I was still kind of shaking the next morning from my first meeting with Z the other night, thankfully, it was Sunday so I was able to sleep in, and by sleep in I mean just lay in my bed with my thoughts keeping me up. My clock read 10:00 am, I knew the people of Fantastopia were expecting me, and even though I just wanted to lay in bed all day, I couldn’t let them down. So with Evan gone doing who knows what, I changed into my Fantastopia clothes and placed my own clothes into my backpack as I pulled out the ring and slid it on.
Well, time to go back to another day of fantasy.
I rubbed the ring, and once again, I was back in the castle.
“Ah, Jesse!” I looked up to see the King getting up from his throne and walking towards me “Back again! Did you remember to bring my candy bars?”
“I did.” I smiled as I pulled my backpack to the front and pulled out a bag of fun-sized Snickers bars “Here you go.”
“Oh, thank you!” he beamed while accepting the gift.
“Don’t eat too much, by the way.” I advised, “You don’t wanna get fat.”
“Right,” he pointed “So, you ready for another day of training?”
“Oh yeah,” I nodded.
Thanks to my encounter with you know who last night, he’s given me the motivation to do well on my training. If he and other dangerous beings are gonna be coming after me and the ring, I need all the training and help to defend them off and make sure I don’t die.
“Really?” the King reacted surprisingly.
“For the past few days that you were here, you didn’t want to train because you were too afraid. And now you’re saying that you’re actually ready to train?”
“Uh...” I froze, not knowing if I should tell him about my encounter with Z.
“What’s going on?” Aria suddenly joined us.
“Jesse actually wants to train today,” her father told her, still with the surprised look on his face.
“Seriously?” she responded also surprised as she turned to me “Why is that? You said you were too afraid to train for the past few days and now you actually want to do it?”
“Um...” I tried to think of what to say “I uh...”
“Jesse,” Aria’s look suddenly became concerned “What’s going on?”
“Okay,” I sighed, they needed to know “Um, last night as I was heading back to my dorm, I uh- I kinda met... well, Z.”
“Z?!” she gasped fully of shock “You mean the ruler of evil?!”
“Ruler of evil, Z, whatever you like to call him, yeah, that guy.”
Aria and her father couldn’t believe their ears as they gave each other fearful glances.
“Wait,” she suddenly spoke, “How did you know to call him Z?”
“Averyl told me.” I replied, “He also told me that this Z guy can shapeshift into anyone or anything and he approached me in the form as one of my professors.”
“What did he do?” the King demanded.
“He just wanted to meet me and to let me know that he’ll be watching to see how I do and if I’ll be one of the easy ones.”
“And what did you say?”
“I just gave him my answers in a somewhat polite way, and then he just walked off and disappeared into the night.”
“Did he try to take the ring?” Aria asked.
“He wanted to, but he couldn’t, thanks to this.”
I showed them the four-leaf clover charm around my neck.
“Oh good” she breathed in relief “But just to let you know, that charm can’t always protect you from him and other threats.”
“I had a feeling you were gonna say that, and that’s why because of him, I understand the importance of my training.”
“Really?” she grinned with her hands on her hips “In that case, let’s get started.”
“Good luck,” the King smiled while walking off with the bag of Snickers.
“So, what does your dad do every day?” I asked Aria as we began to head to the arena.
“What every other king does- work, eat, sleep, repeat.”
“Yeah,” she giggled “He may appear like a carefree ruler, but he is a good king. He does his work as best as he can, but at the same time, he also knows how to have fun.”
“Well, that’s good to know” I commented, “As long as he’s prepared for a sudden attack or something like that.”
“Oh, he is. We’ve got everything under control. We’ve got a bunch of panic rooms and hideouts. Although we haven’t had an attack since your grandfather was the chosen one, from what I heard, it nearly destroyed this place.”
“Whoa,” I breathed astonished “Really?”
“Yeah,” she nodded, “And since you’re here now, it might happen again. Which is why you need all the training you can get.”
“Right,” I agreed “Hey um, did you manage to find proof that Flint was the one who fed Copper sugar?”
“I’m afraid not.” she sighed, “And we can’t punish someone without proof, no matter how badly we know they did it.”
“So you’re just gonna let him go?”
“I don’t have a choice.” she shrugged, “Like most of us elves, we’re kind of sneaky creatures that barely leave any evidence. But I swear that if Flint does another act like that again, I will find a way to punish him, even without evidence.”
“I’d like to see that” I smirked as she gave a small giggle.
When we entered the arena, the first thing we spotted was Averyl sitting on top of the table and wiping the blade of a sword with a cloth. Once again, his hands and arms were covered in grease.
“Hello, Averyl” Aria greeted with a smile.
“Your Highness” he greeted back, “Hi, Jesse.”
“Averyl,” I smiled.
“Did you make it back to your dorm okay?”
“Well...” I bit my lip.
“Oh no,” he set down the sword he was cleaning “What happened this time?”
“Remember when you told me everything you knew about Z?”
“Well, I kinda met him last night.”
“You did?” he gasped, “How?”
“He was in the form of one of my professors, I saw the flash of red in his eyes and he didn’t cast a shadow, just like you told me he would.”