DRAGON PEARL - Festivity

Ren looked reproachfully at Malen. He knew, that the possible attack of the Hourens tormented him more, than he let others known. Another fake smile appeared on the old man’s face, ignoring Ren’s strict expression and he commanded them, to go and prepare for the evening celebration. Ren reluctantly obeyed and went down with Monik of the stronghold.

He led her through the center of the village, for about a kilometer, to a large building, that stood out above the surrounding houses. They walked without a word, side by side, on a wide beaten path. Monik was timidly looking at the villagers, who were also looking at the strange girl. Men were wearing either a tunic or a shirt. To Monik they looked mostly rough and very manly, and if they wouldn’t sometimes nodd with their heads in Ren’s greeting, she would actually fear them. Women on the contrary seemed to be very delicate and fragile. Most of them were dressed in a long dress, while the younger had a sort of corset around their waist and the older ones had aprons.

When they reached their target, Monik saw a huge wooden house with two floors.
"Oh, you're here?" suddenly Elion’s blond head looked out of the large entrance door.
"You were waiting for us?" asked him Ren.
"Yes, Malen has instructed me, to take care of our guest," and he devoted a smile to Monik. "Ouch," he said as he got hit and next to him a small older woman with full curves appeared, with same blond hair as Elion’s.
"You will not take care of her! Your job was to bring them to me, but you didn’t even manage to do that,” said firmly, but kindly, the woman. Then, she turned to Ren and Monik with a big smile. "Ren? I barely recognized you... your new look suits you... this girl has a good influence on you," she said and approached them.
"Mrs. Frída," Ren slightly bowed in greeting, but the woman just waved her hand, stepped to him closer and pulled him almost half a meter lower, so she could kiss him.
"You really look good Ren. But you can go now, I will take care of Monik," and she patted him on the chest. Ren nodded wordlessly and he went into the house. He devoted Monik a short glimpse and when he saw the panic in her eyes he just smiled spitefully.
"Hello, my name is Frída, I am Elion’s mother," stepped the short women to Monik and she started to check out the girl infront of her. "Well, I must say, that Elion didn’t exaggerate, you're really pretty and how tall! But, what are you wearing? In this other world, you dress really wierd... But do not worry, I'll fix this. We'll find you something more appropriate for the celebration," and she pulled her into the huge house.

For Monik's surprise, on the other side of the front door, she saw a courtyard with arcades. Few women there were cooking in large boilers something, that smelled like goulash. Some other women were decorating the place with flowers.
"As you can see, we are almost ready," said Frída. "When the sun goes down, we will opened the front door to the villagers. The boys we will play music and we will eat great food... it will be fun," she finished with a happy sigh. Then she showed Monik into the first room on the right.
"And believe me, we all need this celebration. For a long time there was a very tense atmosphere in the village," she said, when she began rummaging through some crate at the end of the bed. Monik looked around the room, but in addition to the bed with the crate, there was only a large mirror next to the window, nothing else.
"I don’t know, if you've heard before, but the Hourens already attacked two of our tribes and they tried to overrun us too. Luckily, our commander, Malen, with whom you already met... has a great leadership, and with his tactics, the village is still standing. But the damage, which they caused elsewhere... just hearing about it, was horrible," and she sighed woefully. "In other rooms of this building, we accommodate those, who managed to escape from these attacked villages. There are a lot of wounded and orphaned children." Then she turned to Monik with a simple dark-green dress.
"Ganni! Give me that scoop back!" came from outside and Frída rolled her eyes.
"So, this dress should be long enough for you. Try it on and if doesn’t fit, we'll find you something else. I will have to go outside to take a look at what Elion’s friends are up to,” and she gave Monik the dress. Before Frída left the room, she stopped in the doorway. "Then, don’t forget to show me how the dress looks on you. Also you can leave your stuff here, this will be your room. I hope, it will feel like ho..." but then they heard a smash and Frída looked out. "Ganni! What are you doing?! Sorry my dear, I have to go..."

When she left, Monik grinned and threw the clothes on the bed. She sighed heavily, put the bag on the floor and sat down next to the dress. She went through, with her fingers, the symbols engraved on the bracelet from Tomen and she thought about his words: A hard road awaits you, but know this, you can handle everything and you will return to this world.
She hoped the great Bai was right. She found herself in the middle of a war, in a world, where she didn’t belong... although, the people were very nice, she was well aware of the seriousness of the situation.
Monik took a deep breath and decided not to spoil this nice evening with her pessimistic thoughts. Thus, she took the dress from the bed and she changed.

