Antea April 2001
LOST AND FOUND
Marguerite had never known a family. She never knew what it was like to have a mother, a father. Never had love. Until that one day...
The day began with Marguerite hearing a piercing scream echo throughout the jungle. She shot out of bed, threw on her robe, and grabbed her rifle. The scream was not familiar- not Veronica, not a member of the Zanga tribe for all she could discern. Whatever was out there would not only endanger the person that was currently screaming, but also herself and her friends. She wasn't the only one who heard the yell, for Roxton, Veronica and Challenger were out of bed as well. The four explorers were soon on the jungle floor, searching for the person in distress. A girl about 17 years old came running up to the startled group, hiding behind Marguerite as the other three killed the on coming raptor.
"Thank you- thank you so much." the girl stuttered.
She was ghost white with fright and looked rather malnourished.
"Where did you come from?" Veronica asked the wayward girl.
"I came from London, to look for my sister- Marguerite."
Summerlee and Malone were out of the treehouse before the break of dawn- Ned was accompanying the professor on a vast plant hunt. Summerlee had heard of the most unusual healing plant from the medicine man of the Zanga tribe, and he intended to find it. They hadn't received a great description of exactly what they were looking for, but if they found it, they'd apparently 'know'.
The two would not appear back at the treehouse until dawn. They started their hunt on the west side of the plateau- an area that the travelers hadn't given much exploratory time to. Summerlee assumed that they would find the miraculous plant there, so they ventured off into the unknown.
"Excuse me?! You're sister?!" Marguerite naturally blurted out.
"Yes. My parents had kept the secret from me that I was not an only child. They told me about my sister, Marguerite, and where I might find her. They don't know that I left, but I had to meet her for myself." The girl replied, ignoring Marguerite's rude exclaim.
The four explorers were speechless, especially Marguerite. Was this girl really her sister? Why had her parents abandoned her but cared for her sister? There had to have been other Marguerite's who traveled to the plateau and never returned... She couldn't- wouldn't believe her ears.
The four brought the girl back to the treehouse, fed her; for she hadn't eaten in three days, and gave her clean clothes.
"What's your name?" Marguerite asked the girl while she put on a pair of her jodphurs.
"Angelica. What's yours?"
"How did you get to the plateau?" Marguerite said quickly, passing over Angelica's question.
"Oh. I snuck aboard a ship heading for South America. When I got off, I asked a lot of people if they ever heard of a lost world. They pointed me in the direction of a man named Kilo. He had taken many people to this lost world, and was one of the only people to come back alive. I bargained with him and was allowed to pay him the little money I had. Then, he brought me here. I've been wandering for nearly a week, running from those dinosaurs and sleeping in caves when I came across a vacant one. This is a very dangerous place."
While Angelica told her story, Marguerite was admiring her features. She had dark, wavy hair just like her, an olive complexion, but Angelica certainly inherited features from the other parent. Her chin had a little cleft, her nose was a tad wide, and her eyes were a bit too close; Marguerite noted. A little shorter than Marguerite, she was up to her shoulders. Her lips were a bright red and her eyes a deep brown. She was pretty, Marguerite concluded, but nothing like what she remembered of her mother.
"So, what do you intend on doing if you don't find your sister?" Marguerite questioned.
"Well, I hadn't thought about that yet. I was hoping this plateau wouldn't be so large. I'm just going to keep searching until I find her."
Why did this girl want to meet Marguerite so badly? Certainly her parents didn't talk so highly of her, if so, why had they always abandoned her when she needed them most?
"Well, I haven't seen a remotely interesting plant for hours." Malone commented.
"I know old boy, but we're not due back for awhile, so we might as well look a little farther."
No sooner had he said that, Summerlee tripped and fell over the largest root he had ever seen.
"Summerlee! Are you all right?" Malone asked, running up to the professor.
"Yes, yes, I'm fine. Look at this enormous root! Its girth is about the size of a tree trunk!" Summerlee noted.
"Well, we can't take it with us. It's not like we can dig it up or anything." Malone said nonchalantly. Unlike his friend, Summerlee had a plan.
"Marguerite!" Veronica called to her friend.
"Don't speak so loudly! You don't want to give me away, do you?!" Marguerite hissed back.
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about. Why don't you tell Angelica that you're her sister?"
"Because- oh, you wouldn't understand." Marguerite said, turning away from the huntress.
