MidReal Story

Eclipse of the Enchanted Coffee Tree

Scenario: At the height of the Zubmah hill on the edge of Arkne village the day before the eclipse of the planet Lidmuz, you could faintly see the seeds of a magical coffee tree growing rapidly and soon it would change the world.
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At the height of the Zubmah hill on the edge of Arkne village the day before the eclipse of the planet Lidmuz, you could faintly see the seeds of a magical coffee tree growing rapidly and soon it would change the world.
I am Aria Blackwood, the daughter of the village elder in Arkne.
Ever since I can remember, I have been drawn to the magic and mysteries of our world.
Growing up in a village that prides itself on its connection to nature, I developed a love for botany at an early age.
My parents, both of whom are members of the village council and respected elders, nurtured my passion and encouraged me to explore the secrets of the plants that grow in our lush corner of the world.
Arkne is known for its mystical lands, home to a variety of magical creatures that are seldom found elsewhere.
From unicorns to forest nymphs, our village is a place where the fantastical and the real coexist and thrive in harmony.
As a child, I often ventured into the forests with my friends to play and learn about the land that surrounds us.
During these adventures, I formed a bond with the ancient trees and the elusive animals that dwell among them.
I soon realized that all living beings have their own magic, their own secrets that only those who are patient and attentive enough can uncover.
As I grew older and was separated from my friends to pursue my studies, my fascination with plants only intensified.
I sought out the village herbalist, a woman known for her wisdom and experience when it came to healing herbs and other flora.
I asked her to take me under her wing, promising her that I would learn everything she would teach me about the plants that grow in our land.
I was not content with merely scratching the surface; I wanted to dive deep into the secrets of nature and explore its wonders like never before.
For years she guided me on my journey of discovery, introducing me to magical herbs with properties I had never imagined possible.
It was during this time that I made a discovery at Zubmah hill, a place so special to our village that only those who have something important or sacred to protect are allowed to go there.
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The day of the eclipse was drawing near.
The sky was painted with vibrant colors, an omen of Lidmuz’s rare and impending eclipse.
At the edge of the village, Finn Evergreen and I stood on Zubmah hill, just as the sun began to set.
Looking out, we could see the entire village and the surrounding forests from our vantage point.
The hill was where we buried the bones of our ancestors, and it was said that their spirits roamed the land, protecting Arkne and all its inhabitants.
“Do you think it will happen?”
Finn asked me as he gazed up to the sky, his brown hair ruffled by the wind.
His green eyes were full of excitement and anticipation.
“I’m sure of it,” I replied.
“I have a feeling that today is going to be special.”
My childhood friend chuckled.
“You always say that before something bad happens.”
“I’m being serious!”
I insisted, my long black hair billowing in the wind.
“Okay, okay, calm down.”
Finn raised his hands, chuckling softly.
“Just promise me you won’t do anything crazy, okay?”
“I can’t make that promise,” I said with a grin.
“Where’s the fun in playing it safe?”
“Sometimes, safety is important,” Finn said, sounding like a worried parent.
“Besides, this could be dangerous.
What if we encounter a monster or something?”
I playfully rolled my eyes.
“Stop worrying so much, will you?
I’m here with you, remember?
You’ll protect me if anything happens.”
Finn shook his head, but there was a small smile tugging at his lips.
“Yeah, yeah, of course I will.
I glanced around at the ground and the seeds we had sown earlier that day.
I couldn’t believe it, but they were already sprouting, growing into a tree right before our very eyes.
The plant was growing at an alarming rate, much faster than anything else we had ever seen.
It was as if it was being pulled by some invisible force, the energy in the air humming with magic.
The plant was not ordinary—it was a coffee tree, and its leaves shone with an ethereal glow.
Some of them were even floating in mid-air, as if they were weightless.
I reached out to touch them, but Finn grabbed my hand and stopped me.
I looked up and saw that the trunk of the tree wasn’t made of wood—it was metal, and it gleamed in the light of the sun.
It looked like silver, and it twisted and turned like a spiral staircase leading to the heavens above.
The villagers had always said that Arkne had magic in its soil, magic that had been passed down from generations to generations.
But we never truly believed it until now.
If word of this got out, then outsiders would come to our village and try to steal our magic for themselves.
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“We can’t tell anyone about this,” I said.
Finn nodded in agreement.
“We’ll keep it a secret,” he said.
“There’s no way I’m letting anyone take this away from us.”
I smiled as I watched the coffee tree grow.
It wasn’t long before it reached the top of the hill.
It grew taller and taller, its branches stretching out as if they were trying to reach the stars.
And that wasn’t all—there were cherries growing on its branches.
They looked like coffee cherries, and they were the size of my head.
I took a deep breath and inhaled the aroma that wafted toward me—it smelled divine.
It smelled like the most delicious cup of coffee that I had ever tasted.
And it wasn’t just me—Finn could smell it too.
His eyes widened in shock as he took a deep breath and let out a low whistle.
“Whatever this is,” he said.
“It smells amazing.”
The coffee tree continued to grow and grow, its branches laden with what appeared to be coffee cherries.
There were so many of them that I couldn’t even begin to count.
There was a flicker in the air, a shimmer of light that seemed to escape from the cherries.
It danced around me, lighting up my skin.
I could feel the magic in the air.
It was almost as if the universe was telling me that this was my destiny, that this was meant for me.
And I believed it.
I believed that what we had found here today was no mere coincidence.
I believed that this was a sign from the heavens above.
The eclipse of Lidmuz was just around the corner, and I knew in my heart that something magical was about to happen.
This was only the beginning of our journey.
A journey that would take us far away from home.
A journey that would change our lives forever.
“What do you think it is?”
Finn asked as he watched the tree grow even taller.
“Magic,” I whispered.
