Bambi was already at the field playing with a young fawn while she waited for her teacher. Rain smiled and remembered when she was still young and carefree. Bambi noticed Rain and sent the fawn on its way. One look at Bambi’s face showed something was wrong. As if to answer Rain’s thought, Bambi started crying.
“Last night, Ash got into a fight with our parents. Then, she got and evil glint in her eye, like the shadow’s, and then she said and ancient curse. After that, she left. And mom and dad didn’t wake up this morning.” Rain thought for a moment.
“Do you remember the curse?”
Bambi frowned as she tried to think. “Aym royu rehtab sopt nad royu seey locse orefer orem.” The air seemed to turn colder at the sound of those words.
“May your breath stop and your eyes close forever more.” Rain repeated. She frowned. That was a shadow curse. How could Ash know it? Unless…
“Bambi, how would you like to visit the king and queen?”
At the castle, Rain and Bambi had to wait for what seemed like hours. Finally, they were called into the throne room. Bambi’s jaw dropped at the sight of it. The entire room was carved from a single diamond. The windows were opened. And a spring breeze made the gold curtains dance. A rich red carpet led the way to the throne. The entire room sparkled in the sunlight, making rainbows chase each other across the room. Sitting on the throne was the king. Next to him, on a small white carpet, sat the queen. The king had blue eyes and hair that was not white, but silver. He wore an ivory shirt and gold leggings. On his shoulders sat a red cloak. The queen had long ebony hair and emerald eyes. She wore a blue dress, and a matching stone hung from her silver tiara. Both of their royal highnesses wings were pale green.
“Rain, what brings you and your friend to see us?” This king’s voice was full of power, yet it was gentle.
“We have come with news of an elemental’s disappearance. She killed her parents with a shadow curse before she left.” Upon hearing her sister’s treachery again, Bambi burst into tears.
“How did she learn this curse?” the queen’s voice sounded like wind rushing through the trees.
“She’s been possessed, your highness.” Bambi’s voice sounded weak in the giant space of the throne room. Those words seem to hang on the air and make even the sun seem colder. Finally, the king broke the silence.
“Rain, you are going to the Shadow Bog to find Ash. Bambi, during Rain’s absence, you will be taught by the other instructors.” Bambi nodded. Rain and Bambi flew out into the open air.
Back at home, Rain had begun gathering a few things she would need on her journey. Bambi was helping her make a checklist.
“Longbow, quiver, and arrows?”
“Yes.” Rain looked up. “Bambi, while I’m gone, I want you to stay here. It’s the safest place for you.” Bambi nodded.
Rain set out towards the Shadow Bog. In one hand, she had her cherry wood staff, and at her hip hung a double bladed sword carved from a single diamond. After a combination of walking and flying all day, Rain found a shaded glen on the outskirts of the bog to sleep in. A small waterfall fell into a crystal pond. Somewhere, a bird trilled, and Rain trilled back. A red cardinal landed on Rain’s shoulder, cocked his head and he looked at her wings.
Sister of the sky, I wish you well being when you enter the bog. May no harm come to you. Rain smiled, and the cardinal flew away again. Rain found a small tree nearby bearing small, bitter green apples. Using earth and water magic, she coaxed the tree to full health, and large red apples were rewarded to her. Rain thanked the tree for accepting her gift, and she took as many apples as she could fit into her satchel.
Later after sunset, Rain used her magic to pull together the branches of a weeping willow to provide a protective net around her. Once inside, she rested her head on a pile of moss and fell asleep.
“I have brought the key to your prison!” a voice broke through the cheering.
“Show us!” The dark figure pulled a black lump from a hidden pocket. Black silk fluttered to the ground and the shimmering red of the Ruby was revealed. When the crowd saw this, they broke out into an uncontrollable cheer.
“All hail Queen Ash!”