"Mother, this needs to stop," Riana said as her hands glowed and an invisible transparent shield appeared around her. Even as she was setting up the shield, Riana knew that this was the wrong thing to do right now. But there was nothing else that Riana could do. She did not have a backup plan. Not this time.
Riana eyed the woman before her. The woman who had been her mother. As Raina studied the tall, imperious woman with a cruel pout on her face, Raina felt a wave of sadness hit her. Riana had come here to the Tower of Terrors all alone. She was the only choice to come to the Towers. She was the only one who had a chance. The others could not even stand up to this woman.
Because the Cold One had been her mother.
Riana struggled not to wince. And no matter how many times she played that sentence in her mind, it hurt.
The Cold One studied the girl and realized that the girl's shield was feeble. Too feeble. The shield could not withstand even a single hit from the her.
The Cold One knew what she was capable of and knew that there was no one in Alternia who could match up to her. Which is why, she hated the words of the young girl, who had the audacity to stand before her. The words of the little one hit a nerve with the Cold One. Mother? Did this foolish child really think she could bring back that woman? It was impossible. She was the Cold One – the one with no heart and she served only the Dark Genii. No one else. The woman who had been this foolish child's mother, was gone. In fact, she never existed. That the girl could even assume to bring that woman back....Almost snarling, the Cold One hit the shield of the girl with all she had.
The girl nearly fell down and the Cold One could see the girl struggle to keep up the shield. But the Cold One knew that young one was not strong enough because the shield was fluctuating real bad.
It was just a matter of time and the girl's shield would fall. And then the girl herself. Smiling coldly, the Cold One increased the ferocity of the attack almost brutally. The girl gasped as she collapsed and the girls hands looked like it was burning.
Suddenly, the Cold One stopped because she had sensed a change. A massive change. Something....something...had changed. Something had just changed radically. She could feel it deep inside her cold heart.
The Cold One gasped. Outside the Tower, the coldness...The cold which was her friend, it was dissipating and it was dissipating at an alarmingly fast rate. And she could feel something warm. For the first time in many years, she could feel the rays of the Sun.
The Cold One shrieked as she saw the young girl and her eyes were glittering with rage. "It was a trap!" She shrieked angrily at the young girl. "A trap to separate me and my master so that you can destroy him." The Cold One felt her power lessen slightly as the Sun increased its power outside the Tower.
They were after all on the far side of the tower so the Sun could not affect her immediately.
The Cold One realized that she needed to move away from this realm, until at least she had regained her strength. And after she was strong enough, she would come back.
She angrily studied the fallen girl and decided that she was going to kill this girl painfully before leaving, as a revenge for what had happened to her master. And she would then come back after making herself more powerful. And she was then going to destroy all the fairies in Alternia.
"Yes mother, it was a trap," Riana said as calmly as she could. She was struggling to stay awake and was slumped against the wall and Riana felt the change in her surroundings too. Though very, very feebly.
Despite the fact that Riana could not completely feel it, Riana cherished what she felt. The continuous cold which was eating her insides since the time she had set foot in Alternia had lessened right now. That was a beautiful feeling and even the fact that Riana was going to die very soon, could not take away that feeling.
Because that meant that Riana's plan had worked.
Riana had been sure that the reason that the Dark Genii was so powerful was because he was able to harness her mother's power to protect himself. The Dark Genii made sure her mother could not use her heart and he used all the powers of her mother's heart to make himself more powerful.
So all Riana had to do was to keep her mother away from the Dark Genii and when the Dark Genii was alone, her people would finish the Genii.
It was been a fairly simple plan and it had worked. Hopefully, with just one casualty. But Riana was honest with herself. She knew that she was the only one who could divert her mother's attention. Despite the fact that her mother could not use her heart, Riana knew that her mother would listen to her. The Cold One had after all been her mother.
And Riana also knew that the price she was going to pay for this was her own life. She expected nothing else.
And her mother had done exactly that.
Riana was already very tired from her travels to the Tower of Terrors which was built right in the middle of Alternia. The Tower was an open insult to the so-called "weaklings", as the Dark Genii called the other fairies of Alternia. The weaklings who could not fight against the combined powers of the Dark Genii and the Cold One, which was the reason the two of them had destroyed so much of Alternia.
Alternia, which was once the ultimate realm of magic was now in a continuous cold winter and had become a home to all the dark creatures from all the realms. All thanks to the Dark Genii and the Cold One.
And the Tower of Terrors was the hub from where the Dark Genii and her mother ruled and unleashed their terror.
And trying to break into the Tower's defences had taken everything from Riana.
The shield which Riana had set up while fighting her mother inside the Tower was set up from her own essence because Riana had no magic left when her mother attacked her at that time.
Her mother while destroying the shield had dealt a death blow to Riana. And Riana at the age of eighteen, was finally going to die. She could not cheat death anymore.
The attack from her mother increased ferociously as Riana saw her mother's cold eyes look viciously at her.
Riana screamed and collapsed as her mother's power hit her so badly that Riana hit the wall on the back and hit the ground like a rag doll. Riana was struggling to breathe and wondered whether she had broken her ribs.
