Chapter 1: Just Ella
Once upon a time there lived a young girl. She was not special or beautiful but was quite normal. She lived a normal life with annoying parents and a mean sister. Her name was Ella. It wasn’t a long beautiful name. It was just Ella. Ella had thick dark brown hair that went to the middle of her back. It was not long and glorious or black as night just dark brown.
This was often how you would hear Ella describe herself but it was not completely true for she was quite pretty and inside she was not dull and boring, in fact she was just about the opposite. She loved anything that grew or lived and loved outdoors and the sun. She did not only love the merry sunshine in the day but also the bright stars and moon by night. Ella also loved any animal and they always loved her. She had a special gift with them. She also quite smart but she did not always use her skills. In school if she didn’t want to learn then she wouldn’t, because of her strong will and stubbornness. One thing that Ella did like about herself was her eyes. They were a dark gray on normal occasions but when she laughed or was happy they would turn a grayish green color and when she was mad they would turn a dark, piercing grayish blue. In fact her glare could frighten almost anyone and no one could withstand her gaze unless she allowed him or her to. Ella’s parents and older sister were nothing like her. They all had light brown hair and dark brown eyes. She was also the only one in the family with good natural senses, like hearing, eyesight, or smelling. She was abnormally good at all of those but everyone else on the other hand wasn’t. Her father was almost deaf and her mother and sister had glasses. They just couldn’t be more different from her, she always told herself.
Ella had to go to school every morning and she hated being cooped up in that small room with a boring teacher and smelly kids but today she was looking forward to it. It was the last day of the year and they would be having a picnic outside. “Ella are you ready yet?” called Ella’s older sister. “Yes Sarah, I am ready,” called Ella from her room. They lived in a two-story house and her room was upstairs. “Well hurry up,” Sarah hollered. Ella had been thinking about things and had not paid any heed to the time. She quickly slipped into her new dress that she had got for her birthday. It was a dark forest green color and fit very slimly from the waist up then flowed out at the bottom. She watched in delight as her eyes slowly changed to mach perfectly with her dress, they would change to match any dark green, dark blue, or gray things she wore. Ella had just turned fourteen a week ago. Her father was very rich so he get her many new things but it seemed like he was just trying to get her out of his way. Like when she was eight he bought a horse from a strange foreigner for her. She loved her horse very much. He was completely black with no other markings so she decided to call him Midnight. He did anything for her and he was the only one who truly loved her. Sarah, on the other hand, was adored by their father. He did almost everything with her and loved her very much. “Go ahead Sarah. I am going to ride Midnight,” called Ella. She heard the door slam. She grabbed a matching cloak that she had also gotten then quickly went down the stairs. She grabbed a piece of bread and her basket for the picnic then ran outside, putting her cloak on. She whistled one loud note and watched as Midnight came running in to view. It was a cool sunny day in the end of January and she couldn’t be happier. She would be out of school until the end of May. Midnight came to a stop right in front of her. She jumped lightly onto his back and he began to race toward her schoolhouse. They past Sarah along the way and made it there very soon. A few of the children were waiting outside the door for the teacher. It couldn’t be a better day for a picnic thought Ella. A few of them waved at her as she slid off of Midnight’s back. She walked over to them after kissing Midnight on the nose. Sarah came a few minutes later and she stomped right past her without even glimpsing at her. Ella was used to this kind of behavior and didn’t think once about it. Finally the old teacher came walking into view with a big basket in his hands. All of the children crowded around him in excitement. He began to walk away from the old school house with the students following. He took them to a hill with a green valley beneath it. He took out a blanket and began to lay it out. The kids took out blankets and followed his lead. Soon everyone was sitting around eating and laughing. Ella was sitting with her group of friends that consisted of both boys and girls. Then she noticed that a girl had come up and was looking at her. Ella saw that it was the new girl named Courtney. She was Ella’s age and was very shy. Ella looked up at her and smiled. All of her friends got quiet. “I was having a birthday party tonight and I was wondering if you and your friends would like to come. The girls could spend the night and the guys could just stay for the part in the day,” she said quickly. All of her friends got silent and awaited her answer. Courtney knew as well as Ella that they wouldn’t go if she didn’t. “All right I will go,” said Ella. The rest of them all agreed saying they could also go. “Great. I will see you tomorrow,” said Courtney. “Uh Courtney, would you like to sit with us?” asked Ella. “Alright,” she said and rushed off to get her things. Ella couldn’t remember ever having so much fun at school before. When the school day was finally over she almost considered missing school but she decided against that quite soon. When she got home she told her parents about the party and they agreed without hesitation but this was no surprise to Ella. She knew that they could care less if she was gone. She got everything packed and ready for that night. “Where are you going?” asked Sarah bitterly. “I am going to my friend’s party,” said Ella politely. “Who’s?” she asked. “A girl you wouldn’t know. She is in my group of friends at school,” said Ella. “Are the guys going?” she asked with a small smile. “Yes.” “Is Austin going?” she asked slowly trying not to sound like she cared. “Of course he is. In fact I am going to pick him up along the way,” said Ella. Sarah was only a year older and she liked Austin who was Ella’s best friend. He was one year older than her, but most of her friends were. She walked past Sarah who looked like she didn’t know what to say and she walked out the door. She whistled and jumped onto Midnight as he ran up to her. They went racing to Austin’s house. Austin had brown hair and very dark brown eyes. He was quite a bit taller than Ella and most girls had a crush on him. He came running out with a large package in his hands. “I thought that we weren’t supposed to bring presents,” said Ella when he got to her. “I couldn’t go and not give her a present,” he said. “I couldn’t either,” said Ella revealing a package that she had put in her bag. She helped him on and they started off to Courtney’s house. When they got there she was outside her house waiting. It was a big white house next to a thick forest. Ella had explored the edge of that forest and could know where to go if it were pitch black. “Hi,” she greeted with a large smile. Then she looked at Midnight and gave a gasp. “He is so beautiful. How can you control him without a harness?” she asked realizing that she rode completely bareback. “He will listen to anything I tell him,” she said. “Just wondering, how can you tell him when you don’t speak?” asked Austin. “I use my legs and my mind. It as if he knows my thought and sometimes I know his,” she answered. She and Austin slipped off of his back and noticed a man standing within hearing. “This is my father,” said Courtney seeing Ella watching. “I would like to see you tell him to do something without touching him please,” he said to Ella. “Alright,” she quickly agreed. She stepped away from him and whispered into his ear that she was going to have him rear into the air and canter in a circle around her. She went back over to him and just looked at him and tried to communicate to him through her mind. He did everything perfect and when he was done she heard a voice in her head saying, “Well it is about time you learned