The Valley of Lies

Dawn

The crisp air reached through the shutters at the sighting of the first ray of light. I was still asleep, the covers drawn over my face. I wanted to stay asleep because last night I snuck my laptop from Mother and stayed up late. But a scream arose from downstairs – my Mother. Mother never missed an opportunity to catch us. She stormed into the room, pulled back the shutters, and pried the covers off my body. Sheer cold rose and fought against my warm body. Then, a thought crashed into my mind. The laptop sat right beside my bed and she completely missed it. She wasn’t there to punish; she was getting me up at dawn to prepare for something huge and remarkable, as incredible as the constellations and the world. I immediately surged upward, my hands supporting the weight of my sleepy body. Mother left some clothes to wear today, almost as if we were going to a formal event. When Mother was gone, I got out of bed and changed into fashionable, yet comfortable clothes that Mother had left out for me, which was a lightweight dress and leggings made of black cloth. As I got the dress on, I noticed on the back the Government symbol for reemergence of the past, a time when our rivals took over the government, and the people rebelled and won, but as a reminder to the people never to rebel again, the law of the thirteens was created. The symbol of that law was a circle with three sections that tell about the three categories of spirit animals: air, water, and earth. As I ran downstairs, Silias, my twin brother, waited nervously. We assumed we were destined for the ritual of Animalia. Under the law, the ritual demanded that all thirteen year-old girls and boys are initiated into the ranks of adults and worse yet, wear the exact same clothes as every other girl – and boy. Words could not make this any better, so we only nodded to each other.
Once downstairs, Mother finally fed us and broke the news. The spirit animals are being handed out today. It says in the law that a child who is thirteen must have a spirit animal to guide them on their life. Once you reach thirteen, you are an adult. My brother and I turned thirteen two days ago.
“Now was not the time to sleep like bears in winter!” Mother grabbed and pulled me into the bathroom. Silias laughed as my hair was being parted into braids. My brown hair showed no signs of restraint at all. When mother was done with my hair, she grabbed Silias. His short, wavy, amber hair was groomed into pigtails. Boys are supposed to wear pigtails for an ancient ritual that parents don’t do anymore.  I laughed so hard, the whole house seemed to shake. She then took us outside and put us on our horses, the satchels firmly placed against their flanks. “I will meet you there.” When she whipped the reins, her horse reared back and ran at a pace of lightning.
“Meet you there, Silias,” I said, shifting my gaze to the stallions silvery mane and fur. ”Ya!” The reins hit my horse Quicksilver with a crack. Startled, he bolted through the gates like wildfire. “Off we go!” I screamed.

Questioning
After thirty minutes of riding, I saw a pavilion up ahead. “This is it Silias, St. Daniel’s point.” I slowed my horse to a halt. “We are here!” I shouted, my voice ringing throughout the forest behind us, as if destiny was calling. Right behind me, Silias on his horse, Thunderhawk, were tired from riding so long. We wanted to eat, but we saw mother before we could eat. She motioned us into a line. The line had only thirteen year-olds. Each child received a number card and then would wait in a reserved area. When there number was called, the ritual was made and they received their spirit animal.
“Number 14” my number was called by a man behind a counter. As I stood up, my legs buckled and I crumpled on the ground. I hoisted myself up and I then went behind the counter, and then led me to a room and closed the door. The room was like an ordinary room with only a table and two chairs in the center. Another man stepped into the room after five minutes.
“Hello, I am Julian Troutfin, and I’m here to ask you a few questions.” He paused to spread out six tiles all facing down on the table. “What is your personality like?” Julian asked, so I stared in his eyes and prayed. “I am fearless and fiery, yet calm and passionate.” I hesitated as he wrote down on a notepad and took away a tile. He asked me four more questions until one tile remained. ”We are done with the test, so I’m going to call up a carriage- “another man entered the room, a lot older than time. “She has the choice to retake it, you know.” A stern voice came from the old man. Julian responded strangely, a sudden, yet strangled voice came out in a whisper, “come with me, the carriage is here.”  He grabbed my arm to lead me out of the room.
The carriage was brand new like a shiny iron casket. He opened the door. As I stepped in he gave me the last tile. “Don’t flip it over, otherwise pain and suffering will go to the beast that reigns inside. Only the priest or priestess or I can flip it.” He said softly. I nodded, for the fate of the beast rests in my hands. The ride started all bumpy going uphill, but the tile was still in my palms. “It probably takes ten minutes, miss. I’m sorry.” “Why was he apologizing? He didn’t do anything wrong.” I thought about it again and another story popped into my mind, the story of my long-lost brother, Elijah, who ran away at twelve years old. “He is probably dead, or maybe he is somewhere else or-“my train of thought was stopped when I saw a famous landmark, the Temple of Spirita Animalia. The spirit animal initiation ceremony is held there every year, from the year of our nation’s founding, 2406. The whole society was very small, about 1/10 of the population today. These people were known as “the Ancients”. The ancients had to work their way from the bottom of the pecking order to the alpha dog of the “puppy” nation. When they were the top, they built temples that floated in the air without anything to hold it up. “Wow, this place is amazing” I thought about the splendor of the place

