By Mystie Icewater

    I slowly woke up from my unconsciousness, feeling extremely winded for some odd reason, one that I couldn't comprehend. What had happened? I asked myself this question over and over again. I didn't bother to open my eyes; they were shut tightly from the pain I felt throughout my body.
    As I lay there, the pain overwhelmingly unbearable, I began to hear voices...two voices.
    "Who is she, this girl from the sky?"
    "Where did she come from?"
    "Is she all right?"
    Those were the only actual voices I heard; the only other sounds were of flutes, hitting just about every note known to man.
    Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder, slowly nudging me.
    "Are you awake?" a deep, yet very old, voice inquired.
    I knew these people, whoever they were, were worried about me. To prove to them that I was conscious, I slowly opened my eyes.
    "Thank heavens you're all right, dear."
    I looked up at the huddle of people surrounding me, while trying to adjust my eyes to the bright light that was the sun. I saw two elderly people, a man and a woman. I realized they must have been the ones who were talking earlier. I also noticed a group of strange-looking people with flutes in their hands.
    I stared at the flute players as they were playing random notes, not understanding at all what they were doing. I sighed and tried to get up, but the pain I felt became unbearable again. I laid back down and groaned.
    The elderly woman looked at me with concern. "Don't move, dear," she said, while placing her arm on my head, "You are in no condition to get up."
    The old man looked at the musicians, as if he understood what they were doing, and turned to me. "Who are you?" he asked. "Where did you come from?"
    I stared up at him, trying to dig up the information in my mind. Surprising to me, I came up with nothing. I searched my head again.
    Still nothing.
    I looked at the elderly couple. "I-I...don't know...."
    Everyone looked surprised at first, and the couple exchanged worried glances.
    "Amnesia..." the man muttered under his breath.
    The woman cleared her throat. "Well, my name is Joan, and this is my husband, Samuel."
    The old man, Samuel, bowed and smiled at me. "It's a pleasure to meet you, miss."
    I tried to smile back at him, but I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my backside, and lost consciousness.

    I awoke again to the sight of an overly luxurious room, decorated with all sorts of instruments, and with silk carpets lining the glass floor.
    The pain came again, and I groaned.
    Right away, Joan was at my side. "You've broken your wing, and it may take a while to heal. Just relax."
    I looked towards my back and saw my left wing, bandaged up. My right wing was wrapped around me, the pure white feathers tickling my nose.
    I stared at Joan. "Where am I?"
    Joan smiled at me. "Why, this is Tunlan, our great city of music!"
    Samuel, overhearing the conversation, walked in. "Most of out citizens use the language of music to communicate. That's why you weren't able to understand them earlier."
    I raised my eyebrow. "...Music?"
    Joan smiled again. "Yes. In order for you to understand them, you need a Cowl."
    She looked at Samuel, who handed me one. I stared at it. Why did it seem familiar to me? I had no idea.
    "Now get some rest, dear." said Joan, while my eyes were slowly closing.

    A few days later, I was able to move my wing again. I wandered around the city of Tunlan, wondering why everything seemed oddly familiar, as if I've been there before.
    Whenever one of the musicians spoke using their instruments, I had to use the Cowl to understand them. Seemed that they referred to me as ๋the girl who came from the sky'. I had always wondered what that was about.

    Years passed, five years to be exact, and I grew accustomed to life in Tunlan. Joan and Samuel were very kind to me. However, I kept feeling an emptiness deep inside me; something I couldn't explain. Samuel had told me it was because of my amnesia. Occasionally, they would ask me about my past, but my mind kept drawing blanks each time.
    Times at Tunlan weren't as happy as before, however. An evil clan known as the Dark Dragons had been raising terror in cities all around the continent. A few of Tunlan's citizens disappeared suddenly, and the Princess of Tunlan began acting peculiar, at least that's what Samuel told me.
    One day, as Joan and Samuel sat at their table drinking tea, I was staring towards the door, lost in thought. Although the nice couple had been with me all the while, I still felt very much alone in the world. Who was I? Where did I come from?
    As I thought about this, I heard a knock at the door. Samuel reluctantly got out of his seat and answered it. I couldn't see who was outside, but I could tell by the look on Samuel's face that the person outside wasn't one of his usual guests.
    "Yes, how may I help you?"
    From outside, I heard a woman's voice. "Do you have any information about the Time Key or the Bolster? We've heard that they were in this city, somewhere."
    Samuel and Joan looked startled, but they agreed to let the travelers in.
    As the travelers entered the house, my heart skipped a beat. There were seven of them, each of a totally different clan. The woman who spoke earlier appeared to be part snake. There was a wolf and an ox creature, a fish, and a man in yellow who seemed more or less human. One particular traveler caught my eye. He looked like a young warrior, with his long blue hair brushed away from his face, and his tattered red cloak trailing behind him. He seemed to be a human, but his green eyes told otherwise.
    As the last traveler entered, my eyes opened wide. She was young, maybe about fourteen. Her reddish hair, which was about shoulder length, was pulled back with a small, greyish-silver headband. She wore a soft rose-colored leotard on her body, white gloves on her hands, and rose-colored boots. Her wings, which were folded on her back, seemed white as snow. I noticed that my outfit was similar to hers, except mine was blue. Why did everybody, this girl in particular, seem so familiar to me?
    The winged girl didn't notice me; she just took her place on the couch with the other travelers.
    Joan looked around at the strangers. "Who, may I ask, are you all?"
    The snake-woman, who seemed to be taking charge, stood up. "I'm Bleu, and these are my friends Ryu, Bo, Karn, Gobi, Ox, and Nina."
    Nina. That name...so familiar. Same with the rest of them. I was more confused than ever.
    Joan and Samuel introduced themselves, and inquired about their search for the Time Key and the Bolster. The group just plainly said they needed the Bolster to help a mole named Mogu, and they were only curious about the Time Key. I had a feeling they weren't telling the whole truth.
    Samuel told them they could find both at the castle in the north end of Tunlan. I watched as the travelers thanked Samuel and Joan and started to leave.
    Just then, the young warrior Ryu happened to glance at my direction. His eyes opened wide, and he stopped dead in his tracks. The others looked at him strangely, then looked to see what he was gawking at. When they saw me, their eyes widened as well. Especially the girl's - Nina.
    "Hmmm..." was all I said.
    Ryu looked at Joan. "Who...is she?"
    Joan shook her head. "We don't know. About five years ago, she came to us from the sky."
    "She doesn't remember her past." added Samuel.
    "Why do you ask?" wondered Joan.
    Ryu just shook his head. "Nevermind." he replied, still looking at me.
    "Come on, we have work to do. Let's go!" cried Nina.
    The seven travelers walked out. But before he left, the one called Ryu looked at me one last time before exiting.