When she had the dress on, she eagerly stood in front of the mirror. She was a little shocked, when she saw how perfectly the dark-green dress with long bell-shaped sleeves looked at her. They even had a fine tailoring that narrowed her waist and they beautifully formed her figure. She told herself, that she will not ruin her nice look with her hair tied back in a ponytail and she let her ginger hair down. She grinned at herself in the mirror and she looked out the window. The sun had almost set and dark clouds were slowly appearing on the sky.

She completely turned off her brain and she merely stared at the tree, that stood near the window. She felt how her fingertips began to hurt and she turned her gaze back to the mirror - for the first time, she saw her iris turned into a bright green color. She awoke the Green dragon’s power. She thought, she will feel strange, that she is not even look like herself, but on the contrary... she never felt more herself as in that moment. But that feeling scared her, she shook her head and looked out of the room.

On the court, Mrs Frída lectured Ganni and Elion was laughing next to them. Monik didn’t want to disturb her and she thought, that the view at the lake, next to the sanctuary, would look amazing this time of the day. With a vision, that she will see, how the last rays of the sun will reflect on the lake’s mirror-clean surface, she managed to slip unnoticed out of the house - or so she thought.

Monik crossed through the row of houses, that divided her from the lake and then she saw it. On her face a smile appeared, because she wasn’t mistaken - the view was beautiful. The dark clouds of the night were slowly covering the sky, but still, some dark-orange rays of the sun peeked out and they made the treetops colorful. All this reflected on the clear surface of the lake... Monik took a deep breath of fresh air and she felt again that weird pain in her fingertips. She looked down at her fingers, and then she saw a little light on the ground. When she looked up, she saw everywhere little yellow lights. After a while, it occurred to her, that she is seeing how the energy is flowing in the grass, in every single bush and from the tree trunks to their leaves. It was so strange to literally see life flowing in her surrounding, but she felt great.

Then, Ren gently placed his hand on the shoulder, saying: "What are you doing here?"
Monik didn’t get scared, she just stared in disbelief far ahead. "Your world is completely different. I can see how energy flows in the trees... it's fascinating. Even, when I close my eyes," and she did that "I feel, where the trees stand, where exactly are their roots... it's amazing." After that, she opened her eyes and looked at Ren, but she didn’t have the Green dragon’s power in her eyes anymore.
Ren was a little shocked by her words. The Green dragon’s abilities develop much faster in her than he expected.
"We should head back, the celebration probably already started and when Frída finds out, that you disappeared, she will not be thrilled."
Monik just silently nodded and Ren has gone back to the house. After a moment, he turned back, because he realized, that Monik wasn’t following him.
"What is it? You are not coming?" he asked in surprise.
"You didn’t tell me, what news did you get about your brother," she said seriously. Ren felt how her look got under his skin, he sighed, looked around and walked back to her.
"My brother was hiding at the edge of our territorium, by the northwest area, near the forest Niú. It was maybe the best place to hide, because the dragon descendants will not dare to go near the forest, but the Hourens were usually hunting creatures there, for their armor. They had to be near my brother's hiding place, because they were able to track him down and kill the two guards, who were with him. Their heads were sent to a nearby tribe as proof, that he was captured. We thought, they took him to their king, but our young spy send us an information, that they were headed to the Fire dragon’s territory.”

Ren paused for a moment, looked around, to see whether they are someone unwanted listens, and then he continued: "First, it didn’t make sense. Hourens were for generations our pawns. Because of their special armor, the Green dragon had always power over them. That was why they rebelled and interrupted the power handover ceremony - or at least, that was, why we thought they did it. But after this information, that they are going to the Fire dragon’s territory, it hit me... I remembered your friend, Lucy and Samelin’s curse. That curse is very strong and dark, although, in your world it wasn’t so effective..." he stopped again, but now because he saw Monik’s fearful facial expression. She remembered the curse they put on her friend and the idea, that it could have killed her, just horrified her.
"Anyway," Ren started again, "to cast the curse a very powerful witch is needed and the new heiress of the Fire dragon power, Iris, has one. Everything fits together. All this time, she was in the background. She had to offer the Hourens something, that they could not resist and therefore, they interrupted the ceremony."
"What could she offer?"
"I don’t know, but the road to the castle, through the wilderness, takes about three days. My brother doesn’t have much time."
“So what are we still doing here? We should rather go, than stay at this festivity!"
Ren precariously sighed and he straightened up, "I've a bad feeling about the Houren’s attacks. Malen said, that they already tried it twice and he thinks, they will come back again. This behaviour is not typical for them."
"Hey! My lovely couple!" a voice suddenly yelled from the distance.

