Author’s note: This story has the same characters as my first short story, Rebel Prince. This isn’t a part two, so you’ll understand it just fine on it’s own, but you might want to read Rebel Prince first to gain better understanding and enjoy this more!
I stared up at the stars. They were so beautiful, so peaceful, so awe-insp—
“ACK!” I hollered as my dog, Maya, jerked forward. Therefore, her leash jerked forward. Meaning my hand jerked forward, followed by my body.
“What was that for, Maya?” I groaned as I wiped the mud off my knees and hands. Falling into a puddle wasn’t the best start to an 11 pm walk of the royal dog.
Yeah, I said ‘royal dog’.
Nope, I wasn’t a super important dog sitter.
Yeah, earlier I said ‘my dog’.
Yeah…I was the stupid prince.
My name is Jax Conner. I’m just your typical teenage guy who happens to be the crowned prince of Tyala—a town on the continent South Hayling. Which is on the planet Ash, for you people who don’t know geography.
Recently, I had discovered I had a power—super rare (and hated) in the modern world. I figured out I had telekinesis by saving this rebel 8-year-old, Arava. She wasn’t from around here—she had a power, liked it, and didn’t know who I was.
Over the past week, I had been learning how to be more…rebellious. Plus, Arava helped train me in my power, too—the young girl might’ve had invisibility, but mastering one power gives you pretty good knowledge on other powers.
So, I was walking Maya in the middle of Lyon Forest. I wasn’t supposed to be out this late (even though I’m 14, my stupid curfew is 10), so I was training in being rebellious. I also wasn’t supposed to use my power (not that anybody knew I had one, yet—I wanted to master telekinesis then see the look on King Aster, my dad’s, face), so…using it was training for my power AND more training for being a rebel.
Sadly…Maya was kind of trashing my plans.
(Much like she trashed my jeans with the mud.)
“Oh, come on, girl?” I complained, bending down to scratch the puppy. “I don’t want to go back to the castle to clean up, buuut I don’t exactly want to stay muddy, either.”
“I’ll wash off in a river. Good idea!”
We resumed walking through the forest.
Lyon Forest was gorgeous, especially in the fall. A blanket of colorful leaves coated the rolling hills, with hundreds of trees spaced out among them. There were quite a few brooks flowing through the 50-acre forest, so it would be easy to find a river to wash off in.
Soon enough, Maya and I stumbled upon a stream.
It was a couple feet wide, crystal-clear water gurgling over a bed of pebbles. I walked up to it, barely acknowledging the glowing teenager across the stream. I started to wash my kne—
A glowing teenager?!
It was seriously comical—one of those situations you’d see in a movie or show. When there’s something completely out of the ordinary, and the main character pays no mind before finally seeing it a second later. I’ve seen it at least 20 times on TV, and now it was happening to me.
I did a double-take. Yep, there was a glowing teenage girl.
“Uh, hi!” I squeaked.
I know, I know, very poetic. But excuse me, I’m not a good people-person when meeting strange girls, who are, in fact, shimmering.
She got up. “Hi?”
The girl I had just met wore light gold athletic shorts, with a white tank-top and a gold belt. She had midnight-black hair that was easily 2 feet long, meaning it stopped near the bottom of her back. She had tan skin with big, shining green eyes. A golden halo of light surrounded her. Oh, and she was floating a couple inches off the ground, did I mention that?
“Who are you?” I asked. “And, uh, why are you glowing?”
She frowned. “My name’s Asteria. Which means star. That should answer your questions.”
“You’re a diva?” I was really confused. “Pop star?”
Asteria snorted and flipped her hair. “Not at all.”
“Thank you so much for explaining,” I smiled, my voice thick with sarcasm. “it’s really helpful. Oh, and my name’s Jax.” She nodded, and we stood (well, she hovered) in silence for a couple moments. “Uh…” I racked my brain for conversation starters then remembered the super-obvious one:
“Who the heck are you?”
