Little Red Pixie
A childish shriek from the far away part of the cave attracted Richard's attention. They came here for the powerful magical book that would help them in their non-ending war with Jagang, the Emperor of the Imperial Order, who enslaved approximately half of the New World territories. When Richard was fighting Jagang soldiers Cara followed two of them in the labyrinth of the ancient cave. Kahlan and Zedd were near him killing the enemies back to back. He was so proud to see the Wizard of First Order and the Mother Confessor on his side fighting for freedom of the Midlands.
The Seeker ran into the cave after Cara and that strange child, who had shrieked a minute ago. Carefully, step by step Richard made his way in the narrow tunnel of the cave until he stumbled over a body of the dead soldier. The Seeker stepped over the dead body and the dim light of the torch illuminated the room cut in the marble with lots of slots with various phials, boxes, books, etc. Richard put up the torch to see how big the room was. It was round, full with various things that stood along the perimeter on round stone tables. In the light of the torch pink marble glittered like the surface of the sea only of different color. Near one of the stone tables Richard found the dead body of another soldier and to his sheer surprise Mord-Sith's garmets as if Cara went for a swim and left her clothes here.
"Cara," he called. His voice jumped from domelike ceiling shattering into echo.
"I'm here!" answered a thin piping voice.
Richard approached the massive stone table which height was at the level of his waist. He lighted the spot behind the table to see a small child of about 5 or 6 years old. A pale, blonde girl with big blue eyes full of childish curiosity stared at him. She was holding a huge wooden box with strange symbols on it in her little hands. The lid was open and the child looked at it angrily.
"Cara?" Richard asked softly not to scare the girl.
"Yes!" The girl threw away the odious box in fury and put the strap of her large undervest straight. The grimace on the child's face spoke of many terrible things that might happen to anybody, who would touch this pretty young girl.
The Seeker didn't know what to say. He just smiled. Suddenly they heard the voices of the wizard and the confessor coming their way. Without paying much attention to Richard Cara flip-flapped bare foot to the agiels, squatted to take at least one and immediately screamed and jumped away in unbearable pain. She was fiercely sharking the hand which touched the agiel and jumping on one leg.
The first was Kahlan, who ran into the room nearly falling down because of the corpse on her way. She was followed by the wizard, who patiently stepped over the dead soldier.
"Richard, where's the child? Who's crying? Where's Cara?" Kahlan pronounced the questions in one breath worrying more about the child than about the fearless Mord'Sith.
"Here," the man pointed at the blonde child.
"Cara?!" Zedd and Kahlan said in unison.
"I think she opened this box." Richard picked up the wooden box from the ground and handed it to Zedd.
"I didn't open it!" hissed Cara in her thin childish voice. "This bastard smashed it on the floor when my agiel got his heart!"
"Hey, little lady! Watch your tongue!" teased Kahlan.
The child again straightened the strap of an enormous gown in which turned her under vest and stared at the Confessor ready to wipe away the smile from woman's face.
"Don't get on my nerves, Mother Confessor. I'm not in the mood right now!" The Mord'Sith tried to threaten the woman but only caused more smiles from the wizard and the Seeker. "Wizard, bring my appearance back!" She commanded.
Zedd took the box from Richard's hands and shook his head.
"Unfortunately, I can't," he said with regret.
Cara looked examiningly at Zedd's face figuring out if he made this up or not.
"You are an almighty wizard of the First Order! You can undo anything!" She said stubbornly.
Zedd looked searchingly at the box than turned his gaze to Cara again.
"You have to listen to me, child." He didn't know why he said it but he did. "This is an ancient spell of subtractive magic. As you know I have additive magic, so whatever I do might kill you."
"But you have to try, maybe it won't kill me," Cara stated obstinately.
"Can you explain to me what was in this box?" asked the wizard.
"When the box fell down, some kind of purple dust came out. I couldn't breathe for a moment until it got into my lungs, I guess. Then I started to shrink, until I turned into this." She shrugged her shoulders as if apologizing for being so clumsy. It wasn't her fault, though.
"Holly spirits! It's even worse than I thought. Long ago, when I was an amateur and just started to study magical objects. I found a tome of the most powerful dark magic where this magic dust was mentioned. In the devastating war when the Old World was separated from the New World by the barrier, sorcerers made the dust to turn back time. Their flesh became younger but the mind remained. Everything they learned, all experience of 50, 70 and hundred years old magicians had small children, who could get unnoticed into the enemy's camp and slaughter half of the army by their powerful abilities. The disadvantage was childish nature. No matter how wise they were, nobody could resist childish behavior, childish fatigue or clumsiness. Also, as children lack moral aspects, the more those magicians killed the thirst for blood grew until they turned into ugly teenagers ruthless to anyone on the way. That's why most of them were killed." Zedd sighed.
"Do you say that nothing could be done?! I'll be in this filthy body till I grow up again?!" The thought made Cara shiver.
"Firstly, it's not a filthy body. It's you at the age of five. Secondly, I didn't say that nobody can undo the spell. I just said we need a sorcerer with the subtractive magic to do it," explained the wizard.
