CHAPTER TWO: ALTARIA
I dream.. I dream of the existence of peace, the true existence of the happily ever after.
-from The Journal of Anila
“Will you please stop daydreaming?!” a phoenix screamed into Anila’s ear. “I want those spell patterns done by tonight, and here you are sitting here and wasting your time and my time!”
Anila arose from her perch slowly, and continued to trace the spell patterns. These were of arcane runes with weird shapes and transformations. The Altaria phoenix had been instructed to rotate the figure about 170 degrees counterclockwise, reflect it over a line, and then translate it ten to the left, five up, three right, and eight down. But whatever Anila had attempted, she had always failed.
Not long ago, Anila was disowned and thrown out by her parents. She had never had a proper wizard education, because she had flunked all her exams and all her classes. Her professors had been fed up with the fact that she kept on earning ‘Poors’. She had to retake Essential Geomantics at least five times before she decided to quit. Her best class was Wizard Design which was an elective in Wandstream’s Honorary Wizard Institute, but that had absolutely no use to her. She had loved writing, but had always gotten terrible scores in Wizard Writing. Eventually, she was expelled for having no improvement in her grades and for being a failure.
Anila now roomed in with her best friend, Merensa who had done better than Anila had done herself. Merensa held a steady job as a wizard writer and as a wizard designer, and was higher up in the ranks. She had also failed Essential Geomantics and other subjects like Anila, but Merensa was still better than her in status. Now, Anila was faced with a big problem, a demanding boss who would not relent until he recieved the perfect job done.
“I am prepared to fire you, because you work far too slow”, Anila started to weep, and the other pattern designers turned around to look at her. She heard whispers about how she was the dreamy dream, and how she was a shame to her own family and her race, the Altarians. Out of great sorrow, Anila embraced her boss tightly, but what ensued was her getting slapped on the face.
“HOW DARE YOU, YOU FILTHY ALTARIAN!” her boss screeched. Anila knew that he was a solar flare phoenix with his distinctive yellow underparts and bright red mixed with pink on the tips of his wings and on his upperparts and underparts. Solar flare phoenixes were known for their ferocious temper, and their races were strongly linked to the dominant star phoenixes. Of course they had the right to be haughty. “YOU HAVE ANY IDEA THAT I HAVE A MATE? GET OUT OF HERE AND I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN!”
“I have a bit of trouble”, Anila had some difficulty announcing that she was fired for the tenth time. It was extremely embarrassing for her, because now everyone in Wandstream would know that she was a down-to-earth failure. “I got fired again, because I apparently am too slow to work.”
Merensa sighed, and bowed her head. The young Altaria phoenix was trying to think of a solution to Anila’s plight. “You could get another profession as a writer, or if that fails, maybe you should create your own system of government far away from Wandstream. I can get my other friends, and we can pool the money together.” Anila’s best friend took out a fountain pen and a piece of parchment and wrote down some information. “I suggest you to work for a peppermint phoenix with a cheerful temper who likes to read some sizzling imaginary stories. I am very sure that she will accept you into her group of fantastic writers.”
Anila was so happy that she crashed into Merensa. “Thanks Merensa! You are the best!”
“Please try not to mess up this opportunity.”
“I promise I won’t.”
Anila smoothed her bright blue robes as she flew into the peppermint phoenix’s chamber. Her chamber was piled with books and unpublished manuscripts. In the middle of all this, the peppermint phoenix was perched on a branch holding a fountain pen of red ink, scratching out words and unneeded phrases.
“Excuse me. I am positive that you know Merensa?”
“Yes. Yes, I do”, the peppermint phoenix nodded. “She told me that you have found it difficult to hold a steady profession. I will hire you and pay you five One Mark Indigo Bills/per word, but keep in mind that writing is very competitive. To prove your skills, I want you to set to work creating a short story in the past fantastic genre or in the future fantastic genre. I shall give you one day and a half to create a stunning story, and then we will decide from there.”
“Thank you, and what is your name?”
“My name is Pelia, the head of the Fantastic Writings Guild.”
Anila took a fountain pen, dipped it in rich, dark blue ink and started to write on the parchment. She named her story. ‘Fantastica’. She imagined a world where there was no war, and where all arguments were settled in song. Anila began to write of a unicorn, Belle and of a magnificent dragon who boasted of his great looks, Orknore. She wrote her story in a delicate cursive font, the most beautiful than anyone else’s in her opinion.
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess who was the daughter of the unicorn king and queen. Her name was Belle, and she later had the misfortune of meeting a handsome one, a one that would sweep her off her hooves and light her horn in grace....
Anila continued to write as her thoughts flowed in all directions.
Twas unfortunate that the dragon defied the order of the Elder Unicorn thrice that he was nearly put to death. The dragons and the unicorns nearly went to war, but the beloved Princess Belle stopped this clash with brilliant song. That night, in the light of the moon, the beautiful white unicorn began her song.
“Twas the night of the moon
In which I voice my woes.
Of great sorrow foretold
The clash of unicorn and dragon
Twas I shall do
Whatever I must to prevent this....”
Anila continued to write even as the hours ticked away. She felt a tear come to her eye as she reached the ending of her story.
“Today is a day for celebration”, Elder Unicorn spoke in his rich accent. “Today, I shall marry off my beloved Princess Belle to the handsome dragon, Orknore. It is a day for great joy, and may their lives be lighted with great fortune.”
It was almost unbelievable, a fantastica of love. It was a spectacular sight as the newly wedded couple, a unicorn princess and a brash dragon walked into the sunset, and lived happily ever after....
At last my story is completed. I am very sure that this story is unassailable from criticism on anyone’s part. I shall become famous... Anila thought happily.
“WHAT IS THIS?!” Anila cringed when she heard the peppermint phoenix’s scream. She was most certain that Pelia would have loved the story. “YOU START WITH ONCE UPON A TIME AND END WITH HAPPILY EVER AFTER? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HAPPILY EVER AFTER OR YOU COULD CLAW YOURSELF TO DEATH! YOU ARE FIRED! GET OUT OF HERE DREAMER ENCHANTRESS BEFORE I GET THE BATTLE WIZARDS!”
The Altaria phoenix watched in horror as her beautiful masterpiece was torn to shreds. Anila could not bear the sight. She knew what she must do. She had a vision, and she would prove to everyone that ‘happily ever after’ did exist. She would create her own dream, a utopia where there would be no arguments ever.