The Chosen Ones | Teen Ink

The Chosen Ones

June 27, 2022
By Anonymous

Author's note:

I came up with this idea in math class, and immediately started writing about it when I got home. I felt like this concept was very fun to expand on and dive into, and I enjoyed writing it.

Shining in the afternoon light stands the three land kingdoms sitting on separate islands, Silvercore, Babylon, and Albatross, and the sea kingdom Aquarean. Each kingdom chooses a selection of children to be trained and eventually chooses a Chosen One, Champion, or Hero to serve the kingdom. The Chosen One gets to ride a dragon (the motivation to be the Chosen for most) and travel to the other kingdoms (a rarity), but they must abide by their rules and serve their kingdom to their best ability.

Silvercore is a kingdom of immense wealth, “Alone We Stand, Alone We Prosper” written on almost every blue and silver flag in the kingdom. Even the cheapest of buildings have silver trimming or expensive pillars. Silvercore is so wealthy that they don’t even need people to pay for their training. Five hundred children are selected when they are seven years old (if a new Chosen One is needed) and are trained for 14 years until they are 21 years old. Then, a Chosen One is chosen in a ceremony where the main instructor draws a name randomly. Although Silvercore is wealthy, the citizens do not have much non-material luxury such as acceptance of homosexuality or proper education.

Traveling Northeast from Silvercore is Babylon, a very militaristic kingdom, seemingly decorated with soldiers and watchtowers instead of silver and gold. The citizens need to pay for their children’s training and can choose for their children’s training to start between the ages of seven to nine. The children are trained until they are 22, and then they have a test — the highest scoring student is the Chosen One. 

Southeast of there is the kingdom of Albatross, the kingdom of freedom, “the place where you can do whatever you want”. Although free, most of the citizens of Albatross are impoverished. Between paying for training and random selection for the Chosen, the chances of ever being the Chosen One are slim. The training starts at age nine and ends at 19, then the Chosen is picked through a ceremony similar to Silvercore’s.

And between all three island-kingdoms stands the sea-kingdom of Aquarean. Home to the merfolk, Aquarean lies at the bottom of the ocean. People speak of the beauty of the merfolk, how their speech sounds like whale's song and how their blue skin shines as though it were made of pearl. Seven hundred six-year-olds are chosen to be trained for 16 years until they are 22. Then, the strongest of them is chosen and crowned the Champion or Chosen One.

Although the kingdoms have different ways of training and choosing, all the Chosen Ones follow the same rules:

1. The Chosen may not engage in relationships or any such distractions until they are finished serving as the Chosen One.
2. The Chosen One may decide to stop serving as the Chosen One at age 32.
3. The Chosen One must serve for their kingdom, no matter what it takes.

Four unlucky people just happen to be chosen for just the wrong thing at just the wrong time.

Little Eliza Lafayette tugged at the fitted sleeves of her uniform. Her mother patted tucked her curly brown hair out of her face and stroked her olive skin.

“You look great,” Eliza’s mother cooed.

Eliza scowled. “I don’t want to go to training,” she mumbled. 

“Eliza.” Her mother kneeled down to her level. “You were one of 500 children to be chosen in ALL OF SILVERCORE! It’s a great honor!”

Glaring at her mother, Eliza muttered, “Not if the selection is random.”

Eliza’s mother scoffed. “You’re going to training,” she said, “and you’re not going to talk to your instructors this way.”

So there seven-year-old Eliza Lafayette was, standing before the double-doors of the training center.

“Be good, Eliza. And good luck!” Eliza’s mother patted her head one last time and sent her off.

Eliza took a deep breath, tied her curly, brown hair back with a spare ribbon, and stepped into the training center.

Five hundred seven-year-olds made their way to the bunks to drop off their belongings and then to the training hall, each of them holding a blunt sword given to them by their instructors.

Eliza sighed, inspecting her sword and facing the instructor in the front of the room.

