Wake up . . . Find the twelve . . . gather them . . . The twelve . . . bring them to us . . . you must find them!
Kahe woke up, her eyes darting around like a wild animal. A thin sheet of cold sweat covered her entire body, making her shiver as the cold breeze blew in her open window. She had forgotten to close it again, making it the tenth time. Her fists were clenched, breaths uneven and ragged. She couldn't focus because of that voice. No, more like twelve voices combined into one. She touched her forehead. She must be going crazy. It had been happening ever since she turned sixteen last week. She didn't want to tell anybody because they might think she was crazy, but this was the limit. Tomorrow, I'm going to the council to talk to them about this, she thought. Not wanting to go back to sleep in fear of hearing the voices again, she made her way slowly to the kitchen, opening the refrigerator.
She found some fruits and carefully munched on them. She took out a cup and poured water in it. She drank half of it and put the rest back in the refrigerator. She went back to bed and silently prayed that no voice would talk to her while she was sleeping. Just for today, Kahe. As her head hit the pillow, her eyes closed as sleep overcame her mind and body.
Sunlight slipped in through Kahe's windows. She opened her eyes and blinked. Kahe sat up and stretched her aching bones. She clambered off the bed and headed towards the kitchen, rubbing her eyes. She opened the refrigerator and got out the glass of water from last night and drank everything. Half-awake, she washed the glass and yawned loudly, not caring if anyone would hear it. Of course, no one would. She was living alone. Kahe was an orphan. Her parents had died in the war. She sighed as she remembered those memories. She held her palm up and a purple and green ball appeared. Poison. It was her power. All high-ranked soldiers had one. They were special and unique. She disdainfully looked at the ball and dropped it in the sink. It sizzled and popped as it went down the drain. Using her powers always calmed her down when she thought of her parents. It felt like a curse, a nuisance, but she was glad she had it. It helped her survive countless battles.
She went down the stairs and walked towards the front door. She opened the door and went outside, enjoying the sunlight on her face. She smiled. The sun had helped her survive and live, too. Kahe smiled once more and turned around when a voice called her name.
"Kahe! Wait!" the voice shouted. Kahe turned around and saw a figure slowly approach her while waving his hand furiously.
"Morning, messenger," Kahe said. The boy stopped in front of her and panted. In his hand was a envelope. He straightened up and gave her the letter. Kahe opened it and read it out loud.
"'New mission. Come to the Palace when you receive this letter," she said. Kahe furrowed her eyebrow. New mission? I wonder what it is, she thought.
She smiled at the messenger. "Wanna walk with me to the palace? I'm sure you're going back there. But first let me get my sword."
The boy nodded weakly. Pretty, he thought. Kahe went back inside and retrieved her sword from the hook and slung it across her back. She locked her house and started walking while the boy followed her, making idle conversation. After ten minutes, they reached the Palace, a stunning and glamorous castle. Around the castle were training items and houses. The Palace was located in the training district in Vondel, their planet. Kahe watched as two boys fought using knives and swords. She smiled as one of the boys almost stabbed the other one in the ribs. It was exciting and exhilarating, seeing two people fight, feeling that emotion that you can die at any moment with just one strike. But at the same time, it felt disgusting and revolting. Another battle was ensuing in her right. Two girls were using their powers to train and fight. One had duplication and the other shadow manipulation. She shook her head and kept walking straight towards the Palace's front doors. She pushed it open while the messenger waved goodbye and walked off towards the messengers' house.
She entered the huge building and stopped as one of the Council members approached her with grace and delicacy. Kahe lowered her head and bowed. Her gown was swishing like a mermaid's tail. She was beautiful and fair, her golden hair flowing down her back.
"My lady, Ceress," Kahe greeted. The lady smiled softly.
"No need to be formal, Kahe. We're almost the same age," Ceress said, laughing. It sounded like multiple bells ringing, a sweet melody sung by an attractive voice.
"But we're in the Palace. People would scold me for not talking to you formally" Kahe whined.
