Oct 10

Element World | Chapters 21-24

Chapter 21

    “Anabelle, if we are going to leave here, you need to meet your soldiers!” Everleigh says, her eyes flitting around to meet mine. 

    “Right,” I say, and unroll the palace map. “Come on, this way,” I say, still looking at the map. I run straight, turn left, turn another left, right, and then we are in a field. Soldiers aim at targets with knives, bows, and some are even fencing with each other. Wonder fills my gaze, and I walk up to a young woman who is watching, and calling out tips. Must be the general, I think. 

“Hello?” George yells. The woman’s gaze snaps up, and her hazel eyes meet my amber ones. 

“Queen Anabelle! I was wondering when I would meet you. My name is Camilla, and I am the general of the fire army,” Camilla says.

“Greetings,” I reply, trying to sound formal. “Are the soldiers ready to head out tomorrow? That’s when I think we are going to leave,” I say.

“Yes. They’re just touching up on their skills,” Camilla says. 

“Wonderful! Want to come feast with us before we leave?” I ask. Camilla smiles.

“It would be an honor, Your Majesty,” she says, bending down low in a bow. I smile.

“Well, see you at dinner. Meet us in the dining hall at 6:00. Don’t worry if you’re late, I don’t mind,” I say. Camilla salutes to me.

“Will do!” she says, and waves as my friends and I turn to go. 
    We lounge in the living room, laughing and talking. I sit on a long couch with everyone else, except for George, who is walking around, and hitting people with pillows, while she talks. 

    “You guys, are you ready to head to my kingdom?” Everleigh asks.

    “Yeah, I’m sure that it will be very pretty!” Emma says, smiling. A clock on the wall dings six times.

    “Oh, guys go go! We gotta get to dinner!” George yells, throwing the pillows on the couch, and one hits my head.

    “Okay, okay!” Harley yells, laughing. We all spring up, and run down the hall, and push open random doors until we enter the dining room. Camilla is already there, talking to a few soldiers she has brought along. She waves when we enter the room.

    Everleigh and Emma wave back and I smile. Always polite. George and Harley dash over, and take a seat. The rest of us walk. When we take a seat, Avara is just bringing out three thick steaks. Some of her fellow cooks carry bowls of french fries, peas, spinach, rolls, and some dipping sauce and butter. She sets them on the table and asks,

    “Mind if I eat with you guys? My friends too?” she asks.

    “Of course! That’s fine!” I say, waving her over. Avara smiles and takes a seat, alongside her friends. Nobody talks when we first dive into the food, but then Avara speaks.

    “So, you are leaving tomorrow?”

    “Yes,” I say. “Could you bake us some cookies or something for the road later?” I ask her, smiling.

    “YES! Please do that!” George says. Harley beams.

    “Oh, yeah! Cookies!” she yells. Emma laughs, alongside myself and Everleigh. Avara smiles.

    “Yes, I can do that! What kind?” 

    “Do...Six different kinds. Put 12 of each kind in,” I say. George moans.

    “Noooo! That isn’t enough!” 

    “That is more than enough, George!” Emma says. We all get back to eating, and joke and laugh with each other. For dessert, some of Avara’s cooks bring out a chocolate lava cake, strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream, sugar cookies in the shapes of flames, (and beautifully frosted) and a lemon meringue pie, and the meringue- instead of being white- is red, yellow and orange swirls. George has one of everything, and so do I. I can’t imagine what Mom and Dad would say. Everleigh has one cookie, strawberry ice cream, and a small slice of chocolate lava cake. Emma has one cookie, chocolate ice cream, and a very thin slice of pie. Harley has all the ice cream flavors, pie, and a cookie before she gets full. I know we’ll see Avara before we go, so I don’t say my goodbyes just yet. I thank Avara for the lovely food, and we all run upstairs. We have had a total sugar rush.

Chapter 22

    “I’m gonna get you!” George screams, running around. We have all changed into our nightgowns, except George. She refused to have a nightgown, and begged for a purple sweatshirt until she got one. She is chasing us all, and trying to hit us with pillows. Whoever gets hit is out. So far, Harley, Emma, and I are the only ones still in. Everleigh sits on the bed and cheers us on.

