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The Rise of the Serpent
“Mom, stop, I’m fine. I don’t need to miss the first day of school just because of a couple of flesh wounds you call scars!” I said, annoyed. I got out of bed and did 10 push-ups to prove that I was fine, which should have been obvious anyway.
“Okay, fine, you can go. But if you come back with another scar, you are staying here,” she replied after a while, defeated.
I was happy, but I needed to talk to Melody. You know, about that casual battle in which I obliterated a dragon. Yeah, that one. Anyway, since that event, I have been stuck in my room, under constant care and being monitored nonstop just in case a healed wound got worse. Now that I was free, I went and got dressed. I had already had breakfast, in bed because of my mother. I grabbed my violin case from its corner and headed out the door to the bus stop. I just realized that this was the first ounce of fresh air I’d inhaled since the battle and I enjoyed every second of it.
When I got to the bus stop, I saw Melody, talking with a girl I’d never seen before. Melody took notice of me, and she called out “Heidi!” with a huge smile on her face. “Why haven’t you been in school? What happened?” she asked.
I didn’t respond, because I was not focused on her questions; rather, I was focused on the girl with whom she was talking. The girl had black hair, black clothes, and a peculiar emerald necklace hanging from her neck. I caught a better glance at the necklace and I saw it light up. Then, I noticed my ring, the one Ann gave me. It was glowing, red hot, but it didn’t hurt a bit. Then, everyone took notice of the girl’s necklace because in rapid succession, the emerald on her necklace detached and flew off, spinning into the air, just as the gemstone on my ring did the same thing. A glow emitted from the two and a serpent-shaped fire formed. Then, suddenly, the action stopped and the gemstones fell to the ground. Everyone at the bus stop could only stare and wonder at what just happened before their eyes.
Just then, the bright yellow bus rolled around the corner, disturbing the awkward silence. I grabbed the ruby off the ground, then hurried onto the bus. I noticed something peculiar as the carving on the ring had changed. I couldn't exactly make it out. It looked like a snake with some squiggles next to it; perhaps it’s a shadow or something.
As I rode the bus to school, my mind filled with thoughts of what just happened and why. Why had the carving on my ring changed? All of my thoughts reverted to The Battle. I studied the drawing more closely, taking in the picture. “What could this mean? Why me? Can’t I just be normal?” The answer: no, I cannot be normal.
The view of the brick building of Woodrock North Middle School came into view of my bus window. I got off the bus and immediately ran straight into someone. It was a girl with blonde hair that was in an updo that looks like it took way too long to do. “UGH! Watch where you’re going, idiot!” she cried, “you messed up my hair!”
“Sorry, geez. Quit fussing over your hair,” I replied, very calmly, to her dismay.
“ARE YOU SERIOUS!? THIS IS A CATASTROPHE!” she screamed.
“Oh...kay…” I said, backing away.
“UGH!” I heard her scream.
I walked away, chuckling silently. Once again, I ran into someone although this time it was a different person. It was Melody. “Sorry, Melody,” I said.
“It’s okay.” she replied.
“What happened at the bus stop?” I asked her, knowing she’d be unable to answer and was just as stumped as me.
But to my surprise, she simply said, “What? Nothing weird happened.” She had a perfectly straight face, so I could tell she wasn’t joking. I noticed something weird about her eyes. They appeared almost blue, which was weird because she had green eyes. She walked away and I was left there, questioning everything that had happened since I’d woken up that peculiar morning.
I took out the gemstone that was on the ring previously and then the ring itself. I replaced the gemstone and the ring began glowing.
I was teleported out of the school and reappeared in a hall of black stone. There were no windows, the room was lit by blazing green torches hung on black iron brackets. Out of the room at the end of the hall came a dragon. It was The Dragon, the one I’d defeated. Next to it was The Serpent. The Serpent glared at The Dragon, who appeared not to notice.
“Sssssstill you live…” the serpent hissed with hatred woven in its very words. “Sssstupid human doessssn’t realissse the horror of itsssss ssssituation, doessss it?” It glared at me with its evil red eyes reflecting in the green firelight.
