Saffie's Delivery Service a "Pick your own Adventure" story by Phanna
This story isn't meant to be read from start to finish, it is meant to be read in sections when prompted to, which is why it has multiple endings. For example, when Saffie comes to a big decision, there will be choices that will be color coordinated. Then you just skip ahead until you see that color and continue reading from there. Black font is meant to be read first. Very simple indeed!
The sun crested over the distant mountains overlooking the valley, parting the fog that had settled in the night before. The still silence soon gave way to shuffling footsteps, horse hooves on the cobblestone, morning bird calls and the chatter of people in the streets. There really could not be more pleasant sounds to awaken to, and this is where our tale begins.
Saffie opened her lovely eyes to greet the day, for today was a very grand day indeed, for Saffie had just started her delivery business, a grand, noble business to be sure. For years, people in this valley had to rely on horse drawn carriages to get packages and letters out of the valley, which was a very slow process. So Saffie, using her mystical abilities of summoning and teleportation, opened a new delivery service, guaranteeing faster delivery of letters and packages outside of the valley.
Now I know what you are going to say, you are going to tell me that it's impossible for a mere human to possess such powers of prestidigitation. But you see, I never said Saffie was human. Sure, she's human in appearance, but there is so much more magic and mystery to her. But that is a tale for another day.
Saffie jumped out of bed with the sun, dressed in her delivery uniform of her very own design, and dashed downstairs to greet all of her eager customers. However though, to Saffie's surprise, her new shop remained empty. But this didn't discourage her, oh most certainly not. Things like new shops using magic take time for people to get used to.
Suddenly there came the shuffling of running feet, a brief but hushed thud, a rapid knock at Saffie's door and finally more running feet. Saffie opened her shop door and was greeted simply by a box. A curious little brown box, only the size of an apple, tied up with a bright green ribbon. With this little box was a hastily scribbled note:
Please bring box to Hafferton Square by noon Sunday. Do not open, no matter what it says!
Saffie read the note, but noticed no form of payment attached. Quite a discouraging turn of events, but Saffie was a professional. Perhaps whoever gets the package at Hafferton Square has the payment. So Saffie grabbed her satchel and grabbed the small, apple sized package (which was actually really heavy for a tiny little thing) and darted out the door. With one quick whistle and a wave of her hand, Saffie's magic was cast. But what magic did Saffie just cast?
Teleportation: go to green section Summoning: go to orange section
Saffie casts her teleportation spell and is off in a blinding whirl of delightfully colorful light. The color has no name, but is brilliant to behold. Saffie's teleport spell only brings her so far before it needs to recharge. Do not fret however, Saffie has two whole days before the package needs to be at Hafferton Square. Saffie sets down in the forest just outside the valley. These woods are thick with delicate flora and fauna of all varieties. Saffie couldn't have picked a nicer section to land in!
Saffie set her bag down next to a large rock and walked around a bit to enjoy the pristine surroundings. There were a couple of birds building a nest in the nearby tree, singing gleefully to one another. Their love song was so lovely that Saffie just had to listen. Then an off-key whistle started, frightening the two nest builders away. Saffie looked around for the irritating noise and found that it was coming from her own tote bag. She quickly opened it to find only the package and nothing else.
Saffie reached her hand out to the package and the whistle stopped. Saffie pulled her hand away and the whistle started back up again. Confused, Saffie picked up the package to inspect it for anything odd. It looked like a normal little brown box with a green ribbon. Saffie turned it over to see if something was attached to it and the box whimpered "please let me out". Startled by this, Saffie dropped the box. Oh what is poor Saffie to do now? The box pleaded to be opened, but the note said not to.
Open the box, as whatever inside pleaded: go to blue section Leave the box closed as the note instructed: go to red section
Saffie raised her arms up high and down swooped a large, fluffy beast of the clouds. It chattered gleefully at the sight of Saffie. He knew it was time for work, and this beast sure loved to work. Saffie climbed up onto the beast's saddle, package in hand and the two were off to the clouds above.