"What wouldn't I understand? She's been looking for YOU for nearly a week. How could we just send her off on a wild goose chase for someone who's right here?" Veronica questioned, starting to get a little annoyed.
"I just don't feel like telling her now, ok?" Marguerite pouted, turned on her heel, and went to her room.
Sitting on their bed, looking at her old and faded picture of her parents, Marguerite heard a knock at the door.
"Come in." she responded, almost mechanically.
"What's wrong my love? Why haven't you told Angelica who you are?" Roxton said, sitting down next to her and putting a reassuring arm around her shoulder.
"Did Veronica send you in here to get me to tell Angelica the truth?" Marguerite sneered.
"Of course not. Can't I ask my beloved a question once in awhile without being butchered?" Roxton asked teasingly.
"I'm sorry. It's just really hard for me."
"What's hard? What's hard for you?" Roxton questioned softly.
Marguerite looked into her lover's eyes. She knew he cared for her. She knew she could trust him. Why couldn't she just tell him the truth?
"It's- it's because..." Marguerite stammered. She took a deep breath and looked into Roxton's eyes. "Why was SHE the daughter my parents chose to love? Why did she get to have a family and I was thrown into boarding schools? If I tell her who I am, what then? Will she bring me back to London and reunite me with the parents who abandoned me? Why do I need that kind of pain?" she said, looking into his eyes, trying to find the answers.
"I don't know. I don't understand all of that either- but I do know that there is a girl out there who's looking for her sister. You can't just turn your back on her. You should appreciate that you have a sister, and that she's looking for love from you."
Marguerite buried her head into his chest, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening to spill.
A few hours later, Marguerite came walking out of her room. She was going to tell Angelica the truth. She might be a little annoying, a little nosey, too cheery and a little plain, but she was her sister. Suddenly, out of nowhere, something crashed through the roof.
"Roxton!" Marguerite yelled, covering her head.
It was too late, whatever it was picked up Marguerite and jumped back up through the hole.
The three explorers and Angelica hurried over to where Marguerite was last seen. She was nowhere in sight. All there was was a huge hole in the roof and chairs overturned.
"Where'd she go?!" Roxton yelled, running out of their room.
"I have no clue. One moment she's there, and the next, she's not." Veronica stated.
"Well, we have to go look for her." Roxton said.
"How? There are no clues leading to where she was taken, let alone a clear path." Veronica replied.
"Well, we can't just ignore the fact that someone took her! What are we supposed to do? Forget that she's gone?!" Roxton was getting panicky and nervous. Where did that thing take her? Why?
"Summerlee, maybe this isn't such a great idea." Malone said.
"Malone, do you understand what we could accomplish if I got this root?" Summerlee questioned his already perplexed friend.
"No. What?" Malone asked.
"I don't know. But if we dig it up, maybe we'll find out." Summerlee said, as Malone laughed and rolled his eyes.
"Ok. The plan is simple. We dig around the root, following it back to the plant. Once we get to the plant, we cut it off..."
But Summerlee was interrupted by voices and footsteps. He couldn't make out the foreign language- it was nothing he had ever heard, but whatever was speaking didn't sound too happy.
He commanded Malone to crouch behind the large root and listened to the approaching people. He was surprised to see that the "people" were superior amphibian creatures, walking on four legs. What they were carrying didn't make Summerlee and Malone too happy.
The four explorers made their way through the jungle, looking for any signs of Marguerite or her captors. Finally, after about an hour of aimless wandering, Roxton spotted a foot print.
"There! It's pretty light and nothing of what I've seen before, but I see it!" he exclaimed, while the others gathered around the spot where he was pointing.
"How can we find only one footstep?" Veronica questioned, perplexed.
"It's like whoever took her walks in trees or something." Angelica piped up.
"That's it!" Veronica said "I heard of this amphibian race called the Lacerfers that walk on four legs and swings in trees. The elders of the Zanga tribe used to tell stories of them on the Night of Spirits. They're not supposed to be too friendly."
"Great. Did the Zangas ever mention where they live or what they do with humans?" Roxton asked a little anxiously.
"I remember hearing something about a garden in the sky. How we get there, I don't know." Veronica replied.
The four travelers continued walking until they stumbled across another print.
Marguerite was unconscious and flung over the back of one of the amphibian creatures.
"How could they have possibly taken Marguerite and why?" Summerlee whispered to Malone, who shook his head and directed his attention back to their friend.