I glared in return. From there, the room rippled and I was teleported back to the school. I just stood there, taking in what had just happened and thinking, “So, the serpent is alive? Am I simply hallucinating? What about what happened at the bus stop?” But Mel had spoken as if nothing had happened.
As my life became a whirlwind of confusion, I pondered everything I had witnessed. “I should stop”, I thought, “I need to get my mind off this.”
I walked to my first class of the day, which, of course, had to be math, just what I needed. For even more luck, it was the day of the unit test. When I walked in, I was completely ignored, so I found an empty seat. Once I sat down, I was immediately asked a question, not by the teacher, but by the girl sitting across from me. “Are you new?” she asked me.
“No, I was just not here for the first three weeks of school,” I told her.
“Oh,” she said, “What happened? Is that a real scar? How did you get a scar?” She began to pepper me with questions and I did not feel I had to tell her the answers to them.
Instead, I just said, “I fell.”
She looked at me. “Oh,” she replied.
The teacher started passing out the tests. When she got to me, I scanned the paper with fear because I had never learned any of this. I raised my hand.
“Yes?” The teacher asked with a scowl etched on her face.
“I have never learned this unit because I was not here,” I said, fearing her response.
“Well, do I look like I care?” she scolded, “try your best! This is for a grade!” She shot me an evil glance, then walked away.
I looked helplessly at the complex math problems that were set before me. I looked at the person across from me. It was no use. She was busy, looking down at her paper. I wrote a series of random numbers all over the page. I had no idea about the unit test, so I turned it in what I could. My teacher had an evil smirk on her face as she took the paper as though she’d make my grade an F. I was almost positive she would.
She returned my paper after grading it. I discovered instead of a grade, a drawing of a red serpent. I looked closer, noticing some squiggles in the back. The bell rang. I got up from my seat and walked out the door.
“You forgot your backpack,” the girl who was seated across from me informed me, and, to my dismay, it was the truth. I went back to get my backpack only to see my teacher holding a serpent-shaped staff. She drew a circle around herself and disappeared into a whirling inferno and she was gone.
I blinked a few times, then picked up my backpack. Surely, I was hallucinating. After all, the occurrence at the bus stop was just a hallucination, according to Melody and everyone else at the bus stop. I went to history class next, hoping my life would be normal after math. I walked into the history classroom and I was told to sit at the front of the room. Great, now I’ll be right in front of the teacher.
I took in the plain, white, and gray room that was the history room. Compared to last year, this classroom was boring. You remember Miss Susan? She retired, though not really, because she had duties to fulfill after the battle. Nurse Ann? She also retired and is now a medic for the army of the Lion.
Suddenly, smoke moved around me. It has to be another hallucination, right? I close my eyes and hope for the best. I peek out one of my eyes to see a knife going straight for my face!
“WHAT’S HAPPENING?!” I thought.
Then, another knife comes out of nowhere and smashes against the knife thrown toward me, effectively moving it out of the way. I look for the source of the original knife when I noticed something. The knife that was thrown to protect me had a similar engraving to the one on my ring. I immediately pull it out and check the designs. I walk towards the defensive knife when a hand touches my shoulder. I whip my head around when I realize that the fog has lifted.
I look up from my crouching position to see someone who looked like Melody. Was it her? I wasn’t certain. I look back to where the knives were and they disappeared with the fog.
“Heidi? Are you okay? Um… you’re shaking,” Melody pointed out.
I look down at my hands. “O-oh, I guess I am a little shaky!” I dismissed it with a laugh.
Huh. I hadn’t noticed the adrenaline I had from almost dying from a mysterious knife. I guess that makes sense. But wait, why was Melody sweating? She looks as though she just ran here.
“Are you gonna sit down or…?” Melody says from the desk.
I quickly yet awkwardly sit down at my desk, pondering the situation. “What just happened?” I thought.
Then, the bell rang and the teacher swiftly walked in. I then noticed how many people were staring at me and talking about me.
“Did you see her?” someone said.
“What?” another classmate replied.
