Gem World

by Eavan K. Anderson, age 10; Soha Chhapra, age 9; Ann Dai, age 11; Reagan Warren, age 9
Gem World Eavan's life is a complete mystery. | Soha is nine years old. She lives in Brooklyn. She loves history! Her favorite activities are to write stories and do art. | Ann is a sixth grader. She loves to read and write. If she went to Hogwarts she would be in Ravenclaw. Ann has been published in The Parenthetical before. | Reagan lives in New York. She loves learning about the Romanov family, especially Anastasia and Alexei. Her favorite book is The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart.

“In Sapphire City, there were only women, but they could still have babies. In the city, there was a mine called Saphria Mine. In Saphria Mine, you mined for sapphires. The sapphires weren’t out in the open, so you still had to mine for them. But the evil queen named Jewelia wanted all the sapphires for herself.”

Once upon a time, there was another planet called Gem World. There were three cities: Sapphire City (the capital, where Chapter One takes place), Ruby City, and Heaven City.

 

Chapter One

In Sapphire City, there were only women, but they could still have babies. In the city, there was a mine called Saphria Mine. In Saphria Mine, you mined for sapphires. The sapphires weren’t out in the open, so you still had to mine for them. But the evil queen named Jewelia wanted all the sapphires for herself. If you mined a sapphire and kept it, then you would be killed. The Gem takers (a.k.a Jewelia’s guards) would come and personally take your sapphire. She locked away (in the same cell) her four other sisters: their names were Emerald, Opal, Amethyst, and Ruby. They had to get an emerald, opal, ruby, amethyst, and a sacred piece of sapphire that only the queen had. Once they hatched their plan, they sat there like nothing happened. Then the princess (named Delilah, the queen’s daughter) came in. She had the keys to their cell.

 “Come close,” she said, then whispered, “You know your plan, I will betray my mother and set you free. You must leave immediately.”

“Okay,” said the four sisters together.

Delilah whispered, “You know your strengths. Like Auntie Opal, you are powerful with opals.”

The four women left the castle and Delilah ran to her mother, “Oh Mother! Oh Mother! Someone has released the four girls! I was just going to give them dinner when I saw the cage was open!” She said.

Jewelia replied, “Send out the guards!”

 

Chapter Two

The four girls ran further and further away from the palace. Emerald stopped and panted.

“Okay,” she said. “Let’s go first to the Majesty Mountains, where we know the opals are, because that is Opal’s special place.”

Each one of them had been born in a different place, and that was the place they loved most. So it stood to reason that when the queen asked the magical gems to scatter themselves around Gem World, the gems had gone to their special places.

Opal knew where the Majesty Mountains were, so she led the trek. The trek lasted five days, but there was a boiling, hot, day-sun and freezing, cold, night-wind. Finally, they came to the Majesty Mountains.

“Wow,” Amethyst breathed.

And she was right. The Majesty Mountains were… well… majestic. They towered over the four girls like Queen Jewelia had always done. But instead of Queen Jewelia’s evil aura, these mountains, the snow caps purple and red with the setting sun, had a kind aura.

“I’ve got an idea of where my opal is,” Opal said. “The dragon, Flame, finds all the jewels in the Majesty Mountains and hides them in his lair. He won’t let anyone take them. But don’t worry, I’ve got my bow and arrow.”

“Are you crazy, Opal? It’s a dragon!” Ruby cried.

The others nodded.

“It’s our only chance,” Opal replied softly. “Do you want to overthrow Jewelia or not?” She led them into a dark, damp cave. Emerald lit a lantern.

“Um, guys?” she said, seeing the charred stone walls. “I think the dragon is over there.” As if on cue, the girls heard an earth-shattering roar! Flames shot out of the tunnel. The girls ran into the tunnel. Emerald’s lantern flickered out, and as their eyes adjusted to the darkness, the four girls began to make out a gigantic winged shape.

ROAR!”

The flame that the dragon shot out lit Emerald’s lantern again. They saw human skulls on the floor and jumped back in fright. Opal tried to shoot the dragon with her bow and arrow, but it just bounced off the tough, green scales. She had an idea. She ran towards the dragon.

