So here is the story of number nine and the events leading up to why he left. And more stories to follow. Please let me know how I'm doing. Reviews are appreciated.
An older man was sitting down looking in his hands as he fiddled with a crystal between them. He would let it fall from one hand to the other just looking at it. Things were so different years ago. Years ago when he was a hero. Or was he ever. He may have been fooling himself because when he thought he was, he never really felt like it. What was a hero? Someone who saves people, who helps them, who maybe helps others see the good in themselves. He didn't feel like a hero. He felt like a coward.
He left when he shouldn't have. But it was the only way to keep everyone safe. Or was it? Was he just afraid? Afraid he wouldn't be able to be a hero? Afraid because of what happened was his fault? Whatever the reason, he left. He just left. This was not how he planned his life to be when he cleaned up LazyTown all those years ago. He had glory and fame, adoration and admiration. But he took things too far. So, now he sits here, alone in a cave not to be found by family or friends. Did he really have any of those things or was just he thinking he did?
He started to think about his past and how much simpler things were when he first got his crystal. The crystal of fortitude. He didn't feel like he deserved it. Right now he didn't even know why it chose him. The last thing he felt right now was brave, courageous or fearless. He ran his fingers through his long black hair and sniffed at the air and at the misfortune that led him to this cave. His home for the past God knows how many years.
He sat here holding his crystal, which he hadn't held in many years because he started to get a feeling. A feeling something was coming. But he knew if he were to become one with it again he would be found and he didn't want that. He was not found by the elders of his people. He was very well hidden. He couldn't face them again. He couldn't face Robbie after what happened. He couldn't face himself.
He leaned back against the wall and sighed. How did he end up here? More importantly, why? He lay down, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. As he did his crystal started to glow...
"Milanrus! Hurry up! You're going to be late for your own ceremony!"
A young man was scattering around looking for his vest for the ceremony. The ceremony for the cave of crystals. He couldn't wait. He could feel it in his bones that he was going to get a crystal. He was so excited. He was going to go out and save people. He was going to be famous. His name would be known for all to hear. Milanrus, Number Nine! He would be the ninth person in his village to become a hero. The greatest super hero of all time. It was certainly something to be excited about. He threw up clothes that were strewn about until he found his vest.
"Ah ha!" He saw the edge sticking out from under a pile of clothes. He donned his maroon vest over his dark blue short sleeve shirt. Grabbed his black belt and fastened the dark blue buckle with the letter 'M' in its center, brushed off his maroon pants, took a deep breath and looked in the mirror and smiled. "I'm ready."
"Milanrus! Come on!"
"Coming!" He ran out to meet his friend, Geldon, who helped him train for this moment since they were kids. They always played super hero when they weren't on school. But keeping up on studies was also a large part of it as well. He didn't have a hard time studying but he always did it as fast as he could so he could play rescue. He even designed his airship which he built years later. He was prepared. He ran outside and past Geldon.
"Hey! Wait up!" Geldon ran and caught up to him. "I'd be careful if I were you." His hazel eyes had an hint of mischief which was hidden by his golden blond hair that hung in fron of his face.
"You're so giddy, you're running like my little sister." He laughed.
Milanrus stopped. "What?" He saw Geldon laughing. "If I weren't in a hurry..." He took off again.
"You'd what, Molly?" He teased.
"Shut up!" He yelled. They ran across the field over a small hill. They stopped when they saw a small group of elves standing near a rock face. "There they are." Milanrus took a deep breath and swallowed.
"Why are you nervous? You've been preparing for this your whole life."
"I know. And that's why I'm nervous." He ran his hand though his black hair, pushing his bangs out of his face.
"Ok," Geldon went in front of him. "Here's what you're gonna do." He took Milanrus's maroon cap from his belt and put it on his head. "Now you're gonna take those brown eyes and focus on the prize. You can do this. Now, let's go. I'll be with you."
As they looked, more elves started to show up. A few brought their kids to watch the ceremony. Milanrus looked at the small crowd and nervously headed down to the cave site with his best friend. Elder Matrik and the other elders of the group helped prepare him for what he needed to do for today.
The elders formed two rows and as Milanrus got closer, he stood between the two rows then the elders started chanting. The few spectators stood back, but close enough to watch what was happening.
"What's happening papa?" An young boy around six years old whispered to his father.
His father knelt down next to his son. "Well son, this is the cave of crystals ceremony I told you about. He," pointed to Milanrus. "has been training to earn the right of passage and become the hero he was meant to be."
"But why does he need a crystal?"
"Well, it will help him to find the danger faster and rescue those who need it by showing him who is in danger and where the danger is. That's a small part of what the crystals do."
"Why don't you have a crystal, papa?"
