The Wizards of Anastia

Wizards sound incredible don’t they? Wrong, they ruined the lives of many, forcing us to slave away in the castles. Oh, my apologies, my name is Philip Jepson. I’m a purebred wizard and I hate being one. Sure, I can control any liquid and all but we are used as military weapons. Are you wondering who “we” is? Okay, I’ll tell you. Over hundreds of kids, being trained for battle from ages eight to young adults. To the townspeople we appear to be heroes. But behind the giant walls of Lady Daisy’s castle are people who need heroes.


“PHILIP JEPSON!” I look up to see the royal guards banging at my cell door. Right on time. I get up from my desk and open the prison-like door. I scowled “Why didn’t my mom come back last night?”

The guards laughed “She was beaten. She forgot to clean a room and she’s in the infirmary.” I felt my heart sink, tears threatening to fall.

“May I see her?”

The guards scoffed, “let me see your schedule.”

I grabbed the piece of old paper from the wall next to the door, and handed it to the guards, “Here.”

The guards sighed in disappointment. “Today is a free day, GO! Before I change my mind.” A sense of relief washed over me.

“Thank you.” Once they leave, I get dressed. Luckily, they have the decency of giving us nice clothes. I look in the small mirror on my side of the room. It will do. I rushed out of the door heading to the infirmary. I walk down the halls of this prison. I make my way towards the stairs. The halls were cold and dark -- no place for any kid to live in. I go up the spiral staircase and walk down a narrow hallway to the infirmary.

“MOM!”

I see my mother laying there breathing steadily. “Philip?” My mom’s voice, usually sounding so happy and sweet, was broken and in pain. Her beautiful youthful face was bruised and bloody, yet she smiled. My body moved right at her. I collapsed at her side. “Oh Mom what happened?” She let out a small sigh, “I was supposed to clean a guest room but I heard something. I saw a baby bird, it looked hurt, so I used the remaining time that I had to clean to help it.”

“Mom, why do you put others before yourself?” She looked at me.

“Because the universe works in mysterious ways, and if I do good then perhaps it’ll give me good back.”

I gave my mom a small smile. “Of course, Ma.”


“MS. JEPSON!”

I turn to see my two best friends. Tahila Hansen and Dennies Hansen. Despite being twins, they looked nothing alike. Tahila had long frizzy hair while Dennies had short wavy hair. But the one thing they have in common is their eyes. Their eyes are icy green. They run to my side.

“Is she okay? What happened?” Tahlia looked as she was going to burst into tears while her brother wanted to punch a wall.

I frowned, “They beat her. She didn’t clean a room in time. She was helping a wounded bird.”

Tahila sighed. “Oh Ms.Jepson-”

''Sweetie, I told you to call me Estelle.” my mom interrupted.

Tahila nodded “Sorry, Estelle.”

Dennies spoke up “Estelle, who did this?”

“The royal guards, Albert and Mitch.” Dennies scowled. “Of course, they once hit Tahila.”

Tahila’s eyes got dark. “I should have fought back.”

“Excuse me, Estelle Jepson?” I panicked. Please don’t let it be- “Yes, Nurse Holly?” My head whips around and I internally groan, It had to be her.

She looks at me and her face lights up. “Oh Philip, it's so good to see you!” She runs right next to me pushing Tahila out of her way.

“OW!” Tahila cried, Dennies ran to her side glaring at Holly. “Hey aren’t you going to apologize?”

Holly rolled her eyes. “I’m so sorry,” She looks back at me. “Philip, why do you hang out with these peasants? You know you're better than them.”

I glared at her. “Because they helped me when I first joined. You spit on me when I asked for help!”

“Oh Pippy that’s all in the past now, you're not really hung up on that little mistake I made.”

“Now calm down kids, you know what happens when fights break out.” My mom used her strict voice. Me, Tahila, and Dennies all slammed our mouths shut, but Holly didn’t. Oh no. “Now, I would like to know why you dislike Tahila, Holly?” Holly is really in for it now.

Holly rolled her eyes “Because she’s annoying, a little brat, and-”

“Now I’m going to stop you right there,”my mom said. The room got dark, thunder was heard despite it being a clear sunny day. My mom’s straight black hair began to go everywhere. Her hair resembled Medusa’s and her glowing brown eyes turned dark. Her skin turned pale green, and her teeth grew fangs. “Now I will give you the chance to go out free, but come to my son and his friends and you won’t live to see the sunrise.” Her voice was a whisper but it sent anyone who hears to have chills.