“Opal, stop!” Amethyst called, but Opal was on a roll.

She aimed at the dragon’s unprotected eye and shot. A perfect shot. The dragon fell, howling in pain. Opal sprinted towards the dragon’s body, used the sharp tip of an arrow to rip the scales away from the dragon’s chest, and dug the arrow into the thrashing dragon’s heart. Flame fell, dead. The other girls ran to Opal. Opal saw four glowing gems.

“My opals!” she cried and grabbed the jewels.

The girls walked out of the cave, victorious.

“Next, we have to find my amethyst,” Amethyst said.

 

Chapter Three

The girls had travelled for about four hours until they reached a gemtroll bridge.

“Answer my riddle, and you may pass into the Quartz Forest,” the gemtroll grumbled in a gravelly voice.

Amethyst, the logical one, stepped forward.

“Bring it on, troll!”

“Many years ago, a wealthy man was near death. He wished to leave his fortune to the wisest of his children. The man proclaimed that his estate would be left to the child who would sing him half as many songs as days he had left to live. Both of the man’s sons said that they did not know how many days their father had left to live. The man ended up leaving the money to his daughter. What did she do?”

“Wow, troll, I didn’t think you could think up a riddle like that. But my answer is that the daughter sang to him every second day.”

“Curses! You may pass,” the troll said, with just a hint of admiration.

As Amethyst and her sisters trekked into the Quartz forest, she started hearing voices. The trees were made completely of quartz.

“Hey, Amethyst, did you know you’re only a variation of quartz? You’re not as important. Opal is the national stone of Australasia. Emeralds are much more valuable. And Ruby.. .well, she thinks you’re a joke.”

“Stop that!” Amethyst yelled.

“Ami, are you alright?” Ruby said in a soft voice.

“No. I’m. Not. I know you think I’m a joke. Don’t talk to me!”

“Ami, this forest is messing with you. Push it out of your head. Remember all the great times we had together? The real goal is defeating Jewelia.”

“Thanks, Ruby. I’m sorry for lashing out like that. Let’s find the amethysts!”

As the squad walked, they noticed that the air had a slight purple tinge. They followed the path, until they reached a grove. There was a slight depression in the ground. Emerald studied the ground.

“There seems to be a message here. It says, ‘Quartz Temple, 7:30pm!’ Apparently, Jewelia needs a reminder of where she put the jewels.”

They waited until 7:30. Suddenly, a loud rumbling noise commenced. A huge building came out of the ground. “Whoa!” they exclaimed together. Inside the temple, there was a maze. The four soon got lost, but Amethyst knew a trick.

“Put your hand on one wall, and keep going and keep going.”

Soon, they arrived in the center. There was nothing except for a scroll.

“How can I find the amethysts?” she wrote.

“You must find the key.” The words appeared on the scroll in deep purple ink. “To find the key, you must answer my question.”

“Another? Alright then,” Amethyst replied.

“I have a name, but it isn’t my name. My face shows signs of age. I always mean the same thing, no matter what I say. I’m born in the morning but last until the end of days. Men plant me, but I never grow. They run from me, but I never move. They look at me and see their future, rotting in the fields where I bloom. What am I?”

“Oh, this sounds hard, Ami,” Opal mused. “Do you think you can handle it?”

“Well, of course I can,” Amethyst replied softly.

“A tombstone,” she wrote.

The scroll disappeared, and the quill turned into a key.

“Over here, Ami. I see a chest!” Emerald cried.

Amethyst fit the key in. The chest popped open. Inside were four beautiful, purple amethysts.

“We did it!” they chorused.

“It’s time now to find the rubies!” Ruby said.

Amethyst smiled. She now had her confidence back.

 

Chapter Four

After they found the Amethysts, Ruby cried out, “Let’s go find the rubies! To the Ruby River!”

