* * *
Raina walked the path towards the falls feeling the cool water hitting her skin, covering her whole body with goosebumps again. Niko watched her, anxiously, still feeling a bit on edge—not wanting to repeat anything. "Niko," he heard her call out. Raina looked at him with glistening eyes, a sad smile forming on her face. "I…" she looked away in hesitation. "What is it?" Niko asked her softly, walking up and standing right behind her. Raina could feel his presence and it sent a tingling sensation through her whole body. Raina wasn't sure of when it had happened, but it felt like she was suddenly very aware and conscious of Niko. Especially, when his body was merely inches away from hers. It was a nice feeling, she thought. Realizing that Niko have had this aura about him that made her feel safe but something about him also excited her—not that she would say it out loud, to anyone.
"Raina?" Niko reached out, keeping his touch light on her back. Raina's heart beat quickened, feeling hyperaware of his presence behind her. She stayed silent for a moment then turned around to face him. Raina and Niko's eyes met, locking into place. Her eyes began to glisten with tears. Before Raina could say anything, Niko pulled her into his arms again. Niko listened as she sobbed, quietly. He wrapped his arms around her waist then buried his face in her hair, waiting patiently until she was ready to speak. It could be days, weeks, or even years…Niko will always wait for her. Always…
"I don't know how to explain it," Raina pulled away from his embrace, averting her gaze. "I had a dream when I was in my coma," Niko listened intently. "But it didn't feel like a dream," hearing herself say it all out loud, sounded absolutely crazy. Niko never showed any signs of doubt, instead he encouraged her to go on. "There was a man, not from this world…he showed me a memory," Raina continued while trying to find words to explain everything. "Was it the same man from when you had called me?" Niko asked softly, swallowing the lump that had began to form in his throat. Raina nodded her head slowly, sighing heavily. Niko sat down on a boulder and patted the spot next to him. "Yes. At least I think it was him. Um," Raina stopped then rubbed the temples of her head. "The man from the dream and the man who attacked me was the same, from what I've gathered. But something felt off," she explained, her voice fading softly with doubt.
"I know it doesn't make sense," Raina said frustratedly. She took a deep breath and started again. "In the beginning the dream was enchanting and pleasant. I was living in a different woman's life, a woman not from this world," Niko continued to listen. "Slowly, it began to feel real. Very real. Even the pain given to the woman in the dream," Raina paused, looking out to the waterfall in a daze. Niko and Raina sat in silence for a moment.
"What do you think it means?" Niko asked. Raina dropped her shoulders, feeling dejected. "Whatever it may be, it has something to do with this place," she said confidently. "You know, for a moment, I began to feel like I belonged there and started to forget about my old life. Until…" Raina trailed off, realizing something. However, she wasn't sure if what she was thinking would work.
"Until what?" Niko asked, his brows raised in question. Raina pursed her lips, looking at Niko. "I heard you," she replied softly. " And everyone else, calling out my name," Niko wasn't expecting that. He began to feel confused and doubtful, but then again, Raina is not one to come up with such an elaborate story. "Do you think," Niko paused, gathering his thoughts. "We all have something to do with it? That we're connected to that world somehow?" Niko felt uncertain, waiting for her response. Raina nodded, slowly. "You found me during a full moon right?" Raina asked to which Niko replied with a nod. "I think it has something to do with a full moon," she stated, muttering to herself. "When's the next full moon?" Niko pulled out his phone and began searching. "In two days," he answered. "Saturday. That's perfect," Feeling determined, Raina pushed against the boulder to stand on her two feet. "Tomorrow, I'll tell everyone what happened. Then we shall test my theory out on Saturday," she said with a lopsided smile. Niko's heart beat quickened seeing a smile on her face. Raina gasp with surprise when Niko pulled her into his arms. "Niko…"
"Raina," Niko whispered as he buried his face in her hair. "Never do anything by yourself ever again, okay?" Raina gulped, blinking back the tears in her eyes. "Y-yes," she whispered softly, wrapping her arms around his waist. Niko wished they could stay like this, without everything that had just happened.
* * *
Saturday came and in Raina's living room Skylar, Yasmin, Adriel and Niko gathered. Maria looked at her sister like she had lost her damn mind. "You are NOT going back out there! Do you understand me, Raina?" Maria's voice wavered, slightly, her anger getting the best of her. Raina understood the way her sister had reacted. Raina would have been the same, especially after losing their parents at a young age. Then almost losing her little sister, Raina understood her truly. Opening up those past wounds to some more trauma, was not what she meant to do to her sister.
"Maria," Raina said softly. She lowered herself onto the floor resting on her legs, taking Maria's hand in hers. "I have to do this," Raina explained, hoping she could understand and meet Raina halfway. Maria averted her eyes, avoiding Raina's gaze. Thinking to herself for a moment, Maria stared into her sister's green eyes, feeling defeated. Maria was never able to refuse her little sister, especially when Raina had her mind already set on something. With a heavy sigh, Maria sunk into the couch cushions. "Sky, Niko, Adriel,�� she called out, looking at the boys. "Make sure to take care of my girls, Raina and Yasmin," the Skylar and Niko nodded in response. "Hey! I wanna be taken care of too Mar-Mar," Adriel pouted, crossing his arms across his chest. Maria rolled her eyes but she couldn't help the smile on her face form. Raina smiled, pulling Maria into a tight hug. "Thank you," she whispered. Maria took a deep breath, squeezing her back.
