Thursday, March 31, 2011

12: Not So Completely Alone

Sora didn't know a lot about human behavior at this point.  She realized that the only humans that she had really interacted with at this point was Jess and her aunt and uncle.  She wondered if all humans were as odd as these three.

Mayor Cartwright spent an hour comparing Sora's map with another map, like the one hanging on the wall in the entrance hall.  Its rounded features enabled the viewer to see all of the land on the earth.  Sora was amazed with how much land was really missing due to the barriers.  Mayor Cartwright was eating up all of the information that Sora shared with him.  He was so fascinated by Sora's map that he took out a small object and began holding it up to the map pushing a button over and over.  Cartwright saw Sora looking at the device strangely and turned it around so that she could see it.  An image of her map was engraved on the front.

Cartwright was obviously pleased to show Sora more detailed what the device was.  "It is a cell phone, and it can take pictures... that is what I am doing with it."

"What is it for?"  Sora asked taking the device from him.

"We are able to communicate with other people with it.  It is a phone that can go everywhere!"  Cartwright took the cellphone away from Sora and proceeded to push some buttons on the front of the device.  He put it up to his ear, paused for a moment, then looking satisfied he handed it back to Sora.  "Put it to your ear."

Sora did as she was told and heard an odd buzzing sound.  She looked up at Cartwright and nodded encouragingly.  Finally, there was an end to the buzzing...

"Hello?"  A girl's voice answered.  Sora did not respond.  "Hello?  Uncle Bill?"

Cartwright took the phone from Sora and put it back to his ear.  "Jess, you can come in now.  I was just showing Sora how a cellphone works."

There was silence for a moment, then Cartwright said, "Okay, I'll tell her.  Okay, buh bye."

Cartwright pushed a button on his cellphone and placed it on his desk.

"Jess had to go back to her apartment for a little while.  She has class at the University in an hour.  She asked if you could hang out with me while she is there."  Cartwright seemed elated at this development.

"Oh, well, I would like to walk around for a while."  The last thing Sora wanted was to spend the day with this odd human.  "I could come back here in a short while, if that is alright."

Cartwright seemed slightly hurt, but beamed anyway and walked her out to the entrance hall.  He lead her over to his wife's desk and explained the plan.  She opened a bag sitting at her feet and produced a small green piece of paper.

"Please dear, I know that you don't have any money with you," Janice held out the green money with a kind smile on her face.  "You can get yourself something to eat and see some of the things that down town has to offer."

"Thank you, that is very kind."  Sora took the money, realizing it would hurt Janice's feelings if she did not.  "I will see you later then."

They waved her off and Sora walked out the doors.  Cartwright had given her some basic directions to get to an alien museum and to a few restaurants close by.  Apparently restaurants were places where humans went to eat different kinds of food.

Sora knew that she wouldn't be hungry for some time, so she decided to just walk for a while.  She wanted to find some quiet place to think, away from Roswell.  She turned onto Main Street and began walking toward the south.  The sun was beginning to warm up nicely.  She closed her eyes and pointed her face toward the sun.  The heat rays seemed to emanate right through her body, warming every inch.  Sora had always loved the sun, and the warmth that it brought.

Sora continued walking.  She walked across other streets that were controlled by green, red, and yellow lights.  The metal contraptions.... cars had to follow the lights.  Sora just walked, and those cars would stop if she was crossing the street.  Some of the humans didn't appear to be too pleased to stop for her.

Sora noticed all kinds of different humans.  There were scroungy looking humans, and very shiny polished humans.  Some had very dark skin, some had brown skin, and some had white skin.  She was amazed at how different many of them look!  As Sora was walking toward another stop light, she saw a male human walking toward her.  He didn't seem to even notice her, but he was talking to himself, as he walked.  He held a similar device like Cartwright had, but it was not up to his ear.  Sora did notice a shiny black bug of some kind sitting on top of his ear.  How bazaar!


Sora had walked quite a ways.  She even passed where Jess's apartment was.  But she came to a street that was named McGaffey Street.  She decided to walk west on that road.  She still hadn't found a quiet place to sit and think about what she wanted to do next.

She walked for some time and finally came to a place where there was not as many buildings and houses.  She found some tall crops of corn growing and decided to find a nice shady spot to sit inside the field.  When she found a small clearing in the field, she sat down and nibbled on some of the dried fruits that were in her pack.  Sora felt finally alone and comfortable so she laid back and stared up at the clouds as they passed over her head.


Sora had no idea how long she had been lying there in the corn field when she heard some footsteps making their way through the field.  They were obviously human foot steps; she could tell by the steady, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp.

Sora sat up quickly and gathered her things together.  Just as she was putting her map back into her pack when a tall human male walked into Sora's little clearing.  She had to look twice before she realized that this was Jess's neighbor Justin.

"What are you doing out here?"  He seemed a little bit shocked to run into someone else in the crops.

Sora looked a little sheepish, "I was just resting in the shade.  I was trying to escape this town for a little while."

Justin watched as Sora stood.  "Oh, wait!  You are my neighbor's friend aren't you?  I saw you leaving with her this morning."

"Oh yeah, Jess let me stay at her house last night."  Sora suddenly felt very uncomfortable with Justin staring at her.  "I'm just passing through, really."

"Where are you from?" asked Justin.

Sora took a deep breath.  "Well, I'm not from around here, or anywhere that you know of."

"Okay?"  Justin had a smile creeping over his face.  Sora couldn't help but reciprocate.

"I come from a land called the Kiswone Nation.  I am the only one of my kind to come into the human realm in thousands of years."  Sora felt awkward telling him this.  Glancing up at Justin's face, she saw a small reaction to what she said.

Justin laughed out loud.  "So you are an alien?"  He was obviously amused with this story.  "Come on, did Jess put you up to this?  Her whole family tries to convince the whole town that there are aliens.  Her uncle swears he saw them land here a few years ago."

Sora scrunched her eye brows.  She began wondering about Jess and her family.  They seemed a little odd, even for humans.

"No, Jess did not ask me to say that to you.  I am not an alien, and I did not come from outer space."  Sora was getting a little bit angry.  She slung her pack over her shoulder and said, "I have to go now, I have some important work to do."

With that, Sora wheeled around and began walking back out of the corn field, the way she came in.  Justin didn't let her leave.

"Wait!  Wait!  You didn't even tell me your name!"

Sora stopped in her tracks.  She turned to face him.  "My name is Sora, princess of the Kiswone Nation."

Justin paused for a brief second.  He was looking at Sora with a thoughtful expression.  "The Kiswone Nation eh?"

"Yes!"  Sora said.  She was getting very tired of this silly game that he seemed to be playing with her.

"I'm sorry for being rude.  Let me at least give you a ride.  You have found yourself quite a ways away from Jess's apartment."

Sora appraised Justin carefully.  He did seem to be sorry... "Well, okay.  I have to go back to the city hall."  Sora really did not like those cars, but she did see the value in them.  It would only take them a few minutes to drive the distance that took Sora an hour to walk.

Sora followed Justin the opposite way through the corn field.  He led her to a little house where there was a very large car waiting for them.

"Wow!  This car is very big.  I like this much better than Jess's small one."  Sora exclaimed as Justin opened the passenger door of his black Dodge pick up truck.  Sora climbed in.

"This is not a car."  Justin said, "It is a truck.  They are much better than cars."  He then shut the door behind her and walked around to the other side, climbing in to his seat.

As he started the truck and began to pull onto the road.  Sora began to change her mind about these huge metal contraptions.  This big truck was not so bad.  She felt much more safe.

Justin broke through Sora's thoughts when he said, "So, Sora.  Tell me more about this Kiswone Nation..." he paused.  "The name sounds a lot like a place that is described in stories and legends that have been passed down from generation to generation in my family."

Sora whipped her head toward Justin in awe.  She swore that she saw resemblance of a Kiswan in him earlier that morning!  Could it be.... could he be....?

11: Meeting New People

Jess led Sora out the door and back to that horrendous car.  Sora was not a fan of those huge metallic contraptions.  As they were walking out to the parking lot, Sora caught a glimpse of what she thought was another Kiswan!  She wheeled around and found herself gawking.  Only once she saw his features full on, she was slightly disappointed.  He had many features that the Kiswans have.  The difference is that his short hair had faint highlights to it, and his skin was very light, and looked like it was bordering a tan.

Jess noticed that Sora had left her side and turned to see who the distraction was.  Jess walked to Sora's side with a coy smile on her lips.  "Ah, I see you have noticed my neighbor, Justin.  He is very hot, isn't he?"


"Nearly every girl in town has tried to catch his notice.  He used to come over to watch movies with me when I had a roommate.  I think he liked her..." Jess trailed off, pensively.

