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Courage: A Twist on Two tales

By Jessica Arrieta All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Fantasy

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time... 

Do you believe in fairytales? In romance and happily ever afters? In adventures and magic? If you said 'no' then I'm afraid you're talking to the wrong guy. You're probably wondering who I am.

My name is Eli. Eli Cinder.

This is the point where I say I'm just an average guy living an average life, only to discover I'm some kind of superhero or something, right? Hate to disappoint everyone but, my story doesn't go that way. No, I don't have any powers, or any magic or anything really special. Al least, that's what I use to think. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let me start from the beginning.

My story starts where I grew up. A pretty cool place called Caleido City. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised, because this city isn't like the ones you're use to seeing. At least, not from where you're from. Caleido City is in an alternate world where magic really does exist, but not in the same way as it does in fairytales. There are no magic wands, no witches on broom sticks, and no spinning wheels that put you to sleep, but there are magical creatures; fairies, elves, gnomes, ogres, giants, trolls, mermaids, dragons, pixies, hybrid animals, satyrs, you get the idea. Now, to some it would be strange to have creatures like these roaming around, but like I said this is a different world. Here, these creatures are pretty much seen like anybody else. Different in appearance but they have jobs, families, hobbies, ect. A lot of them come from different parts of the world. Some are nice, some…not so nice, but then again that's what it's like pretty much anywhere else.

So yeah, in this fantastical metropolis is where I grew up. But there is another thing that makes this place truly amazing. And that was racing.

Mecha Racing!

What's that you may ask? Well, it's kind of like motocross, and race car racing in one. Instead of cars or any normal bikes, we race ones that are styled and modified to look like any kind of animal we please. It's our way of incorporating ourselves into the machine. My father always use to say that racing is a way to express yourself alongside friends. He should know, he was not only the proud owner of his own Racing merchandise and supply store, but also one of the best racers ever. Tomas Cinder was his name and racing was his game. I still remember him; a strong looking man with dark messy hair and dark brown eyes, always dressed to impress. He was an intelligent and courageous man who made friends with everyone he met. In fact, racing was how he met my mom. Her name was Suyin, a woman of chinese decedent, with a bit of Japanese mixed in there as well. She was the only woman my father ever had eyes for. She was just as intelligent as he was, after all she was a physics mayor with a college degree who was fascinated with racing, even though she never got on a bike before. They hit it off right away, like they were meant to each other.

My mother was tall, slender with long silky raven hair which was dipped with red dye at the bottom (a common genetic trait for Asian people in my realm), slender brown eyes with a dazzling smile to match. Her skin was as white as snow which somewhat contrasted with the bright colorful clothing she would always wore. She was very close with her heritage, showing it to me when I was growing up. She even taught me a few martial arts moves too. Growing up with them was pretty close to a fairytale in my eyes. They were my best friends, always happy, always supportive, always goofy too but that's how most parents are anyways. And I wouldn't have had them any other way.

When Racing season began in the summer, my parents would always take me to them. I was lucky, I got to witness all the behind the scene stuff. The Dome itself was colossal in size, with a glass-transparent domed structure, which opened up whenever the races would begin. During the racing season, helicopters would hover over the place while news reporters narrated the events with remarkable detail and enthusiasm as they watched form above. The dome was silver in appearance, making it look like a shimmering pearl underneath the summer sun. It was the largest structure in the whole city, and it was close to the castle. 

Oh, did I forget to mention that too?

The King and Queen of Caleido City; King Roland and Queen Serafina. While I never knew them personally, I did get to meet the king once. King Raphael was a racer too. You see, Meca Racing is actually a long and cherished activity that was originally limited to the royal family. But when one of the previous kings declared he wanted to share the love of the game, he made it so that everyone in Caleido City, rich or poor, could participate. It eventually became our most famous and most important event of the year. You'd have to be nuts not to love at least one thing about the races. It was also a tradition of the family to have, at the very least, one member of the royal family be a racer, mainly to keep the tradition alive. 

