“Why are we at a carnival ball?” I whined, fussing with my scarlet ball gown. “I am horrible at these things.” Viktor tied my hair up into a pearl net, passing me a scarlet butterfly mask. My heart beat out of my chest, Viktor looking incredibly handsome in velvet tailcoat, and black dress shirt. A black vest caught my eyes, a golden pocket watch dangling from his chest pocket.
“The energy is off here.” Oakley explained as her wings buzzed in my ears. “The host of the ball has been inviting random people to his carnival ball, then they are never seen again. If it weren’t night you could see the clouds up in the sky.” I guess she was right, it did feel off. More than the fact that I didn’t want to go to a party at all. Balls had died down before the Great Reset, but had surged as the survivors had to start over again.
“We will be waitstaff.” William explained uncomfortably, disgust filling his face at the black tuxedo. “This doesn’t have enough flair. Whatever.” Lottie spun around in her maid’s outfit, feeling pretty. Patting her head, I bent down to her level.
“I need you to stay safe.” I whispered into her ears, her ears pricking up at my voice. “Run if you don’t feel safe. I will find you.” Nodding, her hands ran up my black silk gloves that ran all the way up my elbow.
“I love you with all of my heart, and I will.” She babbled, running into the kitchen with Boran. “Good luck!” She stopped and waved back at me, an irritated adult dragging her into the kitchen. Placing my elbow into Viktor’s, stopping at the entrance. My body protested, a rotten egg smell wafting up my nose. People laughed and cheered, the swing music blasting my ears. This didn’t make sense, a woman with emerald green hair approached us. Emeralds shimmered on her mermaid dress, the silk tail spreading out around her feet. Her green eyes met mine, her silk green gloves tracing my skin.
“I am Esmerelda Diamond.” She introduced herself haughtily, the emerald in her chest catching my eyes. “You look as lovely as a ruby on a pile of gold. And you? Aren’t you a handsome devil?” She traced his cheek, jealousy flaring in my mind. How dare she touch him? My lips parted in protest, black energy oozing from everybody. Her nimble fingers ripped my mask off, a sly grin dancing across her face.
“You are the esteemed Mina, aren’t you?” She mused, pulling out an emerald cane. “Darling, let's give the crowd a show.” The spotlight fell on me, the music dying down. Red eyes glistened at me, drool dripping from the guests mouths. William leapt and landed next to me gracefully.
“Hello, Esmerelda!” He cursed with a touch of irritation, snow flurrying around. “I refuse to let you keep doing this to people. We did not go to school together for you to become evil. Hell, what was that summer of teenage romance to you.” A sneer curled on her lips, her hands gripping tightly on her cane. Guilt flashed in her eyes, the stone cracking slightly. Her foot smashed into William, smashing him onto a table. Champagne spilled everywhere, a cake falling on his face.
“I hated those times!” She shouted angrily, raising her cane. “And I hated you with all of my heart!” William cried out her cane smashing against the ground, people crashing to the ground. Their energy flowed from them into her, her eyes going black. Her heels sparkled in the candle chandeliers, the silk of the tent swallowing up the guests. Viktor pulled out his gun, my hands pulling out the sword under my skirt. Lottie ran over to William, wiping off his face. A ball of black energy shot from her palm, the energy wracking my body. Small cuts appeared on my skin, small lines of blood dripping slowly. Cracking my neck, my blade sliced off the front of my dress. The silk plodded to the ground, my legs now free to move. Leaping up in the air, she snapped her finger, disappearing in a puff of green smoke. Sharp pain jolted my body, her cane slamming into my shoulder. Black electricity sparked around me, my powers draining. Horror gripped my body, air rushing as I fell to the ground. Blue energy flowed into her, the stone on her chest cracking more. Viktor caught me, William stepping in front of us.
“This is my fight.” He thundered, his blue fur robes back on. “Let me protect the one who has helped me the most.” My body twitched, the electricity preventing my husband from holding me. Blood dripped from the corner of my lips, the bitter copper taste poisoning my taste buds. William was blasting her left and right, barely keeping up with her. Lottie ran over to me holding an ornate dagger in her hand, shock widening my eyes. The blade glowed in her hand, her eyes narrowing as she flung it towards the green haired witch. Howls exploded from her lips, the black energy flowing back into the people as the stone smashed into pieces. William caught her in his arms, his heart rate picking up. The electricity stopped shocking me, relief washing over me. I couldn’t move, but at least I am not dead. Viktor held me tight to him, Lottie squeezing us tightly. Tears shimmered in her eyes, her hands trembling.
“Little Lottie, what is wrong?” I queried sweetly, wishing I could grab her hands. “Where did you get that?” Hot salty tears flooded from her eyes, her lips twitching with grief.
“This was my mother’s.” She blurted out, holding us tightly. “I stole it from her the day she died, and using it reminded me of how she used it. I miss my mom.” Feeling came back into my muscles, my arms pressing her against me. Patting her hair, her tears soaked my shoulder. Esmerelda approached us with a kinder look in her eyes, an apologetic half smile on her face.
“May I please speak to the young lady?” She pleaded with tears in her eyes. “I met your mother before the stone was implanted in my chest. She was a lovely woman who was my friend who spent every year of our childhood together. You look so much like her. I was the one who gave her the dagger. When she told me that she was pregnant with you, I was so happy for her. I often wondered what her child would be like. So I am sorry for your loss. You can visit me anytime you need to. We can talk about her over a nice cup of tea. Okay?” Lottie nodded, not looking at the kind woman. Snapping her finger, the tent disappeared. An emerald castle rose out of the ground, the people disappearing in puffs of green smoke.
“I am assuming that they will wake up in their homes tomorrow!” I barked, barely containing my frustration. “Please tell me that you did that at least.” Touching her cheek, tears welled up in her eyes. Guilt burned in her eyes, her hand touching my shoulder. Jolts of pain shook my body, my powers flowing back into me.
“Yes, they will wake up in their homes.” She confirmed with a pleasant smile. “I am sorry for all of the trouble I caused. William, may we meet up when this crisis is over?” He nodded, his face flushing red.
“I would like that.” He uttered, rubbing the back of his neck. “I kind of have to save the world first. Do you want to come?” She shook her head, her hands crossing. William tucked a piece of green hair behind her ear, his lips pressing against hers sweetly.
“I can’t.” She stammered, still shocked from the kiss. “I heal the nearby villagers. So after, we can get together. Promise me you will come back. However you guys can spend the night if you wish. Lottie, I can show you some pictures of your mother when she was younger.” Sadness dimmed her pale face, her teeth biting her bottom lip. Lottie popped out of my arms, grabbing Esmerelda’s offered hand.
“I would love to see her face one more time.” She wept, wiping away her tears. “Even if it is a photo. May I keep a couple?” Nodding, they walked in. Everyone followed after, hopefully to sleep on a nice bed.