"Huh, well maybe you can introduce me later," Sora said as she turned back toward Jess's car.

"Oh, okay..." Jess said hesitantly, "Only, don't get too excited, he doesn't seem to ever want to hang out anymore.  Let's go."  Jess seemed quick to change the topic.

The drive to the court house didn't take nearly as long as the drive the night before.  Once they arrived Jess led Sora up the steps to the large doors.  After getting inside, Jess walked up to a desk and began talking with a pleasant looking older human.

Jess explained that Sora wished to see the mayor.  She then leaned forward and whispered something into the woman's ear.  The woman's reaction told it all.

"Alright!  Well, I will see what I can do about getting her in with him.  Have a seat over there (she motioned to a few rows of chairs), and I will send a message to Mayor Cartwright's office."

"Thank you Janice."  Jess said politely.

Janice the welcoming woman stood up to walk toward a hallway.  Before she turned away, Sora noticed how she gave Sora a good look over.  She seemed pleased with something, and scurried off down the hall.

"Janice is my aunt," Jess leaned in to Sora as they sat down.  "She'll make sure you get to see Mayor Cartwright, since he is my uncle."

"So this Mayor Cartwright..." Sora glanced up to the high ceiling.  "He is the king?"  Sora was very impressed with his palace.  The decorations and the artwork in the carvings were impressive.

Jess giggled.  Her giggles were starting to get on Sora's nerves.  "No, he is not the king.  We don't actually have a king."

Sora gave her full attention back to Jess.  "You don't?"

"No.  There is a leader for every town, that leader is called a mayor.  There are many leaders, but the main leader for the United States is referred to as President.  He is the one that oversees all things pertaining to the U.S.  He just has help."

Why does this president need so many people to help him?" Sora was confused.  Her father never needed any help.  She wondered if these humans were really so weak.

Jess stood up and walked over to a wall.  On the wall was a huge map.  "This is the United States."  She outlined the country with her hand.  Then she pointed to a small point at the bottom of the country, "This is Roswell.  This is where we are."

Sora stood back and looked at the whole map.  The kingdom was enormous!  To the left of the map was another map that had rounded features.

"That map is of the whole world,"  Jess pointed to where the United States were.  "There are many countries, with many different leaders."

Sora was in awe.  She studied every detail of the map while Jess sat back down to wait.  She wanted to remember every small detail so that she could compare it with her own when she was by herself.  

Finally, Sora heard Janice call Jess's name.  Jess hopped up and trotted over to her aunt's side.  The conversed for a few minutes and Jess called Sora over.

"Okay, Sora," Janice said.  "Mayor Cartwright is ready to see you.  He is pretty excited to meet with you!  Good luck!"

Jess sat back down on one of the chairs as Janice lead Sora down the hall and to a large wooden door.  Janice knocked twice then opened the heavy door.

A portly man stood up from his large desk and walked around to greet Janice with a hug and kiss on the cheek.  She blushed, winked at Sora, then left the room closing the door quietly behind her.  Sora wondered how such a heavy door could close without making a sound.

Mayor Cartwright approached Sora with his hand outstretched.  Sora was unsure of what she was supposed to do, so she mimicked him.  She stuck out her left hand, and the mayor awkwardly grasped her fingers with his right hand.

"Well now, Sora," he said pleasantly, "isn't my wife lovely?"

"Oh yes, she is very nice."  Sora had spoken with many important Kiswan, but this was the most uncomfortable meeting she had ever experienced.

"Have a seat, please!"  Mayor Cartwright said.  "We have been wondering when we might make another contact with your kind!"

"You mean, I am not the first to be here?"  Sora was puzzled.  How could this be?  The barrier has been up for centuries upon centuries!

"Well, in 1947 a space ship crash landed just outside of town... there weren't any survivors."  He looked genuinely concerned.

"What is a space ship?"  Sora was confused.  As the mayor opened his mouth to explain, it all snapped into place.  The things that Jess had been going on and on about were spaceships and aliens.  This man thought I was from the sky!

Mayor Cartwright was saying, " you see, a farmer found the crash sight, since it was on his land..."

"Um, mayor."  Sora interrupted the speech.  "I am not from outer space.  I come from another nation on this same planet.  Only, none of you humans know of its existence.  You think that my land is ocean.  I am princess of the Kiswone Nation.  I was sent here to inform you humans of our existence.  We have been hiding ourselves from view by manipulating the earth's core power into forming a barrier.  This barrier has been in place since the first humans were placed on this earth."

Mayor Cartwright was silent, and he had a slightly dumb expression on his face, so Sora continued.

"The earth's core grows weak.  It cannot sustain the barrier much longer.  If it loses its power, then the earth will lose its ability to grow vegetation and sustain life.  It is urgent that I speak with your president.  I need to inform the world of our existence in order to break the barrier."

Cartwright finally found his words.  "What you are implying will change life as we know it!  How do we explain to billions of people that we are not alone on our very earth!?  It could cause wars upon wars!"

Sora hadn't thought of that kind of repercussion.  She began to realize that she could not do all of this alone.  She needed help.  This human world was about to change.  She just had to get this mayor to believe her story.

Sora opened her bag and pulled out the rolled up map.  She spread it out over the desk and began her rehearsed account of the Kiswone Nation.

10: Take Me to Your Leader

I am here to say, that I have finished the most horrendous course that I have taken in a very long time!  I think I will pass with a B, which I am very excited about.  My next class is World Literature, which I am extremely excited about!  So, let's celebrate with me finishing this post (I have had it 1/2 way done for nearly a month now)!  

I changed my mind about rewriting the last episode.  That just seemed like way too much work, and it was giving me writer's block.  I guess this little paragraph is to acknowledge that the facts of the Carlsbad Caverns were not accurate, and that maybe one day, I will fix it to be more accurate.  I learned what they are really like when I made a visit there just about one month ago.  Anyway.... without further adue!

The ride in the car was not a quiet one.  Jess was the type of human that would not let anyone get a word in.  She talked and talked and talked.  Sora was not completely sure, but she thought that maybe she had dozed off now and then.  Jess, the human, jabbered on about aliens and how they were obviously real.  She was a firm believer in them, and she suspected Sora as being one of them.  Sora supposed that she was an alien of sorts, since she was not familiar with the human realm, and none of the humans had ever seen a Kiswan before.

Sora assured Jess that she was not an alien, and when she tried to explain where she came from, Jess would seem to interrupt and continue on to another topic of conversation.  Sora had never seen the likes of such a talkative creature.  She was growing slightly impatient, because she was already missing her kingdom, and--Witold.

Sora had been successful in not thinking about Witold up until that moment, when she was in an alien world, with no one that truly knew her.  She could picture his beautiful green hued eyes.  They were piercing and bold.  She began to relax a little bit upon thinking of him.  She even had a hint of a smile forming on her face.

Sora's thoughts were not her own for very long.  Jess interrupted with a string of questions, that Sora didn't even have time to answer before she was fired another.

"So where are you from?  Jess asked without taking her eyes off of the road.

"Well, it is kind of hard to explain."  Finally!  Sora needed to get on with this quest.  "I am from a place called the Kiswone Nation."

"Huh."  Jess didn't even seem to be listening.  "So, where is your family?  Do you have a boyfriend?"

Sora did her best to answer each question before another was fired.  "My family is back at my home nation.  What is a boy...?"

Jess sped around a huge, black, round, and shredded looking thing in the middle of the black path.

"What was that on the black path?!"  Sora asked.  Her heart was thumping.

Jess looked over at Sora.  Her eyebrows were scrunched together.  "The black path?"  Jess said it like a question.  "That, my dear, is a road.  We drive our cars on it.  And the thing in the middle of the road was a tire."

"A tire?"

"Yes!  They are the wheels that help our cars go!"  Jess seemed amused at this game of, you don't know the obvious.

Jess laughed out loud.  "I guess I am going to have to teach you a whole lot of things in order for you to even seem normal!"

The drive in the car took a very long time, but Sora was sure that if she had tried to walk that distance, it was sure to have taken her six or seven days.  She was very relieved when Jess drove her car into a little path that led to a house.  Jess let Sora inside the house and instructed her to get comfortable.  She was going to be sleeping on the couch.

Jess walked out of the cozy room and Sora immediately laid down on the couch.  It was not as comfortable as her bed at home, but it was comparable.  She was asleep within minutes of laying her head back and closing her eyes.  Jess came strolling back into the living room, probably wanting to talk some more, but she was greeted with Sora's light breathing, and no conscious person to talk to.  So instead of sitting down, Jess went back to her bedroom, and went to bed.


Sora awoke to a loud buzzing sound coming from a door down a narrow hallway.  She had to relieve herself, and wondered where a bathroom might be.  Sora walked back into the room that she slept in.  There was a big black shiny thing hanging on the wall, and there was a shelf next to it filled with little boxes and very life-like pictures all of the the little boxes.  Sora picked one up and saw that it opened.  Inside was a shiny circle.  Sora thought it was all very peculiar.

