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Moons

of

Amaterasu

By

Theodora Oniceanu

*

“Through a chosen mortal I always worked and it is through a chosen mortal, a courageous girl or boy, carrying the blood of noble origin is that I shall work once more! I have picked a couple of Children of the Light for our latest mission on Earth. The planet finds itself in great need to be saved and us only know this; it’s inhabitants seem to forget how important it is for them to care about one another more, also for their surroundings! We will be supportive towards the few beings aware of the dangers of losing it before time and try to illuminate the others who already adjusted to a chaos that’s proven itself inefficient in its quest of destroying it forever before; the same will happen now. We will conquer human hearts and help them save their home!”

*

*

**

*

In the light of day, the valleys and cliffs of the mountains were showcasing iridescent waves making the trees tell-up stories of their roots much greener than they could have ever lived down there, into the depths of their creative existence. On the highest platform of the highest peak of Mountain known on those territories, a female figure, coming from ancient times, was to be seen, caressed by the gentle pale morning sun-rays, enjoying the air of morning; her hair, dark, playing songs smoothly, allowing the winds to have them danced like the waves of distant seas she was admiring from those heights. Amaterasu was contemplating the offers of that nature she carefully makes a beauty of each time worshiped, respected and shown love of true. Meditating on the top of the world, techniques of relaxation she seems to have applied to the troublesome part of her mind, as she creates the healthy brains to help her through the journey she is about to take to the realms of wider knowledge of the Universe she always knew she belonged to. A place where all gods of the planet she knows little of now - since her Kingdom was her only concern until this moment of crucial need for a change, for new order, for new hope. So, they are going to meet, each with their original families and pantheons, each kept safe during their trips of their long meeting in their own protective chariots, shells or spheres, deciding upon their similarities, sharing some universal knowledge, revealing ‘secret recipes’ and never telling the whole truth so they never lost their Beloved Kingdoms. A reunion for fun, perhaps, but mostly for that need to inspire their humans to actions of individualist brotherhood, kindness and acceptance of cultural diversity not leading to fights and wars they all started to be tired of; except the gods of fire and damnation, hatred and wars! Thirsty for blood and revenge, they are asked to perform some fights for the rest of the public to dissect their actions, their reasons! Their activity and performance, like in a scientists’ Lab an atom split, a heart shocked-out and revived for a new life (who knows? Maybe he will not be a bad guy after this transplant!), a cure for a pesky disease hunting innocent people made after dissolving, extracting, synthesizing and uniting a new entity-fighter - The Pill of the century, the cure!

On the top of the world, she waits for her wings of an Angel to come and take her to the meeting. Amaterasu-o-mi-kami was kind to offer one pair of her wings to a special servant of the Kingdom, an honest and much respected guardian; she chose this humble honest mortal for the mission of protecting Ise, her home, but for this, at this special time, she had to give him wings to fly and eyes to see the truth about everyone, the night before - the dangers and the real friends, the enemies and the safety resorts as well as the measures to take. Now, her wings must be brought back to her; the mortal just ended his Journey and knows how to protect the temple and The Kingdom. Whispers of her thoughts let me know about the time to duck into the bushes, the moment when she finally rose and took the deepest and more insatiably-felt breath I’ve ever witnessed. (It made me wish to enjoy the same deep fresh breath, the same way.) A bright light cast upon the peaks, coming from a place only gods might have a clue of the whereabouts. Unified with the Light in herself, the goddess turned into the brightest thing, the brightest Angel. An Angel of light spreading three pairs of sparkling wings of vivid light, unseen by the human eye before, I hope, since I always wanted to tell about something unbelievable I witnessed. I had to watch this scene through my special dark glasses, myself covered by a curtain I made shelter from into the Woods. Don’t ask me what I was doing there. It’s a secret I’ll perhaps tell you about some other time.

Now, off she flies, Amaterasu-o-mi-kami, away to meet all the gods in her known family to head to the adventure of human-gods history, the one of meeting all gods ever existing, ever worthy of being worshiped and adored after conception, the miracles accepted as accomplished and applied to the world and their subjects. How do I know that this angel I saw was in fact Amaterasu-o-mi-kami?

Well that is another secret I might be unable to keep. As for now you’ll just have to trust me.

*

**

I. Daughters of the Sun

“Up on a deserted stage the couple was embracing to form one radiant cocoon. She was alone, standing in the middle of the stage, watching their happiest-times reveal to a public that never knew this kind of love.”

Brought back to life she was and she loved it, her new existence. The ancient child was enjoying something else, something she could never imagine living since she was asleep for such long and great a distance between those times that she couldn’t remember but as ancient - and these new times she was beginning to know and explore.” The bell rang and the children started rushing their ways towards the exit of the room. A few remained still, waiting for the teacher to either close the book or give them a hint on the next chapter. They got homework instead. “Write for your class-mates on the board, clear and nice: ‘To continue the story: write yourselves at least a page on how you believe the story of the ancient child continues!’ Good. “ A few were disappointed but the vast majority of the ones who didn’t leave the class-room (counting five souls) were feeling satisfaction. The teacher could also read thrill and excitement on a couple of faces which made her feel good about her work done with dedication and sometimes - times when one is feeling brave - passion. In the school’s back-yard the children were already playing different games. A few famished ones were rowing for hot sandwiches made with the love of a parent growing his hopes for times his sons and daughters will have a good life to live in a future that was to be a bright one. A few yards further the great building of this school’s high-school was keeping itself silent and proud against everything else around. The highs didn’t seem to have a break like the little ones here were.

- I used to live in a place resembling this one, the teacher’s voice was heard. She was confessing to another teacher. I grew-up there; we were mixed, the little children with the high-school kids until they decided I was destined for something better. So, I attended high-school classes...

- Miranda, dear! a strong voice interrupted the conversation. Happy birthday, dear! From the back-yard a child’s voice was yelling: - Catch me if you can! The couple of children sneak-picking from down below the window startled. - Psst! Follow me! one of them whispered behind a hand. They moved a couple of windows away then started playing hide-and-seek.

The morning left room for day-dreaming and memory prints to leave marks on journals. Miranda moved away with the others celebrating her birthday. We followed the crowd and sang the celebratory song, applauded then slumbered into in-existence; it was her moment to shine and ours to grow a little dull and grey, audacious where words have their win, courageous on a stage where nobody wins anything but applause and flowers, sometimes a good bottle of wine or a box of chocolates, refined. We all enjoy then our little offerings in a backstage room claiming for a short-while our god-given names and their statutes, celebrating together as we know how much we worked for the praises and shares. But how much, just how much and hard a teacher works for their winning, that seemed to have been forgotten... until this young prolific writer we caught on the stage playing with her most amazing crew created for a purpose: to teach her students a few tricks and make a few scholars either laugh or cry for their invincibility shown everywhere. The golden-haired girl was no longer a child but the child inside never died.

*...*

At closely each dawn of the weeks to follow, friendships were sending their beams of light along with the respect and admiration to make the sky sustain the brightest clouds shining their coats above the plentiful light of the yet sleeping sun; their deepest blues were complimenting the remains of honey-glazing bright-orange curves and contours made with the brilliant violet meetings with some purples let out by the indigo-blue touch at their wishful thought to see and make see the results of their reunion. A few playful thunders happened right in the middle of the time given to this gods reunion; a few agitated some spirits during a frightening storm but nothing too dangerous, nothing to make humans fear losing their lives and homes. He loved her and she knew that, the young-lady watching the sky with the interest of a Child protected by her parent-gods - ‘She is too young’ , she could hear them speak to one another the night before. ‘Let’s give her the chance to grow and then become what we all know she is. We had our lives shaped well; she should too.’Nevertheless, it was the remembrance of her bright and brilliant Angel of Light the one that she remembered dearly, the one Angel of Mercy and Love, the one and only Angel sent by her God, the very one who loved her most and whom she loved more than one could imagine.

The Princess was awake and waiting for him to help her fly once more! But this little Princess was a little mistaken in thinking herself too young since she wasn’t to be considered a Child for much longer than anyone else; too soon for a spirit like her to give-up hopes and childhood dreams, she will be found forced into the position of taking important decisions then, when too tired of her adulthood duties, also pushed into finding ‘mature excuses’. So, she drifted back for a moment or two into the Childhood-life where wishes and beautiful Dreams can happen - the place where seeing her protective Angel is possible, a place she could love as her home.

‘- Around here love seems to be of little importance, mistaken for something else than its entirety, taken for granted and used as the tool for satisfying only partly the needs of a spirits’ choice! It is reduced to something that, in its simplicity, might give us all the answers to our questions regarding the ways in which our Universe works! ‘I wonder how will my future husband see into these matters.’ she muttered. Once the door to this final thought open, it allowed imagination to develop branches and grow roots for the knowledge to be explored in the distant future days which were actually closer than she could feel but, the little lady had no idea thus no fear nor doubts about the ‘right thing to do’ and ‘the perfect match’ that’s been already chosen for her by the best parents she could have asked for.

*...*

“I am afraid you have bees, young lady!” a kind and gentle smiling face seemed to have just allowed these words be spoken.

“What?”

“How are you dear?” another face, a worried and extremely pale one, all framed by a peculiar white thing rounding it up - pulling out from a covered in a black robe heart the sentiment of motherhood - launched into investigation.

“I... I’m... fine! ... (whispered:) I guess.” the Child slipped-out a state of mind making her appear to be a little confused, a suspicion immediately confirmed by her questioning:” Where am I?... (then, a little apart, as if asking herself while trying to make a sense to her own self only, touched by a light-speed attempt of an inquiry on her presence there) How... did I... arrive... here?”

“Don’t you remember, dear?”

“Remember... what?”

“I am afraid that she will need some time to recover!” the kind man in white interrupted.”It would be better if we allowed her the necessary space and time so she got back on her feet! After all, it wasn’t an easy rescue for us either! We can only imagine what this brave little girl went through! She, fighting death the way she did means a lot. This case mustn’t be treated as an easy one!” he winked cheerfully back at the child adding: “Don’t worry, Child! You will be fine! You were very brave! A real survivor. I truly couldn’t hope but for fighters like you! Bravo! Have some rest now! We’ll see you tomorrow. (To the nun) Call me if anything, Mother. Goodnight. (to the girl) Sleep tight!”

“Goodnight to you too, Doctor Finn.”

“Wait! I want to know! I want to remember!”

“Sleep, Child! The doctor was right. You need to recover. You will remember... When time comes.”

“But, but...” she stammered.

“Here’s a glass of water. Are you hungry? ‘Want some soup?”

“No” the girl refused with a subtle gesture.

“Alright, then. Go back to Sleep. I Will be here, watching you all night. If you need anything then ask. You can call me Mother Thoreau. It’s the way all children here seem to enjoy calling me and I have nothing against that. Here, let me fluff your pillow, a little. ...There! Isn’t it more comfortable?” the girl nodded.

“Here is this little bell”, she added indicating the night table, “in case I fall asleep and you need me awake! And here a glass of water in case you feel like having some later!... ‘Want me to read you a bed-time story or sing something to you?” The girl nodded affirmatively so, Mother Thoreau, not knowing for sure which of the two the girl preferred, chose to sing a pleasant lullaby that the girl fell in love with immediately.

The warm harmony of the nun’s voice carried the girl to realms where she felt like home, the universal home for fairies and magical creatures seem fragile as they are incredibly beautiful and sweet; those children without which centuries of perpetuated beauty would be just wiped-out appeared, off any trace of sadness wiped from the faces of those territories being always their lands on which to apply their kind mysterious magic and make-believe.

For one night, in a dream caused by a lullaby, the girl, sweet as only angels can be, was the most beautiful and powerful fairy of them all! For one night, in a dream, she saved the entire world of fairies and the one of the best of humans and beasts out there, the kindest and worthiest, the bravest, the ones to unite for the cause of saving all the beauty and kindness carrying on with the magic of good forces. Unexpectedly a werewolf joined the forces of good; all the power to fight for justice and for saving the realms of kind worthy souls was hers’, theirs to work with together. As she flew above all situations she empowered only the right ones, always, tricking the evil dragons possessed by the spirit of Argoston, a revengeful spirit in quest for souls to posses and territories to conquer for he thought his days of living into the unknown were about to end. Together they created the perfect place for Argoston and his adepts to stay prisoners in but they kept escaping, looking for trouble as well as for the troubled; so, the land of fairies and magical beasts kept fighting and hoping, kept feeding and using the magic of good for the purpose of saving the night. Argoston kept claiming they had brought it to themselves - this, their fault all the darkness and problems in the world.

It’s been long since this spirit’s revival on some lands; friend of the darkness and of rebels fighting against all evil! She joined the forces of good in her quest of finding the way to be helpful to the Light-Fairies so they would live in peace and harmony with the other creatures of the planet rather than causing the spread of all nightmares and fear into the Oasis of peace, magical beauty of nature and kindness. “Your world has nothing to do with me but I don’t want it ruined!” the werewolf’s voice snarled from the darkest depths of his being in a low tone. “You helped me know who I am, a wanderer, a hunter, a loner... The loser, perhaps, but the one free to do everything I want! You remind me of who I really am! Always have, ...always will be! I’ll join your cause only because I don’t want this place to be all a ground of restless fights forever! But don’t try to make me see something else in myself! Don’t try to change me, and don’t apply your magic tricks on me! I won’t be heading to the highest peak to throw myself down to a crash of flesh and bones with the hard rock and grounds after the magic’s gone and the truth revealed, which is usually after I start being loved, adored and cared for, a time with which any living creature anywhere, on any planet, would be happy with. Once you take a bite and learn the taste of happiness you’re in trouble, you’re addicted... you’re doomed. Losing it, that magical beauty, is the beginning of the end; the start of a decline. Many of you would rather die, and so you do... Your light travels then through space, uniting with all magical beings killed or taken down for the very cause of saving this place where, I admit, I love resting my tired bones after a fight or a hunt. It’s the time and space of peace the one I respect, the one of this love for nature and the natural resources we all enjoy if mutual respect and protection offered. So, I’ll help! But don’t bother with useless rewards! I am a hunter and I hunt according to the laws of nature! I’ll take my reward the natural way. Don’t give me illusions to feed my brain with... My fall was ruthless once, I won’t fall twice! I learned my place, good fairies!”

*...*

“And just how are we today, young lady?” the kind doctor asked.

“I had the strangest dream! I was a fairy and there was this werewolf refusing to see the real beauty of his heart and make it known!”

“A werewolf having a beautiful heart! Now that’s an idea I never thought of!” The doctor amused himself. The nun kept watching the girl with an imperturbable eye.

“He joined the forces of good fairies and helped the cause of fighting against the evil spread of nightmares into the world. But, when time for reward came, he was already gone, just like he warned us all he’d do from the very beginning. You see, I believe that he lost something more precious to him than all the beauty he could receive for himself in exchange of carrying on with... she stopped and sighed. Taking a deep breath she said: Showing beautifully without the family he really holds dear to was nothing but nonsense to waste his time with, I think... or was he afraid of getting it all back? What if...what if he was afraid of being happy again, ... what if he simply forgot about how that was and his fear of hurting even more for his loved ones was stronger?!”

“ Well, that’s pretty imaginative and clever, very deep too for a girl your age”, the nun observed.

*...*

- Loouna! Where are you?

- Up here, in my room! High-heeled foot-steps were heard climbing up the stairs. The door opened before the knocking finished its resonant rebound release, travelling like a bullet working with the air.

- How are you?

- I’m... fine.

- Homework?

The girl denied: - No, pleasure.

-Aha!

-May I see?

- No! It’s personal! The girl defended the book protecting it with both arms holding the priceless gift against her heart.

- Where did you get it from? The library?

Loouna gestured negatively then shrugged.

- I bought it myself!

- Oh! With what money? Grandmothers’ gift to you?

- No, pocket money you gave me!

-Well, that must be a very well priced book if you managed to buy it with pocket money, only.

- I’ve been saving!

- Oh! Alright. Here, I Have a gift for you! ‘Bought it today. She handed the girl a pretty large, almost flat box. Open it!

Loouna slowly slipped the book under the pillow then opened the box. Inside, a sweater she remembered admiring on a stand of fancy unique clothes she could see only the rich kids wear. Her eyes grew bigger with amasement! Really? For me?

- Yes, Loouna! For you! For me too! For us! I got one too. Want to see my personal pick?!

- Wow! Sure!

They descended and Mother showed her pick of a unique fancy sweater.

- Nobody will have what I have and nobody will have what you have! Whenever we feel the need to be special, to be different and happy we can wear them! I don’t know about you but I, one, will make a special day of each and every one I choose to wear mine!

Loouna’s smile attempt on the right corner of her lips showed faint-trust. She knew Mother and she was certain that deep down inside something was grinding her personal self; that soul of hers was troubled once more. She also knew herself and her classmates; showing different and unique now was not the right decision to take so, perhaps on actual holidays.

- I’ll wear mine too! she responded.

- We’re not poor anymore, Loouna! Perhaps not Richie Rich rich but we’re doing fine. You can ask me money for your books, for courses you want to take, for materials and passions you want to grow yourself with. You can choose to be who and what you really want and invest in blooming beautifully! Perhaps not the most expensive tools on earth is that we can afford but at least some of the best and occasionally something this unique.

- I’d rather ask for a monthly sum to use the way I know best, mom. I don’t know why but it feels more like the way I want to work around here!

- “Monthly sum”,... “the way I want to work around here”! Do you hear yourself?

- What do you mean?

- You sound like an old woman trapped in the body of a child not sure if she should enjoy her childhood or prepare for a serious battle for survival. Give yourself a break! Even I am more of a kid than you are!

- I don’t follow.

- This is my world now: the well-paid office-job with a few dynamic moves once in a while, and I can tell you that I am not very fond of it, trust me, it is not the ideal world but I do well, it works for both of us and it pays for all the bills, for school and the classes you take and now, it can start paying for all my crazy needs along with yours! We can finally say that we’re on our way to freedom! Loouna’s shy faint smile appeared on her face again, a shadow of sad but warm wisdom reflected in her eyes.

The night was announcing itself a long and prolific one: stories were about to be cooked and baked for children to feed their minds with. Loouna didn’t forget about her new book so, after dinner she climbed back to her room where, under her pillow, she found her favorite resting time waiting for her to discover more about some interesting characters. She then filled some white sheets of paper carefully slipped in between the pages of the book, with thoughts of her own and ideas that she started having while reading.

*...*

The brightest after-noon spent in the patio: all the Children of the Citadel were gathered there except for the ones in hospital. Our little brave girl was watching the sun-rays spearing through the milky coat of clouds spilled onto the canvas of the sky, touching the ground on which the Children were playing.

- Mother?

- Yes, Child!

- What is this place and how come so many Children here?

- You still don’t remember anything?

- Vaguely... and as if I were taking Information from another world.

- That’s because you are from another world!

The look the girl gave her made the nun rethink her words.

- ‘Not saying that you aren’t a human, like us all; only that you are different than the other Children here. You are a special Child with a special gift not many have.

- What do you mean?

- You’ll see, Child. You’ll find the answer soon.

- Mother Thoreau?

- Yes, dear.

- I forgot to ask or was a little scarred to do so but... what happened to my little brother?

- Oh, Child! So, you do remember!

- Only that he needs me. And I need to protect him, be there for him.

- Look again in the patio! What do you see?

- A lot of children.

- It was there where we sent your little brother each day after lunch, this week, but every time he kept asking to be brought closer to you; we kept telling him that your recovery will be a slower one but every time he asked to see you or be taken back to his room.

- He is too little... He’s only four! Too little to play with the other Children who all seem to be older than him.

- They are! And so are you, dear.

- No, I’m not!

- Oh, Yes you are. You have an Old spirit, Child. A very Old and Wise spirit! Come! Let me take you to your brother. Are you feeling up for a visit?

- Yes, the girl enthused.

- Easy with abrupt moves. We’ll pay him a short visit so you both can have a better rest from now on.

- Did he have trouble sleeping?

- Yes... for a little while. But, thanks to Mother Agnes and her herbs, he is well now.

Along the interminable hall taking them to the area where her little brother was, their steps producing rhythms mismatched, the girl would turn her head twice to see what was behind the half-open doors of two rooms doors half open - one in which a special someone was bent over a small object studying it carefully, an image that stirred the imagination of the girl without destroying the activity’s importance, then the other one in which a constant sound was produced by some equipment she could only catch a glimpse of, that particular time.

‘- When we’ll get back I’ll ask if I can see what’s in that room.’ she promised a few minutes later that evening to her little brother who was asking all kind of details about her absence, her time spent there, in the great recovery room, then about her private recovery room of which she had no knowledge yet since they were about to move her that very evening; he also asked about the long halls and chambers and about the patio where he never could find her so, he kept requesting to be taken to either her or his room. The girl-without-a-name and the boy who wouldn’t respond to the question “What is your name?” were happy to see one another. Since nobody could identify them and they won’t remember, they were referred to as the Girl and the Boy. That very special evening she told her little brother that he should go and make as many friends as possible down there in the patio. She told him she could watch them all, the children, from her room and that she very much wished to see him there too, making friends and playing with them; she also made another promise to him, the one of her getting down there one day to enjoy some time with all the children playing and studying various things in the open. She was sometimes using pretentious words and spoke more like a college girl than a seven years old; only her voice betraying a young age, the nuns and nurses, doctors and priests always turning around or raising their heads to see who was that child using words so mature.

“What are you doing all day long up there? Are you reading your books? Are you drawing?”

“Sometimes.”

“Did you remember anything about mom and dad? Did you remember your name?”

“No.”

“Me too.”

“You should say:’ Me neither. Or, better yet: Neither did I.’ That’s the right way of saying it.

“ O.K. Neither did I, Neither did I, he started repeating, his voice like a bell singing its crystal toll to himself so he knew better next time.

“ You are so smart!” he declared with pride to her.

“I am only older than you, that’s all.”

“I wish I were like you!”

“You can learn, but I believe that it is better if you remained yourself, the one you are, learning new ways without losing your real self. But that’s me. Who knows what’s best?” the girl spoke turning around for an opinion from the nun.

“Only God, dear! Mother Thoreau concluded. Only our dear and mighty Lord knows!”

“Did you see him?” The boy asked.

“See who? Mother pretended not to have understood the question.

“ The mighty Lord! Did you see him? Did he tell you about what is right and what is wrong? “

“He did this a long time ago, speaking to people about what was right and what was wrong; He also let something behind through his chosen people. He inspired and He helped us choose our ways... He’s still doing that, not only through our prayers and our people but through the mysteries of life itself.

“Mother Thoreau...”

“Yes, dear!

“What’s your real name? the girl asked.”

“My real name?” the nun gasped.

“Yes, your real name. What was it... I mean, before you became Mother Thoreau.”

The old woman couldn’t believe the question she was asked. She soon recomposed and explained. “Well... Children here seem to like calling me Mother Thoreau. A long time ago, a child your age saw a film where a character he liked was named Thoreau. I don’t remember precisely the moment and circumstances of him watching that film but I do remember clearly the day when I was teaching them about the bible and the Lord when he mistakenly called me Mother Thoreau. Everybody laughed so heartily that I myself started laughing at the entire situation. It was a beautiful day and all the children were bored listening to the same chapters some already knew by heart so I let them play. I remember them playing and calling themselves by different names than their own, impersonating the nuns here, and somehow, during their representations I remained Mother Thoreau. But my name, as a nun, is Mother Theresa. Many nuns carry this name; I myself had some doubts when it was picked for me but I eventually got used to it.

“Who picked it for you? The fairies?” the boy asked candidly.

“The fairies have nothing to do with this, dear, the nun smiled. I am afraid that there is a small confusion made here. The magic of God has little to do with the one of the Fairies. There is a difference between the need for God’s mercy and love and the one of fairies and other characters in stories and legends.

“Are you saying that the fairies are useless?” the girl protested.

“How could they be useless?” they make us feel better and sleep better at night! the boy gasped.

“They do so but for this we should be thankful to the Lord... for allowing the writers to help them do so. I used to minimize their beauty and power of helping humans regain their faith and, yes, the world in its entirety does need the fairies too for illustration of good and evil deeds and feelings.

“I believe that we should pick some names for ourselves too, the girl said. Let us be our own fairies, our own Godmothers and pick our names now!”

Mother Thoreau seemed to be surprised.

“Well, we cannot stay unnamed forever! I do feel like being called a real name rather than ‘little girl’ or ‘dear’ all the time. To be introduced as the Girl or be named Dear would be quite peculiar, though I like the pleasant tone; hum... Maybe Solsty. Solsty and Sam! What do you say, she spoke turning around to her little brother. Would you like to be called Sam?

“Yes! I love it!”

“Hum! Let’s look into the mirror there and see how we looked as Sam and Solsty.”

“Why not Soley? Mother Thoreau proposed! It sounds like a better fit for a young lady as yourself. It has a dream-like melodic structure which seems to me that speaks of your personal character traces more.”

As she kept looking into the mirror another girl seemed to be brought back to life from the depths of dreams woven by this child’s mind, a soul impressing at first meeting. With every occasion the nuns, sister-nurses and doctors spending time with her agreed she was too wise a girl for her age.” Huh! You’re right! Soley is better! Thank you Mother Thoreau!”

“You’re welcome, child. It is time for lunch now. There will be soup served and something at your own choice in the dining rooms of each wing. We will also transfer you to your private room,... Soley. You have to say goodbye now. You’ll see each other tomorrow, if everything will be okay.

“ It’s okay! Soley reassured her little brother. It’s okay. You have to think about your name-pick and be sure by tomorrow. Perhaps we will also get a ceremony for that?”

Mother Thoreau burst into a healthy happy laughter. There is plenty of time for that, Child! We’ll have to wait until Father Matthew - or perhaps Father John - comes here to officiate the ceremony.

“Oh! Okay.” agreed Soley suddenly blunt-grey, a bit unhappy after learning that the thing was going serious and that there was somebody else, a person she didn’t know the one with a higher rank to decide upon their choice to receive the blessing.

*

*....*

“The one who loves you helps you gain your feel of independence; they trust you and support you. They help you reach to and be loved by as many souls as possible out there. Love is out of question when you feel under attack. There was no love for you there, on the battle-field; no real support when you were sacrificed for somebody else’s happiness.”

*....*

*

One of those rainy mornings, spent in the best of places one could have chosen to raise their children, spread their infinite wings: Loouna fell in love with the moment, the place and its story immediately encrusted on her soul. There was a lot of peace, order and equilibrium in that town; people there were her best friends without interfering, without trying to rule her personal self, trusting the rules of the Universe and the ones of the society they all lived in. She was heading to school watching the rain-drops leaving interesting marks and traces of such variety that she almost felt tempted to skip school for a study of rain-drops; a visual education and sound-trace marked on the wet streets of Tōkyō. She kept heading towards school, rapidly collecting images while sipping the healing smell of rain left in the air. Each rain has its own smell. This one had the smell of freedom pleasantly chased by cinnamon, vanilla and fresh coffee released into the air. It was the duty of coffee-shops and cafés done properly. They were obviously playing together and she enjoyed that morning like never before. Classes felt also great. A day to be grateful for so, after school she let herself driven by fresh air cuts revealing the kind light of the pale rays of sunlight leading towards the temple up in the woods, a climb on the hill through the tunnel of torii, above the place in Tōkyō that was to become her favourite park, the Ueno Park.

Late a time to get back from school, but Loouna offered herself the well deserved time to be spent in a place built for peace and harmony, reading outside, in nature, admiring everything that pleasant world had to offer. Describing it to herself and the papers hidden in the book from which she decided to read once more the description found in its beginnings, she began to read:

“Quiet thunder storm into the sky, quiet but vividly showing, raging with savage flashes before letting the human ear know about its intensity and strength. One mysterious night was the one you are watching turning into a rainy night-time. It’s when wolves announce the beginning of vampires-hunt. Moonrise. Just like before, the castle, up on the hill, was sending messages about long forgotten ghosts taken into custody by shadow-lands to care and deal with them alone. Dark and cold, the air already humid was frantically helping lightning’s spread of electric-branches. This night was empowering the particles of sanity in the silver vapours rising from the woods. ’A bird-scream made her look in the direction of the woods it came from. Another bird was playfully chasing the funny screamer. The smile imprinted with peaceful resignation showed vaguely on her face. She felt like having a wonderful time watching the trees sending messages to one another through their branches and their joyful leaves. It almost felt as if they were writing about their warmed-up greens to make come to life colours of red, little purples and yellows mixed with amber shadows, orange swifts into maroons and browns accepting compliments made by ochre shades. The sun was yelling quietly its setting of light upon the grounds of different material compositions, bringing back to life the love for poems one would never think of sharing in any other way but the properly adjusted one. The buildings and trees were yelling even more back accepting all the caressing compliments offered. It was calm a time to spend adoring the manifest of life before slumber. The crickets were wandering their songs cricketing with the passion of the youngest hearts in the business. Life was offering a spectacle everywhere one turned to look. Then darkness fell and the parties changed.”

*

Soley was watching the children in the patio with the interest of a child wishing to descend there, longing to see if and how she could fit. There was something telling her she was different but in a way that couldn’t hurt. So, she wanted to recover sooner and belong. She wanted to be part of their lives; wishing to live a life among them, Soley never killed for good her little doubts of peculiar origin. She had her little fears and issued questions regarding their acceptance of her personal self, also afraid of her not being a well fitted person for their world. She kept imagining herself there, in the patio: what she’d say, how she’d behave and how will they all play; but that day to arrive was felt away, distant in time like the foam of the seas are to their grains of sand lost in space. Her sighs spoke more of her disappointment than of her wishes and thoughts. One could watch and see how her sadness grew over her room taking into possession every single object inside.

“-What’ s the matter, dear?” Mother Thoreau asked Soley one day as her observant eye caught the longing sad look on the child’s face for too many days in a row. The girl shrugged.

“- Nothing! I only wish I were there, in the patio, with all the other children, learning with them and playing the way they always do.”

“- That time will come, you’ll see. Right now we must keep you here where you’re safe until you fully recover. We will try to bring up to you the skills and knowledge taught and spread down there, so you felt less uncomfortable.

“ - Thank you, Mother Thoreau, the girl’s crystal clear sad voice sang its way to the heart that was reading as much as she could on the girls’ face, still having that odd feeling of missing something, even when the obvious happened to offer the ‘most logical answers in the book’.

“What’s wrong with this girl, God? And what is so right about her? What so strange and frightening that I cannot stop worrying about? there must be something protecting the heart and mind she is!” her face was telling about the concentration and focus she made an intense use of in the past few months. A few wrinkles showed deeper. She remembered the night the girl and her brother were brought to her, the brightest and calmest of all. They couldn’t expect any weather event special or out of the ordinary rainy and dim forecast. For the price of a few minutes of storming skies before their arrival, though, all the souls in the castle trembled. She remembered how odd it felt to hear a thunder that was too loud and frightening not to announce the most dangerous storm in the history of their lives, then, thrown at an impossible rescue, finding these two children hugged in a car under their mother’s protective dying body. The poor woman gave her life for them to be saved; there was hope that she could be saved but after they found the children, adopting them immediately as they always do, a moment of silence was kept as she stopped breathing. The skies kept one too, then the rain settled down, little by little, peculiar warm dry winds starting to blow above the ground making it easier a hill to climb, a soil to walk on. The Castle, turned more than two decades before into a monastery-orphanage, received the two children in a hurry; their conditions being pretty bad they were taken to the emergency room; well prepared doctors and nurses on duty, the proper measures and the interventions necessary, all taken with no delay. She remembered also how hard the rain and thunders crossed the skies, all night after they got the children and mother inside. A hard time for the police to accept that there was nothing to investigate about the accident: the driver lost control and he paid with his life, on the spot. The woman protecting the children struggled for her life a little before her chances of survival proved themselves right and a true Mother’s soul ready for a fight for her children anywhere else she might have to lead a fight for them to find happiness; those chances of hers to survive were indeed almost null and there was this question in everybody’s head: ‘What for?’ No condition worse for her if she survived so, even the devil would have found a trace of mercy in his mind for this poor victim, or at least, the decency to call off a wedding with such a nightmare to become after doing even the impossible to save her children and offer them a home together, be it even without her, if that meant their lives turn better.

The orphanage was the answer; she knew it when she hit the driver so he lost control. Nobody would understand, nobody but a mother’s soul: her children weren’t to be separated from their mother and from one another to become whatever the kidnapper wanted! She made her little plan on the spot, a few precautions taken and the will to pay with her own life, if necessary. She knew both the Citadel’s orphanage and the kidnapper and the decision was not a hard one to take. Well tucked-in, both her children covered well with a second blanket and then, after hitting the driver with her heel the jump on to cover them and protect them both with her own body. The cries of heavens seemed to be there to last forever; the thunders: deaf to the prayers of the nuns who were singing Ave Maria’s over and over again for the children as well as for the poor mother’s soul. The nurses and both doctors already there to save the two young lives, only the priests still shocked by the sight of the mothers’ face. They recognized her, perhaps, but never spoke a word.

The cries and thunders kept arguing hard-times up into the skies of that night. A thousand tears falling from heavens for each breath of innocence and five thousand more for each and every thought of loving truth. It felt like curses and prayers all lifted-up, concentrated in one place, for something that nobody could name. It was the fury of gods and the cries of the too saint to fight or too saint not to engage into the fights needed for the accomplishment of a mothers’ wish to be with her children and the one of her creator’s to save her soul from perdition.

After all these fights for life and death in the skies and down on earth, a spirit of peaceful love and brightness took the possession of the citadel; the orphanage was surrounded in all the glorious light of the grace with which a mother would be blessed and choose to bless her children: protection. The same light was here, in the room and down in the patio things felt alive and sane.

Up in the big room of the hospital-area, a little girls’ soul was silently craving for that live-sanity she could see in others. Feeling alone, she was fantasising about how to become a doctor or a writer of some sort and get to save a couple of lives herself too, maybe more. One day she will do that! One day she will do for others what others had done for her.

Soley was lonely but very loved and appreciated already. Not knowing about the important meaning and role she was about to have there, in the orphanage, this child’s fantasies were beginning to catch contours of the brave teachers of the world; she was about to teach great lessons and spread the words of the greatest minds in the world, herself being one of them, while creating something and shaping her own self during the reproductive processes of learning and doing, making something out of her own mind, with her own hands. Somehow sterile - sometimes surprising, other times rich in substance, rich in meaning thus extremely charged with strong energies to establish the balance needed - Soley’s soul wanted her journey to become a symphony complete and wonderful.

A few months had to pass for her to fully recover and get down there, in the patio with the other children where she wasn’t sure about her welcome anymore. She was beginning to know that there was sometimes a difference between what one imagines or thinks and what actually happens; she knew that sometimes wishes come true, other times they don’t and sometimes they wait for the right time to happen. ‘You see, wishes are like the experienced ‘scary-cats’ always knowing how to defend themselves and the ones they love; they are, most certainly, always prepared for anything that might happen.’ - This is what a great man once said, they were told by Father Matthew who was quite a literate, Soley and her brother, Mother Thoreau, sister Mary-Ann and Mother Agnes listening to him with wide interest. The doctor was also present but he seemed to have knowledge of these words. ‘One Day we’ll be gone for that world in which nothing of this hurts. One day we’ll be able to say that we forgave, maybe also forgot and head towards what really makes us happy with no possibility to return to what we might also claim to be missing - the evil wrong. We will never miss anything but the Journeys that brought us the pleasure and Joy to lit our candle and make us feel alive again. We will never miss something that doesn’t bring what we might take as happiness. But that is my personal opinion. Forgive me Father if I crossed the line here with my intervention.’

The only thing to forgive to anyone in the world is the devious, deceiving cunning actions and sometimes words meant to destroy the beauty of human acts and humanity itself. If I were to forgive you for anything I’d forgive you for the things you might have done wrong with no intention, unwillingly or by being trapped by those perhaps better informed, if any. There’s nothing else to forgive you for, son!’

‘- So, what is my sin, Father? Which beauty of the human soul did I manage to destroy?’

‘- The one that turned the innocence of an act of beauty into one of infamy!’

‘- And to whom did I do such a horrible thing, I’ d ask?’

‘- Well, that’s the question for the answer you should look for yourself.’

‘- You’ re not giving me a break, Father! Isn’t that wonderful? We’re just lucky, both of us, that this conversation’s carried out of the surgery-room! ‘

They both laughed heartily. Sam got closer to Soley and grabbed her sleeve, insisting on pulling it. ‘What’s wrong, Sam?’ The Child looked-up searching for his sister’s eyes to catch a connection with but the girl kept watching the two-men show so he decided to ask: ‘Why are they laughing? What was so funny?’ she took her brother by the hand and led him to a couch: ‘Sam! You are four or five, now. I am almost eight; there is absolutely no way for us to understand them, at least not just right now. I am trying to make some sense out of everything they say but it’ s not that easy. I didn’t read all the books they read and didn’t do the work they did, nor did you, so we will have to keep things in our heads for later, when we’ll be adults like them!’

Sunset was closing the day in its shades of bright orange-reds. Mother Thoreau and Sister Mary-Ann called Soley to the garden in the patio.

‘- Really? Right now?’

‘- Yes, dear!’

‘- But there are no children in the patio now! And it’s nearly bed-time.’

‘- We just want you to have some time there alone to see how it feels and explore the place a little before you got presented to the other children. Tomorrow you will attend classes like all of them do, participating to the open-air lessons as well.’

Excited like any child who’s offered a much longed for gift, Soley walked confidently with the energy of a new-born ready to explore, a feeling she was trying to take a strong hold of so, she paced herself a little. It was splendour in the air she was breathing even before she set first foot on the grass in the patio. From down there, looking up, Soley could feel and understand the measures of her own being as something that will be eternally looking for movement, perspectives to watch and learn from, create or simply admire. She discovered there how small she actually was and how great humanity can be when they choose to make someone who’s great and wonderful a spirit grow. Like a paradox on Light showing Dark this time was a time of enlightenment for the girl; the sun was silently descending for the stars of distant times to begin their usual yet every time spectacular, forever fascinating, show of the night.

Inspired by the luckiest living creatures simply telling their lives for us to have a good laugh at and feel superior but protected by the most perfect lighting and the kindest of nights, we move closer to the edge of a red veil to see what’s behind. It wraps everything around and the shapes reveal for the first time a feel of flesh. The objects can’t remember this but vaguely. A fresh new-corner of a room doesn’t understand its lack of flesh - So soon? I was expecting agony and pain. - Not in your case, mate! an eaten by worms pirate spoke with the pride of the sea-men never caught by anything or anyone but Death’s revenge. - Good God! what is this place!? A figure of light appeared next to the new-comer: - You shouldn’t fear them! I am with you! - I can’t say that I fear them but I do find them repulsive. - We have a lot of grounds to cover, the journey we’re about to take will be a long one, filled with enemies and dangers. What you call skies is nothing but the depths of each and every creature’s self-delusional nightmare. - You think so? - I know so! Come!

*

It was one of those rainy nights when werewolves appear for only a short while, getting somehow out of the bed-time stories in books, the one bringing up and out of the closet a most sunny and splendid day. Loouna was waiting for the bus. She wasn’t feeling good that day. The sun was heating-up the humid grounds and heated were the puddles along with the variety of souls moving or standing everywhere for the water they were holding. Through the vapours of these souls living their secrets in a most secretive way some dreams got carried away as they caught fire. Somebody in the bus fell asleep. The man’s head was projecting now the start of something that he might have loved living if he wasn’t doomed to a life of grey. Loouna was reading thoughts, seeing personal stories lifted up in the air in all those vapours. As the bus was approaching another stop she took a spontaneous decision: she wanted to be free to live her life the perfect ways, the most elegant and graceful ways possible. She descended the bus leaving behind, for whoever might have noticed, her personal vapours spent for no eye to see: “Not for me, this world of cold greys where I can be nothing more than a ghost; ... that ghost of a wish for the one I wish to become.” Her heart was telling her to run so, she realised she had to pace herself again. No, she couldn’t take it anymore. She had to change something: the air, the people... her own perception of things and human beings.

So, she descended before her stop deciding to walk a little and change the spirit; the energy of children was much better - a thousand times better. Parents and little children playing under the sun, kids joking or fooling around in funny fashions and a few artists showing on the streets a little of what they have to offer, a bit of who and what they are; a young man reading a book, an old soul contemplating the young souls or nature itself; a photographer, a teacher and all the legends history can speak better of! There was history of arts moving on high heels, the one of mythology and legends taking the sneakers on, history of literature and philosophy deciding for a ballerina-pair-of-shoes, psychology and mathematics going for the proper model, one that’s the perfect fit for the foot. She could see all of them, up in the air, floating and inspiring one another, taking possession of their favourite souls, finding their preferable bodies to adjust a mind to and be adjusted or changed by. Among them the image of a little girl trapped in the dark room of a dungeon. ‘I used to be a princess! What happened? Where did I do wrong? Was I a princess for too long? Was my story repeating brilliantly for too many times? How will I lead a life in that room, forever trapped, sentenced to perdition.’ The vision collapsed. Loouna was taking breaths of fresh air insatiably drinking the stories to feed her inner-self with as much as her notebooks. She had to hurry-up. She had piano lessons to attend first, then maths. Both her choices were good even if sometimes mathematics felt too cruel a mission and piano too sweet not to make her cry a bit. “What do you want from your life, Loouns?” Mother used to ask her all the time. She remembered a class-mate asking the same question. But Loouna was always answering cautiously, remembering Mother that she was still a child and her class-mate that they were too young to tell the future. Secretly she made her plan, though. She wanted to attend the classes of one of the most prestigious Universities in the world. Sometimes she felt like changing but only for a minute or two; then she got back into her thoughts and aspirations: she wanted to become a scientist; a professor and a writer. Was life ready to bring her to the completion of all those dreams she was producing and recycling fervently? Was it going to offer enough to her or was she expecting too much?

*

*...*

“The ones you murdered will turn into the ones who will murder you; the ones you helped will become your friends in need. There is no God if there is no acceptance of its mighty power, its justice and its love! A God ceases to be a God the moment s_he loses their adepts, the moment people stop believing in the truth that God knows and speaks, the one s_he stand for, the one s_he fights for. There is no God around here, only humans who were loved enough by their dead to be helped play with the truth and kindness of somebody else.”

*...*

*

Who’s ready for a confession? Mother Thoreau asked the children in the classroom. Suddenly silence took over their kingdom and, as it seems, it was heading for a reign of complete control. Mother Thoreau, in all kind spirit, approached to help the children understand that it was quite nice and expected from them to start having an opinion spoken.

‘- Come on! You can be frank. Tell the truth! How do you feel about that? Would you like to confess? Are you afraid or nervous? What’s in your minds when we ask you to tell the truth about yourselves and what you know or believe to be a sin?’

Out in the garden things seemed to behave more naturally, A bright light of sunshine mixed with the nostalgia of a feeling named love, one that’s never to be forgotten by a soul, was pleasantly inviting all the children out in the patio, for a plein-air class. Soley was catching the vibes of this need of her classmates’ to be out there, knowing that the class was about to end in a couple of minutes, having that same feeling driving her to the place where she was sometimes telling stories to the other children gathered to listen and learn. She loved telling stories and the children loved listening to them. Her little brother was her number one fan, feeling proud of her, telling everyone how great a story-teller she was; so far so good, nothing wrong with a little support, only that caused some trouble with the older kids around there. Some of them felt like losing the glory they once had, a sentiment troubling their spirits in need for a fight for what was ‘rightfully theirs’. All this until there was clarification sent through the Mothers and Soley herself. Two of the trouble-makers remained though strong on their positions and kept fighting. Robert and Sara-Lee, both story-tellers in the past, both much loved by their public lost position now in favour of a younger in age girl who ‘shouldn’t even be here’, they thought and spoke their minds on various occasions. Although enemies in the past, Robert and Sara-Lee were ready to shake hands and peacefully outgrow ‘their enemy”; they embraced the idea of forming a coalition. It happened one evening on the deserted by a theatre company stage, their covenant to help each-other fight the new queen, underrate her activity and dethrone her. But Soley didn’t feel threatened by their activity. She liked seeing them get along so well and wanted to become their friend not their enemy; nevertheless a must-fight remains what it is, a must-fight, and soon she found herself all alone a story-teller against a whole group of girls and boys who were now interpreting, role-playing and dancing, singing and creating characters they made alive on the stage or outside, down among their public. She loved that and wanted to participate but her request was declined every time. So, she was left alone with a few little children still in love with her ways, sometimes interpretative other times funny and fun to watch and listen to. As the group was growing confident and strong, very popular among the scholars visiting the school too and much adored by the other kids, so were the hopes of Soley crumbling, knowing now that she was never going to become a part of that much loved group.

- Mother, Soley spoke one day openly, I wish I left some day. I don’t know why, I love this place and I love you all but I feel that there is something out there asking me to find and perhaps do something for... Why do I feel this way?

- Oh, Child! This is only normal. Every single human on this planet feels this need of getting out of their crib and explore what they were told about, to read more in the hearts of the worlds outside, to see other cities, to live and experience new things. It is normal, not a sin. You can think about it and, when time comes, you’ll be on your way to see the world. You will have to be careful what you do, though. I mean with your soul which is more valuable than anything else in the world! That’s how you should treat your soul dear, no matter who feels or thinks differently, and everything will be alright. Treat yourself with respect. Respect the matters of soul be it that yours or another human’s and you will find true happiness.

