The next day came with a surprise. I was awake, knowing that tomorrow we would attack the Earth tribe once and for all. I was sharpening and (I can not deny it) admiring my sword. I liked that it was not made of silver, for now that particular metal scares me ever so slightly, excepting Starfire’s sword, because that had been an entirely different case. I kept my silver dagger on me always, but I avoided using it as much as possible.
With out warning, Starfire burst in to the training center. I sheathed my sword at once, sensing that some thing big was happening. She seemed momentarily out of breath.
“Star, what has happened?” I asked imploringly. “Is some thing wrong?”
“Flame,” she panted, clutching a stitch at her side. “The Air king would like to talk to you.”
I bolted out of there with out further comment.
I don’t know how I knew to go to the palace, but I did, and when I got there the guards let me pass with out question. Starfire was right behind me, and some where along the way Tamwyn and Blaze had caught up with us. Starfire had told Blaze to turn around and go home, but he was by my side all the way to the end, always. I pushed open the double doors, and directly inside was my father, the Fire king, as well as the Air king and two Air warriors.
They were silent, and still as stone. The whole scene looked seriously awkward, mostly on the Airs part. When the Air king saw me, he knelt on one knee, as did his two warriors. I did not know what to make of it.
“Um, you can stand, sir.” I said uncomfortably, and thankfully they stood right up with out another comment.
I cleared my throat. “Um, why are you here, exactly? Because I am really not in the mood to pick a fight right now.”
The Air king smiled ever so slightly. “I thought you had said that you don’t pick fights, young prince.”
I raised my eye brows. “So, you were listening?”
“Of course I was listening. How could I not, when you were breaking one of the most important rules of one on one battle? What you said must have been important, and it was. And then, after you bested and killed my best warrior, I had to think about what you had said, and I realized –” He sighed, letting the air out slowly, as if building himself up for what he was about to say. “I realized that you were absolutely and completely right. About war, and every thing. I have been alive for eight hundred and thirty seven years, and a small, fourteen year old boy spoke wisdoms that I have never known.”
“Yea, fourteen year olds have a tendency to do that.” I said jokingly, in a way that showed him he was forgiven. I saw that he truly felt awful for his mistakes, but I did not see why he was here other than to apologize for trying to have me killed. Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture. Star also saw that he had some thing else to say.
“Is there another reason you are here sir?” she asked him, looking right in to his eyes.
“Yes, there is. I am aware that you plan on fighting the Earth tribe tomorrow. I am correct in believing this?”
We all nodded. He nodded as well, as if he was confirming his own question. “Well, my army is here, at the very edge of your boundaries, and they are prepared to fight.”
I with drew my sword from it’s sheath. “I guess that I have to go fetch them, then, don’t I?”
Blaze laughed. “Well, you do have to go get them, as you were the one who spoke the words that got them to come here, but we all know you just want to show off your brand spanking new sword, now don’t you?”
I grinned at him. “Being royalty has it’s perks, you know.”
I walked down to the edge of the forest and through the boundary. I could tell when I passed the actually boundary line, because the air smells less sweet and the trees seem less green and there are suddenly pricker bushes in my way. When I got to the very edge I stopped. I stepped in to the light and looked at the Air warriors gathered there. Some were standing, some were sitting, but all were talking and laughing and playing some sort of guessing game. They froze when they noticed me. I could see their eyes travel toward the sword in my hand. I stood for a moment, letting them look me over, giving them just enough time to question what had happened, maybe to even be a little afraid, but then I sheathed my sword and smiled at them all warmly.
“Well?” I said expectantly. “What are you people waiting for?”
They all stood up at once and gathered behind me. I spoke the words the forest needed to hear, and then the trees parted and we walked through the miraculously clear path. I thought of the first time that I was here. I laughed at my self, quietly so no one else could hear, because I remembered being pissed at my self for not having my cell phone on me that day. I have not cared about technology in a long time, I realized, and I am quite happy with out it. It was a hassle any way. There are much more important things to be worrying about. For instance, the men behind me that could easily stab me in the back with out me even having time to react. But I believed that these men and women were not going to hurt me, even if they wanted to. But I also believed that they did not want to kill me, so I was not worried at all.
We reached the city. When I looked behind me, I saw a group of wide eyed Air soldiers looking at the town like it was the most interesting thing they had ever seen. I guess since where they come from, every thing is pastels, so having a place with dark granite and bright and dark colors fascinated them. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. I mean, these guys must really not get to travel all that often. I, on the other hand, have seen just about every thing I could ever want to see. I do not ever need to see all those historical landmarks or any thing in the human world any more. I’ve got all that I need right here. You know, once the earth is patched up again. But I’m hoping that that will happen in the extremely near future.
I met up with Starfire and stopped walking abruptly. An Air warrior nearly slammed in to me, but she caught her self just in time. I looked at her to make sure she was okay, and I noticed that she was extremely pretty, with white blonde hair and ice blue eyes framed with long lashes and full lips. She smiled nervously at me, and I smiled back, but then turned back to Starfire.
“So, are they headed to the lake as well?”
She nodded and we kept on walking, through the town, the field, the flower grave yard, and then finally the lake. The Water warriors were running around and splashing about in the water, but stopped cold when they saw us.
“It’s alright.” I called because the looks on their faces were murderous. “We spoke with the Air king, who is here now. The Air kingdom has seen the error of their ways and they are going to fight with us tomorrow against the Earth tribe! So, please, be nice. We are all in this together now.”
No body moved for a moment, and then the Waters went back to what they were doing as if we had not interrupted. It wheeled around to look at the Air warriors.
“Well, get cozy. We fight tomorrow.”
Then Star and I walked back to the training center, giddy relief on our faces. It looks like tomorrow might just turn out much better than we thought it would. In short, we had found a renewed sense of hope. It’s a good feeling, hope.
And now, we are one step closer.
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