The Chest of Life

The Chest of Life

Edwardo, the Chosen One and Master of the Kingdom of Water, is supposed to save the world, the magical world of Dnab, from the Leaders of Darkness, Coleton and Colby, who want to raise the Beast of Dnab, Kralc Ycats. In order to keep them from rising to power, he must find the Articles of Life and return them to the Altar of Order. First he goes the the Kingdom of Fire to find the Generals of Fire, Bryce and Emily.


Coming-of-age / Young adult fiction


Ian Arteaga (United States)

“General,” a teenage girl draped in red and gold entered the room, “he won’t make it.”
“He must. He’s the Chosen. The world is in his hands.” The man stared out of the window.
“Silence General Emily. We must be hopeful. He will appear at the Sanctuary of Fire. Patience. As for you,” he turned around. The man was in a cloak of red and gold. “You will wait for him at the shore. Do you understand?”
Emily nodded. “Yes Bryce. I understand.”
“Good. Now go, but first give him this.” He pulled out a slender book from his cloak. “Once you give him the book, recite the Spell of the Fire Warriors. Do you remember the spell?”
“Yes.” She took the book and shoved it in her cloak pocket. “Bryce, excuse me.” She nodded her head and exited the door. General Bryce turned to look out the window.

I hate how my father sends me to the most random places in the Land of Dnab. It’s hard being a bridge between the Godly World and the Mortal World. He sends me to these places with the worst pieces of information. I sometimes end up close to death. But what can you do? Tell a god to stop. Yeah…I want to live to see eighteen and not die at seventeen.
I ended up in a strange place (as usual). I stood on the shore as waves crashed against my legs. The shore had white sand with a tree line twenty feet away. Trees stood tall as they blanketed the island and climbed to the top of the mountain to my left. Resting on the top was a structure made of what looked like red brick. I took a step forward, but saw the trees moving. They ceased instantly. My bow appeared on my back. My magical bow, the Bow of Brine, appears when I feel in danger.
I took it off and strung an arrow. The trees moved again, but stop almost instantly. It could be a tree nymph playing tricks on me. Or it could be a monster waiting for the right time to kill me. I then heard a voice.
“Don’t be startled young hero.”
It was female, so it was probably a nymph. “Show yourself.”
She emerged out if the trees. She was probably seventeen or eighteen. She advanced towards me. She wore a cloak of red and gold. She had blond hair and blue eyes like the sea. She had fair skin. “Are you the Chosen of Water? Will you be the hero to bring an end to the Darkness?”
“Uhh…hmm, well, I don’t know.”
“Are you Master Edwardo?”
“So you are him, correct?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Excellent. Here, take this.” She handed me a book. I examined the title. The Book of Life and Order.
“What is this—”
She started to speak, but in verse. Or recited a spell?
The two Chosen of Fire,
With hearts of fire that we desire.
The warriors of this great land
We forge alliance with Loyalty’s hand
“What are you doing?”
She held up her hand. “Wait.”
“But—” She stopped me. Fire swirled like a tornado in front of me. The fire materialized into a figure. The teenager guy was roughly fifteen. He had golden hair. He was pale faced with blue eyes. He wore a cloak of red and gold.
“General, this is he.”
“I see that.”
“Who are you?”
“How rude of me. We forgot to introduce ourselves. I am General Bryce. I’m the son of Lord Sera and a descendant of Lord Sutseahpeh. I’m also known as the Third Throne. This is my equal.” He gestured to the girl.
“I’m General Emily, daughter of Lord Sutseahpeh and descendant of Lady Etaceh. I’m the Fourth Throne.”
“Okay, but why am I here?”
“What message did your father give you?”
“He told me:
Seek the Warriors of Fire. The truth will be revealed to you as you seek the Chest of Life.”
“Bryce, he couldn’t be talking about the—”
“Silence.” He held up his hand. “Edwardo, follow me. We must discuss the events about to take place.” He walked away and Emily followed close behind. I turned back and looked at the sea. “Are you coming?”
I turned back around and they stood at the edge of the tree line. Seek the Chest of Life. I sighed and trudged through the sand to join them.