She seemed to be ok, a few tree branches in her long hair, and a few scratches, but besides that, she was unscathed.
"Well, how are we supposed to save her? There are only two of us and I'm guessing there's plenty more of them." Malone inquired of his friend.
"Well, for now, let's just see where they go and then we can find the others. Five is better than two." they watched as the two creatures look around, making sure they weren't spotted, pressed a paw on a spot of the large tree, and enter a door that opened up to them in the trunk. Wherever those reptiles were taking Marguerite, at least they knew where to find her.
"We've been wandering for hours, we're never going to find her!" Roxton said, running a hand through his hair.
"Yes we will, we just have to look a little farther. Don't give up." Veronica soothed.
"Shh!" Roxton hissed, pulling back the jungle girl. "I hear something. Someone's coming."
Out of the bushes came Summerlee and Malone; out of breath and sweating.
"Hey! Where did you guys come from?" Veronica called cheerily. She was happy her two friends didn't get caught by the Lacerfers.
"We...we...huff...we found Marguerite." Summerlee got out.
"And who's this?" Malone questioned his friends, directing his gaze towards Angelica who was busy picking wild flowers.
"Long story, we'll explain later. Where is she?" Roxton asked.
"Follow us, we found some weird lizard men carrying her towards a tree." Malone said, ushering his friends towards the direction they had come from.
When they got to the tree that they saw the Lacerfers enter, Malone ordered them to a halt.
"Here. This is the tree that we saw them bring her to. We were busy looking at that enormous root, and they came out of the bushes. I'm pretty sure they didn't see us."
"Well, what are we waiting for? Malone, Summerlee- didn't you see how they got in? A door? A latch?" Roxton said apprehensively.
"Well, one of the Lacerfers as you call them, placed his hand on that spot, and a door just..."
But before Summerlee could finish his sentence, Roxton was running over to the tree.
"Wait! You don't know what it's going to do! Maybe only the Lacerfers can open it!" Veronica protested.
"Well, what are we supposed to do?! Wait here until one of them comes down and ask them nicely if we can have her back?! She's the only woman I've ever loved; I can't leave her up there! We don't know what they'll do to her!" He screamed.
Roxton was getting very anxious and panicky. What if these lizard men hurt his Marguerite? Veronica said herself they didn't like humans. It was very rare that they'd kidnap a person unless it was for a very good reason.
"Ok old boy, there's nothing else we can do. Go ahead, see if it opens." Summerlee said walking over to the distressed Roxton.
He placed his hand on the exact spot Summerlee told him and a door appeared on the side of the trunk. The six of them clambered into the small area and waited. There was no place to go. It was just a little dark and damp entry way.
"Well, what the hell are we supposed to..." Roxton began, but before the words could leave his mouth the six explorers found themselves being shot upwards.
When they finally reached their destination, they were dizzy and disoriented. The group tottered around for a few minutes until they were all able to get their balance back.
"Well, that was a hell of a ride, huh?" Malone said, patting Roxton on the back and grinning.
He just gave Malone a blank stare and started forward.
"Where are we going?" Angelica finally said. They all looked at her.
"We have no clue. Just stay close behind and don't get into anything." Veronica said tugging her along.
They came out of the darkness into a village in the sky. It seemed to be on the treetops, but they were high in the clouds. Lacerfers big and small came out of their huts to stare at the visitors. No one moved, no one said anything.
Suddenly a royally dressed Lacerfer crept out of one of the larger huts. "I am king of this village in the sky. I am the King Opok. May I help you?" he inquired guardedly.
"Yes. You seem to have taken our friend- a young woman, long, dark, curly hair- we came to get her back." Challenger said, walking up to the creature that was on all fours, which surprised the explorers.
"Oh, yes, the one you call Marguerite." he answered.
"What? Marguerite?" Angelica questioned, glancing from Malone to Roxton to Challenger.
"Uh, yes. You see, she was going to tell you, but she never got the chance." Roxton said, trying to cover up any damage.
"You mean, she's my sister? The one I've been looking for and she didn't tell me?!" She shouted.
"Angelica. Once we're back at the treehouse, we can straighten everything out. Okay?" Veronica said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "We just have to get her out of here first."