"It's fine, Kahe. Everybody here likes you," Ceress reasoned.
"But-oh, fine. Anyway, why do you need me for?" Kahe asked.
"Ah. Almost forgot about that. Come with me. The Council and the King have something for you," answered Ceress. They quickly walked towards the King's meeting room. The whole council was already there as they opened the door. The King and Queen were still not present. Ceress took her seat beside members, Eder and Tena, while Kahe stood at the side. Finally the King and Queen entered the room and smoothly walked over to their seats. They daintily sat down and looked at Kahe. She bowed and gave them a confusing gaze.
"Servant, provide a chair for Kahe, please," the King instructed. A servant came with a chair and placed it in the middle of the room. She leisurely went over and sat down and waited for them to talk.
"Do you know why you're here?" the Queen asked, her voice like fine silk.
"No, I don't," Kahe replied.
"Ever since you turned sixteen, did you start hearing voices?" a Council member, Yino, asked. Kahe's eyes widened ever so slightly. How did they know? she thought.
"Um. Yes. It bothers me a lot, though," said Kahe, chuckling. A few of the members giggled softly.
"Then we'll tell you the answer to why this is happening," the King said. He motioned with his fingers and a servant carefully walked over to the King, holding a glass ball with twelve symbols in the center. She placed it on a cushion and backed away while bowing. Kahe took a good look at the ball. It looked exactly like a crystal ball, but it was glowing in a weird way. Suddenly it glowed brighter and twelve beings came out of it. Kahe's eyes widened as she continued to watch the strange scene. They looked like ghosts but didn't float. They stretched-which was weird-and yawned-which was more weirder. Kahe didn't know what to call them-humans or ghosts? The 'ghosts' took notice of Kahe and smiled. She nervously smiled back and squirmed in her seat.
"So this is the chosen one?" a deep, raspy voice asked. The tone chilled Kahe to the bone. She looked at the ghost that spoke. He was tall and handsome. Wow, Kahe thought.
"We are not ghosts, young one," a melodious voice said. Kahe looked to her right. It was a woman, a beautiful and lovely woman to be exact. She had long, flowing hair and eyes that sparkled. Kahe kept looking at her until she laughed.
"Do I look so interesting, Kahe?" she asked. Kahe snapped out of her trance. She blushed and looked down.
"You . . . you just look so pretty," Kahe mumbled.
"Ah. I get that a lot," she answered, winking. Kahe giggled at her joke.
"What . . . are you?" Kahe asked. The ghosts looked at each other then started whispering.
"She must be a late-bloomer."
"She doesn't remember us."
"Yeah. I guess we have to tell her ourselves."
"I think she's scared of us. She thinks we're ghosts."
They all turned back to Kahe. She straightened up and listened to whatever they were going to say. She knew it was about the voices.
"Kahe, the voices you heard was actually us. We are the twelve spirits that guard Vondel."
Kahe's jaw dropped. They were the twelve spirits? The famous twelve? They looked like a regular teenager! One was wearing a leather jacket while another one sported skinny jeans. And they actually talked to her? She was just a soldier!
"You're the twelve?!" Kahe exclaimed. She couldn't believe it. She refused to believe it. She had expected them to be crippled and old, not young and handsome.
"Want us to prove it?" another woman challenged, smirking. Kahe turned to her and nodded her head.
"Let me introduce myself. I am the earth spirit," the same woman said. She raised her hand and a rock appeared and shaped into a triangle, then to a square. She stomped her foot and the ground opened up. Kahe shrieked then sighed when the tremor didn't reach her. Kahe gaped at the earth spirit. That was incredible. The earth spirit went back to her spot feeling satisfied. A man stepped up and bowed.
"I am the lightning spirit," he simply said. He raised his index finger and pointed to the ceiling. Suddenly, the sky rumbled and groaned. A lightning bolt came down and went straight to his hand. A lightning bolt-shaped weapon was now in his hand. Kahe stared at him with awe.
