In the village of Brahna, everyone valued friendship. There was no hatred among the kind people. They talked, laughed, and hand-in-hand travel from village to field, from town to city. Parents cared for the young, and young men held maidens with love. It was a small village, but even the towns around them felt an unquestionable kindness sprouting from Brahna.
A young woman with chestnut brown hair tied into a braid walked out of her house, which was a two-story villa that also served as a bakery shop. Her cheeks were fleshy pink and her face was pretty. She looked like around the age of twenty. As she came out with a basket, she ran across the street to greet Mrs. Parle, an old grandma of five grandchildren.
"Good mornin', Helga darlin'!"
"You too, Mrs. Parle. You look so happy today, it's a wonderful thing."
"You're lookin' fine yourself. O' course, bein' kind an' happy is whut our village is about, but it's even better to have a young find gal like you around."
"Whohoahoa, you ain't needin' to be all silent from that. But I shan't say too much. I just wish that my granddaughters would become young ladies just as you. Say, where are you headin'?"
"You didn't know? Today is my turn to deliver presents. I thought I'll just give some of my homemade cookies and berry pies," Helga replied, "I think I should be going now. I wouldn't want them to wait. See you, Mrs. Parle!"
As Helga traveled to Leihar, a nearby town, she passed by many wonderful natures. Surrounding Brahna were vast plains of green meadow and rosy colors. A little far away there were tiny grassy hills reaching toward the blue sky. There was also a lake nearby with old willows whistling in the wind. "Ah! The beauty of life!" she said delightedly. Helga sauntered and skipped and hummed along the way, for humming made her happy. She stopped for a moment and toke a glance around to see if there were anyway to bring such beautiful nature as part of her gifts. But as she shifted from left to right, she noticed something far south. Helga gaped at the dark woods of the Forest of Prism. A tingling feeling ran through her. There was a legend that said mystical power cursed the forest. Whoever went into there, this person would meet some illusion or whatever that would lead them further into the forest and eventually shall be forced to find the way back himself, and be last seen going into the forest. It was said that this was the way of punishment for "disturbing" the forest if the fairies felt threatened. Several random people meet such fate, but very little dare to go into the Forest of Prism.
Helga hurriedly turned away from the dark, lonely forest and quickly scanned the vast fields for flowers of any kind. Finally, in the middle of the meadow were full of Bella morning glories, soft flowers with cup-shaped mouth and magenta-blue petals. She plucked a few full-grown ones and one flower sprout.
Leihar was a busy town. People socialized day and night. Not as friendly as Brahna, there was still the other half made up of gamblers and selfish lads. It wasn't a rich town, and the place in general was more rather of a grayish atmosphere. In fact, many poor young ones were at need for love and care. Helga arrived at the town's only orphanage. Entering the door, Helga stared inside the dim room. Warm and cozy, there still was a lack of light, for there were only few windows that allowed sunshine to penetrate. That caused the room to appear to have blue walls. At the corner of the room, playing with children was blonde-hair Dorothy. Around the age of early thirties, she was like a foster mother to them. "Oh hello, Miss Helga! Are you here for the deliveries?"
"Yes, I made some treats for them. A whole lot of them, so there are plenty to share! Come on children, I brought you lots of goodies!"
A number of children ran to her. "Good morning, Auntie Helga! Mmm...they smell so scrumptious!!"
"WOW! A whole basket of them! Mmm, they're yummy!"
"Hey! I want that one!"
"No, itz mine!"
Both Dorothy and Helga laughed at the happy faces of the youngsters, but the joyous look soon smudged into an expression of sympathy. Dorothy turned towards Helga, "I'm always glad whenever you come, Miss Helga. They're always so cheerful and full of life every time you're here. It gives me so much joy. Of course, they're just as happy when others come too."
"But it's such a pity. Do these children have to stay here? It's not fair! Doesn't anybody want them and care for them?"
"If Leihar were as lovely as Brahna, it wouldn't have to be this way. Our town couldn't do the job of giving them the love they need because we lack those who would truly care for them, but we knew that your village could. Really, we're very grateful for the people of Brahna to always come and give comfort to the children here."
"I know this town will improve. Don't worry!"
"I do hope you're right," Dorothy agreed, "Oh by the way, what are the flowers you're holding for?"
"Oh yes! I almost forgot! These Bella blossoms are for the young lads here." Helga smiled. She handed out one by one to each person, except for the bud. All of them accepted them merrily.
"Who is that one for?" the blonde mistress asked, pointed to the flower bud.
"It's for Liana..."
Both of them walked toward a closed door and knocked on the door. "Come in." A faint voice answered. As they went in, there was a pale girl, looking some sort twelve to thirteen, looking out the window. She had long light-brown hair, but two strands of it were tinted lavender. Her eyes had a faint look. Liana was actually an adorable girl, but she was always quiet most of the time. She wore a light blue gown and was gripping onto a doll.
"Hello, Liana. Helga came and brought you some gifts!"
Liana looked up and smiled joyfully. "Hi, Miss Helga."