Angelica backed up, folded her arms across her chest, and stood there with a fierce look set on her face. How could they do this to her? Especially Marguerite? She was supposed to be her sister, why hadn't she told her the truth? Angelica was hurt and outraged. She didn't expect to find her sister to be a selfish liar. All she wanted to do was go home. She didn't care WHAT happened to Marguerite.
Marguerite woke up with a start. She was in a wooden hut, laying on a tough grass mattress, and her head was throbbing.
"Where the hell am I?" she questioned herself out loud.
"You're in our kingdom." came a deep voice.
She glanced around the room until she spotted a lizard man sitting in the corner.
"Oh, and that explains everything clearly." she responded sarcastically, clutching her sore head.
The man got up and slinked over; surprising Marguerite, for he walked on all four legs and slithered over to her bed so fast, she unconsciously let out a little gasp.
"We are the Lacerfers. We mean you no harm."
"Well, what do you want from me? Why was I brought here? I hope you realize that my friends are going to come looking for me soon." she replied acidly.
"Yes, they have already arrived. My king has welcomed them."
"We have brought Marguerite here for a reason." King Opok said.
"Well, what the hell could you possibly want with her?" Roxton interrupted.
Challenger placed a hand on the hunter's shoulder, trying to calm him down.
"We have heard that she is called a 'chosen one', we need her assistance." The king answered, ignoring Roxton's comment.
"Well, couldn't you have asked us nicely? Maybe we could've all taken a little walk over to your kingdom and settled it out." Roxton again butted in.
"We have never dealt with humans- not on good terms at least- and we were frightened that maybe you would not agree to help us. We were only doing it to protect ourselves." he replied.
"Well, we're all here, let's just get this over with- what do you want her to do?" Malone asked, saving the emperor from another Roxton retort.
"Join me in my palace and we will discuss everything." the king answered.
"I want to see her first. I want to know that she's all right." Roxton said, softening his words.
"Fine. You- bring the chosen one here." the King Opok ordered one of his men. He left without a sound.
Marguerite by this time was sitting up in bed, her head was still a little painful, but she managed to sit herself up. The servant quickly entered her room.
"The king wants me to bring her to the palace." he told the lizard sitting in the corner.
"Very well. Bring her quickly." he answered, gesturing for Marguerite to stand up.
She made her way through the village until she came to a larger hut. The whole way there all the villagers grimaced as she walked by. She felt uncomfortable and nervous. Finally, she reached the king's quarters.
"Marguerite!" Roxton announced, swiftly walking to her side. He hugged her, checked to see if she was all right, and brought her to the table.
"We were all so worried about you, are you ok?" he questioned in whispers.
"I'm fine, just get me out of here- I don't have such a good feeling about this place." she answered, clutching his hand and gazing up at him- her eyes piercing.
"We're doing our best. These people want you to help them with something first." he answered, sitting her in a chair next to him.
"Why me?! Why did you have to kidnap me to help out your tribe?!" Marguerite yelled.
She wasn't one for willingly helping out tribes in need, for they were usually in more trouble than any of her friends could handle.
"It's about all that 'chosen' business Marguerite." Challenger started. "They heard that you're called 'the chosen one' and they need your help with something. They haven't quite told us that part yet though."
"Yes, of course. First off, I am the emperor of the city in the sky. The frog men of the trees are trying to take over my empire. You are the only ones that can stop them. They have weapons of poison far more advanced than our own spears."
"Yes, yes, yes. That's all fine and good, but what am I supposed to do about their poison? I'm not invincible or anything." Marguerite said apathetically.
"We know that you are immune to this poison that they use. If you could get past their warriors, and kill the king, they will be conquered." the king replied.
"Marguerite has to get past poison arrows and kill a frog king." Roxton stated flatly. "It's much too dangerous and I don't want her going through that sort of hazard. I'm sorry, but we cannot help you." he said to Opok, who looked at him with raised eyebrows.
"And just who do you think you are telling me what I can and can't do?" Marguerite said to Roxton, shooting him an evil eye.
"My love, do you really think you're up to doing this?" he replied, placing his hand on top of hers.
"I think I can manage, Roxton. Yes, your majesty, I will be happy to assist you." she said, flashing her bright smile. Roxton sighed heavily and leaned back in his chair.
The explorers were ordered to rest up before the battle the next day, and were each assigned a hut. Roxton was discussing further details of tomorrow's fight with Opok, so Marguerite had some time to talk to her sister.
She walked down the wooden bridge leading from her hut to Angelica's and knocked lightly at her door.