“She just crouched down for no reason,” someone answered.
“What?” another classmate asked.
“Yeah,” someone said, “What a weirdo!”
“I bet her friend is a weirdo, too,” another classmate said.
The whispers were immediately cut off by the teacher. “Hello, class,” the teacher said, monotonically. Everyone in the room was on the verge of slumber as her boring voice filled the gray room. “Today, we will be learning about the three branches of Congress,” she continued her boring lecture.
As I fell into a not-so-peaceful slumber, I had a most terrible dream. I was falling into a void: endless, soundless, and voiceless. There were no stars, no color. I had no body.
A noise broke the peculiar silence of the endless voice. “Heidi Dienergottes….. You ssssshall… DIE!” the voice hissed, as if it was the snake talking.
“And the Judicial branch…” I heard my teacher say to my terrible dismay when I realized I was still in class. I looked around at everyone else who was either drooling or sleeping.
Someone shouted out loudly, “EMILY IS DROOLING ON HER TEXTBOOK!”
The teacher told the snitch to shut her mouth and threatened to give her a whipping with the yardstick in the front of the room. The snitch turned bright red from embarrassment and then I heard someone burp.
The snitch’s tactic rubbed off on someone else apparently because somebody screamed, “JIMMY BURPED!”
The teacher began a fury of monotone anger, “SHUT UP! I'VE BEEN TRYING TO TEACH YOU ABOUT A JUDGMENT BRANCH AND IF YOU DON’T SHUT IT, I WILL GIVE OUT SOME JUDGMENT!” she screamed, in the most monotone way possible.
A sudden and intense silence followed. Everyone stared around in silence, knowing that disruption of the silence would result in punishment. Everyone knew the teacher was bluffing when she had said she’d give the class a whipping because that was not allowed. Still, nobody wanted to test her limits as to what she would do as a punishment. Everyone remained perfectly silent for the rest of the class except for answering an occasional question.
Once the bell rang, everyone in the room got up with the noise of two dozen chairs scraping along the ground at once and made a beeline for the door. I left without looking back and walked to the orchestra room for my next class, which was a relief because I always loved orchestra and I couldn’t see how anything could go wrong there.
Of course, I would end up being wrong. I walked into the room and found out this room, too, was gray like the others.
“Dienersgottes,” the conductor said to me as soon as I stepped through the door, “you are the last desk second.”
“Does he think I’m not good then? What a great start,” I thought, as I walked to the back of the room to the second violin section. I sat in a plain gray chair and put my gray violin case on the gray floor, which was surrounded by gray walls. It was extremely dull.
I unpacked my instrument and the person next to me looked at me like I just ate a cat or something. “You’re the kid that was crouching in the middle of the History room,” she said, a mouth so straight, someone had to have drawn it with a ruler.
“Gee, thanks for remembering me,” I replied, sarcastically.
The conductor stormed to the pedestal and chucked some sheet music in my general direction, which fluttered all over. I had to awkwardly pick up all the pieces of paper, as did some of my other classmates.
I returned to my seat and studied the sheet music and it was so easy! I guess I was getting an A in orchestra again! After numerous attempts at playing the first minute of the piece, the bell rang, and everyone made a beeline for the door. I somehow managed to make it out alive!
I walked off the bus into the fresh autumn air feeling glad that the plain, gray school day was over. It was that spot in autumn that was right in the middle, when all the leaves were gold, red, and orange, but none of the leaves were brown or falling yet. The sunlight was pale like the winter sun and the air was not yet freezing, but rather a quite pleasant temperature in which you would wear that jean jacket you bought last summer. It certainly was a nice day, but I could not take the time to enjoy it because I had to figure out what was happening.
I was walking down the sidewalk, with the pale sunlight shining through the canopy of fiery leaves. When I blacked out, well, it was the dream again. I kept getting overtaken by it. I was falling through a void, soundless, colorless, motionless, but at the same time loud, colorful, and sickening motion. I was invisible, yet I had a body. I was in pain, yet I felt fine. I was falling, yet I was stationary. I was looking at myself, dying in a circular battlefield, with a shadow that looked to be a dragon of some sort.
