“You will bring peace to the earth,” my dad said. “So start acting like it.”
I hated it when my parents lectured me like that. They firmly believed that I would make world peace someday. On the day I was born, my dad took me to go get my future foretold. The fortune-teller told him about a prophecy that said I would bring world peace. The prophecy said that on January 23, a child would be born. That child would immediately go to get his fortune told. They would have the power to heal themselves. It also described how the child looked, and he looked exactly like me. This child was supposed to save the world and make it flawless. So now, ever since then, they’ve always wanted me to be perfect. Every time I messed up, they would always give me the same lecture about how I was supposed to bring peace to the world and that I should act like it.
I wasn’t even sure if I believed it anyway. Why me of all people. I thought that there was no way I could bring peace to the world. I didn’t stand out at all. I wasn’t any stronger, faster, or smarter than anyone else. I was just an ordinary person. If that fortune was true, then it would’ve been for someone else. My sister’s voice snapped me back into reality.
“Fufu, come play with me,” she called.
I sighed. My little sister refused to leave me alone. Every day she would ask me to play. I used to try to ignore her, but eventually, I gave in. I walked over to her room. I saw her in there, sitting on the floor with her dolls. She had fair skin. Her hair was light brown and went all the way down her back. She was pretty short. My sister had amber eyes that sparkled in the sun.
“What do you want to play today?” I asked her, wanting to hurry up and get this over with.
“Today we’re going on vacation to the beach,” she said.
I picked up the doll that I always used. My sister picked up her doll and we both pretended to build sandcastles and swim in the ocean. We played for a long time until it was time for dinner.
“Dinner time!” my mom called from downstairs.
My sister and I descended the stairs and into the kitchen. We sat down at the kitchen table.
“Tonight we’re having meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cauliflower.”
I was disgusted. I hated cauliflower and my parents knew it. No matter how many times I told them that, they would always insist that I eat it because I needed to be healthy to bring world peace. That didn’t even make much sense in my opinion, but I just went along with it.
At dinner that night, we talked about how everyone’s day was. It was boring because my parents, as usual, got sidetracked and somehow ended up talking about politics. My sister and I sat there in silence until we eventually got into a conversation ourselves.
“Guess what?” my sister Melody said.
“What?” I asked.
“Tomorrow is the end-of-the-year party!”
I had forgotten that I was about two weeks behind my sister. We hadn’t even started the end of the year testing. We were going to start tomorrow and keep testing for a whole week. All we got was an end of the year lunch which was a cupcake and juice, one each. That was basically what we got if it was someone’s birthday. On the other hand, Melody got pizza, hot dogs, and burgers. And there was dessert too! I wasn’t too surprised about this because Melody’s class always got more or better stuff than mine.
Everything was normal in my life for a while. Until my dad told me something.
“Today’s the day,” he said dramatically.
I just stood there, confused.
“Today’s the day for what?”
“Today you have to prove yourself. There is something in the prophecy that I’ve never told you about. We were always pretty certain that you were the prophetic child, but we were never sure. The prophecy states that to be sure of your future, you have to go through a few tests to prove yourself.”
“What kind of tests?” I asked him.
“The tests were listed in the prophecy. There’s a test of knowledge, strength, honesty, courage, and virtue. You must pass all these tests.”
“Which one is first?”
“The first one is the test of knowledge.”
“How do I take the test?”
“You must go back to the person who told you about your future. She will guide you from there. Get in the car. I’ll take you to her.”
My dad grabbed his keys and put his shoes on. I slipped my shoes on and got in the car. My dad sat in the driver’s seat and I sat in the passenger seat. He turned the key, buckled his seatbelt, and started to pull out the driveway. We sat in silence for about fifteen minutes until we made it.
We parked at a fortune-telling booth. Then my father wished me luck and sent me inside. I walked into the booth.
“Hello? Anyone here?” I asked.
Someone came out of the shadows.
“So, you’re the boy from the prophecy. I remember seeing you as a baby,” said the person.
I looked at her. Her face looked only a teensy bit familiar.
She led me to a back room. This room contained many things. There were many items that I didn’t recognize. There was also a crystal ball and what appeared to be a mirror under a sheet. She yanked the sheet off and I figured out that it was not a mirror. I had no idea what it was. It looked like some sort of portal, but I wasn’t sure. It was a big rectangle made out of something purple. The inside was red and looked swirly, as if it were spinning. She gestured for me to go in.
I walked through the portal and the whole room started to spin. When I made it through to the other side, I saw something magnificent. I appeared to be in a bookstore. Suddenly, a loud voice started talking.
“Are you Fuleusochenfu Kyo?”ok
“I am,” I said. “Who are you?”
“That is for me to know and for you to find out. Or maybe not find out at all if you fail this test.”
“What kind of test is this? What will I be doing?” I asked.
“You will be trying to escape.”
I was a little confused. What did he mean by escape? Escape from what? The bookstore started to fill with sand. I panicked.
“What’s going on? What am I supposed to do?” I shouted.
“I told you, you must escape,” said the voice.
