It was a time of darkness, of pain, of suffering, of death. The world was fighting against itself, the elements of water, fire, wind, and earth were crashing together with an unbelievable force. There was nothing that the people could do, not any normal person that is.
Our town was the only completely safe place in the entire world. Nobody knew why, but many people believed that someone in our town was keeping it safe, someone with a power that was not known to the rest of the world. Others thought that we were just lucky. I didn’t know which to believe.
But one thing I did know that it was about time to put my village to sleep. You see, the people were so worried that the magic protecting our village- or our luck- would run out, and it would keep them awake at night. They were so afraid that they went weeks without sleeping, and I had to help them. You see, I play the violin, and it is said that my playing could calm anything down, and it so happens that I could put my town to sleep with this.
And now, when the moon had barely risen over the trees, was the time to do so. I stood from my place at my bay window and walked over to the corner of my room and picked up my violin case, examining it. The case was wooden, and varnished with a dark color to make it a beautiful mid-toned color. A golden plate rested on the neck, which read Annabel in an elegant font. I had placed that there so nobody could steal it.
I smiled as I opened up the case to check and make sure that my violin was still there. And indeed it was. Even though it was over two hundred years old, it was still a beautiful, dark, glossy chestnut color, the chin rest still firm in it’s place, and in all the time I had owned it I hadn’t had to replace the strings once. I closed my eyes and thought deeply for a moment, about how that could be possible. But I didn’t have much time for that.
I opened my eyes again and closed my violin case, and pulled my long silver curls back into a ponytail as I strapped the violin case to my back. Then I left out my front door. The streets of the town were silent, though I knew nobody could be asleep yet. Our streets were always silent at night, most everyone was too afraid to be out this late. I didn’t blame them, for it was much harder to see the elements than it would be in broad day light.
But I didn’t care. Somebody needed to do this, and that somebody was me. I didn’t have any friends or parents, so it didn’t matter what happened to me as long as the townspeople were safe. Even if I didn’t fit in a town like this, the people in it were all I had.
I walked down the street to the town center, my own footsteps as quiet as the night itself. The town center was the only place that I could play and be heard by the entire town, for anywhere else would throw the acoustics off balance.
Here, I sat my violin case down next to the fountain and opened it once more, pulling out my bow and rosin. Carefully, I rosined my bow, watching out for hairs that could be easily damaged. When I had finished with that, I picked my violin up and positioned it on my shoulder precisely. I thought of what I should play, and decided on a calm yet happy melody that reminded me of summer time.
As I played, the wind blew slightly, and a warm, rough, and wet feeling brushed against my face. A texture that was like all the fighting elements had brushed against my face at the same time. As soon as it had come, it was gone, right at the calmest part of the melody.
That’s when an idea hit me.
The person, the luck, the magic that was protecting my town…
In a sort of daze, I stopped playing and looked at my violin. Was the power in my mysterious violin that had no marks despite its age? Was it in me? Was it both? I didn’t know, nor did I care. It was obvious to me now what I had to do.
If what I had just done was the power that had kept my town safe, a power that could calm the elements, then I could save this world. The only thing I had to do was find the main power source for each element, and put it to sleep. Right?
So I placed my violin back in it’s case, determination burning in my heart like no fire could. The townspeople would have to find their own way of falling asleep now. I put the case back on my back and left the town center and made a right. I kept going until I reached the end of the road and gazed out into the vast plain.
Then I walked. It was the beginning of a long journey, as I found out right away. After mere hours of walking, I found myself lost and exhausted, so I sat down under a tree and awoke the next morning to find that I had fallen asleep under a tree. I blinked my eyes open and rubbed them, yawning. I was thinking to myself how I could have been so careless.
Here I am, I thought, on a dangerous journey with no protection while I sleep and-
“Whoa, you okay there, Annabel?” A voice sounded from somewhere in the tree. I looked up and saw a boy with blue hair with a puzzled look on his face.
-and some creeper decides to show up. My thoughts finished themselves.
“How do you know my name?!” I yelled up at him, probably sounding very slurred from being tired.
He chuckled and climbed out of the tree. “It’s on your violin case,” he said, pointing.