"If nothing happens, then we all forget about this, okay?" Maria stated sternly, looking at Raina and the others. Everyone nodded, simultaneously. "Call me if anything happens," Raina nodded, assuring her sister. "It could be nothing and this was all just a freak thing." Maria's eyebrow raised unconvinced. "Yeah, sure," Maria said sarcastically, waving her hand in dismissal. The sound of a timer rang from the kitchen, interrupting everyone's attention. Adriel looked at Maria and Raina, wide-eyed. "My cookies!" Niko looked at him with a raised brow, then laughed. "Dude, seriously?" Adriel glared at Niko, his eyes narrowed. "What if we needed snacks?" He asked in all seriousness then hastily disappeared into the kitchen. Raina and Yasmin covered their mouths, stifling their giggles.
Skylar shook his head at the comical sight. Even in the middle of a potentially serious situation, everyone was able to find the light in it. Maria laughed, weaving her fingers through her hair. "I'm gonna take a nap before work. When are y'all heading out into the forest?" She asked, specifically looking at Skylar. "Probably after sunset, just before the moon is at its peak." Skylar answered, promptly. Maria nodded then disappeared up the stairs with no further comment.
* * *
"What do I need to pack?" Yasmin asked while standing in front of her empty backpack with her hand under her chin. Raina shrugged her shoulders, not really sure either. "Not sure. Maybe just the basics. We shouldn't be out there for too long," Raina replied, her eyes landing on an old stuffed animal on her bed. "But I'm definitely bringing BunBun," Raina giggled, snuggling the stuffed animal. "Seriously?" Niko teased, leaning against the door frame with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face. Raina narrowed her eyes at him then stuck her tongue out. "What a child," he tutted his tongue, walking into the room. "What did you pack Niko?" Yasmin asked. "The necessities," he stated, plopping down on the floor beside Yasmin. "Pack like you were going on a camping trip," he said. Yasmin and Raina looked at him, blinking their eyes and completely clueless. Niko's mouth parted, speechless. "How've you girls never gone camping?" He asked in disbelief. "You guys never included us!" Raina exclaimed, pouting for being excluded. Niko chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. "Oops." Raina narrowed her eyes at him. "Yeah, oops," she mocked sarcastically.
"It's time. We have to leave soon," Skylar appeared at the door, giving Niko a pointed look. The girls hurried and just threw whatever they thought was important in their bags. "Okay," Skylar hiked his bag higher on his back. "Yasmin. Rae. Make sure to stay behind Niko and I," the girls nodded. "Adriel, do you mind taking the rear?" Adriel nodded with a cookie in his mouth. With his mouth full, he just gave Skylar a thumbs up. "Can I have a cookie?" Yasmin asked, just looking at the cookies has definitely made her feel a little peckish. Adriel nodded with a grin then handed her a cookie. Yasmin felt grateful then munched on a cookie beside him. Raina looked at Adriel with puppy eyes and a wide smile. "I want one too!"
* * *
"Wow," Yasmin gasped in awe, admiring the waterfall which sparkled under the moonlight. The soft ripples of the water hummed in a lullaby-like music. "It's truly beautiful," She hears Adriel say, coming up behind her. Yasmin suddenly felt conscious of his presence��her body tingled as she felt his warmth radiating. Her cheeks burned with embarrassment but snuck a glance at Adriel. Yasmin's eyes met his, as he was already staring at her—taking Yasmin by surprise. Neither one spoke a word, just looking into each other's eyes. Adriel cleared his throat, feeling his face heat up. He didn't know what came over him just now, but all of a sudden, he's seeing Yasmin in a different light—not just as his childhood friend.
Noticing the others farther ahead than they were, Adriel placed his hand on her back without a second thought. But the moment his hand made contact, a tingling sensation shot through his arm. "We should hurry and catch up with the others," He said, his voice sounded hoarse. Yasmin looked at him with red cheeks then licked her lips nervously. "Yeah, we should," she responded softly, giving him a small smile to which he responded with a heartwarming smile, as well. "I see something!" Raina shouted, seeing a dim, mystical orb disappear behind the falls. She ran past Niko and Skylar to follow the ominous light. "Rae! Wait," Skylar called out, running after her with Niko in tow. Adriel and Yasmin watched the others with confusion when the two finally caught up. Seeing them headed towards the falls, Adriel and Yasmin jogged after the three.
Raina extended her arm slowly, to reach out to the ball of light. "Raina, wait!" Yasmin called out, feeling anxious and scared. Raina smiled, she sensed the mystical light wasn't a threat to them. "It's okay. I have this weird feeling that whatever it is…it's not going to hurt us," she explained, looking back at the light. "Are you sure Rae?" Skylar asked, standing on guard if anything should happen. Raina held her hand out, to which the light settled onto her palm. It then emitted a bright light, transforming and taking on a physical form to communicate with the humans.
"What the hell?" Niko gasped, staring at the little fairy. Yasmin looked at the little creature with wide eyes and a smile on her face. "She's so cute!" She squeaked excitedly. "Hi there," Raina said softly, so not to spook it. The fairy looked at Raina, her eyes widened, then tears began to pool in her eyes. "Rosalie!" Raina's brows furrowed in confusion. "I'm not Rosalie," Raina said softly. The little fairy flew from her hand to look at Raina's face closely. Her expressions changed from happiness to realization. "You speak the truth," the little fairy said. "However, you are indeed the reincarnation of Rosalie."
"The prophecy!" The fairy exclaimed, spinning with delight. She pointed at Raina with a grin. "You, Raina, are the reincarnation of Rosalie the Enchantress. Protector of the Enchanted Forest, Astoria!" She then pointed to the others with the same smile. "All of you are the Royal Sacred Knights," she stated cheerily, squealing with happiness. Raina and the others looked at each other with similar expressions then turned their attention back to the little fairy.
* * *
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