Jess opened the door from which the loud buzzing had just shut off.  She walked over to Sora and asked if she wanted to watch a movie.  Sora put the little box back on the shelf and walked over to Jess.

"Do you have a bathroom?"  Sora was getting anxious.

"Oh, yeah, sorry Sora

"Alright," Sorry replied.  She entered the bathroom and shut the door.

It took her a few minutes to learn how to get the water to come out of the little waterfall on the wall.  But she did.  Sora cleaned up, and put her second pair of fresh clothes.  As she walked out of the bathroom with wet hair, Jess looked up from the couch that she was sitting on.

"Are you ready to eat?"  Jess was scrutinizing Sora very closely.  "Maybe we should take you shopping.  You look like you could use some new clothes."

Sora said, "No thank you.  I do not need new clothes.  What I do need is to speak with your leader."

Jess giggled.  "Oh, so you want me to take you to my leader?"  Again, more giggles.

"Uh, yes.  Please."  Sora thought that Jess was very strange.  "I have some things that I need to discuss with the leaders of your realm."

"I KNEW IT!"  Jess hopped up off of the couch.  "Come on, let's eat.  Then I will take you to city hall.  Maybe you can get in a meeting with the mayor."

Sora sat down at the table.  Jess had set out two bowls and two spoons.  Jess filled her bowl with little bits of dried food.  Sora followed suit.  Then Jess poured milk over the top.  She inserted her spoon, and began eating the contents together.

Jess looked up at Sora with a raised eyebrow.  But before she could say anything, Sora poured the milk and began to eat the very delicious... cereal.

9: A Close Encounter

Sora spent some time eating some of the dried fruit and vegetables that she had brought on her trip.  She sat in the mouth of the cave and watched the sun rise in the east.  Despite the early hour, the air was warm and comfortable.  Sora felt so free.  She felt like the roof had been blown off of her existence, and she was ready to experience it all.

Sora retreated back into the cave.  She rolled out her bed in a far corner, and was asleep within minutes of lying her head down.


Sora awoke with a start.  She looked around confused about where she was exactly.  One event to another, the realization dawned on her.  She could hear voices echoing through the cave.  She sat up and rolled up her bed as fast as she could.  Just as she was tying it back onto her pack, a group of humans came strolling down one of the smooth paths lined with an iron bar.  Many of the humans were holding onto the bar, almost like it was keeping them from falling over.

Sora tried to slip back into the corner.  She had no idea what they would think when they saw her.  A few of the humans glanced at her as they passed not even giving a second glance.  But the very last human was trailing behind looking at a map and walking anything but straight down the path.  This female human had orange hair that was pulled back, and pale white skin.  Her arms, legs, and face were dotted with little brown spots.  It reminded Sora of a leopard.  The human was wearing short pants, and a shirt that showed her shoulders and her arms.

The female glanced up right as she was about to pass Sora.  She started just a bit, but smiled at SoraSora looked up the path then looked back at the human.  She smiled back.  The female said, "Are you waiting for someone?"

Sora's jaw dropped open.  She did not expect that she would be able to understand the human.  "Uh, no.  I was just on my way out of this cave."

"Oh.  Have you already finished your tour?" Asked the human with genuine interest.

"Tour?"  Sora scrunched her eyebrows at the term.

"You aren't from around here are you?"  The human said.  She approached Sora and held out her hand.  "Come on, you can come with me.  It can be so annoying to follow a tour guide.  I'll show you around.  I've been here so many times."

Sora hesitated, but she took the human's hand feeling very foolish and childlike.  "You are from around here," Sora guessed.

The human female smiled up at Sora.  "Born and raised.  Well actually, I'm from Roswell.  I just decided to take a day trip to visit the caverns.  They are one of my favorite places to explore."

Sora nodded her head.  She had no idea what Roswell was.  The human interrupted Sora's thoughts.

"I'm Jess Lewis." The human stated.  "What is your name?"

Sora looked at the human and said, "My name is Sora."

"Sora what?"

"Just Sora."  Sora wondered what she was getting at.

"Oh okay, I won't pry.  I understand."  Jess looked down at the map for just a second.

"You are very tall," Jess said.  "I am lucky to be five, five when I have heals on.  You have got to be at least six feet tall!"

"I haven't ever really thought of it.  My dad is much taller than I am."  Sora said matter of fact.

Sora glanced up at the humans ahead of her and Jess Lewis.  She had noticed how odd shaped they were.  A few of the male humans were taller than her.  But most of them were shorter than her.  She was very used to looking most Kiswan in the eye, or even looking up.  She noticed a few humans that were shaped round like fruit, while some were very thin, like a stick.  She was very intrigued at how different each human was.

Jess Lewis didn't seem to notice Sora's pensive moment and continued on.  "Wow!  Your dad must be tall!  My dad is barely taller than me."

Sora didn't know how to respond, so she just kept walking.  Jess looked over at Sora and said, "You have gorgeous skin.  How do you get that healthy glow?"

Sora was beginning to be a little uncomfortable.  She wondered if Jess Lewis even realized that she was not as involved with the conversation as Jess Lewis was.  "I don't know.  All of my family has the same skin."  Sora replied.

"Oh."  Jess laughed, which made Sora look down at her.  "I was hoping you had some magical way to make pasty white skin, beautiful and golden.  I try to tan, but I just burn, then freckle."

Sora lifted one of her eye brows.  She needed to learn more about what this human was talking about. 


Sora walked with Jess Lewis further into the cave.  This was the last thing that she wanted to do, since she spent the last day and a half in a cave.  She wanted to get some fresh air, and decide her next move.  But something about Jess Lewis held Sora by her side.  The more and more Jess Lewis talked, the more Sora realized how different this world was.  Sora definitely needed a friend.

Jess Lewis talked on and on about a boy that she really liked, but he had no idea that she existed.  Sora thought, 'What is a boy?'  Jess Lewis didn't even seem to miss a beat she immediately started talking about highlights, and how Jess Lewis was wanting to get them.  Sora thought, 'What are highlights?'

After mentioning the highlights, Jess Lewis' face lit up.  She turned to Sora and said,  "Hey!  Where did you get your hair done at?  Yours looks beautiful!  How did they get the golden color to match your eyes so well?"

"Uh."  Sora paused.  "What?  My hair has always been like this, and so have my eyes.  Dark with a tint of gold, like the sun."

It was Jess Lewis' turn to look confused.  "Oh, okay... That's alright if you don't want to share your secret."

Jess Lewis looked down at her feet as they walked.  Neither of them were paying much attention to the surroundings of the cave.  Sora realized that she made the human, Jess Lewis feel really bad.  But she just didn't understand why.  Jess Lewis remained quiet for the rest of the tour, which was nearly over.

They walked out of the cave, and Jess Lewis said, "Well, it was good to meet your Sora.  Maybe I'll see you around."

"Oh, ya.  You too Jess Lewis."  Sora then turned around and walked toward a path made of hard black rock.

She stepped on the hard rock path, and began walking.  All of a sudden, Sora heard a high pitched wailing sound.  She whipped around just in time to see a huge black animal charging right at her!  She jumped off the path into the sand and brush, just in time.  She was almost trampled!  Sora sat up to see that the big black animal had stopped.  She looked harder at it, and noticed that it did not have legs.  It had enormous circles that were very shiny in the middle.  She saw it lift its wing, but she gasped at what she saw next.  A human climbed out from under the wing!

It was one of the old human females that was in the same tour group that Sora had been in.  She waddled over to Sora.  It was obvious that her feet hurt her from the long walk in the cave.

"Oh dear!" She clucked.  "I am so sorry!  I didn't see you there!"

Sora had just stood up on her feet, and she was looking past the old human at the big black animal.  It had lost all life.  Sora then glanced around a little bit more.  She noticed more of those animals.  Some were very big, while some were tiny.  There was even a few that a human would just sit on top of, like a horse!  Not only were they so varied in size, but there were so many different colors.  Sora was amazed.  What kind of animals were they?

The human noticed Sora looking around.  She said, "You aren't from around here, are you dear?"

Sora shook her head.  "What kind of animals are those?  I need to find out where to get their eggs, so I can take them home."

The old human looked at Sora like she was crazy.  She finally composed herself a little bit and said, "Those, dear, are cars.  We drive them?"  She said it like a question.  "You have never seen a car?"

Sora shook her head.

"They are machines that we control, in order to go where we want to go?"  Again, like a question.

Sora watched as a green car sped out of the corral, and onto the black path.  It could go very fast.