"Richard has both sides of the magic. Let him undo it," stated Cara in a peremptory tone that was so funny to hear from a tiny still childishly plump girl.
"This spell is not that anybody can do! It needs a lot of practice and power. Besides, we have to find the book with detailed instructions or it will turn upside down the whole world!" warned Zedd.
"What do you mean?" asked Richard.
"If something goes wrong, everyone in the world will turn into a child. The sorcerer, who will be doing the spell, will die and Cara will remain the only adult person in the whole world. Can you imagine the world with toddlers?" Zedd raised his voice to emphasize the last sentence.
Cara, who was listening to Zedd, twisting one leg about the other as it was too cold to stand barefoot on the cold ground floor, stopped hotching. Her heart sunk. Where could they find such a powerful sorcerer? Even if they find him or her, will they do what they are asking them? This was stupid. She shouldn't have come here. It was better for her to be with general Meiffert rather in this cold, ancient, dark place. Sullenly she turned her back to the seeker and went decidedly to her agiels.
"Cara! No!" Kahlan, who was standing on the other side of the table, strolled to the child. With one strong hand she pulled Cara back from the agiels. The child managed to touch one and pain made her muscles jerk. The air was rent by a piercing shriek. Tears gathered in those splendid blue eyes.
"Let me go! I don't want to grow up once again! I'm supposed to protect you and Lord Rahl! Now I can't even punch you well enough! What avail of a five-year old child?!" she cried. Crocodile tears were rolling down her pale chubby cheeks.
"Shhh! Cara, you are my friend. Remember? Neither of us will ever let you down. Sister Nicci is on our side. She has subtractive magic. I'm sure she'll help you eagerly."
Absent-mindedly Kahlan easily lifted Cara up and sat her on one of the arms supporting it with another arm.
"Put me down! I can walk by myself!" the child sniffled wearily.
"Good spirits! You are colder than a frog! Richard, wrap Cara in her top, take the rest of her clothes and the agiels. I'm taking her out or she'll freeze in here."
Richard picked up the Mord'Sith's top and gently wrapped it over Cara's small form. Then he took the protesting child from Mother Confessor's arms and went out of the cave followed by Kahlan. The woman was carrying the rest of the Mord'Sith's gear.
"See if these soldiers have any appropriate clothes. We can needle some robes for Cara as she overshrunk her own," he grinned and winked at a very confused Mord'Sith, whose little form was delivered to the light by the mighty Lord Rahl himself. Any Mord'Sith would have died to be in her shoes right now but not Cara. The poor child was put to shame. The only thing she wanted to do was to disappear.
"Come on. Let's make something appropriate of this vest."
Kahlan kneeled in front of the Mord'Sith. She tied each strap in a bow for them not to slip off Cara's shoulders. The vest was too wide for a tiny girl. So, the Confessor tore the hem of the dead soldier's shirt and tied it as a belt around child's waist. Now it looked like a tunic that reached girl's knees.
"Not bad!" Kahlan remained satisfied with her work.
Cara stared skeptically at the dress made out of her under vest.
"I look stupid," she exclaimed.
"No, you look like a child who wanted to play dress up using her mother's clothes," the Confessor giggled.
The child frowned and went to her clothes that Kahlan put down next to her backpack. When the girl wanted to pick up something from the pile of clothes Kahlan seized child's arm and pulled her back.
"What are you doing?" Cara tried to wrest from the Confessor's grasp but all her attempts failed.
"Don't even think of touching them again!" said Kahlan strictly.
"I just want to put them in my backpack!" exclaimed the child nearly falling down when the woman released her.
"Again you are arguing!" reprimanded the old man going out of the cave with a book in his hands.
"She doesn't let me put my agiels in the backpack!" Cara frowned and folded her arms. She was absolutely furious.
"Don't worry. I'll do that," said Richard in apologetic tone. He picked up two short red rods by the chains on their ends and carefully put them into the sack. The belt with holster's for these deadly weapons followed together with Cara's red leathers.
"Zedd, can you make my clothes in a way they'd fit me," asked the girl looking at the old man with her pleading, big, blue eyes.
"I can do that but they won't fit."
"Because of your figure."
"My figure?" Cara seemed confused.
"Fine, I'll show you."
Zedd told Richard to take the Mord'Sith's costume out and spelled it.
"Try it on."
The pants were good enough but she couldn't buckle them on her waist. The top was too big and baggy on her chest and too tight on her belly. Kahlan couldn't stop giggling at the picture of Cara's puzzled look. Zedd and Richard turned their backs to the Mord'Sith to give her some privacy.
"I'm flat like a board and fat like a pig," the child stated the obvious.
"As for me, you are the most beautiful five-year-old girl I've ever seen!" Kahlan gently helped Cara to put on the improvised dress.
"At least the boots and the underwear fitted," the Mord'Sith said sullenly putting her garments away.
"Keep your chin up! We'll undress some of these soldiers and you'll have the best wardrobe for a kid!" Zedd made an attempt to cheer her up.
Cara didn't reply. The child was too upset, so she went to see what she could find on those dead corpses.
To be continued…
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