"Well, not everyone is meant to have a crystal, son."
"Did you do the ceremony?"
"No. My path was not the way of the hero. I think the last hero in our family was your great great great great grandfather, Eturnu. So, it's been a while. But I brought you here because I think you have that greatness in you to be a hero. Now, you don't have to be and it's your choice, but if you do, there is so much happiness in helping those who need it most."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, remember last week when you helped Adrianna and her kitten get down from the tree? And remember how scared she was and you climbed up and got her kitten down then went back up for her? She was very scared and you went up there and sat with her and made her feel better so she wasn't scared. She trusted you and did what you said and you helped her down. How did it make you feel?"
"I felt good. But she needed help and she was too scared to move. I love climbing trees almost as I love swimming." He started getting excited talking about it. His blue eyes light up as he talked. "And we talked about her kitten and stuff then she asked how I got up with her and I showed her then I helped her to get down."
"It sounds like you felt pretty good about what happened and she felt good that you helped her." He nodded. "And what was it that you did the rest of the week?"
"I was looking for more kids to rescue. But I liked it a lot."
"Son, you have always been self aware and you do what it takes to get something done. Anything is possible. But when I saw what you did and how you felt doing it, I thought to myself, my son's gonna be a hero. Again, it's your choice, but I can see something more in you. And if you want we can work an train and prepare you for a day like this. But whatever you do, I know you're gonna be great."
"Thanks papa. I love you." And he hugged his father.
"I love you too, son. Now let's see if he gets a crystal." He stood back up and they watched.
"Do you know him?"
"No, I don't. I just found out there was a ceremony today."
The elders chanted for a while and then they raised their staffs in the air over Milanrus's head then hit them to the ground then back up in the air and down again. They went up once more then the crystals in the top of the staffs began to glow.
Milanrus walked up to the first two staffs and knelt down. "I am ready." He spoke in elvish.
They all brought their staffs upright. He stood up and walked forward. He faced a wall. There was no cave opening. He was confused. He pursed his lips and thought about his task. He reached his hand forward and touched where the opening should be. It was solid. He knew there had to be a way in. It was a test. He closed his eyes and concentrated being on the inside. Nothing. What was he not doing? He had prepared for this for so long. Why was was the cave not letting him in? He could feel everyone watching him. What did he need to do?
"What's happening papa? Why isn't he going in?"
"I'm not sure?"
"They're so sparkly."
"You can see them?" His father was surprised. He could only see a rock face.
"I don't think he sees what you do." The young boy looked confused. "Let's just watch and see what happens."
'Please let him in.' The boy thought.
Milanrus thought about his task. He needed to do something but what? He whispered to the rock face. "Please open up. I want to help people. I want to rescue them. I want to be the hero I was meant to be."
He whispered in elvish. "Please let me in and put me on the path I am meant to be. I will do what ever I need to get the job done."
There was a flash of light as the entrance appeared. He looked back at Geldon, who gave him an approving wink. He walked forward and was amazed. There were so many crystals. Some were white, others were blue, clear or Aqua. Some were smaller than others. They were so beautiful. They were embedded in the walls as water ran over them. The crystals lightly pulsated as it did.
He felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. He looked around. He needed to find his crystal, if he indeed were to be lucky enough to have one. He closed his eyes and held out his hand and waited. Nothing. He needed to find some way to connect with it. This was going to be hard. How could he find his crystal?
"Put me on the path of destiny." He spoke in elvish. Nothing. He walked around and let his hands graze over the crystals, he meditated, he chanted in elvish. Nothing seemed to get him closer to getting his crystal. "I only want to help people. I am strong and brave and I'll do anything within my power to do what needs to be done. I will get the job done but I need help. I need my crystal and, well, I'm not leaving here until I get it."
He sat down cross legged on the ground. He wasn't there for long when a strange feeling ran through him. He stood up and looked around until he found the source of that feeling. He saw a yellow crystal from behind him. It started to glow then emitted a ray from his head to his feet like it was scanning him. But it was more than that. He could tell it was a connection forming. He could feel the bond growing. The crystal stopped and Milanrus walked forward and reached out to the wall and touched it then stepped back as it glowed brighter than before.
It came out of the wall and forward to him and hovered a few feet from him. It pulsated and he heard words in his mind. Well not exactly words but he could understand what the crystal was saying.
'If you accept me, your destiny will be filled with decisions that will affect everyone. Even people you've not yet met. It will be difficult at times and easy in others but above all else you must keep true to the crystal. Do you accept this?'
Milanrus had no hesitation in accepting the terms. 'Then be one.' He saw in his head.
