"Oi Annie…Annnnniiiieeee….Annie!" I heard the familiar voice of Pepe say my name. I sighed to myself, eyes still closed. "He'll repeat my name four more times, get angry, hit me, and then pounce on me."I thought wryly to myself. This scenario has happened so many times in the last month, I could pretty much tell what was going to happen. Now why I didn't move or dodge this fairy's attacks…I still don't know.

"Hey! Annie!"


"Annie! Get up NOW! I mean it Annie!"

Two, Three.

"That's it Annie, prepare for the Pepe Dive!"

Four.I heard the clink of his staff hit the floor and a tiny, but awkwardly heavy, body smash into my resting one. My droopy eyes shot open as I shoved the little fairy off of me. He hit my head as he fell to the floor. I grabbed my throbbing stomach and glared at the tiny fairy. As the pain began to fade, I wiped away sleep from my eyes and let out a big, exaggerated yawn.

"Still not awake yet eh?" Pepe asked me, his voice coated in sweet malice. He cracked his knuckles and then tightened the grip he had on his staff. "Do I need to wake you up more?" A shiver of murderous intent swept sown my spine as I raised my hands in protest.

"No no, see? I'm fine, fine!" I rubbed the bruise on my head from last week. It was still there, and throbbing at the thought of getting whacked again. Pepe smiled and loosened his grip. He shut his right eye and nodded.

"Good. Now, let's start right up into alchemy." Pepe soon went into one of his droning long lectures; I didn't really pay attention. The bug flying all along the ceiling wall was more interesting then this. Well, I guess I haven't really introduced myself yet. I'm Annie: Annie Eilenberg. I was sent to this island by my parents and grandfather because I was so "lazy" and didn't do anything but lay around. I've been here for about a month now, and I guess I'm more accustomed to it. My grandfather was a famous alchemist from here so I guess it's my job to follow in his footsteps. The little chibi lecturing me now is Pepe, a cute fairy about 3ft. 9in. tall that was friends with my grandfather. His age is unknown to me, since every time I ask he changes the subject. So I'm guessing he's old. He's my "master" and is responsible for teaching me alchemy. He wields a giant staff that's taller than me, and he can really pack a punch.

"Annie are you listening to me!" Pepe made that crazed angry face he gets when he's annoyed and hit me on the head. I muttered words of pain as he continued.

"Now that I have your attention, I'll continue." He spat with crossed arms. "Anyway, Hans will be over soon to tell you about you first contest you'll be entered in, along with a good gathering spot to obtain the materials needed. Got that?" I nodded. The gist of our alchemy is to "gather" materials needed, shove them in a pot, and poof, if you do it right, a new material's waiting inside. Unfortunately…I'm not that good yet and I don't usually get what I want. Gathering's pretty simple from what I've heard. I wouldn't no because this is my first gathering trip. From what I've heard, you go on a day or two long trip to a part outside town that holds materials needed; there you just, gather them. The only downfall of it is this island I'm on, Sera Island, is much untamed when you stray from the city. That's why it's good to take a party of people while you gather. You don't want to be attacked my monsters while trying to gather. I heard an exasperated sigh from Pepe.

"You're not listening again, ARE you." I gulped. Shit! Pepe raised his staff up to smack me. The tiny bell that rang when someone entered saved me from being beat to a pulp.

"Hello. Sorry, but is this a bad time?" I turned my head to see the guy named Hans. Hans worked for the Committee, and was also kind of like a tutor to me, only not so much to alchemy, but to the contests and the island. He was stiff, hard headed, had no character, and all around dry. Although he is pretty smart, he has no sense of humor and seems all business to me. He was pretty decent in looks though, I'll give him that. He has dirty blonde hair that seemed to sway to the right. He has soft brown eyes and always wears his white Committee uniform. He is also two years older than me.

"Hans. No your fine, I was just reprimanding Annie here for not listening." Pepe gave him a small nod.

"Not surprising..." Hans said quietly, but loud enough I could hear. I grunted with displeasure.

"So what's the first assignment?" Pepe asked. This contest is a big part of my life right now. Right now, if I understand this right, they're trying to make this island (that's off the coast of the mainland Orde) into a resort for tourism. They want alchemists help. So they designed this contest. Whoever wins gets the honorable title of Meister AND automatically gets engaged to the Prince (or Princess if it is a guy who wins…I'm not sure of her name though, I never paid much attention.) Joel! He's handsome and rich; he could also easily fulfill my dream of marrying up. Just the thought made me giddy.

"Annie, you're not listening again." Hans sighed with his eyes closed. I looked up and focused my whole attention on him.

"I-I'm sorry!" I glanced down at the angry Pepe and knew I would get it later. Hans stared into my eyes and nodded.

"Your first task is to make a Map of the island. You should already have the recipe so it should be easy. You can already gather at the Basin and Quarry also. Please remember it's dangerous and it would be best to take people with you." I nodded in reply.

"You don't have to worry about me Hans!" I smiled.

"I'm not. I'm worried about the people who'll go with you. Having to put up with you for about two or three days. Wow…" He sighed after this sarcastic remark. My mouth puckered as I looked away.

"Meanie." I spat. He ignored me.

"Anyway, here's all the information you'll need. Your deadline is in sixth months. If you need help, just ask." Hans handed me a slip of paper. "Just turn it into me when you're done." I nodded again and waved him bye as he left. Pepe cracked his knuckles again and smacked my head.

"Now, it may seem like you have TONS of time, but you don't. So get started." That's just like Pepe, already cracking the whip. I sighed, this was going to be a long three years...