Her twelfth anniversary was close when a couple of very rich people decided to adopt Sam. It was the second couple to try this. The first couldn’t take it. The request of separating the two was too much for those hearts knowing that this was almost impossible a thing to do. They tried to convince the first couple to take Soley into custody too but there was something about this girl that didn’t help her this way with this family; oddly enough they couldn’t built a bridge to her heart. Besides, she was too old now to learn new ways - ten is a terrible age for a girl to change her heart and mind. Sam, on the other hand was a boy aged five, the perfect age for adoption (- One must know that little boys tend to cut the obsessions with a place more easily after they get through with it but they mature later than a girl; nevertheless, when they do... it’s like the finest wine - it takes more time but the result is excellent! the lady explained one day.). It is true that Sam knew how to behave and also that he was still good to be molded. The boy fitted in their depiction of the perfect child to adopt. The girl was apparently molding her character all by herself which rang a bell or two, frightening the charitable couple. The woman accepted a deal that wouldn’t harm either of the two children but help them spend together as much time as possible. For an entire year the boy attended the classes of this orphanage’s school so that the two have time to spend together. But these plans got almost ruined as Sam protested against their logic. The boy even ran-away from home in an attempt to find his way back into the castle. At the age of six and a half, after two episodes of running away from home and tears-shedding, the couple decided that parenthood was simply not the easy task they thought it would be so they abandoned this idea.

This second couple, though, was much brighter. They waited for the two kids to adjust to the situation, adopted both of them inviting them to the outside world ‘on parole’ with every occasion. One day they went to play golf with some fancy people, another day they were taken to a museum and then lunch in a fancy restaurant. There was this special day spent visiting ruins of empires and sight-seeing; at the end of the day they had lunch in an old castle, an idea they had to make all the children of the group they were forming with a couple of close friends to lift some bored spirits up - the boys weren’t much into history that day unless it was all about active fights. Outside, in the garden of this castle, a couple of noble but very tired fighters were offering their last show of a swords battle that day. The boys wanted rather see them fight; surprisingly enough the two experienced knights had no problem in handing the weapons to the two brave young boys so, under their watchful eye, both Sam and Matt performed a most dangerous and heavy battle - the swords were heavier than they thought they were. At the end of the battle they were explained how much heavier a real weapon was and what meant a real training in heavy sharp weapons. The girls watched their fight with interest for a while, then they went for a costume probation. Dinner was served in the castle and they felt noble for the price of two and a half hours. The eight souls - mothers and fathers also dressed-up - interpreted the roles at their pick: Who wants to be sir Lancelot? - Pick me, pick me! Sam asked and received his costume and all the instructions needed. Matt wanted to be King Arthur himself so the costume of Merlin was offered to one of the fathers. He regretted not picking Merlin after remembering what an interesting character he was but a change of mind would have dishonoured him now. Lady Gueneviere was Soley, Loouna picked the Lady of the Lake (which has nothing to do with human food and fashions but, since they slipped this costume in, she wanted it. In fact, she was browsing all the costumes and found it hidden between Freya and Lady Ygraine). They asked her kindly to forgive them if they couldn’t paint her skin to look like the Lady of the Lake, offering her the chance to change her mind. - Maybe the young lady would like to be Nimueh... - I’ll think about it! she responded coldly. - ... Oh, look! It’s Princess Mithian costume! I’ll take it if you don’t change your mind quickly dear, her mother declared. The other mother chose Queen Annis; Loouna finally changing her mind: - I’ll take Morgan La Fay! she decided bravely without even searching. - I’m afraid that one is taken! We have two Morgan La Fay haunting around this castle. One is having lunch with Sir Gwaine and Sir Balinor, the other one is haunting the gardens of this castle to find all the characters in the book. - It’s like rewriting history. - Reinventing legends and stories, Matt! the kids joked. - Right, the man added, it is one of the games we propose to our guests. - Oh, alright then, I’ll be the Lady of the Lake without make-up, Loouna insisted. - And I’ll be Sir Gregory. Last year I was Sir Leon. I was this close into winning King Arthur’s costume, Matt’s father confessed. We had a game going on and I lost so I had to pick between Sir Greg here or Sir Leon. I made a promise I’ll be Sir Gregory next, so, here I am! A promise is a promise. They all laughed heartily, Soley and Sam were beginning to feel as part of the family they never had knowledge of. - I am sure that you secretly wished for the costume to be taken and get to chose a more important character! Ronald, the adoptive father of Sam and Soley stated. - You mean like Uther? Oh, the dinner we’d have, knowing now too much about one another! They had a good laugh again. I couldn’t find it among all the other costumes. - It’s taken sir, I’m sorry. - See? We’ll have to be boring again!

The children knew all the stories written and told about King Arthur and Merlin, the Wizard. They had also seen films based on the legends and history so, they were quite happy to participate to a world they knew a lot of and nothing about since there was too much of a mystery what really had happened there with all of them and a lot of room for speculation and story-crafting. - We weren’t there to know for sure, now, were we? Ronald joyfully counter-attacked one of Josh’s word-actions. - You are horrible, Ron, Matt’s father, lamented. - One can’t beat him! Sarah-Ann, Josh’s partner clarified heartily. Contemplating the light of a sleepy sun, Michelle, now mother of two amazing children she always fantasised about having, decided quickly: - I’ll have fish and you know what goes with fish? Wine. Crystal clear magic white wine. - Magic? Josh gasped. You’d better be careful with such a word around our Merlin here. - Well, it does bring out the truth in anyone, be it crystal clear wine or dark-red as the blood in our veins, Sarah-Ann added. And it doesn’t need a wizard to do so! They all laughed. - Truth you speak, my dear lady! You are most certainly right, Ronald agreed. Let us have some wine then and lemonade for our beloved children!

*

Invited to muse and fantastic travels by the start of a new night was Loouna, always happy to learn more about the world of stories; she was still awake when the clock ticked one in the morning. ‘The princess was climbing the steps leading to the masters’ sanctuary with the ease of a trained spirit. She had more than a hundred steps to climb but this was the way she knew perfectly as if climbed a thousand times before.’ I wish I were this well trained! Loouna mumbled. She fell asleep her books and notebooks open, her pen in the hand.

A crescent moon was spearing through all the clouds around; the wind felt it was useless a try to help. The Moon was shining too proudly that night revealing a few craters to a couple of insomniac souls, curious observers of the night-sky. They are going to become experts, something was hissing an ear awake. - Who knows what’s in their heads. I’d rather go to sleep than waste so much time on the moons and planets, stars and other objects up there travelling in this Universe. - Bah! You are awful an observer. They deserve a little praise for what they’re doing. Other people choose to make really useless things of their times like having endless discussions on everything and nothing while drinking too much alcohol, forgetting about their monstrous amazing plans of conquering their worlds, be those of sentimental value or businesses. - How can you separate them, now that you know everything that’s to be known of the business world? - What do you mean? - Wasn’t that you the one who once said that in business as in marriage one has to take good hold of all feelings and use their words properly so they caught the attention of their targeted souls? - I don’t know why I spoke with you such matters. Now I regret doing it! I actually admire these two! They are watching the skies with the curiosity we used to watch successful men and women shine before we made a business out of everything. Now everything seems as valuable as a good piece of pie delivered to the very hungry. Be it good or not too good but eatable they are still going to pay for it and we are still going to lie about how perfect our products and services are! - Yes, we are! Until the lie becomes the truth! we might also work on those services, right? - It depends on what you know as ‘work on it’! means.

- I wish this night was silent and still my hand to hold the camera, now.

- Don’t worry. In a minute we’ll get it properly attached and we’ll be shooting with a fixed on the target camera for the very first time this close!

- You are really amazing! How did you convince Lynn to lend this equipment to you?

- I didn’t have to! She just offered to help me with my studies. I told her that I needed a better camera so she offered me her equipment along with all the instructions.

- Look! the man pointed to a fixed place in the sky. It’s our princess star, M16!

- Yes, by this time she’d be forgotten by all researchers; they found another star that’s been hidden to human eye forever, did you know? the lady informed.

- How will they name it?

- I don’t know! If I were a scientist of that calibre I’d look for names that are more meaningful than M16 or M5.

- The series of M’s is fantastic, the man fixing the camera said.

- Maybe they were afraid to call them Mothers, a younger student chuckled. The three others remained serious, still on their positions.

- I’d love to think our goddess as the Lonely Princess, the one and only! the woman in the group declared. she must be now the Star of this other galaxy we have no name for.

- I believe that you two are out of your minds, their friend stated.

*

The heights they were taken to were cold a watch, no clouds but a lot of thick air to freeze even the blood in their veins! Akibimi was announcing in pairs of breezes and cold-lunar-spears, the outcome to a lighting of a citadel detached from the gods that once held it in place, a memory left to belong to the lands of the frozen and forgotten with the songs and poetry that’s warming a heart for the season to come: winter. Her renowned ice-bridge made for Engetsu and Chiyū to have their annual meeting: built. Poor lovers, cursed to live this way, separated for an entire year, only to meet now, for this short period of time! Akibimi was the only one who cared and took a great hold of these matters creating a possibility for them to see each other, even if only for this short while! One can hear their spirits still wandering in a chase that was created for each-other. Two mountains their bodies, they had to find peace and a rewarding time for their spirits to meet, at least once in a year like before.

- Before her we used to enjoy eternal summer! What happened? How come she is here?

- You mean she is here again?! Already?!

- This story wasn’t told before but our goddess left these grounds when they reunited with the other grounds, the ones that still have their living beings sunk in eternal summer. Us on the other hand, we were blessed with a second four-seasons time and this time, Akibimi promised herself and the council of gods, it will be forever. Our little island will be steady; All four great islands will remain steady too. There will be no more volcano-eruptions around here and we will lead a life in peace and harmony. Haru Yama will be proud of his brother Aki Yama and their mother will never be upset with any of them because they both behave now the honourable way.

By the shores of the lake of a moon found up the distance of 628 million kilometers the ghost of a samurai was meditating in a deep state of sadness. Her eyes were sharp her mind even sharper - she was upset with herself and everybody else. When somebody is this upset with themselves they are, most certainly upset with everybody else, there is no doubt in these words. So she looked into the mirror of a lake not understanding the reasons of her existence. ‘Why was I saved? Why did he have to save me?” the two questions were describing her torments to the emptiness of this underworld she was reflecting into. The wind was almost spelling the words caught under the waves of water: “Because, I love you!” She felt a chill down the spine. ‘I should have killed myself; I can see no other reasonably honourable way out of this disgrace brought upon myself and the family. My struggle to make an existence meaningful and leave to my people something worth the efforts of survival cannot mean anything but a struggle made in vain, the stubbornness of a child trapped over and over again by the ones who either had the courage or the necessary knowledge to do so. I am here now, on the shores of my own despair and see no point in living like this; bound to forget about what made me so confident, bound to betray the human and the portrait of a human! Bound to create some memories, beautiful, for another soul I keep denying the fault of guiding us to the same punishment:is it fair? I ask myself.. There is no honourable way out of this; if one looks for the honourable way, now, that would be the fight, the kill, the fires, the bomb or the sharp blade.Then all the nightmares implied.’

*

- We’re leaving tomorrow morning! Pack your things! Mother ordered hastily.

- It’s Saturday, mom!

- Precisely! Pack your bags.

- What’s wrong, mother?

- Stop asking questions and do as you’re told.

- Where to? Loouna demanded to know. I’ll pack nothing unless you told me where!

- You know about this only it wasn’t planned so soon. We’re getting transferred a few of us to the offices in Dublin. I was one of the ones put on the list. We discussed about this and you found it quite fun an idea.

- Yes, before the news! I bet all this was your idea! You can’t spend more than a year or two in one place.

- Oh, stop it! We’ll be safe! It’s only for a couple of months or so.

- Or so!? Last time we left a good home for a few months it turned into a year and a half before we could even pay a visit to a friend. I hate your job!

- Well, it pays well for the bills and everything we want or need; it pays well for your education! School is not for free, you know? At least not the one you’re attending.

- Don’t worry! I will get a scholarship for the next stage of my education! And for anything else I’ll work!

- Well, that will be all your merit and my pride will try not to allow me to brag with your achievements more than I’ll have to. Until then you do as you’re told. Now let’s get finished with everything here and put ourselves up on a plane.

- I don’t understand the rush this time! Is everything alright, mom?

- Yes, everything is fine. Just pack your bags. I don’t want us to be late at the airport! We’ve got first class plane-tickets! I am not going to lose those for worse!

- Alright! I also have to give this back!

- What?

- The book I’m reading!

- What book? Did you finish it?!

- No, I just borrowed it from the library! I didn’t have the time to open it properly and read anything at all.

- Well, take it with you on the plane. We’ll send it back by post after you’re done reading it!

- Okay! Loouna felt better now that she could read her pick of the week.

- The traffic was the same as always; one couldn’t complain. Still, Mother seemed a little nervous.They got at the airport early. We could have a bite to eat, you know? Loouna proposed.

- We did leave in too much of a hurry, did we?

- Yes, mom, we did. What’s wrong? Why all this hurry?

- I don’t know. I wish I did!

- You seem so nervous!

- Maybe you wanted to say anxious.

- Maybe... I don’t know. With you one never knows. It’s like I don’t know you for real anymore!

- Alright, pick your restaurant.

- They decided Thai food was a good pick.

The wait in the airport was usually marked by an insidious fatigue for both the mother and the daughter. Not this time! They both prepared something to read before they got on board and during the flight.

- Oh, I see you got yours open already! Mother observed. Her name was Simone, back in those times but we only discovered when a voice called her name and she became pale as a white flower. - Simone! Hey, Simone! For a moment she thought that was somebody whom she feared meeting. But no! It was a co-worker! - Thanks God! - her flesh was perspiring worry to the spectators that were quite a few. Perhaps they were all very bored waiting for their turn to get up on their planes and leave grounds for a few hours. - Why is she so nervous?! It’s unlike her! What’s wrong? Loouna observed. Is she fond of this man? I see that he is wearing a ring. It can’t be that... she cuts-off her list everybody, be that Prince-Charming himself or the ‘King of Anything, Name It’! Simone spent a few minutes chatting with this co-worker she introduced to her daughter hastily. ‘- Loouna, I present to you Mark, a co-worker of mine. Mark, this is my daughter, Loouna! You know that I’ve been talking about her a little. - Yes, Loouns! I remember. I even congratulated you for picking the name! Such an inspiring one! - Pleased to meet you sir. Now, if you excuse me, I have a book to read so, I will be there waiting for the time to embark. - Sure! You don’t look like one of those ordinary book-worms! - That’s because I’m not a book-worm! I tend to actually read! - Right, well, nice meeting you! - I’ll be right with you, Loons! Simone reassured her daughter. Mark waved to Loouna then he whispered to Simone: - She hates me already! No chance for us to be promiscuously together. - Oh, stop it! You’re horrible! - I know! Just wait until you see me do this kind of a chat in front of my wife. - Man, she must have the guts and stomach of a veteran.” They chattered like this for a while about their jobs and the rumours circulating about the offices in Dublin, about their lodges and rentals, about the meals they were expecting to enjoy and about how quickly the last decisions made for both of them to move there first. It was a blessing to the ears of those close to them waiting the announcement of their flight as they could take the well deserved distance and relax! After the first two minutes one felt fatigue and their voices wouldn’t stop. Loouna was trying to ignore them just like everybody else. They were a little high-pitched their voices and made devastating sounds five feet around them. In the plane Loouna was happy to learn that their seats were pretty far from this man’s seat so she could read her book in the silence of the queens and kings of flight.

*...*

‘I can see you walk along the alley of my house, dear reader; a child like the one I used to be, asking questions or telling your stories about how fascinating the world was - scientifically speaking, of course. The cold steel mind of this child making no grand show in your eyes, your mind leaving these grounds as it tries to read more into that poetry you never let in; you couldn’t, it was perhaps your time of mockery and fun to take at, a soul wishing to have never been born in such a world creating worthless monsters just like the one I am keeping inside now: I worth nothing that is why I can make myself useful to the cause! The cause is what ate us all! This cause is nevertheless a cause of destruction and chaos for an order we’d like to create for our nothingness to mean something. I can see you, dear reader and writer of your own thoughts, of your own soul! I can see you dance, I can see you laugh, I can see you cry - I was there too. Bless you with the strength to rise and begin living your most daring dreams! I can see you play, my lovely reader, I can see you search and show. I see you think, I see you remember, I see you feel and I wonder: what’s in your head? What can possibly go wrong? Did you choose a way or were you forced into taking that way? Were you given something else, much better and you refused? Were you forced to refuse - protected by a very kind family - knowing the truth? The real and ugly truth nobody wants to be told? The monstrous truth you weren’t told, that is why the longing for something that will never come back to you. You allied with the world for a piece of pie and the world deceived and disappointed you. No news in that; we all went through the same set of instructions and somehow blew it. You must have blown it hard-time! did you? See, dear writer and poet, dear heart of mine, you knew nothing about who or what I was, the one who was trying to speak with you not to you and had no other means but the ones everybody else always had. I was next to you! How come you couldn’t stop for a while those mindless travels of yours and listen to what I was craving for? You were supposed to be the adult and I the child you raised for the best. Instead I was a machine speaking to a moving wall made of flesh and blood. How many of the executed this way stained with their poetic blood your outfits; your face, your hands having enough of this!? How many? They executed me! perhaps they executed you too and that is precisely why you stand as you do and are the way you always were: a great dreamer looking up into the depths of the sky asking for another miracle, craving for one. When will you find the one who will never break your heart again? And when will you stop breaking hearts of the live-living? I can see you, reader of poetry, the human of a great soul: you are in love with a star! You’re making poetry happen all the time.You picture the stars living those dreams outside the sets and stages of the world but the real stars out there depict and picture you better, much better. They make money and fame out of their depictions and pictures; ‘would you join us for the ride, dear reader and writer of thoughts and feelings you take into consideration as your own? Can you?’ You’re famous too, know. You are The Reader. Everybody you know speaks about you and your achievements, your high standards and your amazing services offered. Everyone speaks about your talents and your needs - their needs. Be blessed with dignity and happiness for there’s nothing you’ll love more.

I am picturing you, dear reader - you are the star in my picture. It is your turn to shine, now! When wasn’t it your turn, anyway?’

*...*

*

Eight souls were exploring the beauties of Nara one of them knowing all the wonderful places to visit and brag about. Loouna was feeling proud of her life as a human passenger. Late into the night she confessed after having one of the best of her numbered days: “I finally have a real family, a family made of a mother, a father and the children. Mother changed her name completely: She is Sarah-Ann Parker now and the ghosts that used to haunt and tamper her seem to be lost and forgotten forever. I like my brother very much. He is a witty young man, very intelligent and quite funny a guy sometimes. He makes me laugh, my brother Matt, with every occasion, which brings me on the peaks of a spirituality I never knew I needed this much. My mother seems to be very happy. For this I will be forever grateful! Thank you, whoever you are, great angel in the skies bringing this gift to me and to my mother!”

*

The sakaki tree brought to Ame no Kagu Yama was decorated. In the middle, the great mirror was expecting to make the goddess know her own beauty. The maga-tama and nikite brought as offerings to her, all the prayers and chants, the litany that followed couldn’t convince her to get out until Uzume came to perform her mesmerizing provocative dance. The goddess, Amaterasu-o-mi-kami, curious about the noise, walked out the cave. The perfumed mountain, a place of pilgrimage for the initiated, brought new times of peace into the souls of four children.

**

*

What was and what was not

Shards of a soul were revealed that day. Shards of the ones we were before. Shards of what we want to see when we need to remember that we once had a soul able to feel, a soul we worked and worked on, a spirit we tried and tested beyond usual reason.

As she was drawing the case of the most perfect lullaby to sing to the baby left at the entry-gate, in the beginning of the shower, a few pages were surprised by a short rage of a wind blowing against this girl with feeble streams. Life brought to the place a new soul to be embraced, nourished and guided by the nuns of the Castle. One by one, the streams started getting out of the case she was making dance on the layer-pages of a drawing-board, planning on impressing the buildings around the cities described by a master-ship. Soley was young and beautiful a girl who wanted to be happy more than anyone else in the world. There was nothing left for her but to find a way to keep on being happy with every single beautiful day offered. One day she’ll become a writer; she knew it. A doctor and a writer. One day she will be one of the best things that ever happened to the world. A doctor of the body and one for the soul, her spirit powerful. She wasn’t sure how she would get to shape all her dreams to fit her well but she knew she was going to find a way.

A posh dress she got for her twelfth anniversary, Soley, posh and elegant at the same time and she kept it well safe in a box for a few weeks that turned into months after the first wear at her birthday party. Mother Angus and Mother Thoreau came to the party too, wishing to say a few blessing words before the girl left the Castle forever. Soley was happy about it and kept enjoying that day more and more until things had to get to their final vibration of chords and become silent for the next few hours prepared for the resurrection time coming with the next set of time-measures in a day. She fell asleep easily that night following all the dreams of everything a Child can consider worth living or at least take into consideration.

Haunted by the same thoughts and feelings, Loouna fell asleep the same way. As the night was slumbering hearts filled with bright consciousness and brave reasoning, so were the poems and bed-time stories for children embracing the souls of the innocent. Sandy was doing his job very well and so was the man in the Moon, fighting Pitch and all the nightmares in the world.

*

Up on the deserted stage the two lovers embraced for the last time. They had to die, there was no doubt about that; a last kiss then a wish made for them to live and consume their love in the afterlife, a place where family fights will no longer make them suffer. Romeo poisoned Juliet then he stabbed himself in this version.

- I once saw a version when she goes mad at her family and stabs herself after finding him dead, also stabbed. Matt commented.

- What about them both poisoned? Sam proposed.

- I like Tristan and Isolde more. Soley declared.

- The story is much heavier than this one! Loouna observed. You always come with the heaviest baggage one could hold! she teased.

- That’s why it didn’t catch our brand new century as much as Shakespeare’s work! Sam added.

- You think? I believe that it did only in such original ways that one would be amazed to discover, Loouna supplied.

- Thanks God to Saint Marie de France for having it written! Soley praised.

- Good Lord! Thanks God we’re living times much more beautiful and kind! Matt gasped as he read the story’s review.

*

She opened her eyes and there it was, her gift: The entire collection of “Most Important Books of the XIXth Century”. I’m going to go blind if I read that much! Loouna amused herself. Oh, I am going to have a lot of fun!

As the blues of the night were turning lighter and lighter, with each hour approaching sunrise her magic self changed for the occasion of watching over this child for a second time, this time not knowing that the child was awake and able to see. She spoke through movements of light and spread her sparkling warmth through spears of sunlight: ‘I wish I could see you one more time up there, with the stars!’ But the child wasn’t ready; the child was afraid of those stars. ‘They burn’ the child sleep-spoke as if sharing an idea from the memory of a dreamscape. The child is awake... ‘I feel so tired’, spelled a chiming voice fainting the last words into the comfort of a giant pillow-moss crusting its ladder for them to have a winter-ish fun by the time they awoke from their resting-time visions. ‘Good-bye, sweet child’ the goddess spoke. ‘I’ll see you when time comes for you to be ready.’ As the blues of a final touch of a vaporous dress climbing up into the skies lifted her bluish veils, one by one, revealing the bright crimson of a daylight premiere, a heavy tear dropped down on a cheek cutting off all pains and fears of the infant-soul that kept looking up into the skies to watch the great star fading away with the promise to be taken away one day. Will the eyes meet the knowledge the intuition spoke of or were those only products of desires and wishes of innocence to spring into the unknown world that was so well imagined and so richly felt!?

The only thing that the child could tell was that this day was blessed with the beauty that nobody else could have seen making the difference.

*

A last week of final preparations offered and Loouna and her mother left their Tōkyō little house for some years spent near Hollywood; her mother found a job there which seemed to bring the money they needed for the school Loouna was preparing herself for. The plan worked fine for one year, then mother changed her idea and took Loouna to New York. Back in Tōkyō, for one summer spent visiting an old friend, Loouna had time to grow a little as a ‘fun to be around Tōkyō-child’ too, remembering a night that seemed eternal back home, that place where she was born and from where she left to the discovery of her roots’ self; a dream feeling too real and which helped here as well as anywhere else she sojourned.

*

The entrance in the park leading to the sacred space is marked by a great torii; a typical portal, very simple and elegant, made of two columns slightly congruent to their upper-side sustaining two transversal elements holding vaguely curved profiles. It’s autumn time and the scent of incense falling on the dying leaves is calling for a short prayer. One prayer covering the grounds of a civilization marked by a century constantly running towards the meeting of the future. ‘I pray for us to live in the present for today and every day in this system we call the world.’

As the fine swirling line of smoke was fading, offering more swirls to the air lifting a pleasant smell along with the prayer, a spiritual sojourn was announcing itself as the morning breeze. She felt like a Child granted permission to help and play Along the way as she instinctively knew just how to... She was a human by nature and one of the highest spirits who know and never change... The ones that always unite for a cause: a good cause. Squinting eyes, she was holding the horses of her heart-beats tempered only by deep breaths taken for a self-calming move. Surrounded by the strongest kami to fight for her, the goddess, against all crime and injustice, the temple - a home and a sanctuary, a haven and a subject for pastels of pale greys warmed by sunshine lights touched by blues and purples, greens and intense pinks - made the entire obscure wonders lit be turned into what was living under the name of ‘perfection’. A much resented perfection, cherished, loved and hated at the same time, worshiped sometimes and asked for by whoever would take everything from the gifted, leaving nothing to them, the kami; perhaps only the strength to deal with anything, a payment they equally invest with animals and plants, humans and objects (I am observing from above, where nature seems to have found balance no latter what came, for every time the right decision, be one kami equal to another kami or not). They give themselves to what and whom they want - or maybe asked to? If decency ever made a statement in their passed away hearts with that freedom of using this power of keeping it ‘on the track’, they’d make-up the world much better a place. But who knows what that means these days? And who dares to know? Only the Angels, perhaps do know! Yes, only true Angels of light can help, that light inside, the one of our good God: they’ll always help! They’ll always search for the ones they’re asked to help; for the ones who were loved for what they were willing to receive inside as well as for those things they fought against. ‘I wonder if the ways, these ways..’. she slipped-out symphonically licensed with a sound barely heard.

A floating feather dancing in the air brought a moment of ideal praise; she took a deep breath, pictures catching motion of the image she was falling in love with for its pleasant charms were giving her wings to fly with an old idea. She captured the frame right there, on the very spot, getting it recorded, well imprinted in her memory so it would never get lost. There was still time! The book-shops were still open. She grabbed her backpack and her things with the speed of a storm-child and off on her way she was, rushing through the park, leading to a garden she ran through like never before; the first book-shop in the way was down the street to the right. Out of this garden she used to call her personal sanctuary, going down for the other sanctuary, the sanctuary of life-lived Dreams, rushing her ways through the City of greys, Loouna was leaving behind the place where she embraced with all of her heart the beauty that got burned forever in the memory of her soul. There was no turning back now, she knew it for sure. Mother also prepared her for this only she didn’t realise how things were going to turn for her as the sadness growing for the news of leaving these grounds for a while - perhaps forever - to live a life elsewhere - seemed to make her doubt the existence of that happiness she felt she was about to reach. It felt perfect a place to learn and lead an existence of secure solitude. Why the rush to get her out of there? Where were they heading to? How will their lives be from now on? And when will they know for sure...? When to stop...

Later that evening she began to write her own journal pages; a diary, some would say, but no diary like hers... She was keeping a track of her spiritual journey too, writing about her thoughts and feelings towards the books and their authors, the ideas she could find all around and the characters in books and life altogether. A page or two about a lot of things and nothings never to be shared with anyone. Knowing new people and interacting with them was something she didn’t desire for now as she felt more interested in a form of expressing her own self and what she believed to be the product of her own thoughts, her own being... her personal self. Very self-centered a phase but also very rewarding a time to learn more and more about who one is in complete awareness of what they are willing to accept. As words kept linking to one another on the pages of the notebook-journal so did the stars appear on the night sky. Bringing the moon up for a black-wedding to participate to before a light-cast upon the window behind, Loouna kept writing and reading without being aware of the power she had, the power of her own magic.

Swept away by moonlight along with her thoughts, by the daring, still a little shy rays of light spread kindly all the way to her bed, following the generosity of the celestial family, the Moon was communicating something to the one being named the same among the children on Earth. Immediately inspired, that’s how Loouna felt! Watching how the surface of the moon was turning into the mirror of the sun for the short while given in a time split in two even halves; the night and the day, to share manifestations as one all over the planets they inspire, she felt attracted to, a world she knew almost everything of but nothing about. This fascination for the moon, unknown yet so very well recognised by her being!

*

*....*

“I hope to get to see you again, my strange friends! You are sometimes like me... Sometimes I am like you... Sometimes I’m just too Old to bother... God, Thank you for that moment of pure and happy childhood! “

*....*

*

Alone Soley felt once more - alone and forgotten somehow, in a pleasant way, though; she wanted to be up there, on the stage and play just like the group she started looking up to. They never wanted her there on the stage with them so, she found a new way for her new-born passion craving for an answer to its existence - she proposed the little children who were still her fans to start being a character or two. So they started role-playing, role-reading and in the end dressing-up for parties like Halloween in the middle of summer or spring sometimes. They adored her, the little ones and now, after making active participants of them to the stories they were told, they almost worshiped her. You see, dear reader, she had something of a good professor inside, she carried a legacy of the best minds, Soley, so, no matter how mean the older kids sometimes, she always found a way for her stories to mean more than a tale told the old-fashioned way. A radiant star she proved to be, radiant and strong just like her brothers and sisters she still had no clue about.

*

Dublin proved to be a nice place for Loouna to start developing her stories. She had a couple she was working on but she felt they were lacking something. An old lady who, in the beginning showed reluctance towards the new-faces that moved there, caught Loouna in her garden creeping to catch an annoying little creature stealing little bracelets and necklaces. It was a hamster. Loouna couldn’t stand hamsters; those rodents that relate to rats and mice, carriers of disease and problems!

“Uh! I don’t even want to touch it anymore. But it was my grandmothers. I can live without the other three but without this one? Not in a thousand years! I have to recover it!”

- What’s wrong dear? Why are you crawling and creeping in my garden scaring my petunias and amusing my roses?

- Oh, I’m very sorry. I was just trying to recover my necklace. Your little rat stole it from me.

- A rat? I have no rats!

- I mean, your hamster or whatever that is...

- Oh, I’m sure Nono would do nothing like that... if he knew what he’s actually doing, the lady soliloquised. I suppose the other three pieces of jewelry also belong to you.

- Yes, mam’! I lost some other three.

- Oh, alright then. Come inside and have a cup of tea and biscuits. We’re still not dead! We’ll show them, these young people, what “awesome” and “cool” actually means! The lady’s assembly of cookies and sandwiches was quite impressive. - Is she cooking all day long?

- I made them on a rush, the sandwiches! Here, take a seat and let’s enjoy tea. Rasberry?

- I’m sorry?

- Raspberry tea, dear... or perhaps you prefer another flavour?

- Raspberry is fine.

- I can make a combination, you know?

- I trust your hand, Mrs. ...

- McPheasant...

Loouna almost burst into laughter. Her name couldn’t, simply couldn’t be McPheasant. She must be either out of some funny little story told in a children’s book or she changed her name to suit her appearance best. Yes, she actually looked like a pheasant now that Loouna was watching her closely.

- What happened? Why don’t you laugh?

- At what?

- My name, of course! After a short break she added: - Did you believe that McPheasant was my real name? Hah! All the children I get to meet laugh at such a funny name picked only to change moods a little. I know that I am old but my spirit is alive and well...

- I see... then how should I address to you?

- Miss. Eleanore would be fine, dear. I like it more than all the others ever given or taken.

- Alright then, Miss. Eleanore... I will spend only a short while with you here. I need to get back home.

- What’s the rush? Is there something left in the oven? Or on the stove? Are you preparing dinner for your mother, when she gets back from work?

- No, I already know what I’m going to make: a fancy salad will do.

- Ah! Alright then. We can spend a couple of hours talking about you, the world and where is that you think we’re going.

- It seems to me you are forgetting that I am only a child...?

- Well, if you are only a child I can give you some toys to play with, she got out of a drawer a little box from which a magic dancer came out when she opened it. Or books to read.

- I still have to finish the book I borrowed from where we used to live, before moving here. It’s only temporary. We’ll soon be back.

- Oh, there the rush! You don’t want to ship it back too late and get a penalty.

- No, I don’t.

Since she moved to Dublin her ways of connecting to people were strange, she believed. There was a short vacation given by the schools around here so she had nothing better to do but either read or explore the surroundings. She played with a couple of boys a game with a ball she couldn’t remember the name and she spoke with a girl about school and a crazy idea she had but the girl was just as reluctant as Miss. Eleanore to her spontaneous crazy ideas of fun.

It’s been a month now and Loouna couldn’t make friends but with Miss. Eleanore which seemed a little strange. The girl she hoped will become her friend had no plans to welcome the idea of friendship with the new girl in town and she showed that clearly. - What went wrong? Is my face too pretty for these grounds or too awful? Why don’t they like me? She forgot that she was the one who was putting an invisible barrier between them and everything else. She couldn’t accept her running away; more accurately, her mother’s running away that dragged her into this story in which she was changing schools every two years or so. It was interesting a life to live sometimes, though, so she felt both awful and confused. Strange was now to her to observe that she had no flexibility at all. Nevertheless everything changed after shipping-back the book borrowed from the library. She calmed down a little and knew what to do. In a few days she made friends with Jim, Gregor and Lana-Lee, three children she knew she was to abandon soon... a couple of months perhaps before Mother will decide that it was time to change places and perhaps jobs too. And right she was, our Loouna, as Mother informed her about their new place to spend a couple of years to: somewhere near London. She was about to take a bus, buy or lend a car to get to work. Loouna was going to attend a school that was pretty renowned and had a very good educational programme.

A few moments of fascination a few different days of living a dream in a row she had there, before they moved away to another place which was her origins’ place only Loouna didn’t know for sure, didn’t remember as she was very little when they first moved away. Only too sad to leave a place she began feeling attached to. Once more, for the last time in this house, in her room: writing here, on her bed, she had the feeling that she was going to find herself living this same feeling for more than once, travelling from one home to another, searching for God knows what and God cared only about the money we made and the things we did with that money in the name of His and our liberties and bounds, convenient. Two new places on different grounds sharing common history, traces and tracks, marks of reinvented selves to be healed by magic and scientific potions only the highest spirits can tell the origin.

Loouna was beginning to feel hopeful for some strange reason. The Moon kept sending messages from the sun and herself to the girl through the drapery. The veil covering the window each night until their departure was touched by a little moonlight-magic. ‘Words around here need to get eased of too heavy a significance, a burden that’s not to be carried by one single being, one should know!

It was near the offices of this new company to add to a resume that at this point meant nothing but Money, Money and more Money, where they moved! She could be proud of herself, our Simone back then, only she wasn’t. There was something else that she wanted to do with her life but being this good at what she was doing and needing the money she could save for all her dreams was pushing and tossing into a little box all her personal dreams. Yes, she was wise, Simone, and ready to sacrifice a few dreams for her child. She knew that having a child was no easy task and so she took care of this broken family of hers knowing that it was the only way for her most valuable thing to last and one day bloom. She was playing the roles of both the father and the mother, an impossible task, most certainly. At nights, when nobody knew, she opened her books of studies made a long time ago using them as material for her secret books, special and scientific: ‘on how to become a successful business-woman when the odds are against you’ , ‘the very beginning of a new commercial era’; on ‘how to raise your child with both arms and without losing it’; ‘how to make sure you don’t lose it being a single mother’... What was she doing? she was a great mother and a successful business-woman, already. Why all the uncertainty?

Simone was beginning to be renowned for her business activity and her ideas spread into the world of business were producing great impact.The Manager of the Week a magasine decreed, The best and most successful business-woman of the century another one exaggerated. She knew that she was good but she also knew a few better ones who preferred to stay in the shadow, so, she accepted to take the lead and step into the light without making too much of a big deal of it. To make her child happy and proud of her mother - that’s what she wanted.

But the interviews and the shocking news never impressed Loouna. She wasn’t much prouder of her mother now than she was when nobody had a clue about Simone’s existence in the world. She always loved her mother very much and respected her for what she was doing for the family; for her, the child. Knowing that she sacrificed some great dreams she had for a high-standard lifestyle was making Loouna grow only sadness inside and much disturbed she felt by the media almost harassing her and her mother. - It will stop soon, I promise. They needed to make a big fuss out of something that I did and now they’re making a big fuss out of nothing. It is the way for us to slumber into that non-existence for the media; soon our fade-away from the public eye will come. It will be nice, though, for you to be recognised by some of your future class-mates as the daughter of Simone Reddings, wouldn’t it? Loouna didn’t respond. She did not agree with this fame she was dragged into accepting as hers too; in fact she hated it. She wanted out of it.

- I really hope that all this will come to an end soon, she confessed a few days later, after another “interview request”. I can’t even hear my own thoughts and I’m starting to lose the wish to be myself in any way because they are spooking my spirit. I feel tired and sometimes confused by their questioning. They are also very rude, not respecting our privacy! “What happened to your father? How does it feel to be the daughter of the most successful business-woman? How was your life before Simone Reddings - we understood that she changed names; why was that?” - I don’t even know what to respond, sometimes! They should go back to school, handed like the tools they are is what they need to be, given to an old aunt or an old grand-mother, an artist to mold them, a teacher to teach them good manners again! Loouna’s indignation burst. Have soup each day and say a prayer each day to be taken out of there, she was humming to herself to calm her spirit. A promise that they learned their lesson and they know how to give some space to a child my age is what I want. I have nothing to do with your work! Why did they have to drag me into this story of your fame anyway?!

- I’m sorry for this, Loouns, dear. I will ask them to stop harassing you. I will tell them to stop contacting you. There is a law that allows you to restrict them from contacting you, if you want to.

- I already told you, mom! I want nothing to do with your laurels. They are yours and yours only. I’ll have to earn mine. This is what I told them and this is what I’m telling you, right now. I need to find my own ways to success whatever that means to me. Right now it doesn’t mean corporate business matters I am in no position to discuss with anybody!

- You are right, my dear Loouna! I’m sorry for getting you into all this!

- You know what? I’d love to get on a boarding-school. Can you help me? They are pretty strict, some of them! I want one that is most secure and strict.

- Alright then, there are plenty of those, around here. Let me see what I can arrange.

- Arrange only a letter. I already prepared one and know the school I’d like to be boarded in.

It is how they met Josh and Matt Parker, who proved to be the best father and the best brother in the world.

*

Dark rich sky-depths hosting the stars. Loouna is dreaming eyes open. Descending from the realms of knowledge of the silk-road, Milky-way is feeding properly all those who were granted permission to spread their wings and fly, believe and show themselves true. There’s hope sent, there’s love sent and there’s a little bit of magic, energy and reasons, plenty of reasons to wake-up, put yourself back on your feet and move on, go on with an old plan or change it! Follow a plan.

As she’s writing her pieces, humming a song that was playing in her head for a while, Loouna was imagining her worlds colliding, making love in the most abstract and perfect way possible; inhuman ways, one may think but extraordinary, having the means to make a few dreams come true. Someone must have been very happy due to her dreaming-times for her to be that protected and loved! And someone must have made the gravest mistake for her to be this gifted. Hilarious a part was played since some body with the gift of humour was entitled to win his lottery ticket back. Didn’t he learn? Didn’t he work? Didn’t he do what he had to do? She played along and for a short while they both had a little bit of fun.

Her words put on paper were asking for the clues; her words were quests for the miracle of life she sometimes felt afraid to embrace... She wondered why: to whom she owes this favour of being granted permission to act and work like a real Saint? It cannot be but the greatest Saint of all!

A moonlight effect, brought into the room by the wings of an Angel spread, gave her the pretext for a break; watching the Light passing through the window she felt another sudden rise of sadness, the sorrow of a heart too good to be punched back into the box of a fighter-self asking to be followed into the depths of a human condition hard to accept. A cell reached up there and tears got brought-up into her eyes.

‘I loved you and you know it! I loved and hated you for many things but all the things you said to me were true; and everything you did seems to be done for the accomplishment of a miracle. The dead are alive, in their own ways... They sometimes rest and sometimes fight. You’re strong enough to make things work, dear.’ But that already felt like a menace, like a threatening lie,... perhaps an irony... Loouna was running away from her truths. She was afraid of what she might become if she knew more than she had to know for the lives of the little interesting creatures studied.

*

**

II. Explorations

All the Worlds left Behind

*

Sleep, child. Rest your mind now! Produce as many brain cells as possible; recover yourself and be who you always were... before their tampering; before they hurt your soul in any way they can. Prepare yourself for the fight of the righteous; prepare yourself for the right thing to do.

Watching the sky again, both eyes open wide, Loouna was discovering something truly beautiful in the human mind making connections perfect for the fine charts and maps to be amazingly valued among all the humans on the blue planet called Earth.

*

“It is not for the soul anymore... It is for the Mind and for that dignity we need! I want all your thieves and bloody murderers, the abusers of Power, knowledge and faith to pay! You will pay for your murders and crimes! And us will have the rest we deserved.

- This girl knew what she wanted to do with her life... but who cursed her this bad? The story had nowhere to go. It was certain death. Time for a closure; she chose to punish the evil and repay with honours and gods-given healthy fame the good.

- After all, it is a fantasy story I wrote to compliment my entire childhood world! she chimed.

A night of blessed emotions she had, the one from which a saviour came to take her away to where she belonged: the battlefield. The Princess-Warrior was almost there, fighting for her Kingdom.

“Fliers, fires, flying stars; a moving celestial being you are just like all of us,

up there, into the sky

we see! open our eyes

for the Discovery of new galaxies.”

Filled with dangers was, this road she took! filled with frightening dangers. “I wish I became one great danger in my times of need so that I could defend myself and my people in all circumstances, no matter who and why he or she chooses to fight against us! I want to be strong but also kind; I want to be deadly; I want to be ready for whatever might come. It is for this that you wanted me out, for this strength, you wanted me dead! This truth you made me live with, as if my fault! I am not happy! How could I be? GOD IS GOD! Gods can be merciful and proud, they can be kind and gentle but they can also be cruel - I loved you for both sides, when honest and true, when justice was done! ‘ The irony on this one... The favours... The pains and joys!” God! What will happen to us all? What will happen to our Children? What is that will happen to our world? What’s to be done for the ones showing lovely acts of goodness - and with what purpose? Where to go? What to do for my wishes, for our wishes to come true?‘

“- Her notes show the reflections of someone I used to know. I used to call her Mother and we used to care for one another more than anyone else in the world!” Was she my real Mother then? Was she my friend? What happened to her? ‘Wasn’t she a good soul? Why am I thinking about them, now?”

Loouna could hear these voices talk to one another and her consciousness could recognise each and every character. She knew who she was and she knew where she was only better than before. But when she woke-up from her dream she remembered: - My notebook! She ran hastily to her office and pulled the drawer. It was there, her notebook, still and untouched. Her breath released from her fear of getting read, she watched the moonlight dancing a few diamond powder-shots down her carpet; then she heard a movement in the garden. The dog was not barking but a silhouette showed by the window; she startled. It was small a shadow she caught the glimpse of, so, she braved herself out to see what was going on out there, in the garden. She stood by the window observing. A lantern in her right hand to help her have a watch close; maybe she’ll see what was making the strange sound: a bird? A hedgehog? The cat or the neighbour’s dog? But no, wait! It was a human silhouette the one she could see! the shadow of a child appeared that to be! Then she got out and watched closely into the bushes. There was nobody there. She muttered a few words then thought she’d rather use her voice on a higher tone so she made sure. She did so. In the bushes, by the Rose pile-statue, a boy was hiding. Loouna found him shaking, the Light in his eyes shimmering with fright. He seemed to be cold and famished. Loouna brought him a blanket and something to eat; he wouldn’t get inside. Although the night was peaceful and warm there was the scent of a rumour telling about some storms so Loouna asked quickly:

- Are you okay? The boy started shaking even more. Hey, don’t worry! I Will not harm you. She put the blanket and a sandwich down at his feet. - Come here... Do you want anything to eat?

- No, no. The boy shrugged with fright, then timidly added: Thank you. He took the sandwich.

- It’s okay. We have plenty of food, if you feel like having some...

- No no. The boy interrupted. I’m okay! he spoke mouth-full, half of that generous sandwich, bigger than his head, gone.

Watching the boy getting himself closer to the bush he was hiding behind, his knees against his chest, Loouna felt very truly sorry for the very first time in her life. She never met anyone this scarred before, dressed poorly and seeming to be homeless. She felt that he needed protection and a kind heart to take him home only she did not know how to do that but the cold and very polite way. Her heart wasn’t cruel but warmth was rarely to come in and feed a relationship she might have with another human; devoted to the gods, she appeared to be, a heart warmed only by the higher spirits. Perhaps the spirit of a god was that which was always keeping her calm and secure, distant enough so she didn’t get burn by the fires of those human hearts which, when broken, they start doing their miraculous cuts and throws into the ovens of Hell bringing up despair, then regrets and tears to wash away all the pain caused by these god-like feelings. Nevertheless, not Magnificently Godly enough to be considered divine, the source of all the Power, graceful and calm, transcends the Universe of personal wars reaching to the highest levels of spirituality - the status of an illuminated being not needing or knowing fear, anger, sorrow and despair anymore.

