"Everything you can imagine is real."
― Pablo Picasso
I watched in awe as the beautiful couples waltz around the ballroom. The floor was golden and was designed with intricate looking shapes. A large glass chandelier hung in the middle of the floor and illuminated the entire room.
The women were dressed similarly to each other with crystals dangling all over their beautiful ball gowns. Everyone wore crystals that matched their power.
In Aralia, everything goes according to me; there is not a person, a creature, a rock that is here without me knowing about it.
"Your Majesty, Queen Zyla is awaiting your presence." A young boy said looking up before me.
I nodded at him and he went about his way. I slowly walked toward the grand staircase and lifted my golden dress as I walked up the steps. I turned around and looked at my creations with a bright smile on my face as I reached the top of the staircase.
"Your Majesty?" A soft voice said behind me.
I turned around and met Queen Zyla bowing her head to me. I smiled as she lifted her eyes to meet mine. There was a grim expression on her face.
"Queen Zyla, how nice to see you!" I smiled.
Zyla was a beautiful statuesque woman. Her long light purple hair fell into ringlets to the middle of her back and her purple crystal hung from her neck. Her eyes matched her hair color and you can tell by her mannerisms that she was gifted with psychic powers.
Gifted. Only about half of Aralia's population was gifted. There are thirteen gifts; air, earth, fire, water, darkness, electricity/lightning, energy, ice, light, plants, poison, weather and psychic. Naturally I had all of the gifts, but I do not abuse my power. Everyone else was considered to be a narum; someone who does not have a gift.
"Your Majesty, I am sorry to inform you but, Izeel is back." She said down casting her gaze.
The smile immediately dropped from my face and I stared up at her in absolute horror.
"What!? How is that possible? He was supposed to be locked away, for eternity. I made sure of that." I slowly breathed.
This couldn't be happening, not now. Something like this would be considered a worldwide catastrophe!
"I am sorry, but he escaped. I don't know how he did it or where he is but the army is working on it." Zyla said trying to offer me solace.
"The army?" I laughed "The army cannot stop him Zyla, you knew what I had to do last time and I nearly lost my life!" I said tugging at my long milky white hair.
"What can I do to assist you?" She asked coming closer to me. The longing to help her country ran through her eyes. She was just as nervous and scared about this situation as me.
"Do not let the people know this. Aralia will go into a panic and that will just make unnecessary inconveniences for me." I said making my way towards the balcony.
"For you?" She asked "Don't tell me you plan to fight Izeel on your own?" She asked looking incredulously at me.
"I'm the one who fought him last time." I whispered looking down at every one smiling and having a good time. They absolutely cannot know about the danger that is coming.
"But you're still weakened from your last battle with him." She said.
"I know." I sighed. "But if I don't stop him, who else will? I am the only one who can Zyla, besides, he is technically my responsibility."' I said in a distant tone of voice.
I looked down and saw my hands beginning to fade. No! Not now.
"Zyla, please you have to find a way to keep Izeel away from the people of Aralia at all costs. At least until I can return, do whatever it takes to keep this world safe!"' I said as I faded away more and more. My senses were decreasing and I was slowly becoming one with reality again.
"I don't know how your majesty? What do I do?" she asked desperately searching my vanishing eyes for answers.
"You know what to do. You have the psychic gift and I made you Queen for a reason." I said resting my hand on her shoulder.
I took once last glance at her and nodded my head before her and everything else began fading away and I only saw darkness.
"TAI, ITS ALMOST 8, YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE" my mother shouted from downstairs.
I instantly bolted up out of my bed and dashed towards the bathroom. I attempted to push the door open but it was locked so I banged my fist hard on the door. There is no doubt that my overly pompous older sister, Tessa, was in the bathroom doing something completely stupid like putting on 4 coats of mascara!
"Tessa I need to shower!" I shouted annoyed.
"And I need to put on my make-up, so wait!" She rolled her eyes.
"There is a mirror in your room Tess, I only have 10 minutes or else I'll miss the bus and I'm sure you won't drop me to school."'
"Oh how right you are!" She sang mockingly.
I waited another minute or so before I groaned in annoyance. I took a shower last night, so if I use extra deodorant I should be fine. I quickly picked out a light blue graphic t-shirt, a pair of roll-up blue jeans and my black converse. I made sure to add an extra spray of perfume. I quickly shrugged on my purple hoodie and grabbed my messenger bag and glasses. I don't even bother with make-up, not like its makes a difference with me anyway.