Holly screamed and ran out, falling on her way to the door. Once she left the room, the thunder went quiet and my mom’s hair returned back to how it looked normally. Her dark eyes turned brown again, her fangs nowhere to be seen, and her skin back to it’s usual light tan color.

“Wow, I haven’t seen that since I overcooked the stew for the fifteenth time.” The twins were in shock. “Estelle I wasn't aware that that's what you did.”

My mom frowned, “It only happens when I’m mad so that’s why they made me a maid.” Tahila was quiet. “Oh.”

Suddenly, three royal guards came in. “We were told that someone lost control?” Holly, that little rat.

“I’m sorry guards but as you can see no one is out of control,” my mom gave her clueless face. “What if the person who told you this lied so they can get away without facing punishment.”

Holly scrambled into the room, “Stop it!” she shrieked. “That- That monster attacked me.” She said pointing to my mom.

My mom frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

Holly was about to burst. “Stop lying, you attacked me.” The guards spoke up “Ms. Stratford I don’t see any evidence of injury.” Holly’s face turned red “UGH!” She stormed out of the room in defeat. “Ma'am, we would like to apologize for the inconvenience.”

“Oh it’s quite alright.” My mom politely replied.

“Now if you will excuse us we better get going. Have a good day Ma’am.” And with that they left.



Now, you may be wondering, Why don’t we just escape? Nope, unable to do that. Unless the spell gets lifted by the queen any attempt to leave the castle will result in punishment. I once tried, luckily I was new so they left me off with a warning but I don’t dare try after seeing a boy attempt to leave for the second time. His screams were heard all throughout the castle. No one slept that night.


“Tahila, I never could figure this out,” I said.

She looks at me ”And what’s that?”

“What are your powers? Like I see you train but I never see you use them. It's completely fine if you don’t want to answer though.”

She gives a small smile. “No it’s fine, but Dennies...” I give her a puzzling look.

“But what?” I pushed.

Tahila sighed, “He swore an oath to never use his powers unless absolutely necessary.”

“I can use my power just fine, wanna see?” I nod and we head to the arena.

We walk in and see countless kids are sparring in the room. The room was huge, it was the size of a small town. The room was a large oval filled with rows of seats, the lights came from the large windows, the floor was made of cherry wood, the walls were made of stone. The area was divided into four sections one for unarmed combat, one with armed combat, one for our powers, and one for reflex training. Tahila and I went to section 3 where we saw wood flying in the air, several creatures turning back to humans, and several other abilities. Tahila found a spot and began concentrating. Suddenly she opened her eyes and she began chanting, her aura glowing brighter and brighter by the minute. By then a crowd started to form. Suddenly, a group of people who were still animals came by her side; they all stood in a single file line at her side. She chants, “Olter, Numeous, azerath, Tarajji.”

The creatures are grabbing certain items; a glass bottle, a pencil, a book, and me.

ME!?

“WHAT THE HECK TAHILA I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS?!” The animal places me down next to her and she’s floating? Levitating? I’m not sure anymore but one thing is clear. She’s incredibly strong.

“Tahila…?” I mumbled.

“Eftehea υγεία...” She mutters the rest of it suddenly she closes her eyes again, mutters a few more words and she passes out.

“Oh god, Tahila!” I picked her up bridal style and walked to the infirmary. Suddenly I realize that there's an enormous crowd watching us.


“Is she a satanic worshipper or something?”

“You idiot we’re wizards and the public thinks we’re a cult!”

“I hope she’s alright,”

“Are they dating?”

I freeze with that last one. I was out of the room so they thought I was gone but…

“Are they dating?”

The words stuck in my head like a melody repeating in your head. I look at Tahila who is still out cold. I took the time to examine her face. Her hair is red; it’s long; it was a combination of curly, wavy, and frizzy. Her skin was the color of sand. Her body was more on the feminie side but it was nice and toned.

“Oh my god Tahila!” My head snaps up to see Dennies, his face full of concern. “Philip what happened?”

“She wanted to show me her abilities and she passed out after she finished.”

He gives her a concerned look. “Oh Tahila,” He takes her from my arms and goes to the infirmary.