The boy wasn’t changing position. Loouna decided to try a different approach. She though a little chat might help.

- You know, when I heard the noise in the garden I first though it was the dog. Do you like dogs? The boy nodded.

- Well, the dogs belongs to the neighbour there, she pointed to the property behind the bushes against which the boy was retreating more and more. We’re still thinking about which one to take home. We’ll soon have one of them here, you know?

- Aha....

- I am pretty excited about having a dog. We only had a cat around here and she’s getting a little mature so to speak. I Wonder how she will react when we’ll bring in the dog?

The boy shrugged not knowing how to respond to all the words spoken to him, not feeling that he had anything to add.

- I am a little concerned with you. You are not a thief, are you?

- No, no! I’m not a thief!

- Good. What happened to you? Did you get lost? Where is your family?

- I... I do not have one... I... I am not from around here, the boy confessed.

- What do you mean? Loouna asked suspiciously. Where are you from?

- I... I don’t know how to explain...

- Please, tell me...

- I am not from around here although it feels like a place I used to know...

- I see... It felt quite the same to me when we moved to...

- Loouna!!... Loouna, dear! Where are you? Mother’s voice trembled a little with panic, touches of fright in the tone.

- In the garden, ma’!

- Oh, darling! Never get out like this at night! Look at you! Barefoot only in your night-gown.

- Mother, I’d like you to meet someone I just found... right... here?... Wait a minute!...

- Loouna dear, what are you talking about? Did you see anyone in our garden?

- Yes, a boy... A little boy almost my age... Well... A couple of years younger or so..

- Dear, tell me that you are imagining things!

- No, no!

- Alright, then let’s look for him!

They looked but they couldn’t find him; the boy was gone and Loouna didn’t see him again until she was seven, and that happened a month later. It felt like some yesterdays happening once more, in a different place on the planet, a different world. It was still at night, in the light of a crescent moon that she was writing down something in her newest notebook. The night was fresh and asking for a poem; she seemed to write one when a noise in the garden made her startle. Her memory was clearly offering a hint to her about what or whom might she find there, hidden in the eternal rose-bushes near the green-bush-fence with ornamental trees planted in a perfect row where chipmunks sometimes spent their evenings chewing walnuts and dry fruit. She approached the dark silhouette and found the boy, this prisoner in time who felt like coming back for some reason... Who knew why, again? Perhaps only the horrendous lad that came soon from behind the neighbour’s garden and who seemed to try to get his hands on the boy. Loouna got scarred. She grabbed the boy by his arm and dragged him towards the door. But,as the thin evil man spoke his first word, they both felt their blood freezing in their veins and couldn’t move.

- Why are you running away from me? What did I do to you? Oh, Loouna, dear... Don’t you want to remember me?

- NO!! No! She doesn’t!! The little boy yelled-back bravely through his tears!

The ugly awful man made one more step towards them trying to grab them when the most powerful flash of light blinded and dazzled him. A thunder made its menacing clear entrance then, the deepest and strongest voice of all spoke, his words were echoing into each darkness of a being.

- Come on, children. Don’t be afraid! I will take you to a world named Fantasia. A world where you can have fun all day long; a place beyond your imagination! Come...

- Mikos!!! How dare you come to this world and scare my Children again? How dare you disturb the peace I offered to them? How dare you? Go back to your master and tell him that I, The One you’ll Always Fear, have banned you all from stepping on holy land again. It’s holy and you SHALL burn if you dared to try and touch any of these beautiful Children again! A powerful White light then chased the ugly dark ghost forever from that place. A bright light was that from which an Old Wizard appeared to be descending softly on ground. How are you, Loouna?... Sam?... He kindly took interest in both of them.

- How do you know, my name? Loouna wanted to know.

- Oh, I know you, dear, and you know me too only you don’t quite remember me, now.

- That awful creature, do I know him too?

- Yes... and no! God forbid you really knew any of those!

- He is right. Sam added with innocent but firm certainty.

- Come, Children! I’ll take you somewhere safe and fun for you, a place where you can remember about yourselves and what you need to know so you found the right places in your worlds.

- What do you mean by ‘our right places in our worlds’? Loouna, a bit timidly but with a lot of curiosity lingering inside advanced the question. But the answer was plain silence, stirring even more into the imagination of this girl, enticing her curiosity like nothing else before.

- You’ll see.

A magic cloud came down from the light still shining too brightly for any soul around not to set eyes on. Suspiciously, it didn’t bother a soul. They must have been all frozen. Two great seahorses emerged from the cloud along with their siren-riders that were holding a large silk-sheet creating thus a large hammock in which the two children were about to spend a comfortable travel-time to lands of the unknown and unseen, untouched by a human soul.

- Are we taken to Fantasia? The boy asked.

- They come from a new world, a sister-world of Fantasia. You see, they were offered as a gift from Fantasia to The Great Lady of the Sky whom you will soon meet.

Over the moon, above all cities and fields, above mountains and seas, up and beyond what felt to be the brothers and sisters of the clouds they were taken by, a journey was happening. Only Gods could have explained this in words that were unspeakable, unbearable to mortals, stronger in brightness and meaning than one can assure their inner thought. Everything moved and worked too fast for the children not to feel amazed. In a glimpse of an eye, after the last look down on their planet, they both found themselves taken away by a light setting down on a fairy-tale ground where many moons appeared to have risen above a starry sea of calm waters and silent cliffs; a rock was reminding of a Mountain quite far into the distant horizon. And the two seahorses flying above this ocean to meet with their Queen. The Lady emerged from a luminous cloud as her sent guardians approached.

- Well done, my ocean-beauties! The goddess of all pure waters will be kind to you; she is a good sister and a cousin to me, she will be generous, as always for your favours. Go, take the rest you need.

The two wonders bowed with deep respect and left gracefully.

- My dearest guests, please let yourselves guided to my aunts’ House! She is one Old lady - the oldest in the history of this people, who will gladly receive you in her home. You will also meet with her niece, a special soul that always helped me a lot when I was requested intervention for justice and kindness; we sometimes ship to the rightful place those souls we take from the world of humans because they just had to leave. You might also meet with a brother of mine, Ame no mike mochi no mikoto. We preferred to help survive the population for the best and most honourable causes. I made a family of them, the people you will join tomorrow for the ceremony. You are kindly invited to spend the night there, in their humble home. Ma’ak and Flo’eek will guide you to their place.

- Thank you, Milady. The Wizard bowed with the respect of someone who knows the custom of the world he was accepted and embraced by and knows very well how to pay all the respect owned to such great spirituality.

- Have a most pleasant night! Tomorrow you’ll meet The Princess who is having her ceremony of enthronement - she is becoming an Empress for the very first time here, on these grounds; a true legend we know to have chosen! You are invited to participate to this enthronement ceremony and the party of the Noble after; All Gods and Goddesses will be most happy to see you there, having a most wonderful time dedicated to our choice as a leader on these lands.

- Your kindness and hospitality is shining brightly as always, Milady, much loved one among all the stars, known as the most beautiful and most powerful goddess of all. We shall be there with no delay, at your service, whenever you ask, if anything we may be worthy of serving the extraordinary most wonderful Sokui no Rei. * (*the actual and real last Sokui no Rei was held in 1990 for the enthronement of Akihito.)

- You are right, as always, dear guest! Your presence there will be a gift from the gods to the gods! You will honour us with your presence to this great event for our Princess, the one of being enthroned as the Empress, also a gift received from the Gods who decided right, as always. Her smile spoke everything it had to spell and tell; there was no place for a counter opinion, an attack to her words not expected or cared for.

- It is an honour and our duty to please the gods and you, Your Majesty, oh, much adored and worshiped among the mortals as well as among the immortals, much loved one and respected among the gods, our goddess of Light!

- A goodnight shall be granted to you, dearest guests, touched by the flowers of the happiest trees and the perfumes of their most treasured harvest!

- We humbly bow to your kindness and happily obey to enjoy the fruit of your kind wishes and thoughts all sent to us with such poetic flair, oh, most luminous beauty among all celestial beauties!

- Have the wonders of my people amaze you and the star of the night, guide you! Goodnight!

-Wow! Sam finally emitted after the great star the goddess became with her take of distance. This lady really shines!

- She is a star! A goddess and a star. Loouna mumbled as mesmerized.

- She is Amaterasu-o-mi-kami and she is the goddess of the sun, considered to be the greatest goddess of all times, the brightest and most beautiful; the strongest, a powerful lady... The most worshiped and loved by her people.

- You really know how to speak with her! Sam observed.

- I wish I knew how too. Loouna admitted.

- You will, children. You will. It is only a matter of time. Under my protection you will learn everything you need to know for the Grace of your own selves to be in harmony with the Grace of The Goddess known as Amaterasu-o-mi-kami.

The two noble servants Ma’ak and Flo’eek approached. They had strange ways of talking and pronouncing some words which amused the kids a little but they proved themselves very efficient in guiding and helping their guests pass-through places that sometimes seemed impossible to reach safely. They were immune to fires and frost, they knew every placement of harming metals and bombs and they could jump distances and heights unimaginable. So, they didn’t need a wizard to help them with any luggage but the wizard needed them to learn about those places.

- May we’y lead yo’ou to the House of Lady Emnd? Ma’ak politely asked.

- Emnd? What kind of a name is that for a kami that’s related to the Greatest Goddess of all times? the Wizard asked.

- We’y‘re asked to call her that, by the Lady he’yself. You see, she conside’yrs that the life she lives here, as the creature she y’is ri’yght now, ay’long with the mission she a’accompli’shes here, y’is one to need thi’y’s name and thi’y’s, only...

-... she did not forge’et ay’thing about he’yself and her fo’ymer lives or her real y’identity she finds hilarious to talk about, Ma’ak continued.

- What do you mean?

- She al’wee-ys laughs at the term ‘reality’ as she al’wee-ys suppo’yted the idea of no reality more real than the one a spirit y’is willing to accept.

- Ah’um... the boy mumbled.

- You see’y? Ma’ak took over the conversation, she bel’yieves that it y’is time for her to li’yve her parallel humble li’yfe in perfe’ct harmony with u’ys, the... indigenous... Wa’ys this the te’yrm she used, Flo’eek?

- Yes, I remembey’r, correct.

- I see... The Wizard spoke. Oh, well... I still have to learn a lot about this new world in which things seem to work like for the amazonian...

- Tha’at, we hay’ve no knowledge of. In fact, many of u’ys haven’t heard of such a te’yrm. Me and Ma’ak, Floo’eek confessed, we’y were the two luck’ey ones to get more about the whereabouts of our new le’eaders and go’ods and thei’yr behaviours, thei’yr stor’yies and le’gends coming from thei’yr distant pasts and faraway lands here, where they’y can establish thei’yr grounds for a peaceful civil li’yfe for every’one; we’y were at war, yo’ou must kno’yw. We’y someho’ow got ourse’ylves almost destroyed but they’y saved u’ys. Without destroying who we’y actually are, they’y took over this planet and made some sort of a planetary’y sanctuary of y’it, a place where o’our moons can reflect beauti’ifully, all of them... See? There they’y are, all of the’ym on o’our sky of dark blues and rivers of li’yght!

- Here every’body feels respected! And everythi’ying y’is also very respected. Since our new Goddess and he’yr leader-picks we’y can feel at home, no matter what. All wars are o’over.

- We’y’re still keeping thei’yr bombs and thei’yr guns so we’y fo’ought them with thei’yr own problems caused to o’our pe’eople, if they’y ever decide to come back for mo’yre! The pe’eople doing nothing but mi’ynding their own territories, we’y are, al’wee-ys were witho’oout taking anything from any’body since we’y had everything we’y needed under o’our noses and we’y had eyes to see’y and minds to u’yse for o’our better li’yves!

- What’s with the sister-cousin-goddess? Is she a kami too? Sam inquired.

- We‘y’ re not sure.

- Through everyth’ying they’y do they’y inspire, don’t they’y? Ma’ak said.

- We’y don’t know much of he’yr, although we’y ’ve heard that she does have some supern’atural powers and she can be as ki’ynd as revengeful too.

- So fa’ar so good. No damage done to an’yone around here, Ma’ak reassured.

- Why would they produce any damage? Loouna wanted to know.

- We’ell, because they’y were the victims of so’omething not beauti’yful at all.

- You claim to have little knowledge of who they are and where they came from but you really seem to know what you’re talking about! How do you know all this? the wizard questioned.

- I recognized the’em as the o’ones who didn’t deserve but the gain of respect and devo’otion. Our Princess-warrior fo’ought and well she did; she almost die’ed in one of o’our battles but when she recovered she kne’ew just where the’yir weaknesses were and how to defeat them. She didn’t receive the gift of being a’dored, she ea’earned it. She is also much feared, like Ama’terasu-o-mi-kami, the Great Goddess of the Ski’es. Careful the’re, follow me’e!

- How do you manage to be so calm around here? the wizard asked.

- We’y don’t keep rancour but we’y still have a few fangs a’against the ones that simply wo’on’t bother for what SHALL be the ri’yght thing to do because that is the’yir ri’yght thing to do for them’selves too: protection y’is what we seek and offer to o’our kind!...

- We’ell. Here we’y are. The’ere y’is the little house where yo’ou’ll be kindly invited to have yo’our well deserved rest. We’y will be see’ing yo’ou tomorro’ow; e’every’thing yo’ou need to learn and kno’ow of thi’y’s world and of who we’y are will be told to yo’ou to’onight, by the O’old Lady Emnd.

- Perhaps of who they are too, Sam let slip.

- Per’haps that too. It is no’one of o’our thing to ta’alk or kno’ow.

- We’y already said en’ough, didn’t we’y? Ma’ak chuckled.

- Ye’es, I suppo’ose we’y did, he confirmed.

- Well, goodnight and thank you very much for your help. Ma’ak, Flo’eek, the Wizard politely dismissed the two servants.

- Goodni’yght Great Wise Man of the Nornth, Wezt, Sounth and E’east! Goodnight, Children.

- Goodnight, Ma’ak! Good night Flo’eek! Sam waved with sweet innocence provoking kind warm smiles from the two pale-grey appearances.

- Goodbye, Loouna repeated squinting the surroundings as if remembering something - faces, contexts and places she’s never actually known or been to before were suddenly familiar to her. This place was not ideal, perhaps but it was something she felt as offering a much needed home or, at least the possibility of making a home of.

- Hello and welcome to my humble house, an Old lady greeted them; Please, follow me inside. I Will take you to your rooms immediately, where you will be able to prepare for dinner, she hospitably invited them. We’ll have dinner in an hour. I assume that would be the right time given for you to get comfortable and prepare to sit with us and enjoy our food.

- That is most generous of you, Lady M. the Wizard bowed. The Old lady chuckled.

- They all call me Lady Emnd around here. It is you the only one who actually knows my name, but keep it the way we know best. They misunderstood when I first opened my mouth to say who I was. It seemed like an interesting identity to claim as mine, their mistake! I always wanted to live a story that would be romantic and shrouded in mystery; although a little late I couldn’t resist the offer!

From inside The House seemed actually big, much larger a space than Sam and Loouna suspected. The Lady took them through a corridor leading to their rooms asking three servants to assist the guests. The Wizard politely refused any help as he insisted in letting them both know that he still remembered the custom and he, personally, was much of an adept of their lifestyle in his private life as much as in public. - You know, he confessed later that evening, there is a world out there where people actually love living this way; they still keep these customs alive and real. The children had a little time of struggle with the idea of getting dressed by somebody else but, in the end they got everything done right.

Bath-time was perfect for both children. To Loouna, being a young lady now, the entire ritual offered the feeling of being back home... Although everything a little ancient-looking was actually very new and updated to the highest Standards of hygiene, comfort and luxury. An ancient luxury this ritual appeared to be without damaging any of the new-eras’ technological benefits; the world Loouna was coming from wasn’t much different, she thought, but there was something that she felt was emerging from the technical new future she belonged to. She could sense it with her spirit, as if connected to the entire place. There was something telling her that she already belonged there too, this new world.

An hour was precisely the time, correct, they needed to prepare for dinner. All three of them were punctual and ready so there was no room for excuses to waste on any of the precious minutes they were given to spend together.

- Please, sit! Lady M. invited them kindly.

They all sat and had a quiet dinner. One of the moons rose early sending rays of splendour to find rest on Loouna’s hand; she watched the shade contemplatively then looked around to admire the beauty of this light cast upon the skins and traces of all the people at the table.

- It is a beautiful night, isn’t it, dear? Lady M. asked Loouna then turned to Sam: What do you think, Sammy-chan?

- I like it! What is this? He asked of a dish that he found interestingly set on the table.

- It is porcupine meat.

- Really?

- Yes... Well, not the real porcupine in your dish, she followed after seeing a grimace, but in aspects of taste is porcupine-like. The Wizard smiled then chuckled, Lady M. was wittily sending mental-messages to him. Will they eat the porcupine? Their inner selves were laughing.

- What is so funny? Sam asked.

- Nothing, Child. Only a memory of something we used to think about and believe we understood.

- And What’s that?

- Well, we remembered a funny story about a porcupine a princess once found in her garden, the Old Woman delivered. She had the porcupine taken to her special garden inside the palace where the porcupine was to have a most extraordinary life. It worked for a while; the Princess paid the porcupine visits, the porcupine played happily, then, one day someone in the court said that there was something strange about that porcupine, that he was funny-looking and too daring. An animal should know its place. Just look at it! Daring to touch and almost scratch the Princess. A servant passing heard the noble speak in terms of contempt; feeling that they, the servants who were humans, had less of a good life than the animal and also being deprived of the correct judgement of a situation with a relative, the servant-lady thought of a revenge on the poor sensitive soul of this princess. She kindly suggested the porcupine be turned into a delicious meal before its flesh got too old and not good to chew. All nobles laughed at this but, eventually had the animal cooked well. There was also rumour that a maid who cared about the feelings of this princess and felt for the poor beast offered to help and release the animal which escaped into the garden. Nobody knows what really happened and nobody ever found this animal again but the memory of everything that was related to it kept feeding the imagination of many, raising questions and sometimes helping inventions happen. This dish is one that is named porcupine stew. And there is also this marathon we have named the Porcupine Marathon. We have a lot of fun during the games and sometimes link the two, I mean the dish and the marathon.

- I don’t get it? Why would they be envious on a poor creature like that? the boy wondered.

- Well, you see, the poor creature wasn’t poor anymore but they rested poor so, out of their likewise poor souls this is what came-out.

- A most ridiculous revenge taken on a defenseless animal to target the heart of an innocent girl, in this case a princess, hoping that this way the Father, who was the Emperor, would suffer for the girl’s misery and gain some wisdom that would favour its subjects for once, completed the Wizard.

- Well, that didn’t do much, did it? Lady M. asked.

- It couldn’t have. The Emperor had better things to do than watch over each and every noble’s good or bad deed. So, the people, in their own narrowness tried to punish the cruelty of their leader with no full understanding of the way things worked, falling thus into ridiculousness.

- As hard on the poor and lost as usual, Angus-san.

The Wizard frowned dimly.

- What is the matter?

- Angus was and will always be my name... But now I’ve changed and Angus grew Old and small... Perhaps I am just joking now but I Have learned that the Angus I was isn’t the Angus I am. This Angus of today knows and does more of the unimportant things in his past, thus meaning much more for the world today than for the one of yesterday.

- That sounds awfully frightening. Lady M. baffled. So, it calls for a change of identity!?

- It does, yet it doesn’t! the Wizards’ wit showed bright as the morning star.

As the dishes were all served and everyone’s hunger satisfied, the servants cleaned the table and Lady M. invited her guests to watch a beautiful strange traditional dance combined with the appearances of a few ninja-males among which a female was hidden. At the end of the dance the female exposed herself, dressed in a sumptuous kimono after winning a battle. Ready for a graceful feminine dance, she completes the scene alone before a shōji-panel covers her to let only a shadow of herself disappear in the background of the darkening room behind.

- Wow! the children’s elated spirits shimmered after the grand moment imposing complete silence as a sign of deep respect.

- So, you liked this dance!

- I loved it! Sam declared.

- So did I! Loouna confessed. She was like the princess-warrior in my book.

- Well, this was inspired by a legend spread around here about our Princess to be enthroned here tomorrow. She was an Empress in another life too, you know?

- She was?

- Yes. She was an Empress from where we come and an Empress even before those times. Her lives were all about extraordinary acts and mastering the art of leadership which meant perfecting herself In every way. A legend tells that she used to wear men clothes and act like a man when necessary. In every life of hers she was perfectly balanced, tough, and strong, fighting against injustice of all kind. Of course, this can mean changing the sides sometimes so, betrayal was a reason to light a spirit upon and reason to move around.

A strong spirit she was, our Empress-Child and we call her this way because, even when forced by the custom to marry, she never ceased being the brave and sometimes cruel Child she always was; a natural-born leader yet one that would train herself to death for the Kingdom and her ideas of making it great and powerful.

- You speak so beautifully of her! the girl observed.

- Well, one can’t speak in any other way about her. Now, I don’t know much about the other worlds in which she played this role of a leader; all I know is that in the name of her Kingdoms she sacrificed a lot of good life to live and her personal ideals, high, either saved her and her adepts or lost them in the battle. I remember getting saved by her once and I do know about the world we recently came from and for which she sacrificed to death. We followed her, a few of us - the very brave to follow her in death, we were told to be.

- So, you died for her too! That is brave indeed! the boy noticed.

- What were we to do? Her death would have taken away all the protection she offered to us. It is not that we weren’t offered something nice enough in return to betraying her but we all preferred to go after her and serve her no matter where she was.

- That sounds honourable, the wizard lauded.

- It is, Lady M. humbly accepted the compliment.

- You said that this dance we watched was inspired by a legend about the Princess. Could you tell us more about that, please?

- Yes, please! Sam joined the request.

- But of course I can! Come here and sit with me at this table. We will have a late-Tea-party and I Will share with you the legend and a few other stories you might find interesting.

They all found ‘a perfect place at the table’ and the Lady began sharing the legend.

- It is told that the Princess, as a Child, always loved fighting and playing like the boys did. She was always too tough on them too, making many of them cry and give-up their games. Her Mother was very proud of her and her Father, the Emperor, was even prouder only they were both concerned with her development as the young lady she was supposed to become, first of all. For this reason and with the purpose of growing her aspirations tall, they engaged her more into arts and history which made of her the strongest Princess the Kingdom ever had. Martial arts helped a lot, making of her more of a solitary fighter but that proved to be only well suited for her position.

Years have passed and a strange event happened - a man with black skin appeared on the stage of wars and fights then he disappeared and was never heard of again. Some legends still speak of him and story-tellers remind him in their Tales. It is said that the man killed a few dragons and chased a few “scary cats” of this kingdom I’m telling about. This brought problems to the House of our Princess who was now almost twelve. Her parents, both disappeared the very next day and she found herself alone at the court, guided by a loyal servant of the Emperor who found a way to declare himself dead and get his daughter enthroned so she led the Kingdom to the new era, ruling with the arm of a true leader. She had to marry but that was only a formality; they picked an obedient noble man, one they all knew was not to become a trouble-maker. So, the Emperor was to stay in the shadow of his wife, only to attend to public events and religious manifestations, taking the laurels for her work but doing almost nothing.

The young Empress was very upset for a while, having to marry without her wishful consent, so, she spent a lot of time training herself intensely with a master in all the arts of self-defense and fight, using it also as a form of self-discipline and meditation. On rare occasions she took time to spend in the garden in silence, alone, only her and the rocks near the puddle named ‘The lake’ since early childhood; a bonsai here and there, A few sakaki trees, the waterfall of a spring letting out the purifying gift of its eternity in the middle of the pond and the occasional humming of the bees.

A few moments of rest taken whenever the duties of ruling and leading were too much for a twelve years girl’s choice and decision; and yes, decisions to take were sometimes too hard for the young Woman she was to become without her taking into consideration second thoughts: was it good, the decision taken? Couldn’t she do better? It was all written down on paper, letters forming poems of a calligraphy and beauty in master-ship of words that was to be envied by all the artists in the world.

- Not too much, she had to do, for her Kingdom, did she? I mean, if she had time for poetry... Sam asked with the innocence of a child watching things plainly from above.

- Not much? She did a lot, actually. It might seem easy to take decisions all day but the truth is there is a lot of work to do behind. A lot of research, a lot of reading, listening and thinking; and a few word-counts properly balanced spoken the right way, right time.

- How does one know which one is the right Word, the very right time and the way for sure? The girl wearing the name of the much loved by poets celestial night-shiner asked.

- Well, my guess is that, if you look into yourself a little closer, you will find that answer alone.

- I see... So, it is all a matter of position and goal. Loouna developed.

- Precisely! She was trained for this her entire life. The last two years of her mentor, a very old and wise sensei, were all about training her and helping her train herself intensely and the twelfth year of her existence was the test, one that she passed brilliantly. She cried tears of real sorrow at the age of ten, when she lost her mentor. She looked up to him, wishing to equal him in every aspect of his existence except, perhaps, his appearance in flesh, although she found that later to be a very useful thing as she started using disguises for her brilliant sessions of spying and learning from the enemy.

- When did she learn about her parents? The girl inquired.

- It was only after a full year of reign that she was told her parents were expecting her to pay them a visit. Then she was taken to the special place where they were hiding. She met with them both and had an exchange of opinions. In the end, the parents decided that she wasn’t made for a usual type of enthronement, that she wasn’t going to act like a real wife but like someone who would escape that prison being too capable of ruling the Kingdom all by herself with an arm of Gold; an Emperor of real manners would have ruined their daughter and they couldn’t have that allowed. An Emperor has his ego and his own pride: their prides were to collide, eventually destroying both the balance of their daughter and the one of the Kingdom. Perhaps a loss for the young Woman as seen from their personal point of view but, in the end, a gain for every body else including the girl herself. So they picked wisely: a ghost, the shadow of the man he never remembered being and left him take a lot of light, enjoying the position of the puppet in the eye of the public. Her decisions were his decisions, her thoughts were his thoughts and her laurels were given all to him. She never cared for the laurels, though; she never showed care for that. But she cared for her Kingdom and for her rights to do the right thing. The Emperor knew that he wouldn’t take the time and could never spend the energy he never had on matters concerning the Kingdom’s safety; he had no strategic mind and was rather frail a human being but being a man of honour, even if only a ghost or a shadow, he always declared that all his decisions were taken with his wife and that they always discussed all the matters of the Kingdom taking decisions together. Ready to share his laurels never earned by any other right but marriage with his almost always absent wife. Only on grand official holidays their people had the chance to see her too. All the other little occasions they were given to show were his for her times of watch, times of learning, creation and discipline of the self were offered entirely to her development as a leader. One must keep training and focusing, learning and observing even when they think they already know everything; one has to keep working on the self until one becomes the one he or she wants to become and that becomes all his or her personal times.

- I don’t quite understand that...

- How can it be both a loss and a gain? Sam asked before Loouna got the chance to finish her inquiry.

- Well, what you don’t know cannot harm you nor thrill you; what you don’t know cannot touch you in any way, can it?

- Maybe,... Loouna admitted doubtfully.

- It will come, that day when you will know this for sure; it takes time to remember some things lying deeply, perfectly hidden in your soul.

Loouna nodded. - One may be hit though by something they never knew and ask themselves “what happened?” forever, she mumbled. The wizard approved silently with a slight move of his head, a blink of an eye telling her that silence was a better adviser.

- What happened to the Empress next? Sam asked.

- Well, she continued learning and led her Kingdom to the highest peaks. It is said that, by night she either wrote poetry and painted or she sneaked-out dressed like a ninja fighting crime and watching over the good-sleep of her good citizens.

- Wow!

- The truth is somewhere in the middle. She learned how to become a good spy too and she used all those skills to inform and protect herself and the Kingdom. Many things she learned about her subjects and the noble houses; she discovered everything about everyone: acts of betrayal or planning of such acts, embarrassing habits, wishes and thoughts, plans and prospects made for the future, reconciliations and fights, uncomfortable details about their private lives, everything one would love and need to know about everyone they had to work with or oppose to, especially if they are a leader. We are talking about the head of the Kingdom, here, not just any leader!

Some years have passed and a lot of Information she gathered. It is said that this spying, occasionally fighting the guards of those she was spying on, is that one thing bringing her to the event of meeting the best ninja in the entire Kingdom whom she escaped by using a trick, a magic trick they say, she was always performing always in private and only for children. A trick made with a fan. How is that she had a fan on her at the moment of the battle to use for ‘The magic trick’, nobody knows.

- People speculate, the Wizard added. Some say she grabbed it from the walls of a corridor or a secret passage during the pursuit, but nothing felt plausible for the minds of our history writers so, the whole thing was to remain another mystery in the books producing either fantasy stories or telling the truth by throwing their bates at fishes to catch.

- Precisely so. As usual you are correct. Lady M. agreed.

- Well, we did read the same books, didn’t we?

- Perhaps we did, I do not know, Angus-san. As far as I remember, you live now in a different world than I.

- We do share some common knowledge. My memory isn’t that bad, dear Lady M., the wizard insisted.

- Nevertheless, just as you do these days of present times so you had, in the past, more freedom to move from one world to another than I did a long long time ago, before we met and; as far as I can remember you wished to know what had changed there, where you came from. She paused. So, what changed?

- Not much, dear Lady M, not much. As a matter of fact, I tend to believe that it is more I the one who changed than anything or anybody else. I travelled and gained experience, true; I did read some freshly out of the oven, and some exquisite Old works, good quality literature! I discovered sciences of all kind and art, but it is the Journey that I took, the one perpetually changing me, the one that helped me read the human in every individual.

- I see. Well, we’re there with a little less effort, I believe, but you know how I can skip a phase or two in the development of what’s obvious.

- Precisely what brought you where you are right now.

- What do you mean? I believe I do not understand.

- There’s nothing to understand. Nothing and everything.

- I never complained about my situation, if that’s what you’re suggesting. The Woman went sore.

- I never tried to insinuate that. I made an honest and innocent observation. Please, pardon me if I made it sound as an offense.

- I felt not offended but it did seem a little rude, your attitude.

- I apologise once more. Will you please, accept my apologies? The children would much love to learn more about the myths and legends of the world you came from and I never get tired of listening to your graceful ways of telling a story.

- Now aren’t you the same well-mannered man I always knew? she retorted.

- Yes, I am. The Wizard agreed smiling widely.

- The great Wizard is right. We would love to hear more about the Empress and the legends of your people. Loouna petitioned. The Children jollied-around using their clear-bell-sound of voices, innocent and beautiful like the best of songs ever promised from two Angels.

- Alright then. Where was I? Oh, yes, the best ninja almost got his hands on our ninja-empress, didn’t he?

- Yes. But she escaped, Sam completed.

- Using a magic trick, Loouna added.

- Was the magic trick done like the one in the dance we watched? San asked.

- I don’t know. In fact, nobody really knows. Only the two fighters and a spectator who couldn’t keep his mouth shut, Lady M. chuckled.

A natural exchange of witty all-knowing looks happened between the Old Wizard and Lady M., one that Loouna would accurately observe.

- After her escape, the Empress spent a lot of time alone, training herself even more, meditating, writing and reading, painting and building toy-houses and layouts for her temples and palaces, then for the entire Kingdom.

- Wow! Did she ever Sleep, the Princess?

- Yes, I believe she did have some Sleep. You know, Child, sometimes sleep means something else than what would usually mean. Just like the state of dreaming a life you desire so one Day you got there. So, the Empress trained and trained herself mastering all the arts, including the art of dance, concentrating on every aspect of her being, on every aspect of the world she needed to feel so she perfected herself. One either perfects him or herself in doing something or they die inside getting all lost from their path. This was her path. All the great minds of the world have taken a path like this so, for becoming a great mind to earn her place among them, she had to follow the same rules and do what they did before.

- Didn’t she feel tired? Weren’t there times when she needed to change something?

- There was not much to change! She did everything that was to be done and liked the life she was living! All of it! Wouldn’t you love that too?

- I don’t know. I am not a Princess, Sam replied.

- Of course not! You are a Prince.

- ... I do understand that she loved her life, the girl preceded, I would love to lead a life like hers, full of luxury and sometimes fun, but I do not understand why is that she had to fight so much! Was she preparing herself for an ugly confrontation? Were those times the ones of predicted wars?

- Well pointed! the Wizard fathomed.

- Those were normal times of relative peace but in times of peace one must prepare themselves for war; just in case something ugly happens. Ruling a Kingdom is not all about fantasy and poems. Love was out of question for this Empress even if... But that is one story you’ll be told much later in this Journey you took. You’ll find that love can be even greater when there’s distance and hope taken, a common goal and respect for the same things... In life or death.

The last words felt pretty thought-provoking and Loouna let herself carried by imagination, some ideas starting their dramatic flow of existentialist travel from which a new theory must always get born... eventually.

- What are you thinking about, dear?

- I... I was just contemplating your words, the girl spoke as if mesmerized.

- Well, so did our Empress with the styles of the masters she was studying.

- A few weeks have passed and the Empress still didn’t get out at night as a ninja, Lady M. continued. She preferred singing and playing the koto or the shō. Late into the night, sometimes flutes were heard replying; this way, a conversation entertained, helped the good Empress find her inner peace and equilibrium. Once or twice a night she would get out on the training field, only to get back to her good old habits. After all, she was a strong leader knowing that she had to accomplish her duties at the highest standards possible, improving always and surpassing any boundaries and so she did with the help of her stubborn search for equilibrium.

- There’s much pomp in your words and many laudatory descriptions of the Empress’s character, which is, nevertheless, laudable but a bit inefficient a choice, given the short time we have for this encounter.

- I see, the Lady sore-up, two lips tweeting out to the final, correct smile: I’ll be more careful and on to keep it shorter.

- Did the Empress meet the greatest ninja again? Sam requested to be informed.

- Yes and no.

- What do you mean? he insisted.

- What I mean is that they met under circumstances which were completely different and learned about each other as the humans they were before discovering the roots of their history.

- Are you suggesting the Empress had an affair? the wizard tampered.

- Most certainly not! No! I am saying that they met and talked with one another in a context allowing them to observe each other as humans and enemies too.

An official festival offered a chance for them to meet for the first time. The Empress immediately recognized some body-language and later confessed in her journal that it was strange a meeting, writing that the man had something of a warrior to be feared, something of a real poet and something of a deep thinker that might have the chance to win the lottery if he tried the applied sciences. She poetically danced her words on a magic field of interests and wishes for her Kingdom to stay focused on developing brightly and honestly, alert a people to defend itself and their leader. He did the same but couldn’t follow the entire dance since noble faces were expecting to see the Empress for discussions on matters too important for the Kingdom to be delayed by a courtesy visit. He was, though invited to have dinner with all the noble, later that evening which made the Empress suspect that he was either a noble too or a very respected and needed guard. Not wanting to let the job poorly done, the Empress asked some of her trustful loyal subjects to find details about this new and intriguing character. She almost forgot about him when news arrived: he was a guard, indeed, but there was also suspicion about him being the illegitimate son of her most feared enemy, a noble who felt generously happy to be defended by his son. The Empress then sent her servant to find more about the roots of this man who was a samurai by day, which was very known now, a warrior when times asked for and a ninja-poet in the rest of the time left for him to use the way he’d like; time that wasn’t much since he was in service for more than the usual samurai-warriors out there. A special warrior with a special treatment from the House he was engaged to protect.

- The same may be told about our still a Princess now, Empress-Lady then! The Wizard keyed.

- In a way, yes, Lady M. admitted. Only she had many other qualities developed. Yet she did find time to document and learn about him as well as from him, wanting to know how to train herself much better as a ninja.

- How did she do that?

- She always studied the enemy closely so, you must agree on this conclusion and know that this is the truth!

- Her family did have all the means to offer her the education level that would be necessary for her to become a successful leader! The Wizard tampered.

- Yes, now this is an area where you get either killed or kill yourself which is not fine for you! Lady M. retorted.

- Well, that was an unexpected great hit!

- A family may have all the means for raising a successful leader but if there is need for more, there’s need for more than just those resources. By the way: this gift-giving might be the revenge of God himself on his people not accepting some things that aren’t that bad in favour of wars and fights that are damaging the quality of their own lives but... A fact is that the girl was gifted by the gods, the kami have been very kind to her... And sciences now keep amazing the planet we left, making the ordinary human see how the kami inside and around the creatures of the planet look, how they evolve, each and every day. ‘You will eventually come back to me, the stronger ones reply to any attacks and liberation. Until they either become one with the strongest or they break into pieces for the many.

- How come nobody speaks of the existence of a Princess or Empress-warrior like the one we’re told about now, down there, on the planet we came from? Loouna asked with the voice-sound of somebody else.

- Perhaps you couldn’t find the right books to tell you about her existence! We didn’t write many about her, only a few. Perhaps they were kept as a secret, Lady M. replied.

- Children, it is getting late and tomorrow will be a great day for us so, please, do follow the guide to your rooms now. You will be told a few more stories like the ones told this evening, if you like, tomorrow, at the party organised after the enthronement.

- Will there be cake? The boy asked.

- We will have something delicious prepared for you, don’t you worry! Lady M. reassured.

- You know, Lady M. added after the children were far away into their bed rooms - well tucked in, sleeping - watching the girl and the boy falling asleep with her mind now, it is said that the Princess, when she was about her age, she continued referring to Loouna, committed something awful, a crime they accused her of then sentenced her to an awful prison-time.

- That was when she was five and then something else happened, if you would remember! the wizard supplemented.

- What else? You mean... She was abducted, replaced for a while then... She did act strangely until seven!

- Well, there’s your answer, the Wizard amused.

- Perhaps a single shot of sake was good enough for us to gather the necessary material!

- Perhaps!

They both laughed at their own silly thoughts heartily as they climbed down into the garden for a watch of stars.

- It is splendid a night! The sky is telling innumerable stories! One just has to watch and learn, to listen and feel...

-... or imagine! Wizard Angus spoke.

-... let us imagine, then! Lady M. proposed.

- Alright! Fair enough! Imagination never hurt anyone as long as one knew the boundaries between reality and fiction!

- It is well known that you always knew the words to defend your discourse.

- Myself included, Thank you. Angus paused then stated: You, also, are a lady who knows about self-defense mechanisms and are quite good at applying them.

- Thank you, Angus-san! She paused as well looking at the stars for a short while. It’s getting chilly, down here. Maybe we should go inside.

- As you wish!

- Angus, dear! I believe that we are too Old for any kind of fights. We are both tired and amused, perhaps, with all this situation, but I believe that the stars and stories of garden-romance should be left to the young to live.

- Always so Wise, M.! Always too wise for me to wish to completely adhere to your beliefs!

Lady M. chuckled silently; hidden inside, her smile was showing on her face under the form of a luminous glare, her entire expressive being shimmering with a form of silent laughter.

- Let us get some rest, shall we? Lady M. suggested.

- Let’s!

The night had its crickets make themselves useful to the Sleepless and through their serenade parties all over the darkened-slide of this planet. It was pleasant a feeling and lovely the smell of the rain that was to fall soon on the River of a Melting Spoon. Under the moons shining each in its personal brightness, as one could observe, the River was growing layers of lustrous silver warmed by the yellow light of that moon resembling ours too much not to get one confused at a first glance. Then, again, one may be very perceptive a being... If they got to know something from experiences of before!...

Morning came with the Grace of a refined dancer who’s steps can be heard only with the mind conceiving them, if a mind took trouble making life harder for itself; no mind would do that unless, perhaps, split and spilled. The children fell asleep immediately and so they woke-up at the crack of dawn easily. Preparations were made for the enthronement and for the feast after the ceremony. All the details asked by the Princess for her new people were respected at the highest degree.

- When will she appear, the Princess?

- We will learn to call her Empress from now on, Sam, dear, the Wizard said using a lower whispery tone. During the ceremony you are all expected to be mostly silent and follow the rules I explained to you earlier. Understood? The Wizard asked.

- Of course! Loouna agreed.

- Sure, Sam adorned.

The ceremony was held in the presence of all the kami-nigi-mi-tama that left the new world created for this very old renewed place where they were to lead a troubled world to the times of peace they were asked for as well as praised for.

In the light of three moons showing on the lightest sky of night Tsukiyomi appeared; nobody seemed to know who he was until the introduction offered with kindness by Amaterasu-o-mi-kami, herself.

- Please, welcome my beloved brother, Tsukiyomi-no-mikoto, the god of all moons, thus the god of the earthly moon of the world we left behind for our sons and daughters to reign over and lead to perfection. We hope in good terms, kind and gentle rewarding times our meeting, here.

- Yes, Milady, Tsukiyomi responded, his voice deep, perfectly holding his regrets of fighting her in the past.

- Remind me of telling you the story of Tsukiyomi and Amaterasu-o-mi-kami, sometime, Lady M. slipped to Loouna.

- Of course. Did they have an ugly fight? Her attitude and words are cold steel and his tone holds as a secret a deep regret! Loouna mentioned a couple of observations she made.

- He adored his sister and when difficult times happened to cross her ways, he helped her through, the wizard replied. But yes, they had fought in the past.

- The legend speaks about them being husband and wife for a while then having a fight and separating forever, Lady M. added.

- How can a brother be the husband too? Sam couldn’t hold back his thoughts.

- Isn’t that prohibited by a restricted law of nature? the girl lampooned.

- Yes, well, you see, gods and goddesses always know better. To them brotherhood means the same species. And the same species is the same kind.

- When he couldn’t be of the same species anymore he died for her and in her eyes. Their separation was brutal, cruel a tearing moment and they both cried when they had to say goodbye forever. Her tears were fire like, his, forming ice-lands and raising the waters, the wizard proved once more his knowledge of the unknown legends.

- Perhaps it wasn’t a matter of not being of the same species, their problem, but the very fact that they kept being the same kind, having each duties that weren’t making their marriage any good, the Old Lady explained.

- Perhaps, the Wizard agreed. Poor Susanoo! No wonder he was constantly looking for trouble! Always under the spell of the moon, always down there in the underworld! He must have hated both of them for such a courage to separate only to rule up into the High Plain in the Sky! the wizard spoke to Lady M. behind his hand. He couldn’t have had any other better idea to get himself out of the terrible task of reigning over the world of Yomi with his mother but the one of attacking the only one who seemed to have a weakness for her people; the one who could still feel love for the ones she shone her ways for, carefully.

- Yes, old friend, Lady M. acknowledged. Carefully she shone for the human race after her greatest cry, the one ending with the age of dinosaurs. That is precisely when her tears of fire destroyed a world to make happen the new world, the one of the humans who both impressed and disappointed her.

The ceremony was short and elegant. The participation of their new people, expected and much rewarded with the enlightenment of the spirit each creature needed. Amaterasu-o-mi-kami knew what to offer to each and every creature there; they gave themselves and their entire lives to her so, the fires burning in their hearts helped her guess well their secret wishes and accomplish the wishes of those offering themselves and their lives to her and her purposes only in all honesty. A few wished for all wars to stop, and this was highly rewarded by the Great Shining Goddess of the Skies. When the enthronement ceremony ended two of the guardians of their seas took their new Empress to a new ceremony held in their underworlds then up into the sky for a secret to all creatures enthronement ceremony.

Amaterasu-o-mi-kami took the people to the seas where they were to sing and pray, also bring offers to their new leader, some to be burned for the Lady of the Skies herself, Amaterasu-ōhiru me no mikoto, for being their light and their guide, the bringer of the light-blues of their skies, a miracle to them, the light of day - less painful times to spend brought both for those who still couldn’t accept her as their deity and those completely in love with her. The light of day they didn’t know before her, so, they worshiped her and the crops offered by the light she brought. A few rules she had implanted and some requests she had from her new people, all accomplished as they could see that their lives improved in quality and they not only had extremely good food to enjoy but energy to make wonderful things out of simple left-overs and uneatable parts of the same system and structure to bring them a life-style they didn’t remember having, not even before the heavy wars they were subjected to a few decades ago, only.

- To see our guests coming to visit us from far away, is my wish before we left for the third and last enthronement ritual of The Empress, up into the skies much adored by you! Amaterasu-o-mi-kami asked.

- Oh, much adored Lady of the skies, Amaterashimasu sume ōmi kami, we feel extremely honoured, the wizard bowed correctly, deeply moved by the honour the Fiery Lady of Divine Light and origin, made to them. He advised the children to take his example and bow with the deepest gratitude as such honour is rarely to be given to any human coming from a world the kami left in almost complete darkness.

- I hope I am not too daring, Loouna spoke, but I wish for my people and the ones I know and somehow fell in love with not to struggle through darkness for more than they need. Please, dear goddess, send an angel to them to light their path!

- You are one of the chosen, dear Loouna! You are one of the Children of the Light! It is you the one who will decide for a few of them when time comes. Remember child! Remember who you are!