    A couple of weeks passed, and I felt more lonely than usual. I wondered if the unexpected visit from the travelers from afar had anything to do with it. I shook my head, dismissing that factor.
    As I thought about what happened, another knock came at the door. This time, though, the knock was much more urgent.
    Samuel opened the door and let the same seven travelers in. I realized, as they rushed inside, that it WASN'T the same seven. It was nearly the same, only there was a mole person in the group. I noticed that the winged girl was missing. What had happened to her?
    "What is it?" asked Joan, startled by the groups' quick entrance.
    The group explained why they came again. I didn't know what they were talking about, but I knew it was about me. Joan and Samuel stared at the group, wide-eyed.
    "She traveled through time?" asked Samuel in astonishment. "Well, it would be best if she went with you, since you are her friends. But she has amnesia. It will be difficult to bring her back."
    "Don't worry." said Ryu, with a look of determination in his eyes.
    "There MUST be a cure! And we'll find it!" exclaimed the one named Karn.
    "Hmmm..." I murmured again.
    As they walked out the door, Joan wished them good luck.

    During the next couple of days that followed, I was more confused than ever. I tried asking Joan and Samuel about it, but they refused to tell me anything, saying that I would understand soon enough.
    When the group came back, as promised, I noticed that Ryu was holding a bottle of liquid. He walked right up to me, handed me the bottle, and said, "Drink it."
    I wasn't thirsty, but this young warrior seemed anxious for me to drink it. So I gulped it down, just for him.
    Suddenly, my head began spinning, as memories of my past came rushing back to me. I leaned against the wall, and remembered. Memories of my childhood, my teens, everything. How Ryu saved my father's life, and mine.
    I smiled, my eyes closed. I remembered now. I am Nina, Princess of Winlan.
    Finally feeling peace within me, I opened my eyes and looked at my friends, who were gawking at me. Ryu the most.
    I smiled. "Why are you staring at me, Ryu?" I asked. "What's wrong?"
    Karn ran over to me. "Do you know who I am?" he asked earnestly.
    "Don't be silly, Karn." I replied, laughing.
    Suddenly, all my companions gathered around me, with big smiles on their faces.
    "She's back! She's back!" they cried.
    "What's the big fuss?" I asked, playing dumb. "I feel great, and I can fly."
    Blue smiled at me, something she rarely did. "Well, now that that's settled, let's go!"
    After everybody had left, I turned back to Joan and Samuel. "Thank you for everything. I won't ever forget you." I whispered.
    Joan smiled. "Our pleasure."
    "Take care." added Samuel.
    I grinned at them, and headed outside to join my friends.

    When I got outside, I noticed that only Ryu was there. He was sitting down, looking at the sky. "Where is everybody?" I asked him.
    "They're waiting outside for us." he replied, smiling at me.
    I sat down next to him, and looked at the sky.
    Suddenly, he leaned forward and gave me a big hug. My eyes widened in surprise at his sudden move. It was unlike him.
    Ryu looked in my eyes, arms still around me. "We, we thought we had lost you..."
    I looked back at the Light Dragon, and returned the hug. "Well, I'm a lot tougher than you would think, even for a princess."
    Ryu grinned back, and stood up. "We better catch up with the others." he said. "But how will we get to Scande?"
    I laughed. "Easy! I can fly, remember? I'm all grown up now!"
    Ryu breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank God we found you. And not just because you can fly..." he blushed.
    I grinned. "We have some unfinished business with Zog. Let's go, dragon!"
    As Ryu and I left Tunlan to join the others, I smiled. I hadn't felt this happy in a long time.
    I was back where I belonged.