We moved deeper into the woods. “Bryce, what is the Chest of Life?”
He didn’t respond. Emily looked back and gave me a smile of reassurance. We reached a path that slithered up the mountain. It was narrow and faint.
“Bryce, shouldn’t we answer his question? Isn’t it rude not to answer him?”
“Yes, but, in time, his question will be answered. He must have patience.” I sighed. Why be here if no one is going to help me and answer my questions. Maybe if I slip away, then I could answer my own questions. I slowed my pace, decreased my step size, and they disappeared in the trees. I continued to wander as branches reached out and scratched my limbs. Rocks and tree roots tripped and tried to pull me down.
I reached the marble structure. It looked like a cross between a cathedral and a fortress. It was gold and red; light didn’t escape from it. I opened the door as it echoed through the hall. The doors closed, encasing me in darkness and silence.

Darkness no longer lingered in the hall. The center was occupied by a large bird with gold and red plumage. With eyes and a cry of fire, it dove at me with talon like razors. I quickly maneuvered away. I heard stories of this bird, but they were stories. Everything I did was ruined. I heard something behind me.
Great Phoenix, bird of fire,
Truthful, not a liar.
The Land of Fire’s Guardian,
The Protector of the partisan
The bird stood in front of me as General Emily and Bryce appeared next to me.
“Hello Master Edwardo. We’ll help you if you help us. We want to be part of the new beginning.”
I nodded. They alternated when they spoke, starting with Bryce.
“The Chest of Life is a chest containing the answers to everything on the face of Dnab. If I give it to you, will you help me? The chest belongs to you anyways. You are the Chosen of Water. Water is the source of Life. What do you say?”
I nodded. “Where is it?”
“In the attic of the Temple.”
“Take me there?”
“But first, in order to open the door to the attic, you must have the key.”
“Where’s the key?”
She pointed in front of us. “The feathers on the crown of the Phoenix are the keys. You need to pluck one off the crown.”
“How do I do that?”
“With the Spell of the Phoenix. Recite it and ask your favor.”
I stepped forward as I heard the crackling of its eyes.
Great Phoenix, bird of fire,
Truthful, not a liar.
The Land of Fire’s Guardian,
The Protector of the partisan
I ask you for a favor. Lend me a feather of your crown. I am the Chosen of Water. I am Master Edwardo.” The Phoenix bowed down to me and allowed me to pluck a feather. It was red and gold while also being warm to the touch.
“The Leaders of the Land of Darkness plan on rebelling against the other Thrones. Leader Coleton and Leader Colby plan to overthrow the Order of Life. They want to resurrect the foul beast Kralc Ycats. We will face our end if that happens.”
“Then let’s hurry. After you General Emily and Bryce.”

The attic housed darkness and silence. The Phoenix feather radiated warmth and light.
“Wait.” She advanced forward and spoke:
The Chest of Life,
Hidden from the ones with strife.
Reveal thyself to me,
The end is soon to be
Light blinded us and immediately dissipated. In front of us was a chest the size of a coffin. “The Chest of Life. Molded by earth and water, hidden in darkness and housing the brightest of lights, cooled by the air and with a heart of fire. The Chest of Life lives like us. You must take it to the Scales of Life.”
“When the Articles of Life reunite, Kralc Ycats will be destroyed forever. You have our blessing, the Blessing of Fire. Take care. Go to the Sanctuary of Light; find the Royal Sages, Bradley and Jon. They have the Shield of Life. Take it, hurry.”
“Thank you.”
“Recite the Spell of the Land of Light. We bid you farewell Edwardo.”
I opened the book.
The Land of Light,
City of geniuses that are bright.
With light on their path,
Watch for their mighty wrath
.”I evaporated to the Land of Light. The Kralc Ycats must fall and we will rise.

Competition: June 2015 Pen Factor, Round 1



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