how to talk and read minds.” She jumped away from him and gave him a quizzical look but he just looked innocently back and she thought that she must have been imaging things. Her father seemed angry for some strange reason and he stormed into the house without saying a word. “He has tried to master riding a horse without a bridle and still hasn’t managed so that is why he is angry,” Courtney said quietly. Then she spotted Austin’s bag. She looked at it in excitement and he smiled and handed her the bag. “Happy Birthday. I know that we weren’t supposed to bring presents but I had to,” said Austin. Ella nodded in agreement and pulled out the present she had brought. “Go ahead and open them,” said Austin quickly. She smiled and began ripping off the paper. When the present from Austin was unwrapped Ella and Courtney gasped. It was a completely black unicorn rearing up into the air with a very beautiful girl on it’s back. It was made extremely well and was the prettiest thing Courtney had ever seen. Ella had gasped because it was the girl and unicorn from her dream. She had been having a dream every night of this girl and her unicorn and Ella had always gotten the impression that the unicorn was Midnight. Then she remembered one detail from the dream and asked if she could see the statue. She held it up to her eyes and saw that the girl had pointed ears just like her dream. She quickly gave it back and said nothing. “Thank-you so much,” said Courtney over and over again. “Where did you get this?” asked Ella. “Well I was looking around in town for something to buy when a tall cloaked man came and asked if I wanted it. So I bought it and he told me to make sure that it was given to you and that it was the only one of it’s kind,” said Austin. Then she opened Ella’s present to her and her eyes grew wide in excitement and delight. It was a glossy white unicorn. She and Austin met eyes and he laughed and said, “well Ella I think that we have the same taste in gifts.” Hers was not quite as beautiful but it still was beautiful. Courtney also thanked her many times then she showed them into her house. They went up to her room and she put the figures on a wooden dresser then they went back downstairs to wait for everyone else.
Chapter 2: Magic in the Forest
They began to come about five minutes later. When everyone was there Ella suggested they play a game. “What game?” she asked curiously. Austin and Ella met each other’s gaze and smiled. “It is a game where everyone except for one person has a partner. The person without a partner will be given one minute to hide somewhere and the others, with their partners, will try to find the person. The person who hides can hide anywhere they want. Whoever finds the person gets to choose who in their group will hide next,” said Ella with as smile. “Wow this should be easy. I am really good at tracking and also at hiding. I haven’t met a person who can find me within an hour,” said a girl named Emily smugly. “You haven’t ever played with Ella and I have you,” said Austin. “No but why does that matter?” she asked. “Because Ella can track anything and I am pretty good because she has helped me,” said Austin. “I am sure that you are very good Emily. So can we play?” asked Ella. They all nodded their heads in agreement. “Good now all of you need to pick partners,” said Ella. “Who wants to be it first?” Austin raised his hand. “Alright Austin is it and while he is hiding we will pick partners. Go ahead Austin,” said Ella. He ran out of the house and began to run toward the forest. “Courtney, do you want to be my partner?” asked Ella. “Yes,” she said with her eyes gleaming in excitement. Then she looked at Ella and looked shocked. “Ella your eyes are green,” she said in shock. “It is okay Courtney. You will get used to it. When she is happy her eyes turn green but when she is mad they turn blue,” said one of Ella’s good friends, Crystal. “Wow that is really neat,” said Courtney. Ella just smiled. “Alright I think that we can go now and when someone finds him they whistle but if someone needs help then whistle twice in a row,” said Ella. They all walked outside and separated. Ella led Courtney to a spot in the woods and she stopped and bent to the ground. “Just as I thought. Do you see the dent in the ground right there? This means that he has been this way,” she said. Then they got to some large footprints going off of the trail. Courtney started that way but Ella said, “These were made purposely. Do you see how you can only make that clear of prints by stomping on the ground? He must of left this for some beginners.” They went off in another direction and Ella found another small print. Then the small dents in the ground began to fade away but the ground was also getting much harder so Courtney thought that they were just fading away because of that but Ella knew that was just what he would expect them to think. “He is up in the tree above us,” whispered Ella quietly in Courtney’s ear. “Don’t look up,” she hissed. Courtney just nodded her head. Ella went over until she was under the tree. It looked like she was just resting on it but then she looked straight up and met Austin’s eyes. “You are getting better but still not good enough,” said Ella smiling. Austin jumped down. “I thought that I would have got you this time,” said Austin smiling. “Wow. How do you do that?” asked Courtney with her baby blue eyes dancing. “She is really good and not even I have found out how she does it,” said Austin. Ella whistled once loudly. “What if Midnight thought that you were whistling to him?” said Courtney. “No my whistle for Midnight is a different pitch,” said Ella. They began to walk back through the forest when they heard two whistles in a row. “What does that mean?” asked Austin. “It means that someone is in trouble,” said Ella hurriedly. She put her fingers to her lips and whistled a loud piercing note. They heard the pounding of hooves and Midnight with another gray horse came in. Ella rushed up to them and whispered something into the gray horse’s ear. “Courtney you and Austin will be taken to were someone is in trouble and Midnight and I will go ahead of you,” said Ella quickly. She went and boosted them both on and the gray began to run ahead then it turned to the side and left the path. Ella leapt lightly onto Midnight’s back and they began to race the same way the gray went. Austin and Courtney were going quite fast but then they heard the sound of hooves lightly hitting the ground behind them. Then they saw a flash of black and were pasted by Ella and Midnight so fast that all they could see was a black blur passing them quickly. Ella and Midnight got to the place of trouble quickly. She jumped off of his back and was looking around when she heard voices in the trees next to her. She walked into a clearing and stepped back in shock. Emily was there tied up and little creatures were surrounding her. They were short and very ugly. Then Ella realized in shock that these were gnomes. But that was impossible. Gnomes were only in fairy tales. They were like dragons, griffins, and dwarves. They did not exist. Then she stopped worrying about that and began to think of a plan to get her free. Then she thought of something, but soon heard screams of help coming from behind the gnomes. She crept around the clearing and saw the ground drop suddenly into blackness. She went back to were Emily was and did the only thing that she could think of. She ran quickly out into the clearing and hid behind her when she got there. Nothing had seen her and Emily seemed to not even notice her. Ella began to untie her and when she was untied she looked around and looked horrified that she was untied. “Emily we have to get out of here,” hissed Ella. “Ella? Where are you?” she asked. “I am right behind you now run. She stood up and grabbed Emily’s hand and pulled her quickly out of the clearing. Austin and Courtney were waiting there and looked like they were thinking. Then Courtney stepped back as if she had seen them for the first time. “How did you do that?” asked Austin in shock. “Do what?” asked Ella. “You weren’t there a few minutes ago,” said Courtney. “I didn’t see you either,” added Emily. “You mean you couldn’t see me. Like I was invisible or something,” said Ella laughing. They all nodded their heads seriously. Ella