The old human turned to see the green car that Sora was watching so closely.  "Okay.  Dear, I am going to leave now, since you are okay."

She didn't give Sora a chance to respond.  Before Sora knew it, the old human female was in her car speeding down the black path.

Sora shrugged her shoulders and continued her walk in the same direction.  This time, she was more careful to watch out for those cars.

Sora walked quite a ways.  She followed signs that pointed to the town Roswell.  She had no idea why, maybe because it was the only thing that she knew about the human world.  Jess had explained about how aliens crash landed not far from Roswell.  Sora had inquired what aliens were exactly.  Jess's description of them was, 'Little green men that live up past the stars.'  She then proceeded to tell Sora how odd it was that she had never heard of aliens before she asked if Sora had never watched TV.  Sora made a mental note to find out what TV was.

Sora came upon a table next to the black path, so she decided to stop and eat.  She nibbled on some dried meat and vegetables.  She was so tired, and she was so lost.  The hardest thing that Sora has ever had to do was to find a way out of the kingdom.  Now that she was out, she had no clue what to do next.  The only thing she knew was that she needed to contact the human leaders and inform them of the Kiswone Nation.  Before she could break the barrier, humans had to know of the existence of the Kiswan.  Otherwise, they might attack.

Kiswan had no way of protecting themselves.  They were not skilled in wielding weapons.  They were skilled hunters when it came to hunting game for meat.  However, no Kiswan ever enjoyed taking the life of an animal.  It would be so much harder to take the life of a human, that might very well be the Kiswan equal.  All in all, if not taken care of properly, the entire Kiswone Nation could be in jeopardy.


The sun was past mid sky, and Sora knew that she was traveling North.  She had never experienced the heat like she was experiencing it there.  It was dry, and the sun's power was magnificent.  Sora was not inexperienced to heat.  But the Kiswone Nation has plenty of foliage and trees that help a Kiswan cool down on a hot day like this.  Here in the human realm, the sun was just pure and unadulterated.  Sora's water skin was quickly depleting.  She had to consume so much water in order to stay hydrated.  She wondered how much longer it would take her to get to this village of Roswell.

Sora plugged along for hours.  The sun was getting close to the horizon, and Sora looked forward to the break she would receive from its power.  A few cars passed by every now and then, but for the most part, Sora did not see many humans.  She saw plenty of lizards and bugs.  She even saw an enormous spider that was as big as her hand.  She stayed away from it, for fear that it might have poison.

As the sun began to set, Sora would look West at all of the colors that filled the sky.  From the western horizon all through the sky, oranges and purples were reflected off of the clouds.  Sora had never seen such a magnificent sun set with nothing to block the view.

After the last moments of light passed below the horizon, Sora began to pick up the pace.  Even though it was still very hot outside, the sun drastically changed Sora's fatigue.  She began a slow jog north.  She could hear animals out in the brush coming out to hunt and play.  She could hear their every move, and she caught glimpses of them as they dashed in between the brush.  She began to feel at home in nature.

Her comfort was short lived, because one of those cars pulled up next to Sora.  She was startled at the bright lights on the front of the car.  They were just like eyes.  She was wary, but stopped her jog in order to address the human.

"Hey!  Sora!"  It was Jess Lewis.

"Oh, hi Jess Lewis,"  Sora said, a little out of breath.

"You can just call me Jess, Sora.  So, have you been walking this whole way?"  Jess never seemed to be too surprised by Sora's odd behavior.

"Well, yes.  I have never had any other way to get around.  I am pretty used to it."

"Where are you headed?"

"That village, Roswell."

Jess laughed out loud.  "You will be walking all night, and all day, and then all night again before you reach Roswell.  You had better hop in.  I'm going there anyway."

Sora was not to sure about this.  The whole car thing just did not sound very safe.  Jess seemed to notice Sora's discomfort.

"Come on, it will be okay."  Jess hopped out of her big red car and walked around to the passenger side.  She opened the door and motioned with her had for Sora to sit in the black leather chair inside.  "Have a seat."

Sora finally gave in.  She turned and sat her rear on the seat with her feet still on the black path.  Then she pulled each leg in, one by one.  Once she was all the way in, with her pack tucked by her feet, Jess slammed the door shut.

"Put on your seat belt."  Said Jess as she climbed back in behind a large wheel.  "I'll get us to Roswell in no time."

When Sora didn't move, Jess over exaggerated putting on her own seat belt in order to show Sora how to do  it.  "We can't leave until you strap in.  It's my rule."  Jess was very adamant.

"Okay," Sora imitated Jess's actions, and they were speeding down the road, Sora's eyes wide with fright.

Jess looked over at Sora, who had not taken her eyes off of the black path in front of them.  "So you have never ridden in a car either, have you?"

Sora shook her head without saying anything.

"You're an alien aren't you?"  Jess was eager, and excited.

8: In the Middle of No Where

Sora slipped out of the royal home without incident.  She had all of her belongings, and was excited to get the journey moving.  She knew it would be a long hard road, but she also knew it would be an experience of a life time.

Sora arrived at the water hole with the water fall nearly one hour after leaving the royal home.  The woods were so beautiful during the night, even without any light from the stars or moon to cast their glow.  Everything was so quiet and peaceful, it was like a very pleasant dream.

The plan was to dive into the water, and swim under the waterfall again.  This made Sora hesitate.  This is one thing that she did not plan for.  The first time she went, Sora did not have shoes on her feet, and she did not have her pack with her.  Sora replayed that incident in her mind for a split second.  The panic of not ever reaching the surface was a bit terrifying.  Sora could not afford to leave any of it behind, and hopefully none of the supplies and food would get damaged by the water.  But Sora was confident that between Agatha and herself, they were sure to have packed things just right.

Sora remembered Leo saying that there was a direct link the the earth's energy, and ever since he came to the cave looking for a way out of the kingdom, he linked his own power to that in the water.  Sora thought for a moment.  Now that she was well aware of the power, which before she thought of as a presence, She could absorb that power to give her more strength to swim under the waterfall and to safety.  That had to work, otherwise, Sora had no other options, and her quest was doomed to fail before it even began.

Sora slipped off her shoes and tucked them tightly within her pack.  She waded out into the water and felt the energy all around her.  It was exhilarating.  Without hesitation, Sora dove right in and swam the short distance across the water hole.

Sora came up for air a few feet in front of the roaring waterfall.  The spray from the waterfall was unrelenting.  Taking in a few deep breaths, Sora dove down and kicked her feet.  As soon as she was far enough under the water fall to lessen the power of the falling water, Sora began to swim horizontally toward the inside of the falls.

The last thing that Sora expected happened.  As she swam under the falls, the current caught her pack, and began to pull her further down in the water.  Sora could already feel her lungs aching from holding in her breath.  Sora might have been a good swimmer, but she still could not hold her breath like a whale.

The current kept dragging Sora further down into the water, then she hit another current caused by the water ascending back to the top.  That water flipped Sora upside down, and she somersaulted around in the water.  Disoriented, Sora began to feel her lungs scream.  She wondered how long she could last without involuntarily taking in a would be breath.  Sora desperately tried locking her mind on the surface and righting her body in order to swim back to the top.  But at that point, Sora was unsure of which way was up or down.

Suddenly Sora remembered the presence in the water.  She thought of her conversation with Leo.  She clung to that energy, because it was the only thing that was going to save her life.  Letting the energy serge through her body, Sora began kicking up toward the surface.  She opened her eyes and stuck her hands out in front of her so that she would not bump into anything.

When Sora's lungs were just beginning to suck in water, Sora burst through the surface of the water.  She frantically clung to the rocks that were on the underside of the waterfall.  She pulled herself up onto the cave opening coughing up the water that her lungs tried to take in.  Sora turned to her side and laid down resting her head on her arm.  The only thing Sora wanted was for her heaving chest to  calm down.


Sora was unsure of how long she laid there with her pack still on her back.  But she seemed to lay there heaving in ragged breaths trying to force her body to realize that it had survived.  She always loved swimming, but now Sora decided that she would be more careful with where she chose to swim.

Sora had put her shoes back on her feet and found her way down the long straight tunnel.  Maybe she was just paranoid, but Sora felt like she was being constantly watched.  She felt very intruded upon.  It could have been just the presence of Mother Nature, or it could have been Leo's power connected to the cave still.  Whatever it was, it made her nervous, and she just wanted to get out of the Kiswone Nation to complete her quest.

Sora's thoughts kept her company all the way to the end cave.  She walked straight across to where the original writing had been, and she stopped in her tracks.

The writing was no longer there.  In fact, nothing was there.  In the cave wall was an opening that continued.  Sora looked around briefly to ensure that she had not missed the opening in her previous trip to the cave.  Sure enough, there was not any other spot in the cave with writings on the wall.