The valley was so lovely from this high up. Saffie could see all the rooftops and people shuffling in the streets. It looked like a miniature city one would find in a snow globe. Saffie was so enthralled with the view that she didn't notice that her bag was slowly slipping off her arm. When the beast climbed higher into the air, the satchel fell down into the mountains below. Saffie felt it slip away, but couldn't stop it from plummeting down towards the earth. She tapped the great sky beast on the neck, coaxing it to change direction and fly downward to where the package might have fallen to.
As the great beast circled downward over the mountains, Saffie looked around for her satchel. She hoped it didn't fall completely to the ground since Saffie was unsure of what the box actually contained. Fear settled in as to what became of the package as they continued down into the mountains. And there, as if by some grand miracle, on a jagged edge of rock was the parcel. Saffie let out a sigh of relief. She reached out and grabbed the bag off the rocks. The bag was a little scuffed up, but what mattered is if the box inside was safe. Saffie opened the satchel and peered inside. There it was, the brown box with the bright red ribbon. But wait, when Saffie got the box that morning, the ribbon was green, not red. Saffie picked up the box to inspect it closer, to which the box stated coldly, "How rude of you to let me fall. Let me out or suffer the consequences." Saffie dropped the package in shock and amazement. The box spoke to her, but what should Saffie do?
Open the box, despite the warning on the paper: go to purple section Keep the box closed, since it may be evil magic within: go to gold section
Saffie took a deep breath and started to open the box, despite the written warning that came with the package. She knew that something was alive inside and it had no right to be kept in such a tiny box. Once the green ribbon was slipped off, the box popped open on its own and out came a small fox with bright green eyes. "Thank you for releasing me. It was cramped in that little box" the little fox replied.
Saffie stared at the fox for a moment. She had never seen anything so unusual before, and she was herself, quite magical indeed. There was so much she wanted to know about the fox and why it was wrapped in a package, but before Saffie could ask the little creature anything, it darted off into the thick woods. Saffie sat for a moment, wondering on if it was going to be okay. This was her first delivery and she didn't follow the instructions at all. Maybe it was better this way, after all, the fox was obviously a magical creature and deserved its freedom. Besides, it wasn't an evil creature, right?
Saffie, following the instructions on the note, quickly sealed the bag closed, trying to ignore the box's pleads to be released. Saffie knew all about magic, and whatever was inside this box was obviously quite magical indeed. She knew not to tamper with incantations she didn't know the origin of, for the results could be very disastrous. Keeping her hand firmly on the bag, she walked along the forest path, waiting for her magic to recover before being able to cast anything again. The faster Saffie gets to Hafferton Square, the better!
"Please let me out, please, please, please," the box continued pleading, getting louder with each passing moment. Saffie had to cover her ears as she walked to try and drown out the noise, but with no avail, as the pleas just kept getting louder and louder. Saffie quickened her pace, her heart began to pound in her chest. The pleading continued to gain volume. Soon, it sounded more like these words were in Saffie's head than coming from the satchel. Then suddenly, the package began to twitch and quiver. Saffie felt this change and dropped the bag onto the ground. A wave of fear passed over her. "Release me," the box coldly demanded. "release me now". Saffie felt her hands shake. What is she to do now?
Release whatever is in the box, which sounds angry: go to pink section Leave it in the box, but cancel the delivery: go to teal section Leave it in the box and continue onward: go to brown section
Saffie slowly opened the box tied with the bright red ribbon, hands shaking slightly, and out sprung an owl with soft white feathers. It flew around Saffie for a little while before landing firmly onto the satchel from where it came. "At least you are reasonable, if not a little clumsy." the owl stated coolly. Saffie couldn't think of anything to say in response to the insult. She only sat there in silence. The owl paced on the bag, slowly back and forth, as if lost in thought. Saffie sat and stared at this little magical creature. Whatever could it be up to.
