By:  Salvin Sawyerr  Completed
Language: English
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Stephanie is gifted with the ability to speak with animals. She sees this gift as a curse, but never did she know that just by the visit of her Uncle Ramsey and Cousin Dorothy would she all the more learn to appreciate this wonderful gift. . .

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57 Chapters
Chapter 1: Uncle and Cousin's Visit
  My name's Stephanie and I can communicate with animals. Nobody knows about this, not yet, at least. I was only seven years old when I realised this “curse”, so I hid it down to this day.  Four months ago, I turned sixteen.  At the moment, I'm seated in my bathtub covered breast-length in lathered soap. My brown, curly hair skedaddles above the surface of the bathwater around me. I relaxed, even though I knew I needed to be fast so that I could get dressed and be downstairs right in time.  Yesterday, I was told I'd be going to live with my Uncle Ramsey the great. Yeah, I actually think he's wonderful, despite never having to meet him before. Although, mum and dad claimed that he spent a month with us when I was newly born.  Uncle Ramsey lived in a far, far away land. Like those types you see in fairytale stories. He has a daughter who — I was told — was just three years older than me. That makes her nineteen.
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Chapter 2: Arerat
  We had spent a whole day inside the chariots, still heading for my uncle and cousin's home town.  The journey was fun with the likes of my cousin. She was so fun to speak with. When I would talk about school, she would listen patiently, and excitedly. She would pose all sorts of questions I'd never have imagined anyone would have loved to hear from my mouth. She asked me if I had any crushes, if there was a boy always poking at me during maths class, or if I drew caricatures of my teachers.  We discussed all sorts of girly stuffs and filled ourselves with lots of laughter. At a point I was almost tempted to tell her I could talk with animals, but I restrained myself after second thoughts.  Did I remember to mention that Roy had been seated all along on our chariot? It was not until the following morning that I found out. When it was dawn, I began to hear his wonderful morning song, and of course, the whistle was unmistakably Roy's. 
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Chapter 3: The Savage Beast
  Dorothy held my tattooed hand in hers. She smiled warmly at me, like she always does. Then she looked down in my hand. Suddenly, it was as if a thought struck her, then her countenance changed to that of puzzlement. I could tell from her searching eyes that something was really wrong.  “Is something wrong?” I finally asked.  She raised her eyes and looked into my face, then back at my tattoo.  “Stephanie, I've never seen anything like this. How come you have your Arerat symbol inscribed on your palm?”  “Huhn?”  Could things be any more eccentric? Here I am trying to understand why I have this on my hand, and here you are asking me the same question.  I quickly had an idea, so I said, “That reminds me. Let's ask Uncle Ramsey. He should be able to explain this right? His chariot is just right in front of ours.”  She nodded.  “I'm sure my
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Chapter 4: The Phantom Dynasty
 Not long after passing through the tax collector, our chariots pulled over before the ones called the Guardians. It just seemed that they were acquainted with my Uncle Ramsey and, hence, wasted no time on him.  “For years,” Dorothy explained, “the Guardians have guarded our home from invaders who somehow managed to pass through the tax collector and wished to cross over to the other realms. At such, our world has know peace for as long as we existed, ourselves. Although there were plenty of enemies here, it had, literally, nothing to do with making a coalition with humans. Those of us who decided to live with humans, such as your parents, do so without letting their gifts get discovered.”  I nodded my head. It was no wonder I could not, myself, tell if my parents had mystical gifts, and how they could not tell if I'd too. It was just transitive.  We seemed to be entering a portal, or something of the kind. The wall on bo
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Chapter 5: Soul Drenching Squirrels
  I couldn't make any sense of why this weird old man in a gray robe was acting all frenziedly. Was he trying to act a sarcastic drama or something, just to lighten the air? Even if he had to do so, couldn't he at least give some respect to his reputation? If there was one thing I despised the most, it was a clown! Oh, those horrible fellas!  I don't know how he was expecting me to react, but I wasn't going to fall for this.  As I watched the old man raise a finger at me, a memory flashed into my head. I remembered when I was just five years old and my school had to go to the circus for an escortion. We had a wonderful time there, but no one expected what would happen next. A clown showed up. Standing some metres from me, he made a quick scream that made everyone's heart skip a beat. He stared at me as though I was a demon and began running. The other kids, seeing this, were so afraid that they had to run away from me. The teachers seemed to have fallen for th
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Chapter 6: Beast Hall (1)
  I was surprised about what I'd just learnt from the Acorn Master. To think that that could have been the case — that I seemed to be emitting an aura of animal spirit.  ‘Yo man, where I come from, that's an offense,’ I said within me.  What sort of joke was this, anyway?  Dieing from astonishment, the Acorn Master beckoned to an attendant that stood not too far from him to provide something he'd referred to as “Hall Token”.  It was just something I'd compare to a bacon athletes use in racing, only that it was much more beautiful. There was a symbol of a beast on it with terrifying teeth that made me shudder.  Stretching it to me, the Acorn Master explained:  “This is a Hall Token that could be used only in the Beast Hall. It has my spirit aura in it, so you'd be let in, easily. It is a vouch for you to enter as someone deemed of the privilege.” 
