The King and Her Queen

Chapter 3:  The Awakening


Shiro parted the tangled branches and entered the thicket.  Rin was hugging her knees and was resting her head on them.  He noticed that she had changed out of her damp clothes and into medieval clothing.  She wore a reddish brown open-fronted gown which laced closed across a white kirtle.

He nudged her shoulder.  "Hey, I'm back."

Rin did not answer, so he shook her shoulder slightly.  Suddenly, she scrambled away and pointed her index finger.  He backed away from her line of fire.  "Rin!  It's just me!"

Her eyes focused on him and she lowered her hand.  "Oh, sorry."  She dusted her clothes and stood up slowly.  "How'd it go?"

"Ok... I guess..."  Shiro went over to the boiling pan and sampled the brown liquid with the ladle.

"You guess...?  Did something happen?"

"Well... I didn't expect her to cry.  I thought that she'd be happy that Saber was gonna get cured."

Rin thought for a moment.  "Yeah... that is strange...  Do you think she suspects that something's wrong?"

Shiro stirred the liquid idly.  "Don't know...  I couldn't tell.  But she seemed convinced about the Lady of the Lake."

"Hmmm..."  Rin rubbed her chin thoughtfully.  "Oh well... what's done is done.  How's the antidote?"

"It's ready."  He took out two cups from his pack.  He poured a third of the liquid in one cup and the rest in the next.  He handed the cup with less liquid to Rin.  "Sip this over the next hour.  Don't drink it all at once."

She took the cup and blew on the liquid to cool it down.  Then she took a sip.  "Gaaahhh... it's really bitter..."  Rin took out a bottle of water from her pack and drank enough to wash away the bitter taste.

Meanwhile, Shiro cooled some liquid on the ladle and tried to put the liquid into Saber's mouth.  The liquid spilled over the corner of her mouth.  He attempted a few more times before turning to Rin.  "Rin... she's not swallowing it."

"Here, let me try."  Rin knelt next to Saber and took the ladle.  She did not have much success either.

"Oh, great... looks like one of us would have to give it to her orally."  said Rin with an exasperated tone.

"Orally... as in...?"  He pointed to his mouth.

Rin nodded.  "If you have a better idea, I'm listening."

Shiro hung his head.  "No, not really."

They sat there for a few moments in silence.  Finally, Rin spoke.  "Go ahead and give it to her.  You like her, don't you?"

Shiro blushed and protested, "I can't do that... She might not like it."

"Oh?  And why should I be any different?"

"Because... because..."  Shiro turned away slightly.  "She may not mind if another girl kissed her."

Rin was taken aback and her jaw dropped.  She moved her mouth but no words came out.  When she composed herself, she said slowly, "Why do you think so?"

Shiro swallowed and told her about what Bedivere did after she put Saber on the boat.  Rin's eyes widened and her hand involuntarily covered her mouth.  All sorts of scenarios were running amuck in her mind.  She forced her inner self to gather those images and lock them in a closet. 

She looked at Shiro coolly.  "So, you want me to give it to her?"

"No... I mean... yes..."  Shiro covered his face with his hands in embarrassment.

Rin took the ladle.  "Tell you what... we'll take turns.  As long as she doesn't wake up, it's fine right?  I won't tell if you won't."

Shiro nodded dumbly.  Rin bent over and used her hand to prop Saber's head up.  Then she quickly slurped the liquid and pressed her mouth against Saber's.

On contact, a jolt tickled her spine and her body shuddered for a brief instant.  Surprised at her own reaction, she stayed still for a second.  Then, remembering her task, she parted Saber's lips with her tongue and delivered the liquid into her mouth.  She maintained her position until she felt Saber swallow the liquid.

Rin drew away and laid Saber's head gently on the pillow.  Her face and body felt warm.  She kept her head low and handed the ladle to Shiro.  "You're up."  She took her own cup and walked away. 

Rin continued to ponder why she reacted that way until she absentmindedly sipped the liquid in her cup.  She fought to control her gag reflex and forced herself to swallow.  She turned around towards Shiro.  "Can't you do something about the taste?"

Shiro wiped Saber's mouth with a piece of tissue.  "Grynberg says that the best medicine is best taken in its purest form.  So... do you want to get well or not?"

Rin muttered darkly under her breath.  She surveyed their meager hideout.  "I think we should try to find a better place for Saber's recovery.  I don't mind the great outdoors, but I won't prescribe it for someone with grave injuries.  Maybe one of us should go look around for a nearby town.  What do you think?"