“This must be the magic of Arkne, the gift of our soil.”
Finn looked nervous.
“If word of this gets out—”
“It won’t,” I said.
“We’ll keep it a secret, remember?”
I reached up to pluck one of the cherries from the tree.
There was a spark of energy, a tingle that ran down my spine as I did.
I felt an overwhelming urge to eat it—to taste it, to consume it.
As if this was my destiny, as if this was the only thing that I had ever wanted to do.
So I did.
I bit into it, and I closed my eyes as the flavors exploded in my mouth.
It was like nothing I had ever tasted before.
It was sweet, but it was also bitter.
It was sour, but it was also salty.
It was everything, all at once.
It was home, and it was adventure.
It was love, and it was heartbreak.
It was memory, and it was dream.
A thousand years passed in an instant as I tasted that cherry, as I savored that flavor.
I fell to my knees, lost in sensation, lost in time.
But Finn was there to catch me.
He held me in his arms as I shook and trembled, as I tried to make sense of what I had just experienced.
As I tried to understand the memories that had flooded my mind.
“Are you okay?”
he asked, his voice gentle.
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I pushed him away, standing unsteadily on my feet.
“I’m fine,” I said.
“What just happened?”
He asked, his eyes wide with shock.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“But I think that this is just the beginning.”
The coffee tree continued to grow, its branches thickening as it stretched toward the sky.
And there were more cherries growing on it now, hundreds of them, thousands of them.
It was like a forest made of metal, a forest made of magic.
I looked around at the other villagers who had gathered to watch the tree grow.
Their faces were filled with awe and wonder, their eyes wide with shock.
They couldn’t believe what they were seeing, but they knew that it was real.
That this was happening.
That this was the magic of Arkne, the gift of our soil.
The seeds that we had sown were no ordinary seeds.
They were magical coffee tree seeds, and they were growing faster than anything else in the world.
They were growing faster than anything that I had ever seen.
And I knew that we were going to be famous.
“We can’t let anyone else know about this,” Finn said nervously.
“Imagine what would happen if word got out—”
I put a finger to his lips to silence him.
“We’ll keep it a secret,” I said.
“And we’ll use it wisely.”
“But how?”
He said, looking worried.
“We’re just farmers.”
“The seeds chose us,” I said.
“They must have known that we would be worthy of their gift.”
Finn shook his head doubtfully, but I could see that he wanted to believe me.
He wanted to believe that this was a good thing, that this was a gift, not a curse.
That this was something that we could use to bring prosperity and knowledge to our village, not something that would bring greed and destruction.
The coffee tree had grown even taller now—more than thirty feet high, at least.
It shimmered in the air, its metal trunk glowing with an otherworldly light.
Its branches were heavy with cherries, so many cherries that it looked like they might fall off at any moment and come crashing to the ground.
But they didn’t.
Instead, they pulsed with a faint blue light, sending waves of energy out into the world.
I reached up to touch one, and I gasped in shock as my finger met its surface.
It wasn’t soft like a cherry should be—it was hard, harder than anything that I had ever felt before.
It felt like it might cut my skin, like it might break my bones.
But I didn’t pull away.
I kept my finger there, pressing into the cherry, feeling its power.
Feeling its magic.
The tree continued to grow, and the sky grew dark as the eclipse of Lidmuz approached.
The villagers gasped in shock as they watched the moon pass in front of the sun, casting an eerie shadow over the land.
But I didn’t care.
I couldn’t look away from the tree, from the cherries that hung from its branches, from the memories that danced in my mind.
This was my destiny, and this was my choice.
I knew that there were only two paths that I could take—that I could either understand this or protect this.
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The people of Arkne gasped in shock as the eclipse began, casting an eerie shadow over the land, turning the world dark and cold, hiding the sun from the sky.
But I couldn’t look away from the tree, from the cherries that hung from its branches, from the memories that danced in my mind.
“Are you sure?”
Finn asked, sensing my determination, sensing the path that I had chosen, sensing the fire that burned inside me.
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I turned to him, and he saw the truth in my eyes.
“I am,” I said, taking his hand in mine.
“Then I am with you,” he said, his voice soft but strong, his eyes filled with love and loyalty and trust and promise.
“I am with you whether you choose to reveal or conceal our secret,” he said, his voice echoing in the air, his words filled with power and truth.
“I am with you whatever it takes.”
His words hung in the air, echoing around us, echoing through us, echoing inside me.
And I knew that they were true, that they were real, that they were unbreakable.
And so I nodded, and so I accepted his promise of loyalty and protection.
In that moment, I felt a connection to this land, to this tree, to these seeds that had chosen me—and to Finn Evergreen as well.
I felt a bond between us, a bond that was deeper than any friendship or love or family or blood.
It was a bond of destiny, a bond of duty, a bond of the heart—and it would never be broken.
And so we stood there on Zubmah hill as the eclipse of Lidmuz raged on around us, as the people of Arkne gasped in shock and fear and horror at the sight of the sun vanishing from the sky for most of their lives—just as their ancestors before them had done, just as their descendants after them would do—and we knew what we had to do.
We had to learn the secrets of this land.
We had to learn the secrets of this tree.
We had to learn the secrets of these seeds.
And we would do it together.
“I can’t let you do this alone,” Finn said as I prepared to descend the hill.
“To face whatever is down there by yourself.”
“But you said that you would be there for me whether I chose to reveal or conceal our secret,” I said.
“And I choose not to.”
“But—” he began.
“But nothing,” I said.
“And I know that you would never break your word.”
Finn stood there for a moment, his eyes searching mine for any sign of weakness or fear or doubt.
But he found none.
“You’re right,” he said finally.
“I’m not letting you go down there by yourself.”
And then he took my hand and led me down the hill.
I knew that he would follow me no matter what I said.