“Copy my stance!” the instructor shouted.

The kids hesitated, but copied. As the instructor continued to explain, Eliza began to get bored. If this is training until I’m 22, this is going to be TERRIBLE! I’m BORED!

Relief finally came at dinnertime after hours of just copying the instructor. Kids waited in lines for trays of food and others were sat down, eating and chattering about the events of the day and the days to come.

“I hear we’re sparring tomorrow,” one kid whispered to another.

“Already? My mom said she started sparring at the second WEEK!” they responded.

“I overheard the instructors’ conversation, and apparently we need more combat training, whatever that means. They said we’d be sparring tomorrow.”

“That’s gonna be hard…”

Eliza tuned out most of the conversation and thought of what tomorrow would be like. So if we’re sparring, we’d probably be partnered up instead of fighting everyone, right? One-on-one. Most of the kids here are weak. This’ll be a breeze.

Eliza sat down with her food, looking at the plate of rice and lamb in front of her. 

Damn, she thought, I thought the food would be bad.

Since Silvercore was extremely wealthy, they could afford elegant food for the children in training. They didn’t even have to pay for it. Three different meals every day, costing nothing at all. It was a great deal.

The second day went just as the kid had predicted.

“You know how to attack and block, you know all the stances, there’s not much left to teach. So we’re putting those skills to practical use! Everyone get with the partners you were assigned on the first day!” the instructor explained.

Eliza and another girl looked each other square in the face and turned to face each other. Uh oh. She’s one of the strong ones. It’s fine. I’ll win. I’m better.

“In your stances!”

Shuffling of feet was heard, then everyone was in their stances.


Eliza and the other girl glared at each other, readying their blades.


Eliza adjusted her stance and formed a plan. If I can knock her over and she surrenders, I win. She’ll attack first. She knows she’s strong. But I know I’ll beat her.


I’ll dodge this first attack to make her lurch forward, then knock her over from behind.


As Eliza predicted, her opponent attacked first. As Eliza dodged, she felt a blade cut her skin.


I was late.


Eliza toppled and looked behind her to see the other girl taking another swing. Eliza didn’t have time to dodge.


It’s fine. Just a scratch, she reassured herself.


The girl struck again, this time being blocked by Eliza’s blade. A sharp ringing sound issued from the blades as they clashed. By her third —  no, fourth… fifth? —  hit, Eliza wanted to join the kids curled up in corners and crying on the floor.


Keep fighting. Keep fighting. Keep fighting. I’m better than this.


A cut on her arm. Her cheek. Her stomach. Eliza paid no mind to the blood seeping through the fabric of her uniform and kept fighting.


I’m better than this. This is PATHETIC!


Eliza keeled over as her stomach was hit by the flat of her opponent’s blade.


No! I’m not giving up!


Eliza began to stand up, but she was knocked again.


I won’t give up!


Another slash on her arm. Eliza saw her short, seven-year life flash before her eyes as her opponent stood over her, ready to strike her dead.

“… I surrender…”

Eliza stared up at the gray ceiling of the infirmary.


I’m not good enough, she thought, No. I am good enough. I’m better than them. I can beat them.

Wincing, Eliza inspected her bandaged wounds.


Ugh, that’s not good.


Eliza turned to face the doctor now standing next to her bed.

“Yeah?” she asked, looking at them with a deadpan expression.

“It’s best if you stay out of training for a while. To heal.”

“WHAT? How long?” Eliza sat up and then fell back down, hissing at her stinging arm.

“At least three days.”

“Three days?”

“Yes. You were cut pretty badly.”

“Don’t remind me,” Eliza snapped.

At the end of the three days, Eliza returned to training, never mentioning her injuries again. 


They'll see me as weak if I say something, she thought, I can't have that here. I'm strong and I'll show it.

“In your stances!” the instructor shouted.