Helga came to the side of the child and said benignly, "How are you today? Look, I brought some cookies and pies for you to eat. Hopefully, you'll like them. Oh, and here is a Bella morning glory just for you. It didn't bloom yet, so you could put it in a bottle and watch it bud!"
"It's so beautiful! Thank you, I love them."
Helga hugged Liana lovingly and made a sad face to herself.
Without saying further, Helga and Dorothy walked out. Their faces were worried. Liana was an orphan they found near the Forest of Prism. She was brought to the orphanage only couple months ago, and she had shelter there. But where she came from and her story was a mystery, and even when they tried to ask her about her past, Liana always went blank and silent. A lot of times, she locked herself in the room, and even others avoid her because of this eeriness of hers. Of course, many times Dorothy tried to visit her room and talk to her, but many times were just the same - hardly a word from her.
Helga spoke up, "I think it's best if we do something about Liana, but I just don't know what. Truthfully, I really love her, but every time I looked at her, there is just this sensation of loneliness around her. At first, when I hugged her, I felt sad myself."
Dorothy replied, "But you know, she has something she doesn't want us to know, but it must be a poignant thing. Couple times, when I was about to knock on her door, I listened carefully. And you know what? She was crying..."
Back at Brahna, Liana was still the matter in Helga's mind. Helga's wish was to make everyone happy, but it limited to the fact that Liana didn't appear cheerful enough to satisfy her wish. It was in the afternoon when Helga returned, sunny and cloudless. She was back in her bakery house. Her job was a "simultaneous" job of cooking and delivering. Sometimes Helga's old mother remaind at home to help bake while Helga delivers. Along the way of delivery, she saw Nick, a young friend from her childhood, jogging on the street.
"Hey, Nick! How are you doing?" she greeted him.
Nick was a strong-built lad with fairly long brown hair. He was known for his cheerful nature, for even in some of the bad times in people's life, he shined through darkness and brought light in. "Well, if it isn't Miss Helga!"
"Oh quit that, would you?" Helga giggled, "You sound as if we haven't seen each other for ages! We only live three houses away from each other."
"Alright alright! So where were you this morning?"
"I went to visit Leihar."
"...How was Liana?"
"She was still very gloomy. Alone inside her room as usual. I want to help her in any ways, but I don't know what's bothering her. You were jogging like this the very day you found her, right?"
"Well, yeah. She just lay there lifelessly. Her face was as if she'd been through some hard times. I don't know, but she looks awfully familiar..."
"Nevermind. But why do you ask?"
"I don't know. Something just made me thought of how she was found near the Forest of Prism. I wonder if it had anything to do with her. The Forest, I mean."
Nick sighed. "Helga Helga, don't worry. If you really wonder so much about Liana, why don't you ask her privately? Cheer her up your way, whatever way you cheer people up with!"
Helga gave a hopeless moan and shook her head. "Miss Dorothy has tried talking to her. And a lot of times brought in the children with her so they might befriend her. I don't know why, but it's like they instantly want to ignore her. There were some very young girls who approached Liana, but they were too young to talk to her about anything."
Then Helga felt a soft pat on her right shoulder. "Who knows? Liana may have been frightened because of a whole crowd approaching her all at once. Or maybe Dorothy is just not the right person to ask her. But what if one, just one person goes up to her and talks to her? What if you try talking to her?" Helga looked at Nick's face, and hardly ever, it was a serious face. "Maybe she really wants someone to talk to..."
Helga smiled back and gave Nick a friendly embrace. "Thank you, Nick. That's wonderful advice. You know, you may be a clown sometimes, but you comprehend a lot too. Sometimes, it shocks me."
Nick raised his eyebrow and replied with his left arm on his waist. "Hey, I ain't always of a child, if that's what you think!"
The tall girl laughed with him, and then she stared up at the sky. "Oh my! Running late! I must hurry and make my delivery or it will spoil! I guess I shall see you later on." Nick nodded, and they both parted at different directions.
Mist surrounded everywhere. Tall trees encircled the place that she was at. The sky was a mixture of creamy pink, white, and blue. There were flying creatures soaring everywhere. They were fairies, beautiful ones that left sparkling trails in the air as they glided. There she stood, and she got eye contact with one of the fairies. A strong, mighty ruler, that fairy was a man, tall and majestic. He had a fine beard and wore a white tunic. She ran towards him and smiled, was about to clutch onto him, but he slowly walked away and gave her a sad stare.
She ran after him, but the majestic figure gave her a slap in return. Then she just lay on the floor shocked. Others assembled around her, but her eyes were only staring at the one whom stroked her. She watched his lips moving as he said silently a message to her and sauntered slowly away with the other fairies. "Wait!" she shouted, raising her right arm and reaching out.
Liana woke up, and she realized a tear fell from her eye. The duration was late afternoon, near sunset. She turned around and found that the Bella blossom Helga gave her had started sprouting by a petite. Then suddenly she heard a knock on the door and little Tammy, an orphan of age of five, came in. "Hi Liana! Remember me? Remember me?" She ran toward Liana and hugged her like a sweet little sister.