"Angelica? May I come in?" she asked, pushing the door open a crack.
"Go away! I don't want to talk to anyone, especially you!" she stated bitterly.
"What's the matter?" Marguerite questioned with a concerned tone in her voice.
"Don't give me that! You knew I was your sister all along and you never told me!" she screamed, turning around to face the door.
"Okay. I'm coming in. We have to talk about this." Marguerite said, entering the hut. "How did you find out?" she questioned the girl, sitting down next to her on the bed.
"It slipped out of the king's mouth when we arrived here today. Were you ever planning on telling me, or were you just going to send me off into the wilderness?" she asked with contempt.
"I didn't think you'd understand if I told you. I didn't know why you came looking for me. It was a bad idea." Marguerite said, focusing her stare on the floor.
"But why? Mother always talked so highly of you- said you were very wealthy and well off. I wanted to meet you for myself." she said, gazing at the woman sitting next to her.
"They talked highly of me? After they abandoned me?" she questioned, astonished.
"They are so proud of you Marguerite. They said they had you when they were so young- too young to know how to raise a daughter. They didn't want to abandon you. They thought sending you to all those schools would be good. Please don't blame them- they were naive and foolish. They shouldn't have done that." Angelica said, placing a hand on top of Marguerite's shoulder.
"But why did they never call? Or write? And why have I not heard anything from them in 20 years? Were they too young and naive to write a simple letter?" Marguerite asked with hurt and pain on her face and in her voice.
"I don't know. I don't know why they did- or didn't do- any of those things. They read articles about you. They've seen your picture in the paper- mother says how you look exactly like her." she said comfortingly.
"I felt so alone." she continued, directing her gaze towards the door. "I'm by myself most of the time. Mother and Father don't want to send me to school, so I have a tutor 6 hours a day. I don't have any friends- I talk to some of the servants if I'm allowed to go in the kitchen. They're so protective. They don't want to lose me like they lost you."
"Then how did you get away? How were you able to get to the plateau?" Marguerite questioned.
"I snuck out at night. I told the servants to tell my parents that I was sick- Mother never tends to me when I have a cold, the nurse does. I thought I'd only be gone a few days, but apparently, it will be a little longer than that." she said, with a smirk on her face.
"Well, we've been here close to two years, I don't know if you'll be home in time for tomorrow's supper." Marguerite said teasingly.
She had never had a sister before, no one she could tell her secrets to (besides Roxton). She was so happy that Angelica found her. Now she had a real family.
"So, tell me about this Roxton... He seems to fancy you a bit." Angelica said, trying to lighten the mood.
"Fancy? Well, he absolutely ADORES me! He's infatuated really..." Marguerite answered jokingly.
"Oh, really? Are you two getting married? Will I have a brother in law and a little niece or nephew as well?" Angelica asked, with a little sparkle in her eyes, as she swung herself around to face Marguerite and crossed her legs on the bed.
"Now, now, don't jump too far into the future. We're not sure what our plans are- we don't even know if we'll be getting off this blasted plateau!" she said, facing Angelica and crossing her legs as well.
"He IS very handsome..." Angelica started
"...I don't think so missy. He's a bit old for you, don't you think?" Marguerite interrupted her.
"Ah, yes, but it's nice to dream, isn't it?"
"Well, not about Roxton. I DID see a handsome lizard boy though; I think you'd make a lovely couple..."
The two sisters joked, talked and slept till the early hours of the morning.
At about 2 o'clock, Marguerite woke up with a start. She had been dozing in a chair near Angelica's bed. Angelica was curled up in a ball with her hands under her head. Marguerite gazed at her.
"She IS very pretty.." she said to herself as she covered her sister with the woven blanket and quietly tip toed out of the room.
When she got to her own hut, Roxton was fast asleep in the bed. She took off her boots and skirt, and crawled in next to him. He awoke, a little confused and startled.
"Shhh...It's me." Marguerite whispered in his ear.
"Where were you all night?" he questioned lazily, flipping over to face her.
"I had some sister bonding time with Angelica." she answered, cuddling up to him.
"Did you two enjoy yourselves?" he asked, closing his eyes. "Yes, I suppose so, she's pretty naive, but nice I guess..." she said, drifting off to sleep.
Roxton chuckled deeply and clutched Marguerite tightly to his body, letting the sounds of the night lull him to sleep once more.