Because he was not just my friend—he was my partner in this journey.
And he knew that we had to face whatever was down there together.
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The moment we set foot on the hilltop, the magical coffee tree took our breath away.
Its branches were heavy with pulsating beans that seemed to glow and pulse and beckon us with promises of ancient secrets and untold wonders.
Finn Evergreen was the first to speak.
“It’s beautiful,” he said.
“Yeah,” I agreed.
But then his face darkened.
“What if people find out about it?People from other villages.
People from the city.
People who come here and try to take the trees somewhere else.
What will happen then?”
“You mean what will happen when they try to take the trees outside the village?”
I asked as I stepped forward and reached out toward the tree.
I could feel a wave of nostalgia washing over me as I did so.
As if the tree and I had known each other for all eternity.
I knew that this tree was not a threat.
I knew that this tree was a gift from the land itself.
“Exactly,” Finn said as he followed me toward the tree.
“Exactly,” I repeated as I reached out and touched the pulsating beans.
As soon as I did so, a wave of energy swept over me.
And I knew that this was meant to be.
I knew that this was fate.
This was destiny.
And this was a journey that I was meant to take.
“This tree is not a threat,” I declared as I turned to face Finn.
“It’s not something that we have to worry about people finding out about and stealing from us.
It’s something that we need to protect.
Something that we need to study.
Something that we need to learn how to control and master.”
Finn looked at me for a moment and saw the look of determination on my face.
And he knew that he could not deny me the right to pursue this dream.
He had seen this look before in my eyes.
He had seen it when I had tried to climb the mountain.
When I had tried to win the marathon.
When I had tried to build a snowman taller than any other in history.
And he knew that there was nothing that he could do to stop me from trying this time too.
“Be careful, Aria,” Finn warned me.
“We don’t know what kind of magic is in those beans.
We don’t know what they can do.
The wrong people might try to take them from you.
The wrong people might try to use them for evil.”
“I know,” I said.
“But I have to do this.”
And then I turned away from him and faced the tree.
And I reached out and touched it again.
And another wave of energy swept over me.
And I knew that this was meant to be.
“I will protect you,” I declared as I reached out toward the tree again and closed my eyes.
“And I will find out how to use your magic.”
The magical coffee tree seeds were meant for me.
I was sure of it.
They were my destiny.
My fate.
My future.
Because I was Aria Blackwood.
A daughter of Arkne.
A child of this land.
A woman of the earth.
And if anyone could unlock the secrets of these seeds, it would be me.
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Until a year later, the secret of the magical coffee tree was still maintained. Aria and Finn decide to open a small cafe by the lake. Finally, the charm of the magic coffee began to spread its aroma.
I stood before the tree, staring at the beans hanging from its branches.
It had been a year since we had discovered the magical coffee tree.
And in that time, it had grown.
Not too much.
But enough.
Enough for people to notice.
Enough for people to ask questions.
Enough for people to start thinking about the possibilities.
Finn was standing beside me, staring at the tree with his arms crossed over his chest.
He was worried.
Worried that someone else might discover this tree and decide that they wanted to take it away.
Worried that someone else might decide that they wanted to use it for their own nefarious purposes.
Worried that someone else might decide that they wanted to hurt me.
We had lived in this village for our entire lives.
We knew everyone who lived here.
But that didn’t mean that they were all our friends.
And that didn’t mean that we could trust them all.
If someone found out about the magical coffee tree, they might try to hurt Finn and me so that they could have all of the power for themselves.
I could understand his worries and his concerns.
But I did not want him to be worried or concerned about this tree.
Because this tree was not a threat.
This tree was a blessing.
This tree was a promise of change.
A promise of hope.
A promise of a new and better future for Arkne and all of its people.
We just had to understand its power and learn how to use it properly.
“I can’t help but wonder if we’re doing the right thing,” Finn said as he glanced at me out of the corner of his eye.
“If we should let someone know about this tree before someone else discovers it and tries to take it away from us?”
I did not respond right away.
I knew that Finn was just trying to protect me in his own way.
I knew that Finn was just trying to do what he thought was best for our village and our people.
But this tree was not a threat.
This tree was a promise of change.
And that change was something that Arkne and all of its people needed if they were ever going to survive.
“No,” I said at last.
“I will not tell anyone about this tree.
I will not let anyone else know that it is here.
I will not allow anyone else the chance to take it away from me before I have the chance to learn how to use it and understand its magic.”
Finn opened his mouth, but before he could say another word, a sudden gust of wind blew up around us.
I turned toward the noise, and Finn turned beside me.
And we both watched as a whirl of dust blew across the top of the hill.
And then in the blink of an eye, the dust began to rise into the air.
And then the dust began to coalesce and form into the shape of a figure.
And then the dust began to solidify.
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And then, before we knew it, the figure was standing there before us.
It was a woman with long silver hair that shone like the moon.
Her eyes were dark and deep with wisdom as they gazed at us from beneath her long lashes.
A delicate silver chain was wrapped around her forehead, holding her hair out of her eyes.
Her skin was pale and unblemished, like fresh-fallen snow.
Her lips were full and red, like two rose petals pressed together.
She wore a long white dress that flowed down her body and trailed on the ground behind her.
Around her waist was tied a long silver sash.
And on her feet were delicate silver sandals.
She looked like something out of a dream—or out of our worst nightmare—standing there before us on the top of the hill.
Finn took a step back and unsheathed his knife, preparing himself for anything that might come next.
My heart was pounding in my chest so hard, I thought it might burst from my chest at any moment.
“Who are you?”
“This is Zubmah hill,” she said with a playful smile.
And I am Elara Moonstone.
“It’s nothing but a barren wasteland,” Finn said as he glanced around us.
“Nobody ever comes here unless they have some reason for doing so.”