“I’m Asteria,” she said, “as I already told you. And I’m a star spirit.”
“Woah.” My eyes grew wide. “They exist?”
I bowed. “My pleasure to meet you, Miss.”
She laughed and yanked my head up from over the stream. “Don’t bow to me, stupid. I’m 16–not super important. I’m from a newly created star.”
“That sounds pretty important.”
“Well, I won’t stop you if you want to bow again.”
I grinned at her. “So…why are you on Ash?”
“I needed to get clean,” Asteria groaned. She started splashing the water on her body again. “cuz I’m really dirty.”
“Yeah,” I said plainly, “those typically go together. Wait, don’t they have showers where you live?”
She splashed me. “HELLLOOOO?! I live on a STAR. A ball of flames. No, Jax, there are no showers, baths, or water at all. I don’t need water to live—I’m immortal until the star, aka me, dies—but I do need it to get clean.”
“Why couldn’t you go to the nearest planet?” I had figured out that she wasn’t the Nus (our solar system, the Twix’s, star), because the Nus had definitely been around longer than 16 years.
“I’m starting to think you don’t want me here.”
Asteria looked offended, so I put my hands up in defeat. “No, no, this is cool. I’m just super confused.”
“What’s to be confused about?” Asteria threw her hands up. “I’m a star spirit. I came to Ash to wash off.”
“Last question, I swear: how the heck did you get dirty in the first place?!” Seriously, how did the essence of a burning ball of magma get unclean?
“Light pollution, duh.”
“I thought you said no more questions after the ‘how’d you get dirty’ one.”
“Too bad. How are you dirty from light pollution?!”
Asteria glared, but gritted her teeth and started to answer my millionth question. “The name answers itself. Light pollution is, quite literal, pollution for light. It makes us star spirits dirty, which is really annoying. Teleporting 6 trillion miles because all of you humans turn on lights at the same time drives me crazy.”
“Sorry,” I winced.
*Cue awkward silence*
“So, uh, what?”
“What what?” Asteria squinted at me.
“I dunno. Are we going to talk about anything else?”
Asteria shrugged. “Do you have any more questions? You seem to have a question dispenser.”
I laughed. “Nope. But let me get this straight: you, Asteria, are the 16-year-old spirit of a star. You came to the planet Ash to wash off, because light pollution made you dirty.”
“Exactly!” She beamed at me—quite literally, seeing she was glowing.
Asteria washed off in the river a little more, then finally got up. “Well, I have to go soon. Thanks for talking to me, I guess. Ash is usually pretty boring.”
“You’re welcome?” I shrugged. “Thanks for answering my questions.”
“Oh, and before I go…” Asteria started digging around in her pocket. Finally, she pulled out a folded up piece of paper. She pressed it into my hand. “That’s my first poem. I think it's pretty good, but I’m obviously biased. Read it when you get home and tell me what you think of it.”
“Okay!” I said. “Well…bye! It was nice meeting you!”
“Byeeee!” Asteria called as I walked off, poem in one hand and Maya’s leash in the other.
I snuck into the castle, took Maya off her leash, and scurried up to my room (which was the size of two gyms). Once there, I collapsed on my king bed.
My bed was pressed against the wall, where huge windows stretched above it. There weren’t any shades, because I liked to wake up with the Nus and I didn’t need them for privacy reasons. I was on the 11th floor of the castle—nobody could see me or anything.
I took out the poem (I had tucked it in my pocket) and unfolded it. The note read,
By: Asteria Johnson
Windows are clear
Or else they’d be doors
I’ve never seen
A cat that snores.
If you have a corkboard
You might wants some tacks
Don’t you dare be racist
Or I’ll call you a yak.
I snorted. True poetry.
Then I remembered I was supposed to give my friend feedback. I glanced out my window and stared at the starry night beyond.
“This was awesome, Asteria,” I grinned.
And it was probably just my imagination, but I was almost certain that the nearest star smiled back.