Raphael was exactly as I always imagined a king would be; he was very tall, supper muscular, no doubt he worked out pretty frequently. His hair was dark with a tint of brown, his skin was dark tan and his eyes, which were a rare color of ocean blue. Whenever he smiled, the crowd cheered like mad, happy to see their king. Interestingly enough, he wasn't always a royal. Before, Raphael was a young mechanic like my dad, who fell in love with the Queen, got married and now had two daughters. He was of pure African descendent, but that was about all anyone really knew about his past. Then again, not everybody asked too much. He was a normal black man who just got lucky and even admitted himself that his origins were humble and nothing too extraordinary. He was an honest man and most certainly didn't leave behind his humble roots. Whenever he entered the garage where the racers and mechanics would work on the Mecha Bikes, he would joyfully walk in, greet everyone with a hug or hand shake, all while wearing a dashing smile, his pearly white teeth bare.

One day, when my dad was teaching me how to tighten a bolt on his bike, the king walked up and greeted him like he would anyone else. He then spotted me. I didn't know what to say, he was literally larger than life. I wondered if he was secretly part giant or just naturally tall. He squatted down to my level and kindly ruffled my jet black hair which want tinted with golden streaks. A trait I got from my grandpa on my mom's side. The king smiled and admired the way I was handling my dad's bike.

"Got yourself a little helper, huh Tomas?" he asked my father, who laughed with pride while patting my shoulder.

"He takes after his mother. Got her eyes too." I couldn't help but blush in embarrassment. It's true, I did inherit my mom's brown eyes, but my eye shape weren't as slender as hers were. 

"You like to race, son?" the king asked.

I gulped before answering, "No your majesty, but I--I would like to one day." I don't know why I did it, but I gave him a salute. I must have looked like a completely idiot. But thankfully, the king had a sense of humor too. Especially when it came to an eight-year-old kid.

"Want to know a little secret?" he asked me. I enthusiastically nodded my head, "No matter what anybody tells you, never let them knock you down. Even when things seem hopeless, you always keep on racin'."

My eyes widened in astonishment and I looked up at my father, "Hey dad, that's what you always tell me." I stated. My dad lowered down, placing his hand on my shoulder.

"That's right, Eli. Remember, racing is all about bringing people together."

Before anything more could be said, the speaker voice on the wall scratched with static and the announcer's voice was heard through the intercom. The races were about to start. I sat on my mom's lap, anxiously waiting to see my dad and the king have their friendly competition. King Raphael was the racing champion four years running, while my dad was always the runner up. But I had a good feeling about today. I knew my dad would win today. 

"Come on, daddy!" 

I heard a young girl screaming at the top of her lungs, but it was a happy scream. I looked up towards where the V.I.P section was, where Raphael's wife and her two daughters sat on their chairs. The queen was a tall, slender woman with violet eyes and golden hair, tied up in a bun, wearing a casual white jacket and skirt, added with a pearl tiara resting on her head. Unlike her husband, her skin was white. To her right was her older daughter, who was the spitting image of the queen. A sixteen-year-old girl wearing a pink lacy top and matching skirt, listening to her ipod, but flinched when her younger sister was screaming and leaning to the side of the balcony area they sat on.

The youngest looked more like her father, dark messy hair with a tint of brown, tan skin giving her that exotic look and eyes that looked to be a mix of both blue and green, somehow reminding me of the green jungles I would see in those nature documentaries. I didn't realize it back then, but I stayed looking at the youngest princess for a while longer than expected. Before you get the idea that I had a crush on her, I didn't. I was just really surprised to see such an excitable and somewhat unruly behavior for a princess. Even her father was more dignified and regal than she was. Compared to the rest of her family, she looked like she was a wild child who had been added into the family. Either way, she was one crazy girl.

The horn sounded and the racers were off. Each bike was styled to look like any animal of the racer's choosing. Some looked like lions, others were like dragons. I remember seeing two eagles, a phoenix, a griffon, rhino, python, I think I saw a dolphin too. My dad's bike was styled to look like a chinese dragon, in honor of my mom. I couldn't contain myself, dad had gained up on Raphael. They were neck and neck, the bikes going faster and faster by the minute, no second, even the announcer's voice was speeding up as the events unfolded. But then, all of that came to a terrible close.