“Dennies!” I cry after him. He turns, “Yeah?” “Tell me when she wakes up okay?” He nods and heads to the room.

I walk back to my prison-like room and I see my mom knitting something. “Hey mom!” She looks up and smiles “Hi Pip.” She stops after seeing the look on my face. “What happened? Pip you know I can read you like a book.”

I sighed. “Tahila wanted to show me her abilities but passed out doing so.” My mom’s eyes widened. “Is she okay?” I nod. “Okay Philip, what really happened? Your mind is somewhere else.”

I sigh, “I’m really not sure, Ma. She passed out in the arena so a crowd formed. I heard one of the people in the crowd say something that made me stop.”

Ma gave me the look of curiosity, “And what’s that Pip?”

I couldn’t lie to my Mom so I said, “If we were dating.”

“I’m not sure why Ma, but the moment they said that I froze. Was it out of confusion, anger, embarrassment?”

“Oh Pip I can’t answer that for you, you have to find the answer, Okay?”

I nod, “Okay Ma.”


“LUNCH TIME!”

Me and my mom headed to the mess hall where the lunch ladies were serving all kinds of food. We head to where we usually sit, with Tahila and Dennies.

“Excuse me, can you sit somewhere else, Mike?” I said in annoyance. Mike was a buff dude who was one of the most annoying people to ever walk on this earth.

He thought for a minute, “Nope cause I sat here first.”

I rolled my eyes, “Alright fine, I guess I’ll sit with your ex.”

Mike looks right at me “Um no you’re not.”

“Oh but I think I am, Elizabeth was so patient with you and for you to dump her now we’re good friends, so I guess I will. Come Ma, let’s go sit.”

Mike stands up and slams me to the wall “I said you’re not.”

“Get your filthy hands off my son Mike,” my mother said in my defense.

Mike scoffed, “And what is a woman like you going to do? Slap me?” He laughed at his own joke. The room turned dark. Everything that happened in the infirmary is happening again.

“MA, CALM DOWN!” I shouted.

“No Philip, I've watched this boy torment you for long enough.” It was worse than the infirmary; her legs formed into a snake's tail, her skin was now scaly, her entire eyeballs turned black, her nails sharpened like a knife. “Now Mike,” her hair grew, it grabbed Mike and it brought him closer to her face. “Mike, I’ve let you live long enough, but when the day comes you won’t be able to stop me.” She scratched him on his arm with her long pointy nails. He wailed in pain but no one noticed, no one even looked to our direction. They were all talking as if this wasn't happening right before their eyes. I see Dennies and Tahila heading our way. Tahila is laughing at her brother. They turn to see our table and wave at me.

“Hey Pip! They got fresh apple juice!” I look back at the blood masacre and figure; Hey I mean at least no one is looking at this blood bath.

I walk over to Tahila and Dennies and I say in a quiet voice, “Look at our table what do you see?”

They turn to look directly at the bloodbath and say “Nothing why?”

I came up with a lie. “No annoying bully bothering us.” They smile and head to the table. While I head to the lunch line. I take a glimpse of the tables in the mess hall. Around twenty long tables were in the room with a few smaller tables scattered around. I see a lot of people in the room eating, laughing, and talking but one person keeps catching my eye. Tahila. I begin to think about what the person in the room said. “Are they dating?” Maybe I should forget about it after all. We all have more important things to do than to think about…that. The lunch ladies hand me a small bowl of soup. I thank the lady and head to the table to see my mom back to normal.

“Hey Ma! Where’s Mike? I swear I just saw him.”

Tahila looked at me strangely “Who’s Mike?”

I gave them a blank stare. “The bully who always sits at our table, that's who.”

Tahila got up and touched my face checking my temperature. “Are you sick? Tell me how many fingers am I holding?” She steps back a few long steps showing me three fingers.

“Three. Wait, you're not kidding right? Mike, strong guy, short hair, Elizabeth's ex?” Tahila and Dennies gave me a blank stare “Are you talking about Henry?”

I was so confused how they could have forgotten? But I gave up. I couldn’t argue with someone who doesn't know what I’m talking about. “Ohhhhhh yeah Henry. Heh, it must have been the soup guys, sorry.”