'What time is it mummy?' I asked running down the stairs while trying to throw curly tresses into a somewhat decent ponytail
"7:58, hurry or you'll miss the bus!" She said handing me a piece of buttered toast.
I quickly shoved the whole thing in my mouth and ran towards the door. But sadly, my pest of a little brother ,Tevin, decided that he was going to shoot me with a neon green paint ball right in the middle of my shirt.
"Come on Tevin, really!?" I said annoyed as I held out my stained shirt away from my body.
"That's what you get for eating the last hot pocket, you goblin." He laughed as he ran into the living room.
I just groaned aloud before I ran out the door. I didn't have enough time to change my shirt so I just zipped my hoodie up to cover the spot. I made it to the bus stop and my jaw dropped as I saw the bus getting ready to leave.
"WAIT STOP, STOP THE BUS!" I yelled as I tried to run beside it. But my short and chubby frame couldn't keep up. I saw people in the bus looking and laughing at me. Some even had their phones out recording! Seriously? Couldn't someone have helped me out? I gave up running and stood on the side of the road panting.
"Could this day get any worse?" I said panting with my hands on my knees.
Life just wanted to screw me over today. A car suddenly came speeding past and water splashed on me from head to toe.
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME!" I shouted at the top of my lungs.
I looked down and saw the green paint seeping through my purple hoodie staining it. My messenger bag was soaked and so were some of my books and folders. I slowly began to walk the rest of the way to school. Things like this never happen to me in Aralia.
Aralia was literally my own world. I don't know how but when I was around thirteen, I began dreaming up this place where I could escape too. I imagined how every little detail would be like and soon, it became real to me. I started to dream every night of my encounters in Aralia. But one of my creations became out of control, Izeel. Izeel rebelled against me no matter how hard I tried to control him and he began killing my other creations and stealing their crystals to gain their gifts, which made him extremely powerful. I stopped him before, which resulted in me being severely injured in my Aralia form and I went into a coma for two weeks in my real form. But now that Izeel is back, I have no idea how I am supposed to fight him again, I can't take another battle like that, and I might go into a longer coma or worse.
I finally made it to school and I walked up the steps towards the main building. But since my day is going "so well" the principal just happened to be walking by the same time I walked in. She looked at me from head to toe and scrunched her nose in disgust.
"This is a learning institution Ms. Westbrooks and you need to dress properly for school." She glared harshly at me.
"I'm sorry Ms. Gates but I missed the bus and I got wet and-and my brother shot me-"I rambled but she had cut me off.
"I don't want to hear it Ms. Westbrooks, two weeks' worth of detention!" She said.
"What!? But-"I started.
"And you're backing talking? Make that three weeks then. Now get to class before I decide to make it a month." She seethed.
I only sighed, collected my bag and slowly walked to my math class. It's no use trying to explain my case to someone as stalwart as her.
I knew I probably looked like a swamp monster but I couldn't care less. I slowly opened the door and watched as everyone's eyes shifted to mine. My teacher, Mr. Carson rolled his eyes as he saw me. It was no secret that I was his least favorite student.
"Oh look class, Ms. Westbrooks has finally decided to make her appearance and in a fashionable new outfit!" He sarcastically said.
The class began to snicker as I sighed and made my way to my seat in the back of the class. Same old thing, just a different day. Just because my mom rejected his offer for dinner, he wants to take it out on me.
I was so caught up in my thoughts that I didn't see Anna stick her foot out and made me trip down. I fell flat on my face and the snickers of the class turned into full blown laughter.
"I think you should get new glasses because the pair that you have obviously isn't working for you." Anna said covering her laughs with her perfectly manicured hand.
I didn't have the energy in me to be embarrassed so I just got up, collected my things and plopped down into my seat. I rested my head on the desk and looked out the window. I should be paying attention because I am most definitely not an A student in math. In fact, I am just barely scraping a C-. But my day has been so terrible so far, I need some time to enjoy myself. Maybe if I'm lucky I can even fall asleep a little and travel to Aralia. I desperately need to speak with Zyla again.