In the split of a second Loouna could see herself in the presence of a few friends; a girl like her - a best friend, a boy older than them - a good brother and Sam who was like a brother to her, now. She could see herself travelling even more than before! then, up, in the presence of a few gods among which Tsukiyomi no mikoto, Takami musubi and Kamimusubi, Ama no oshoho-mimi, Ama no ho-hi and Amatsu hikone and two other deities that were holding their presence only as ghosts trapped in a memory (they both appeared as holograms sending messages helping them not to repeat the same mistakes they once made, although, Susanoo no mikoto kept looking for troubles, planning his escape for new fights with his sister, Amaterasu-o-mi-kami, he, being the only one who didn’t feel dignified with the honours of living up into the skies he always felt he deserved). A misfortune brought to the underworld of which hold, Amaterasu-o-mi-kami is willing to take through a sister of hers, here, in this new world. Wishing to lead a life in complete peace and harmony, she’s on her way of cutting Susanoo’s chances of finding and tricking her into another fight. It is the world where nobody fighting peace has access to! It is her fantasy world taking over any storming event.

So, she was a princess too, this girl carrying the name of the much loved satellite of Earth, invested with spiritual power over her people, without being aware of it. “- You have a sister and two brothers; and you’ll discover that an older spirit can bring you peace in a way that is the one of the fighters having only fun! You are a fighter too, only too serious a Child of the Universe! Come back to us each time you feel you lost your ways! We will be there for you as you were always there for us, spiritually!” these words being told Loouna got back on her feet standing straight in front of the goddess. All the people crouched fell in amasement. “- Take this gift from the gods and whenever you feel lost, in need of help or looking for answers, make use of, but use wisely!” Loouna felt a little embarrassed, in the beginnings, not knowing if this was a mistake, she had a moment of recognition of a position not too far away of the other kami, a state of being frightening her much. Being a kami was not how she imagined herself back on Earth. Her earthly decision taken, she kept working on becoming rightfully worshiped after her own peaceful ways developed and revealed.

Later that evening Lady M. confessed:

- All this reminds me of the story of a girl that was born in the wrong family; for the gifts given she did everything she could and tried to escape that prison in which she found herself trapped but then came the day when the menace was too great for her to bare with the shame that would have come after so, honourably enough, she committed suicide; it is much better than to degrade yourself in front of your people! If she continued living in dishonour people could and would have shown their contempt, to the light inside her: no show of respect; as the people is washing their hands off helping you in such situations, claiming that it was you the one who didn’t do the expected, the right or the wrong thing necessary.

- Sometimes we don’t have to know What’s right or wrong, we should only have faith! the wizard pondered.

- What if I expected from you to do things you shouldn’t - or wouldn’t be doing! Things that got you forced into doing worse? Lady M. hissed.

- There are ways of accepting a punishment and you know that, M! The Wizard argued.

- There are also ways of rejecting it, especially if not fair.

- Some people steal, some people just won’t but get punished for not doing so. Offering or letting something behind when you feel awfully embarrassed with what somebody does wrong to another body, can be an option. You leave them behind with what they did wrong to you, with the prospects of them paying for their doing which is not an option but the reason for their existence, a resort and a spring of knowledge and fiery love that can be as hurtful as right - also healing and protective when times and souls request it.

- I beg you,... Sam began asking for something but Loouna interfered.

- When did the girl escape from her curse?

- Some might say that it never happened but, due to some real heroes and a spirit not resting until all the ones who proved themselves worthy got what they deserved: a spirit bright and true, honest and strong, a spirit just but, at the same time, lonely... We proved ourselves worthy of who we are too, Lady M. suddenly let slip.

- So, she never actually escaped.

- There is nothing to escape. She was helped by the Kingdom of our beloved Empress back then! She is helped now... anything she might have done in the past, privately, was, is and will remain her business... If she did wrong then wrong she attracted, that’s the philosophy of this curse you’re talking about; not a very harmful one if anyone respected the same principles and values: but, some choose not to and find their people to blame and make a blame of. It is where I find that there is much work to do. It is there where we should always work for the better world we ask to make happen for one another and for ourselves to enjoy!

- A perfect combination is what you are talking about! the wizard guessed.

- Yes, that’s precisely what I was going for.

- Don’t you have the same impression, the Wizard whispered in Lady M.’s ear, that the whole world is spinning around us when things are quite different as we are very conscious of the fact that the world actually spins around our Empress!?

- Perhaps we are misled into ignoring the fact that we spin with the world as the world spins with us around something that is as mysterious as our capacity of remembering who we really are, out of the unexpected.

*

*...*

“How could you not understand him? It was obvious a choice made; it was obvious why you’ve been treated the way you never wanted, the way many your kind will find unacceptable. How could you let yourself dragged into this and why? What is your purpose now? What are you trying to achieve?”

*...*

*

A start was to be given in about ten minutes to the ceremony into the underworld; ten minutes sharp. From where she was, the restless soul of Loouna was kindly making the wheels of fortune and life spin. She fought a fight inside without letting a single move shown on her face. Her body-language, trained steady. She could see the entire scenery and the fight itself, amazingly cruel but wonderful, ceasing to exist after the first three gentle gongs announcing the start of a procession. The Empress was to be taken to the place where she’d be meeting her chosen husband; then the two would find their way to the temple for the enthronement ritual performance - done.

- Didn’t you say that she was not going to marry?

- Sssst!

The Wizard approached Loouna and whispered:

- These traditions are utterly respected, even if they aren’t always correct, they’re still correct.

- But she didn’t want to marry! It was against her promise to herself to dedicate all her life to the kingdom and nothing but the Kingdom!

- You will see what is to happen next time I take you here.

Loouna felt disappointed. Things weren’t supposed to end like that. For the entire time spent at the table with the generous tales-teller, Lady M., the Wizard and Sam, she’s shown concern. Visits were paid at the table of these four characters telling jokes, spreading memories about the Empress’s childhood and rumours about her choice of engaging into a marriage for the sake of the rules imposed by traditions. Unfortunately this upset Loouna even more, a thing that made her ask sharp-blade questions so they cut to the bone: - Is the Empress in love? Does the people care for the well-being of their leader as a reflection upon their own well being or misfortune? Was this marriage just another fake?

- Alright, Loouna-chan, you are upset. You should calm your spirit first! then I’ll try to respond to all your questions, Lady M. promised. Loouna calmed herself, indeed, after touching the gift given by Amaterasu-o-mi-kami before her and the New Empress took flight into the skies in the company of Tsukiyomi-no-mikoto and the new Emperor.

- So, you believe that there must be love between a husband and his wife! Lady M. approached.

- I should hope so! If it is for this brave Empress to sacrifice her Word given to herself then it should be for a good reason; and I cannot think of any other better reason than love.

- You are a child, that’s why you think things this way! We do have to speak about some details though, the ones describing how things should work for the people, as our leaders are supposed to be the highest mirror of ourselves. Their lives must reflect our lives here, on this planet or on another planet, if you like. There are orders to respect and rules to obey. Of course, the Princess might have chosen to play the rebel in other worlds but this cost her too much; now she knows what she has to do.

- Hmm... repeating a history... that cost her much in the past too! I thought this life will be better for her! the girl protested.

- It will, Loouna, the wizard calmed her. It will, you’ll see.

- You probably feel for her as the stories I’ve been telling you built a bridge between you and her personal being but you should remember two important aspects: the first one - You are not the Princess, you’re a different person; the second one - You are coming from a different world.

- The world-built proposed by you is the same as the one in a world I know, the one I come from! Loouna replied.

- You took the words right out of my mind, the Wizard launched in astonishment.

- How are we supposed to respect the highest mirror, Loouna completed, when there is prohibition of empathy and true understanding from your end?

The question amazed the old Lady who, for a short moment, didn’t know how to respond. The Wizard himself was dazzled by the frank and very well judged words.

How on Earth did she do that?’ The mind of Old Angus started moving the wheels of questioning and reason. ‘of all the Great Wizards in the history of the world I come from, how did I get to be the chosen one to witness such a thing coming from an eight-years Old!?

*

Time was playing with it’s gadgets and bits of time were doing the same thing only to make eyes roll-up again for that Arc-en-ciel everyone admires and studies; some even get to make little fortunes out of.

- How many will do for a wish to come true for everyone gathered there?

- All of them! All of them do, the Wizard spoke admirably while watching the sky.

- Yes! All these kites are sending the people’s messages to the gods, now.

- So do the balloons! They are messengers of our wishes! Sam said.

- Perhaps we should have one decorated and sent up there! the wizard proposed.

- Well, then, let’s do so.

- Here, make a wish, Loouna! Sam kindly offered a kite.

Loouna hesitated a little not being sure what to ask for.

- Ask for your Prince Charming to find you and be the lovely creature you’d love, dear, Lady M. daunted.

- I’m afraid that you are a little too revengeful on a child, the Wizard counter-attacked!

- I was afraid of that coming but I couldn’t help it! the woman smiled like a cat needing to test her freshly sharpened claws.

- Where is my kind Lady M., the one I always adored listening the voice tell stories to everyone and spread little gossips among her legend-share?

- You make me blush every time, the Lady bluffed palely pumping her freshly painted cheeks showing-off red into the light of the lamps above their heads.

- Why won’t we all imagine how would the perfect Man be for the perfect Woman? An exercise of memory to have some fun with?! oh, how the gods then mock us all, telling us how things really are! or, perhaps not... Who do you think knows?

Lady M.’s laughter was incredibly high pitched.

- Sam? What do you think? How do you see a Princess coupled?

- With a fool, Sam joked.

- That was awful, Lady M. scrutinized.

- You don’t understand me at all, Sam pouted.

- Okay... Okay... Don’t get too upset, the Wizard calmed him.

- The Prince should love his Princess more than anything in the whole world and be ready to do anything for her, the boy explained.

- I believe I know what I am going to wish for! Loouna spoke then released the kite that flew away rapidly.

- Well, that went straight to the heart of the sensitive young! the wizard up-brought.

- Imagine! A man doing absolutely anything to get the girl he wanted, the woman he wanted! Just name the price! Isn’t that mad?! Lady M. still fascination oozed.

- Yes, it is. It is mad and practically impossible a deal... Because that is what will guarantee his complete failure. Anything should not be the option. If the girl or woman accepts a man doing just about anything for her, no matter what, the world won’t accept that and they will still have to suffer for an act of betraying the laws and duties of the Universe! By this I mean that, as long as human in flesh and blood running through their veins, they are bound to human laws and one shouldn’t prevent themselves from reasoning and following some healthy principles of life.

- That’s rubbish, the boy protested.

- Perhaps it is, but it is the rubbish on which centuries of civilization developed all our worlds upon, United or apart, Lady M. cleared.

- I’m starting to see no difference between being united or apart, these worlds which can be sometimes disturbing! Loouna confessed.

- I wonder when did you grow your mind this great and wise, Loouna, dear, the wizard observed.

- I don’t know! It just came to me; I guess it is The Lady of the Skies and Light, Amaterasu-o-mi-kami ‘s gift that brings out the hours I spent reading books in my mother’s private library. I don’t know. Time can fly so fast sometimes! It’s strange though how, since we descended here, everything I’ve read makes more sense than it used to, she murmured.

- You know? A Prince Charming can break a heart or two, if the girl doesn’t pay attention to all the details and trusts her mocking gods! Lady M. sassed.

- I bet that this is another reminder of a story you would love to tell, perhaps a personal lesson? the wizard attacked.

- Yes and no. Perhaps I wasn’t quite on the right way, the old Lady tempered.

- Well, then, maybe we will be told the story of Amaterasu-o-mi-kami. How she came to be born and what happened after... the wizard wisely changed the subject.

- Oh, dear, that is such a great story, remarkable a time to spend telling but you see, I had something else in mind. As a matter of fact, I have another story to tell! It is about a very powerful woman I once knew and she was an exceptional being; a goddess, some say, others mistaking her for a Princess. It isn’t that she wasn’t a Princess but not the kind one would think she was, that’s all! Anyway, it must be the sake helping me now spread the word hastily as it always does; please excuse the runaway style I approached! This Woman - a very bright, exquisitely well mannered and trained in the art of speech as well as accurately informed upon any subject, making proof of being quite imaginative at times...- was an inspiration to me, my teacher, an example I chose to follow! Not in every aspect of her being, go figure, I didn’t know her that well and even if I did... How could I ever take that much? I was only a girl back then... It wouldn’t have been fair! And most certainly not decent. She also allowed herself dreaming of love of true and guess what? She found it, only when she finally met that one she believed she could trust she lost him for someone she thought better than herself. All Hell made Heaven fall down on her cheeks and, well, this broke her heart forever and for good, coldness replacing all sentiment...

- Wasn’t she imaginative enough for a recovery of a real heart?

- So, there is one Woman I mentioned earlier - a Princess among her kind - Lady M continued ignoring the wizards’ question, an inspiration to me and many other women and there is this extraordinary imaginative girl - sometimes playing the visionary if not becoming one under our own eyes - true; I don’t know for sure but this is how our nation described her in every book. The Woman in her was too broken to make such a change to a heart working perfectly right this time, so, she chose to be the one and only old-girl who could still do something with her life. What was that went wrong? Nobody knows but the great Prince felt betrayed, upset, and vexed by the examples she took as a new way to behave! Unfortunately he kept cursing her for his own lack of clear judgement and capacity of understanding - provoking her and the gods to a terrible fight - until he got cursed himself with his own words of contempt towards that Woman who was a good friend to him without his knowledge. It is interesting a story told around here, the Old Woman spoke, about this girl who’s Woman-soul too broken chose to conquer the world with her youth and spirit strong of the bright girl she always was before.

So, this is the Empress you’re talking about, right? Sam asked.

- Yes and no. It is a legend told about her by the many taken around here before ‘The great end’ down there, from where you claim to have come.

- But it is true! We did come from there! The place is real. We are real! Can’t you see? Loouna fought for her existence.

- Define reality, girl? What is real? Are we real to you, the ones down there? Are you real for them, now?

- Well, I can see and hear you, I can speak with you... We are having a cup of Tea and biscuits...

- And juice, Sam added.

- And cake, the Wizard winked wittily.

-... So... We must be real, the girl concluded.

- To ourselves and those willing to acknowledge our existence, yes, we are, dear Child.

- You are a very kind lady. Thank you for welcoming us to your home and sharing everything along with the legends and your time.

- Time... She puffed. I Have enough of that! Nobody is going anywhere, now! Plenty of time for me to tell our legends and stories.

- It’s been a most wonderful time, the best in quite a while, actually, the Wizard declared, and as usual, the best of times move one quickly towards devastating endings. My heart almost feels crushed on how hard it is to say the word goodbye. It is a good thing though that we both know this is not our last encounter.

- We’ll meet again, the old Lady agreed, under more comfortable circumstances. Then I will tell you more of this world and we will enjoy some time in my extended garden.

- We thank you kindly, Loouna earnestly bowed using a perfect tone, the perfect bow, for a girl her age and her position.

- Thank you, Sam bowed courageously quick, just sketching a mimic of his new sister, a gesture making Loouna’s heart laugh introspectively. She liked this child! He was the brave heart she felt she could never be due to her attachment to some habits and customs which was the bridge of great respect. Unfortunately, nobody is more dangerous than that, a being, when not respected at their turn.

Returning to the House for a good-night Sleep, the Wizard hoped for a nice time watching the sky in the garden, alone. A well-deserved bath, then a quiet time only for himself. The children longed for the same bath-time, wishing to fall asleep quickly so they refreshed their beings for as long as possible.

The night was good to them, showing interest in every aspect of a need their spirit might have had. Their dreams accomplished while asleep they awoke in a reality in which it was safe to live a wish: a dream with no nightmares to be told or heard, revealed, felt - It was over! No more nightmares, only the great living of a truth that proved itself not harmful; there’s no more suffering in the world, dear Princess! There’s no more pain! A distant knight of darkness was waltzing this irony on his spying spot in a dark old dungeon of a palace, thin and bold, black and strongly advantaged by an architecture allowing its black birds to find shelter or hide in need. Everything there to explore with the mind not with the soul; everything to fight against only with the strongest spirit by your side, a blade, a guiding light, a star and some light-bug I am not going to talk about now, since I projected nothingness on them. We sent you with them, remember? We are the stars that were great! we lit, we died, we lit again the candle of our inner-selves... You couldn’t do the same or if you did we would not care nor bother for you; until you showed us better, until you taught us well. Be it the ways you can, but make it happen again and see What’s coming next!? the very upset and ugly politician inside grinched then Loouna killed that Grinch with her mind, Sam imagined. Or was it quite the other way around, a time when Sam did nothing else but the kill with his torches and thunders coming out of his light-sword? Oh, well! Since it was his dream, he could dream anything he wanted... Sometimes he was looking-up to this girl he started seeing the sister he missed quite a lot - the resemblance was striking, at times. Times when he just couldn’t believe what he was seeing in her and what she was capable of.

*

Please, make things work well, like before! Allow me, please, allow me to make the changes, those changes for that better world! Give me the strength, the power to work it all for the benefit of an entire nation of fools that we always were! We’re proud of being who we are! We’re proud of being who we always were!’ a voice sang softly in the darkness complimenting an open light source: the window pane.

*

**

- Let me help you with that wound! There! It’s all good, now!

- What would I do without you?! he asked, gratitude lighting his face gracefully.

- You’d fight, like you always do! Like you always did... and you’d defeat death!

- Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure of that? How many times to trick death?

- Remember when we first met? she asked.

- Yes, he smiled a warm light surrounding him.

- I asked to train me to become a warrior like yourself. You were hurt back then too but you took care of your wounds yourself!

- You tricked me with your beauty, he joked. I couldn’t see what was coming... he coughed.

- Have some water, she said. You shouldn’t play jokes, now, and make my task of saving you a more difficult one! she scolded.

- I’m sorry. I just couldn’t have tricked death on that particular occasion if it weren’t for your help. You were good at fighting even then, before I appeared. You saved my skin.

- We saved each other, she remembered. Meeting you was the best thing that happened to me! Ever since they chased me away from the palace... she staggered. On the other hand, the woods haven’t been too friendly to you either!

- Yes, that is true, he confirmed laughing at a memory. Remember the thousand litanies that followed your first request of getting trained by me?! They both tried hard to turn their laughter into simple smiles. Some tears too, if I remember correctly, he teased.

- I beg your pardon! I did not cry! the woman denied. True, I had watery eyes but ‘did not cry! she gasped with dignity then smiled. I didn’t like being treated like the poor defenseless girl I was, that’s all! She said in a mild tone.

- I am sorry to have made you feel that awful.

- It’s okay, now. All that, forgiven. You did accept to train me and now I am as much of a warrior as you are!

- I dare say you’re even more of a warrior than I am. A very much more skilled one.

- Oh, rubbish!

- Well... you didn’t get hurt in this last battle of ours.

- But I did in many of the others! You were there, by my side just as I am here now for you! We’re comrades.

- True, the man admitted. ... I love you, kiddo! Stay safe... always safe... he mumbled before setting his eyes to sleep.

**

Another day on the road. They left the old Lady M’s house early in the morning, against the custom, leaving a note attached to a farewell gift of reconciliation. ‘Her sons and daughters were happy to serve the Kingdom. I wonder what happened to them.’ the wizard thought. ‘I wonder if we...”

- I still have questions regarding Amaterasu-o-mi-kami. Who is she, where is that she comes from... we weren’t told her story... the legend behind, Loouna interrupted the flow of a thread of thought the wizard gave permission to find surface up to his consciousness.

- Me too, Sam added.

- There is a lot to tell. She is a legend herself, the wizard supplied.

- I see... may we listen to you telling us a few things about her?

- You’ll learn about her, you’ll see. I will tell you more during lunch, the wizard promised and so he did.

“One legend says that Amaterasu-o-mi-kami was born of the primordial couple Izanagi and Izanami; at her birth Kagu tsuchi, the god of fires, set his mother, Izanami, on fire sentencing her to death. So, was, for the first time in the history of mankind, brought pain and suffering to Earth - this time, when the beautiful and very loved Izanami died. Another legend also speaks of Izanagi and Izanami - the two most important of the seventh generation of celestial gods - creating a home island from where they gave birth to all the gods which are named kami - appear; there are kami for the waters and mountains, for plants and animals, even for feelings, emotions and abstract thoughts. Amaterasu-o-mi-kami is said to be born the first from the drops of water-falling from the left eye of Izanagi purifying himself after descending to Yomi to recover his wife, Izanami, who, in this other version of the story, was killed by Kagu tsuchi at his own birth; he was late though, Izanagi-no-mikoto, so, he couldn’t bring her back to life thus leaving his wife to live in the underworld, a Queen of Yomi, the place for the ugly maleficent kami. It is said that the great god cried and suffered many purification cycles called misogi or cleansing rituals. After Amaterasu-o-mi-kami was born, there followed Tsukiyomi who was born from the drops of water falling from Izanagi’s right eye. A third important god, Susanoo was born from the drops of water falling from Izanagi’s nose.”

- Very interesting, the birth of gods! Loouna observed.

- Indeed, interesting and very important. Without them the worlds we know wouldn’t mean anything.

- Are you sure? I find myself very important, with or without the gods, Sam spoke.

The wizard laughed heartily: - You are a very clever child, Sam!

Loouna joined their healthy laughter. She felt inspired by this legend and noted down a few words in her pocket-notebook; words she never spoke of.

- A small journal, perhaps, is what you keep? the wizard inquired.

- Something alike. They all rose and prepared to leave the tavern. The wizard paid for the meal and they left.

- You have the mind of an evolved twelve years old girl now, Loouna, although you’re only eight. How do you feel?

- ... Older than I am, I suppose... I don’t know. It is as if I were like this forever.

- I see...; you feel as if you recovered your real self, am I right?

- Pretty accurate, yes!

- Around here, girls like you grow their minds and inner selves very fast. Sam seems that he recovered his true self too.

- You bet I did! I don’t want to change back into the frightened little child I was!

- You will have to go back home though. As a matter of fact... this is where I’ll be taking you: back home. Sam protested:

- But we feel...

- Happy? Somehow at home? What about your sister, Soley?

- You have a sister? the girl dazzled.

- Yes, I do. She is older than me...

- Here we are, the wizard interrupted. I’m sorry but you will have to concentrate a little on this passage then, after we’re through I can take you back with the power of my magic.

- How come you didn’t use it at all here, on this island, your magic!? Sam wanted to know.

- My power is limited. On these grounds I have the magic of a three-years old playing with his dad. That would be me playing around and being considered ‘cute’ or ‘funny’.

- Now why don’t I believe that, Loouna hovered above.

- Because... I cannot use the power of my magic on grounds like this. It is prohibited and I respect that. I have to restrain myself from applying any magic here if I want to give myself another chance to set foot on these grounds ever again. Besides, there was no need. The code asks us, the wizards, not to use our magic unless necessary. And for our trip there my magic was unnecessary so, I made no use of it.

- Cool code! It made us go through a mined field, put us to real danger!

- Oh, stop whining, Sam! We learned our way through. Ma’ak and Flo’eek helped us well, do you remember? the girl scolded.

- Yes!

- Now, let us travel with the speed of light! the wizard said creating a halo with his powerful magic.

The two Guardians from the Lunar Seas offered as helping guides to the wizard by Amaterasu herself, were waiting for them steadily on the shores of the Fifth Moon of J. The hammock ready, the children climbed-up for a luminous travel; one glimpse of an eye and back in her garden Loouna was, no trace of the wizard or the boy named Sam. - I trust you sent him back to where he belongs! Loouna murmured.

*

*...*

“They know nothing about real dangers and problems; they only depicted such things in their works. You can’t have them punished for doing that! Especially if they’ve been trying to help a soul or two on their road towards incredible success and glory!”

*...*

*

She was heading to the schools’ library for some paper-work to do when she noticed something hounding around the place. It seemed more like an animal than a human being. She startled. Eyes open wide she scrutinized the surroundings: it was Dante, the head-master’s dog. For the very first time he brought his pet there, letting him play with the students. Soley was in a rush; she couldn’t stop and play with the dog even if she wanted to. Postponed for the afternoon a quality-time spent in the company of man’s best friend, she headed to the library her heart filled with high hopes and joy. There were two things she loved that were about to happen that day: one was to finish the work on her paper, a thing she looked forward to for about a week now, the other one was playing with Dante. All the kids wanted to play with Dante and every time they had the opportunity to pet him they did. The only thing that wasn’t planned for that day was a third and unexpected event which was about to change the meaning of her entire existence - she was about to make a friend: a real friend.

- You dropped something, a brunette girl said.

Loouna was already sitting in the library, noting down ideas on paper when Soley joined the table. It was the spot indicated by the librarian; the number on the card matched the table and seat.

- Hello, thank you! Soley responded bending over a forgotten out chair for the piece of paper she dropped.

- Hi, Loouna faintly smiled then got back to her work. Noticing the pile of books chosen by this gold-blonde, white a face with rosy-cheecks girl, Loouna remembered: - Let me guess, you have a study and a paper to make for professor’s Kruger’s class!

- Yes. you attend his classes too?

- No, not really. But he is one of my favourites around here.

- I don’t quite follow.

- I don’t attend any of his official courses yet but some of us attended his underground classes.

- Underground classes?

- Yes. Not many know of this. I was invited by a friend - it was outside this camp - only once a month when we are allowed to go and explore the city and the surroundings.

- You say it was?

- Yes. They cut his financial support for his independent classes and he had to quit his little programme. But, he managed to influence some minds outside this school too. People with taste for higher education and thirst for reading good works and who love doing the thinking.

- Just like us! How on Earth did I miss that?

- I don’t know. Perhaps it was that much of a secret. We were all asked not to spread the word among the students here, anyway. I am here for quite a while now. Next year we are going to have him as a teacher. I hope he is as exigent as I remember him.

- He is!

- Good. Loouna winked. At the end of her study she pulled out her pocket a chocolate bar and offered it to Soley: - Here! To stimulate your brain a little. Have fun!

- I am, Soley smiled feeling that she had made a friend.

The rest of that day was shrouded in the light of friendship and love. Dante proved to be very playful. In no time they created a bond the girl didn’t expect this strong which made her feel good about herself and this place she’s chosen as her second home. This new school proved to be tough, in the beginning. She had no friends here and people seemed to ignore her, in the first few months. It felt horrible not to exchange ideas and thoughts, an opinion out of the books they were studying. It felt awful to be a student here. A winter back to the orphanage, where she could see her little brother and her friends changed the bitter taste of the first months at St. John’s. But times like that fly in the blink of an eye; too soon, much too soon the winter holidays over. She dreaded going back but this only until now, when she met Loouna, this friendly younger girl who was inspiring a lot of confidence and happiness. She loved attending the courses here but she also missed her brother and the nuns and she kept thinking about her friends back in the orphanage. Sam was still educated in the orphanage’s school - getting out too soon was not an option. He had to study there harder to be accepted to the classes of the same prestigious school, a thing he set his mind doing. But, being a little busy with the World of Fantasia - he and Loouna visited on a second encounter with the wizard - a world for which he constantly trained himself, he sometimes forgot how important study was in his world. He wasn’t as flexible as the girls in some aspects of learning and switching worlds complicated things for him, but he kept being extremely good in sports and coaching. Following his sister’s example he kept thinking how to train the children in the orphanage to levels that would help them become very good at what they were doing. A couple even participated to local contests and won which set the trainees on a professional path immediately as investors were there to watch and take away any talent they might find. The nuns felt horrible to let one of them fly at a very young age but kept the door opened to him and prayed every day for the little one who never forgot to mention the nuns and the orphanage that was a dear home to him. He even mentioned Sam a couple of times until he was taught other ways by other trainers and coaches.

Time was flying fast when there was a lot to learn, many paper-works and projects to do. One day the two girls, who soon after their first meeting in the library befriended, got accidentally pushed into a boy Loouna immediately recognized - it was Matt, the son of her mothers’ new friend, a man that started visiting them for quite a while now. Loouna liked him - the man was more of a father than anyone else she had met - but she met only a couple of her mother’s co-workers who came both with their wives or girl-friends to some of her mother’s parties. She always felt awful among them and very sorry for her mother. - I don’t know how you can take this, mother! They feel like having so much fun together, at times, and you look so lonely those times! - Well, it is better than not having anyone around, don’t you think? - Maybe to you! To me, the two are a couple of jerks, one of the two being too proud of his infamous behaviour to flutter it in front of his wife; the other one, a liar and a cheat. He flirts with you and any other woman behind his girl-friend’s back. - It’s their way of behaving, Loouna! They are joking, most of those times! - Couldn’t you find two better people to hang around with? - No, not really. I have no time to make friends. - So you ended with these two and their love-birds! - Alright, I’ll stop inviting them. - I bet that it wasn’t even your idea to invite them here today! I bet it was one of them, the chatty proud one. Mother didn’t say a word which to Loouna meant a lot - it meant she was right. Silence sometimes says it all and yes, the two kept inviting themselves to little parties organised by their picks. Soon though Loouna’s mother had other fish to fry thinking of starting her own business so, she stopped being so friendly with the two and more preoccupied with learning the information, developing the skills needed. Not long until she discovered she had it in her blood; she only needed to focus more on her real goals and forget about the chit-chats with people not getting her anywhere near her aspirations.

Back in school Loouna was beginning to think about having a group of her own - Matt was among her favourite picks; he was a funny clever young man with whom she could have a decent conversation, a good enough reason to include him in her plans. Soley proved to be very trustworthy and someone in the presence of whom one can become smarter, feeling comfortably encouraged to bloom. Sam was about to join their school. She could see the title of their group written in capital letters The Four Incredibles or The Nobodies You’ll Miss! But what were their super-powers? Were they ready to fly, all of them? Were they ready to explore the world of magic like she and Sam did? Soley was still unaware of her little brothers’ journeys to Fantasia or to the New World. It must have been revealed by now but, since Sam didn’t say anything, I’ll keep the secret until the moment is right, she decided.

*

A warm welcoming place where she was able to find the one she always wanted to be. This is how she felt now; a little bit in love with the line in opportunities passing by. Loouna observed them all with the coldness of a mind that learned from the hardened rock of a heart how to be kind and generous without feeling ridiculous or stupid. It was hers, the gift of warm kindness creating dependence to another human, she believed - she learned, though soon from others as well as from deep introspection and search that she was partially wrong. The world was beautiful a place to explore and she could write about everything with the ease of someone who always knew the whereabouts and the custom.

*

Comfortably settled in his humble little house the wizard was reading a book when something appeared to be prowling his house. he opened the window and concentrated his senses on the sounds of the surroundings. Nothing moved for the price of five seconds. Then an owl caught her prey, a small defenseless animal. - I must be imagining things, he said to himself. He was about to close the window when a raven barged in. Tied to his right leg a rolled piece of paper. - It can’t be! We just left their world! Something must be wrong. He rushed himself into reading the note. - Just as I suspected! Something is not going right. Was Susanoo’s fault again? did he manage to escape the world of Yomi or was Tsukiyomi’s influence the one that brought to despair the Empress and her new kingdom? In a split of a second he brought Loouna and Sam together for another adventure, this time on the very grounds of fantasy of the lands they were inhabiting.

- Where to, this time? Sam asked.

- We will have to go to Fantasia C., the region under the command of Lady Cigne and King Seurrat. This domain is part of Fantasia Creator.

- How many Fantasia Worlds are there?

- Well, we all live in the Great Fantasia, United. Here, I’ll show you! The Wizard pulled out from a dusty drawer an old map, one that had drawn the chart of the great Fantasia divisions on.

- It is drawn by hand! Loouna enthused.

- That’s what makes it so valuable. Here, You see? The Great Fantasia United is formed of Fantasia Creator, Fantasia Minor and Fantasia Max.

- I see. Look, each of the three is parted into other three lands! the girl was fascinated.

- Yes. Fantasia Creator is formed of Fantasia H., Fantasia A. and Fantasia C. Fantasia Minor includes Fantasia La Tour, Fantasia Spogulis and Fantasia Laudae; and Fantasia Max is formed of Fantasia Inceptio, Fantasia 3L. and Fantasia Extremis.

- A lot of fantasia happening here, on this map! Sam observed. Look, there are some people that are moving on it!

- Yes, it can also show the movement of the population in its entirety or the population you wish to know of, learn news or observe. In this case we are looking for the status of the population in Fantasia C. There we can find something that we need to lead us to the mirror.

- And is that what we are looking for? Loouna asked.

- I cannot tell you but one and only one thing: we must find the magic mirror of Amaterasu-o-mi-kami. It’s a mirror of truth, lost by an emperor some time ago. It is said that she has an entire collection of those on all the worlds she conquered with her beauty. To find this mirror we must first find the brass cocoons. They will lead us to the mirror. It is one of the mirrors that nobody knew of, nobody had an idea of being lost - but, you see, it was indeed lost.

- So, we are going to look for a magic mirror? Then let’s go for Fantasia C.! Loouna enthused once more.

- Leave the mirror, Loouns! What about the brass cocoons?

- Actually, we are going to Fantasia C. only because there is need of the brass cocoons in Fantasia Spogulis where I believe the mirror was hidden, the wizard elucidated. These cocoons can make the mirror shine brightly and show us where it lies hidden. They also shine brightly in the proximity of a magic mirror, for each kind a different brightness and colour of light.

- I thought that the light is always white! Loouna dared to stand correct.

- Not necessarily.

- Look, there is a giant mirror on the map of Fantasia Spogulis! Sam indicated.

- Yes. That is because it is the world of mirrors, the wizard cleared. The mirror you see is the main attraction in this world of mirrors. Now, since we are looking for a mirror from another world but which could be used as an example for répliques, I thought that Spogulis was the best place to look for what we need to return to the Empress so it found its rightful place in the shrine dedicated to Amaterasu-o-mi-kami. Where else better to hide a magic mirror but among its kind? Where too many of the same kind more confusion, thus a better place to hide something, right? the Wizard asked.

- True...

- I have never heard of the brass cocoons. Sam insisted. What are they?

- Well, they are what their name speaks... cocoons, the wizard quickly solved..

- Oh, that settles things up. ... This mirror must be really something! the boy replied.

- It is. As I mentioned before: it is a magic mirror, it has powers that if unleashed by the wrong person can bring a lot of pain and suffering into this world. Some of the Yomi creatures would love to take hold of this mirror. It’s like a bridge between our world and their world.

- So, it can do a lot of damage? Loouna concluded.

- It can also do a lot of good. It depends on who beholds it!

- You mentioned the Yomi. Does that mean we have to go there? Loouna asked.

- Good Lord, I hope not! The mirror got lost by a trader who couldn’t see its real value right here, on these grounds of the Great Fantasia United. We will have to travel through the woods you didn’t have time to look into and learn a few things. There are worlds you still don’t know of, little worlds that help us adjust to their sizes and measures and great worlds that would crush us like little bugs even if they knew who we are, so the proper adjustments will be done, when necessary.

- You mean like Gulliver?

- Or Alice?

- Perhaps both, the wizard chuckled then handed them both a map. - Here! You will have to learn how to read such miracles! Your world is all about digital maps that adjust things for you, helping by reading your exact position; now the reading will be done by you and you only. Prepare your brains! You will have some thinking to do.

***

Deep into the woods, close to the completion of a third of the first half of the journey taken in their search for the magic mushroom, Loouna, Sam and the Wise Wizard kept finding objects that seemed to be interesting but of no use to them: a tea-cup with elephant legs, a flower-pot with changing ornaments and a candle on a stick that actually proved to be very useful keeping them warm by night and enlightening their path.

- The magic mushroom we are looking for is the one that can give us the necessary strength to climb the mountain where the great Annui - the angel who changes names once three decades - lives. He, also can be found only with the help of the brass cocoons - they have the gift of showing the way to almost any magical object or creature. They never fail; their indications are extremely accurate.

While walking deeper and deeper into the forest they found a place where a great old mossy rock looking like a giant man, was lying, surrounded by little rocks of various shapes and dimensions. The two children immediately started analyzing it with the curiosity and amazement of the age they represented being this also the first time they saw a rock like that. Sam dared to climb it too for there seemed to be something hidden under one of the arms the sleeping rock-man was holding crossed.

He climbed all the way there carefully, checking every single side he could exploit for a safe reach to the destination. He was right. Under this rock-man arm there was something hiding and he wanted to get that object appearing to be a little box - Well, little compared to this sleeping-petrified giant - under which’s arm he hoped to find something interesting or, at least valuable; who could tell? Maybe the magic mushroom was inside! That too would have made him very happy as they were walking for hours now and he expected things to go easier. But things didn’t go that easy on them - at least not as easy as they wanted. In fact they got a little dangerous and complicated as the moment the boy touched the ‘little’ box the giant rock-man quickly opened his eyes and began moving in a dry morose mood.

- Don’t touch it! He grated the words.

Sam almost lost his balance. Loouna jumped like a ninja - a thing that was unusual to her since she couldn’t remember learning skills like that - and grabbed Sam’s arm to help him climb down quickly and safely as the giant rock-man was raising from his thousand years Sleep. Down at the bottom of the rock-figure rediscovering the pleasure of straightening the heavy-body of stone covered by lichen and moss, Sam enthused:

- Wow! Where did you learn to do this?

- I don’t know!

The Wizard himself was a little amazed but kept silence. His amazement redirected to the moving rock that was taking a deep rock-ish breath watching the surroundings as if remembering everything from distant times, checking for the news. The box he was holding, put in a safe place, the giant returns his watch on the humans daring to wake him.

- Now, let’s see! What on earth possessed you to try to take away my box? He asked in an almost jolly way, being very conscious of the greatness of his being and the weakness of his visitors. - Oh! But where are my manners? We should first introduce ourselves. Oh, wait. I need to change my outfit a little, he spoke then started cleaning the moss and lichen that appeared to be itching which felt a little amusing to the children.

- Well, I can see that you still find me very funny a thing! He observed.

The two lost all trace of a smile.

- No, sir!

- What do you mean? Am I a dry poor thing only because made of rock?

- Oh, no, sir! I didn’t ... We didn’t mean that!

- The girl only wanted to compliment your sense of humour, sir! Actually, it came so naturally that you should feel more than amazing a creature not losing a bit of your qualities during the long Sleep!

- Ah! A Wise Man knowing how to address the greatest rock alive on these grounds! Am I right? Or have you met any greater before?

- No, Mr... Pardon me, I didn’t retain your name, the wizard confidently addressed.

- That’s because we didn’t have the decency to meet and greet properly. Call me The Rock. Some refer to me as the Magic Rock Man but Mr. Rock would be just fine.

- What’s wrong with a little bit of magic from time to time?

- That has too much to do with humans like you, The Rock Man dismissed, and usually it brings no good to a fellow like me!

- Really? You get that affected? the wizard asked a bit sarcastically.

- You really don’t know your power, the rock man almost thundered watching the Wizard with the eyes of all the menacing stars he showed empathy for during centuries; the Wise Wizard swallowed a node in his throat in the most discreet way. He knew his size and weakness: on these lands he could not fight a creature much Iike the one standing proud before his eyes which was all wrapped in the strong kind of a magic he couldn’t break unless breaking himself too, a thing of which he was aware not being fond of; but he could join them, the rocks, for tea and a good conversation.

- Pardon me if I offended your soul. I tend to forget that under your mighty strong shell there is a spirit uniting yourself with everything else carrying the magic and beauty of this world!

- Very well said! Now, let’s see! What were you looking for, Child, when trying to snatch my box?

- I... I... I wasn’t trying to snatch it, ... Sam defended himself, I was only... I didn’t know you were sleeping, I mean alive...I mean...

- It’s okay, don’t be frightened. Would you like a cup of tea? Mr. Rock invited.

- Tea, in this wilderness? the Wizard grasped feeling a little impressed with the early proposal.

- Of course! Where else a better cup of tea? Boys?! He knocked three rock heads and they came to life. Hello my little fellow companions! Do you remember how to make a tea?

- Tea? what kind of tea? one of them asked in a grazing voice.

- This hour a day? the asked one outraged.

- What’s your problem with the hour? The hour is perfect! The second rock-fellow spoke. My problem is with the times!

- The Times!? What do you mean the times? The first one replied.

- Times, hours, days... The same thing parted in notions for you to have fun with, as always. The third rock-fellow spoke then quickly turned to the great Rock Man. We do remember how to make a good tea, master!

- Good then! Go and bring some for me and my little guests here!... and behave!

- Is he going to make us chew the leaves of tea? Sam whispered his question to Loouna.

- Don’t be silly!

- Well, then how are we going to drink it? Do you think they have cups? They don’t look like crystals or porcelain-people!

- We’ll see!

- What are you looking for? The giant rock-man asked?

- We were looking for The Magic cocoons to help us find the Magic Wings of Annui.

- Mmm... magic here magic there... Whom for, these wings? Someone you love or care for?

- Someone we hold dear too, of course, but also a creature we are in debt to and who made great sacrifices for us and our Kingdom, powerful and magical a place to be kept as before.

- When did we become servants of the Kingdom? Sam whispered into Loouna’s ear again.

- Sst. She shushed him with an almost imperceptive gesture.

- Why are you still bothering with the study of these ways? You already know them! Find something else!

- Hum... I’d rather learn from every experience and keep myself well calibrated and connected to what’s being said and done around me, the wizard confided.

- Ah! Yes! Well.... If that brings you so much happiness! Me? It tends to make me sad and that shows pretty well on your face too at times, but it’s probably my imagination playing tricks on me!

- You are growing yourself wonderful a friend, Mr. Rock Man.

- This place is influencing us! Our selves empowered by everything we admire and hold dear to! Loouna murmured.

- By things we train ourselves for, don’t you think? Sam replied.

- Trains... uuh! I love them! the Rock-Man amused.

- I am not sure! Right now, though I’m sure you’re right.

- You are the best sister for this trap, you know this!? Her uneven smile left him with a bitter taste of regret for going this far. It was just then when the rock-fellows came back bringing tea on plates of stone holding saucers of stone where a few flowers holding sweet nectar rested. The hot liquid was kept in ‘capped’ cups also made of stone.

- Wow!

- Whoa-ho-how! How is this possible! I never expected to be served Tea in such a way! Sam showed his enthusiasm.

- I Have to praise your ways of serving tea myself too! Perhaps not having the same great value of a sincere reaction which speaks more honestly about what’s naturally impressive but still, I feel defeated by the unexpected elegance of this material allowing us to enjoy a civil moment most appreciated by our race!

- I’d feel more flattered by such grand words if I didn’t agree with you! The children’s honesty defeated your highly appreciated manners. So, Mr. Wizard, you mentioned the Magic Cocoons, the Magic wings of Annui... any Magic Mushroom which brings back to life any creature?

- Yes!

- And whom you just wish to rescue from the chains of darkness and eternal death? he then shivered with horror at an idea he’s expressed - Darkness in death.

- I don’t know about darkness in death... Not necessarily only darkness there, you know? but that depends on how each of us sees death.

- Don’t tell me that you believe there can be all about perfumed roses and the love of gods!

- I am afraid that we will have to leave our pleasant conversation for another time since the cure of a mushroom must be found so we awoke The Fawn.

- The Fawn? You mean the Princess’ Fawn?

- Yes! The very one and only Fawn in the Kingdom! You see, The Fawn saved our people’s lives! We have to return the favour!

- So, the Princess needs some help. What happened to her?

- Not to her, god forbid! It’s the Fawn that fell sleep!

*

*...*

All the dead were jealous at her and for this they paid with lots of suffering: “I told you that hatred hurts! I knew and told you that stupidity comes with hatred of the good and that envy and greed is what makes people suffer more than anything in the world. Fight all those devils trying to tempt you into becoming ‘a normal human being’ be good and try to be the way they are, will you? O just get mad at what was unfair to you and other people so you found your place at last.” She fell asleep, her Pen in her hand. Inside her mind, the factory of cells producing new brain cells to help this child survive her first real idea of a book. Paris was about to help her through those awful moments when the stars rebel and tell her she was not good for them: but, oh! The favours they’ll be doing to you, dear Child! The favour! If only you knew, how lucky you are to be able to live and write and do what you want, what you love, fall in love with and be the one you want to be, the one you are! If only you knew how lucky and loved you are not to get too high, too soon! Enjoy your life before it ends in a way that’s too cruel.

*...*

*

- Who is this Princess of the Fawn? Sam asked later when away from The Rock Man and his little fellow friends.

- I am more curious about the reasons you had to lie to The Rock Man, the girl roused.

- Oh, I didn’t lie. We do have to awake the Fawn. You see, The Fawn will take us to the Princess’ cocoons which happen to be the brass cocoons we’re looking for. It is my belief that some creatures need to know less and do more. The Rock Man is one of them. He is a kind spirited fellow but his kindness and naivety can spread a word or two and bring-up some enemies and we wouldn’t like to have enemies in our way - the people on these grounds surnamed her Princess Fawn. She is very fond of her Immortal Fawn too. And us, all grateful for the magic he brings from a world we know almost nothing about.

- Really? You, the great wizard, have little knowledge of a Fawn’s world? Now why don’t I believe that!? Sam fluttered.

- Because you know yourself too clever, the wizard answered.

- So, you didn’t tell a lie still the entire mission we have remains shrouded in a mystery that does not exist in The Rock Man’s head, Loouna observed.

- I mentioned her only to make him show us the content of his treasure-box and lend us the little map he holds inside. Now you know that this can also help us find the cocoons!

- I suppose the other pedlary he had in the box were magic objects? Sam asked.

- They’re all magic, yes. the Wizard confirmed.