"Hello Tammy, how come you're here?" Liana looked at Tammy's innocent face.
The little orphan grabbed Liana's hands and pulled her off the bed. "Miss Dorry said dinner's almost ready!" she replied cheerfully, "Come out with me!" Liana doesn't know why, but Tammy's blissful spirit bestowed a warm feeling inside as Tammy held onto her hands. She felt a little happier because of Tammy.
The table was filled with appetizing food. All the children gathered around at the table with Dorothy. They said grace and began to eat. Liana sat next to Dorothy and Tammy. The other children enjoyed their supper and chatted with each other. On the other hand, Tammy was the only person kind enough to talk to Liana. Some whispered behind their backs, two or three barely knew Liana and still though of her as peculiar because of a strange impression around her, they thought. Dorothy of course noticed it, and she tried her best to treat the lonely girl with the same manner as she treat others without expressing any obvious sympathy that shall ruin Liana even more. Liana herself ignored the others as they did to her, and she was only talking to Tammy.
"Hey Liana! Liana! Have a bun! It's really yummy!" Tammy said.
"Thanks, Tammy. Here's a drumstick for you," Liana replied. Tammy laughed. Then they went off their chairs and laid on the ground and started drawing and playing games on pieces of paper.
Dorothy stared at the two of both and whispered to herself. "Perhaps only Tammy can help Liana from being lonely for now here." Then she excused herself to get something from the kitchen. As she did, Liana and Tammy went inside to the room with Tammy's bed. Dorothy watched them sadly. A little while later, Liana came back out with a more rosy cheek.
"Where is Tammy? Is she asleep?" Dorothy asked kindly. Liana nodded and soon went back into her room too. The blonde mistress felt sad for Liana, since now she had no one to keep her company. The others soon went back into their room after supper.
It was early in the evening. The sun has just set. Then someone knocked on the entrance of the orphanage.
"Miss Helga! We didn't expect you. Come, let's sit down and have some delights while talking. Oh by the way, did you have dinner yet?" Dorothy said in a surprised tone.
"Yes I did, thank you! I came to talk to you a little about Liana if it's all right. Is it bothering for you?" Helga asked as she sat down on a chair in the dining table.
Dorothy sat adjacent to Helga, "No no, it's perfectly fine. I'll be very glad to talk to you about anything."
"So, how is Liana recently? Is she still very lonely as usual?"
"Yes," took a sip out of her tea cup, "Little Tammy is about her only friend here, if not include me, that is. That poor dear..."
"I know. Miss Dorothy, does Liana have a room to herself?"
"She does, because she wanted to have solitary. Besides, with the others disliking her, I don't want her to have even more pressure with having to share a room with them. The others don't mind even though she has a room of her own. There are many rooms here, of course, because it's an orphanage here."
"I see... You know, it's very strange, but Nick, do you remember him? He said Liana's face seemed familiar to him. But that was only a very short subject. I didn't even ask him about it. Nick has come to visit her before, right?"
Dorothy nodded. "Liana wasn't afraid of him or too shy."
Then they discussed about how Liana cried sometimes in her room and how her story remains a mystery. The children at the orphanage all were either abused or abandoned by someone. They all were pretty clear of the reasons why and how they ended up at the orphanage, which was why everyone worried that Liana wouldn't speak of her self.
"Miss Helga?" Liana came out and greeted her.
"Hello there, Liana? Are you alright?" Helga said in a concerned tone.
"I'm fine, thank you." She looked at Helga with warm but lonely eyes. "I just came out because I thought I heard your voice, so I came out and check. How are you, Miss Helga?"
"I'm very well," she suddenly giggled, "Hey, why won't we have a cozy talk in your room, Liana? How about that?" Liana happily nodded and gave off a happy face.
Inside the room, it was only a small wooden bed and a window behind it. There was also a small cabinet where Liana kept her clothes and varies of books. The walls were painted tint-blue, and the curtains were turquoise color. Liana hopped onto her bed. A chair was next to the cabinet, and Helga sat there.
"It seems like a nice room, is it not?" Helga asked as she scrutinized around the place. "Are you happy here?"
There was a sad choking tone in her voice. "...I don't mind being here. Miss Dorothy is really nice to me. And there is Tammy! She's one my best friend, well," Liana paused for a moment, "perhaps my only friend..."
Helga kidded. "Oh, what about me? Am I our friend?"
"O-Of course, Miss Helga!"
"Please, you could go ahead and just call me Helga if you want. You don't need to talk to me as if I were some stranger or something. I want to be closer to you, and you friend, someone you'll want to talk to."
"Thank you, Miss- I mean, Helga. But doesn't it sound impolite in a way?" Liana said with a little embarrassment. Helga giggled.
"Silly Liana! I'm no one special that you need to be polite to. Just treat me as if I were someone your age."
Liana, for a long period of time who hasn't freely laughed because of some amusement that engrossed her, giggled along with a chestnut-hair girl. Her cheeks brightened up.
