Ida's Cure

13 year old Ida lives with her sister in some old, dumpy crates on the outskirts of their kingdom. Her parents are both dead, and so it is up to her to take care of her younger sister. One day her sister becomes very sick and Ida has to do something about it. She sets off in search of a magical flower that heals all sicknesses and cures all scars. This is the story of her journey to find the cure...it's an adventure, a fantasy, and a little bit of romance, too!
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2. Castle

 

Chapter 2

 

         The Curing Flower is completely unique from other flowers. People who were unaware about the flower’s power would not be able to tell it from others by just looking at it. Inside the flower’s petals there is a remedy for every disease, every sickness, and every sore. There were ranging from 8-10 petals on each flower. They had dark green stems and long leaves; the petals a deep shade of red. They’d never wilt, and they could survive in every environment.

          Long ago, there were Curing Flowers growing everywhere. People picked them out of the ground like potatoes, using them for even the simplest of cuts and the smallest colds. The queen and king realized that the flowers did not reproduce, and there were only a few left. Every family in Golden Gate manor was allowed only one for the rest of their lives. Eventually the parents and older children died and left behind younger relatives who had never really heard the story; as the people were ashamed at their greediness. Today it is known as a legend- but nobody is sure if it is true. It still remains as a mystery.

           The king and queen died and a new set of rulers took the throne. They were the only ones who were sure of the quantity of the flowers at the time. They believed there were three left when they died, but years later one adventurer claimed to have found one and a knight stumbled upon one in a battle. Unfortunately, the first man dropped the flower into a rushing river and drowned trying to save it. The knight was slayed returning to the manor by the enemy he was supposed to be fighting. The enemy took the flower to his kingdom.  Now there is believed to be only one.

            This information was gathered this information from the new king of Golden Gate Manor, grandson of the king and king who witnessed the flower’s extinction. He has found out about the flower from his parents in his early years as the spoke to his grandparents, and from records in the castle library. He believes the one (or possibly more) flower exists, and thinks the location is far away from the guarding gates of our manor. There was a scroll recovered from the old king’s safe keeping chest that seems to have instructions leading to the Curing Flower. It read:

To seek the Curing Flower,

Look for the river with golden pebbles,

And beware of the serpent that is bigger than its home.

Pick the flower on the other side,

But beware of the obstacles.

Many struggles you will face,

Many friends will find you need help.

Enchantments make it necessary,

To survive the many dangers.

Maybe you will find what you seek,

But maybe not.

           We are not sure who wrote this scroll and if it is true or not. The king encourages anyone who is willing to risk their lives and brave the obstacles to solve the mystery of the Curing Flower.

 

            I wept after I read this.

            My poor mother! She wanted to be a writer so badly, and when the king asked for a notification letter to send to other rulers of different kingdoms she jumped at the chance. For the whole time she was pregnant with Isadora, she wrote these stories and letters and fables for the king. It was an easy job where she could stay with her young daughter (me), and one on the way while my father fought in the battle. This was her last story. She was in the middle of writing this article when little Isadora came along, but Mother didn’t make it. 2 years after that, I was notified that my father had been killed in the battle. By then I was old enough to take care of little Isadora and I found a way to earn a little money, although occasionally I’d steal food if it was a bad week. It has been like that ever since.

               Reading this reminded me of how my mother taught me how to read and write when I was so young, and how she would always say “You only need numerals to number the pages on a book, and science to prove the facts in a story. What’s important is writing, which sparks your imagination and makes any dream accomplishable.” Then she’d kiss my head and start off walking down the cobble stone streets to the palace, where she hand her parchment to the king.

               Even though the king knew my mother well, he never knew me or was even aware of my existence. Mother was quite protected of me, as things were hard back then.

               Should I talk to the king before I set off? Isadora only had 9 days. Who knows how long it would take to get to the Curing Flower? Or is it even true?

               After an hour of crying and wondering what to do, I decided to travel back to the palace and I would try and talk to the king. What if this was one of my mother’s silly fantasy stories? I decided it would be better to make sure before I risked my life to save little Isadora’s.

 

                “I need to speak with the king, sir.” I told the guard standing at the gate of the palace entrance.

                “What do you need, little lady?” He replied in a low voice.         

                I was angered that he called me that. “I have important information from the king’s scribe. It is urgent.” I showed him the old book that has my mother’s story.

                “Is the king awaiting your arrival?”       

                “I am sure he will find this important enough to let me in.”

                “I’m afraid I cannot grant you access without permission of the king, little lady.”

