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THE LEGEND OF THE CHOSEN ONE:
BOOK I: HOPE WITHIN
written by Aelyva
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Chapter 3: The Journey Begins

Away, away in time
Every dream's a journey away
Away to a home away from care
Everywhere´s just a journey away

'Away' - Nightwish

Allison threw her backbag on her bed, frowning. What did one bring on a trip to another world? Cloths of course, but besides that? Still, what kind of cloths would she need? The weather in Leven might totally different. And MeteoMedia can’t help me for that one…

Valaki’s cloths suggested that it wasn’t too cold, but maybe he didn’t feel the cold like humans did. Oh great. Why didn’t I ask him about that? And he could have tell me a way to contact him!

She finally decided to bring cloths for hot and cold weather. And if I don’t have enough, I’ll buy some there…There has to be cloths shop in Leven…

After her cloths were all packed, she threw in her soap, shampoo, hairbrush and all other accessories needed for her survival as a female. But no make-up. I won’t need it there. I’m not going there to be cute, but to kill evil. He won’t care how I look. No matter how much she thought about her, Allison Collins going in another world to destroy evil, it still sounded funny. She probably would start believing it only when he’ll be standing right in front of her.

The last item she put in her bag was a picture of her parents and her, taken when she was ten years old. She couldn’t leave without it.

When Valaki left, she had told her grandmother she was departing tomorrow. She had smiled, but the smile hadn’t reached her face. Rose had been living alone for years before Allison came to live with her. How would she feel living by herself again? I hope she won’t feel too lonely…

Maybe I’ll just be gone a week. I’ll just tell everyone at school that I was sick. But she didn’t really believe it was going to be a short trip. Would it really be as easy as go to Leven, find evil, kill evil and come back on Earth? What did I get myself into?

The phone suddenly ran, bringing her back to reality.

“Hello?”

“Hi there! I didn’t see you at all this afternoon. Where were you?”

Marian’s voice brought a little smile on her face. At least, she would be able to hear her voice before leaving. “Still outside. I didn’t see the time fly by.”

Marian laughed. “Lucky you. Classes were pretty boring. Except for Chemistry. We had a lab and I paired up with Edouard and subtly brought the conversion around Rick.”

Allison sat on her bed, biting her lower lip. Gone all her worries about Leven. She went back to the simply high school teenager she was. “So, what did he say?”

“Well…” Marian paused. Her voice turned serious. “After a long fifteen minutes of swearing and calling him names I never heard before, he told me Rick never got into serious relationship. It never lasts long. Of course, Edouard said it in different words that I won’t repeat, but…that’s what he meant. I think he’s worried about you.”

Allison frowned and started playing with the cord of the phone. So Rick was a playboy? Jumping from one girl to another? He didn’t look like that kind of guy. She didn’t know how to feel about it. She was just grateful not to be in love with him. The fall would have been harder. “Can you trust what Edouard said?”

“Yeah. A girl from our class, Rachel, overheard us and confirmed it. She went out with him and he dumped her after two weeks. That guy’s a real bastard if you want my opinion,” Marian concluded, anger in her voice. “Are you going to be fine?”

“Of course. I’m a bit…disappointed, but it’s not a big deal. We just went out once and I’m not sure I can even call it a date.” So Edouard had been worried about her…That was sweet. She just felt better knowing it wasn’t jealousy.

“Good. I gotta go. I still have my English homework to finish. See you tomorrow at school!”

Marian hung up and Allison stared at the phone a long moment before hanging up as well. She wouldn’t see Marian tomorrow at school… She felt bad for not telling her, but she hadn’t found the words nor the courage to tell her. She just hoped Marian would forgive her.

With a sigh she turned off the light and got under the covers, suddenly feeling very tired. Lying on her back, her eyes fixed the ceiling.

Tomorrow…Tomorrow would affect numerous aspects of her life. She had never lived on her own before and tomorrow, she would embark on a journey with a stranger. A gorgeous one, but still a stranger. She hoped he would turn out to be an okay traveling companion.

She had a feeling that when she would be back from Leven, she wouldn’t be the same Allison Collins. Just like she wasn’t the same after her parents’ deaths. She, of course, completely erased the option that she would never be back.

I wonder how Leven is…how the people are… She sighed and turned on her stomach, her head resting on her pillow.

Valaki. It was such a pretty name. Prettier than Rick. Allison liked how it rolled on her tongue when she said it.