He reached out and opened his hands. The crystal came forward and placed itself in his hands. It let off a powerful pulsating glow and Milanrus could feel it becoming one with him. It was like he could see his entire life but as a memory long since forgot. He opened his eyes and he felt complete. He smiled. He did it. He was ready to be a hero.
"Papa? Does it always take this long?"
"I don't really know, but we can find out and talk to one of the elders later. But I think it's different for everyone."
Then they saw bright light emitting the cave at least a few times.
"Did he find it?"
"I don't know. Let's watch and see."
A few moments later Milanrus walked out of the cave, head bowed. Then he slowly looked up and saw he had everyone's attention. He smiled and held up the crystal. He walked forward and handed it to the head elder who examined it. There was an exchange of communication then he handed it back to Milanrus.
The elder looked at the group and raised his staff. "Milanrus is now the keeper of the crystal of fortitude!" He rejoined the other elders to complete the ceremony.
They all raised their staffs and brought them to the ground and their crystals stopped glowing. "Congratulations Milanrus."
"Thank you, sir." With that he ran up to Geldon and have him a big hug.
"You did It! I knew you could! What was it like? What happened?"
"Later, I'd like to celebrate first then I'm gonna make the finishing touches on my airship. I have a journey ahead of me."
"Well, son, what did you think?"
"I guess it was alright. Can we go swimming after we talk to the elder?"
"Yes we can, my little guppy." He ruffled his hair. They walked over to to the elders as they were getting ready to leave. "Elder Matrik! Can we ask you some questions?"
He turned around as the wind gently picked up his cream colored robes. "Ah yes, Zandro isn't it?"
"Yes, sir." He was surprised he knew his name. "My son wanted to know how long the ceremonies usually take?" He looked at his son who was looking in the cave.
"Ah, well it varies from person to person. Some have to prove themselves, some the crystals just know."
"Mine said it was going to wait for me." He looked at the elder.
They both looked at the boy. "He could see inside the cave when we couldn't."
"It's going to wait for you?" The elder repeated.
"It said not to worry and to just have fun."
"Well, then you should do what it says." He smiled.
Zandro watched as his son ran off. "Does that mean?"
"It seems the crystal has already chosen him."
"I'll race ya!" His son yelled.
"No fair! You have a head start! I'd better go" he chuckled. And he took off after his son.
Elder Matrik stood in thought for a moment. A crystal has never picked anyone and let them know about it at such a young age. The other elders approached him. "We shall find out far in the future how this will unfold, but it's nothing we needn't concern ourselves with now." And with that, they all left.
Milanrus and Geldon went home where all thier friends were waiting to congratulate him and celebrate getting his crystal. Afterwards he and Geldon walked to where he had his airship tethered. They both sat down and looked at after he made his final preparations.
"So," Geldon started. "you're really going to go off into the sunset, huh?"
"Well, sunrise. It's what I've wanted to do my whole life. And I'm gonna do it." He smiled with a wistful look in his eyes.
"I'm gonna miss you."
Milanrus looked at Geldon. His best friend through thick and thin, who helped him make his dream real. "I can't thank you enough for everything you've helped me with. Even taking me in when my parents died. You've been more than a brother to me and I will be back. Wild horses couldn't keep me away. And I'm gonna miss you too. I wish you could come with me."
"You know I can't. I have to take care of my mother and sister. I can't believe tomorrow is goodbye."
Milanrus took a deep breath and exhaled. "I know. It'll feel weird but it feels right."
"You're gonna be a great hero! So, when you do come back you'll tell me of all your adventures."
He hugged Geldon. "I can't wait."
The next morning, after a hearty breakfast and donning his vest which now had a number 9 on the right side, Milanrus and his friends gathered as he was going to leave in his air ship. All his friends were there save one. Milanrus looked sad as he turned and walked to the ship.
He heard a female voice. He turned around. It was Jenna. They were always close to boyfriend girlfriend but it just never happened for some reason. His face lit up as she approached him. They stood face to face. She looked in his eyes then she slapped him.
"Wha-?" He was shocked.
"That's for leaving me." Then she pulled him and placed a passionate kiss on his lips. After a few moments she pulled back. "And that's for when you come back." She looked at him. "And you better. Good luck." And she turned and left.
He walked up to Geldon still rubbing his face. "I will never understand women."
"I think it's her you'll never understand." He chuckled. "Well, this it." He gave his friend one more goodbye. "Make us proud."
Milanrus looked as his airship with its oval shape and dark red color with what looked and what resembled lightning bolt trim of blue and yellow. He was so proud of what he'd accomplished. He stepped inside for its maiden voyage. He sat in the pilots seat and went up as he waved goodbye to his friends and his home. When he was high enough he went forward. Today he was going to look for his destiny.
And thus begins the adventures of Number Nine...