Arran and Marii stood, hand in hand. Their eyes began to close and memories
came back to them. Arran saw a beautiful city. He was looking through a window
in the palace and out onto the courtyard and the rest of the ancient and wondrous
Marii saw her parents, her room at home, her shop. She saw the happiness she
had known. The two memories joined into one that Arran and Marii shared. A bell
bonged in the background. The pair took a step forward. The bell bonged again.
The two took another step. They were walking on nothing. For the third time,
the bell bonged in the background. For the third time, Arran and Marii stepped
on nothing. Then their eyes opened. Arran could see the same beautiful city,
but now the houses and shops were boarded up. An evil foreboding hung over the
place. But Arran could see the bell tower, and the bell was still there. He
took a step forward. But Marii was not watching. She stood paralysed as a black
Eyrie emerged from the shadows. It was Lord Hinistra. He struck out savagely.
Marii fell to the ground, unconscious.
It was up to Arran. He ran for the bell tower When he reached it, he saw that
the clapper from the bell was gone. The bell had lost its voice.
Suddenly Arran knew what to do. He opened his paw. The Emerald of Justice shone
brightly. Arran concentrated. Slowly, the Emerald floated up into the air, attaching
itself in place of the clapper. Arran took hold of the rope and pulled it as
hard as he could.
“Booonngggggg!” The bell rang out. Arran was swept off his feet. He
pulled again. “Booonnggggg!” And for the final time, Arran took hold
of the rope in his paws. He took a deep breath and pulled with all his might.
On the first toll of the bell, Lord Hinistra and his warriors crippled up in
pain. On the second toll, they rolled on the ground with mad lances of pain
searing through their bodies. And on the third and final toll, they vanished,
never to be seen again. The chains on the enslaved citizens of Whillenia turned
to dust, and they ran outside to their city.
Arran, however, had other plans than to run around celebrating. He ran back
to where he had left the unconscious Marii, to find that two adult Shoyrus were
already there, bathing Marii’s brow. One of them was glass and the other was
rainbow. Marii’s eyes opened. The rainbow Shoyru looked up at Arran.
“So Marii did find help! Thank you for saving us!” she cried.
Then, two adult Kougras arrived on the scene. One was faerie, and the other
one was white. Arran looked up at them.
“Father,” he said. The faerie Kougra smiled. Arran turned to the white Kougra.
“Mother,” he said. The other two looked at each other.
“Arran,” cried the white one, “Oh, Arran, we missed you! I always hoped that
you were safe and happy! Oh, Arran, my long-lost son!”
The two adult Shoyrus bowed low. “Prince Arran,” one said, “we are honoured
to be within your presence.”
“Oh prince,” said the other, “we truly are overjoyed you have returned.”
Arran felt flustered. He didn’t know what to say. Fortunately, Marii cut in
“Oh, stop that,” she said. “He doesn’t want you to be so formal. I mean, he’s
still young like me. He’s just Arran. And he’s my best buddy!” Everyone smiled.
Then, happily, the King, Queen, and Prince, along with the Shoyru family, turned
and walked home.