The two awoke a few hours later to the sound of a bugle.
"What the?!" Roxton said, jumping up from bed.
"I guess it's time to get up and prepare for the day." Marguerite said, clutching her chest after nearly being given a heart attack.
The two got washed and dressed, and walked outside.
There was complete pandemonium. Lacerfers were running all over the place, preparing for the big battle. Roxton and Marguerite hurriedly made their way to the palace where they were greeted by their friends. Angelica quickly moved to Marguerite's side. She smiled down at her.
"I am glad you are here. We have constructed a plan and were about to discuss the details." Opok announced to the two new arrivers.
"Great. What did you have in mind?" Marguerite questioned them.
"Well, you see Marguerite," Challenger started, "The king of the frogs is the key. We get him, we control his people. Now, I don't want to resort to blood shed, as I've told the emperor, so you might just have to threaten him." he said, glancing at Opok, who nodded slightly.
"So, I just have to get up to his throne and hold a knife to his throat?" Marguerite questioned.
"Pretty much, my dear. All you'd have to do is get past the guards, which none of us would be able to accomplish. We're just trying to scare them off. We don't want to cause a war." Summerlee answered her.
"Well, where will the king be? In his palace? Will this battle take place on the ground? In your village or theirs?" Marguerite asked, one after the other.
"There is a meeting place on top of the mountains. We meet there if we need to discuss new laws of the trees or such. We haven't had any problems with them before- you see, they crowned a new king not too long ago. He is hard headed and selfish- he wants to rule everything. We just want to keep things as they were." Opok explained.
"Well, let's get this show on the road!" Marguerite exclaimed, leading the others outside.
"Marguerite, do you really think this is safe?" Angelica asked, as Marguerite put on a gold breastplate made especially for her the night before as a token of gratitude.
"Don't worry. I just have to get through a few poison darts. I'm supposed to be impenetrable to them. Then, I'll just hold a knife to their king's throat until he agrees to my commands. If he has any sense, he'll agree right away." she said, giving Angelica a consoling smile. "Then, this whole ordeal will be over and we can get back to the treehouse."
"And what about me?" Angelica asked, walking over to Marguerite to tie her hair back. "Will I ever get back? Will I live with all of you in the treehouse?" she asked with a bit of excitement in her voice.
"Well, I suppose you will be living with us till we find a way off the plateau."
"You don't know a way off the plateau?" Angelica asked with confusion.
"Of course not. Why do you think we've been here two years?" Marguerite asked, a little amused at the girl's doltish question.
"Well, I think I know a way off- I came here that way, we could go back that way, couldn't we?" but before Marguerite could answer, two of the king's guards came into the room.
"We need you now, Miss Krux. We are about to start."
"Well, wish me luck kid!" she said, forgetting their conversation. She gave Angelica a quick hug, and hurried out the door.
The Peaceful Mountain as the Lacerfers called it, was not too far from the village. Both kings were to be present, yet hidden from the ongoing battle. The lizard men's warriors were to attend, but Marguerite was supposed to get to the king before the fighting took place.
Opok told her where the frog king was, and she would have to act fast. Marguerite's friends accompanied her to the edge of the village, a few hundred feet from the mountain. They would be safe from stray arrows and spears, but would be able to watch what was happening.
"Now, be careful, love. Go as fast as you can- no stalling. I don't want you to be caught in the cross fire." Roxton said, giving Marguerite a warm hug and kiss.
She boldly walked along side the Lacerfer warriors to the Peaceful Mountain. She would have to be stealthy and swift.
When she reached the point the battle was to commence, she burst into a run, straight for where the king was supposed to be. The frog warriors, realizing what was happening, started to shoot arrows at her, each one missing her by an inch. She tried to concentrate on getting to the king- the arrows wouldn't hurt her.
She reached the spot behind the trees and ploughed through the brush. There he was- dressed in a purple robe adorned with jewels, the fat, bug eyed frog sat in his throne.
"Who are you?!" he demanded "What are you doing here?!" before he could croak out another word, Marguerite pulled out the sword she was given and held it to the king's neck.
"I am here on behalf of the Lacerfers. If you do not meet my demands, you will not live to see the battle." she said, with a gaze hard as nails.
"What is it?!" he asked
"The Lacerfers are not happy with your new arrangements. They want things like they used to be- no fighting, no disputes- they stick to their part of the trees, and you stick to yours."