Shiro nodded and stood up.  "Sounds like a good idea.  I'll go.  You gotta get some rest too."  He paused before the exit of the thicket.  "Hey, you wouldn't happen to have medieval money, do you?"

Rin's face fell.  "Darn it!  I knew I forgot something.  We should've shaken down Bedivere for some."

"Rin!"

"Just kidding!"  joked Rin, holding up her hand.  "But you know what, maybe you could shake down someone else..."

Shiro stared at Rin for a bit before her implied meaning hit him.  "That's gross, Rin!  I'm not touching any corpses."

"Yeah... it is, isn't it?"  laughed Rin nervously.  "We'll figure something out.  Anyway, come back with good news."

"Yup, I will."  With that, Shiro headed out.

Rin sat next to Saber and prepared to administer the antidote for Saber and herself.  As she repeated the procedure over the next two hours, she kept wondering why she was reacting so unusually.  "It's probably just a side effect of the spell."  she reasoned.  She felt a little tired, so she put the cup down and laid down on the ground next to Saber with her pack as a pillow.  She closed her eyes and tried to meditate.

---------------

"Rin... Rin..."

She slowly opened her eyes to see Shiro looking down on her. 

"So how's sleeping beauty?"  said Shiro with a teasing tone.

Rin managed a drowsy grin.  "Fine..."  She yawned.  "Drat... I must've dozed off."  She sat up slowly.  "So... what've you found?"

"There's a village about three miles away and another about five miles away."

"That's a bit far."

"Don't worry.  I found some horses."

"You did?!  Where did you find them?"

"They were wandering around.  My guess is that they belonged to some knight who probably won't need it anymore."

Rin felt a stab of pity and remembered that bloody field.  "A shame..."  She looked up to Shiro.  "How many horses do you have?"

"Three, one for each of us."

"Hmmm... at the moment, I don't think Saber could ride.  One of us will have to ride with her.  Do you think you can handle that?  I think I'm still a little stiff."

"Yeah.  That I can do."  Shiro grinned heartily and was glad that he could be of help.

"Is there a place we can stay in the next village?"

"Yes, it has an inn.  It's 50 coppers a night."

"Let's check it out.  We can sell one of the horses to get a bit of cash."

"Good idea."

Shiro showed Rin the horses.  They examined the equipment on the horses and decided what to keep and what to sell.  They return to the thicket and put a cloak on Saber to keep her warm.  Then they packed up the campsite and headed for the next village.  At the market, they managed to sell a horse and some equipment after a bit of difficulty with deciphering the local accent.  After buying some food, they got a room at the inn and stabled their horses.

Shiro checked Saber's condition.  "She's doing better now.  But I think she still needs more antidote.  I'll go make some more." 

"Ok..."  said Rin, who was already reclining on one of the straw beds.  She yawned.  "Be back before dinner."

"Of course."  replied Shiro.  He gathered some cooking utensils and went out.

That evening was uneventful and so were the next two days.  When they were not caring for Saber, they spent their time exploring the village and the surrounding area.  News of the great battle and the disappearance of King Arthur had reached the village.  The reactions of the townspeople varied from great sorrow to indifference.  Both Rin and Shiro were stunned that the people did not love the king as much as they thought.  In fact, some people seemed to favor Mordred's rebellion.

Then on the afternoon of the third day, as Shiro and Rin were constructing a map of the surrounding area, there was a soft rustle from Saber's bed.  Shiro and Rin turned towards the sound at the same time and were elated to see Saber staring at them.  Both of them rushed to the bedside.

"Saber!  Thank goodness, you're awake."  said Rin.

"How are you feeling?" asked Shiro.

Saber's mouth opened and closed a few times before she spoke softly, "Who art thou?  Whither am I?"

Rin and Shiro glanced at each other.  It was too much to hope that Saber would know them.  Rin was the first to reply.  "Uh, I am known as Rhynne and he is known as Syrowe.  Thou art in a small village inn."

Saber shifted in bed and brought out a bandaged arm from under the bed sheets.  "Why is it, that e'en so forwounded am I, that mine mind lacks memory of how I am wrought thus?"

Rin arched her eyebrows in surprise while Shiro dropped his jaw a bit.  Rin cleared her throat.  "Thou wert wounded in battle over yonder hills.  We hath found thee in grievous hurt and hath tended to thy wounds."