Oh yeah. I looked back at my violin case that was thankfully still on my back. Yeah, he could have seen that from the tree.
But he was making my uncomfortable nonetheless. Had he been watching me sleep? “What do you want from me?” I asked him, “If it’s money then too bad, I’m broke. If it’s directions-”
“I don’t want anything from you.”
“I just happened to be by when you woke up.”
“You expect me to believe-”
“Yeah, you’re supposed to believe that. It’s the truth.”
This guy has to be kidding, I thought.
“Where are you headed, anyway?” He asked.
How was I supposed to answer? I didn’t even know where I was going. “Uh… well… wherever the elements get their power from… I guess…”
“Well, you could start off with water. There’s an ocean just over that way,” he said pointing to his left. “Just keep going that way until you reach a cliff. You should be able to jump off it and land on the beach there okay.”
I stood up from my place under the tree and headed off in that direction. “Thanks, Uh… um… I didn’t get your name…”
“Ikuto,” he said with a smirk.
Well if that’s not a weird name then I don’t know what is, I thought.
“Yeah, thanks, Ikuto,” I said and pranced off.
I kept going in that direction and nearly got lost in my thoughts. What would happen once I reached the ocean? Would the water be wild, crazy, and uncontrollable? Or would it be calm and serene like it had been when I was a child? I hoped for the second one, but I had a feeling that it would be the first.
It didn’t take very long to reach the cliff, and I nearly ran off it by mistake. I looked out to the sea. It was indeed the first. Wild, crazy and uncontrollable. Waves were crashing against the shore in a loud roar, and seagulls were nearly knocked out of the air by high waves. I took in a deep breath and looked at the ground below me. If I jumped, would I really be okay?
It didn’t matter. I jumped anyway, and I did in fact make it to the beach okay, even though it was a long way down and I landed on my stomach. I didn’t know how that could have happened, but that didn’t matter.
I got up and shook all the sand off my body just as a giant wave was about to crash down. In shock and fear, I tried to run, but the wave covered a large amount of the beach. So I held my breath and hoped that I’d be able to hold my breath that long and that my violin and I didn’t get washed away.
When the wave came crashing down I crouched down and dug my arms into the sand in a matter of seconds. Luckily the wave receded quickly and I remained in tact.
“Foolish human,” The water said, “challenging me.”
I dug my arms out of the sand and wiped them off. I pulled my violin out of its case and held it out like it was the most fearful weapon in the universe. “Yes, I challenge you,” I said, “Quit this pointless fighting against the other elements or I will destroy you.”
The water seemed to laugh at me as it rose again, high above me and even higher than the cliff I had just been on. “We’ll see about that, human!”
Just as the water had, I also laughed. I placed the violin on my shoulder and put my chin on the chin rest, and placed my bow on the strings. I played the song I had played the night before.
The water crashed down, but it missed me by an inch. I continued to play as the water rose again, and crashed down several feet away from me. The waves slowed, and rose very little after that.
“H-how…” the water said very quietly, “I’ve gotten… sleepy…”
Very soon the water stopped moving, and it was the same calm that I remembered from my childhood.
“I stop…” The water said, “I’m ending my part of the war… I need rest…”
I smiled and knelt down next to it. “Rest then,” I said, “and never awaken again.”
“Okay….” The water replied with a yawn, and I knew it had gone to sleep.
I stood up and started to walk down the beach to my next destination.
“Kenta?! Where are- Whoa… I haven’t seen the water this at ease in years!” A girlish voice said from behind me. A girl with short purple hair came running up to the water and tripped on her own shoe and landed face first into the sand.
Before I could react, she stood up, holding her nose. “Ooooww!” She yelled, “That hurt!”
“Are you okay?”
She turned her head to look at me. “Oh, I’m fine.” She looked out past the ocean and then back to me. “Did I just see you…?”
“Uh… yeah. You saw that exactly.”
“Really? Cool! So you’re saving the world…?”
“That’s great! Hey, uh, there’s been some problems by this old ravine over there,” She gestured behind her with her head, “Like a bunch of earthquakes. Maybe you could…”
I didn’t need to hear the rest of her sentence to understand what she was asking me, so I nodded. “Sure thing,” I said and went off in the direction she gestured to. And not long after, I found myself next to a large canyon.
