Silence fills the air as everyone tries to process the news. The messenger, looking grim, snaps the reins and gallops away. The crowd breaks out in panic and many scream out in fear. I should be in despair too, and a sliver of me is, but I feel overjoyed. If the Stone is missing, that means that the queen must choose five young warriors to go on a mission. I am going to be one of them, I just know it. I bend down and embrace Dawn.
"Oh, Dawn," I cry, "this is our chance to prove ourselves!" I jump back up and race back towards my house. As I approach the front door, my father swings it open.
"What's going o--" I don't hear what else he says as I barrel past him and flaunt into my bedroom. I brush my hair and pull it up into a ponytail. After that, and once I am done tending to Dawn's thick coat of fur, I race back towards the front door and sling my ebony bow and quiver onto my shoulders. I also seize my sword--a sharp steel blade with a spiral design imprinted on the blade and a comfortable, dark leather hilt--and slide it into the sheath at my side. I bolt out the door and sprint faster than I ever have before towards Angel's house. She is just about to enter when I dash over to her, almost knocking her off her feet.
"Did you...hear what...what happened?" I wheeze. She nods solemnly.
"Yes, isn't it just terrible?" she says sadly. "I wonder who would want the Stone of Serenity. It is the only thing that keeps peace in our world! Who would ever want war?"
"Well, yes, I guess it is a bit awful, but that's not the point! This is a miracle! Dawn and I will finally get a chance to prove ourselves!"
"Oh, not that again," she groans.
I continue, ignoring her, "I just hope that Queen Lilian assembles a mission quickly. Every second we aren't looking for that stone is a second wasted." I give her a wave goodbye and dart off again. This time, I head towards the Iron Giant--a dusty, old tavern that lies in the middle of our town. I swing open the door to the tavern and step inside.
It's a small, dusty tavern filled with the scent of alcohol and smoke. Torches all around the tavern give an eerie glow to the many adults bustling around. It's filled with crowds of people drinking, laughing, and flirting mercilessly. I push my way past everyone to the bar.
"Warren!" I call out to someone sitting at the bar, a handsome but rough looking man, with dark brown eyes and blond hair. He turns his head towards me.
"Destiny? What are you doing here? I don't think I've ever even seen you so much as lay eyes on a drink." Warren jokes. I roll my eyes at him and take the seat to his left.
"No, I haven't come for a drink. I came to see you. Did you hear the news?" Warren gives me a look that says did-you-seriously-just-ask-that and snorts.
"Of course I've heard the news! I'm Queen Lilian's right-hand man! I was practically the first one to hear the news!" he scoffs taking a gulp of beer.
"Whatever! Well, do you know when she's going to issue a mission?" I press, staring at him intently. Warren takes another a swig of beer.
"She's going to pick the warriors for the mission tomorrow," he hiccups, "if that's what you wanted to know. You know that she'll never send you though, right? This is a job for a man." I suck in my breath and hold my head higher.
"You may be her right-hand man," I snap, "but you sure are dense. If Queen Lilian has any sense, she'll know to pick the most worthy warriors, male or female. Women can do just as much as a man can do!" With that, I storm out of the tavern, ignoring several winks and wolf whistles from the drunk men. As I exit, Dawn immediately follows me back to my house.
The sun has already started setting, painting the sky orange and yellow. I jog into my room and change into clothes to sleep in. I climb into my bed, with Dawn perched at the edge, and fall asleep to the sound of her steady breaths, dreaming of the journey to come.