Excerpt for The Upside of Down by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Upside of Down

Copyright 2018 Albert Oon

Published by Albert Oon at Smashwords

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Chapter 1 – The Ordinary Cadence of the Unordinary

Children will usually rebel against their parents. Irene is a young woman who doesn’t like the options her parents presented her for her life. She wants more and wants to be more than just another woman in the crowd, so she ran away from home. While running through a forest, she tripped and fell down a hole that’s filled with different kinds of crystals. As she falls, the crystals affect Irene with their power. They make her grow pink crystals on her body. Her torso and limbs separate as crystal replaces her body, but her body floats together so she’s still alive as her soul keeps it together. These crystals also clothe Irene in a green and pink crystal dress with a neck choker. A green flower blooms in her right eye while her left eye is now pink with a red heart as a pupil. Her skin is now snow white, and her ears are pointy. The only thing that hasn’t changed is her black hair.

Once the crystallization is complete, Irene falls down into the sky beneath until she lands on a cloud. A young woman similar to her lands on the cloud. She has blond curly hair with a red and orange crystal dress. Her right eye has an orange flower in it and her left eye is orange with a red spade as a pupil.

The lady bows her head and says, “My name is Lacey. You must be new here.”

“I am. My name is Irene and…what is this place?”

Irene looks up and sees the ground. She sees a crystal forest full of purple and blue colors with a green tint to them.

“You are in a better world, Irene. This place is called Caldaia. Why are you here?”

“I didn’t want to live the way my family wanted me to, so I ran away then I fell down a hole.”

“Then you’re in the right place. This place was made for people like us, Irene. You can be as free as you want here, but first, we need to go over some basics. Above ground, you had to plant your feet firm on the ground to walk. Here, you have to act as light as a feather in order to walk on the ground.”

“How do I do that?”

“Just release the tension in your feet and let go of the weight you carry. Don’t concentrate, just do it.”

Releasing the weight from her body, Irene falls to the crystal forest below and safety lands despite the big fall. The forest below with its variety of crystal vegetation is complemented by the different shades of blue and purple tinted with a light green. The sunlight makes the crystals shine brightly, though the crystals seem to shine brightly on their own in the shade. Lacey lands next to Irene and smiles.

“This place is amazing,” Irene says with amazement.

“It is. As customary for the people here, I’m going to have to leave you to find your way to us. Don’t worry, it’s not like you’ll die or anything down here. We have multiple small towns here, so no matter what direction you go in, you’ll find a home,” Lacey says before sprouting crystal wings and flying off.

“I so want those.”

Irene finally has a moment to catch her breath and sees the gaps in her body. She puts her hand through the empty space and feels nothing nor does her action do anything. Even though her eyes are different, her sight remains the same. This entire place is weird, so she doesn’t think about it too much. She breathes in the air that smells fresher than the air above before adventuring. Irene feels freedom in every inch of her new body and it fills her with her energy and excitement. All of the plant life and crystal animals that live here are friendly to Irene when she touches them. They are even able to speak to her in a way that she understands them. Water flows in small streams in the forest that leads to a large river. At this river, a hand comes out of it offering itself to her. She touches the hand and it pulls her under the river. For some reason, she can breathe better underwater than on land. The hand that pulled her under is nowhere to be seen, so she asks the fish.

“The lake itself pulled you under. It must see something in you that it likes, and I don’t blame it,” a school of fish say.

Irene giggles and explores the lake. There is more crystal wild and plant life under her with their own little ecosystem and unique designs. Some creatures down here appear to be from the land and they live down here as if it were just like the surface. Irene admires it all for a moment before swimming to the surface. Once she gets out of the river, she thanks it for showing her what it has to offer, and it waves goodbye to her. She isn’t even wet from the river though she was fully immersed in the river. Continuing through the forest, she comes to a mountain with a beautiful view. The horizon and forest seem to reach out into forever from here. Looking down, she sees what seems to be a small village made of, of course, crystal.

“It’s not like there’s anything else around here they can make houses out of,” Irene says to herself.

Irene remembers how she fell before and decides to jump off the cliff and into the village for a showy entrance. She lands and surprises everyone who lives there.

“Hi!” Irene says to them who say hi back once the shock of the surprise wears off.

A young woman who has black hair like Irene’s walks up to her. She has a purple flower in her right eye and a purple left eye with a club in it. Her dress is patterned purple and black and longer than Irene’s dress.

“You know how to make an entrance,” the woman says, “My name is Jen.”

“Irene. I’m new here.”

“I’m glad you chose to come here.”

“Lacey didn’t exactly give me directions. I just picked a direction to go in and went there. I didn’t really choose to come here.”

“As she should, but it doesn’t to me. It’s better for people to be in this place rather than above.”

“So, what do you do down here?”

“We do whatever we want. Because we are made of crystal, we will live forever. Here, we enjoy each other’s company and adventure in this extraordinary world.”

“What’s the trick to understanding it? There’s a lot of things here I can barely wrap my head around.”

“The trick is, is that everything here is unexpected. Something you think you might’ve figured out could be different the next day.”