She took a deep breath and proceeded through the opening.  Sora didnt' know what she would expect, but this tunnel was very much like the other that lead to the ending chamber.  It did not veer right nor left.  It just continued on in a slight descent.  Sora had no idea of what time it was.  She didn't even know how long she had been walking along the long straight tunnel.  She began to think about how annoying and boring it was for the creator of the tunnel to keep it so straight and lame.

At that thought, the tunnel banked left, then right, then Sora tripped on something.  She was so used to the smooth clear path that she had been following that she didn't see the first step at all.  She began to ascend the stair case in front of her.  She squinted toward the top, but still could not see all the way to the top.

If any Kiswan was worried that he was not in good shape should have been walking up this stair case with Sora.  Her legs began to burn, but the staircase continued up the seemingly never ending stairs.  Sora felt funny about it, but she began to sing a song out loud to herself.  She was alone, who would hear?

The song went like this:

Across the sea
Is a lonely tree;
The tree just grows,
But no one shows.

The fruit thereof,
Is prized like a dove.
The tree just grows,
But no one shows.

The wind flies by,
But does not say hi.
Instead he twirls,
To another tree and furls.

The two trees turn,
And what do they learn?
Neither was alone,
But of themselves had not shown.

A pair they made,
And fruit they paid.
The trees just grow,
But looks no more.

This legendary bard told the story of a young couple who did not realize the love that they shared.  They both were looking for something else, but once they were knocked up side the head, they found each other.

Sora immediately thought of Witold.  She hadn't heard that bard for many years.  Why was it that since yesterday, Sora has been thining an awfully lot of Witold?  Sora needed to get her head on straight and forget about him.  She was happy that her climb had come to a halt, because she no longer wanted to dwell on him.  The very last step that she took led to, yes, another cave. Sora sighed.  Was this trip ever going to end?  She was beginning to feel slightly claustrophobic of this tunnel and cave series.

Sora was worried that if she were to stop now, she might get trapped in the cave once the sun came out again.  So she walked around the perimeter of the cave in order to find an opening that lead out.  She also looked for markings or further instructions.  But she realized that Leo would not have been able to get further than the first cave.  Sora had walked all around the cave and was nearly back to the stone stare case when she saw another opening.  It seemed to lead back in the direction from which she came.  She was wary, but continued anyway.

This tunnel was very narrow.  Sora had just enough room to walk through without scraping up her arms on the walls.  In addition, the tunnel did not ascend nor descend, it seemed to be perfectly level.  The difference was that the tunnel was curving left and right.  Luckily, Sora did not meet any forks in the tunnel.  If she did, then she would surely get lost in here and never get out.

Sora took a quick sip of water out of her water skin.  Her stomach began to grumble, and her eyes were beginning to be heavy.  She knew that she needed to get out in the open so that she could rest up for the remainder of the quest.

To Sora's surprise, this tunnel did not cover a vast amount of space like the other tunnels.  She had only been walking for a few minutes  since the stairs when she walked right out of a whole in the side of a mountain.

Sora stumbled a little bit due to the surprise.  She was not expecting to be outside just yet.  But all at once, she felt the weight of feeling vulnerable crash down on her.  She knew that she had crossed through the barrier, she could feel it.  This was the human realm.  Sora looked around.  She desperately needed to find cover.  She could see the sun beginning to rise in the east.  She scoured the area and found a very large opening in the rocks.  This cave was enormous.  She entered the narrow entryway and continued into the main cavern.

The red rock walls were different than the tunnels that Sora had just journeyed through.  Those were not natural.  They were perfectly smooth, with no jagged edges or abrupt cliffs.  This cave was filled with stalactites and stalagmites formed out of the same red looking rock.  Sora loved this unique cave.  This is where she decided to set up camp for the day.  She would then continue her journey at night.

Sora did not yet know it, but she had found herself right in the middle of the desert of New Mexico.  She was seeking shelter in the Carlsbad Caverns.  These are hardly empty during the day time, since tourists and recreational humans go inside to explore the many wonders to behold within.

Keep checking!

7: When the Clouds Roll In

Sora was sure that the look on her face revealed her guilt.  Before turning the corner and meeting the Kiswan coming down the hall, she took a deep breath, let it out, then proceeded forward.  She was greeted by none other than Witold.  She stopped in her tracks.  Any composure that she had been mustering was now obsolete.  She caught his eye, then glanced down at her feet.

"Everyone is looking for you."  Witold said gently.  "I've come to find you.  You sure are an awful long way from the restrooms."

Sora looked at him.  "I wasn't ready to return.  All of the attention is hard to handle at one time."  This was the truth.  "I just needed a break."  Sora shifted uncomfortably.

"I can imagine." Witold took a few steps closer.  "People firing questions left and right.  I would want a break too."  Witold hesitated on his next move, but relented.  He offered his arm to Sora and said, "Would you like to continue your walk?  We don't have to go back just yet."

Inside, Sora screamed "YES!"  That feeling took her off guard and she blushed.  Instead, she said, "They might send someone after both of us if we do not return."

Witold was looking intently at Sora.  "Well, I know that they are still in between the main course and dessert.  Most Kiswan are pretty full."  He had a sly smile on his face which made Sora's heart speed up a few notches.  "I'm sure we would be alright taking a little bit longer."

Sora really was not ready to go back into the great feast hall.  She was tired of all the attention.  Knowing that no one would really be upset with her being gone a little longer, Sora gave in.

"Why don't we walk through the gardens." Sora suggested.  "I could really use some fresh air."

"The gardens it is."

Sora took Witold's arm and let him lead her toward the rear entrance to the royal home.

The gardens were one of Sora's favorite places in the whole kingdom, aside from her water hole of course.  There were enormous trees and the paths were framed with hundreds of different kinds of flowers.  There were benches placed in locations.  Some of them even hid the person sitting there from view.  Sora used to get lost in the gardens on purpose, just to get away from everything else.

They entered the gardens by passing through the beautiful stone archway, and Witold looked down at Sora.  He seemed unsure of how to continue.

He finally took the leap.  "Sora." Witold cleared his throat.  "I don't want you to leave being mad at me."

Sora met his gaze.  "I'm not mad Witold."  He smiled at her use of his name.  "I just want you to understand that this is something that I need to do."

"I understand that."  He sighed.  "I just don't know what to do without you.  You might be gone for many months!"

Before, Sora would have been irritated at his declaration, and she would have told him to find someone else.  But at his words, her heart thumped, and the blood rushed to her cheeks.  She didn't respond at first.  They just walked in silence for a few minutes.  Witold led them down a path that would take them to one of the secluded benches.  Butterflies were dancing in Sora's stomach.  She felt excited and nervous at the same time.

Upon reaching the bench, Sora took a seat, and Witold sat down turned toward her slightly.  She turned to him, not knowing what to say.  She was still very confused by her feelings for this Kiswan.  How could he have changed over night?  But then the realization struck her.  He had been changed for a very long time.  Her memories of him flashed through her mind.  Many of the memories showed him growing and maturing, but Sora never took the time to notice.  He turned into an adult during the time of Sora's disinterest.  Witold was regal enough to be king.

Witold interrupted her thoughts.  "I am worried about you traveling by yourself."  His words were soft and hesitant.  He did not want to start another argument with her.  "I would never forgive myself if something happened to you."

Sora sighed.  She might have been confused about her feelings for Witold, but of her safety, she knew she could take care of herself.  "I appreciate your concern Witold, I really do.  But I must do this.  It is set in stone now anyway."

Sora was beginning to fear what was in store for her.  Especially since her conversation with Leo.  She had no idea what to expect from the humans.  The last thing any Kiswan knew of the humans was that the son of the first man and woman killed his brother.  That was shocking enough for any Kiswan to withdrawal and hide away for the rest of humanity.  What if they are all like that, what if they see Sora and want to kill her?  Part of her wanted to let Witold come along, but she new better.

Witold sensed that she was not going to change her mind, or see reason.  He took Sora's hands in his.  This action demanded Sora's full attention.  The energy that flowed through them revived Sora, she was excited and.... and... in love?

"Sora?"  Witold leaned in even closer, making Sora's cheeks flush warm with red.  She couldn't seem to focus on anything other than his lips.  "I.... do... love you."

Before Sora could even respond, Witold's lips were upon hers.  The energy flowed through their lips, and she melted into his embrace.  Sora felt like she could have stayed right there with Witold forever.

Witold pulled away from Sora and gently swept a strand of hair back away from Sora's face.  She was lost in the fresh green hue of his eyes.  It was as if time had slowed to a complete stop.  He had a smile on his handsome face.  Why had Sora never seen him before?  She had been too prideful to think that anyone could change.