    “Go guys go! Anabelle look out!” she yells. I dodge to the left to avoid being hit on the head with the pillow. George runs after me, but I do a lot of zig-zags, and she decides to go after Emma instead. Emma is running slower, and she is tired, I can tell. George has no trouble whacking her in the side. Emma sits on the bed with Everleigh.

    “Ohh boy! Things are getting interesting!” Everleigh says, gazing down at us, eyes full of interest. I know Harley will win. I’m fast, but I can’t keep it up for too long. That exact thing that happens. I run, doing more zig-zags, and then give up, letting George whack me on the head. I collapse on the bed alongside Emma and Everleigh. George leaps on the bed, and Harley, confused, doesn’t see it coming. George leaps off the bed, and slams the pillow into Harley. Harley laughs, and steals the pillow from George, and hits her countless times. 

    “Okay, bedtime!” Emma yells.

    “Awww!” George and Harley and I moan. 

    “We need the rest. We have a long flight ahead of us tomorrow,” Everleigh says. “Come on!” she grunts, pulling Harley into bed. Then me, then George. I try to resist, but Everleigh starts helping her, and obviously, it’s too much, and I give in.

    “Tonight is the last night,” I murmur. 

    “Yep,” Emma says, rolling over to look me in the eye. “Night, Anabelle,” she says, and closes her eyes.

    “Night,” I reply, and shut mine. It doesn’t work. Well, closing my eyes works, but sleep doesn’t come. I lie awake in bed, trying not to toss and turn too much. I close my eyes and think about home. Mom, and dad, and Candace...I wonder what they’re doing. I wonder if Mom and Dad know about this place. I wonder...That is the last thing I think before I doze off. 

Chapter 23

    My eyes flutter open to see George leaning in front of me. I jump, surprised. “George! Do not do that!” I say, my heart beating quickly inside me. George shrugs. 

    “Sorry,” she says, not sounding sorry at all. 

    “Why’d you wake me up?” I ask, confused.

    “El is here! She has a gift for us!” George says excitedly, bouncing off the bed. My eyes flicker with curiosity.

    “What?”

    “I don’t know,” she says. “So come on!” George grabs my hand and pulls me out of bed towards the doors. 

    “George, stop it! I need to get changed!” I say, prying her fingers off mine.

    “Oh,” She says. She looks at her sweatshirt. “Me too.” We both quickly get changed, and then dash out the doors.

    “Where is she?” I ask. “El, I mean.”

    “Living room!” George says. “Go, go, go!” We run, pushing open doors until we stumble into the living room, out of breath. El is sitting in a chair, and the rest of my friends are sitting on the couch. El gives us a warm smile, and gestures for George and I to take a seat. We sit down, and George is on the end, and I’m next to Harley. She gives me a big, excited smile, and I return it. 

    “Welcome, queens!” El says, happily. She picks up a big bag by the chair. “I have gifts!” We all stay silent, but I can feel the excitement in the air. “Whenever you visit a new palace, you get a new pendant!” She says excitedly. “This time, it doesn’t have to match your element, just pick whatever you want!” She says. El dumps out the bag of pendants. We all jump up, and rush over to where the pendants have been dumped. I start searching, and don’t bother looking at the big cats- if I do I will end up getting another one, which I don’t need. I find a big clump of snake pendants. Yes, snakes! That’s it! I search through them. Black mamba is what I’m looking for. Except all the snakes on the pendants look pretty much the same. 

    “El, which snake is the black mamba?” I ask. She thinks for a moment, and then pulls out a pendant with a hissing snake. “Thanks,” I say, putting the pendant on. I close my eyes, and picture the black mamba. I can feel my body shrinking, but getting longer. I can feel the scales on my body, and I can smell super well, and my vision is very sharp. I can see the living things in a vermillion way, and the non-living things in a cerulean blue way. It’s really cool. On instinct, my tongue flicks in and out. My fangs rest on the roof of my mouth. I slither around, getting a feel for the new body. I feel powerful, deadly, and strong. Queen Raven will be dead soon. 

