Normality was at an end. Isn’t that what happened in the fairy tales? Hero gets a mission and their life changes forever. But the hardest part of a journey is supposed to be taking the first step. That was proving true right now. Neither of them had any idea what to do. Where to start. Elethea had sent them home as if nothing had happened. But everything was different now. She had given them one instruction.
“Find the stone that is filled with fire.”
What sense did that make? What kind of stone was filled with fire? She could already picture Zac instantly working it out and going on a search. Boasting how easy it was. How did her destiny lie with such a…? There was no word for it. She sat at her desk writing the words over and over. Hoping to find a hidden meaning underneath. There was nothing. She crumpled it up in frustration and tossed it over her shoulder. This was hopeless. The paper heavily bounced off the blood red stone that sat on top of her bookcase causing it to roll a little. She grabbed it before it fell. It had a slight gleam and strange markings all over it. As she held it she suddenly felt a pleasant heat radiate into her hands. She tapped it. It sounded like something was inside. She gently put it down again carefully. Letting go for a few seconds she lightly touched the surface. The heat was still there. It never felt warm until now. Almost as if it was waiting.
“Worked it out then?”
She jumped as Zac suddenly appeared behind her.
“Don’t do that! Wait, how did you do that?”
No one else was in the house. How would she have explained this?
He shrugged, “It’s called mastering your talents. You should try it sometime.”
She suddenly felt a strong urge to slap him.
“Violence won’t solve anything.”
“Oh, so you can read my mind now?”
He seemed to be enjoying this, “Look, I need you to come with me. Bring that.”
He pointed to the stone. Maria glared at him suspiciously.
“Oh, I don’t know. Strange boy appears in my room and tells me to come with him. Think I have the right to be mistrusting.”
“Just come on.”
She grabbed the stone, “Right. Where?”
He gently took her wrist. Suddenly everything went black.
She paused to take in her new surroundings. They were outside again. Sunlight was breaking through the clouds casting speckled light on the ground. There was a large barn behind them. Behind that were some fields then a lush forest. They were outside a large house with a dark slate roof and bright windows open to let cool air in. There was the sound of stamping hooves within the barn.
“Nice place.” observed Maria unsure of what else to say.
Zac smiled. It wasn’t snide or sarcastic. It seemed really genuine. He gestured towards the barn where the door was slightly ajar. A white gelding looked up with pricked ears. He nickered to them both and stretched his nose out to Maria. She reached her hand out for him to sniff.
“That’s Pegasus.” said Zac, “Had him for about five years now.”
Back to the boasting. Maria rubbed Pegasus between her eyes with her free hand (the other held the red stone). She then followed Zac to a large pile of straw behind a wooden fence which cleverly concealed it out of sight. He brushed some of the straw away revealing a stone very similar to Maria’s; except this one was a deep blue colour.
“How long have you had it?” asked Maria.
“Probably as long as you’ve had yours.”
Why was he being so cryptic? This was starting to get very annoying. She placed the stone beside his; her fingers lightly brushing its cold surface.
“Does yours feel warm?” he asked without touching hers.
She nodded, “Bit weird for a stone.”
He sniggered a bit, “A stone? When have you ever seen a stone like this? Remember what Elethea said.”
She glared at him darkly, “I didn’t believe in fairy tales before.”
He shrugged, “All stories are based on some form of truth.”
She stroked the red stone’s surface feeling the gentle heat rising off it.
“Only the owner can feel the fire within.” the words came out but made no sense to her; as if they weren’t her own.
Zac grinned, “You’re getting it now.”
Maria ignored him, “So what do we do?”
She was secretly pleased to see he looked unsure.
“I haven’t the faintest idea.” he said honestly.
Maria let her hand rest on top of it. Imagining what could be inside. Her hand sprang back as she felt something move. Zac laughed.
“Relax it won’t bite.”
Something sparked in Maria’s mind. A new kind of energy she had never felt before. She stared at the red stone and thought of what was inside. Calling it. Somehow she knew it was listening. The stone soon began to shake violently. Jagged cracks cut across its surface. Zac watched in amazement but Maria was still too focused to notice what was happening. Suddenly the stone exploded. Shards flew everywhere. Maria relaxed as her focus broke. They both looked at the small creature that writhed on the ground. It had a long slender neck and tail, bright golden yellow eyes and large wings. Its scales were as red as the surface of the stone; well an egg really. It stumbled a little then managed to stand up on its four legs. It slowly moved towards Maria and climbed up onto her legs where she sat. It curled up and looked up at her with an innocent expression.
“Wow.” said Zac, “What Elethea said now makes loads of sense.”
Maria stroked the creature’s small head. It made a soft purring noise. Zac glanced between them and his own egg.
“Have I done something before you for once?” asked Maria without looking up.
Zac didn’t answer. She didn’t realise he was watching her with a smile.
“She needs a name.” he said.
“Harmony.” said Maria quickly.
He looked surprised, “Where’d you come up with that?”
Maria looked up, “I don’t know. It just came to me.”
Harmony looked pretty happy. She jumped off Maria and went over to the other egg to sniff it. It began to tremble slightly.
“Fire filled stone.” said Maria.
“Dragon eggs.” said Zac