“That’s…terrifying. What if the air we start breathing becomes toxic?”

“Things here aren’t that unpredictable. Don’t worry about anything. Now, if you’d like to help around, do you mind following me? I’ll try to give you a better idea of this place as we go along.”

“Okay. What are we doing?”

“Just carving out crystals for the village? You ready?”


Jen smiles at Irene and the two walk away. Another woman like them watches the two a short distance away.

Chapter 2 – The Unusual Ways of the Unusual

Jen and Irene walk from the little village to mine crystals.

Irene asks Jen, “Why are we going this far away from the village? There are plenty of crystals everywhere.”

“But they’re not the ones we need. There are many different kinds of crystal in this world, but the ones we use to build houses are in a nearby cave.”

“How are we going to cut them off the cave walls?”

“By using our hands. Whatever gave us these crystals in our body also gave us the ability to break apart crystals.”

“Do you know why our bodies are like this?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it has to do something with the crystals that filled the hole we all fell down. There aren’t that many answers here that we or the neighboring villages have been able to find.”

“I thought you were going to give me a better idea of this place.”

“This is all we know of this place.”

“Has anyone tried to escape this place?”

“Why would anyone want that?”

“I’m just asking.”

“No, none that we know of.”

“What are the other villages like?”

“Good people with their own way of living.”

“What do you know about these symbols in our eyes? And the flowers?”

“The symbols are spade, heart, diamond, and clubs like the card suits. These along with the type of flower you have represents your current personality. Spades represent an aggressive person who always protects what they hold dear. Diamonds are wise and plan ahead to achieve their goals. Clubs rely on karma or fate. If they haven’t been good people, then things don’t work out in their favor.”

“What about me?”

“Hearts encompass different forms of love, which include gentle and harsh love, fatherly and motherly love, and friendly and romantic love. People with hearts in their eyes can usually tell which forms of love is the best to use, and can tell which form another person is experiencing.”

“How did you find this out?”

“There are hundreds of kids like us. Over time, we saw patterns in people with these symbols in their eyes and took note of it, so we knew what to expect from them.”

“What about the flowers?”

“Unfortunately, few of us know of all the different kinds of flowers that are in people’s eyes, though they do correspond with the symbol in your eye.”

“Oh, what about the dresses we have?”

“Again, it goes with your personality. Everyone has a sort of torn dress because we rebelled against people with higher authority.”

“What’s your story?”

“I used to be part of a family who were all artists. They wanted me to be an artist like them, but I’d rather live a humbler life.”

“A humbler life? Your family was rich?”

“Yes, you can make a fortune off paintings and other drawings if they look good enough.”

“Why would you want to leave that luxurious life?”

“I wanted to be a gypsy and live with nature. Unfortunately, my family prevented me from pursuing that lifestyle, so I ran away from them and ended up here where I truly belong.”

“I would’ve loved the life you had.”

“But that wouldn’t be true freedom. This place we live in offers freedoms that few people experience above. There’s the cave over there. The sight of these crystals always captivates me.”

Irene thought to herself how her and Jen’s idea of freedom differed. Jen had everything she could’ve wanted to make her own life, but she instead wanted a poor, nature-loving life. It didn’t make sense to Irene at all.


“Oh, I’m coming.”

“Are the crystals captivating you as well?”

“Yes, they are very pretty.”

The pink and purple glow of the crystals do amaze Irene especially with their unique shape, but she continues to wonder how other young people here define freedom. Jen transforms her hands into sharp cutters to cut the crystal.

“How did you do that?” Irene asks.

“Just concentrate your energy within into your arms.”

Irene does this and easily makes her arms into crystal cutters. With this, she helps Jen cut the crystals off the walls. These crystals are flexible and can attach themselves to one another with a little force. It’s no wonder now why to Irene now as to why they use these kinds of crystal to make buildings and other decorations. They make temporary baskets from the crystal and begin to carry them back to the village. Along the way, another girl like them approaches them. She has a blue dress with a blue flower in her eye with a light blue eye with a diamond in her eye.

“What do you want, Amy?” Jen says to her sounding like she doesn’t want a response.

“I see that you caught another lost soul, Jen. What’s your name?”


“Irene, eh? That name means peace if I remember correctly. You’re not going to find peace here if you follow these people, however, if you follow me, you’ll find true peace.”

“You’re all talk, Amy. Just go back to your band of misfits and keep to yourselves.”

“I will…”

Amy transforms her arms into cutters.

“But not before I scratch that pretty face of yours.”

Jen transforms her arms as well.

“Stop this Amy!”

“What? It’s not like anyone dies down here, right?”

Amy charges at Jen and the two clash. Both seem evenly matched until Amy transforms her legs into cutters as well and slashes Jen’s face with it. She then backs off as Jen touches where she is cut.

“Be thankful I didn’t cut off your head and repurpose it,” Amy says as she changes her limbs back to normal, “Those crystals you carry aren’t the only kinds of crystal that could be used for other purposes.”

“Get out of here!” Jen says as she propels one of her cutter arms at Amy, but only scratches Amy’s arm. Jen’s arm impales a tree behind Amy.

