“Amai sounded upset,” Saisho remarks. “Is she alright?”
“I’m not sure,” I answer.
All four of us are running from Saisho’s house to Amai’s home. They heard the call I received, and they want to help me out. Something is wrong over there, and I’m not sure what it is. But Amai called for help, and I’m gonna try my hardest to help her out.
As we approach Amai’s house, I gulp nervously. Something is causing me to feel uneasy. Normally I feel safe when I’m here. Whatever happened, it wasn’t good.
Finally I knock on the door. “Amai?!”
“Come in.” I hear her call from inside.
I turn the knob, and the four of us walk inside. I’m met with Amai and Aura sitting on the couch. Amai is holding her mother close while she cries into her hands. Her pink eyes meet mine.
“Amai.” I whisper. “What’s going on?”
My best friend sighs. “Some stranger approached me and Violet after school to give us these.” She holds up a heart hairpin. “Violet got a ring. Momma told us what they were, and where they came from. A world called Destiny? And then Violet… she summoned a portal and went to that world.”
Ikimono stands beside me. I look up to see her eyes widen as she inhales sharply. “Dammit Soveliss.”
Immediately, while Amai still holds her pin, I put a hand up to my choker. I look back to her and the pin, where I see a bright pink haze floating from the piece. I put my hand down, and I look at Saisho and Nova on my other side. He holds his ear while she holds her wrist. Both of them are nodding.
“You see it too, ’Kasu?” Nova whispers.
I look at Amai again.
“Hey. Amai, it’s okay.” I slowly approach her, cautious not to startle the poor girl. “You’re not alone, okay? All of us are gonna help you. We’ll figure this out.”
Nova moves to sit on the other side of the two women. “Yeah! Don’t worry! That’s a Written Charm you got there, right? We’ve all got our own, too. So you’re not alone at all! You’ve got four pals here to help you out.”
Aura looks up when Nova speaks. “Four… hang on, all of you are Written?”
All of us nod as we look at Aura. I offer a smile.
“If it helps, I just found out that they were all Written today.” I say.
Aura sighs. “Kids… While I appreciate the enthusiasm, this isn’t that easy.” She sits up on the couch, wiping her face. “Destiny isn’t like this world. I don’t know if any of you have attachments to it, but it is not a place to mess around in anymore. The Corruption has made Destiny a dangerous place to be in. That’s why I’m here.”
Saisho frowns at Aura. “You came here because of the Corruption?” He looks over to Ikimono. “Did you ever see the Corruption when you’ve been there?”
Ikimono quietly nods. “Once. I was nowhere near it, but I still saw it. I’ve heard it does terrible things.”
“You’re correct, young lady,” Aura answers. She looks at Amai, frowns, and then looks back at us. “Her father was taken from me because of the Corruption. It isn’t something to mess with. It will either kill you or change you for the worse.”
“But if Violet is there,” I whisper. “Then she could get hurt by the Corruption if she doesn’t know what it is.”
Everyone looks at me in silence. I look up, and my eyes meet with Amai’s again. I see her holding back tears as she grips her mother’s hand. I’ve never seen her so broken before. I know her sister means a lot to her, but this must be destroying her inside.
Ikimono looks down at me. “We need to go after Violet. I’ve only been in Destiny a few times, but her being completely alone is unsettling.” She then looks to Nova and Saisho. “You two want to go?”
Nova nods. “Count me in.”
“I want to help.” Saisho says.
I look at Amai again. I put a hand out to her, and I try to offer a smile. As I take a step forward, I take a deep breath. I need to stay calm. For her sake.
“Amai. We’re going to find your sister, and we’re going to bring her home.” I say. “Come with us.”
The girl looks at me, her eyes shaking. She looks at her mother, who nods. The two women hug for a moment, sitting there in silence. Once she is okay, Amai leaves the hug with her mom. Her hand reaches out towards mine. I hoist her up, and as she stands, she reaches out to hug me. I happily accept her embrace, holding my best friend close.
Once she steps away, I look to the others. My eyes land on Ikimono.
“You’ve been there before,” I mention, “You should take the lead.”
Ikimono crosses her arms.
“I will warn you… portals to Destiny have side effects. You might feel dizzy for a few minutes once we get there. But that won’t matter. Our first goal is going to be finding Soveliss. He might be able to help us find your sister.”
Amai nods. “Okay.” She puts her hairpin in, then nods. “I’m ready. For Violet.”
Nova bounces. “I’m so excited! We’re going to Destiny!”
Saisho pumps a fist into the air. “Let’s do this.”
All five of us run out into the backyard. Ikimono motions for us to stand behind her. I notice her ring beginning to glow as she holds up a hand.
“Stay back, everyone.” Ikimono instructs. “I’m going to summon the portal, and you do not want to be near the area it’s being summoned on.”
Immediately, Ikimono starts to move her arms in slow circles before her, focusing. As she does this, her ring glows brighter, and her eyes start to shine. “Bring us safely to Destiny!” She commands.
A large opening appears on the ground. Magic is within the portal, and it swirls at a quick pace. Ikimono looks up to each of us.
“Alright. I’m going to jump through first, just so I can make sure you all get there safely.” Ikimono says. “Do not go anywhere once you’ve landed. We’re traveling together once we’re all safely through the portal. Got it?”
Once we all nod, Ikimono grins. She looks into the portal, grinning from ear to ear. She then leaps into the opening, laughing as she disappears into it.
“Whoa!” Nova exclaims. “She disappeared!”
Saisho ruffles the girl’s short hair, laughing a little. “Yeah. Well, it’s our turn now!” He tells her before running forward. He jumps into the portal the same way Ikimono did.
Nova gasps. “This will be so much fun!” She cheers as she follows suit. We hear her continue to cheer until she disappears in the portal like the two before.
I look at Amai. I put my hand out to her.
“You ready? We’re gonna do this. Together.”
Amai looks at me. She has a tiny smile on her face. Her hand grips mine, and she nods.
“Let’s find my sister and bring her home.”
The two of us run together towards the portal. As we both leap, we fall into the magic, and I hear the opening snap shut. As we begin to fall through, I feel some sort of energy blazing through me. I let out a triumphant cry as Amai squeals. The colors begin changing around us, and everything spins.
To Destiny we go.
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