Liana felt endeared. She really started to feel certain affection between her and Helga growing within her. Furthermore, she has someone to talk to more comfortably and liberally. They talked about from wizards to peasants, and deer to leviathan, Helga's bakery to the orphanage, and meadows to forests. Many magical things lied with the tales and stories they shared. But Helga noticed a hidden disturbance on Liana's face as the two of them mentioned about the vast forests. As looked in it, she saw watery eyes. Liana didn't speak that moment and turned toward the opposite side of Helga.
"What's wrong, Liana?"
Liana sniffed and lingered. "N-nothing. It's nothing..."
Helga replied, "It's alright if you don't want to talk about it. But bottling up the pain is even more painful than telling it to someone. If you let it go, I'm sure you will feel much better inside. I won't force you, but Liana dear, if you ever need someone to talk to, you could always come and talk to me."
Then Liana buried her face between her knees and sobbed. Helga came to her side and placed her arms around Liana and pulled her toward her chest. "Shhh...it's all right. It's all right. Why are you crying?"
Liana raised her voice, and then slowly leaned her head toward Helga. "I-I'm sorry...but I" Liana stumbled as she spoke, "I feel really lonely and...sad!" Her crying became stronger.
Helga padded softly on her back. "Shhh...don't talk now. Try to calm down a little first. Take it easy. It's ok..." Then she handed Liana her pocket cloth handkerchief.
"I was...abandoned by my...father because of something I did..."
"He was really mad...I want to return...but I can't...!" Tears rushed out her eyes again. Liana held tightly onto Helga's sleeves.
"Poor Liana..." Helga mumbled, "Why couldn't you return?"
Liana didn't answer that. She just sniffed her way through to stop her sniveling and tears from running, but Liana didn't want to reply to that. She just remained speechless and wiped her eyes with her arm. Hence Helga pushed her no furthermore and embraced Liana in her arms for the sorrowful moment that lasted. Then she laid Liana on the bed. "I won't ask anymore, but don't you feel better now that you've let it go, at least a little? If you tell me who your father is, I really walk to talk to him, because he took away your happiness. But I know you wouldn't want to talk about your father. Don't worry, I will still be here if you want to talk to someone." Then Helga slowly walked out of the room. Before she did, she gazed upon the Bella blossom she gave Liana. "It's sure blooming very fast," she whispered to herself.
"Helga...Thank you..." Liana managed to mutter, covering her face on the pillow.
Five minutes later, Helga returned with the message that she would sleep overnight with Liana...
It was in the early morning. Helga slept beside Liana's bed, lying on a mattress and covered with a filament blanket. She couldn't sleep through the night, because of all the thoughts going through her mind. She couldn't forget the face of Liana crying, the story that she said, and the throbbing that Liana felt. It ached. She even woke up early in the morning, while Liana still slept comfortably. Helga didn't want to wake up the whole house, and thus, she remained silent and lied on the mattress. But as Helga turned around, she saw a crimson color journal on the desk. The cover wrote "Liana's Diary". She couldn't resist from opening it... Randomly she flipped through a page:
I'd like to say that this was another lonely day. Everyone avoids me. It really hurts. I know I'm different from everybody else, but it's something I couldn't help. Everyday is the same, because I just lock myself in this cold gloomy room by myself and embrace whatever that's in here. Besides, what else can I do? I want to say that about the only friendly people here are Miss Dorothy, little Tammy, and Miss Helga. They give me warmness and comfort, but not the comfort I need. NO ONE will understand me! I want them to, but I can't tell them my secret... It's not like it will hurt if I tell them, but they probably won't believe me, and worse, I shall betray my father and ruin my home. It's bad enough for me to be banished from my home.
- Teardrop wrinkles were on the page here -
...I miss Father...I miss my home... I'm sorry. I just have to cry... If it weren't for what I did to the young man that I found, this wouldn't have happened.
Oh well, I guess I shall close this entry. Crystal, nobody knows the real truth except for me, that I'm a...
Before Helga could flip the page, she heard Liana turning toward her direction and yawned. She quickly placed the diary back in place, just before Liana woke up.
"Good morning, Liana! Are you alright now?" Helga asked.
Liana yawned. "Yes, and thanks to you, Miss Helga. I mean, Helga. I feel more comfortable inside. And look! The flower is blooming rapidly!" She pointed to the Bella morning glory on the shelf. Indeed it was flourishing. The bud, which was closed when it was first handed to the orphan girl, blossomed halfway through already. The petals opened beautifully. Liana whispered to herself, "According to my dream last time, that means it's almost time..."
"Oh nothing. It's just a dream I had last night." Then Liana took a wooden comb and brushed her soft brown hair that had the strips of lavender.
Helga inquired curiously, "Is it something you can't tell me?"
"Well, I could. It's only that my father seemed to have said something to me..." then Liana trailed off.
"It's alright, Liana. You don't have to tell me. I understand it must be something personal. But I'm really happy that you feel better."
"Um, Helga, may I ask why you stayed overnight?"
"It's because I don't want you to be alone..." Helga smiled tenderly at Liana, "Besides, just in case you are uncomfortable during the night, I may help you, but it seemed that you slept in quite alright."
