I woke up. I thought that the storm had killed us. I was lying in bed in a small room, and from the window I could see some fish, but there was no sign of my parents. Then a girl probably about my age came up to me.
“I am she called Rhea. Our scouts found you almost dead!” she said. “We believe that you’re the boy mentioned in the prophecy.”
My mouth was open wide the whole time she was talking. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She had white skin and long straight light brown hair that covered her shoulders a little and peaceful blue eyes the color of the ocean.
“Anyway, what am I doing here?” I asked her. “Can I go back home?”
“No, that is not possible Jack Thompson,” replied Rhea.
“Why in the world do you know my name?” I asked. “Anyway, can you please take me back above ground? My parents are probably worried sick.”
“That’s not an option because your name is written in the prophecy as the ‘boy that will change the fate of this kingdom, Tathorpia’,” replied Rhea. “Also, your parents are poisoned and needs the Vines of aid immediately.”
Now, I had to do something.
“Okay, whatever this prophecy or Tathorpia thing is, I need to save my parents,” I asked Rhea meanly. “So, what do I have to do again? Find some vines or something?” To my surprise, Rhea took hold of my hand without saying anything to me, and pulled me out of the bed.
After running down a hallway for a few minutes, Rhea pulling me along, who turned out to be a fast runner, the view in front of me opened up. About fifty meters away was a man sitting on a luxurious chair. On both sides of the pass that led to the man, thousands of people were sitting quietly and looking at me like I was some kind of Hollywood star. Rhea let go of my hand and whispered into my ear.
“He is King Glacus of Tathorpia and the man standing next to him is Horkos the Prophet.”
So I finally realized that I was now in a kingdom called Tathorpia, which is under the sea and the king sitting there needed my help. Suddenly the sound of horns filled the room. With Rhea, I went up to the king in small steps. She stopped and stood behind me and that put me face to face with the king.
“We truly need your aid to save Tathorpia,” King Glacus said. ”Will you please go on the journey?”
“Anyway, what is this prophecy you people are worried about?” I asked. “Can someone here tell me?” Then the king took out a scroll from his pocket and handed it to me. It said:
Tathorpia will end without the aid.
A boy will visit from the land above.
It is Jack Thompson’s choice that changes our fate.
9 will journey, 2 may help, but others might eat.
The key is the “Crystal Weeds”, which sleeps in new land.
Time is running out, the beasts have been released.
Only he can help us to destroy the witch.
I had no idea what it meant. Then suddenly Horkos spoke up in a small voice.
Only the young ones with the horses can travel.
What you seek is above the gravel.
Some will never return to feast again.
If not, Tathorpia will end with much pain.
As a witch will kill us all in vain.
Only they can help us to save the her.
Later on I came to realize that Horkos was one of the “2 may help” and that Horkos knew some facts about the future and loved poems. After a moment of silence, the king stood up and called out some odd names.
“Jeremiah, Menelaus, Zacharias, Peres, Cecilia, Aphrodite, Rhea, Pandora, and Jack will go on the journey,” he said in a booming voice. “We wish you good luck.”
That was it, now Rhea and I and some other people were going on some journey to kill a witch! That was just not going to happen. I tried to attack the king, but Rhea and the guards pulled me out from the huge room and led me into a smaller room. There stood five of the people who probably had their names called by the king. I came to notice that everyone had blue eyes and light brown hair in this place. How did they end up under the ocean? Then one of them spoke up in a large voice.
“I am he called Jeremiah, and I will lead the journey. Everything you need is already strapped to the horses. We must not fail, for the fate of Tathorpia lies in our hands.”
“I think that the horses are what you call seahorses, but they are larger in size than the ones you know of, and they each have names,” she explained to me with a smile. ”Also, a magical tablet will keep you from getting wet and allow you to breath in the ocean.”
We all got ready and ate the tablets and when Rhea pressed a red button, the room started to fill with water. Then a different door from the one we came in opened up and outside the door was the horses waiting. I got on with Rhea, who got on a seahorse named Pandora. It was a surprise they could speak, but Rhea informed me that we could understand them because of the tablets. We were now on the journey to save a kingdom.