It was a very long journey down from the Quartz Forest. They had to pass five forests, day and night, before reaching the forest that hides Ruby River. Amethyst was so excited that she just ran in. But there was a force field around the forest that propelled them back. “Oh Amethyst,” Ruby laughed. “Of course there’s a riddle like everything else.” Ruby touched the force field with her hand. She went up, down, left, right, left, right.

Suddenly, the force field started talking and said, “I have a riddle for you. If you pass, you will make way to the Ruby River.”

“I’ll answer it,” said Ruby.

“Okay,” said the force field. “Here we go: a thief enters a shop and threatens the clerk, forcing him to open the safe. The clerk says, ‘The code for the safe is different every day, and if you hurt me, you’ll never get the code.’ But the thief manages to guess the code on his own. How did he do it?” The force field starts laughing, “No one has ever guessed this one.”

“Well, force field,” said Ruby. “It’s fairly simple. The code is ‘different.’ The clerk told him so!”

“No one has managed to answer this riddle, yet you are the smartest of them all! You have passed!”

The force field broke to reveal a path.

“Come on, guys!” shouted Ruby, “To the Ruby River!”

As they were walking, they heard a strange noise.

“What is that?” asked Emerald.

“Don’t worry,” replied Ruby. “It’s just the wind on the flowers. They make it scary to get people out.”

After a five minute walk, they made it to Ruby River! How are we going to find the rubies? Ruby dived, head first, into the river.

“Ruby!” said Opal.

But it was no use, Ruby was gone. Ruby was swimming down the river, when she saw a door. She touched the door and realized she had to answer another riddle. She took her finger and touched the door twice. The door opened to reveal a scroll and a quill. She went to the scroll, and the quill, and read the riddle. It said, “A woman is sitting in her hotel room when there is a knock at the door. She opens the door to see a man whom she has never seen before. He says, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I have made a mistake, I thought this was my room.’ He then goes down to the corridor and into the elevator. The woman goes back into her room and phones security. What made the woman so suspicious of the man?”

Ruby thought for a while. It did not take long for Ruby to figure out why.

“You don’t knock on your own hotel door, and the man did,” she replied.

After she wrote it, the scroll disappeared, the door shut, and rocks piled in from of the door, and four bright, red rubies flew down from the ceiling. She took them and tried to open the door. The door was locked! She looked around and found a knife and a box cutter. She took the box cutter, and a rock, and carved an arrowhead. She took the arrowhead and threw it at the door. The door opened, and she went through it. Holding out the rubies, she jumped out of the water and gave the rubies to each of them, and they inserted them in their crowns.

“Okay,” said Emerald. “Time to find the emeralds!”

“Wait, we still have to get out from the force field, so we will have to solve another riddle.” She tapped the force field as she did earlier.

It said, “A man wants to enter an exclusive club, but he doesn’t know the password. Another man walks to the door and the doorman says, ‘Twelve.’ The man says, ‘Six,’ and is let in. Another man walks up and the doorman says, ‘Six.’ The man says, ‘Three,’ and is let in. Thinking he had heard enough, he walks up to the door and the doorman says, ‘Ten.’ He says, ‘Five,’ and isn’t let in. What should he have said?”

Amethyst interrupted Ruby and said, “He said it correctly!”

Everyone but Ruby agreed.

“Fine,” said Opal. “Go solve it, Ruby.”

Ruby stepped up and said, “Three. He should have said how many letters were in the number he said.”

The force field opened, and Emerald stepped forward and said, “Come on! Let’s go find the emeralds!”

 

Chapter Five

Emerald was the type of girl who was kind and loving but was very, very sad. Emerald was always so sad because after her sisters decided on this quest, she knew where the Emeralds were, and she did not want to go back there. She wished that she could heal that sadness, but she never really knew how. Until she got the emeralds, the emeralds held the ancient power of healing the feelings of sadness. Emerald knew she had the most difficult quest of all. She had to get through the windy sand dunes. The windy sand dunes were the most windy place in all of Gem World. Anyone who dared enter the windy sand dunes would be blown away, except for them, the Gem Sisters (which is what Emerald and her sisters were called.) She had to get through the forcefield, and the riddle, and the sand, and wind itself. Then, the other riddle and forcefield to get back. This was horrible. Opal, Ruby, and Amethyst had already gotten their gems. She did not know if she was up for it. After so many hours of convincing, she finally agreed to go.

