Fall From Grace: The Story of Queen Zeal Chapter 2

The Gate

By Mercutio

    Young Ceres forcefully yanked a weed out of her small garden, tossed it in the air, and blasted a small orb of fire at it. As the ashes of the pulverized plant wafted to the ground, she looked around to make sure no one was watching, as her parents strictly forbade her to use such dangerous magic. In school, Ceres was taught only to use water magic, which was practical but not much fun unless one was a master at it. However, Ceres was oddly powerful, acquiring what magical skills she had on her own. She told questioning people that she had a special connection with the planet, and the Sunstone, which had been the source of energy for the kingdom of Zeal for millennia. The people just stared at her.

    She loathed her real name, Zeal, as it made her feel large and important and made up of four floating islands. So, as a solution, she decided to come up with a nickname of her own one day. Her first selection was "Obsidian", but after a few days, she chose "Ceres" and stuck with it.
    Ceres was a born gardener, although most people expected her to be a mighty sorceress in King Pharos' court or a Guru when she was older. She planted  several varieties of plants, mostly herbs and those bearing fruit, in her small patch of land in her family's postage stamp sized courtyard. She had no brothers nor sisters, as Iva threatened to surgically punish Aden if he even considered putting her through so much pain again.

    "I saw that." came a voice from over the wall as Ceres vaporized another unwelcome dandelion. She turned around to see "friend" of hers, Dalton.

    In fact, they utterly despised each other, a fact to which their parents were oblivious. They were convinced that their children were best of friends. Ceres disliked him because he was remarkably manipulate for a five year old, and often used situations such as that they were in now to get whatever he wanted, and that he could read better than her. Ceres was his favorite prey. however, he was envious of her superior magic abilities.

    "I could tell on you, ya' know." stated Dalton.

    "Whaddya want, Dalton?" sighed his nemesis, knowing that she was trapped.

    Dalton looked around to make sure no one was watching him and whispered "Enough dreamstone to buy a magic book."

    "I don't got any, an' I'm not gonna steal. 'sides, and magic book won't make ya' better than me."

    "How do you know? Have you ever seen a magic book?"
    "No. An' you haven't neither."

    "Have too. There's on in the market at Gabriel. An' I know where ya' can get some dreamstone free." Dalton said, toying with a weed that Ceres had just pulled up, but not destroyed.


    "In that cave over there." he said, pointing at a mountain in the distance. "I heard Sadani say so."

    "Sadani always lies." Ceres stated, thrusting her spade into the topsoil.

    "Do ya' want me to tell on ya' or not?"

    "Fine." sighed Ceres. She tossed her weeds over the wall, knowing with satisfaction that they landed in Dalton's mother's garden and would take root if not removed soon. She walked inside and grabbed a heavy robe, knowing that the earth was very cold, but her clothing and a bit of fire magic would keep her comfortable.

    "The things I do to keep outta trouble." she muttered as she headed towards the Skygate, hoping that Dalton would cover for her as he promised. When there was no one around, she rushed in. A pinkish glow surrounded her and picked her up, and Ceres was transported down to the snowy ground. She tried to keep her distance from Algetty, the village of the Earthbound, as she knew that there were people there that would try to get her back home.

    She was plodding through the snow, keeping herself warm with a tiny glow of fire. The dreamstone cave was about half a mile in the distance. Ceres almost kicked herself for going through with Dalton's plan.

    About ten minutes later, she heard a dull sound that sounded like thunder. From the village in the distance, she heard a man yelling to some workers.

    "Get yerrselves in here! There's a blizzard coming!" said the voice.

    "I  don't like the sound of that." muttered Ceres. She started to run faster. A small snowflake drifted from the sky and landed on the tip of her nose.

    Soon, there were many more, being blown by the wind and hindering her sight with  a thick shield of white. She could barely see the cave. Ceres wished she could shape shift, but the only form that she was taught in school was a frog. Transforming into a cold-blooded pollywog during a snow storm didn't seem like the best of ideas.

    By that time, Ceres had a quarter of a mile left to the cave, but she could see nothing. She didn't even know if she was going in the right direction, as the strong wind was leading her in different directions. All she could do was think of how warm and comfortable Dalton was at the moment.

    In what she judged as half an hour, the traveler collapsed at the entrance of a cavern. She got up after a moment, and looked around at her surroundings. Ceres wasn't even sure if she had stumbled upon the right cave.

    She then knew that it was the wrong cave, as she found no dreamstone anywhere. All she could do was wait out the blizzard.

    She started to dose off, next to a magical makeshift fire, despite the fact that the hunk of rock that she was leaning on was less than comfortable. Suddenly, she felt a small tingle. She jumped up, almost into the fire, small sparks coming from one hand and an icy blue glow from the other.

    There was a black "ball" with a cerulean glow inside, next to the rock It hovered about a foot away from her. Sounds similar to that of a raging battle were emitted from it.

    All of a sudden, it burst into a swirling blue hole that seemed to be cut out of existence itself. Ceres shrieked and jumped again, though this time farther away. She turned to run, but saw that the blizzard had yet to die down.

    A strange being came out, with yellow skin, pointy ears, and large white eyes.

    "Holy jacaranda! Where the..." It then noticed the young girl staring at it.  "Hiya!" it said, changing to a more childish tone. "I'm Mune. Who're you?"