 

Lifeblood
The carriage finally came to a stop. I felt relieved that the ride was over. The tile, still in my hand, was now covered in sweat. I stepped down and stared in awe as I saw the spectacle.
The spectacle of the aluminous place was undeniably beautiful.  This specific place is known to the government as “the Temple”. The floor of the Temple was made from stone, carefully cut to match one another as they were put in the ground. Then stairs lined around the base of the temple, except for the opening. At the end of the stairs, 10 giant columns were supporting a roof over the altar, a stone anvil. The strangest thing was that six blue wisps of magic spiraled around it. “Why is the altar an anvil” I thought to myself again, but dismissed it.
Then a figure in white robes appeared, asked for my name. “Stephanie” he stared at me for ten seconds and then took me by the hand. “He is leading me to the altar “I thought in my head” Open up your palm; let me see the tile of which you have in your hand.” I handed him the brown tile in my left hand. Then he looked at it.” Ahhhh, the powerful beast that lies inside is perfect for you.” He put the tile down in the middle of the altar and chanted mystical words from ancient texts, but one word was recognizable, “Dragoons”, which meant “apprentice of the dragon”.
Then suddenly, one of the blue orbs stopped and spun around me, getting faster and faster and faster. Then the force of it lifted me up high off the ground, cocooning me in blue light. Then the blue orb stopped and hit me in the heart. As it struck, unknown memories flooded in like the tide, the memories sang like bells and were fiery, then shadows appeared and a forest came into view.” that’s odd, why a fiery omen in the forest?”. After a minute, the memories stopped and flooded out of me. The memories became the orb. “Where did the orb and the tile go?”
But I noticed something new on me, a necklace of a pair of dragon wings in front of the moon. “From the mists of time a new creature is born into the world of human. Grant that its thoughts and actions display courage, bravery, and power to this young one who finally mastered the ways of an adult. Hear her voice crackle like fire and sing!” The priest sang. Then the dragon wings on my necklace started to glow bright red, and out came a colorless, yet majestic beast, the one spirit animal I adorned, a dragon. “Hello there. My name is Fyre, and I am your guide. You can contact me anytime on my token” she tapped on the orb that was the moon on the amulet. She was then sucked into the token. I tried to find Silias, but he wasn’t there for me, nor was mother. I felt humiliated at mother for abandoning her daughter in a time of need. “Oh well. I’m going home anyways” I thought about the elements of today, but I couldn’t. Just before the carriage door closed, a hand blocked the door from closing. “Young Stephanie, your trip home would be long without company. Do you mind if I join you on a ride to your house?”