Then there was a knock on the door, and Dorothy came in yawning. "Good morning, both of you. I hope you slept well. I'm preparing breakfast right now. When you two are ready, please come join us! We're eating egg omelets today."
Liana changed from her regular gown into a thin light pink dress with. Helga packed her belongs, which wasn't much because of the unexpected arrangement of sleeping at Leihar. She helped tying Liana's hair into one adorable braid in the back, just like the one Helga tied for herself most of the time. The two of them came out, and there was a happy mood surrounding them. They smiled with red cheeks and twinkling eyes, unforeseen aspects for Liana. Helga and Liana sat next to each other on the table, and little Tammy came toddling to Liana. Even little Tammy, along with the other orphans, noticed that Liana was a little different today; Liana seemed more cheerful: she smiled more, she talked more, and her body seemed warmer too. Helga and Liana sang a song together, a song that was said to be a powerful and mystical song in her family, Liana said.
After the breakfast, Helga left to go back to Brahna. She was happy that Liana felt exultant now, but as she toddled along the morning road, the entry of Liana's diary reached to her mind. Who was that young man Liana talked about? Where was her home? What was she, which Helga didn't get a chance to figure out from the next page.
Around a week or so, Helga hadn't visited the orphanage in Leihar. She remained in Brahna cooking and helping out. It wasn't until another month or two for her to have to deliver to the orphanage, but volunteering to go was another story. Delivering to the orphanage meant doing or giving something special from the bottom of love and care. Usually, it would be treats and handcrafts. Helga kept track of who's turn was it each day to go visit track of who's turn was to go visit Leihar and constantly asked about everyone there, to be more precise, Liana. Everyday, she thought of her. Helga received many messages. But all of them had one thing in common - either Liana herself or Dorothy told the Brahna villagers to tell Helga that Liana's Bella blossom was blooming very beautifully...
Two days later, Helga saw Dorothy running urgently toward the village of Brahna. Her face seemed very shocked, and she came up to Helga with the news, "Liana disappeared!" Helga rushed quickly back to the orphanage, rummaging through the rooms and every corner. It was true, no traces of Liana were found. Tammy was still asleep, so she had no idea of what was happening. Helga kneeled beside the bed where Liana once laid and placed her face on it. "Liana...where are you...?" Helga stared toward the side and saw that the Bella morning glory was fulled bloomed. Suddenly, she remembered the diary. "Maybe it has some clue," she thought. As she closed the door, picked up the ragged crimson journal from the table, she flipped to a page that was book-marked, indicating that that was Liana's last entry, and sat on the bed. It was an entry from the night before.
Remember my dream last time? It's a wonderful dream. I realize that my father wasn't permanently banishing me as an orphan girl. I will return to him tomorrow... The dream was even better this time. He welcomed me into his arms, and I cried in tears. All the fairies were around us, clapping, shouting, and even the spirits of the trees were cheering too! The flower that Helga gave me somehow symbolized the time remaining for me here.
I still felt really bad that I disobeyed my father by taking our secret family "Faerie Potion" (the special potion of revival) to rescue Nick ("Nick?!" Helga thought) from dying there. I couldn't help it, because he looked so helpless and tired. Besides, if it were some other people, I probably would've done the same. It's sad, because I really wanted to also say sorry to Nick every time he visits me here, but he doesn't remember me or any of that incident... it was a spell my father cast before I dimly rescued him out of the Forest of Prism, remember? Oh well... I just wanted to apologize for jeopardizing him and getting my father so mad.
But again, part of me is glad to return, but part of me is sad to leave everyone behind. There is a good reason why we don't want any humans to enter the Forest of Prism, and that's because we wanted to protect it. Leading them astray in the forest was just a way of protection, so they won't discover our fairy home. But anyways, I'm going to miss everyone. I especially will miss Helga... She was so nice to me, and even became my friend. I'll never forget her because she made me feel like I wasn't alone anymore. I shall always remember her... I wish I had a chance to say goodbye...
Tears fell from Helga's shiny eyes as she read through that entry. As she did, she recalled the times when she visited Liana, brought her varies of gifts, and that night when Liana cried on her. Liana was a sweet girl, Helga thought as she sobbed. Then Tammy knocked on the door and opened it. "Liana! I've come to play again today!" But when she saw that only Helga was in the room, she asked, "Where is Liana?" Tammy toddled toward Helga.
"She..." Helga started, "Oh Tammy!" The little orphan didn't know why, but Helga suddenly put her arms around her tightly and cried on Tammy's thin shoulders.
"Miss Helga? Where is Liana...?" Even Tammy began to choke as she stared at the tearing face of the chestnut hair girl. "I want to play with her..." Tammy hugged back Helga in response.
"D-don't worry, Tammy. Liana just..." Dorothy came in with Nick, who also have heard the news, and embraced along with the two.
Suddenly, Helga sprinted up and shouted at Nick, "Nick! Do you remember any of your time of going to the Forest of Prism?!"