The rest of the 14 years were like that. From ages seven to 21, Eliza and the 499 other kids were trained in fighting, reading, fighting, and public speaking, never taking breaks to play.

Finally, the Ceremony of Choosing came around.

“FINALLY! I hope I’m the Chosen One, you know!” A kid explained to another, “You get to ride on a DRAGON I hear!”

“Yeah,” the other agreed, “but I hear the rules suck.”

Eliza and the other 21-year-olds paraded down the gilded streets, following their instructor to the stage. They filed on, receiving applause from the audience of parents, siblings, friends, and other onlookers. Eliza didn’t feel 21. She still felt like that same, scared little kid that went into training all those long years ago. Eliza scanned the crowd.




Eliza and her mother made eye contact for the first time in 14 years and tears started to spill from Eliza’s mother’s eyes. Eliza smiled and waved. The instructor turned to the audience. 

“I’m sure you’re all very excited!” they said into a microphone.

The audience cheered.

“I am, too! Now, I will pull a name…”

The instructor pulled a glass globe filled with slips of paper out from behind their back. 

One of those has my name on it, Eliza thought.

“…out of this bowl…”

It’s a globe! And get on with it, dammit!

The instructor pulled a piece of paper out of the globe. The audience held their breath.

“And the Chosen One…”

Come on, please be me…

“…for the great kingdom of Silvercore…”

Wait! Why do I even want to be chosen? Honor? Glory? Eliza scoffed. Do I want to impress people? Or just prove that I’m the best? Yeah, that's it.


Because I AM the best. No doubt about it! This will just prove that even more.

Eliza hadn’t even realized that she was shaking.

Because the best NEVER loses. And I'll NEVER lose.


It’s me. It’s me? It’s me!

“Eliza, would you step forward?”

Eliza gulped and stepped up to the microphone.

“Would you like to say something? You don’t have to, of course, I just thought you might like to,” the instructor said, smiling and patting Eliza on the shoulder.

Eliza almost shrugged their hand off before remembering, Respect them. I can have this position taken away, too.

“I-” Eliza stuttered, almost tearing up, “I’d like to thank my mother.”

Eliza’s mother only cried harder, shouting, “That’s my girl!”

Eliza smiled. “She’s always been there for me. Remember when you sewed a rose onto my uniform because I would only wear it if it had a flower on it? And remember when you forced me to go to training, even when I didn’t want to? Look at where I am now, mother! It’s just like you said —  one out of 500! Thank you.”

Eliza’s mother ran up to the stage. “Thank you, too, dear,” she sniffled.

After the ceremony, Eliza was led to a garden behind the training center that she didn’t even know existed. Eliza spotted a doghouse-like structure in the back of the garden.

What is-

Eliza’s thoughts were cut off by her instructor whistling.

“Everett!” they yelled.

“Actually, my name’s Eliza,” Eliza pointed out.

A powder-blue feathered dragon stepped out of the doghouse —  no, dragonhouse? —  and yawned.

“Oh, I’m sorry to confuse you,” the instructor explained, “but THIS is Everett. She’s your dragon.”

“... Ah.” Eliza looked a little frightened, but she quickly hid it. “What are the-” Eliza made hand motions above her head to indicate the antennae-like feathers on its head. “What are they for?”

“That’s where you hold on!” When Eliza quirked her eyebrow, the instructor explained further, “It doesn’t hurt her. When you fly, you need a place to hold on. You’ll be settled on her shoulders, so you can reach them. They’re just like the reins on a horse.”


“I suppose I should explain your duties as well. You will be traveling to the other kingdoms to find weaknesses in their defenses.”

“…oh,” Eliza said, raising an eyebrow once more.

“You know your rules?”


“Then you will leave at dawn.”

“I’M SO PROUD OF YOU, HONEY!” Eliza’s mother rushed over to her when she opened the door of their house.

Eliza hugged her mother, patting her on the head.

“I’m taller than you now,” Eliza laughed.