The map guided them well, showing the shortest way to the Magic Mushroom of All Clouds and Other Worlds, through the woods, enchanted or not. - It is said that it could turn anything into what a pure heart wanted and it could bring-up to life the dead, the Wizard explained. They took each a small portion of what was given to them by the Mushroom herself who proved to be quite a hospitable Lady. A little bit chatty, she kept them as guests for a whole earthly hour which, to the wizard, seemed to behave like an eternity there, inside her humble but extremely elegant and richly decorated home.

They had a good time, the children, being invited by the Mushroom’s daughters to play The Game of the Lost and Found. Using magic with each and every occasion seemed to be a reason of pride taken on living life up high for these strange creatures. They also invested the two guests, for the price of their time spent there, with special powers which allowed them both to fly and fight like the fairies of the enchanted forests do. The wizard wasn’t very happy with this but he showed no trace of his real feelings. He politely followed the custom of the house in order to take the magic portions of a mushroom they needed, being convinced that he will be given the right amount for the strength the three of them needed to climb the mountain.

- It can also offer special skills for a certain period of time, you do remember?!

- Yes, I do, Mrs. Mushroom. Any side effects?

- No trace of anything like that. You will miss perhaps the superpowers but nothing else.

- Alright then, let us go back on our road! Children?!

They left the house in deep sentiment of regret, the two young souls. To them the time spent there was too short a while. The wizard, on the other hand felt happy to leave. The road to Annui’s house was a long one to take and dangers were not excluded from now on. They had to be careful, that’s why the wizard allowed them both to have a small bite of the mushroom soon after leaving Lady Mushroom’s house. It was the Seventh Enchanted Forest the one they were heading to when a monster appeared to scare the three daring souls. The One-Eyed Giant feathered-Lizard skinned Pig-Face Man chased them away to King Lehorn’s orchards. They were very scared so they looked for and found the shortest way out there in such a rush that the monster felt puzzled. The apple-trees surrounding the orchard also helped; waking-up they threw apples and pears at the Giant who rapidly swallowed the fruits then slumbered.

- That was... well, cool, Sam enthused.

- It was, wasn’t it? the Wizard accompanied. King Lehorn’s orchards are enchanted. He is a friend to us, the wizards of my kind, and always helps with anything we might need. The enchanted apple-trees that are guarding his majesty’s orchards allowed us to pass through but immediately noticed the danger, attacking thus the Giant.

- I love them, these trees! Loouna declared.

- Are their apples eatable? I mean... for us.

- Yes they are, Sam. We won’t die if we ate an apple of theirs because our intentions are good. Those with bad intentions though... well, let’s just say that they might be found by less nice days on them.

- So, they don’t get killed, Loouna asked for reassurance.

- Nobody get’s killed on King Lehorn’s lands! But they do get the worst days of their lives if they prove to be on the evil side. You know, sometimes being kept alive to live something nasty can prove to be the heaviest burden to carry, a punishment not many have the courage to try. This orchard is renowned. That Giant must be one of the poor innocent ones that weren’t taught about these places. He must have been either confused or untrained.

Night was almost there, falling like a dark curtain filled with stars, covering the magic ball of a fortune-teller that was keeping secrets from our travellers. - Why didn’t you give him enough money? a crystal reproaching voice she heard. - Why didn’t you tell me I had to pay more? another one retorted - He? You mean the fortune teller was not a woman? the third one asked for clarification. - You learn how to behave on your own! From now on I am not speaking to you anymore! the first figure pouted. - Hey,“Tinker-bell”, think again! You might just dislike to make me upset with you! the second one menaced. The sun was taking a peak at the heroes of the new day to come when the Wizard and Sam woke-up Loouna.

- Come on, sunshine! We should leave these grounds as pleasant and safe a place to spend the day and night this would be! the Wizard invited.

- Oh, alright! May we have a few apples on the road? the girl asked.

- I already asked and picked a few apples! Sam informed. Also a few pears and peaches. We’re good to go!

- Peaches?! this time a year?

- Yes! There is a tree there that makes perfectly ripe peaches. They come out the night before the start of each month, a day of sunlight makes them go ripe and that is the first day in each month, then they are kept perfect until somebody decides to have one or two, depending on the needs. We got three, one for each.

- What happens if nobody has any until the first of next month?

- They simply vanish and new ones come out! Cool, right? Sam pleaded.

- Yes...

- They are rare, you know, the Wizard added, these peach-trees, enchanted and miraculously nourishing. We might just use their super-powers for the next challenge.

- Ah! I was so sure that I could have a bite right now, Sam pouted.

- You can, child! In fact, you can eat it all now! The super-powers will be kept inside for the moment you need to make use of the strength and magic they offer.

- Wow! Did you hear that, Loouns?

- Ah’um! she responded absently. Was she thinking about her dream? Was she wondering about those voices in her dream? Were they real? were they some of those creatures you meet later? One voice was most certainly familiar but she couldn’t say which of the three.

- What’s going on, Loouns? Sam asked.

- I had a strange dream in which I heard a few voices quarreling. They were crystal-like each of them but I could sense the difference in their timbre.

- You might like to take a note or two on those little voices, Loouna, dear? Are you still keeping a journal? the Wizard bantered.

- Yes... I still do that! she responded with no satisfaction. I’ll keep things in my mind, for now. We seem to have little time for my journal pages to be written on right now!

- That is accurately true! Well, ... here we are! From now on be very cautious; careful and silent! as silent as you can! These woods are the most dangerous of all we passed, the Wizard warned. The children followed each instruction and the three travellers almost passed with no trouble at all the world of the naughty dwarfs. They were almost out of the woods when they heard a sound in the bushes. A viper addressed to them sinuously, using a too kind tone, the nicest words.

- Hello, kind souls coming from great distances. To what the honour of passing these dangerous grounds.

- Beware! It’s a viper! Sam jumped a foot away.

- That is most accurate, the viper admitted. But see, I wouldn’t be a viper now if a good wizard would be kind enough to return to me my true self, the appearance of who I really am.

- And who might you be? the wizard asked.

- Are you a wizard? the viper inquired.

- No, I am Tinker-bell under a peculiar spell of a witch that had nothing to entertain herself with but these role-changes and fake appearances.

- Oh! Here we are, thinking ourselves worthy dear Eli, the viper yielded. Now nobody will save us from an unworthy life lived as a serpent that proves to be also a poisonous and dangerous one, he sissed and hissed ominously.

- Eli? You said Eli? the Wizard demanded confirmation. You most certainly don’t speak of the missing Prince Eli, the nephew of King Lehorn!

- Oh, but that is precisely the one I am talking about! It’s him who I am! How did you know?

- Oh... you know, people talk and I have the long ears to hear, the Wizard confessed. Oh, well... I will look for a wizard that’s good enough for your ‘rebirth’, lovely Prince Eli, dear! I one am only an old retired apprentice of a very good wizard, he lied, true but one who’d never share his powerful knowledge with anyone. He took his secrets to the grave and now I find myself in no position to help you. But I know that a few miles away, going that direction, there is this house of an old witch that might be helpful to you.

- No witches, no witches, please! I do not trust them. Besides, if any witch I might need to meet I’d be forced to help her and add to her witchcraft which I have little intention of doing. They will not help me. They all love me poisonous and troublesome; all of them are the same. Many times I was asked to perform (that is to “donate” venom to their causes) and never was I able to decline their wish and escape. Each time they made me do this favour then released me into the woods to “refill my fangs”. I know the witch you are talking about. I helped her once; now I’m afraid of making any step outside these woods you can find me waiting for travelling wizards like yourself to appear and rescue me from this burdening curse, old wise man!

- You are too kind a creature! We have to find a way! You say that we can find you here! Well, we will. At our return we will find a cure for your... “situation”, the wizard promised his fingers crossed, but when he wanted to retreat and leave he stated that they were already trapped by a group of thieves. One reached Loouna’s satchel, grabbed and plucked it but since nothing of value to their eyes inside they tried to get their hands on the boy’s bag, the wizard being of no interest to them as they could only see him as a poor old man.

- I knew we couldn’t trust you, ... “Eli”, the wizard tampered.

- Oh, I am so deeply hurt, the viper taunted. You see? I’m shimmering and trembling with emotion, with fright and sadness.

- It seems to me that a witch already took advantage of your venom’s power.

- She did, the viper admitted speaking in resentment, hissing through it’s closed large mouth.

- I hated you in the past, dear Eli. That is why I never liked helping you. I hate all traitors, you should know!

- Oh, my heart weeps, the viper taunted once more. Oh, dear friends, please, take me away from here, I cannot endure this tampering of an old and almost forgotten wise man! hes spit with spite.

The wizard, tired of playing these games, made use of his magic powers and made himself and the children disappear from the woods. They reappeared in a place that was as safe as the night in a long magical day, the time when you can do what you please because only you and the stars above, the angels you want by your side, will ever know what you’re doing. In this case the angel was an old friend but very young woman who proved to be a sorceress, only she was a good one; a witch working with the powers of the good, she was titled, trained in the arts of both white and black magic, fighting against the dark powers along with her friends as our Wizard here. This appeared to be an onerous job to do in the eyes of the two children who expressed their thoughts immediately after learning about their mission.

- Isn’t it an eternal fight, the one between the evil and the good forces? Loouna observed.

- Yes and no! It comes through waves. Sometimes we manage them right other times we lose a little ground to their favour but always, always gather forces and fight for the side of the good magic.

- How do you choose between evil and good when cunning creatures like the serpent there, in the woods, learn their ways to telling a good lie and get believed? Sam opposed.

- You, yourself, covered the truth in terms that were deceiving or misleading sometimes, the girl noted.

- That’s a craft everybody should learn for their own protection. When you deal with cunning entities and the wickedness of a soldier on the other side, the side of darkness, you must learn their ways so you can protect yourself and the mission you have.

- I don’t understand this darkness as evil grounds ... I mean, sometimes I simply don’t see it that way, Loouna confessed.

- That is because there are good things that can and are being developed into the darkness too and you, my dear, are an innocent kind creature. They sometimes get born there, into the darkness and grow out beautifully, the good sorceress responded. The forces of evil though, when they see such beauty they try to steal it or destroy it and turn into ugliness everything that doesn’t resemble their putrid souls. They like to take good care of their shell’s aspect but never grow something beautiful inside their own selves; they are eaten from within and tortured by their inner-ugliness until they become nothing but ashes and sad cold dark sands scarring children at night and spooking their beloved pets.

- Let’s not scare our children here, Sabine, dear.

- Oh, I’m sorry. Sometimes I get carried away by story-telling and clarifications of the sort.

- One will never be able to completely clarify what happens in these wars against the dark-side we re engaged into! the wizard explained.

- That is very true, the sorceress admitted. Oh but where are my manners!? I will have something to be served to you in a minute. You must be famished. Then you’ll get a magic potion to help you with your quest. No, don’t tell me what your mission is about! The less I know the better. You know me, dear Angus!

- Yes! You know, Eli tried to trick us into giving him his human form back; that is if the viper was Eli indeed.

- Eli, the King’s traitor-nephew? Oh, he is a snake, alright. A rattle-snake. Be careful with those. I put a curse on him once: to turn into a snake forever if he dared to even think of betraying the King. So, the curse activated the moment he told himself the plan.

- Oh, so that’s what actually happened! the wizard chuckled. Tricky viper, the one we met. I wonder what their plan is, now.

- Maybe the viper you encountered is “my old ‘friend’, Maroon”! I put a curse on him a long time ago too, the same kind of a curse. He joined a couple of muggers some years ago and the gang grew in number and strength. Still, they are afraid of dealing with me so they avoid me and this place. That’s a shame sometimes since their venom is quite useful. I prepare some of my antidotes using viper poison; it works for my magic potions like nothing else! Now, every time I need their venom I have to go deep down into the woods and look for one. It is unpleasant a thing not to be visited by any viper these days! Maroon must have alerted all his kind in these woods to keep the distance! The wizard chuckled and so did the sorceress after finding her potion.

- Ha ha! Here it is! My Magic Potion. Use this if you need to heal a wound or climb like a spider on great walls or bring back to their senses a fainted human being, like yourselves. It can also be used to blind your enemy but, for this you will need a magic spell. Angus dear, my guess is that you remember the very spell.

- Oh, yes! I remember! Thank you very much, dear friend!

- You must also accept a tonic and this stone of protection for the children. My intuition tells me that your mission is not an easy one and that you are going to need a field of protection that is strong. Why not double it?

- We have nothing against double protection, do we, children? The children still in shock with the encounter with the viper and the gang of thieves were more than happy to accept a field of protection against all evil.

- Is it permanent? Loouna wanted to know. I mean, it will be active for as long as we carry the stone, will it?

- Yes but for stronger effects against any ambush or other types of attack you will need this spell. She carefully slipped the note containing the magic words into Loouna’s right pocket. Just keep the stone in your hand and say the words. It will activate the full power of the stone. It can cancel an attack and chase evil powers away. It can also purify any being possessed by forces of the dark.

- We are thankful for your generosity and much appreciate the helpful precious gifts offered, Sabine, dear friend! To be honest, I missed such generosity and care!

- Here, have a few snacks for the road too, the kind sorceress offered.

After having a bite to eat, the precious useful gifts all thickset safely in their pockets and satchels, the three heroes left the house of the sorceress, the children, with a little regret for not spending a few more minutes there; they liked this sorceress - she was obviously a kind spirit and they loved the way she behaved and spoke.

Half of their journey was led in peace - two nights spent in two villages visiting a couple of friends of the wizards’: the Friendly Mud-Man and the Crystal Dwarf, the only ones of their kind that were friendly towards the forces of good being accepted by a population of human beings living in Fantasia C., protecting the villages with their powers and knowledge on some of their enemies. They sat and spoke about the latest rumours, unravelling the mysteries in memories long forgotten appearing to be lost or left-behind forever. The three travellers were about to leave the grounds of the Crystal Dwarf when they met an army of Lemon-Men. In the beginning the three thought they weren’t a target but, after being drizzled by lemon juice and addressed to as food for The Lemon-Men brains, the three knew they were in trouble. The stone in Sam’s pocket offered protection to the children and the wizard against the lemon-juice drops falling down on them which helped all three save some energy and pass-through the acid lemon-juice-rain. Loouna asked Sam to give her the stone and used the magic words thinking they were dealing with something from the dark-side but things proved to be put in a different key. The spell didn’t work which made Loouna complain a little:

- I don’t understand! Why aren’t we saved from this army? Why aren’t they chased away?!

- That must be only because they are innocent creatures, confused, not making the difference between a real enemy and harmless pilgrims, the wizard elucidated. They must be driven by Lord Lehm, or Doctor Lehm as we used to call him in the past. He ordered attacks on anyone passing his gardens! - So, we should have taken the other way the map indicates.

- No! That path is an awful and most dangerous one; longer too so, it was out of question! We will have to blind them for a while with a drop of magic potion and run through as fast as we can. I am afraid I cannot carry you with my magic on these grounds but we can try to run together using the magic powers of the gifts given by our nice sorceress, Sabine!

- Of course! Loouna pouted for the price of a second then she took a deep breath as they blinded the army running through it. But some, in an excess of sourness, fought the potion and lost going juice as if a squeezed enormous basket for the greatest lemonade ever made.

The grounds were soured with the juice of lemon dripping from each heart of a Lemon-Man, some leaving a seed or two others having nothing to leave behind. Feeling drained they all ran the opposite way compared to our friends, trying to regain their strength. After passing this trial the three took a glance behind and saw how on the ‘battle field’ an orchard of lemon-trees began to grow. The wizard used his magic once more creating a field of protection around himself and the children. Doubled by the magic stone’s protective powers they managed to escape all the armies of citrus-men that came in their way, their juices and citrus-spear-leaves rejected by the protective fields.

- You wouldn’t believe from whom I have this strong-magic power of protection-field!

- Well,... aren’t you going to test us?

- It is from the Princess, up in that new world we visited the first time we met. She is the one who played the role of a mediator and asked Amaterasu-o-mi-kami for a favour: to be able to repay me for the favours and the help offered on our lands with the fight against some dark-creatures trying to get their hand of her Jade-Stone-Figure. She has that magic stone from a distant relative she loved a lot - they were soul-mates and it was given when they had to separate forever. She offered a gold statue with ruby-eyes and nose of Jade. Her distant relative created this figure, appearing to be a dancer, made of jade with diamond eyes and ruby ears. They both had fun for the last time on the expense of their gifts appearing to be a little funny then they shed a significant amount of tears that were gathered and kept together in a jade bawl one that is hidden from any mortal or god that might want to use it for their own purposes. Once a moon-cycle a procession is organised and celebrated the time they spent together for the last time before their separation. The tears are told to be able to give life to any object be it something that used to be alive or something that never had anything to do with life as we know but this can happen only when one of the two decides to use the power of their tears collected and kept together. So far none of the two felt the need to pay a visit to their tears-reunion that is one eternal gathering of a water produced by the deepest and purest sentiment of love for one another.

- Why did they have to part?

- Well, Loouna, dear, it is just like that time when a child grows needs to get a life of their own and leave the family crib. The Princess chose her way. This relative I am talking about, a loved brother and a real warrior, decided to stay on the side of that family helping her in need. He could see the resemblance in character and spirit with the Princess he learned about in books quite a lot, acknowledging her as his sister in spirit. He even dared to train her and teach her a few ninja tricks to help her escape from any danger but he had to follow the rules he always applied to his heart; he was as loyal to his helping family as the Princess was to her mission of protecting her people for as long as they were leading a life for themselves and their people, on their grounds and even in the after-life.

- You are not talking about that ninja she admired and informed herself about, the best ninja she ever fought against and almost lost her life in the battle, are you?

- You have a very good memory, Loouna, dear. It is precisely the ninja-warrior I am talking about.

Oh, here we are! The house of Lord Frezzia.

- Lord Frezzia?

- And who might that be? Loouna asked.

- Lord Frezzia is the lord of all flowers and bees. You might prepare yourselves for all sorts of snacks and treats made of and with honey - some say that he acts like a honey-maniac but we all know that he is a very good-hearted man, offering as much of his production as nature will allow him. He is a dear friend of mine so, behave and enjoy his offerings.

- I feel like a goddess already, Loouna amused.

- You should, dear! You should, the wizard reassured.

Up in the house of Lord Frezzia things were all humming with peace and calm happiness. There was a lot of patience, this giving hope for the best, if one injured or afraid of anyrhing. It was not the case for our heroes, nobody got injured and no one felt afraid anymore but there was still a lot of adrenaline active in their blood and the children couldn’t enjoy more the amazing honey-treats offered and the hot calming tea.

- So, Lord Frezzia, how are things going for you and your lands?

- Not as good as they happened to work in the past. You know, the golden age still haunts me, showing to me how little I’ve accomplished compared to my parents.

- You are putting a lot of pressure on yourself, my friend. Remember that those were different times. We went through an ugly war with the army of orcs sent by Argoston only a decade ago.

- A decade! Time flies so fast when peace installs for the precious while we need to recharge our inner-batteries, doesn’t it, Angus?

- Yes... So, you are preparing yourself for a new war!?

- Everyone takes precautions and secretly prepares for the worst. Argoston declared war to the World of Fairies only a few days ago. It’s starting, Angus! He has prepared himself for this fight with us for the past decade.

- This is not good. Not good at all. We might try to ruin his plans of destroying the fairies world in our way to Princess Fawn! Children, what do you say?

- You’re going to meet Princess Fawn?

- Yes, Lord Frezzia.

- Oh, you will have to be very careful! Very, very careful! It is said that, at the base of the mountain in which she lives, there is a magic field that electrocutes any single creature moving on a range of five miles. She used the powers of five sorcerers to create this electric field that actually killed a few people daring to try to climb the mountain or penetrate the secret cave.

- When did she do that!?

- Well, not long after Argoston declared war to the Fairies.

- Oh, Good Lord! Does he want all fantasies to be dead?

- It seems that this is what he’s looking for.

- Well, he will most certainly get in trouble. We are not going to sit and watch him destroy our beloved worlds! Are we, children!?

- No we are not! Sam enthused. We are going to fight him and punch away his army. Then the Princess is going to have the magic spell lifted and the field will never kill a creature again!

- The children seem to have no idea of who Argoston is and of his powers!

- No, they are innocent creatures thinking that a battle against Argoston is easy to lead! We’re going to need to gather all our forces. Oh, if I knew I would have asked for more magic potion and for more of that magic mushroom. Don’t worry. We still have a few of those magic peaches and plenty of apples to make an army fall asleep.

- I am afraid that a couple of peaches won’t do, Loouna, dear!

- Who said that I was talking about a couple. Here, have as much as you need! She pulled out the magic ball offered by Amaterasu herself in the New World and opened a portal. - I discovered it can do this when we fell in the trap of the viper. I almost opened a portal when you decided to use your magic so I closed it immediately. It can read minds this magic ball and it can fulfill wishes. Mine was to escape those thieves. It opened a portal to some sort of a castle, a very strange place filled with children of all ages. We could have find shelter there, I’m sure but ...

- Why didn’t you say that this gift from the Brilliant Lady of the High Plain in the Sky fulfills wishes?

- We could have saved so much time, Loouns! Sam reproached.

- I... I didn’t know I was supposed to give away the secret. Anyway; no task seemed as serious as this one, that’s why I decided to tell you about the power it beholds.

- Oh, I believe that it beholds more than just this power, dear Loouna! It’s okay! We all make little mistakes. It would have been nice to know about these powers earlier but is nice to know of them now too. We might just use it to teleport ourselves directly to Princess Fawn’s palace.

- Alright... I didn’t think that far. I guess I was too much of a child, hoping deep inside for an adventure. I feel like a coward now, taking a step back and thinking of using the ball’s powers to escape the adventure.

- It was given to you to ease your ways. Allow me to advise you well: Use everything you can to escape all dangers. Now let us find our way to the maps that can show us the best places for an ambush against Argoston’s army. Lord Frezzia, I am afraid we are going to need a few of your killer bees... quite a few, the wizard fathomed.

- I’ll send an army with you and prepare three more to surround the army of Argoston. The Land of Fairies is going to be saved! This time I am not going to lose a sister and best friend!

- The Queen of Fairies is your sister? Loouna asked.

- Yes! It is the second sister to rule the Land of Fairies. The first one died in the last war.

- Oh, I’m sorry to hear that! the wizard consoled.

- It’s alright. I somehow feel that she isn’t completely gone. I feel that her spirit has guided me ever since and inspired me to do what I’m doing. Some of our little projects caught life and began to work well. If times of peace will continue we will be able to have a new Golden Era in about ten or twelve years.

- Which is delightful, the wizard said. Now let’s move to the libraries.

- Of course. Follow me! Lord Frezzia spoke.

They went through a long corridor that opened new spaces right before their eyes. The labyrinth was so well made that after a few turns where new rooms opened the children felt they were lost.

- Do not worry. As long as we follow Lord Frezzia we are going to find our ways back, right!?

- Of, course! Now let’s move a little faster. I want this battle to be won tonight and the war over, sooner that anyone would imagine such a confrontation prepared, Lord Frezzia reassured.

The library was one of the most impressive in the entire Kingdom of Fantasia C. The children felt impressed declaring it was the most beautiful in the entire world.

- Just wait until you see my Fairy-Sister’s or Princess’s Fawn Library! It is the greatest and most spectacular one could ever imagine. Do you know that both of them have little wings to the service of searching for the books you want? They look books for you then they bring them to you carefully. Nobody has to climb the impossible to reach levels. One has to simply sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea after they asked for the books or maps or other material they need. The material you need comes right to your table.

- Don’t they ever get confused? Sam inquired.

- No. One is given a number for the table they are assigned then they ask for the books they need. One little Fairy is checking for each book you ask for then selects the necessary pairs of wings that are assigned each a book. You just sit and watch them fly to you, the books you want. They are always very well organised, always! so there is never a confusion made, ...never, he smiled.

- What about your library? How is that you get your books brought to you from those heights?

- They are all enchanted, each coming alone when one writes down here, in this register-book. It’s a gift from the Crystal Dwarf. He donated a few books to our library and taught each book to do the same. In the past my books were carried by bees. Some still are: the very old and frail. But the other ones just climb up and down the leathers you can see and this does only good to them.

- It keeps them in good shape! the wizard wittily added.

- Exactly! Some have been rejuvenated after a few steps taken up and down.

- So you don’t use bees for this particular search the wizard wanted to know.

- They have other things to do. Three of them are permanently kept here, in the library where they feel comfortable with anything they might have to do. They are tricksy little creatures that caused only trouble in the hives so I keep them as guardians of this library. They’d die for this place. I’ll have them bring us a map that never moves a leg up or down these leathers. It argued that they are very dangerous and that I am being a selfish little creature to take away my bees for other jobs than carrying books and maps around here.

- Oh, they can talk? Loouna expressed great interest.

- All of them but only when necessary. The vast majority prefers to keep the silence and let their contents speak for themselves.

- Wow, the children enthused.

They kept studying and planning their ambush; the Wizard wrote a few notes to Sabine, the Mud-Man, the Crystal Dwarf and a few more other friends one of which was the Mirror-Man and another Gaemon, the King of elves, Prince of Fantasia and Lord of the haunting spears. They were all asked to send their help against Argoston’s army devastating a few human villages in their way to the Land of Fairies. Their answers were prompt, all of them wishing to participate to the battle and defeat Argoston and his army. By dinner-time all the answers were gathered in front of our four heroes. A third of the army of the Mirror-Man was sent to meet the army of bees of Lord Frezzia. Gaemon also sent a quarter of his largest army, the one of elves to add to our friends army.

- We might also use the power of flowers, Lord Frezzia proposed. their pollen can make them sneeze or even cry a little. It sometimes acts like dust in their eyes.

- It does, doesn’t it!? the Wizard chuckled.

- We can also use an army of honey-bees to drizzle a little honey on them; some might just turn around and change... Loouna proposed.

- I suppose you think of the human-like creatures, the Wizard stated. I am afraid that the other ones are helpless, my dears Loouna and Lord Frezzia.

- Well, there is this rumour spread by the gossiping creatures saying that quite a few extraordinarily gifted humans were promised our lands and palaces, our castles and little worlds in exchange of their services. We might turn around some of them and show that we aren’t that bad, that we can fight too, even with resources that aren’t usual weapons.

- We could pour a little honey on all of them, Loouna spoke. This way they will be slowed-down and the ambush would be successful.

- Sand becomes gluey and sentenced to the ground when honey added, the wizard observed.

- That is an extraordinary idea, dear! Lord Frezzia applauded.

They slept well despite their thrill and excitement, all of them taking benefits from the best honey for sleep in the world. Lord Frezzia had something for everybody.

- Jasmine Honey! The best for a good-night sleep! We need to gather our forces and be fresh tomorrow.

- What if tonight the army you sent wins the battle? Sam asked.

- What if it gets defeated? You sent them to start the fire now, the girl took a guess.

- No, I sent them to spy on them and see what we needed. By sunrise the bees will be back with very useful information about their location, their composition and number and about their plans. A bee or two will ask the help of some flies. They are more likely to accept flies than bees around. We have a history with these creatures of the dark.

- Well, let’s get to bed now, children! the Wizard urged.

Jasmine was kind to them. The Queen of Jasmine Lands offered the perfumes of her flowers and calmed the spirits for the best night-sleep they ever had. Loouna couldn’t remember a day in which she woke-up this refreshed. Her mind was working in all levels lucidly, from the deepest to the highest of her existence. She felt strong and revitalised which brought a lot of confidence to her. Sam was feeling the same. Even the Old Wise Wizard felt a couple of decades younger which was quite necessary since the army they were about to fight against was greater than they expected.

- So, he was actually planning to go further and invade all our worlds! The wizard expressed loudly his thought. Loouna dear, I am going to ask you the favour of opening a portal through which to have a watch at the enemy. Then you will have to help us with the action of surrounding it.

Loouna gladly helped. She opened the first portal so that it helped them learn about the enemy’s position then she closed it and opened another one not very far away from the place. Some soldiers and sentinels were sent into the woods too. from this place she opened portals to every single spot that could surround the enemy-army and defeat it.

The battle started with a scream: a fairy was kidnapped so the fairies alerted every soul on a range of ten miles. The trumpets were screaming, the whistles were whining and their voices were crying. But the kidnappers weren’t to get on the run for a far away distance taken. It was too early in the morning to realize what was happening when the armies of the Crystal Dwarf and the Mirror-Man, sent to corner the enemy, fought the kidnappers forcing them into a release of their victim. She flew up into the sky and disappeared behind the few clouds, the poor young thing, being afraid to come down until the battle was over. It took a few hours until Argoston got alerted and sent a few more troops to fight our brave heroes. But in vain! They got surrounded too as Mud-Man and the army of elves were on their position, expecting this reinforcement to happen. He happened to be immune to any attack, immediately regrouping and reorganising, recovering himself right under the eye of the enemy every time an attack parting him. Argoston became more and more angry. Mud-man and his little men made of clay and earth were starting to get on his nerves. They were many and quite a few got invested by the good Sorceress, Sabine, with the strength they needed to fight an enemy and powers of recomposing beheld by Mud-Man himself. None of the little mud-men nor the clay-men on the field died, if they had to, without taking with them at least one member in the opposed army. The elves weren’t doing any worse - they killed as many bad-dreams and nightmare-creatures as they could with their magic arrows and their enchanted knives. Even Eli the viper and his serpent-friends joined the army of white magic. They didn’t want to be subjected to the army of evil: - one little mistake and they were killed. The army of good, even if sometimes blamed, would punish them in ways that were easy to accept; they’d still be alive and able to lead an existence that would make them proud of themselves. Things were going quite the opposite on the other side. The light cast upon a banished creature would cause them no honour and put them to unimaginable dangers. Furious with the news on the battle-field, Argoston launched into the battle himself involving his last resources. Unleashed, his powers caused great damage to our heroes army. It was then when Loouna decided to use the magic ball offered by Amaterasu-o-mi-kami; With the power of her mind and the one beheld by the magic ball she managed to blind the enemy and drag their army to the finish line; they couldn’t resist. Some of them grounded by honey, others chased away by the light, the dark sands disappearing the same happening to the new adds to the army of Argoston. The magic ball, in the hands of this girl was inspiring and helping the army of good to fight in an amazing way. Driven mad about this new add to the side of white magic, left alone to face the infinitely greater army than his, Argoston made a promise while disappearing into a portal he created for him and his personal guards to escape: - I will be back! This world was ours! I will conquer you, soon! But three decades were about to pass and no sign of Argoston. He plunged into in-existence never to be heard of again for the time mentioned.

*

The brass cocoons

The healthy laughter of the two children was rushing through the corridors of Princess Fawn’s palace. They were unravelling memories of their battle against Argoston. The Princess invited to a feast all the warriors; a private party was organised for her and her brothers and sisters, each a Lord or Lady of Fantasia C., some creators of new worlds others Princes and Princesses, Queens and Kings, strong leaders of the regions of Fantasia. The Lord of Fantasia Spogulis was invited also, along with his three Daughters, Princess Maya, Princess Hellena and Queen Sibyllia and their two brothers Prince Lethon and already King Meyeshan.

- The world of Fantasia is deeply moved by your kind gesture of fighting for us, Lady Loouna. Here you will be always welcome to stay! Princess Fawn spoke in deep gratitude the morning before the feast.

- We shall invest our beloved guest and saviour, Loouna from the upper world, with the rank of Lady of Sunshine for she blinded the enemy and used the powers of daylight to chase the enemies forever, Lady Richtopp’s voice covered the grounds of the great room. As she protected our Great Fantasia United with a field of energy greater than any other fields any sorceress ever managed to create, she will be always welcome to our homes and to our lands and domains.

- If I remember correctly it took five of our best sorcerers to create a field of that kind only to protect our little world, hidden in the mountain, Princess Fawn kindly reminded the gathering.

- Yes, this is true. We understand that you don’t want to reveal the secret of such powers handled to you so we will not interfere or try to lure you into sharing your secrets with us, Lady Richtopp followed.

- I’d prefer not to, yes! Loouna admitted feeling a little embarrassed but also encouraged by the Wizard to speak so.

- We will respect your wish and humbly accept your help every time you will be willing to come to the rescue, Lady Loouna, princess of Sunshine.

- I am deeply moved by your words and humbly accept the titles you invested me with!

- You will be given a land where you can have a personal home built, Lady Richtopp continued, be it a castle, a palace or any other form of construction you may think of owning. Right now we have no such place built but our friends here, the Mud-Man and the Rock-Man will do everything that stays in their power to create a new land for you and then to help with the building of your Fantasia Home.

- You will have to choose the region of Fantasia you like best, Lord Frezzia completed.

- I am afraid that the little Lady here hasn’t seen all the regions to be able to tell which is her preferred area, the wizard informed.

- I will go with intuition, she decided under the watchful eyes, and ask for a place that is part of Fantasia Creator, a land that connects with all three main regions Fantasia H, Fantasia A. and Fantasia C.

- That means you want something in the middle of all three main regions, Princess Fawn concluded.

- A place connected to all the three main Fantasia Regions already exists; It is named Fantaisie and it is situated right in the middle of Great Fantasia United. I am afraid that you will have to choose the upper-side of Fantaisie the place where I and the King of Great Fantasia United live, dear Lady Loouna, Lady Richtopp said.

- That is alright. It feels like a nice place where I can lead a life in peace.

- Right now it is all surrounded by water, our beloved home, Fantaisie but with all the heroes promised an island created by our beloved friends and subjects collaborating with Fantasia Inceptio I am afraid that we will lose some Waters, Prince Lethon showed concern.

- No we are not, Lord Magnus-Sakar interfered. I am afraid that I forgot to inform you, dear Lady Richtopp that Lord Parriss-Gravenna and Lady Jasmine-Gravenna have given their lands in the waters surrounding us to the Mighty Knight of the Red Dragon. It was brought to me early in the dawn, he handed a roll of paper.

- And the Red-Dragon Knight is going to accept those territories? Lady Chantique from Fantasia 3L. asked. Please pardon my hastiness in reaction, she bowed immediately.

- Well, he does need a place to train his newest acquisitions; he has a couple of naughty little creatures to train so they become good guardians of our Fantasia H.

- What does the H. stand for, Loouna asked the Wizard.

- Historica... or Horrifica, he winked back at her wittily. Loouna restrained herself from laughing a thing she found pretty hard to do.

- I feel that there is a little adversity against our brave knight, Lady Chantique! What is the matter?

- Oh, pardon me, Lady Richtopp; I didn’t mean to cause any feeling of that kind. Far from me the idea that the Red-Dragon Knight did anything wrong.

- I see. So, everybody O.K. with the idea of having a couple of dragons trained by our brave Knight of the Red Dragon?

- Yes, a choir of voices sang in resignation.

- Yes, a lost from the choir one slipped a belated acceptance.

- Alright then. Now, back to our hero of the day, Lady Loouna, here with us... Oh, yes! Where are my manners?! I forgot to ask, Lady Richtopp spoke using a sarcastic tone, Is everybody comfortable with the idea of rewarding our hero here for saving us? Is it okay if we created new land for her or you’d feel like donating one of your own?

- I’d gladly donate mine, the Wizard offered, but I am afraid that it is too little a place for the great save she did. If we added to the existing land a little though things would seem fair.

- Angus, dear! If I didn’t know you well enough I’d say that you are trying to get rid of your beautiful land!... which is about to become greater since it was you the one who brought the children here, collaborating with mysterious forces that always helped you favouring us and our lands and seas.

- It is away from my thought to escape these beautiful lands. The two islands you kindly offered to me are more than sufficient for my dreams, beloved Lady Richtopp.

- Then you will not be upset if we added a third one and enlarge the main island with a couple of acres. Of course, our friend and hero here, Lady Loouna from the upper world, will be kind to accept to be your neighbour. She will have a land of her own, an island large enough to behold her palaces that will be built as per her will. Her plans, if any, and wishes will be closely followed. Now, let us visit Princess’s Fawn gardens, dear Lords and Ladies, friends and family of noble kind. By saying these words Lady Richtopp made a sign of her hand opening the large gate taking to the gardens of the palace. Princess Fawn was kindly invited with an elegant gesture to show the guests the way. Silence was beginning to be loud after a few steps taken on the corridors.

- These walls have ears, did you know? Lady Richtopp winked at Loouna and Sam, then exchanged meaningful looks with the Wizard. Fifty steps later, out in the garden, the silence that kept haunting them was broken. Lady Richtopp spoke:

- So, I understand that you are looking for the brass cocoons.

- Yes Milady.

- Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

- We are sorry, Milady... what is that you have in mind?

- Lets compete to that great gate covered with ivy, shall we?

- Milady?

- Angus? ... when did you get this old?

- I... I don’t know.

- Well, what are you waiting for? Go on! Start running! I am younger than you are! I’ll catch up and defeat you, you’ll see!

- It doesn’t seem fair to you, Milady!

- Oh, Angus! We’ve done this before! What’s wrong with a little advance to take only to help me prove to myself that I still can beat you, even if you started ahead?

- Oh, alright then.

They played a little like this until they found the Silver-Leaf Labyrinth. It is there where they lost their tracks and found the Fawn petrified. A piece of the magic Mushroom, though brought him to life and they were shown the way to the marble chest. Hidden inside that chest’s secret chamber a large box of Walnut kept in a little box of Chestnut in which lied covered by a silk-handkerchief the key to a secret place behind the great Silver Gate. They returned and opened the gate without even touching it: the key beheld magic powers which, in the proximity of the Silver Gate unleashed and opened it. Once inside this secret place the Gate closed behind Lady Richtopp, Princess Fawn and her Magic Fawn, the Wizard and the two children.

- The brass cocoons are each unique in their own way, Lady Richtopp said. They are grouped by race of sound, ready to fulfill desires of travelling and joy.

It was an unexpected vision that Loouna had before being invited in: An orchestra was playing a beautiful song as the weavers were making their beautiful outfits shine on the wonderful creatures chosen to represent their work best, a spectacle of colours and lights to be performed for all gods. Many applauded, some were too amazed and a few felt a little absent, wishing probably to be somewhere else.

Down onto a floor of glass one could see the very famous brass cocoons. A magic worm was lying in each and every brass-cocoon put by a specific sound into the hands of the chosen who placed them carefully into a favourite instrument to create music that can help them grow their magic threads and create a strong web on which beauty was to dance gracefully bringing-up violent acts to train them better for the world they were living in. They could see into the objects around and things appeared to be driven by magic.

- Princess Fawn, will you do the honours? Lady Richtopp asked.

- Of course! The princess opened a door inviting everyone there. A large glass-box was keeping a few little brass cocoons.

- It is one of those that you need for your quest, the Princess spoke.

- You know! the Wizard fringed with amazement.

- We all know, Angus. We all do. Maybe that is why Argoston thought himself so powerful; he must have known too.

- When a thing like that happens, Princess Fawn added, having an object from another world lost into one of ours, we either panic or we start planning. Argoston did, perhaps, both. Otherwise I don’t understand the rush in attacking us.

- He must have thought us away in our quest for the mirror.

- ...Or still visiting the Goddess!

- Perhaps, yes, Angus admitted. What about the Wings of Annui?

- There’s plenty of time, Angus, dear, Lady Richtopp fathomed. Great Fantasia United is no longer under any spell nor under the attacks of Argoston or the Lord of Nightmares and Darkness.

- The Wings of Annui are a very powerful tool that can help you travel more easily, the princess noticed.

The cocoons were responding to each high pitch of a voice with brighter luminous pulsations, giving sign that they were there and that each tone mattered to them. One could see through them.The threads produced by the worms were shining from time to time to show the links with the gods and the angels above and below - the lost, still worthy, weren’t forgotten.

- From here you can choose a cocoon. Each of you, one. Treasure it, nurture it with the food we all feed our spirits and there will be no problem. They are sang to songs from the gods and angels of music and they are singing back to the gods - that is why you see those little beams of light sent from time to time: they are responding to the gods and angels’ treats and treatment.

- Wow! This is really amazing! Sam gasped.

- It is, Lady Richtopp confirmed. In this room we have the worms connected to Fantasia Spogulis. It is one of these that will take you to the mirror you seek.

- How do you know which one is the one responding to the right mirror? Loouna wanted to know.

- You don’t, for now. You will have to wait. Whenever they get in the proximity of a magic mirror like the one you’re looking for, they start producing bright-blue threads. They will eventually turn completely blue but the magic mirror you seek will shine with the brightest-Blue light. It is then when you’ll be able to see little sparks of violet happening. Those sparks will fade away the moment you touch the mirror, Princess Fawn spoke. She then picked one worm for each child, placed it in a box made of glass and handed them to their new owners saying: - This will be yours forever! The way you chose to feed them is the way they will respond to you in time. Be careful and kind and kindness you’ll get in return.

- Blessed they are with this magic power and so are you, Lady Richtopp added.

- They can fulfill your wish to find the mirror you seek or turn against that wish if it was not meant for you to get into its possession, the princess completed.

The arch of the Great Silver Gate began to tremble when they opened the gate out, a shimmering white light protecting them through. The children and the three adults were back in the garden.

- We must put the key back to it’s place, Princess Fawn said.

- I’ll help you, Loouna offered.

- I want to go with you, Sam asked.

- Very well, children. You may go, Lady Richtopp spoke. I will have to discuss something with you, Angus, she transmitted a mental message to the Wizard. You will find Angus and I waiting here for your return to the garden. I feel like walking a little through these beautiful gardens of Princess’s Fawn. ...

- Go ahead, children and have fun in the labyrinth! the wizard invited.

- You take very good care of the children, Angus! Lady Richtopp pointed her observation after they lost sight of the princess and the two young kids.

- I always try my best. They are like family to me. That family I never had, if you understand what I mean.

- I do... I do, Angus. You know, me and Lord Magnus thought of adopting a child?! It’s been years of trying now and we are not getting younger.

- Any special souls that attracted you?

- Quite a few, yes but right now what attracts and intrigues me most is this girl you brought, Loouna. What is with her? Where does she have such a power from and how come I feel already connected to her?

- Lady Richtopp, it must be your deep wish to have a child that resembles you and your qualities that speaks now, not your true self! You need to take hold of your feelings; otherwise they will start leading you which is a very dangerous thing for a woman in your position.

- You are right! As always, dear Angus.

- I know that I am right but this doesn’t change the way things are.

- Very true; very well pointed too. I will have to give something to you, for the trip. Something that belongs to you and that I found only a few days ago. Her hand reaching her neck she pulled out a pendant she took off handing it to the wizard. - Here, she said. This is to guide and protect you. We’ve been told that there is an invasion of thieves in Fantasia Spogulis. This pendant will help you identify them.

- We almost got mugged here, in Fantasia C., you know?

- I’ve heard. It’s that pesky Eli, she gasped speaking through the teeth. He started a war against the wrong family, though.

- I sure hope that he will change his mind! We are tired of his pranks and shows.

- Everyone is, dear Angus. Everyone.

The children and the Princess made their appearance sooner than expected.

- Well, I suppose that you know what to do, Angus. Our private conversation ends here but whenever you’ll need us or the services of our worlds you are welcome to ask for guidance and help.

- Thank you, kindly, Lady Richtopp, the wizard bowed in the old-fashioned way.

- Well, we’re done! The key is safely deposited in it’s secret place. We may have lunch, Lady Richtopp, Princess Fawn heartily invited.

- Please, do remember that after lunch we will announce to the public Lady Loouna’s investment with the rank of Lady of Sunshine.

- Of course, the wizard smiled.

- I am almost jealous with you, Loons! Sam confessed. I will have to do something to get the rank of Lord of the Moons or Stars or something if I want to equal you and be able to speak with you in the future, he joked.

- Oh, stop it! You will become a great knight and you will help me with my island.

- I was hoping you were going to help me! the wizard crooned.

- With your kingdom?

- Well... you both want to be of great help and I have an idea that will please both of you and offer me the satisfaction I always craved for.

- What’s it about? Sam asked his curious mind erect.

- Well, it’s about a place where we could create a school for children like you, children with special powers they hardly know of because the world they live in has forgotten to bring that out to the surface. Children that can use their magic for the good.

- Wow! I’d love that, Loouna enthused.

- I know dear! I know! the wizard smiled. I also know that you’ll make a great professor one day and Sam will make a very good teacher too, a coach or anything else he might like to become. He is very good with animals, I can tell.

- I am! the boy took pride.

The public announcement was followed by cheers and applause. Some people started dancing; a number of street-players started playing a song that animated the spirits. Everyone was celebrating the news with a lot of joy which provoked a lot of contentment to the noble souls gathered. During the party the Knight of the Red-Dragon approached and offered his help. Now, that opening a portal wasn’t a wish to be fulfilled (Loouna tried to open one only to take a look into Fantasia Spogulis and found herself incapable of doing so again) any help was very well received.

- You will have to take hold of your powers, Loouna, the wizard advised. The first step now is to learn what made the portals open. I, one, believe that it is something that relates to the feelings you have. So, you will have to take good hold of your feelings and learn how to use them to open those portals. It seems to me that you managed to open them under pressure, each and every time. It was under great pressure that you unleashed the powers of the ball and sent the enemy away, now, wasn’t it?

- Yes, that is accurate.

- Well then, you will have to learn to control it and get to be able to use these powers any time you need without feeling cornered or in danger.