“Not nobody,” Elara replied, “but almost nobody.” She gave me another playful glance. “I am surprised that there is life on this hill.
I had always thought that nothing would ever be able to grow or prosper here.
But I guess I was wrong.
These little miracles prove me wrong.”
I felt my heart skip a beat as her words washed over me.
It almost sounded as if she knew what these seeds were—or what they would become.
But that was not possible.
No one knew what these seeds were—or what they would become—except for me.
And now, for some strange reason, this woman as well.
“How do you know about these seeds?”
Finn asked as he took another step back.
“How do you know what they are or where they came from?”
“I know what they are,” she replied with a knowing smile.
“And I know where they came from as well.” She stepped closer to the tree and gazed up at its branches.
“These little miracles are like old friends of mine,” she said as she reached out toward the tree and ran her fingers across the leaves, “the oldest of friends.”
“Do you know how these little miracles came to be?”
Finn asked as he watched her closely.
He moved closer to my side, as if he was afraid that she was going to attack us at any moment.
As if he was afraid that she was going to try and take the tree away from us before we were able to use its power for ourselves.
“I do,” Elara replied simply as she turned her gaze back toward us.
“But that is a story for another time, my young friend, when you are older and wiser than you are now.” She held out her hand toward us in greeting, her long slender fingers stretched out before her.
“Both of you.”
For some reason, I did not want to take her hand.
I could feel my heart pounding even harder in my chest as my eyes met hers.
I could feel the blood rushing through my veins as my breath caught in my throat.
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“Are you sure that is your name?”
Finn asked as he glanced at the hand that Elara had stretched out toward us.
“Are you sure that is the name you wish us to call you?”
“I am,” she replied with a smile, “for more reasons than one.” She looked down at her hand and then met his gaze once again. “But you are one of the first people who has ever known it—other than myself.”
“And the elders,” I added as I stepped forward and took her hand in mine.
“And the elders,” she repeated as she gave me another playful glance, “and anyone else who has ever read the ancient prophecy.”
I felt my heart skip a beat yet again as her words washed over me.
Elara Moonstone—a name of great importance.
A name of great significance.
A name that only the elders were supposed to know—or speak of—in front of others.
“Do you know what that name means?”
Finn asked as he watched us closely.
“Do you know what you are saying when you tell us your name?”
“I do,” she replied.
“But do you?”
Finn’s eyes narrowed as he glared at her suspiciously.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“What are you talking about?”
I asked as I glanced at him curiously.
“She is trying to confuse you,” he replied as he stepped closer to my side and placed his hand on my shoulder.
“That is what all outsiders do.They try to confuse you so that they can get what they want.”
Sighing, I knew that he was right—most of the time—but for some reason, I could not shake the feeling that something was different about this outsider.
This woman who stood before us—Elara Moonstone—who acted as if she knew me even though we had never met before today.
“No one is trying to confuse anyone,” she replied as she glanced at Finn before turning her gaze back toward me. “But if you look into my eyes, Aria Blackwood, I think that you will find what it is that you are looking for.”
As I met her gaze once again, I felt my heart skip a beat yet again and I gasped as I realized that I was looking into eyes that were the exact same color as mine—eyes that were the exact same shade of blue that mine were whenever the eclipse came—and a shiver ran down my spine as I recalled the words of the ancient prophecy that the elders had whispered to me all those years ago: “When Elara Moonstone comes to Zubmah hill and looks into your eyes with her eyes of blue, the truth will be revealed to you.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” I said as I shook my head and looked away from her eyes and toward the tree instead, “but I don’t think that you should be here right now.” A chill swept through me and I wrapped my arms around myself tightly as I glanced around and noticed that the wind was beginning to pick up and the leaves were starting to fall from the trees.
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“Elara Moonstone,” I repeated as I raised an eyebrow and met her gaze once again.
Finn asked as he stepped even closer to my side and wrapped his arm around my waist protectively before glancing back at Elara and glaring at her suspiciously.
“Just who are you?”
“An outsider,” she replied simply as she crossed her arms over her chest and raised an eyebrow, “who has things to tell you.”
“What do you have to tell us?”
I asked cautiously as I raised an eyebrow and stared at her curiously.
“Come closer,” she replied simply as she held out her hand for me to take, “and I will tell you everything that you want to know.”
As Finn tightened his grip on my waist protectively, I knew that he did not want me to go any closer to Elara than I already was; but something told me that this mysterious woman was not going to hurt me—and so I stepped out of his grasp, took a step closer to her before taking her hand in mine.
“It is good to see you again,” she said softly before glancing back at Finn and stepping out of my grasp before taking a step back once again as a smile spread across her lips.
“It is good to see you again too,” I replied as I raised an eyebrow curiously.
“But how do we know each other?”
“You will know soon enough,” she replied cryptically before reaching up and tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear before turning around and glancing toward the tree once again.
“What is the tree?”
I asked carefully as I stared at her curiously.
“And how do you know what it is?”
“It is the coffee tree—and it is the key to fulfilling the Fable of Arcadia.”
“The Fable of Arcadia?”
Finn asked cautiously as he stepped closer to my side and wrapped his arm around my waist protectively once again before stepping closer to Elara and glaring at her suspiciously.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Zubmah hill is a special place,” she replied simply as she turned and looked at me once again before reaching up and tucking another strand of hair behind my ear. “And it is a place where prophecies are born; but what are prophecies but fables of things that are not yet known?—fables that have the power to change the world forever.”
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"What fables?" Finn asked, but the mysterious woman turned around and walked towards the fog that covered part of the hill and suddenly disappeared
I turned towards Finn and raised an eyebrow curiously before I started towards the fog myself and reached out to push it aside; but he grabbed my arm tightly before I could take more than a few steps and pulled me back towards him before wrapping his arms around me protectively.