“You ssssstill…. Live. You sssssshall DIE,” I heard The Voice hiss, the voice of a snake.
I felt like I was being choked, as though a serpent was trying to kill me by suffocating me. “HEIDI, WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” I heard someone say.
I opened my eyes, relieved to find someone was trying to give me CPR, but failing miserably. It was Melody. I looked around at the familiar autumn canopy, a scenic view. Also there was my mother, crying with joy that I was alive.
“HEIDI! YOU’RE ALIVE!” she exclaimed with much joy, “we thought you were dead!” My mother cried with happiness.
“Well, I am alive, I’ve just been having strange visions lately,” I told her, but then regretted it because she began questioning me about the visions I was having.
“What do you mean by visions?!” she asked, “What sort of visions? Are you in danger? ARE YOU DYING?!” She frantically asked a bunch of questions I simply did not want to answer as she would be terrified if I told her the answer! A vision of their child dying is a parent’s greatest fear. The only thing worse for them is that vision becoming reality and at that moment, I was unsure if it would become reality or not.
“It’s okay, it was visions of the revenge of the lollipops,” I lied, knowing she would not be scared of that.
“Oh. I do not believe you, but okay,” my mom said.
“Mel,” I whispered, “should I tell her the s-e-c-r-e-t?” I spelled it out silently.
“Yeah, you can’t keep it from her!” Melody replied in a shouting whisper.
“Mom, Melody and I have something we need to say. It could end up costing our lives at one point, but so far, it’s only resulted in severe injury,” I said calmly, so as not to scare her.
“What… do… you… mean?” she asked, fear woven in her words.
“We are knights, soldiers, and fighters,” I replied, keeping a cool, collected tone.
Her eyes widened at my words. “Show me proof, please. I must be sure my child will not die!” she replied with terror.
“Okay,” I replied, “but I cannot do it here. You must follow us,” I said, knowing that anything or anyone could be watching.
We walked down the sidewalk and headed towards the Imperial Palace, known as the castle of the Lion. As we saw the pear-white castle over the green hill, we walked towards it.
My mom was terrified. “Don’t worry, this is not the Evil One’s fortress,” I told her, to give her words of comfort.
We continued up the hill which had been given a path after we told the Lion of the strenuous journey there. As we approached the sapphire-clad gates of the castle, we had to tell my mom to continue walking because she was slowing her pace with fear.
We continued towards the gold and pearl doors of the castle and as we drew near, the great doors swung open, we stepped into the grand hall adorned with many diamond and gold chandeliers. There was also a rich, red carpet in the entryway, extending up the stairs and along the many hallways and corridors of the castle. My mother was staring in awe at the entryway, gawking at the solid, silver suits of armor and the gold-adorned swords glinting in the diamond chandelier light.
We walked up the grand staircase with its golden rails. At the top, there was one throne. Seated on the throne was not the Lion, as lions cannot sit on thrones, but rather, it was my old history teacher, Miss Susan.
“Greetings! How may I help thou who hath come upon the gates of thy castle?” she asked, a great deal of importance in her voice.
“I have come thus far because I require a safe spot to tell my mother about the events that have been set forth. I also seek advice and knowledge about my visions,” I told her, using the same tone of importance and Shakespeare-like vocabulary she enjoyed using, most likely because she was a history teacher or she just thinks it sounds sophisticated.
“Very well, I see you seek-eth thy Lion,” she replied, getting up, “thou shalt cometh thus,” and motioned for us to follow.
We followed her up the staircase and into a tower on the far-right side of the castle. This tower had many windows and a wide balcony that wrapped around it. The tower was quite large and could comfortably fit several elephants, though I do hope the war never comes to that kind of battle. We walked up the spiral stairs in the tower. At the top, a Lion with a mane of gold and adornment of gold and silver armor awaited us. He emitted a silver glow and his very presence was humbling to the greatest of kings.
“You seek help,” he said. His voice was as sweet as birds in the spring, but as harsh as a tiger.