*

*...*

“ I would have fallen in love with her, and would have picked her even if nothing but two pricks playing foolish games in the backyard of any place, be it a castle made of cards or a solid building I’d end-up trying to forget. She was the one who raised me up! She was the one who left so that I could grow and she became something extremely beautiful and powerful to hate with all of my black heart! But I can’t! I cannot hate her! So, for this I had to suffer for a long time! For her to meet her King and get to live that happy life they live! I was a fool! I was so blinded by rage and hatred... by greed. I didn’t think about the hard times she went through. I didn’t think that it was too much for a girl her age, what happened back then and that she wouldn’t care going back! I was her son... She hated me for her past and for what I was bringing along: bad memories. It seems to me that you already knew and fought all this since you gave as much as you could; those gestures of beauty and kindness! so, you made their stay a pleasant one around. At least that! If you want to be regretted you do nice and kind things for your people. If not, you ask them politely then fight them to leave you alone and at peace with your friends or enemies because you cannot do more for them.”

*...*

*

Annui was informed about the news in Fantasia an he offered the helpful wings himself. It was not for him a party or a feast - preferring to live his as a hermit - but contributing to the mission of a wonder-girl already famous for saving the Great Fantasia United was something that he felt as a must. Amazing her courage was in his eyes and for her courageous act she had to be rewarded.

The wings were used to help them fly them above the entire Fantasia. They took the three travellers to Fantasia Spogulis immediately. It was a pleasant place, this part of the kingdom; very interesting an area. Many people were behaving like home, Loouna observed - her home-world. Too busy a city to take notice of anyone, Sam also observed. They went through the great city in the proximity of which they landed, with no problem, our three heroes. Spogulis was different from the other worlds of Fantasia and this city was its capital.The reason they picked this great city was for the very first moments of shine of the cocoons when they were hovering above Sall-Spogulis. Being a big city, swarming with people and mirrors of all kind, they could lose track easier but the search was a little bit harder. The other reason was the very obvious one: this city was the city of octagonal mirrors, and the mirror they were looking for was supposed to be octagon-shaped.

Hunger determined them to stop for lunch, a well deserved hot meal in a restaurant that wasn’t too expensive but very famous for it’s well cooked meals. The Wizard knew the place and he loved it also for the reason that it had a snug, a small quiet place where they could talk about their business without being watched or heard. In the restaurant the cocoons started to change colours - they turned green, both, one into a yellow shade of green, the other deep-green. Loouna didn’t know how to interpret that.

- Don’t worry. They do that - the change of colour - in the proximity of any magic mirror one might find themselves to. It must be some lying mirrors, that’s why the green. This colour usually stands for envy and trickery.

- Really?

- Yes... around here, that’s how things are interpreted.

- That is interesting, Loouna noted.

- I was always sure that the yellow stood for envy, Sam stated.

- That can explain the yellow-shade; it must be your personal belief that influences the worm inside that box to show a different shade of green, the wizard attempted clarification.

They had lunch first, which was quite a must, then they tried to get themselves into the basement of that restaurant, a task not easy to complete with all the inquisitive eyes there.

- The mirrors must be very near, otherwise the cocoons wouldn’t shine this brightly, the wizard said.

- Perhaps in the basement of this place? Loouna proposed.

- You may be right, Loouna, dear.

I know she is! All restaurants have a basement, or at least a place where things get deposited.

- Then it must be the unused area. I am sure they would not keep two old mirrors, be those magic or not, in the open area.

- They shouldn’t keep any mirror in the open area, Sam observed.

- Yes. Well, let’s go for it children. Who wants to keep an eye on that door while I think of a magic spell to put on the people inside so nobody saw us getting down into the basement?

- I’ll do it! both children offered at the same time.

- Okay, You can’t both do the same thing. Sam, you keep an eye on the door. Loouna, please, watch our bags. The wizard started mumbling a few words walking around in the restaurant - (- May I help you sir? Did you lose anything?) - then he turned back all this while appearing to be looking for something. When he found himself close to the door closing after a waiter, he made a sign to Loouna and the last words of the spell were spoken out loud.

- How are we going to get out of here when we’re done? Sam asked.

- Well, we have thirty minutes to do the search and get out the same door or we can make the move again if we don’t find another exit, the wizard confided.

- What happened to the people up there? Loouna asked.

- Let’s just say that they got a break, the Wizard answered.

- Did you stop time? Sam enthused.

- Yes and no. You see, time never stops but, if sent away for a short while nobody can say if it flew normally or if something or somebody paused it. It moves, don’t worry, and so are our friends up there only they cannot feel like doing so.

- What happens if anyone get’s in?

- Nobody will in the next thirty minutes, don’t worry. the entire city is slowed down a little... well... this area a little more. But let’s hurry.

- There, inside there! Sam pointed to a closing door. There was only dairy inside. The next door was hiding behind their best wines and the following were filled with chocolate and other treats. After visiting their beer and bread rooms they finally found their secret storage rooms, all crowded in a large space where they could find some pedlary and a few interesting items like the largest scallop and the oldest recipe-book.

- Nothing here, the Wizard said. They appeared to have found a dead end. Sam was obviously disappointed.

- Hey! Let’s look in there! Loouna opened a way to another room hidden by a drapery.

- Wow! A whole new place.

- Let’s do this quickly, children, otherwise we will get caught.

- Remind me why are we looking for this lying mirror when the one we actually need makes the cocoons bright-blue? Sam questioned.

- It is us the ones who know this not necessarily the ones who hold its possession. Besides, we might find it very useful to have a couple or even more magic and tricky mirrors to trade in for the one we need. I assume nobody knows anything about the special powers it beholds, the mirror we are looking for, otherwise we’d be already noticed.

- Why does it always have to be something wrong happening? Loouna protested. Why can’t it just fall into the hands of someone doing something right for a change?

- Actually, it is not excluded, your idea to be the actual truth. It might have happened to be in the hands of a good heart. Bad rumours work their ways to the ears faster than good news and we haven’t learned any bad news yet, so... Nevertheless, we should be taking it back to the rightful owners.

- Woow!

The brass cocoons began to shine much brighter.There was something reflecting that light in the corner of the dark room they found at the end of the corridor. A great mirror was showing them differently, as if reflecting other people than who they knew themselves to be.

- It’s one of the tricky mirrors. They usually have nothing special, nothing magical about them. Most of the magic mirrors are small, appearing to be insignificant. Those that are large and truly magic are kept in safe spaces we all know they belong to.

- Here! Loouna said. Could it be this one? She was drawn by an old chest; in one of its drawers she could find a little oval mirror, shimmering. Right next to it she found two other mirrors looking the same.

- So, you found them. Good. We’ll have each one of these three sisters and we’ll get out of here, now!

- What can this little mirror do?

- It’s a little mirror, alright, but it can access your deepest emotions and play with anything that it might find wrong. if in the hands of an expert villain or in those of an ignorant - dangerous but playful and charming in the hands of a fair soul. They rushed their way out the storage rooms. Sam was the fastest and got himself in the kitchen of the restaurant from where he helped himself with some ham and a roasted chicken-leg. The Wizard paid for that too when he left a more than generous tip for the waiter.

- That was brilliant, Sam! Loouna scolded.

- What? I’m hungry! All this running and searching made me hungry again!

- Alright, children. don’t quarrel! It was paid for in advance, dear, he spoke to her privately. I made sure.

- Can you see into the future or you read minds? Loouna asked.

- Maybe both! I just happened to think it very useful to leave a larger than usual tip. Perhaps I was already feeling guilty for what I had planned to do, the Wizard smiled. Sam chuckled and Loouna soon joined his good humour. They were out in the street when Loouna asked the Wizard:

- How can we make them stop? I mean, the cocoons? How do we make them stop shining this brightly?

- We wrap the mirrors that are magic in this cloth! It holds an energy barrier between the cocoons’ energy field and the mirrors’.

- Look, they’re fading... their shimmering is fading.

- It’s alright. It’s normal. They will come back to their original emissions as the brass cocoons we know.

- Alright. Now, where to? Sam asked.

- I don’t know; I’m out of ideas. This was quite an unexpected thing. I never thought they had so many secret rooms where so many interesting objects were hiding, the Wizard confessed.

- You mean the scallop? Loouna fathomed.

- You noticed? the wizard asked.

- It’s magic, right? I could sense it! she confessed.

- Good, then you guys won’t be upset with me taking it, Sam revealed.

- What?

- You took it? Loouna scolded. Sam!

- What!? I thought it was only a nice piece of marine souvenir, that’s all.

- We might get in trouble for this, Sam, the Wizard droned. Besides, I loved that restaurant. Now I might get banished from eating there. If they ever find who ‘robbed’ them.

- You should find another place! The chicken was all dry, anyway. Isn’t there any other good restaurant in this big city?

- Yes, there is but I was quite used to this place. Oh, well. Maybe it was time for a change. Next time I happen to be around I’ll pick something new.

- Can we use the Wings of Annui now? Loouna asked. It seems more rational for us to do so. We don’t need any troubles now that we carry magic mirrors with us.

- How many do you think we’ll need?

- It’s not a matter of how many we need, it’s how many we’ll happen to find. We’ll take them all, if the cocoons lead us to such greedy acts.

- Whatever it takes, right? Sam pleaded.

- Yes. Sometimes one has to do whatever it takes.

The Magical Wings of Annui took them above the city before they could ask.

- Are they mind readers, these Wings? Sam asked.

- It appears so, the wizard smiled.

- Well, it’s good that we are heading to the west. The East offered enough, the girl concluded.

- You think so? The Wizard questioned Loouna.

- Yes. I believe that this mirror is either in the heart of this city or out there, on the hills, she explained.

- Perhaps you’re right, the Wizard accepted.

Their hovering above the city was a pleasant one. They were close to the very heart of Sall-Spogulis when they noticed their cocoons’ almost pink radiance.

- We have to descend once more, Loouna said.

The evening was sending pale messages from the sun to the entire kingdom. Some heartless friends of the night were trying to show their superiority by attacking the light of day. They were the inferior ones thinking superior only because empowered by their minds with the certainty that they can drag anybody down with their loss. - I want myself back! something was yelling inside. You are too cruel. What did I do to you? Was it me being too different? Was it me being the same? Is it you craving for more attention? What makes you think you’re worthier of more attention than I am?! This childish fight, much like the cry of the powerless, ended with the retreat of sunlight to other lands, the lands where they were expected to come, cherished the presence. The Lady of Fires was there to show brilliance and burn inside each human soul the candles of their passions. Somebody was keeping the candles lit inside a soul that needed to show mercy and pride.

- Over there! We will land where the signal is most powerful, the Wizard decided, then we will look around every building to see where is the signal coming from. They checked all the houses on a street before they got to the very one hiding the Mirror of Wishes and Hopes.

- What does it do, this mirror? Loouna wanted to know.

- It can turn all the hopes of the one who beholds it into reality.

- So that’s why this big house! They must be very rich! Sam observed.

- Wouldn’t it be considered a crime if we took it? the girl asked.

- I just need to take a look into it and ask for my hope to come true. Then we can return it to the owner. Having this mirror can lead us to the mirror we need. We might find that it was unnecessary a thing to do, taking the Mirror of Feelings with us; but, we will be able to tell only after we find who has the Mirror of Truth.

They reached the attic of the house where this new mirror was kept. The place looked like a shrine. The mirror of Wishes and Hopes was placed in a very special place which showed the deep respect and consideration, the gratitude and honour this mirror brought to the house.

- I couldn’t steal it from them even if I had to, the Wizard admitted. They have too much respect for its powers!

- Look! The cocoons are responding! Loouna noticed. Their radiance was coming in waves, pulsating nicely without blinding our heroes with their pink-red-light.

- It is strange a meaning of this colour given by the shine of these cocoons. I always thought green as a better colour for hope!

- Perhaps you are right, you see, it is a green feel that makes the grass grow up tot the surface when spring-time arrives. So, it must be the mirror of Feelings showing that to the world, don’t you think, Loouna dear?

- Yes you may be right!

- Everything is different around here but now that you mentioned it, there is bright logic in your words so you must be right.

- That settles it, Sam pursed. Our world is wrong. What they teach us in schools is wrong.

- Not necessarily, the Wizard clarified. You see, it depends on the way you interpret things. There is as much logic in your world, and the teachings there, as in this world. Here! Let us express our hopes and put them into this mirror.

They did so and each could see the colour of their own hopes reflecting into the mirror. Loouna’s hopes were like the rainbow, changing from time to time, alternating pink with purplish shades. The Wizard knew the same colours, mostly going for purples. Sam was though green and purple and yellow with his hopes knowing that he had o work a lot about what he was doing.

- It’s a gift to be cherished the one offered by the gods to accomplish your wishes and fulfill the desires of your heart with such ease! The two mirrors we have are working together perfectly.

- They do, Don’t they? Loouna showed proud. The square Mirror of Wishes and Hopes reflected back their common hope of finding the Mirror of Amaterasu. It was right, the honourable thing to do, their desire to find it and return it to the rightful owner so their wish was granted: the Square Mirror of Wishes and Hopes showed with precision the exact place where the magic mirror they were looking for was lying.

- On the shores of Lake Sall? Really? That is miles away! Sam complained.

The Mirror of Wishes and Hopes wasn’t wrong. Nor was Loouna who guessed that the mirror of Amaterasu was outside the city. On the shores of the great Lake Sall, in a nearby village, hidden in the hut of of a fisherman who abandoned the place a long time ago, the mirror was waiting silently. It turned into a shelter for a group of trolls, the hut. The creatures were trying to understand why the mirror was sometimes shining with a bright-honey-like-light, other times with blue or purple lights.

- I tells you! It must be a magic mirror! It changes colours every time.

- No, it doesn’t! Only when somethings is about to happen.

- Or happening!

- Or that! I tells you: This mirror has special powers.

- I wonder what can it do for us!

- Bah, nothing! Didn’t you ask it to bring us more fish and it didn’t?

Our heroes listened to their conversation patiently; there was plenty of time before they got to sleep so the wizard thought they’d be more efficient in that sense if they had their stomachs full so, using the Scallop snatched by Sam he brought a lot of fish to the shore and made a pile of fish waiting for the trolls. Their tail’s beats of desperation caught the attention of two trolls that got out to see what was going on. They yelled back at the ones inside:

- Yeay! There is a pile of fresh fish outside! The mirror is magic.

All except one got out to see the miracles. Our heroes, hidden behind a log in the backyard, next to the window of the room where the mirror was kept were waiting and listening carefully.

- I wonder what it can really do! They heard the troll sniffing inside. And why didn’t it do anything for us before, he snuffled sniffing the air for a clue. - Something is wrong.

The brass cocoons turned all bright-blue, their spark too strong for the cloth they were covered by. The wizard had to make use of a little magic trick to cover the cocoons so that they wouldn’t get caught. - I wonder when will these four monsters fall asleep, Sam complained an hour later. The trolls were having a lot of fun outside the hut. The one inside was knocking his brains out to understand what had happened. Why their wish fulfilled only now? He went outside for a while to look for clues, his senses warning him about possible dangers but the party-trolls kept inviting him to have a bite to eat and forget about his suspicions. He doubted right, though: the wizard was planning to take them down with the power of his magic that very night if they wouldn’t go to bed themselves. He used some of the magic potion left from his friend Sabine, the sorceress; along with an insidious spell he managed to put them to sleep soon. They didn’t expect though to learn about the fifth troll’s power of defeating any spell. Caught in the room where they deposited the stolen Mirror of Amaterasu, the three daunted with the pleasure of little kids taking away the favourite toy of another child.

- Watch it, Sam!

- Here, Loouns! Catch!

He played with his cocoon tricking the troll into believing that they were playing with another mirror shining so brightly.

- Children, this doesn’t seem like such a good idea! the Wizard warned. Caught by the ludicrousness of the game, the two children forgot for a while that this was a dangerous thing to do, playing with a troll. They mocked and ridiculed the troll which made him only angrier; turning clumsy with the spell he tripped and slipped and fell on the mirror breaking it. The surprise and shock were obviously nothing but a formality. The mirror was destroyed. Helped by the wizard Loouna blinded the troll and Sam put him down to sleep. Then they started picking each shattered piece of mirror they found. The wizard tried to recompose it with his magic but he couldn’t. Loouna also wanted to help, trying to use the magic ball but the ball wouldn’t respond according to her wishes.

The children were feeling sorry and disappointed at themselves. They couldn’t believe that they were such fools playing around the mirror with a troll, thinking that nothing bad was about to happen when everything indicated danger.

- Now what!? Sam succumbed. The mission seems to be over.

- Not quite so! Look, the cocoons are still emitting their bright blue light. That means this isn’t over, right? It must mean that we can fix it, Loouna reissued.

- To be honest, I never tried to fix a magic mirror before; it was no need to. They were pretty obnoxious or filled with black magic, not telling the whole truth about the inner self of a being, unlike these mirrors of ours! the Wizard confessed.

- But the cocoons we’ve been given are supposed to be magic. They may be able to fix it! she supposed.

- May be possible. But we will try to put it back together some-place else. We don’t want any more surprises like the one made by our friend here! the Wizard proposed.

- Okay, then, let’s fly-away! Sam agreed. The Wings of Annui took them high above the city and away, back to Fantasia C. hoping that Princess Fawn would know what to do. Unfortunately she had no other idea but to sent them see Lady Richtopp. Not very far away, in their way to return the wings to their rightful owner, Annui, the three stopped for a cup of tea with Lady Richtopp at her home, in Fantaisie. She welcomed them arms open not expecting their return so soon.

- My darlings! Already back from your trip?

- Milady, I reckon we need your help.

- Angus? What happened?

- We acted foolishly, Sam confessed, and now we found ourselves in trouble.

- A pesky group of trolls had the mirror, Loouna explained. We thought them all asleep when we tried to recover the mirror but one of them awoke and ... well... now the mirror is shattered into pieces.

- Shattered? Lady Richtopp panicked. Oh, that is not good, not good at all! Let me see it! They pulled out of a satchel the cloth gathering all the pieces of the octagonal mirror. - Dear, Lord! Now what can we do?

- Well, we thought you might have a solution for this? Maybe you know how we can recompose it! Loouna issued.

- We know that you hold a lot of knowledge when it comes to mirrors. One of the leaders of Fantasia Spogulis is a relative of yours. Maybe you can help us with this knowledge you both share...?

- I see that ou made your homework well, Lady Loouna. I suppose Angus was a very good teacher too, now, was he? she glanced at the Wizard in a significant way.

- I can only do my duty, nothing more, Milady!

- But of course, dear Angus. Pardon me for being a little rude, today! Here, let us have a good cup of tea and think about what’s to be done.

- From what we could observe the cocoons you gave to us both have a shimmering light that started fading away a few minutes ago. Loouna informed.

- In the beginning we couldn’t tell much difference. The spark was there, the same, even if the mirror broken, Sam explained.

- Actually, the spark was very strong when the mirror got broken. The cocoons’ radiance was strong too. They seemed to have reacted to the moment it got shattered into pieces! Loouna clarified.

- Okay! I will have Lady Sakar_La called immediately. She knows a little more than I do in respects to mirrors but don’t get your hopes too high! We might never be able to recover it.

- We should have tried the mirror of Hope! Loouna said.

- I am afraid that nothing works in this case, Loouna, dear. The mirrors do not hold the power of healing another mirror from another world.

- But it did indicate us the right place, the girl argued.

- Yes it did, the old Wizard admitted.

- Well...? Sam seemed a little dazzled.

- I sent word for advice on this delicate matter. Let me offer you each a room where you can feel yourselves at home and have a nice rest. They kindly accepted then went to sleep. No dinner was served to Loouna who couldn’t wake up from the nap she was supposed to have. Sam and the Wizard decided not to wake her-up.

- She tried to use the magic of her ball and failed, the poor thing. She was so concentrated I could barely watch.

- She is a pure soul! And a very powerful and magical one. She must learn how to take hold of her entire power, though.

- She does, the Wizard smiled, doesn’t she?

- I hope you can guide her well.

- I’m doing my best, Lady Richtopp.

- Maybe another trip,... you-know-where?

- There, into the upper-New-World? I can’t! She is not prepared. Besides, the agreement speaks for itself: one must receive a special invitation to pay a visit or request to pay a visit with a good reason.

- What better reason than returning an object that belongs to them?

- All shattered as it is?

- Well, if we cannot repair it maybe they’ll know how.

- I am too afraid that they will take it as an offense.

- Yes, you’re probably right, Angus. How was your trip? Tell me more details.

Angus the Wizard started telling the story of their journey. Loouna was dreaming a pleasant dream in which she was writing something to a friend. The night offered its stars to the viewer and its moonlight to those who could still feel; along with the scent of Queen Mary flowers following them everywhere, the two old friends were carried by memories and news they shared. Lord Magnus-Sakar-Killiany was inside, playing a game resembling chess with Sam. The boy proved to be a very good player.

- You must have played this game before. You can’t just be this good!

- We have a similar game in our world and I always play and win. I am this good there too.

- You are a very smart boy, Sam. A very smart boy, Lord Magnus-Sakar-Killiany observed.

Next morning Lady Sakar-La of Fantasia Spogulis presented herself early. She wanted to see the mirror herself:

- This is bad, she declared. There’s little for us to do. It cannot be repaired unless there is someone with special powers from the world it was brought from. Everybody in the room turned their looks upon Loouna who was starting to feel little.

- I... I tried, she confessed, her face going crimson-red with embarrassment. The magic I have didn’t work on the mirror.

- Maybe there is a magic spell you should know about, Princess Fawn, also present there, stated.

- Let us position each piece of the mirror right. They started making the puzzle of shattered glass, carefully placing every piece where it belonged. Princess Fawn brought ten more brass cocoons placing them carefully around the mirror. Then Lady Sakar-La said a few words in a tongue the children didn’t understand. For the price of two minutes the room, filled by a strong bright white light, got suspended in silence. The bits gathered united into the mirror they once were but one could still see the cracks.

- There is need of a greater power than mine. Maybe if we asked Lady Loouna to perform this step we’ll be more successful. The ball in Loouna’s pocket was radiating light. Loouna grabbed it and circled the table repeating the words of Lady Sakar-La. Lady Richtopp followed inviting the other two ladies in the room, the Wizard and Sam to do the same. The twelve cocoons disposed in a circle around the mirror were emitting a powerful bright-blue light. The mirror was responding. Lady Richtopp joined them for the twelfth repetition of the magic spell; the bright-blue-light invaded the room. Alone above the mirror, lifted up in the air by an unknown force, almost touching the dome, Loouna, eyes open, was speaking words nobody in the room understood. She was clearly possessed by the magic of a powerful spirit, the light coming out her eyes frightening both Lady Richtopp and the Wizard. A last wave of brilliant blue light made the mirror melt and return to its original shape in one piece.

- We did it! We did it, Sam enthused but Loouna fainted falling down on them. The wizard and Lady Richtopp used a magic web to catch her and prevent her from hitting the ground.

- Poor thing! She must be exhausted, Lady Richtopp remarked. Two very important, soliciting magic hits she’s done in such a short time! I wonder what possessed her and how is that the recreation of the mirror asked so little from us and so much from her!

- That is an enigma I cannot help you with, the wizard confessed. I can’t say more than I was allowed to speak about this girl and the world she comes from.

- I see, Lady Richtopp bowed resignedly.

- The only thing that I can say is that her spirit is quite strong and parted with other beings of the celestial world.

- She has a predestined name, Lady Sakar-La interfered. Please, pardon me if I dare to interrupt, but ... she carries inside the power of the stars. I could feel it when she rose above the mirror and asked for its re-composition.

- Did you understand the words? Lady Richtopp wanted to know.

- No... only the first few... it was an introduction to the request of repair.

- I see. Where does it come from? Lady Richtopp asked to be informed.

- It is from the upper-world. The new world of...The Princess.

- What Princess?... You mean...?

- Yes. I mean Her. There is a strong connection between the two, Lady Sakar-La whispered to Lady Richtopp in private.

- I see. You may go now. Your kingdom needs you, she whispered. Thank you very much for helping us. Now take a good rest and let me know if I can be of any use to you and Fantasia Spogulis, Lady Richtopp spoke loud.

- I will, Milady! I will. Thank you, kindly! Lady Sakar-La bowed and disappeared behind a closing door.

*

- When will we take the mirror back to where it belongs? Loouna asked.

- Soon, child, soon, the Wizard promised. I sent word and we will be asked to join the great family above very soon. Right now I believe they have something on their minds. Things to do for their new kingdom... their new home. It’s not easy for them to move like this and create a new home of a planet nobody knew of before.

- What do you mean, no one? Sam interrupted. There were people over there. Human being-like creatures with needs just like ours and like the gods! Aren’t they supposed to be seen as ‘somebody’?

- You are right, Sam. I am sorry. What I meant to say was that nobody around here, or in the worlds I’ve been to, knows of that planet’s existence. It’s that far away and hard to reach. I wonder if Susanoo had anything to do with the latest new?

- News? What news? Loouna jumped up on her feet.

- There was a short informative notice sent, telling us to be vigilant since there was an escape from the world of Yomi. Nobody predicted such a thing. They believe that the spirits might be aiming for the Upper-World.

- You keep naming it ‘The Upper-World’! Does that mean that we are the Underworld?

- Sam! Loouna scolded.

- It only means that their aspirations are now higher. They moved to another planet to make peace there between two enemies and for peace is what they work now. They trusted their children the world they left behind and now they’re preparing another world for the escape of disasters and death. I have a note here saying that they managed to protect this new land with a field so powerful that nothing and nobody will ever dare to think about fighting. They removed all the dangerous bombs and kept a few steady in a museum to remind everybody of the bad times they went through so they treasured more the times of peace they are enjoying. The hunger for battles and war, though is never satisfied and some people fight to get what they never got instead of peacefully and calmly work on that thing they want so much. It is the case of our Warrior Princess who found it very difficult to adapt to a life lived in peace, with nothing to fight for. After spending three successful years on the battle-field she couldn’t feel less than a warrior. It got into her blood, the fight, and now she is looking for those worlds where she can fight for the same ideals to create connections between her new world and the other worlds.

- Isn’t that a form of invasion? Sam noticed.

- Yes and no. They only send her to another planet when The Great Lady of the Sky, Amaterasu o mi kami is asked for help. Otherwise they work on the best forms of fight that ever existed: the peaceful and artistic, creative ways.

- Oh, I see! Like that dance we saw when we were little kids.

- Exactly, Sam, dear! the wizard reassured.

- It’s funny what we’ve done here so far, now that I look behind. We still seem to be little ants compared to the Princess’ achievements yet, for us it is a big deal, Sam fathomed.

- It was, Loouna said with the fading voice of a child. It was a big deal for them too, she stated looking up at something deep into the sky, a spot only her could aim and see because it had a place in her heart. A distant world in which she would have loved to find a few answers.

*

- You need to relax... Yes, like that! Take a deep breath and think of something else than the battle-field!... Something beautiful... something peaceful,... something kind. She breathed exhaling with a sigh. Like the nature around, he said. Watch the sky and the birds and this beautiful garden! Allow them to find a home inside you. She obeyed.

- Sometimes I feel as if floating... she whispered.

- Good. Then you know what to do, the man’s calm voice said before fading.

*

*...*

“Mom will take me to France this year, she promised. My travels to lands of stories and magic are over. The Wizard told me he was going to change his Destiny a little and become a Priest. I told him I could see no Point in doing that, he appeared to be both in my eyes when he officiated a ritual of purification in front of us. He told me that I was a child: things weren’t quite accurate from my perspective but he was used to this kind of childish thinking. We had quite an interesting debate on matters of spirituality, he appreciated my view and I managed to understand that I knew mostly nothing. Nevertheless, I lost too little compared to the gain on this trip: I got some answers to some of my questioning, some inspiration and had some fun too. Extraordinary were those times when we got involved into adventures like the one of the quest of the ‘Mirror of the Samurai’ on the lands of Saxons where it got lost by a brave warrior that was actually the Hero saving this artefact from perdition. Then, much loved the ‘Venetian Quartet’ we joined for the quest of their beloved ‘amigo’ lost for a while in a space he needed to organize their collaborations with the ‘Three Caballeros’ for the ‘Walk of Time’ and the ‘Composition of Frames’, workshops taking place around the stages where they were supposed to win a bet: ‘the fight must go on’, a statement that sounds terrible. I wish we stopped fighting. I wish we loved and cared more. “Help me!” The voice I remember invites me to write in this journal more than I planned to.“

*...*

***

*

Perfect travellers

She was fifteen, Soley, when she met the Wizard for the first time. He rescued her and Loouna’s step-brother, Matt, from Aagrhaougkh, a demon sent from the depths of Hell to find some pure souls to take away for a ritual of sacrifice that frightened both teens when they happened to learn about dark forces.

“- It’s been a while, you see? the Wizard explained. They haven’t sacrificed anyone for ages. They feed on blood and the blood of the most innocent is the blood they prefer; it is told that it is the one empowering them most.

- Hmm... and that is why? Sam asked.

- It could be simply because they are innocent - Their pure souls, forgiving and kind are empowering them; they seem to gain something every time which is a shame, the wizard cleared.

- I read somewhere that innocent souls can pass through tight openings and that their innocence was used to please the gods being thus rewarded with kindness and support in times of need.

- Really? You read such things now, Loouna, dear? the Wizard inquired.

- Sometimes. Not long ago we had some school project and papers to make on demons and creatures of the dark so, I happened to read a little about such things, the girl explained.

- Ah, Yes! Did you know, it is said that some queens used to bathe in the blood of pure virgin girls so they kept their beauty? Matt asked.

- I read somewhere that some women even drank the blood of beautiful virgins, Sam added.

-Yes, some say that. The Wizard confirmed.

- Perhaps they did so. Who knows for sure? Nobody was there to tell this with the certainty of a fact accurately envisaged. Except for some of the writers telling about such atrocities, Loouna explained.

- Loouna, dear, are you against these stories told about the cruel queens everybody loved to hate a little? the Wizard inquired. It is true that it can be named gossiping. Most of the stories told were embellished truths, but sometimes they described ugly and horrible truths that nobody would like to think of but in terms of punishment given by the people towards their monarchs for bringing bad luck and trouble to the people of their kingdom.

- The only monarchs that were ever loved were the ones being the heads of their states in times of prosperity, Soley stated.

- Isn’t that accurately wrong, now? Everybody needs to hate something and someone a little. Everyone loves the feeling of hatred; it pumps adrenaline into your veins and makes you feel alive - it gives you a purpose, a meaning to your life. You should know this, Matt argued.

- Of course, when they actually have a reason, and the reason is the low quality of their lives, things seem to be in complete agreement with our logic already expressed. It doesn’t matter who is the head, as long as things go well everybody will even worship the one who is told to be in charge and held responsible for the well-being and happy Times of their Kingdoms, Sam said in a firm tone.

- I hate to interrupt such a fascinating discussion, children, but we should be heading to our next adventure! the Wizard announced.

A cloud of light surrounded them and they disappeared for less than a second in their times and space, in the world they knew as theirs, normal. Falling down from her little cloud offered as means for travelling, Soley proved herself a little clumsy. The others followed her not wishing to leave her behind.

- Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to! I don’t know why I did this! Sorry.

- Don’t be too hard on yourself. We were almost there, anyway, the Wizard reassured.

They had to climb a hill which was well received in the beginnings by everyone except Matt who expressed childishly:

- Great! We gave a super-power cloud to walking and climbing on our own! That was brilliant! Soley went all red with embarrassment.

- It is good for our health to move our legs and arms a little; climbing is good for the body as well as for the soul. You seem to have something going on inside, the wizard remarked.

- Maybe it is time for some active meditation, Matt! What do you say? Loouna maturely advised.

- Great! I’m being lectured by a senior high.

- I beg your pardon! Do I have to remind you that I have been accepted to University?

- Your mind may be shaped for University level but you’re still a high in my eyes!

- Well that puts me to a safety spot which is much appreciated, Matt!

The hill was easily climbed; then, on the other side going down the valley they found the orchards of King Lehorn.

***

The sea was quietly sassing and sissing soft waves on a dawn feeling at peace with the strangers passing by. Two boats, distant on the horizon were steady as a rock.

- I wonder if the one to the left is a Pirate-Ship, Sam said with a little enthusiasm in the tone of his voice.

- I’d rather not speak about pirates. They are murderers of the worst and lower case and they deserve to be punished for their doing, Soley opposed.

- You think so? Some seem to be forced into doing such things! Loouna noted.

- Sam, dear, you are so very right! The Wizard spoke.

- Perhaps I am... No, look! I am right! It is a Pirate Ship, only it’s deserted!

- Remember the apples we stole from the garden we passed by earlier? Matt asked.

- They were delicious, Loouna! Too bad you didn’t want to feast upon one, Sam out-spoke.

- Thank you! Thank you for taking me to that Apple-tree! I was so hungry! Soley expressed her gratitude.

- I had no apple because I was not hungry, Loouna retorted.

- You could have stopped to take one for later, Sam argued.

- Later is now and I’m still not hungry enough to feel like having an apple or anything else, her voice almost thundered.

- I see... I am sorry you feel this way... I mean, angry and all, Sam apologized.

- The plums and peaches felt brilliantly inspiring too. They smelled delicious, Soley remembered.

- Still you wouldn’t take any, Matt remarked.

- I already told you: I wasn’t hungry.

- They were very flavoured too, you know? Soley continued.

- They smelled like being so, yes! Loouna admitted.

- I am with her, Matt conveyed. I do not like stealing for a sure fact - if you get caught you’re in real trouble, so, yes! I’d rather starve to death or train my body to feel less hunger for what is not earned than suffer the accusation of stealing and plunge into in-existence for the very shame having me pay for those heads that can stand proud for worse!

- Oh, stop it! Soley maturely interfered. A couple of apples really cannot make the difference.

- But you, forced into the world of thieves for that, makes the whole difference in the world! Trust me, dear! Matt retorted.

- Okay, kids! Lets stop this fight. The truth is, those trees are there to fruit and us to take an apple or two when we feel like. Perhaps you don’t know this, Matt, Soley, but the King of these territories - King Lehorn by his name and title - granted me permission to feast upon a fruit or two every time I get the chance to pass his orchards; permission granted to my guests also! so, nobody robbed anyone of anything. Case closed! Loouna?

- Thanks God for that! she rolled her eyes and moved away like a princess of honesty and truth.

- I loved the pears, more! Sam couldn’t hold himself back from adding. Their perfumes reminded me of the pear-tree back in the Castle, he winked at Soley.

- So, are you willing to steal again?! the wizard joyfully attached the comment on Sam’s add.

The four souls couldn’t prevent themselves from chuckling.

Loouna was away, her mind put to the service of a higher spirit. The Wizard could understand that but he didn’t have to like all the manifestations of it; he never liked his own young-foolishness either, remembering it with a sour taste, sometimes resenting it.

We do not know what dragged them all to Great Fantasia United, all four of our hero-children here, again. We were only told that there was something very important happening in Fantasia Minor and that they had to be present there as soon as two quarters flipped in the air one after another. It didn’t quite work this way since they were delayed a little by the Red Knights little Dragons who weren’t ready for their missions yet.

The four children were working together now in a programme of special schooling invented by Loouna and the Wizard. Some of the ideas running there were Loouna’s, others belonged to Sam and a couple were offered by the leaders of Fantasia Minor, Lord Landan-Killiany and Lady Louise.They brought books from their world too, the four children. Old books other people stopped reading or forgot about. They also conceived plans for their classes to take and collected knowledge from all over Great Fantasia United creating bridges and connections with the world they were coming from. The plan was a great one: to bring as many kids with super-powers like the ones they discovered they had, Soley, Matt, Loouna and Sam. Here, in Fantasia, Sam discovered he was a good dragon trainer; with the help of his friend, Matt, they could bring their little island to a higher rank. Soley discovered that she was a good architect - her plans were brilliant and Loouna’s contribution in this direction was quite successful too. Besides, the two girls had common opinions on certain things which brought them closer, the same set of knowledge being of major importance. Active in a way in one world, they were different but more efficient here, in this world named Fantasia, one that was supposed to be an imaginary world to help them breed their ideals and feed some healthy fantasies to feed upon for their reality - and they did. The collision between the two worlds not being a violent one, good results came out. Both worlds were communicating nicely now, due to the Wizards school where the history of Fantasia along with the theories on fantasy were taught and learned with the ease of a new-born. There were classes on sorcery and witchcraft, real magic and powerful tricks to complete the classes of science and literature. It was the perfect place for imagination to develop luxuriously.

*

Let me out! Let me out! I have to get our of here! I need to! Let me out! Please, let me out of here! Please! (she screamed and fell on her knees) I have to... I have to get out of here, she fell asleep sobbing.” Her pen stopped for the long hours of the night to give a chance to human-brain-cells to regenerate and create healthy connections. The girl knew that she was supposed to help that poor soul coming back to her with visions and sometimes little prayers. “I know this girl! I know her without having her met.”

- Perhaps it’s just me, dear Loouna, but I feel that you are exploring your inner child-self more than you should, the Wizard warned with one occasion.

- What you you mean? she asked back then.

- Leave that inner child alone. Let her go! She feels trapped just like you were when very little!

- I don’t know what you mean!

- You do, only you don’t want to remember.

*

*...*

“Come back! Teach me how to embrace a good life. Teach me how to live for our wishes to come true, gracefully pacing out of this box, confront the world with a brave heart! All this time, against us, for what, for how long? Come back, teach me how to live my life gracefully!”

*...*

*

**

Simone was happy with her new life. Everything was going the way she never allowed herself dream; suddenly she had the perfect life with the perfect family she never imagined she’d have. One more step was needed and it was to become official, her last step out of the past and into this brand new life she was beginning to see as possible. She decided to change everything: her name was the first thing to change completely, for a second and last time now: she was to become Sarah-Ann Parker. She decided to do so after she was paid a visit from her former husband, Loouna’s father, the man who, after learning that she was pregnant left, taking everything valuable he could carry with him. He also informed her about his new girl-friend which annoyed Simone even worse. Soon after he left, Simone got noticed by a relative of his that they were supposed to move anyway since the house was not their property anymore - the man had sold it behind her back to an aunt of his who died and left her entire fortune to her children. “- Brilliant! Now, was the right time for all this trash to happen to me! How could he cheat on me and lie to me this way, seeing that woman, selling the house, saying that he loved me! Lying bastard! How could I be so stupid! Stupid, stupid...” She packed and left the house without looking back.

She was lucky to have a very understanding employer back then, a family-man who offered her a very good deal for a rental in a nice neighbourhood, one where she wouldn’t feel afraid of raising a child. But soon she was found by her ex-husband; he came to ask for some money once. He got himself chased away, a restrain order following. He wouldn’t stop sending messages though, which annoyed her a lot. That is when she decided to move away. She was taking Japanese lessons for quite a while now and she thought why not give it a try and move as far away as possible. It worked. She disappeared for a few years, speaking to her mother only, from time to time. Her life chosen in Tokyo was the best Loouna could think about - it was her home, the only white girl to feel and be home there. Then, one day Mother decided to move again, before the girl could remember any excuse not to; they spent a couple of years in England, the next three and a half being spent back in the Japanese archipelago. The rest of their travels had to do with Simone’s great opportunities she didn’t want to miss. Besides, Loouna was a very clever girl, a very intelligent child that had no problem adapting to new places and adjusting to new learning methods. She was sure that travelling with her this way wasn’t going to harm her daughter in any way. It didn’t quite harm her but the girl longed for stability - she didn’t understand why all the running. Simone herself couldn’t understand her own actions sometimes - Why do I keep running away? What am I searching for? she was asking herself when alone and sad. No matter how good a job and a place to stay still, she wouldn’t find it sufficiently good; until they met Josh and Matt. Josh was a single parent too - his wife died when Matt turned five due to complications with pregnancy. They lost a mother and a sister-on-the-way, a wife and a child back then. Josh suffered a lot. He promised then he would never try to look for another partner and so he did. But, life had other plans and the two, Simone and Josh, met and befriended before one could spell Magic Mushroom. Matt had nothing against this, on the contrary. He could see his father growing older and lonelier than ever; he resented knowing him so sad, spending all his time either alone, reading the same old books, or with his two best friends, Ronald and Michelle, both a little sad too for not having children at all. - Why don’t you adopt? It is easier and safer. I know that nowadays things have evolved but maybe, just maybe... Josh proposed. - You know, there is this girl in our school, Soley, Josh remembered his son telling. She used to live in a castle, an old orphanage conducted by nuns. She is very well educated, a little melancholic sometimes, other times very full of energy. She has a little brother, I guess that he is eligible! Well... they could use a pair of good parents to get them out of the corset, so to speak.

Loouna was happy for her mother but was even more happy for herself. She never had friends nor relatives to hang around with before. Now she did and they were the perfect gang. They called themselves The Nobodies You Will Remember in school. A group they maintained open for other kids just like them. The girl’s idea was shaping-up. Deheidre and Jamie-Jay-James adhered and the group of fantastic kids got created. Soley felt like living an old dream of hers. ‘Remember the group that wouldn’t have you to interpret your stories and plays? Now you can both write and show!’ she said to herself.

The past’s shadows were disappearing along with their wishes to impress. It was no longer need to do so - they were having real fun which was showing greater than any ambition one might have. The angel of Love was carrying them to the highest peaks of actual success.

*...*

The wizard closed his great book and fell into a deep state of meditation. There were swirls of pipe-smoke floating in the air and a smell of fresh tea and something else, reminding of Loouna’s incense magic prayers for human kind and for her ambitions to come together as a whole that is needed, wanted and cherished. He wanted to give the girl some space, he wanted her to enjoy the time spent with her new family more. - Such a pity! They have so little time spent together when this is what should matter most in a life like theirs, he sighed. The Raven with eight legs appeared. Yata garasu had a message to deliver. He left the rolled piece of paper on the wizard’s desk then he flew out of the window in complete silence. Angus was worried. Something was stirring into the past not letting the goddess create that peaceful place for the new people she was casting her light upon. What could have happened?

*

A day in the City, grey. There’s nothing but a heavy curse to be put on the shoulders of those who made this miracle of life happen once! Loouna and Soley were sitting at the same table, in a library, each their cup of coffee near.

- What’s wrong, girls? Coffee already? Sam interrupted.

- Yes, we thought we gave it a chance earlier than usual.

- Our study-papers are not going to write themselves, you know. I, one, would be more involved into our studies, now. Who knows what brings tomorrow?

- Of all the places in the world and all the attractions in this city I find you in a library, reading, studying as if school-world would be crushed if you two weren’t there to mark a day with your brilliant minds and awesome pens.

- Oh, please, Matt! Save it! Loouna requested. We will be done in a couple of minutes anyway. Then we will listen to your ideas of spending our time left around here.

- We could try a museum or go to a concert! There are plenty of concerts going on all over the city! One just has to pick their favourite music and ambiance, Sam proposed.

- Well that sounds provoking. Soley smiled. I wonder who’s speech will be more convincing.

They went to three concerts that day: two in the evening and one held that night in a pub. Loouna’s mother and Josh went to the last one too. The adults decided that the children needed some time on their own, away from parental guidance during the day. Besides, they were used to the independent behaviour of their children which made things easy for both sides. Who knows what the parents did with their after-noon; nobody asked. They only called from a boat to see where their children were planning to spend their night.

- A most splendid summer-night like this one spent in a pub?! the voice on the other side of a call outraged. Oh, alright then, if they are that good I suppose we can go to the concert too, Josh’s voice tempered.

- Do you think that they will like this music? Soley asked.

- It’s music, of course they’ll like it! Matt reassured.

- They like everything that sounds well, Loouna added. Even music we kind of grew out of. They still love it!

- Yes, I’ve noticed. Still... Soley fathomed.

- Don’t worry, girl! Matt reassured. If they won’t like it we’ll meet them later on a yacht or in a fancy restaurant.

- It’s strange how we became family, don’t you think, guys? Sam asked.

- Yes! Loouna remembered.

- From friends to brothers and sisters in a time that can be pondered now by our memory as a second.

- Very true, my friend and brother! Matt spoke with pride. And let me tell you that I am proud of our parent’s choices. ... Talking about parents! Where are yours, Sam, Soley?

- They went out for shopping. Unlike your parents who decided to enjoy their honey-moon before their marriage too! They laughed.

- Hey, they don’t get any younger! Sam defended. Let the two breathe! Besides, our new parents love organizing parties and all sort of events so this will be their part of fun! Here, I’ll give them a call. Maybe they too will like to join us.

*...*

The magic ball connected once more to another world, the same girl’s words reaching Loouna’s consciousness for a second time with deep significance: “I somehow can’t believe that you did this to me! What made me think you were much prouder than this and a lot brighter for this to make happen?!” A bright light brought her back among her friends. Sam, Matt and Soley were looking at Loouna seeming a little puzzled. She moved her leg making a little noise. - Shush ssst! Sam desperately reacted. All four of them held their breaths.

“- She disappeared! One day she just disappeared and nobody ever found her! It’s like she was there only to offer whatever gods given things they needed or ever wished for; off and out of this world.

- I miss her too, you know?

- I must have been her worse nightmare, otherwise I don’t understand.

- Don’t bother, it’s easier that way.

- Whenever you’re ready to talk about love remember that there is the same amount of hatred going on around here! These two worlds are separated - the world of love and the one of hatred - and they should remain that way.

- Is that a joke?

- Mm…yeah... Perhaps... It feels like a joke sometimes, yes. A bad joke.

- God! All these ways in which we can harm each other!

