Lost and Found
Minenia is a very tiny county, conveniently situated between Russia and Latvia. It is an itty-bitty remnant of the Soviet Union that neither Russia nor Latvia wanted. It is so small that it is not on the map, and very few people know of it. However, it is a country and the story you are about to read is very true. Now, the reason I have heard this tale is because I journeyed to the country to find a missing sock. Yes, a sock. Minenia is known for being the place where missing things go when they disappear. It is a common myth that Bermuda holds that title, but that is incorrect. See, that's what happens when uneducated people write books! Anyway, I digress. Minenia was governed at the time this story took place by THE ED (yes, that's the way is it supposed to be spelled). THE ED was a terrible tyrant and had five heads. He had defeated the former king - Alexi Kelfmykia - in a revolution. The reason for the revolution is unknown, as the reign of Alexi was a peaceful and prosperous one. The revolution had been a long, bloody, and terrible one (as many are) and resulted in the death of Alexi and his wife, Margarita. Their twin children - Misha and Evgeny - were saved by Nerrisa, one of the Witches of Id. The two were just babies and Nerrisa took them to live with Bella and Helga Juisklia. The Jusklias were terrible people who drank too much, and often smoked too much. Nerrisa didn't know this until it was two late. So, under this unfortunate circumstance, Misha and Evgeny grew up.

Over the years THE ED became even more ruthless. He began to force extreme taxes on his citizens. If they couldn't pay - as many couldn't - they would be executed before their neighbors' very eyes. THE ED also forced all the men between twenty-one and sixty to build outlandish palaces for him. He banned all sorts of books, including medical handbooks, forcing the people to read bizarre propaganda that he provided. There was one thing that the public knew, and gave them hope. Alexi had two children and THE ED didn't know that. Perhaps these children could save them.

Seventeen years passed quickly and the twins had grown up nicely. Misha was a charming girl with purple eyes; long, silky black hair; and alabaster skin. She was quite a tomboy and spent much of her days exploring her home. Evgeny (who called himself Ev, as he hated his name) was tall; had scruffy dishwater blonde hair; and was happier at home with a book, than outside like his sister. Misha loved the countryside of Minenia, but she often dreamed of more, while Ev didn't really care. They often got into discussions, which looked like this:

"Do you ever wonder how we're going to get out of here, Ev," Misha would ask.

Ev would shake his head and reply, "Why? What good would that do? We're all going to die, does it matter that we're going to do it here?" Misha would sigh, and launch into reason why they should escape. Ev always looked foreword to this, because he loved to see how Misha described THE ED. So far, his favorite had been "that goddamn bastard." Then he would respond saying, "They'll kill us if we tried to escape. Plus, where would we go?"

Misha would suggest something like this, "St. Petersburg, Moscow, London, Paris, Madrid, Cairo, Chicago, New York, anywhere would be better than here, Ev." They would instigate into a full-fledged debate, often ending with Misha storming out in rage. After a particularly vicious conversation, Misha ran all the way to her favorite place in the country. It was an abandoned lookout at the edge of the county boundary. She couldn't believe how close toRussia she was, and still she had never tried to cross the boundary. She climbed into the lookout and considered what she could do. She could easily jump. It would be so easy, and all her troubles would be over...

I wouldn't do that if I were you.

Misha jumped. She had heard a voice...in her head? "God, I'm crazy now," she muttered.

No, you're not. Look down.

Out of pure curiosity, she followed the ironic command and looked down. At her feet was a large, gray Persian cat, rubbing itself around her ankles. She smiled and picked it up. "Aren't you cute," she cooed.

"Yeah, some people say that," it responded.

Misha screamed and dropped the cat, scurrying into a corner. "You...just spoke," she stuttered, pointing at the cat.

"Jeez, do you think you could have put my life in any more danger? You're lucky I have nine lives," the cat retorted. It began to bath its tail.

"Where are you from?"

"What? Do you think I'm extraterrestrial? Hate to disappoint you, but I'm not from space. I've been sent by the Witches of Id to help you defeat THE ED."