"What if I gave you something for your troubles, a trinket of sorts?" the owl began. Saffie sat speechless, and only nodded quickly in response. Saffie didn't know if it was the correct answer, but if this is a powerful magical creature, it was better not to offend it. The owl buried its head under his wing, bobbed its head slightly and came back up holding one of the long white feathers from its wing. It then dropped the feather into Saffie's satchel. "There, that feather will become anything you want, within reason of course. All you need to do is hold it close to your heart and your heart's desire will appear. It's the very least I can do." and with that, the owl flew off into the sky, never looking back.
Saffie picked up the feather and examined it closely. It looked and felt like a regular owl feather. If what the magical owl said were true, than this lone feather could grant a wish. Saffie inhaled sharply and held the feather close to her heart and closed her eyes. And what did Saffie wish for, well, I'll leave that tale for another day.
Saffie set the bag down on the back of her giant fluffy cloud beast. The satchel started to twitch and jump a little. Poor Saffie, whatever magic lay inside, it was straining to be released. Saffie leaned forward and secured the strap of the bag to the horn on the saddle for her beast companion, trying hard not to bump the box within. Then she coaxed her beast upwards into the sky again.
Hafferton Square wasn't much further off, and if the two made no stops, they could be there before nightfall. Saffie wondered if the person who was supposed to get this box would be waiting there for her, or if they wouldn't be there until noon on Sunday. Either way, the sooner Saffie gets to her destination, the better she will feel about transporting this unknown magic.
Suddenly, and without warning, the satchel began to pull tighter on the saddle horn. This box had started to become heavier. Saffie tried to pull on the bag, but it was even becoming too heavy for her to pull back up. The cloud beast started to list because of this new heavy burden on him. Finally, after all the strain, the strap broke, and the satchel and package fell down into the mountains below. Was it all over? Saffie wasn't sure. She pulled on the reins to slow her bestial friend down and peered through the mist where the box had fallen. After what seemed like an eternity, a faint glimmer of light appeared, then it grew larger and larger with each passing moment until a great dragon swooped up next to Saffie and let out a horrid roar.
The cloud beast that Saffie was on took a defensive position to protect his friend. The dragon began to tilt it's head back, preparing to strike. The cloud beast took this opportunity to ram the dragon in the throat with his head. One of the beast's horns tore into the soft tissue of the dragon, causing blood to spill out. The dragon screamed and spit out a massive blaze at Saffie and her cloud beast, singeing both of them a little. Then the dragon backed up, preparing for another attack. Saffie's cloud beast flew up next to the mountain and stared back at her. Saffie nodded and climbed down out of the saddle and onto the mountain ledge. Her cloud beast then made another bold charge at the dragon.
The two giant creatures of the sky exchanged blows, moving further and further away from Saffie until they were both out of sight. She wasn't sure what became of her beast companion and if he was alright. All Saffie could do now was hope, hope for the safe return of her friend and hope for the destruction of the evil that came from a harmless looking little box.
Saffie swallowed hard and walked slowly up to the bag. The magic contained within was certainly powerful, at least powerful enough to shake the container it is being held within. Perhaps it was better to release it. Saffie knelt down and opened the satchel. There was the box, sitting there, quiet and unmoving. She reached out and pulled on the bright green ribbon and the box slowly opened. Saffie expected something to pop out, but nothing was inside the box. Saffie turned the box over, shook it violently, and still nothing. What sort of magic did this little box contain?
Saffie sat for a while, confused, glancing periodically at the open package. She knew something had to be inside, but whatever it was, it was gone now. Then Saffie let out a big yawn, because she suddenly felt really sleepy. She didn't realize how she could be so tired, as it was only midday. No matter how hard she tried to fight it, Saffie soon succumbed to slumber.