“You do have some spirit in you. I’ll leave…for now. Remember what I said, Irene. Go to the red crystal part of the forest. That’s where you’ll find me.”

Amy leaps up into the air and leaves. Jen gets her arm from the tree it went into and it automatically attaches itself.

“Will your scratch heal?” Irene asks.

“Eventually, like all wounds,” Jen says as she touches it.

“What did Amy say when she said that the crystals we carry aren’t the only kinds that could be used for other purposes?”

“As you can see, we can use our bodies to morph them into whatever we want to. We might use them as temporary building materials or use them for other purposes like fighting or games. Don’t pay her any attention. She and her group of misfits are against the freedom this world provides.”

“So she’s rebelling against rebellion?”

“In a way, but she’s still wrong. We should get back to the village. There’s an anniversary at the capital city today.”


“For the discovery of this world and our colonization of it. It’s going to be fun.”

Once Amy and Irene get back to the village and drop of the building crystals, they and the rest of the village, go to the capital city called Agartha.

The city has dozens of beautiful statues and buildings decorated with many kinds of crystal. It seems like years of effort went into this city because of how big it is and how detailed the art is. Hundreds of people are here along with many kinds of animals. People don’t seem to eat or drink anything here, which gets Irene to realize that she isn’t hungry or thirsty.

“This is a world free from hunger and thirst?” Irene asks Jen.

“It took you long enough to realize this. Isn’t it wonderful?” Jen responds.

“It is.”

Irene’s eyes fix on a humongous castle in the center of the city.

“Is that a castle?” she asks.

“Yes, it is.”

“I thought everyone here was free from rule?”

“We are. Our rules here allow everyone to be free, but we still need an enforcer, so if someone like Amy tries to ruin it, they’ll be punished.”

“Punished how?”

“You’ll see. Now come on, the queen is coming out soon. We should go to the castle now to get the best seats.”


“Queen Sharon. She’s probably been here the longest out of everyone here and one of the wisest. She has a heart in her eye like you.”


“Really. Hurry! Everyone’s going to the castle now.”

Jen and Irene hurry to the castle and get seats close to the balcony where Sharon is going to appear. There are guards with crystal spears, shields, and swords around the perimeter of the castle with some of the most elite-looking ones at the gate. Once Sharon appears on the balcony, the crowd cheers until they are quieted down when Sharon raises her hand. Queen Sharon’s colors are red and black. She definitely looks like a queen because of her dressy hairstyle and dress.

Sharon begins her speech by saying, “I’m so glad that everyone’s here on the anniversary of our discovery of this world. We were all under the harsh, ruling thumb of the people above ground and this place gave us the freedom we all craved. I was a poor girl whose family left me in the dirt because they couldn’t afford to keep me. Alone and sick, I wandered the world until I fell down a mysterious hole that transported me here. Seeing the freedom presented to me by fate, I quickly took to exploring this world to understand it and conquer it. Eventually, other young people like me came here and we established this city along with other villages for people live in independently. We protect your freedom from those who want to impose their own freedoms on you. Live out your life the way you want to here. Start your own kingdom, be your own rulers, but don’t infringe the freedoms of others or you will reap the rewards of your foolish actions.”

The crowd cheers for her. Irene cheers along with her but can’t help but feel uneasy. As Sharon is looking at the crowd, she catches Irene in the crowd and silences them with the raising of her hand.

“You there with the heart in your eye,” she calls down to Irene, “What is your name?”

“My name is Irene.”

“Lacey told me we have a new citizen. As you can see Irene, I have a heart in my eye as well. Girls like us are rare in this world believe it or not. Come up to me. I’d like you to join me up here in my castle.”

“Can my friend, Jen, come too?”

Sharon sees Jen who introduces herself.

“Unfortunately, no because I only want to talk to you since we share common characteristics. She, however, will be gifted whatever she wants for being your friend.”

“Go ahead, Irene. I’ll wait for you back at the village after I get my reward of course,” Jen says.

Irene is escorted by the guards into the castle. The interior of the castle is somehow more beautiful than the city with its specially made designs, artistry, and color patterns. Once Irene is lead to Sharon’s room, Sharon motions the guards to leave the two alone.

“Greeting Irene,” Sharon says with a bow of her head.

“Greetings to you too Queen Sharon,” Irene says with a full bow.

“You don’t need to be so formal. I may be queen, but I’m not your superior.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“It’s no big deal. I understand the status a name like queen implies. Tell me, Irene, why did you run away from the world above?”

“I wanted more than what my parents presented to me. I wanted to be free to do what I wanted.”

“And what do you want to do?”

“Anything other what they told me I could do.”

“Vague, but understandable. This world offers many more options than the world above. I think you’ll find what you’re looking for down here and make this world even better. That’s what girls like us with hearts in our eyes do.”

“Do you know of any other girls like us? I haven’t seen many people with hearts.”

“A few, but they’re scattered. I’ve heard of a few that have left this world, which is a shame.”

“Jen mentioned people getting punished here.”

“You don’t need to worry about that happening to you. Hearts have a record of having clean records.”

