When They Could

By Zara Quiter, TIWP Student, Age 9


I thought they could. When they could, they chose for themselves. But now they can’t. They couldn’t for a long time. But we can make it so they can.


Working in the forest was good. I was normal. I was innocent. Nothing had it against me. I took out the hose and watered the plants in Willeen Grove. The water sprayed onto the trees and somebody tapped me on the shoulder.
“Zalia!” I shouted, surprised. “I didn’t know you were working here. I thought you were working in Xaleen Grove.”
“I was supposed to,” Zalia told me. “But don’t you know this place’s history? I thought you looked into it. Zacklen, I need you to believe me.”
“Zalia, I did!” I reassured her. “But there was nothing. You need to stop believing that crazy myth Belesa told you. It just isn’t true.” My little sister was claiming the old wizards were killed here, in the royal garden. Now plants grew because of their killings. Now everyone thinks she’s a freak and I have to deal with her.
“Zacklen, it’s true!” Zalia insisted. “You’ll see when you’re ready.” Then she walked away. I had no idea what that meant but I wouldn’t let that ruin my day in the fields. I finished the watering, and started to head home.
“Silly Zalia,” I said, trying to convince myself she was crazy. But she was my little sister. Would I trust her, or everyone else?
“Your sister is right,” Someone said and I felt a searing pain in my head. Then everything was black.
Moments, minutes, hours, or maybe days passed until light was back. “You’re awake, good.” A voice said. “I couldn’t show you the way inside. But listen, your sister is right, she is helpful. She is the chosen one. You must protect her so she can destroy the king. Bring the wizards back.” The same pain hit my head. I felt like floating through the sky until I was. I was on the comfy clouds until I heard my name.
“Zacklen, wake up!” Zalia said. “What happened? Tell me this time. No fretting.”
“Zalia?” I asked, looking around. I was sitting on a bench in the middle of… Nowhere.. “Listen to me when I tell you this.” I took a deep breath. “I believe you. And I need to protect you. Because of this.” I told her about what happened from the searing pains, to the voice I heard, and then what it said.
“We have to go!” Zalia said. “Now, and you’re not stopping me.”
“I won’t.” I said. “Because I’m going with you.

Early the next day, after a good rest of course, we were ready to leave. I had packed suitable clothes, shoes, and many, many jackets if needed. I also brought a map so we could track our locations along with a compass. And of course I also brought food for us and our horses. We might be traveling for a long time…
I left my room and headed down the circling staircase to the living room to meet up with Zalia.
Once I got to the bottom of the stairs, Zalia was there waiting for me. Her curly blond hair was pulled up into a high pony and she was wearing short sweatpants with one of her sporty shirts. She was also wearing sneakers and looked like she was ready to win a race.
On the other hand, I was in my regular jeans with a batman shirt and boots. I had brown, curly hair, and it was always a little messy.“Finally, you’re ready.” Zalia said sarcastically. “And packed. Well, I brought a map to where the wizards should be. Belesa lended it to me when I asked. It’s miles and miles away so it may take us at least a week to get there.” Of course Zalia had everything. She was all packed and had a map to where we are going. Why hadn’t I thought to ask Belesa? I’m the older one after all.
“Uh, okay.” I said. “Let’s go!” That may have been the bravest thing I had ever said based on all the crazy things we would do like running away from the King’s guards, to helping the outlawed wizards.
“Yeah, let’s go.” Zalia said. She opened the door to our house and we walked outside. The gentle breeze felt nice on the hot summer day. As we walked to our stables, I felt the tiniest bit scared. But when I looked at Zalia she was all confident and brave. I had to be the older brother here and not the scared wimpy kid I was. Zalia opened the door to the stables and our two horses neighed and shook their heads.
“Do you think Mother and Father will be upset about us stealing the horses?” I asked. I didn’t want to worry them or break the rules, but there was no stopping Zalia. She was just too persistent.
“Yeah, they will be worried.” Zalia answered. “But I don’t care. And you shouldn’t either.” She pointed out. And there it was again. Zalia being the brave one, and me being the baby.
“Okay, you’re right.” I said. I hopped onto the brownie colored horse and eggested myself on the saddle. Zalia did the same to the ginger colored horse and we rode out of the stable into the distance.
We rode by the houses of our friends and family. Hopefully they didn’t notice us. I don’t want Mother and Father knowing what we’re up to. It would’ve looked more normal if we were riding our bikes, but the horses were faster, even if they needed food, maybe if we went faster it would be worth it.
We passed the forest and I felt sad and angry about it. I can’t believe every other time I looked at the forest I felt happy and satisfied. Now that I believed Zalia, everything was different. The truth made me look at things differently. The truth made me see more clearly about our kingdom’s past, future, and present.
Once we made it out of our village, there were fields and fields of grass. I had never been out here before, but Zalia had. She had her head up high and was in peace with the world.
“How long until we should stop for the night?” I asked. “The horses will need a rest, you know.” Zalia was obviously trying to ignore me and trying to stay in dreamland, but I did have a point for once.
“We’ll stop once it’s dark.” Zalia answered. “But we’re not sleeping long. We should be going by dawn. And don’t give me that look.” She said when I looked at her, annoyed. “We need to go as quick as possible.”
“Okay, you’re right, you’re right.” I said, still a little annoyed. We kept riding through the grassy fields until the sun went down and the sky was orange, red, and pink.
“We should find a place to settle down for the night.” Zalia said. “It’s getting dark.” Ugh. She had a point again. She was right again. Now stars were covering the sky and it was very dark out.
“There!” I said. There were five rocks in a circle and it was a perfect place to hide. Finally I had gotten something right before smart Zalia did. I was the older brother I wanted to be now.
“Actually, we should go in there so no one spots us from above.” Zalia said. She pointed at a hidden cave. And now my older brother accomplishments have been ruined. Again by Zalia.
“You’re right.” I said, trying to keep my calm that I didn’t really have. We led the horses in first and they had to duck their heads to fit, but they would be sleeping anyways, so it didn’t matter.
I found a mossy rock pillow to lay on and fell asleep as fast as I could because tomorrow would be a full day of finding the wizards. What if our horses were stolen and we had to walk this whole thing? What if we were caught? I shoved my thoughts into the back of my head and slowly drifted into my dreamworld…

