The sun came almost entirely too soon for Levi, still unsure of what to expect with its arrival. Footsteps could be heard up and down the hallway, it seemed rushed to his still sleepy self. Pacing, hushed conversations, more pacing. Then the billowing voice of agent O’Grady brought him to a state of awake he had never experienced before. “It’s time to go, Levi. Belle is working on opening the portal now. Grab your pack and let’s get going!” O’Grady motioned to a small ruck sack that Levi had never seen before, but assumed it was his. Nothing was really surprising to him at this point. He grabbed the sack, which was much heavier than it appeared, and followed O’Grady out into the hallway.
The hallway was bustling with life, creatures and people that Levi had not seen until this point except in the pages of the books of the library, hallways that he didn’t seem to remember being there the night before were lined with doors and voices of every octave could be heard calling across from room to room. This is nothing like the hospital he thought to himself, it’s never this disorganized. He chucked, who am I kidding, this is exactly like the hospital. He found himself at the library door, he could hear a loud commotion coming from inside and questioned if he really wanted to go in, as the thought to turn around crossed his mind, the door flew open and an exasperated Marilla stood in front of him. She ushered him into the room where everyone was waiting.
Belle stood in front of a door that Levi was sure hadn’t been there the night before. It was a large, heavy looking oak door, maroon in color with hunter green leaves painted around the border with a gold trim. The door knob was like an emerald, but Levi was sure it couldn’t be, it was the size of a baseball. It had appeared where just a few hours prior a bookshelf had been, it was the shelf with the books about fairies; Levi was sure of it.
Belle was in her usual purple outfit, but today an addition of a jacket a similar color scheme of the door had been added. A rich maroon velvet jacket, lined with gold trim and ornate emerald buttons. The hood on the jacket had been pulled up and was draped around her face, covering her hair and shading her eyes. Her voice carried across the room, “Now that you are all here, it is time to get going.”
Shirley’s voice came as a surprise from behind where Levi was standing with Marilla, “This aught to be just as fun as last time. I am just so thrilled to be here today with you all, doing this all over again.” The sarcasm in her voice was incredibly strong.
Levi, Shirley, Marilla, and Gideon stood in a line in front of the door and Belle. The voice from the hood came again, “I want you all to be prepared, as soon as you pass through this door the way you are now will be no longer. The door has a way of disguising humans into beings that are normally found in the other realms. Stick together, no matter what. Splitting up is the worst thing you can do in the other realm, it can play tricks on you, and with the increasing level of individuals turning to join Vaurcar there is no safe haven.”
Belle began to speak in a language Levi did not understand and the door began to subtly glow. As Belle’s voice grew louder, the door’s frame glowed brighter until Levi could barely stand to look at it any longer. As soon as he turned his head away from the door he heard a loud bang, which he assumed was the door opening, and then felt Marilla grab his hand as he was pulled forward.
When they landed, it was with anything but grace. Levi could smell the grass around him, but it was sweeter than he remembered. He heard birds and could feel the sun on his face. This tranquil moment was almost dream like, until the sound of a person he did not recognize broke through; “MY EARS!” He opened his eyes into the bright sunlight of the valley they had landed in, looked towards where the yell was coming from to see a girl he did not recognize. He looked down and saw a pair of feet attached to his body that he also did not recognize. The girl looked to him, “Levi? Is that you?” She had long brown hair, it was braided elaborately allowing her two ears to point through. Her eyes were a bright blue, like the waters in untouched pools that are cold as ice. Her face was pale as porcelain with just a touch of pink in her cheeks. She had on an outfit that was fit for a warrior. Levi needed to catch his breath, she was stunning.
“Yes, it’s me. Marilla?” Levi was hopeful, it would be awkward if it was anybody else.
Her face grew more red, “yes, it’s me. My ears are so pointy, oh it must look awful!” She sounded as if she was on the verge of tears.
“No, no not awful at all. You look great!” He paused, “I think I am taller than before we left.” Marilla nodded in agreement. He looked down at himself and saw that he too was in close fitting pants and a brown linen type shirt. He also had gained a sword in the transition, however his was less decorated than Marilla’s.
“Quit fawning over each other and get up!” An unmistakable voice came from just beyond the small slope they were on. Suddenly Shirley appeared from behind the knoll, she had definitely changed through the door. Her hair was no longer short, it now was tied up into a bun with a few wisps that had undoubtedly come out in the fall. She had a younger face by a few years, she appeared only mid-50’s now with light blue eyes and lighter skin. She now donned a light suit of armor with her quiver at her side and bow across her torso. She looked impatiently at the two admiring each other and cleared her throat, signaling them to get up. Gideon also appeared over the knoll as the two stood up, his appearance hadn’t changed at all except for also now donning a small light chest plate of armor.
“Ive got a plan.” Gideon announced.
Shirley retorted back, “Please, tell me its a good one this time?”
Gideon looked sheepishly at the ground, “I said I’ve got a plan, not a good one, but I have a plan!”
He was about to start explaining when they heard someone singing. They all turned to the woods edge and saw that at the edge of the path a young woman was standing with several goats. She was young, dressed in a dirty white top with a linen brown skirt and no shoes. Her hair was in a disheveled French braid down her back and she carried a basket with some type of plants in it. They made eye contact and she dropped the basket.
“Wait!” Shirley called to her as she started to turn down the path back into the woods, “We are here to help!”
The girl stopped and looked at them, they began walking towards her as she hurriedly picked up her basket and the contents that had spilled from it.
“I can see it in your eyes. The panic. What’s gotten you so scared?” Gideon started in a soft voice. The girl looked uncomfortable and untrusting.
“Va….Vaurcar. He’s back. He’s taken multitudes of people into captivity to do who knows what for him. The destruction is unmatched to any war that has taken place. I have been living secluded in the woods since my village was attacked several weeks ago. The violence has no end in sight. Nobody knows what he wants this time, but he has destroyed so much trying to obtain it.” The girl explained, with darting eyes and an itch in her feet to flee.
Gideon tried to calm her down “We aren’t here to cause harm or destruction, at least not to you. We are here to help, to fight back, and to free those who have been taken.” The girl continued to look scared, “I’m sorry, I can’t…”
And with a cloud of grey smoke, she was gone.