    "Um... Ceres. What is that thing?" she said, pointing at the strange object that Mune had just come out of."

    "Oh. That's just a Gate. Me, an' my brother, an' my sister was all fighting Lavos."

    "What's a Lavos?"

    "He's this... well, it's pretty hard to explain to a human. We were trying to stop him from doing something, but, he got me an' sent me through the Gate."

    Ceres nodded, pretending to understand. As she did so, the Gate spat out another creature that was almost identical to Mune. "Man..." it muttered. "Doreen doesn't have a hope in hell of beating him now."

    As if to confirm the second being's statement, yet another thing was thrown out of the portal, thrown violently into the others. Everyone fell into a struggling heap as the Gate vanished, leaving no trace that it had ever been there.

    Mune got up, and motioned towards the others. "This is my big brother an' sister, Masa and Doreen. Masa an' Doreen, this is my new friend, Ceres. She's a real live human!"

   Masa turned to Ceres, and then to the most recent newcomer. "Pleased to meetcha. Well, Doreen, did you beat him?"

    "If I beat him, he wouldn't have been able to send me through the Gate, you moron." she answered, looking around. "Where are we?"

    "A cave." Ceres answered.

    "We knew that." said Mune. "But where are we besides a cave?"

    "Oh. On the Earth. This is the Earthbound kingdom. They live here 'cause they don't got any magic. Over thataway is Mt. Woe, and the monsters live there. Ya' don't wanna go to Mt. Woe. They'd kill you as soon as look at you. But I'm from Zeal, the kingdom in the sky. It's the best place in the whole world."

    "Even better than the Ktah Shrine?" asked Mune.

    "She doesn't know what the Ktah Shrine is. How could she? She's never been to Jirrikaa. She's a human." said Doreen.

    Ceres looked at them, puzzled. "You probably wanna go to my home town, Kajar. But we can't go there because of the lizard." she said, pointing outside.

    "What lizard? We can bash him up like we did to Lavos!" Masa cried, jumping up.

    "She means blizzard." Doreen answered, somewhat annoyed at her brothers. "And we can get there anyway. Blizzards won't stop us."

    Ceres looked them over once more, noticing the seemingly lack of physical prowess. "You don't look like you could hurt something like Lavos very bad  if he's like how ya' say he is. Why'd ya' try to fight?"
    Mune and Masa rose as if to demonstrate something. "'Why' is a long story. But, you see, together we can turn into a sword, an' Doreen turns into whatever she wants and uses us to fight with. We'll show you." The two ran towards each other, but just crashed together and fell on the ground. Doreen just giggled.

    "It didn't work." complained Mune, rubbing his head.

    "That's because he sent us before the sword." Doreen responded. "Lavos is smarter than that."

    Ceres didn't say anything, wisely assuming that if she asked them to elucidate she would be confused even more.

    "You ready to go?" asked Masa.

    "But I never found any dreamstone! If I go back without it, I'll really be in trouble!" Ceres protested.

    "Doreen will find you some." said Masa, as Doreen vanished. She appeared in a moment with a hunk in her hand, rust colored and of lesser quality, but dreamstone none the less. Ceres took it thankfully.

    Suddenly, she felt surrounded by a gust of air, and was slowly lifted off the ground. She quickly felt herself flying out of the cave and through the snowstorm. In seconds, she could feel the warm sun on her skin and could look down to see the blizzard raging on below.

    "Whoosh! I'm the wind!" hooted Mune.

    After a moment, she was gently placed in her courtyard, her three companions landing by her side.

    "Wasn't that a kick?" asked Masa. Ceres nodded, and called out Dalton's name.

    Out of the door came Aden. "Where in the name of Queen Xatya's  beauty mark have you been for the past three hours- Ahh! What are those?!" he yelped upon seeing his daughter's new friends.

    "Um, this is Mune, Masa, an' Doreen."

    "Is that snow I see on your cloak?"

    Ceres looked at the ground, unable to think of anything to say except "Dalton made me get some 'stone from that cave over there."


    "'Cause if I didn't, he'd tell on me."

    "For what?" Aden crossed his arms.

    Ceres said nothing.

    "For what?" Aden was getting angrier.

    "Burning weeds wi' fire magic."

    Aden grabbed his child by the wrist and yanked her into the house. There is a large kitchen for you to clean right now, and you may not go out side to play except to water your garden for a week."

    "Not even to weed it?"

    "No. And I think Jii will be intrigued by Dalton's bribing also. you can get started on the kitchen while I go tell her."

    He gave her a tub of water and some soap, and set her to work on scraping some leftover poi out of a large pot. As Aden left, Mune strolled in as if nothing had happened.

    "I can help if ya' want me to." he said.

    "Really? How 'bout starting with this pot?" she asked.

    Mune raised his fingers into the air, ready to blast the filthy pot with a powerful stream of water when he was interrupted by Doreen."

    "Mune... You know that we shouldn't interfere with the past too much. Besides, her father told her to do it, not you. Helping will just get her into more trouble."

    "Sorry Ceres." he mumbled. "Guess we'll see ya' next week. In the meantime, we gotta lot of exploring in this new place." He and Doreen vanished, leaving Ceres to work alone.


    Dear Reader: I realized that Ceres'  father must be undergoing an identity crisis during the first chapter, as  his name altered from "Adan" to "Aden" every so often. Oops. He'll be known as "Aden" from now on. Can you ever forgive me?!



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