They give me a skeptical look but shrug it off. “Did you hear? Lady Daisy is going to make an announcement in a week, I hear it’s a project.” Said Tahlia.

I gave her an amused look “Oh where did Oak tree find this?” She rolled her eyes. I give her a small smirk.


Dennies told me when she was five she climbed an oak tree and got stuck. It took all morning to get her down. Since then it was a joke to make fun of her by calling her Oak tree. “Well Pip, I have my ways,” She winked and got up. “Well we should get going, I stained our clothes right Dennies?”

He looked confused then it seemed as if he remembered “Ohhh yeah right, well see you later! Bye Pip, bye Estelle.”

My mom waved “Bye you two. Tahila can I see you later today?” Tahila flinched then nodded “Of course Estelle.”

“Philip, please don’t bring up Mike anymore. He doesn't exist,”

“But Ma-”

“I’m sorry Philip but that’s that.” She said firmly.


What was up with this day? First Ma gets hurt, second she attacks Holly, third Tahila faints, fourth Mike suddenly doesn't exist anymore? Please God let this be all a dream where I wake up happy with my mom by my side. These events couldn’t have all happened all in the same day? Could they? I mean heck, it’s unbelievable that all of this happened?

“That’s because I caused this.”

I fell off the bench. “Philip, are you okay?” I hear Ma ask. “Yeah Ma I’m fine I just lost my balance.”

“You're quick with lies aren’t you young man. Well that will help you for your journey I suppose. Well never mind that . The real problem comes to play where… you don’t know who I am do you? Oh you can talk back but not out loud. We don’t want people to think you are insane.”

“Hey Ma I gotta go to the bathroom I’ll be right back.” She nods and keeps talking to the other moms here. I run to our room and slam the door shut. I didn’t want people looking at me like I was a barbarian.

“Who are you?” I yelled in my brain. Alright that was weird.

“I know it’s weird, young hero that’s why I don't appear right before your eyes”

“But why are you there in my mind?” I oddly responded in my own head.

“Ah if only I could say… But! I mustn't get excited. After all, if you knew then all of the plans will be ruined.”

“Well what’s your name?” I replied.

“Well young hero… My name is Anpu. And I’m here to protect you.”



We talk for a while until I bring up something he said earlier.

“What do you mean you are going to protect me?”

“Young hero-”

“--Please call me Pip or Philip.” I interject.

“Well, Philip I can’t say much but you must listen to your little crush Tahila.”

“Wait, I beg your pardon?” I said confused yet exposed.

“Ohhhh you don’t know yet, HA! oh this is going to be hilarious.”

“What did you say?”

“Stop talking Philip, someone’s coming.”

“What no one is--”

“Philip, it’s almost time for lights out.” Ma said.

“Well you were right.” I said to Anpu.

“I always am but you’re taking this surprisingly well for someone who is hearing another person in their head.”

“Well how else am I supposed to react? I'm I supposed to scream for help?”

“… Point taken but I’m sure you have questions.”

“I do but I should ask tomorrow. We’ve been talking for quite a while now. It's already lights out.” I said.

“Well Philip, what you say goes. I’ll see you tomorrow I suppose. Rest well.” Replied Anpu.


I opened the door to find Tahila, Dennies, and Ma. “Hey you guys… Ummmmm what’s going on?”

Tahila groaned “Our room door is broken. We tried everything but couldn't get in. So for the meantime we're going to sleep here a few nights until the guards can fix the door.”

I nod and start prepping my bed for the twins to sleep in.

“Hey you there?” I asked Anpu as a test.

“Always, what do you need, Philip? It lights out soon.”

“Sorry, I just wanted to see if you were there or if you can just randomly leave.”

“Philip, I'm here till the end of time.”

“What? Why?” I responded worried and confused.

“Ahhh that I can’t answer but I assure you I’m not that bad; maybe a wee bit annoying but other than that, I believe I’m a good person.”

“Well, goodnight Anpu.”

“Good night Philip.”


“The beds are done you guys. You sleep on this bed and me and Ma will sleep on her bed. Okay?”

“Thank you, Philip, it was either sleep in a spare room in the dungeon or find someone who will let us sleep with them in their room.” Dennies said.

I nod and head to the restroom to figure out what Anpu’s purpose was.

“Well Anpu can you tell me how you got in my head?”

“I could tell you the long version or short version. Which do you prefer?”