"I thank thee.  When I am fit, I shall find a way to acquit thy kindness."  Saber's face grew pensive.  "But still... mine mind remain veileth, for I remember not such past battle.  Truly told, I remember not a great many things."

"Dost thou remember thy name?"  asked Shiro haltingly.  At a moment like this, he regretted not having enough time to practice medieval English at the Academy.

Saber smiled.  "Arturia... at least, that I knowst to be true."

Rin clasped her hands with glee.  "That is well, Lady Arturia.  Tis a good omen of thy healing."

Arturia studied Rin for a moment.  "Dost thou knowst me?  Thou firstly spake to me with such familiar cheer."

A drop of sweat trickled down Rin's forehead.  "Pardon mine speech, milady.  As a physic, I assume such manner to lift the spirit of mine patient.  I believeth that cheer doth stave away unhealthful melancholy."

Arturia let out a small chuckle.  "Then blessed am I to have thee attend me.  Know that thy cheer liveneth mine spirit, though mine limbs refuseth yet to yield to mine bidding."

At these words, Rin's lips drew into a smile. 

"Pray tell, Lady Rhynne, how long must I abide till I can rise on mine own strength?  And e'en more so, how wilt mine memory fare?"

"Thou bore grave wounds upon thy person, and thy blood floweth forth in great quantity.  In many a patient likened to thee, some regained their self o'er a fourtenight.  But some remaineth abed and their past forgotten.  I truly hope that providence will grant thee a boon and thou will overcome this trial."

Arturia nodded.  "Then I shall await thy counsel."  Her eyes softened.  "Once again, I am in thy debt.  Know that mine gratitude knoweth no bounds."

"Then my first advice to thee is thus.  That thou shall consume food when thou hunger and thou shall rest otherwise."

"I shall follow thy counsel.  Please allow me to partake a meal with thee."

"And that you shall."  Rin stood up and walked toward the door.  "In honor of thy waking, I shall request a feast fit for a king."  Rin beamed Arturia her most charming smile.

With the word 'king', Shiro stifled a chuckle.

"Please await mine return."  She opened the door and left.

This time Shiro felt Arturia's gaze upon him and turned to meet Arturia's eyes.  After a few moments, Shiro felt his cheeks flush and he glanced away with a bit of embarrassment.

"Dost thou knowst me, goodman Syrowe?"

Shiro wasn't sure what to say.  After a moment, he decided to follow Rin's example.  "Tis such as my companion hath said.  I only wished to greet thee with cheer."  He walked over to the table and began to move it over to Arturia's bed.  "I shall prepare this table for our meal."

"Thou seemst not accustomed to thy speech.  Whither dost thou hail from?"

Shiro remembered Bedivere's reaction and swallowed.  He had to be careful.  "From a land far, far away.  It is called Nihon."

"Nee-hun?  Then thy land must be far, for I hath not heard of such a place."

"Tis far, indeed."  Shiro began to roll up the crude map on the table.

"What, perchance, might that be?"

"Tis a map of the village and the fields nearby."

Arturia noted the quill and the inkbottle.  "For what purpose dost thou construct this map?"

Shiro tried to do some fast thinking.  "Er... um... we art travelers.  We construct a map so that we would remember this village just in case we pass this way again."

Arturia was silent for a bit and then nodded.  "That is prudent."  She shifted to lie on her side.  "Pray, tell me, of the lands that thou hast seen."

Shiro scanned his memory for all the touristy places that he had been to and their medieval counterpart.  He did not want to pick a place that might cause a belligerent reaction from Arturia.  After some consideration, he settled on Greece.  "There is a land beyond the southern ocean and west of the Aegean Sea.   It is called Greece."

Shiro continued to tell Arturia about the landscape of Greece and its culture until Rin entered carrying a tray of food.  One of the inn's maids was behind her and was also carrying a tray of food.  Shiro went and took the tray from the maid who blushed when their hands touched near the tray handles.  When the maid left, they put a bowl of soup and some bread within Arturia's reach.  Rin took a pillow from her bed and helped Arturia prop herself up. 

By habit, Shiro clasped his hands together and was about to say "Itadakimasu", but was interrupted by Arturia's soft prayer for the meal.  After the prayer, they enjoyed a pleasant meal together while Shiro continued his description of Greece.

After the meal, they talked for a bit about other lands.  Eventually, Arturia yawned. 