Slowly, Allison’s eyes began to close, an image of those pale blue eyes watching her as she finally fell asleep.

<><><><><>

The next morning, she had her bag next to the kitchen’s table while she ate breakfast. She wasn’t very hungry, but she didn’t want to leave with an empty stomach. She ate her toast and bowl of cereal in a record time; she didn’t want to make Valaki wait. He had seemed serious when he said he didn’t like waiting. She had no intention of finding out how he looked when he was mad. Besides, angering the only person she would know in Leven didn’t sound like a great idea.

“Good morning, honey,” Rose greeted her. She sat down in front of her. “You’re leaving soon?”

Allison nodded. “Yes. Are…are you sure you don’t mind me going? Won’t you feel lonely? Maybe you could come with us! I’m sure it…”

Rose chuckled softly. “I’ll miss you, yes, but this is something you have to do. And I won’t be so lonely, I still have some friends you know!”

Allison nodded, trying to hold back her tears. “I know. I really feel like I have to do it…”

Rose smiled. “It’s called destiny. Now I want you to promise me that you’ll be careful.”

“I promise.” And unable to restrain herself anymore, she burst into tears and threw herself in her grandmother’s arms. “I’ll miss you so much, granny! You and Marian and all my friends! It’s gonna be so hard…”

Rose patted Allison’s back, trying to reassure her. “It will at the beginning, but you won’t be completely alone. It will be a new experience for you. Try to enjoy it.”

Allison frowned. “Enjoy it? I’m going there to get rid of some evil guy. It’s not a vacation.”

“Already taking it seriously?” Rose teased her. Her finger gently wiped away her granddaughter’s tears and for the rest of breakfast, the two of them talked about everything but Leven, knowing that this would be their last moment together for a long time.

Too soon came the time for Allison to leave.

“Do you have everything?”

“Yes. You know, I could be leaving for Vancouver and you wouldn’t act any different!”

Rose smiled. “It won’t do you any good if I break down and cry, dear. Now, come and give your granny a big hug.”

Allison did so and inhaled the scent of her grandmother. She smelled of vanilla and peach. A scent that had been so comforting many times in the past. She hoped the scent would follow her to Leven.

“One last thing…I talked to Marian on the phone last night, but I couldn’t tell her about Leven. I know she’ll eventually come here to ask if I’m sick, where I am... Could…could you try to explain to her?”

“I will. Now go.”

Allison looked at her grandmother, eyes moisten. When her parents died, she never thought someone could fulfill the empty space they left in her heart. But somehow, with a lot of perseverance and gentleness, little by little, her grandmother had. Even when Allison had been rebellious and mean, Rose still kept trying. And she succeeded at the end.

Be strong. For her and for them. But mostly for yourself.

Allison nodded, took her backbag and flung it over her shoulder. “I promise I’ll be back.”

“I know you will, dear. Je le sais.”

“I love you.”

“Je t’aime aussi.”

Allison kissed her goodbye and left the house rapidly, fearing if she stayed too long, she wouldn’t be able to leave.

Valaki was already there, tapping his foot impatiently, even though she was on time. Without much than a greeting, he led her toward a more ‘deserted’ part of the city, away from curious eyes, without explaining why. Allison didn’t dare asking.

She sniffed and controled herself not to break down in tears again. She was leaving, she was leaving…She didn’t really want to leave. How was she going to manage, without her grandmother, without Marian? What had she been thinking to say yes?

“It’s perfect.”

Allison jerked away from her dreamy state and looked around them. “Mont-Royal? Why the heck are we here?”

“No one else is around.”

True. At 7:30am on a Tuesday morning, not many people hung around here. “I guess it’s a good place for whatever you want to do.”

“Open a portal.”

“Huh?”

Valaki sighed. “We’re away from humans’ eyes so I can open the portal which will lead us to Leven,” Valaki calmly explained.

“A…portal?”

“You’ll see.”

He raised his left arm and Allison noticed for the first time the red gem in the middle of his palm, glowing, and she wondered how she could have missed it.

Just like the tail. I wonder what else I missed, she mused, dryly.

The gem glowed redder and suddenly, a sort of red wormhole appeared a few meters from them. It stood a little above the ground, floating. It looked like water waves to Allison, only vertically and red.

She walked closer to it, observing it curiously. “Is that…the portal?”

“Yes.”

“And you opened it with that?” she asked, pointing his gem.