A ravine? I thought, How is this only a ravine?
I shrugged. It couldn’t be much harder than the ocean, right? I climbed down the side, and right as soon as my feet touched the earth, the ground began to shake violently.
“And who are you?!” The earth growled, “Someone else looking for a place to call home?”
“No,” I said, “I’m here to end you.”
“End me? Are you being serious?”
I wasn’t given the time to respond. The shock waves that were sent through the ground ended up knocking me down, and an uncountable number of rocks rained down on me. I tried to stand up, but the earthquake prevented that.
“Weak,” the earth grumbled, “just as I thought.”
For a moment, I just lay there, as still as I could be. I had a new trick up my sleeve.
The earthquake ended, and I thought I heard the earth chuckle. “Can’t even stay alive, can you?”
With a smirk, I stood up and played my melody on my violin faster than the ground could react.
“This sound….” The earth mumbled, “what is it…?”
“The sound of peace.”
“Ah… it’s a nice sound…”
And soon, even the restless earth fell asleep. I smiled and took a deep breath. Another element put to sleep.
I treaded off to my next destination. There was a mountain nearby, and I guessed that it would be a good place to fight wind.
“Karin!” I heard someone shout from in front of me, “Karin!” Just then, a boy brown hair and scary-looking eyes, ran past, and stopped when he saw me.
“Have you seen a girl with purple hair around here anywhere?” He asked, panic in his voice.
“Yeah, by the beach.”
“The beach? Doesn’t she know how dangerous that is?” I could tell that he was asking himself this, but I couldn’t help but answer myself.
“It’s not dangerous anymore.”
He looked at me, but his creepy eyes looked more like they were glaring. “Are you crazy?”
“No. I calmed the water, just like I calmed the earth.”
“Seriously. You don’t believe me?”
“No, I believe you. I find it hard not to believe things now since I know that Karin’s- Never mind. Anything I can help you with?”
“Yeah, actually, you can tell me where the mountain is.”
He pointed to the right. “Just keep going straight.”
“Thanks,” I said, and went that way.
And sure enough, there was the mountain. It was a lot taller than I’d imagined.
Well, I guess I don’t have to reach the peak, I thought, and put my hand on an uneven part of the rock and began to scale it. But I didn’t reach as high as I would have liked to before the wind came along.
“I’ve been watching you,” It whispered, “I’m not foolish like the others. I’ll dispose of you properly.”
I didn’t get a chance to do anything. The wind was swift, and knocked me off of the small ledge I was on. I went crashing down to a lower level and hit the rock with a loud thud, hitting my head.
“You…” I addressed the wind quietly and standing up, “… will not win.”
With what felt like a punch in the gut, I fell to the ground. Wind was different from the other elements I’d faced so far, it was swift, cunning, and strong. I guess I should have known that before I came all this way.
“I will,” It whispered, “I’ve studied you, I know how you fight. This will be easy.”
I shook my head. “You may have studied me,” I said, “But you haven’t fought me yet.”
I tried standing again, but the wind knocked me down once more. “You humans think you know everything, and you think that you have the right to interfere with the elemental battle-”
The wind rambled on and on, and I took this opportunity to take my violin and play my song. Immediately, the wind fell silent.
“You know,” The wind whispered, sounding calm and at ease, “I think you humans may be right for once. Sleep… that’s something I can do.”
The wind was gone. But I didn’t smile this time. Instead, I felt drained. The wind, it was stronger than the water and the earth. It took a lot of energy from me. I fell to my knees, then onto my side in a fetal position. Sleep… that was something I could do again, too.
It felt like I had only started to dream when I was being shaken.
Ke? What was ke?
Ake? As in an ache? Like a toothache or a headache? Well, I was aching. But ache up…?
I opened my eyes a little, and in dim candlelight, I saw the outline of a girl, and I could tell her hair was pink.
“Nnnnnnn…. I don’t want to…”
I felt cold water being dumped on me. My eyes opened the rest of the way, I sat up, and I spat. I looked at the girl.
“What was that for?!” I yelled, wiping my face.
“You weren’t waking up.”