Nick looked surprise of the abrupt blur out. "W-what?"
"Please, Nick, just tell me! Um, Dorothy, would you go out with Tammy for a while? I want to talk to Nick alone." Then the two went out silently.
Nick placed both his hands on Helga's shoulders. "Calm down, Helga! Don't be like this!"
"Nick, please answer me if you had been to the forest or not. Is it that hard to answer?"
"I don't recall anything like that, but something seems to be missing in my head. Maybe I did, and maybe I didn't. I really don't remember." Then Nick clutched onto his head as if he had a headache.
"I'm sorry. It's just...I don't know why I feel so sad about the leaving of Liana..."
"The leaving? What is this all about? Why are you asking me about the Forest of Prism? Helga, you are hiding something from me."
"No, it's nothing, Nick. It's nothing!" Then she placed her face onto his chest and pounded on it. "It's nothing!" She cried out.
Another two days passed. Those days weren't the greatest ones. Everybody in Brahna knew about the disappearance and the way Helga felt about it. There was always a heartrending look in her swollen eyes. "I want to go find Liana," she said, staring out her window. The sky continued to cry and pour, and the sound of rain partly soothed Helga's heart and partly saddened it.
The next morning was a foggy one. Nick walked on the road that connected Brahna and Leihar, chewing on wheat, and was on his way back from Leihar. He stared at the sky and moaned that it might be raining again. "Man...why is it showering so much these days? It's just not right. And I wonder how Hel - Helga?!" He noticed a figure was walking slowly toward the Forest of Prism and recognized that that was Helga. "Helga! What do you think you're doing?" he shouted, but that didn't meet her. Their distances were too far apart.
Helga walked up to entrance of the forest. She gazed upon the tall evergreen trees, eyes still swollen but with much courage in them. "This must be her home. I want to find you, Liana...I miss you." As she stumbled and began to enter, she took cautious of the rumors and legend of this place. "It maybe risky, but to see Liana again, I won't hang back!" Aside from some hesitation and what the stories said, the forest actually looked quite pretty. Even though there wasn't much sun, the forest glittered and sparkled all around. There were many colorful flowers and plants to add to the beauty, and they all seemed to be alive. Helga knew she must be careful because everywhere she looked was giant green trees. Tiny creatures around chirped and chipped, which added more being to the forest. In fact, it was as if the forest itself was alive, Helga thought. Without discerning the place, she continued to walk inner and inner with small pace, curiosity, and fear.
"Princess Liana! You know how much we missed you?" one young fairy said.
"Yeah, we were so worried about you! We thought we'd never seen you again," another fairy friend added.
Yes, it was Liana. All of her fairy friends welcomed her back. This took place after her and her father's little sermon about their reunion. But she was a different Liana now. Her hair wasn't light brown anymore, and neither did she have the two lavender strips. Instead, her hair became completely lilac, in a very sweet way. She didn't wear the ragged clothes that she wore in the orphanage, but Liana's dress was a light cerulean tunic that resembled the sky. Like all the other fairies, she doesn't have wings, but they had the power to fly. They looked just like humans aside from their power and how they dress. Liana looked different than before. As she held hand in hand with her companions, she smiled and laughed along with them, but somehow, they knew it was a thin façade. Then they looked into her face. One of them, which had brunette long hair, tied in a loose bun, asked, "What's wrong? Aren't you happy that you're back? Everybody's happy for you, including me!" Mirei, her name, was the closest friend of Liana in the Forest.
Liana looked up at her. "It's such I am a little sad to leave behind some people I met while stranded as an orphan."
"But you know humans are dangerous to this forest! How could you befriend them? Besides, you do remember that our existence depends on the nature around us, and this forest was the best place there is. If they found out about us or decides to destroy this place, we're doomed!"
Another fairy added, "Besides, for now, we manage to have the power to lead them away and let them go off course, but we don't know how long it'll last."
"I know you are all worried, and I'm so sorry that I caused so much trouble," Liana replied, "But really, the people I met were not how we imagine them to be."
Mirei asked, "Liana, did you say anything to them about us?"
"Um..." Her face suddenly went pale as she saw something, or rather, someone. Liana thought her eyes and mind played a trick on her, but it really was Helga she saw that past by the distant trees behind her friends. "Miss Helga..." she whispered.
"I'll be right back!" Then Liana quickly flew off. The others didn't attempt to follow her but stared in a stunned way.
"Miss Helga-!" Liana trailed off. As she ogled at Helga's face from a void, she saw that Helga was the Helga she knew, but something was different. Her eyes were dull and shaded and were staring at something, which seemed to be controlling her to go somewhere. "Liana! Wait for me!" Helga cried out, looking at another route. "Don't run away! It's me, Helga! Don't you remember me? Why are you running away?" Then she dashed toward that direction.
"Miss Helga?" Then Liana paused. "Father must've spotted her before I did! Then..." Liana quickly glided toward the direction that Helga went and hastened in front of her, "Miss Helga! Miss Helga! Please wake up! Please!!!" But it was no use. Liana's words didn't reach Helga. "She won't notice anything around her aside from the illusion..." Liana then slowed down and watched from behind. Suddenly, she saw Helga slowing down and started grieving, "Liana...why are you running away from me...?"