Saffie began to dream, and oh what a lovely dream. She was in a field full of beautiful flowers and birds were singing in the trees. A babbling brook bubbled by gently, filled with colorful fish of every variety. Off in the distance lay a beautiful crystal palace that glimmered in the bright sunshine. She had never seen a more glorious sight. Saffie, who just couldn't resist the urge, began to dance and twirl among the flowers, taking in their heavenly aroma. She was so enthralled with the beauty of this place that she didn't notice a young man with sunny blonde hair standing next to her.
"Dance with me." the young man said and pulled Saffie close. Saffie jumped a little, startled by the man's sudden appearance, but she allowed herself to be pulled in. She wasn't sure where this man came from, but it being all a dream, that didn't matter too much at all. Saffie smiled and looked into the man's face. He really was quite handsome. She soon found herself lost in his cool blue eyes. He pulled her in closer and soon the pair were twirling among the blooms. Saffie felt absolutely entranced by this man and the flowers around her. Saffie felt her heart quicken, fluttering in delight. The man pulled her in closer, holding her tightly against himself.
Saffie felt her face growing warmer, being cooled gently by the passing breeze. The young man leaned in closer. Saffie's pulse raced and her breath became rapid. The man then kissed Saffie lovingly. She felt herself melting in his arms. Part of her never wanted this moment to end. The man released Saffie and plucked a single red rose from the garden and placed it in her hair. Then with a smile, he turned and walked away. Saffie tried to call out to him, but she had no voice. A thick white mist began to encircle her. Saffie tried to fight it, but she was slowly waking from her dream.
Saffie awoke to find herself in her own bed at home. The evening sun was bouncing off the rooftops. The package, the voices, the man in the garden, was it all just a dream? Saffie climbed out of bed and walked over to the mirror and there, in her hair was a single red rose.
Saffie stared at her satchel for a long time, trying to decide what to do next. One thing was for certain, it wasn't safe to continue with this delivery. If this magic was indeed as strong as she suspected, than carrying it around could have disastrous repercussions. It was better to put the package someplace safe and continue to Hafferton Square alone. There, she could find who the package was to be delivered to and have them collect the package from Saffie's safe location.
So Saffie conjured up a sky pocket in which to hold the magical package until she returned. A sky pocket, for those who are not magical in the slightest, is simply a pocket made out of thin air that can hold and conceal anything left in it. It was really convenient for games of Hide and Seek. Saffie slipped her satchel into the magical opening and quickly sealed it shut. She made careful note of her surroundings so she could easily find this pocket later. The box now rested inside the magical portal, close to the big tree with the twisted trunk and the large rock across the path. Saffie decided however, to leave a marker behind, just to be doubly sure that she could find this exact spot again. Saffie pulled the ribbon from her hair and tied it tightly around the branch of the gnarled tree. Then, with a flick of the wrist and a whistle, Saffie disappeared in a whirl of colorful light.
Saffie found herself on the outskirts of Hafferton. She was nearly there and still had well over a day to deliver the package in. She just hoped that whoever was to get this package wouldn't be upset that she left it safely tucked away behind. Deciding that it didn't matter right then, Saffie gave a quick nod and started walking towards Hafferton.
Saffie reached the edge of town around sunset. People were still in the streets, finishing up their daily business. Most of the stalls in the square were still open. In one of these shops could be the person who is to receive that mysterious package. She wandered around, looking at stall wears and listening to the latest household gossip. There was talk of a new shop that opened up, one that sold magical wares, so Saffie decided to head in that direction.
"Sunday at noon, be sure to be there." a coarse voice rang out as Saffie neared the front door of the magic shop. "We can't afford any slip ups." She stood by the door and listened in to the conversation within.
"I will be there, Master. Have no worries. I will take care of our mutual problem." a second voice, smoother than the other, echoed out from the building. "He will be dealt with swiftly, but what of the messenger?"