“Oh, you’re so big now, too!” Tears began to spill from her mother’s eyes.

Eliza laughed. Then, she remembered, Oh, I have to LEAVE here in the morning…

“Mother, I… I have to leave. At dawn,” Eliza confessed. “I don’t know if you heard, but…”

“Oh, the instructor told me! You do your best out there, okay? Don’t get into too much trouble!”


“Alright, alright! You just stay safe, okay?”

“Mother, does it look like dawn?”

“I’m just saying in advance,” Eliza’s mother sighed, smiling, “I’m going to make dinner!”

Eliza sat in her bed after dinner, curled up by the headboard, deep in thought. Find a weakness in the other kingdoms’ defenses? Why? And how do I even do that? Are we going to war? Shouldn’t I have a say in this, now that I’m the Chosen One? No. Of course I shouldn't. It's in my rules that I shouldn't. I must serve my kingdom, "no matter what it takes". Dammit. Why can't I just live my life?

Eliza spied Everett curled up in the corner of her room.

A dragon… So they didn’t lie. I really do get to ride on a dragon. How did they make it? Or did dragons just always exist? I wonder what the other kingdoms are even like. I know Babylon is all ‘fighty-fighty’, Albatross is all ‘we’re so free that we can do anything’ and Aquarean… it’s underwater. That’s all I know. I should go to Babylon first, get it out of the way. It’s the closest, not counting Aquarean because I can’t breathe water.

Eliza groaned and laid down.

I have to wake up before dawn, so I better get some sleep.

Sitting on Everett’s shoulders on the edge of a cliff, Eliza sighed. She looked up at the rising sun and then back at her mother’s house.

I’ll visit when I can.

“Now, I don’t want to die, okay? And I don’t think you want to die, either, so why don’t you just fly when we jump, got me?” Eliza told her dragon, “Now, go!”

Everett didn’t move.

“Go! …no? Alright, then. Up! Uh… yee-haw? Ascend! Yip!”

Everett started to gallop towards the edge of the cliff.


Please fly, Eliza thought, Come on, I don’t wanna die!

Everett flapped her birdlike wings as she jumped off the cliff, taking Eliza with her as she flew.

I’m flying! Eliza thought, smiling.

“Well, I guess there are some perks to being the Chosen One.”

“Tell me about the Chosen One,” four-year-old Piper Jay begged his dad, tucked tightly into bed.

“Again?” his dad laughed, sitting on the edge of Piper’s bed.


“Alright,” Piper’s dad whispered, tousling his son’s dark brown hair, “If you’re the Chosen One-”

“WHEN I’m the Chosen One,” Piper added.

“Yes. WHEN you're the Chosen One, you get to travel to the other kingdoms outside of Albatross and…”

“You get a pet dragon!” Piper shrieked, giggling.

“Exactly! You get to ride on a dragon! That’ll be you, one day, buddy!”

Piper stared at his dad, mouth open and eyes shining.

Five years later, Piper Jay stood before the training center. Quite an impressive building — almost as big as the castle itself! Piper trembled a bit as he looked up at the huge doors of the training center.

Scary, he thought, shaking his head and pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose.

Piper took a deep breath and smiled at his dad.

“I’m going to be the Chosen One!” Piper giggled proudly, twirling into the entrance of the training center.

“You can do it!” Piper’s dad shouted, proudly waving.

Yeah, Piper thought, making his way to the bunks, I CAN do it! I WILL be the Chosen One! I’ll make Dad proud! I’ll show him that he didn’t go hungry in vain!

Naturally, living in Albatross, the Jay family wasn’t the richest. Since a parent had to pay for training in Albatross, not many kids (around 100 each time) got in, and parents sometimes starved themselves for their childrens’ sake. This had happened with Piper’s father.

Piper remembered what his father went through while saving money for his training.

Piper’s father shook his head and smiled as Piper pushed his plate over to him.