“You are correct, O great Lion,” I said with a bow, “my mother here is oblivious to the current events of the Dragon,” I told him, motioning towards my mother.
The Lion turned his gaze to my mother, “Please do not fret, I am not going to be of any harm to your daughter. I can understand your concern; however, I am not a dragon. You have no reason to fear,” he told her quite calmly. “I am the Lion, known by the Evil Ones as ‘The Sword’ because of the many fights I’ve won against them. Only the Evil Ones fear me, as I do not hurt those that follow me, nor do I hurt the innocent who are oblivious to the fact that this is happening beyond their sights.” He continued, “Your daughter and her friend are in the middle of a war. The Evil Ones are gambling upon them. Bounties have been set on their heads for a fortune of gold.” He kept his voice calm as he talked, “However, I will not allow either of them to die, nor will I allow you to die by my protection,” he assured my mother.
“Mom, this is the reason I came home with scars. The story of the wolf was made up so as not to scare you. If you had previously known about the Dragon, I fear you would’ve tried to keep me away from the war. But the truth is, it cannot be evaded. If we moved to another country, we would still be at risk. The Evil Ones are everywhere,” I told her, trying to comfort her because she was fearing my fate.
I could understand why she was fearing this reality because no parent wants to lose a child.
The lion turned to us, “Heidi, Melody, there is something else you must know. The Serpent is on the rise,” he said, pangs of urgency plagued his words. Even he seemed fearful of this, which was very unusual.
Next came a bang, followed by a flash of light, and then a scream. We looked to see that Melody was gone!
“Melody?!” I exclaimed, looking all over for her. I stepped onto the balcony and looked out over the land. Nothing. She was gone. My ring started glowing and it burned on my finger. I looked down and saw the scratches that hadn’t made sense. They joined together to form a serpent. “What does this mean? Did the serpent kidnap and kill Melody? What just happened? Is Melody… dead?” I thought.
The Lion was looking at the floor. “Heidi, take your mother to an empty room in the castle. I have to go now, if you want to see Melody ever again,” he said, and with a growl, he disappeared in a whirling glow of gold and silver.
My mother and I stood there in complete silence, until I interrupted it by saying, “Follow me, your room is this way.” I waved for her to follow me.
She followed me, yet she was so stiff that I was scared she’d fall down the stairs. “Right here,” I said, pointing to a tall, oak door with a golden frame and a ruby handle.
She walked inside and looked around in awe. The room was quite typical for the likes of me to see, but for a normal civilian like herself, I guess you could say it was stunning. The room had gold-framed, floor-to-ceiling windows with silken drapes of scarlet. There was a chandelier in the middle of the tall arched ceiling made of bronze. It was lit, but with all the natural light, it seemed unnecessary. The bed was a tall, four-poster made of gold, covered in diamonds and rubies. There was a suit of armor with a green leather dress and armor of leather. It had a bow with a quiver of arrows that were slung over the shoulder. There was also a golden headdress emblazoned with many emeralds.
My mom turned her gaze to the armor, “Is that… mine?” she asked with a shudder.
“You will need it,” I told her.
She looked at me with fear. “Your friend was taken. I possess a suit of armor. You have a sword. To think that I thought my life to be quite normal,” she said, her lip quivering.
A horn sounded in the distance. We were under attack as that was an alarm.
“Rise, be ready, war is upon us,” I told my mother, then ran off to my room. I pulled on my armor, tied my belt and sheath around my waist, swung my bow and quiver of arrows over my shoulder, and drew my sword as I ran out the door to the watchtower.
From there, I saw an army of shadow-clad soldiers. Yes, their armor was quite literally forged of shadow. I loaded my bow and drew the string back, ready to fire. Just then, my mother joined me with her bow in her hand.
“Mom, I need you to fire a bunch of arrows into that mass of shadow-clad soldiers. None of our soldiers are on the battlefield as of the present, so you won’t hit any of us,” I told her, focusing on a target, then letting an arrow fly. It met its mark, only to break in half after touching the armor of the soldier, who looked up in the direction from which the arrow came. Then I saw something that made me nearly faint: the soldier I’d hit was Melody! “How? Why?” I asked myself a million questions, “Was she kidnapped? Did she betray us?”