The next thing Sora new, Witold was pulling away from her all together.  He was sitting on the opposite side of the bench.  She blinked and turned around as someone came running down the path.  It was a young page.  She stopped in front of Witold and Sora and placed her hands on her knees in order to catch her breath.

Sora gave Witold a puzzled look.  The page finally stood up straight and said, "I have been looking all over for you Miss Sora.  I ran into Agatha and she informed me that you came out to the gardens."  She gulped down more air.  "The king is worried.  You have been absent for quite some time now.  It is nearly time for you to leave on your quest.  I was sent to find you for the end of the quest celebration."

Witold stood and offered Sora his hand.  "Run and tell the king that I have found Sora.  She was in the gardens contemplating her quest."

"Yes sir!"  The young page took off back the way she came.

"Come Sora, we must return before we are in trouble."  Witold offered his arm once again, and they walked back to the royal home at a faster pace.

Sora could have sworn that she and Witold had been sitting on that bench for just a few minutes.  But the reality seems as if they had been there for hours!  Witold held a very large smile on his face.  Sora couldn't help but admire the beauty of his demeanor.


They entered the feast hall together.  Witold had spaced himself away from Sora.  She missed the comfort of his energy right next to her.  She now felt empty and alone.  She felt so confused.  So much was happening in such a small amount of time. 

Queen Sasha came scurrying up to Sora and called her attention back to earth.  "Where have you been?  We had the dessert without you!"

"That is okay mother, I was pretty full after the other four courses."  Sora smiled and kissed her mother on the cheek.  Distractedly, Sora kept glancing around the room.  She was restless and fidgety.

Sasha looked over at Witold, who had put more distance between himself and Sora.  She knew something had happened.  Sora was acting odd.  Looking at Witold gave nothing away.  She thought about Sora's feelings for the Kiswan.  She knew that Sora was not interested, so Sasha put the thought out of her head.


The last part of the Quest Ceremony was an official good bye to the Kiswan heading off on his quest.  In this case, it was her quest.  No one would see Sora again, until she came back.  She would be applauded and sent out of the feast hall to claim her supplies and pack and slip out of the royal house before anyone was allowed to leave the hall.

Before the official send off, Sora was allowed to go around to the Kiswan that she was closest with.  This included Agatha, her parents, and a few other close friends.  During this time of goodbyes, Sora kept an eye out for Witold.  However, he could not be found anywhere.  She felt sad that he would not see her off.  But soon her attention was taken elsewhere when her father commanded the attention of the villagers.

"I want to thank you all for attending our celebration!"  The king's voice could really carry.  "We are extremely proud of our daughter in accepting this quest, and we know that she will be back before we know it with experience and wonderful new things that will improve our kingdom!"

The cheers erupted from the crowd.  Sora stood from her seat and proceeded to her mother to give her a kiss on the cheek and a big hug.  Then to her father.  He smiled at her with pride, hugged her then motioned for her to make her walk out of the hall.

The cheers and applause only heightened as she neared the door.  She turned and blew a kiss to all just before walking through the enormous doors.  With no sign of Witold anywhere, Sora hustled to her chambers to change and be off.  She was finally ready to go.


Sora's quest outfit was composed of comfortable black pants that allowed Sora to move with great ease.  She had a green top that was light weight and was short in the sleeves.  Since it was summer, she would not need to wear anything with long sleeves.  Although, she had a long sleeve shirt packed.

Sora had transferred the scroll map to an outside pocket of her pack, she was now ready to cloud up the sky and be on her way.  the sun had just retreated behind the mountains, and it was now growing dark outside.  Sora sat down on the floor with her legs crossed.  She sat up straight and began meditating.  Her thoughts drifted to Mother Nature.  She could feel her power radiating from the stone floor underneath her.  After focusing on this power, Sora turned her attention to the sky.  The thought of clouds filled her mind.  It would not take long for the clouds to cover the star strewn sky.


Leo had taken a seat on a bench in the gardens.  He was anxiously waiting for the quest celebration to end.  All of his hope was riding on the hopeful power of Sora.  Agatha had informed Leo long ago that Sora had a unique strength about her.  She would take Sora into the archives to "teach" her about the Kiswan history when she was quite young.  Leo met with her during these times.  He would teach her how to meditate and hone in on her power.  Now was the moment of truth, to see if Sora truly had the power to complete this quest.

Agatha approached the bench and noticed Leo bouncing his knee up and down.  She placed a hand on his knee, and said, "She will succeed.  Do not worry.  The feast is over, and Sora has been sent to gather her things."

Leo's smiled stretching some of his wrinkles and, and causing even more to appear.  "I know she will.  I just pray that she can follow through with bringing down the barrier.  Of course it won't happen until she brings news of the humans to the king.  Once the king knows that we will still be safe to move forward, he will take down the barrier himself."

"When do you plan on speaking with the king about how the earth is losing its power?"  Agatha had fulfilled her role in the plan.  She had helped Sora realize her potential, and she had kept a close eye on her progress, always reporting to Leo.

"Tomorrow morning I will begin consulting with the king."  Leo turned his gaze heavenward.  "Otto will listen.  I know that he senses the weakening too.  He will see reason."

"When will you tell him that Sora is in the human realm?"  Agatha asked.

"I do not know yet.  That will be a touchy conversation.  All superstitions point to humans as being violent and unworthy of our presence.  The king will be worried that the Kiswan people will become corrupted."  Leo sighed.  "I don't know how brutal the humans are, but Otto will be concerned for our safety.  Only time will tell."

Just as the final rays of light were snuffed out by the mountains, the clouds started rolling in.  Leo could hardly help himself.  He jumped up off of the bench, pulled Agatha up with him, and despite his age began to dance with her.  Both Agatha and Leo began laughing and singing loudly.  No one else would have brought these clouds in, because all Kiswan wanted Sora to be off with a clear sky, that was a good omen for the success of the quest.

On a negative note, many Kiswan will be worried that Sora is destined to fail with the cloud's sudden appearance.

Keep checking!

6: Not Alone

Sora had laid down for a little nap.  She wanted to be completely rested before she set out.  She was going to do to a lot of traveling during the night for a few days.  She was not sure what would await her outside the nation, but she was beginning to grow anxious.

Despite her need of sleep, Sora could not let her body and mind rest.  As she was possibly drifting off to sleep, Agatha entered her bedroom.  Sora peaked out from under her eye lashes to see Agatha glance over at Sora and hesitate.  Then upon deciding on something, Agatha approached Sora's bed very carefully as to not disturb the would be sleeping Sora.

Agatha had passed Sora's line of sight but Sora could hear some rustling amongst her things.  Agatha was most likely packing a few things that she thought Sora was in need of for the journey.  After a few moments of silence, Sora felt a light shake.

"Sora, wake up." Came Agatha's urgent whisper.  "It is time for the quest banquet.  Your father and mother are waiting for you to enter together."

"I did not think there would be a quest banquet," I said.  "Is it dark yet?"

Agatha shook her head.  "No, it is not dark yet.  The sun will not go down for a few more hours.  The whole village is waiting for you to enter with your father and mother."

Sora sat up quickly.  She was pleasantly surprised, this just might help her retrieve the map without being noticed.

"Okay Agatha."  She said.  "I will be right out.  Let me just freshen up for a minute."

Agatha nodded and proceeded out the door.  Sora entered the bathroom thinking about Agatha's secretive behavior.  She could just go and check for anything missing, or anything new to the pack.  Agatha is not typically secretive, so Sora shrugged it off.  Checking her pack would have to wait.  There were plenty of details that she had to worry about at the moment.


Sora tied part of her long golden hued hair back so that the majority of it was falling down her back.  Her dark skin was clean and glowing.  Never had she had a banquet in her name.  She was nervous.  Being the center of attention was never Sora's favorite past time.  And since she was the king's daughter, she was expected to dress as such.  Sora's gown was a beautiful emerald green with a sleek but flowing skirt that dusted the floor.  The piece extenuated her lean beautiful form.

Sora looked at her reflection and laughed to herself.  It would be a very long time before she would be wearing anything so beautiful.  Satisfied with her appearance, Sora took a seat at her vanity to wait for her escort to the dining hall.  Immediately, her mind started forming a plan.  She knew that this banquet would last for at least two hours.  A five course meal should be expected.  It is custom to eat one course, then when every person is finished to converse while waiting for the next course.  It was a very long process, yet it was usually quite enjoyable.  This celebration would make it easy for Sora to slip out undetected at some point to head to the archives.

A soft tap on the door broke her concentration.  She stood and did not hesitate to answer the door.  She knew exactly who was behind it.

"Father!"  Sora exclaimed upon opening the door.  She gave him a quick hug then smiled up at his beautiful blue hued eyes.  His blue hued hair was cropped short to a very appropriate length for a king.  The king was one of the most handsome men in the village.   He was dressed the part as well, with a nice grey tunic. 

