Chapter 4

   A few days later, i awoke. I went through my usual daily things. I thought alot today too, mostly about my sister. I miss her so much, the good things, but i'm still trying not to think about it so much. i wonder where she is right now...i wonder what she's doing... i wonder if she's alright... i wonder if she's changed at all... i better not think about it too much.
   The time for the next Gathering is approaching. i grabbed some clothes and walked warily through the woods and swiftly through the village and soon came to the registration counter. I looked around to make sure no one was around and quickly signed the papers. As i noticed another elf near by, i disappeared into a thin cloud of lavender smoke, teleporting  myself into the tree i normally sat in on this day. I gazed at the village from above. there wasn''t many people, so i decided to start walking around.
   I trotted down the dirt paths and roads, looking around at all of the houses and people. I spotted a little mushroom shaped house in a patch of grass. It had little round windows and a white pickett fence. it caught my eye just at a glance. All of the other homes were mostly cabins, huts or stone. Now I'm beginning to wonder about that whimsical little mushroom house.
   I finally began my way home, back through the woods again, but i almost i Had heard my name. my hears perked up as i thought I'd heard it again. "Esperanza" i listened deeper for closer reference. "Esperanza!" they called again. the voice sounded really familiar, but i just couldn't pin point it.
   I heard footsteps swiftly approaching, growing closer and closer to me. I switched my direction hoping to myself that they'd lose out. The footsteps stopped, and i sighed with relief. i sat against the wall of the trading center, thinking everything would be fine. and it was, until Kero dropped down from the roof. I gasped and shut my eyes tight, becoming transparent in the product of my own nervosa. I didn't want him to see me. "Esperanza, it's just me..." he unknowing put his hand on my leg, frightened and uncomfortable, i blushed and turned back into color. He did the same when he noticed his hand placed on my thigh and jerked it back, scratching his head awkwardly. "sorry about that.." he looked away. i nodded to tell him it was alright. "I...I saw you walking and i just...i thought I'd just, ya know, say hi." I laughed subtly at his stuttering and the way his voiced cracked between pitches.
   "I didn't think you wanted to see me..." i said still sitting on the ground. i poked my index fingers together.
   "Well, why wouldn't i want to see you?" he asked almost as if he was completely oblivious. is this some sort of act?
   "Because you know who i am."
   "Yeah, you told me, right? You're Esperanza!"
   I smacked myself right in the face. why was he acting this way? "...well, you felt my earrings-"
   He excitedly cut me off. "I know! There are so many! I was so in awe of how powerful you were! Almost scared, really. I never thought someone so small and so timid could be so strong!"
    No wonder he seemed oblivious. he was! And I was feeling embarrassed over nothing. i feel entirely stupid at this point in time. i went back to my sense, attempting to forget i was ever upset, since he wasn't upset at all. "Thanks, haha!" I should have know. now that i think of it, he didn't seem to have even originated from this  region. his accent is a little different, his skin texture is different too, its soft all beside his hands; the characteristic of a common fisherman. He did say he lived by the sea.. his cheek bones rose high, but not enough to slant his eyes. His complexion is a pink-tan, obviously by the sun which highlighted his thick and wavy hair, blowing like the ocean. He was tall and slender, yet muscular, just effortlessly. his eyebrows curved perfectly to the lines of his face, and is lips were just full enough. If he didn't know who i was, then there is only one explanation for where his home is. it has to be Westshell Island. an island isolated in the far west green of the rainbow sea, that explains the color of his eyes.  there are no other islands around it and its far from most any land. its a beautiful place built on the wandering remains of a gargantuan clam shell. the other half of it had floated off to the opposite side of the sea, simply known as Eastshell island. This thought may seem like it took long, but i only thought about it for a second. it's so easy to tell where someone is from, just because i've seen so many people. "Where are you from, Kero? I'm just curious."
   "Westshell island. How about you?"
   i knew it. "I'm from Crescentwood." i got up from the ground and he followed. we engaged in more conversation until we heard the Horn blow.
   "The Gatherings are starting!" He squealed in excitement. it reminded me of a little girl getting her first taste of warm honey. i remember when i did. "Are you going?" his eyes widened as his smile grew at the same pace.
   "Why not?"
   "Because, i can't."
    "Because, Just.. i don't want to talk about it."
   "Oh.. alright, i understand."
   "You really don't..." I caught myself before i said anything further. he looked at me a bit confused, leaning his head down and kicked a pebble across the ground as we walked. i felt bad for snappin gat him and apolgized. i brushed my hair out of my face, but that didn't help the guilt.
   "Well, i'll see you later then...i-i guess..." and he walked off into the distance. i walked the opposite way.


