LOVE SQUARE... WAIT!... WHAT!? by Valkyrie Lenneth
Anna and Jane were decorating the garden of the latter for the St. Patrick celebration. All residents of the Ghost Town were invited. Jane placed green tablecloths with gold coins patterns over the wooden tables. Anna, standing on a stool, placed garlands of green and gold flags on poles marking the refreshments area.
"Anna?", Jane's voice came from behind her.
"Yes, Jane", asked the girl.
"Could you go into the woods and look for clovers to make some table arrangements?", asked the brunette.
"Sure!", replied the redhead finally tying the garland she was holding on the pole to her right.
"Four-leaf clovers would do, please", Jane stated.
"Of cour... WHAT!?", Anna almost lost her balance on the stool when she heard the last sentence of her ghostly friend.
"Come on Anna!", pleaded Jane, "if anyone can get those four leaf-clovers, it's you".
"Jane, I'd like to help with that, but... we only have five hours left until the party starts, where would I get those clovers?", Anna said and gave her an apologetic smirk, "Maybe if I had more time...".
"Yes... I understand...", replied the other girl with downcast countenance, "it was silly of me to ask you this with such short notice".
The sadness in Jane's face made Anna's heart constrict with pain. She had done and completed more complicated and difficult feats since coming to Ghost Town... finding four-leaf clovers would be a piece of cake for sure!
Anna jumped off the stool and walked to the fence that bordered Jane's property.
"Where are you going?", Jane asked with concern in her voice. After all, she didn't want to lose the human girl friendship over some clovers.
"Those clovers will not collect themselves", Anna said, a triumphant look on her face and a confident tone in her voice, "I'll be back in a heartbeat". She briefly turned to look at her friend, saying goodbye with a smile and a mischievous wink.
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Anna leaned against the trunk of a maple tree. It had taken half an hour to reach the forest that stretched on the edge of town ... and had sworn - almost - to fetch four-leaf clovers, searching intently for two straight hours. She was exhausted.
The redhead looked up at the sky from the comforting shade of the maple; the sun had advanced considerably in the sky. Anna calculated there were a couple of hours more before sunset... and then the San Patrick party at Jane's would start.
And no clovers yet, the girl thought bitterly. However, the noise in the foliage of a nearby bush distracted her from her thoughts. She instinctively took her right hand into the pocket of her lime green dress in which the magic wand rested. It had been given to her by his grandfather when she arrived at the Ghost Town for the very first time.
"Who's there?", she asked firmly. The branches and leaves of the bush moved insistently; whatever it was hidden behind it, was big.
Better safe than sorry, Anna thought as she took the wand from her pocket with a graceful flick of the wrist. She finished her movement by extending her arm towards the bush; from the wand came a spark of magic that found its way into the foliage.
A big, gray shadow jumped out from the bush with a painful howl.
"YOU!?", yelped the girl with a mixture of astonishment and annoyance in her voice. In front of her, fallen on his face, was the werewolf who had insisted that she accepted going on a date on Valentine's Day.
In the end, she had escaped the appointment by using a dummy with her image as a replacement.
"Hi, Sweetheart!", the werewolf said, "as spunky as always, I see". The werewolf stood up and gave her a toothy grin; he dusted off his fur and gave pats on the side that the magic of the wand had scorched. Anna saw that the damage was not severe.
"What are you doing here?", asked the girl.
"Well, what else!", he answered, unfazed, "I came looking for you, sweetheart".
The redhead had begun to utter the first words of a sentence when a reddish-black blotch appeared from nowhere and carried her through the air... away from the wolf man.
When the commotion stopped - and the surroundings did, too -, Anna realized that she was in another clearing in the arms of Draco, the vampire who had also asked her out on Valentine... but with the secret intention of drinking her blood.
This day cannot get any worse, thought the girl and - while cradled in the vampire's arms - pressed the tip of the wand against the tip of his nose.
"You better not try to act smart", she said, frowning. "And put me down slowly", she added.
"As thou command, Princess" Draco said without worrying about the potential risk of a direct hit of magic on his face. Once she was on her feet, Anna slowly moved the wand from the vampire's face to his chest.
"I thought we had solved this incident way back on Valentine's Day", the redhead snorted, suspiciously. If memory served, she had banished Draco and the werewolf using a teleportation spell on both in that occasion.
"I wouldst cross the seas, wouldst climb the highest mountains, and wouldst soar the largest sky than let the distance separated me from thee, Princess", Draco declaimed poetically. Anna rolled her eyes and followed the gesture with a face-palm.
"Look, those poems probably work well with the vamp ladies but, for me..."; again, the redhead was interrupted. This time the smack of a whip echoed in the clearing and someone grabbed her by the waist. The girl turned around to see the new intruder swinging on a branch with the help of the whip; her weight on his shoulder.