I noticed the worry in my dad's eyes when one of the racers started to get aggressive. Too aggressive. There have been times where a racer would become way to caught up the lust of winning that they would go through any lengths to get to the finish line. The racer collided with my dad, even from afar I could see the dark thrive in his eyes. He tried to keep his balance but the opponent was relentless, not to mention crazy. Raphael rushed to his side and tried to order the man to quit his foolishness, but he did not listen and instead rammed his bike into the King's causing him to fall and land on the grassy fields around the racing track. He wasn't hurt that badly due to his full buddy suit and helmet which all racers wore. The royal family gasped in horror as did the crowd. This guy was insane. He was too determined to get the gold he didn't know what it took. My dad rammed into him as well, no doubt payback for what he did to the good king. But soon their rivalry came to a close.

A terrible one.

The crazy racer lost control as did my father, both bikes hit the side of the bleachers, people fled in fear as smoke and fire emerged from the two bikes. My dad and the racer didn't have enough time to jump out of the way. Raphael rushed to help them both, but unlike him, they were not lucky.

My mom shielded my eyes, not wanting me to see what had become of my father, but I had already seen enough of what happened. That day, we lost a good racer, the king lost a good friend…

And I lost my father.

After the funeral, I tried my best to be strong for my mom, but the events were still too painful. Every night, I would have nightmares; the explosion still rang in my ears, I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming, only to have my mom sing me to sleep. For years, my mom and I worked together to cope with the grief. For a while, we separated ourselves from anything involving the races but my mom still made sure my dad's racing store didn't go out of business. Despite our pain, the store was all we had left of my dad. But, even with that traumatic scene still clear in my mind, I didn't have the heart to abandon racing all together and neither could my mom. My dad loved it, even when it wasn't always an easy job being a racer he still enjoyed it. 

Over time, I made myself a promise; to not give up racing as a whole, but to never become a racer. It was bad enough my mom lost my dad that way, I didn't want her to lose me the same way too. I was a portage with engineering and mechanisms, so I helped out my mom everyday after school at the garage and the store. Despite her heritage, my mom was a very religious person. Every sunday, she took me to church, and in private she would speak with the priest about her pain. In time, she was back as the happy woman she was to me, encouraging me to never lose faith and always believe that something good will come out of any strife. For a long time, I believed her. After that, my life got better. When I started junior high school I wasn't the most popular kid, but I did at least make one friend. She was a fairy from Puerto Rico named Jade. She was sweet, funny and supper loyal. A lot of people thought we were dating, and while I always found Jade attractive, we never clicked in that way. In fact we tried going on a date once but we found it incredibly awkward and the overall experience just awful. We promised to remain friends from that day forward, which I was perfectly happy with. However, Jade was also kind of a matchmaker at heart. Any chance she got, she would try to set me up with a girl she found "fitting" for me. Sadly, as nice as those girls were, I never found a connection with any of them.

When I turned fourteen, my mom told me that my dad's sister Rachel was coming for a visit and was staying with us after she had recently gotten through a nasty divorce. My mom, being the generous person that she was, was more than happy to welcome Rachel into our home. After all, she was family. I had never formally met her before, mainly because, according to my dad, she was a 'she-harpy with heart of stone', but I thought that was just him being annoyed with his sister. When I first met her, I was rather surprised. She had a raspy New Jersey-like voice, her dark hair was curly and styled upwards in the most flamboyant way, a beauty mark rested under her left eye and her cloths were too tight in all the wrong places. Clearly, she was a forty-year-old still trying to look, and feel, twenty-two. 

She had a son near my age but was a year older than I was. He was my cousin Sterling. Unlike his mom, he looked more normal. He had tan skin, distinct blue eyes and curly blond hair which Rachel would call it his 'golden locks', a name he wore proudly. I was pretty excited to have another guy around to hang with. When they entered the house, my mom asked me to show Sterling where he would be staying. Rachel would sleep in the guest bedroom while me and my cousin would share the room. Sterling sure seemed nice, a cool guy who was into racing and wanted to become a racer. Since I didn't race maybe we could at least talk about the bikes mechanisms, maybe even build a bike together since he said he didn't have one…yet.