"She is of no concern, you know what needs to be done." The gravelly voice snapped. Then the door to the shop opened swiftly. Saffie managed to duck behind a barrel just in time to avoid detection. "I will return in a few days, my friend." A man in a dark cloak embellished with fine silver details stepped out of the open door and into the street. Saffie strained to see the man's face, but couldn't in the fast fading sunlight. However, the conversation she overheard left her feeling ill. She knew they were talking about her and the package she was told to deliver, but what could they mean to do with the package? Oh what was poor Saffie to do now?
Confront the man in the shop for answers: go to gray section Go back to the package and see if it knows anything, since it does speak: go to dark green section
Saffie decided that the best course of action was to get this delivery over with as soon as possible. She grabbed her satchel up off the ground and conjured up another teleport spell, or at least tried to. Someone or something was blocking her magic! She placed her hand on the bag and felt the package inside moving and twitching. This must be what is causing her magical abilities to fail. Saffie sighed deeply and started walking briskly through the woods. She had a long way to go on foot, and had no time for dallying.
"I beg of you, please let me out." the box kept pleading through the forest and into the farmlands outside of Hafferton. Saffie tried her best to ignore the begging package, but by nightfall, she had grown weary of its chatter and was becoming rather sleepy. Saffie thought it best to find a place to sleep for the night and start fresh in the morning.
After surveying the farmlands, Saffie came across an old barn that was no longer in use. It was old and drafty, with a hole in the roof, but it would work for the night. Saffie hung her satchel on an old post, bundled up some hay to rest her head on and was soon fast asleep on the ground.
Saffie soon began to dream, and what a dreary sort of dream. She found herself in an old castle, shrouded in a heavy fog. Everything was in disarray, paintings and tapestries torn from the walls, furniture smashed up, even the stonework was broken apart in places. As Saffie explored, she found more telling evidence that a battle took place here. Arrows were stuck into the support beams, armor lay on the ground with swords stuck into them, even some of the woodwork was scorched in places from long extinguished fires. Saffie soon made her way into the throne room of this broken palace, and there, on the throne sat a young man with pitch black hair and cold blue eyes.
"Welcome to my kingdom, at least what remains of it." the young man stated in a cool, low tone. He never moved, he kept his head down and his hands folded under his chin, but his eyes remained fixed on Saffie. "This was once a beautiful place, but not anymore. Not since they came." the man continued. His hands trembled slightly. Saffie tried to speak, to ask what had happened there, but no words ever came. The fog grew more dense around her. "I suppose it doesn't matter, all things come to an end, don't they?" the man concluded and was soon enveloped by the thick mist. Saffie tried to fight off the fog, but soon was awake in the barn where she had rested.
Saffie glanced around and saw an odd little mouse with a long tail, but in that mouse's teeth was a smoky gray ribbon. Saffie though it was strange that a mouse would want a ribbon, but then it suddenly hit her. The box was tied with a ribbon, though the ribbon was green, it was possible she mistook the color of the ribbon the mouse had due to the dim early morning light. Saffie quickly jumped up and ran to her satchel. The package lay open inside. That mouse must have inadvertently opened the package while looking for food, Saffie thought to herself, unless that mouse was just a manifestation of the magic that was once held captive inside this ordinary looking box.
Saffie decided that she needed answers, and that man in the magic shop was the one to get them from. Saffie rose to her feet, brushed the dust off of her clothing, and walked into the building. The air was thick and musty and had the familiar odor of old books and incense, similar to where Saffie was raised in the arcane arts.
"Good evening, young woman." a voice called out from the back room. The voice was low and smooth, almost hypnotic sounding. A thin man emerged, holding an open book in his arms. His hair was dark, with streaks of silver running through it. His thick rimmed glasses rested gently on his slender nose. Strong magical energies pulsed out from him. "Ah, it's you. You are indeed very early. No matter, I assume you have my package?" The man closed the heavy book gently and extended his hand, eagerly awaiting the box. All Saffie could do was shake her head. This upset the man greatly.
