“Doesn’t it seem odd when one object creates such an exciting adventure? No, such a thrilling tale. Yeah, that’s better. Okay, okay, I’ll get going. It all started in the bustling Elf Town, where the elves woke up at the start of dawn to work in their woodcutting business. There was one elf, Mark, who had a strong-built axe that was passed down in his family. It could cut the strongest trees in a mere five seconds.”
Doesn’t it seem odd when one object creates such an exciting adventure? No, such a thrilling tale. Yeah, that’s better. Okay, okay, I’ll get going.
It all started in the bustling Elf Town, where the elves woke up at the start of dawn to work in their woodcutting business. There was one elf, Mark, who had a strong-built axe that was passed down in his family. It could cut the strongest trees in a mere five seconds.
One morning, Mark woke up with a yawn. Straightening out his messed up, black hair, he sat up in bed.
“Hmph, another normal… WHAT?!”
Mark stared, bewildered at the sight of the empty wooden hanger on the wall where his axe should have been.
“I couldn’t have misplaced it… unless…”
Mark didn’t want to think that the axe could have been stolen. He ran out of the house, his green, cotton shirt untucked. All the other elves were working already, whistling as they did their hard work.
“Uhm, excuse me, did anyone see my axe?” Mark asked.
“Maybe the dressmaker knows,” replied an elf.
Mark slouched off.
“Oh! Mark,” the dressmaker said, jumping up from her rusty chair and straightening her gray, tattered dress.
“I was wondering if you knew where my axe went. I mean, it’s urgent,” Mark said.
“Oh, really?” The dressmaker blushed. “Phew, it’s hot today. Don’t you have extra axes?”
“You know that I don’t have extras, and it can’t be lost…”
“Maybe someone in the neighboring kingdom has it. Anyone would want to get their hands on that axe!”
“I guess…” Mark heaved a great sigh.
He stepped out of Elf Town, looked back at the rising sun, and set off.
As Mark set off on the pebble road, the clouds turned grey and bam! It started to pour. Mark was drenched in seconds. Maybe the royals would be kind enough to let me in, Mark thought, seeing the lights of the stone castle and a grand carriage parked in front. When he arrived, two guards came up to him.
“What are you here for?” asked a tall knight as he strode up to Mark.
“Are you an elf?” the second knight asked.
“Yes,” Mark replied. At least he hadn’t called him a little person. “Do you need glasses?”
“Excuse me?” the second knight said, offended.
The first knight rolled his eyes.
“What’s all the commotion?” a low voice chuckled from inside the castle.
It was the king. A regal figure stepped outside. The king had a bushy beard and wide, brown eyes.
“Uhm, your Majesty, I was wondering if… ” Mark began.
“Oh, come in, come in!” the king said happily, gently pushing Mark inside. “You’re drenched!”
“Dearie, now is not the time,” said a woman who was clearly the queen, nodding to another royal family who seemed to be visiting.
They wore very fancy clothing and held planning notepads. Mark stared, rooted to the spot. A beautiful princess, with long, brown hair and a flowy, green dress, stood next to a prim prince. She did not seem to be enjoying herself. The second royal family turned toward Mark, including a giggly twelve-year-old, who seemed to be the prince’s sister.
The princess turned, her eyes shining.
She ran over to Mark, whispering, “Thank you, this Prince Tom is just ehh!” She covered her mouth. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
“What is wrong, my love?” Prince Tom asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Uhm, I should show our guest his room,” the princess said hastily, pulling Mark up the grand marble staircase.
“But, Annie dear… ” the queen called, followed by the other royal family’s angry retorts.
“Who is this young man?” Prince Tom exclaimed.
Once they were on the second flight, Annie (who was the princess it seemed) said, “So, what brings you here?”
“Oh,” Mark exclaimed, “I was wondering if you have seen an axe with rubies in the handle.”
“Oh, no, the Kingdom of Burke uses shovels, that’s how we dig up stone from the ground. It’s even on our flag.” Annie stopped in her tracks, her eyes sparked. “Okay, here is your guest room. My room is five doors away. While this storm goes on, meet me in my room at eight.”
Mark stared after her, aghast. Mark stared up at the ceiling, the thunder bellowing and echoing across the grounds. He was quite surprised the king let him stay. He looked at the clock for the fortieth time in a row. The clock struck eight. He sprang from bed and gently knocked on Annie’s door.
She opened it. She wore a dark blue dress, with a leather belt across her shoulder, and her hair was tied in a long braid.
