Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The White Rose of Fiorazzurro: Chapter 27

The White Rose of Fiorazzurro
Chapter 27 (or, "The White Rose Awakens")

Daisy immediately knew what to do with the potion.

Powerful mixtures were not designed to be drank quickly. They had to have time to register in the body, even if that time was just a few extra seconds. Those seconds could be the difference between a potion taking effect and a dead drinker. Daisy had come into contact with very powerful spells, and it had been a while since she had drank anything more powerful than an invisibility potion. But this was unlike anything she had ever drank before.

She uncorked the top and smelled it -- like blue umiberries and raw karuko. It had been a very, very long time since she had come into contact with a Rossini recipe. King Raz used to make them all the time, but only Rossini could make the potions the way they were supposed to be made. That would never happen again -- but Calimero was as close as it would ever get.

She took a sip, then tipped the entire bottle down, slow gulps, one after another. It tasted the same way it smelled, sweet and innocent, not at all indicating its terrible power. She prayed that it would work -- at this point, the battle was pretty evenly matched, and they needed all the help they could get.

It hit in an instant. She felt the liquid reach her stomach, and then, she felt the magic power take effect first in her core, then through her arms and legs and then up to her head. She felt an overwhelming sense of power -- itchy, almost, ready to fire, ready to become alive.

She folded her arms inward, feeling, accepting this new power -- and then, she remembered.

She had only heard the story once, of how, in long ago days, a member of faerie royalty had been chosen by a great magician to become leader of Fiorazzurro. Everybody always assumed that the magician himself was Merlin, and that he started the lineage of faerie Fiorazzurian leaders, but Daisy remembered that the first leader had been gifted with magical powers beyond even their regular control. Merlin had called this becoming a "white rose," losing yourself to the pure power you held, unable to truly control it. At that point, the magic controlled you, and it did whatever it wanted to without your will dictating it.

She could tell from the energy humming through her veins that she had become the same -- a White Rose. And when the energy consummed her, she felt her every will bend to it, to align herself with its plan: to save Fiorazzurro from any monsters and evils that might come its way.

Including the aptly named Dark Rosa.

The mixture enveloped her in a blue light, and she felt her faerie magic take hold. Soon, she was no longer dressed in the street clothes she wore to disguise herself, but a long, flowing white faerie dress with intricate flower designs and a crown of branches in her long red hair. The sleeves were long and pinned back, enabling her to still perform her magic. The long skirt was parted in the middle as was regular faerie fashion: regal, but still able to move and perform magic whenever necessary.

She felt for a high collar and thankfully found none, instead a simple corset, tan in color and featuring stitched images of deer and owls on the sides, held her into her dress. She wore shoes, but simple sandals that laced up her feet instead of stuffy boots or flamboyant heels as the humans wore. This was a faerie dress, through and through, and Daisy wondered if anybody else in the faerie royalty had ever worn this dress.

It felt like home.

She looked at her hands and noticed that the dress's fabric went right down to just above her wrists, and that a few pieces of faerie jewelry had added themselves onto her figure. She counted two gold band on her right wrist and three on her left, plus a studded ring made of emerald. Looking down, she saw the same configuration of rings on her ankles, and felt up in her hair and found a small golden butterfly pin holding her hair back away from her neck. Reaching lower, she found a satin black choker with a silver rose on it -- this piece of jewelry she had seen before, in her mother's room, a long time ago.

She clasped her hands in front of her, prayed to the wind that it would alight her, then took off for the skies.

The light followed her as her wings, long hidden by magic for necessity and legal purposes, finally broke free and expanded in their translucent light. The flickers from below, among the battles between magic user and thorn bush, caught her wings, illuminating their rainbow colors in the moonlight.

Jason looked up from his spot on the ground. "Is that --?"

Calimero nodded. "The Princess of Fiorazzurro, in all her glory."

"Wow." Jen's mouth hung open. "She really looks like a princess!"

Daisy felt an updraft from below; turning, she saw the huge dragon Kaminari rising to meet her. She smiled and gave the dragon airspace as it alighted itself near her. Hilary was gripping the dragon's fins, riding it properly. Daisy could tell it was second nature to her, even after all this time. "How's it feel?" Hilary asked over the battle.

Daisy grinned. "You tell me."

She held out her hand, and not by magic, but simply nature, the Royal Staff of Fiorazzurro came to her. This was not Cendrillon's staff that Dark Rosa carried, nor was it made by human hands, and therefore could only be summoned by faerie royalty. The staff was made out of metal, forged by faerie metalworkers long ago, some say even in the days of Merlin. It was simple in design, with etched vines leading up to the top, where a single crystal hung in magical suspension between two arcs of silver.

She raised the staff high. She had only seen it in pictures, but somehow, the staff called to her, directed her on what to do. When she spoke the words in her fluent language, the crystal reacted, sending beams of light around the entire plaza. Resting toward the ground, they covered the stone terraces, and the thorns vanished.

Dark Rosa was visibly upset. "You will pay for that!"

Oh, no, Daisy thought to herself. You are the one who will pay for what you are doing to my island. And with one swift movement, the staff was now pointed directly at Dark Rosa, ready to envelop her in the light and cleanse her.

Rosa gripped her own scepter and pointed it at Daisy. "Not on my life!" An icy beam came from her own scepter, caused by the power of bent time and space. Rosa was not a magician, far from it, but she did still have the powers of a QWERTY representative.

Their beams collided in midair, white beam of light against blue beam of ice, and then, Rosa's scepter finally faltered. The power was blown back at her, and Rosa fell, dropping the scepter.

Jason laughed. "Right on her butt!" he yelled as a cheer arose from the crowd of magic users, now mostly unable to use their magic since Daisy had absorbed it.

Hilary and Kaminari dove for Rosa, but she was quicker. She grabbed her scepter with one hand, hiked up her skirt with the other, and ran for the Crystal Palace.

Daisy twirled her staff in one hand and pointed it not at Rosa, but at the Crystal Palace itself. The beam of white light came out of it again, cascading over the stones and high guarded walls. Within seconds, the castle was restored to its original state, no longer destroyed by the explosion that had claimed Queen Cendrillon's life, but once more in its original regalia.

Daisy landed on the plaza ground, taking a shaky breath. Her job was done -- for now. They still needed to find Dark Rosa, before her power ran out.

She turned just in time to get a hug from Calimero and Rifka, then was flanked on either side by Jason and Jen. "You were awesome!" Calimero said.

Daisy laughed. "It had more to do with your potion than anything, Calimero. Rossini would be immensely proud of you."

"Oh, that's nothing," Calimero said, waving his hands and getting the attention of the magic users around him. "Ladies and gentlemen, long live the proper Queen of Fiorazzurro, Ata’laika Margherita Fae of Gallathia!"

"Uh," Daisy muttered under her breath, "I'm not Queen yet --"

Sheriff Collodi and Blue joined in, and soon, everybody in the crowd was chanting the same words: "Long Live the Queen!" Daisy bit her lip to keep herself from crying. The day she had wished would happen for so many years was finally coming true.

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