While I did love Jade as my best friend, I always felt out of place with the other dudes at my school. I still flinched at the rumor going around at my first day of school when they noticed I hung out more with a fairy who loved fashion than other guys. They thought I was….never mind, I'd rather not remember that, it was way too embarrassing. I led Sterling to my room on the second floor of the house, my room was much neater than most guys, I like to keep things organized, and was filled with Kung-Fu posters, video game console, my own DVD set, movies, books, tools for fixing bikes and a window near by bed along with a nightstand where I had my lamp and phone charger. I placed my hands into my pocket as my cousin placed his bags down.

"Well, this is my room. Hope you like it, I know it's a bit more snug compared to what you're use to." Sterling's dad was pretty rich, though not excessively, so he had a pretty nice room. But, apparently his dad was also a jerk and didn't allow his ex-wife or his son any inheritance. This itself made me feel bad for them which only encouraged me to be as nice to them as I could.

"Seriously?" my cousin asked, arching an eyebrow as he looked around, "Please don't tell me you actually live here."

"Uh, where am I suppose to sleep?" to my surprise, my cousin shoved me aside in order to look out at the window. His eyes filled with the aura of arrogance.

"What's that gaudy thing?" he asked, pointing his finger to a small chinese garden my mother had behind the house. Along with it was a nice little chinese cottage that she used as her workplace. I was always proud of the garden. It also had a koi pond where the koi fish swam and tall stacks of bamboo on vases decorated the workshop. The fish were hidden away from plain sight behind the bamboo, it was a silent place where me and my mom could simply 'talk' with the fish. 

"Pretty cool, hu? My mom planted all of those flowers, and---"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, really adorable." 

I knew Sterling was going through a rough patch at the moment but there was no need to be rude. I knew I had to say something, but I needed to be calm and collected. My mom always said that patience is a virtue.

"Look Sterling, I'm really sorry for what your dad did to you and your mom, but there's no need to be all rude about it. We're family and I want to help you."

He was quiet for a moment, his back towards me, before he spun around, his demeanor suddenly nicer. "You know what, I'm sorry. You're right, I am going through a pretty rough time. Me and my mom" he said, however his voice didn't sound completely sincere. He unzipped his luggage, "So, maybe you can help me out with unpacking."

I smiled, "Sure, I'd be happy to--" before I could finish, Sterling had already loaded a pile of his cloths on me, I was already struggling with the large pile, "--help?"

"Great, see if you can find where I can hang my cloths. I don't think your tiny closet space if gonna cut it." 

I seriously needed to ask my mom if he and I really were related. Being with him was like being stuck with one of Cinderella's step-sisters. Then again, I knew I had to be on my best behavior. This was probably his way of masking the pain.

After helping Sterling settle in, mom called us both to dinner. I was starting to see why my dad never introduced me to Rachel before. Her nasal voice literally echoed across the walls of the room. She spoke nonstop about how her husband accused her of spending too much money on plastic surgery, cloths, hair extensions, make up and night clubs. Sterling was perfectly calm but it was hard for me to find any ounce of pain anywhere on him. He looked almost indifferent to the whole thing. Based on what Rachel was saying her husband was a reasonable dude, and Rachel was the fault one here. Even though she tried to make it seem like the other way around. Seriously, this woman was full of herself, I don't think I ever saw her put that compact mirror down to check her makeup, which she was already wearing too much of. 

"So, my no good ex-husband says that he will only give Sterling his inheritance once he's proven 'responsible'." she air quoted the word 'responsible', "But my baby boy is responsible. Responsible about his hair! Honestly, have you never seen such flawless golden locks?" she gushed over her son's hair, for which he happily smoothed it over his hair, flashing her a cocky grin.

"Mother please, you're embarrassing me." 

"A little late for that." I muttered under my breath, only to have my mom nudge my elbow, silently reminding me to be on my best behavior. I seriously did not understand why, Rachel was a self-obsessed drama queen with a face so plastic she could be in a box and sold in a store and Sterling showed no sign or remorse for his father not giving his son any inheritance. I was totally on that dude's side here.