stopped laughing and began to wonder if that was true. “Where is Crystal?” asked Ella suddenly. “She fell,” said Emily crying now. Then Ella remembered the scream of help. “Follow me,” said Ella but they all looked at her in confusion. “What is wrong?” asked Ella. “What do you mean what is wrong. I am sorry that we can’t speak other languages,” said Emily. Ella looked very confused. “You just told us something in a different language,” said Austin. “I said to follow me. We need to help Crystal,” said Ella. “Now come on.” They followed her and she led them around the clearing. Ella wondered why the gnomes weren’t doing anything about their lost prisoner. When she looked into the clearing she saw Emily sitting there. But that wasn’t possible because Emily was right behind her. Austin caught her eye and she knew that he had seen it also. They didn’t say anything but just kept going. When they reached the ledge they stopped. “Help,” they heard something call that was unmistakably Crystal. Ella leaned over the edge and saw Crystal hanging by a tree root. “Hang on Crystal,” Ella called hoping that the gnomes wouldn’t hear. She started climb down the ledge but Austin grabbed her hand and pulled her back up. He grabbed a vine and tied it around her waist without saying anything. She smiled and began to climb downward again. When she got very close to Crystal she saw that there was nothing she could grip that was close enough. She saw a small ledge right below her and jumped. She reached the ledge and untied the vine from her waist. “Crystal there is a ledge right below you. Slid down and then I will be able to help you,” said Ella. Crystal didn’t even hesitate and she slowly slid down onto the ledge. Ella tied the vine around her waist. “Austin you need to pull her up by the vine,” she called. “Alright Crystal try to help as much as possible. Ready jump now.” Crystal jumped and she saw her begin to slowly be pulled upward. Then finally she reached the top and Ella saw Austin begin to climb down with the vine tied around his waist. “Austin what are you doing?” she said in shock. She knew that Courtney, Crystal, and Emily were not very strong. He got to the ledge and jumped next to her. When she looked at him it seemed like he was someone else. He tugged the vine twice and put his arms around her. They were suddenly lifted off of the ground and they began to go up very fast. When they reached the top Courtney and Emily helped them up and Ella saw Midnight holding the vine with his teeth. Ella laughed and went over to pat him. She stopped for she thought she heard “So you know some magic too now,” in her head. Midnight just looked at her and she ignored it and patted him again. Then she decided to try something. She bent all of her will on getting her thoughts into Midnight’s head. “Can you speak to me Midnight?” she thought. “Yes I can,” she heard. She didn’t try to say or hear anything else. They all began to slowly walk toward the edge of the forest. When they were passing the clearing the figure of Emily was still there. Then it suddenly disappeared. The gnomes were outraged and began yelling. Ella whistled and two horses came up. One was smaller than Midnight and the gray. Ella and Austin quickly lifted Crystal and Emily on the gray and Courtney on the other. Then she put all her might into telling the others to run to the home of Courtney and she guessed that it worked because they bolted forward without hesitation. Ella jumped gracefully on Midnight and pulled Austin up behind her. She turned around and saw gnomes charging at them. They had been seen. To Ella’s horror she saw that some of them had bows and arrows. One shot at her and she realized that it was going to hit Austin. Midnight spun around at her command and the arrow hit her or she thought it did. All she could see was white light and she didn’t know why. She didn’t feel any pain either. The gnomes fell back from the light and began to run screaming things in an unknown language. The light went out and Midnight started racing toward Courtney’s house. They were going so fast that they caught up to the others. She told all of the horses to slow to a walk and they all did. “What happened?” asked Courtney. “When we were racing away we saw a very bright white light and when we looked back we couldn’t see you anymore.” “I don’t know what happened but all of you must promise to never speak of this to anyone but each other,” said Ella. “Why?” asked Emily. “Because if you do tell someone then they will think that we are insane and I just have a strong feeling that we weren’t supposed to see what we saw,” said Ella not being able to explain the feeling she had got. They all promised and didn’t talk the rest of the way. When they got to the house they saw everyone outside sitting in the grass waiting. They didn’t think that anything had been wrong. “Well it is about time,” said a guy named Tom. “Sorry we came upon a drop and Crystal fell without seeing it for it was very well hidden and she bravely got out with our help,” said Ella. They did not play that game or even go near the forest again. Then it was time for the guys to go home all of them were gone except for Austin. Ella explained that she had to take him home then she would be right back. They rode along in silence until Ella said, “Austin what is wrong?” he didn’t say anything for a while. “Ella you don’t belong here. This is going to sound stupid but magic is real. We saw it and we know. You are one of the magic creatures. When I came down the cliff to get you I saw someone else. I saw the girl from the statue Ella. You did magic things like making yourself invisible and stopping the arrow,” he paused. “You think that I should leave. You know I saw someone different in you too but I am not telling you that you should go away,” said Ella crying. This affected her so much because she knew that he was right about her not belonging here. “Ella I don’t want you to leave its just that, his voice trailed off into silence, you have no right to be upset. You asked what is wrong and I told you,” he said sharply. They had now reached his house. “You are right Austin. I asked and I thank you for answering truthfully,” said Ella not crying anymore. Midnight stopped but Austin didn’t move. “Courtney is expecting me to meet her back soon,” said Ella finally. Austin slipped off of Midnight and began to say something but Ella and Midnight raced off before he could say anything. She knew something that she wasn’t telling him and it was hurting her. That is why she got so upset he thought. He turned and went inside his home. Ella did not stop until she got there. She enjoyed the rest of the party a lot but her thoughts kept on straying to Austin and what he had told her. When Ella got home the next morning she was told to pack because she would be staying at her aunt’s house for three years. She was going to bring Midnight and he could stay there with her. Ella was very excited for she loved going to her aunt’s house. It was a three-day ride, for most horses, but it was worth it. Her aunt lived in a small village next to the ocean. There were trees everywhere and it was very peaceful. She will miss Austin even if she was a little upset with him. She got everything ready and put on a traveling cloak and dress. Her father was giving her twenty minutes to say goodbye to everyone but Ella was going to take as long as she wished for she would be traveling alone. Her parents didn’t worry about her safety so she didn’t have to bring servants. Ella would make it there much quicker alone and with the speed of Midnight. She said Farewell to everyone except for Austin. When she got to his house his little sister was outside playing. She ran inside to tell Austin she was here. Austin was in his room thinking about Ella. He couldn’t keep his mind off of her. He looked out his window and there she was. She was standing next to Midnight with a traveling cloak and dress on and holding a bag. Then his little sister came running in. “That girl you always talk about is here,” she shouted. He hurried outside to meet her. It was an awkward meeting for they didn’t know how to act. “Austin I wanted to tell that I will be going away to stay with my aunt for three years and I wanted to say farewell,” she said hurriedly. “Oh, I will miss you,” he said. He began thinking how stupid he must sound but it was all he could think of to say. “Well goodbye,” she said slowly. She turned to jump onto Midnight’s back but he grabbed her hand and pulled her toward him hugging her tightly. “I am sorry about yesterday,” he said still holding her to him. “It is alright,” said Ella. He let her go and she jumped on Midnight’s back and went racing away. She needed some time in the quiet home of her aunt. She only traveled for one and a half days before she got there. Her aunt was outside when she came riding up. “Ella,” she yelled as soon as she got sight of her. Ella slipped off of Midnight’s back and went running to meet her. “Ella I thought that you weren’t coming until tomorrow,” she said hugging her. “Midnight and I travel very fast,” said Ella. “Here we can take your stallion into the barn and he will sleep there for the first night,” she said. They went walking toward the large barn with Midnight following. Ella gave him some grain, hay and water then they went up to her house. Her aunt was very rich and so she had many servants and a very big house. It was a mansion.
