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The Orange Crystal
The trees were aluminous and swaying in the soft breeze all around me; it was the time of year when all the forest became strikingly beautiful. Purples, oranges, yellows and an abundance of colors surrounded me. I loved going on long walks on paths that me and my father made when I was child, and I’d walk to where I could barely see my house that sat in a clearing near the valley of the Plahho, the mountain that stood tall and made my house look minuscule as it towered behind it.
This was my home, Shellos. It was part of the Orange Islands where many small towns and villages were scattered and the bigger cities were on the two main islands, but I had never seen them before. I had only heard of them through my father’s stories. I continued to walk when I heard my mother ring the cow bell, “Satoshi! Dinners ready!”
”I’m coming’ mom!” I yelled with my hands cupped around my mouth. The smell of fresh cooked meat and vegetables came wafting all the way into my nose, so I made my way back to my house. The sun was beginning to set, and my mind began to wander. I thought about the times when my father went away on business to Suicene, a city far away on the other side of the Orange Islands. My mother and I would have conversations into the night about how much we missed him, and it would always defer into talking about other things, like the stars in the sky and what we thought was beyond them. My mind went back to the last time I saw him. My father was going away on a business trip as usual, and he gave me a big hug and my mother a kiss before he left. Things seemed normal. We waited for his return but he never came. Until we got a telegram from the O.I police saying he had died in attacks that swept through Suicene. See, there are many exotic animals that inhabit our world, I remember the many times my mother would tell me before I went outside to play as a young child, “Now Satoshi, you be safe. And don’t go talking to any strange animals out there.” But most of the creatures in the Orange Islands were harmless, but there were dark creatures that hated humans and would do go out of their way to destroy them. I’ve heard stories about a man named Lamia. In these stories I heard from some of the older people in my village it’s said that Lamia used dark creatures to wreak havoc on innocent people, and they speculated that he was behind this attack. My mother and I hadn’t ever really gotten over my father’s death. Things just weren’t the same, everything I did lost all meaning and I only felt the slightest bit better when I walked the paths alone. Most days I felt nothing, not sadness, not depression, just nothing. Thinking of it made me hate the world, it made me want to this Lamia man, but I didn’t know what to believe or what to think. The days just went by, and my life seemed to go with them. I walked up to my door and opened it; there my mother was fixing my plate on the table.
“Go wash up Satoshi. Your hands are dirty. I wish you wouldn’t stay outside all day. I get worried about you.” I knew my mother hadn’t gotten past my father’s death either, but she always tried to act strong. Though the sound of her voice had changed since my father was taken from us, she just wasn’t the same and it really got to me sometimes. Without saying a word I went to the sink, turned the water on and washed my hands quickly. There was a rush of pain that swept from my heart outwards. It hurt and it was unexplainable even to me. I sat down at the table across from my mother and began to eat my food.”You know Satoshi, you should go into town soon and look for a job, things are getting tight around here and I could use some help.”
“Okay mom I’ll get around to it.” I was bothered by her request. I just couldn’t keep my mind off my father. She stood up from her chair to clean her dish.
“I don’t like your attitude Satoshi, you need to get a job and contribute to this household.” Her words stabbed into me and made me feel worse about myself.
”Okay, mom, I’ll try.” I tried to avoid any conflict with her.
“You always say “you’ll try.” Just get it done, I’m going to bed. Make sure you clean everything up when you’re done.”
”Okay mom,” I watched her walk upstairs slowly, I couldn’t believe how she could act the way she did after everything that had happened. We didn’t talk so much anymore, and she was very dismissive with me, basically we spoke when we needed to and that was all. Sometimes I would hear her crying in her room late in the night but I never comforted her. Something wouldn’t let me, our relationship had gotten so strained that it was hard for me to show her any love at all. I finished my dinner and washed all the dishes and I just sat at the table, alone with my thoughts. I wondered if I was ever going to be okay, everything had lead to the point where I didn’t know what to do. I had become a person I didn’t want to be, my anger, depression, and small flickers of happiness had all become blurred into a mask that id polish and wear to make myself feel normal, but none of it felt real. I felt like I was going nowhere. I went down to the cellar and grabbed a bottle of wine; I blew off the dust and brought it upstairs. This was how most nights were for me, just sitting alone drinking wine until the sun rose. I hated the taste of the stuff, but I drank it for the feeling, and the feeling alone let me forget about the day. I had been sitting and drinking for about an hour till I could feel the alcohol when I breathe. I was in a deafening pleasure, it was like I was under water and I always felt like I was waiting for something to happen and nothing came. I heard the sounds of the night outside, and one in particular, it nullified my senses and it drew me to it. I opened my door, bottle in hand and stepped outside. I just stood there and listened, and I heard a voice that sounded so clear but very far away.