"Methinks, I shall heed thy counsel and rest."

Rin nodded and helped Arturia lie down.  Then she gestured to the bell-pull near Arturia's bed.  "Should thou require anything, thou needst only pull yonder rope.  We shall be with thee anon."

"Mine thanks.  And good night."  said Arturia and closed her eyes.

Rin took Shiro's hand and together they left the room.  She turned to Shiro and whispered in Japanese.  "We shouldn't tell her that she's the king.  Did you mention anything like that when I was gone?"

"No, I was worried about it too.  She's supposed to be in Avalon, right?  Just like the legends say."

Rin nodded.  "We were in luck that she has amnesia.  But I don't know how long that would last.  If she regains her memory, I'm not sure if I can stop her if she decides to go back to Camelot."

Shiro paced a bit.  "I heard in town today that the lords are meeting to talk about choosing the next king if King Arthur isn't found within a week."  Shiro thumped his fist into his palm.  "Oh yeah!  While I was gathering some herbs outside of town this morning, I saw a bunch of guys on horseback."

"Which way were they headed?"

Shiro closed his eyes and tried to remember.  "I think they were headed toward the battlefield."

"Hmmm... I think it's too late to look for survivors... they may be looking for something else."

"If they're looking for Arturia, they'll search the battlefield."

"Or... if Bedivere told them about the lake, they'll search there too."

"Do you think they'll look here?"

Rin rubbed her temples and thought for a bit.  "I doubt it... but we're so close to the battlefield.  If they're not looking for Arturia, they may be looking for other survivors.  I think we should leave as soon as possible."

Shiro nodded and then crossed his arms.  "Yeah, we should leave... but Rin... what are we supposed to do in the long run?"

Rin froze.  Of course, if Arturia was supposed to be gone, how long could they maintain their secret?  Rin bit her lip.  "I... I don't know... at the moment, I just wanted her to get well.  Ask me again in the morning."

Shiro sighed and uncrossed his arms.  "Yeah, I wanted to save her too.  But now..."  He ran his fingers through his hair.  "I'm not sure what we should do."  He smiled ruefully.  "It's been a long day.  Let's get some rest."

Rin agreed and they went back into the room and went to bed. 

---------------

Rin and Shiro woke up early and had a small breakfast of bread, cheese and tea in the common room downstairs.  After breakfast, Rin began packing while Shiro went to the market to get supplies.  While she was packing, she heard a rustle from Arturia's bed.  She stood up and turned.

"Good morning."  said Arturia softly.

"Good morning."  replied Rin as she made her way to Arturia's bed.  "How art thou?"

"Mine slumber was deep and mine spirit refreshed."

"Tis well."  Rin paused.  Now that Arturia was awake, Rin felt a bit uneasy about changing her bandages.  For some reason, she felt more self-conscious.  She took a deep breath.  "Thy bandages must be redressed."

Arturia merely nodded.  "If that needs be so, then I am ready."

"Abide here for a moment.  I shall ready mine self."

Rin took out some soft cloth and a roll of bandages from her pack.  Then she fetched some warm water in a basin.  When she entered the room, she was surprised to notice that Arturia had pulled aside the bed sheets and had unbuttoned her gown which exposed her upper torso and her trewes.  Rin paused for a moment by the door as her mesmerized eyes wandered over the length of her body.  Internally, she shook herself, and laid the basin on the table next to the bed.  She poured a bit of sanitizing alcohol into the warm water.

Rin sat on the bed and cleared her throat.  "I will remove thy bandages from thy... chest.  After that, I wilt lift thee to mine self to unroll thy bandage from behind.  Art thou ready?" 

"I am."

"I beg thy pardon."  Rin leaned forward and undid the bandage over Arturia's chest.  Rin's hands made their way behind Arturia's shoulder blades and back.

Arturia lifted her arms and put her hands around Rin's neck.  Rin's eyes grew wide at the contact and her skin broke out in goosebumps.  She drew a deep breath and lifted Arturia off the bed.  She sat up straight and leaned Arturia against her upper body.  Arturia shifted her arms to go around Rin's neck and rested her chin on Rin's shoulder.

Rin had changed Arturia's bandages in the past, but Arturia was unconscious during those times.  Changing her bandages was a practiced procedure and this occasion should be no different.