I could barely keep up with the world. Everything was moving too fast for me. That’s when it hit me: not a thought, but rather an arrow. It pierced my arm and I was bleeding. All I saw was blood before I began feeling faint. It was as though poison was seeping through my veins and plaguing my blood. That was all I remember before I blacked out.
I awoke in the grand hall of the castle that had been converted to a hospital to see Nurse Ann busy healing other soldiers including me. She was also trying to train a newcomer, whose name tag said, “Nurse Ingrid”.
“Ann, she’s woken up!” she exclaimed as she passed my bed.
“Heidi! Are you okay?” Nurse Ann came over to my bed.
“I think I’ll be okay,” I told her.
I then got up and surveyed how many were injured, not including myself. Then, I saw my mother in one bed and my father in another. “My father?!” I thought.
“Mom! Dad!” I screamed in a panic, not knowing if they were alive, or poisoned, but it did not look good.
My mother had a wound from an arrow and a gash from a sword, and my dad was covered in what looked like claw marks. I sat down and cried.
I felt Nurse Ann’s hand on my shoulder, “They are both alive. Their injuries are not beyond repair and I am brewing a remedy as we speak, but it must sit for ten minutes so the effects do not worsen the injuries,” she told me.
I then noticed my mother’s quiver of arrows, and the oaken bow she once took up, before her injury. I also noticed my father’s sword and it was one of The Lion’s elite swords. This made me wonder if my father worked so much as a lawyer as a cover for being one of The Lion’s elite. It could also explain the peculiar gash on his shoulder.
I picked up my father’s sword, studying it carefully. “He said he’d want the sword to go to you if he died,” Nurse Ann told me quietly. She could tell I was saddened by the fact that both of my parents were unconscious in hospital beds.
I unsheathed my father’s sword and it glowed a magnificent gold despite the metal being silver. Then, it turned ruby red, emerald green, and finally sapphire blue. Nurse Ann and Nurse Ingrid stared at the glowing sword.
“Heidi, a sword has not done that since… ever!” Nurse Ann exclaimed, “with that, you could have immense power and you could kill anyone on command,” she cautioned me.
“Put it away now,” Nurse Ingrid instructed me before going over to a soldier who’d come off the battlefield injured.
I then fastened my father’s sword upon my belt and sprinted out the oak doors of the castle to survey the surroundings. I unsheathed my father’s sword in my right hand and took up my shield on my left. I charged into battle, surrounded by shadow troops on every side, but I couldn’t kill them. They ducked away from my sword. I think they were scared of the glow emitting from my father’s silver, ruby-encrusted sword.
I swung it in the direction of the shadow soldier that resembled Melody. “Sorry, Melody…” I whispered as I stabbed her shadowy cloak.
Suddenly, a great burst of light emitted from her, and she stepped out, wearing the armor of the Serpent. It was black scales with emeralds scattered upon the armor and a dark bronze headdress adorned her with pitch-black gems shining eerily.
“Melody?” I exclaimed.
“Heidi… You ssssstill live,” she said with almost a hiss.
The way she said “still” scared me. Her eyes flashed scarlet before she turned normal again, wearing the armor of The Lion. “That was a peculiar moment,” I thought, “It must’ve just been my imagination, like everything else.”
My father’s sword was keeping all the soldiers at bay, so I cut through the endless shadowy crowd and back towards the shining castle. When I threw open the oak doors, we stepped into the castle’s main hall.
“Melody,” I said, out of breath.
“What?” she asked.
“What was the first U.S. president’s name?” I asked her.
“George Washington, I think. I don’t know,” she replied.
Phew. She did not hiss when she said that. “Come on, you must get situated. Join us at dinner,” I told her.
