by Abby Gayle
A young woman decides to travel.
"It is a lovely day, is it not?" Speranza asked without turning around. She stopped walking to let her pursuer catch up.
"Will you really fly away from this place with them, to explore the universe, so soon after your coming-of-age?" Speranza's brother asked.
"Our planet really is wonderful, Krelis, but I do not think it is the place for me." Speranza paused. "I believe there is another place, somewhere, where I am meant to be."
"I worry for your safety." Krelis placed his hand on hers.
"I will be fine. Mother has already spoken with them. She would not let me go if she thought I couldn't handle any danger I come across."
"I wish I could be sure, though."
"Do you doubt Mother's judgement?" Speranza joked, trying not to smile.
Krelis was silent. He undid his sheath from his waistband and handed the dagger and leather sheath to Speranza.
"Take it," he said.
"I cannot take this," Speranza refused.
"I hope you will never require to use this, but you will find no better blade in the entirety of the planet."
"No, Krelis, you have earned this dagger. You keep it."
"As an elder sibling, I can no longer tell you what to do. However, as Grand Advisor of King Thrasius, and High Defender of Queen Rubetta, I order you to take it."
"I will take it. But I promise, someday I will return it to you," Speranza agreed, fastening the knife to her own waistband.
A man ran up to Speranza and bowed.
"Lady Speranza, the aliens are to leave soon."
"Romney, how many times have I told you now? They are our guests, not alien any longer."
"Well, Krelis, would you like to escort me home once more, dear brother?" Speranza held out her hand. Krelis took it in his.
"Glad to," Krelis answered.
Speranza boarded the guests' strange ship for the first time. The inside was quite a bit different than she had imagined. It was large and roomy, with a colorful interior. The only woman with the group of visitors approached Speranza.
"Hey, how's it going?" the woman asked.
"It is going well, Penny," Speranza answered.
"The guys are getting everything ready to go. Come on, let's get to the command room."
Speranza followed Penny down a hallway and up a strange up-and-down machine she called an elevator. The room they came to was plain and mostly empty. There was a control panel just beneath a large window, with two chairs next to it and three behind.
"Luckily, there was a mistake in the order and they accidentally put in an extra seat," Penny said. "Now it's perfect!"
Speranza sat down and pulled out her brother's dagger.
"Ooh, that's pretty. What's it made of?" Penny asked.
"Only the rarest materials we have," Speranza answered. "A black diamond handle with red pyrope garnets embedded into it." Speranza pulled the dagger from the sheath to admire it. "And a titanium blade."
"Where'd you get it? I didn't see it with you yesterday."
"My brother gave it to me. He has had it since the day he turned eighteen, up until the day I turned eighteen, today."
Gerald, Penny's copilot, walked in, followed by the two other men. Speranza slipped the dagger into the sheath again and buckled up in her seat. Everyone took their positions.
The rockets started up and Speranza tuned everything out.
Do not worry, I shall be back, Speranza thought. I must get to get this dagger back to Krelis someday, anyway . . .