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Life with the Crystal Beasts

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Chapter 1

The Acaeredians


    It’s a normal, dry day in the Kingdom of Acaered as a single dragon soars freely far above, like any other day.  In fact, this is the time of harvest as the Acaeredians are gathering foods, from fresh meats to ripe fruits, nuts and vegetables.  At least, the produce that they can reach. The fruit and nut trees are very tall and most Acaeredians do not bond well with great heights.  Taking whatever foods they catch from their partners, the many Acaeredians carry them back to a huge open field where a very long table sits above the flowing stream.

    The foods that the kingdom is setting on the table are offerings to Sartorius and the many members of the Society of Light, which they’ll be arriving within a couple hours.   However, one Acaeredian gets distracted by a few girls that are standing in the shade of a weeping willow, chatting among themselves. The young man has a dreamy look in his eyes for the girls, causing him to stop.

    With the one male stopping caused the line behind him to stop as well, with a few mad at his usual behavior.  “You dizzy dreamer, would you stop getting distracted so damn easily.”

    “He’s always forgetting that we have a job to do here!”

    “Now everyone, stay calm.” those in the line heard a voice coming from the castle as they all turn to see Professor Banner running over to help them calm down and get back to their job.  Stopping in front of the one worker who is distracted by the girls hanging out in the shade, Banner snaps his fingers right in front of the young man’s face, causing him to blink out of his trance.  “Now, you must keep in mind that this time is too important to allow yourself to be distracted easily. After you place what you have gathered on the table, I need you to come with me to my office.”

    “Yes sir.” the teen answers, now nervous about the talk he’ll have with the professor about the distractions.

    Now with the line moving on, a young woman with short red hair with one bunch sticking out over the right side of her face, large beautiful grey eyes comes up to Professor Banner with a bouquet of white irises in her arms, noticing the gap in the line.  “I must say that’s quite a gap, Professor Banner. Should we inform the King?”

    “There’s no need to talk to him about this, Ms Fontaine.  He has his hands full enough already with training his brother.” Banner gently reminds the doctor.

    “Oh yes, Prince Jaden.  That child is so worn out with his new duties.” Fontaine remembers seeing that since King Haou has started teaching the Prince of his duties since he’ll soon take over, Jaden has been very uptight about his duties, a few times rebellious even about the mere thought of his new duties.

    Pacing back in forth as a guard keeps a great fan over his head so the sun isn’t scorching on his shoulders, Jaden, the sixteen-year-old Prince with brown hair being short in the back but long in the front and a lighter layer on top and big, deep brown eyes becomes more and more anxious with each passing minute.  “The winds have died down enough for them to be able to arrive with no problem.”

    Haou, the nineteen-year-old King with the same hair color and style as his brother, the only difference is that Haou has golden eyes, who is also being shaded by a guard, says with a tone of encouragement, “Just stay confident, Jaden.  You’ll be fine as long as you are.”

    Just then, Jaden looks over to the line and gasps when he sees the gap.  “Oh no, there is a gap in the line!”

    “Your highness, it’s okay.” A short, plump man with the face like a bulldog's says as he is glancing up from his charts.  “Gaps happen, we only lost a couple inches, that is all.”

    “Oh right.”

    Turning towards the two guards, Haou dismisses them so he could help Jaden stay calm about this time with the Society of Light.  “Well Jaden, what do we do next?”

    Thinking it over, Jaden asks his brother not to tell him so he can figure it out himself.  It’s at the tip of his tongue and it’s in his overloaded brain somewhere yet he struggles to figure out what exactly it is.  To relieve him of all the stress he’s feeling from overthinking, Haou gently holds his shoulder and reminds him, “We just relax.”

    Letting out a nervous laugh, Jaden sighs.  “Right.”

    “I’m telling you, Jay, everything will be fine.  It happens every year since we made a deal with them.  They arrive, have their feast and then they’ll leave. Simple as that.”

    “You’re right Haou.”  Just then the ground beneath their feet rumbles a bit as a Water Dragon snakes out from the underground residence for the entire kingdom since the royalty live in the palace and everyone else live underground just like an ant colony with Bastion Misawa on its back and his friend Yusuke Fujiwara being carried by Honest with an enraged Blair, the thirteen-year-old princess with long, smooth black hair that reaches to the center of her back, then flares out and deep brown eyes, upon Mystic Dragon, chasing after the older boys.

    “You jerks, get back here!”  Jumping off her dragon since the older boys had started to run, Blair tries to get a pair of the same wings as Mystic Dragon to appear on her back.  But her magic just isn’t strong enough and the wings fade away with the young girl landing so that her legs were bent at the knee.

    “Blair!”  She hears her oldest brother exclaim at her.

    “Yes, Haou?” Blair turns and faces her older brothers as they came over to her, both being disapproval that she tried to merge with Mystic Dragon so she could chase after Bastion and Fujiwara.

    “What have I told you about trying to fly?” Haou asks as he shakes one finger at her like an angry parent would while Jaden crosses his arms over his chest.

    “‘Not until I have a stronger connection with my spirits’.” Blair repeats the words she has been told many times whenever she tries to fly or use another ability her spirits have.

    Glad to see that she remembers what he has always told her whenever she gets scolded.  “That’s right.”