"Well no matter. I know where you are keeping him and I know how to get it myself" the wizard said and cracked a cruel smile. He pushed his glasses up on his nose a little and muttered some incantation to himself. Saffie found herself entranced by this, unable to move. "It was brave of you to come alone, foolish, but brave." he said and continued his spell. Saffie felt her legs and arms getting heavy, but was too fixated on the man to turn away from his gaze. "Now my dear, you will just have to join him in his fate." Saffie began to feel light headed and her breath became shallow. Her eyelids were feeling heavy. The last thing Saffie saw was the thin man crack a cruel smile. "You will make a lovely statue in my garden."
Saffie sat for a moment near the shop. She needed answers, answers she wasn't comfortable in getting from the man in the magic shop. Saffie decided the best course was to try and get some dialog out of her parcel, after all, she knew it was capable of talking. Saffie conjured up another teleport spell and was off. Saffie set down in the woods once more. She walked along the path, checking each of the trees for the ribbon she left behind. Though, for some odd reason, Saffie felt as though she were being watched. Perhaps she was still shook up over what she overheard.
Saffie found the tree with the ribbon tied on the branch and opened her little pocket in space. There was her satchel, just as she left it. Saffie smiled a bit in relief that it was still there. She opened the bag and there was the little box, but the ribbon wasn't bright green, it was dusty blue. Saffie tapped the box gently. The little box began to shake and quiver.
"Please release me from this prison, I beg of you." the package began to plead once more. "Before it's too late!" There was so much Saffie wanted to ask, but was never given the chance before the thin man from the magic shop emerged from behind the trees.
"So you decided to hide him on me. Clever move on your part." the thin wizard said and cracked a cruel smile. "It was easy enough to follow your magical wake back to this forest" He continued and walked over to Saffie , staring at her. Saffie clutched the package tightly to her chest. "Hand over the box, girl, and I will spare your wretched life." the man threatened. Saffie shook her head and backed away from the man. The parcel quivered against her. The thin man stared coldly at Saffie. She could feel his magical energy pulsing outward from him. She knew that her magic would be useless against him.
"Open this box, please" the package whimpered again. Saffie glared at the thin man. She curled her hand around the ribbon and pulled. The box sprang open and a man in elegant silver armor emerged. He stood in front of Saffie, as if he were protecting her from the cruel thin man. The cruel wizard stepped back, his face paled in fear. "You know you are powerless before me. It took all of Mephias's army to claim me and my kingdom, and even he could only imprison me. Prepare for battle, minion." The man in the silver armor shouted and ran towards the cruel wizard. Saffie sat down in the grass and watched as these two powerful magicians exchanged blows.
Flashes of colorful light and sounds echoed in the tranquil forest. Saffie tried to see what was going on between the two, but couldn't make anything out amidst the flashes. Saffie knew what she had to do. She knelt down and began a long incantation, one that would allow the purest of hearts to conquer the evil around them. As her spell progressed, the flashes became more bright and blinding. Saffie shut her eyes and continued casting. Her body became weaker, but she needed to continue, no matter the cost. Finally, the flashes ceased and Saffie collapsed onto the ground. The last thing she saw was the figure of a man emerge from the smoke.
Saffie awoke to find herself in strange surroundings. She was on a bed, but the room around her was charred and broken. She sat up quickly and saw the man in silver armor sitting across the room. The evening sun glistened off his dusty blonde hair.
"Welcome to Aralon, well, what's left of it." the man said and smiled. "I never thought I would ever be back here. But thanks to you, I am. This was once the kingdom of magic. Someday, I hope it will be again." He stood up and walked over to Saffie. Saffie jumped away, not sure what this man's intent was. "Calm down, you must not strain yourself. You nearly sacrificed yourself to give me strength to defeat Mephias's minion. For that, I am eternally grateful." the man in armor continued. He leaned in close to Saffie and kissed her gently. What will become of Saffie now, well, that's up to her to decide.