“Short -- you can tell me the longer one later.”

“Alright, well it all started when I was a mere one hundred years old.”

“How old are you?!” I said in shock.

“I am now two hundred thousand years old and I'm still quite young. Although in your time I would be about twenty years old.”

“Wow. I’m just fifteen.”

“Anyway, I was a student for one of the most well known teachers in my time.”

“So you’re smart?”

“I like to think so. Philip -- please stop interrupting or else I might never finish.”

“Yeah, sorry! Please continue.”

“Alright, so as I said I was a student of one of the most well known and respected teachers of my time. I was doing my studies when I heard something in another room. When I take a closer look I see my teacher using dark matter or dark magic as you know it. Something had gone wrong and from what I saw he was very upset. Keep in mind I wasn't aware he had been working with this certain magic so when I had gotten closer, he snapped and launched something at me, hitting me and sending me towards the wall. When I wake up I realise I’m not in my body. I'm a small soul lost in a place unfamiliar to me. I went through many adventures, but one led me to you. I watched you fight for your life in the arena just to help your mother for a better life. So with a friend I’ve made, I asked to see your future. I can't say what I saw but I knew I needed to help you so when you fainted from exhaustion during your fight I went in your mind.”


“I remember that arena and I still think about it. I did all of it for my Ma. When everyone is asleep, I’ll tell you why I did it alright?”

“Yeah that’ll be nice. Hurry Philip, take off your hair ribbon.”


Right when I removed my hair tie Tahila walked in.

“Woah I’ve never seen you with your hair down, you look nice.”

I smile “Thanks maybe I’ll start wearing it like this more often. Anyway, here, you need a shower right? I have a cloth here you can dry yourself with.” Tahila grabs the cloth. “Thanks Pip.”

I smile and leave the bathroom

“Well, I guess I’m going to sleep. Goodnight Dennies,”

I turn to see him drawing in a small book. Knowing Dennies he won’t let me see it so I just go to sleep.



Now that I am alone, I continue to play out that dreadful day in the arena in my mind as I fall into a deep sleep.

I look around to see an arena and I start to panic. It couldn’t happen again -- no please no. I see My companion get hit in the shoulder with an arrow. I start crying. I wasn’t going to see my Ma again. I wouldn’t see my friends. I was crying then I saw water. Water everywhere I close my eyes and I see bodies everywhere -- not one person is breathing. I scream.

I scream and wake up in a cold sweat. I feel someone grab my hand. It was Tahila.

“Oh Philip, relax, it was all a dream.” She started talking to me but I couldn’t help but look at her eyes. They were beautiful emerald green. They sparkled in the moonlight coming from a small window. She was… pretty.

“You know what calmed me down?” I whispered. She shook her head. “You.”

She sat on my side of the bed and gave me a hug. “I know, Philip. Seeing all of the bodies is traumatizing, but remember it was all in the past. Now you’re here with your two best friends and your mom.”

She gets up but I grab her hand and say, “Stay?” She smiles and lays down next to me and I didn’t have any nightmares after that.



A few weeks went by and everything was fine. Sure, I had someone talking to me in my head but we were fine. Until today…


Apparently Tahila was right about the assembly because Lady Daisy had called an assembly and now everyone was buzzing about it.

“So what do you guys think she’s gonna say?” I question.

Dennies thinks for a second. “Probably something about the war. I mean there’s always a time where we have to honor the people that have passed.”

“True, but this was planned. Tahila said that a week ago and it happened. Although this wouldn’t be the first time. Remember when she said that there was a feast with Lady Daisy and she made us stay in the garbage room for the night while Jack cleaned the garbage chute so the food could come down clean? I mean it did work but... Dennies ended up getting stuck.” I say.

”Hey, I was walking near the kitchen and I saw all of this incredible food and when I asked they said they couldn’t say. So I knew Lady Daisy had people coming over for dinner.” Dennies responds.

We shrug it off and head to the arena where Lady Daisy called the assembly. Personally, I think she’s more on the crazy side. She has sudden mood swings. One minute she could be blessing you with coins. Another she could be screaming “OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!”


“Anpu, what do you think she’s going to say?” I say in my mind.

“Honestly I’m not sure. Very strange, although she is crazy so maybe she’s just going to show off her crown collection.”

