Ms V opened her eyes and looked out of the car. It was dark and she guessed it must be late. However, she had absolutely no idea what time it was and where they were.
'How long was I asleep?' she asked Sebastian.
He gave her a smile and said, 'Not long,' softly as he opened the car door and got out. He had left the headlights on full beam and in the bright, illuminating lights she could see that they were parked in front of a heavy set of wrought iron gates. These gates reminded her of those outside Buckingham Palace, except without the gold tips.
After spending a moment to take in her surroundings she headed towards Sebastian, who was trying to unfasten the padlock and chain that secured the gates.
She found herself studying this tall man in front of her, taking in his whole being. Sebastian was handsome, there was no doubt about that. Rugged and almost wild, his dark black hair cascaded down over his face as he groaned and grunted, cursing the padlock as he fiddled with it.
Ms V had not always been a fan of stubble, however with Sebastian the dark hairs that seemed to have asserted themselves on his chin only enhanced his masculinity. Although, that said, he was not rough and ready as some men were. He retained a sense of smart style too. The combination was alluring to her.
With one final twist of the key he unlocked/undid the padlock and unhooked the chain that held the gates together. 'We better head back to the car,' he said to Ms V with a little sign of the annoyance he was so clearly feeling.
Ms V looked at him and smiled. So Sebastian was just a normal man after all, trying hard to play it cool but, to her, failing miserably.
'Um...Sebs, I think you have forgotten to open the gates.' In the flash of a moment he frowned, looking deep into her eyes.
'Sebs?' he exclaimed loudly. 'Sebs? I am your guardian. I stand before all of civilisation to protect it from utter and total destruction. I am charged with bestowing all the secrets of the universe on you and you call me Sebs?' It was at this point that he sighed deeply, his irritation etched across his face. 'Sebs? Why not call me Shirley?' he rumbled on under his breath.
Sebastian raised his hands to his chest and brought them together as though he was deep in prayer. He said a small, soft jutsu, followed by one simple word, 'kole' ('open') and made a parting motion with his hands.
The gates creaked; the rusty iron grated against the concrete surface and reluctantly they groaned open.
Sebastian looked over at Ms V with what can only be described as a smug grin and rolled his eyes at her. 'Sebs? Really?'
With that, he started the car and he drove through the gates, up a winding road flanked by rows of trees. After this short journey he parked up outside a large monument. Ms V was sure this was some kind of tomb but it couldn’t be, after all, it was bigger than her house.
Sebastian looked across to Ms V and with a sarcastic tone said, 'Come on little lady, let's get going.'
They both exited the car and approached the rather imposing 'tomb'. With every step she took Ms V could feel the tension building in her; her stomach felt impossibly tight, as though it was competing with professional sailors in a world ranked knot-tying competition.
Perhaps it was simply nervousness? Or maybe it was the pure insanity of it all. It was the same feeling she had when she first met Sebastian. Yet as mad as it seemed, here she was standing in front of a doorless tomb in the middle of the night with a relative stranger who had all the wildness and rugged charm of a wolf.
It was Sebastian's voice that brought her back to reality. 'Close your eyes and open your mind, Ms V. Tell the door to open. Use the jutsu I taught you.'
Ms V had been training for years and this was a jutsu that came easily to her, she found. She closed her eyes and in ancient Babylonian she whispered, 'kole' and parted her hands as Sebastian had. It seemed that as she pictured a door opening in her mind it began to happen in the real world. With a sprinkling of dislodged earth and stone chippings, a previously unseen entrance began to grind open before them. Ms V opened her eyes and saw that her jutsu had worked.
With this they entered the tomb, and Ms V felt an energy, a warmth flow over her. It seemed to start from within her very soul and then radiate/and then it radiated out into the air around her. She felt her fears give way to a real sense of belonging, almost as if she had arrived home. She knew that right now something within her was changing; she was becoming stronger, more powerful. Surely a tomb doesn’t have the ability to do this? she asked herself.
Suddenly the air around them changed, the temperature dropped and the atmosphere became thick and heavy. Ms V could feel the air settling on her skin. To her, it felt as if the Tomb was alive with energy and power, but looking around her there was nothing to see.
As if reading her mind Sebastian stopped in his tracks. 'This is the hall of souls, Ms V, a very special place that will bring you closer to the other Ms Blings that have passed before you. It is their gateway into our world, a place where their power and knowledge can pass on to you, making you stronger and truly ready to take on your destiny.'
Ms V felt comforted to know that the power and presence that she felt around her was there to protect her and guide her. Despite this, she still felt terrified and excited at the prospect of what awaited her.
'Do you have a torch or a lamp?' she asked Sebastian. 'It’s so dark and I want to see everything around me.' She was sure that she heard Sebastian mutter 'muppet' under his breath but the smile on his face betrayed no sign of annoyance.
'Close your eyes and look again. But this time believe that you can see. Then open them and tell me what you see.'