“That’s a relief, but how exactly are people punished?”

“Do you know that people here make themselves into the opposite gender? Some even turn themselves into animals.”

“Ok, but what’s your point?”

“We turn them into something different as a punishment.”

“Something different?”

“Anything living we can turn them into. I’m sure your imagination will do the work for you.”

“What about things like building materials? Jen said we could use our bodies as a temporary building material.”

“Their limbs could be used as building materials, but not their bodies or heads.”

“So I could be walking on limbs right now.”

“Not in this castle or even in this city, but maybe a village.”

“I thought you couldn’t die here.”

“You can’t. We put a spell on those we punish, and they happily accept their punishment. You may have seen a few without knowing. Maybe it was an animal, a tree, or a fish.”

“This is a terrible way to punish people! Using their limbs as a building material is one thing and forcing them to live as something else is…equally as awful! I can’t even put it on a scale of appalling things it’s so out there!”

“Calm down Irene. These people tried to take away the freedom of the people of this world. This was the only way to keep everyone happy and free.”

“I don’t know about that. It’s just too much to imagine happening to a person.”

“How about you get some rest. Tomorrow, I’ll show you the beauty of this world that you haven’t seen yet. I’ll also show you the kinds of freedoms we offer and why we protect it. I already have a room reserved for you.”

Irene quietly exits the room while looking back at Sharon who’s giving an uncomfortable smile that’s trying to be reassuring. The castle guards lead Irene to her room and close the door behind her. Irene opens the window to see the night sky of this world. The crystal forest lights up the night sky and color it with their unending variety of colors. It eases Irene and allows her to calm down. A crystal crow lands in her window. Its eyes are swirly as if it’s under a spell.

It says, “Hello. Are you upset?”

“Are you or were a person? A human like me?” Irene asks it.

“I was but then I became a bird like I always wanted to. It’s great!”

“Is that what you really wanted?”

“Of course, why?”

“Sharon didn’t do this to you?”

“She suggested it and that’s how I realized my dream. She’s a great ruler, isn’t she?”

“Sure. I’m tired, so I’m going to sleep.”

“Good night and sleep tight,” the crow says before flying away.

“Good night.”

Chapter 3 – An Uncomfortably Comfortable Day

Irene is woken up by an arm and a leg trying to replace her own. She quickly swipes them away and leaves her room to see arms and legs coming out of the castle’s walls and floors. She then escapes out the window and into the crystal forest. There she hears the cries of people from the animals, trees, and plant life. She can see people trying to get out of their prison of a body, but can’t manage to as their body forces them back in. In the distance, Irene sees Sharon smiling before she raises her arm then putting it down as a guillotine cuts Irene in half. This wakes her up from her dream. Sharon knocks on Irene’s door before entering.

Sharon says to Irene, “Good morning sunshine. Ready to go?”

“It’s not like I have to get changed or anything,” Irene says before the two share a laugh.

Though Irene might appear well rested, she feels on edge because of what Sharon told her last night. Sharon and Irene walk the city streets as Sharon shows her the things she and her subjects have made.

“It’s all amazing,” Irene says as she thinks to herself if people’s limbs compose some of this art.

“I made some of it myself from the finest crystals in the world,” Sharon says then points out certain statues and art pieces she’s made. “If you think this is great, then you should see some the rest of this world.”

Sharon summons a crystal Griffin that lands near the two. They sit on it and it flies to where Sharon commands it too.

“This isn’t a person like us, is it?” Irene asks.

“Not at all. This is a rare creature I found in a desert region.”

“There are deserts here?”

“There is much more than that.”

There are many villages, towns, and cities that Sharon takes Irene to. Some are desert regions, regions with plentiful water, icy places, and lands covered in flowers. Each and every place is friendly towards them. They participate in the different traditions and ways of living each one of these places have and even play a game or two. Games like cards, sporting and even sparring. Irene enjoys herself and so does Sharon.

“I’m surprised the sun is still out. I feel like we’ve been out all day,” Irene says while the two are flying to their next destination.

“Days last longer down here while the nights are shorter,” Sharon says.

“How long have you been down here?”

“I don’t know actually. Thinking back on it, I might’ve been here for decades.”

“Decades? You still look like you’re my age.”

“It’s another wonder of this world. We haven’t even seen most of it all. It goes on for miles and miles almost like it’s unending. It’s truly wonderful. You’ve seen what it does to people. The good that it draws out of them. You saw how happy the people were. All of us live in peace and harmony under our one law; that no one impedes on the freedom of another.”

“And those that do get severally punished.”

“That’s right. Let me show you those who try to fight against us. There’s a part of the world that we’re fighting against in red crystal forest.”



“Nothing. It’s just a girl I know who lives there.”

“Well, she better not be involved with those people there.”

