There was once an invincible race of women known as the Sisters of Flight. They were winged women, known for being beautiful and fierce warriors. They all lived in a great palace in Punjam Hy Loo. Their palace was guarded by flying elephants, creatures that greatly resembled actual elephants, but with great wings on their backs.
A long time ago, there was a man named Haroom. Haroom was sold to slavery from birth to a wealthy maharaja. And although they were slave and master, they became great friends. But the maharaja was vain and selfish. Haroom, who recieved nothing and wanted nothing, had a heart of a prince. He respected the maharaja, who knew what he wanted and how to receive it, while the maharaja respected Haroom for being content and wise. He liked to hunt down the animals of the jungle, using their heads to line the walls as prizes. Haroom and the maharaja were hunting partners: Haroom was magnificent at tracking, while the maharaja was the one who killed. But Haroom did not like to see the animals harmed. He looked away when they were killed.
The one kind of creature the maharaja had not killed was the flying elephant. He knew where they were, at Punjam Hy Loo, but he could not get there. If he wanted to get there, he needed to fly. It was then that he came up with an idea: whenever a child dreamed, they very often dreamed of flying. Of course, when they woke, they did not remember (thus the reason children sometimes woke in their parents' beds). But children's baby teeth contained memories of every aspect of their life. If he got enough baby teeth, he could find a way to find the memories of flying. So whenever a child lost a tooth in the kingdom, they were commanded to send their tooth up to the maharaja. After some time, the maharaja built a machine that could take him all the way up to Punjam Hy Loo alongside Haroom. He commanded Haroom to make a golden bow with a ruby-tipped arrow, wanting this next hunt to be magnificent.
Once there, Haroom was immediately able to find the tracks of the flying elephants. They finally found one in its nest. But just as the maharaja raised the ruby-tipped arrow to the creature, the Sisters of Flight flew down on them, their weapons in hand. Though Haroom was both amazed and terrified, the maharaja raised his bow and arrow to the Sisters of Flight, having found a better 'prize.' Haroom then knew what he wanted: he wanted the Sisters of Flight to be safe, with no harm done to them. He commanded the maharaja to stop, but he paid his slave no heed. Just as the arrow flew from the bow, Haroom jumped in front of its passage of death, sending it straight into its chest. The maharaja, horrified and baffled, tried to stop the blood flow, but to no avail. The Sisters of Flight were baffled (who knew a human could be so selfless?) but compassionate. Rashmi, the most beautiful Sister of Flight and the one whom the maharaja had tried to fire at, flew down to Haroom, took the arrow from his chest, kissed her fingertips, and touched his wound, healing him. As Haroom awoke, all he saw was the compassionate Rashmi, and all Rashmi saw was the brave Haroom. But just as Rashmi took Haroom's hand, her wings disappeared.
The Sisters of Fligh descended on the maharaja. But Haroom, not wanting to see his former friend harmed, told them to please let him go. The Sisters of Flight agreed, but commanded that the maharaja leave everything that he brought with him: the golden bow, the ruby-tipped arrow, the flying craft of teeth, and Haroom. He must also leave his vanity and cruelty. The maharaja, heartbroken, agreed. The flying elephant, whom the maharaja had tried to kill, flew down and touched his trunk to the maharaja's forehead, taking away all the cruelty and vanity within him. But once these things were gone, the maharaja was as simple as a monkey--he had even grown a tail. He left, never to return.
Haroom and Rashmi lived on in the palace of Punjam Hy Loo and were wed. Within a year, a daughter was born. She was selfless like her father, and pure of heart like her mother. She was named Toothiana.
Toothiana was born as a human, completely normal and mortal. Because there were no other human children living in Punjam Hy Loo, Rashmi and Haroom decided it better to raise her among other mortals, so they settled on the outskirts of a village at the edge of the jungle. Toothiana was well loved and protected, living a simple and happy life. But when she was twelve, she lost her last baby tooth, and sprouted wings, along with bodily feathers. Toothiana was joyous, and by the end of the day, she could fly with the speed of a bird. She made friends with the birds and the wind, and flew up to the trees to pick the ripest mangoes, starfruit, and papayas for the children of the village.
While the children delighted in Toothiana's new ability, the adults of the village were shocked and frightened by this now half-bird girl. Some thought she was an evil spirit that must be killed, while others saw ways to use her, as either a freak to be caged and paraded about, or to force her to fly to the palace of the new maharaja and steal his jewels. Haroom and Rashmi knew that to keep their daughter safe, they would have to escape. So they packed their things and departed deep into the jungle. The children of the village, who loved Toothiana as a friend and a sisterly figure, begged their parents to leave Toothiana alone. But they were driven mad, blinded with fear and greed.
