The Embodiment

*Author's note: Unlike in Sakaya, there is no prologue. I'll try to update ASAP from now on, but school just started today (-_-) so I may need a week or so to get adjusted to my new schedule. *End Author's Note)

"Lyla! Time for dinner!"

"In a minute, Grandma!" My sketch of the sunset off Lake Wystia wasn't turning out too well. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't capture the radiant colors, couldn't translate the brilliant beauty onto paper.

"Argh!" I crumpled up the piece of paper and threw it into the trash zapper. How would I ever make it as an artist when I was so horrible at drawing a freaking sunset?

"LYLA RAKSON! DINNER!"

I sighed. For an seventy-five year old, she sure was loud. "Coming!" I called , walking to step on the Porter.

Once I was downstairs, I looked at what Grandma had on the table. Then I groaned.

Stew Surprise. Again.

"Why can't we have steak and potatoes for dinner?" I griped as I sat down.

Grandma kept her eyes on the bowl of stew she was pouring. "Lyla, we had steak and potatoes last night." She pushed the bowl of stew towards me and sat down nearby. "That's what's in the stew."

I raised a spoonful of stew to my mouth and tentatively sniffed it. When nothing jumped out and bit my nose, I began to eat it. Not bad, but not good either.

"Any news?" I asked as I spooned the stew into my mouth.

"Yes," Grandma said. "But I'm afraid you're not going to like it."

My stomach plummeted.

"That weirdo's coming over again?"

"Now, Lyla, don't be selfish," Grandma scolded. "It's because of Zanatos that we have this relationship with the Nokki. Because of him, they came down to live with us. Because of him, they gave us all this wonderful technology, cleared up the sky, and cured us of the disease that makes us thirst for blood."

"But why does he keep visiting us?"

"It gives him comfort being around you, Lyla. You have the same color eyes as his girlfriend. You know, the Nokki girl who went missing? The one named -"

I threw up my hands. "Okay, Grandma. I get it."

I knew exactly what she was talking about. Sakaya, the Nokki princess who was "missing." Translation: dead. Zanatos and everyone else stubbornly refused to accept the glaring truth. Sure, her body had never been found, but she'd been gone for a year now.

For some reason, I resented the mere mention of Sakaya's name. I shouldn't; she had probably been pretty nice. Still, I hated her and didn't know why. Maybe it was because we shared an eye color?

The doorbell rang.

"My friends are here. See ya, Grandma!"

"Lyla -"

I didn't hear what she said. I was already out the door.

My day brightened as I saw my pals, come to pick me up.

Cassie was sitting on the ground, reading. The twins, Otis and Odette, were lounging against the wall. And Sean was wearing his usual sour expression, tapping his foot impatiently.

"It's about freaking time," he muttered when he saw me. Cassie looked up from her book.

"C'mon, Sean," she whined. "It took Lyla what, five seconds to get to the door?"

"Five seconds is four too many."

"Whatever," I said. "I'm here now, so let's go!"

Cassie sat up, brushing the dirt off her pants, and we started in the direction of the ice cream parlor.