I shut my eyes and tried to fall asleep but Anna had decided that I haven't received enough torture for the day and she kept hitting me with balls of paper. Mr. Carson was seeing this mind you, but he just stood there with a stupid smirk on his face while he glanced at us every few seconds. A particular paper ball she hit me with was very hard and when I opened it, a disassembled pen was inside. Was she serious?
"Stop!" I said in my confident sounding voice; which didn't sound very confident at all.
"Stop what?" She asked sarcastically before she hit me with another hard paper ball that caused my glasses to fall off my face. Her being on the softball team was not working to my advantage right now.
'Come on Anna that's enough, stop" A masculine voice said.
"What? I'm only messing around." She said.
Without my glasses, I can see close up, but far away everything looks blurred. When I saw a hand holding my glasses out to me, I quickly grabbed them and put them on.
"Are you ok?" He asked.
I had to blink a few times to make sure that I was actually seeing him. Aiden Mitchell, the star basketball athlete of our school and one of the cutest and most popular guys in my grade was talking to me. He was also my crush of 4 years.
"I-I-umm." I stuttered stupidly. Gosh what's wrong with me? Aiden was finally talking to me and here I am acting like a dyslexic turtle!
"I'm Aiden, you're Terry right?" he asked looking unsurely at me.
He got the first letter right, that's good enough for me.
"Umm-It's Taigh-Lyn actually but everyone calls me Tai. But you don't have to call me Tai if you don't want too." I rambled.
"Tai's fine for me." He chuckled.
I was so caught up by him actually acknowledging my existence that I forgot that we were in the middle of math class, Mr. Carson's class, the one teacher who absolutely despised me.
"Ms. Westbrooks!" He started. "You've already disrupted the class by being late and now you're disrupting the learning of your classmates? Just how selfish can you possibly be?" He said glaring at me.
Is he serious? If Anna wasn't hitting me with paper balls then maybe this wouldn't be happening. But of course I don't have the guts to actually tell him this.
"Sorry Mr. Carson." I mumbled.
"And you're talking under your breath? That just earned you a week of detention!" Mr. Carson said.
"WHAT!" I shouted outraged. "Mr. Carson, that's not fair, I was only apologizing and I wasn't even doing anything wrong! Anna was the one who started throwing paper balls at me. How do I get one week of detention and she gets nothing? I know that my mom rejected you but that doesn't mean that you can bully me for it!" I shouted.
Mr. Carson was shocked, the class was shocked, I was shocked, heck even the birds outside were probably shocked at my outburst. I always kept my cool, but I was so fed up of his crap. His face turned scarlet and he pointed towards the door.
"GET OUT OF MY CLASSROOM AND GO STRAIGHT TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE!" He shouted.
Tears were springing in the back of my eyes. I'm frustrated and I always cry when I'm frustrated; another thing I hate about myself. I grabbed my bag and ran out of the classroom and towards Ms. Gates office.
I stood at the desk and the secretary looked me up and down. I know I looked terrible. My clothes are still damp and muddy, a big green spot is in the middle of my chest, my eyes are puffy and red from crying and my hair probably looks like a rat's nest.
"Can I help you?" She asked in a fake-friendly voice.
"Uh-umm-" I stammered softly.
"What's that sweetie?" She asked leaning forward to hear me better.
Suddenly, Mr. Carson came walking inside with his trademark glare fixated on me. This is not going to go well, I can tell.
"Hello Cynthia, I need to speak to Ms. Gates about her behavior." He said folding his arms.
"Hold one second please." She said before picking up the telephone.
She talked to Ms. Gates for a while before she gave us the ok to go inside of her office. Ms. Gates didn't even look up when we walked in. I sat in the seat in front of her desk and hung my head low, awaiting my punishment.
"Ms. Westbrooks, what have you done this time?" Ms. Gates asked as if I was in trouble often. I never got in trouble. Mr. Carson just wanted to use every excuse he could to get me into trouble.
"Firstly she came late to my class, then disrupted it and had the audacity to back talk and shout at me when I reprimanded her!"
"I didn't interrupt your class Mr. Carson, it was all Anna's fault, she was the one who hit me with paper balls, repeatedly and you watched her do it and did nothing!" I defended myself.
"Anna, Anna Kinsley, She's one of my top students academically and athletically and every teacher says that she's a well-mannered girl." Ms. Gates said.
