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Octavia stepped onto the battlefield.  Her ironclad body shimmered in the final rays of the day.  Recalling a conversation she had with her mother, she pulled out a long, thin metal chain from under her armor on which hung a heart-shaped pendant made of iron. She remembered her mother’s words when she was given that necklace, “I will be with you always.”  Using those words as a propelling force, she roared a mighty battlecry and advanced into the formation.  She found herself facing a girl her own size and engaged her in combat.  The steel swords klinked and klancked like a xylophone.  Blinded by fury and rage, Octavia struck the final blow that ended her opponent’s life. “I guess ... I’m not so bad after all,” she thought.


“Oww, what the heck?” someone in the room cried out. I looked up. Right next to me, a girl was wincing, trying not to bawl her eyes out, though she clearly needed to.  Her hand was bleeding.  Suddenly everyone turned and gave me a piercing stare.  That was when I noticed the fountain pen in my hand, uncapped, and now slightly stained red.   “Not again,” I thought.  It was the third time this week that my daydreaming had gotten the best of me.  One cold stare from my teacher and I knew what was in it for me. “To the principal’s office you go, young lady!”  I pulled at the necklace around my neck until I reached the metal heart pendant.  I then imagined what my mother would say, “Again, you dunce?”


Chains knocked on the floor as Octavia was escorted to be questioned by the general.  Adrenaline coursed through her body as she searched for an explanation on what to tell him.  Would she tell him that she was a soldier?  Would she reveal her identity as a female, though she was dressed as a boy?  She didn’t know.  She would have to decide in the moment.


“You may come in now,” a deep voice said.  I stepped in the room. Its walls spoke of endless sorrow and misery. Its carpet sang a tale of despair.  And most of all, the man sitting in the swivel chair had an aura of mysteriousness.


“I hear that you have been causing disruptions in your class.”

“I know that’s how it may seem, but …..” I began.

“No buts,” he interrupted, “you’re having detention. Go to room 109 for your detention.”  I hung my head in shame and left the office.  The rest of the day was spent in utter boredom and in anguish for what was to come.  What did come, was not what I expected.


Room 109 was fairly small.  There was one teacher as the monitor, and as I sat down, she gave me a disapproving glance.  I handed her my detention slip and sat down in a chair far away from her.  I looked at my pencil, no my dagger.


Octavia held her dagger and cut the chains of of her binding.  She would probably escape, no she would escape.  She looked outside.  The guard would arrive when the sun reached its zenith.  Octavia didn’t have much time, because the sun was almost at the middle of the sky.  With a grunt of power, she broke the last link in her hand-cuffs. She then ran out of prison, in the light of day.


The prison’s exit led to a marketplace.  Octavia, shrouded in armour, stood out in the marketplace.  She looked around for someplace to hide, for it was a matter of time before the jailer would discover that she was gone.  Suddenly she had a spark of ingenuity.  A woman was selling long colorful robes.  


Octavia asked, “How many drachma for that?”

“Two drachma,” she replied.  Octavia hurriedly paid the price and relieved herself of her armor.  She left her armor on an unsuspecting shopkeeper’s stall.  Hiding herself in the robe, Octavia walked with a large crowd of people.  As she walked past a bunch of curio stalls, she spotted a similar necklace to her own, and remembered the day that her mom got it for her.  It was the day before she would leave for the training camp, and her mom was going on an excursion right before she left.  Her mom came back and presented the gift to Octavia.  “Remember to have a heart of iron,” she told Octavia, “and I will be with you always.”  At that moment Octavia felt truly in-synch with her mom.  And she knew that her mom would make all of her fears go away.


I refocused my eyes.  I was staring out the window. That’s when I noticed a large figure towering over a small kid.  And judging by the clenched fists on the boy, this wasn’t going to end well.  I opened and jumped out of the window.  The tall boy was about to strike the younger kid.  I reached out my arm, and swatted his arm back.  He turned around and curled his fists.  I was nimble, but I was fast.  I  reached out my arm and slapped him on the cheek.  In his short moment of shock I grabbed the little boy and ran away with him.


We ran into the building with the bully close behind us.  We took a right, then a left, and any other direction just so we could lose the bully.  I stopped to catch my breath, but I felt a hand on my shoulder.


“I’ve got you now,” the bully said, “I’ll let that runt run away, but not you.”  He gripped my shoulders firmly, and there was no chance that I would get out my force alone.  I would have to use my wits as well.  He started to tense up his body, so I knew that I didn’t have a lot of time.  I had a plan, but I would have to act fast.  I took out my hair from a ponytail, and I held a rubber band in my hand.  I undid the clasp and took it off.


I thought to myself, “Goodbye necklace, I’ll never see you again..”  I tugged hard at the chain, and the pendant fell into my hand. I took the rubber band from my hand, and wrapped it around my fingers.  I placed the pendant right in the center of the rubber band.  It hit his eye.  I know that, because I aimed for it.  I didn’t stick around to see what happened, and I ran for my life.  I then stopped and thought in anticipation for what would inevitably happen.  I trudged on slowly until I reached my destination.


I entered the room.  The teacher was standing there, waiting for me.  I said, “Before you say anything I just want to …”

“I know, I saw everything, I’m not as dumb as you think,” she replied.

“I just did what had to be done,”  I replied.

“And you did well, my child.  I’ll tell you what, I’ll treat you to some ice cream.”

I questioned, “Why?”

“Because if I tell the principal what you’ve done, he won’t believe me.  He’ll probably give you another detention, and get me fired.”

“Well that’s rather selfish,” I said.

“Kid, it wouldn’t be if you knew my situation” she replied.  I knew that she didn’t actually sympathize with me, I could see it in her eyes.

“I don’t believe you,” I told her evenly.  The rest of her face then matched with her eyes.

“In that case, I’m telling the principal what you’ve done, and I’m leaving out the part where you defended someone, because no one believes it.  Neither do I.”


I left the school that day accepting my fate as a delinquent, and that society wasn’t ready to accept that I can do good.  But boy was I wrong.


The next day, I tried to spend my day as normal as I could, but my my fate was hanging in front of my face like a mobile over a baby’s crib.  At the end of the day, the teacher handed me a note.  It read, “You are excused from your detention.”  


I thought out loud, “Why did I get excused from that stupid detention?”

Then I heard a voice say, “Because of me.”  I turned around.  It was a boy of a small stature.  That was when I realized who he was.  

“You’re that person that I saw yesterday,” I said.

“And you saved me,” he replied, “That bully has been tormenting me for a long time, and I’m pretty sure that you scared him off.”

“But how did you manage to let me skip detention?” I inquired.

“My father is the principal …” he started.  I could figure out the rest..

“I appreciate what you did for me,” I interjected.

He said, “No problem, well I best get going.”  He turned around and left the room.  I never got a chance to say goodbye.  I never saw him again.  

But I learned that one small act can potentially the world.  And whenever the necklace creeps into my dreams, I silence it with the thought that I lost it for a good cause.  I know that I did.  And if you’ll excuse me I’m off to fight a war with my gal Octavia.

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