Secrets
“Yes, I would gladly like your company!” I said, not wanting to turn down an offer. So the priest and I were heading to my house in the carriage. The priest started talking about cards and an operation on my legs and right eye. “Now that you are an adult, I give you this.” He handed me a small, almost card-like. He pushed the side, and out came a blue hologram screen. “This is a Questcom. This little device has all the information that you need to know about missions, targets, and even-“the carriage came to a halt. “Miss, its bad traffic. It will take longer than expected” the driver said.
A half-hour later, we were home. When the priest and I got out, Mother was waving to us.  “I guess Silias isn’t home yet?” the priest asked.” How does he know Silias and me? “I wondered in my head and then pushed the thought out of my head.” Come in, all of you.” Mother said, leading the charge in the house. Once inside, mother made us tea and asked the priest “how’s work, Ash?” mother said. “Who is Ash?” I questioned mother, leaning over the table. She sighed. “Before you and Silias were born and before Ash was a priest, we were married.-“a carriage interrupted the story. “Silias! You’re back!” I shouted. We were all rushed out by Mother, who was curious about what spirit animal he got.  He showed us his spirit animal. “Behold, this is Red” he touched the horseshoe on his necklace. Out came a fiery red stallion with green eyes. She reared at the sight of a stranger. But it was no stranger to us.
“Elijah” I screamed, running towards him. Silias wasn’t born when he left. I hugged him with my dear might, remembering the past. “Elijah, where have you been? You were gone a long time” mother asked him. “I was in the realm of spirits!” he said. Shocked, Mother beckoned him to come inside. We all went inside. Mother then shooed us into the basement like cattle in a corral. Mother was the last person to enter the stagnant basement. “Why is mother dragging us into this room?” I questioned myself again telepathically and then rid my mind of the thought
. “……. Ash, you tell them.” Mother sounded so strange. “Who is Ash?” I faltered as my impulsiveness became rouge. The priest sighed and stood. “I am Ash, your father.” Silias and I were blown away. However, Elijah grinned, and hugged him. “Why has he returned” I thought to myself, and something answered the plea. “Because, you are special”. “That voice, I feel like I’ve heard it before. Who said that?”

Nightfall Forestry
Ash had to run home early so that the Government wouldn’t catch him. I however, had to sacrifice five minutes of my shower time for Elijah, since he was gone a long. 
It has been an hour “Finally, my turn to take a shower.” I prayed for joy in my mind. Afterwards, I hopped into bed and went to sleep.
I woke to a sudden flash of light coming from the hallway. The light crept closer and closer to my room. The thing entered the door and called me by name. “Stephanie, come with me, you’re not safe here.” The thing said. “It almost looks and an act like Elijah, but Elijah isn’t a ghost, is he?” I thought quietly to myself. “I am Elijah’s soul, and I have a warning. You must leave to the Noonvale forest.” He said, his voice growing dim. “What is Noonvale forest?” I questioned myself. “Noonvale forest is a place where kids like me and you live, away from the-“his eyes wide with terror as he started to go crazy. His head jolted from one side to another like a petrified maniac.
Instantly, I noticed something that was not and can’t be in my room, a discolored mist, growing from the corners of my room. Elijah’s soul collapsed when I turned to identify where, or why the mist was here. “Elijah, are you ok?!!!” I shook him violently.
“Mwahahahahaha”
“What was that?” I whispered softly.  Just then, the mist curled around a figure and then vanished. “Ok, first off, why are you here. Second, what happened? Third, What is Noonvale?!” he answered all three in a single sentence.
“Because you are an….. Apocalypse Child!” I scream, put clothes on and ran into the forest. After running for a while, I noticed that the sun came up. A fierce barking noise stopped my train of thought and I quickly ran deeper into the forest. They were spirit animals. Wolves to be exact. “Hey…. You there… STOP!!!!!” I saw two police officers in uniform. “Charlie Nine Bravo, I’ve got a suspected 129, over.” The first officer radioed in on his Questcom, a device worn by thirteen year-olds and up whom work with any unit of warfare, Army, Navy, and Airfare crew has to wear one in order to communicate to anyone, even their spirit animal. I quickly summoned Fyre, my spirit animal dragon, out of her amulet. We flew out of there and landed near a clearing in the so-called Noonvale forest. I retrieved her and put her back in. “I hope we find shelter soon. Otherwise, we’re toast?”

