Meeting the Other Side

After the incident on the bike trail, Konrad decided it was better for them to stay away from secluded places.  He didn’t tell the girls that they couldn’t go out on their bikes alone quite yet.  However, Liesel was fairly certain that he was hoping that, by keeping them where other people could easily see them, he was preventing any further trouble.  She had no problem with that.  After all, it was Johannes that the Thurmans were after.  As one of his Defenders, it was her job to keep him safe.

As before, they were riding their bikes, while Johannes skated between them.  On this day, they went to the same park that they’d visited with their brother on the day that Opa had his meeting.  Today, though, they simply rode around the playground, keeping to the bike trails and in full view of the parents that had brought their children there to play.

A sound in the bushes just off the trail made Johannes skid to a stop.  Frieda followed his example, turning back to watch as he skated into the grass.  “Where are going?” she asked, as Liesel followed him, walking her bike.

“It’s a kitty,” Liesel said, her tone excited.  Greeting the cat, she said, “Hello, pretty one.”

“That’s a sidhe,” Johannes said, his voice soft.  As the cat padded over to rub against his fingers, he pointed.  “You can see her wings, tucked against her back.”

“Is she… friendly?” Frieda asked, approaching her brother and sister carefully.  She didn’t know as much about the different spirits as her brother did.  She only knew that some became corrupted by staying in the physical world for too long.

Johannes smoothed the cat sidhe’s fur gently and nodded.  “She’s a spirit of diligence, not sloth,” he said.  “How did you get here, Kitty?  Is there a portal opened nearby?”

The cat sidhe trilled at him and then looked to the trees.  Johannes stood and followed the cat sidhe’s gaze.  Frieda squinted, trying to see the same thing that her brother was.  She gasped softly as she saw the edge of a stone doorway.

“That’s not just a portal,” she said, her voice soft.  When Liesel made a curious sound, she pointed towards it.  “I mean… it’s not just this rip in the veil, like the Thurmans made.  That’s a doorway.”

“Frieda’s right,” Johannes said.  “Someone made that.”  He scampered forward and the cat sidhe bounded after him.

“Hansel,” Frieda called, her voice strained.  “We’re not supposed to go in the forest alone.”  She looked at Liesel, who shrugged.  Then, she heaved a sigh and dropped her bike to hurry after her brother.  Liesel was close behind her.

As they drew near the doorway, the stranger with the bow from the previous day stepped out from behind it.  Johannes stopped to let Frieda and Liesel draw up on either side of him.  “Did you open this?” Johannes asked, nodding at the doorway as the cat sidhe bounded through it and vanished.

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