It took four whole weeks (aka, a month) when they finally got to the sand dunes. They got to the forcefield, and this was the riddle: What word has 26 letters, but only three syllables?

Emerald knew this answer by heart. She had been practicing it for days. Confidently, she replied, “The alphabet.”

The guardian, something much like a sphinx, angrily let them pass. The wind in the sand spread apart, making a clear path to the cave. Walking there took one hour. Inside, the biggest, ugliest, most horrifying (to anybody, in fact) mixture of a troll, giant, and an eagle appeared. It had a beak like an eagle, wings like an eagle, a face like a troll, and the size and feet of a giant. But Emerald had made friends with this giant.

Just as it was getting ready to give the most horrifying shrill, Emerald had said, “Quirky, Quirky! Remember me, I’m Emerald!”

The green aura of her hair shined. Quirky remembered and closed his mouth immediately.

Then, he replied, “Who are these girls?”

“My sisters! We were separated. Do you have gems? The ones I asked you to protect before I came to get them with three other girls?” asked Emerald.

“Yes, I have it, here you go,” replied Quirky.

The riddle on the way back was much, much easier: I’m tall when I’m young, and short when I’m old. Who am I?

“Oh, this one’s easy!” Emerald replied. “A candlestick,” she proudly announced.

“Darnit, you smart Emerald girl!” replied the Sphinx-like thing. T

hey made it back home in time to hide their jewels and crowns from the guards.

 

Chapter Six

Back home (in the jail cell), they had to hatch a new plan.

Jewelia said, “Ha! Ha! HA! You could never outsmart me, you four, puny, little sisters!”

“Hello?” Opal said bravely. “We just did.”

The girls took out their gems and showed them to Jewelia. Jewelia made a wild grab for them but missed. The gems were just out of Jewelia’s reach.

Cautiously, Ruby grabbed the gems and put them back in the girls’ crowns, so Jewelia couldn’t take them.

“I see that your idiotic little minds were ‘smart’ enough to steal the gems. But you still need the sacred sapphire if you want to overthrow me — and I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.”

Jewelia showed the girls one flash of the sapphire, then locked it back in its chest.

“If you want the sapphire, you have to go through the obstacle room in the palace. The chest with the sapphire will be on the other side. But I highly doubt that you will be smart enough to make it through the obstacle room.”

“I highly doubt that you’re right,” Emerald muttered under her breath. Then said louder, “Bring it on.”

Two Gem Takers took the four girls to the entrance of the obstacle room. The door was made of pure sapphire and rolled up when the smaller one of the Gem Takers used their fingerprints to unlock it.

“This obstacle course was made personally by the smartest inventor in the land,” the larger Gem Taker said.

“Since you’re not smart enough to make it yourselves!” Amethyst retorted.

“I don’t think you four girls are even smart enough to make it through the obstacle room, let alone create it,” the smaller one said.

“Oh, I disagree,” Ruby said. “You’ll see the level of our intelligence very soon.”

“If you girls are so great, then go.”

The larger Gem Taker pushed the girls into the obstacle room. Inside, they saw their mother’s ghost.

Emerald stepped forward.

“MOM!!!” She ran to hug the ghost. Unfortunately, she passed right through her.  A few giggled about that. But they knew how she felt. Emerald was always so emotional about their mother’s death. They all took turns talking with their mom. When it was time to leave, Emerald was crying. The rest of the sisters took turns comforting her.

When they got to a door, it spoke.

“You have passed the first challenge,” Jewelia’s voice said.

The sisters stepped over the threshold to find a lone mirror on the wall. Amethyst stepped forward. She saw herself as a slave in the house of her sisters. Ruby, Opal, and Emerald were commanding her to, “Solve this, solve that!” She knew she was less important. Does this mirror show the future? she thought. Amethyst stumbled backward, too afraid to tell her sisters.

