“Not from Earth?” I repeated. I’m not sure why I was surprised. She did fall on me from the sky without injuring herself in any way. “Where are you from then?”
“I already told you. I’m from Leonteria.”
“That’s not a planet, that’s a country.”
She sighed. “So you do want to know everything about my past?”
“Wha – no! I just wanted to know what planet you’re from!”
She paused, shaking her head solemnly. “That is, sadly, the main problem. You see, that has not yet been decided. It had a name once… a long time ago. But now… the two countries, Leonteria and Reginea, are in the middle of a war to decide the planet’s name.”
Zeke was no longer facing us. He had his back to us, shoulders shaking. I turned to him.
“Something funny, Zeke?”
“This girl’s imagination, for one thing.” He faced us again with an ear-to-ear grin. “Do you really expect us to believe that you’re from another planet?”
Mark frowned. “Well, then, where did she fall from?”
“I don’t know! Maybe she’s a skydiver or something. But I can assure you, she is NOT from outer space.”
Ixi grinned back at him. “Challenge accepted. I assume you’re willing to make some sort of bet that I’m not telling the truth?” It didn’t really sound like a question.
“Sure, how much?”
“Oh, I don’t bet in currency. How about this: if I am from another planet, I get to select one of you to help me with my mission – that is, to find a perfect warrior for my country – and if I am lying to you…”
“If you’re lying to us, you have to admit to being completely crazy, and never come anywhere near us again.” He crossed his arms. “Now try to prove you’re telling the truth.”
She curtsied. “I shall.” A button somehow appeared on her wide leather belt (which I could swear she hadn’t been wearing before), flashing a bright red color. She pressed it, then shot up into the air and landed on the very top of a telephone pole.
“Get down from there!” I shouted. “You’re going to kill yourself that way!”
She laughed. “No, I won’t!” A beam of blue light suddenly came down from the sky, shining directly on her, and she started dancing in it, jumping into the air, spinning, and coming right back down. The light moved, and she moved with it, floating slowly down to the ground and bowing deeply as she did so.
Mark broke into applause the second her feet touched the ground again. I clapped slowly and numbly, completely bewildered. Zeke just scowled.
“Okay, where the hell did that come from?” he snapped, pointing up at the light.
She grinned proudly. “My car.”
“Which happens to have light beaming down from it.”
“From the sky.”
Zeke just shook his head. He seemed at a loss for words.
“Well?” Ixi prodded. “Did I win?”
“… Yeah. Yeah, you win.”
She jumped, her arms spread above her head. “Hooray! I get to pick whoever I want!”
I jumped, remembering their deal. “Wait a sec… Zeke just gambled us off?”
“Basically, yes,” Mark answered for me, pushing his glasses up his nose.
She put her hands behind her back and examined the three of us. “So… how many of you know how to play… chess?”