“Where do you think you are going?”
he asked seriously as he stared down at me with narrowed eyes before glancing toward the fog and letting out an exasperated sigh before looking down at me once again.
“I just want to talk to her,” I replied carefully as I glanced toward the fog once again and felt my heart pounding against my chest anxiously before looking back at him and placing my hand on his arm comfortingly.
“Why don’t you come with me?”
“No,” he said firmly before shaking his head stubbornly and wrapping his arms around me even tighter than they already were so that I could not move. “I don’t trust her.”
“Come with me,” I said obediently as I reached up and placed my hands on his chest before pushing him towards the fog.
“No,” he replied stubbornly as he grabbed me by the shoulders, pulled me away from him, and held me at arm’s length before looking down at me with a worried expression on his face.
“I won’t let you go anywhere near her.”
“But I want to talk to her,” I replied stubbornly as I stared up at him angrily.
“She knows something about the magical coffee tree seeds that we don’t, and I want to find out what it is.”
“There are dark figures lurking in the shadows; and you don’t know what they are capable of.”
“And you don’t know what she is capable of either,” he replied stubbornly as he took a step towards me, wrapped his arms around me once again, and held me to his chest as if his life depended on it before reaching down, grabbing me by the knees, lifting me into his arms, and starting down the hill.
“Finn, stop,” I said as I pushed him away from me and jumped out of his arms before turning around and starting back towards the fog.
“You can’t stop me,” I said stubbornly as I turned around, glared at him angrily, and started back towards the fog once again.
“I can stop you if I want to,” he replied seriously as he grabbed me by the shoulder, pulled me back towards him, and held me in place as I struggled against him.
“And I’m not going to let anything happen to you—now come with me!”
“And I will make sure nothing happens to her,” Elara replied as she suddenly appeared in front of us once again; but Finn was too distracted by my struggle to break free from him to notice her presence—at least until she raised her hand in front of her face and snapped her fingers.
As soon as she did, a wave of energy swept over us that stopped me in my tracks, opened my mouth in shock, and made my hair stand on end—and then my eyes widened in surprise as she stretched her arms out in front of her, pushed the energy away from us with her hands, and snapped her fingers once more so that we were no longer trapped by her spell.
“Who are you?”
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Now Elara has completely disappeared leaving us alone. What should we do next
I pulled away from Finn, took a step towards the fog, and stretched my hand out in front of me as if I could reach out to Elara, call her back to us, and force her to give us the answers that we were looking for.
“Aria, no,” he said as he grabbed me by the wrist, pulled me back towards him, and held me in place as I continued to struggle against his grasp.
“Please don’t do this.
Don’t go back there.
Don’t go near that woman.
If you go back to the fog, you will disappear into it just like she did, and there will be no way for me to get you back.”
“What if she is telling the truth?”
“But she is not telling the truth,” he replied stubbornly as he wrapped his arms around me, pulled me down to the ground, sat down beside me, wrapped his arms around my shoulders, and held me tightly as he looked up at me with a worried expression on his face.
“She is trying to lure you into a trap; and I’m not going to let her do it.
We are going home—right now!”
“But we can’t go home.
The fog is blocking our way; and we are never going to make it back through the forest before the eclipse begins,” I said stubbornly as I pushed his arms away from me, climbed to my feet, wrapped my arms around my chest, shivered from head to toe, and continued to stare at the fog as if something was calling out to me from within it.
“Aria, listen to me,” he said seriously as he climbed to his feet, stood beside me, wrapped his arms around my shoulders, and held me tightly so that I would not be able to run away from him again.
“I know that you are curious about what she has to say; but we don’t know anything about this woman.
We don’t even know if she is telling us the truth; and we could end up in a world of trouble if we decide to follow her—so please don’t do it.”
“But I want to know what she knows,” I said stubbornly as I shivered from head to toe once again before stepping away from Finn’s grasp so that I could continue to stare at the fog.
“Can you help me?”
“I can take you anywhere you want to go,” Elara replied enigmatically as she suddenly appeared in front of us once again; and I turned around in surprise so that I could look at her and Finn could be distracted by my sudden movement so that he would not be able to pull me away from the fog before it is too late.
“But only if you are willing to go with me,” she added enigmatically as she raised her hand in front of her face and snapped her fingers once more so that the fog disappeared and the path before us opened up once again.
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Finn hesitated for a moment as he stared at Elara with a frown; but he eventually sighed and nodded his head before he reached for my hand and squeezed it tightly in his grasp as he led me away from the fog and back onto the path before us.
“Where are we going?”
I asked Elara curiously as we followed her along the path before us; and she smiled mysteriously before turning around to face us once again.
“As far away from this place as we possibly can,” she replied enigmatically as she reached for my hand and squeezed it tightly in hers before leading us away from Arkne Village and into the heart of the forest once more.
“What are you talking about?”
Finn demanded angrily as he reached for my other hand and squeezed it tightly in his grasp so that I would not be able to break free from his hold and run away from him so easily this time.
“You may be able to convince Aria that you are not dangerous; but I am not convinced,” he growled angrily before stepping between Elara and myself with a protective glint in his eyes.
“Finn, stop it,” I said impatiently before stepping around him so that I would be able to stand beside Elara once again instead of standing behind him where he wanted me to be.
“I am not going to let anything happen to Aria,” he growled angrily before pulling me away from Elara’s grasp and wrapping his arms securely around my waist so that I would not be able to break free from his hold once again.
“You don’t know what she is capable of; and you could end up getting hurt if you decide to follow her—so please don’t do it.”
“He is right; you know,” Elara agreed enigmatically as she smiled mysteriously before reaching for my hand once again and squeezing it tightly in hers; then she turned on her heel and began to lead us away from the path before us and into the heart of the forest once more so that we would be able to continue our journey towards an unknown destination together at last.
