by Brendan McGrath
Mindi tossed and turned in her bed that night. Even with the soothing softness of the bed of hay, and the sound of the crickets chirping outside, she couldn't stop thinking of the evil Melcifia. Mindi knew that she would not give up until the Sprite Village was gone, and the sprites along with it. She shivered at the thought of it, and pulled the covers closer to keep her warm from the cold thought.
That night Mindi had a dream. In it, Nasia appeared!
Mindi... wake up... the Sprite Village is in danger! Melcifia is very powerful! And you can help to stop her! The Great Forest which our village is in is but a small part of the whole world, but it is still important. You must help protect it. Please, make me happy.
Mindi woke with a start. She looked around her room, which was a small extension of the hut. Her vision cleared, and adjusted to the night. She then smelled a familiar scent that she had often experienced... but this was an unwelcome, wretched, stench!
The Sprite Village was on fire! Mindi ran from her room into the main part of the hut, and climbed the ladder to the loft above where her parents slept. "Mommy! Daddy! The village is on fire!" cried Mindi.
They ran outside, and saw the flames creeping towards the village from the surrounding trees of the Great Forest!
"Mindi! Move!" screamed her mother. Mindi jumped away just as a limb from a nearby tree came crashing down, burnt black.
The fire began to spread, and catch the reed roofs of the huts. All the sprite families fled from their houses, and watched in tears as the village was devoured in the fire. Some sprites tried to put the fire out with Undine's water magic, but the demonic tongues of fire only seemed to multiply.
"She set fire to the trees outside of the Wind Seed's protective field," whispered Mindi, "And the seed cannot stop a natural fire!" She sank to her knees, and cried. The sprite village was no more! She looked north of the village, and saw the flames beginning to consume the Wind Palace! And as she looked again at the village, Melcifia appeared!
"Kamaj!" she howled.
"Melcifia!" answered Kamaj, emerging from the path that led to the Wind Palace. "You stooped so low as to use fire to defeat us! You tried to kill us in our sleep! And now, the entire Great Forest is being destroyed!"
"Spare me your moral guidance!" scoffed Melcifia. "Now, Kamaj, surrender the Mana Seed of Wind to me!"
"Never!" hissed Kamaj.
Melcifia laughed. "No matter! Although the Wind Seed is not destroyed, the fire has weakened it! I can now use my magic! Take this!" Melcifia raised her hands, and began to open Shade's Evil Gate! Evil energy was unleashed from it. The night wind turned fierce, and demons filled the air. They swirled around the village, the sheer power of the black wind beginning to uproot the trees and huts!
"No!" screamed Mindi, above the roar of the Evil Gate. She called upon Lumina, and with her power, sent a pure burst of light into the Evil Gate. Light mixed with Darkness, and the Evil Gate became a Gate of Light. Healing power emerged from it, stopping the fires, and tearing at Melcifia!
"Curse you, little sprite!" shouted Melcifia. She then drew a flail from her belt, and approached Mindi.
Mindi glanced wildly around, and then saw a bow with a pack of arrows on the ground.
Take the Garuda Bow, Mindi! Let Mana guide you!
Mindi picked up the bow, and fitted it with an arrow. The Gate of Light was becoming unstable, and started to turn to evil once more. The wind howled like a wolf, hungry for its prey, while the wind began to pierce Mindi's face. She raised it to her chest, and pulled back on the string. She closed her eyes, and felt the power of the Wind Seed. She let go of the arrow, which flew to Melcifia, who fell to the ground as the arrow hit her.
"Oohh!" She screamed, "You haven't seen the last of me!" She then disappeared in a flash of light.
Mindi lowered the bow, and fainted.