"Are you ready for your quest celebration Sora?" The king asked.  His face showed a pleasant smile.  "It's not every day that my daughter goes on a quest."

"Ha!  Well, it is going to be a successful one!"  Sora took his arm and allowed him to escort her toward the feasting hall.

They could hear the chatter from within the hall.  It sounded like the entire village was indeed there.  Butterflies fluttered in Sora's stomach.  The sooner she got sat down, the sooner she could relax.  Her mother greeted them at the main entrance.  She too took the King Otto's other arm, and they waited for the doors to be pushed open, upon which silenced the entire hall.

The entire village stood out of respect for their trusted leader.  As they proceeded to the head table, many blew kisses to Sora, and touched her arm to show their support.  Sora was touched that her people were so supportive of her quest.  She could not help but love them even more.  King Otto, sat his wife down first, then proceeded around the table to seat Sora.  Finally, he rounded the table to his seat.  Raising his hands in a welcoming gesture, King Otto sat down, with the rest of the attendants.

Sitting across from her, and next to her mother was Witold.  Sora had not noticed him at first.  But while everyone was getting settled in, she stole a glance at him.  Her heart raced when she took in his appearance.  She didn't realize how deep the hue in his eyes and hair were.  He was wearing a black tunic similar to the king's.  However, Witold's tunic had a beautiful exotic green flower pinned to the left of the buttons.  His hair had been pulled back into a very short pony tail.  Sora's thoughts seemed to be lost.  She could not concentrate on anything other than the strand of hair that had come free.  As if he knew that she was staring at him, Witold glanced up and met her gaze.  A small smile lighted his face, not quite touching the sadness in his eyes.  The heat filled Sora's cheeks as she blushed and glanced down at her goblet, heart still racing.  Sora wondered what had happened, she never expected to fancy any Kiswan, let alone Witold!

Thankfully, Sora's thoughts were interrupted by her father clinking his knife of the side of his goblet.  The sound was the cue for the first course to be brought out.  As if lined up behind the door to the kitchen and waiting for this specific signal, the servants loped out and began depositing plates in front of each person.  The king was served last so that he could ensure that everyone had been served.  Once his plate had been set down in front of him, King Otto stood with his goblet in hand.

"Today is a historical day!"  King Otto paused for effect.  "The day that my beautiful daughter and heir is to set off on her quest!"

The Kiswan cheered heartily.

"Not only is it Sora's first quest, but she is the first female to be granted the opportunity to bring our nation new treasures!"  The king paused again to let the people calm down.

Sora stole another glance at Witold and upon immediately meeting his gaze, she dropped her eyes.

"May we all grant her the power from the earth to succeed in her quest and return to us safe and sound!"

Even Witold stood up at this announcement to the end of the speech.  Not a person remained sitting.  Sora slowly rose to accept the blessing of her people.  She smiled and bowed to each table.  This sent the villagers into more of an excited applause.  Sora knew that she could help her people by following through with this quest.

The king raised his voice above the cheerful celebrating and said, "Now let us sit, and eat!"

The sound of chairs screeching on the stone floor filled the hall.  Every Kiswan sat down like a giant wave, and began to eat the first course of the great feast.  Each Kiswan was starting with an elegant plate of vegetables, all fresh from the village gardens.  Sora delved in, and was grateful for the no talking rule, since she was adamant on avoiding any conversation with Witold.

Sora was relieved to find that most Kiswan were demanding her attention in between meals.  She was addressed with many questions about what she wished to accomplish while out on quest.  There were some jokes told, and the overall feel of the feast was light and happy.  There had not been a quest in nearly ten years, so most Kiswan were anxious to find out anything new.

Sora's moment of truth was in between the the main course, and dessert.  Sora excused herself from the table with the excuse of needing to relieve herself.  Nearly two hours had passed, and the sun was close to casting the pinks and oranges across the sky.  Then after that, Sora would be off, on her own.  For the first time, this thought scared her.

To Sora's advantage, the hallways were empty.  Every Kiswan in the village was in the feast hall enjoying themselves.  With a little bit more confidence, Sora picked up the pace.  She knew that if she was gone for too long, someone would come looking for her.  Since Sora had grown up in the royal home, she knew the way perfectly.  As she approached the large room known as the archive, she slowed down.  She thought she heard someone inside.  She peered around the doorway and into the room.  She saw Agatha talking to someone that she could not see.  The person was being blocked by a stone shelf holding some of the important documents from the Kiswan history.

Sora tried to peek further to see who Agatha was conversing with, when she slipped on  a rock and fell to the floor.  A rock!  What is a rock doing in the middle of a walkway?  The hallways are usually clean of debris.  The talking stopped abruptly, as Agatha scrambled over to help Sora up.

"My dear!  Are you all right?"  Concern was clear in Agatha's tone.

"Yes, I'm fine," Sora responded.  "It just scared me.  I'm not used to wearing these over done dresses.

"I know deary," she said.  "Come in here, we were actually waiting for you to come."

"What?  How did you know that I would be coming in here?" Sora said.  How confusing!  There were obviously some things going on that Sora had no idea about!

Agatha lead Sora into the archive toward a very old man.  He had to be the oldest Kiswan that was still alive, at the ripe old age of two hundred and seven.  He was the caretaker of the archive named Leo.  Leo was probably the only one alive that knows where anything in the archive was.

"We need to be brief, otherwise, someone will come looking for you."  Agatha pushed her up to Leo.

"Hello Sora, it has been a very long time."  Said Leo.  "I am glad that you are here, and that you got my message."

"Your message?"  Sora asked.  "What message?"

"The one written on the cave wall."  Leo looked at Sora hard, as if to see what was going on in her mind.

"Whaaa?"  Sora was confused.  "I.... uh, how did you..."  Sora shook her head.  "You wrote that message on the wall of the cave?"

"Yes I did, nearly one hundred and ninety years ago."  Leo looked pensive, like he was remembering something from long ago.  "I knew that one day, the time would be right, and someone would be drawn to the cave.  I just didn't think that I would be alive to see it happen."

Sora sat down on a chair across from Leo.  "How did you know that I found the cave?"

"I could feel you drawing from the energy in the water in order to swim under the waterfall," he said.  "That energy is always connected to me, and always has been."  Leo chuckled to himself.  "Sometimes it was annoying, especially when large fish got into that water hole."

"So, how did you know that it was me?" Sora asked.  All of this was getting to be a little much.

"Agatha informed me that you had been swimming in the water hole with the water fall.  I had sensed your presence there on other occasions as well.  Like I said, when you went under that waterfall, I could feel you pulling from the energy source that lingers in the water in order to get back to the surface on the other side."

"So what does this all mean?"  Sora asked perplexed and exhilarated that she was no longer alone in this quest.

"The truth is, Sora, that the power from the earth is fading.  The core seems to be dying out due to the amount of humanity that is on the earth.  Mother Nature cannot sustain all of the humans and us at the same time with the barrier still in place."  Leo looked at Sora intently.

"I knew that I had to get out of our kingdom.  I just knew that I had to do something for our people!"  Sora's excitement began to increase with each moment with Leo.

"I have known this for nearly two centuries.  It has been passed down from generation to generation.  I was the one who finally figured out how breaking the barrier would be accomplished.  I thought that I would be the one to do it," Leo paused, with clear disappointment on his face.  "I was not powerful enough to open the barrier located in the cave.  And I definitely could not talk to the king about it, even though the king had enough power to open the barrier, and possibly remove it all together."

Sora stood up and began slowly walking back and forth, thinking.  "What happens if the barrier is not broken completely?" Sora asked.

"Well, Mother Earth will have to choose either the Kiswan, or the Humans to survive."  Leo looked at Sora intently.  "Since the human race has quadrupled the size of the Kiswan race, I have reason to believe that she would choose to save them."

"I see," Sora said.  "So I need to find a way to contact the humans to inform them of our presence.  We need them to know about us."

"Correct."  Leo was pleased that Sora caught on so quickly.  "Your father and mother will feel the same as all other kings and queens in regards to the barrier.  There is a lot of unknown, which makes them feel vulnerable."

Our conversation was interrupted by footsteps down one of the corridors.  Agatha pressed Leo to finish giving his information.  "We need to get Sora back to the feast hall.  They will be having dessert very soon.  She will be missed."

Sora was surprised by how quick Leo moved.  He trotted over to a special cabinet in the back corner.  He opened it, and produced a very old scroll made out of cloth.  He hurried back to Sora's side and handed it to her.

"This is the map of the entire world," Leo helped Sora unroll it.  "The main bodies of water are here, here and here."  Leo pointed to each ocean for Sora to see.  "You will need to summon the energy from the earth's core in order to cover the sky with clouds."

The foot steps grew louder, they were obviously coming toward the archives.

