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Legend of the Sheera

     There once was a family who lived in a peaceful village in the kingdom of Makoto near a dense, lush forest. Lance and Vivienne had three beautiful children — Callie, Orion, and Lysa. They all got along very well, and Callie and Orion always looked out for their younger sister. One fateful day, Lysa got very sick with a very rare and deadly illness that made her skin pale, her body drained of all energy, and rendered her completely bedridden. The family tried their best to help the youngest child feel better with every home remedy they could think of, but to no avail. While Lance and Vivienne stayed with Lysa, Callie and Orion went out to seek a cure. They asked everyone in their village, but nobody knew of a way to help them. They went to neighboring lands and asked other humans, elves, fairies, and even a tribe of dragon-humans they accidentally encountered — but just like in their village, nobody knew of a cure for their sister’s illness. After the two siblings felt that they had asked every person and every creature they could, they returned home, defeated. When Callie and Orion walked into the house, their parents rushed over and greeted them. Embracing them in a hug, Vivienne asked, “Were you able to find a cure?” The children looked down at the ground. “No, we weren’t,” Callie said softly. “We searched everywhere.” “How’s Lysa doing?” asked Orion. “Just about the same as you two left her,” Lance answered. She’s sleeping now. But kids, she’ll be alright,” he continued. His wife nodded. “Yes. Your father’s right. She’s a tough one,” Vivienne said. Callie looked at her parents in the eye and asked them the question she didn’t want to ask. “How much longer… do you think…” She wasn’t able to finish the question. Vivienne and Lance both tried to shield their sad knowledge of the inevitable with a silent look of hopeful optimism, but their children could see right through it.

 

No longer being able to stay strong, Callie burst into tears. “I’m so sorry!” she sobbed. “We tried our best to find a cure! We really did!” Lance pulled his daughter in close and hugged her. “We know you did, honey. Thank you.” Orion, also losing the strength he was trying to hold on to, finally broke as tears started rolling down his face. Vivienne wrapped her arms around him and comforted him. Besides the sobs and sniffles from the children, the family stood there in complete silence, trying to come to terms with what was to come.

 

After a few moments, the family jumped at the sound of a knock on the door. Composing himself, Lance went to answer it. He opened the door to see a young woman standing there. “Hi! Is it your family who has a sick child?” Lance was confused. “Yes, I’m the father,” he said. “Who are you, may I ask?” The woman smiled. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said. “Forgive me. My name is Sahra. Your other children, Callie and Orion, is it? Came asking about a cure.” Orion appeared behind his father, looking intently at her face. “We asked a lot of people, but I don’t remember asking you. Where are you from?” Sahra smiled.
“I have no permanent home. We’re always relocating. It’s better for me and the dragon-humans that way,” she said. “There are some people who are scared of what they don’t understand, and that can go either way. In our case, unfortunately, these people are trying to get rid of what they don’t understand, instead of learning more about it and seeing that it’s not harmful like they think.” She sighed. “Anyway, enough about me. Callie and Orion found my tribe and asked them if they knew of a cure, but I wasn’t there. When I got back, they told me what you were looking for, and I just had to find you. So, my husband Marcade flew me in the air, and we managed to spot you from afar. We followed you back to your house, and he dropped me off.” “Well please, come in, come in,” Vivienne told her as she ushered her in. Sahra came in, closing the door behind her.

“Thank you,” Sahra said. “Alright. So there’s a mythical creature known as a Sheera that lives on top of Ashri Mountain. This magical being has the body of a woman, long pointy ears, two wings, one white and one black, and a flowing tail.” The family looked incredulously at her. “It’s true,” she continued. “She apparently has these magical powers… That allow her to do extraordinary things.” Callie’s face lit up with excitement. “Fantastic! So all we have to do is ask, right?” Sahra smiled.
“If it were only that easy,” she said with a laugh. “Legend says she lives on the top of Mount Ashari. The journey itself isn’t a treacherous one. Rather peaceful actually. Once you reach her, she’ll ask you a question.” “A question? What kind of question?” Orion asked. Sahra shook her head. “I’m not sure. I just know you have to answer truthfully, or they’ll be consequences.” “Consequences?!” Vivienne exclaimed. “That sounds dangerous! I don’t know if I want you doing something like that,” she said, looking at Callie and Orion. “Mom, we have to,” Orion said. Callie nodded her head. “This looks like it’s the only way.” Vivienne looked at Lance. “I think I’m with the kids on this one, honey. We’ve tried everything,” he told her. With a sad sigh, Vivienne agreed. "Alright you two," she said, looking at Callie and Orion. “You have to promise us you’ll be careful.” Callie smiled. “We will, Mom,” Callie said. She then turned to Sahra. “Would you be able to show us where you think this Sheera might be?” Sahra nodded and said, “Absolutely! Marcade and I can help you look. After that, though, I’m afraid we can’t stay. We must be getting back to the rest of the tribe sooner rather than later. I hate being away from them too long. Well then. Shall we leave now?” Callie and Orion turned to their parents. Lance turned to Vivienne. She smiled a sad smile. “Yes, you can go now. Again, please, just be careful. I love you two." She pulled them into a big hug, and Lance joined the embrace, kissing each of them on the head. After a moment, Vivienne and Lance relinquished their children. Callie and Orion both turned to Sahra. “We’re ready,” Callie said. Sahra smiled. “Okay, let us begin.” 
She stopped and looked at Vivienne and Lance, who had tears in their eyes. “Your kids are strong of heart, I can feel it. I bet you anything they’ll be back before you know it. I hope to see you two again sometime. Children, I’ll go get Marcade. He’s behind the house. See you outside!” With that, she turned and walked out the door. Callie and Orion gave their parents one last hug, said their goodbyes, and followed Sahra out the door.