But today marked the first time she would change her bandages while she was awake.  For some reason, Rin found it hard to concentrate.  On her own volition, Arturia had wrapped her in this peculiar embrace.  The unexpected action caused a bit of confusion in Rin.  However, a part of her interpreted the action as proof of Arturia's trust.  Thinking about it left a warm glow within her.

Still, she had to concentrate and do her job.  Rin took a deep breath and focused on her task.  She carefully peeled the bandages starting from Arturia's chest and around her back in a counter-clockwise motion.  She also peeled off the bandages around her left shoulder.  Finally, she removed the bandages around her waist.  She picked up a soft cloth and dipped it in the warm water in the basin.

"I shall now cleanse thy skin with this cloth.  The cloth boreth some tonic, so thou might feel its sting.  But be at ease, the tonic wilt improve thy healing."

Arturia's voice whispered softly near her ear.  "Please proceed."

Rin slipped her hand between herself and Arturia.  Since she could not see a part of Arturia's front torso, she relied on the tips of her fingers to guide her hand.  Just underneath the folds of the cloth, she could feel those sinewy muscles born out of wearing armor.  Rin closed her eyes to help herself concentrate.   Tracing the contour of her body, she gently wiped across her chest twice, just over her breasts.  Then she moved down just underneath her breasts and across to the other side.

When she identified scarred skin, she slowly wiped around it.  But sometimes, whenever she passed near the scarred skin, she felt Arturia's arms tense up around her neck for a brief moment.  Other than that, Arturia made no other reaction. 

She rinsed the cloth and wiped Arturia's sides and upper arms.  By now, Rin's confusion was replaced by a sense of serenity as relied on touch alone to sense the contour of Arturia's body.

She rinsed the cloth again and reached around Arturia to wipe her back.  As she was wiping her back, Arturia leaned a bit closer to her and her breasts pressed against Rin.  Rin's cheeks flushed when she felt its warm softness through the thin fabric of her summer tunic.  The sense of serenity was quickly supplanted by the increasing beat of her heart.  Goosebumps were spreading all over her skin.

"This fragrance about thee... reminds me of camellia."  said Arturia, her breath tickling her earlobe. 

Rin paused for a moment and wondered why Arturia said that when there were no flowers nearby and she wore no perfume.  Then, with practiced discipline, Rin resumed her task.  She rinsed the cloth from time to time until she finished wiping Arturia's back.  As she was reaching for the clean bandages, she lost her balance and fell with Arturia onto the bed.  Arturia let out a small gasp. 

"Ah!  I'm sorry!"  said Rin into the pillow. 

Arturia put her hands on her shoulders and pushed her up slightly.  Her face wrinkled to a slight grimace of pain. 

At that moment, there was a rushing of wind and the sound of heavy footsteps on the floor.  A hand gripped Rin's shoulder tightly and lifted her off Arturia.  Then, like a rag doll, she was tossed against the wall where she hung as if she were a fly stuck on a web.  Rin's vision exploded in stars as her head hit the wall and air was driven out of her lungs by the force of the impact.  When she finally managed to focus her vision, she saw a tall figure clad in a dark brown cloak with a large hood.  Frizzled gray hair spilled out from the hood.  A wrinkled hand with long thin fingers which ended with yellowed long nails slipped out from the billowy sleeves to touch Arturia's cheek.  The very image screamed evil magician in Rin's mind.  Her face paled and she trembled in fear.

That wrinkled hand moved down to Arturia's throat and then to her breast.  Arturia's lips moved, but Rin could not hear anything.  The hand pressed against the breast and Arturia appeared to gasp in response.  Then the hand moved to slide across her stomach and down to her abdomen. 

A dam of rage broke inside Rin, washing over her fear.  She gathered her will.  "A binding spell... counter..."  thought Rin as she wove her fingers to cancel the spell.  "Curse him... CURSE HIM!  How DARE he!"  Her right arm broke free and she leveled her pointing finger at the dark figure.  She directed all her mana at the tip of her finger.  "GANDR FYRE!" she screamed the curse with all her will.

A dense amount of black energy erupted from the tip of her finger and sped toward the magician.  The magician looked up and held up a hand as if to block the energy.  The dark energy hit the hand and splattered like paint hitting a wall.  The force of the impact caused the magician to fly backwards and to be pushed up against the opposite wall.  The dark energy continued to push against an invisible barrier.  Behind the barrier, Rin could see the magician gesturing frantically.  A circle of bright light appeared behind the barrier and the magician sidestepped swiftly to the left.  To Rin's great chagrin, the curse broke through the barrier and sped into the circle of light which closed in upon it and dissipated, leaving only a shower of white sparks.

