Zoey by Nicoletta Minutella
In the busy town of Athens, Greece, a child named Zoey was born to King Nicholas and Queen Catherine. She resembled her father greatly, with dark hair, honey eyes, and olive skin.
A year after her birth, her father and mother were killed by King Demetrios, her father’s cousin. During the night, he entered the castle and killed them in their sleep. It was too easy for him. The castle had too few guards. He took over the rule of Athens and attempted to kill Zoey. Zoey was miraculously saved by an old friend of her parents, King Nikon. He sent her off to Rome to a refugee camp for certain children who needed protection. Usually, the campers were children of gods, but they thought Zoey was a special child. There she was raised by minor gods, centaurs, and other caring creatures.
Through the years, everyone learned she was determined and stubborn, but very passionate. She had a voice that could lull the craziest creature to sleep. At the age of 15, she was told to prepare to go back to Athens to take the throne from Demetrios. For years, she was trained by the centaurs in battle strategy. Nikon thought the time was right and put her on a ship back to Greece. He and his son traveled to Rome to join her on her quest.
The only riders aboard the ship were Zoey, Nikon, and his son, Peter. Peter was around the same age as Zoey and was a talented blacksmith. He was a strong, charming boy with black hair and green eyes. Peter assisted his father in ruling the small town of Crete. Nikon had a very good connection to the gods and asked for assistance. Lea, the goddess of justice, agreed to guide them safely. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, bore Lea. The child was given to her as a gift from Zeus for protecting his shield. She had the child alone.
Zoey and Peter were to make a plan to overthrow Demetrios. The only way to seize him was to have an army, and they did not have access to one. Nikon, realizing that they were struggling, told Zoey a secret only he and her father knew. In the depths of Sparta, there was hidden a magical object. It was a golden necklace that could make the wearer invincible. Zoey realized that this was their only hope in defeating Demetrios, so she agreed to search for the necklace.
A day after their plan was made, out in the distance, they spotted a mountain peak. This was the first sight of land during their long journey. As all three made their way to the top deck, Peter carried in his arms a long golden box embellished in jewels.
“For you, I have a gift.” He flipped the lid of the box and there laid a silver bow. “I made this bow with help from the goddess Lea. It is almost indestructible, and its owner can never miss a single shot.”
Zoey thanked him immensely and took the bow from the box. Peter reached behind him to pull a solid metal arrow from his canister.
“Why don’t you try it?” he pursued. He reached for his knife and marked a target around the stern of the ship. Zoey, even though not trained with bows and arrows, knocked her bow and sent an arrow flying to the other end of the ship. Her arrow hit the target just as Peter had said. She thanked Peter once again for the amazing weapon, and they all went below deck to formulate a plan. Nikon spoke up.
“So our plan is to find this necklace. Since we have no knowledge of where it could be, we need to contact someone who will.” The three all sat in silence while trying to create an idea. Finally, Peter spoke up. “The Theories.” The Theories were two immortal women who obtained all the knowledge in the universe. Because of this, their heads were rather large in size, but looked normal otherwise.
“That seems perfect,” Zoey said. “We will have to ask them where the necklace is hidden.”
“It is not that easy,” explained Nikon. “They will want food in return. The greater you’re offering, the more information you will receive.” They all agreed that come the next morning, they would gather fish. When they arrived on land, they would search for anything else. Night fell quickly, and the next morning they woke to the sight of land. They quickly threw nets over the sides of the ship in hoping to catch a few fish as an offering. Zoey gathered her new bow and arrows, Peter grabbed a pack of food and other necessities, and they all prepared to cast anchor.
They came in sight of a broad village, busy with life. This was the town of Peloponnese, Sparta. Before they reached the docks, they pulled over the nets to find them filled with a dozen fish- a generous gift from Poseidon. As they neared the coast, the village people hurried to help them in and feed them after their long journey. The goddess Lea was waiting for them beyond the crowd of people with a few rabbits in her arms as offerings to The Theories. Zoey wondered how she possibly knew what they needed. They thanked her for her kind work and thanked the people for their hospitality.
“Are we ready?” asked Lea. “Always,” replied Zoey.
They explained the plan to Lea. She nodded in agreement and gave the first direction.
“The Theories live under water. We must swim out into the ocean under the floating rock.” There was no way to miss it. The floating rock was the only boulder that could stay afloat on top of water. You could see it right off the coast. The trick was that they had to hold their breath long enough to get to the bottom of the ocean and into the cave. So they set off. They dove into the water with all of their equipment and in five steady minutes, they reached the rock.
“Can we all make it?” asked Peter.