Chapter 3: Going Home
Ella had a very enjoyable time there but was ready to go home when it was time. “Oh, no one will even recognize you now. Look at that hair,” said her aunt when Ella was about to leave. Ella’s appearance changed greatly while she stayed there. Her eyes were ten times brighter and her hair had changed to golden blonde color. If Ella had looked once closely at herself even she would find that she was extremely beautiful, much more than before. She still had a fair complexion but now it was flawless. “Thanks for letting me stay here aunt. I really enjoyed it very much,” said Ella. “Oh I will miss you,” she said and stood on tiptoes to kiss Ella on the cheek, Ella had also grown a lot taller. Ella jumped onto Midnight’s back. “You take care of her and yourself,” she said to Midnight. Midnight tossed his as if saying of course. He had grown quite fond of her and would miss her but he too wished to go home. They began their journey back. It took them even less time going back and they reached their town the next morning. Ella got to her house and told her parents that she was home. They greeted her with small welcomes and didn’t even notice the change but she did not expect more. She went up to her room and bathed and changed into a forest green dress and a matching velvet cloak with a ribbon to tie it. She left her hair down and as she was brushing it she saw that it had grown to her waist. She thought it quite unusual that she would change so much over such a short period of time. Once her straight, thick hair had dried she rushed outside again without even glancing in the mirror. She groomed Midnight until he was gleaming. She jumped on and started toward Austin’s house. When she got there she got off and knocked. His sister came to the door and told her that he was at Courtney’s house. She got back on Midnight and began to go to her other friend’s houses. They all greeted her with the same “You look so beautiful,” but Ella just ignored it. Besides what did they know? When she got to Courtney’s house she greeted Ella the same way the others did. “Have you seen Austin yet? He has been constantly talking about you,” she said looking down. “I haven’t because he was over here when I went to his house. “Now I know what you remind me of. You look like the figure that Austin gave me for my birthday,” said Courtney. “I haven’t really looked at myself but I know that I am not that beautiful,” said Ella. “But you are,” Courtney insisted. They carried on like this for a while then Ella said, “well if I am going to have time to talk to him then I better leave,” said Ella. “Okay. Bye,” she said. Ella leapt onto Midnight and they went racing to his house. Right as soon as Austin got home his sister came running out. “There was a really pretty girl asking for you when you were at Courtney’s house,” she shouted. “Was it Ella?” he asked suddenly. “No. She was too pretty,” she said. “Ella is really pretty,” said Austin angrily. “I know that she is but this girl was the prettiest girl I have ever seen,” she said. “Oh well. She will come here again if she wants to talk to me,” said Austin. He ate with his family and thought that the girl probably wasn’t as pretty as his sister said. Then when everyone was done they heard a light knocking at the door. His parents were in their room and so it was just he, his brother, and his sister. She ran to the door and opened it slowly. Austin heard a beautiful and clear voice ask, “Is Austin here yet?” It was so very beautiful and he just stood for a while starring at the door where the voice had come from. “Yes he is now. I will get him for you,” said his sister shyly. She came in and glared at him. He slowly went to the door and standing there was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She stood tall and slender and just looked at him. “Austin, I am back,” she said. He closed his eyes and opened them again and she was still there. “Do you know who I am Austin?” she asked putting he lovely head down. He wished with all of his might that he could tell her who she is. Then he looked her in the eyes. They were a stormy gray. They look just like Ella’s do when she is sad he thought then it clicked. “Ella?” he said. “You remember me?’ she asked her eyes brightening. “I recognize your eyes and your attitude but not your looks,” he said. Then his little sister shouted, “You are Ella. Wow.” “Shall we go for a walk?” asked Austin. “Yes,” said Ella. They began walking down toward the forest. “Ella what did you do?” asked Austin. “Nothing. Just one day when I woke up it was light brown and each day it would get lighter and lighter and I suppose everything else about me changed because I got older,” said Ella. They walked and talked for a while. “You know we are starting school tomorrow,” he said. “Yes I know. I stayed for a little more than three years,” she said. He turned and looked down at her. She sighed within herself. She thought that all the girls probably would follow him wherever he went. He could tell that Courtney had a crush on him already. “You know that all of the boys are going to fawn over you when you go to school tomorrow,” he said giving her a sidelong glance. “No they won’t. I am barely prettier than I was if I am even prettier,” she said embarrassed. “You haven’t taken a good look at yourself have you,” said Austin. “Not really but why would I?” she asked. “Just take a good look at yourself when you get home and then you will realize what I mean. You are very beautiful Ella,” he said then he realized that was the wrong thing to say for her piercing blue eyes flashed. “That is all I have heard since I have come back. Even if I am that pretty, which I am not, you should at least treat me the same. It is clear that what I look like matters to my friends more than how I act. If was ugly as dirt then I wouldn’t have any friends. That is what I expected from my other friends but not from you. But clearly it is wrong of me to trust you,” she said with tears coming into her eyes. She always hated it when people judge others by how they look. This time Austin also got mad. “I am not the one who is judging you are. You pretend to know my thoughts when you don’t. Just because I am struck that you have become so beautiful doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like you if you were ugly. I am attracted to your wonderful personality and love for nature and animals not your looks. I keep on mentioning it because it is true and am no longer sure you could ever like me since you are so beautiful. I know that all of the other boys like the prettiest girl and I am afraid that you will be taken away from me,” he shouted angrily. He expected furious words to be shouted back but he could soon see that he was wrong to think that. Her beautiful and proud head was bent and she starred at the ground. “I am sorry I judged you. I shouldn’t have. I just can’t think straight. It is probably from the long journey here,” she said trying to hide her tears. “I better go now,” she said and she tried to whistle but couldn’t. She tried again and again but still couldn’t. It was as if she had gone mute and couldn’t make a sound. “I think I am going to walk. I want to think,” said Ella.