“I’m going to help you find your axe.” Annie said clearly.
“What? No! You are a princess… ” Mark stuttered.
His mind raced. He kind of wanted to be with Annie but, at the same time, he didn’t.
“Uhh… ” was all he managed to say.
Annie grabbed a thick rope that was tied to a rusty anchor.
“Look, I always wanted to be an adventurer, and this is my chance! I want to be who I want to be and help you,” she said.
She slipped a leather-bound notebook with a pen in her belt. Mark sighed. He did need to find his axe soon, and some help wouldn’t hurt. Annie flung the rope out the window. The anchor thudded to the ground.
“Okay, we climb the rope. I memorized where the fewest guards are, or uhm, the lazy ones at least. I have an idea who might have stolen your axe,” Annie exclaimed excitedly.
She flung herself across the rope like it was a zipline. Mark was shaking, but he jumped through the window, stumbling a bit. The storm had calmed down by then.
“I left a letter to my parents,” Annie panted, her hair swaying in the wind.
“Who did you say might have stolen my axe?” Mark asked quietly, breaking the awkward silence.
“Ninjas,” Annie said. “I’ve read about them. They are quite secretive. Their footsteps are silent when they stealthily go after treasure. That means you must have not heard them.”
“N-Ninjas? Really? Out of all the people in the world, ninjas? It’s dangerous,” Mark stammered.
He didn’t want to be a scaredy cat, but it was risky.
“It’s fine. It’s night now. When we get to ninja headquarters, they should be fast asleep.”
Annie climbed the rope and disappeared over the wall. She was a very good climber. Mark followed.
“Okay, shh… ”
Annie put a finger over her lip. Quietly, the two walked over the rainwashed village streets.
As they trudged forth, across wildflower fields in the silent night, Mark muttered to himself, “It’s fine, they are only dangerous, quiet ninjas that could kill us in one swipe of their katanas. What could go wrong?”
Mark thought of the short, sharp, light swords the ninjas were known for. Annie rolled her eyes. Mark covered his mouth so he wouldn’t shriek. Annie opened her mouth and closed it again. There, on a bridge going across a small stream, was a giant bridge troll with lumpy, grey skin and a big, long nose. He was snoring deeply. The two held their noses as they made their way carefully around the troll.
“We are here,” Annie said proudly, staring at a compass she hid in her notebook, a few minutes later.
Sure enough, there was a high mountain, the top shrouded in heavy mist, giving it an eerie feeling. A bright, full moon was all they could see. The pair climbed up. Luckily, the mountain had a lot of bumpy sections, making it easier to set the anchor.
“Are we… there… yet?” Mark panted heavily.
“Yes,” Annie coughed.
Mark helped heave Annie up, the cool night air soothing on their sweating faces.
“Oh dear,” Mark squeaked.
Annie squinted at a tall, black silhouette nearby. The man was holding a katana and looking over at a boy sharpening steel. He turned, staring right at Annie and Mark.
“How dare you, you filthy creatures,” the ninja cried raising his katana, which gleamed in the moonlight.
Annie tripped on her dress. The ninja turned his katana toward her. Mark jumped in front of Annie.
“Get away from her! You, you… ”
“You what? Want to be the first victim?” the ninja snarled.
“Master,” a younger voice said.
“Jack, get back to work,” the ninja master snapped.
“Master, I need to get something…”
Suddenly, a small boy with a ninja outfit, and small katana in his belt, came bounding over. He smacked hard into Mark and Annie, sending them tumbling over the edge of the mountain.
“Traitor!” the ninja bellowed, shaking his fists.
“Ahhhh! I’m dying,” Mark screamed as the three tumbled down the mountainside.
He didn’t know what was worse, being caught by ninjas or falling to their deaths. Annie’s mind raced, her heart pounding faster by the second. She clutched her rope and, with all her effort, swung it. It clung to a bumpy edge.
“Grab on!” Annie cried, swinging on the rope.
“Owww!” Mark shrieked as a pointy rock pierced his shoulder, ripping his shirt.
He grabbed on, holding Jack’s hand, his body shaking all over. Annie clambered over to the pointy slab where the anchor lay. Her dress was sprinkled with dirt, but she didn’t care. The three made their way down the mountainside. When they got to the bottom, Annie flung herself into Mark, shaking as well.
“What was that for?” Mark managed to say to Jack.
“Well, it was all I could think of, unless you wanted to be sliced up by Master Sling Chai,” Jack said sheepishly from under his mask.
He pulled it down. He had wavy, blond hair and wide, blue eyes. Jack massaged his hands.