During our ride I got to know informative stuff. I learned that Tathorpia was built by the Greeks and rebuilt many times. Rhea told me that Tathorpia is what’s known as “Atlantis” in “my world”, which made me feel that I had made the discovery of the century. Also, Jeremiah was Rhea’s big brother, and Zacharias and Cecilia were twins. In addition, Rhea and Jeremiah’s father was King Glacus. They didn’t look like their father, but that fact turned Rhea into a princess and Jeremiah into a prince. On the other hand, I told Rhea about New York, my hometown. At every word I said, Rhea looked very interested. Her laughs and serious faces listening to whatever I said made me feel that somewhere in my heart I had a special feeling for her. I was really having fun talking to her and it seemed Rhea was too. The conversation continued until when the horses suddenly came to a jolt.
“I see Icarus and Laden ahead,” screamed Jeremiah. When I looked forward, I had a bad feeling that they were humungous sea dragons planning to attack us.
“We will leave the horses here and set foot on New Island and attack from ground,” ordered Jeremiah. “Cecilia and Zacharias, Pass out the weapons!” We were actually going to fight! In my hand were a sword and a shield. I started to shiver like if I was standing on Antarctica with no clothes on.
“No need to worry Jack. Everything will be all right, but make sure you follow me at all times,” she whispered into my ears. That calmed me down a lot. After we landed on New Island, the humans attacked from ground and the horses fought under water. The progress of battle seemed fine, but suddenly a giant and a wolf like beast attacked us from behind.
“It’s Argus Panoptes and Euryale, the beasts that protect the island for the witch,” screamed Rhea as she turned back. It was so loud that I thought that my eardrum was going to split. I had no idea what it was, but I sensed that everyone was afraid of it, especially Rhea. I had to protect her in some way. Without thinking I closed my eyes and charged for Euryale, which was just about to tackle Rhea from behind. When I opened my eyes, the beast was dead and my sword was covered with blood. Still shocked that I had killed an animal, Zacharias was stabbed by Argus Panoptes’s ten-meter sword and let out a painful moan. When I turned around one of the sea dragons got a critical hit on Cecilia by using its long tail. I could hear the cries of the horses beneath the ocean. We were in real trouble and all hopes seemed to be lost, but suddenly one of the sea dragons sank into the ocean. Then a fifty-meter figure emerged.
“It’s Cottus, the hundred-handed one,” shouted Jeremiah as he stabbed a sea dragon’s tail. Cottus was very helpful, and we were able to kill the rest with a mushroom that Cottus crammed into their mouth. That mushroom turned out to be “Crystal weeds”, the stuff we had been searching for to kill the witch. Also we were badly injured, but was able recover thanks to the “Vines of aid” that Rhea found. Jeremiah had Cottus and Aphrodite take some back to Tathorpia for my parents. At last, we had a dinner of seafood to get ready for the next day.
“You were pretty impressive back there on the island,” she said. “I think you’re a Hopelite.”
“Hopelite?” I questioned her. “What does that mean?”
“It is the Tathorpian name for a natural killer,” she said. “When the powers arise you fight like a god, but cause some embarrassing actions like shouting my name the whole time while stabbing Euryale.” Surprised at what she had said I took a glance at her and she blushed.
“Did I really do something like that?” I replied. “I don’t remember at all.” Well, it was the truth. I had no memory of battling the beast called Euryale.
“That is the problem with a Hopelite,” she said sadly. “They cannot control their powers.”
After we finished dinner a message came from the king brought by a seagull scout. It said: Io the witch is frozen by some shock and the weed won’t work. I’m sorry Rhea, but you know what to do. After minutes of complete silence caused by the message, the others went to sleep tired from battle.
“What does your father mean by you know what to do?” I whispered to her.
“It’s just that it’s very hard to kill Io because she can still use many of her magic,” she said to me in a face that made me feel that she was lying to me.
“I know you’re lying to me,” I asked her hesitatingly. “Please tell me the truth. How do we kill a frozen witch that can use her magic?”
“The only way I know is to stab the witch with a sword that has killed one you truly love. As my father says, the mushroom won’t be enough,” she replied with tears in her eyes.
“But that’s impossible, I probably lost my family in a storm and I can’t kill anyone that I love and that includes you Rhea!” I shouted at her, but she seemed surprised with what I just said and smiled at me. After a few minutes of staring at each other Rhea spoke up.