Chapter 4: The Dream
Austin knew that something was wrong. She was never tired and was always ready to argue. She began to walk away off into the forest. When she got out of sight of Austin she broke into sobs and sat down. She wasn’t even thinking about the fight with Austin. She knew that she didn’t belong here and that her dream was real. Austin watched her go and noticed that she wasn’t even going in the direction of her home. He slowly began to follow. Ella sat there sobbing when she felt a hand touch her shoulder. She looked up and saw the boy. “What do you want?” she yelled jumping up. “Ella its alright,” said the boy. Then she saw not the boy but Austin standing there, looking shocked. “Ella what did you see? What happened?” he asked. She began to sway and he ran to her and she sunk into his arms and fainted. When she opened her eyes she saw the night sky above her. “Ella. Are you all right?” asked Austin who was cradling her in his arms. “Austin I am sorry. Please forgive me. I shouldn’t have judged you,” she said crying. “It is alright Ella I don’t care anymore. Now tell me what you saw,” he said sternly. She saw a glint in his eye. “Austin what is wrong?” she asked. “Nothing is wrong just tell me,” he hissed. She stood up and looked at him in horror. He was starring at her with gleaming eyes. Just like the boy in her dream. He pulled out a long sharp dagger. “Tell me now Ella,” he hissed standing up. She backed away in horror. “No something is wrong. You are not being yourself,” she said backing up. “That is because you never knew me. I was sent here for you to fall in love with but you have run out of time. My master says I can just kill you now,” he said advancing toward her. She stood frozen in horror. “Austin, stop it. This isn’t funny,” she said backing away from him. “Stop what? Should I be your beloved friend again? What are you scared?” he hissed. Then he aimed a stab at her but she grabbed his arm. He began writhing as if in pain. “Let go,” he screamed over and over. She did not let go but held on even tighter. She began to feel dizzy but still kept on holding his wrist. She felt her wrist yanked from Austin and she thought that all was lost. She was going to be killed by her best friend and everything went black. Then she saw the girl on the black horse. That girl reminded Ella of herself a lot now that she had changed so much but the girl’s beauty still surpassed her greatly. The girl was riding when another girl came riding up next to her. She looked very much like the girl on the black unicorn but she was on a white one. They with rode with dignity and power and unsurpassable beauty. Then the scene changed and Ella found herself standing and looking of into a valley and she noticed them standing above on her looking down into the valley. Their fair faces were filled with concern and worry. Then Ella looked out to where they were looking and she gasped. When she awoke she sat up quickly. Then she noticed that she was in her bed at home. She got up and looked around but everything seemed normal. She went next door to her sister’s room and found her asleep. It had been the dream. The horrible dream that had reoccurred but this time it lasted longer and turned out horrible. She couldn’t stop thinking about it and Austin. “Was that a dream too?” she questioned herself. When she looked out the window she saw the sun was beginning to rise. This would be her first day back at school for three years. She went to her closet and found a new dress and cloak hanging in there for her. It was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen and wondered why her parents would give her it. Then the thought came to her head. “What if the dreams were true and she really wasn’t who everyone thought that she was?” she had been having dreams of her turning into someone else. She shook off the thought and looked again at the dress. She put it on and looked into her mirror. It looked beautiful on her or rather she looked beautiful in it. It was a midnight blue dress with a cream bottom layer that the blue opened into at the bottom. It was slim fitting from her waist up and barely flowed out from the waist down. It moved with her and was very comfortable. She saw that it was very nice but it could also be ridden in. She quickly put on the cloak and clipped the silver leaf brooch. It matched perfectly and she wondered at how well they fit for she had grown quite a bit taller and thinner than she used to be but they fitted perfectly. She brushed her long hair and left it down like usual. Then one of her servants came into the room and gasped. “You look so pretty my lady. May I please do your hair?” she begged. “Alright but don’t do something big. Just something simple,” she said. “Oh but today is the picnic and you must be beautiful so I will do something simple and beautiful,” she said leading her to a chair. “What do you mean a picnic?” asked Ella. “Oh it will be marvelous. Since you are now in the older class you will be having a picnic and that night a dance. You can wear the white dress that was sent with the blue for that,” she said. “Do you know who sent them?” she asked. “No my lady they were on the door steps last night and were to small and long for your sister so I put them in your room,” she said. She picked up a brush and brushed her hair for a few seconds then picked a strand of hair from one side of her head and began to braid it. When she got to the middle she had Ella hold it and did the same to the other side then put a band in to hold them together. After she had done this she began to braid down. When she finished she clapped in delight. “You look just like a princess,” she said smiling. “Did you happen to see me come in last night?” asked Ella. “Yes and you looked dreadfully sick,” she said. “Now come down and eat breakfast,” she said and began to shoo Ella down the stairs. Sarah didn’t come down until Ella had already finished eating. “I am going to meet Austin so you don’t have to wait for me,” said Ella. “Whatever. I don’t care since dad is taking me in his carriage,” she said then she looked at Ella in her new dress and her mouth opened. “Where did you get that dress?” she asked. “It was sent to me by an unknown name,” said Ella. Sarah starred jealously at her then said, “Why is your hair blonde?” “It changed while I was gone,” said Ella and she walked out the door. She whistled and Midnight came up. His coat was gleaming and he stood tall and proud. “You were already fed, right?” she asked. He tossed his head. “Good. How do you like my dress?” she asked. He whinnied loudly. “Thanks,” she laughed. She leapt gracefully on his back and told him where to go. She wasn’t really going to Austin’s house. She had just said that to annoy Sarah. In stead she was going to go to Courtney’s house. When she got there Courtney was just about to get into a carriage. Ella called to her and she walked up to them. “Do you want a ride to school?” asked Ella. “Sure. It beats carriages any time,” she said. She called out to the driver and he drove away. Then she took a good look at Ella. “Wow Ella you are so pretty. More than last night even,” she said. “Whatever. Lets go,” said Ella and she helped Courtney on. They went racing through the fields and when they got to the schoolhouse they saw almost everyone standing out waiting. “Did you go to see any of your friends that are guys?” asked Courtney. “No only Austin,” said Ella and she shivered remembering her dream. She wondered which part was a dream and which was real. Courtney giggled. “I can’t wait