"That was so cool!" Kahe said, grinning. The lightning spirit smiled and stepped back. The lightning bolt was already gone. A jumpy and excited man was next. He was all smiling and laughing. Kahe chuckled at his behavior.
"I'm next! I'm next!" he shouted. "I'm the fire spirit!"
He brought out his hand and a ball of fire appeared. He transferred it to his other hand and created a bird from the fire. He then created three balls and juggled them. Kahe laughed and clapped. It felt like a magic show. He twirled his fingers and the three balls turned around quickly. The balls disappeared and the fire spirit bowed. Kahe clapped once more and looked to the other spirits.
"Who's next?" asked Kahe, smiling. The woman who possibly read her mind stepped forward.
"I can't really show you anything since I already read your mind, but this might be okay," she said. She raised her hand and flicked it. The glass ball was now floating in the air. She moved it towards Kahe and back to herself.
"I am the mind spirit, by the way. I can also control objects using my mind," the mind spirit explained. She set the glass ball back down on the cushion. A new lady stepped forward and scowled at the mind spirit. As she walked forward, the floor turned to ice.
"Mind! Don't ever do that again! You might break our home!" she shouted, turning back to Kahe. She gave her a icy stare and pursed her lips.
"I am the ice spirit. This is my power," she said coldly. She brought her hand forward, palm facing towards the sky. A snowflake came out from her hand and spun around. The snowflake separated and moved around. The room suddenly started becoming cold and Kahe had to rub her arms to keep her warm. The ice spirit kept using her power until the walls were coated with white ice and mist was spreading across the floor.
"Ice! Stop it already! You're going to freeze them to death," the fire spirit said, creating fire and warming the room. Kahe could only sigh in relief as the temperature went back to its normal state.
"Whatever, Fire. I'm not that mean," Ice snapped. Fire rolled his eyes and went over to Kahe. She moved back as he got closer to her. The air around started to warm up as he hovered over her.
"Thanks," Kahe said. Fire smiled kindly and went back to his original position. Another man went up and introduced himself.
"I am the water spirit. Pleased to meet you, Kahe," he said, bowing. Kahe bowed back politely. He held up his hand like the others and produced a ball of water. He transferred it to his other hand making it look like a shooting star. He clapped his hands together and the water was gone. He pointed at Kahe and a stream of water gushed out from his fingertips. It flowed like a waterfall and made its way toward Kahe like a snake. Kahe watched the water get closer and stop right at her feet. The water moved and formed a word. Hi. Kahe giggled. The water went back to its master and disappeared. Water bowed and went back to his spot.
Another man walked to the front. He smiled at Kahe and she noticed it was the one with the deep and scary voice. He can actually smile like that? Kahe thought. He walked up to her and held his hand out. Kahe looked at it and back to his face.
"Take it," he said. Kahe cautiously grabbed his hand and was lifted up from the ground. She yelped in shock as they soared in the air.
"I am the spirit of flight," he said. Kahe could only nod. She was scared for life. The feeling was unusual and strange. She stayed in the air for about a minute then went back to the ground. She quickly sat down on her chair. She didn't like flying. It was scary and heart-stopping, and not in a good way.
"You didn't like it?" the flight spirit asked sadly.
"Oh. I'm sorry but I'd rather stay on the ground," she reluctantly answered, not meaning to hurt his feelings. He nodded, understanding her situation.
"Yes, many people are scared of flying but it's incredible. To be up in the air. It's like freedom," he replied dreamily.
Kahe nodded and stared at the remaining five. They quickly showed their powers and finished explaining who they were. But Kahe still didn't get the point on why they were here. And what about this new mission?
"Patience, young one. We haven't finished explaining," the mind spirit said. "The King will explain the rest to you."
"Yes, thank you, mind spirit. Kahe, your new mission is to find the twelve reincarnations of the spirits."
Kahe's jaw dropped. There were reincarnations of the twelve spirits? Why? Why do they need reincarnations?