Runaways
I evaded the pursuit. As I ran from the clearing, I found a trail. “I might as well, since I have no other choice.” I started to follow the trail into the forest. I stopped to take a breather when the sun was overhead and I was famished. “I had forgotten to eat breakfast” I thought, hearing my stomach growl like a lion. “I have to find something to eat soon, or I’ll die of starvation”.
A few minutes later, I found a spear lodged into a tree, so I pulled as hard as I could and succeeded. “Finally, now I can kill a deer or something.” A few minutes later, I caught a couple of deer, snared one rabbit, and found a blackberry bush that was ripe. I could only eat the berries, because the berries didn’t need to be cooked, and I could not make a fire to cook the meat. I also found a piece of cloth stuck on a branch, so I put the rabbit meat down and got the cloth. From that point, I made a temporary bag to store the necessities. “Why is all this stuff just lying around” A few minutes later I smelled something funny. “Is that something smoking in the distance, and, BURNING WOOD? There is a camp nearby!” I ran with all my might trying to get close to whatever it was. “What is she doing here?” I heard somebody say. “Oh no, more police. I’d better pick up the pace.” Once I picked up a fast pace, I couldn’t control myself, so as I ran downhill, I stumbled onto something and then blackness.

  “Wake up, wake up!” my eyesight was blurry at first, and then it came into focus. I was in a room with a kid in an orange tank-top and Levi’s shorts. ”Elijah is that-“I stuttered. “No, it’s not Elijah. You stumbled on a rock and probably bruised your head-“he paused to do the one thing that is common. ”How many fingers am I holding up…” he held up all five. “The thumb doesn’t count as a finger, so it’s four” I stated, it was a common trick in the eyesight book.  “My name is Karson, and you’re…” he asked for my name. “Stephanie.” He stared at me in awe and then ran at of the room, and brought back someone. He had a wolf the size of a pony, but both looked familiar, like someone I knew. Someone with the same hazel combination eye color as me. Someone with the same character content as me. Someone with my personality. That someone is Elijah.  He recognized me from the moment his eyes perceived me. “Hmm…… put her in her hut- no….. Put her in my room. I’ll see to her later.” Karson nodded at Elijah and escorted me to his room. “Good luck” Karson stated as he left the room. Ten minutes later, Elijah came into the room. “How would you like to be a medic for our camp?”