"Well, it's his loss." Rachel said, inspecting her lipstick…for the seventeenth time in a row, "My little Sterling is going to be a champion racer. He got his racing license last year when he turned fifteen."

"Don't you have to be sixteen in order to compete in the races?" I asked.

"Well, aren't you the smart one." Sterling said sarcastically, "The minute I turn one six I'm gonna compete in the races. And once I become the new champ, I'm gonna be living it big time. Not to mention, I may even snag a date with Princess Lumina."

I arched an eyebrow at him. He was interested in Princess Lumina? Yeah, remember that wild crazy girl who was related to King Raphael? That was her. She was two years older than me, so she earned her racing license last year and had already won the first race of the summer this year just like her dad. She was number one, the youngest princess to ever win the first Mecha Race Championship tournament in the summer. She was popular with everyone…but, there was always something kind of off about her. While in on television and the newspaper she appeared more…well, kind of aggressive. Not too destructive but aloof and indifferent, even going to far as to snarl and hiss at the reporters, which I found a tad peculiar. I thought she was crazy before but this just proved she had a few screws lose. She was only sixteen when she won her first race last summer and still pretty nasty. I did not want to get on her bad side.

"Princess Lumina? Seriously? Have you seen her on t.v.? I heard she once tried to claw a reporter's eye out for asking one too many questions."

"So?" Sterling scoffed, "She may be a lose cannon, but she's a smoking hot lose cannon! And a princess, double score!" 

"I can just see it now." Rachel said, sighing dreamingly, "My little boy reaches the finish line, the crowd cheering like mad, and the princess will be so taken away she can't help but fall for him. Before you know it, he'll be a prince!"

I could tell by the look in his eyes that Sterling loved the idea, "I don't blame her." he said smugly, "How can anyone resist a face like mine?"

I didn't say a word the rest of the night, but instead rolled my eyes. I prayed that I didn't have to endure them for much longer.

The past two months were the hardest holidays of my life, that pampered Pre-Madona was driving me up the wall!….and my aunt wasn't such a joy to deal with either. I envied my mother's incredible patience, however I had no idea why she tolerated them so much. I had a hunch it had to do with the fact that Rachel was my dad's big sister, and kicking her out would only make her feel terrible. Since my dad died, I had my fair chair of chores around the house, only now it was doubled by our new guests. Mom kept keeping my dad's business up, but was hard with all the new stores popping up, taking away our customers. At times, to ease herself, she would work on my dad's old bike in the small asian-styled cottage which doubled a a work space at the back of the house. I always made the effort to cook up her favorite noodles with pasta sauce for her to eat while she worked, while I wasn't busy attending to Sterling and Rachel's every wish. Christmas was a dud, my mom and I only gave each other hand made gifts due to money being tight. I made her a phoshoped collage of her, me and dad and she gave me something I never expected…a pet chia! 

A chia is a domestic little mammal with long bunny-like ears, a chihuahua torso and a fox's face with claws and a long lion-like tail. His fur was orange-brown in color with stripes on his back and his tail had a cluff of yellow hair and his cute little paws were yellow too. He was a stray my mom found alongside the road on her way to work and found him on the exact same spot as when she was coming back home. Feeling sympathy, she took him in and made us his new family. He was a lovable little fella with his big brown eyes and soft yellow belly. I named him Meeko. Sterling and Rachel were not to happy about the pet, but I would be sure to take good care of him. Since chia's are vegetarians, I could just give him some of the wild fruits and apples that grew from the trees outside. It was a simple Christmas, but still a great one. If you ignore the two party poppers in the room. However, I also noticed that my mom had been looking very tired recently. She's also been coughing and her skin was rather pale. I kept asking if she was fine and she insisted she was. Still I worried.

One day, about a week after New Years day, I went to visit her at the workplace. Once I opened the door I dropped the food I came to give her and I immediately called out for my aunt and cousin.

"Rachel! Sterling! Come quick!"

