Yet the reason that the islanders loved the frangeracuca shells so much was the lovely sound it emitted when put up to their ears, which sounded so powerful and beautiful at the same time that it hypnotized the islanders’ attention for decades. What the sound was, the islanders hadn’t a clue, but many guessed that it was the sound of their gods talking to them, for no other earthly source could evoke such a powerful wooshing and crashing noise unless the being were divine. They believed the frangeracuca shells gave them life and sustained them from moment to moment, that the sounds it gave when drawn to the ear were blessings from above that kept their harvests and water plenty, their people happy, and their society thriving. Not only did the shells make them beautiful, but it also gave them life, and the villagers were eternally grateful to behold the power of such a delightful gift from their gods.

                One day, a bright, sunny day with barely a cloud in the sky, the villagers were making their rounds as usual, doing their usual chores and jobs, but a feeling of unease resonated within them. Reports from outlying guards told of many sea monsters passing by the island very far off, but close enough to make the King and the villagers anxious, so all were cautioned to stay even closer to the village than they already were – most hadn’t a problem with this mandate, for the closer they were to their village, the safer they felt. But Princess Deboline, all ready to head out and make her daily visits to the common village-folk, faced a problem, as her shell-gatherers were confined within the boundaries of the village for the day and her daily accumulation of shells was in short supply. Princess Deboline made a rule for herself never to leave her grand hut wearing the same shells twice and required a daily influx of newer, more unique shells that she could wear and show off, and so far that day, all her shells had been worn before. She implored her gatherers to stray just a little from the village to look for shells, but the loyal gatherers declined in their obedience to the King. Frustrated, Princess Deboline confronted her father himself to ask permission for her gatherers to find more shells, yet her request was declined, for the King wanted none of his beloved villagers, much less his daughter, abducted by any sea monsters that could be lurking in the forests. Instead, the King advised his daughter to stay in the grand hut for her safety, and the following day, she would receive twice the amount of shells that would account for that day’s losses.

                Princess Deboline plopped on her bed in a huff. Never had she gone a day without visiting the common people and showing off her shells, and her confinement within the grand hut made her very angry, and worried. She feared letting one day go without the villagers seeing her grandeur would make them love her less, and that her reputation might begin to deteriorate, or worse, another villager might find a beautiful, majestic shell that could have been her own, and that villager would suddenly become more beautiful than her. As she nervously bit her fingernails, the Princess, then, came up with a plan to sneak out of the hut without her father knowing and search for some shells herself, returning back with a plentiful supply in time so that her father would never notice her disappearance. But she had to be careful in her escape, she figured, because she did not want any villagers to accidentally see her without any new shells. After making her decision, then, Princess Deboline grabbed the canvas sack sitting on the edge of her bed and slowly crept out of the back of the hut as her father talked with his subjects near the front, heading for the woods where she had seen her shell-gatherers go so many times before.

                As the sun reflected off of her porcelain skin, Princess Deboline inspected the ground and the trees with a most watchful eye, looking for any beautifully decorated shells that she deemed were most worthy. She saw a few stray ones that were caked with dirt or that were drab in color, but she passed those ones over, declaring them more suitable for villagers of lower status. Further and further into the forest she crept, so far that she could barely see her village after a while, and she noticed that the sun was becoming blocked by more and more trees, making it harder and harder for her to see. She used her hands to feel around her and felt more and more trees emerge with taller, itchier grass crossing her path, and she noticed herself walking on an even more squishier terrain than she was used to. Looking down and moving the tall grass aside, she looked at her feet and nearly screamed, but covered her mouth so as to not draw attention.

The End

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