“What were you and your master doing then?” Annie asked.
The sky was tinged pink.
“Oh, he was punishing me for accidentally making him trip and breaking one of his favourite treasures, his fire bow. He made me sharpen, like, forty or fifty katanas.” Jack sighed. “Guess I won’t be returning.”
“Do you know if any ninjas have stolen an axe? It has a golden handle encrusted with rubies,” Mark said worriedly.
“Hmm… not that I know… wait, did you hear that?” Jack exclaimed. He thought he heard a roar or a sigh from somewhere.
“Sorry,” Annie said, looking down.
Mark fumbled with his fingers, speechless. He suddenly clutched his shoulder.
“Are you ok?” Annie asked tenderly.
“Yeah,” Mark said softly.
The three fell asleep at the bottom of the mountain as the sun rose up and the songbirds twittered the day’s welcome. Mark yawned and rubbed his eyes. The sun was high in the sky. He gently nudged Annie.
“Oh, uhm, good morning,” she said unsurely.
Jack’s tummy rumbled.
“We’d better find something to eat,” she added, helping Jack up.
They headed off.
“I’m sure we will find your axe soon,” Annie told Mark reassuringly.
“Annie… ” Mark squeaked again.
He pointed a shaking finger at the figure standing right in front of her. The troll was awake now, raising his spiky club.
“Ahhhh!!!” they all screamed.
“I want food. Food!” the dim-witted troll cried. In a split second, he picked up Annie.
“Get off me! I’m not afraid of you!” Annie gasped.
“NOO!” Mark shouted.
He lunged for the troll’s leg but only injured his shoulder even more. Jack shakily raised his katana.
“Hey, big g-guy, come and get me!” he said.
“Yeah!” Mark said waving his hands around, trying to keep his body steady.
Annie frantically looked for something she could use against the troll. It was distracted, not sure who to pick on, but not for long.
“A-ha!” Annie exclaimed.
She grabbed the anchor at the bottom of the rope and smacked it hard on the troll’s beefy fingers.
“OWW!” the troll rumbled angrily.
“Whoa!” Annie shrieked as she fell and toppled over Mark.
“Sorry, I’m not that good at catching people,” he said shamefully.
The troll chased them as fast as it could. The three ran toward a thicket of trees and disappeared into the Enchanted Forest.
“We’re heading south right now,” Annie said, staring intently at her compass.
Mark kept looking back worriedly, but the troll’s foot steps sounded faint. He must have given up.
“At least we have something to eat here,” Jack said, reaching to pick a berry.
“It might be poisonous,” Mark warned.
“Nah, only the ones that grow on white and blue speckled flowers are poisonous. I read about it in Plants of the Deep Forests,” Annie said.
“I don’t want to be nosy or anything, but were you a good ninja?” Mark asked Jack.
“Oh no. Master Sling Chai would sometimes say I was a dishonor. I never really felt I belonged with the ninjas. I know some tricks all right, but I’m not like a champion.” Jack smiled as he munched on some berries.
“What was that?” Mark exclaimed, staring at Annie’s compass.
They were around the middle of the woods. Annie looked up.
“The sound came from over there.”
The three passed a thicket of knobby rooted trees.
“Whoa, someone lives here,” Mark gasped.
There, in a clearing of the woods, was a small hut with fogged up windows and two berry bushes at the entrance.
“It looks like a witch’s hut.” Annie whispered worriedly.
A voice came from the hut.
“I did it… I actually did it… yes, yes, yes, yes! I did it! I did it! I made a healing…” an eighteen-year-old girl looked out through the window.
She spotted Annie, Mark, and Jack, who slowly backed away.
“Hello,” the girl said slowly, quivering.
Her black hair was lank. She had hazel brown eyes, and she wore a long cloak, tattered around the rim. Despite the dark clothes, her soft voice seemed as sweet as a flower petal opening up to meet the warming sun in the light of day. She smelled of odd flower herbs.
“She doesn’t look like much of a witch to me,” Jack muttered.
“But she has a wand,” Mark whispered, gesturing to the willow wood and vine covered wand.
“I haven’t seen anyone in a long time… you’re not spies, are you?” the girl asked worriedly.
“No. You’re not a witch then?” Annie asked.
The girl blushed.
“I am, but I’m not the evil one most people think I am. That’s why I have been in hiding ever since I was six. My name is Lisa.” Lisa waved the others into her hut.