I don't know how it happened, but my mom had passed out in the middle of her work, most likely due to stress. But once we took her to the doctor, my heart fell. It wasn't really stress, but something else. She was sick, terribly sick and we didn't know how much time she had left. I never left her side, I slept on the uncomfortable hospital chairs, still praying for a miracle. Why did this have to happen now? I already lost my dad, I gave up ever wanting to participate in races due to fear of the unknown happening, I was now living with a terrible aunt and cousin, I couldn't lose my mom. Why God? Why was this happening?

It had been a weak now and my mom looked as pale as a ghost. The sparkle in her eyes was fading. I was scared. She reached out to grab my hand, which I took without hesitation.


"Eli…sweetheart." she sounded so weak, so tired, "I'm sorry this happened. I understand you would feel angry and scared…but don't ever lose hope." she weakly extended her other free hands, giving me an envelope. "I don't have much time to tell you more, but all you need to know is in here." I knew what was coming, it was only logical, but at this point I didn't care about logical. All I wanted was my mommy back. She did use the last of her strength to say one last thing. 

"Be on guard. Stand firm in the Faith. Be Courageous. Be Strong. And do everything with love. These are His words. remember them well, sweetheart." 

I cried like a child when she mouthed her final words.

"I love you…."

Jade was generous enough to have her uncles play the music for the funeral. It was interesting when the rain began to fall too, matching my pain. After the ceremony, I walked up the stairs, ready to lock myself in my room, until Rachel called out to me.

"Eli. Could you come here for a second, please?"

For once, her voice sounded sincere. Maybe living with her and Sterling won't be so bad after all. She took me by the shoulder and sat beside mer on the couch. "Honey, I understand what you're going through. I just hate funerals, that's why I didn't go to your father's. It was way too painful." I wanted to believe her words, but it was a bit hard with her nasal voice, "But you want to know what I did to get my mind off of it?….I got off my butt and did something."

I arched an eyebrow, "You want me to go shopping and spend money on stuff I don't really need?" I asked rather sarcastically, only to have her laugh like a hyena.

"No, silly! I'm talking about doing some work around the house. Sterling and I will help ya out. It's a perfect way to get your mind off of your grief. What'ya say?"

As much as I wanted to just stay in my moon, maybe working around would help me get my mind off of this whole thing. For the rest of the month I did all the work around the house. I vacuumed, I washed the dices, cleaned the tables, washed the clothes, attended the garden. At first, Sterling and Rachel "tried" to help, but they kept messing things up. I eventually just gave up on their so called "help" and did the work myself. I worked better alone anyways.

As time went on, life went into a very familiar routine: I would wake up, make breakfast for everyone, prepare Rachel and Sterling's lunch and mine, go to school for eight hours, go to my job at the garage, then come back home to a messy house, make dinner and do the whole thing all over again the next day. Sterling's sixteenth birthday was approaching so he needed a Mecha Bike. My dad's old one, which me and mom latter restored it to its original glory, sat on a very special place in the workplace. One day, to my horror, Sterling found it.

"Mom! Look at this beauty!" he pulled my father's Mecha Bike into the house, showing it to his mother.

"That's my dad's!" I protested as I tried to yank the handles away from his greedy hands, "You can't touch it!!"

"And why not?" Rachel asked, "He aint here anymore. Besides, I'm sure my brother wouldn't mind if his nephew would have his old bike. Unless you were going to use it. Were ya?"

As much as I hated to admit it, "No. I don't race."

Sterling arrogantly took the handles back, "Then it's settled, I'll use this as my new signature bike. Thanks, cousin."

Even though Sterling wasn't the best mechanic, he was a pretty good racer. He was remarkably skilled. On the first race of the summer, he came in second place next to Princess Lumina. I had not been to the dome in so long, and being there made me feel like a little fish swimming in a pond that I never wanted to swim in again. But at the same time, It was like I was a little kid again. How was it possible that I could be both so happy and so miserable in a place all the the same time?