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Chapter 7: Journey to the Kitchen
Unlike I expected, the kingdom of the Acorn Valley was divided into different smaller villages. It was amazingly beautiful — even more than I'd noticed it from above when I was on Roy.   Soon, led by my uncle, we arrived before our apartment. It was nothing like I'd ever imagine. Something like those ancient Chinese compounds in some movies. It had beautiful carvings here and there on the walls of both man and beast.   The compound housed several spare rooms that could house ten guests, each. In no time, I was shown the room that I'd be sleeping in. It wasn't luxurious, but was comfortable and pleasing to the eyes, nevertheless. There were empty shelves in the room, a big bed (much bigger than mine back home), and a toilet — gracefully — with a large bathtub.   I had pleaded that Roy stayed with me in the same room, of which my uncle concorded with, after much, deep contemplations. I feared that something bad might happen to my Roy; this place
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Chapter 8: Beast Hall (2)
Waking up, I could see some vague figures hanging over my head. Brushing my eyes, I tried to make sense of what was happening. After some quick split-seconds, my memory was in order.   I could remember fainting after seeing some hideous ladies in the kitchen. At the thought of this, I quickly surveyed the faces before me.   Cousin Dorothy was with a much calmer and concerned expression. In fact, she even looked like she would cry if I continued staying motionless. Seeing my eyes meet hers, she took the moment to mouth ‘Sorry’. I tried smiling, but I was left with a panging feeling in my head. It seems like I'd struck my head hard when I fainted.   “Hey, mademoiselle!” said Roy, with a shaky voice. I tried telepathic conversation with him, and it — surprisingly — worked out, without my raising more pain. I said, “Hey, buddy!”; he nodded in reply.   Next was Uncle Ramsey. He had a serious, yet concerned, look on his face. &nb
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Chapter 9: Coalition of Animal and Spirit
Knock, knock!’  Before the door, I ran my eyes around to see anything that could draw in my attention for the moment, but gave up on it, after looking around.  It seemed like Bright was not contented with the silence from within the Acorn Master's office, so he made to knock on the door, for a second time. And just as he was about to do so, a young-looking man opened the door with a frown, as his head corked out.  This young man seemed to be around my age. But unlike any other boy from back home, this one had horns on his head like some kind of. . . ram.  “Young master, Jaiden. We seek an audience with the your father.”  Furrowing his eyebrows, Jaiden declared, after observing us both, “The Acorn Master is busy right now, and wishes no one disturbs him!”  Bright's eyes widened. From the look of things, he really revered this arrogant fellow.  So instead of draggin
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Chapter 10: Channel of Ancient Reality
“I am Kira, Guardian of the secrets of the Royal Euphenic Blood.”  I heard the same feminine voice I'd heard before, when I began visualising this vision in my subconsciousness. Turning around, my gaze fell on a woman. She had a splendid dress on, and there were lots of red flowers tucked into her hair. She smiled at me, revealing a pair of dimples on both cheeks. She seemed to be in her late forties or early fifties.  “Where am I?” I asked, looking about myself at the strange realm before my eyes. “What is this place and who are you?”  Smiling, Kira said, “This is the Channel of Ancient Reality which only a few gifted ones are privileged to see.”  “Channel of Ancient Reality?” I was taken aback. “What does that mean?”  “The Channel of Ancient Reality is a realm which has the ability to link one to events of long ago. These knowledge can faci
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