"Is that me that she's seeing?" Liana just stood here. She remembered that the illusion one saw was what she wanted to see the most. She said silently, "She really missed me..." Then Helga continued to run off, following what she believed to be Liana.
"NO! DON'T GO THAT WAY!" Even though Liana was banished as a human for a long period, she didn't forget about the quicksand pit that lay hidden deep inside the forest. It was natural sinking sand and wasn't a trick of the fairies. Scared as a bird to its predator, she hastily flew to Helga as quickly as possible and attempted to stop her, but she couldn't. She felt so helpless and futile, even though she tried her hardest to shake Helga into her sense. "Please stop this! Or else Helga will die!!!" Liana cried out in a voice that rang the forest.
Like out of nowhere but really dashed out from the trees, Nick shoved Helga to the side right before she ran into the area with the quicksand. The two of them collapsed into a nearby bush and took a while to get their consciousness back into place.
"Nick?" Helga finally said, realizing that Nick was enfolding her on the waist from the quick rescue. "Nick, what are you doing here?"
Nick raised his voice, "I should be asking you that question, and it was a good thing that I followed you. Why did you come here, Helga?! Are you insane?"
"I just wanted to look for Liana, but she was running away from me, and I don't know why..."
"Get hold of yourself! Why would Liana be here? It must've been a delusion. Don't you remember the tales?"
"A delusion? No, it couldn't have been! You don't understand. I saw Liana with my own eyes! It must've been her!" She started struggling.
"Don't do this to yourself!" Nick replied.
All of a sudden, they heard a soft voice out of thin air. "Miss Helga, please stop this... I'm right here." Then Helga saw a figure gliding down from above, leaving a trail of small sparks. A fairy could be seen as long as it wanted someone to see it. Helga stared in amaze. "Liana...?"
"Yes, Miss Helga. It's really me, so please don't be so sad!" Then she quickly leaped onto Helga and embraced her tightly, "I missed you, Miss Helga!"
Helga tried to fight back her tears. "Oh Liana, didn't I tell you that you don't have to call me 'Miss Helga'?!" she sniffed, "I missed you too!"
Nick looked clueless. He had no idea of what was going on, but he smiled. "Liana, is that really you? Who are you exactly?"
Liana dried her tears. She gave Nick a warm look and then hugged him too. "I'm sorry I caused all this trouble for all of you. But it isn't safe to talk here right now. I must lead you both out of here before my father finds you, or else you won't have a chance to go back out."
"Your father?" Nick asked innocently.
Helga giggled. "Oh Nick, I'll tell you all later." For that very moment, none of them spoke. There were very very faint sounds of drums that almost resembled the rustling of the forest trees. That meant the presence of the leader of the fairies. Liana yelled softly, "We must hurry!" They ran from groups of trees to groups, corners to corners, with the young fairy Liana leading them. The faint presence felt closer though every time. Liana could feel the calling of her father. They ran as silently and as fast as they could, but eventually they were cornered. A bunch of fairies flew in front of them and blocked them. Both Helga and Nick were amazed yet petrified at the same time at all the fairies, female and male ones, that appeared in front of them. Liana felt clueless of what to do next. Behind the group of fairies came the majestic figure that was in Liana's dream. He was holding onto a wooden scepter that bared an emerald-like jewel on top of it. Beside him were Mirei and Liana's other friends. Mirei had a guilty look on her, "I'm sorry, Liana, but I didn't know what to do. I didn't want you to get harm, Liana."
Liana darted her eyes at her friend partly with anger and partly with regrets.
He said in a deep voice and gazed at Helga and Nick, "Now that you have known the secret of our forest, I cannot allow you to escape." He noticed Nick. "Isn't he the one from last time?"
"What?" Nick said straightly, "What are you talking about?"
Then the leader looked at his daughter, "Liana, even as the princess here, even though I have punished you before reluctantly, how can you do this not once but twice?"
Liana flew up in front of Helga and Nick in their defense, "Please Father! Don't hurt them! I apologize for risking our home, but Father, they are my friends, so please don't do anything to them!"
"Liana, what has gone into you? You know humans are dangerous to us! It's for your own good to extinguish them, or else our secrets shall be spread." He raised his voice.
"No, Father! They won't, I promise..." Liana yelled back, "They are not those kind of people!"
"Get out!" Then he slapped her on the face, which pushed Liana away. Liana fixed her teary eyes on her father and placed her hand on the spot where was slapped. "I'm sorry, Liana... but it must be done before our forest is in danger." His staff began to light up brightly, but not bright enough to attract other people. The jewel glowed and began to release a strange beam from it. He raised it and then pointed it toward Helga and Nick. Nick was fast enough to push Helga and part of himself out of the way, but not fast enough to avoid the beam, and part of his leg got caught in the ray.
"Nick!" Both Liana and Helga cried out. They can see a light but large bleeding cut along Nick's left leg. Helga came to his side. "Nick, are you ok?!"