"I'm not lying Ms. Gates, I swear!" I pleaded for her to believe me.
"Do you have any proof?" She asked with a raised brow.
"Well no but, I can call someone to testify, Aiden Mitchell, let him come he'll tell you the truth' I said.
Mr. Carson's eyes widened at this and I knew that I had got him. Finally, he was so going to pay for everything he put me through since my mom rejected him.
"Aiden Mitchell? Why would I bring him?" She chuckled mockingly. "He's a known trouble maker, he would probably lie to me on the spot." Ms. Gates said.
"No, no but-" I stammered. Aiden was my only chance. Why'd he have to be so troublesome?
"I'm going to be calling your mother Ms. Westbrooks; I never knew you were this much of a troublesome child. Your sister Tessa was never like this." Ms. Gates said.
"Tessa never had to put up with Mr. Carson." I said annoyed.
"That's quite enough out of you! Mr. Carson, I'm sorry you've had to waste so much time already." Ms. Gates said narrowing her eyes.
"No problem, as long as it means getting this young lady in her place." Mr. Carson said glaring at me as he left.
"You are looking at possible suspension Ms. Westbrooks." Ms. Gates said to me.
"But I didn't even…oh forget it." I gave up. There is no point in arguing with her, not like she'll believe me anyway, she'll just find a way to twist my words and make an excuse to give me another week of detention.
"I assure you Ms. Gates, she'll be grounded for a long, long time." My mother said as we walked outside of Ms. Gates' office.
"I hope so Mrs. Westbrooks. She needs the discipline." Ms. Gates said.
"Oh, its Ms. Simmons now." My mother corrected.
I rolled my eyes. My parents are divorced and I live with my mother, older sister and younger brother if you hadn't noticed. My father cheated on my mother with his secretary and they've been divorced for five months now.
"Oh yes, the divorce was finalized wasn't it." Ms. Gates stated aloud.
My mother stiffly nodded and rested her hand on my shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. I had gotten suspended for a week but at least I don't have to serve that months' worth of detention.
"Well we'll be leaving now. I'll make sure she's a changed girl when she comes back Ms. Gates." My mother said.
"I would hope so Tanya." Ms. Gates said narrowing her eyes at us.
My mother and I walked out the door into the hallway where it was empty.
"Mummy, you know that I didn't do those things right?" I asked in a small voice.
"Of course I do Tai, I know you, and I know that there is no way that you would back talk someone unless they've really angered you." She said.
"Then why didn't you say that to Ms. Gates?"
"Tai honey." She started. "You have to learn, people like Ms. Gates, she would've added more and more punishment to you if I hadn't agreed with her. I had to do it, at least you escaped with only one week suspension." she said.
"I guess." I mumbled. That still really didn't make much sense to me but I'll let it go. After all, mother knows best.
"Hey, how's about we go for some Dairy Queen!" She offered trying to cheer me up.
That immediately perked me up, there was no way I was rejecting ice cream.
"Yeah, awesome!" I smiled.
"Great, we'll go as soon as I pick up Tevin from his homeschool." She said.
My smile immediately dropped. There was no way I was going anywhere with my little brother aka, Spawn of Satan, especially somewhere with ice cream. He'll most likely throw it all over me and embarrass me. There is a reason he goes to homeschooling. He's too devious to be in a classroom with other kids.
"Oh ummm never mind." I said.
"What's wrong? You don't want ice-cream?" She asked.
"I'm actually really tired, I just want to go home and sleep." I answered truthfully.
I was mentally tired and I really needed to go to sleep so that I could speak with Zyla.
"Ok then, I'll take you home." She said as we walked outside towards the parking lot.
"Tessa is still at University, so you'll be home alone for a while." My mother said.
"Mummy I'm seventeen not seven, I'll be fine." I said before shutting the door.
"Alright then, love you Tai." She said before driving off.
"Love you too!"
I quickly ran up to my room and shed of my disgusting clothes. I took a quick shower and changed into a pair of shorts and an over-sized t-shirt before I belly flopped onto my bed and closed my eyes.
"Come on, fall asleep." I said to myself.
I lied there for 10 minutes and I felt wide awake. This won't do, I need to speak to Zyla now. I got up and went into my mother's medicine cabinet and took out a Benadryl tablet. I know it's not good to do this but I need to fall asleep. I took the tablet and went back to my bed.