to see their faces,” she said as if to herself. They slipped off Midnights back and all of Ella’s friends that she had seen that night came running up. She was completely surrounded by them and their exclamations of how pretty she looked and how much they had missed her. She ignored them and began to try to see Austin. Then she saw his older brother. Every girl had a crush on him, even more than they had on Austin. He was three years older than Ella and she did not like him much. He always thought that he was better than everyone. He had much of the same features of Austin but Ella still would have picked Austin over him any day. He is probably coming to see why everyone isn’t focused completely on him she thought. When he got to where they all were the girls all began to twitter excitedly except for Ella, Courtney, and Crystal. “Ella. Is that really you?” he said and actually seemed to be caught off guard. “Yes and what is so amazing about that?” she asked venomously. After she said this, a hush fell over everyone and no one made a sound. “Nothing and why are you so rude today? I just think that you should be congratulated for the improvement,” he said giving her a smile. “I am honored,” she said giving him her most winning smile and she could see him actually get nervous. “Does this mean now that I am pretty I can be your friend?” she said and Courtney saw with worry her eyes flash to blue. “Hey your eyes even change. That is cool. Yeah I suppose you can be in my group of friends now,” he said. “Wow everyone. I get to be in the group that is better than everyone else. What an honor. But I must tell you that I can’t be in your group. I am sorry but I value my friends for more than their looks. I value their friendship. What if something was to happen and you have to risk your life to help me. None of you would ever do anything to risk your necks for a friend. Well all of my friends might not do that for me but I know my closest would. I know that I can always count on them for their support even if became ugly. They will always be there for me. I bet that none of your friends would do that for you. They would rather see you die a horrible death thin risk hurting their precious lives. So that is why I will not join your little group of friends and I want you to know that we don’t judge each other. We may have an argument every once in a while but we still will always be there to help one another and that is what I look for in a friend,” she said right in his shocked face. Courtney was looking at her with tears in her eyes. She had judged Ella once she had come back. She thought that Ella thought that she was better now but she now knew that she as wrong and she wished she had never even considered the thought. Everyone stood quite for a moment and Ella noticed their new teacher standing there looking at her with shock and admiration. “Alright everyone get your things ready for the picnic,” the teacher called after a moment. “I don’t even know your name but I want to tell you that we will probably get along quite well and I want you to know that I also admire you greatly for what you just did,” said the teacher quietly to Ella. Then she noticed someone moving toward her. She remained where she was and didn’t do anything but watch him come. When he got to her there was a silence for a while as they just looked at each other. “Ella I am so sorry for last night,” he finally said. She saw tears in his eyes and knew he meant. “I am also sorry,” she said looking down. She turned toward him and hugged him tightly. They just stood there embracing for a while then when they broke apart Austin looked into her eyes and laughed. “What?” asked Ella. “It is extremely easy to tell your mood. All you need to do is look at your eyes,” he said smiling. “Why do you say that?” she asked. “Because your eyes just changed to a stormy gray.” “Well there are some emotions that they don’t change to,” said Ella. “Like what?” he asked smiling. “Like love. You wouldn’t be able to tell if I liked someone,” she said smiling triumphantly. “Are you sure that I don’t know how you look,” he asked. Ella turned red. “I was just teasing you Ella,” he said smiling at her again. “Austin I have something to tell you. I have been having the dreams again except this time I understand them more. They are telling me that I don’t belong in this world, that I am adopted. They also showed me some scenes that I didn’t understand at all. I don’t know what to make of them,” she said. “I think I know how we can find if you really are adopted,” said Austin. He whispered in her ear and she nodded in agreement. “Why didn’t you tell me I was adopted?” asked Ella to Sarah when she had caught up. “So mom and dad finally told you,” she said smiling. “You were left at our doorstep by a strange cloaked man. He said you would be sent home your coming home would start with dreams but he was insane. You have stayed with up for a long time and still nothing happened,” she said. Ella turned and went stomping back to Austin. When she got to him she broke down and began to sob uncontrollably. Austin came and wrapped his arms around her. He held her tightly without speaking and he guessed what the answer to her question of whether she was adopted or not. Then she finally put her head up and he saw the unmistakable determination in her eyes. He knew that it was dangerous and whatever she had just set her mind on was going to come true if at all possible and he worried about what it was. “I am going to find my parents if it is the last thing I do,” said Ella. “Well then I am coming with you,” he said also determined. “Austin you can’t. I am looking somewhere that people don’t even think exists. I don’t know how but I think I can get some answers there, wherever it is. I am going to go where the gnomes came from. Deep into the forest.” “As I said before I am going with you,” he repeated. “Austin, don’t make this more difficult. It will be very dangerous going were I will be going,” she said pleading with him. “How do you know it will be dangerous and why must you go there?” he asked. “I know because gnomes alone are dangerous and I just feel that there will be things much worse than gnomes deep in the forest. To answer your other question I need you to remember three years ago. Do you remember the party? I did magic and you told me that I don’t belong here. Well your right. I don’t and so that is why I must go there. It is where the magic creatures like me will be,” she said. “But it could have had something to do with the gnomes and the magic in that place,” he suggested hopefully. “Austin, I didn’t tell you this before but I summoned the power. I meant to and yet I didn’t,” she said softly. “Well I am going to go. I think that you are making the right decision to look there first and to support you I will go,” he said. She looked at his stubborn face and nodded. “Don’t tell anyone. Not even Courtney or Crystal. We can write them a note explaining but I don’t want them to come,” said Ella. Austin agreed to this. They looked around and found themselves alone. “They must already be there. We will leave tomorrow at dawn. I will come and pick you up but be sure to be awake and ready. Travel as light as possible but bring what you must,” she said and they began to hurry to catch up with the others. When they had caught up with Crystal and Courtney Ella glanced over at Austin’s brother and saw him glaring at Austin. She tried to ignore all of the looks the guys all kept giving her but even though she had to endure all that she still