“Wake up!” Someone said. “Wake up!” My eyes fluttered open to see Zalia’s face hovering over my head. Once she saw I was awake, she led her horse out of the cave.
I rubbed my eyes and yawned. I led my horse out of the cave to see the sky still dark. “How early is it?” I asked with a yawn. “I thought we were leaving at dawn.”
“It’s still dark out so it’s maybe five o’clock. If anyone is following us, we can get a head start so they can’t find us.” I shivered at the thought that we may be caught. But Zalia wasn’t. So I stopped shivering and showed her that I could be a big kid.
“We should go.” I said boldly. We both hopped onto our horses and rode off. Hours passed and then I couldn’t keep my stomach from rumbling. “Can we eat, please?” I begged.
“Fine, but make it quick.” She hopped off her horse and grabbed a granola bar from her bag and threw it to me. Then she got back on to her horse and we set off again.
Pew! I heard a tiny sound but I wasn’t sure where it came from. I saw a dart come out of nowhere and it hit Zalia’s horse. “Move!” Zalia ordered. I galloped forward, but what about Zalia? I heard a scream coming from behind but I had to go forward.
Then another dart hit my horse and the brownie colored horse whinnied. Then I saw feathers sprouting from the horse’s side and that turned into huge wings! The horse sprang into the air and I looked behind me to see Zalia’s horse flying too.
“Zacklen!” Zalia shouted. I was wobbling on the pegasuses back, trying to balance like I would on a horse. When I turned around, Zalia was sitting comfortably on the back of her pegasuses. “Did you see that?”
“Yes!” I shouted. We were going so fast, wind was blowing into my ears. “It was amazing!” I finally was balancing, maybe now I could show Zalia that I’m good at something. I let go of the saddle and lifted my arms into the air.
“Be careful!” Zalia warned. I shook my head and kept going with my arms out. My pegasuses turned a little bit and I lost balance. My feet slipped and I fell off the pegasus back, plummeting toward the ground.
“Zacklen!” Zalia and her pegasuses dove down to where I was falling. Once she was right above me, I put my hand up and she grabbed me. Zalia pulled me pu on to her pegasuses and said, “Now that was stupid.”
I nodded, feeling my cheeks burn. Zalia had saved the day again. I was trying to do something brave, and my clumsiness ruined it. So much for helping Zalia out. I was just slowing her down! But remembered what the voice I heard said. I had to stick with Zalia.
My pegasuses flew toward me and the flying horse looked unhappy? Or was it just me? I sat down back on my pegasus’s back and we kept flying. I placed my hands tight on the saddle.
“Zacklen,” Zalia shouted. “Check this out!” I turned around to look at her and saw her and her pegasuses go so fast and then do a loop de loop. Zalia caught up to me and smiled. “What did you think?”
I stared at her. Then I got steaming with fury. “What were you thinking? You could’ve gotten yourself killed! Didn’t you see what I did when I tried to stand up? Seriously, why did you do that?”
“First of all, I’m not as clumsy as you.” She said, matter of factly. “And, I’m also much better at things like that. Plus, I didn’t get killed. I didn’t even get a scratch on my body.” Her little speech made me even madder until… She had a point. I was clumsy, while she was graceful and strong. I was terrible at doing crazy stuff, while she was great at it. I would’ve gotten myself killed if it wasn’t for Zalia.
“Let’s just go.” I mumbled. Zalia looked shocked for a moment, probably because I didn’t yell at her even more. But then she just put her head down, and kept flying on.

It was already sunset, and I dived toward the ground for dinner. Zalia was already there, finding a cave and all. She threw me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I caught the small bag and opened it. Inside there was a tiny note next to my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Zacklen, do not tell your sister about this. Also, do not ask where the note came from. You’re almost at the wizards base and we will help you and your sister inside once you arrive. It was I who made your horses into pegasuses. Leave a note to us next to where you keep the pegasuses. We will take your note Make sure you stay safe. Good luck!
Zacklen read the letter over and over, hoping he missed something. Who wrote this note? How did they get it in here? He flipped the note over, hoping he would see a name. But it was blank. He decided to follow the instructions and didn’t tell Zalia.
He dug around his back pack, looking for a pencil. Inside one of his jackets pockets there was one. He took it out and then found a blank piece of paper from his notebook. It was to his turn to write a note. He looked up to make sure Zalia wasn’t suspicious, but she was up in the skies, flying on the back of her pegasuses.
How did you get this here? Who are you? How’d you make our horses pegasuses? How do you know my name? Are you a wizard? Will you knock us out when we enter your base like someone did to me when he told me about the adventure? How long till we arrive?
Zacklen scribbled his note and left it next to his pegasuses. Then Zalia swooped down, making him jump and she tossed her hair. “Time to rest.” She walked into the new cave she found and I followed her into the dark, dusty cave.
Another night to rest. And then another day to fly. Boy, this sure was really confusing.