Rin shook herself free of the remnants of the binding spell and wove her hands to cast another attack.  Meanwhile, the magician had leveled a glowing staff in her direction while those long fingers drew glowing glyphs in the air.

"This is bad... he's got an artifact..."  thought Rin as she wove a defensive spell with her other hand.  She stopped for an instant when Arturia's outstretched hand blocked her vision.  Arturia seemed to be saying something to the magician.  The magician lowered the staff and dismissed the glyphs with a wave of his hand.

Arturia turned to Rin and spoke clearly.  "Be at ease, Lady Rhynne.  Tis my old friend, Merlyn."

Rin blinked.  Her thoughts were a jumble.  "Merlin...?  Wait... it can't be... is it really?  That this is the real Merlin?"  An image of the distinguished old man flashed in her mind and her excitement of meeting the real Merlin rose.  

The magician drew the hood back and Rin gasped in surprise as voluminous tresses cascaded down as they were freed from the hood's confinement.  A wizened face that could have belonged to somebody's doting grandmother greeted her with a tight smile.  But her eyes trapped Rin in their gaze.  Those golden eyes studied her with trite amusement.

"Ye surprised me, girl.  I almost dinna catch that." said Merlyn dryly.  "Mine apologies fer roughin' ye up.  I thought ye were tryin' to have yer way with Arturia."

Rin's shock at Merlyn's gender gave way to her anger.  "Me?  Have mine way?  Doth thine eyes doubt mine womanhood?"  exclaimed Rin.

"I dinna doubt it."  replied Merlyn calmly.

"She's not like that, Merlyn."  explained Arturia.  "She was dressing mine bandages."

"She dinna look it when I found ye."

"Ye art mistaken.  She hath fallen upon me unwittingly."

"Oh?  An' I suppose those moments when Guinevere fell upon ye wert also unwittin'."

"Guinevere?" asked Arturia slowly.  "Who do ye speak of?"

Warning bells rang in Rin's mind.  "Ah!  She must be thy friend."  said Rin as she quickly made her way to Merlyn's side.  "Pardon us for a moment."  She grabbed Merlyn's arm and with surprising strength, pulled her out of the room and into the hallway.  

Merlyn let out a small yelp as she was tugged out of the room.  Rin quickly closed the door behind her.  She drew a circle above them and chanted "Silentium." 

Merlyn looked up and her eyebrows arched up in recognition of the spell.  She turned her gaze on Rin.  "Ye have somethin' to tell me, lass?"

Rin bowed her head slightly, and looked off to the side.  "Well... yea... but I am unsure of how to commence mine tale."

Merlyn studied her for a moment.  "How did ye meet Arturia?  Ye can use common.  I've no need fer high speech."

Rin felt a bit at ease and reverted her speech pattern to match Merlyn's as she told her how Shiro and her found Arturia in the forest.  She told her that she bandaged her wounds but did not mention using any spells in the process.  She also left out the part about Shiro's enchantment on Bedivere.

Merlyn listened patiently.  Her eyes never left hers even though she had finished her tale.  They stood there staring at each other for few seconds.  Then, with a blur, Rin found herself pushed up against the wall with Merlyn's hand over her forehead.

"Ye lie, girl."  accused Merlyn.

Rin screamed as a vast pressure swelled in her mind.  She felt like she was falling in a great abyss as memories of the last few days flowed like a stream past her.  Images of the summer sped past, followed by her last year at the academy.  Then, she caught a glimpse of her favorite professor, Arase.  His words pierced her mind, "Give in, then it's all over." 

"That's right!  I have to fight this!"  Rin gathered her will and obliterated the images flying past.  Then she raised her head high and pulled the mana stored in her earrings, bracelet and amulet.  She expelled it all with a great outward thrust into the pressure around her.

When the sensation of gravity returned to her body, she heard loud thud across from where she stood.  Her eyes fluttered open as she sank down to her knees in exhaustion.  On the opposite wall, Merlyn sat against it with a blank look in her eyes and blood trickling down her nose.

"Oh great..." muttered Rin as she stood up unsteadily and leaned against the wall.  She walked as if in a trance.  "Now we really have to leave... soon..."  She opened the door to the room, walked in and closed it quickly. 




Chapter 4
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