had quite fun that day. When the sun was beginning to set everyone began to leave to go and get ready for the dance. Ella hurried home and the same maid helped her get everything ready. Ella put the white dress on. It fitted like the blue except when the sleeves reached her elbow they began to flow downward. They flowed down almost to the ground. In her hair the maid put a silver tiara that was simple but very beautiful. It had no jewels on it except for a few small diamonds. Her hair was redone the same way it was before. She also sprinkled some glitter stuff all over Ella without asking. She looked more beautiful than even before. The maid left muttering how wonderful Ella looked and Ella began to pack as quickly as she could. She didn’t know why but she was going to get ready in case. She put some riding cloths and her blue dress and cloak and her green dress and cloak in with some food and water. It was a small sack that could carry more than it looked like it could so it wouldn’t be mistaken for a traveling bag. She brought it down with her and pulled out the three notes she had written. She had one to explain that she was going to find her parents for her fake family and one for each Courtney and Crystal. Ella went out and jumped on Midnight, who was waiting for her. She had already set out the note even though she wouldn’t leave until morning but they wouldn’t see it for they would be gone also until late. When Ella got there she saw Sarah and thought that she did look quite well. She had straightened her hair some how and worn it down. Ella looked around for Austin. She started to walk around but still couldn’t find him. She didn’t notice but every head turned to stare at her as she walked by. When she got next to a door she heard some voices that didn’t sound happy. She tried to ignore them until she heard her name. “I am telling you. Austin and Ella are going to run away tonight. I heard them talking about and they have got it in their heads that there is magic in the old forest,” said the voice that Ella recognized to be Austin’s older brother. “We need to stop them. When you find one or both of them bring them to me no matter what,” he said. She quickly slipped away. She was about to give up looking for Austin until finally she saw him. She quickly grabbed his arm and she pulled him into a corner where they would be covered by a shadow. “Your brother and his friends know we are leaving,” she whispered. “How?” he asked. “He overheard us and he knows that we think that magic is in the forest. We have to leave tonight. He knows we were going to leave tomorrow morning,” she said urgently. “I don’t have my stuff with me,” he said. “Your parents probably already know. Is everything already packed?” she asked. “Yes. It is sitting under my bed.” “Then we will go and get it,” she said. She grabbed his arm again and before he could say anything and she pulled him quickly through the crowd. Right before they broke free from the many boys and girls Austin’s brother stepped in front of them. “Would you mind if I had this dance?” he asked Ella. “I guess that would be alright,” she said. Austin gave her an unbelieving look. She tried with all her might to communicate her thoughts to his. “Austin I will dance with you during the next dance. Meet me back here when this song is over,” she said and he nodded his head in reply. They didn’t say anything for the first half until he finally said, “why were you so rude to me earlier?” she looked at him innocently. “I guess I was a little stressed out. I didn’t get much sleep last night.” “Oh,” he said. Finally the song ended and Ella began toward Austin. “Ella would you dance with me after you dance with Austin?” he asked hopefully, “Of course,” she said giving him her most winning smile. He began to move as if uncomfortable and she began toward Austin again. “Why did you let her get away?” asked one of the brother’s friends. “I am going to dance with her again and then I will get her,” he said slowly. “Alright we can slip away during this dance,” said Ella into his ear. “Just one question did you tell me not to interrupt and did you explain why you were dancing with him to me?” he asked. “I explained to you in thought but not out loud. I was hoping that you would understand what I was doing. Why?” “Well I heard your voice in my head and you were explaining over and over why you were dancing with him,” he said. She looked at him in shock but he would not meet her gaze. They didn’t say anything for a while until it was near the end of the dance and they had made the slow process of dancing their way to the edge of the light. “Alright let’s go,” she said and they ran. She heard shouts behind them and she knew that they had been seen. She whistled loudly and Midnight along with the gray mare that had helped so many years ago came running up. Ella quickly boosted Austin on and began to run. Midnight came up beside her but before he could pass her she grabbed his mane and swung on. They quickly caught up with Austin and the mare and left the party far behind. They were riding along at an easy pace when Ella turned around. She saw six riders in the distance racing towards them. They were making a very big deal out of this she thought. “Go Austin ride faster. Ride on Midnight. Austin, meet me at the forest. I will get your stuff. Be at the old willow and don’t stop or look back,” she yelled and he and the mare went racing toward the forest. Ella, however, stopped and turned around. “Alright Midnight. Let’s go,” she called to him. He reared high crying out, striking the air and plunged toward the riders who where quickly advancing. Ella saw their faces turn into fear. Ella and Midnight were gaining speed quickly. The riders stopped and Midnight stopped in front of them. “What do you want with me?” she cried out to them. Then she realized that they weren’t men. They looked like shadows of death. She saw red eyes gleaming out from their hoods, which covered their whole face. “We want you to come with us,” one hissed back. “Why do you want me?” she said. “We know that you wish to know who you are and we can help you. Man mistake us for who we really are but you know we are like you. We are just magic beings of no importance to men. We know were you may find your parents. All you have to do is come with us and we will show you the way,” the same one hissed. She wanted desperately to go with them but something held her back. “Ella you must listen to me. They are not to be trusted. They will destroy you Ella,” a voice shouted. She looked at Midnight who was starring at her with his black eyes. “Yes Ella it is me but I can not explain right now. I can lead you out of here just don’t listen,” he cried in her mind. “I don’t wish to find my parents. Especially not with your help,” she shouted out to them. Their eyes began to blaze in furry and Midnight turned and began running with great speed. He gained distance on them until they could no longer be seen. He stopped quickly at Austin’s house and she climbed a tree next to his bedroom window and climbed in. she quickly grabbed the bag and leapt out the window and caught onto a branch. She dropped onto Midnight’s back and he began to race to the forest when they got to the borders he stopped and they heard a terrible cry. “Ella get off now,” he commanded and she slipped off of his back. She saw Austin come running up with the mare right behind him. “I must leave you now Ella. I must keep you safe on your journey,” he said in her mind. “No you can’t leave.” “I must Ella,” he said. “Will I ever see you again?’ she asked with tears running down her cheeks. “Yes. I think that we will,” he said. Then he whinnied at the mare and turned to Ella again. She hugged him tightly. “Be careful,” she whispered out loud. “I will and Ella you will find friends along the way. I can’t explain more yet but I will tell you that you have sister and she is also trying to find her family. This is a present your mom gave to me many years ago to give to you when you were ready and yes I know that I am very old but you will understand that later,” he said and he pulled a package out of a hole in a tree next to him. “Now Ella, remember to stay strong. Many of your future friends will need your help and you must give it. Do not fear pain or death for many enemies feed off that fear. Do not ever despair No mater how horrible the circumstances are in. Now I must go farewell,” he finished and she took the package. Then he turned and bolted into the night. Ella just starred after him in shock. “Where is he going?” asked Austin who had not heard the conversation they had. “He is going to some unknown place. We must get out of here,” she said. “What is in that package?” he asked seeing it in her arms when she turned around. She just looked down at it then she slowly began to open it. When she had torn off all of the paper she saw a box and she opened it. Inside was a necklace. It was a silver charm on a silver chain. On the charm there was some markings that Ella couldn’t see very well. She held it up to her eyes and she saw strange signs written lightly on it. Then she saw some letters going around the middle. The letters formed a word or a name that she didn’t know. Almare is what was written. The necklace was very beautiful and she noticed in the middle was a beautiful stone. It was completely clear and it sparkled when any trace of light hit it. Then she looked up. It was now getting light. She put the necklace on and hurried over to Austin. She jumped onto the gray mare and helped Austin on. The mare turned and bolted into the forest.
Chapter 5: Ankaria
While they were running through the trees she tried to communicate with the mare. “What is your name?” she asked in her thoughts. “My name is something you would not be able to pronounce but humans call me Misty,” she said. “Have you also been sent by my parents?” asked Ella. “Yes. Well I was a long time ago. I can’t yet tell you what you are but would you like to know something of your family history?” she asked. “Yes please,” said Ella hopefully. “Alright. You were with your family and friends many years ago and everything was well. You were beloved by everyone along with your sister until one day something terrible happened. Your people began to change. Darkness crept into many hearts and they were turned against each other. Then you and your sister were taken away from them and horrible things began to happen. They began to become as low as others that lived around them. Then one day some were tricked into doing evil. Then your mother gathered all of the one that were still themselves and she hid them very well, to well as a matter of fact. Midnight and I don’t even know where to find them but we were told along with Starlight that you two must be brought back when you were old enough. I don’t know how we will find them but I do know that we will and those who were lost will come back and the world will once again be a merry place. I can’t wait to see that day. You will bring your people back to how they once were,” she said. “Where are the ones who were lost?” asked Ella. “When I answer this you must understand that you are not human and neither are your people. They are with the low ones. They are practically humans themselves and they have lost all honor and dignity, which caused them to also lose knowledge of themselves, of who they once were. Everyone is beginning to think that your kind never existed and that you were only legends and stories told to hopeful children. You see your people are not the only ones having problems. The humans are also in despair for evil is growing everywhere and their king is lost. They do not know what happened to him and I think that he was sent to this world as you and your sister were. I even am starting to think that you know this person,” she finished. “How can I know him and do you mean that I am originally from another world for you speak as if that is so,” said Ella. “I am not sure about you knowing him and I will say no more on that subject and yes you are from another world. It is called Ankaria and it is the home to many creatures that this world has never even heard of but there are also creatures that are in the stories here like dwarves, griffins, gnomes, fairies, and many other creatures,” she said. “Which of them am I?” asked Ella. “I can not tell you that yet. You must find who you are by yourself. But don’t worry. You will find out quite soon for it is very obvious,” said Misty. Ella didn’t say anything for the rest of the journey. When they got to a certain part deep in the forest Misty stopped and Ella and Austin got off. Then they saw a pool of water in front of them. They went up to it and bent over to have a look. Then they both felt something push them and they fell in. it seemed to Ella that they were never going to touch the water for they kept on falling until finally Ella felt something hard under her feet. She saw Austin collapsed next to her. She looked around for Misty but couldn’t see her anywhere. “Are you alright?” she asked Austin. He sat up and looked very dazed. “Yes I am alright,” he said and he stood up. “Where is the mare?” he asked. “She didn’t come,” said Ella. “Lets go.” They began walking and Austin asked, “Where are we?” “We are on Ankaria,” said Ella. “What are you talking about?” asked Austin. “Austin I can talk to animals in their minds. I talked to her and this is where I am from and I am to find my people here. We are on a world of magic where mythical creatures walk around. We must find my sister and then we will figure out what to do,” said Ella. They again began to walk. They didn’t meet anyone along the way until they got to what seemed to be a small village. They went in and Ella couldn’t help but turn her head at everything. There were so many creatures that were new and strange to her. Then she got her sense back and realized that there were also many evil things that would be walking around too. “Put your hood up,” she commanded Austin and they both put their hoods up and Ella realized how much she must stick out because of her white dress and cloak. “Follow me,” she hissed and they went out of sight of the village and back into a part of the forest. “Stand over there and make sure no one comes,” sad Ella and he turned and went back to the entrance of the forest. Ella quickly changed into her blue dress and cloak and took out the tiara. She went back over to him and they again began walking thorough the village. When they had reached the outskirts of the village she saw a small home with children running around and playing. When they walked by it the children stopped and starred with open mouths. “Mommy it’s an elf. An elf mommy,” one of the little girls began to scream. The mother rushed out and stopped starring at Ella. Ella and Austin stopped and looked at her in wonder. “Why had they called her an elf?” Ella wondered. Then she decided to ask this family where in Ankaria they were and if they knew of any lost creatures. She told Austin and he just nodded his head and they began to walk up to the lady. She just stood in s