Discussions, a daily challenge, and more!?
I stared at him in awe, but I accepted the role as the medic for this group. He then explained some rules about the camp,
“Here are the ranking orders: Warrior(s), Guard(s), Apprentice(s), the medic and medic apprentice(s), and finally the leader, Elijah. Karson, Andrew, Kami, Leila, and Samul are warriors. Adam, Ruth, Skye, and Delilah are guards.  Kiara and Espaloth are the youngest, which means that they are apprentices. You’re the medic, and I’m the leader.
“Wow, I must be important?!” I thought as Elijah guided me out of the room and onto a stage. “Members of the Apocalypse Camp, I bring you Stephanie, my sister. She is one of us now, for she is a medic. Kiara, bring the Feathers of Tebet.” A young girl with burnt amber hair stepped forward and brought a hair extension that has both beads and feathers on the ends of the extension. She clipped one on each side. I felt power rising from the feathers as they were clipped into my hair. “Now, the staff, Espaloth” a taller girl with black hair came forward with a staff, a long stick with green glowing swirl patterns all over it. As I gripped the staff, I felt like an aura could have shielded me for hours. “Behold. For it is Stephanie, my sister, our medic, and another loyal friend. But know it’s time to prove that she is one of us. To the log!” he pointed north-west.
He bounded off the stage, picking up speed to lead us down the Creek, everyone else followed him down. I broke into a run, catching sight of what he meant. The fallen log was this giant log that has fallen over, and I saw Elijah climbing up and walking over to where a grassy knoll is separated by a brook of running water. “Behold. The daily challenge.” Everyone cheered at that moment he said challenge. “Stephanie must jump to the grassy knoll from the fallen log, but must land on both feet. If she can jump without messing up, she gains two ranks. If not, she gains one rank. Are you ready?” he glanced at me. “Ready” I stared down the jump, Ready to pounce.
As I scaled the jump, I noticed something peculiar, but I dismissed that thought. Everyone was so excited about my jump that they started chanting.  “This is it. The moment of truth” I thought. I leaped off the log; the old bark that I was standing on was now shriveled away. POW. I landed on both feet on the knoll. Everybody cheered for my easy victory, or at least, for now. A mysterious man approached me, red mist curled at his feet. “Beware your thoughts, for if a false move you take, a whole empire may collapse from your decision” the mysterious man vanished into thin air. “I think I’m in trouble” I saw everybody watching me. “Come with me, for we need a discussion.” My brother nagged me and pulled me all the way to my new hut.
Chaos
“What happened out there?”  Elijah asked me, and I had no reply whatsoever. I was in awe and in terror. “I don’t know. I guess it was an optical illusion-“Elijah interuppeded “I saw it too, you know. That was no illusion, but a vision from… them!” his eyes were wide with terror. “Come on. We have to get there before it gets dark.” He grabbed my arm and started to run. “Why!!” I shouted. 
Ten minutes later, we found ourselves clambering up a steep hill. We were now faced with a cavern mouth the size of a thousand 10 inch mini earths. “Here we are, Echo Cave.” He announced, pushing me in. He gave me simple instructions about what to do in the cave.  I stepped in the cave and heard a voice calling me. I ventured into the twists and turns of the cave. I finally reached the bottom when a bright light enveloped me. “We’ve been expecting you.” The voice echoed throughout the cave.
“Who are you?” I asked. I felt my body starting to go numb. “This is it, Elijah had led me to my last and final sleeping place” I felt like I was being dragged into heaven by whatever has got me. “Wait, if I’m not blacked out, then were I heading to? “I questioned myself and then got my answer. “We are going to the ancient’s home in the clouds.” I was then free-floating in the light.
I was drifting for a while when I started to get right-side up. When the blinding light evaporated into a thin mist.
I felt something move closer to me. I recognized who it was.

 


Nightmare or daydream?
I was in a dark room, so I couldn’t see much. All I could see was a throne, and two silhouettes. “Where am I?”  I asked as one of the silhouettes moved closer to me. It lit a bunch of candles above. I realized that the figure was flying. The figure was huge. It landed right in front of me. “Hallo there young’un. Do yee know who I am” I know now it’s a girl, with large, eagle wings. She spoke in an ‘ancient’ accent, which sounds like a British and Scottish accent combined. “Umm…hi” I say, waving my hand slowly as I saw the figure on the throne moved. “The name’s Theroa, and this here is Thallic.” She motioned to a young boy dressed in a tunic, his headdress was the one of a falcon, while Theroa had an eagle headdress.
Thallic approached me and then told me a story:
“A long time ago, there lived a nation. The nation had one ruling party called ‘the Government’. The Government had no elections, so the people could get on with their lives. But one day, everything changed. A rival nation took over, ruling with an iron fist. Everybody starved, except for a group of kids. These kids were known as ‘The Rebell children’. These children had two leaders, Brian and Elijah. Both of them rallied the kids, sparked fires in their hearts, and planned to rebel against the harsh government.
During the rebellion, a young man named Kinderus Troutfania casted a spell on the whole rebellion children that each one were cursed and many suffered death, including Brian. But one survived, and that survivor is….. Your brother.” I was dumbfounded. “He didn’t tell me that!” I say, tears were shedding from my eyes.
After a long discussion about Theroa’s powers, she sent me home


 

 

 


Elijah’s hopes
After a while, my focus came into view. Elijah was staring at me to see if I was alive. “You ok? I heard you scream in the cave, and you were lying in the middle and I got you out and laid you down in the medical hut and-“I interrupted him “Yes, I’m fine. I just saw a marvel of the ancients, Theroa.” I stared at him and he stared at me in laughter. “That’s funny. When I came, I was visited by Thallic, the god of leadership and he spoke of an ancient prophecy. Here, I’ll read it:
Two with power
One with many, the other, only one
One, a girl
The other, a boy
Will defeat a power
Greater than them
Both with guardians on their side,
Only one will win the fight.
 