Irene hopes that Amy is okay. Even though she only knew her for a short while, she might be her ticket in doing something about how Sharon deals with people who rebel against her one rule. When they get to the red crystal forest, they head towards a city with a castle in the center similar to Sharon’s but not as extravagant. It is under siege by soldiers with crystal armor and refined weapons. They’re fighting against people who have their own kinds of special armor and weapons. Creatures similar to Sharon’s Griffin are flown by the crystal armored soldiers while the city has ballistas shooting them out of the sky. Both forces appear to be equal despite the support that Sharon has. Irene thinks to herself that there must be more of this world where Amy’s side has more support. One of the ballistas shoots down Sharon’s Griffin. The two-crash land into the city and into the heat of the battle. The Griffin isn’t dead as it takes out the ballista’s arrow and fights alongside Sharon’s forces. Irene watches as people fight against each other and despite the fact that they can’t die, she can still tell that they feel pain. That there’s suffering happening in a world that looked like it completely lacked it.

Sharon transforms her arms into cutters and joins her troops.

“What are you doing Sharon?” Irene asks.

Before answering Irene, Sharon defeats several rebel soldiers on her own.

Sharon declares to her troops, “A queen who isn’t a servant to her people is no queen at all! I will join you and lead you to victory!”

Her troops cheer for her.

“Join us Irene and you will be given the highest honor when we get back home.”

Before Irene can answer, a crystal monster emerges from the castle. It appears to be composed of several people who pilot each part of the monster’s body. This gets Sharon’s attention and forces her and her forces to concentrate on the monster. Irene tries to gather herself until she sees Amy in the distance. She’s hiding from the fight and watches with excitement as the monster fights Sharon and her forces. Irene in the mist of the battle catches Amy’s attention and she waves her over. Quickly going to her before Sharon notices, Irene makes it to where Amy is hiding and hides with her.

“This is not the way I expected us to meet again, but it’s good that you got the queen to come here,” Amy says.

“I didn’t plan this,” Irene retorts, “This just so happened to be how we meet again.”

“It might be fate.”

“Is your big monster going to “kill” Sharon?”

“I don’t think so. Hearts like you are tough to kill. It might disable her and her army for a long time, but not put her out of commission permanently. This is our next course of action after we get you back to my secret base.”

“And how are we going to do that?”

“I’ll take you there, but you won’t like how I do it.”

“Why not?”

“My spies have seen you go in and out of Sharon’s castle. A lot of people think you’ve teamed up with them, so I have to make it seem like I kidnapped you. Trust me, it’s easier if you don’t say anything to them. I’ll do all the talking for you.”

“Just do whatever you want. I want to see what your plans are.”

“Turn around and close your eyes.”

Irene does this, and Amy sticks her cutting through Irene’s head, which knocks her out. Hours later, Irene wakes up in a sealed room underground.

“Amy? Amy?” she calls out.

She waits a few minutes until Amy enters her room.

“You’re clear now. That wasn’t so bad, right? Well, I hope it wasn’t,” Amy says.

“You stabbed me through the head,” Irene says while rubbing her head.

“Hey, if it took that to knock you out for a few hours, how much would it take to bring down Sharon?”

“I guess you’re right.”

“We’re going to start our meeting soon. Join us.”

After finally shaking off the feeling of being stabbed through the head, Irene walks with Amy and joins her in the meeting room. In it, she sees many people who look her age. They appear to be talking amongst themselves already.

Amy slams her hand down on the table before saying, “Ahem. Can we please have order in this room? Thank you.”

“We haven’t discussed what will exactly happen after Sharon is taken off her throne, Amy,” one of the other people say.

“And would you like to wait till more of your friends are turned into trees or other kinds of animals? I didn’t think so.”

The other leaders hold in their arguments in silence.

Amy continues, “We have a heart with us here. People with her personality know what’s best to do, so she’ll take over Sharon’s throne.”

“But she’s new here.”

“And she’ll decide if one of us should take over Sharon’s territory if need be.”

Irene whispers into Amy’s ear, “You never told me I’d be making a big decision like this.”

“You’ll be fine. Your appearance says so,” Amy whispers back. “So, are we in agreement?” Amy continues speaking to the leaders, “Sharon should be at her weakest now because of Irene. If we leave now, we’ll overthrow her kingdom in one day.”

“She’s right. I’m with her,” one of the leaders say as they raise their hand.

“Anyone else?”

Everyone else raises their hands, which brings a smile to Amy’s face. After dismissing, Irene talks to Amy.

She asks, “Who were those other people?”

“Leaders of other countries. I don’t always play nice with them, but we need them so we can get rid of Sharon. She’s the greatest threat to all of us since she’s been here the longest and she has the most advanced weaponry,” Amy says.

“Don’t always play nice? You’re at war with these people?”

“I decided to stop the fighting, for now, to take down Sharon. What’s the problem?”

“The problem is that people are going to keep fighting each other.”

“At least we won’t use the spells that Sharon has.”

“How do you know that? Hearts like me know best right? So why is a heart the worst threat to you right now?”

“Look, it will be different this time. Trust me.”

Irene looks into Amy’s eyes and smiling face and holds in her disbelief for now.

“Okay, Amy. I’ll give you a chance.”

“Thank you, Irene. You won’t regret it. You’ll love being queen.”

“I hope so.”