I shook my head with a sigh and looked at the candle. Fire was the only element left, and it would probably be the most dangerous, yet this girl was brave enough to light a candle. I looked back at the girl and realized that I’d been laying on a kind of bedroll in a small room. I was in a house, the girl’s house.
“You… why am I in your house?”
“First off,” she said, “My name isn’t ‘you’. It’s Amu. Second, this isn’t my house. It’s the inside of a temple.”
I blinked, and realized that she was right. On the wall, there was a painted symbol, one that looked similar to the symbol we used for fire in my town.
She nodded. “The temple we built for fire before the elemental war. People have stayed away from it since then, but I figured it’d be the safest place from fire itself. Get on its good side, you know? And I doubt that fire would burn it’s own temple down,” She pointed to the candle in the corner, “It’s safe to burn candles here.”
A fire temple, eh? I thought, How convenient.
“In fact,” she went on, “I have a lot of wood burning in the inter sanctum. It keeps the fire strong, and it protects me and anyone else who decides to come to the temple safe from the other elements. It-”
I ignored the rest of her rambling and picked up my violin case. She didn’t really notice, if she did I don’t think she’d still be rambling, which she was. Quietly, I crept out the arch door and into the hallway, which lead into the inter sanctum. There, was a large fire fueled by wood, just as Amu had said.
I walked up to the fire and ran my hand through it quickly. “You don’t have to fight anymore,” I said, “The rest of the elements are asleep.”
The fire shifted to different shapes. One was a wave, one a collapsing cliff, another a tornado, and they merged into a fighting scene between the three things.
Did it mean they weren’t asleep? Or that it planned to wake them up again?
“It’s over,” I said, “You need rest.”
The fire grew into a tall pillar, it was almost as if it were angry.
“Fine,” I said, taking my violin and playing the first note of my melody, “You leave me no choice.”
But that was the only note I was able to play. The fire became arm-like and ran itself into me. I became airborne because of it’s impact, and my violin and bow flew out of my hands, and my clothes had started to burn. I fell to the floor.
“Ouch!” I yelped, the heat from the fire was bad enough, and the impact didn’t help with that. But I got up again, and reached for my violin. This time, the fire came up from below me and turned me upside-down, and I landed on my stomach. Before I could move, the fire crashed down again like a wave, then again at my right side, and again at my left. After two days of travel and being knocked around, and many late nights playing the violin, I was too weak to move.
The world was hopeless. I thought back on it all. Had it really been worth my life in the first place? Sure, the people in my town were all I had, but they never accepted me as a person, and they were all a bit vain and greedy. The world didn’t need people like that.
But then I thought about the people I’d met on my journey.
Ikuto, the first person I met, and also the first person to show me any kindness. His timing was perfect, and he lead me in the right direction. Karin, the girl who fell at the beach. She was helpless, but kind, and her helplessness ended up helping me. The boy with the scary eyes, Kenta. He was after someone he loved, someone who shouldn’t have been far from him, and he wanted to help me. Amu, the girl who took care of me just now. She was strong yet stubborn, and took care of me when I couldn’t.
Four people who the world needed, four people that should have been saved, were all going too die because I failed.
Because I failed everyone.
It’s over, I thought, my life is over. The world is over. Everything is over. And it’s all because I wasn’t strong enough.
“Annabel!” I heard someone shout. A lot of someones, actually. I turned my head as much as I could, and there stood four people. The four people I’d met on my journey.
The people I now considered friends.
“You guys…” I whispered, tears forming in my eyes.
One by one, each of them helped me stand, and helped me hold my violin right. I played my song, and as I played, earth, wind, and water rose around us and engulfed the fire. In a matter of minutes, the fire was gone, and the world was balanced once more. I felt it. We all felt it.
All five of us fell to our knees, and for what seemed to be no reason we all started to laugh. But I knew why I was laughing. Not only had I just saved the world, but I’d also somehow made friends with complete strangers.
I realized something that day. I realized that no matter how much you think you need to do something alone, and no matter how alone you think you may be, or how much things might seem to end, you aren’t alone. You’re never alone, and you can’t go it alone. That day, I realized just how important people were, and why it was important to help them when they were in need, because you never know who you might loose if you don’t.