Bella left the Great Hall with Jasper and Rosalie watching out for any dangers. Before they left their home, she needed to dress in something that would allow her to traverse through whatever they came upon. She would also be wearing a hooded cloak, because her crown could never leave her head and she didn’t want to draw too much attention. Once in her traveling clothes, which consisted of leg coverings, a leather and suede dress, which had been made to protect her from the weather, and knee high boots, she picked up her bag, and ensured she had what she thought would be needed.
She had a small provision of food and water, but, most important, was her blood compass. It was a magical compass that used a drop of her blood to point the way to her mate. She couldn’t place her blood into the compass until they were out of the secret barrier of their home. The special field that surrounded their home allowed them to look out, but others couldn’t see in. If anyone, or thing, got close, it would appear to be a stone mountain, nothing more. It had kept them protected since the beginning of time.
Looking around her room one last time, she let one lone tear flow down her cheek. She was scared that she would fail, and the future of their race would be in jeopardy. Only a handful of the Blegans knew of the secret clause in the ancient scrolls. If the chosen one didn’t find their mate, and didn’t cause the dragon egg to hatch, their world would become known to the outside, and they would be attacked and destroyed. Their race would be completely wiped off the face of the earth. So, the weight of their continued existence rested on her shoulders.
Rosalie and Jasper were waiting for Bella outside her bedroom door. They had already said their goodbyes to their father. They had been raised by their father after their mother had died giving birth to them. He had been a loving and supportive father. He was in the protective guard of the Blegans; when they reached the age to begin training, he began doing so in earnest. He trained them to be the best guards the Blegans had ever seen. Rosalie and Bella became friends at a young age when Bella was picked on by a group of girls. Bella had always been a quiet, shy girl who would rather be reading about the history of their race, than playing. Rosalie had always been bigger than other girls her age, so, when she stood up against the girls, they went running. Since that day, they were close, more like sisters than friends. They were the same age, they went to the crowning ceremony together on their sixteenth birthday, and, when Bella had been selected as the chosen one, Rosalie stepped in immediately as her protective guard.
Jasper had been honored that Bella had selected him to also go out on the quest. He had been close to his sister, and had gotten to know Bella over the years, and found that she was the most compassionate person he had ever met. Her love for their race could be seen in everything she did. But he also felt something outside their home calling to him. In his dreams, he saw a large black cat and a woman with piercing blue eyes; he could see their lives intertwined. He checked to make sure he had all his weapons, but also a bottle of special potion that could bring someone back to life. There was only enough for one. He hoped he wouldn’t have to use it, but he had it just in case something terrible happened.
Rosalie was also wearing a special magical ring that would glow an eerie shade of green when the wearer was in the presence of an evil heart. It had been her mother’s and her mother’s before her. It had been handed down from one generation to the next, since the first of the their line. She prayed that it would come of use on their journey out into the unknown. She wondered why she had felt this powerful pull coming from the unknown. What was it? Maybe, just maybe it was something that would be life altering.
“Jasper, Rose I am ready to get started.” Bella announced.
“Then let’s get this adventure started.” Jasper smirked.
They walked to the entrance of their home, and, with a deep breath, stepped out of the safety of their home. The first thing that they noticed was that it didn’t smell as sweet as the air of their land did. This land was also extremely different; instead of the lush green grass and sparkling clear streams, it was dry and rocky, void of any water. Bella wondered how anyone could live here.
She placed her pack on the ground, and took out the compass. Taking her dagger from its sheath, she pricked the tip of her finger, and a single drop of red blood formed. She carefully placed it on the compass’ eye. The golden arrow swirled around and around, before coming to stop as it pointed southeast. Looking up through the leafless tree to the icy blue moon, she wondered what her mate was doing at this moment. Did he even think about that out in the vast world there was someone who had been made just for him? Could he be looking for her as well?
“Bella, which way are we heading?” Jasper asked.
“Toward the southeast.”
“Let’s get started then.” Jasper boomed, taking the lead.
As they traveled, they were in awe of how much destruction there was in this new land. They walked through what had been a town, however, every building was now in ruin, and they did not see any signs of life. What had happened?
“I wonder what happened?” Rose asked.
“I don’t know, but maybe we can find some clues. I have this feeling that we need to learn what occurred to possible prevent it from happening again.” Bella said.
“Where do you think we should look?” Jasper asked.
“Maybe they had a library. Look for any signs of books, documents, anything that might explain all of this.”
They began searching through the fallen buildings and rubble, and finally found what they were searching for… a library. The large stone pillars that had once been in front, now had broken into large pieces in front of the door. They quickly began removing pieces of stone from the door, and then were able to open it. As they did, they were surprised to find that the interior of the building was in better shape than the exterior. After walking through the front area of the building, they came upon a room that was circular in design, with high arches with alcoves that contained shelves upon shelves of books.
“Where do we start looking?” Rose asked, awed by the amount of books.
“Let us look around to see what we find. Be careful; we don’t know if anything could be in here could be dangerous.” Jasper warned.
They began looking through the books, wiping away the years of dust and dirt. The first few books were full of laws and rules for man. The more laws that Bella read, the more she wondered why they needed so many. Rose found a book about the anatomy of man. The Blegans and man had many of the same characteristics, but the Blegans had pointy ears, and had no diseases, unlike man, who seemed to suffer from a long list of them. Most Blegans lived for more than three hundred years. Jasper found several books on the history of man, and the many wars and conflicts that were a part of their history. Then, finally, after hours of reading, Bella found a stack of papers which answered the question they had been searching for all of this time.
“I think I have found the reason why the town looks the way it does.” Bella said. “The human race had been warned over and over again about using fossil fuels, and how they were causing greenhouse gasses, which caused the polar ice caps to melt.”
“What are fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses?” Rose asked.
“I found this book to help with terms I didn’t know. This Webster Dictionary was a very intelligent man. However, unbeknownst to man, there was a virus that lay dormant under the ice. When the ice melted, the virus was released. It spread quickly through the world. After trying everything possible, the world leaders decided they need to use atomic bombs to kill the viruses. But the only thing the bombs did was kill off more humans. The virus killed everyone except for those who found a special root to protect themselves.”
“What was the root?” Jasper asked.
“Something called ginsing.”
“The people who survived are in settlements all over the world, but it says they were imprisoned in camps by a race of blood drinkers.”
“Blood drinkers? Isn’t that who we are looking for?” Rose asked.
“Yes.” Bella whispered. She read more about how the blood drinkers were not known until man had destroyed most of the world. The blood drinkers came out of hiding, and proclaimed themselves rulers of the land. They rounded up almost all of the humans, and used them as their own personal food source. A few human still were free, hiding out in secluded areas. Was her mate evil like the blood drinkers she had read about? How could she give herself to someone with such a black heart?
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