A tap on my head woke me up and when I sat up, Zalia was already gone from the cave. I yawned and walked outside to meet my pegasus. When I sat down on the saddle of my pegasus, I saw a note tucked into a pocket of my backpack.
Questions, questions, questions. My, you’re a worrier. You’ll know the answer to all your questions once you arrive. Try not to kill yourself, Zacklen.
I panicked. What would kill us? Why did he have to be so mysterious? My pegasuses leaped into the air and I steadied myself before going back to thinking about the note.
What did he mean? He really was the worst. And seriously, do I have to wait for all his answers? I really need to tell Zalia… But she would kill me for not telling her before! I guess I should keep this to myself. Then I’ll have something she doesn’t. At least for the time being.
“Are you coming or what?” I look up and see Zalia flying above me in circles. She had an impatient and annoyed look on her face. Her hair was still in a perfect ponytail. She probably had gotten dressed in new clothes before I woke up. I should’ve brought a bigger backpack so I could fit more clothes inside.
“Sorry, sorry!” My pegasus leapt into the air and caught up to Zalia. She threw me a stale muffin and I caught it and my teeth sunk into the bread. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad either.
It was sunset once we lost sight of our old campsite. My mind kept racing back to the note. How much longer? Would they alert me before? I didn’t know. We kept flying, on and on until lunch time.
Zalia threw me a peanut butter sandwich and I opened the zip lock bag. “So,” She said. “I’m… I’m sorry I haven’t been talking to you. I’m just worried and excited. It’s like the day before your birthday. You can’t wait but you don’t know what to expect. It’s crazy.”
“Hey, it’s okay.” Wow. I was comforting Zalia. Of all people! “We’re in this together. And I think I need to tell you something too.” My mind raced back to the note. It was time to do something smart.
A rock flew out of nowhere. I screamed and ducked my head. The two pegasus whinnied. I saw two people in black cloaks with hoods covering their faces climb out of a bush. Zalia ran to her backpack and took out a bow and arrow. She took a perfect shot and the arrow hit one of the figures.
“Nice one!” I shouted. Then I heard flapping and two people in blue cloaks and weird half moon glasses appeared in the sky. They had pegasus, too. In fact, their wings looked just like our pegasus wings…
“Duck!” One of them shouted. Me and Zalia lay on the dirt and one of the wizards shouted a weird word I couldn’t understand. “Sionglow!” A blast of bright light next to us freaked me out enough and I had to look up. We were surrounded in a bright force field.
They shouted another word and the other cloaked figure fell to the floor. Then the force field disappeared and they landed next to us. “Hello.” One of them had a long white beard and he smiled at me and Zalia. “I am Karisiom. I have been writing notes to you Zacklen. I believe you were just about to tell Zalia.” Zalia smiled at him and then turned to me and gave me the death glare saying. “What notes?”
I bailed and explained about the mysterious notes. Somehow, Zalia managed to stay quiet during my explanation. But I just couldn’t believe I had found the writer of these mysterious notes! Well, the writer really found me, but still! This was great. We now had a wizard on our side.
Once I had finished telling Zalia about the notes, she asked one question. “Why didn’t you tell me?” This time she looked like a small, quiet, and curious girl. Desperate to fix our world.
Before I could answer her question, Karisom answered. “Because I told him not to. If you knew, you would be set of course and you would never find us. Or, we would never find you. Zalia, you are smart and brave. I knew that if you had seen the notes, you would stop looking for and track down the source of the notes. There’s no need to be mad at him.” He gestured toward me.
Zalia grimaced. I nodded. Please don’t be mad at me. Please, please please! Without Zalia, I wouldn’t get anywhere. “We should go.” The other person said, who might’ve been related to Karisom.
Karisom nodded. “We can’t stay out in the open for long. You can ride your pegasus and follow us.” Karisom and the other person hopped onto their pegasus and we did the same. Karisom leapt into the sky. Zalia threw everything into her backpack and then took off.
I sighed and slowly got onto my pegasus. “C’mon,” I whispered to the pegasus. “Let’s go!” The pegasus leapt into the air and followed the rest of the people. I saw Zalia talking to Karisom while they were flying next to her. At least she was enjoying this.
“Hey,” A voice said behind me. I jumped, startled. Then I turned around to see the other person who saved us flying behind me. “Jeez, don’t be scared!” I smiled at him. “Anyways, my name is Kenty. I’m his brother.” Oooh… So he felt what I felt. In his amazing sibling’s shadows.
“We can be together.”
“Yes, we can!” Kenty said that a little too excited for my liking. But now we were allies. He was hopefully brave enough to fight with me and protect my sister. Hopefully he was willing to take out a sword and fight.
Lost in thought, I heard someone call my name. “Zacklen!” Zalia shouted. “Here we are. I looked up… but I didn’t see her. Frantic I looked to see if Kenty was there, but he wasn’t. Looking up, I see a giant venus flytrap. And I was flying right toward it without enough time to turn.
Before I could scream, we were swallowed whole and I landed in a… In a cave? I look and see Zalia, Karisom, and Kenty standing there with me. “Welcome,” Kenty said, smiling. “To the wizard’s base. Why don’t you follow me, Zacklen, while Zalia goes with Karisom. You two may need to talk…”
Karisom nodded. “Come, Zalia.” Zalia nodded and turned to follow him. Why was Zalia with him? Why did they need to talk?
“Don’t worry,” Kenty said. “They’ll be fine.” Okay. I was fine with- Wait. How did he know I was thinking about that? Did I say it without realizing? Or maybe… “Did you just read my mind?”
Kenty nodded. “It’s my natural wizard thing. Sorry, I just saw how worried you looked and…”
“It’s okay!” I said, reassuring myself it was. “Do all wizards do that?” Wait, was everyone reading my mind? Oh boy, this’ll be interesting.
“No.” Kenty said. “But there are other things… Anyways, I should show you around.” He started walking and I followed him. A few minutes later, there was a huge dome, somehow it felt light and sunny, even though we were underground. Was that… magic?
“Yes.” Kenty said. “Sorry, I’m not supposed to read minds without asking someone because of the law. But you’re just harder to block.” He smiled, apologetically. It wasn’t his fault. Not at all.
“Okay, well… This is where we live!” He pointed to the dome. It had houses and railing to walk on, along with shops. Interesting… “It’s our village, where everyone lives. And then to the right, it’s the council chamber. There’s a shop where we sell food, but nothing costs money. And there’s also a shop full of wizard supplies. Otherwise, the rest are houses. Each house has a bedroom, bathroom, and a wizarding workshop.”
“Cool.” I breathed. No money? Man, this place was cool.
“Any questions?” Kenty asked. “Oh yeah, there is a house for you and your sister in case you were wondering.
“Uuuummm. Who’s in the council?” Would Zalia be talking to them? How hard would they be on her? I just had to know what was going on…
“Well, there’s only one person.” Kenty told me. “Their name is Themress Olia. They’re super awesome! Best wizard in the world, even better than my brother, and that’s saying something.”
“Thempress?” I asked. What was that supposed to mean?
“Thempress is the ruler word we came up with for non-binary wizards, since Thempress Olia is non-binary.”
“Even cooler.” I said.
BOOM! A door slammed and I saw Zalia and Karisom shutting the door to the Council Chamber. Zalia was smiling. And then… She disappeared. I screamed! What was going on?!? A second later, she reappeared.
I rushed over to her. “Omigosh! Are you okay?” Zalia smiled and laughed, looking weirdly excited for Zalia…
“I’m a wizard Zacklen! And a powerful one… I can Vanish and talk to animals now! Just thing, It’s a new door! It’s a new day! It’s a new life for me!” I tried to smile but… what about me?

“Wow, this is my room?!?” I had just stepped inside my room. It was on the second level of all the houses. The doorway was red and had jewels encrusted onto the door. Inside, there was a regular sized brown bed with red mattresses.
Then there was a small table which was probably meant to be the dining table. There were also drawers and when I opened them, they were filled with clothes. The bathroom had a jacuzzi bathtub and fancy sinks and toilet. Then there was a Wizarding Workshop, which I planned to use to tinker with the objects on the tables, desks, and shelves.
“That is your house,” Kenty nodded and smiled at me. “Zalia will probably come to visit you after her first Wizarding Lesson is over.” Ugh, he had to bring up Zalia and her Wizarding Lessons. Oh wait! He could read my mind. Maybe I had some wizarding powers?
“Yes.” Kenty said. He ripped off his beard and I winced. “Oh, don’t worry. That was a fake beard to make me look older and wizard- like. You probably have immortality and ever-lasting beauty.” He was right. He had a warm, tan, face, and he apparently was very smiley.
Click! Zalia opened the door to my house and walked in. Disappearing, and reappearing, over and over. Show off. “Actually, she always turns invisible when she walks around. It’s natural. Anyways, I should be off.” Kenty waved to me and then opened the door and walked out.
“So,” Zalia said.
“How was your Wizarding Lesson?” I asked. I was wondering what on earth would be going on in the Wizarding lessons.
“Good.” Well, she apparently wasn’t going to go raving on about it in every detail. She was just saying a simple, “Good.” Awesome. “Don’t you think something is maybe a little… off? Like they’re not telling us something?”
Oh, they definitely weren’t telling me lots of things. But they had probably told Zalia the “Chosen one” all their fancy secrets and tricks. But for me, I was a non-magic boy. “Hiding things from you? Not likely. From me? Totally.”
Zalia looked at me and gave me a pitiful look. “Maybe… I have to go.” She walked out of the room and closed the door before I could ask why.
What was she planning? I plopped down on my new bed and snuggled a velvet pillow. Slowly, silently, I fell asleep. Dreams of Zalia and Kenty and Karisom practicing magic while I was cleaning dishes. Aaaag, nightmares and what they can do to you. The new fears you face when you wake up…
“My, what a sleeper.” Kenty was hovering over me. Did I even fall asleep? And if I did, how long? “I’m supposed to bring you to Karisom. Don’t ask why,” He said when I was wondering what was going on. “I don’t know.”
We walked out of my house and climbed a ladder down to the main level. Wizards were bustling around and buying things. We walked to the shop, but then turned left. There was a larger house with many, many jewels encrusted on the door. “This is Karisom’s house. Go on in.”
I opened the door and there was a creeeeeeeek. Karisom and Zalia were in there, and when I entered they turned to look at me. Zalia looked like there were dried tears. I rushed over to her. “Oh my gosh, are you okay? Are you hurt?”
“I’m not hurt, Zacklen.” She said that coldly. This must be bad news.
“Zalia came to me,” Karisom said, His voice was colder than usual. So this was upsetting him? “I didn’t want to tell you two, because it would be most distracting. But, Zalia insisted she know what I was hiding.”
Zalia sniffled. She sniffled! She never cries like this. It only happened when her old horse, Bella died. “Zalia is a wizard because your parents are wizards.”
I gasped. They had done so much for the King. They always followed his orders. Never did anything wrong.
“The King has one Wizard he trusted, a dark wizard, take away their free will. They do everything he orders them to. They don’t have a choice.” Now tears were flooding down my cheeks. “They were themselves when they had both of you, but then the King learned that they were spies for us and… did that.”
“I… I… I have to go.” I stormed out of the room and didn’t even look at Kenty when I saw him spying on our little talk. I was going back to my house. I had heard enough.