“Where are you leading us?”
Finn demanded angrily as he followed us along the path before us with an impatient scowl on his face.
“Are you sure you know where you are going?”
he growled angrily just as we reached another crossroads in the forest, paused for a moment to catch our breaths, and waited for Elara to make up her mind so that she would be able to choose another path for us to follow.
“Why are we following her anyway?”
he continued impatiently as he turned around to face me and pulled me away from Elara’s grasp so that he would be able to wrap his arms around my waist one last time; then he turned around to face Elara once again and glared at her suspiciously as he waited for me to answer his question instead of listening to her answer it for us at last.
“Because she knows something we don’t,” I replied enigmatically as I shrugged my shoulders and pulled away from Finn’s grasp so that I would be able to stand beside him instead of standing behind him where he wanted me to be.
“And because something tells me that we are supposed to follow her.”
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Suddenly Aria and Finn were in the village in the kitchen of the cafe they managed
“Follow me,” I said before stepping through the kitchen door and making my way towards the forest beyond the village.
“The Fable of Arcadia must be told,” I whispered softly to myself as I made my way deeper and deeper into the forest and waited for them to follow after me until there was no sign of the village anywhere to be seen.
“The Fable of Arcadia is waiting to be told.”
Suddenly Aria and Finn were in the forest following the mysterious woman known as Elara Moonstone into the heart of the forest to find out what secrets it held—and what secrets she knew.
“What is the Fable of Arcadia?”
Aria asked curiously as she fell into step beside her and allowed herself to be drawn under her spell once again.
“The Fable of Arcadia is an ancient legend passed down through generations from one Keeper to the next,” Elara replied enigmatically in a melodious voice that was both commanding and gentle at the same time.
“It tells the story of a magical tree with leaves of silver and bark of gold; a tree that was said to have been created by the Fae themselves and planted by the Great Goddess when the world was still young and the moon still full.
According to the legend, this tree bore fruit that could heal any sickness and ward off death; but that was not all—it also bore seeds that could change fate and alter destiny in ways we have not yet begun to imagine or understand,” she continued enigmatically in a gentle voice that was so soft it seemed to be whispering to the wind.
“It is said that one hundred years after it was planted, the tree was taken from this world by the Fae and hidden from view so that no one would be able to find it; but before they did so, they scattered its seeds far and wide so that they would be able to find their way to those who were destined to wield their power and fulfill their promise—or so it is believed by some,” she continued enigmatically in a voice that seemed to be resonating with the very spirit of the forest itself until her voice seemed to be echoing off the trees and traveling through the air like a song being sung by a bird.
“Who were those people?”
“Those people were known as the Keepers of Lore, and they believed that a time would come when this world would be in desperate need of change and that it would be called Arcadia; that is why they chose to keep this legend secret for centuries and pass it down from one Keeper to another so that they would be able to bear witness to that day with their own eyes and fulfill their destiny at last,” she replied enigmatically in a voice that seemed to be resonating with the very spirit of the forest itself until her voice seemed to be echoing off the trees and filling our heads with images of an ancient order who had been waiting for this day to come and preparing for it ever since they had first heard this legend so that they would be able to seize their moment of glory at last and prove themselves worthy of their sacred duty once again.
“That is also why they chose to scatter its seeds to every corner of this world,” she continued enigmatically in a voice that was so soft it seemed to be whispering to the wind.
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I listened intently, feeling my heart pounding so loudly in my chest that I thought it might explode at any moment.
“That is why they have been searching for a new Guardian all these years,” said Elara enigmatically, her eyes glittering with an ancient light that seemed to be shining from within and filling her face with an otherworldly beauty.
“Because they knew that when that day came at last, that Guardian would be able to find those seeds wherever they had been hidden and gather them together once again; because when that day came, the seeds would recognize them and sprout anew wherever they had been planted, just like they did here on Zubmah Hill,” she continued enigmatically, her voice soft and gentle yet filled with an urgency that we could not ignore.
“They told me that the moment you came across those seeds, the prophecy has officially begun to be fulfilled at last,” she continued cryptically, her eyes glittering with an otherworldly light that seemed to be shining from within and filling her face with an ethereal beauty.
“W-Who are you?”
I asked, my heart pounding so loudly in my chest that I thought it might explode at any moment, while Finn stared at her suspiciously, his hand going to his quiver to make sure he was ready to fight if he needed to.
“I am Elara Moonstone,” she replied enigmatically, her voice soft yet filled with a power that seemed to be resonating throughout the entire world.
“The one they call the Guardian of the Fable of Arcadia,” she continued serenely, her eyes glittering with a light that seemed to be shining from within and filling her face with a beauty so ethereal it was almost otherworldly.
“What do you want?”
“I have come to tell you what I know about those seeds,” she replied enigmatically.
“They are called Tymorian Astraea,” she continued cryptically.
“Have you heard of them?”
“No,” I replied numbly, my mouth suddenly feeling dry while my mind raced to make sense of what she had told me; but no matter how hard I thought, I could not come up with any explanation for what I had heard because it was too bizarre to even contemplate.
“The seeds of the magical coffee tree,” she explained softly.
“And they are capable of changing not just lives but the very fabric of existence itself,” she continued gently, watching me closely to see how I would react to her words.
“Why have you been searching for me?”
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I asked nervously, my voice coming out as a shaky whisper that sounded almost as if it belonged to someone else.
“I have not been searching for you,” she replied cryptically.
“It is the seeds that I have been waiting for,” she continued softly.
“And now that you have found them, I will tell you all that I know about them.”
“Will you tell us too?”
Finn asked tersely before I had a chance to do so myself; and Elara’s eyes turned to him then, studying him intently for a moment before she nodded slowly in response to his question.
“Of course,” she said softly.