Then Liana's father rapidly blasted another beam at them. The place was enfolded in a blanket of white light that moment. Even Liana's father didn't know what happened after his shot. Until the light cleared up, then did he realize that the one that took his attack was his own daughter. Liana had smoke all around her, and then she collapsed to the floor. Being a fairy herself, though weak, she had the power to defend and resist the attack. "Father...don't hurt them..." Helga and Nick picked Liana up and shrieked, "Liana!!!"
Her father came to her side and said in his most concerning voice, "Liana! Why did you do that? Why?!"
Liana looked up and stared with loving eyes, "It's because they are special friends to me. They are the ones that...brought me relief when I felt lonely as a banished orphan. Father, please spare them..." Then she gave a few coughs.
All the sudden, Nick clutched onto his head like he did before and choked for couple minutes. "My head's aching..." Then abruptly his eyes widen and shouted, "Get the Faeries Potion! Quick!"
"Incredible. H-he remembers..." Liana's father whispered in astonishment. "Quickly! Get our treasure!"
At once, the shocked fairies flew quickly into the forest, except for Mirei. Aside from Liana's father, she was the most traumatized of them all. She grouped with the others around Liana and began to cry. "Liana! You must hang in there! Don't forget we still have a lot to do together!" Helga was crying too. "Liana, you fool! You didn't have to do that!"
"Don't worry, Mirei, Father, Miss Helga. I'll be alright..." Liana smiled. "I'm just hurting all over right now." The others laughed shortly with her.
Finally, the fairies returned and one of them carried with her a burgundy redwood box in it. Inside, Liana's father took out a bottle of pink potion. It was in an eight-inch glass bottle. He opened the golden lid and gave Liana two drops in her mouth, and she closed her eyes. Mystically, her wounds began to glow and closed slowly. Within a short period of time, Liana had no more scars and scratches on her face. Liana opened her eyes again, looked at everyone around her, and sat up. "Thank you, Father. Thank you everyone!" Then Liana remembered Nick. "Nick! Do you need some more potions?"
Nick chuckled. "Nah...you don't need to waist your treasure for a person like me. Besides, you fed some to me before; I don't need to take anymore. My wound will be fine! See?" He grudgingly stood up but unable to obtain his balance and then collapsed once again to the dusty ground. The others laughed.
Liana and her father embraced each other lovingly. "Liana, do they mean that much to you?" he asked.
"Yes, Father. Not all the humans out there are as cruel as how we imagine them. They have very warm hearts and do many other things that we couldn't do, well, or the other way around. But it's a great thing that I met Helga and Nick and little Tammy and many others, though not all appreciate me. Father, could you please spare them? Please?"
After a while of staring and thinking, he replied, "Anything you want, Liana."
Liana and the other fairies led Helga and Nick out of the forest. It was in the evening now, and the clouds cleared up, so now there was a blend of orange-purple in the sky. Helga and Liana stared at each other with sad eyes. They knew it was time to part and say goodbye. They gave each other perhaps their last hug and shed the tears they need to cast. "Even though we are different and live in different worlds, I'll always remember you and be your friend, Miss Helga."
"I'll always remember you too. I hope you'll be happy now."
Then Liana handed out a present wrapped in large flower petals with vines tied around it. "It's something for you, Miss Helga."
"Oh Liana, you didn't have to... but I have nothing to give you."
"But you did already back at Leihar! Many things. Besides, I still kept that pink dress that I wore. I'll remember you and everyone by that dress."
They both started choking as they spoke. "How come you didn't take your diary with you?" Helga asked.
"Oh yes! I forgot all about the diary, and it was a dumb mistake. I was in such anxiety to come back I wasn't aware of it. Miss Helga, could you do me the favor of keeping my journal for me? I don't want anyone else to read it." Helga nodded. Liana felt a tug from Mirei, telling her that they had to go soon.
Nick said silently, "Liana, we will all miss you."
Liana replied, "I'm going to miss you too, Nick."
Nick and Helga watched as Liana disappeared along with the other fairies back into the forest. They took a last glimpse at Liana's face.
The two of them walked to the orphanage. Everybody inside was silent because of the Liana's vanishing from there, especially Tammy and Dorothy. But Helga told them not to worry. "Liana just went home, to her father, to her own world..." They didn't fully understand that, but as long as Liana was safe, Dorothy said, she wouldn't need to fret.
Back at home, Helga, with Nick beside her, opened the present and found out that it was a music box. It looked similar to the one containing the magic potion except that it differed in size. As she opened it, it was playing a song that sounded familiar to her ears. It was the song she and Liana sang together. The figure in the middle was a fairy, which resembled Liana. Inside, there was a note, saying, "I hope you will remember me by this, Miss Helga... - Liana"
She placed the music box beside her window so that every morning she was able to open it and feel a faint charisma of Liana. Nick looked at Helga and said to her, "We promise that we won't tell the secret, so it'll only be known between us."
"You are right..." Helga smiled.
Special thanks to Michelle Fung who helped me on this story!