"Defeat? Yeah, I've really lost it now," Misha muttered, placing her hand on her forehead.

"No, you haven't. Now, I need you to come with me to see the Witches of Id and we'll go from there," the cat explained.

"What's your name," Misha asked, her curiosity getting the best of her.

"Fluffy-Pie."

"Gee, that's quite a name for a cat."

"Cynic."

Misha shrugged. "Well, I've got to go. Sorry I couldn't help you cat," she muttered, walking away.

When Misha got back, she found Helga crying loudly in the kitchen. After inquiring to the cause of her guardian's tears, Misha discovered that Ev had been taken from the household. It seemed that THE ED had ordered that all the young men be taken, seventeen and older. He had run out of older men to do his dirty work and began to take teenagers. The news severely shocked Misha, and she locked herself in her room. She stayed in this exile for about a week. She didn't sleep, eat or go to school. She just cried and cried. And thought about the situation. Suddenly she remembered the cat…

"It's about time you remembered me!" Misha glanced up to see the cat on her windowsill.

"Fluffy-Pie, I'm coming," she said simply, getting up.

They traveled for many days and soon both were quite worn out. Misha pointed out that they needed a break, so they rested in a beautiful garden. They picked some fruit and rested by a river, which was made of…Cherry Coke?

"Who dares to enter my garden!" screeched a high voice.

"W-w-what was that," Fluffy-Pie stuttered.

"Hallucinations. We haven't slept for a long time, so we're imagining things," Misha explained calmly. "Ignore it."

The cat tried, she truly did, but she couldn't, as a woman appeared in front of them, dressed in robes of black and red. "Who are you?"

Misha stood up. "We are but weary travelers, resting here on our way to…the capital," she said. "Who are you?"

"I am Norma, the Cherry Coke Goddess," the woman replied.

"Oh God."

"What do you want here?"

"Rest."

"Ah, but you can't. You are here so you are my prisoner."

Misha shrugged. "Okay, but hold on a second." She picked up the cat and walked to a clump of trees.

"What did you do that for?!"

"We'll get out of here…any ideas?" Misha asked.

"No."

Misha thought, and though, and thought some more *Jeopardy music*. Finally, an idea came to her. She explained it quickly to Fluffy-Pie and returned to where the goddess stood. "My liege, we would like to offer you a sacrifice."

The goddess nodded. "What were you thinking?"

"Well, I was thinking a gift of Cherry Coke."

"Ah, I like."

Misha nodded, trying not to smile. She took a cup from her pack and filled it in the river. She gave it to the goddess, who drank it quickly. This continued until the goddess had fallen asleep. Misha and the cat quickly left the garden. Unfortunately - as Norma was the Cherry Coke goddess - she wasn't sedated long. She awoke to find her prisoners escaping. She screamed and ordered her flying tigers (which also breathed fire) to follow them. Misha and Fluffy held their ground and defended themselves with clanging pots. The sound of the pots broke the tigers from the evil spell placed on them, and they became as gentle as kittens. Misha jumped onto one with Fluffy and flew from Norma's garden.

***

Soon, the weary travelers had reached a temple, where they again tried to rest. It was the temple of Belmont, sacred to Antonio , the god of travelers. It was decided that this was the best place to stay, and if they were lucky Antonio would intervene on their behalf. Antonio did indeed look down upon the somnolent travelers and caught sight of Misha. Moonlight shown down on her sleeping form, and he fell instantly in love. Coming down to the temple, he began to play a lovely melody on his violin (it's Eastern Europe, give me a break!). The aria awoke Misha, who gazed at the god in wonder. Antonio appeared in the form of a handsome youth, with golden hair and silver eyes. Misha stared at him and fell in love - hard. Antonio finished his song, and spoke, saying:

"Come with me, I shall make you a queen, greater than any on the earth."

Misha was truly tempted to linger there. Yet, she remembered Ev suddenly. And all the pain came back. "I can't," she said softly.

"I can ease your pain," he promised.

She shook her head. "No. I cannot stay now, but I will come back when my mission is concluded."