Ms V closed her eyes and visualised being able to see around and in her mind she switched on a light. She then opened her eyes and was confused and amazed by what met her.
She could see, but the tomb was still in utter darkness. Everything she looked at was covered in a bright blue light, clear as day. However when she turned her head away the place that she was looking just moments before went dark, the light transferring to where her eyes were now focused. She didn’t understand what was happening. It was as if her eyes were a torch projecting a beam from within her.
She looked at Sebastian whose eyes were radiating the same light. 'Are we human torches?' she asked him.
He turned to her smiling and replied, 'Something like that!' He took a quick pause to allow her to truly appreciate her own power. 'Focus, Ms V. Really try to understand the true power of your sight. Look carefully and you will discover that you can see through or into an object, even to its molecular or genetic structure, its essence.
'The Ms Bling before you could easily see hundreds of miles, and better yet, the powers that be can see through time and space, and into different dimensions. For now, Ms V, you can see blue light. But that is enough. Come on, let's go!'
With that he headed to a flight of stairs that snaked downwards; Ms V followed. As they walked she started to wonder aloud about her newly acquired skill.
'Wow. I cannot believe how amazing this eyesight trick is. Why didn’t you show me this before? It would have changed my whole life. Just think, my exams, my choice of boyfriends, even picking the right things to wear to work! I could have avoided so many mistakes! Oh what I am thinking? I could have been so rich, just think of those bank vaults stuffed full of cash. The world could have been mine!'
At this moment the stairs came to an abrupt end and they found themselves before the mouth of an abyss. There was literally nothing in front of her, nothing above her and nothing below her. They were at the edge of the precipice.
Even the light from her eyes only showed further darkness. No walls, no floors, nothing. Just as if she was looking into the depths of space. Ms V had never seen anything so empty in her life. Apart from her bank balance after a shoe shopping spree that was!
She looked at Sebastian but before she could say anything to him, she saw bright lights heading towards her. They moved in swirls, much like those pictures of galaxies that had always enthralled her. The lights danced and wove through the air, becoming a shower of sparkling colours that took form and then dissolved again before her very eyes.
Ms V began to hear whispered voices coming from the lights. 'She’s here,' they said. 'Finally! ...Is it her? ...Are you sure? ...She looks so nice! ...Will she have the power?' Each voice was distinct and individual, and every one of them was female. They were soft and floaty, almost caressing Ms V rather than speaking to her. Just as she was starting to feel hypnotically drawn to those shimmering lights in the dark, she heard a louder, clearer voice.
'Welcome to the Hall of Souls.'
After hearing the soft and silky voice she focussed her eyes in its direction and could see what seemed to be a spirit coming towards her. Its movements were graceful and elegant.
The voice spoke again, so warm and inviting. 'Welcome Ms Bling, we have been waiting for you. You have so much to learn and so little time. I am the essence of the Ms Bling that came before you. My journey is now over and I rest amongst the other trusted souls of my sisters. It is your turn now.'
She then addressed Sebastian directly, 'Guardian of the Realm you have picked well.' He nodded, acknowledging her compliment and clearly taking some satisfaction from her words.
'Now let us see what you have within you Ms Bling. Show us your angelic wing jutsu and fly up into the hall of souls.'
Without any thought or doubt, she waved her hands in the air in a shape and form that she had never done before. With each flourish of her fingertips, Ms V could see sparkle and glow trailing through the air, as though her chakra was electrifying it. The sight fascinated her.
Her hands moved faster and faster with more and more power and energy flying through the air. In a matter of moments Ms V could see a shape, a pattern forming in the nothingness before her.
Wings! That was it, the shape was wings! Ms V reached out her hand to touch the sparkling wings that floated in front of her and felt a spark dart towards her finger.
She pulled away, wincing at the sharp pain that she now felt travelling up her arm and towards her chest. She began to feel the panic rising from her feet. It was electric. She thought: perhaps this is all a big trick and I am in danger. She looked around her, plotting a way to escape and not concentrating on the wings that were now upon her.
The wings majestically attached themselves firmly to her back, perfectly placed between her shoulder blades.
She let out a cry of surprise more than pain as a warmth travelled through her back and radiated over her shoulders. Something was changing, something was never going to be the same.
With light pouring from her Ms V felt herself rise from the ground, just as she had before she had discovered her path. But this time she was not afraid, just comforted that it hadn’t all been a dream.
Her wings unfolded as she left the floor, large, luminous pink and purple wings that could only be described as bling-perfect. They flapped with the power of an eagle and the majesty of an angel.
The voice spoke again. 'Come to us Ms Bling… spread your glorious wings and fly, fly up into the Hall of Souls and meet with the powers that be.'
Ms V looked round at Sebastian and he said, 'Ms V, if only you could see yourself.' He knew that she hadn't realised that her appearance had changed so much since she had entered the Hall of Souls. Her outfit, as well as her physical form, had reached a whole new level.