And I believe you are the girl in the prophecy, because no one has only one spirit animal on their side except you. So, are you in?” he asked “yes, me and Fyre are in!” I was over excited. “But first, we need an apprentice for you.” Elijah supposedly chose for me.
”Stephanie, this is Rowling.” A young boy in a plain blue t-shirt and ripped up shorts came in, his legs bleeding from giant cuts on his legs. He fell on the floor, so I immediately got wraps off the shelf and started to wrap his legs.
Suddenly, I felt electrically ‘alive’. I grew wings and Theroa came in me and applied all these medicines and bandages on the cuts, and Elijah was dumbfounded. His mouth was open in awe and amazement. When Theroa was done, the electricity feeling was gone, same for the wings and improvements.
“Wow you really got style, even for Theroa.” Elijah stated just when a roar of an untamed spirit animal arose from the outside. “What in the world was that!?” I stated, as we ran outside, leaving Rowling on the bed in the hut.

Trouble
As we ran out of the medical hut, I was amazed at the sheer size of this beast. “This beast has attacked us many times” Elijah stated, running to his hut. “Try to do something with Fyre, and if all else fails, use Theroa.”  A moment later, he comes out of his hut, brandishing a sword. “On my count….one…two…three!”  Elijah charges at the beast, his sword waving in the air. “Theroa, any chance you can catalog the poor beast?” I ask to her in my head. “Yes. I know what the beast is. It is Red magica’s Red dragoon” I recalculated that (thanks to her), and Red magica is, or was, a guardian. She was a good one, but then red magic corrupted her soul. She was poised to strike at all the apocalyptic children in the camp and kill them all. “Wow that’s harsh.” I said.
“Come on, where’s the counter-attack?” Elijah broke the thought train. “I’m trying my best, but as you can see-“I summoned Fyre out of the amulet. “I will try my best to wound it.” Her sweet voice at this time is hard and fierce. She flew up to the top of the dragoon.
ROARRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!
The dragoon roared at Fyre and smashed its giant claw at Fyre; the impact hit her on the side. “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  I shouted as the burning embers of the impact bursting out in waves. “I got her!” Elijah, and Thallic, reached out and grabbed my spirit friend. Me and Theroa cleared the way to a large bed, got all the supplies I needed to heal my friend with bandages, as well as got strong and weak herbs, spices, and liquids. “Here she is. Now stand back” I said, eagerly waiting for Theroa to assist.
“Come on Theroa, don’t back out of this now. I need you?!” my mind kept getting cluttered with rational thoughts. “I guess I’m on my own” I quickly got wrapping on Fyre’s wings and leg wounds, as well as applied poultice from a combo of strong and weak herbs and liquids. “All she needs now is a bit of rest.” I said to Elijah. “Elijah” he was probably outside, trying to scare or kill the beast. Suddenly, I hear a roar and then cheering. “Elijah, you did it, didn’t you?” I screamed as I hugged my brother. “Let’s hope that beastie doesn’t come round again.” He whispered into my ear.

 

 


Love, Hate, and Denial
Elijah, in fact, did get rid of that dragon. But it will take a few days for Fyre to recover from her wounds. “How are you feeling?” I whispered to her, as Rowling hooked up machines to monitor her breathing and heart rate. “She got some pretty nasty wounds. What happened?” Rowling asked. “Well, I think the beast followed you here because I’ve never seen that beast…” I spaced out thinking of the omen that I was given on my ceremony day a couple of days ago. “This is starting to make sense. Ok, so Fyre is a fire dragon, and I’m now taking refuge in a forest camp. I think I need my mind cleared”
I left the room to go to the creek and meditate. As I ran to the creek I heard a whizzing noise like a smoke bomb going off. I quick ran back to the camp and then I saw Rowling lying on the ground, battered and bruised. “Rowling….Rowling, are you ok? Rowling, speak to me.” I was in tears, thinking he is…you know what. I picked him up and carried him into the hut. “What happened to him?” Elijah screamed, horrified at what he saw. “You killed him. Why?!!!!!” before I had a chance to say my rebuttal, he argued, his eyes glowing abnormally red. I sensed burning and raging power that was not there before, at all. “You are banished from the camp until we’ve dealt with the death of an apprentice.” I started to tear up. I ran out of there, still holding Rowling. I ran as fast as I could, because Rowling was heavy. We came from the forest just as the sun was getting lower in the sky.
“I need to make a make-shift shelter.” So I went into the forest to get sticks. I walked for a couple of miles or so when all of a sudden stood a young, cloaked person. She tackled me to the ground and then she hit me. Everything around me became black.
I felt like I was being carried for a long time, but my vision was poor, as well as my hearing. However, I sensed a presence that was here forever, the same burning sense Elijah had in his eyes. “This is strange, I don’t like this”