I burst out laughing. Jack and Tahila looked at me strangely. “What’s so funny?”

I just chuckle. “Random funny thought.” They smile and keep walking to the Arena where they called us.


Now before we head into the room I would like to warn you -- never, ever, ever mess with Lady Daisy. It’s known throughout the lands that she is the craziest queen of them all. She isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind and has a habit of ending a sentence during a mood swing with the word ‘Peacock’.


Anyway, back to the room.

We head inside to see the room to see over hundreds of people sitting on the benches.

We sat down and started talking about random things


“No but seriously, how do you wash your back? My arms are way too short to reach every par-”


We hear laughter. It sounds insane. We turn around and see Lady Daisy.


Her hair was perfect, each wave of hair fell perfectly in place, her soft brown hair flowed past her hips. She wore a daisy flower crown that fit perfectly with her head. She wore a long white dress with sleeves that were nice and long. Her skin color was white as snow. But what scared everyone to their core was her eyes. They were jet black. At first glance, they were pretty, but seeing her dancing and singing while laughing her head off was horrifying. Her laugh was crazy sounding. It had no joy in it, it was just cold -- cold as ice. She spun in the arena laughing and singing. It made everyone go silent. It only took one thing to set her off from a good mood to your worst nightmare.


“Hello, Hello, Hello, Everyone!” She smiles. “I want to thank you for coming for this oh so important assembly... PEACOCK!”

Everyone in the room shudders.

“Anyway, we have to get straight to the point.” She smiles and says words that freeze time.

“Three people in here are going to die.”

I looked at Thaila and mouthed. “You okay?” She gave me a look that said it all -- ‘No’.


She laughed again. “Oh don’t be scared, there's still a chance you might live! All you have to do is deliver the last surviving egg to the dragon of Iwaoi.” She rolled her eyes.

“My dimwit of a cousin had her people do it but they failed, so naturally they sent it to a different castle so they don’t have to deal with it anymore. So to get this over with, I will need every person in this room to go look in the Oracle’s room. We’re going by age, so the young ones that are wee little babies please come up with your mum or pop and go in the Oracle room. After the babies, next will go kids that are ten to fifteen. Then, the rest and so on and so forth until we're done. So go along now, it’s time for my tea party!” And with that she skipped away into the halls.


Once someone who was nearby gave us the play that she was gone, everyone screamed.

My mom was pale and she looked so scared knowing that I was at risk. I grabbed her hand. “Ma don’t worry it’ll all be okay.”

She looked at me and smiled but it looked sad. “Yeah, you’re right Pip.”


After a few hours, it was time to look at the Oracle. The twins had already gone in with everything being fine, so why was I so nervous? I walked in the room after reassuring my Ma that I’d be fine, although it sounded more like I was trying to reassure myself. I walk in with no confidence and I look at the Oracle. It was the corpse of a little girl. Her hair was just past her shoulder, her face was roundish, it looked like she was in pain. I frowned -- no child should ever be in pain. I looked around and made sure no one was looking and I opened the casket. I adjusted her body which looked to be in an uncomfortable position. I didn’t mind touching the body since it was a little girl. Had it been a grown man I wouldn't have touched it. I laid her down in the standard position of someone who had recently passed. I found a cloth and cleaned her face up which was fulL of mud and dirt and fixed her hair. I found a crown hidden at the side of her casket and placed it on her head. I smiled -- Much better. It could have been my imagination but she looked much more at ease. Then her mouth opened. A swirl of smoke came out of her mouth and there she was!


“Thank you,” She said with a smile.

“Y-your welcome” I stuttered -- shocked and confused.

“Don’t be scared I won’t hurt you I promise” she said.

I nod nervously.

“Thank you for fixing me up, no one has ever done that for me.”

I nod again.

“I’ve been here forever! And no one, not even my own mother who came to visit me, fixed me up.”

I frown. “Now that wasn't nice of her now was it?” I responded.

She nods, “My name Alisa I’ve been in here for over I think five hundred years now -- yeah five hundred years.

I was shocked. “Not one time in five hundred years has someone tried to clean you up?”

She shook her head sadly. “No, but now that you're here I can say the Prophecy!

My blood went cold.

“I know it’s scary I’ve helped over hundreds of heroes but just know they all survived.

Her eyes lit up a bright green.

