What may have been an ordinary, fresh fall morning for the billions that resided on Amber’s planet was certainly not for Amber herself, neither for Cressela. The two were up early, Amber fastening the chain that her grandfather had given her around her neck and tucking it underneath her hoodie protectively. Amber’s stomach was in knots as she sat on the edge of her bed, studying the quiet, darkened room of Ruey’s house once more, thinking back to the odd sixteen years of her life.
Ever since she could crawl she had been called different - imaginative, a daydreamer, eager and adventurous. The children in pre-school wanted a Barbie doll or a toy car, Amber longed for adventure trails, binoculars and sketch pads. In primary school, classmates bought in toys and holiday souvenirs, Amber showed off shells and semi-precious stones she’d found on her ventures. In high school, her mates drew portraits and animals, Amber sketched mystical beasts and sorceresses igniting their glowing powers. Now, she had the opportunity of a lifetime, to balance two kinds and save Cressela’s species from their hard lives with Dr Insanis. And although she knew deep down that the massive task would be far from easy, she concluded that she was ecstatic and ready to get started - meeting Cressela’s kind, witnessing their powers, seeing first-hand wonders that fantasists only dreamt of.
Amber changed into a thin black and white striped long-sleeved top, black denim jeans (already ripped a little at the knees) with a belt with room for any items that she needed to get to, and sports trainers. She tied her ginger-brown locks away from her face and in a ponytail, leaving a few strands hanging at the front sides to frame her face, and walked into the bathroom, looking at herself in the mirror - her green eyes sparkling, her cheeks a rosy pink.
“You look just like your mother, Amber.”
Amber looked back to see Ruey standing in the doorway, and she smiled slightly.
He nodded, leading her out of the room and sitting her down on the sofa.
“You have the same look in your eyes that she did, Amber. Always adventurous, eager to discover new things, travelling and exploring the world. Stubborn, fearless, wistful, very loveable. Her and your father - they were the perfect match.”
Amber sighed, biting her lip.
“I wish I could’ve known them.”
He patted her knee, smiling.
“But now, you must brave your own adventure. You and Cressela. Finish this, what the inventor started. Take them to Appregsimus Forest, where no one resides for thousands of miles.”
“And when we do?” Amber asked, worry finally breaking through her confident attitude. “What then?”
“Follow your instincts, Amber. Every ending marks a new beginning. These creations will live on for generations. Find a place that they can live safely, free from humanities' stress and cruelties. And when you do,” he continued, holding her hand, “you’ll know exactly what to do.”
Amber nodded, hugging him tightly, feeling tears slip out of her eyes as she squeezed them shut.
“Amber, dear child, never fear who you are. One known name can hold a thousand hidden glories.”
They stood up, and Ruey pressed a few somethings in her hands.
“Take these as well,” he told her, “you have Cressela for protection, but you must be able to protect yourself too.”
Amber nodded, wiping the wet trails that streaked thinly down her cheeks.
“I wish you could come, Ruey.”
He shook his head, smiling.
“No, I am too old and too tired for such adventures,” he said, “this is your adventure. Go to it!”
“Grandad,” she whispered, grabbing his hand, “what if I don’t come back for ages? I’m afraid I may never see you again.”
He shook his head, smiling fondly at his grandchild.
“I will always be with you, Amber,” he assured her, and took out the necklace from underneath her hoodie, “and with this, your parents will be too.”
“Amber,” Cressela said from behind them, standing near the main door in her human form, “there’s a long... weirdly shaped transport outside, with two men inside.”
“It’s a car,” Amber told her smiling, and put the items away in her belt distractedly, turning back to Ruey.
“Will you come with us? To where the plane is?”
He shook his head, smiling slightly.
“No, no. I’m not going to watch you leave, Amber.”
Amber stared for a moment, then nodded. "I will see you again. I promise."
Ruey smiled and nodded, ducking his head for a moment as Cressela approached them.