Oh, no! He again!, moaned her mind when she saw who rescued her from Draco: none other than the Zorro-wannabe.
When they were high enough, the masked crusader jumped onto the next branch. He released his whip from the branch where it had coiled before, and started to run and jump between the branches of the dense foliage with a skill the redhead supposed he lacked - specially since he kept carrying her over his shoulder.
Anna pressed her right elbow on his back - she did not care if that bothered or hindered their escape - and, resignedly, rested her chin on the palm of her hand. Her left arm was shaking and swaying with the movements of her new captor. When it seemed they were far enough to be safe, Zorro brandished his whip again - coiling it on a branch a few feet under them - and swinging skillfully to land on the ground, safe and sound.
"Can you put me down now?", asked the redhead, contempt dripping from her voice. Zorro lowered her gently, setting her on the ground, and smiled from under the brim of his hat.
"It was fortunate that I was in the vicinity", he said and, rummaging under his cape, he pulled a red rose from it; handling it towards the girl. "For you", he added.
"Erhm... thanks... I think", replied Anna and, hesitantly, took the flower he offered, "Well... uhm... I better get going now".
"Wait...", Zorro said when she started to walk away, "I was wondering if..."
This time, it was Zorro's turn to leave the sentence unfinished; the werewolf had caught the collar of his white, silk shirt and held him suspended over his head.
"Stay away from my Sweetheart!", the werewolf said, growling fiercely and showing his sharp fangs. The werewolf's victory in his surprise attack was short lived: when he was about to throw Zorro against the trunk of a nearby tree, the bang of a shot and the cloud of smoke that spread from his shoulder around him made him loose his grip on his prey.
Anna turned in the direction of the shot and saw Draco, suspended on the air by flapping his reddish-black bat-like wings, gliding down slowly and elegantly.
"The following shall be silver, puppy", he said coldly when the tips of his shiny military boots touched the forest floor. His gun - a cavalry pistol of some sort - still pointed to the smoke cloud from which the sound of the werewolf's coughs were coming.
From the smoke cloud came a growl - angry and menacing -, and Draco brought his finger to the trigger... a whip slashing on his wrist caused him to drop the weapon. Zorro appeared a couple of feet to his right. Anna suspected that the masked man had taken advantage of the werewolf distraction with the smoke to escape from his grasp. Another blow from the whip and its tip coiled on the pistol and lifted it into the air; the weapon fell at his feet, away from the vampire.
"I think you're out of luck, soldadito", Zorro replied boastfully and greeted Draco touching the brim of his hat with his fingertips. "The señorita stays with me".
The werewolf was getting out of the smoke cloud - that was starting to dissipate, anyway -, and looked askance at his two opponents. Anna saw that the location of each guy was at the tips of a triangle - each separated by a distance of 9 feet -, and that she was out of it.
"It's my chance", thought the redhead looking at the deep woods and moving without turning her back on them as to not let them notice she was leaving. She was about to achieve her goal when the three in conflict threw themselves into the center of the imaginary triangle and got into a fight that raised more dust than Draco's smoke bullet.
"A commoner like thou can only settle with watching mine Princess from afar", Draco said as he pushed Zorro's face with his foot and tried to keep the werewolf's claws away from his own face by locking hands with him.
"You are out of your mind!", replied Zorro as he used his left hand to try to remove Draco's boot from his face while, with the other, pulled the werewolf's ear, "Anna would never fall for a circus freak like you ... nor an over-sized dog like this one!"
"Have you seen yourself in a mirror?", growled the offended werewolf, "you look so pathetic that you make a hobo look charming". The werewolf redirected one paw at his head in an attempt to remove Zorro's hand of his ear.
The fight came to a ridiculous standstill in which all they did was throw empty threats and insults to the others, twisting and writhing on the grass of the clearing. Anna - having a change of heart and staying to watch the scene to make sure things did not turn ugly - decided it was time to intervene.
"ENOUGH!!!", shouted the girl at the top of her lungs. The struggle ceased and the three turned in her general direction. Anna drilled each one of them with fuming eyes. "What are you? Five year old?!".
The three remained - in a heap on the ground - motionless and silent, surprised by the redhead's shout. Anna crossed her arms over her chest and gestured with her right hand for them to stand.
"Get up... now", said the girl and, although her tone was calm, it had a menacing undertone that was not lost to the three guys. They all scrambled to their feet and waited for the next order. Anna snorted, looked at the sky - realized that she had no time to continue her search for clovers thanks to Larry, Curly, and Joe standing in front of her -, and placed her hand on her forehead, worried.
The gesture was short lived as she looked up immediately and smiled to herself. The idea that had popped in her mind could not fail.