The parents of the village set up a large cage, hired the best hunters around, and asked them to capture Toothiana. Among these was a man known as the Mysterious Hunter, a hunter who never spoke or revealed his face from beneath his cloak.
But Haroom and Rashmi were smarter than any hunter. Haroom, an expert at tracking, was able to cover their tracks. And Rashmi, who could speak every animal language in the world, enlisted the animals for help. All of the animals intercepted and sometimes attacked the hunters whenever they moved too near to their camp. But the hunters, hungry for fame and riches if they caged Toothiana, would not give up.
The children, too, helped keep the hunters at bay. They defied their parents and sent word to Toothiana and her parents again and again whenever the hunters stalked the jungle. Toothiana, wiser still, stayed in the treetops by day and only visited her parents in the darkest hours of the night.
After weeks of failing to capture Toothiana, the parents of the village became more sly. They followed their children into the jungle and found where Toothiana and her parents were staying. They left a trail of coins for the hunters. But the only hunter who followed was the Mysterious one. He commanded that Toothiana's parents be kidnapped and it be said that if Toothiana did not show, her parents would be murdered. And so Rashmi and Haroom were attacked in their camp. They surrendered without a fight. Rashmi and Haroom had told Toothiana never to come after them if they were in danger. But the Mysterious Hunter declared that the winged girl's parents would be killed by dawn if Toothiana did not show.
The animals of the jungle heard. They ran to Toothiana and told her what was happening. Toothiana, usually known for being kind and compassionate, withdrew her swords and flew off like a torpedo to her parents. But Haroom and Rashmi, both with hearts of gold and proud warriors, refused to let their daughter be captured. As Toothiana came, they fought like possesed beings. But as they did, so did the villagers and hunters.
Toothiana darted left to right, reaching and pawing for her parents over the angry mob, but it was no use. Finally, she reached them, but she didn't have the strength to lift them up over the angry mob. Rashmi took out a stringed pouch and gave it to her daughter, saying that its contents would protect and comfort her. And then, heartbroken but determined, Rashmi and Haroom commanded their child to go. Toothiana almost did so, but stopped, unsure of what to do. Finally, she flew away, screaming. It was a horrible, mesmerizing scream, half-human and half-bird. As she screamed, the Mysterious Hunter screamed back. His scream was terryfing, soul-freezing, filled with hatred and fury, more animal than human. Toothiana then knew she had an enemy: one she could either kill or be killed by.
But now she could only grieve. She flew to the highest treetop in the land and sat there. She did not cry, not a single tear. But she ached, both outside and inside, with the blank trench of an empty life. For a full day she sat in the tree in a phase of disbelief and sadness. Then she remembered the pouch Rashmi had given her. Opening it, she fould a shimmering ruby box, obviously carved from the arrow that had almost killed her parents. A note was alongside the box, containing this message:
Our Dearest Girl,
These are the teeth of your childhood. If you have them under your pillow in your sleep, or if you hold them tightly, you will remember that which you need--a memory of happy days, or of deepest hopes, or even of us in better days.
But one tooth is not yours. It's a tooth of amazing power, and from what being it comes from, we did not know,
Use it only in times of great danger or need.
Your Dearest Parents
Toothiana still did not cry. Instead, she slept with her teeth under her pillow, letting the hopes and dreams and happiness of her childhood wrap around her in a loving blanket.
Toothiana stayed in the jungle. But she hated her wings. If it weren't for them, her parents would still be alive. The creatures of the jungle did their best to comfort her, bringing her the freshest of food and making her treetop beds as soft as possible. The children of the village also tried to cheer Toothiana up, but they had to be extra cautious now because of their parents.
But Toothiana became more and more convinced that she belonged nowhere--not with the animals of the jungle, and certainly not with the humans of the village. She was all alone. At her saddest, she would take one of her baby teeth and hold it close.
Years passed, but Toothiana never felt or saw herself aging. The children of the village were growing up, losing some of their innocence and goodness. So she began to collect their teeth so that in the future she could return their memories to them and remind them of their kindness, just as her parents had done for her.