Four brave soldiers will risk it all to bring the egg back before nightfall. Ten days to end the war. One will perish, one betrayed, but all will be done at the end of the parade.

She returned back to her body while giving me one sentence. “It can change.”

And with that, she goes to sleep with a smile on her face.


I walked out of the room with despair


Ma ran up to me and asked “Why did you take so long?”


I gave her one look. “It’s me.”


She went pale “N-no It can’t be you y-your my baby no…”

She burst out in tears, sobbing as she dropped to the floor mumbling to herself.

“No, no, no.”

Tahila and Dennies ran over to us.

“Estelle! What’s wrong?”

My mom was in a trance repeating the words no over and over again.

“No, what Estelle?”

“It’s me Tahila, I got the prophecy.” I said disappointed and numb.

Tahila looked at me in horror. “Philip, don’t lie to me, that isn’t funny.”

I gave her a sad look “Four brave soldiers will risk it all to bring the egg back before nightfall. Ten days to end the war. One will perish, one betrayed but all will be done at the end of the parade.

Tahila had tears in her eyes. Dennies came up to me and gave me a hug. “Don’t worry -- you're strong you’ll be fine-.”


We hear a laugh. “Oh Goodie! You're the one, so now recite the prophecy and I’ll ask the maids to set you up!

The queen and I head over to the throne room.

I look around in awe. Had this been a normal situation I would have been excited but I felt as though a huge weight had been placed on my shoulders.


“Well, sweetie can you please tell me the prophecy?”

I nod solemnly. “Four brave soldiers will risk it all to bring the egg back before nightfall. Ten days to end the war. One will perish, one betrayed but all will be done at the end of the parade.”

She smiled at me. “So two will live, that's certainly better than none right?”


I wasn't sure if she was trying to make me feel better or not so I just nod.


“Okay Philip, all you do is pick three people to come with you and then you’ll be given a few items and with that you're off!”


I thought about it for a while. I couldn’t bring Ma. It’s like saying

‘Watch this play out right before your eyes as you see your son be in life threatening situations!’

“That was dark.” The voice in my head says.

“Oh, hi Anpu.”

“So you got to speak with Alisa huh?”

“Do you know her?”

“No, but I heard of her. She was someone a buddy of mine mentioned.”

“Ahh ok, but heck, now that you're here, who should I take with me?”

“Definitely the twins.”

“No, I don’t want to risk them.”

“Well you need to pick someone.”

“I’ll go ask for their opinions But I’m not taking them with me Anpu.”

“Alright but if they ask to go you can’t say no!”

I rolled my eyes at Anpu.


The queen cleared her throat. “Wow Philip, you were really lost in thought! Well anyway, enough of that. I have your bags ready for you!”


She hands me four bags. I look at her and ask with caution. “Lady Daisy, with all due respect... Why did you take the egg? You could’ve denied it or given it to someone else.”

She smiles. “Life is too short, Philip. Better to have fun while you still can.”

“Yeah you’re right. Thank you Lady Daisy.” I said with a bow.

She gives me a grin in return. “Well Philip, you must be going. I wish you the best of luck.”


I bow and leave the room


I see my Ma standing outside the hall desperately looking for me. “Philip, where are you?”

I yell “I’m coming Ma!”

I jog up to her and she looks at me making sure I was okay.

“Ma, don’t worry I’m fine she didn’t do anything.”

She lets out a sigh of relief “Thank Goodness, I don’t know what I would have done to that woman if she hurt you.”

“Ma we still need to figure out who’s going with me.”

She gave me a perplexed look. “Me and the twins are going.”

I shook my head “Absolutely not, I'm not risking your safety!”

She frowns. “We chose this Philip, we’re going because we want to. You weren’t planning on going alone were you?”

I looked at the floor in guilt. “Yeah, I was Ma.” I said silently.

“Philip, look at me,” I looked up to see a stern look. “We're going because we’re a family. I would never forgive myself if you get hurt.”

She gave me a soft smile “Come on now. Let’s go pack with the twins.”


We get to the room where we hear yelling.

“Dennies! Where’s my dagger? I’m gonna need it now!”

“I packed it already. Where are my spare pencils? I’m gonna be drawing on breaks.”

I cleared my throat. “Hey guys…”

Both twins shot their heads up. “Good, you're here.” They said at the same time “We’re excited, is that bad?”

