Submitted Date 05/14/2020

"Yeah," Shane had begun saying after becoming stunned by my tale, "I know what happened. You fell out of the sky and landed about a mile away from my house. By the time I showed up, you were already fighting that monster. Luckily, I'm the only on who lives up here in the mountains and hikers weren't out at the time, so there was no one else around to get hurt. Anyway, you gave everything you got into your final attack that blew that thing up. You then passed out from how banged up you were and…I couldn't just leave you there to die. So I carried you to my house and did what I could to help." He looked to the floor, appearing sad for what would have become of me had he not come to my rescue.

I smiled at him and took his hand in mine. "Thank you, Shane. Had you not been present, my days would have surely been numbered."

"It truly was my pleasure." Shane became concerned at a current thought and mustered the courage to ask, "Do you think the king kept to his word and let your family go? Do you think they're alright?"

"I honestly don't know. I pray they all made it out and have returned to Tanah sihir safely," I answered as I bowed my head in worry.

Shane then lifted my chin so I would see him. He then said, "If your family really is everything you said they were, then I guess there's not much of a choice but to believe they did. If there's anything I've learned from this life so far, it's that you gotta have faith, especially in the impossible. So until you hear otherwise, just have faith they did make it out. Okay?"

I gave a light nod then smiled as genuine as I could at this kind-hearted man. "Shane, you really are a benevolent man and I thank you again."

The way I ended my comment made Shane believe that there was something else weighing on my mind. "I feel like there's more you want to say," he said.

"I also wanted to say…" I was having great difficulty trying to say what I wanted to tell him. My heart, it's beating fast again, I thought to myself. Why is it happening again? I could feel my cheeks heating up and was unable to continue to look Shane in the eye. Gathering the strength required, I was finally able to say, "that…I think…you are a very righteous person. I know that sounds completely crazy, premature even…but from what I was told and have witnessed myself, you are an honorable man. It's a trait I had only seen in my real father. So it's nice to know that, somewhere out there in the universe, there's another who carries such a moral feature." From my peripheral view, I caught Shane smiling genuinely at me. His grin, so warm and inviting. I felt warm and tingly all over as my breath began to shorten. Shane, magic doesn't exist in this world…and yet…somehow…you cast a strange spell on me, I thought. In order for the feeling to end, a new subject had to arise and distract me. So I began a new conversation, "You-you said that you are the only resident in these mountains. Doesn't Hunter live with you?"

"No, actually," he answered. "He still lives at home with his folks in the town where he went to get the sandwiches. Comes to visit me every chance he gets."

"If you don't mind my prying, why are you up here by yourself?" I asked.

Shane replied, "My parents passed away in an accident about three years ago. I felt so lost and- excluding Hunter and his folks- the people that were in my life at the time didn't exactly help. It was weird because they all said they were helping me get back on my feet when I was in a slump…but I realized later that they were just trying to mold me into what they wanted; someone who would benefit them. Not once did anybody ask me what I wanted or even needed. So, I cut all of the toxin out of my life and moved into this cabin home far away from that life and those people. Only Hunter and his parents know where I am. To be honest, I never felt more free."

I was finally able to look at Shane. He wasn't saddened as I thought he would be. Instead, he seemed content. No, I could tell he was happy to finally free himself of the bondage that restrained him. I then said to him, "I am so sorry about that. I know the importance of wanting to break free from the bondage that others had placed upon you."

"You do, don't you?" he said very quietly to himself. I believe that it was Shane thinking out loud. A moment Alex frequently had, however, hers was more loud and obvious. Shane suddenly became more cheerful. "Anyway, I'm not entirely alone. Before you got here, I had-" Bark! Bark! I looked over and saw the same animal from before. He rushed over to be pet by his master. "Ah, Chester! You ruined my train of thought," Shane playfully said as he was scratching the creature.

I, too, scratched the animal's head. "He seems very friendly," I told Shane.

"Yeah, he's a good boy. Chester was actually a present from Hunter when I moved up here. Didn't want me to be completely alone when he wasn't around. I'm glad he did because they don't make dogs any better than this one," he said.

