“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, happy birthday! Happy birthday to you!”

“Go make a wish and blow your candle dear Ayesha,” Mama said while smiling after she and my papa sang to me a Happy birthday song.

I was celebrating my birthday and I was beyond blessed. We may not have a lot of food on the table, but seeing my parents healthy and happy was enough for me.

I looked at the flame on the tip of the candle. The way it flickered from my sight amazed me. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. But since I was a child, I‘d always been fascinated with fire.

I closed my eyes and wished.

I wish my parents to live longer with good health and always be happy.

I smiled, opened my eyes and blew the candle of my cake in front of me. Happy sweet sixteen to me!

“Happy birthday dear,” Papa said smiling while handing me a small box that was wrapped with red paper. It had a yellow ribbon tied up to it.

I was teary-eyed when I held it in my hand. We were poor. And we were actually living in the slum. Scala Town, where I live right now, was one of the slums of the Kingdom of Zoara.

Receiving a gift from my papa was really touching for me. My papa and mama were working in the farm nearby, but still I was proud that they were my parents because they raised me well.

I pulled the ribbon and opened the box. I almost gasped when I saw the beautiful necklace inside. It was a white gold necklace with a flame like pendant hanging on it.

“I can’t take this Papa,” I said while putting back the necklace inside the box.

“That is yours dear. Take it,” he replied and put it back in my hands.

“But I think this is so expensive. I know we don’t have a lot of money,” I mumbled sadly to him.

“Don’t worry dear. That is not that expensive as you think,” he reassured and then smiled at me.

I bit my lower lip and hugged him. “Thank you, Papa.”

“You’re welcome, dear.”

***

I didn’t have visitors on my birthday. Our house was just small and it was made of wood. It was kind of located in a mountain area. And the next house was also far from our house. So we were done celebrating it. I also didn’t have friends. So what was the use of inviting someone? As if I also got someone to invite to. All of our neighbors of the same age of mine hated me and I didn’t know why.

I would sometimes look at myself in the mirror if there was something wrong with my appearance. My hair was straight and black, and it was long up to my waist. My skin was pinkish white and my face was so small with a little freckles on my cheeks and nose. My body was petite and my height was only five feet. I was normal. My Mama even told me that I was beautiful. But why couldn’t others see it?

My parents were also aloof to others. They didn’t have that much of what they called friends too. Sometimes I wonder why my parents were like that. It was like they didn’t want us to get closed to other people here in our town. Our town was just small compared to others.

The land of Anteras was divided into five Kingdoms. The kingdom of Zoara, Krishna, Cenchrea, Havilah, and Gethsemane.

Scala Town belongs to the Kingdom of Zoara and it was not really that big too compared to other Kingdom,

I even heard a lot of rumors that each kingdom was being protected by dragons. The Fire Dragon of Zoara, Water Dragon of Krishna, Earth Dragon of Cenchrea, Metal Dragon of Havilah, and Wind Dragon of Gethsemane. It was kind of talk of the town but I hadn’t seen one in my entire life. Maybe it was just a myth or something. But I didn’t really believe it. Not unless I saw one.

“Ayesha, dear?” Mama called outside the wooden door of my room. I was inside while looking at myself in the mirror.

Mama?” I shouted while

“Dinner

“Coming,” I exclaimed and then

I sat down in front of my mama and papa when I arrived

and Papa both nodded

us pause a moment to appreciate the opportunity to thank our mother earth that has made this birthday possible. We reap the fruits of our town, our kingdom, and our land, and take joy in the bounties of nature on this happy occasion. Let us also wish that, some day, all people on Earth may enjoy the same good fortune that we share,” Mama prayed for our

After we said our

My parents were kind of religious. And every sunday, we didn’t forget to always go

The dinner ended and I was back to my room. I remember the

walked towards the mirror

I smiled and took the necklace out. I looked at myself in the mirror as I put the necklace on my neck and

I was in the middle of brushing my hair when I noticed something on it. From its roots, I saw how little by little my black hair turned

maybe I was just hallucinating. But my eyes widened when all of my hair from the roots to the tip became already

“Oh my God! Oh my God!”

my hands. My black hair just turned to red! What

I ran out of my room and went towards my parents

on the door or I may say, I was literally banging the door of my parents room while shouting

I saw my parents standing in front

“What’s wrong dear?” Papa

them and they looked at it. Their forehead creased and then looked

“Did you dye your hair into red?” Mama said while

“Then why did it

I couldn’t believe it!

“Papa!” I yelled while looking at them with a

looks good on you.”

when it suddenly changed into red. You have to believe me,” I was gesturing my

I stopped when I suddenly saw something flickered on my hand. My brows furrowed and looked at my hand

Was

closed my hand tightly and then opened it abruptly. My eyes widened when suddenly a fire came out of my hand and

mouth and eyes wide

saw that?! D-Did fire just come out

“Get inside,” Papa said as he pulled me inside their room and then closed it. They let me sat

called my name with a

“Mama. What is

not allowed to have power. It’s prohibited in our town,” Mama said. She looks

to leave this town, Laura,” Papa said with a serious

one is leaving, Simeon,” Mama answered while glaring

if they will know

“No one will know. Right, Ayesha?” Mama was looking at me seriously. Was she saying that I needed to

have this power that I had right now. So what was I going to do with

“You have to promise me that you will never use that thing no

I nodded as a

back to your room and rest. We’ll talk tomorrow,”

“Okay,” I mumbled then stood up and got out of their room.

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