by Brendan McGrath
Mindi's eyes felt fuzzy, as her eyelids slowly separated, like the teeth of an animal, slowly opening. A greenish light touched her eyes, and she squinted.
"She's awake! It's been two days!" exclaimed Koto, her father, from nearby.
"Mindi!" cried Suki.
"What happened?" stammered Mindi.
"Oh, you were very brave!" began Suki. "Melcifia was about to kill us all with her Evil Gate, but you changed it to a Gate of Light with a Lucent Beam. Then you shot her with a bow, and she teleported away! Then you fainted."
It all started to come back to Mindi. She remembered how Nasia had given her the bow.
"Speaking of the bow," said Koto, "Where did you get it?"
"Nasia's spirit gave it to me," replied Mindi.
"Nasia?" whispered Suki, "The sprite who fought along side with the Mana Knight to defeat Thanatos and save Mana?!"
"Yes," answered Mindi.
"But Nasia parted for the Realm of Mana (Author's Note: Where all sprites go after they pass away. They live eternally there.) long ago," protested Koto.
"True," came Kamaj's voice, as he entered the room, "But then again, Nasia was no ordinary sprite. Remember that the Mana Tree granted her more years in this world after she disappeared. Knowing of Melcifia's evil intentions, it is possible that the Mana Tree has allowed Nasia to communicate with Mindi!"
Mindi sat up in her bed, and yawned. "If Melcifia destroyed our village, where are we now?"
"We're in an old village that was inhabited by elves long ago," replied Kamaj.
"Then we're in the trees?" guessed Mindi.
"Yes," confirmed Suki. "Mindi, you've been cooped up in bed for two days since that night. Why don't you wonder around a bit? We're safe here in the Elfin Village."
"Ok, Mommy," agreed Mindi. She got out of bed, and looked around. Her room was part of a tree house. There were windows on three sides of the square shaped room, with a door leading to the main part of the tree house on one wall. Mindi went through the door, and then out the main door of the treehouse.
Mindi looked out over the village. Each tree had a tree house attached to it, with rope and wood plank bridges connecting each tree. She saw a treehouse nearby with "Library" inscribed on a sign above its door.
"Elfin books!" exclaimed Mindi. She ran across the bridge to the library. She almost lost her breath as she saw how high up in the trees she was.
The Library was full of shelves of scrolls and dog-eared books, though it was no larger than any of the other treehouses. There was a table in a corner with a candle on it. Also on the table was a book called Garuda.
"Garuda?" gasped Mindi, "That's the name of the bow!" Mindi sat down at the table, and opened the book. She began to read where her eyes landed, on page XXXVIII:
Garuda the sprite lived many centuries ago. A mighty warrior, he made a mystical bow from the bark of the Mana Tree. He had a unique ability to truly be one with Mana, and ask the Tree for power to help protect the world.
He also created five stones, the Garuda Stones. They fitted on the end of one of the Garuda Bow's arrows. Though not very sharp, they carried the power of the Mana. Their power could be used only to defeat evil. Some say that the Garuda Stones were even more powerful than the Mana Sword itself.
The Garuda Stones were created from the leaves of a Nasha plant, a plant that grows in Great Forest planted in honor of Mana, and holding a small amount of the Mana Tree's power. The leaves were mixed in the sap of the Mana Tree, and stirred with a white dragon's feather. Then, the Mana Tree blessed it.
Mindi stopped reading. She knew somehow, in her heart, that she had to create a Garuda Stone. She knew that this was the only way that she could defeat Melcifia, before she did more damage to her people!