- And all these ways in which we cannot! The ways in which we can help and bless people and things with something that works well!”

Loouna came back to her senses quickly. She grabbed her notebook writing everything down with inhuman speed.

A servant left the room carrying the birds, a lord’s prey of the day, in a large metal bawl.

- I used to love her, the voice of a man spoke. In fact I still do, only I put my senses to sleep... I needed to. It was either that or... She was one of the few who were actually loved by their King, their man and she, the one who loved him back truly. In real life things happen differently: they tend to get complicated. Through the mirror that I was I had to let some things go. I had to have it all... Then I felt forced into letting it go so that I could afford going on with something that just had to be done. Some people live in a fantasy, others prefer reality, or is it possible for what they call, what we all call reality to be a greater fantasy than anyone could imagine? Someone spoke about realities once. I feel like swimming in an ocean of thoughts that keep coming and going; the ocean is near and I enjoy the benefits of a breezing caress coming from the waves fighting, always, against the shores and failing in spectacular ways each time: they never win just like we never do. - Who won? - Bah... Those crazy people saving a whale, they are the ones who actually won!”

- We have to find this man! she whispered to her friends.

- What? You mean like now? Sam outraged.

- It’s impossible. We need to take this old book and these maps to the Wizard, Soley decided.

- We should also find a way to help our friend, there! Matt suggested. The body of a friend of theirs who fainted at an encounter with Mikos was kept inside a magic bubble. He was twisting and turning into the woods, possessed by an evil spirit. The spirit was trying to force the barrier imposed and pop the bubble with no chance of real success.

*

- What if he hated you? they heard coming from the right wing of Argoston’s castle.

- Who? The Doctor? a voice in the room they just left crept.

- I just hope they won’t notice that the book is missing, Sam wished.

- Why do you call him The Doctor, anyway? Is he a real doctor?

- Bah! I don’t know! I just remember that I... we used to tease the man a lot about his name and carrier.

- So, he was not a doctor, right?

- Why do you want to know?

- Well, because his Father always wanted to make a doctor of him but he ended right into a law school, which felt right until he started regretting it. Don’t ask me why! The money he did was quite good and for this family, money was everything that mattered! Nothing else!

- Maybe he raised the family so...

- No. This was in their blood. They were sellers, traders of goods, all of them! They could trade anything from sheep to gods; treated like traitors sometimes, they never cared who felt upset and why, they had a life they knew they should value. They’d sell their own souls then go on selling the souls of other people, if they had to. Even their God was for sale...! Not to mention idols - these were the easiest to sell (they’d actually feel proud if they got sold!).

- Really? I always felt that they loved being worshiped! Whenever not being so, fighting and trying to get back there, on the tracks somehow, trying to find a way to fight against their own pride, if they had to.

- Well, that’s what guarantees survival of a species; you’ll see no man nor alien not to feel the same. Cold as one can sometimes be, they tend to work for survival too, so, where’s the rush?

- I do not know but there should be no appreciation at all for what ‘is done for you, right now’.

- What do you mean?

- I’m tired, Loouna cried. There is nothing that we can learn here. Please, let’s go to Lord Azzuro. This secret chamber doesn’t feel like helping anyone.

- The two voices we heard don’t fit any of our ‘teachers’! Something is wrong, Matt concluded. Sam and Soley were worried about Loouna who kept receiving double messages from their friend, Jamie-Jay-James.

They left the castle under the invisibility halo created with the help of the magic ball Loouna received from the great Lady of the Skies. She learned how to masted some of its powers in the past year, a thing that brought a lot of joy to her and to her friends who were too taking benefit of her powers. Some things they could watch together, feeling like spies of Great Fantasia United, some others they could experience only through her.

- How’s Triple J. doing down there, into the woods? Soley asked.

- We should be heading back tot Lord Azzuro’s castle. The magic of the crystal moon created by Loouna is to disappear soon. That means we will get stuck forever here unless we opened the portal, Matt decided.

- There’s plenty of time! It is better to take these maps and the book back to the wizard safely, Soley opined.

- Right! I just hope that we will get back there safe! Triple J. here doesn’t seem very happy.

- Oh, stop it, Sam! Soley scolded.

- We should hurry, you’re right. Triple J. is not feeling very well! Loouna informed.

They descended the hill carefully. Deep down into the forest they decided to open the magic portal. In a split of a second they were back to the enchanted forests of Great Fantasia Creator. Not very far away they found Lord Azzuro and Lady Abyssa_Frey’s castle. On their domains they felt safe.

It seems that strange things were happening and a few teachers they had in school got contacted by Argoston in the event of finding and capturing the children who provoked so much damage to his plans. Rumours said that a couple of teachers joined the forces of evil living now in Horrensia a separated part of Fantasia lands.

*

Indeed, their new friend was not happy at all. He wasn’t himself. He used to love the group they were forming now, with Deheidre and the other kids back in the real world but here he acted under the magic spell of Lord Uthron. They met him in the dungeons of Argoston’s castle where they were looking for a little girl. But The Five Nobodies You Will Remember did a mistake: they didn’t take the notes required for such an adventure. Some might say that it was Loouna’s fault, always asking them for help with the girl in her visions: “- She is too little to be forced to such a cruel life! Please, she’s crying for help there! - How do you know it is Argoston’s castle!? It could be any castle, Sam scorned. - I don’t know, you’re right, but since we’re here we might just take a look into this matter. - Oh, alright now! Let’s do it! Matt always decided in favour of his step-sister. - Cool place, Jamie-Jay-James opined. I’ve never been to a dungeon like this before! I feel like trapped in a game. They loved teasing this boy sometimes, calling him Our Beloved Geek, Triple J., but they loved his character and his wish to be of help. He was also a very smart boy, well informed about anything technology might bring new - imagine the thrill and excitement he felt when he learned about this new world, the world of fantasy and magic! Sadly enough he got trapped by Mikos and Lord Uthron, two of the masters of black magic there. - It’s our new Fantasia that we will reign over, soon. We all went through changes! You’ll see! Mikos warned while disappearing, the light of Amaterasu’s gift in the hands of Loouna killing his body of cinder and smokes coming from hell. They didn’t notice, though that Lord Uthron cast a spell upon their new friend before he retreated to his chambers of Darkness.

- A curse was brought upon him, Lord Azzuro explained, and the boy can not believe in any creature anymore, be it an honest human or a liar.

- He seemed to know me this Mikos! He also projected a lot of hatred on me, Loouna cleared things to the three friends and the two leaders of Great Fantasia Creator.

- She started having visions of a little girl while we were looking for The Book in Lord Argoston’s castle. Lord Uthron and Mikos were haunting other places, as far as we were informed, two human-like men talking about something we caught no real idea of. During this time she acted strangely, not being able to control herself completely, Matt explained.

- She seemed to be lethargic which sometimes put us to the danger of being discovered, Sam completed.

- I was afraid the magic ball was no longer going to help us with the invisibility coat, Soley confessed.

- Back home, I mean in the world I came from, things were easier, Loouna admitted. I was able to take full control of these visions but I always had a very strong wish to be of help to those creatures sending me messages like these ones. She is a little girl asking for help.

- This means that the girl you are seeing and hearing is here; she must have been trapped somewhere on these lands of Fantasia Ex. named also Horrensia, the Wizard cast a light upon the mystery.

- These lands you visited, the ones of Lord Argoston, Lord Uthron and Mikos are outside Great Fantasia United for a reason. We separated after they made use of Black Magic. They used to be part of us but now there is no chance nor wish to attach them to us anymore, Lord Azzuro said while preparing a magic potion. Here, let me help you with your little problem! he offered.

The boy they called Triple J. was struggling. Matt, Sam, Soley and Loouna took each hold of a limb, holding him tight. The Wizard held his head. Lord Azzuro poured the magic liquid down the boy’s throat. You see, he then continued explaining, the world outside is a happier place than you could imagine. Your problem is inside your own self, dear Loouna; the curse comes from within to destroy you too. I advise you to take good care of yourself and suggest you to find a way to control your visions.

- Maybe if I found this little girl...!

- So, now I am going to perform a cleansing ritual and let’s hope that the curse wasn’t too bad and strong and I’ll succeed in helping you with this situation of your friend’s here. Does he have any magic powers?

- Not that we know of, Sam replied.

- He has a magic brain! He is very intelligent, Matt explained.

- Aha!...

He started chanting; the Wizard’s chants joined. After a few words spoken in a tongue that felt ancient and forgotten, the boy started having his first symptoms; nausea and a little head-ache followed which was only normal.

- Damn you and your tricks! Now I feel worse. They heard from the other side.

- It is not you who feels sick but the demon inside you, the one who is causing you so much trouble, Jamie, dear. Allow us to go on, Lord Azzuro spoke.

- Bah! Many have tried before, none gave me anything but a good laughter. You’re the first to give me a headache, why not? the man’s voice on the other side satirized.

- The Wizard spoke his next magic-words in that tongue nobody knew then he pulled out of a pocket a stone he touched the boy’s chest with - something awfully dark like cinder powder choking the others started coming out of him. Loouna and Sam could see the ugly smoky swirl in the shape of a demon: it was the ghost of a creature we all know from before the four kids’ travels.

- Mikos?!... the children exclaimed. She did not expect that. Mikos’ spirit left with the upset allure any spirit forced out of a host would. The boy felt relief. A loud tranquility followed. They all settled down relaxing. With the candour of a child having the fifth anniversary cake lit by candles they’re supposed to blow and make a wish, they gave themselves time to think and change their minds about a lot of things. It was the old man who felt more like a child than the other souls in the room, which felt a little strange - Lord Azzuro was proud of his friend, the Wizard.

- I thank you, wizard-man! Lord Azzuro bowed. I don’t know what you did but you did well. I feel... grateful.

The four children kept an eye on their friend, each at their turn during the entire night. The next morning their friend was doing well as a watered rose in the middle of the hottest month of the year.

- Well, by the candles and magic stones of Merlin! You do feel better, already! the wizard conceited. I expected this much later. You are really some strong young man, you know?

- I’ve been told to be so before, yes, Jamie-Jay-James answered.

- Alright then, let us learn the ways into the forest, children. May we use your knowledge of these woods? He was referring to his gadget-toy, a smart-phone thin like a piece of cardboard but flexible like a professional dancer.

- But of course. It’s the least I can do for you! the boy answered.

Later that day, after lunch, they sat and spoke for a while being given instructions and shown directions on the map the children snatched from Argoston’s castle.

*

I still don’t know how but I’m sure that I will make it. Deep down inside me I always knew! I could feel it! I kept feeding it... with my anger, with a lot of training, determination and a lot of faith; I kept moving on hanging on anything that might have helped. I will make it!... I will make it out of here! away from this sadness... this waste of purpose and meaning!... my meaning!... A waste of time... my time! my faith... my energy. (more and more whispered:) I will make it out of here. I have to!... I have to make it... I have to make it ...out... of.. here!”

- She is exhausted, the poor girl! Loouna spoke after coming back among her friends. The magic mirror-ball offered by Amaterasu helped her with another vision.

- You must learn more about the whereabouts.

- I could see only a castle that is protected and haunted by a lot of dark spirits. The girl is sometimes frightened, other times sure of her ways in trying to escape a room she is kept prisoner in.

*

**

‘- All covered in dirt, the interpretations came like no surprise: - It’s the only way they know! - They can do no better than that! - That is how they win. All covered with paint or dirt, the two options.

- Well... here we might just have a lot of earth and dirt to talk about; a lot of alien things too and many many wishes... the voice was fading away as if they found their ways to the surface.

- For a place that’s not her fault nor her idea, this feels pretty good!

- ‘Am not the one to remind her of everything that ever bothered anyone - a reminder of failures, of curses and the curses from the bloody world that’s so sensitive in meaning but also very strong - this is quite a world! ‘Wonder why she wanted that! Did you ever...?

- No! You only ask from others what you couldn’t have done! You would have left a bad memory no matter how!’

- Do you know what is that he’s rambling about, our friend the guide, Sam? Loouna asked.

- No, and honestly I don’t care about his words! I just want us to get the map the wizard asked us to find for him and get back home, safe! How on earth did we let ourselves misled into this trap?

- It’s the pirate-mission that got us both so confused as to think that we were strong and wise enough to fight what’s there to fight, Loouna concluded.

- We should have known better! Matt spoke with spite.I mean, we are not two teens looking for trouble! We were having fun while running in circles. We weren’t supposed to deal with real guns and actual villains.

- Well, that’s that! I need to get back home! Sam enthused a little. This will be my first year as a junior at St. John’s; it’s the same school you guys attend! I have to prepare well before I embarrassed myself and you guys!

**

*

*...*

“There is no right or wrong in a world where our illusions can become reality and where nobody forces anyone into anything. That world is a bubble, a place where you’re protected and never misjudged or judged in any way; a place earned, they say... I keep wondering how... How can I earn it so no one could ever Hurt me again? I want a heart of stone, I want a heart as sharp as a blade, a heart that’s smart but kind only brave enough to stand for the truth and what truth stands for! Now what does the truth stands for? Can you believe in anything true?”

*...*

*

The woods of Fantasia Max. were forgiving. The Four Nobodies You will Never Forget, Sam, Soley, Loouna and Matt didn’t break but a few trees in their next mission: they were looking for The Great Book of Quartets, an enchanted music book they needed to complete with their collection of Fantastic Musical Literature for their school’s library. The mission wasn’t lacking dangers, though, as they passed the territories of the gnomes and the ones of dragons, the latter proving to be quite an adventure. They met with dragons that could speak and learned more about the existence of pixies and fairies while visiting Fantasia Inceptio and crossing Fantasia Extremis for the hairs of The Great Red, the dragon of the Red Knight who escaped the domains of Fantaisie looking for trouble in the world of Fantasia 3L. - A Lady Dragon he was looking for, one that, rumours spread notice, was searching for a partner. Fantasia Inceptio was already creating the cribs and mountain-peaks where they could built a home, remembering they were conceived for one another, Lady White (the Dragoness) and Lord Pletruss Red, the Dragon of Savage Fires. It was said that a single hair of theirs could light a fire so great that any creature, be it real or fantastic, would burn or melt and leave the grounds where it chased the holder of such a possession. The children needed these hairs for protection against the Living Ghosts of Uthron and Mikos, two replacements they created so they had a place in Great Fantasia United. They aimed Fantasia Inceptio for they wanted to be there where everything starts, where things were planned for Fantasia Creator to spread among the entire kingdom. Hoping that they will learn more about the old plans as well as the new, Lord Uthron sent Mikos with an army of a thousand trolls and four hundred thousand arachnideans to try to discover the secrets of Fantasia’s creative source and fight to first take hold of the place under the name Fantasia Inceptio. Reigning over these lands would make easier the accomplishment of their purpose to conquer the entire Fantasia, but our four friends were already on this new mission that involved Dragon Hairs and lolo-fights, a marathon for the Great Prize - the library of Barron Fuit standing in their way: won - and the Dances of Venice, for the first time acknowledged by Lord Izloo_May and Lady Iza_Fay as part of the legacy most creative that should be introduced to Great Fantasia United as a bridge-celebrative event, one built between this wonderful world of fantasies and dreams and the world of humans, from where the Venetian Carnival inspiration came - all this happening in Fantasia Inceptio.

Fantasia Inceptio conceived an entire show for the very first introduction of the celebration of masks and impressions and, for the first time, Fantasia 3L. and Fantasia Extremis agreed: this carnival was a brilliant idea for rebuilding all the places damaged by the armies of lolo-wink people conducted by lord Uthron and his myrmidon, Mikos. The lolo-wink people were an interesting species, a special kind of lolipop-humanoids who were particularly sweet on the outside but extremely bitter inside - they were kamikaze people, little but real terrorists who could poison an enemy with one little bite or blind them with a single pop out. These were the enemies our four heroes who shall never be forgotten had to confront as they set their highest goal right from the beginning of their new adventure together: To get three of the most wanted and treasured books in Great Fantasia United to their school created by them and the great old Wizard.

Found in the great library of the new Castle, about to teach other children how to master a few tricks, Soley felt for the price of a blink of an eye, overwhelmed. This castle was much larger, its ceilings all higher and the towers prouder than any other castle she set foot in before. It felt like home, a greater kind of home where she and Jamie-Jay-James were about to bring a little technology; Deheidre, the newest add to the group, was also a great part of this plan - she and Soley had planned to create a room for computers and other technological gadgets they were planning to develop both with the power of their brains and with the one of magic. A few mistakes made them settle and think deeper and more carefully as things weren’t going as planned. Jamie-Jay-James explained to the girls his grand vision when he realised how the two worlds can become one, working complimentary together and they were thrilled by the idea but, after a few failures of their tests they were ready to give up. He was the only one who kept believing, coming with the solution for his gadgets to work right before they were split in two groups and sent on their missions that were a perfect occasion to test their new inventions. Besides, things could get dangerous and for this The Six Nobodies You Will Remember worked together for quite a while.

- Children, it is time, the Wizard announced in a calm tone. I hope you are well prepared for the missions you were assigned.

- Don’t worry! We’ll be fine, Matt reassured.

- Yes, we have a couple of tricks we worked on ourselves too, Soley announced.

- I know that Loouna, Sam and I have been working together for longer a period of time and that they both possess special powers, magical, if you like but your powers are very important too.

- We created weapons and tools to help all of us with our missions, Triple J. commented, you bet we’re important.

- Loouna, dear, I still believe that you should accompany your friends Deheidre and Jamie-Jay-James in their quest for Lady DandeLion’s secret books. The journey doesn’t lack dangers!

- You are much too worried for us, sir! Deheidre complained.

- One could never be too worried, dear, the wizard tempered.

- We’ll be fine! Sam reassured. She learned how to fly on the back of her dragon. Yesterday she was keeping-up with the rest of us.

- I am only afraid that you, children, are much too excited about your missions. Remember: magic is something that can be a very dangerous thing. especially in the hands of the untrained! And I’m not very sure about you gadgets either, he said turning to Triple J. and Deheidre, watching the two amazing nerds of the club from above the frames of his glasses.

- You know, we could make your glasses work more effectively, Jamie-Jay-James said in an attempt to escape the uncomfortable moment.

- Or we could get him to test one of our special contact-lens pair, Deheidre proposed.

- Or that.

- Alright. Scoop it! Go find the books we need here and be very careful. There is rumour that the lolo-wink people are acting strangely which is always bad news. This cannot lead but to a lot of trouble! They are great creators of confusion too.

- Okay, Sam took over. Me, Soley, Loouna and Matt decided to go take some Red Dragon hairs from the Red Knight. Want some too? He asked Triple J. and Deheidre.

- Sure!

- What can they do? Deheidre asked.

- It is said, and proved it was, that they can set on fire the enemy and purify a soul offering either damnation or redemption, depending on how corrupted that soul is and how willing to fight against all wrong, Matt explained.

- It can send away bad spirits, Loouna added, it can destroy all their bridges and other connections created with any world and banish them forever. It’s a very powerful tool around here.

- And I thought my little bombs were to be helpful, Triple J. pouted.

- Not in the case of such spirits we were told of, Soley completed.

- You’ll find such spirits too. All the magic books are shrouded in a bit of mystery and protection comes from both sides in most of the cases of history books, Matt explained with all seriousness.

- Especially the ones containing secrets, Sam aided.

- Especially, those, yes, Loouna confirmed. One of the books you’re about to bring from Lady DandeLion contains a lot of secret information on the dark side, so, you will have to fight some spirits that are not willing to give it up to us...

- They are probably used to Miss DandeLion’s little secret library, Matt rejoined.

The four older friends left for a couple of hours the study-room to meet the Red Knight. They came back with more bad news: Triple J. and Deheidre were supposed to take special precautions and never speak to anyone in their way.

- Back so soon?

- Bad news, Triple J. The Red Dragon escaped.

- He what?

- Did he leave any hairs behind?

- It’s not funny Deheidre! Sam scolded.

- I wasn’t trying to be funny! Just hopeful...

- Well, the answer is no, he didn’t and the Red Knight doesn’t have any hair left either, Matt alerted.

- Great! Now what are we to do?

- We can fly all on our Dragons to find the Red Dragon, Triple J. plainly suggested. Do we have any clue on where might he be heading?

- The Red Knight found the iron leash broken this morning, Soley informed.

- He’s never done this before! Loouna yielded.

- Actually, he hasn’t done this in a while, Sam corrected his friend. It seems that the last time he ran away was when he tried to help a brother of his with a liberation of baby-dragons. He’s never done this after that!

- I wonder what’s the case now! Deheidre lingered.

- Well, we’re not going to find-out if we stay here! Matt urged.

- Maybe if we tried to split! Jamie-Jay-James suggested.

Just when they were about to couple into three teams, a notice from the Red Knight came. He learned the rumours circulating and thought of the only plausible situation: The White Dragoness was circling the kingdom to find a pair.

- You see, the knight explained to the six kids, the Red Dragon is not getting any younger. He was always concerned with his duties of protecting my castles and his family, or families, if you like, but now, I guess, he is looking for a chance to bring new little dragons on our lands, which can be the best opportunity for us to create our protection for the lands to come.

- Did you discover where this Dragoness lives?

- She nested somewhere in the Laria Mountains.

- Those are in Fantasia 3L., right? Triple J. lofted.

- That’s accurate, the Red Knight confirmed. You see, these places aren’t normally dangerous unless you challenged your own luck but now they have become places for fires of the most legendary proportions; the White Lady must be unsatisfied with what she found.

- Perhaps she wasn’t satisfied with the other dragons courting her! Matt guessed.

- That’s one reason for the fires. Another reason must be the local creatures fighting for their cliffs and rocks. Some of them there, aren’t very friendly with picky new-comers! the Red Knight supplied.

- I see, Matt pondered. Well, on our way, then.

- I don’t get it, Deheidre commented when up into the skies, flying on their dragons to Laria Mountains. Why would a Red Dragon want to have little baby-dragons with a white Lady Dragon? Does he hope for Pink Little Dragons?

- You’re funny, the others laughed.

- Actually she’s making a point here, Sam sustained.

- The Red Dragon species is going extinct, the Red Knight explained. There is one more Red Dragon in our magic worlds but that is on the other side of our Fantasia Lands. I am talking about a cousin of the Red Dragon who once stole away the last Red Dragon female from our friend who is looking for a match, now!

- Was there any fight involved? A duel between dragons? Triple J. wanted to know.

- Actually there was! They had a contest but our Dragon got distracted - being also much too young at that time - and he lost.

- What could have possibly distracted him?

- I’m sure not video-games, Matt daunted.

- There is a rumour about our fugitive dragon here and the very lady white he’s after. They are closer in age and they seemed to understand each other very well back then. They both wanted to become beasts to be respected and feared, important to their kingdoms; perhaps our hero didn’t know or simply never shared how much he resented fighting for the older Red Dragoness.

- Maybe they planned this! Maybe they were in love all this time, the White Dragoness and our Red Dragon! Deheidre fancied.

- Oh, brother! Not a Dragons soap-opera, Matt complained, please!

They arrived to Laria Mountains faster than planned which offered them the opportunity to watch a contest between two dragons for the lady they wanted to conquer. Impressive in skills and violent attacks the children opined, the White Dragoness being cold to any of their shows. She kept yawning and looking away as if expecting someone else and showed no delicacy of feelings towards the contestants. This made the kids catch the idea that the Red Dragon wasn’t even there but there was some message sent from her side otherwise the Red Beast wouldn’t have made an entrance great, a couple of hours later, when all the dragons were sent back to their masters and castles and caves by the very tired and bored Princess Korrine, the White Dragoness. She was waiting for her winged knight with thick as the rocks that cannot burn skin friend. It’s interesting the light in a dragon’s eyes lit at the sight of someone long expected and loved! There was obvious recognition and happiness in the way they both behaved.

- It’s been a long time, my dear Red, she fancied.

- Much too long, dear White Princess Korrine.

- Her name is Korrine? Deheidre outraged.

- They can talk! Sam and Soley enthralled.

- How can her name be Korrine!? Deheidre went on.

- I never knew they could talk! Sam enthused.

- Neither did I, Matt replied, but one could imagine. They weren’t that special for nothing at all.

- This is ridiculous! What kind of a Dragon-Name is Korrine?

- How come they never speak a word to us? Soley whirled ignoring Deheidre’s manifestations of surprise.

- Aaa... guys, I believe that this has something to say to all of us. Loouna pulled out of her pocket the magic ball she was offered by Amaterasu-o-mi-kami herself. For an outnumbered time this little gift proved to be of great help. It was reacting to the words of the two dragons. Its powerful light noticed the dragons of the presence of the six children and the Knight. In the beginning the White Dragoness paled then she became furious with the discovery, raising to attack the strangers. But, the Red Dragon calmed her, letting her know that they were friends.

- How come this gift never reacted to any other dragon communication!? Loouna wondered.

- We were there when he trained his nephews and nothing like this happened, Sam rejoined.

- This is strange.

- Where did you say you have that magic ball from? the Red Dragon asked.

- It’s from the upper-world, The Great Lady of the Sky, Amaterasu-o-mi-kami offered it to me.

- Good Lord! the White Dragoness whirled. And I was about to kill you! I am very sorry! she politely apologized.

The Red Knight couldn’t believe his eyes. He never witnessed such a way of apologizing in a dragon.

- That is where she came from, the upper-world, the Red Dragon informed.

- Pletruss, dear, I don’t belong there anymore. Sam and Triple J. held their breaths not to laugh at the news of the Red Dragon’s real name, knowing him only by the name of the Great Red. They deserted those places and savage strange creatures replaced all our gods and warriors. It is strange the world we came from: - it’s like never before!

- You must refer to the world you were born in and which was given to the children of Amaterasu-o-mi-kami to reign over, Loouna clarified.

- They might have done a couple of grave mistakes. the White Dragoness clarified. Or, perhaps it was just the way things were supposed to evolve. You and I, we don’t belong to them anymore. We are free to either built or burn the bridges to connect us with their worlds any time this becomes necessary.

- But we’ll still belong to our roots, the ones we know of and the ones that keep being a mystery to us, Loouna decided.

- When did you become so wise, sis? Matt wondered.

- It is something very well known. Good common sense, I may say.

- Now you sound Like Kimberly J.

- Kimberly J? Who is that?

- The new generation that will kick our asses if we don’t keep-up with all the news, that’s who! Matt retorted.

- What do you mean? Soley asked.

- I mean that we’ve got competition there, from where we come!

- A little competition never hurt anyone, Loouna wisely concluded. Look at these two! If it weren’t for the competitions between all the other dragons we wouldn’t have learned about the White Dragoness and the love story between her and our Red Dragon. In fact, they might have never even met.

- We tried to keep it a secret for too long a time now, the Red Dragon admitted. I feel that I’m growing old. It’s over, my time as a bachelor; I feel out of use in the castle of Lord Karmin, the Red Knight. Here, we might try to create a peaceful home for ourselves. I feel that it is time for me to settle down and let my nephews take charge of my attributions. Perhaps my adopted son, Merkie; I know that he is a purple dragon inside but his crimson skin is starting to tell more and more about his mother, my passed-away sister.

- Oh, Pletruss, I am so sorry, Korrine, the white dragoness comforted. How did she die? When?

- Oh, it was some time ago... everyone around me seemed to die. I lost almost all of my brothers and sisters then - the other ones flew away to other lands or worlds, who knows? Perhaps I’ll meet them again some day. I remained here, on these grounds, the only Red Dragon of my kind around.Fantasia knows no other greater than me. Merkie is a big boy now! He stopped crying for his mother a couple of years ago.

- I see. Then it was when the Great War happened!

- Precisely. You know, for the save of these lands we have to be thankful to Miss Loouna here, Lady of the Fantasian Society. She saved the entire kingdom from falling into complete eternal darkness back then.

- You did! Amaterasu-o-mi-kami must be very fond of you, offering you such great powers.

- In my opinion she only invested this girl with what was rightfully hers, that’s all, Pletruss opined.

- You speak very nice of her and I can see now what an amazing creature she is. I am glad I didn’t fry you, Lady Loouna, Princess of the Fantasian Society.

- Oh, you are much too kind! I haven’t been named a princess of this kind before.

- Well, you are now! Korrine ended in the kindest tone possible for a dragon.

- Children, the Red Dragon raised, I am sorry to disappoint you but me and Princess Korrine will have to find ourselves a shelter; it is time for us to start building a home.

- Why not building a home back in the waters of Fantaisie? I have a couple of mountains there that you might find suitable for a home! Lord Karmin, Red Knight of Fantasia proposed. I’ll give one to you, as a wedding gift. This way you can lead a life in peace and send any of your children to a proper training, later, when time comes. Unless you want them to live a life in complete wilderness, which is for us to accept although, I fear a little dangerous these days.

- What do you mean? the White Dragoness grunted.

- I am afraid he is right, Pletruss, the Red Dragon confessed. There is rumour, and I tend to believe as the truth, that the armies of lolos are lead to blind and confuse, even poison, every single creature in Fantasia Inceptio. They’ve trained us a lot to avoid such traps!

- It is true, Lord Karmin admitted.

- There is a rumour wandering for about three months now, Loouna told, that Lord Uthron and his acolyte, Mikos, have found a way to penetrate into our world without actually being here. They created their so called mirrors and placed a few spells on the lolo-wink people to act like kamikazes and destroy as many celebrations and festive events as possible.

- They began infiltrating in Fantasia Inceptio a few years ago, Jamie-Jay-James seconded, it was one of their old plans, before their many failures, of conquering Great Fantasia United. It seems that they gave it a second thought.

- I believe that this is actually their last resort! Deheidre opined.

- I am with her on this matter, Matt confessed.

- The logic supports Deheidre, Soley added.

- So, what do you say, dear? Shall we live our peaceful times on the best of the mountains Fantasia has to offer or you prefer to be free?

- Oh, a small correction, dear friend, the Red Knight interrupted. You are going to be free. You were a loyal dragon to the kingdom and I reckon you will continue having respect for all territories and also help us protect what is your home too! I bound to respect your privacy and help you built a part of that wilderness you dragons once had.

- We’ll accept your gift, Lady Korrine, the White Dragoness happily answered.

- One more thing, Loouna dared. We are in a bit of a hurry now, since we were supposed to split the group in two and follow each group a mission that is too dangerous for us unless we had a couple of Red Dragon’s hairs with us.

- If I didn’t know best I’d say you kids nowadays are the luckiest spoiled creatures in all the worlds! The Dragon amused. But I do know better and you do deserve to have a few of my magic hairs, so, here you are, he kindly offered. We are also going to escort you to the territories of your mission, aren’t we, dear Korrine?

- But of course we will. We are still the fastest dragons around here!

- I bet the others would still be defeated by us! the two dragons laughed so hard that a few rocks started coming down the cliffs. Jump-up! the Red dragon invited. Where to, Miss Loouna, Lady of our Fantasian Society?

- The four of us, to Fantasia Inceptio. The other two right to Fantasia Creator’s, Fantasia A. where they must find Lady DandeLion’s house.

- Oh, dear, us, the dragons, are forbidden to step on the grounds of Fantasia A., Lady Korrine, the White Dragoness warned.

- We know! That’s why the border-line will be fine. We will find our ways to Miss DandeLion’s! Triple J. reassured.

- Alright! You can have one of my hairs too! You might find them of good use.

- What does it do?

- It electrifies!

The two dragons laughed once more spreading their wings up, rolling into the skies, hiding under the blanked of little clouds and vapours mist.

- You know, Korrine the White Dragoness confessed to Loouna before they went on separate ways, It is the upper-world you think is safe that got in real trouble. I paid a visit to my new lands there but there was nothing left for me. My island was under attack. It seems that they are also preparing for some sort of a confrontation with the world of Yomi... again.

- The last time we saw them was when we returned the mirror of Amaterasu... well, one of her enchanted mirrors. they didn’t say anything about being in trouble.

- But did they offered you a tour?

- No. As a matter of fact, they were behaving quite strangely. As if they couldn’t wait for us to leave.

- Exactly as I suspected. There’s trouble-trouble in the air. When they expect wars or confrontations they tend to help any guests out and deal with those problems themselves.

- I would have gladly helped.

- If they will consider there’s need of your help you will know, trust me. I reckon you’ll be the first to know. After all, it is Amaterasu’s magic gift you’re holding hidden there, in your pocket.

- True.

- None of us escaped the duty of helping in need. For now they must be certain of their victory, so let us not worry too much. But prepare yourself always, never let your guard down! Things could get tough any time and you have to be prepared.

- I will, Thank you Lady Korrine.

- Most welcome, dear!

- Good-bye! Have a safe flight!

Korrine the White Dragoness laughed: - You too, my beloved friends! You too!

- When flying on a dragon Loouna, seriously? Matt scorned.

- What? is the polite way!

- I don’t know, Sam rejoined. If I were a dragon I’d feel either amused like she was or offended.

- To be frank, I never felt more secure in my entire life, Soley added.

- Alright, I get it! One always has the safest flight on a dragon!

- Especially if that dragon is a much feared one like her, Pletruss supplied.

- Why? Is she as dangerous as you are!? Sam enthralled.

- Even more dangerous. One of her thunders can freeze the blood in the veins of her enemy and break them like icicles, shock and dissipate the being in a split of a second. Deadly, I tell you! Even I feel subjected by such power! the Red Dragon admitted. Their laughter rose into the evening air like the heavenly sounds of bells in the wind seconded by the roaring hearty laughter of the Red Dragon. The other Dragons followed as echoes which brought a pleasant surprise to the air above all mountains and seas. Soon They arrived. Fantasia Inceptio was showing its highest peaks white, a colour that made our friendly dragon sigh.

*

The Great Book of Fantasia - the work our Four Nobodies that shall not be forgotten were also looking for - was supposed to be hidden in the house of an old musician-lerian. They decided to take that work first, asking him if he didn’t happen to know where The Great Book of Quartets was hidden. Lerians were a special kind of creatures - they resembled a lot to humans but their powers of learning and teaching were beyond anything natural. They used to be and behave like humans but now, after a few centuries of evolution, their super-powers outgrew their species and they became immortal and untouchable. He was the first of the lerians family to touch immortality, Sir Laudelian. His father, the last of the super-powered mortal-lerians left him an impressive collection of history books and maps, himself being a highly educated professor, specialised in the history of Fantasia. He was proud of his son who surpassed him in all the arts he chose to be taught and teach. When he died he also confided him the secret place for his most valuable collection of works among this Great Book of Fantasia.

- I cannot help you much with The Great Book of Quartets! I used to keep it hidden in my private library, the old lerian confessed, until a recent unhappy event made me realise how much of a fool I was all these years, not placing it in my father’s Secret Place. There the book would have been safe from those pesky dand-lolos! he added with spite.

- Dand-lolos? Loouna wondered.

- Are they related to the lolo-wink people? Soley asked.

- Yes and no, the lerian elucidated. The rumours circulating around speak of a lab-creation; you see, there was a scientist, a brilliant but mad one, living here, on these grounds, in my passed father’s time. It is said that this mad scientist partnered with Lord Uthron for the development of the lolo-wink people. It is said that those are also an invention of the two, but the Counsel of Fantasia never confirmed these rumours. They were supposed to be helping them with their wars of conquering the entire kingdom, the lolo-winks - the contribution of this mad scientist, by his name Faughrron, was minimal but effective; without this contribution, back in his days of youth, the lolo-wink people wouldn’t be what they are today: a very dangerous species. Adorable, but deadly.

- So, he was very young back in those days when the lolo-wink people were conceived! Matt pondered.

- Yes. He was only a child, a very bright one, though! The only son of Lord Faughrron Phan, a renowned scientist who naively believed in Uthron’s good intentions to help him create protective armies against the dark creatures of the underworld and against the orcs that were free to break into any territory of whomever they pleased, destroying pretty much anything in their way. You see, the Counsel of Wizards was divided back then between those for Fantasia Creator to be the place of initiation of every creative movement and Fantasia Max. that was back then, as it does now, holding the grounds of Fantasia Inceptio. Political matters I was never much into: my father was an expert on those. I only studied enough so I didn’t fall into the traps of ignorance and let myself fooled by creatures like Lord Uthron and his myrmidon, Mikos.

- This Mikos keeps haunting these places! Matt wondered.

- He is haunting any place; his restless soul is looking for the niches of darkness left into the souls drawing lines and leaving traces and signs for him to follow everywhere in this Universe. He uses those as bridges for his acts of horror but there is also a spell that follows him everywhere, a magic little shimmering light he cannot escape, in fact, he wouldn’t escape from - it is his reason to exist! That little light he carries with him is always betraying his dark-mind and his evil intentions which help our sorcerers find him in time and fight his intentions to scare our beloved children anywhere in any world he might find a way to set foot on.

- Right, Soley concluded. What about the Great Book of Fantasia, she added in an anxious tone.

- That, I ca help you with. In fact, I am willing to donate my entire collection of books, maps and parts, including my own works, to the new school of Fantasia ruled by our beloved saviour, Lady Loouna, with our highly respected friend Angus, the Great Wizard of Fantasia and other worlds. I am also handing you this petition of becoming a teacher of musical arts in your school.

- Oh, wow!

- That would be a great honour, Loouna bowed with deep respect. You are a great man!

- And you a real lady, the lerian concluded. Now, allow me to lead you to the secret hideaway. Prepare yourselves for a big surprise.

The Red Dragon was waiting outside in the garden where he was invited to have a little snack; the lerian had a big chunk of meat ready to be given away as a treat to any friend might pay him a visit. A dragon was not on his list but, since the fantastic creature proved itself useful, eating a few rodents in the garden the lerian felt obliged to offer him what he believed was a decent meal.

- Have you enjoyed your little supper, Lord Pleatruss? the lerian asked.

- Not even close to a meal for a dragon my age, but thank you! The little snack was much appreciated! All of them laughed then the lerian invited them into the woods.

- Unfortunately for our Dragon-friend here, the place is impossible to cross, being this large, so I will have to ask him to wait for us here, in the garden.

- I’ll gladly remain here and have a few of your rats and mice, maybe a hare looking for your cabbages and carrots.

- I’d be so grateful if you helped me with those pesky little rodents!

The children and Sir Laudelian, the lerian, descended into the woods. They had half a human hour of walk to do, at least this is how the clock-trockles were showing.

*

Jamie-Jay-James was a creative inventor, very happy to combine knowledge from the world he came from with the knowledge in this new world he started to take fancy to. His clock-trockles were supposed to show information that was valuable from both the worlds they now knew, which it did, also offering a few guides and options for the weapons to use being itself a powerful weapon against trockle-beasts, the eaters of time, a very dangerous species that was feeding with the lifetime left of each creature they met. They were rare on these lands but, in Fantasia Creator, especially on the grounds of Fantasia A. where Miss DandeLion was living, the trockle-beasts were counting thousands.

A notable number of fantasy books and books on the history of fantasy and Fantasia, Miss. DandeLion had. The two friends, Triple J. and Deheidre held silence for most of their journey communicating only with the help of their clock-trockles, a tool that included telepathic waves to help them keep silence. Into the swamps they had to cross they decided to wear the disguise of trockle-beasts, another feature the great invention of Triple J. was holding. The boy was very proud of his invention as well as of his ability to play the role of a trockle-beast with success. Deheidre was doing fine too, giving thanks to her theatre classes now for she was never an innate actress but a talented psychologist which helped her get into the minds of other people. They passed the trockle-swamps with success entering the woods of the dorians where things were about to change.

*

Deep into the woods of Fantasia Inceptio a little door lied hidden behind a cascading wall of ivy and herbs. the door took them through a tunnel dug deep underground where the lerian lit a torch for them to be able to watch their steps. At the end of the tunnel another door took them to a large corridor where the light of torches abounded. At last, a third door was opened and the children could see what they never believed they’ll witness: the largest apartments an underground house could hold. No windows but clever holes made into the rocks and grounds for air to penetrate were to be seen artistically showcased in the walls and ceiling. a chandelier of waters was bringing a little life from above to this amazing room.

- Follow me! We have two more rooms to pass-through and then we will be down into the secret room that holds our books. There is too much humidity here to keep a book. The library had to be preserved somewhere under a dry territory. It is a tricky room though - not much air to breathe in there. That is why we spend little time inside. When we need a book from down there we go and get it up here, he said opening the door to a study room or a few doors ahead, he pointed to another door! Those are rooms where fresh air abounds without harming the books. One has to be careful with such old books, you know.

- It’s quite an architectural challenge, your secret underground house here, Soley observed. May I study your place a little?

- But of course, dear. We can have a tea break after we’re done, if you like. Then you’ll have the chance to admire the construction. I’ll give you the plans too. It’s the master-ship of a lerian, an uncle of mine who was an architect, brother of my mother.

- I see! I is a wonderful place.

- Thank you, the lerian proudly accepted the compliment. You know, my mother was a very clever woman too. She was talented in so many ways! She and her brother worked together to create this place and they made a treasure of it.

- They did quite a splendid job, Matt lauded.

- Here we are. Let’s get inside and quickly take the book you’re looking for. I’ll bring a few more that I know will be a pleasant surprise to Angus.

- Do you happen to know what his name was before? Loouna asked as if charmed. The others stopped to wonder keeping their breaths.

- Nobody speaks about that around here, Lady Loouna. Angus has prohibited us to talk about his past. It was an ugly one, of that I can assure you, but we’re bound to forget and he to forgive whatever happened a very long time ago.

- It seems that this past life of his will remain forever shrouded in complete mystery, Loouna sighed. Perhaps this only for the best.

- There is no doubt that it is for the best, the lerian concluded.

Three books of grand importance were taken out the library before Sir Laudelian decided to give the fourth one away. - The other five I’ll bring myself. They are of great importance too but not as important as the ones I just handed to you.

- May I take a look into the Great Book of Fantasia? Loouna anxiously asked.

- But of course, Lady Loouna.

- I believe that you can use Merkie, the adopted son of the Red Dragon to fly above the entire kingdom and avoid all trouble. I’ll be more than happy to come after you, Sam proposed.

- That would be indeed very helpful. Very kind of you, young man!

They spent almost an hour in this comfortable lair, a refuge for times of disorder and wars too. The pleasant minutes they had were never to be forgotten as well as the extremely whirling ones that followed at their return to the official house of Sir Laudelian.

*

Deheidre and Triple J. were now closer to Lady DandeLion’s house. They only had to pass the grounds of the dorians and they were there. But, they didn’t expect the dorians to be such horrible creatures. Their humanoid appearance was horrid, growing fresh flesh every time, seeming to wear their hideous inside out, all the time, leaving behind flesh that was to become putrid food for the worms and scavengers, parts of their bodies thrown at the creatures they didn’t like or considered their enemies. The two friends were among them seen and treated as unwelcome guests. If passing the trockle-beasts was easy a task to complete, fighting the dorians proved to be a harder one. Jamie-Jay-James thought he might use a few of his clock-trockle’s tricks and so he tried to fry the dorians that caught them by surprise but in his quest he almost set himself on fire. The clock-trockle detonated itself a human minute and a half after he threw the gadget at a group of seven dorians. Right after that, a trockle-beast came out of nowhere and attacked all the other dorians left, leaving them all unconscious like our friend, Triple J. After they were gone Deheidre helped the boy come back to his senses.

- What?... What happened?

- Come on! I’ll explain on safer grounds.

They ran their way to Miss DandeLion’s faster than they knew they could run.

*

Back at Sir Laudelian’s they found the dragon under attack by the sweet lolo-wink people who were popping and smashing themselves against the skin of the dragon, aiming for the eyes and nostrils. The dragon burned a few of them, not knowing, though how to deal with the toxic smoke coming out. Where could they pour themselves so many into the battle, remained a mystery. It seemed like the children and he were tracked by something, a thought that annoyed the great beast even more. He never liked being trapped so easily; it made him feel like a fool, and a dragon feeling like a fool is one of the most dangerous existing creatures. The children and Sir Laudelian felt very challenged by this situation. Trying to calm a mad dragon was one thing; trying to save him and themselves from being poisoned by the kamikaze lolo-wink people while calming the upset and most dangerous dragon in the kingdom was tremendous a task. To add to the whole dramatic picture, one lolo-wink man managed to pop right in the nostrils of our dragon almost poisoning him. The dragon down the lolo-winks began to gain confidence but Soley, being very good with the gadgets invented by Triple J., accessed a feature popping them all up in a bubble created by Loouna with the help of her magic ball. Once all destroyed inside the magic bubble, the poisonous smokes and gases were annihilated by a magic liquor turning all the substances from which they were created to their initial state - sugar spices that were used to create a protection field for the house of Sir Laudelian. The struggle to save the Red Dragon from poisoning followed. Loouna contacted the Wizard through the clock-trockle for aid - her telepathic powers being a little weakened by the poisonous gas still lingering in the air. She needed guidance to create an antidote potion to the lolo-wink poison. The wizard gladly offered his help then took interest on the development of their mission. She also required help from the Red Knight who left with Merkie, the Crimson Dragon, to prepare the lands of the highest and greatest mountain he had for the Dragons to own and reign over in peace - their peace.

- Please, ask him to come and help Sir Laudelian and Sam with the condition of the Red Dragon.

- I will inform the White Dragoness.

- That is a brilliant idea, Loouna lauded. We also have some good news for you: Sir Laudelian has signed a petition to ask for the position of music professor in our school.