Nikon shook his head. “I am an old man. I cannot hold my breath for that long of a time. I will go back to the shore. You three continue ahead.” They all agreed, took a deep breath, and dove into the unknown waters. They kicked and swam as far down as they could see until they reached the sandy bottom. Peter and Zoey were in need of air when Lea pointed to the rocky cave. They all swam quickly into its depths and were relieved to see a pocket of air. When they surfaced and breathed in deeply, they saw the Theories sitting on the rocks. It was true; their heads were rather large and looked as if they might topple over. The Theories looked over at the three suspiciously.
“We come to ask you a question,” said Zoey.
“We have our offerings,” Peter added. He held in the air four fish and the rabbits. The Theories beckoned them in. Zoey, Peter, and Lea climbed the rocks and bowed in front of them.
“We must take the food first,” said the first Theory. Peter handed them over and waited for a response. They took the offerings and put them aside.
“Very good,” said the second Theory.
“What is your question?” Zoey stepped closer.
“How can we obtain the Necklace of Invincibility?” she asked. Both Theories smiled.
“Your offerings were great. We can tell you more than enough,” said the first. “It is a much easier task than you may think. Set off deep into Sparta. At the town square, there stands a statue of a Spartan soldier. At midnight, the soldier comes alive and guards the necklace. You will find it upon his neck.” The three thanked them and were about to dive into the ocean again when the second Theory stopped them.
“Wait, children, I would like to help you further. We know what you are going to do. You are trying to regain your kingdom from Demetrios. The people of Athens are very troubled by his rule. When you reach the shore, there will be three horses waiting for you. They will get you to the soldier well before midnight.”
Zoey thanked them one last time, and they all dove into the water and resurfaced quickly after. They began swimming to the shore when they saw the three beautiful creatures waiting there. Peter sighed.
“Three horses,” he stated. “Four of us.” It took time for this to process in the minds of Zoey and Lea. Before Zoey could protest, Peter said, “It will be me. I will stay behind. I am no use to this quest. Zoey, you, Lea, and my father will have to go and I will—“
“Wait, Peter,” Zoey interrupted. “Your father… where is he?” They all looked to the shore and could not spot Nikon. They quickened their pace and reached the shore. Sopping wet, they all called for him. No one answered. Lea spoke up.
“He was captured,” she said solemnly. She pointed to the group of soldiers lined around the village. “They know of our quest,” she continued. Lea paused for a moment. “And they have just killed your father.” Zoey looked at Peter and hugged him and whimpered. They didn’t know how Lea knew this, but they knew she was right. They were on their own. Peter stayed brave and shook Zoey off.
“We must continue,” he said. They were all hesitant at first, but they mounted their horses. “If they know of our journey, how can we get around?” Peter continued. The second he spoke, each of the three horses grew wings. They all looked at each other in amazement, when suddenly they were lifted into the air. The soldiers had no way of reaching them now. The Theories were smarter than they had expected.
The horses flew higher into the air, above the clouds. They enjoyed the flight, feeling the wind, the sun kissing their skin. It ended all too quickly. Within a few minutes, the horses dove through the clouds and landed on the outskirts of the town. The three rode to the town square where people were gathering water or playing together. The statue of the soldier stood tall and brave with a stone pendant around its neck. They all dismounted their horses as Zoey pulled the bow and arrows from her shoulder.
“Do you think I will need this?” she asked.
“It’s possible,” replied Lea. “We will need to wait here in the square. By the looks of the sun set, it should be around five o’clock. We all need some rest. I will take first watch.”
They all agreed on this idea because the traveling had worn them out. They made a small camp behind some bushes in view of the statue and prepared some fish from the morning. Zoey and Peter ate as much as they could, saved some for Lea, and fell asleep. After the sun set, Lea woke Zoey to keep watch, so she could rest.
In a few hours, Zoey woke Peter. Just as she settled in to rest again, there was a sound coming from the center of the square. Just as the Theories had said, the statue of the Spartan soldier had come to life. They rose quickly and saw that the pendant was no longer stone, but had a gold chain with a red gem sitting on the soldier’s chest. The man was so large, that it seemed impossible to fight him three to one. They all stood in silence to think of a plan.
“Zoey,” Peter whispered. “Sing to it. My father once told me that your voice could calm anyone. You sing, and I will kill it.” He pointed to the knife in his pocket.
Zoey nodded in agreement. “Then, Lea, you will take the necklace,” she added. Zoey began to sing a song that she recalled her parents singing to her. They would sing it to her at camp to have a reminder of them. Peter began to move in silently towards the soldier. The man stood tall with his sword by his side. Peter waited hesitantly while the soldiers arms became less tense. He looked back at Zoey while she continued to sing. The soldier even sat down on his pedestal and closed his eyes. Peter rushed towards the sleeping figure and stabbed him in the arm. The soldier gave protest and lashed at Peter. Peter flew into the air and landed hard on ground. The statue was about to strike again when Zoey reached behind her and pulled out her arrows. She nocked her bow and shot the soldier right in the heart. He crumbled to dust. The necklace remained and lay, waiting on the spot where the soldier sat. Lea ran to retrieve Peter and picked up the necklace.