   i paced down the alleyway and kicked a pebble along the way. it skipped and hopped like little crickes. as i neard the end of the alley, the pebble had bounced off and escaped into a patch of grass. i didn't bother to go find it.
   i started to walk ack the way i came and there was that little mushroom house, again. i was still curious about that little house, who lived in it and what it could be about. it was such a mystery to me. i crept closer and closer. i wonder what happens when i touch it...
    i rose to my toes and poked the top of the mushroom, and it turned from a glowing pink, to a blue-green. my eyes grew large as i poked it again, to see that it had now changed over to a bright and shining orange. i giggled with glee and continued to amuse myself, poking this house perpetually until i noticed in my periferral vision, a small child staring over my way. i blushed in embarrassment and slowly walked away. i was destination-set as i went down the road, staring at it most of the way. i hadn't realized where exactly i was walking and i didn't know i was as close to The Gathering as i really was. An officer saw me and looked down to his wallet, and back up at me. "Excuse me, Miss! Miss!" I snapped away in a cloud of dust in fear he would arrest me.  that was a close one. i had teleported to the area just behind the village gates. i conveniently started on my way back home.
   Its lonely, cold, bleak and dark. not a creature was lurking the ground and not even a moon in the sky. dark gray and purple coulds blanketted the night sky. aura stones lit the path home and i collected some for myself, dragging my feet against the dirt making thick lines to follow after me. i heard a few crickets chirping in the night, singing thier lullaby to the trees. i came across a chipmunk crawling across the clovers. i nelt down and give it a purpleberry i'd picked from a tree. all of a sudden i heard a swish and saw a shadowy drak figure swoop across my vision. it sounded like an animal. i followed after the creature, leaving the chipmunk behind. it moved swiftly through the forest and had animal like movements, but i was sure it was more of a being such as i, rather than an animal. i could sense it. the creature began making animal calls, many of them. i could have sworn i'd heard a hawk, a chipmunk, a mouse, cat, dog, and even possibly a frog. i turned around to see the shadow behind the leaf, thier two eyes glowed like a scavenger in the night. i pulled down the leave warrily and she spoke to me. "heeheehee! You found me!" she clamped a closepin onto my nose and hopped away. OUCH!? my nose turned red in its pain as i ripped off the clip from my face. i couldn't tell whether or not i was angry, enticed, or amused. "Betcha can't catch me! heeheehee!" i was charmed by her playfullness and immediately chased after her, and i caught her yet again. "Fine, i give in." she announced, panting, and out of breath.
    I giggled at her. She was a little smaller than i and sat on all fours. she was wearing a purple shirt with a big red heart on it and a green skirt. "nice to meet ou, i think." we laughed. "whats ypur name?"
   "Eloch, what's yours?"
   "pleased to meet you, Esperanza." she shook my hand. "Heehee!" she was a cute one.
   Eloch had perfect brown skin and dark brown hair, it was a pretty much. she had the face of a person, but the ears of an animal. her hair was in a short, bob-like style and her eyes were yellow and glowing at night, but i'm sure they're brown during the day. she had a spacey little gap between her two front teeth and her insisors were short, but sharp, fangs. She had a long tail with a small tuft of hair on the ends, like the light tufts near her ears. They were sort of a mix between animal ears and elf ears.she had double earings on the tips of her ears. one dangled with a yellow bead and the other was brown. the yellow ones were a tear drop shape. she was an animal specialist. she also wore a necklace with the land's emblem and an aura crystal. there must be something important about her. i wonder what it is...
   "Eloch looked at me with a hint of curiousity in her eyes. "why aren't you at the gathering?"
   "I can't go."
   "Well, why not?"
   "I'm...banned." i sighed and ran my hand through my hair.
   "So am i."
   "Really? How come?"
   "Because i'm 'different.'" she sat up and slumped over. "Somehow, the king favors me for my talent to talk to animals and my power towards them, but the Village i live in, wont accept me." she twirled the emblem on her necklace. "My mother was mix between and elvin and a fawn and my father was an elvin and centaur mix. together, the two of them, and i'm assuming a variety of eccentric recessive traits, created me. i naturally look Elvin, if i want. I can disguise myself, quite easily actually. bit i still look different, or at least that's what i've been told. my parents were sacrificed a few villages over after a war between our village, Seriana and the centuarian Village of Koriann. I managed to escape before they got to me. i dug a tunnel all the way from Koriann, to here, where i happened to hit my head on a mushroom attempting to come up from the ground. You know that glowing mushroom cottage in the village?"
    "Yeah, i love that house. I just noticed it today!"
    "That's my house. I hollowed it out and made it my home when i was about 5."
     "You only noticed it now? Its been there for about 11 ears. Heehee! Now that i think of it, i did just cut the grass. it was kind of hidden..." she laughed.
   I laughed along with her. "I'm kind of an outcast.. i've been banned since i was really young. me and my sister got into a fight at classes and i may have overdone it-"
   "I've heard about that."
   I gulped. "i bet..."
    "You taught her a lesson, i heard. the hard way... but i have also heard she had got you to the point where you really had too." She looked at my ears then over to my earrings. "Wow.. You really are her."
   But she wasnt scared of me. she looked at mee in the eyes and smiled. i couldn't help but smile back. i ws surprised at myself. i cant believe how friendly she was and how open i was with her. we had just met today, and we are talking and even lauging together. it feels like things are really getting better.. i'm excited about this, i think i made a friend.

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