Chapter 4 – Slaves of Freedom

Amy and her forces gather together outside their secret base. They brought a few of their own monsters that they made with magic and willing people in case Sharon and/or her forces found them. More of them come until there are thousands of troops around Amy and Irene.

Amy raises Irene’s hand along with her own and says, “Today is the day we’re going to dethrone the tyrant Sharon! We will have true freedom in this world and with Irene here, we will have victory!”

The armies yell out while Irene is unsure how to feel about her importance in this conflict. She rides on top of one of the monsters along with Amy who has her cutters out.

“Aren’t you excited, Irene?” Amy asks who is excited herself.

“I guess. I never thought I’d be a part of something like this.”

“This is the cost of taking freedom from those that impose their own idea of freedom. This is a rebellion against the rebels.”

“That’s a catchy tagline.”

“I think so too. I’ve been saying it to people and they join us solely based on the tagline.”

Irene and Amy finally arrive at Agartha to see it under siege by their combined forces. The walls have already been torn down and the city is being destroyed.

“Do you see this? The red carpet is being rolled out for the new queen,” Amy says with one arm on Irene’s shoulder and the other presenting the scene.

“If we could bleed, the carpet would literally be red,” Irene notes.

“It’s a good thing we can’t, but I admit, I feel kind of bad for the people who are standing in our way.”

“It doesn’t look like Sharon’s supporting armies are here. I wonder why.”

“Don’t wonder that right now because we have to put you on the throne. If they see you there, you could bring peace here.”

Irene can’t help but feel like she is the villain in this situation. This feeling is amplified as the two go through the city streets to see not only the damaged buildings and decorations but also the damaged people as well who lay on the ground in pain. Some curse at Irene and Amy as they pass by.

“Don’t mind them, Irene. They’ll recognize your royalty soon,” Amy says.

They reach the castle gates to see more destruction and see their troops finishing off Sharon’s guards. The troops then escort the two through the castle until they come to where Sharon is. She’s in a room surrounded by healing crystals that are putting her back together at a fast rate. Amy and her soldiers quickly go into the room to destroy them while Irene hesitantly waits outside it.

Amy points her cutter at Sharon’s throat and says to her, “Your rule is over Sharon.”

Sharon catches Irene in the corner of her eye and calls out, “Irene! I’m so glad you came back. Hurry and get rid of these people! It’s okay if you haven’t experienced combat yet. Hearts like us are the toughest around.”

Irene walks into the room. She says, “Amy, you haven’t told me what you’re going to do to Sharon after, but I think I got a good idea. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”

“Aww you know me so well, but this trash deserves what she did to other people.”

“This is the Amy you were telling me about Irene,” Sharon says, “I suspended my judgment that she was this Amy, but now I can see that my instinct was right.”

“I’m sorry, Sharon. I didn’t know things would end up this way.”

“I did and I don’t regret any of it,” Amy says.

“I understand, Irene. Hearts can be deceived when people appear to have the best intentions. Here, let me free you from their influence.”

Sharon gets up and incapacitates Amy’s soldiers with one attack.

“Oooooh crap,” Amy says as she braces for Sharon’s attack that launches her through two and a half walls. “That was painful…Very painful…”

“Stop it, Sharon! Just escape now. There are too many of them outside,” Irene says as she gets in front of Sharon.

“You’re right, but I have to make some of these people pay for the destruction of my capital city. They’ll receive no mercy from me especially Queen Amy.”


Sharon elbows Amy through another wall, which reveals to her the army she is going to face.

She holds one arm up and says, “You will suffer for your crimes against true freedom!”

Sharon takes down hundreds of soldiers before finally being defeated by multiple monsters.

“Sharon!” Irene says as she makes it to her.

“Heh, I’m sorry Irene. I bit more than I could chew.”

A monster holds up Sharon’s body and Amy’s armies scream in victory. Amy appears to Irene somewhat broken with parts of her face and body broken in two.

She tries to put herself together while she says, “Told you we could do it. Now let’s get this queen to her throne.”

Amy’s soldiers escort Irene to the throne room. Irene hesitates before sitting on Sharon’s throne. Amy and her soldiers kneel to her in honor.

“Tell us your command, wise queen,” Amy says.

“Don’t do anything to Sharon. Just put imprison her for now until we can get her to change her ways,” Irene commands.

“What about your allegiances? The people want to see Sharon suffer for what she did.”

“Causing more pain isn’t the answer. Find a way to release Sharon’s victims from her spell.”

Before Irene can say anything else, they see other armies in the distance from the giant holes in the castle who wave different banners from Amy’s or Sharon’s. Amy walks up to the balcony and Irene follows her.

Amy says, “Listen to me, all kingdoms and countries! The queen Sharon has been dethroned and we have a new heart here. She will bring us together and establish true freedom in this land!”

The armies stop.

“’Whew! For a second there I thought-”

They launch crystal boulders at the city and send their forces at it.

“Me and my big mouth.”

Irene runs away and jumps out a window in the throne room. She gets out just in time before the boulders completely destroy the castle. One look at the destroyed castle and the charging army scares Irene away from the city. She runs for miles until she’s on a hill overlooking the battle. Another army appears from another direction that appears to be Sharon’s support. There appear to be another two foreign armies approaching from another direction as well. Irene’s feet begin to weigh on her and she flies up to the clouds. She sits on one of them with her head in her hands.