"A what?" I asked.

Shane looked to me realizing I had no idea what a dog was. "Oh, boy. You and I have a lot of work to do."

I became confused by his statement. "I don't follow."

He continued with, "It's clear that you're going to be here on Earth for a very long time and you need to understand how things work. I don't want them thinking you're some kind of alien from outer space. So I'll work with you until you get the hang of it. But I guess the first thing we should do is fix this room up the way you want it. After all, it's your room now."

I was surprised at what he had just said. "What??"

"Yeah," he began answering, "you're staying here with me." Chester barked as if he understood what we were discussing. "Oh, and Chester. You'll now be living with me and Chester."

"I suspected you wouldn't let me leave until I fully recovered, but as for afterwards…are you sure it's alright? I wouldn't want to impose," I said.

"Not at all," he said. "And besides where else would you go?" I was sad when he announced that truth. He was right, where else could I wonder to? Where could I possibly go in this world and survive on my own? Shane saw my sad state and tenderly took my hand. I looked into his gentle eyes again as he said, "Look, I'm sorry if that came out wrong. I just want you to be safe with someone who already knows your story and can help you survive here."

I sensed in that moment that he, too, had more on his mind. "Why do I feel like you have more to say?"

Shane swallowed then said, "And…the truth is…I hope you'll make this your new home. As I said, I want to get to know you more. And I want to be the one to help you, in any way I can."

I witnessed how Shane appeared in that moment. He was like a boy who was shy to admit he had feelings for a girl. My cheeks heated once more and I couldn't help but grin at him. "Shane, you have no idea what that means to me. Thank you."

"I know that this predicament hasn't changed from the ones you were originally in, but I hope you'll feel some kind of freedom here," Shane sincerely said. The two of us then looked to one another where I became lost in his eyes and he was lost in mine.

Our moment was interrupted when we heard a voice calling from somewhere in the house, "Hey you two! I'm back with the sandwiches!" Chester then left the room, happily running to Hunter.

"C'mon," Shane assisted in helping me stand up from the bed. "I'm guessing you've never had a sandwich before." I shook my head. "Well, you're about to have your first one. Trust me, you'll love it. Here, I got you." Shane swooped me up and carried me within his arms.

"I'm not a fragile damsel. I can take care of myself and am perfectly able to walk on my own," I assured him.

"Oh, I'm aware of that," Shane answered. "But you're still recovering and I don't want you pushing yourself. Besides, I wanted to carry you." He then gave me a roguish wink.

I became flustered and felt myself blushing. "L-Le-Let's get going! Don't want to keep Hunter and his sandwiches waiting!"

He chuckled then said, "As you wish."


Shane carried me over to this very large room where the left side contained furniture and a big black box hanging over a fireplace; the middle section had appeared to be a dining area; and the right was made out to be a little kitchen. Hunter was placing the food out onto the table as Shane sat me within one of the chairs. I was handed my sandwich then the two men sat down and began devouring theirs. As I enjoyed eating the new delicacy, I observed how these men were interacting with each other; there was kindness, fun, and pure joy. It was a sight that had reminded me of my sister and I as well as how happy we were when life was simple. I did worry about her and my parents, wondering if they truly had made it out alive from the clutches of King Michael and his men. It was then that I remembered what Shane proposed previously: to have faith, especially in the impossible. And so, I believed with all of my heart that they all returned to Tanah sihir safely. Then…a sudden realization came to me. From explaining my origin to eating the Earthly meal, I began feeling the sort of freedom that Shane expressed he hoped I would feel here. That was when something inside made me believe that I was going to be happy living here with Shane, Hunter, and Chester the dog. I was filled with a new sense of happiness as I continued to eat my delicious sandwich that Hunter called a "Meatball Sub" and took part in the fun with my new friends.


I almost to forgot to mention that when I had grabbed the Teras ini gem the second time, not only did it give me a glance on how to save my family, but it also showed me that this moment- the one where I am enjoying a meal with my new companions- was the next stop on my journey towards my destiny.




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