The next few days were a blur. I only saw the ceiling in front of me. It was made out of wood. By now, I had memorized every crevice and corner. There was a torch a few feet away from me to keep me warm.
Zalia came to visit me, of course. She delivered food, though I didn’t eat it. She rambled on about her oh-so awesome wizarding classes. Now that I knew Mother and Father used to be wizards… Had I ever really met them?
By day- Hhhhmmm, maybe day three? Who knows. But by now I was hungry. And I could smell the rotting food next to me. I sighed. “Zalia?” I asked. Zalia looked up to see me sit up.
I was achy. Very achy. I hadn’t moved in days. And Zalia obviously was very happy about me getting up, but trying to hide it. “Can you get me some water?” She nodded and bustled around to grab some. “And maybe some food? And clean up all the rotting stuff?”
Double nods. Awesome.
I had to go talk to Thempress Olia. They could help me… right?

My hands were shaky as I pushed open the wooden door of The Council Chamber. Keeping my head down, I found a place to stand.
Before I looked at Thempress Olia, I bowed. It was a deep low, bow. “Thempress Olia,” I said. “The reason I am here today is-” I looked up at them to see a beautiful person. They had dark rich skin and their hair was braided and they were twirling a few braids in the front that were dyed purple. They had beautiful brown eyes and the most gorgeous smile. Thempress Olia was wearing a black gown which had crystals embroidered at the top. But there was something else… But I just didn’t know.
“The reason I am here today is-” I continued, but I was cut off by Thempress Olia.
“Yes?” They asked. The voice was… warm and… Young? That’s when it hit me. Thempress Olia was my age! If they were my age… Maybe I would make an okay Emperor?
Nope. Don’t go there. Remember, they were all powerful and only fourteen! On the other hand, I was fourteen and had no power at all, even though my parents were mind controlled by a power-hungry King and used to be wizards.
“We need to get my parents back.” We had to get them. I needed to really know them.
“I agree.” Then Thempress Olia nodded at me. “We will send Karisom, Kenty, Zalia and you.” Me? Why was I going? I had no power. But if Karisom was coming… I may be a little grumpy. But Kenty and Zalia softened my heart. I hadn’t seen Kenty in days.
“Do we have to send Karisom?” I asked. “I mean, he’s powerful and all, but he sorta hid something pretty big from us. Could you come instead?” Maybe I would be able to spend time with Thempress Olia.
“I suppose that could be arranged,” Thempress Olia said. “Tomorrow morning, dawn. Meet here. I’ll tell Zalia and Kenty.” I nodded, waved, and then opened the door to the Council Chamber and walked back to my house.
After I climbed the ladder to the second level of houses, I opened the door to my house. I opened the drawer and packed pants, shirts, and jackets into a bag. I also stuffed some wizard potions labeled “Explosions” and other stuff.
Some were pranks, others were poisons. I didn’t have magic, but I could use things magical that had already been made, right?
All the potions that I packed, I looked through the Book of Potions. I made sure that each potion I was bringing was activated when the glass opened or it touched the target. Some were even activated by Human Flesh.
Once I had finished my packing and research on potions, I walked to the door to my house and opened it. I climbed down the ladder and walked toward the Food store. The shop is labeled “FOOD STORE” in bold letters. The door was wood and painted green with a golden handle.
I opened the door and a bell in the shop rang. There was a counter and five people lined up. The only thing was, there were no food isles. How did this work? I walked up to the line of people waiting. I couldn’t see what was happening, but when each person left the store, they were carrying a bag full of food.
It was my turn. The lady behind the counter was wearing a yellow plaid dress and a hat with feathers all around. She had a weird style, but maybe for wizards it was a normal style.
“Um, hello,” I said. “Can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” I didn’t know how on earth she could make that in one second, but maybe she could. She was a wizard, after all.
“Of course,” I expected her to sound like one of those old nice ladies, but instead she sounded like she was in her thirties. “I’ll get it right away.” She put her hand out and then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich appeared in her hand.
“Here you go.” She put the sandwich on the counter and I grabbed it.
“Thanks?” The Counter lady nodded and I stepped out of the way so the next person could go. I opened the door and stepped out of the shop and walked back to the ladder.
I climbed up and opened the door to my house. I threw the peanut butter and jelly sandwich into my bag I was bringing. I plopped onto my bed and pulled up the covers and my eyes fluttered closed. I needed to sleep, tomorrow would be an early day. And a big day.

