Guardians of vitalus – conclusion

Read part one: https://inspiredpensite.wordpress.com/2020/06/22/guardians-of-vitalus/

Read part two: https://inspiredpensite.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/guardians-of-vitalus-part-2/

All three children stared at their palms, wide-eyed in disbelief. The events over the past few days were sinking in, and they realized it was all tangible and real. Stephie was most open to the possibilities of so-called mythical worlds. To Stephie, it made sense since she exhibited the most empathy and insight.

Pasha, aware of how impressionable young human minds were, approached them with gentleness. He knew this would change as he strengthened the bond between him and the children.

Squinting his yellow-green eyes, bowing his head to focus on them, he spoke to Stephie first. “Come forward, Stephie.”

Stephie, smiling and giddy with pure joy, did more than a step forward. She ran to Pasha, leaned upon his front left leg, and hugged it. You are perfect, she thought. She knew that they’d be forever friends.

Letting out an amused snort Pasha nudged her with his nose. “Stephie, you are full of compassion and empathy. You will always feel what other’s intentions are. Red is the color of empathy. Thus, your seal will glow red as a warning when someone you meet means you harm. It will also turn red when Vitalus or one of your loved ones is in danger.”

Stephie dragged in a deep breath and rubbed her palm. “Wow, amazing!” Her mind was full of thoughts, and she blurted out, “Do you have a wife?”

A deep, rattling laugh erupted from Pasha’s throat. “Yes, I suppose I do; she is my Queen. You will meet her soon enough. Now stand with Miss Emmy. Ron, please step forward.”

Ron, bowing his head, stepped up to Pasha. He lifted his head and looked Pasha in the eyes. Pasha, appreciating the sign of respect, nodded his head once.

“Ron, you are a loyal and faithful friend. You are protective and respectful of your family. Thus, your seal will glow blue when you meet people who can be trustworthy allies.”

Ron straightened his posture, held back his shoulders, “Thank you, Pasha. I’ll always protect you and Vitalus. I promise!”

“I know you will. Now, stand with Miss Emmy. Steve, please step forward.”

Ron, smiling to himself, a proud gleam in his eye, walked to Miss Emmy and Stephie.

Steve, always fidgety, shook out his arms, took a deep breath, and approached Pasha.

“You are a complicated mixture of spontaneity, enthusiasm, and energy. You are quick to adapt and can make smart decisions. Your seal will glow yellow when it is clear you need to take the lead. When the solution isn’t clear to others, you will know what the next step must be.

“Yellow? Oh man, why can’t I have a color like black or gray?” Steve said.

“Because you are an important key to the success of the circle. Without you, Ron and Stephie could not be as strong. Color has meaning and power when combined with abilities. In time, you will not care if your seal glows yellow, you will care that it glows. Now, go stand with the others.”

Pasha, standing at full height, stretched his wings and refolded them. Pasha explained, “The three of you have different strengths and weaknesses. Alone, you are capable of succeeding within your strengths. Together, you are incapable of losing to your weaknesses. You are strongest when you stay together as connecting strands of consciousness. No one outside of this world can see your seals. Only those who have a seal will be able to see yours.

Stephie was eager to meet the Queen, “Can we meet your Queen now?”

“No, Stephie. First, you need to know why there is a protective gateway to Vitalus. You need to know part of its history.”

“Now you’re talking,” Steve said. He was ready to explore, and the current conversation began to bore him.

Ron, shaking his head, “Geez, Steve. Rude much?” He slapped Steve’s shoulder in jest.

“Hey, since we’re going to be guardians, why not get to the story. It beats standing around doing nothing,” Steve said.

Pasha yelled, “Sit.” Humans are so counterproductive with the nonsense conversation, He thought.

Miss Emmy smiled and winked at Pasha. “Come on, children, let’s have a seat and let Pasha speak.”

“I will keep the history short. Our world is parallel to Earth, and a gateway connects both worlds. There was a time when humans would often pass into our world as friends; we would cross over into your world too. The visits between our world and Earth never compromised the balance of Vitalus. That was until Humans became more of a warring race rather than peaceful. Greed began to infect the hearts of humans. Humans would kill dragons for money and capture sprites and pixies for trade. I decided it was time to close the gateway, but wanted to leave it open only to those humans I deemed trustworthy. Vitalus is a world rich with magic. My Queen and I created a seal that would protect Vitalus from Earth and its inhabitants. We knew there were good humans and still wanted to have access to those who would be our allies. So we also devised a seal that would enable our allies to cross back and forth between worlds. Those are the seals in each of your palms. I hope you will not misuse them.”

Ron lowered his eyes for a second. Embarrassed at how humans had treated Pasha and his world, he said, “Pasha, I’m sorry that humans are so rotten. They’ve gotten even worse.”

“Yeah,” Steve said. “I’m sorry too.”

Stephie was also sad but jumped up with excitement and asked, “Can we meet your Queen now?” She twirled with her arms straight out at each side.

Laughing, Pasha said, “Yes, Stephie, you can meet the Queen now.” Lifting his head, flapping his wings, Pasha let out a throaty roar, then three short grunts. The wind from his flapping wings sent dust into the air, and the tree leaves rustled. The children and Miss Emmy stood looking toward Dragon Mountain. An iridescent green dragon with emerald green eyes glided toward them. When she landed next to Pasha, she gave him a nudge with her nose. He closed his eyes and nudged back.