“You saw it, didn’t you?” She nodded. “Then why asking the question?”

Allison chose not to answer, but she was frowning. He was right of course, which made her mad. Was he always such a jerk?

He took her hand he led her toward the portal. Leven seemed so close now.

Allison took one last look around and closed her eyes, gripping Valaki’s hand tighter. His only answer was to squeeze it reassuringly. Please don’t let me regret this.

They jumped.

<><><><><>

Allison tried to control her ragged breathing. She felt like she had ran ten kilometers when she hadn’t moved one bit. It was decided: she did not like the wormhole. Just the idea of having to take it again to get back home made her sick. The trip hadn’t last long, merely a few seconds, but it was still too long in her opinion.

When she felt she wasn’t going to throw up, she took a look around her. Leven. If it weren’t for the two suns in the sky, a huge orange one and the other one small and greenish, she would have thought they were still on Earth. The grass was green, the trees looked like trees and the sky was blue. She almost felt disappointed. Almost.

What the hell were you expecting? Pink grass? Yellow sky? Disformed trees?

“Welcome to Leven,” Valaki said as he noticed her curious look. “You can observe the landscape while we walk. We need to get to Nerim to get some supplies before the night falls.”

“Night? But it was morning when we left! Surely we weren’t in the wormhole for that long!” Just the thought made her stomach flips.

“It was morning on Earth. Time is different here. On your world, a day is 24 hours. Here, a day lasts for 30 hours.”

Registering that new piece of information, Allison followed Valaki’s lead toward that town he called Nerim. She took that opportunity to observe the landscape closer, noticing small details she hadn’t caught at her first look. The trees’ trunks were more black than brown. She also couldn’t see nor hear any birds. Or any other animals for that matter. Complete silence filled her ears beside the sound of her footsteps on the sandy road. Another thing she noticed was that the air was much purer than on Earth.

And it seemed their mode of transportation was going to be feet.

As she looked around, a feeling of déjà vu overwhelmed her. Like she had been there before, seen this landscape. Which she hadn’t, but the feeling was so strong. Everything looked so familiar, but looked so new at the same time.

What did it mean?

There were so many questions she wanted to ask Valaki, but even though she didn’t know him for very long, she could see he wasn’t in the mood to answers her curious questions. She wished he’d be nicer to her, seeing as she just arrived on an unknown world.

Allison soon noticed a small village in front of them on top of a small hill. “Is that Nerim?”

“Yes. You might attract attention.”

“Why?”

“Your cloths.”

Allison frowned and looked down at her cloths. She was wearing black pants and a white shirt – the same color he was wearing -, running shoes in her feet. There was nothing ‘attracting’ in that! “What’s wrong with my cloths?”

“They are…strange. We’ll have to buy you some new ones if we don’t want unwanted attention later on.”

Strange? But as a few people came in view, Allison understood what he meant. Everyone was dressed in a medieval sort of way. The men wore dark cloths, similar to Valaki’s, but the women’s cloths were more colorful. She noticed happily that most women seemed to wear pants.

“I guess you’re right,” Allison admitted with a sigh.

They went shopping. Shops in Leven looked pretty much like on Earth, but there seemed to have fewer choices. The styles of the cloths also looked quite alike. No design, pattern or writing on the shirts, and the pants were all loose and meant to be comfortable. Valaki chose the cloths and paid for them. Allison had no choice but trust his judgment and taste. At least, he didn’t buy anything yellow. Yellow looked odd on her. With her blond hair, she looked like a canary. A cute little canary. She hated that. But he couldn’t have known that. Could he? For some reasons, she doubted he had fashion eyes. He probably bought the first cheapest thing he saw.

After she changed in her new cloths, which she decided would take her awhile to feel comfortable in, they went to buy some food for the way. Allison had been nervous to see how the food looked like here. She had been relief; it didn’t look so bad. The vegetables looked pretty much like Earth ones, there was rice and the fruits looked very tasty.

The night soon fell, darkening the sky. No moon, but thousands of stars. She had never seen so many stars in the sky before. It was an amazing sight.

They took a room in Nerim’s only inn. Allison wasn’t sure how to feel about sharing a room with Valaki. Sure, the room had two beds. And she didn’t really want to sleep alone on her first day in Leven... But still…

It’s not like he’s gonna try something! He doesn’t seem one bit interested. Disappointed?

Shut up, dirty mind!

“It is time you learn about who you will face.”