"War is brewing, Kahe. Our powers are slowly disappearing. We don't know why but we suspect Red Shadow is behind all this," the spirit of space explained. Kahe nodded. She knew about the Red Shadow. They were an evil force that wanted to overthrow the King and Queen and kill the twelve spirits. They lived at the edge of the planet and destroyed small villages and started rebellions.
"After we were born, we already knew about the future and gave half of our powers to twelve families. They kept the power and passed it on to their next generation until the right one comes along. Their power will grow as they have better control over it," the spirit of air explained.
"All twelve are scattered across the planet in different cities," the spirit of healing continued. "None of them live in the training district right now so you need to travel a lot. Also, you must recruit all of them or everything else was a waste. Some of them might have already known about their power and is training to control it. Whatever you do, find them and bring them back. Find all of them."
"Do you understand your mission now?" the Queen asked. Kahe weakly nodded. She had to absorb all this information in. Bring back all twelve? What if one of them doesn't want to go? Will everything fail? Was the mission useless if she couldn't bring back all twelve? All these questions haunted her mind.
"You will succeed, Kahe. That's why we chose you as the chosen one," Mind said, giving her an encouraging thumbs-up. Kahe returned it with a grateful smile. She could do it. If she put her mind in it, she can succeed.
"Now what about showing us your power?" the spirit of light inquired, smiling at her in a knowing way.
"Sure," Kahe replied, standing up. She raised her hand and blasted the wall with poison coming out from the middle of her hand. The blast went right through the wall and made a huge hole, poison dripping from the edges. The spirits were lucky enough to move out of the way when she released her power.
"Kahe! Now we have to fix that!" Asphora, a Council member, cried out. Kahe giggled and hid behind one of the spirits when Asphora stood up in anger.
"Sorry! They asked me to show my power so I did!" Kahe argued.
"But you didn't have to blast the wall!" Asphora countered. She sighed. More problems for the Palace.
"It's fine, Asphora. We can fix it," the Queen assured her. Asphora looked at her and sighed in defeat. She sat back down and glared at Kahe before turning away.
"Before you go, we need to give you something," the ice spirit said. She took out a bag and gave it to Kahe. She peered at it curiously and opened it. Inside were twelve necklaces. Each had its own symbol. Kahe recognized it as the symbols on the spirits' heads. She put her hand in and dug out one of the necklaces. She looked at it and found that it was a clock. She turned it around and around and noticed that the clock's hands were actually moving.
"That's my symbol, Kahe," the time spirit said. "These necklaces will lead you to the twelve reincarnations. When you found a reincarnation, their symbol will glow. When you get close to a reincarnation, the symbol will radiate brightly. It's about time one of it glows."
Right in cue, one of the necklaces started to shimmer and glow. She took it out from the bag and looked at it closely. It was shaped like a pinwheel. Kahe recognized it as the space's symbol.
"That would be mine, Kahe," Space said. "Your first target is the space reincarnation. Good luck on your journey. I advise you to start on it quickly so we can train them."
"Pack things that you need in this trip. We'll send you some money when you go back home," the King said.
"Good luck!" the other spirits shouted.
She nodded and bowed to the spirits. She watched them go back into their glass ball and a servant carried it away. She bowed to the Council and the King and Queen and exited the room. She headed straight to her house in Derotio City without stopping. For some reason, she couldn't wait to start on her mission. It felt like an honor to receive such a mission. She walked over to her stable and found her Fokler sleeping. Foklers were mix breeds of a horse and a cheetah. She gazed at it lovingly before stepping inside the clean area. The Fokler stirred as it sensed the presence of its master. It looked up and stood up as she came closer.
"Minna," Kahe cooed, holding her hand out to her pet. Minna stepped forward and licked her hand. Kahe giggled but frowned. She was going to miss her baby.