The voice went away. The room was filling at a rapid rate. I looked around for a way out. I saw that there was a door to the left of me. I ran towards it. I tried to open it but there was sand blocking it. The sand was way too heavy. I pushed the sand away but it just kept falling. There was no way I could get out through that door.
I saw a window but it was too high for me to reach. Luckily there was a large pile of sand in front of it. I stood on the sand and tried to go through the window, but the pile of sand collapsed under me. I had no idea how I was going to escape. When I had almost given up hope, the voice came back.
“There are two ways to escape. You can either find a way to get out or answer this question.”
“What’s the question?” I asked, eager to escape.
“The question is more of a riddle actually. You measure my life in hours and I serve you by expiring. I’m quick when I’m thin and slow when I’m fat. The wind is my enemy. What am I?”
I was stumped. I had no idea what the answer to his riddle was but I needed to figure it out fast. I thought as hard as I could but the answer evaded me. The sand was rising higher. It was almost to my neck at this point. I could barely move through all this sand. I kept thinking. Then I got an idea. I looked around the bookstore for anything that might help me answer the riddle. I saw books with various different pictures on the covers, but none of them could answer the riddle. Then I saw one. A book with a picture of a candle on it. I immediately knew that this was the answer.
“The answer is a caaannnlll,” I said.
My speech came out muffled because the sand was nearly covering my entire mouth. I tried again.
“The answer is a candle,” I said.
This time my speech was a lot clearer.
“That is correct,” said the voice.
The sand stopped coming in. A hole appeared in the wall and the sand started to go through there.
“You have passed the test,” the voice boomed.
“Thanks, but you still never told me your name.”
“I am known as the Guardian of Knowledge. On your next test, you will meet the Guardian of Virtue.”
“When does the test start?” I asked.
“The next test starts right now.”
The floor opened up and I fell. I seemed to be falling for so long. It almost seemed like a bottomless pit. I started gaining speed as I was falling. Eventually, I started to stop slowly. I started to float in midair. I wondered what was going on. Then another voice started talking. This one sounded different.
“Are you ready for this test?” asked the voice.
“I’m ready,” I answered boldly.
“Then let the test begin!”
I blinked. When I opened my eyes, my surroundings were completely different. I was in a city and there was crime everywhere. Everywhere I looked I saw people robbing each other. I was right beside a hospital.
“In that hospital, there is the equipment that your grandpa needs to live,” said the voice.
I was amazed. My grandpa had been sick for about three months and if he didn’t get special treatment, he would die. My family couldn’t afford the treatment. I debated stealing the equipment. Why shouldn’t I? Everyone around me was stealing so it wouldn’t make much of a difference if I did too. I went into the hospital to steal it. Then I thought about something. Maybe this was the test. It was a test of virtue after all. The test could be to see if I was going to steal it or not.
I tried to shake those thoughts away. Even if that was the test, why should I care? This was for my grandpa and I would choose him over a test any day. I didn’t want to steal because I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. If my grandpa knew that I had stolen the equipment, he would be mad at me. My grandpa wouldn’t want to live by using stolen equipment. I decided that I wouldn’t do it.
“I won’t do it!” I yelled at the voice.
I braced myself, expecting to fall through the floor again. But this time, something else happened. Instead of falling, I started floating. I wasn’t expecting this. I floated up and to the right until I made it to another room. It wasn’t really a room though. I was standing in the middle of some train tracks. Other people were standing there too. I heard a train coming. I knew I had to get these people to safety. I grabbed a few children and rushed them off of the train tracks.
“Everybody move!” I shouted. “Everyone get off the train tracks!”
Most of them started to run away, but a few of them kept standing there, shocked.
“Come on people! Move it!” I tried again.
Some of them still didn’t move. I continued to push people out of the way. The train had almost reached us. I knew I couldn’t get everyone out of the way in time. I stood in front of the train and braced myself for impact.
The train hit me at full force. I was knocked back, off of the train tracks. I slid across the dirt. When I recovered, I looked at myself. I had many bruises and I was bleeding pretty badly on my back. My guess was that I slid over something sharp. My head hurt very badly and at this rate, I was going to bleed out. I needed to do something. I couldn’t die. I had too much to live for. I didn’t know if I believed my fortune at first, but now I do. It was my destiny to save the world. I couldn’t die yet.
All of a sudden, I started to float. I looked around and saw that I was emitting a bluish glow. I was like a floating orb. My body started to feel better. The ache started to go away. I was healing myself. I stayed in the air for a little while, about five minutes. Then I fell to the ground. Luckily, I wasn’t floating that high. The voice started to talk.
“You are the boy! The prophecy states that only the hero is able to heal himself. No one else. You don’t have to take the rest of the tests.”
Someone came out of the shadows. This person had gray skin and pointed eyes, kind of like an elf. He was very short. He had tussled white hair. When he saw me, he bowed.
“I am the Guardian of Courage.”
More people who looked like him walked in. They stated their names and bowed to me too.
“We’re at your service,” they said, still bowing.
It was official. I was the hero that was supposed to unite the world. I haven’t done it yet though. Every time I try, it doesn’t work. No one believes in me. I try to make peace, but no one listens. Someday they will listen though. And that will be the day I fulfill my destiny.