Antonio nodded, and began to play again, lulling Misha back to sleep and preparing her for the greatest trial ahead.

***

At the explorers next stop, was a lake, which looked like a sheet of glass. They camped there for a night. Unfortunately, Misha was having a bout with insomnia, and went to the lake long after midnight. She sat there, missing her brother, fantasizing about the strange youth, imagining the battle to come. She glanced down at her reflection in the lake, but it wasn't her own. Instead it was that of a man, who looked a bit like Ev, and a woman, who looked like herself. She glanced at it closer, and the man began to speak. He identified himself as Alexi Kelfmykia - her father. He told her of the revolution, and of the battle that she would have to embark on. Misha begged his forgiveness, for not wanting to come. Alexi smiled, telling her that she was not at fault. And with that, disappeared leaving his daughter to sort out what she had just heard.

***

"Here we are, the cave of the Witches of Id," Fuzzy-Pie announced, stopping before a large cave with a stone rolled across it.

"It looks like Jesus' tomb," Misha commented, "and why would they have a cave?"

"Had to go into hiding after the revolution," Fuzzy-Pie said nonchalantly.

"Of course."

Fuzzy-Pie approached the cave and said in a booming voice: "John Carter."

Misha glared at her companion. "Har, har."

"Kenetica is an ER fanatic," Fuzzy-Pie explained. The stone rolled away, and they entered. "We're here!" Fuzzy-Pie announced.

"Ohhhh! Fuzzy," squealed a voice and its owner appeared in a few minutes. She was dressed in ocean blue, and her hair was the same color. Her garments swirled like the waves on the ocean.

"They're here?!" came another voice. This woman was dressed in a molten orange and had bright orange hair.

"Misha?" The third witch appeared dressed in Kelly green and - you guessed it - had green hair. "Ohh, I haven't see you forever!"

"Nerrisa, she's as adorable as ever. Doesn't she look like Margarita?"

The witch in orange smiled gently at Misha. "Don't mind them, they like to talk. Welcome, Misha Kelfmykia, to our humble abode. I am Nerrisa, and these are my sisters: Kenetica and Azules. Now, about your mission. You are on your own from now on. The palace of THE ED is over the hill. You must defeat him and release this country from his bondage. "

Misha nodded and gulped. "Bring it on."

***

Misha arrived at the palace in two days. It reminded her of the palace in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. She hoped THE ED didn't sacrifice his guests. She swiftly knocked out one of the guards and dressed in his uniform. She entered the palace and searched for the tyrannical leader. Her search was in vain, for THE ED had been informed by the oracle Chico that the daughter of Alexi Kelfmykia was there. And THE ED prepared to fight to the death. He planned a trap, which Misha walked right into. He stood in the hallway dressed in his battle gear, which included a poisonous barb, which he placed on his tail (just like Cluny the Scourge) *Battle of Fates music*.

"Prepare to die, just as I killed your pathetic father," THE ED sneered coldly. Angrily, Misha drew her sword and began to blindly lunge at the monster before her. The mêlée continued for two hours, and it looked as if neither party was gaining an advantage. Then, THE ED's poisonous barb struck Misha. Misha fell to the ground, as the poison spread quickly through her body. She broke into a cold sweat and her breathing became extremely rapid. She could hear THE ED's hideous laugh pounding in her ears. At that moment, Antonio appealed before her.

"Antonio…" Misha whispered.

"Misha, I am the one you met in the temple. I'm going to help you." He kissed her and gently touched her wound. That instant, the wound healed, and Misha felt the effects of the poison reversing. She grabbed her sword and drove it clean through THE ED. THE ED screamed atrociously and breathed his last. Misha liberated the people held prisoner, and she was made queen of the country. She was married to Antonio and became a queen of the heavens as well. Ev was married to Kenetica and became viceroy of the province. Misha and Antonio had twins, named Elizabeth and Marie. Nerrisa became their nurse and often told them the story of their mother's heroics. And it was from her that I was told this tale.

*~El Fin~*