                “Ask him. Tell him I have information about the Curing Flower.”

                After the guard left for quite some time, Prince Tobias came out of the doors.

                “Do you have information about the Curing Flower?” He asked.

                “Yes, I do.”

                “My father asked me to escort you to his chamber. The guard tripped on some wet tile and is being treated for a nasty bump on his head.”

                “Oh. Well, thank you.”

                What a strange place our manor was.

                As I followed him through the long halls of the palace, the prince kept looking at me with a puzzled face. Finally, he asked, “I think I have seen you before in the streets.”

                “Yes, my little sister ran away and I had to find her.”

                He smiled. “Oh, yes. Now I remember.”

                 What cute dimples! His hair was tossed in the most natural way, one of his brow curls falling over his crown. He was so handsome, and I’ve always known that, but I’ve always been to busy working to ramble off about his cuteness like all the other girls in the manor. Why did I have to notice now, though, when my sister had only a few days to live?

                “Well, this is it.” Tobias- Prince Tobias- said.

                I stepped into the king’s chamber. The king, looking much like his son, sat in a throne holding parchments and books.

                “Welcome,” he said.

                I curtsied. “Your majesty.”

                “You have information about the Curing Flower?” he questioned.

                “Um, I was actually seeking information.” I replied nervously, blushing since I had lied to get in.

                The king looked surprised.

                I handed him my mother’s book.

                He opened to the first page of the weathered book. With one look at the hand writing and fancy calligraphy he exclaimed, “This is Myra Water’s work!”

                I nodded. “She was my mother.”

                The king bowed his head. “I’m deeply sorry for her passing. Thank you for bringing me this.”

                “You’re welcome. Uh . . .” I stuttered, “Would it be alright if I asked a few questions about the Curing Flower?”

                “I am puzzled by why you would need to know, but absolutely- ask away!”

                “Well,” I started, “Do you really believe that if I went out looking for the Curing Flower I’d have success?”

                The king sat for a few seconds, thinking and reading my mother’s entry. As he did, I looked around and soaked in my surroundings.

                There was a grand arch leading out to a balcony where the royals made announcements. It was visible from almost everywhere in the manor, and so they always held things like that there.

                There were golden details everywhere- staircases, windows, candle holders, and shelves! The floors were sparkling tile and there were fancy columns in the corridors. And the people! The halls were bustling with people rushing to and fro. I couldn’t help but notice how fancy the ladies’ dresses were- I had thought the outfits in the villages were fancy!

                My thoughts were interrupted by the king. He said, “I am not sure what your strengths and weaknesses are; but I cannot possibly believe a girl as young as you would be successful.”

                Great. Way to keep me positive.

                “Okay, well, do you know of the location?”

                The king sighed.

                “I believe it is beyond the river that flows just out of our kingdom, the side with the golden pebbles. People say after that you follow the sun.”

                “Do you believe that could be true?”

                The king shrugged. “I have no idea. I used to believe in this crazy idea, but now I have other things to worry about.”

                Did I have other questions? Did those words just tell me that I should give up? I doubt I would be back in time for Isadora anyway.

                What to do?

                I thanked the king and as I was gathering the parchments, the king asked, “What might you be doing . . . going off and searching for the Curing Flower?”

                Should I tell him?

                “Um . . . I have a little sister who is very sick.”

                The prince caught my eye from the corner of the room. He looked sad, like he wished he could help.

                “Father,” The prince said, “Could we possibly treat her sister if . . .” He paused, I realized he wanted to know my name.

                “Ida.” I said.

                “. . . if Ida decides to go on her quest?”

                “Possibly,” He turned to me. “Are you seriously considering this?”

                “Yes,” I forced myself to say.

                He thought for a moment.

                “Where do you live?”

                I blushed.

                “Actually, I live out of the village. Um . . . it’s not exactly a house either . . . or even an apartment. It’s west of here . . . by the bend in the stream. It’s not too hard to find.”

                “Right by the gate, then?” asked the king.

                “Uh huh.”

                “That should be easy to find if we do get your little sister . . . what was her name?”

                “Isadora.”

                “Let’s see . . . she is how old? Eight?”

                “She’ll be nine in a few months.” I paused, and then asked, “How do you know?”

                The king stared straight at me. “When your mother died, it was about eight years ago. I decided it must have been childbirth that killed her, since I knew she was expecting before I last saw her.”