"How did you get past my warriors?" he said, ignoring her statement.
"I am the chosen one. The Lacerfers requested my help and I am assisting them. Nothing can penetrate me. Either you meet my demands, or your whole village goes up in flames." Marguerite improvised.
"Fine! I will call off the battle. We will go back to our village. I will not fight for the Lacerfer's village- they can keep it." he said, holding up his hands and standing up.
"Good. Now go to your men and tell them to throw down their weapons and go home." she said, stepping aside so he could go in front of her.
"Whatever you say."
When he reached his men, the king announced "Enough! Put down your weapons. We will not be fighting the Lacerfers. Go home. We will not bother them again." His hands raised to his people.
His warriors surrendered and turned to leave. The Lacerfers cheered along with Marguerite's friends who received the news rather quickly. Angelica burst from the on looking group and rushed towards Marguerite. Marguerite lowered her sword from the king's neck and bent down to give her sister a hug.
"You did it Marguerite! Mother and Father would be so proud!" she said, kissing her sister's cheek.
While they were hugging, the frog king had swiftly pulled a knife from his boot. They were not getting away with this! He would have their village no matter what! He raised his knife to Marguerite's back, but Angelica saw the shining of the silver. She quickly yanked Marguerite around, coming into the path of the dagger. It was thrust into her back and she fell limp in her sister's arms.
"Angelica!" Marguerite yelled, holding her lifeless body as she kneeled on the ground. The rest of the group rushed over to the scene.
"When you get back to London, tell Mother and Father I love them and I'm not blaming them for how they raised me. Tell them that I finally found you and I died for you Marguerite. I love you." she said, holding her sister's hand.
"No, Angelica! Don't go! I need you. Please don't go..." Her voice trailed off as Angelica's eyes fluttered closed and she let go of Marguerite's hand. All she could do was rock back and forth, sobbing into her sister's limp body.
A few days later, when the explorers were back at the treehouse, Roxton attempted to talk to Marguerite. She was standing on the balcony, staring into the trees and hugging herself.
"Love? Are you all right? Do you want to talk about it?" Roxton asked, coming up behind Marguerite and wrapping his arms around her waist.
"Talk about what?" Marguerite asked solemnly; apparently not ready to discuss the incident.
"Well, when you're ready to talk about what happened, just let me know. I'm here for you." he said, kissing her on the cheek and turning to walk away.
"It's so unfair." she whispered with tears in her eyes.
Roxton turned back around and stood beside her, leaning on the railing. "I know, I know it is."
"She finally found me- she traveled all this way to meet her sister, and I didn't even acknowledge her. I was so cold. I can't believe I was so cold." she said, hugging herself even tighter.
"You didn't know what to do. You were confused. I would've done the same thing." he answered gazing into her eyes.
"She died to save me. She didn't have to do that. She died in my arms, right in my arms." she said, staring up at Roxton, who brought her to his chest.
"She was going to live with us. In the treehouse- until we found a way off the plateau. She said she knew a way off the plateau." She said, reminiscing about their last conversation.
"Did she tell you where it was?" Roxton said, stroking her hair.
"I had to go to battle, we were interrupted. I wish we never found that village. I wish I wasn't a "chosen one". I wish I was never born." she said, bursting into tears.
Roxton rushed to wipe the tears that were now streaming down her face. "Don't say that. I for one am very happy you were born. I know that the other's are too."
"If it wasn't for me, she'd be in London, probably very happy. It was because of me that our parents were so protective and strict."
"That was not your choice. It was your parents' choice. They chose to put you in those schools, not you. Don't blame yourself; there was nothing to be done."
Marguerite just cried in Roxton's arms until she was too tired to stand. He carried her to their room and tucked her in bed.
"How's she doing?" Malone asked Roxton as he came out of their room.
"It'll take some time, but she'll come around. It's very hard right now. The only thing we can do is be very supportive. She needs our love. She feels that the whole thing was her fault." Roxton explained to the worried group.
Marguerite woke up a few hours later. It was pitch black and perfectly silent. Roxton lay next to her, snoring loudly. She smiled to herself and thought of the brief but meaningful time she spent with her sister. Were all those things about her parents true? Did they really talk about her all the time? Did they actually feel guilty about what they did to her? All Marguerite knew was that she had to get back to London, find her parents, and tell them the story of Angelica- how much she loved them, and how she had saved Marguerite's life.