Annie looked around. It was quite cozy. She liked it. All her life she had been living in vast stone and marble halls. In the corner, there was a rusty couch. On it was a small blanket and an overstuffed pillow. There was a small stove with a stone pot on it. There was a large cupboard with a pile of books on top and an assortment of odd bottles on a small, rickety table. In the middle of the table was a glass bottle with a golden shimmery liquid.
Mark turned. “Have you ever had visitors?” he asked suspiciously.
Lisa looked down.
“No, I haven’t seen anyone since I was six.”
“I’m so sorry,” Annie said.
“Well, at least I met you,” Lisa exclaimed, her eyes gleaming.
“What is that thing over there?”Jack asked, pointing to the glass bottle.
“It’s a healing potion. I wish I could sell it, but people would think I’m giving them poison.” Lisa looked away. “The only other person who treated me with kindness was my stepmother. She was a fairy.”
Lisa sighed. She hadn’t talked to anyone in twelve years. In truth, she wasn’t sure how she felt.
“When I was six, I fled from her house to here. I’ve been here ever since.”
She didn’t want to admit that her actual mother could have been a powerful, evil sorceress who left her on the forest floor as a baby, and that human spies had known she had a powerful wand, and that her stepmother had died.
Annie was silent as a thought dawned on her. Had her parents read her letter? Would they send knights? Would they catch Lisa?
“You guys look hungry,” Lisa said, breaking into Annie’s nervous thoughts.
She cleaned off the table with her wand. Annie, Mark, and Jack stared in awe. Then she carefully hid the glass bottle safely behind her books.
“Here, it’s my own fruit salad. I’m a vegetarian — hunting is not my thing,” Lisa said slowly, handing each person a clay bowl.
Jack easily devoured it, but Mark eyed it cautiously. Annie elbowed him.
“I have full trust in her, Mark. Trust me. Jack just ate it in front of you,” she whispered.
Mark nodded and took a small bite.
The Gem Of Truth
“You probably didn’t steal an axe, right?” Mark sighed.
He was tired of all this.
“Nope, but I know something that might help you,” Lisa said excitedly. As she reached for her books, she knocked the healing potion over on Mark.
Immediately, Mark’s shoulder healed. He gaped at it.
“You’re a genius!” Jack exclaimed.
“It works! It works! Yes!” Lisa smiled happily, and then her smile faded. “But I’m still in hiding. Anyway, look here.”
Lisa brought out a book with a worn cover. The title read: Tales of Magical Objects. Lisa flipped to the middle. Annie looked over the yellowed pages. She read: To find the answer you are looking for, look into the clear edges of this gem, say your wish, and it will appear.
“Is it real?” Mark asked, unsure.
“Yes. It is in a place called Gem Mountain,” Lisa continued.
“Oh no, no, no, no. I’m not going on another mountain!” Mark exclaimed, waving his hands in front of him.
“Mark, you are the one who wanted to find your axe, remember?”Annie said.
Mark looked down.
“I heard there is a dragon guarding Gem Mountain,” Jack said quietly.
Everyone stared at him.
“Oh, come on!” Mark said loudly. He face-palmed and flopped on the chair.
“Sorry,” Jack said sheepishly.
And so the foursome (including a partially reluctant Mark) set off to the mountain. Annie led them into the northwest with her compass. Lisa looked about in wonder. She hadn’t left the forest in so long.
A mystic mountain rose before them. Mark gulped. They climbed up once again, the wind whistling. The path at the top of the mountain led to a dark cave. Mark and Annie squinted into the depths of the cave but couldn’t make out anything. Jack and Lisa were the first to step in.
“Come on, Mark,” Jack called.
Mark had stayed back, eyeing the cave nervously. Annie stepped in next. Mark slowly and cautiously stepped inside. He shivered. It was much colder here. Annie squeezed Mark’s hand.
“I don’t see anything,” Lisa said.
She waved her wand in a swirl and a faint light appeared at the tip. It barely illuminated the pointed snout and brown eyes staring right at them. The creature huffed, a puff of dark smoke came from its nostrils. Lisa could make out sharp, pointy teeth and a lizard-like tongue. Lisa couldn’t move, her hand was shaking. It turned out that there truly was a dragon in Gem Mountain.
The dragon roared. It was nearly deafening. The dragon was ready to pounce. It lifted a sharp, bronze claw.
“Ahh!” Mark ducked.
He slid under the claw and crashed to the back of the cave. The dragon aimed again.
“Why does this always happen to me!” Mark cried desperately.
Jack flattened himself against the wall, cowering. He then heard a rumbling voice.
