Sunlit Search Party

Today's fanart is by @d4ffodil! They drew the "Lace up my wings" scene. And it looks INCREDIBLE. I love how the background is blurred and the stars sparkle. Y/n's dress looks so fluid and realistic! The flowers on her hijab are so cute! 

BACK TO THE STORY

What's the secret of the miracle? 

With a frustrated jab, you shoveled aside a clay fragment. Sunlight baked your hair and shimmered over Casita's wreckage like a mirage. Colombian summers were always brilliant, but today the heat felt uncomfortable.

It doesn't really matter. Monsieur Gothel wouldn't actually tell me, even if I brought him the key. I should stop thinking about it. 

A half-hearted wind lazed through your dress, and as it rolled through your skirt you miserably wished you could capture its wispy coolness against your skin. Where's Pepa's power when you need it? Even rain would be better than this heat!

It had been two days since Bruno's disastrous play had crushed the miracle to sawdust. Swelling with sympathy for the abused grandchildren, the villagers had graciously assembled to rebuild Casita. All around you, their hardworking hands shoveled and prodded and lifted to clear out the unruly junkyard.

Even Cristina. You understood her now. Her pained, polite smiles. Her deliberately detached conversations. You didn't remember her. Camilo didn't remember you. Hearts bled and heads rolled. Nothing to do about it. 

The first day had blossomed into a festive gathering. Kids laughing, the metallic pound of hammers, chatters of lighthearted gossip... But today, everyone sweated, suffering in silence under the sun's white-hot glare. All you could focus on was bulldozing through a jumble of red-clay pots with your shovel. They clanked softly as the burning metal from your shovel sifted by. Clank. Clank. Keep shoveling.

"Hi, Senora Pepa," you greeted as Pepa, grimacing, maneuvered around a hill of bricks. You plopped your shovel into the ground, grateful for the excuse to rest. "Any sign of Mirabel?"

"No," Pepa stressed, fretfully combing her fingers through her red mess of hair. "It's been two days; she's still out there. Why did she run away? What is she doing? Do you think she's hurt?" Felix ambled across the wreckage, encircling Pepa in a backwards bear hug. 

"Mi amor, we'll find her, we'll find her," Felix soothed, childishly rocking her back and forth in his massive arms. An unbidden smile crept across Pepa's face. Felix's tiny bead eyes peeked at you from over Pepa's shoulder. "(Y/n), you should join the next search party. You know Mirabel well." 

"I'm in! Take this," You grinned, thrusting the shovel into Felix's pawlike hand. "Who else is going?"

"Luisa, Julieta, and Camilo." 

Camilo. You hadn't spoken with the hazel-eyed boy since Casita collapsed. You'd caught him, darting confused, uncomfortable glances in your direction when you hugged Pepa or teased Antonio. 

Whenever your eyes shone into his, he'd snatch his gaze back to his work, embarrassed. He'd shuffle awkwardly, not like a boy with a crush, but as if he'd been caught whispering mean gossip. 

Of course he doesn't like me. I've invaded his family. 

"Hey," Luisa materialized behind you, startling you from your hurt thoughts. She tilted her head toward Julieta, silently instructing you to follow her. 

"Look! I found a mirror!" Julieta gently laughed, sliding a shiny, polished surface out from underneath misshapen planks. Sunlight shimmered down the thin oval, glistening like river water. 

"A mirror? Let me see!" Camilo eagerly demanded, bounding toward her. He anxiously rushed his hands through his curly dark-auburn hair, brushing it into place. 

"Camilo and his mirrors," a voice quipped. Scattered villagers laughed, amused by Camilo's vainly enthusiastic reaction. Camilo tersely smiled to acknowledge them. But his frantic eyes scoured himself in the glass.

Camilo tilted his chin up, gazing deeply into the rainbow-refracting surface as if staring at his judgement day.  His hands, trembling with intensity, touched his freckled cheekbones as if entirely dissociated from the foreign creature in the mirror. 

"How do you look today, Camilo?" Isabela drawled, feigning annoyance at her cousin's narcissism. 

"I look great," Camilo finally grinned. Relief and awe drifted over his dazed smile. "I look like I always do." The onlookers exploded into uproarious laughter at his cocky comment. But with a touch of compassion, you understood the meaning behind his harmless words. 