”Hey Satoshi.” I wanted to believe that it was in my head but it felt so real.”
Who’s there” I said in disbelief.”
Come here Satoshi.” I followed the voice down the path in front of my house and down into the woods, I went so far that I couldn’t tell the difference of the things around me it was so dark. But I saw a dark figure sweep down from the treetops and perch on a limb that I didn’t know was in front of my face.”
Who’s there?” I became startled with emotion.”
Calm down Satoshi, calm down”.
“How do you know my name?” I said to the dark figure.”
Will you just listen!” Ugh intolerable you humans are sometimes. Hold on just a moment.” The dark figure took off and flew towards my house, and I watched completely in awe as he turned on the lights to my front porch, He flew back and I could see that he was an owl of magnificent size; he was red and had orange and yellow feathers on his tail. He had a defined face with a small beck, and he blended in with the trees around him candidly. He perched on the same branch he originally was on.”Okay Satoshi don’t freak out, just listen. I’ve seen you since you were a little child; you should be about nineteen years now eh? Anyways I know what happened to your father in Suicene.”
“What! What do you know?” I yelled.
“Shut up you drunken idiot and listen to me” he said authoritively.” I was there and I saw everything that happened. People here think Liama is a myth but its true, he was behind these attacks; he sent ancient birds from that I didn’t believe existed to Suicene and destroyed it all. I remember your father and I know he didn’t make it. There was nothing I could do, it happened far too quickly and the power of the ancient birds is unparallel to any strength I have. But you must listen to me, Liama has control over these ancient birds, and he is planning to destroy all that we know, my home and your home is not safe.” I was astonished by the knowledge he was telling me, he continued.”I know how he has done it; i've seen it with my eyes. He is controlling the birds with the orange crystal. The only way he can be stopped is if a human can take control of the crystal and the ancient birds, whoever controls them. It rests upon the summit of Mt. Plahho. I’ve lived for a very long time Satoshi and I’ve watched you grow from a weak child into a man; you are pure at heart even though your mind has become strayed by tragedy. You know Mt. Plahho, I remember you and your father hiked it many times, you remember how he would only take you so far?”
”Yeah! I remember, but.”
”Listen to me Satoshi!” You are the only one who can reach the summit and take control of the orange crystal.”
“But, I can’t. I can’t do it, how am I going to do this?”
” I can guide you only so far, but in the end it’s up to you.” I couldn’t even believe this, the words I had just heard scared me and shocked me, I just wanted to believe it was a lucid dream and I would wake up. I close my eyes and opened them and it wasn’t a dream. I knew I had to do this, for my father, and for every other child who would lose their fathers if I didn’t and all the innocent animals as well.
”Okay okay I’ll do it, but before anything, who are you? How do you know all of this?” The great owl raised his head wisely.
” My name is Chikao; I’ve lived for 2,000 years. I’ve seen the highs and lows of this world. That is all you need to know, the time is of the essence. Get your essentials for the trip and let’s go.”
”Okay okay I’ll be right back Chikao.” I ran back into my house feeling different, I felt a purpose. I went and collected some clothes and a bag to put them into, some food and some water. Before I was about to leave I stopped and thought about what my mom would think when she realized I wasn’t home in the morning. I decided I would write her a note; she wouldn’t wake until late in the morning so she wouldn’t see that I left. I took a pen and a piece of paper out of a drawer near the cupboard; I sat down at the table and began to write.
I went into town to look for a job. I have some money and I’m going to stay in town until I have a job and money to come back with.