The next time my eyes were open, I woke up to a new day. It was an exciting day. A weird day. I was going to see Thempress Olia on an adventure instead of in the Council Chamber. But at least Karisom wasn’t coming. But Kenty was.
Yawning, I pulled the covers off me and set my feet on the floor. I changed into some clothes and brushed my teeth. Then I grabbed the bag I had packed for my journey and opened the door.
I didn’t see anyone out this early, but I did hear a few people casting spells. Who knows what they were, though. Climbing down a ladder, a heard a door opening and then slamming closed.
Once I finished climbing down to the main level, I saw Zalia up ahead of me. I ran up to catch up to her and tapped her on the shoulder.
She turned around and smiled. “Hey, Zacklen,” She said. “Thanks for inviting me on the little adventure. Excited?” I nodded and she laughed. “Or are you nervous?” She disappeared and I hit the spot where her shoulder used to be and ended up touching nothing but air.
Zalia reappeared a few feet ahead of me and laughed again. “Oh and by the way, Olia was talking to me the other day and got all dreamy when they mentioned you.” I felt my face turning redder than lava.
Thempress Olia was crushing on me too? Well, now things were getting interesting. And this was also something special for me! Just me, not something Zalia could take and use.
We opened the door to the Council Chamber to find Kenty in a brown wizards robe and I expected to see Thempress Olia in a dress, but they were wearing navy pants, a dark red shirt, and then covering that was a brown Wizards robe.
“Hello Zalia, Zacklen.” Thempress Olia said. They sounded a little… Dreamier when they said my name.
“Hi, Thempress Olia.” I said, bowing my head. But Thempress Olia put up a hand and I stopped my bowing. “And, also hi Kenty.” I said, waving. Kenty waved back to me and smiled.
“Anyways,” Kenty said. “We’re going to ride the pegasus in pairs. Zalia can ride with me… And Zacklen can ride with you, Olia.” I blushed. Of course, they had set us up to have an oh-ho great love story.
“The pegasus are waiting just outside the Council Chamber.” Thempress Olia added.
“Then we should most definitely get going.” Zalia suggested. We all nodded and Kenty opened the doors and we all stepped out to find the two pegasus we rode to the Wizarding place standing in front of us.
Zalia made a bunch of snorting noises and I realized she was talking to them. The pegasus snorted and neighed back and Zalia motioned for us to hop onto their back. Thempress Olia held onto my back and I felt my heart thumping.
Then the huge venus flytrap swallowed us and spit us out onto the grassy fields. “Are you all right, Thempress Olia?” I asked. I wanted to be formal and address them properly.
“You can call me Olia.” They said. “And Zacklen, I can read minds, you know.” Oh no, they know what I think about them? But did Olia like me too? If they didn’t, well… that would be embarrassing.
“I like you too.” Olia said. I blushed and Olia was blushing too. “I know we
haven’t seen a lot of each other, but ever since I met you… I thought you were the one person I really felt connected to.”
“Thanks.” I said quietly. “Should I know anything about you?”
“Well, there’s something a little weird. My Father is the Dark wizard that works for the King. I don’t know why he left and…” Olia let out a little sob.
“Hey, we’re in this together. It’s okay. We’re going to be fine.” I said. They smiled at me, and before I turned, Olia made a quick kiss on my lips.
I was blushing hard and then Olia said, “I wanted to do that since I met you. I was reading your mind and knew you would exclude Karisom so I could come. Then I made sure we were on the same pegasus and now I could… Finally do it and, yeah.”
“It’s okay,” I said, giving them a reassuring look. Olia looked as if they thought they did the wrong thing. “Really. This was not okay. It was good.” Now Olia and I were both blushing.
“I‘m glad.” Olia leaned on my back and the beautiful sunset in front of us made the scene even more romantic. “So…” They made a bunch of snorting noises and I realized that Olia could talk to animals, too.
“How many powers do you have?” I asked.
“All of them.” Olia answered. Then they jumped off the pegasus and I screamed. But Olia wasn’t falling. They were flying. Olia could fly. Then they turned invisible and I let out a laugh. They clapped their hands and a brick appeared and then disappeared.
Olia apparently had a lot of powers. But there was even more… Olia turned into another pegasus and then went back to a flying human. Then Olia doubled. There were two of them now! Then there was back to one Olia. Then Olia flashed a bright light and they reappeared a few feet ahead of me.
Then Olia dived down to the ground, and once they landed perfectly, they started to run. Fast. They might have been faster than me on the pegasus. Then Olia shot back up to me and smiled. Olia snapped their fingers and a giant boulder appeared.
But Olia was holding the boulder with their left hand. “Was that all of the powers?” I asked Olia, amazed. Olia was flying next to me and snapped their fingers again so the boulder could disappear.
“Just some of them.” Olia answered. Woah. “I’m sorry if I made you feel jealous. I just wanted you to understand… everything. And yes, Karisom doesn’t have even an eighth as many powers as I do.” They said, winking when I realized that they had read my mind again.
“Karisom can only teleport and breath under water.” Olia answered. “And I can do both of them. I would think Zalia is getting more powerful than he is. She’s getting really close.”
“Well I’m glad,” I told Olia. “Soon Karisom will only be the third best and I can laugh at him all I want.” Olia raised an eyebrow then laughed.
“Secret, I agree with you.” Olia laughed. “Karisom is very stubborn. Even more stubborn than Zalia. He once tried to even convince me to let him rule, but I didn’t let him. He’s made many bad decisions that he’s covered up, but he forgets that I can read minds.” Olia laughed. “That’s his problem.
“Really?” I asked. “I think he has some pretty high jealousy problems as well. I mean, if he tried to steal your throne, he’s got to be jealous of you. Seriously, he has to cool off and understand that he can’t steal your throne.”
“Agreed,” Olia said, laughing. “He should talk to someone and ask them to make him a Jealousy Cooler Potion. That’ll help.”
“That’s actually a thing?” I asked, jokingly. “I may need to take one so I don’t blow up while Zalia is showing off her disappearing thing, or when you start flying and carrying giant boulders.”
“You’re funny, Zacklen.” Olia said shyly. Then Olia sat back down onto the pegasus with me.
“Thanks.” I smiled and we rode together silently. The stars were shining and me and Olia were naming constellations. Then I turned around and looked Olia in the eyes.
Their eyes were a deep brown. I felt my lips twitching as if I was supposed to do something with them. I leaned forward and my lips touched theirs… But Olia didn’t pull away. We stayed there for what seemed like forever, but it may have just been a few seconds. Then we separated, I blushed, and Olia again rested on my shoulder.
First super romantic scene: check! I had done it! I was a romantic master now. Well. I had only done one little romantic kiss but still, this was an improvement. A big improvement.
The sun finally started to rise and I realized I was very tired. Then I yawned, and it looked like Olia noticed, because they snapped their fingers and a potion appeared. Then they handed me the potion. “Here,” They said. “It’ll make your body feel like you’ve been sleeping for the past twelve hours so you have more energy.”
I took the green bottle from their hand and opened up the cork cap. Then I drained the bottle into my mouth. It tasted like strawberries mixed with lemons and a touch of papaya. It felt like the sleepy shadows under my eyes disappeared and my energy boosted.
“Woah, what is this stuff?” I asked, amazed. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever tried. Please tell me you can get more every morning.”
“All I have to do is snap my fingers and it’s here.” Olia said, smiling. “I’m going to give our pegasus a boost and Kenty’s. I’ll be back in a moment.” Olia leaped off the pegasus and zoomed up toward Zalia and Kenty. It looked like they were doing magic, because it sounded like there were lots of hand movements and also a lot of weird magic words.
Then Olia zoomed back toward me. Their eyes glowed green and they were making weird swirly movements with their hands. Then they said this, “Speed Strough tee lee.” Then Olia’s eyes stopped glowing and they zoomed back onto the pegasus and we started to go faster, probably because Olia zoomed the horses energy.
My stomach was growling so I reached into my bag and pulled out the peanut butter sandwich. I unzipped the ziplock bag and pulled out the sandwich. My teeth sank into it and my stomach immediately felt a whole lot better than before.
“Hey… Zacklen…” Olia said. They looked like they wanted to ask me something important, but didn’t know if it was the right choice.
“Yeah?” I asked. What were they going to say? Something… Romantic? Oh wait, Olia could read minds! Who knows if they were listening to my thoughts as we spoke this moment.
“Do you want to meet my pet Snow Dragon?” Olia asked. “Her name is Snowdrift. She’s really nice.”
“Dragon?” I asked. How many mythical animals have the Wizards hidden from the King? “Like, flying lizards with magic powers that are gino? That type of Dragon? Really?”
“Yup.” Ollia said. “A real Dragon. Snowdrift breathes an icy breath. Once it touches you… Frozen. Luckily, Snowdrift can heal anyone. It’s a natural ability. All she has to do is this Dragon spell and poof! You’re back to your normal un-frozen person, but maybe you’d be a tad bit cold.”
“Like, how much is a tad bit cold?” I asked. Sometimes people undereacted, sometimes people overreacted. I wanted to know if Olia was one of those people, or if they were not an overreacter or an undereactor.
“Not very cold,” Olia said. “Just maybe fifty degrees fahrenheit? Or maybe a little higher? I’m not exactly sure. Snowdrift has never done it to me. But she did do it to Karisom because he was being stubborn. So then we learned about Snowdrift’s powers of freezing, and unfreezing things.”
“Karisom being stubborn?!? Now this I got to hear.” I said jokingly. Olia laughed at my joke.
“Well, I had found Snowdrift injured a few weeks ago, and she wanted to stay with me. It was then when Karisom told me that he should be Emperor and I’m pretty sure Snowdrift felt me getting really annoyed, then she gave him a little freeze. Boy, did I laugh my head off.”
I was cracking up too. “Oh man,” I said, still giggling. “I’m so glad Karisom got to test that out. I think you should move him to a position for testing natural weapons on mythical creatures.”
“Ooh, good idea!” Olia said. Maybe they were actually considering this. “I mean, it wasn’t the only time that an animal had used their ability against him, there was a Unicorn who trampled him, and a Siren who well… Let’s just say it was hilarious. But you might’ve not wanted to be there.”
I was laughing so hard I fell off the pegasus. Olia gasped and jumped off. I was zooming toward the ground but they caught me in their arms and pulled me back onto the pegasus. “Are you okay?” They asked, sounding extremely worried.
“I’m fine…” I said. “Thanks.” Olia smiled at me and I think I was blushing. Then Zalia and Kenty swooped up toward us.
“Hey guys!” Zalia said. “I know we haven’t been talking a lot on our little trip, so time to start now!” Well, someone was in a good mood. “And also Zacklen, your crack up and fall of pegasus was well… Really dude?”
Olia and I felt the awkwardness swarming at us. They might have actually seen all of our romantic scenes. Especially since Kenty could read minds. But if Zalia knew about me and Olia…
“Anything interesting happened???” Kenty asked. Ugh, Zalia had probably told Kenty everything just to make him think I’m weird. But Kenty looked just as curious, or maybe he was a great actor.
“Now I think we should plan.” Zalia said. We all nodded and set to work.
“So…” Olia said. “Should we start off with a good night’s sleep?” Yes, thank you so much Olia! I needed to sleep. Sooooo much. Sleep sounded better than a million dollars, even with the potion Olia gave me.
“Yes please!” Kenty said, nodding his head enthusiastically. Zalia raised an eyebrow at us.
“Fine.” Zalia said. Kenty, Olia, and I silently cheered and clapped. Zalia wasn’t impressed from what I could tell, she was more inbetween “I need a good sleep” and also “We need to start planning!”
Zalia and Olia made snorting noises to the pegasuses. “Good.” Olia said. “The horses know where we’re going.” They snapped their fingers and two beds with straps on both sides appeared. Olia made floating bubbles for everyone and we were pushed off our pegasus into the bubbles. “We strap them onto the pegasus,” Olia and Zalia tied the beds to the pegasuses. “And then we strap ourselves in!” The bubbles moved us back onto the pegasus and then popped. I tucked myself under the cover and then strapped into the bed so I wouldn’t fall.
Olia tucked in too, and we tangled our legs together under the blankets, but Kenty and Zalia couldn’t see. My eyes were closed but I could tell Olia was smiling and then I fell to sleep…

