Rose sat down on the sofa and took a deep breath. She had been staring at the envelope for several minutes now while Alice had been making Mrs Johnson a cup of tea. They now had sat with her and the other adults had settled down at the kitchen table just behind them. All of them wanted to know what the letter said.
On the outside of the envelope was written “To Rose. Do not open until 18th June 2017.” That was today’s date. Rose tore at the envelope and read the letter out loud.
This letter may come as a small shock to you so please make sure you are sitting down. We know that you will have been through so much and will have many questions. We will try to answer them for you in this letter. First of all we want to tell you that we love you so much and that no matter what anyone has told you, we are alive and well. When you were born we had to give you up for adoption to protect you and ever since that time we have been in hiding.
We know that Alice and Anthony have looked after you so well and that they will also have some questions that need answering. Rather than have you tell them everything we thought that we could answer some of the questions for you and them in this letter. Please understand that this is a lot to take in.
Rose, as she already knows, is not from this world. She is from another dimension, a place that we call Velaro Fore, the children call it the Crystal Kingdom. We are from there too and if you had any doubt as to who we are, we are Rose’s parents, Abner and Alva, rightful King and Queen of Velaro Fore. Before Rose was born our kingdom was one of peace but that all changed when we found out we were expecting Rose. My brother, Nerrez had ambitions for the throne and could not see past his jealously. This led to him and his wife, Maura turning away from peace and leading a revolution against us. We knew that Rose would be vulnerable to his attacks and attempts to turn her against us and so we fled from our home, bringing with us some very powerful crystals that would ensure that when the time was right and Rose had reached a certain age we would be able to return. We knew there was a chance that Nerrez would follow us through using his own portal crystal but that for him to do so he would be taking a huge risk. If he was not able to find us he would not be able to return as we retained the only two sets of crystals that enable us to transport back into Velaro Fore, along with a portal crystal that we have kept with us.
Again, we knew it would be a risk for us all to stay together so we took the hard decision to separate from Rose to ensure that all of the crystals were not held in the same place. Once Rose was born we gave her up to an adoption agency and left her with some important belongings, a photo of this house, a tiara and most importantly the eight crystals that we had set into the tiara. All along this has enabled us to keep a track of where Rose is and also for us to send her messages in her dreams, guiding her back to this very place.”
Rose looked up at the others. They were all riveted to the spot and urged her to continue. Rose carried on reading.
“The other seven crystals along with one of our own portal crystals we buried inside a cave out in the woods near this house. We knew that there was little to no chance of Nerrez finding these, even if he did choose to follow us through into this world. We also knew that when Rose reached the age of thirteen that she would be able to find them using her tiara and that we would be able to guide her here to find them.
We know that in the end, Nerrez took the risk and decided to follow us by using his portal crystal to come into this dimension not long after we gave Rose up for adoption. We kept track of him and figured out a way, using the help of our dear friend Jan Saunders, who you know as Mrs Johnson, to know exactly where he would be. Although he thinks that he has the upper hand there is one thing that he has not factored in, which we will tell you in a moment.
When you all came to stay at this house, on the very first day Rose and the other children went off exploring in the woods. They found the seven crystals and the portal crystal buried in a cave. They brought them back here into their sleeping bags and at night when they fell asleep they were transported into Velaro Fore. At first they thought this was a dream as they were living in this other dimension as magical animals but before long they realised that it was very real and although it was very exciting for them, there was also something very important that they had to do. They had to figure out a way to save Velaro Fore.
Last night things took a turn for the worse after Nerrez managed to find his way back to Velaro Fore using the crystals the children had found in the woods. He did this by sneaking into your garden. For all of these years he has been disguising himself as Mr Johnson, living nearby with Mrs Johnson, waiting for his moment to pounce when Rose returned. He didn’t know for sure that this would happen but he took a chance and stayed close by waiting for an opportunity. As we said earlier he thinks he has control.
The vast majority of our subjects have given up hope and have turned themselves over to his power. Only a few of our loyal subjects remain. The other children, including your brother George have been captured by Nerrez and are now in the dark palace. They are trapped there for now, until they can be rescued. Please be assured that they are quite safe, he will not harm them. However, there is no way that they can return here until they receive a sign of hope. This sign of hope must come to Rose first then she will take it to them.
This is what you must do Rose. Mrs Johnson has something very important to give to you that we left for you thirteen years ago. It is a precious stone that we call the Rainbow Crystal. In your tiara you will see that there are eight stones. One of them is slightly larger than the others. This one is not a real crystal. It is in fact a piece of glass. If you push it hard it will fall out. Please do this now.”
Rose ran up the stairs to get her tiara and brought it back down ready to follow the instructions her parents had given her. She located the stone that was slightly bigger than the others and pushed it hard with her fingers. Sure enough it came loose and popped out. She placed it on the table in front of her.
Mrs Johnson reached into her purse and pulled out the small velvet bag and handed it over to Rose who looked inside and saw for the first time the Rainbow Crystal. It was absolutely stunning and she carefully took it out of the bag and pressed it into the open slot on her tiara. The whole thing started to glow round the edge of the crystal, where it met the metal of the tiara. There was a loud click and then the light began to fade. The Rainbow Crystal was now solidly fixed into the tiara.
Rose looked around at everyone who just stared back at her in silence and so again Rose continued reading the rest of the letter.
“Now that you have the Rainbow Crystal in your tiara you must return to the same place that you found the crystals in the cave. You must go alone. All of the others must remain here until you return. When you arrive at the cave you must wait for a sign of hope. It is very important that you remain there until this time. Once you have a sign of hope you will be ready to come and find us. When that moment arrives you will know what to do.
Be strong Rose. Do not give up hope. We will be together again with you very soon. Remember, we love you very much. In the end, love is the only way.
Your father and mother, your King and Queen,
Abner and Alva.”
Rose put down the letter, looked around at everyone and burst into tears.