“Dad, eat something, please!” Piper pleaded, “You haven’t eaten dinner in a week!”

“I’ll be fine, Piper,” his father sighed, “And plus, I need to pay for your training!”

“But you don’t have to starve yourself so I can go to training!”

Piper shook away the painful memory, setting his belongings on top of an empty bed and skipped into a room labeled ‘Arena’.

“Alright, now look at me!” the instructor called to the estimated 100 kids in the room.

They seem nice, Piper thought, smiling, I can deal with this for 10 years! It’s only 10 years!

“Copy this —  can you do that?” the instructor asked, throwing a punch into the air.

The kids copied — or, tried to copy at least — the lunch, some of them swinging too hard and toppling over, some of them punching the person nearest them, and some of them not even punching at all.

“Okay, we need to correct your stances!” the instructor laughed, “Widen your stances, copy me!”

After a few hours of practice, the instructor called out to the students again. “Time to put these skills to practical use! Turn to the nearest person, and when I say ‘Go’, start to fight!”

What? We’re fighting? Piper thought, squaring up to the person to the left of him.

As soon as the instructor blew their whistle, Piper had to dodge an oncoming blow from his opponent.

Woah, he thought, trying to strategize, I can’t even think, this is too quick!

Piper ended up punching his opponent in the stomach when the opportunity presented itself — when they were in the midst of righting themself from the force of their own punches. Just as Piper was about to celebrate for getting a hit in, he was punched in the face.

By dinnertime, Piper had a bloody nose, broken glasses, and too many bruises to count. On his freckled cheeks, his arms and back… everywhere.

I’ll just get stronger as I go on! Piper thought, smiling. I’ll get stronger, and stronger, and then I’ll become the Chosen One! Of course, it’s all left up to chance, but I seem to have pretty good luck so far!

Piper waited in line for his food next to a scowling blonde boy with no injuries whatsoever. 


Wiping his nose and deciding the worst of the bleeding had stopped, he asked the boy, “What’s your name?”

“Robin,” he snarled, “Robin Price.”

 “Cool!” Piper chirped, obviously not sensing the malice in Robin’s tone, “I’m Piper! Piper Jay! It’s nice to meet yo-”

“Shut up, idiot,” Robin snapped, turning away and leaving Piper hurt.

That certainly wasn’t nice, Piper thought, frowning.

Piper decided that Robin wasn’t his favorite, but he would try to get along with him anyways.


What’s the point in arguing in training? We’ve got future Chosen One-ing to do! Bickering doesn’t help us get stronger, so why argue?

A few months later, Piper woke to the instructor banging two pans together. He groaned, rolled over, and tried to go back to sleep. 

“Piper, Robin, breakfast!” they called.

Upon hearing his name, Piper sat up and bumped his head on the top bunk.

Ow, Piper thought, rubbing his forehead and checking to see if his glasses were still in-tact. Oh, right. I left them in my bag.

Piper put on his uniform and glasses and followed the instructor and Robin to the dining hall and sat down at an empty table.

What are we going to do today? Piper wondered, lightly touching his injured forehead, More fighting? I wouldn’t like that. I got hurt last time —  well I guess on the battlefield that’s inevitable, but STILL.

After a 25 minute (and probably insufficient) breakfast, the kids headed off to train.

“Again, you will be testing your skills against an opponent today,” the instructor explained, “Look to the nearest person and get into your fighting stances!”

Piper and Robin turned to face each other.

“You’re going DOWN,” Robin growled.

That’s not very nice, Piper thought, getting in his stance.

“Three… two…”

His stance is incorrect. I’ll kick him over when I get the chance, Piper strategized, unless he’s faking it and he’ll switch to standing steady. If that’s the case, I’ll kick him in the stomach and THEN kick him over.

