The Dryad of Xyleen | Chapter 1

The Missing Princess

Away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, an enchanted forest named Kryptos Xyleen stood deep in the middle of the mangrove forest where no human can ever step into. Like any other magical forests, it had its own kingdom filled with all magical creatures that a human can possibly name of–dryads, nymphs, unicorns, pegasus, mermaids, fairies, pixies, centaurs, etc.The forest remained hidden deep in the forest for thousands of years. All the magical realms came along and decided to keep far away from thehumankind because of many reasons. Humans have been destroying forests to create big cities and industries. To keep themselves alive, the magical creatures separated from the humans. From then on, they had been living happily among themselves until now.

The forest was ruled by an old and ancient dryad named Yan, the chief of the dryads who lived in the most ancient banyan tree of the forest. The enchanted forest was really happy without the touch of humankind. The Chief protected every creature and made an invisible barrier to keep the forest hidden in the plain sight; if any human came across the border of the forest he will only see the deep forest without a path and will automatically leave the place and find another way to go back where he belongs. Chief Yan loved helping everyone around and playing with his only daughter, Rose. Everything changed when Rose died mysteriously. After her death, no one had seen Chief Yan smile again.

Chief Yan’s chamber was filled with magical creatures who had their usual daily business and troubles. One day, a guard suddenly came running into the chamber followed by two others. Chief Yan stood up from his chair and asked, ‘What’s the matter, Reak?’

‘Chief, he is here!’, Reak panted for air.

‘Don’t tell me…’, before he could answer, a tall man with slimy green face and dark shades under his eyes entered into the room, with a grin on his dark lips. His dark slimy green spiky hair had hidden half of his left eye. He looked ghastly, and his extremely slimy appearance unsettled everyone present in the chamber. Looking at him, they sensed chills going down their spines.

‘Chief Yan!’ The slimy man said with a disgusting smile in his face, ‘it’s been a long time. You have not sent me an invitation, I am hurt.’

‘Gus! My apologies. I was busy with uh…’.
‘Ah…work.’ Chief Yan replied and looked away instantly from the Gus’s penetrating eyes.

‘Ah… I see. Then shall I…

Before he could finish the sentence,Chief Yan seized the opportunity and said, ‘Why don’t you join us in the party then?’

Gus raised his right eyebrow.

‘You are already here anyway. I am really very sorry for not sending you the invitation’, the chief said.

‘Don’t worry your highness. I have already brought the best present for her’, he reached inside his dark green cloak and brought out a bright green small pouch in his hand. Everyone in the room stopped moving or thinking. They shuddered every time Gus opened his mouth to say something. It was not a hidden factor that everyone was frightened of Gus. To cool down the situation, Chief Yan thought he should take Gus to his home.

‘Let’s go inside and you should rest a bit. It was a long journey, wasn’t it?’

‘Well, not that…’ Chief Yan interrupted him and said, ‘Reak, take Gus to our dinner banquet. Prepare a nice guest tree house for him.’ Gus opened his mouth but was interrupted by the chief again.
‘You should rest. The party is tomorrow’, he gestured Reak to take him out of the sight.
Reak did not waste any time and took him at his command. The room exhaled in relief for a moment. But the comfort was shortlived. Someone shouted –“The princess is MISSING!

‘What are you talking about?’ the Chief roared.

‘Your highness, she was in her room getting ready… so … so…’, a small, and extremely pale dryad tried to answer the question.
‘But what? ANSWER ME, AZURA!’ Chief roared with anger.
‘She said she will get ready by herself. So we… we left her in her room’, Azura trembled while answering.

‘I ordered you not to be leave her out of YOUR SIGHT! GUARDS!’ Chief bellowed.
‘Yes, Chief!’ two guards who were standing as gatekeepers came running.

FIND HER! I DON’T CARE WHERE SHE IS! JUST FIND HER AND BRING HER BACK! All of you LOOK FOR HER!’ Chief Yan started to shake out of his anger.

The crowd readily put their own businesses on hold to search for the princess. If she was not found out before tomorrow, everyone would be in a grave danger. The chief looked towards his minister, a short, wise-looking dryad, and whispered, ‘Minister Cypress, please do not let Gus know my daughter is missing.’ The minister nodded, and left the room in a hurry. The chief looked frantic. He started to pace back and forth and ordered to bring General Sequoia. Within a minute the general entered into the chamber. Everyone gasped at his sudden entry. It is really incredible to see how fast his gigantic body can move within a blink. He was followed closely by the captain Amorphophallus. She looked elegant and beautiful regardless of being in the army. She had purple hair tied into a knot, it was said that anyone who saw her hair under the sun will instantly fall in love with her. The words whether true or not, no one could see her hair untie and fall over her back.

‘General Sequoia and Captain Amorphophallus are here at you command, sire’, said the general taking a swift bow.

‘She is gone, again! Find her NOW before he realises she is gone!’ he said impatiently.

‘Don’t worry, sire. We will…’ before the general could finish captain Amorphophallus interrupted and said, ‘I apologise to interrupt you, General Sequoia. I might know where she could be. I can bring her back quietly before everyone starts panicking.’ She said calmly.
‘Then General you can follow her as a backup. You might need the backup, Captain Lus,’ said Chief Yan.
‘Chief Yan, with due respect, for the millionth time, my name is Amorphophallus!’ she said hotly.
‘So?’ Chief Yan raised an eye-brow.
‘Nothing’, sighed Amorphophallus, ‘I will get her. There is no need to panic.’

‘I think everyone is already panicking,’ said the general looking at the rest of the horror-stricken people in the chamber.

Captain Amorphophallus turned towards the horrified people. ‘Do not panic. If you want to help, then stop panicking. Look for Princess Lia secretly unless I find her first,’ she assured them.

The crowd seemed a lit bit relieved and Chief Yan told everyone to go home and rest as they have to do a lot of work the next day. ‘I shall solve your trouble the day after tomorrow. And please do not do anything that will give Gus an excuse to punish you or worse… execute you.’

The crowd seemed to understand the depth of the situation; the chamber was once again in an air-tight situation. Everyone wanted to enjoy the birthday party of Princess Lia who was going to step into her century the next day. A century-old birthday party meant everything to them starting from today’s midnight with a great party all day long till tomorrow midnight. But now it looked like they could not enjoy it with a stinking person around. The crowd sighed and went to their respective home.

Chief Yan waited for them to go away and then turned towards the general and the captain. ‘Lus, please find her immediately before something goes wrong,’ he pleaded and sat down to his throne. ‘I will accompany her, sire. Do not worry. I will send a word to her highness…’, but the chief interrupted the general with concern in his voice, ‘No, don’t call Balanis. She has enough on her plate now. I do not want to burden her with this news. On the contrary, find Lia before she goes into looking for her in her room. I will distract her. Now go, GO!’

The two of them bowed him swiftly again and vanished into the thin air as they appeared.

‘This is going to be a long day,’ thought the chief with a sigh. He left his chamber with a heavy heart.

Written by: Kazi Nabila