Claimer: Wait. . .it's mine. No copying without my permission, you know the drill.

I'd love to know what you think of this one!

*****

Entering the bathroom, I am assaulted by a strange yet familiar smell. It is something very sweet, very fruity. . .Ah. I feel something wet beneath my toes and look down. Faded blue denim covers my foot entirely, but I figure, logically, that I must have stepped in one of those small puddles of water that speckle the green tiles. Rachel's just had a shower, then-- that accounts for the fruity smell and for the wet floor. I head straight over to the sink and turn on the cold water, dipping my cupped hands beneath the stream. With a sigh and splash my face with water and rub it, then pick up a light yellow towel from the counter and dry my face off as best I can.

Looking into the mirror, I see a barren desert plain, the sand not moved by the slightest of breezes. The sky is dark and black, and a red sun sinks down to the horizon. The place has an evil, ominous feeling to it, as though what ever goes here never comes back. Suddenly a hot, dry wind picks up. I can feel it howl against my face, the rough sand exfoliating my skin.

I sigh, exasperated. "Kedo," I chide.

"Sorry, Lady," his squeaky, high voice comes, and in the blink of an eye the desert is gone, and once again I see my bathroom in the mirror.

"Now that's better." I pick up the brush to work a bit on my tangled locks, and the image of a small creature pops into the mirror. He is red and not unlike a frog, with an orbicular body, equally bulbous eyes with only pinpricks for pupils, and four legs, the back two strong, for leverage, and the front two weak-looking, but truly powerful, for lifting and such. Centuries older than I am, Kedo loves to act like a child. Some times I think he knows better, but most of the time I doubt that. "Kedo, no."

"Aw, come on, please?" he begs, bouncing around the mirror. "I promise to be real good this time, uh-huh, good as gold for ya, Partner, good as--"

"Kedo, hush!" I hiss, afraid my sister will hear. "I can't let you through, you know that. Now unless Cody, Sadie, Mika, or Rog has sent you to tell me something--and I doubt it--be gone!"

"But pal," pleads Kedo. I reach into the mirror and grab him where I know his voicebox is. "Actually," he says in a strained voice, holding up one finger, "I did speak to the Prince the other day." I release him at once, and he drops to the bottom edge of the mirror, rubbing his throat. "Well, I think I may be offended here, Lady."

"Y'all--" I shake my head. A few minutes talking to Kedo and already I sound like Viggo Mortensen in 'Hidalgo'. Returning to my usual California drawl, I say cautiously, "Kedo, if Mika sent me a message I am sure it was important, and that he would like you to relay the message to me. If you please."

"My Prince asks the request of yours and Lady Cody's presences. He says you'll understand if I am not allowed to take no for an answer," Kedo replies finally.

"All right, Kedo, when?"

"Now, Lady." With that Kedo reaches through the mirror and grabs the front of my shirt, hauling me off my feet. The travel might have been far less painless, had a small goblin not hurled me head-first onto a stone floor.

"Deborah!" I hear someone gasp as I land. "Are you okay?" I look up and find myself face-to-face with Cody, worry clouding her brown eyes. Sadie is perched on her shoulder.

"Yeah, fine," I say, allowing her to help me to my feet. "Good to see you again."

"You too, Dan," she says, pulling me into a tight hug. I return the gesture and draw back.

"You well, Sades?" I ask with a nod.

"Very well, thank you," she replies. Sadie has the sweetest lyrical voice, almost like an angel. She is, in fact, a dusty-colored long-haired thing that is much like hamster, but bigger, about three times the size of my hand.

"Kedo!" I call, and he bounds over to me.

"You see, I told you, I said it was important, didn't I, huh, huh, huh?"

"No," I tell my hyperactive little one. "Quiet."

"Woah, Mika!" he exclaims, as though he has seen the prince for the first time. I have only just noticed him, sitting atop his throne with an impatient, amused air, tapping his fingers on the arm of the chair. He is quite a pretty boy, even in his annoyance, although a bit cliche with light brown hair and blue eyes. Rog sits in his lap--I quite like Rog, he is a caring little fellow not much bigger than Kedo or Sadie, but, while Ked and Sades are like creatures, Rog is more like a cotton ball or a cream-puff than anything else. I have only physically encountered him once before, and he has the softest short fuzz all over him. He seems a ball of pinkish- white hair, but is actually quite solid. "Mika, buddy, pal-o, it's great to see you again!" Kedo jumps towards Mika ecstatically. Poor little guy never saw it coming to him; Mika raises one finger and Kedo is frozen in midair. I grin and stifle giggles.

"Don't think I wouldn't do the same to you," Mika warns me, and I sober at once. "You and Kedo should be getting along, not fighting like crazy, especially not now." I cannot help but roll my eyes at the Prince's redress. "But we have less petty matters to attend to. Cody, Deborah, I asked Ked and Sadie not to tell you any of this before you reached me. Lyra is in great danger."

*****

Pronounciations:

Kedo: KEY-dough

Ked: Keed

Lyra: Lee-ra