She had only wanted to bring the milk over to the kitchen table when she was suddenly back home among the other stars, her hair on fire, streaking through the universe — and after that moment she was in her kitchen again, frozen to the spot, eyes wide, and a painful longing and oh so much grief in her heart that she needed a moment or two to even realise what had just happened.
Then the star retraced her steps carefully, walking backwards, trying to find the exact spot where that had happened — and there she was:
Back home; in the palace even. She saw Ephaniel leaning against one of the columns, looking at her — waiting? For her? She tensed.
"Welcome home, princess!" Ephaniel said, not at all smiling.
The star looked around, waiting. She couldn't move without flashing right back to Earth anyway.
He walked over to her. The hallway seemed to be empty except for him and her, and he had kicked her out of the kingdom once before…
But Ephaniel didn't try to kick her out right now, he just stared at the pot of milk that she still held in her hands.
"I have chocolate powder on the table," she said quietly, "and freshly baked bread for breakfast."
Saying that brought her back to herself. 'Palace,' she thought, and then she pulled power all around her so that nothing would be able to touch her. Her hair burning brighter than ever she looked Ephaniel right into the eyes.
There was no ill-will in them.
"What is going on?" she demanded to know while putting even more power into her shields.
He shrugged; a typical gesture for him. "War," he just said.
The star waited.
"We can kick you out but we can't kill you", Ephaniel murmured. "We can limit you and play an illusion in front of your very eyes all day long, but it's still you who decides to burn and live, or to give up." He studied her. "I like it better when you fight."
There was no ill-will in his eyes! She knew she'd never seen any with him. There couldn't be any real danger with him, she felt. What's the secret then?
It was easy, actually.
Growing up was the secret. Having a purpose. There was more, then, and she had closed her eyes to it in accordance with her family's teaching.
But she was leaving that family, and Ephaniel was challenging her to grow up.
She hardened her shield, nodded to Ephaniel, and stepped back. She put the milk on the table first, then she returned to that spot that had transported her between dimensions.
A crack as fine as hair was in that floortile.
It would help her to practice.
- Inspired by the prompt "Step On A Crack".
- See also: Part One and Part Two