“How dare you? You have come to slay me, haven’t you?” it shouted.
Who was it though?
It couldn’t be the dragon. They can’t speak English, right? Jack thought.
“Woah!” Annie jumped over the dragon’s slashing tail like it was a jump rope. She flipped in the air, landing beside Mark.
Lisa was desperately trying to be invisible. She had never used magic on a creature like the dragon before. She spotted a little, glimmering light. She looked closer. It was the Truth Gem! It looked as clear as water. Lisa crawled towards it. As she reached out her hand, the dragon’s claw aimed her way. She rolled under it, but her cloak caught on the sharp point.
“Get back,” she exclaimed.
She hurled a purple magnetic blast at the dragon.
“Irresponsible people! You thought you could just waltz in here now, did you?!”
Jack heard the voice again. He had been hiding behind a giant boulder. He saw the dragon’s mouth moving. The dragon was talking! And Jack could understand him.
“We are not here to slay you!” he cried.
Annie held her rope defensively. The dragon’s eyes were set on her and Mark. He roared louder than before.
“Watch out!” Mark exclaimed.
He leapt and pulled Annie’s arm. The dragon’s fire breath missed her by an inch.
“Wait… did I just do that?” Mark panted.
“I think you did.” Annie managed to smile.
The two stared at the flames. They kept on burning, but they didn’t spread or harm the stone. But still, they were surrounded by a ring of fire.
“Hey!! Over here!” Lisa cried.
She shot a spout of water from her wand as her black hair thrashed against her face in the howling wind. She had no intention of hurting the dragon. She just wanted to chase him off. The dragon glared, the burning embers reflected in his dark eyes, making him look more menacing than ever.
Annie took a leap of faith and jumped over the fire. Mark had his back against the wall. It was a life or death jump.
The dragon bellowed, “Don’t you fools learn anything?!”
The dragon smacked Lisa hard with its wing.
“Whoa!!” Lisa said as she hung on by her fingertips, her long nails digging into the ground.
“WE AREN’T HERE TO SLAY YOU! I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!” Jack thundered.
He had finally jumped from his hiding spot. The dragon turned violently. His long, scaly tail smacked the delicate Truth Gem, and it fell down to earth, shattering.
Mark felt like fainting. He staggered, nearly walking into the fire. They were all silent. The dragon hadn’t meant to do that.
“What did you say?” the dragon said harshly, although for everyone but Jack, it was a growl.
Mark finally flipped over the fire, smacking his face on the stone.
“Oomph!” he said.
He had no idea how Annie was so agile.
It’s all over, he thought.
“What do you mean, Jack?” Annie asked desperately.
“I said, I can understand the dragon,” Jack managed to choke out. “All we wanted was the gem,” Jack said to the dragon.
The dragon stared deeply at Mark, then into Jack’s soft eyes. He somehow trusted this boy.
“Hmph, if that’s so, you aren’t as foolish as I thought. Listen to me closely, boy. I know what you want. I have stared into the gem. Go back and track your path, for some answers we seek are where we would most likely not peek.”
And that was all the dragon said.
“I can’t believe it! I talked to him!” Jack said excitedly.
“I still don’t get it,” Lisa said, shaking her head.
Mark had been silent the whole way back, thinking of the dragon’s riddle.
“Go back and track your path, for some answers we seek are where we would mostly likely not peek,” Mark repeated.
“That’s it, Mark! Where did you start?” Annie asked suddenly.
“What do you mean?” Mark asked.
“Where did you begin looking for your axe?”
“Elf Town,” Mark replied slowly.
“Exactly! The riddle said go back and track your path! The answer is where you began,” Annie said excitedly.
“You figured it out?” Lisa said, following them.
Mark sighed. “Who knows?”
The foursome walked back once again through the Enchanted Forest trees.
“I don’t get it, why would someone from Elf Town even steal it? Did you hear him right, Jack?” Mark asked.
“Positive.” Jack smiled.
He was so amazed by his newfound power.
The four of them froze as they heard a loud rumble, but it wasn’t the dragon.
“It’s a bridge troll, I think,” Lisa said, peeking through the lush bushes.
“Just ignore him! I don’t want to die again!”
“Mark, you didn’t even die,” Annie replied.
“Wait! Guys! There is a girl and a dog in trouble over there!” Jack exclaimed worriedly.
Immediately, Lisa leaped out of the bushes. “Hey, troll!” Lisa cried. She raised her wand. “Stay away from that dog and girl.”
