Katie was never the adventurous type. She preferred to stay at home and finish her English essay or clean her room. Her whole world shattered when her mom told her that she was to visit her grandma in Australia, where on almost every corner there was a creepy crawly waiting for her. She faces many dangers and has to make some decisions that will change her life.


7. Head Council

   Katie shyly walked into the room, practicing her special occasions walk that Melodia had taught her.  She floated across the great room all the while absorbing the immensely tall ceiling and vast open windows.  She smiled at the peaceful sea outside the west window and was amazed by the breath-taking sunset.  She loved the awe-inspiring mixture of yellow, orange, streaks of pink, lovely violet and stunning blue.

   Once she had completed the embarrassingly long walk from the giant doors to the oval table, Katie hastily sat down in an open plush velvet chair, momentarily forgetting the correct technique for taking a seat in a meeting that Christala had repeated to her over and over again.

   Looking around the table while the king was rising from his studded throne, she saw that seated around it were many wizened old men and women, each dressed in elegant gowns or suits, and each with their own page.  She was the youngest one there by far, as most of the council members had long coarse beards or perfectly braided white hair.  This made her a little bit comfortable, and she silently wished that Tiffana was there by here side.  She would know what to do, Katie thought wistfully,  Tiff would reassure me and tell me that I will do fine.  But Tiffana wasn't there, and Katie knew it.

   Katie smiled charmingly and tried not to squirm under the judging gazes of all the council members.

   Finally, King Burten cleared his throat and stood.

   "As most of you know, I have been visited by a bird of the east side of the island.  He told me that the snakes have been more brazen with their attacks and have been seen many times trying to sneak over the border.  I told this bird that I would send some of our knights to aid the birds in ending any skirmishes and in driving the snakes back to their holes.  Does anyone not agree with my decision?"

   All twelve people shook their heads and gave murmurs of agreement.  Katie tried to blend in, but she knew that she must've been sticking out like a cat among dogs.

   "Ok," the king continued after everyone agreed, "Now.  Next order of business is our visitor, Katie.  Her plane crashed halfway through her journey to Australia, and she is the only survivor that has washed up on our shores."

   Katie blushed as all the aged council members murmured to each other and and stared at her.

   "Yes, yes.  I know.  Now everyone, can we please quiet down?"

   Everyone clamped their mouths shut and returned their attention to King Burten.

   "I have thought both of these issues over, and have conceded that since we have a band of brave knights already going to the east region of the island, why not let Katie join them?  It would be taking out two birds with one stone, as far as I'm concerned.  We would be helping the birds and seeing if Katie is worthy to be one of us."

   Everyone murmured excitedly.  A stout man with fading hair stood up and pushed his chair away from the sturdy table with a loud scraping noise.

   "Ahem," he cleared his throat loudly, "While I think that this is a great opportunity, I feel that we do not know enough about this Katie person to allow her loose around the island.  How do we know that she is not a spy from the Tailed Ones?"

   A gasp went up from the group of scholarly people.  Some started glaring at Katie with squinted eyes.  She burned in her seat.

   Who are the Tailed Ones and why do they think that I'm their spy?  And how am I gonna get outta here?

   King Burten stood again, and the balding man sat down, looking at me with a skeptical eye.

   "Sir Caffley!" he shouted above the upset elderly folks.  "Thank you for your input.  Okay, as I way saying," he said with a prolonged glance at Sir Caffley, "Katie will go with the band of knights and they will leave tomorrow morning.  If she proves to be valiant and courageous, then she will earn her right to stay at Castle of the Winged Ones and she will earn her wings.  Any other questions?"

  If it were night time, Katie swore she would've heard crickets chirping.  She started to giggle to herself, but then the kings words finally soaked in.

   WHAT?! she thought, What is all this about wings and castles and courage and - Wait!  Oh no, oh no no no no no no!  Tomorrow morning?  This cannot be happening!  When am I not going to have to leave for giant scary trips the next morning?

   King Burten was looking at her quizzically, and Katie realized that he must've been calling her name for a while.

   "Yes, King?" she asked, her cheeks blazing.

   "Are you willing to go on this perilous journey to receive your wings?"

   "I am," Katie said, chin raised in confidence, and everyone could tell that she was.

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