Sterling smiled as the crowd cheered for him and Lumina, already gaining a few fangirls as well. My eyes shifted to the younger princess. I had not seen her in person in years, and the only times I have seen her were in magazines and television. Wow, she was just as fit and strong-looking in person, with a look on her face that visibly read "I don't give a dime." I didn't know if to just stay where I was or leave completely.

As I suspected, Sterling tried to make a move on her. He flexed his muscles, spoke about how great he was, and asked her out for coffee. But, also as I expected, she turned him down. Not only did she turn him down, she literally flipped him over without even flinching or batting an eye. Dang, she was strong too, now I was severely terrified. I winced when my cousin fell down, but even so he still didn't lose interest in her. If anything, I think his crush only grew. Apparently he has a thing for dangerous girls. Thankfully, I didn't. I don't do danger.

My heart stopped for a moment when she and I made eye contact. Her eyes, it was like they were examining me, studying me, like a lion before jumping on his pray. 

While I will admit, as crazy as Lumina was, she wasn't necessarily bad to look at. When I first saw her, she was a rambunctious little scamp with messy hair, matching her wild spirit. Now, she had clearly grown. While most girls were either slim or not, Lumina was incredibly fit. She had an hour glass figure but a not too small waist, strong powerful biceps for arms, but not too excessive enough as to hide her femininity. Her hair was cut short into a pixie-like haircut, with uneven bangs framing the side of her face and one piece on her right side, longer and styled into a braid giving her an indian-like look. Her eyes were still that captivating shade of green and blue, they were so elegant and almost cat-like in shape, making her look all the more exotic. Underneath her right eye, she had developed a scar in the shape of a half crescent moon. But even that didn't damage her natural beauty. She was clearly a tomboy, wearing bicker-clothing, converse shoes, fingerless gloves and bicker jackets with short sleeves, showing off her smooth, perfectly toned arms, and bicker shorts, not too short but just enough to show off her long tan and powerful legs, half covered by her long boots. Whenever she appeared on the television screen, she walked like she owned the place, which in a way she kind of did, the Mecha Dome did belong to her family after all. The way she swayed her hips never went unnoticed…not even by me.

I didn't know how to feel, on the one hand a pretty girl was looking at me, but at the same time I felt like I was going to be her next victim if I even so much as flinched. Finally, she turned away, her firm expression not shifting in the slightest. I wonder what she was looking at.

I then realized I had been fantasizing about the crazy princess for a while now. Gah, what was wrong with me? I hardly knew her and I don't think I would want to. Sure, she is as pretty as Sterling said, but her attitude was far from being that of a Beauty. Heck, the press began nicknaming her "The Beast." which not only caused controversy for her racing career, but also gave her even more publicity. But, as terrible as she may seem, a part of me did feel sympathy for her. After all, I had the honor of meeting her father once…who passed away on a trip overseas, along with his wife. It was a tragic day for the kingdom, in fact it happened not long after Lumina's sixteenth birthday, she dedicated her first win to her parents. It was very sweet, I saw so much of her father in her that day. I wonder what happened to make her change so much, and into such an animal-like way. It was strange.

Sterling's racing career took off like a rocket. He was the most popular guy in school, in the city and anywhere we went. In that time, Sterling stated that he needed his own room, so Rachel forced me to move into my mom's workplace. It took me a while to get the place arranged, making myself a bed on the floor with a mattress and pillow, I had to remove some of the old stuff to make way for my basket to put my dirty cloths in, a shelf for my books, and where to keep my lamp. In all that time, I never once opened my mom's letter. In time, the letter itself disappeared, I didn't know it at the time, but it had slid down into the floorboards of the workplace. It was for the best. I didn't want to be reminded of what I had lost. 

I wanted to put the past behind me because it wasn't going to help me now. I tried to be as strong as my mom said, but I didn't know the first thing about being strong and courageous. I knew I couldn't stand my ground because Rachel would no doubt claw my face off with her sharp manicured nails, just as she had done before. I would pass the local church every day but I couldn't bare to go inside. It reminded me too much of my parents and I didn't find it would help me now. I would always love my parents, but now, for my own sake, I needed to let them go.

I wrapped myself in my blanket as a tear rolled down from my eye. For once, what had broken my heart today…was myself.


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