He'd been scared. Scared that he'd been faking his face all these years. Scared that when he lost his gift, he'd morph into a body he couldn't even recognize. 

While Julieta, Luisa, and you trekked across the Encanto, Camilo practically floated. He laughed easily, skipping ahead like a firefly. He halted by every puddle as if it deserved sacred reverence, beaming into his watery, distorted reflections. "I look like I always do." 

Mirabel, where are you? You desperately projected the thought across the rugged, stony border between The Encanto and The Outside. Your cautious footsteps hiked over the craggy mountain ruins. What's out here? Is it dangerous? 

"Ah!" Julieta suddenly gasped, crumpling into the unkept strands of grass that swarmed up to your hips outside the ring of collapsed mountains. 

"Julieta! What's wrong!" 

"I'm so sorry, everyone!" Julieta sighed, smiling apologetically as she wobbled to her feet. Her left knee buckled. "Oh. I think I twisted it."

"I'll carry you back," Luisa immediately offered, sweetly lifting her mother, bright blue dress and all, snugly into her arms. "When we fix the miracle, you can make an arepa, Mama."

"When we fix the miracle." They're counting on that. And it's all up to me. I could find out how to fix it. But should I? I only have one day to decide. 

"Will you two be okay?" Julieta hesitated, craning her neck over Luisa's muscled shoulder. Bravely, you nodded. We need to do this. We need to find Mirabel. Julieta reluctantly smiled and conceded, "Don't stay out long. Camilo, take care of her." 

"I will, Tia Julieta," Camilo awkwardly chuckled, flashing you the uncomfortable glance again. You faintly cringed, tugging at a wispy blade of grass. Don't leave us alone together! You almost begged Julieta.

A gust of wind sent a rippling wave through the dull, soft grass. Julieta and Luisa shrunk in the distance, silhouettes against the rolling clouds. They vanished over the yellow-green hill. 

Leaving you utterly alone in the isolated field. Alone with Camilo. 

List Chapter

A Market Run-in

Gifts

The Hallway

The Shattered Dream

Time For Dinner

Sacrifice Play

Creeping at Midnight

Shards of Prophecy

The Pressure of Earth

Never Have I Ever

He Knows

Meet Me in the Market?

Rain on the Parade

Strings and Stones

Moonlit Caller

Secrets and Sunflowers

Sinking Confession

Vaporized

Drowning

A Shower of Stars

Unwanted Guests

Flameless Investigation

The Alphabet

Songs in the Leaves

Vipers in the Violets (H)

Whisper Whisper (E)

Slumber Party (i)

Don't Forget Me (S)

Ghost Story (C)

Evicted (O)

Hide and Seek (M)

Felix's Family Tradition (i)

Sunset Celebration (N)

Cobwebbed Tunnel (G)

Visionary

A Lonely Mission

Bitter Bite of the Wind

Cold Candlelight

Dilemma of a Prisoner

The Sin of a Miracle

Heart Bruise

Jury's Out

The Truth

SmokeScreen

Maze of Memories

Rooftop Vigil

Sun of a Dreary Sky

A Quest, With or Without You

Lurking through Dirt

The Yawning Cavern

They are the Hunters, We are the Foxes

Blue Eyes

He Is Here

Snaking Threat

Trust is a Paper

Buried Breakout

Into the Sun

A Ghost Town

The Warm Chamber

Planned Strike

Icy Dread and Fierce Hope

Eerie Darkness

Ruthless

Whispers of Ghouls

Frostbitten Sacrifice

Moon-White Hair

the golden chant (2. 4.)

Dark Secrets, White Lilies

Brother against Brother

Dizzying Gold Bubbles

No cracks, no breaks, no mistakes

The Red-Brick Wall

dream about me

What It's Like to Be Camilo Madrigal

The Diamond Angel

Dream Amnesia

Mystery of a Pendant

-A Surprise-

Ethereal Starlight Ballade

The Collapse of a World

Harsh Spotlight Glare

Ivy on the Wall

To Dust All Return

The Horror That Remains

Sunlit Search Party

Nothing but Grass and Wind

Slipping Back in Time

Infected

Disease and Bad News

The Last Month

Glass Statues