"Hide that scroll.  If it is found in your possession, then you will be in great trouble, heir or not."  Leo gave Sora a quick hug and said, "Now be off!"

Sora turned around and lifted her dress just enough to tuck the scroll into an inner hem.  It should be safe there until she returned to her chambers to leave.  Agatha escorted Sora out, and with tears in her eyes gave her a great big bear hug.

"You can do this," Agatha said.  "I know that you were destined to be the one to save our kingdom!"

With that, Sora was off, ready to greet the person who's foot steps had rushed a very important conversation.

Keep checking!

5: A Surprise

 Preparations were not as difficult as Sora imagined they would be.  Her father let it be known throughout the royal home, and through out the village that if Sora came inquiring after anything, that they grant it.  Otherwise, they would have to answer to the him.  Some of the Kiswan were shocked that she was being granted a quest from the king.  Many were hoping to get a chance to speak with Sora in order to find out the details of her quest.

Sora had gathered food to last for two months.  She would not be able to carry much more than that.  The morsels consisted of dried meats, dried fruits, dried vegetables, and wheat.  She could chew on the wheat for hours.  This could keep up her strength while she traveled, and it could keep her mouth moist.  She planned to carry a canteen that she would fill up at fresh water streams.

Among Sora's other provisions were some bandage wraps and special ointments from the physicians.  One small bottle contained a tonic made from lemons.  The purpose was to drink it when no water could be found.  Just a sip could help the body use the moisture that had been retained.  This would be a very valuable tool, especially in crossing long stretches of hot land.  She also would be carrying a blanket roll to rest on each night.

By the time all of this had been prepared, it was nearly mid day.  The sun was high and warm.  Sora had two tasks left to complete.  First, she had to go to Witold and ask forgiveness for her breaking the partnership, and acquiring the one last thing that Sora desperately needed for her journey.  The ancient map of the whole world.

Witold would be difficult to convince of her breaking the planned partnership.  He had always fancied Sora, even when they were very young.  He would do anything for her willingly and adoringly.  It made Sora sick.  He was not like the other males.  He could not run through the forest without making a sound.  He would probably alert every creature out there that he was there.  Most of all, she could just not see herself producing a royal heir with him.  The funny thing is that there is another Kiswan in the next village that is in love with Witold.  She just needs a chance to catch his attention, because they would make a perfect match.

The house that Witold lived in was quite large for being a villager home.  This was the last thing that she wanted to do.  She could see the house in the distance, it was not far off. Sora's heart started to pound.  Her stomage started to flop along with her racing heart beat.  Sora took a deep breath.  As she approached, she even started to feel light headed.  She finally realized that she had been holding her breath.  So she let it out in a swift whoosh.  Then sucked in more air.  She was nervous and had to manually breath in and out.  Sora just never realized how hard it would be to tell Witold that she did not want to partner him.

The seemingly eternal walk to his home finally ended.  Sora stood on the stoop waiting for some miraculous motivation to pull the door chain.  As Sora was reaching up for the chain, the door swung open, and someone came barreling out of the home, knocking Sora to the ground.

"Ahh!  Watch out!" Sora called.

She looked up and saw Witold with a sheen of sweat making his coppery skin look extra brilliant.  Witold wasn't a bad looking Kiswan.  His hair had the hue of a deep green, along with his eyes.  He was just as slender as any Kiswan, but he was the most awkward and said the wrong thing nearly every time.  He was much too predictable, and Sora knew that he would never allow her to roam on her adventures if they were to partner.  Kiswan had a few more years on Sora, he was born four years ahead of her.

"Sora!  I'm so sorry, I was just rushing to your home."  Witold stood up and offered his hand to help her up.  "I just heard that you have been given a quest.  Is is true?"

Sora didn't want to actually face him.  She dusted off her pants and said, "Yes, it is true.  I leave tonight, before the sun goes down."

"Oh."  The pain and surprise is obvious in Witold's eyes.  He backs away slightly and looks down at the earth.  "How long might you be gone?"

"Well, my task is to find all of the new lands that have been found and document them."  Her voice lost gusto as she looked up and saw the hurt on his face.  "Witold." He looked up at Sora looking like he might cry.  "We have never been a right match.  I might be gone for many months.  You should choose someone else to partner.  I know you could find a young female who would appreciate you so much more than I could."

That was not the right thing to say.  He glared at Sora.  Suddenly Witold did not look as boyish as he always does.  He looked like a hurt bull ready to fight for what was his.  This frightened Sora.  Not for her life, but for her freedom.  Witold said, "I should come with you.  We could perform the partnering ceremony, and leave together."

I gaped at him in shock.  He would slow me down, and probably get us killed.  "Witold, you understand that when the king issues a quest, it is for that one person alone."

"Yes, but you are a female!"  Witold shot out with slight rage in his voice.  The green hue flashed the sunlight, which made him look even more intimidating.  "Surely, your father will not be sending you out on your own and unprotected!  That would be foolish of him!"

Witold turned around ready to stomp away.  "Witold!  Wait!"  Sora said.  "You had better watch your words and tone you use with father, or else you might find yourself on a quest, leading to your death!"

Sora lurched forward and grabbed hold of Witold's arm.  She spun him around, or tried to.  He tripped on his feet and fell into Sora.  She had caught him in an awkward embrace.  They had never been that close before.  Sora could feel the electricity emitting to and from her body.  Witold had recovered himself, and was looking down at Sora.  She looked up into his eyes and felt the shock ten fold.  In that very moment, Sora realized what she was doing.  She pulled away from Witold, and she took a few quick steps back from him.  She noticed the puzzled look on his face.  She felt the same way that he looked.  What could that have meant?  All she knew was that she was now looking at Witold in an all new light, and he knew it.  Suddenly he did not seem as undesirable.  How much more can a few minutes change?

Confused, Sora said, "I'm sorry Witold.  I have a lot to do in order to leave.  I must go.  Have words with the king if you wish, but remember that an assigned quest is irremovable.  It must be fulfilled."

Sora took one more glance up at Witold, he returned her gaze, and right then her heart skipped a beat and her cheeks flushed.  Sora turned abruptly in her tracks and ran off toward the royal home.  She began to feel the tears come only seconds away from leaving his presence.  At the time of departing from him, Sora's emptiness increased.  She needed answers.

Sora threw open the doors to the royal home and turned left down the first hall keeping up the fast pace.  Few Kiswan popped their heads out of the door to see what was the hurry, and some jumped out of Sora's way.  Sora ran all the way to her own chambers.  She threw open the door and landed on her bed sobbing.

Agatha who was putting away clothes and books but stopped what she was doing and came to Sora's side.  "What is it deary?"  Agatha patted Sora's sleek hair gently brushing it away from Sora's face.

"What is wrong with me Agatha!  I have never fancied him,"  Sora said in exasperation.  "Why do I suddenly feel like I am losing my world in leaving him?"

"Who?"  Agatha asked, "Witold?"

Sora looked up at Agatha, and nodded.  It all just felt so wrong!  Her pining over someone that she only enjoyed spending time with during their very young years.

"What is wrong you ask?" Agatha looked at Sora and laughed.  "You have experienced what nearly every Kiswan experiences in their early years.  Love."

Sora looked up.  "That can't be!"

"How impossible is it really.  Witold is handsome is he not?"  Agatha sat down next to Sora on the bed.  "He is a lot more grown up than you have ever thought of him, isn't he?"

Sora's face reddened.  She looked away.  "This can't be.  I am leaving tonight.  I have to forget that this ever happened."

Agatha took Sora's face in her soft wrinkled hands.  "Deary, you cannot run away from fate.  It appears that this partnership was not only planned by your parents but by those who control destiny as well."

Sora did not want to accept it.  She had never loved Witold, and as long as she does not see him again, she was confident that she could forget him.  She had to.

"I will speak no more of this, and neither will you Agatha!"  Sora was upset that Agatha was not saying what she wanted to hear.  "Please, Agatha!  My parents cannot know what happened.  This quest is too important!"

Agatha appraised Sora quietly.  "Fine, I will keep this secret, but you had better take this time away to really consider Witold."

"Thank you Agatha!"  Sora did not acknowledge Agatha's request, and Agatha noticed.  Sora got up and slipped into her bathroom.  "I will make this quest a successful one!"

Agatha frowned.  "Be not surprised if when you return, Witold is waiting for you to fulfill your promise to partner."

Sora pretended not to hear Agatha.  When Sora left the bathroom, Agatha was no longer in her room.  Her spirits were brightened with the thought of the last task before departure.  Sora placed her bag on the bed.  She took inventory one last time.  She knew that this one item, her father would never allow to leave the archive.  Sora would have to sneak back into the royal home to steal the map to the whole world.

Keep checking!