Suddenly, Amethyst noticed that the mirror was made of quartz, just like in the forest. Now she knew what her weakness was. Quartz was poisoning her thoughts, all in the name of Jewelia. She fought back, going into the Pensieve of her mind, searching for good memories.

“Ami… the mirror is disappearing!” Opal cried.

“Good,” Amethyst said.

As the mirror melted away, overpowered by happiness, they could see a door.

“You have passed the second challenge,” Jewelia droned on, with an air of contempt.

Through the door, Opal could see a scroll unrolling on the wall. She rushed toward it. On the scroll, it was written:

Think before you speak,

Or else your future will be bleak.

This is for Opal to solve

And nobody else.

OR ELSE.

Opal sighed. She knew that she wasn’t good at thinking ahead. When she got an idea, she ran for it, not thinking about anything else. Sometimes that led to a fantastic stroke of luck, and a saving grace, but more often it led to a whole mess of trouble. But she knew that if she wanted to overthrow Jewelia, she had to solve the riddle.

“Show us the riddle,” Opal told the scroll.

What do you girls have

That Jewelia needs?

Opal had heard of this riddle before, except slightly changed: “What does a poor man have that a rich man needs, and you die if you eat it?” The answer was nothing.

Opal thought nothing of the difference, and was about to say, “Nothing,” but then thought of what the scroll had said before: “Think before you speak, or else your future will be bleak.” So she held her tongue and thought of what else the girls had and Jewelia needed.

She couldn’t think of anything else, until kind Emerald hugged her and whispered in her ear, “I know you can do it, Opallie. We all support you.”

Suddenly, it came to her.

“Love,” Opal said out loud. “Jewelia’s only daughter betrayed her, and her people hate her because she puts everyone over sixteen in the sapphire mines for no pay, and if you keep just one gem to yourself, you are killed. So she has no one to love her. But even though our mother died, and our sister hates us, we love each other. So we have love, and Jewelia has none.”

“This is a terrible obstacle course,” they heard Jewelia say. “Lying scroll. I have people to love me. But yes, you have passed the third challenge.”

Within seconds, a fourth and final door appeared. The girls took a deep breath, cautiously stepped forward, and opened it. Opal was the first to enter. She signaled for Amethyst, Ruby, and Emerald to follow.

“Come on, come on! There’s no obstacle in this room,” she exclaimed, motioning to the empty, black environment behind her. But, Opal had spoken too soon. The moment all four sisters followed Opal in, a rush of fog clouded the room, devouring them whole.

“Where am I? I can’t see anything,” Amethyst shouted.

“I’ve lost my sight!” cried Emerald.

While Amethyst, Emerald, and Opal blindly ran amiss, they were unable to hear Ruby’s quiet whimpering. Ruby had always been afraid of the unknown, wanting to be in constant control of her life. Not knowing where she was, or what her next steps were, frightened Ruby and froze her right in her tracks. Emerald was the first to hear her moans for help and quickly searched for Ruby’s hand.

She called out for her sisters, “Amethyst! Opal! Ruby needs our help!”

The girls stopped their frantic search for a door and walked towards their sister’s voice. Finally finding each other, the girls joined hands, comforting Ruby, and together walked forward. Suddenly, a flash of light illuminated a path and the girls immediately followed it. At the end of the path, a blue, sapphire door appeared with a hammer lying on the floor beneath it. Ruby, having gained back her courage, picked up the hammer. She broke four slivers out of the sapphire door and handed one to each of her sisters. They had finally achieved their mission, and defeated the evil Jewelia. Amethyst, Opal, Ruby and Emerald smiled at each other one last time.

 

Epilogue

Jewelia  was always teased at Royal School, and so, her anger was bolted up inside, and she took it out on her sisters. The sisters were quadruplets, so they had each other, but Jewelia  didn’t have anyone at all. Since her mom, the queen, was always so busy, she didn’t have anyone to go to and hug when she was sad. Once she was overthrown she realized her mistake and said, “Sorry everyone.”

Her sisters forgave her, and they all hugged it out in the sunset.

The End

 

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