Petuna looked over the edge of the Crystal Well in horror. There was a deep and dark gap beneath her feet. There were patchy clouds that floated in the well and when she looked up she saw the Amber Crystal’s throne in midair. There was a large gap between where they stood and the throne and Petuna wondered how the humans had ever got to it. They had no magical powers to fly over and besides, even if they had managed to cross the cloud gap, their weight would just give them away at the throne. Petuna looked up at her father who was in deep thought. The Amber Crystal glistened in his hands and it was captivating to look at.
“What is it, father?” whispered Petuna gently.
King Kornelius turned his head to look at her and smiled softly.
“I was remembering the last time I did this,” said the king.
He held back his tears and Petuna could tell that he was remembering the time when her mother had died.
“Petuna, there is a reason why I brought you with me here,” said the king gravely.
Petuna gave him her full attention as she prepared for what was to come.
“I want you to be the one to return the Amber Crystal. I want you to be the one places it on its throne,” said the king.
Petuna was taken aback and surprised at this request.
“But father..” said Petuna.
“We don’t have any more time to waste,” interrupted the king, “I want you to be the one who does this.”
Petuna blinked several times not understanding the full impact of what the king had just said. She searched his face trying to find answers and the king realised her confusion.
“Petuna, it is time and you must trust me and do what I ask of you,” said the king again, “Take the Amber Crystal from my hands.”
Petuna could not but do as she was told despite the fact that she felt herself shaking inside. She knew that this meant something important, not just for her, but for the entire land. She had to trust her father.
Petuna reached out and touched it while it stayed in the king’s hands. It felt cold and tickled her senses. She brought her hand away and felt a shiver run through her. Her father nodded solemnly as he waited for her to try once again. Petuna placed both her hands underneath her father’s and he slowly transferred the Amber Crystal into her arms. Petuna’s hands were far too small to cradle the crystal and instead she found herself holding on to it like a newborn baby. It felt like a life form. It was cold but she felt a series of sensations run through her at each of the points where the crystal touched her skin. She slowly started to feel its power seep through her and with every passing second, it started to feel like she was a part of it. The agitation within her slowly started to melt and became replaced with calmness, serenity and a new form of strength.
“Go on, Petuna,” said the king softly.
He knew that she would not need any encouraging. Her face said it all and he knew that he had made the right decision. Petuna was ready to assume her duties and to rule the land.
Hetty and Hetitia stood by the king and Petuna wondered how she would make it across the gap. But they stood their ground and Petuna realised that this was something that she needed to do on her own.
Petuna closed her eyes like she had previously done at the Spring of Dreams and a bright light started to shine from within her. Before she knew it, she was floating above the ground and moved towards the throne. It was like she was gliding through air. She crossed the gap of clouds in an ethereal state and as she traversed the gap, it would transform itself into a piece of land under her feet. She held on to the Amber Crystal tightly and felt its power leading the way. When she finally reached the throne, the cloud gap was nothing more than an extension of the land where the king and fairies stood. She looked back in amazement and saw her father nodding his head.
The throne before her was adorned with miniature crystals, amber in colour. Petuna took a deep breath, reached out and slowly placed the Amber Crystal in the midst of them where a hole lay. She tried to let go of it but its power was too consuming and she felt herself being drained. It was the strangest sensation she had ever felt, weak from the draining of her powers but at the same time, rejuvenation. She could not understand it nor describe it. Petuna opened her eyes slowly as she felt its power slowly dissipate and saw a soft light emanating from the Amber Crystal. She rubbed her hands and knuckles, trying to feel the life back in them.
The tremors that had been shaking the ground stopped the instant that the Amber Crystal was back in the throne. Petuna started walking back to where the king and fairies stood and with every step she took, a stream of tiny crystals shot up through the air behind her until there were hundreds of concentric circles that were made of up tiny streams of crystals floating in the air. Petuna turned and looked back when she reached her father’s side and it almost looked like layer upon layer of fine crystals that emulated curtains. In the midst of these curtains sat the throne with the Amber Crystal. It was a beautiful sight.