“Good work,” said Zoey, examining the piece hanging from Lea’s fingers.
“Beautiful singing. I almost fell asleep myself,” responded Peter. He stood up, shook off the dirt and laughed. “Sorry.” She smiled as Peter took the necklace from Lea’s hands. He chained it around Zoey’s neck.
“Again, only one person can wear this necklace. Only one person can be invincible,” Peter explained. Zoey did not like this idea, but there was no other way. They had to get moving on to Athens before the sun rose. Peter and Zoey mounted their horses when Lea stood before them.
“This is where I must leave you,” she said. “It is against my honor to kill other beings. I cannot fight in this battle. I will protect you both and watch over you. Good luck.” She reached behind her and pulled out two shining swords. “Use these well.” Before they could say thank you, she disappeared. Now it was just Peter and Zoey. No one else could help them. They flew into the air and landed in Athens within a few minutes.
They came in sight of the castle that Zoey once lived in. Guarding the door were two stern soldiers. Peter dismounted and slashed the two without hesitation. He pulled the door open and entered into the hall. At the very end, Demetrios waited for them. Lined from the door to Demetrios were angry soldiers, ready to fight. They knew of their quest somehow and were awaiting their arrival.
Zoey was afraid, not for herself, but for Peter. She was invincible. She could not be touched. Peter, on the other hand, could be killed with one strike of a sword. She had no time for plans now. The soldiers moved upon them too quickly. Even having no experience with swords, Zoey thrashed and swung at every soldier in her way. She glanced behind her to see Peter doing well with his swordsmanship. He made swords every day as a blacksmith.
The two were way half way through the army, cutting though their armor and killing most of them. Peter fell behind as he was hit with the sword in his arm, leg, and head. He continued to push through with a small limp. Zoey came behind him and assisted. Peter received one last blow to the head and fell to the ground.
“No!” Zoey screamed. Her heart sunk. She wanted to run to him and hold him. Another person she had loved had left her. Zoey accepted that he was dead. This fight was no longer for her mother and father or Nikon- it was now Peter’s battle. She continued to defeat every soldier but two.
“Leave her,” exclaimed Demetrios. “She is mine to kill.” Zoey tried harder than before. She not only wanted revenge for her parents, but now for Peter. Demetrios quickly grabbed her and locked her with his sword. He pulled the jewel from her neck and threw it to the floor. “Nice try,” he whispered. She escaped and continued to fight on. He was too powerful. He cut her and then captured her again. He threw her to his guard, and he kept her from escaping. “Looks like you will join your parents soon enough,” he added.
Demetrios raised her sword to strike when he stood motionless. He fell quickly to the ground. Where Demetrios once stood, Peter stood now with his sword raised. Bloody and bruised, he managed to kill Demetrios. Zoey was saved. The whole kingdom was saved. The guard released her and shook her hand.
“You did what I never could,” he said. He and the other soldier walked away. Peter and Zoey embraced each other and she turned to take the crown from Demetrios’s head. They walked outside and a crowd of people had gathered before the castle.
“Did you kill him?” a woman cried from the mass of people. Zoey nodded her head.
The crowd cheered. A man spoke up. “Sweet Zoey! We knew you would avenge your parents someday. The kingdom is yours.”
A woman came forward and broke through the crowd. “Child!” she exclaimed. “You have saved us from Demetrios. I come bearing gifts.” She held out in front of here three blue stones. “These will raise anyone from the dead. Throw it to the ground and say their name.”
Soundlessly, Zoey took the stones in her hand. She threw the first stone to the ground. “King Nicholas,” she said. She took the next stone and threw it to the ground. “Queen Catherine,” she said even louder. Finally, she looked to Peter. She did the same to the last stone. “Nikon,” she said.
Before them, three solid figures emerged from the ground. Before her stood the three names she had called, in full flesh. “Zoey,” spoke King Nicholas. The King and Queen came forward and embraced their daughter. They cried, laughed, and smiled as they were reunited. The same went for Nikon and Peter.
“Father,” whispered Peter. “I thought you would be gone forever.”
Nikon smiled. “Even if I was, I’m sure you two could manage without me.”
So the kingdom belonged to King Nicholas and Queen Catherine again. Nikon returned back to Crete again to rule. Peter stayed behind and later married Zoey. They both took over to rule Athens. As for the necklace of invincibility, it was given to their beautiful daughter with dark hair, honey eyes, and olive skin.
The kingdom was as it should have been.