“But we need to leave this place first,” she continued gently; and then she turned around and began walking into the forest with her silver hair trailing behind her like a cloak of mist while her violet eyes seemed to be glowing with an otherworldly light that seemed to pierce through the darkness and illuminate the world around her like a goddess of old.
Finn and I followed her into the forest in silence, our footsteps muffled by the thick layer of leaves that covered the ground as we left behind the hustle and bustle of the village fair; and then we began our journey into the heart of the forest as Elara’s mysterious story continued to ring through my mind like a spell that had been woven around me by her words.
“The Keepers of Lore are an ancient society who were dedicated to preserving knowledge and history,” Elara explained as we followed her deeper and deeper into the forest, our path marked only by an occasional sigil that she would make with a movement of her hand like a sorceress casting a spell; and then another sigil would appear in response to hers, illuminating for a brief moment before disappearing into the darkness once more as we continued on our way through what seemed like an endless maze of trees that were growing so closely together that they seemed to be almost suffocating us with their presence.
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“The Keepers believed that knowledge was the most powerful weapon of all; but there was one prophecy that they chose to ignore, even though it was passed down through every generation of Keepers from the very beginning of time itself; and that was the legend of the magical coffee tree which was said to contain seeds that had the power to change fate itself; but when the Keepers heard the prophecy, they laughed it off as nothing more than a mere fable, for they were far too wise to believe in such things.
Elara paused for a moment, looking back at me with a mysterious smile that seemed to suggest that it was not the whole truth; but I did not want to interrupt her narrations as they were something that I was beginning to get used to, for my grandfather was also quite fond of telling stories from the past whenever he had the time, and I would often sit by his side and listen to his words by the hour, enchanted by his tales of old.
“Many of the Keepers believed that the prophecy was nothing more than a mere legend, but there were still those who believed that it was true; and they warned the others that should the tree appear, it would be their duty to protect it at all costs; but even these Keepers were hesitant to put their faith in the legend, for it was said that the tree only appeared once every thousand years.
But then one day, when the Keepers were gathered together in their secret library, there was a great flash of light that filled the entire room; and when the light disappeared, there were three magical coffee tree seeds lying on the floor where there had been none before.
“The Keepers knew that the prophecy had now come to pass and for the first time in centuries, they were faced with the question of what they should do; but the Keepers were wise beyond all others, for it was said that they could even read the future itself; and so when they saw me standing before them with the three tree seeds in my hands, they looked at one another with knowing smiles as if they had already foreseen my arrival long before it had even happened….”
Elara continued on her way without saying another word, leaving me to ponder her words in silence as we followed her down a steep path that seemed to be heading straight into the bowels of the earth itself; and then, just when I thought that we would never reach the bottom, she suddenly turned around and began making her way down the path that lay hidden beneath the thin layer of moss, as if she had been watching me all along with her strange silver eyes that seemed to see everything.
“I believe that we are almost there,” she said with a mysterious smile as she disappeared into the darkness once more, “but be careful not to lose your footing, for it can be quite dangerous in this place…”
I almost missed my step as we made our way down the steep path that lay at the very edge of the cliff face, for it seemed to be heading almost straight down into the bowels of the earth itself like some kind of an underground river that had been carved out by the force of nature over countless eons.
“Are you sure about this, Aria?”
Finn asked with a concerned look in his eyes, for he knew how clumsy I could be at times, especially when I was lost in thought.
He was standing close behind me like an overprotective bear, ready to catch me should I fall, for he was always looking out for me, even when I did not need him to do so; but I reached out a hand to pat his leg reassuringly, for I was not a child and he was not my father, even though he often acted like he was.
Nevertheless, I would always appreciate his care and attention, for it was something that I would never take for granted.
I said, reaching out a hand to touch the steep cliff face that lay at our side like a giant wall of rock, “For many years, no one has been able to find this place, but the Keepers knew that one day, I would come here and find the three magical coffee tree seeds that are said to contain all knowledge of this world…”
“But if these seeds are so rare,” Finn replied with a puzzled frown, “then how were you able to find them?”
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Elara suddenly disappeared leaving them without answering anything.
I did not know how to reply to Finn’s question, for it was something that I had been wondering myself for a long time now; but just when I was about to give up all hope of ever finding the answer, the sound of Elara’s voice suddenly echoed in my ears from out of nowhere like an unseen whisper that had been carried on the wind.
“Perhaps it was not just by chance alone…”
she said softly as she suddenly appeared right in front of us like some kind of a ghost from the past.
I asked as I turned to look back at the steep path that lay behind us and thought of how difficult it would be to find our way back up to the top again if we ever needed to leave this cursed place.
Elara replied with an enigmatic smile as she waved a hand before her and led the way into a dark cave that lay hidden behind the thick layer of ivy that covered the walls on either side, “for there are many things in this world that happen for a reason, even if we are not always able to understand them; but I have a feeling that this is one of those times when everything seems to be happening for a reason…”
“But why did you bring us here?”
Finn suddenly demanded as he stepped in front of me and glared at Elara with a hostile look in his green eyes, “And how were you able to find this place if it is supposed to be so well hidden?”
he continued as he reached inside his cloak and unsheathed his hunting knife that he always carried with him wherever he went.
He had not trusted Elara right from the very start and had been looking for an excuse to draw his weapon ever since he had first laid eyes on her; but she looked back at him with a calm expression on her face as if she did not care about the fact that he was drawing his weapon on her.
“The seeds that you found on Zubmah hill are very rare,” she replied as she reached inside her cloak and drew forth a small glass vial that lay hidden inside the folds of her robe; “and there are very few people who have ever had the chance to see them with their own eyes, even in the distant lands where I come from.”
she continued as she held the vial out towards me and I looked down at the small seeds that lay inside like tiny grains of coffee beans that had been frozen in time.