"I'm going to miss you. You know that right?" Kahe asked. The Fokler cocked her head and whimpered. She scratched her head and sighed. I can ask someone to take care of her, Kahe thought. She went back to the house, bidding her pet goodbye in the process. Even though she would miss Minna, she still had a mission. She eagerly packed her bag with food and clothes and some spare money. She also put the bag of necklaces in her pack. She went over to her closet and picked out her best knives and swords. She put them safely in her bag and smiled. She hummed a tune and went to the kitchen. She got a piece of bread and ate it quickly. She heard a thud outside and went outside to look at what made the noise. She gasped as she saw a Tirana flying in front of her yard. It almost gave her a heart attack. She clutched at her chest to stop her heart's fast beating.
"God, you scared me Noel," Kahe snapped. The boy on the Tirana just grinned and jumped down. One might think what he had done was completely and utterly stupid and reckless, but he landed perfectly on the patch of grass. Noel smirked and gave Kahe a letter. She opened it and found a whole stack of money. Kahe's eyes widened and her jaw dropped. This was a lot of money! She quickly counted it and found that it was more than what she was paid for. She whistled. This mission was so worth it. She carefully tucked it in her pocket and faced Noel. Her expression dropped when Noel gave her a sad face.
"I'm gonna miss you," he whispered softly. Kahe nodded. Of course, she was leaving her home and venturing in the unknown without anybody to protect her or save her. But she was given this task because she was the chosen one.
"You know I can ask the King if I can follow y-."
"No, don't. It's too dangerous," Kahe interrupted. "Stay here and protect the King and Queen. Their lives are much more important than mines."
"You know that's not-," he started but Kahe cut him again.
"Noel! Snap out of it! I won't die!" Kahe said firmly. Noel just nodded, defeated.
"I'm strong. I can fight and I have my power," Kahe persuaded Noel.
"Fine, but if I see you without one of your arms or legs, I'm going to kill whoever did it to you," Noel answered.
Kahe laughed. "Sure, Noel. And get your butt kicked."
Noel slapped Kahe's arm. "Hey! Meanie! I can fight!"
Kahe laughed again. "Just kidding," she said, sticking out her tongue. Noel crossed his arms and looked away. Kahe pouted and frowned.
"Noel! It's just a joke. Look at me. Please?" Noel still wasn't looking at her. She grabbed his face and put it close to hers, their foreheads almost touching. He widened his eyes and blushed red. Kahe smirked. She leaned forward and kissed his forehead. Noel just dumbly gazed at her and touched his forehead, his face reddening more.
"Promise I'll come back," Kahe said, holding out her pinky. Noel laced his pinky with hers and smiled sadly. He was going to miss her a lot.
"And can you take care of Minna? I don't have anybody else to ask," Kahe said. Noel nodded. They shared a hug and separated. She went back inside, grabbed her stuff, and walked back outside. She gave Noel one more hug and started walking. She turned around and waved to Noel. Luckily he looked back and waved back at her.
"I'll succeed!" Kahe shouted. Noel nodded and turned away, walking back to his house. He couldn't bear to see her walk away. What if she died trying to find the twelve? What if she failed? He shook those thoughts away and concentrated on walking. She was going to succeed. She will, Noel thought.
Kahe took one more glance at Noel's retreating back and started walking to her first stop, Rukela City. There were seven districts and three cities in each district. Since the districts were huge and close to each other, she didn't need a Tirana to fly her to a district. She took out her map and studied the routes. All around her was complete desert until huge domes and green carpet started popping up as she got closer. She squinted and saw people working on farms. A sign on the side said, Welcome to Rukela City, Food District. She continued walking and passed by many stalls and restaurants, bakeries and ice cream stores. She looked hungrily at an ice cream stall and licked her lips. She stepped forward and bought a strawberry cone. When she was about to step on the road, someone bumped into her and made her drop the ice cream. Kahe wasn't quick enough to catch it and grabbed thin air instead. She looked up to see who bumped into her and found that it was a blonde girl, carrying with her a bag of overflowing snacks and foods.