“It’s a pleasure to me you. My name is Darrae.”

Stephie couldn’t contain herself, and ran to Darrae and hugged her leg. Darrae, being very patient, didn’t mind Stephie’s reaction.

Stephie’s palm began to itch—the seal had turned red. She gasped and looked at Ron, then Pasha. “Look.” She held up her hand.

“It’s Charlie,” Miss Emmy and Steve said in unison.

*****

Charlie didn’t let the incident with Miss Emmy go—it burned inside him like molten lava. Without hesitation, he rode to Ron and Stephie’s house. He knocked on the door.

The door opened. “Hello.” Julia Jacobs, well-liked by the kids in the neighborhood, didn’t recall ever speaking with the boy at her door.

“Hi, are you, Mrs. Jacobs?” Charlie asked. His hands shook so much he put them in his pant pockets.

“Yes, can I help you with something?” She felt terrible for the kid. He looked so nervous, and he looked familiar. She knew she’d seen him around town.

“I wanted to tell you that the old crazy cat lady kidnapped Ron and Stephie,” Charlie said. His voice cracked, and he cleared his throat after he said it. He didn’t care how wrong it was to lie. Revenge was his goal.

“What crazy cat lady?” Julia asked.

“You know the one on Maple Street. I saw their bikes in front of her house.” I thought you should know.” Charlie could see the confusion in Julia’s face.

“Thank you; I’ll look into it. What’s your name? I’m sure you’re mistaken.”

“My name’s David. I have to go.” He lied. Charlie got on his bike and pedaled down the driveway. He didn’t want to answer any more questions.

“Wait,” Julia yelled. “Crap,” she said under her breath. Julia grabbed the car keys and drove by the park. When she couldn’t find the three kids at the park, she drove by Miss Emmy’s house. Julia stepped on the break, screeched to a near stop, and pulled over to the side of the road. There, leaning against the porch, were three bikes. Why in the world are they here, she thought. Pressing her ear to the door, she knocked. When there wasn’t any answer, she walked around to the fence and tried to peek into the backyard.

“Shit. What in the hell is going on?” Julia put her hand over her heart then screamed out Ron and Stephie’s names. No one replied. She pulled out her cell phone and called the police.

As she waited for the police to arrive, she tried to lift herself to look over the fence. The ground sank every time she tried. That’s creepy, she thought. Her shoes weren’t muddy, but the ground gave way below each foot. It was like a type of quicksand without the mud, so she stopped trying.

*****

“We have to go, children,” Miss Emmy said. “Pasha, Darrae, I’ll be back later—be safe.”

Pasha nodded and said, “Children, remember, you are strong together. Go now, and be safe.”

“What’s happening?” Stephie asked. Her heart ached, and she felt her mom’s fear. She didn’t know why her palm burned now.

Ron looked to Steve and Miss Emmy, his brow wrinkled as it always did when focusing. “Charlie did what he said he was going to do, didn’t he?”

“Well, not exactly,” Miss Emmy said.

Steve’s jaw set, and he clenched his fists, “But I know he’s involved. He’s such a screw-up.”

Miss Emmy opened the gateway, and they entered the backyard. Lights were flashing in front of the house, and bouncing off the fence. Police radios echoed sounding like mechanical voices.

“What are we going to do?” Ron asked. “We can’t go through the front door. I know they’ve already been knocking on the door.”

Miss Emmy held out her left hand, palm up. She put her right-hand palm down over her left. An ice cream cone appeared, and Miss Emmy handed it to Stephie. She did that two more times and handed one to Ron and one to Steve. Then, Miss Emmy made a door in the side of the fence. She ushered each of them through it, and they made their way through the woods to the sidewalk.

“Act normal and eat your ice cream.” Miss Emmy told them.

Julia glanced to the right and yelled. “Oh my God, there they are.”

Miss Emmy said, “You must be Ron’s and Stephie’s mother. I’m Miss Emmy. Your children have been so kind to me I thought I’d take them out for ice cream. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Oh, well… no, and thank you. Next time please, someone call me so we can avoid all this commotion. I am a little embarrassed that I called the police.” The police, realizing that it was a misunderstanding, left the scene of the alleged crime.

Miss Emmy invited Julia inside for tea. It was the beginning of a strong friendship. Even so, Julia would never learn of the existence of Vitalus. The children grew up and became a strong force of protection for Vitalus. Yet, the future tested their ability to find creative solutions.

*****

Fifteen years later, Miss Emmy passed away. In her will, she left the house to Ron, Stephie, and Steve. She also left them a private note requesting the release of her ashes in Vitalus. The city rezoned the area where Miss Emmy’s house was located from residential to commercial.

The challenge would be finding a way to continue protecting Vitalus. Steve suggested turning the property into a hydroponic farm. It was a natural cover for the gateway, the three of them agreed. Stephie managed it. Ron handled the financial end, and Steve made deliveries of their produce. Pasha was right. They were a strong alliance, and Vitalus would remain a secret.

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