“I myself have only seen them once before, and even then, it was only by chance alone…”
Finn replied with a skeptical look on his face as he reached out a hand to touch the vial and Elara placed it into his hand.
“Are you trying to say that it was just a coincidence that we found them?”
he asked as he looked back at me with a frown on his face, for the seeds had suddenly taken on a whole new meaning now that someone else had come along to claim them as their own.
But I shook my head in reply, for I knew deep down inside that they were meant to be mine and no one else’s.
“But if it was not just by chance alone, then how were you able to find them?”
Finn demanded as he turned to look back at Elara once more and I saw that his knuckles had suddenly turned white as he gripped the vial tightly in his hand.
“But how could you have known that we were the ones who found them?”
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The elf girl replied with a wise look in her violet eyes as she reached out her hand to take the vial from him once more; “You see, there is a reason why I came here looking for you,” she continued as she placed the vial back inside her cloak and turned to look at me with a mysterious look in her eyes.
“The prophecy says that the seeds must be planted under the light of a Lidmuz eclipse; but there has not been one of those for over two thousand years now and there will not be another one for at least another fifty years…”
Elara continued with a cryptic look on her face as she reached up a hand to touch her violet hair that shined brightly under the light of the moon.
I felt a shiver run down my spine as I realized what she was trying to say, for it meant that I would have to keep the seeds safe for an entire year until the eclipse finally came around again.
And yet, something deep inside of me told me that it would not be such an easy task to accomplish, for I did not know who else might be watching us from afar and waiting for the right moment to strike and claim the seeds for themselves.
“But what is so special about this Lidmuz eclipse?”
Finn demanded with a frown on his face as he sheathed his hunting knife once more and turned to look at me with a worried look in his green eyes.
“The seeds must be planted under its light so that they can be awakened and unlock their true potential,” Elara replied with a wise look in her violet eyes as she looked up at the stars that shined brightly above; “But you must be careful, for there are many out there who will do anything to get their hands on them,” she continued with a serious look on her face as she turned to look back at me once more and I saw that she was trying to warn me about something, but I did not yet know what it was.
I opened my mouth to ask her what it might be, but she quickly raised her hand to silence me and stopped me before I could even begin to speak.
“I can help you keep them safe…”
she suddenly replied as she closed her eyes and held her hand out towards me as if she was trying to touch me from afar; “You see, the Keepers of Lore have granted me a gift that is often referred to as foresight and it is through the stars that I am able to see it,” she continued as I watched in amazement as a strange aura suddenly surrounded her and made her seem otherworldly as she stood there in front of me.
I heard Finn gasp in shock as well as he stood there with his mouth hanging wide open and stared at her with a surprised look on his face, but Elara did not seem to notice for she continued to speak without even looking his way.
“If you let me help you, I can guide you through the upcoming year by watching over you with my stargazing abilities,” she continued with a mysterious look in her violet eyes as she opened them once more and looked back at me with a serious look on her face; “And when the time finally comes, you will be ready to plant the seeds and fulfill your destiny…”
she finished speaking as she held out her hand towards me once more and waited for me to take it so that we could seal our agreement.
I reached out my hand and took hers in my own, for something inside of me told me that I could trust her and that everything would be alright.
But Finn suddenly snatched my hand away from hers before we could do so, for he had not trusted Elara right from the very start and did not believe that she was being completely honest with us about what she wanted in return.
“Don’t do it!”
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he shouted as he stepped between us and shielded me from her as if he was trying to protect me from something dangerous that was coming our way.
“What do you think you’re doing?!
I was about to make a pact with her in order to protect the seeds,” I replied as I scowled at him angrily and snatched my hand back from his hold; “What could be so wrong with that?”
“I told you that we can take care of ourselves and we do not need your help,” he continued shouting as he crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Elara threateningly as if he was challenging her to do something about it.
“Now you listen here, boy,” Elara suddenly said as she glared at Finn with an angry look in her eyes and made him take a step back in surprise; “It is not up to you whether or not we make a pact or not, for it is not your destiny that you must fulfill.
It is Aria’s and she has already given me her permission to help her in any way that I can.
“Would you mind explaining to me what exactly you plan to do?!
And while you’re at it, could you also tell me how it is that you know so much about the Keepers of Lore?”
Finn asked as he scowled at her suspiciously and crossed his arms over his chest once more before turning to look back at me with a worried look on his face.
“What if she’s dangerous and is only trying to get to the seeds?”
he asked as he scowled at me angrily and narrowed his eyes into a glare as if he was warning me not to go through with it.
“But what if she’s telling the truth and can really help us keep the seeds safe?”
I asked in return as I glared back at him and pouted angrily when he did not answer me with a good enough reply.
“Would you be willing to take responsibility if something goes wrong and it turns out that she was just trying to use us after all?”
he asked as he glared back at me one last time before Elara suddenly cleared her throat and interrupted us before I could say anything in return.
“Look, do you want my help or not?
Because if you do, then we need to hurry up and make a decision before it gets dark,” she replied with an impatient look on her face as she tapped her foot against the ground and stared up in the sky expectantly as if she was waiting for something to happen that she knew was about to come.
We stopped arguing and did as she said, for we knew that we did not have much time left before our chance would be gone forever.
Finn reluctantly stepped aside and let Elara take my hand in hers before she finally turned to look back at me and motioned for me to follow her so that we could make a pact under the stars.
I nodded and followed after her as she led me away from Finn and over towards an open area where we could freely see the sky above us.
I heard Finn let out a loud groan of annoyance as he followed after us and stomped his feet against the ground angrily as he grumbled under his breath about how suspicious all of this seemed.
But we ignored him as we reached our destination and Elara made me stand still for a moment while she made sure that everything was in place for us to begin.
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