- Excellent, the Wizard enthralled. That is a wonderful idea! Leave the petition with Sam! I will have it delivered through Lord Karmin, the Red Knight.

It took two days to the Red Dragon to recover from his sleep, that strong the poison was; luckily they got the liquor created in time and they only had to monitor his state, Sir Laudelian and Sam remaining there to watch over him. The other three left for the Venetian Carnival that was about to begin. They had to take a few pictures of the first event of such a masquarade taking place in Fantasia. They also hoped to find The Venetian Quartet there, a very renowned group of artists from their own world who, somehow - nobody is very sure of the means - managed to find their way into the world of Fantasia, gladly entertaining the populations in the kingdom, especially the ones in Salt-Spogulis, one of the greatest capitals of this world. It was Matt’s occasion to practice his journalist skills which he happily did. They also discovered that another group of talented show-people, The Three Caballieros, were playing now the Grand Show of Lady Loouna and Angus, the Wizard: Looking for the Magic Mirror Show, which intrigued a little our three friends. Such occasions were not to be missed as they were part of the history happening in place, present times writing the other half of the history of Great Fantasia United.

“One day I will write a book about this place, Loouna said to herself. I will write it and I will offer it to the entire world to know of our existence here too!” she decided.

**

- It was madness, I tell you, Deheidre could now allow herself the joy of telling the story of their first dangerous adventure in the lands of Fantasia. The trockle-beasts were nothing compared to the dorians. I never knew that they existed.

- They didn’t. We didn’t know about them until now, the wizard confessed.

- We didn’t know much about the trockle-beasts either, before meeting them and trying to blend. I mean, it is one thing to read or be told about something and another thing to be there and see it with your own eyes, Triple J. stated. Remind me to check for any faults all your clock-trockles, guys. Mine almost got me killed.

- Mine worked well, Loouna said.

- Some of the features are safe but, when I tried to use the bomb-launcher it almost instantly detonated itself.

- Mine worked well too! Now that I think better, Deheidre observed, if it hadn’t been for the trockle-beasts I wouldn’t have managed to save Triple J.! We set our clock-trockle to copy the entire behaviour and use power identical to theirs. Installing this new feature helped me defeat the dorians. I could actually feel the power of a trockle-beast running through my veins. My arms were stronger and I acted instantly killing the five remainig dorians that attacked us.

- A lot of rather interesting creatures appeared on these lands lately, the wizard observed. We will have to be careful, take each land of Great Fantasia United and study all places more carefully. It seems that there is an open portal between your world and ours; there must be another one open somewhere in between fantasy and psychological realities which might end in the proximity of the great creator of dreams and nightmares. That means that everything a human mind can produce might find its creature created there, by the Great illusions transformer. Then, through the portal opened, these creatures can get here, in our Fantasia which is not ideal.

- All this is news to us. You never spoke of the great illusions transformer before, Loouna remembered.

- This because we all thought it lost but, whilst you did your researches and fights in your missions I got myself on my own mission; I was on my way of discovering why the entrance into our world of humans from Earth, not chosen by us, when you contacted me to ask for help, dear Loouna. I postponed my research but I found a few interesting things and the move of the illusions transformer next to a metaphysical portal is one of my first theories.

- Well, that settles it! Our missions so far were successful, Loouna keyed. We shall work on our next to gather material for our school and to invite the best professors to come and teach in our school the students chosen to represent the Earth here and Fantasia on Earth.

An air of fresh hopes aroused the spirits of the young gathered at the table, an air that could be enjoyed. The moon of Fantasia was rising calm and lucent, like always, round a face to show her grace to the souls below. Her veil of pale light was caressing the clouds, the edges of buildings and the living beings catching its coldness. She was an empress at her turn, a celestial entity as important to the night as the sun is to the day of the world still named Fantasia.

*****

**

Empowered by the greatest things that ever mattered to human race, the two guardians of the seas appeared on their sea-horses to take the four heroes to the lands where Amaterasu-o-mi-kami was waiting for them, The Empress and their parents by her side.

- I don’t understand! How is that you’re all here? Soley exclaimed. What is the connection between you?

- What I don’t understand is how I can feel as if I knew you all. I can already see a friend in you, a good friend, a very known friend, Matt’s father fathomed addressing to Soley’s mother.

- You are all Children of the Light, the Great Lady of the Sky spoke. The fires inside you are caused by the star each of you carry inside. You are Our Children, come.

She invited them to a space that seemed to open behind a passage, a portal-gate made of light, radiating two noble colours: Blue and Gold. They passed through and met with their celestial parents and guardians. Soley and Sam’s mother were there. Matt’s parents too; he missed a lot his passed-away mother and couldn’t believe his eyes. His father, next to Simone, a little embarrassed, said: - You should go with her, now. She was your guarding angel, all this time. - Yours too, Matt’s mother replied smiling with the ease of the wise. Our life together was a beautiful life. What came after, to you, my beloved - she addressed both Josh and Matt - was a nightmare, to me, a continuous search for the equilibrium and peace we all needed. Simone and her daughter, Loouna, were the answer and I cannot be but proud to have brought them to you. Your lives as humans will have to go on and we will have to live in peace and harmony with one another, like brothers and sisters, dear, she addressed Simone. - Of course, Simone blushed as if a nine-years old caught by a mother stealing another piece of cake from the freshly out of the oven tray, right before supper.

**

*****

The Moths were getting nowhere with the army of fairies gaily flying around puzzling the enemy. Helped by their magic Donner was escaping the ropes of the murk-men thundering with anger. How did they do that? How did they catch him so easily? His ego was disturbed - he thought himself more clever than that.

- Enough for today! It’s time for lunch. Your mother is waiting for you, my son, Pleatruss, the Red Dragon, now Lord of the Torrian Lands, interrupted.

- But father! I was close to escaping them and take my revenge!

- There’s plenty of time tomorrow. You know how angry your mother is when you don’t show in time for lunch and she is right. How else could you grow yourself mighty and strong?

- Aaa, by training!?

- Training is not everything. Those muscles need food to grow mighty-strong!

- Oh, alright.

Donner was the first child of Pleatrus and Korrine, a little daring red dragon with two dashes of white skin above the eyes - the pride of the two noble beasts. They wanted their son to be trained well and for this they trained him themselves, in the evenings. The mornings were for him to play either with the fairies and the murks or with the teens helping the school to grow refined. The family was living happily on the mountain of the Torrian Lands when news shocked little Donner who was expecting to have a brother to play with. Oh, the cries and the thunders he raised up into the skies! - the brother was a girl and he could do nothing about it.

- Can’t we find a good wizard to change her into a boy? he asked. Uh, I know! Let’s ask Angus, the Great Wizard! Or Lady Loouna! Maybe she knows how to do that.

- Now, now, Donner. Your sister is as important as you are. We didn’t change you for something else; we love you the way you are and we will love your sister as the girl-dragon she is! mother’s firm words cut Donner’s enthusiasm.

- But I don’t want a sister! I want a brother! Dad!!

- It’s been settled! You’ll have a sister and we will no longer discuss about it! father rebuked. We will still name her the way you wanted! You will be in charge of Blitzschnell’s education which will make of you the first and most important teacher in the history of dragons. His decision could not be attacked and this made Donner very unhappy. A few years had to pass until Donner accepted his sister as an equal.

The baby-girl dragon was a very talented fighter, an innate master of flight and flashlights. Her bright white skin with red to pink dashes on her belly was contrasting with the fury of her attacks. Soon Donner was conquered by her innate abilities and her boyish behaviour. Accepting her as a partner in various missions proved to be the best thing he’s ever done which brought even more happiness to the their parents who were preparing to have a couple of twins.

Life in Fantasia was good. The Red Knight, Sir Karmin, was training Dragons, as usual; he took his great winged baby-creatures down into the woods, to a glade where he was showing them how to launch perfectly well targeted attacks on creatures like the lolo-winks or even the merks. It is there where, one day he met his future wife, a beautiful woman who was also using the glade for training: - she was planning to become a warrior at her turn, knowing that Fantasia had its good times and its bad times and that a good warrior must train themselves well.

*

*...*

The journal ended like a Kiss in the middle of a night-page asking for more energy. The wizard smiled then put the journal back where it belonged, placed in the same way he found it so the girl never knew that it was moved, not to imagine read from.

*...*

*

The Princess Warrior

A night passed gracefully. The Princess woke-up and decided to take a walk on the surroundings where she could take memories back with her.

After taking all the decisions imposed by her statute she left the building like a goddess of all times, like a Saint who knows that this is no longer a game but a problem she had to solve once and for all. ‘Want the truth!? The truth is cruel like all of you! That is the truth. Be kind and they’ll be cruel to you because you dared to be superior! So, I’ll be cruel from now on, I learned from you!

*

- I used to live under a different name, another identity I had, another life, yet, the traces of my character never ceased to exist and come back to me, no matter what happened. I was always one with the one I loved, one with everything I loved. Independent of society rules and regulations, respecting them, though and being part of every ceremony imposed, my spirit freed itself every time they tried to tie me to the grounds I couldn’t belong to. What you stand for, Loouna, dear, is what you can be, what lies deep inside you... what you are. A past can be forgotten, yes, if ugly a time spent somewhere it would be a blessing to see the light of day in times that mean pure beauty, even if you find beauty in the expression of sorrow and hate. If loved enough for the truth you tell, your existence not in vain. I know how you feel right now, I was in the same situation a few centuries ago. I had to leave my father and my mother soon after discovering that they weren’t dead but very much alive - they had to give me the personal space to act like the leader I was and strengthen me.

- I always thought that they were forced to disappear. Loouna spoke solemnly.

- Yes, they were. If you want to be a part of it you will have to do the same thing - change your identity and live a life away. Don’t worry, you will not lose anything. You will be able to travel to all your worlds, like before but with a different frequency: you will travel perhaps more. To Great Fantasia United you will be Lady Loouna. For the world you come from you can choose to change your name, still keep your personal life safe from the package of troubles coming with fame. I know that you want to make a difference there too. Just like Soley, here. She already made it there but this only because she forgot about her real identity and focused more on a life that was practically an invention of hers the moment she gave herself this new name.

- I couldn’t remember my real name. It was due to the shock suffered. Something inside me was protecting me from going back, from remembering. I left that past behind and took Sam with me. We treasured the memory of our beloved mother who sacrificed her life for us but never went deeper into our past existence. It was our self-defense mechanism we should be thankful to and the spirit guiding us so we never went back there at all.

- It was cruel, a life led, even if among friends and family... Sam confessed.

- Our identities down in the world you know were killed, my dear children, their mother explained. They could have done with us whatever they pleased. I had to kill the chauffeur, she explained. He was driving us to a real life of misery, a measure taken by our noble family to punish us for complaining about what they were doing to our fortune; they were taking us to certain death. I knew this man, the driver, and I knew for whom he was working. So, you see, that spirit guiding you never to remember such a dark past was actually me. You carried me with you, ...well, a part of it. I gladly sacrificed for both of you - I had no other after-life than the mission of guarding you both. That is how the wizard knew: I warned him. I asked, I prayed, I fought and parted. I was there for both of you and I will keep being that, your guarding angel... forever.

- A mother’s love, the Princess-warrior solemnly spoke, is something I never knew from the mother’s position. It is your mother’s sacrifice and love that entitles her more to the noble position of Empress: - she knows how to be protective towards her beloved children and I learned from her how to be protective towards my own people. I sacrificed for my people, she sacrificed for her children; Nevertheless I couldn’t have done such a thing if the love of the great spirit of motherhood wouldn’t have guided me too. I am like a mother to my people. I am protecting them from dangers. Just when she finished saying these words a storming whirlwind interrupted their gathering creating panic among the gods and human souls in the room. Susanoo played another tricky game on his sister upsetting her as always. But things weren’t to be restrained to this small revenge. Along with his storming warn brought up into the Skies of Amaterasu-o-mi-kami, his sister, he brought the striking news: the world of Yomi was attacking all the moons and the new world of the Great Goddess of the Celestial Plain.

*****

- Yamata no orochi (the dragon with eight heads) was twisting and turning, yelling with rage after I cut the first head. I quickly jumped and beheaded three more. But the rest of the heads were trying to grab me, following every step I made with greater interest and an attention sharper than before. I had to work harder, fight better to kill the monster and so I did.

Susanoo was entertaining his audience of little demons by putting an entire show on a small stage, eight inches tall and large enough to hold a couple of demons for a playful fight.

- What happened then, uncle? one of the little demons asked.

- Well, I fought a lot and well I fought since I killed the monster and guess what?

- What? a choir of curious voices asked.

- What? one left behind caught-up.

- A sword I found, a most beautiful sword hidden in this great dragon’s tail. I pulled it out and got the sword!

- Is it your sword?

- No. You see, ... unfortunately your uncle was a bad boy, being rude to his sister, he had to offer her a gift of reconciliation.

- No way! You gave it away?

- To whom?

- Was to his sister, you fool! Listen!

- And who might this sister be?

- Her name is Amaterasu-o-mi-kami and she reigns over Takama no hara along with our brother, Tsukiyomi - she is the Lady who rules the Day and he the Lord of the Night.

- And you the Lord of Yomi, the demons laughed not realising that this was an offense they brought to Susanoo no mikoto, the terrible man.

- Alright, now! Beat it! Go back to your mothers and annoy them with your little pesky things, your questions and your annoying laughter!

- Oh, and we were beginning to have fun.

- You know, that is unfair to let them take the most beautiful things away from you!

- You should be reigning over Takama no hara! one of the little demons flattered.

- Not working, Goki! the god scorned.

- Oh, please, tell us more about the sword! Please tell us more! another little demon asked.

- There’s nothing more to tell. As far as I know, the sword was given to Ninigi no mikoto, my sister’s nephew. She gave him the sword herself when he descended to Earth to reign over the world.

- I still feel that it is unfair what they did to you.

- Oh, well. Unfair or not I started to like it here. In the beginnings I was very upset; extremely upset. Burning with rage and desire to conquer the High Plain of the Sky I repeatedly insulted my sister and the gods with my behaviour. Now I feel sorry for what I’ve done. It’s over. I learned that my place is here, among you. You are my kind of pesky little creatures always looking for trouble. I was the same: tempestuous and angry, playful and full of ideas of pranks to play to anyone I might feel they deserved such a treatment. We must learn better, though. The gods don’t like us prankful. “Although, I’d like to play one more great prank to the fools up there!” his mind spoke.

*****

- It’s not for me alone, this fantasy-world we’re protecting! Everybody needs something or someone to inspire them and help them through their passages of times and spaces. The princess staggered.

- You need o relax, a comrade spoke, in a supportive way. Your wound is pretty deep. We’re going to clean it soon and...

The sound of his words and the images of the faces helping or fighting combined in a dream of new beginnings made her believe in the innocent who could see her people conquer the world. There was something boiling out her mind through her visionary-eyes getting this mixture of thoughts blurred - the image was fading away. She fell into a deep Sleep covered by the flavoured healing golden-honey-touches of a soul taking her to a pleasant dream. She remembered her husband as the young man she always knew as the only warrior who could help her be a real leader. The best fighter. True is that they never thought of marriage or any relationships involving romance in the very beginnings of their training. It was a time to think about how to fight for their common cause: saving their world and their people. Only after years of loneliness in comradeship they realized that they could simply forget about all their defensive walls and behave the way they felt, and everything started with a wound like the one she had now, the same spot, the same target, the same threat.

She woke-up missing those two cold tears on her chest she remembered him allowing to drop and ease the pain for both of them. ‘You have a miraculous soul’, she lied in full honesty. His face lifted up slowly, amazed a head thinking it was about to end with his miracle. Her awakening had astonished him and their people.

Now things were different. She was alone, the bandage smelling like a clean killer-hospital, she felt like asking for tea... Nobody by her side... The saddest moment in her entire existence.

The lighting was bright White, the colours clean: the feel of a world of lonely independence - excruciating. Once known the sweet taste of true and honest companionship, never forgotten. One Day this might happen again, who knows? She knew she’ll meet him again sometime, in some distant past or in a future life promised in all books. A spirit never forgets about what a spirit loves. The same happens with what it hates.

*

Loouna was resting in the arms of her caring brother and friend. It didn’t Hurt anymore! It didn’t mean but time for her to heal from the painful nightmare of losing a friend. The Princess, the Empress... was dying once more.

- United we were in the story of a dream I had when I was a child! I wasn’t but a child for you to sacrifice! I sacrificed myself! Now, it is the end! the voice of the Empress echoed.

The place was all crowded with curious people. This time she knew that things were seriously bad! She expected that so she got herself prepared, our Loouna.

- Her heart and soul she offered to the one she knew that was prepared for such a commitment. Not easy to say good-bye to things you loved, impossible to say goodbye to your own soul... If this only meant no harm to the ones I love! God knows that I wanted to leave all this behind and change something.

- You’re hurting inside. You need a medicine and a friend by your side, the wizard said.

- I’ll watch her, Matt offered.

- What happened to the new Princess Warrior? Soley asked.

- She is no longer with us in the shape we all know as flesh and bones, Loouna replied excruciatingly. She coughed then staggered with pain.

- Here, have some water, Soley offered. After she recomposed herself Loouna continued:

- One would say that what is inside matters the most but she... she gave it away... she gave herself to her people, to these grounds! She offered herself to this world... What can I do now?

- The Old world she sacrificed for is dead to us, the wizard completed. Here, in this new world she was free and safe just like everybody else; she may find the shrines to offer her that well-deserved rest!

A halo captivated the sight of all those present. From inside that halo the figure of their beloved Princess-Warrior appeared.

“I had a child and lost her once. In the name of that child I wanted to do something kind for somebody else... But now I feel that I failed. I was given a second chance to be a good parent so, I’ll be that! I Will be forever thankful to the ones who helped me become your Protective Empress and find that peace and happiness in a life most simple but elegant and sublime! From now on you, my dear people, will follow the path established and I will be there for you to protect you from anything that might harm you! I will also have to look after my given children, our guests here who happen to be our other family. Please, accept them as our beloved brothers and sisters and let us enjoy those times of peace much desired!”

Protective Empress

- Much like the worlds you are coming from, my worlds all are. They resemble one another mirroring themselves into the world above in a unique way, living, though as if different: - the substance is the same as the needs of our people, basically the same. All the little distortions corrected make of each and every civilisation a unique one: - particularities win but the resemblance is what unites us all, the essence of things. “Remember me, love! Remember us!” Takaga ga hara is our beloved place. You have chosen the one you want to live with. You have chosen the right one.

She was at peace. The life she lived into the distant past was a good life (good to be shared and treasured, worshiped, cherished and asked for.) This new existence of hers: a gift, priceless, time-pass; unique and unforgettable.

“My brother, Tsukiyomi inspired the princess to be such a good warrior. We made a choice together... she became his bride. Their connection never to cease until they found the cure for all the cancers eating our good worlds we all love enough to support a restoration and repurpose. She is our beloved star, the princess-samurai!” Amaterasu spoke taking great pride on the choice they made. Tsukiyomi, for a second time seen right next to his sister, proud and severe, acknowledged. - My beloved sister, Amaterasu-o-mi-kami is right, as always. We do take great pride in the choices made. Our new Empress, protective, will continue her mission of saving our people, when there’s need of such actions and protect them from all wrong.

*

Enthralled by the stories and passions of the moons of this new world, the mountains and the seas were paying innumerable compliments to the lunar lights smiling over them. There was a kind of love between them that only a natural element can support, the lands of those moons accepting the remembrance of their own beauty while mirroring into historical fantasies all lived by couples of souls adored and worshiped. The Empress had by her side her guardian angel, the secret love of her life, the one and only man who would never hurt her even if he could. She had a last fight of the sort she used to lead when only a princess; now she was going to purify her soul bathing in the Sacred River, throwing away all the finery worn during the battle. Her jewelry created new gods; her guardian also purified her clothes from which a princess-warrior like the one she once was got born. She was about to abandon her position as a warrior forever and become the Protective Empress of all those moons above which Amaterasu-o-mi-kami was shining.

- Your mother used to be a goddess, children, she addressed Soley and Sam. That’s why she didn’t fear death. She went through fires for you, she remained a goddess to us. Your mother too, used to be a goddess, of another kind, true, still, a goddess, Matt. They both found their peace only after being allowed to guard you. They were allowed to find and pull the strings that will bring happiness back into your souls and in your lives. The Princess’ eyes were luminous - she was now prepared to invest them with new powers. - You, children, will be trained in the arts of noble souls and will have the power to change the world. Your parents’ sacrifice will not be forgotten. You will remember the two connections you had with our world and with Fantasia United. She reached to Loouna then and said: - We used to be one single human, dear; you were I and I was growing inside a desire of creating a better world. I did so but only after we parted. You had to go and live a life of your own and I had to find the people to be a goddess for. I suffered a lot when I lost you without knowing that you were the child I could never bear - my life as a Princess and Empress was not shaped that way. I discovered later that you were alive and not a product of my imagination. The spirit of my sensei helped me understand what had happened: I had become a real goddess.

***

*

Following the realms of magic, descending from a celtic cloud, across the hills, watching the distant mountains, they were learning the rocks and paths to the little House between two moons of stone: a natural rock formation that was appreciated by this Woman everyone thought nice but deadly a witch. She was no witch, no evil thing, only a woman knowing much about the world of herbs and spirits, a lot of knowledge held about the ways to heal or kill in self-defense.

A secret is what everyone gossiped she was keeping and when asked the Woman always changed the subject or denied.

But she learned how to make of this Old secret a legend wrapped well and ready to be told to strangers looking for a cup of Coffee, Tea or hot dark chocolate-drink. It is here where they found the shelter needed for a couple of days before heading to the Castle. - Ready for a new adventure, children?

*

**

*

**

*

III. Mythological details explorations

Amaterasu o mi kami

*

I was born from the left eye of Izanagi no mikoto, the god of the seventh generation of celestial gods, the first humans to give birth to countless gods. My mother, Izanami no mikoto, sister and wife of Izanagi no mikoto, was the one who got sentenced to live in the underworld, the world of Yomi at the birth of the god of fires. That god is dead now, my father punished him for what he did. We use his powers to purify the worlds we need - but rarely we do so; we use our flames to create the ideal worlds we always loved and cherished. My brother, Tsukiyomi no mikoto was my husband for a while. We parted forever and now I reign over the day and he reigns over the night, we lead our existences in peace with one another. The only trouble-maker was and still is Susanoo no mikoto, the god of the underworld and seas. His tempestuous character will always remain the same, ruthless and revengeful, he will always seek for a way to gain his rights of accessing the powers I was invested with from the very beginning and destroy my beloved Takaga ga hara, the High Skies’ Plain. He will always lose against me; the gods have spoken, his character belongs to the world of Yomi.

I am Amaterasu, the goddess that enlightens and lightens the sky, the great lady of the day who shines above on the skies, the goddess of the sun and the universe, also named Ama-terasu no Ōho kami, Toyo hiru-me no mikoto, O hiru-me no muchi or Amaterashimasu sume Ōmi kami. My beloved home is Ise but there are many homes created to worship my memory, to me entrusted, built for me to rest in and bring peace and abundence to my worshipers.

***

Not long after the fight with her brother, Tsukiyomi no mikoto, a second conflict was to happen, this time between Amaterasu o mi kami and Susanoo no mikoto, the terrible man, who, after being born showed discontent to the mission he was invested with, the one of reigning over the world of darkness. He very much wanted to live next to his sister in the upper world, the High Skies’ Plain (Takama ga hara) where the goddess of the sun was so, he climbed up there pretending that he was going to bid farewell to his sister. Only afterwards was he to go down into the world of darkness where Izanami no mikoto, Izanagi’s wife was. Mistrustful, Amaterasu prepared herself for a battle. She tied her hair like a man and put jewelry on, counting 500 jewels of Yasaka down her neck adding also a few bracelets but also took a bow and a bag of a thousand arrows and another one with five hundred arrows. Being thus prepared for a battle she strongly hit the ground with her foot creating a trench great enough to serve as a defense mechanism. The gods disagreeing with the violent bloody confrontation announced so they agreed that a competition between the two was more of an appropriate action. They were about to give birth, each of them, to as many gods they could and the winner was going to be the one who gives birth to more children-gods. Their covenant happened on the two shores of the celestial river, Ame no yasu gawara, the one that parted the sky in two halves. Found on opposite shores, they began. Susanoo offered his sword to his sister who broke it in three. She washed the three parts of the sword in the fountain Ama no mana-i, chewed them and exhaled a breath like a luminous fog from which three female-gods appeared. At his turn, Susanoo took from his sister five bow-chords along with the jewels she was wearing, broke them with his teeth breathing out a luminous steam from which five masculine deities got born. But Susanoo was not going to win since Amaterasu considered herself victorious claiming the five deities as hers since they were born from her jewelry. Unsatisfied with the results of the competition, Susanoo no mikoto outraged the gods with his blameworthy actions. First, he destroyed the fields of rice of Amaterasu compromising the crops. Then he burst into the Sacred Palace where Amaterasu with other goddesses were making robes for the gods. The divine weavers panicked as he took with him a raw striped horse that was already dead that he threw in the middle of the group. One of the weavers, a sister to Amaterasu, hurt herself with the shuttle and died. Upset with these events Amaterasu o mi kami dressed her brilliant robe and ran away disappearing in the blue of the skies looking for Ame no iwato, a cave in which she stood hidden for quite a while, leaving the world in complete darkness. Immediately after the retreat of the goddess into the cave of the mountain a council of gods convened, tried to find the solution to this new problem. A lot of cocks were brought to the entrance of the cave. A large sakaki tree was also planted in front of the cave and jewels were placed on its branches; in the middle, a new mirror placed and down below two fabrics, one of them blue, the other white; also many other offerings were brought to please the goddess. In the end Ame no Uzume no mikoto, the goddess of dance appeared and pleased the gods with her erotic dance saying loud that another goddess, a better one was found to replace Amaterasu. Curious about all this Amaterasu o mi kami comes to the surface and is taken out by a daring strong god, Ame no tojikarao. Another god placed a long rope made of straw behind to prevent her from going inside again and a third one blocked the cave with a boulder. This is how the light was brought back to Earth and to the entire Universe. The gods then decided to punish Susanoo; they shaved his beared and cut his moustache then threw him out of the sky. All the offerings brought to the goddess were transformed in seeds that were planted by another divinity and put to the use of humans. At the same time the silk-worms appeared, also put to the use of humans. The ambitious Amaterasu thought to send to Izumo, to reign over the area, her son, Ama no oshiho mimi but, before he left he looked over the floating bridge and saw disorders among the people where was reigning then a son of Susanoo no mikoto. The god refused to go and take over the region. All the Eight hundred milion gods were called then and the god that gathers thoughts, Takami musubi, decided that a messenger was to be sent first. This one had to discover what was going on in the “world of rice crops”. The choice was the persona of the god Ama no ho-hi. He and other messengers disappointed the gods because they let themselves lured into taking personal advantages in Izumo getting married to local deities. Eventually Amaterasu’s wish that some of her descendants reigned over Izumo was fulfilled as she was asked to sent to Earth a nephew of hers, Ninigi no mikoto. When he left she offered him the jewels of the sky (magatama from Yasakuni), the renowned sword Kusanagi no tsurugi found by Susanoo in the tail of the eight-headed dragon, killed by the god himself, and the mirror (yata no kagami) that was put in the middle of the sakaki tree and which attracted the goddess out the cave. Moreover, a number of trustful god-attendants was formed, among which Ame no Uzume. Before they left, Amaterasu held a discourse: “The luxuriant country of the reed plains is the one in which our descendants are reigning as monarchs. Go, then, imperial nephew, and reign over it for the age to come. Our imperial line shall continue uninterrupted and may it forever be prosperous like the earth and the sky.”

Izanami and Izanagi no mikoto

The two primordial gods of the seventh generation of celestial gods, Izanami (meaning the woman that tempts) and Izanagi (meaning the man who invites) are told to be the ones who gave birth to the earth (the Japanese islands) and to all the elements on this land. Together they accomplish the mythological cycle named Takama ga hara, the gods from the High Plain of the Skies, thus a triple theogonic and anthropo-genesys performance. It is told that Ama no kami (the supreme god of the skies) spoke to Izanami and Izanagi as it follows: “ There is a land named Toyo-ashi-wara-chi-i-o-aki-no-mitsu-o that you must reign over.” The request had to be taken to its accomplishment. To this purpose the god (Izanagi) received the sacred lance hoko (Ame no nuhoko) encrusted with precious stones. In another version of the myth the spear was made of jade. Together with Izanami, Izanagi no mikoto stepped on Ukibashi, the floating bridge of the sky, an arched between the sky and the earth bridge, from where they looked into the abyss below. The passage over the bridge meant the entrance into another world. Izanagi immersed the spear in the waters of the blue ocean looking for a hard prop point, a country, and agitated the water in circles creating a musical background. From the spear pulled out some drops of salted liquid fell just like blood drops falling from the cut of a spade. The drops immediately hardened and so Onogoro-jima was born. It is said that from the lance fell 4223 drops, as many as would sum up the entire Japanese archipelago. Izanami, even if a sister to Izanagi, agreed to become his wife. The gods then created a pillar in the middle of the island using the sacred lance. Then the two gods rounded about this pylon named kuni nako-no mihashira, circling the island and meeting face to face. The man went to the left of the pillar, the woman took the way to the right. Their meeting was reason for a romantic moment, a poetic one. She said the words: A! Nani ya shi, e, otoko yô (Oh, beautiful brother! Oh, what a pleasant young man!), his answer followed: A, nani ya shi e to me yô. But this caused the birth of a god named Hiruko, a jelly child that couldn’t stand on his feet. They put the child in a boat and abandoned it to the seas. The counsel of gods clarified the reasons for their failure: it was dues to Izanami speaking first. It was for the man to speak first and invite the woman to be together. So, this time they went back and did it the way the gods advised the result being a very good one. They gave life to thirty-five divinities, personifications of elements of nature and abstract concepts such as the good and evil, laughter and cry, joy happiness, pain and other. They gave birth to the god of mountains and to the god of trees but, the last one was Kagu tsuchi, the god of fire who, by his fiery power killed Izanami at birth. She was thus forced to descend in the world of Yomi. Losing his wife caused great pain to Izanagi, he being very upset with his son whom he beheaded. From the drops of blood falling from the sword eight different gods were born - of rain and weapons - and from the parts of the victim another eight divinities of different mountains. Still upset with his loss, Izanagi decides to descend to the world of Yomi to bring back his wife. But he discovered there that he was too late for she got to eat food from their ovens and her repulsive body was no longer to be saved. Sad with this news he returns to Takama ga hara and washes his body (a purification method) in the river O-to after blocking the entrance to Hell with a great rock. He threw his jewelry, clothes and his sandals and from them a number of 12 kami appeared. After the 12 kami birth, washing himself, the god gave birth to another two who proved themselves to be devils which asked for another purification ritual. From the depths of these waters in which Izanagi purified himsef a lot of gods appeared. It is said that from the drops of water falling from the left eye the supreme goddess appeared: Amaterasu o mi kami. From the right eye The god of the Moon, Tsukiyomi was born following a third god, Take-haya Susanoo (Susanoo no mikoto), born from the drops of water falling from Izanagi’s nose. Izanagi offered them the entire kingdom to reign over but also he gave to Amaterasu his pearls-necklace along with the Celestial High Plains, to Tsukiyomi, time (or times) and the Moon, and to Susanoo the oceans and the storms. The first two gods (Amaterasu and Tsukiyomi) are the two eyes of the Sky.

One of the versions regarding the birth of the gods of the sun, the moon and the storm tell about Izanagi taking into his left hand a mirror of pure metal (masumi no kagami); it was made of white copper and gave birth to ō-hiru-me (the great solar deity), then he took the mirror into his right hand and gave birth to Tsukiyomi (the lunar deity); at last he wore the mirror around his head which made Susanoo no mikoto appear.

The couple of gods Izanami-Izanagi appear to be two creators of the world, ancestors (rei) of all the things, two corresponding to Adam and Eve from the biblical genesis.

Akibimi

Goddess of autumn, of the wind and of the first freeze, being also named “The Lady of Farewell” because she marks the change of seasons. She is seldom worshiped, being known in the area of Yuriban mountains. There is a legend telling of Akibimi-san (the mountain Akibimi) that the goddess created a bridge of ice for Engetsu and Chiyu to meet once a year; although very in love with each other the two were forced to live apart. They got eventually turned into mountains. Before the birth of Akibimi in the world there was an eternal summer.

Ama (Ame)

A notion defining the sky, a space for the gods, the paradise, the hights of heavens. It is the kingdom in which the celestial gods live (Ama-tsu kami-tachi no mashi-masu mi kuni nari).

Ame no mike mochi no mikoto

Divinity descending from the seventh generation of celestial gods of the couple Izanami-Izanagi, the personification of the one who was the great keeper of food or the great god who was bringing the food.

Takama no (ga) hara

The Great High Plain of the Sky. It is also the name of the arch of the supreme sky. The word takama is formed of taka (high) and ama (sky), hara meaning plain, immensity. It is the place of gathering, rest and counseling for all the celestial divinities.

Ise

The largest Shintō shrine dedicated to Amaterasu-o-mi-kami.

*

**

*

IV. What remained untold: A lost chapter on two and a half ghosts

- I can do whatever I want, he stated. I’m a ghost.

- So can I, she replied.

She and He

“Offered a life led in luxury and great achievements, she refused to become a slave to anyone. In a distant past when some people were tired of giving up on their wishes and dreams she offered a new chance to a poor child. He adored everything in this woman: her spirit, her soul, her mind and body! She was everything he ever truly loved and wanted her back the way she was, the way he remembered and loved her! The way that made them both happy so, he recreated her through every mean possible so he could meet her again in the after-life. But, When tables were turned around by the meek-people and she happened to lose him, her mission was a bit harder: she needed to be stronger and braver, just like a man since the obstacles were greater than one could imagine; so, she trained and trained and did everything she could to ensure their meeting there! His spirit guiding her just like hers guided his before.“

- It didn’t matter how I felt and who I was inside; it didn’t matter what I did good for you or for anybody else. The only thing that mattered to you was to get yourself well placed above all situations and dictate your foolish acts. It didn’t matter we had to change a lot of things to make it happen; it was us the ones who worked for your success! It didn’t matter to your people. They worshiped you for what I did good and threw with rocks at me for the bad things I was either forced into doing or had to claim as mine. I am the devil now, too poor in good things to share with you - didn’t you like to see a decay like this happen to your rival? Just to be clear: I never considered you a rival. That’s why I lost. Perhaps I was too aware of the differences between us. Perhaps I knew that I cannot fight but against my own weaknesses, stupidity and faults.

*

‘Every little bastard around here needs a little frail old woman by his side, someone who would respond to their needs immediately and get broken easily. Someone who could prove them strong. Mighty men who have everything under their control, they want to be but the truth is what you grow is what you are and what you get in the end. The wheel is turning and so the times, your times of despair, loneliness and regret, old man!

I was broken a long time ago! Where are those souls I’m looking for? They’ve turned into emoticons and I am like a character in a geek show told to be the comic-con of today!

They’re perfect, you were not! You were on your way but this... This is too much for any human! You’re really mad about him and what you’re doing! You loved the way he made you feel and all the work you did together: amazing. Any other bonuses coming were welcome as long as they were not hurtful.’

Mikos

(a restless spirit - sometimes possessing other people’s bodies to try to trap them)

It feels... The way it feels...

A great amount of pain I produced to many and for this I was rewarded with the same amount of pain. His reasons were not founded on logical explanations - I simply enjoyed harming people, a thing that turned him into a case to be studied. All scientists were intrigued: there must be something there... Something that made him this way.

Day and night, caught-up in her work, seldom out with friends for a chat and a share of life events, they made a living great as their expectations were high when they initiated their Journey on this road. The case was far from being closed. The mysteries of this man’s atrocities, far from being cleared. She had to know why and people around her kept asking themselves: Why; why did she have to know things to the most profound levels? why?

*

- Money rules. You don’t have money you don’t get what you want... But I am not willing to do anything for money... And that seemed to be a problem in your House. I Will never forget and forgive you for having him paid to do this to me! Never!!!!! NEVER!!!

It seems to me that the disease is this world and everyone doing something for any change at all! Everyone feeling and enjoying what and how they feel about their work and choices: true. One Day they will pay for this and we will pay too!

*

“Just like personal issues never happen because nobody listened, so they bothered less and less about this girl! There’s nothing to do about people who know that they failed... That’s why... The right family for the right kid! You couldn’t be a good Mother for that kid who was a genius in need for revenge : a kid who needed a family that’d give everything to get him to the proper schools and feed him well and raise him properly. The hell with your system! That teacher deserved to be a Mother. You? you deserve to go to Hell and bother for other people’s opinion on your work!”

- When a soul feels crushed a soul feels crushed! You can play the idiots if you want! It might help! Or, you can consider thinking about it and... well... You’ll know what to do because you’ll know where to find the answers. A real life is a real life. Get a life! Get a job. When you’ll die, everything will be quite okay for you! Especially now. After the Great awakening! No money, no hope? Okay! I’d gladly leave you with some hope for the sake of the argument and a piece of cake! Deal with it! - Okay!

The lonely girl

This Universe is full of hatred! This world proposed here, appears to be troubled and troublesome. Now, now. I was given a name that could have meant anything. Many humans give their names’ significance and meaning is just something you need for everything you are and wish to be. The perfect act is to give your own self a meaning. But you see, I was to be judged! I was to be punished and tortured by thoughts that should have helped! HELP ME NOW IF YOU CAN!

And that is why, any saviour ends up being extremely upset when they are treated with disrespect! Appreciated the honesty is, though!”

*

- Loouna needs a break. A chance to be free, to live on her own. Never contact your broken spirit again! Never ever! Do you understand? You suffered for too long a period of time but it’s alright! For you this awful place with a bad memory is the only thing that you had without owning. It is you the one who believes not in your own possessions but in a family-legacy built with honour and respect.

- I tend to agree on this with Angus! The only way to be Able to leave something behind is by doing something so you had what to leave behind!

*

“I was the sister from another world, granted permission to recover and get access to a better life. God! Don’t worry! I’m not upset with this kind of behaviour because I’m right and they didn’t allow me my own decision to evolve the way I planned! Maybe it’s for the best. I hope it is. If it isn’t right what I did and what I stand for then I‘ll be really very sorry for everyone who tried to help but would not succeed. It is a goodbye to you, for a while! I am sorry but you won’t regret a thing so don’t even bother for me or anybody else. Peace - a sane form of happiness: wrong, wrong the sane way of living a life! Good-bye to you, my friend! There is another way! There is another form of life that is expecting me to go out and learn then come back here where we both belong... I cannot convince you of that now... Maybe in time... with time...”

She felt special that day. He loved coming back to her mothers’ and learn that she had a man by her side after all the years of loneliness. She also had to confess something: she learned who her Father was and they spoke for a while in a place he named his studio-office.

‘He left a long time ago; he had to. They couldn’t see any way of making it.’ the explanation came plain.

Now he is writing his novels and leads the life he wanted. He expected her to abandon the same kind of life for him. Then, when she did that he left. A strange kind of revenge; a tough lesson taught to a woman played by a ludicrous feeling named love. Whatever happened to her was no longer his concern. He had a life to live and he knew that this was the way, his way to success, to his glorification and peace. Women come and go. They mean nothing but the inspiration he needs to live for a book well written and well read by his worshipers. How else a God among gods? How else a social failure to be one Day The very Centre of this world, a world where friendship and comradeship was no longer a dream.

“Hello, dear world. I am alive for the very first time in this life of mine! “

So, he sat and wrote novel after novel and life began to feel good. Still satisfied with his work he searched for a publisher. A few troubles taken with the authors of the Day being up to date: he was a black sheep among whites, he was that awful thing, not in the trend... Still, someone dared to publish his work and that meant something: no more times of unappreciated value, a real meal per day - a few debts he had to pay and so he did then left behind forever the place where he suffered for his sins. After all those long nights and days working for too little he could finally afford a decent life. Perhaps he had to pay for the tears of a child left behind, asking for the truth about his Father. ‘Where is he, Mother?’ ‘He’ s gone to heaven, Child!’ The Mother always answered but never explained that heaven. What did that heaven mean? How did it feel? Where was it and what brought to its people? - All these questions were left in tears and sobs behind the door of her room. The Child could only hear her sometimes cry and thought that was because of him... the Father’s death. Perhaps that true but life proved hard enough for both, the Woman and the Child whose story got embellished in one Novel filled with sarcasms and irony, ideal love one would just simply never bother for if smart enough not to get Hurt; too young a heart when hurt forever, too Hurt to wish for a second try to live again; a life that could have been beautiful if the Woman came back to her senses, recomposing - if only she made herself look spectacular so she laughed in the face of Destiny translating itself around her in eyes that were sometimes difficult to deal with and mouths that spoke nothing to her the moment she woke that Hurting devil inside those voices expecting to befriend them for nothing for herself and everything for them! - that brilliant moment when they get to face the surprise Ah! But it is too late for they can’t be saved. Something bad happened. They upset an Angel! I it is that moment of personal truth when the Woman who got deeply Hurt started laughing in the face of her own stupidity of falling in love with the wrong man... Once! She’ll never do that again! Be sure of it! If any next time She’ll know... She’ll know how to behave. And he, the one who hurts... He’ll find his perfect soulless machine for that need to fulfill his so called happiness.

- All this sounds so brave! Angry Angus-san. The woman named Miriam teased.

- Your daunts, delicious as always dear, the man dismissed his friend. I left that brave world behind. It wasn’t shaped for a man like me. Perhaps that day will come when you will understand.

*

**

There is no chapter to explain why some things happened in a certain way or why they never did and never will happen. There is only this sheet of paper to offer a clue about some mirrors. - Can you mirror yourself in the paragraphs of these pages? - Yes. - Then you are a god-like creature too. - Which god? - The one you choose to be.

**

*

**

This story is pure fiction and has nothing to do with real people and real events. The book is a product of my imagination combined with stories and legends read and studied in time.

Inspiration and documentation also taken from:

1. Japanese Tales and Legends

retold by Helen and William McAlpine

originally published in English in 1958, published by agreement with Oxford University Press.

.

2. Japanese Mythological Thesaurus

by Octavian Simu,

Tezaurul Mitologic Japonez, publishing house Saeculum, I.O., Bucharest

.

3. Bushido - The Soul of Japan

by Inazo Nitobe,

fifth edition, McCollins and Red

*

***

*

Moons of Amaterasu

Fantasia - a New beginning

It used to be a pleasant morning surprise,

It used to be me dreaming away my life in a way that’s not too hurtful.

A New beginning making days reflect all gratitude Projected in a soul that once felt truly wrong about her world.

List of characters:

Amaterasu-o-mi-kami

Loouna

Soley

Sam

Matt (Parker)

The Old Wise Wizard or The Mighty Priest - Angus

The Princess Warrior becoming the Protective Empress

Lady M./ Emnd

Ma’ak

Flo’eek

Mother Thoreau/Theresa

Mother Agnes

Father Matthew

Father John

Doctor Finn

Sister Mary-Ann

Josh Parker

Simone Reddings/ Sarah-Ann Perker

Ronald Fryer

Michelle Fryer

Jamie-Jay-James

Deheidre

Miss Eleanore

Lord Frezzia

Lady Richtop & Lord Magnus-Sakar-Killiany

Lady Abyssa-Frey & Lord Azzuro

Lord Seurrat & Lady Cigne

Lord Parriss-Gravenna & Lady Jasmine-Gravenna

Lord Hellen-Miya & Lady Beatrice-Roy-Miyi

Lady Louise & Lord Landan Killiany

Lord Mirelille-Rodd & Lady Rabelly-Sahn

Lady Sakar-La & Lord Archebolt

Lady Sartriy & Lord Morkonn

Lord Octan Sakan & Lady Paroda-Frij-Sakan

Lord Izloo_May & Lady Iza_Fay

Lord Ellison & Lady Chantique

Lady Champasy_Mockhn & Lord Dorian_Calligaris

Princess Fawn

Sabine, the sorceress

Annui, the angel

The Queen of Fairies

The Five Fairies of the Enchanted World

The Rock-Man and his rocks friends

Lady Mushroom and her daughters

The Army of fairies

the viper Maroon, presenting himself as Eli, the Prince

The Crystal Dwarf

Mud-man

Lord Karmin, The Red Dragon Knight

Merkie, the adopted son of Pleatruss, the Red Dragon

Donner, the dragon (the first baby of the red Dragon)

Pleatruss, the Red Dragon

The White Dragoness, Korrine

Miss. DandeLion

Sir Laudelian, the lerian

Evil or bad characters:

Mikos

Argoston

Aagrhaougkh

Lord Uthron

The trolls

the orcs

the lolo-wink people

the dorians

the trockle-beasts

the dand-lolos

the merks

Moons of Amaterasu

Content:.

I. Daughters of the Sun

What was and what was not

II. Explorations

All the Worlds left behind

The brass cocoons

Perfect travellers

The Princess Warrior

Protective Empress

III. Mythological details and explorations

Amaterasu o mi kami

Izanami and Izanagi no mikoto

Akibimi

Ama (Ame)

Ame no mike mochi no mikoto

Takama no (ga) hara

Ise

IV. What remained untold: A lost chapter on two and a half ghosts

She and He

Mikos

The lonely girl

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