The king hugged his daughter warmly and Petuna snuggled into her father’s robe, smiling. She felt different and things looked different.
“Father, what is it that just happened?” asked Petuna.
“You created the crystal barrier, the security system that will protect the Amber Crystal forever,” said the king.
“But I don’t understand, why wasn’t that security barrier there in the first place?” asked Petuna.
“Times have changed, my dear, it seems that things were not fully in order the last time it was returned,” said the king slowly, “As you know, it was I who placed it back in its throne but little did I realise that there was someone else that the Amber Crystal was seeking. It was you all along. The barrier that was created the last time was the gap of clouds. It was a flaw which no one had noticed. No one questioned why the Amber Crystal was so exposed until today. When I held on to it, it did not feel right and I knew that the Crystal was calling out for someone else.”
Petuna looked up at him with questions all over her face.
“The Amber Crystal chose you,” said the King as he started moving back towards the spot where the humans were held.
“What of the avalanche, father?” asked Petuna in a hurry.
“The avalanche should’ve stopped in its tracks. We need to get word from Glacier and the clouds on the damage that has been done,” said the king.
It was not long before they reached the humans who by now have been fully restrained.
“Take these prisoners to the Water Prison and make sure they are well-secured,” said the king to his general, “We still have the matter of Storm Blazer to attend to.”
A soldier ran towards the general, quickly kneeled before the king and princess before whispering something in the general’s ear. He rushed off again.
“Your Majesty, I have just been given some bad news,” said the general.
“What is it?” asked the king.
“We have word that Storm Blazer has escaped,” said the general gravely.
The king made a fist with one hand and felt rage rising within him as he held on to his crystal sword with his other hand. He turned around in a flurry and went back to the spot where Storm Blazer should have been. He found his army of fairies, men and clouds frantically trying to decide what to do next. They all stopped in their tracks when they saw the king standing before them, his face red with anger. They all kneeled and the head fairy rose when the king indicated to her.
“I want to know what happened,” said the king.
“Your Majesty, Storm Blazer had been feeding on the frenzy caused by the avalanche and the tremors and it just drained us all of our powers,” said the head fairy, “in a moment of weakness he escaped.”
The king thought for a moment and decided that it was time they brought their secret weapon out.
“Where is he heading?” asked the king.
“Towards the Flowing River,” said one of the clouds.
“Get word to Cloud Bearer. We are to go after Storm Blazer immediately,” called out the king, “It is time we used the serum that Cloud Bearer described. Tell him that he is to go after him with his army and send a shower of that serum down on Storm Blazer. I want him captured. It is time to end this madness!”
The king, Petuna and her fairies followed Cloud Bearer and his army in the royal wagon. They were high up in the sky and could soon see Wallowing Waterfall down below. It was not long before they caught sight of the Flowing River. Petuna watched closely as Cloud Bearer issued his instructions for every inch of the river to be inspected. The clouds had been keeping close watch on Storm Blazer since his escape and there was no doubt that they would be on to him shortly. Suddenly he was spotted and the clouds wasted no time in locking him in. They had to act quietly and quickly.
Cloud Bearer produced the serum which River Check had given him. He had secretly been working on a serum that would stun any water-wrestler, giving them enough time to capture and secure him. Cloud Bearer had been fascinated by River Check’s work and had told the king about it.
Cloud Bearer quickly distributed it among the clouds and gave his order to stand by. As soon as he was sure that Storm Blazer was on target, he gave his order and streams of rain poured down the river. It carried the serum and struck Storm Blazer without warning. He was stunned on the spot and the fairies took the opportunity to secure him into place with their magic. The most evil of all water-wrestlers was finally captured, thought Petuna to herself and a glow of satisfaction washed over her.
She watched as the fairies dragged the captured Storm Blazer to a purpose built water-wrestler travelling prison. There was no means for him to escape and he was to be taken to Cloud Headquarters where a special prison was waiting for him. There, he would be tried and sentenced. She could not wait for justice to be done.
“Well done, Cloud Bearer,” said the king, “We shall be returning to Cloud Headquarters with you now. We need to settle a few things before we head home.”