Monik and Ren turned around, to the voice and saw, how Elion with Ganni are approaching them.
"What? Did you need some privacy?” teased them Ganni with a big simile, and Monik with Ren almost jumped apart from each other.
"Wow! Monik, that dress looks great on you," said Elion and Ganni began to nod.
Ganni then proceeded to Ren and leaned on him: "Now, I am not surprised, that you didn’t want to come home from that other world. All girls there look so nice?"
"Even nicer," said Ren focused on his thoughts, but when he saw how Monik’s nostrils angrily expanded, he realized, what he said.
Ganni with Elion looked horrified at him and waited, how Monik will respond.
"Well, of course," she said after a while with a casual tone, while her facial expression reflected anger. "Ren knows what is he talking about. In my world, he went out with Kamila and he LEFT A MARK ON HER, like no one else." Monik stared into Ren’s eyes, when she said those words, so he will know, that she heard about his big date.
"You are the man!" hit him Ganni in the shoulder with a mischievous smile, because he could not know, how Monik meant it and that was exactly, what she wanted. She needed to make Ren feel bad, but she didn’t want to embarrass him in front of his friends.
"So, you two are not together?" Elion stepped closer to Monik and she shook her head. "In that case, can I have the first dance?" and he reached for her hand, while the girl happily accepted the invitation.
Ganni remained standing next to Ren with mouth open, while Elion was escorting Monik to the celebration.
"You screwed this one up, old man," whispered Ganni to Ren and he ran to the others. "Hey! Wait for me! I want a dance too!”

When they arrived at the yard, the festivity was already in its best - just like Mrs Frída said: music, food and fun, nothing was missing. Almost the whole village was there, just on the stronghold were some men standing guard.
Elion pulled Monik immediately to dance. It had no coordinated movements, they were just happily jumping to the beat of the drums. Monik was a little confused at first, but after Elion gave her some strange drink, she felt relaxed and she was able to enjoy the dance properly. It even seemed, that she gained the attention of several villagers, who really liked, when she made the decoration of flowers blossomed around them.

Her second dance was with Ganni. While dancing with him, Monik saw Ren standing in the large door entrance. He had a strange look, that she could not explain. After that, another young man asked Monik to dance, but she apologized, because she needed some rest. The boy understood and he immediately grabbed another girl to dance.
Monik went toward Ren, but without a word, she walked around him and sat down on the stairs leading up to the building. Ren stared at her for a moment from the door, but then he sat down next to her. Although loud music played in the background, Monik heard just her heart pounding. Her face was all red from dancing.

She waited, if Ren will say something, but suddenly, she felt a terrible pain and she grabbed her forehead.     
"You shouldn’t drink so much," muttered Ren and Monik stood up angrily.
"Please, I only had one drink," she said to him, but as she stood up, she needed to grab the railing, so she will not fall. Ren promptly jumped to his feet, to catch her, but she raised her hand in a sign, that there is no need for that.
"You see? This drink is not like in your world, you're not used to it."
"It's not that," she whispered and looked to the distance. She got a very bad feeling, grabbed her skirt and immediately started running toward the stronghold. Something was approaching them - she felt it. Around the fortress a dark energy began to cumulate. She didn’t know, what it is, but the closer she got to the gate, more certain she was. Somewhere halfway, she stopped to catch her breath - it was hard to run in that dress, plus she drank some special kind of alcohol.
"What are you doing?" Ren asked her when he caught up with her - he was not even out of breath.
"Something is coming… behind the stronghold is something... I feel dark energy surrounding the village," she said breathlessly, and Ren immediately understood.
"Hourens," he whispered to himself and ran to the stronghold.

Monik quickly followed him, but when she got to the stronghold, he was already running up the stairs to Malen, who was just about to give the order to open the gate.
"Ope..." but he didn’t finish, because Ren grabbed his shoulder.
"Ren, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at the party?"
"What's going Malen?" he asked him frightened and he looked around. Malen first didn’t understand what is happening, but then, he saw the out of breath girl and he changed his command.
"Guards, get ready!" he gave the order and they looked at him with surprise.
"There are refugees by the gate from a nearby tribe, we wanted to let them in," whispered Malen to Ren who then, down in the dark, noticed a little girl and a wounded man, who she was helping to stand.
"It's a trap," said Ren seriously.