Lacey flies up to her and says, “It’s been a while since I last saw you.”

Irene takes her hands away from her head before saying, “A lot has happened since then. A lot that I wished I didn’t go through.”

“You know I think I discovered the original intention of this place by observing this place and listening to the ancient animals. It’s supposed to be a place where rebellious young people can refine themselves to be better people. It appears that the freedom this place offers overshadows its purpose to most people who don’t seek it.”

“I’ve found it and I want out now. I can’t take this world anymore. It’s too free. People here are slaves to the idea of having their own way.”

“The hole that you entered is in that direction,” Lacey says while pointing north.

“I’ll go there then. Now I know where the other hearts went. Are you coming?”

“No, I think I’ll stay here and try to spread the truth of this place.”

“Good luck with that.”

“To you as well. I hope you find better freedom above than below.”

Lacey flies away before Irene lands on the ground and begins her walk back home.

Chapter 5 – Up the Rabbit Hole

It’s night now, but the kingdoms and countries continue to be at war with each other. The aggression and anger seem to have infected the plants and the animals who fight each other as well. Irene tries to not get involved in any conflict but does attract the aggression of some of the animals and plants. She tries to let gravity take her up to the clouds, but the trees smack her down. With no other choice, she transforms her arms into cutters and cuts her aggressors until they can no longer pursue her. Since she is a heart, her strength is amplified, and it doesn’t take her much effort to defeat whatever comes at her. Fighting is easier than she thought so she thinks to herself that she might have a chance at surviving in this world. She shakes off the thought when she looks back at the raging battle behind her.

Venturing further into the forest, she finds Jen who is in pieces.

Irene goes to her and says, “Jen! Are you okay?”

“Yeah…I’m fine. Give me a day and I’ll be back to normal. How was the castle? Was it fun?” Jen says while in constant pain.

“It was doesn’t matter Jen we have to leave this world.”

“Why would we do that?”

“Don’t you see all of the fighting going on all around us? This place is in utter chaos.”

“This happens every month or so. It’s nothing.”

“But this can’t be a good way to live.”

“Hey, if you want to leave, then leave. You’re free to do anything down here after all. Hahaha.”

Seeing that Jen is beyond reasoning, Irene leaves her. As she gets closer to the exit, she sees more and more injured animals, plants, and people. It seems that either someone has the same idea as Irene or there is someone or something dangerous around here. Going a bit further, Irene finds Amy who is impaled to the ground by several cutters. There are enemy soldiers lying around her along with her own and other soldiers from other armies who appeared to have betrayed her.

Amy weakly smiles as Irene approaches before saying, “Ah, so the queen finally appears to us. Haha, we’ve been looking for you.”

“I’m not the queen, Amy. I was never meant to be,” Irene replies as she takes out the cutters from Amy.

“Of course you were. You have a heart in your eye.”

“Never mind that. I’m getting out of this world. You should too.”

“And go back to that land of slavery? No thanks.”

“The above world is slavery? I don’t think so. This place is a land of slavery where you’re submissive to your own ideas of freedom.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Freedom from one set of ideas is submission to another.”

“Whatever. I still think we can make this place a paradise.”

“Human beings don’t create paradise, they destroy them.”

“You’re so cynical.”

Irene takes out the last cutter from Amy’s body.

Amy continues, “If you help me, I can make you queen of your own country or kingdom and we can make this place into a haven for kids like us.”

“You know, you sound like someone else I know.”

“Don’t compare me to that witch!”

“I’m getting out of here and that’s final. If you want me to carry you to the exit, I will.”

“You’re wrong about this place.”

“But I’m a heart and we usually know best, right? What’s your answer?”


“Then enjoy eternity in your paradise.”

“Irene don’t do this.”

Irene doesn’t listen to Amy as she walks away from her. Amy’s voice eventually becomes silent once Irene gets far away from her. The exit should be close by now. Irene thinks to herself what she’s going to do when she gets home. Will it be the same time up there then it is down here? Will she stay in this crystal state? Are her parents looking for her? Did they find this place? Would they be able to since they’re adults? These questions keep popping up in Irene’s head until she silences them. She tells herself that she has to wait until she leaves this place.

Finally, Irene makes it to the hole she came out of. She looks down it and sees the colorful crystals that transformed her, but she doesn’t see the exit point. She’s about to jump down until a familiar voice stops her in her tracks.

“Irene…Lacey said you’d be here,” Sharon says from behind her.

Sharon has huge holes and cuts in her body as its mostly torn up because of the battles she’s been through.

“Sharon…I’m surprised you’re still in one piece.”

“Haha. Barely.”

“Are you going to stop me from leaving this place?”

“I don’t know actually. The pain hinders me from thinking. On one hand, if we were to join forces, we could get people to stop fighting. Two queens are better than one. On the other hand, I’ve been through conflicts like this and they keep happening with nothing changing. This world is in a state of endless revolution against itself.”