Chapter 24

    I slither around, and arch myself up, so I can have a good view of everybody and what they’ve picked out. I catch a glimpse of a horse, which looks so much bigger than horses already are. I think with shock that one bite could kill it, in a few hours. The horse looks like an American paint horse, I think. I slither closer to look at what other pendants the horse has. White tiger. So the horse is George. The horse looks down, and gives a neigh of surprise. “Who the heck is that freaky snake?” George demands.

    “George, snakes are cool, not freaky,” Everleigh grumbles. I don’t know what she is yet, but I’ll find her. Her voice comes out in a sort of snarl, so I know she is something that isn’t harmless. 

    “Anabelle!” I tell George. I arch myself up and give a terrifying hiss. George stomps her hooves on the ground.

    “Stop it!” she yells, but it’s playful a yell. I laugh, and slither away to see the others. I don’t have to look up to see this animal. A small chipmunk scuttles around, twitching it’s bushy tail. Part of me wants to kill it quickly and eat it, but I push that instinct away. 

    “Who’s this?” I ask, arching myself up. The chipmunk jumps in surprise.

    “Emma!” she says. 

    “Oh!” I say. I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s just like Emma to pick something completely harmless. I slither along, looking for Everleigh. I catch a glimpse of white paws, and I look up to see a dog-like face. Oh! She’s a wolf! She looks beautiful. Everleigh shifts her paws around, almost crushing me. “Watch out!” I say, slithering backwards. 

    “Oh!” The wolf looks down. Her eyes are bluer than the ocean. “Sorry. Who’s the snake? I’m Everleigh,” the wolf says. 

    “Anabelle,” I say. “You look good,” I say.

    “Thanks. You look...Deadly!” she says, with a laugh. I laugh along with her. “What’s Harley?” Everleigh asks.

    “Not sure,” I say. “I’m going to go find out!” I say. I slither under her, and her tail brushes my back. I slither along, until I see the shoes of Harley. “Harley!” I call up. I see Harley’s eyes fix on me.

    “Woah! Who’s this?” she asks. 

    “Anabelle! What animal are you? Why aren’t you it?” I ask. I presume she has picked some sort of fish, so she can’t breathe.

    “I can’t breathe if I'm that animal!” She says, giving a small laugh, and proving my theory correct. “I’m a turtle!” She says. “I just picked out the pendant with a turtle, without knowing if it would be land or sea. Now that I can look closer at it, I can see that it is a sea turtle, because of its fins. I don’t know what kind of turtle yet, though,” Harley says. 

    “Can I see what you look like? Only for a brief second,” I say.

    “Okay…” She says, probably a little nervous. I don’t blame her. She closes her eyes and transforms into a turtle. Quite a large turtle. Then she is back to her human form. 

    “If I had to guess, I’d say a loggerhead,” I say. “Loggerheads are big!” I add.

    “Ha, and you're not even the ocean queen!” Harley laughs.

    “I know my animals, though!” I say, laughing. I transform back into a human, so we are the same height. The others do the same. I gaze down at the two pendants around my neck. It makes me feel special, and stronger. When I look around for El, she is gone.

    “So, are we leaving?” Everleigh asks, fiddling with her fingers. She’s probably anxious to see her palace. It probably looks super cool. I move my gaze around the living room, trying to imprint the image in my brain.

    “Let’s go, Anabelle. You’ll come back.” I whip around as a tail brushes my legs.

    “Oh! Ash! Okay, let’s go,” I say, and climb up to her back. The other dragons are here too, and everyone else hops on. 

    “Everyone has all their stuff? Weapons? Pendants?” Sequoia asks.

    “Yes!” we all yell.    “Okay, then, let’s go!” Ash pushes open the door to a porch with her tail, and then everyone follows her out. First Dove leaps into the sky, flipping over before righting herself. George lets out a shriek as Dove does so. Good thing George had the sense to hold on! Then Aqua, Sequoia, Snowflake, and then us. I turn to look at my palace one more time before Ash leaps into the sky. Goodbye. I feel the wind through my hair, and gaze out across the lava. A beautiful sight greets me. Thick bunches of green clumped together, the leaves vibrant and big. The trees tower over the savanna of the fire kingdom, looking down across the dry dusty savanna with doubt. The forest.
 

sprouted

Element World | Chapters 22-27

PART 2

Everleigh




Chapter 25