The sun rose slowly, turning the castle a soft, milky pink. In one of the houses near it, a young elemental stood on her balcony. She didn’t rule the kingdom, but she protected it. As an elemental, it was her job to protect the Ruby. This Ruby was no ordinary gemstone, for it held more magic than all that is in the world. The shadows living in Shadow Bog knew the Ruby was the key to their prison, so they watched and waited for their chance at freedom.
“Rain, are you teaching the water class? Because that’s the class I’m getting tested in first.”
Rain laughed. “No, Orissa. I’m teaching the testing the fire class today.”
Orissa grinned. “My mom thinks I’m a fiery because I’m allergic to plants in the spring and mom says my temperature is really high” Rain smiled and looked at a sundial near her. She quickly flew to the clearing to test her fairies.
“To determine who is a fiery, we’ll see if you can boil the water in the kettle.” The younger fairies nodded. “Blaze, please come up here.” A young male fairy with eyes and hair the color of ash came up and placed his hand on the smooth copper. Within seconds, the kettle was whistling madly. Rain nodded and beckoned to another fairy.
After a long day of testing fairies, Rain ran the total in her head. 200 fierys, 400 water, 300 earth, and two elementals. Rain smiled. Tomorrow, she would begin training the new elementals.
She was running. Her feet hit the ground repeatedly. Red eyes and taunting voices followed her. In one hand, Rain held her crossbow. In the other hand she held…the Ruby? The thick mist cleared and revealed a yawning chasm in front of her. Rain heard the voices come closer. She jumped forward and into a black put. Rain tried to fly, but her wings were useless in the thick soupy mist.
Rain woke up in her lily bed in a cold sweat. Those voices had seemed so real, yet she hadn’t left her house. The sun was already high in the sky. She was late! Rain threw on an ivory tunic and scarlet leggings. She walked out the door and flew to her training spot.
“Rain, you’re late! You tell us to be here early, and you show up late!” The student with blood red hair was criticizing her.
“Ash, unless you want to spend the first day of training in the castle scrubbing floors, I suggest you stop.” Ash’s eyes glowed the dark red of a burning fire, then she turned away. Rain turned to her other student. She found it hard to believe her tow students were sisters. Bambi was kind and gentle, with mossy green eyes and doe brown hair. Ash, on the other hand, had black eyes that turned red with anger, a mean temperament and red hair.
“Bambi, my guess is that your favorite element to work with is earth, and Ash, my guess is that your favorite element to work with is fire. Is that correct?” Both girls nodded. “Now then, first, I want Bambi to build a house out of earth with wide windows and a candle for every sconce. Ash, same thing for you, but make your house out of fire.” Bambi raised her hands towards the sky and a two level house sprang up from the ground. The cool air grew hot as Ash’s house appeared a giant mansion of fire. Rain nodded her approval.
“Now build a wall out of water around it.” Two giant walls sprang up and circled each house. “Now use wind to destroy each other’s houses. Ash’s house was quickly extinguished, but Bambi’s was difficult to destroy.
Hours later, Rain flew home and went to sleep as soon as her head hit the soft rose pillow.
At the bottom of the canyon, Rain was running again. The voices and the red eyes were back. Just when Rain was going to give up hope, she saw a small light in the distance. She ran, but with every step, the light seemed to get farther away. Finally, she gave up. Rain stopped in her tracks. She knew the voices wanted the Ruby. Rain threw the gemstone as hard as she could. The Ruby was stuck to her palm. Rain leaned against the rough canyon wall and cried.
Rain woke up in her bed. It was still dark out, but the edges of the sky were beginning to turn the soft pink of a newborn rose. Rain knew sleep would remain elusive, so she got up and went to her closet. After she dressed, just on impulse, she decided to check on the Ruby. The chest was still locked, just like she knew it would be. She reached into her tunic and drew out an old bronze key. It fit into the lock, and with a snap, the lid sprang open and showed that the glittering red gemstone was still there. By the time Rain flew to the field, a small figure had already made its way in and out of Rain’s house.