I woke up to see the ground coming up toward me. Or was I plummeting toward the ground? I wasn’t sure. But I still screamed into Olia’s ears, it was terrifying either way. The pegasus was gone, though…
Olia woke up with a start and looked around. We were so close to the ground. Olia teleported under the falling bed and with their strength, they lifted the bed up, and up, and up. Then they created another floating bubble to carry the bed.
I was sitting on the bed inside the floating bubble. Olia was outside circling around me. “Are you all right?” They asked. I nodded, still out of breath. “Where do you think the pegasus went?”
“I’m really not sure.” I croaked. “Maybe you should check on Zalia and Kenty and see if they’re okay.”
“Good idea,” Olia said. They tried to smile at me but I could tell they were really worried. Then they flew away to find Zalia and Kenty.
I plopped down on my floating bed. What had happened? Where did the pegasus go? Was it… Maybe it was the cloaked figures we saw when Karisom and Kenty came to get us.
Olia came with Kenty and Zalia following them with their pegasus. “Hey guys,” I said. “Do you think it was the cloaked figures that attacked me and Zalia? They seemed like the type to do that.”
“It was,” Kenty said darkly. “I saw them in the night unzipping the bed from the pegasus and taking it. Then I saw you fall. But I couldn’t fly to get you. I poked Zalia-”
“Hard.” Zalia interrupted.
“-And we saw Olia rescue you.” Kenty ended. I nodded, still not sure what to feel. “But we also found this gal.” Kenty pointed to his shoulder and I noticed a tiny little Dragon. It was golden in color and had beautiful green eyes. The Dragon was also only five inches tall!
The Dragon flew over to me, going through the forcefield and landing on my shoulder. “Levi,” I said, finally calm. “I’ll name you Levi.” The Dragon purred and layed down on my lap.
“Well, Levi it is!” Kenty said. “We found her abandoned flying around, but just barely. She willingly slept with us. I wanted to surprise you guys. But I really thought you would hear her snoring.”
Olia giggled. And Zalia giggled. I sighed and petted Levi’s scaly back. She purred even louder and that purring turned into very loud snoring. Now I giggled. “Do you know what type she is?” I asked.
“Looks kind of like a Golden Flyer. We’ve only seen one of those before, and our trackers have only picked up two, but they weren’t the best trackers. Levi will help us learn a lot about Golden Flyers.”
“Ooh, and Karisom can help test them out!” Olia added. They winked and I let out a laugh. Zalia and Kenty just looked very confused. But maybe Zalia’s anger boiling up would help us out this time.
“I have no idea why you just said that,” Zalia said, in the middle of cold anger and loud laughter. “But whatever it is, I’ll totally agree with making Karisom get blasted by a Dragon.”
Levi straightened up at the word Dragon. Then she looked up at me and it looked like she was satisfied. Then she snorted a small blast of purple mist. The mist twisted and turned into… A mist elephant? What was going on?
Then the elephant turned real and fell toward the ground. Olia caught it with a bubble and then the bubble disappeared along with the elephant. “I sent it to the Savanna… But what was that?”
“I think…” I said. “I think Levi just made an elephant with… I’m not sure what.” Levi purred and flopped onto my lap. Yep, she was definitely satisfied. Levi turned around so her belly was facing my head, and blew out a fly. The fly flew circles around her head and her golden talons playfully tried to catch the magic fly.
“She’s very cute,” Zalia said. Kenty, Olia, and I nodded in agreement. Levi was still playing with the fly when Olia caught it with a bubble and it disappeared. Then Levi squirmed. She breathed a big ball of purple mist and then she was gone. She reappeared on my head. Then another big ball of purple mist appeared and instead of Levi, a swallow was standing on my head.
Swallow Levi sat back down on my lap and changed back into her Dragon form with another breath of purple mist. “You’re a show off too?” I asked Levi, partially joking, partially jealous that a young Dragon had a ton of powers and I had a big fat load of nothing.
Don’t be jealous, Zacklen. I jumped as I heard the voice in my head. Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I recognized that voice… Kenty? Yeah, I can put my thoughts in your head. Creepy, right? I would rather have that instead of no powers.
I think Levi can communicate like this, too. We’ve never seen A Golden Flyer make any noise before. I’m going to try reaching out to her and see if she can respond back to me.
The voice in my head disappeared and when I looked at Kenty, he looked tired. Did that drain his energy? I really don’t know.
Suddenly, my head filled with a blaring noise of sounds. LEVI! LEVI! LEVI! The loud noise was never ending, and so annoying.
Levi can communicate that way, Kenty sounded tired, yet he sounded like he had been laughing for a trillion years after finding out Levi’s powers. Levi breathed more purple breath and an exact mimic of her was flying around my head. I got dizzy after the fake Dragon flying around my head and Levi still screaming in my head. LEVI! LEVI! LEVI!
“She has mind reading powers too,” I said. My voice was weak after the head ache.
“I know,” Olai said. “Oh, sorry. I was reading your mind because you looked… worried. Here take this potion for the headache.” Olia snapped their fingers and a purple potion appeared. They threw it to me and I caught it, took off the cork, and gulped down the salmon flavored potion.
Even though I still heard the annoying noises coming from Levi, I didn’t have a headache anymore. But I could tell that Levi was getting tired. I looked down at the Golden Flyer on my lap and I saw her eyes closing. The noises in my head turned into silence. Finally.
“It’s okay.” I said to Olia. “And this potion is awesome!” Olia smiled at me. I smiled back.
“You guys are so gross,” Zalia said. Obviously, Zalia knows about us. Olia and I were blushing hard. Kenty seemed clueless. Well, at least that was good news. If Kenty knew it would be even worse!
“No, we’re not.” Olai shot back. It was a statement. Not a plea for hope. “If anyone was gross, it would be you making out with Kenty.” That would’ve had to sting hard. Wait…
“What?!?” I said, so loudly that Levi heard me and her head popped up. When she realized nothing was on, she put her head back down on my lap and fell back asleep. “Did I hear… Making out with Kenty?”
Kenty was blushing and looked really embarrassed. Zalia looked strong still, but part of her pride was gone. “Be quiet.” Zalia snapped. “We have reasons, and you know that. But you and Zacklen…” Zalia made a weird face. “There isn’t a reason at all. Not at all.”
I was confused. What reason did they have? Olia looked really guilty right now. I held out my hand and they took it. When I looked back at Olia’s face, they looked calmer now. But still guilty.
Kenty and Zalia have a diverse power system. They went to the diversity office and were checked off as “able to date.” You don’t have any powers so… We’re marked “unable to date.”
Worry flooded my mind. But Olia was in charge…. No one was able to tell them what to do. But then what would the Wizards think if we weren’t supposed to date? Our kids- If we had kids- would still be really powerful. They would probably have more than half of Olia’s powers. That was a lot. But… It probably did run against tradition. And a ruler who didn’t follow tradition…
“I’m sorry,” I whisper so quietly so only Olia could hear. “And you,” My head whips around to Kenty. “Have some serious friend apologies to do, or else you’re just as bad as Karisom.” I spat.
“Be quiet Zacklen,” Zalia warned. “Or else.” Oh, so someone was protective of her boyfriend.
“You won’t even get to him.” Olia said. They had just appeared in their bubble, with a knife in their hand. Woah. But Olia snapped their fingers and appeared back in my bubble, knife gone and all.
Zalia seemed surprised, but not impressed. What side was I fighting for? “Stop fighting.” I ordered everyone. “And all of you have a relationship with me. So you will probably lose it if anything happens to either one of you.”
Olia gave me an apologetic smile and Kenty gave me a pttied look. But Zalia was still glaring at me, “Why don’t you just go back to your normal life? You don’t even have powers anyways. You’re not any help.”
I looked away. No one could argue with that. Zalia’s pride has returned, and some of Olia’s has been gone. Hold tight Zacklen. Another voice in my head. Then Olia felt my hands and a rush of energy filled my body.
I lifted my hands and a purple glow filled the air. What. Was. Happening. Zalia looked at me in awe and the purple faded. “What did you do?” I asked Olia. I wasn’t mad… Just in shock.
“Gave you magic.” Olia said, awestruck. “But this is… Not good.” Not good? What did that mean?
“When you say not good, what do you mean?” Now I was getting worried. Very worried. Or maybe it was just a hard power? Or something else. Arg, this was so confusing!
“Dark magic…” Zalia said. No. No, no, no. Not that. Anything but that. I didn’t know what it meant, but it was bad. Very, very bad. Dark magic? That sounded like one of those corny books with bad guys. Those were the ones who had all of the dark magic. Not the good guys.
“Can you reverse it?” I begged. “Please?!?” Olia shook their head. Levi woke up, probably startled by me. My hands clenched into fists, but it just got worse. Olia snapped their fingers and black liners appeared. They threw them to me and I caught them and reluctantly put them on.
“No.” Olia said. They were covering up surprisingly well. Olia knew they wouldn’t be respected as much if I didn’t have powers, but with dark magic… Not a chance.
Levi knew what was going on and she caught all of the dark magic with a bunch of bubbles. “Thanks, Levi.” I whispered. Then I turned back to Olia. “Is there a place I can learn to control this? Without turning evil?”
“There is.” Kenty interrupted. His voice was worried, maybe even terrified. Had I lost a friend? “The Fairies Of The North. We can get there quickly, if Olia wants to transport us…”
“Why couldn’t you just transport us to our parents?”I asked Olia, with more attitude then I meant.
“I blocked it off.” Olia whispered. “I made sure I couldn’t transport myself there, so if someone mind controlled me, they wouldn’t be able to make me go there. But if I end up going there, I can transport out!” Olia said, reassuringly.
“Everyone, let’s get over to Olia.” Zalia ordered gruffly. Zalia and Kenty jumped through the bubble carrying us and I held hands with Olia, and Levi curled onto my lap. Kenty and Zalia touched Olia as a big beam of light filled my mind.
It was as though time had paused, and we were running quickly through space. Olia directed us toward a moss covered tree, and the light inside my mind faded. Then my hands started getting as small as a tiny leaf. I closed my eyes tightly, but I could still feel the weird sensation of my head becoming the size of an acorn, and I started to shrink.
I opened my eyes and saw… A village made out of caves and giant tree branches. Little people with clear wings fluttered around. Most were wearing dresses the color of the village, and they blended in perfectly. Others wore orange and brown robes, probably an imitation of leaves.
“Where are we?” I squeaked, mortified.
“This,” Kenty paused, with a dramatic effect. “Is a Fairy Village.” The Fairies noticed we were here and came running toward Olia, shaking their hand. Fairies gushed over Zalia and Kenty, too, but no one seemed to notice me, standing in the shadows of a cave, all alone.
“What’re you doing here?” A voice said, coming from the shadows. I turned around and saw another fairy. I turned back to look at the crowd, and I saw Olia sneaking out of the crowd toward us.
“Lady Apala,” Olia said, dipping their head in a bow. I did the same, and then rose back up after a couple of seconds. The Fairy’s voice sounded old and wise, though the Fairy looked just about twenty years old.
“You finally found one,” Lady Apala said, taking her kane she was hiding under her mossy cloak and gesturing toward me. “I thought you never found one. And this one is old enough…”
“Zacklen found his… magic today.” The pause mixed up my insides. Did Olia say that with disgust? No… They wouldn’t do that. Levi ran out of the crowd, and she was small and adorable, too.
I looked outside to the village. It was filled with light and caves, along with a rickety wooden bridge, connecting the two sides of the Fairy Village. “Pay attention!” Lady Apala snapped, and my focus instantly turned back to her.
“Leave, now.” Lady Apala told Olia. Olia sauntered out of the room and my hopes of any easy whatever this was disappeared. “You have dark magic, and I do too.” That was shocking. “And this is your lesson so pay attention. Anger is driven by dark magic. Calm and love heals. Everyone, even your Thempress, doesn’t know that Dark Magic can only be used well with light. Love, kindness, and respect. With anger, you can’t control anything. Dark magic may feel that it needs to be driven by evil, but the only way to use dark magic is love.”
It took me a while to process the speech Lady Apala had given me. Looking down at the floor, I expected Lady Apala to start yelling at me, but she looked calm and peaceful instead. My love… but from what?
My love for Olia. My love for Zalia. My hope for my parents. But the burning hate for the King was stronger than anything. But Olia… Olia! That was all I needed. And Zalia. And Kenty.
Love was all I needed.
Then I lifted my head to stare at Lady Apala. She stared back at me, and then reached into a hidden pocket, pulling out a black sick with glowing purple string wrapping around it, and then another stick, golden this time, with more golden strings hanging from the top.
“Take your pick.” Lady Apala said. Reaching toward the gold stick, I was inches away from taking it until I pulled away. I realized the purple stick was the color of Olia’s hair. Of course.
“This one would be just perfect.” I said, reaching out to take the purple one. This is what she was talking about. I needed to remember my love, especially for Olia. And this was a perfect example.
“You’ve chosen wisely,” Lady Apala said. “Now, this wand you can use to block and channel your magic. Be careful out there, dangers are awaiting you. Take care, and use your magic wisely.”
I nodded and walked out of the cave. Olia was out there waiting for me, while Zalia and Kenty were still being swarmed by fairies, and now I could tell that it was getting annoying.
“How did it go?” Olia asked, now staring at my wand, which looked even more perfect as I walked toward them, and took Olia’s hand. I was holding the wand with my left hand, and holding Olia’s hand with my right.
Even through the distance, I could see the resemblance between Olia’s hair and the wand. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