 


Question, Where am I?
When my vision came back I was in some kind of cell, a really dark cell. My hands were chained to the back wall, some feet off the ground. That meant if I wasn’t careful enough, I would break something on the way down. I struggled as I tried to wiggle free, no use. Suddenly, two guards came in, one holding a whip, the other a needle. The one with the needle stepped forward just as the other started to whip me. Sheer pain rose as blood from whip marks turned into cuts on my cheeks very fast. Then the one with the needle put the needle away. “That needle was empty when he put it away, so where did the fluid go?” the one with the whip stopped and pulled a chunk of bread out of his pocket and left it on the floor. “Go on and eat, apocalyptic brat.” He yelled as both left the room, laughing. Just then, a storm of rats took the bread away. “When I get free, I’m goanna smack them until they bleed.”
I don’t know how long I was in there, but I noticed something very funny once you think about it. The key to my handcuffs was right next to me. “Silly yet stupid guards, they left my weapon in my hand, the key on my right-hand side, and the door completely unguarded.” I thought about how to get myself free for a while, so I put my plan finally into action.  I put my staff in my mouth to try to knock the key loose.
“Gotcha!” I whispered softly, in case the guards came back and I didn’t notice. But one problem, the key fell on the floor. “Darn, I could have got that if it weren’t for these chains.” But then, they key started to float to me. I gripped it with my mouth, and got my left hand free. Then I gripped the key with my free hand to unlock the other hand.
Click
I heard the key open the chain. But then, I was falling.
Whomp
I heard my hands and feet land in a crouched position. “Well, come on. I don’t have all day!” I heard a familiar voice.
“Rowling? Is that you?” I saw my own apprentice. “But how? You’re dead. Pinch me!” I was confounded and confused. “Come on, Elijah’s cell is down the hall, oh and, I was knocked out, but never mind that. You need to save your brother.” Rowling sounded a bit worried. He suddenly ran off through the ventilation system, so I was about to run when something reappeared on my neck. The amulet, so I summoned Fyre. “Hop on my back, because this is going to get bumpy.” So I quickly hopped onto my friends back, her scales rippled with light. “Let’s get my brother.” I shouted as Fyre’s attack killed the guards and broke the door down. The room was a big octagon with a stage in the very back. “Elijah.” I called for him when I saw him in a cage on the side of the wall, hanging a couple feet off the floor. “Ah, my prey has fallen in the trap.” I saw Skye, but a figure was behind her, a man who I only met once. He was the one before I went to the temple on my ceremony. “Julian Troutfin, or should I say Kinderus Troutfania.”