While Robin (and all the other kids) mostly used his fists for fighting, Piper had learned that his leg muscles were stronger, so he used those instead. The instructors congratulated him on creating a new fighting style, and he humbly thanked them. Piper quickly surpassed his fellow students and became the top of the class in both fighting and regular classes. Though still being viewed as ”the kid with freckles and broken glasses”, he was now “the smart kid with freckles, broken glasses, and a new fighting style”. Not a big improvement, but still an improvement. How he earned the title ‘smart’? Piper didn’t know. All he did was take notes in class, ask a few questions, obsess and read everything about the dragons… Soon enough, that title was switched to ‘nerd’.

Piper snapped out of his thoughts as he heard the instructor continue the countdown. “…one… go!”

Just as Piper predicted, Robin was unsteady. 

I won’t go full power on him. I don’t really wanna injure him, Piper thought, nodding as he dodged Robin’s first attack.

Using his shin, Piper kicked Robin in the side. He toppled over, growling as he met the ground.

“YOU THINK YOU’RE SO GREAT WITH YOUR NEW FIGHTING STYLE, DON’T YOU?” Robin yelled, gritting his teeth and standing back up.

“Your footing was off,” Piper said, shrugging. “If you put your feet closer together like that, I can knock you over. You might wanna consider-”


Robin threw a punch at Piper, barely giving him time to dodge.


So that’s how it is, Piper thought, his heart racing. So we’re really doing this. He’s definitely going to go full power on me, no matter how much I’m holding back. It’s best just to use full power as well. Oh, but I don’t want to hurt him badly!

Piper anchored his right foot, ready to swing his left over at Robin’s stomach. Robin ran up to Piper, punching him and knocking him over. Piper heard a sickening crunch as Robin’s fist made contact with his nose a second time, then a third.

Robin broke my nose! And my glasses! Oh, I can use my spares. But I don’t have a spare nose!

Piper tried to struggle, but he was pinned down.

“Let’s see how YOU like being kicked in the stomach!!”

Piper flinched, ready for an attack.

Except, now he was 19 instead of nine, pinned down again, with the same tear-filled eyes and broken nose and glasses, whimpering as Robin hit him again and again. Just before Piper could scream “I surrender!” as loud as he could, the instructor blew their whistle.


As kids started to file out of the room after the instructor, Robin glanced back to Piper laying on the floor, his blood all over the wooden boards, and scowled.

“I hope it’s not you,” Robin snarled, following the other kids and leaving Piper on his own.

Piper stared up at the ceiling, not bothering to get up from his place on the floor.


Why does he hate me so much? He pondered, I just wanted to be friends! Did I say something wrong? Did I do something to offend him? Oh, Robin, just tell me what I did!

Marching down the dirty streets to the middle of town, the students gathered a lot of attention. A few people followed the parade of students to the stage that was set up, joining the audience of people who were there prior. Once on the stage, the instructor lined up their students behind them and cleared their throat.

“I’M SURE YOU’RE ALL VERY EXCITED,” they shouted due to a lack of a microphone, “SO LET’S GET ON WITH THE CEREMONY!”

The audience cheered, some of them shouting people’s names or waving. Piper scanned the crowd for his dad.

He’s not there?

“YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES, I’LL PULL A SLIP OF PAPER OUT OF THE BOX BESIDE ME,” the instructor continued, monitoring to the box to their right, “AND WHOEVER’S NAME IS ON THE SLIP GETS THIS DRAGON,” the instructor motioned to their left, pointing to a metal-looking dragon with horns charged with electricity, “AND TO BE THE CHOSEN ONE!”

The audience cheered again, this time all of them shouting a different name. Piper didn’t hear his name. The instructor stalled, making a big show of pulling out a slip of paper, unfolding it with flair and reading the name.


Please be me, Piper thought, please be me, please be me, please be me!

The audience held their breath. Piper spied Robin glaring at him.

Please be me! I’ll show Dad what I’ve accomplished! This will be a sign of my greatness! And extreme luck!


It IS me!

The audience screamed and chanted his name.