I was staying in a particularly light cave, with holes all around the mossy ceiling. I was sitting on a moss covered rock chair, and thinking. I probably should’ve thought about Mother and Father more.
But with everything going on, I just didn’t. But the part that actually made me feel bad, was the fact that Mother and Father will most likely hate Olia. After all, Olia’s father was the one who presumably cast the spell on them.
And would they hate me, too? I mean, I had dark magic. They probably now despise dark magic. Speaking of magic, what powers did they have? Maybe one of them had the same magic as me?
The ruffling of feet broke my train of thought, and I turned to see Zalia, not Olia. Zalia mumbled something about being forced to come here with an apology by my “Girlfriend” or something.
“Well, well, well, who do we have here?” A thunderous voice cackled. Zalia and I ran out of my cave and saw a giant, or I should say a human, looking down at us. I frantically looked through the crowd of people until I spotted Olia.
I ran toward her, Zalia following me. We ran past Kenty’s cave, and he joined us. Once I reached Olia, still panting, I took their hand. “What is going on?” I shouted over the yelling crowd.
“Zacklen, it’s the King! And his most trusted advisor…” Zalia said. Then Olia touched all of our hands, and we shifted back to normal size. “Rock on, Olia!” Zalia joked, but actually, I think she was serious.
Zalia threw a magic bubble around Levi, who we spotted scampering on the ground and she became normal size again. Then Olia clapped, and a dagger with a blue sapphire encrusted at the handle appeared.
Olia ammed, and threw. No hesitation. But the King’s advisor caught the dagger with an extended arm of purple mist before the perfect throw hit him. So this must be Olia’s father…
Then Kenty took out a few potion bottles from his brown satchel, and threw the lime green potion bottle toward Olia, who directed it toward their Father through a robotic arm, but Olia’s father just flashed it away.
But Zalia was missing. Zacklen noticed her behind Olia’s father, with a dagger. But with a flick of his hand, the advisor sent Zalia flying back to us, landing on her feet next to Kenty.
My turn to do a crazy move. Olia was looking at me, waiting for me to do my move. Love. I bolted pain toward Olia’s father. Pain like nothing else. Pain at the king. Pain and love. Love and pain.
My move had the king streaming on the ground. I had won. I felt powerful. So, very powerful. “You!” Olia’s father practically spat. “Pay for this!”
“Never, father!” Olia answered for me. Then me and Olia pushed our hands forward, a magical force came out of both of our hands, sucking Olia’s father closer, closer, closer. Pop! Then the word went black.

