"Grandma?" Ebony's voice echoed spookily throughout the room.

"Yes, Ebony? What is it?" The orange, dim light from the new lights her grandmother had purchased were altogether too colorful for the pale, faded colors of paint on the wall. Ebony had never been such a big fan of too many colors. But it wasn't the colors that intrigued her. It was the paintings that hung there. They showed hundreds of funny-looking things, green and brown of all sorts. Even the ground was green! Little green blades poked out of the ground, and she had a strange feeling about them.

"What're those things?" she asked.

"Those? In the painting?" her grandmother asked.

"Yes, those." Ebony's strange feeling grew larger. Her grandmother sighed.

"Trees." That was all Ebony could hear.

Curiously, she asked "Trees? What're those things?" Her grandmother sighed. Ebony had always wondered why she seemed so sullen. Maybe it was because her mother and father mysteriously had vanished 10 years ago, leaving the care of Ebony to her grandmother. She had wondered countless times if one day she might go to heaven and see her mother. She had only been 6 years old when her parents disappeared.

"Well, trees used to be all over the place. There were forests of all sorts. Forests are where a bunch of trees are. Hundreds sometimes. See, the trees gave us oxygen. Instead of having many trees now, we have one Forest, also known as the station. There are thousands of these special pipes running through the ground, which lead to people's homes. That's why we rarely use oxygen masks inside, but must use them outside." Ebony nodded.

Her grandmother paused for a moment, then continued.

"Well, you see, there was a legend a Hero would come and save the trees. See, there was a long time, maybe around 2999 when a great war struck. Then one day, a large bomb was created. It killed all living things, even trees. So everyone took to the skies. to save humans, giant space shuttles had to take humans up to space. But see, the enemy didn't know this. So they bombed our entire land."

"There were no trees left or anything else! No animals either. Well, at least on earth. Luckily we had a few plants on the ship, but they wouldn't last long. Then bad things happened. The earth became polluted. Then one day, when the war was over after 10 years, they went down. And there were no more trees. Or plants. Or animals. Not a single fish was left swimming. With no food sources, they had to surrender. So many people had to leave."

"After 30 years, a man named Brian Killio invented oxygen masks that could last for years! So people went back and lived in their old homes. Food was shipped from the mainland. Everything was going well. But there weren't any trees. So people planted trees and made a Forest. The trees took years to grow! But finally they grew and a network of pipes was built. They spent days just digging. Then one day they hit something."

Her grandmother stopped to take a breath. Ebony had never seen her talk this much.

"They hit a powerful substance. It could make a kitten as strong as a lion!" Ebony's mouth dropped open. "But it had terrible effects if used wrong, or for evil. It could suck out your soul!" Ebony had to take a minute to process that thought.

"So it has a mind of it's own?" Ebony asked curiously.

"Yes," her grandmother said. Ebony wondered if it was time for her grandmother to take her medication. "Remember the Hero in the prophecy I mentioned earlier?" Ebony nodded.

"Well, she had this same kind of stone as a necklace. But she failed, which indicates it wasn't actually the Hero we were looking for." Ebony waited for her to continue.

Then she asked "Grandma, can you tell me?"

"The whole story?" her grandmother asked. "Well, it's so long, I don't know where to start..." Looking at Ebony's pleading face gave her no choice. "All right, I'll tell you. The Hero's name was..."