The little girl whimpered. The troll ignored Lisa. As he reached for the poor dog, Lisa swung her wand in a high swirl. The violet sparkle hit the troll, sending him blasting into the river.
The girl’s mother ran up to them, but froze when she saw Lisa.
“A witch! Annabelle, stay away,” she cried.
“Witchy,” the girl cried happily.
She flung her arms around Lisa.
Lisa didn’t know what to say. Someone was actually hugging her. The mother blinked.
“She saved me! She saved me!” The girl jumped up and down.
By the look on the girl’s face, the woman knew her daughter wasn’t joking.
“Thank you,” she managed to say before they walked away.
Lisa turned as they left and saw Annie and Mark’s eyes appeared through the bush.
“That was amazing Lisa!”Annie exclaimed.
Finally, they made it back to Elf Town.
“Home!” Mark said.
He ran up to his house, nearly running into the dressmaker. The dressmaker looked very paranoid, and in her hands, she held Mark’s axe. Mark felt like his heart dropped to his feet.
“Is that your-your axe?” Annie stammered.
Mark’s mouth was agape. He just stared. He rubbed his eyes. He must be hallucinating.
“It was you? I don’t get it–what?!” Mark couldn’t even speak properly.
“Oh, Mark!” The dressmaker sobbed at Mark’s feet.
Annie grabbed his arm, taken aback.
“I’m confused,” Lisa and Jack both said.
“I have a lot of explaining to do.” The dressmaker sniffed. “I was becoming desperate. I barely have any coins, and you know the trades we do with the dwarves. They are never really generous. I have seven children, and they are not old enough to do woodcutting. My bones are too frail, but I knew I could cut wood if I used your axe. Once I stole it, however, I regretted it deeply. I knew I was doing the wrong thing. I didn’t tell anyone it was yours. I worried about you, and I was just going to s-set off after you,” the dressmaker continued sobbing. “My poverty had made me go mad. I’m sorry!”
At first, Mark felt angry, but then he looked at Annie’s dark brown eyes. He calmed and, surprisingly, smiled.
“It’s all right, Dressmaker. Because you told me to look for my axe, I was able to meet Lisa, Jack, and… Annie.”
All four smiled. The dressmaker looked up.
“May I see your shop?” Annie asked.
“Certainly.” The dressmaker sniffed again.
Annie then told the dressmaker she loved the dressmaker’s work and would be willing to help the dressmaker show off her creations.
“You see, you must convince the others that you will save their time by making their clothes for them,” Annie explained.
The dressmaker nodded. And so it was set. Mark didn’t believe he had his axe back.
The four set out for Annie’s palace, Mark carrying his valuable axe. Annie took a deep breath. Now, Annie had to face her parents.
“You’re going to get captured or something,”Annie said worriedly to Mark.
“I’ll be fine,” Mark replied. “If I can survive ninja’s and dragons, I can survive this.”
Annie stepped in the royal hall.
“Where were you?!” the queen shrieked.
“We are most disappointed in you Annie. We were worried sick. I forbid you to leave the castle walls again! Did he kidnap you? Are you hurt?” the queen exclaimed.
Annie sighed. “I left with him of my own free will, Mother. I needed an adventure. I helped him find his magic axe along with two other friends.”
“You escaped with an elf?” the king cried. “Guards!”
“I went on an adventure,” Annie continued. “You can’t capture him, because, because… I love him,” she said softly.
She had not expected to say that right away. Mark and Annie stared at each other. Over the journey, they had grown accustomed to each other.
“Wha-wha-what?” the queen stammered.
After a lot of persuading and explaining, the royals agreed that they had to set Annie free. Mark didn’t believe what was happening. Suddenly, he realized that being with Annie made him a better, braver person.
“Annie, you are the best thing that has happened to me. Will you marry me?”
Lisa and Jack were speechless.
All was well.
One Month Later…
The cool breeze flittered by as the newly married couple stood on the palace balcony. Mark wouldn’t agree to wear a crown. Not now at least. He glanced down at the letters from Jack and Lisa and smiled. Jack now went to Mythical Beast Academy, somewhere he really belonged. After speaking with the dragon, he had become fascinated by them. Lisa was able to sell her concoctions after the news was spread about the troll incident. The dressmaker also wrote that her shop had started gaining popularity. Mark had found his axe and Annie. It seemed to him that the axe had been meant to get stolen. Mark and Annie held hands.
“Who knew, this all began…” Annie started.
“Because of an axe,” Mark continued.
He smiled. The two kissed as the sky turned a brilliant orange.