Ooow. I was awake now. But in pain. So much pain. What was going on? I looked up and saw Mother and Father sitting on plain chairs, their expressions blank. “Wha… What happened?” I managed to say.
“Zacklen! You’re awake!” Someone shouted. I turned to where I heard the voice and made out three figures running toward me. I smiled. It was Olia, Kenty, and Zalia. They all looked untouched, except for a few scrapes.
“Hey guys,” I said cooly. “So, what’s up?”
Olia hugged me and one of the doctors yelled, “Be careful with the patient!” Olia stopped, but I could tell they wanted to keep going. “I’m so glad you’re okay.” Olia whispered into my ear.
“Hey, hey, hey!” Zalia interrupted. “No secret conversations without us! And now can you do your magic stuff, Olia? We’ve been waiting for days until Zacklen wakes up so you could heal him.”
“More like weeks.” Kenty answered with a wink. “Olia can heal anyone as long as they’re awake, so now…”
“Yes, please!” I said, nodded excitedly. Olia reached out and touched my forehead. This warm, fuzzy feeling was like nothing before. And my scratches were disappearing, the pain gone. “Thank you.” I whispered to Olia. “But what about your father? What happened to him?”
“Dead.” Olia told me. They looked like they were quite fine with that, but I could tell Olia was… sad.
“Sorry,” Olia shook their head at me. I shrugged. “And why are Mother and Father here?” I asked Zalia.
“We’re going to heal them.” Zalia explained. “Now.” I got out of my bed, my feet a little wobbly at first, but I was able to walk over to Mother and Father. I was going to meet the real Mother and Father. Today was the day…
“Let’s go!” Zalia put her right and forward, and I did the same. A stream of purple light came out of my hand, and a stream of yellow came out of Zalia’s. Then the light stopped, and Mother and Father blinked.
“Zacklen?” Mother asked, tears starting to stream down her eyes. “Is this… real?” She pinched herself as I nodded. And then I ran toward her, hugs galore. Father and Zalia joined our hugfest, and I saw Olia’s eyes looking in my direction. The eyes that screamed, this was a happily ever after.

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