Finally Rest My Case on a Pair
“Yes, this is my father.” Skye approached me, her hands behind her back, as if she was concealing a dagger. “Skye, why are you here?” I asked. “Don’t you remember when Rowling ‘apparently’ died? I didn’t kill him. I knocked him out with a chloroform-soaked cloth. Oh, and that figure when you did the daily challenge, I set a disguised motion detector to set off a hologram of my guardian, cloaked and with a low voice.”
She explained to me about her guardian’s troubles. “Now that you know what I did, prepare to die!” she sounded so harmless before, but now I could sheer fires burning forever in her heart. She lunged forward; her hands did conceal a dagger. I dodged her attack, just to set up a counter-attack. I tripped her with my staff and then plunged my staff into her. Her battered and bruised face was pale, her mouth screaming to see blood soaking her shirt. She panted and tried to scream a few last words, but death was faster. Her eyes rolled into her head as blood oozed from her wound.
“NO!!!!!!! MY PRECIOUS DAUGHTER!!!!!!” Julian was fueled by sheer rage and grief. He glowed with an aura the color of blood red. He transformed into Red magica. “YOU FOOL! PREPARE TO DIE” he bellowed as he surged himself to jump off the stage. He lunged at me with a sword and hit my staff, which was sent flying, and it hit Elijah’s cage hook.
I now had three options: to do hand-to-hand combat, try to get my staff, or get myself killed in either process. I ran over to retrieve my staff. But Julian was faster with a guardian by his side. As I was sliding, his sword hit my right thigh, and I let out a piercing cry. The electrifying aura turned itself on as I grew wings of an eagle. “Fyre, you are stronger than me. Please distract him!” I yelped as the amulet glowed with intense heat. She busted out of the amulet with fury. “My old master, forgive me!” she screamed.
The pieces of the puzzle now clicked in my head. “Fyre was put into the tile by Julian; knowing that if my answers were different, I would get Fyre because she is different like me, so at the choosing, Julian’s ancestor came to haunt him.” My mind rushed the thoughts because I was running out of time. “Almost there” I whispered. I got the staff; the power was rising from the staff helped me to get up. I did a jump-kick and a face-slam with it. He crumpled to the stone floor.

Victory?
I checked the man’s pulse; it was dead silence. I raised my hands in triumph as I was starting to get up. Pain shot through my legs, so I crumpled to the floor. “Stephanie, are you ok?!” I heard someone screech, but it was too dim to see anything.
Beep…beep…beep…beep
I heard a machine whirring and beeping at me. A heart rate monitor. My eyesight was gradually getting better. I saw Rowling hooking up heart rate and breathing monitors while Elijah was standing by the counter, mixing poultice together, liquids and solids. He walks away from the counter and goes to a cabinet and pulls out a needle. A few moments later, my thighs throb with pain. “He is injecting the fluid into me.” But I notice Theroa standing with Elijah, making sure he got this right. “I guess I will be all right if Theroa is watching him.” Then Theroa spoke a few words, but I couldn’t make it out because I feel like I am going to bed.
I don’t know how long I was asleep, but I feel refreshed. I was about to sit up when I felt something on my right leg. I tried again, the same thing happened. Rowling came into the room, baffled. “You’re awake! I’ll go get Elijah.” He ran out of the room for a bit. “Stephanie, you’re up!” Elijah was delighted for a reason. “There’s something I need to tell you” he was so eager that he pulled the covers off the bed. I was in awe. “They are light-weight so you can run, walk, and ride on Fyre in those, and it’s immune to Theroa’s electrifying feel. How do you like them? Theroa made them. She told me what stuff to get and mix them into a liquid-like solid and inject that into you to make them.” What Elijah was talking about was a new leg brace. It was shiny and was hard to lift out of the bed. “I’m goanna have to get used to this” I whispered in Elijah’s ear as he carried me to the creek. I told him what happened with the amulet. He carried me to Skye’s old hut. “Why here?” I asked as he pulled some tools out of a cabinet. He hooked up a painter in an outlet in the wall and started to paint on my arm.
A few minutes later, a full tattoo of Fyre was on my arm. “Elijah, can I test it?” he said yes, so I was helped outside where Fyre was waiting. She was sucked into the tattoo, which glowed for a minute. “This is it. This is home. This is my life. All starting over.”


Two with power
One with many, the other, only one
One, a girl
The other, a boy
Will defeat a power
Greater than them
Both with guardians on their side,
Only one will win the fight.
Thirteen year-old Stephanie lives in a nation controlled by a government with laws that state thirteen year olds must step up to be an adult, helped by a spirit animal. Stephanie and her spirit animal, Fyre, will face their challenges together, but then, Stephanie’s older long-lost brother, Elijah, comes home; she is puzzled about his return. Will she figure out the mystery, or will she die trying?
 






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