“That means you love me. And I can give up my life for the people of Tathorpia,” said Rhea in a bold voice. For the rest of the night we didn’t talk at all. There was no way I was going to kill her, there had to be another way…
The next day we headed for Mt. Brizo, the home of Io. Mt. Brizo was an inactive underwater volcano, but the inside was a cave that didn’t have a drip of water inside! Cecilia informed me that it was protected by a force field built by the witch. We left the horses and entered the cave and started to walk. After minutes of darkness, the surroundings lightened up. In the middle was a stone statue. As the statue came clear that it was Io, the ground started to shake. Some parts of the ground cracked open and sucked in Zacharias, Cecilia, and Jeremiah at once. Rhea let out a cry and she collapsed on the place where her brother had disappeared. Everybody would have thought there was no way the two of us had a chance against this deadly monster. I took a glance at Rhea’s crying face, and I remembered what she had said to me last night. “That means you love me. And I can give up my life for the people of Tathorpia.” The words kept circling in my head. It was maybe because I was thinking, but the next action happened too suddenly. Rhea took my sword and stabbed herself in front of my eyes…
“Now, kill her and…” Rhea collapsed to the ground. I felt the Hopelite sense coming to me. I unleashed the sword from her and she let out a painful cry. I charged for Io, but tears were falling from my eyes and memories with her kept flashing in my mind. I was about to stab the statue in the heart when time stopped around me and the surroundings changed.
I was standing on a big rock surrounded by the ocean. Io was in standing in front of me unfrozen.
“I am truly pleased at your deep love against the princess,” said Io in a peaceful voice. “It seems that she cares for you more than Tathorpia. I shall spare you the lives of Rhea and the kingdom, but remember that the witches will always keep a eye on you Jack.”
Without a chance to say anything, Io disappeared. My sight blackened out and when I opened up my eyes, I was in bed and next to me was Rhea! I thought that I had killed her. Then I remembered what Io had said. Did that mean she revived Rhea? Suddenly, king Glacus came into the room. The king told me that Io carried Rhea and me to the horses, and they carried us all the way back. I told him about my encounter with Io. He seemed very surprised and left the room to talk about that topic to Horkos. After the king left a doctor that came into to check on me said that Cottus and Aphrodite didn’t make it back to Tathorpia. I cried for hours. That meant parents were dead. I lost all my hopes and slept, but at night Rhea woke me up.
“Hey, I’m sorry about your parents, but now you can go back home,” she said it like the devastating journey never happened.
“Why did you do something like that in Mt. Brizo?” I shouted at her. “If it wasn’t for Io, I would have lost you forever!”
“Oh, I heard about that from my father,” she said in a sad voice. “I’m sorry, but it was the only chance we could save Tathorpia… ”
“Tathorpia, Tathorpia, Tathorpia. Is that all you care about!?” I said. “Maybe Io was wrong about you. I just might as well go back home.” Then I turned the other way and pretended to sleep.
“No, I care for you as much as you care for me and you know that. Right Jack?” She whispered into my ears, and kissed me on the cheek.
The next day, there was a feast with the horses, and I thanked them for saving our lives. The feast was exciting and all, but all I could think about was if I was going home or not. Rhea smiling and talking to Pandora made me want to stay with her. On the other hand, my memories in New York kept emerging. Probably on the New York Times it said something like “Family killed in storm at sea.” I felt that I had to go back to tell the true story. While I was thinking, Horkos came by and gave me a drink.
“The path you choose is the right one and there will be no regret,” he said. “You love Rhea don’t you?” He said to me in a small voice that could not be heard other than me. Since what the Horkos had said really came true, I might as well believe him and stay. I walked over to king Glacus and told him about my talk with Horkos. It was embarrassing to talk about the part about Rhea, but he smiled.
“If that is what you wish, we shall grant it for you,” he said to me. Then the king stood up from his chair and he called for silence.
“The visitor, no the savior of Tathorpia here wishes to stay!” King Glacus shouted and held up my arm. The people started to cheer, laugh, and dance. Rhea came running and hugged me.
“Are you sure Jack?” Rhea asked me in an eager voice. “You don’t have to go back to New York?”
“Apparently, I have no one to take care of me there, so staying is my only choice,” I replied. Rhea smiled at me and the other people starting chanting my name. The future that lies ahead of me is unknown, but I felt that I could make out a life in the undersea kingdom, Tathorpia.