The entire enemy army had retreated in a panicked fury at the sight of my father’s sword. I then walked up the stairs quite quickly and burst through the gold-encrusted doors leading to my bedroom. When I walked inside, I noticed something a bit off. First of all, my bed was torn to shreds, as though a rabid wildcat had attacked it. Secondly, on the ground was a sword. This was not my father’s sword, nor was it mine. It was black steel, with a bronze hilt, which had adornments of deep green emerald.
I unsheathed my father’s sword to draw away any enemies that might be lurking in a corner. I walked slowly to the sword and picked it up. I felt a sharp pain in the hand that touched it as I fell into a sudden trance of slumber.
I was falling endlessly, hopelessly, and soundlessly… falling and falling into a deep void with no end, no side, no bottom, and no top. I was falling past many colorless stars and darkness beyond what a human could imagine. I fell in a way that didn’t feel falling, yet somehow, I just knew I was falling.
Then, I saw a glint of light: in it I could see myself, on a circular battlefield, covered in bloodstains. I could see that I was dying. A dagger flew at me and something that appeared to be a hand stopped the dagger, followed by a scream and a flash of light. Now I was falling again. I came upon another glimmer. It got larger and larger. I was now engulfed in a fiery inferno. A serpent formed out of the flame. It got larger until I was face-to-face with the beast and it opened its mouth. Then, I woke up.
I was drenched in a cold sweat and was hyperventilating. With a shudder, I got up off the floor and saw the sword. I kicked it away with much force. I realized that was the second time I’d had that dream, with the endless falling and the hand that last time appeared to be a shadow. Also, the battlefield and me dying.
I got up and checked the time on that grandfather clock I knew to be accurate.
“Oh, crud. Dinner,” I thought, then burst through the door of my bedroom and out into the grand hall. I made a beeline for the dining room, where I was pleased to see Melody, Nurse Ann, Nurse Ingrid, my parents, the gatekeeper, and the rest of the elite forces of The Lion.
I took my place at the table, next to Melody. “Were you… kidnapped?” I asked her with curiosity.
“No, that scream was your mother’s, and the flash of light was me teleporting,” she replied.
“You can… teleport?” I asked her.
“Of course. You cannot?” she asked with certain cruelty in her voice that could not be described.
She’d not been herself lately. The tone she used scared me. I also noticed she had not a single scar, which was quite odd for someone who’d battled a Dragon; plus, I remember that she had scars once.
I ignored it and figured I’d imagined it like everything else I’d thought was real in the past few days. I ignored everything that stood out as suspicious and waited for dinner to be served. Just then, three waiters came out of the kitchen and set plates of steak and potatoes before us. We said grace, then began eating in awkward silence.
“So, mother, what happened?” I broke the silence with a question.
“I was hit by the Arrow of Shadow, from the chief of the enemies,” she replied, shuddering. I just then noticed the wound on her shoulder. It was triangle-shaped and blackish-purple. “Nothing as bad as your father, he was stabbed by the Sword of Darkness,” she said. She didn’t need to say anything more because she knew that I could finish what happened in my head.
Every molecule of The Sword of Darkness is woven with poison and shadow. We are lucky the nurses at the castle were good enough to heal him or I might’ve lost my father.
I looked at my father, he had a gash going down his left arm, it was also a blackish-purple shade, lightning-shaped. Just then, a huge flash of light emitted from the middle of the room and went to the front of the dining room. Out of the light walked the Lion, glowing gold and silver. Everyone bowed their heads, knowing he was the king of the castle.
“Greetings, Heidi and her parents, Melody, Nurses Ann and Ingrid, and Gatekeeper William,” he said as he walked out of the glowing portal he’d made, “I have grave news.”
“O great Lion, what is thy grave news you so bear?” Nurse Ann asked, who enjoyed talking like Shakespeare so much that it made me question her age.
“The ones who hath bullied Heidi and Melody, well, thus was the spirit of The Dragon and the Serpent. They are trapped in a dungeon, The Serpent clones and possesses its victims, completely merciless,” he said with a solemn tone. “We cannot know how long they’ve been there, they could’ve been there for all eternity, in the dungeons of The Serpent, no time passes. Nobody can age there and nobody can die there, unless the Serpent should choose to be rid of them,” he continued, the solemn tone of his voice progressively deepening, “It may happen to Andrea and Allison should we not rescue them, with how long they might’ve been there. They are wearing dresses from the colonial age.”
