US

Piece of peace

US
By Ashna Kashif
Fri, 03, 19

Halfway through, Joy met a guy who was around her age. He had sparkling blue eyes and complexion as white as snow.....

STORY

The next morning Joy woke up with Sandy curled up around her feet. She pushed it away and walked inside what she thought was a closet - as big as a shopping store. Joy didn’t hesitate in wearing the dress nearest to her.

She played with Sandy a little and opened the door when she heard a knock, and found Hayden smiling at her. She smiled back as she’d finally become comfortable around them after touring the palace. He asked her to join them for breakfast and she happily agreed. This time the hall was different and the table was smaller. Joy was told more about Utopia and the exploration started again from where she’d last stopped, but this time only Jayden could join her; Hayden had to go consult his people and Jane wanted to go to the palace stables.

Halfway through, Joy met a guy who was around her age. He had sparkling blue eyes and complexion as white as snow. She noticed the weather change; like it would start snowing any moment.

‘I’m Julian, son of the Ice King. I try my best to control my powers, but still people feel cold around me,’ he said, shaking hands with Joy. He then gave Jayden a fist bump and they continued touring.

‘So, you’re Joy! I came all the way from the mountains to meet you.’

‘I never expected myself to be so famous.’ Joy smiled at him.

They laughed and chit-chatted on interesting topics. Joy had a great day touring with her new friends. Later, they all joined Jane and Hayden for lunch in the dining hall.

‘He came from his ice-cold land where he and his dad pretty much rule over the ice. He came here just to see your face.’ Jayden chuckled and Joy thanked Julian for coming.

‘So Joy, you ready to learn some stuff?’ Jayden asked. ‘What kind of stuff?’ Julian looked up.

‘We were thinking of teaching you magic.’ Jane said.

‘Magic doesn’t exist.’ Joy laughed.

‘Of course, it does! Perfect places like Utopia do have magic; didn’t you see the weather?’ Jane held out her palm and a spoon hovered and came into her hands.

‘How did you do that?’ Joy almost whispered.

‘You could do that too if you want. Just control anything with your mind and make it do whatever you like.’

Joy looked around and decided to try to control the fork on the table. She concentrated on the fork, willing it to fly to her hand. She squinted and glared at the fork until she felt little tingles and the fork moved a little. Hayden encouraged her to go on, but Joy’s excitement made the fork hit Hayden in his ribs, making him twitch all over. They all laughed while the fork pinched him for a while and then finally dropped onto the table.

********

The maids took Sandy for grooming while the others took Joy to the castle grounds on a hill. Everybody told her things like: ‘Remember to concentrate’ , ‘don’t look down’ or ‘you’ll do it very easily’, ‘the atmospheric pressure won’t let you fall.’

After, teaching Joy how to control things with her mind, they went on to teach her how to fly. She was excited; she was about to experience what it felt like to be in the air, and that made her nerves go crazy.

‘Are you sure I won’t fall?’ Joy looked down.

‘Be confident. The grass here is soft and the air will keep you from falling.’ Hayden assured.

Joy climbed a big boulder on the hill and looked back at her friends who were cheering for her; then, she took a deep breath and looked at her feet. She didn’t even know what she was doing until she felt energized. After many attempts, she finally learnt to at least shoot up to the sky, hover in the air, and reach the ground down smoothly. She lost her balance a couple of times but somehow managed to land without a crash. Once or twice Jane joined her and they held hands to glide together.

At the end of this little flying lesson, she felt pumped up and they decided to go to the stables.

‘This stable’s the biggest one, though we have our own private ones. You can choose your own horses from here. We’ve already got the best ones picked out for your stable.’ Jayden explained and opened the big wooden gates.

Joy was astonished at the sight in front of her. There were hundreds of horses in their own stalls many of them could be seen far away being trained and ridden in the fields. She’d learnt horse riding, but when she went towards a random horse she was surprised by its height. It looked stronger than any horse she had seen before; it seemed quite friendly, too.

‘See, even they know you.’ Julian patted her shoulder. While Joy looked at the horses (or Pegasus, as some of them had wings and could also talk), Sandy jumped around with the horses. A small pony rolled over with Sandy on the grass, making everyone laugh.

********

By the end Joy got really tired. They all sipped Utopian coffee in the game room and talked for some time before going to sleep.

Soon, Joy was asleep with Sandy beside her. It was her second day there, and everything was perfect, but she felt something was missing.

********

At the breakfast table, Joy was told they were going to the library.

‘Library is very old and abandoned. No one really goes there but that place has many books that are from this world, and from yours,’ Hayden explained.

‘Are you sure it’s appropriate to go in a forsaken library by ourselves? It must be very rickety, I can tell.’ Joy asked.

‘The walls of the library are very strong. Places don’t fall here like they do on the Earth. Only evil stuff makes them fall, like dark magic; and human errors, like greed.’ Hayden further explained.

Since the library was quite far away, they chose to fly. They were concerned about Joy’s flying skills, but they taught her a trick to save herself from falling down if she lost her balance. She was also taught to stretch her hand forward to make a giant pillow appear on the ground to cushion her in case she had to crash land.

Off they went, hovering over hills, looking for a round old building most likely in the shape of a palace covered with weeds. After flying for some hours, they reached a place with rocks and boulders; there was no grass except for few dried trees. The air was misty, too.

‘The library’s probably behind that hill,’ Jayden said.

When they reached the top of that hill, they saw a dull-yellow dome of a large castle covered with creepers and all sorts of vines. The place looked scary and it was quite peaceful there.

They walked around the boundary walls until they found a big large iron gate; they pushed it open and saw nothing but darkness.

Jayden was the first to step inside the castle. Everybody followed him. He used some magic to light up the space.

Joy, too, tried to light up some lamps using her knowledge of magic; Jayden also helped her. They all felt better after all the lamp, the lanterns and candles in the whole library were lit up.

Now they could clearly see all entrances and exits.

‘Any idea which room we’re looking for?’ Joy asked as they entered the hallway.

‘It’s this grand room which must be illuminated and I’ve heard that it’s at the end of the main hall. That’s where we’re going.’ Jane answered.

They saw a number of rooms, each stuffed with books, and halls filled with huge stacks of books. Everyone just stood and stared for a moment at the large collection until their necks hurt.

Sandy trotted towards the books and started jumping upon them.

‘You might want to stop your dog. Utopia is a perfect place; messing up books on the floor will make this place collapse. Hayden warned.

Joy quickly grabbed Sandy and held it protectively.

Jane suddenly noticed flashes of light in a room.

‘What could it be?’ Joy wondered while her friends scurried towards it, leaving her behind.

To be continued …