                I realized I must have had a funny face, because Prince Tobias broke the awkward silence by saying, “Father- shall I lead a few of our men to their . . . um . . . home - to bring her sister here?”

                The king was still looking at me. “You’re absolutely sure you are going to go.”

                I took a deep breath. “Yes, absolutely.”

                The king stood, as did I. It was rude to be sitting when royalty is standing.

                “Tobias, accompany Ida to her home and bring back Isadora. I’ll see you when you return from your quest,” he looked at me with his icy cold eyes, but if you looked deeper into his stare and were the person who tried to find the best in people, you’d see light that shone long ago.

                He handed me the book and all of the lose parchments. He bent down and whispered in my ear, “Nobody else shall know about this special treatment if they question. I’m doing this for your mother.”

                 I followed Prince Tobias out of the castle halls and long corridors, just as we had minutes ago.

                Once we had reached the bottom of the staircase, Prince Tobias ordered one of the guards to fetch a few specific guards.

                I wondered, “Do you know any of the guards very well?”

                There weren’t that many, I knew; only about 500 at a time. Golden Gate Manor usually stayed out of battles and wars, so the kings and queens recruited only as many as needed.

                He smiled, “Well, I know a few, since they help me with my sword practice and battle skills. They’re all nice, and they’re the only people I can really interact with in the castle.”

                “Right, that makes sense.”

                I led the five guards and the price to my shelter, and Prince Tobias looked surprised.

                “I told you it wasn’t much.” I joked.

                “It’s nice.” Price Tobias whispered. I knew he was only trying to be kind; he wasn’t used to homes like this.

                Even in the village there weren’t many homeless families. Most of the people had at least a small apartment with a room or two; nobody was truly ‘homeless.’ This was a shock for him, and I understood.

                I showed him the inside of my crate, and the prince was speechless.

                Then, I checked on Isadora.

                “Hey, I’m back, Isi.” I called in a soothing voice.

                Isadora croaked a painful Hello, I’m glad your back. Who did you bring?

                I called the price over. “Your highness . . .”

                “Call me Tobias, please. Or even Toby.” He looked at me, and I quickly turned away.

                How sweet. If Isadora wasn’t right in front of me, I might have blushed. Royalty doesn’t do that to everyone, you know.

                “Isi, I brought the prince, Tobias, and he’s going to take you back to the castle. They’re going to try and make you feel better, okay.”

                Isadora nodded.

                “Do you remember that story of mommy’s that I used to read to you . . . the one about the magical flower?”

                Isadora smiled. She loved hearing that, for whatever reason.

                “I’m going to look for it; to cure you.”

                Isadora’s eyes grew wide, and she said, “. . . ay weh meh . . .” I knew she was trying to say, “Stay with me.”

                “No,” A tear escaped my eye and rolled down my cheek. “I want to go. I promise I’ll be back, okay?”

                When Tobias glanced at her, she smiled.             

                I shuddered, “Yup, it’s the prince. He’ll take good care of you.”

                “Right,” said Tobias. “We’ll have fun, you and I.” He laughed and Isadora tried to, also, but it resulted in a coughing fit.

                While the guards carefully placed her in a crate to carry her to back the castle, Tobias asked about the details of the sickness. I told him, and then he asked if I thought I’d be back in about eight days, which is about how many Isadora had left to live.

                “I hope so.” That was all I said.

                As we walked back to the castle, I read over the notes the king had given me. Most of it I had already know; the supposed serpent, the curing abilities, and the appearance. There are three other spells any person can perform to help yourself out throughout your journey. That includes an ancient spell that turns an ordinary doll into a person that is fully functional to help you out, and one that suspends any one sickness for three days. I decided I really wanted to try to find that one, as I think that would be very helpful in Isadora’s case. The last spell’s specific purpose is unknown, but explorers are sure it exists, since three is a common number in ancient magic. I also learned about the day long walk across this magical basin where you are literally right in front of the flower, but it appears far away. No matter how fast you run, you get no farther until a whole day passes.

                At the end of one long parchment I read:

                The King and Queen were so angered at their own carelessness with the flowers, and so when there were only a few left, they asked an old which living somewhere in Golden Gate Manor to perform a series of enchantments to protect the flowers from being used.

                I had never actually thought of why there were spells to protect the flower . . . but that was great information.

                Before I knew it, we were back at the castle. I wanted to start of right away, so I said goodbye to Isadora at the entrance, and started off. Tobias asked if he could accompany me, but I told him I was better off alone, which I probably was.

                And I left, following the sun as it descended into the horizon.

 

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