The children feared that their parents would find out and hunt down Toothiana again, so they decided to hide their teeth beneath their pillows to be found. Toothiana, enjoying this new game of sorts, decided to leave them treasures, like sprinkles of sapphire bits, or chips of gold.
But the parents became suspicious when their children woke in the morning with handfuls of rubies or emeralds, and demanded their children to tell them where they recieved them. They then set a new trap for Toothiana.
One night, Toothiana flew to the village on one of her nightly rounds. A boy named Akela had lost his two front teeth, and Toothiana had a great treasure in store for him, two uncut diamonds. But as she entered his room through his window, it wasn't Akela she found. Instead the Mysterious Hunter leaped at her.
Toothiana's rage and fury could be contained no more. She needed to get rid of this thing once and for all. But before she could fly forward, or brandish her swords, a steel wall fell before her. And then one behind her and to her sides. She wasn't in Akela's room--she was in a giant cage. The parents of the village cheered as the Hunter hauled away the cage, with help from his platoon of helpers. The children bawled and wept, begging and pleading with their parents to let Toothiana go. But they wouldn't. The Hunter had promised them riches beyond their wildest dreams when he sold Toothiana. They were willing to give up an innocent, kind-hearted girl for wealth.
Toothiana tried to escape, flinging herself at the cage, but found it no good. The Hunters still hauled her cage through the jungle. They knew the animals of the jungle would tried to help Toothiana, so they warded them off with fire. Because they did, the creatures stayed a good distance away, but never stopped following them, waiting for a chance to free the innocent girl and attack her kidnappers.
After days of travel, the Mysterious Hunter, his helpers, Toothiana, and the animals arrived at Toothiana's birthplace: the palace of Punjam Hy Loo. The flying elephants, their wings outstretched and their trunks ready to stike, ready to defend their palace. The animals had warned them of the Hunter's arrival.
The Mysterious Hunter did not challenge the elephants. Instead, he raised his bright torch of fire higher, declaring that he had brought an offering for the Sisters of Flight and their flying elephants. But no Sister of Flight could be seen or heard. The Hunter declared that he had the half-breed daughter of Haroom and Rashmi.
The wind blew down fiercely, the leaves of the trees snapping off into the air. Some torches went out, but most stayed alit. Toothiana knew it was a wind sent by the Sisters of Flight. And she also knew it was time to take out her box of memory teeth.
Then a chorus of voices, lovely but sharp, rang out all around. 'Why cage our child? Where be her mother and father? What trick of men do you bring us? What do you seek from us?'
The Hunter took off his cloak for the first time. He was no man whatsoever, but a tall monkey. He declared he was once a maharaja but now stood as the king of monkeys. Then all the helpers withdrew their clothes, revealing them all to be monkeys. The Monkey King also declared that Toothiana's parents were dead, by his doing, and that he sought revenge for being turned into a monkey. He then withdrew a bow and arrow, aiming it straight at Toothiana's heart.
But before he could fire at her, Toothiana raised the ruby box in her hand and held it tightly. She pictured her parents, laughing and smiling, playing and comforting her, and sacrificing themselves for her...
The cage was suddenly gone. And Toothiana was no longer alone, but was surrounded by a swarm of MiniFairies, small hummingbird-like creatures that resembled Tooth with some exceptions. The Sisters of Flight flew ahead, creating a tornado of wind that blew out the torches. The animals attacked, alongside the flying elephants. The Minifairies charged at the Monkey King. He clawed at them, but they were too fast. Toothiana was at first mystified by her new minions, but only for a second. Within an instance, she grabbed the Monkey King by his throat and lifted him up.
Rage and fury swelled inside Toothiana at this being who slaughtered her parents. She could kill him now and be done with him forever. But her ruby box glowed, and the memory of her parents stopped her. She wouldn't end the Monkey King's life. Let the jungle choose his fate.
She let him go.
And then she flew up to the flying Sisters of Flight, all with her new fleet of MiniFaries.
The animals of the jungle and the flying elephants of Punjam Hy Loo charged at the Monkey King and attacked, clawing and biting and smashing.
His screams could be heard all the way up to the Moon.
When all was done with the Monkey King, Toothiana flew up to join the Sisters of Flight in Punjam Hy Loo. They asked about her parents, and she sadly explained how they'd been slaughtered. Then the Sisters of Flight began to fly in a rapid tornado, all of them turning into wooden carvings, like statues. Toothiana was terrified, but one of the Sisters explained that if one of them died, they all died. Toothiana would be queen there now, protecting the memories of children's teeth.