The Diary of Miss Aidyn Hall, friend and teacher
The Final Entry
Apple Blossom starts her writing lessons on Monday. Today is Saturday, and as per the time-honored educational tradition of the humans, I will never give lessons on Saturdays and Sundays. In my childhood, Saturdays and Sundays were reserved for sleeping in, Saturday morning cartoons, and long days of play. Unfortunately, Apple Blossom doesn't entirely get that luxury. She has her morning lessons with Beryl, as well as her education and training in becoming the Greenwood's future queen. Her teachers must be doing an excellent job with her, as she is already as much a little queen as she ever could be.
Apple Blossom has yet to tell Beryl that she will be studying under me. She might be telling her right now, and I have a feeling that it will give poor Beryl a case of the vapors. But her parents have already given me their seal of approval, though it was a very reluctant one. They were even more reluctant when they were told that Katie was going to be my teaching assistant. They said several words to Apple Blossom in tree-elven, which Apple Blossom later told me meant something along the lines of, “This is getting entirely out of hand.” But after some careful and persistent persuasion, they finally agreed—under the condition that the queen would supervise these lessons. I had no problem with that; honestly, I had been waiting for an opportunity to get to know the queen better. The most that I had ever interacted with her had been on that first day, at Apple Blossom's birthday party. We don't play with humans, Apple Blossom, she had told her daughter then. Look at how much has changed in the space of a summer!
I'm sitting in the garden, looking toward the magnolia archway that had concealed a whole nother world for so long. Since my first step beyond that archway, I've met a princess, attended a royal birthday party, discovered a land of elves, swam with mermaids, gotten into trouble, made new friends, become a teacher, and entered into an alliance that will make history. And of course, I have produced my greatest work of all time and given it the greatest purpose. Any writer can churn out fairy tales until they get lucky with a big seller, but I doubt that any other writer out there has ever donated their work to the archives of a kingdom of forest elves. My diary will make history. By the time Apple Blossom becomes queen, a generation of Jadeites will be aware that an alliance between the Jadeites and the humans not only works out, but has produced something wonderful more than once. Of course, I'll still be around when Apple Blossom is queen. I might even be her royal scribe, or else the head of the brand new Department of Human Affairs. Ha ha, that's a long way away.
I've never been more motivated to write than I am right now. I set out into the land of the elves in search of writing material, and came back with a steady supply of it and so much more. This particular tale will never be for human eyes, but that doesn't mean that I can't take a few elements here and there for my future stories. One day, I could write about an unlikely friendship between a human commoner and elven royalty, or about a race of people that can channel nature magic through gemstones. Perhaps I'll tell the story of a woman who finds herself in a hidden woodland where humans are looked down upon. No one will ever have to know where I've come up with such fanciful ideas. It's just Aidyn's imagination running away with her again, just like it always does...
And of course, I will write for Apple Blossom. I'll tell her stories that will make those eyes light up with wonder. I'll weave her wonderful worlds to dream about and beautiful images to fill her lively mind. Stories will be part of our lessons. Naturally, she will learn to read my other stories just as well as she will learn to read this one. I wonder if she's ever tried to write a story before...
But this story will forever belong to her, and to the Greenwood; it's the first of what I can only hope will be many, many stories of a friendship between humans and Jadeites. Wait, I don't need to hope! I know there will be many others, because I will write them all! And maybe someday, Apple Blossom and Wildflower will write even more. Nature magic is one thing, but if you ask me, writing is one of the most powerful magics in the entire world, and it's the kind of magic that can be shared among humans, Jadeites, tree elves, and whoever else may be out there in those hidden areas of the world.
Katie's been blowing up my phone for the past twenty minutes. I guess I should get ready to go and pick her up now. I've got a tupperware tub of black grapes waiting in the fridge, and my teaching materials and A Dragon's Pride are all packed up in my bag. All I need is Katie, and this diary...
Hannah sent some burgers over for me and Katie's lunch, and I wish that she had sent enough for Apple Blossom and Wildflower. If they liked venison, then a hamburger would absolutely blow their minds. I'll make sure they get one next time.
I'm curled up in the back of Katie's car, writing away as we head on down to the magnolia archway. “I don't want you to drive,” Katie told me, “I want you to write. Your story needs to end on a decent note, because if you have a good ending, then they'll want to hear more.” I've got the window cracked open, and the air is surprisingly crisp and fall-like for so early in September. It won't be too long before the leaves begin to change, and the Greenwood will be painted shades of red, orange, and gold. It's far too beautiful out to study in the library. I might move our class out to the banks of the Bell's Rush, and if we're very lucky, Katie will get to see the mermaids.
“Don't park in the woods,” I warn Katie as the first spruces of the mini forest come into view. “The guardians wouldn't appreciate that.” Nodding, Katie pulls over in front of the spruces. “You're coming out, right?” she asks me as she holds the car door open.
“Duh, of course I am,” I tell her. “I just want to finish this up first. Wait for me down by the magnolias.”
Katie sighs. “You know I can't get past all that brush without your help.”
“You've done it before,” I remind her, recalling the time she had scared the daylights out of me and Apple Blossom by showing up unexpectedly.
“Oh, fine then,” she says. “I'll be there.” So she goes off into the woods and leaves me alone to muse over the end of my summer adventures. It doesn't feel like an ending at all, but a beginning: the beginning of a friendship, the beginning of an adventure, the beginning of an alliance, the beginning of a new chapter in both the history of the Jadeites and my own writer's life. I'm gathering up my bag and getting out of the car now. I don't want to leave Katie waiting—she isn't too fond of spiders either, even though she isn't as squeamish around them as Janelle is. I can write and walk at the same time, I've done it many times before.
Katie's made it through the brush, I see. It isn't so hard to get to the Greenwood if the guardians want you to be there. When they don't want you to, it's another story. There they are, perched high upon their webs in the leaves above my head, watching to make sure that I keep Katie out of trouble. I nod to them. They know that the Greenwood is my second home. I would never do anything to bring harm to it.
Apple Blossom's here. I hear her and Katie's cheery chatter. My human best friend and my Jadeite best friend are chatting it up as if they have been best friends from the very start. From this moment on, this diary belongs to Princess Apple Blossom, of the Greenwood. Let it be known that within this book is the one-hundred-percent true story of the very first true friendship between a human woman and Jadeite royalty. The story of my adventure shall be a message to the future generations of the Jadeites of this Greenwood that all it takes to form a revolutionary alliance is just a little bit of kindness and an open mind. There has been an alliance before, there has been an alliance again, and let us hope that from here on out, there will be many, many more.