 

Callie, Orion, Sahra, and Marcade trekked up Ashri mountain together. Sahra had told them on the way up that the entrance to the Sheera’s cave was rumored to be behind some bushes that were taller than the others. They eventually found some that fit the description. When the bushes were pushed aside, they gave way to a dark cave. Sahra and Marcade said that was as far as they would go since they had to get back to the tribe. They bid their farewells as Sahra hopped on Marcade’s back. With a mighty gust of windy propulsion, the two took to the sky. Callie and Orion then stepped into the cave. After walking a little ways inside, a sharp but soothing voice came out of nowhere and reverberated throughout the walls. “Who goes there?” They jumped with surprise. “Callie and Orion,” Callie said. There was a pause. “Your answer is true,” the voice said. “Are you here for yourself or someone else?” Orion gathered up his courage and said, “We’re here for someone else.” There was another pause. “Your answer is true,” said the voice. “Why have you sought me out?” it continued. “We came to ask if you could help our sister Lysa get better. She’s very sick, and she doesn’t have much time.” Orion said. There was another pause. “Your answer is true,” it said. “Congratulations. You have made it past the preliminary questions. I will now ask you another question. Know that if you do not answer the question correctly, there will be consequences that involve you not leaving this cave. If you choose to proceed, there is no going back. Do you wish to continue, or would you like to turn around and go from whence you came?” “We would like to continue. We hear that you might be able to help us.” Callie said. “Very well. Think wisely about your next answer. Only the pure of heart are able to prove an appropriate answer, and only a small number have,” the Sheera said. “Here is your question. What do you consider to be the most precious gift of all?” Callie and Orion looked at each other, whispered a few things, and turned back to the Sheera. “We’ve decided on our answer,” Orion said. “Our answer… is…” “Love,” Callie finished. They both held their breaths. “Your answer,” the Sheera began, “is... true.” Callie and Orion both let out a sigh of relief. “You appear to be truthful, trustworthy, and pure of heart, so I will make myself visible to you.” There was a loud whooshing sound, and the Sheera appeared in front of the two children. She was just as Sahra had described: she had the body of a woman, pointed ears, wings of two different colors, and a flowing tail. “I am indeed able to help your sister, as my magic can heal any ailment. However, all of my solutions have a price to pay. Are you willing to pay it?"

A while later, Callie and Orion ran into their house. They raced to the back room where Lance and Vivienne were standing beside Lysa, who was barely hanging on. Their parents’ faces were filled with relief as they all embraced in a big hug. Callie then pulled out a silver flask, and they gently helped Lysa drink the golden liquid. The family stood by silent, watching to see if it worked. After a few moments, the color began to reappear in Lysa’s skin, and she was able to sit up by all by herself — something she hadn’t been able to do in a long time. The rest of the family crowded around her, crying tears of joy. “Thank you!” Lysa told everyone, smiling. “Thank you so much for taking care of me! Now everything can go back to the way it was!” Callie and Orion both looked away. “What’s wrong?” Lysa asked.
“Well,” Orion began, “In order to get that potion that healed you, we had to make a bargain. With the Sheera.”

 

Terror flashed on Vivienne’s face. “A bargain? What do you mean by a bargain?” she asked.
“Because of how powerful the potion was, we had to pay a price. Basically, we had to agree to stay with the Sheera,” Callie said. Lance, Vivienne, and Lysa looked crestfallen. “For how long?” Lance asked. There was a pause before Orion answered. “Indefinitely.” There was a loud whooshing sound in the house, and the Sheera appeared. “He’s right,” she said. “They can be free when they’ve served their time. Now, Callie, Orion, I believe it’s time to say goodbye to your family.” Callie and Orion, with tears rolling down their face, hugged their sister and their parents. They then broke away, looked at each other, and stood in front of the Sheera. “We’re ready,” Callie told her. The Sheera smiled, looked at everyone, and with a loud whooshing sound, the only people left in the house were Lance, Vivienne, and Lysa.

- Fin -

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