“You already know my choice. Will you join me?”

“…I will. If we get separated, where will I find you?”

Irene tells her the name of her hometown and Sharon does the same. Irene then holds out her hand and Sharon takes it. They look at one another before leaping down into the hole. The crystals in Irene and Sharon’s body disappear as they go up. Soon after, Sharon disappears out of thin air and once Irene is spat out of the hole, she looks around to see that it’s the same time of day when she fell in. Irene’s body is back to normal but feels better than ever for some reason. Sharon is nowhere in sight and the hole that was once there is a small hole that a bunny pops its head out of.

With no idea what happened to Sharon, she thinks to herself with her hands together, “Sharon, I hope you’re in a better place.”

Irene then heads back to her hometown but doesn’t see any missing person posters hung up in town. Usually what happens when someone goes missing in her town is that the town will have missing person posters the day when they know someone is missing and don’t take them down until that person is either found or presumed dead. It’s been about two days for Irene and the town hasn’t seemed to have noticed that she’s disappeared. She knows people here that care for her and they would’ve definitely done something if she disappeared.

Confused, Irene goes back home and heads back in the way she sneaked out, through her bedroom window. She sneaks downstairs to see that nothing has been moved since she last left. If a parent’s child goes missing, the family is usually torn apart, but everything seems normal here. Checking in on her parents, she sees that they’re sound asleep in their room. Everything that Irene sees implies that no time has passed since she ran away from home. Going on this theory, she heads back to her room and sleeps for the night.

As the morning sun rises, her mother wakes her up, “It’s morning honey. Time to wake up.”

“Hey, mom. What’s today?” Irene asks.

Irene’s mom tells her the date and it’s the day after Irene decided to run away. Time really hadn’t passed while she was in the crystal world. A smile rises from Irene’s face as happiness fills her soul. She thanks her mom and tells her mom and dad how much she loves them. Irene tells them that she’ll give her options another chance and she chooses one of them. During the course of the day, she comes across a familiar face.

Unsure of this is who she thinks it is, she asks, “Sharon? Is that you?”

The woman turns around, gasps, the hugs Irene. She says, “Yes, it’s me Irene!”

Sharon is wearing a long, fancy red, black dress as if her dress from the crystal world didn’t go away and became a better dress.

“How are you here? You look way older than me.”

“I’m thirty-five years old to be exact thank you very much. I got spit out of that crystal hole at the same time I went in.”

“The same thing happened to me.”

“That’s what I assumed especially when I traveled to this town and found that you didn’t exist yet. I’ve been waiting for over nineteen years for you to come up to me and recognize me.”

“That’s not creepy at all. Hahaha.”

“Haha, right?”

“How did you get this fancy dress?”

“I got a job as a teacher. It took years of work, but I pulled it off.”

“You’re a teacher? You don’t teach in my school, do you?”

“Unfortunately, no but I’m overjoyed that we’re back together again. Do you know what you’re going to do with your life now? This life is so much more relaxing and freeing than being a queen of a crystal kingdom.”

“I do.”

And so, after reuniting with a friend, Irene takes advantage of the life she has and begins to make something of it. With the lessons from her experience, the wisdom of her parents and teachers, and her friend, she embraces the future realizing that she was always free to become who she wanted from the very start.

If you liked this story, then check out these other free ones!

Actus amoris summa; The greatest act of all is true love

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Will their love carry them to the end?

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Aiden isn't smart or strong, but he has the responsibility of saving the world from the black dragon Belial. He jumped at the opportunity and the fate of the world rests on his shoulders. He will encounter many people who will try to get rid of him whether he knows it or not. Along the way, he will even encounter the previous hero who tried to face Belial but failed.

Will he become a hero despite being a meager boy or is humanity doomed because of Aiden's impulsive action?

A special rat personally takes responsibility to protect the decaying town of Inanis. A town where urban legends and myths come from. He will have his friends and family join him as he faces mythic creatures and monsters. There will be weird occurrences, strange beings, and dangerous adventures for this small and strange rat that tries to be a hero for a town that didn't ask for him.

There are also special editions of these stories!

A tyrant is given another chance at life and his queen follows along to make sure he's doing the right thing and happy. The two will embark on a journey that will make them face small to larger than life challenges. Their love for each other is strong, but is it strong enough to last until a tyrant can be redeemed? Find out in this epic fantasy, romance story. This version of the story includes a short prequel story and behind the scenes extras after every story.

Cinis and Favilla are a couple trained to be the hope for the Kingdom of Fornax. Humanity fights against the forces of rot and decay with fire and light so that they can continue living, but these are uncertain times. “The greatest act of all is love,” is the saying that Fornax goes by. Will the love between Cinis and Favilla be enough to hold them together through their challenges or will they eventually rot away like the rest of the world? Love burns brighter than fire in this fantasy tale with grand action scenes and moments to remember. This special edition of the story includes extra pictures and behind the scenes that details some of its influences.

Check out my blog, Albert Oon: Behind the Stories on Blogger for free short stories, book samples, song/poem attempts, and more! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to follow what I’m doing next.


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