I love you,
I knew I lied to my mother but I knew she wouldn’t believe me if I told her the truth and I wouldn’t of even known how to put the words on the paper to describe what I was about to do. She would have thought I had lost my mind. I left the note in plain sight for her to find when she woke up. I grabbed my bag and I walked out into the night and Chikao was waiting for me on the porch ledge.”Are you ready Satoshi?”For the first time in a long time I felt a lot of things, mainly excitement and fear.
”Yeah I’m ready.”So we headed off into the night. Very soon we reached the bottom of the mountain.”Cikao?”
”Yes Satoshi?” “When we do get to this orange crystal. How am I even supposed to gain control of it?”
“At the summit of Mt. Plahho there are ancient scriptures that are in your language entombed on the walls of the summit. You must read them to acquire the control of the ancient birds.”
”Oh, well it sounds simple enough.” I said jokingly. But Cikao wasn’t in the joking mood; he just flew above me silently. So we hiked on all through the night and into the morning and yet I didn’t feel the least bit tired. I felt meaning, and it was a feeling I didn’t remember. Days and days went by and we kept going strong, traveling up the mountain throughout the day and resting for a short while in the night. There wasn’t too much life to be seen on the mountain, at the most there was some small rodents scurrying around and talking to each other. We had reached the point where my father used to make us turn around when I went up the mountain with him, it all came back to me and I missed him. I don’t felt like he knew about the crystal, he knew it was dangerous and didn’t let me go anywhere near it. It made me appreciate him all the more for all the love he had given me in what really was the short time we were together. I felt the tears come down my face but I quickly brushed them off, I don’t know what my father would of thought of what I was doing, but I was doing it for him and for everything. I thought he would have been proud of me. I turned to Chikao, who was perched on a small rock above me.”This is as far as I’ve ever gone on the mountain.”
”Yes I know Satoshi; the rest of the journey will not be easy. Your father was a wise man, for he knew of the dangers that lurk towards the top of the summit. But we must keep moving Satoshi.”Heading on the mountain began to feel darker; the air was thick as we walked on a narrow path. Then when there was some open space I saw it. The summit, it was huge and there was steam coming off from the top of it. The out of nowhere a huge gust of wind knocked me to the ground and I heard a piercing, high pitched blare over my head. I saw the ancient bird; it was ten times as big as Cikao, as it towered over me, and then as I saw it circle around to come back I heard Chikao yell, “Run for the summit Satoshi! You know what to do!” I ran for the summit and the mighty bird bellowed fire out from its gaping mouth. I ducked as it flew over my head, and I saw it go after Chikao who started luring it away from me. I knew this was my chance to make a break for it. I ran up and over to the top of the summit where there was a large plateau. I saw the orange crystal; it glowed in beauty and great strength. Its light was blinding, as I walked to it I was stopped by another colossal bird, this one with a man on it. It was Laima, it must have been. He was in all black and he had scars all over his face, just as the stories had said. He and the bird stood over me.
”It is unfortunate that you came here, now you will die in vain like all the others.” His voice hissed the words out he gave the essence of a satanic being.”You, you are the son of the great Takeshi aren’t you?”
”How, how do you know my father?”
”So you don’t know? You unlike your father tried to steal my power, and just like him you will die!” He rose above me and the giant bird screeched which knocked me on my back, the bird came flying straight down at me at an incredible speed when Chikao, being chased by the other ancient bird knocked into the one flying at me. The one behind Chikao stuck him in-between the other along with Liama they all toppled over the side of the mountain and feel out of sight. I felt fear for Chikao but in the short time of knowing him I knew he wouldn’t of wanted me to worry about him. I ran up the walls, the scriptures were there, all over the wall. I began to read.
After the last word slipped off of my tongue, the orange crystal rose, and quickly shot into my body and it lifted my into the air, high into the air. I could see everything. Then flashed of all different kinds of light came enveloping out of my body and shooting out all around, and then exploded. I woke up. I was sitting on the top of the mountain, the two ancient birds sat before me. They were beautiful. They had changed. Chikao sat on my shoulder.
”Satoshi, you did it. Everything going to be okay, but you must look after the ancient birds and use them to help this world, instead of destroy it.”
”I will Chikao, I will.” The two ancient birds raised their heads and sang a sweet song. I sat there not knowing what the future would hold, and I thought of my father, and I had never felt closer to him in my life.