It did not matter. No matter what was broken, she could not use her magic to heal herself anymore. She had nothing left.
And as she fell, the entire Tower was shuddering.
Riana smiled sadly.
The victorious fairies were destroying the Tower.
Those had been Riana's orders. As soon as the Dark Genii was destroyed, the Tower had to go. So that nothing from inside the Tower could escape. Riana realized that that further sealed her fate. And it also sealed her mother's fate.
"Why would you do that?" The Cold One demanded in a furiously cold voice.
"I did it because I wanted you to see the first flower of spring, mother," Riana said in a feeble voice as she was swallowing painfully. "That flower was exactly the way you described it. Watching the first flower of spring grow is one of the most beautiful sights that I have ever seen," Riana told her mother as she remembered her delight at seeing the fragile, small tiny violet coloured flower, outside the realm of Alternia, where she had been exiled.
"The flower looked small and fragile. But it wasn't. It could brave the harsh cold and still bloom," Riana told her mother, trying to smile at her mother.
Hearing her words, suddenly the Cold One stopped attacking the young girl. The Cold One blinked and suddenly she felt something. Her cold heart which could feel nothing for the past fifteen years felt something and it was an emotion that she could not identify.
This story...A memory crashed into the Cold One's mind.
She was reading a story from a book to a young child, "The flower which was the most powerful of them all. The brutal cold of the winter could not stop the flower. The flower grew in a hostile climate and it still bloomed. And the coming of the flower marked the end of the winter. Winter no longer had its sway when the flower grew," She told the child and she was reading from the book written in the ancient language of Alternia.
"How would the first flower of spring look, mother?" The young child had asked her.
There was laughter and a quick hug. "I do not know. But when you find it, will you tell me?"
Riana saw her mother stagger suddenly and realized that her mother's heart which the Dark Genii had taken over, was beginning to feel. For the first time, the mother's heart was feeling something.
And the Tower suddenly started shuddering badly.
"Get out of here!" Riana yelled at her mother. "The Tower is going to be destroyed. If you stay here, you will also die!" Riana yelled again with whatever energy she had left.
That had been the plan all along. But now Riana could not go through with it. Riana still remembered the times before the Dark Genii had come into their lives. Her mother loved her so much.
And it looked like her mother was back to being that woman. Riana could not let her mother die. That was just plain wrong.
And suddenly the Tower shuddered even more.
"GET OUT," Riana screamed as she fell down, wincing from the pain.
Her mother looked horrified at Riana. And for the first time in fifteen years, the mother was not thinking about herself or her master.
The mother was studying her trembling hands and looked at the girl before her. "You set up the last shield using your own essence, didn't you?" Her mother's voice for the first time sounded horrified.
"Nothing else could delay you," Riana said as her vision darkened.
Her mother haphazardly ran towards Riana as the Tower shuddered some more. Outside this room, they could hear the tower collapsing as the barriers of magic inside the Tower were being brutally crushed from outside.
But Riana's mother did not care about that. In fact she did not even notice it. "I am going to heal you," Her mother whispered as she closed her eyes touching her daughter's heart trying to feel the extent of Riana's injuries.
When she had been the Cold One, Riana had always been the one to lead the Rebellion. And it had irritated her. Because no matter how smart she thought she was, she realized that her daughter had always been smarter. Riana always had a back up plan. Just when she thought that she had managed to corner the people from the Rebellion, she would be shocked to find that her daughter had anticipated it. Which was the most important reason, why Riana had always escaped the clutches of the Cold One and the Dark Genii.
Right now, Riana's mother prayed that Riana did something like that now too. She just had to heal her daughter. Then everything else would be fine after that.
At least that was what she thought.
Her mother gasped as she suddenly opened her eyes.
Riana weakly tried to push her mother away, as her mother realized why her daughter had asked her to get out of the Tower. With tears in her eyes, the mother realized that she had her daughter exactly how she had wanted – alone, helpless, without any back up and with absolutely no means of escape.
"Why did you come?" Her mother wailed angrily as she hugged her daughter and she was unable to stop the sobs rack her entire body.
The Tower seemed to be disintegrating and it was about to fall on them.
One more hit and Riana knew that it would be too late. She feebly pushed her mother back. "Go," She said.
Her mother's tears fell on her and Riana decided that dying was not a bad thing at all. Because after a long time, Riana felt at peace. She had done what she could, both for the Rebellion and her mother.
The Towers had crumbled. And nothing of it had remained. The Sun had shone through Alternia, dispelling all the other Dark creatures. The place where the Towers lay was nothing but ruins.
The power of both the Dark Genii and the Cold One was gone and so was the winter. The Sun was back and spring was coming up.
In midst of the rejoicing, the fairies noticed a small violet flower right in the middle of the debris.
The flower could not have survived the destruction of the Towers. But it had.
Even more strangely, the flower was found to be under a powerful dark shield around it. The other thing which no fairy could understand was a small sentence in the Ancient language which was found near the flower:
"The First Flower of Spring which marks the end of winter would look exactly like her."