I laugh. “Kinda, but hey, it makes me happy that you're happy.”

Tahila grabbed a pencil and pen. “Tell me the prophecy, I’m gonna write it down.”

I grab a pen and paper it scribble it down.“There, I didn’t want to say it out loud right now.”


We packed up all of our things and had everything ready for tomorrow. All we had to do was wait.

“Hey guys, let's go to the mess hall so we can get some dinner.” They nod and we head out. The walk there was a bit awkward so I decided to make small talk. “Are you guys excited to see the real world?” I said while spinning my hands around in a ‘magical’ way.

Tahila laughed. “Yeah, we haven’t seen the town in years!”

I nod and continue talking. When we walk in the room everyone is staring and whispering to each other.


“That’s him right?”

“Poor guy didn’t even make it to adulthood.”

“I hope they don’t die, they’re all super nice.”

“But who’s the last person going with them?”


I look around and find Eliza sitting by herself looking sad.

“Hey Eliza what’s wrong?” I ask.

“Oh, Hi Philip. Nothing's wrong. I'm just worried about you guys. I think of you three as my children. It stings knowing you could get hurt.”

I nod. Eliza was older. She was seventeen, almost eighteen and although I don’t want to admit it I also thought of her as a mom. She was caring, sweet, and selfless. She deserved the world in my opinion. Then my Ma spoke up. “Go with them.” I turned to look at my mom, her eyes were glossy.

“Ma-”

“Philip I’m not getting any younger, I’ll only slow you guys down.” Eliza had her hands over her mouth.

“Ms. Jepson...”

“Eliza, promise me one thing: keep them safe for me.”

Eliza looked like she wanted to protest her mind but she nodded. “I promise.”

After that Eliza packed her bag to go with us. I was nervous. At the crack of dawn, I would say goodbye to my Ma and maybe never see her again. I shook that thought out of my head. No, we're all coming back alive.


I’d be lying if I said I wasn't a bit excited to see outside again and with that thought I went to sleep.

I wake up to trumpets playing. I woke up forgetting that today was the day we were going to leave

Then It hit me like a ton of bricks “Holy crap!”


After a small emotional panic attack, I had managed to pull myself together and head down to the mess hall with the group for our last meal before we left.

I head down to the infirmary to pick up some extra supplies in case we get poisoning, cuts, or a fever. I thank her and right when I was about to see the twins I’m face to face with someone so very annoying

“Hi Holly, can you please get out of the way so I can see my friends? Thanks.”

She smirks “Oh no can do Pippy after all your leaving after that so no. I’m going to give you a goodbye kiss in front of everybody!”

I didn’t mean to gag but...


I gagged.


“Ew absolutely not!”

Her face drops “What? I didn’t stutter did I?”

She kept coming closer and closer and I couldn’t help but smell her breath


“EW I WOULDN’T WANT TO KISS SOMEONE WHO’S BREATH SMELLS LIKE DOG POOP.”

She looked red “FINE! You’re missing out on the prettiest girl here,”


I don’t know what came over me but in my defense I wasn't thinking


“Tahila is WAAAAAAAAY more prettier than you but if you must”

She screamed and left the hallway.


You done honked up now Philip

Honked? What do you mean Anpu?

You do know she's rich right?

Yeah? And?

All the fundings going for the top ten strongest people here can get cut off by her and you and the twins are a part of the list. Didn’t you realise that you have a better cell than everyone else?

And? It’s not like I’ll be here to live in them

Eh just giving you a warning


I roll my eyes and head to the entrance since I’m pretty sure that they were already there.


I hear my name as I was walking to the main entrance hall. I turn to see the twins, my mom, and Eliza running towards me

“Philip we were looking all over for you we gotta go now or else The queens gonna have our heads before we have even left!” Eliza said out of breath

“Where were you guys anyways?” I asked

Tahila grabbed my wrist “No time to explain we gotta go!”


We ran to the end of the long hallway where everyone was lined up to give us a final goodbye


“Hello my young heroes.” Lady daisy said as she walked


We bowed in respect “Hello Lady Daisy,” we said in unison

She nods and turns to the crowd “Here we are gathered here today to give our good lucks and blessings to these four young heroes; Eliza Snow, Tahila Hansen, Dennies Hansen, and Philip Jepson,”