After about 15 minutes, I started to feel sleepy and I shut my eyes and let the slumber over take me.
"Your Majesty? Can you hear me?" A voice asked.
I opened my eyes and saw Zyla staring at me. I stood up to my full height and stretched. I loved my form in Aralia. I was taller and statuesque. My face was beautiful and my hair was waist length and white. My eyes were a variety of colors because I have all of the gifts.
"Zyla, what's the news of Izeel? Have you found him yet?"' I frantically asked.
"Yes but, he has completely destroyed team A of the army." She said solemnly.
"What! Already? He's gotten stronger, I don't know how, but he has." I said tugging the ends of my hair. This is bad, team A was the best of the army!
"Where was the last place he was located"' I asked.
"Near the volcanoes."
"The volcanoes?" I said with a raised eyebrow "Why would he go there unless…"
"He's going to kill another fire gifted!" Zyla finished my sentence.
Most of the fire gifted live near or in the volcanoes, and I'm 100% sure that's what Izeel is going to do there.
"He's probably going after the fire minister, he travelled back to warn his people of Izeel's coming." Zyla said.
"What! He knows that all ministers must stay in the vicinity of the palace at all times!" I shouted outraged that the fire minister had broken one of my biggest laws.
I had appointed a minister for each of the gifts. They are usually the most powerful out of anyone else in their gift. Zyla is the secondary Queen but she's also the psychic minister. Because of safety reasons they must all live at the palace. If Izeel manages to kill the fire minister…..I don't even know what I'll do.
"I have to stop him, teleport me there now!" I said to Zyla.
"What? No, you'll be killed Taigh-Lyn. I-I mean Queen Taigh-Lyn." Zyla said bowing her head slightly.
"Forget about titles right now Zyla, teleport me now." I said to her.
"No, I refuse, you'll die if you try to fight Izeel now." She said trying to reason with me. What she doesn't understand is, if I don't at least try to stop him then we'll all die!
"Fine, if you won't teleport me, I'll teleport myself!"
I wasn't a master at teleportation, it's still very tricky for me, but Zyla has mastered the technique.
"You know that you're not good at teleportation." She said stepping closer to me.
"Stay safe, you're a minister and secondary Queen so you're most likely on the top of Izeel's hit list. If it comes down to it…launch operation ARALIOS!" I said.
"ARALIOS but if I launch it you'll di-"
"I know." I sighed heavily. "But I have to do whatever it takes to protect Aralia. Zyla promise me, if I tell you to launch it, don't hesitate because your hesitation could define the border of life or death for this world." I said.
"I promise…." She said softly.
"Whatever it takes." I said.
"Whatever it takes." She repeated.
I gave her one last fleeting looking before I focused all of my energy on imagining that I was at the volcanoes. I could feel myself travelling through the fabric of the dimension. I braced myself to feel the scorching heat of the volcanoes but it never came. Instead I felt a harsh wind slapping my face; causing my hair to whip around everywhere. I opened my eyes to see that I was in the mountains. Oh great, just great. Since I'm in the mountains, I'm bound to see the air gifted and I was right. A young girl whizzed past me in the air and flew up into the sky. I used my air gift to follow after her.
Because I have all thirteen gifts, I'm not a master of all of them, but I'm well advanced. It would take me a long time to master each one.
"Excuse me?" I said to her.
She turned around and looked at me in confusion, I know that I don't look like I'm air gifted. The air gifted all have grey eyes, silver to light brown hair and a pale skin tone and they are known to be tricksters.
"Who are you? I've never seen you around here before." she asked folding her arms.
"I'm Queen Taigh-Lyn!" I smiled.
Her eyes widened and she began to bow at me.
"M-my apologies your majesty." She apologized.
"No worries, but can you please tell me the direction of the volcanoes?" I asked.
"They are east from here." She pointed.
"Thank you!" I smiled.
Suddenly, I felt the familiar feeling of me returning to reality.
"Your Majesty? Are you alright?" The girl asked flying over to me.
But my senses were going fast. Whatever was waking me up had to be loud.
My eyes shot open as I heard something smash downstairs.
"What in the world!" I said as I creped out my bedroom.
I walked downstairs and my jaw dropped at what I saw. I couldn't believe it!