    Getting to her feet, Blair approaches Haou, saying, “But Haou,”

    Just as she is going to explain what had happened between her and the older boys awhile ago, Jaden says to remind her, “Blair, you’re a young Acaeredian Royal.  Your connection to your spirits is not strong enough for you to use their abilities, you can still easily get hurt.”

    Blair then snaps back at Jaden with her hands on her hips, saying, “I was talking to Big Brother Haou.  You’re not the King yet, Jaden!”

    Before she could say anything else, Haou places a hand on her shoulder to get her to calm down.  “Blair, be nice to your brother.”

    Blair lets out an annoyed sigh with her eyes rolling.  “It’s not my fault he’s all stressed out, no longer the fun Jaden that I love so much as my brother.”

    He knows that she’s right.  “I know. I always act like the sky is falling.”

    Just then, one of the council members yells, “LOOK OUT!”

    As Jaden and his family are looking up towards the sky, the Prince didn’t have enough time to react when a fruit tree landed on top of him with the council members rushing over to remove the empty fruit tree.

    Meanwhile in the forest patch that had very good fruits and a variety of nuts, a bluenette of sixteen with deep emerald green eyes watches from beneath the trees as he catches any fruits and nuts his duel spirits pluck from the trees, even from the very top that many Acaeredians miss during this time of the year.  Ember Mammoth uses his long trunk to reach the high branches of the fruit tree and pull it down enough so Jesse could pluck the ripe fruits off the branches. Topaz Tiger and Amethyst Cat went from tree to tree, using their sharp claws to snag through the stems like scissors to paper to cause the fruits to fall to the baskets Jesse had set around the trees.

    Ruby Carbuncle knocks the nuts off the branches with the crystal embedded at the end of her tail and a beam she shoots from her mouth.  Emerald Turtle kept any fruits or nuts from missing the baskets by bouncing them successfully off his shell. Cobalt Eagle easily snatches any of the fruits that are ripe enough and the nuts that aren’t too hard with his talons, avoiding the fruits that are starting to rot and the nuts become too old.  Sapphire Pegasus using strong gusts of wind with his powerful wings to send the fruits and nuts flying, allowing Jesse to catch them with his basket.

    However, if any of the trees weren’t planted into the ground enough, they could easily be plucked right out of the ground like weeds by Ember Mammoth, so the big spirit just tossed them over his shoulder like a pinch of salt.  What the group didn’t know is that the fruit tree Ember Mammoth tossed over had landed on top of Jaden.

    Then when the one had been removed from the Prince, the second tree that Ember Mammoth plucked and threw over his shoulder landed on Jaden.  “Hey, knock it off!” the kingdom’s nurse Fonda Fountaine exclaims in his direction. Looking behind his shoulder after signalling his crystal beasts to stop their work, Jesse hears her yell at him.  “You could have killed someone over here!”

    Realizing what they were doing, with Ruby perched on his shoulder, Jesse steps out from the trees, an apologetic expression across his face as he rushes over.  To see who had been tossing the trees over, Crowler and Bonaparte groan in annoyance. Once he had been close enough to see who the trees keep landing on, Jesse is in total shock that he could have seriously hurt the crowned prince.  “Oh dear spirits, I am so sorry Prince Jaden!”

    Coughing a bit now that both trees have been removed, Jaden says as Fountaine helps him up to his feet, “What were you doing, Jesse?”

    “Well, since it’s the time of the year for Sartorius and the Society of Light to come have their feast, I had thought that in order to get things done quickly, I would have my spirits help collect the fruits and nuts from the trees.  That way we can also have the fruits and nuts that are too high in the trees for anyone to reach.”

    In a way that does sound helpful to have the spirits help with gathering the foods for the feast.  But not that many Acaeredians have a strong connection to their spirits like Jesse has and some of the spirits have been proven to be awfully finicky.  “Look, as much of a good idea that is, not all of the spirits are willing to help out with anything.” Jaden points out, just as his two best spirits Elemental Hero Neos and Winged Kuriboh appear beside the prince, Neos having his arms crossed over his chest and standing firm beside the prince with Winged Kuriboh hovering right over his shoulder.

    “Now listen here!” Bonaparte finally snaps, grabbing both boys’ attention.  “The Prince does not have any time for this! If you want to help with the harvest, then have your spirits return to your heart, get back in line and pick fruits and nuts like everyone else!”

    “Like everyone else!” Crowler, Banner and Fountaine repeat.

    “Please, Jess.  Just go.” Jaden says with a sigh.

    Jesse nods in understanding.  Back when they were both kids, Jesse and Jaden had been close friends and were rarely ever seen without the other.  However when they both were thirteen, Haou had started to train Jaden to be the next king after him, so they had eventually stopped hanging out together, but they would have a friendly chat once in a while.  “I’m sorry, I was just trying to speed things up.”

    With that, Jesse heads back into the trees to collect the other spirits except for Ruby since she’s closest to him.  Watching him return to the trees where he was gathering fruits and nuts with his crystal beast spirits, Jaden could only feel a sense of loneliness that he’s carried in his eyes ever since they stopped seeing each other like they used to as kids.  But as a Prince, he has to put those thoughts aside and stick to his responsibilities and royal duty to his kingdom.