“Then we must go.” I answered the Lion.
“Okay… Heidi, Melody, and Captain Narice and his troops of the elite will go,” the Lion commanded.
“Many thanks, Lion,” I said, “Now, we must go!”
The horn sounded and all of Captain Narice’s troops thundered down to the armory. Melody and I followed. I pulled on my armor, then Melody, the troops, and I stormed out the door of the castle. Melody, Captain Narice, and I mounted three horses, donning golden armor and saddles.
The horn sounded and the three of us urged our horses to a trot. The army was like a golden mass moving behind us with diamonds and rubies gleaming in the shining sun.
At nightfall, we made camp near a mountain, which we knew was quite far from the Serpent’s headquarters. In ordinary human terms, this was the Bermuda Triangle. We were in the Midwest and we had to travel by horse because I’m pretty sure any reasonable airline would be quite concerned if a medieval army just casually took some seats on their airplane. Plus, no airplane would venture near that area after all the stories of terror from that triangle.
Anyone who was either an Evil One or one of The Lion's knew that the peculiar happenings were of the Serpent’s doing. When the sun rose the next morning, I left camp and climbed up the mountain to watch the sunset. I unsheathed my father’s sword and studied it. It began glowing again.
“Heidi, the sword only glows for one other person: your father,” Narice told me.
“I’ve heard that before,” I told him, watching the sun illuminate the pale purple horizon.
“We must make haste, for Andrea and Allison’s lives are in jeopardy,” he told me, getting up.
I followed him down the mountain and when we got to the camp, everyone was still asleep. The horn sounded, arousing the army in a grumbling mass of annoyance. Somebody belched.
“We have a long way to go! We must make haste, lest Andrea and Allison be slain!” Narice screamed, to which the troops started packing up their belongings.
Melody, Narice, and I mounted our three horses and the army continued. After what felt like a millennium of marching passed, we came upon a small town, which we completely avoided, knowing it was a town of the innocents: the unexposed, oblivious ones who thought they knew everything. This town was Panama City, which meant we were close. However tempting it was to stray from the path in the direction of the town, which wasn’t necessarily bad, we couldn’t. We were significantly lacking in time or supplies to last long enough; plus, Andrea and Allison were trapped in a basement, or more accurately, a dungeon, under an eternal timeline of torture and famine. The daily routine of the Dungeon of the Serpent is starvation and punishment. Nobody knows how long they’d be alive. The time is ticking, and we all know it.
This thought put a terrible trance of fear and doubt over the army and we traveled in almost complete silence. The only noise was the footfalls of man and horse, and the beating of my heart, which was shockingly loud.
We came to the shore of a beach that was completely abandoned due to the fear of the horrors of the Bermuda Triangle, which our whole army knew was something else, and some knew it could be their fate.
“Come forth, those who are brave enough to face the Serpent head-on,” Narice shouted to the mass of armor in front of us.
There was a whisper of wind that sent chills down my spine. The crowd before us began murmuring amongst themselves, thinking that fighting the Serpent would be sure imprisonment, or worse, a sacrifice.
“Very well. Heidi, Melody, and I will venture forth alone, and if any of you care to follow, do not. If any trouble should arise, you should fight it. Mark these as my last words should I not return,” he said, a pang of sadness in his voice.
With that he turned about, facing the innocent-looking waves traced with moonlight, infested with evil. All three of us stepped into the waves, and the sea parted. It was almost as though we’d activated a door. Under the parted waves was a staircase. At the bottom was a pitch-black trench. The area reeked with the aura of evil.
“Narice, Melody,” I said, “should this become my fate, I want you to tell my family and make it known to them that I did not die in vain.” I looked at both them and they nodded solemnly. “We must continue, the ocean will not stay apart forever,” I said.
With that, we marched across the bottom of the sea, down many stairs, with the area surrounding getting darker and darker as we went.