Valaki’s voice brought Allison away from her argument with her own mind and she almost blushed. Where did those thoughts came from?

She nodded and sat comfortably on the bed, ears all open.

“He is called Geevar and is a very powerful demon that arrived in Leven 500 years ago. For years, he terrorized people and thousands died by his hands. It finally ended after 23 years of war when he was sealed up in a cave and put to sleep. But he is…awakening now and is still a threat as long as he lives.”

“Thankfully, the cave can only be opened by gathering five stones and the stones can only be taken from their current location by the Chosen One. You.”

Her eyes widened as he gave her the details. A demon… she was going to face a demon? A demon that killed thousands of people? Totally crazy…

“So…what you mean is that we’re going to have to search for these stones?” Allison slowly asked. “And they could be…anywhere?”

“That’s right. I already located two of them while I was waiting for the right time to…bring you here. For the three others, we’ll have to look for them.”

And here I thought it was going to be a short trip, two weeks maybe. Now I’m going to be here at least a few months!

“Why didn’t you tell me that sooner?”

Valaki shrugged. On anyone else, shrugging seems normal, but he did it with a touch of grace.

“It wasn’t necessary. Would it have changed your decision?”

Allison thought about that. If she had knew it was a longer trip, would have she still agreed? Yes.

“No, I suppose…Is it going to be hard, getting those stones?”

“I won’t lie to you, it might be dangerous,” Valaki answered. “We’ll probably have to fight to get a stone or two.”

“F-fight?” Allison widened her eyes. “I know karate, I have been studying it since I’m 7, but it didn’t do any good against Ubel…”

Valaki raised an eyebrow. “What is…karate?”

“Oh right. It’s a Japanese martial art. It’s a…fits and kicking fighting style,” Allison weakly tried to explain. Of course, they didn’t have karate here…

“I understand,” Valaki said. He eyed her critically. “You’ll have to show me what you can do tomorrow.”

“Are…are you sure I’m up to this stuff?” Allison asked in a small voice. She wasn’t a fighter! She knew karate, yes, but she never thought about using it outside her lessons! Only as a self-defense tool.

“You won’t be alone,” he finally said, after a long moment of silence. He didn’t to seem very good at the comforting thing. “It is my duty to protect and help you. You would not have been chosen if you weren’t up to it.”

Feeling a little better at his words, Allison gave him a little smile and went to bed. Strangely, it didn’t bother her now that Valaki was sleeping only two feet away from her. She felt safe. She still knew nothing about him, but she could trust him to protect her. She knew at least that. She saw it in his eyes.

He would help her. And so, she intended not to disappoint him.

<><><><><>

And so, after a longer night of sleep than usual, Valaki and Allison left the next morning to find the first stone, located near a town named Wolke, as Valaki explained her. On the way, he made her stop and asked her to show her exactly what ‘karate’ was. He had nodded appreciatively and said that he was glad that she wasn’t totally defenseless.

For the rest of the way, Allison had been in a pretty good mood, until Valaki told her that they needed to enter a deep forest to get to Wolke.

Allison wasn’t a big fan of forests. Hiking, camping or bird-watching weren’t among her favorite hobbies. Taking a walk in a forest certainly wasn’t either.

On Earth, she knew what lived in forests. Deers, wolves, bears. Here, she had no idea what to expect.

She just hoped she would survive the experience.

<><><><><>

The sound of boots on the hard floor announced the presence of another person in the room. He raised his head slowly and his eyes fell on the newcomer. His fingers tapped impatiently on the marble of his chair’s arms.

The woman stopped in front of the three stairs that leaded to his throne, as he liked to call it. She kneeled, keeping eyes contact.

“She’s here.”

His lips twisted into a smile at those words. Those simple words who meant everything. He needed no more information. Those words were enough. He waved his hand, dismissing the woman, who left the room without a second glance.

Finally. The Chosen One arrived.

*~*END OF CHAPTER*~*

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Translation:
Je le sais => I know it
Je t'aime aussi => I love you too

Notes
MeteoMedia is a tv channel dedicated entierely to forecast weather, 24 hours a day. Mostly weather of Quebec, but it also shows from time to time weather from all around the world. They're often wrong, but it's still the first place you check to see if it's going to be sunny outside today and tomorrow. Hema-Quebec is the organism that deals with blood donation in Quebec.

Written: March 10, 2003
Last Revised: November 01, 2004