short story, story promptLacey doesn’t want her brother heading off on a dangerous mission without her beside him to protect him. It seems a different Shrine Guardian has that task though…


“I want to go with you!” Lacey shouted after him.

He half turned back to her. “You have to stay here, Lace. We’ve already talked about this. You need to watch over the shrine – you’re it’s last defence against those creatures.”

“I don’t want to! I can’t let you go alone! What if I never see you again?” She could feel the tears building in her eyes, but she didn’t want to let them fall. He would think she was weak, that she wouldn’t be able to handle the mission ahead of him.

“I’ll be back before you know it,” he said with a confident smile. “You know I’m the best Searcher in the kingdom.”

“And I’m the best Shrine Guardian! Please let me come with you, Nick. I can help.”

His jaw tightened. “Lacey. Stop this. You aren’t coming and that’s final. Get back inside the temple and protect the shrine. There’s no point in me going after the Essence of the Goddess if I don’t have a working shrine to bring it back to. You’re the only one I can trust to keep the shrine safe until I get back.”

She hated it when he used logic against her. It was so hard to go against his wishes once he started making sense. Her shoulders slumped. “Fine. I’ll stay.”

An affectionate smile erased the tension in his face. “There’s the sister I’m so proud of!”

She waved a hand at him. “Get out of here before I change my mind.”

“Nick! I’m ready! Let’s go find us a goddess!”

Lacey frowned as a lithe young woman stepped up to the transport platform. She recognised her as Sabrina, one of the other Shrine Guardians. Her mouth dropped open and fury built in her chest. “You’re taking her with you?”

Nick frowned down at her. “Yes. The Higher Guardian told me to take her with me. She’s trained in combat magic, like you.”

“Exactly!” Lacey blurted. “Just like me! You can’t take me along but you can take someone else? What happened to me being the most talented of the Shrine Guardians?”

“You are the best of them!” he insisted. “That’s the whole reason why you can’t come! They need you here.”

Sabrina sniggered. “Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say the best of them. We all know those one get chosen to go on missions.”

Some of Lacey’s anger abated as Nick whirled on the other girl and scowled fiercely at her. “Don’t you dare say another word against my sister,” he growled. “The only reason you’re coming along is because the Higher Guardian requested it. I don’t want you tagging along.”

Sabrina’s eyes widened in shock and confusion. “I thought you had asked for me.”

Nick’s lip curled in disgust. “Seriously? Why would I do a stupid thing like that? I don’t need a nuisance like you to protect. My job is hard enough.”

“Hey! Both of you!” Lacey interjected. Knowing that her brother was as annoyed at having Sabrina along as she was about being left behind had cooled her anger. “Neither of you has a choice. The Higher Guardian has commanded you to find the Essence of the Goddess together. She must have her reasons. Stop bickering and get on with it!”

Nick’s lips twitched and he winked at her. “Yes, boss!” He stepped onto the circular transport pad.

Sabrina mutely joined him, subdued.

Taking a deep breath, Lacey focused her powers on the disc beneath their feet. Moments later, they disappeared.

“Just bring the goddess back safely,” she whispered to the empty space left behind.

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