But there was one key voice missing.

Where’s Dad?


Piper shook his thoughts away, smiled, and took the dragon by the reins. Once he was halfway down the street, however, someone grabbed him by the back of his shirt collar.

Oh no. Not again. This time, he can’t beat me up. I won’t let him. The LAW won’t let him.

“Robin,” Piper spat, “My dear friend.”

“You rigged it, didn’t you?” Robin growled.

“I didn’t, and I don’t think I even could.”

Robin gripped Piper’s collar tighter.

“You can’t hurt me anymore, Robin. It’s against the law to injure the Chosen One,” Piper said simply, breaking out of Robin’s grip and trotting away.


Piper growled, but kept walking.

“If you don’t mind, I have a dad to check up on, Robin.”

Piper stormed away. He opened the door to his home, calling out to his dad.

“Dad? I’m home! Why weren’t you at the ceremony? Dad? …I missed you!” Piper paused. His dad would always answer, no matter what. “Dad?”

Piper ran out the door, telling his dragon to stay inside the house. Something was terribly wrong.

“Dad?” he shouted, “DAD?”

He ran around some more.

Where is he?

Piper’s thoughts were interrupted by bumping into one of his father’s best friends.

“Oh, Piper! I was trying to find you after the ceremony!” they said.

“I can’t find Dad,” Piper told them, a panicked on his face.

They nodded solemnly. “That’s what it’s about.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your dad…” his dad’s best friend began to tear up. “…has unfortunately passed away.”

No. No. No. Absolutely not. He can’t have, Piper thought immediately. Nope. He hasn’t passed. He couldn’t have!

He suddenly felt lightheaded.

“I’m sorry. I know it’s a lot to deal with, especially after the ceremony, but-”

“Thank you. I think I’ll go home now,” Piper interrupted, smiling.

It can’t be true, it’s not true, Dad’ll be back soon with groceries!

Later that night, Piper was curled up in bed, still missing his dad.

Where is he? Maybe it really is true- no. It can’t be.

Piper started to remember moments with his father, like when he was four.

“Tell me about the Chosen One!” Piper begged his dad.



“Alright. If you’re the Chosen One-”

“WHEN I’m the Chosen One!”

And the day before training.

Piper’s father shook his head and smiled as Piper pushed his plate over to him.

“Dad, eat something, please!” Piper pleaded, “You haven’t eaten dinner in a week!”

“I’ll be fine, Piper,” his father sighed, “And plus, I need to pay for your training!”

“But you don’t have to starve yourself so I can go to training!”

“Piper… your dream always has been to be the Chosen One. If I get to make that dream come true, I’ve succeeded at being a father!”

The memory was too much. Piper began to cry, so he pulled out the letter his instructor had given him to distract himself. Through his tears, he could barely make out the words on the page.

To the Chosen One:


As you may know already, your dragon’s name is Ion, and you make him fly by shouting the word “Up”.

As you also may know, you must abide by these rules:

The Chosen may not engage in relationships or any such distractions until they are finished serving as the Chosen One.

The Chosen One may decide to stop serving as the Chosen One at age 32.

The Chosen One must serve for their kingdom, no matter what it takes.

Your mission is to find a weakness in the other kingdoms’ defenses.

Thank you for serving our kingdom.

Piper felt a churning in his stomach. 

Why? He thought, Why do I need to do this? And the letter was so short, too! Like it was made in a hurry. And find a weakness? How? I’m guessing I leave the kingdom? But no, I wanna stay! I can’t just abandon this house! I’ll leave Dad’s friend in charge! That way, I can still complete my mission!

All this planning made Piper’s head spin. The sheer thought of leaving where he grew up — the soft sand on the beaches and salty-smelling air, the ever-blue skies, even the filthy streets and alleyways. He’d miss it all.

I’ll go to Babylon first. I’ll get it out of the way, and come back as quick as I can. I'll... I'll make Dad proud.

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