Ruey nodded to her, taking her hands in his; Cressela's face confused and taken aback slightly at the action.
“Good luck, Cressela. You’re a good-hearted, amazing young girl. I shall miss you.”
She didn’t reply for a moment, her expression showing surprise as she smiled.
“Thank you,” she replied, shaking his hand, “as I will you.”
He nodded at the girls, smiling at Amber once more.
“Go to it, kid.”
And he rushed into another room, leaving Cressela and Amber in the hall, ready to leave. Amber inhaled deeply, readying herself.
“You ready?” Amber asked, then looked back at Cressela again. “Cressela?”
Cressela had a slightly nervous look on her face, and she shrugged a little.
“A little worried.”
“Don’t be,” Amber said encouragingly, “we’ll put an end to this, Cressela. You and me. Make your tens feel like hundreds.”
Cressela smiled and nodded, and Amber grinned in newly invigorated excitement, putting her arms around Cressela and embracing her tightly. Cressela froze for a minute, but then hugged her back.
“What is this?”
“It’s a hug,” Amber said, smiling and letting go. “It’s what friends do, to make them feel better.”
Cressela nodded slowly with a hesitant smile. "Uh... right. Well, let's do this."
She nodded, and the two walked out the door, briefly greeting the driver and the man that would be taking them to the island, getting into the black car. Cressela was evidently startled when the car started moving, shifting nearer to Amber in the uncertainty of all the unfamiliarities of where she was. And as the black car pulled away out of the drive, Ruey watched from his bedroom window, tears in his eyes as he stared after the car proudly. Then he coughed and wheezed a little, going off to the kitchen.
“So kids, what’re your names?”
Brian, the man that was touring and had helped arrange their journey asked in a friendly manner, and Cressela looked down, choosing not to answer and glancing at Amber.
“I’m Amber,” Amber answered, “and this is, um, Ella.”
“Ah, right!” he replied obliviously, tapping a beat on his leg with his fingers. “Odd place you two are going to, gotta say. Never heard of it! But I guess it’s on the way, and your old man’s an old friend that I owed a favour to.”
After a while, he gave up trying to make small talk and chatted to the driver instead. Cressela reached for Amber’s hand and squeezed it tightly, and Amber squeezed back, smiling reassuringly and going through the things that Ruey gave her.
They included a swiss army knife, her flashlight, a small folded map and a mini purple tub, the lid firmly shut. Amber frowned, nudging Cressela.
“What do you think this is, Cressela?” she whispered.
Cressela took it off her and studied it, her eyes glowing for a split second as she looked through the tub, into the contents.
“They are Majanelah missiles,” she answered, handing it back to her carefully.
“Like mini bombs filled with liquid and gas mild poison. It paralyzes someone for a short while, so they can’t move.”
“Oh,” said Amber, nodding and putting it back in her belt. “That’s handy, I suppose.”
“We’re here girls!” Brian exclaimed joyfully, causing them both to jump.
They got out of the car, thanking the driver and looking up at the small white plane that they’d be in.
“Um, Brian,” Amber stared, and he whipped around energetically, “how long do you reckon this will take?”
“Mm, a few hours I suppose? C’mon, you girls can get first-class treatment, yeah?”
Cressela and Amber went into the plane, Cressela wide-eyed and shocked at the interior, as she had never been properly inside human transport before.
“You’ll be absolutely fine, Cressela,” Amber whispered, as they sat opposite each other on a four-seater space, both of them having window seats, as Brian sat at the front with the pilot. They fastened their seatbelts on, and the aeroplane began rolling down the rough grey-black road. Then it lifted, the pressure affecting Amber’s ears but not Cressela’s. She stared outside at the land that was growing smaller each second, watching it all in an amazing trance. Amber gazed outside too as clouds rose to their level, leaning back into the chair and steadying her breathing for her new beginning.
“Goodbye to you,” she murmured, as they passed the country that she’d been living in, thinking back to the forests and. “I never belonged there anyway.”