after I bathe, I’ll tell you the whole tale.” He glanced at Becca. “This is Becca, Sire. She’s thirteen and has had a long, hard trip.”

“Of course,” Mac Shadenan said. “We’ll get her bathed and fed and rested. She’ll be treated with respect, to be sure.”

Shamus bowed. “Thank you, Sire. I’ll be back as soon as I can. We’ll store the gold here until a new treasury can be built.”

The King raised his hand in blessing and Shamus and all but one guard turned and left. “Miss Becca,” the King addressed her. “The guard will take you to a room where you will be able to clean up, eat and rest.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” She curtsied and the guard led her away.

The next morning Becca was in the garden. The leprechauns had set up a breakfast table where Becca was having tea and scones with butter and honey. She was enjoying the garden. There were birds and butterflies here she’d never seen before. A butterfly landed on the table and was delicately sipping at a drop of spilled honey when Shamus approached.

“Shhh, Shamus,” the girl whispered. “A butterfly is sharing my breakfast.”

Shamus moved quietly and stood behind Becca’s chair. “A beauty, Miss Becca. It’s a Peacock butterfly. The red color and iridescent blue eyespots are how you can tell.”

“It’s beautiful.”

The butterfly, satisfied with its breakfast, fluttered off across the garden. Shamus moved to the table. “The King will meet with us in his chambers. Have you finished breaking your fast?”

She popped the last bit of scone in her mouth and washed it down with the last of her tea. “Yes,” she said just before she hiccupped.

“You didn’t have to hurry, lass.” Shamus laughed. “The King will be there.”

Becca wiped her mouth. “No, I’m done.” She stood up. “What will the King want to know?”

They began the walk back to the hall. “He’ll want to know the tale. By the time I got back last night, it was late and the King was abed. I had word to wait until this morning to meet with him. I’ll tell what I know. The King–his name is Mac Shadenan–is addressed as Your Majesty or Sire, and may ask you questions. Answer them truthfully. He’s King for a reason. Don’t lie to him.”

Becca nodded.

The two traversed the large building. The King’s apartments were in the center, behind the main hall. There, Shamus and Becca entered his office. The Advisors were already there, as was Princess Lyeen. The King stood up from his desk, walking around to greet Shamus.
Shamus bowed and tapped Becca, who bowed as well.

“Rise, Shamus. My counselors tell me the gold is all accounted for and secure. They’ve put the rainbows back in place and they’re recovering. Well done, my man.”

“I’m sorry we were back so late, Sire. We did not want to disturb your rest.”

“No need to apologize.” He looked at the two of them. “Come, we’ll sit and talk about your travels.”

The King led them to a group of armchairs and a small sofa in front of the cold fireplace. Becca noticed a large bouquet of flowers filling the space where a fire would usually burn. She sat on a footstool next to the chair where Shamus sat. The King chose a large, green brocade chair while Princess Lyeen sat beside him in a wooden armed Queen Anne-style chair, the seat and back covered in matching needlepoint flowered upholstery. The advisors, all three of them, sat on the sofa.

“Now,” Shadenan said as they settled in. “Tell me the whole tale.”

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

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© 2015 Connie Cockrell

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