Normally, the star-filled sky over the Arkrealm auditorium created a romantic mood, but Blayze, the red leader, felt as edgy as a lizard about to shed its skin. He looked behind him at the thousands of empty bubble seats. Crikey! I’ve got a bad feeling about this—the Arkrealm Council has never called a closed, midnight meeting before. The air shimmered with rainbow coloured motes, turning into a jelly-like portal. Master Clarity materialized, his long hair, robe and trousers fluttering in the breeze as he strode forward. He took a position at the front of the floating stage and folded his massive wings behind him. The leaders stood to take the Arkrealm Pledge. ‘I promise to fulfil my Arkrealm obligations, To protect and save the Earth’s environment, To value all life forms equally, To guide others by my example, To work towards peace and harmony, To strive to ask the right questions, So Divine Spirit can give me the right answers.’ The leaders traced the Arkrealm symbol, a unique Y shape, on their forehead and sat down. Master Clarity opened his pale hands. ‘Leaders, I can see you are all concerned about the reasons for this meeting, but rest assured I have good news.’Blayze sighed with relief. Now all I have to do is stay awake. He dug his pointed nails into the sleek fabric of his red body suit. Cripes! If I’d known choosing a Frilled-neck Lizard, as my arkside, would make me useless after sunset, I would have chosen a possum or something nocturnal.Master Clarity’s voice boomed across the auditorium and Blayze jumped. ‘I called this meeting to announce the Arkrealm Council’s choice for the first human apprentice.’ He reached into his robe and pulled out a golf-ball sized crystal and held it up. ‘The chosen candidate comes from the Sugar Peak region in Australia.’ Blayze lifted out of his seat bursting with pride, but when the holograph of the winner radiated from the crystal, the chosen candidate was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed female. ‘The council chose Sandy Miller.’ Master Clarity nodded towards the violet leader. ‘Congratulations, Magnifay; that makes you Sandy’s mentor.’ Blayze felt the blood draining from his face and icicles taking residence in his body. Master Clarity looked at him with sympathy, an emotion Blayze didn’t want from him or anyone. Rustling up all his energy Blayze led a round of applause for Magnifay and gained an approving nod from Master Clarity.‘I do realize it is disappointing for the rest of you, but eventually you will all have your own human apprentices, so keep an eye on your candidates.’Blayze slumped into his bubble. Yeah, but they will never be the first human Arketyke. 2. WHAM! Sandy Miller shivered. ‘There’s something wrong, I can feel it.’ She wrapped her arms tightly across her chest and squinted. In the distance, galahs, cockatoos, magpies and crows dipped in and out of the mist-covered tree tops screeching.‘What’s wrong with you guys, you don’t normally share territories?’ A distant siren drew closer. Sandy saw the Country Fire Authority (CFA) truck turn into Forest Road and drive towards her.‘Fire? What, in this weather?’ The truck stopped at the Millers’ gate. ‘Oh razz! Why would they stop here?’ One of the fire-fighters hopped off the back of the truck, came through the gates and ran up the hill.‘Shoot! He’s coming up here?’ She turned to retreat into the house, but a voice called. ‘Wait up—I need to speak to you.’Sandy tightened her dressing-gown tie, turned and leant against the door ready for a quick escape.The fireman bounded up the steps, brushed the soaked hood from his head, revealing unruly blond hair, and took a moment to catch his breath.Wham! Sandy felt like she had dropped in an elevator. Oh razz! It’s the hunk from school. She could feel his eyes moving upward from her fluffy, violet scuffs, past her purple dressing-gown, to her burning face. I wish the deck would open and swallow me.‘Hi, I’m Ridge Elliot. I’m sorry to disturb you, but we have been ringing all the Cassiels’ residents and we didn’t have the new number here.’‘What’s up?’‘We’re warning everyone that a section of Sugar Creek has broken its banks. With so much rain it couldn’t hold. You won’t have a problem here, you’re too high, but I’d advise staying indoors as a precaution. Are your parents around?’‘No, they’re at work.’ Sandy’s stomach fluttered and she glanced down at her dressing gown. I can’t believe it—the most popular guy in school is standing on my doorstep and I look like a freak show. Ridge handed her a pad and pen. ‘I need to get their contact details for the department.’ She started to write, but her hands shook.‘Here, write on my back.’ He turned. Sandy noticed his drenched jacket, but felt too rattled to hesitate; she rested the pad across his broad shoulders and wrote. When Ridge turned to face her she could feel the warmth of his breath on her cheek. She stepped back and handed him the pad. He looked at what she’d written and smiled. ‘Actually, it was your parent’s details I needed, not yours, Sandy.’‘Sorry, I’m such an idiot.’ Ridge tore off the top sheet, stuffed it into his pants pocket and gave her back the pad and pen. Sandy didn’t wait for his back—she couldn’t handle his closeness. She scrawled her parents’ details and handed the pad back. ‘Thanks. Now remember it’s best to stay indoors. We’re heading out to see if the SES needs any assistance. We’ll keep you informed if the situation worsens.’ He bounded down the stairs and walked past the angel fountain before Sandy’s common sense returned.‘Hey, Ridge.’He stopped and turned. Sandy’s heart pounded. ‘How did you know Sandy was my name and not one of my parents?’‘You’re the new girl at Bridleigh; everyone notices someone starting third term.’ Ridge waved a hand. ‘Anyway, your hair’s hard to forget.’ He headed back to the fire truck. ‘Razz jazz, he likes my hair.’ Sandy floated into the house but she caught her reflection in the hallstand mirror.‘Omigod!’ She picked up a strand of her blonde hair. ‘Gran would have said I look like a birch broom in a fit. No wonder Ridge called it unforgettable.’ She leant in closer and touched under her eyes. ‘And if witch hair isn’t bad enough, I’ve got blubber eyes as well. How am I ever going to make an impression? I’m never going to fit in here.’ She picked up a photo frame and looked at the image of her grandmother. ‘Gran, I wish you were still here. You always gave me advice.’A distant howl made Sandy’s arms prickle. She opened the door, ears pricked. The howl continued and the birds screeched. ‘I know what you’d do, Gran.’
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About the Book
Fifteen-year-old Sandy Miller thinks she’s the luckiest girl in the world—and then reality hits, hard. Her entire life changes in an instant when she learns that she’s been chosen for an incredible honour. She will be the first human apprentice to the Arketykes, an ethereal team of environmental superheroes from the celestial sphere of Arkrealm. To make strange matters even stranger, she must keep her new superhero-in-training identity a secret. Now, her dreams of dating heartthrob, Ridge Elliot, are a thing of her human past. What’s more, the brother-and-sister team of Christian and Melrose Keller have other plans for her romantic future. As Sandy struggles to prove herself as a future superhero, she faces the deadly power of Mother Nature and unforeseen enemies that threaten her apprenticeship and her life. Will Sandy find love and become Arkrealm’s first human apprentice— or will her alliance with Arkrealm destroy her?
About the Author
While co-running one of Melbourne’s largest ballroom dance studios, Dee Rayson studied writing, colour analysis, kinesiology, Reiki, and psychic development. Over the span of eleven years, she developed the Arkrealm Project book series with the goal of encouraging readers to care for the environment, embrace their individuality, and reach their full potential.