“Seth told them that he was going to bring them through a portal, but then he realized something: the portal was too small to hold all of them at the same time.”
One day, when Seth was throwing snowballs at a rock, a bluish-green light caught his eye. He shuffled towards some bushes (partly from nervous excitement and partly from the cold), and saw a multi-colored, kind of transparent sphere-shaped crystal that was the size of a medium sized stone.
“Dang! I need to get that rock!”
He lunged for the bushes, stuck his head inside, and that’s how he found it. The moment he touched it, he instantly appeared in another dimension. When he let go of the crystal, he was back in his yard next to the rock. Since he was only in the other dimension for one split of a second he didn’t get to see what the other dimension looked like, but he didn’t really care at the moment because his first priority was to go and tell his friends.
“WOW!!!” he exclaimed. “I’ve got to tell Jason and Xavier about this!”
When he found them, they were having a snowball fight against a couple of other kids.
Seth said, “Guys, come over here! I need to tell you something!”
Jason said to the team they were playing against, “Maybe sometime tomorrow, 11, 11:30? Remember AM, not PM!” They trudged through the slush over to Seth, soon to be amazed by what he had to tell them.
Seth told them that he was going to bring them through a portal, but then he realized something: the portal was too small to hold all of them at the same time. The second that he thought that, the portal split into three pieces and each piece grew back to its normal size.
The reason that the portals reacted to Seth’s thoughts was because the portals can read the thoughts of their true owners. They contain a lot of magic, but the magic only works if the owner really wants it to happen. If anybody except the true owner of the portal wishes the portal to do magic, it won’t work and the person that stole the portal can’t go anywhere.
Seth told them each to hold the portal and then put it in their pocket once they noticed a change. So they all touched their portal, and got transferred to the dimension. Now Seth and the others had time to explore. They all put the portals in their pockets and then Xavier and Jason said to Seth, “Man, we thought you were kidding! We never expected you to find a portal. There’s only seven in the world!” When they looked around, the sky was purplish blue and it looked as though the ground was a large mirror. They saw a bunch of floating objects in the air with stairs leading up to them and it looked like they were made out of diamonds. They decided to travel to a building that was the closest to the ground. When they knocked they heard a voice say, “Come in!”
So they did. And they were very surprised because the people that they found inside looked like themselves. Their duplicates said, “Ah, we were expecting you. We saw in our crystal orb that you have found our portal. We were hoping that you did because our world is in grave danger!”
“Quick question, what world are we supposed to save? And also we need to see the threat we are up against.”
Seth 2 said, “The planet is called Htrae, and for the second question, your answer’s outside. But before I take you out, be warned: not all human eyeballs can handle it. So if your eyeballs burn out, don’t blame me cuz technically I did warn you.”
“Sure sounds cool or something, take us there!”
“Come on, I’ll show you.” Seth 2 led them outside and brought them around the corner to the street. When they got there they saw the High King commanding his Legionnaires to kill everybody and then steal their money. Then, once the High King had their money, he created some spell and the people came back to life, but as his slaves. Seth couldn’t believe what he saw. How could the people let this happen? Why didn’t they start a rebellion or something? In the rush to leave, Seth, Jason, and Xavier dropped their portals and just at that moment that they realized it, they also noticed that the High King was holding the portals. Seth went and then started running toward the High King, but then Xavier 2 grabbed his ankle and dragged him back inside.
“Man, what were you thinking?!”
“Sorry, I was really mad. That portal was the one thing that made me special.”
“Then let’s get it back, but we need a plan first.”
Seth just realized something. “Hey Jason, Xavier, how did you know that any portals existed?” Both of them looked ashamed.
Finally, Jason said, ”You know how we always get A’s on our tests?”
“Well we have a portal that when we open it, it tells us all the answers. Oh and it said that if we share it with anyone else it will vanish from existence and show up on another planet.”
Seth said, “Okay, but now we need to come up with a plan.”
Jason 2 raised his hand and said, “The high king has a bunch of workers to help him in his scheme. Maybe, just maybe, if we pretend to be a few of his workers, then we might be able to slip through his defenses and take the portal, but that would take a really long time because in order to become his guards you have to work for him for at least five years. So that plan won’t work, but I know that there are a bunch of caverns that connect to one of the rooms of the palace. But we will need to wear white everything so we can blend in with the walls because the wallpaper is of a bunch spies wearing white so we’ll fit right in.”
They were almost to the king’s chambers when it happened: Seth 2 tripped on his boots and fell to floor, but he got up in time and the guard didn’t notice him, but the guard did notice when Seth 2 banged into Seth on his way up then he fell again because he was paying closer attention. They had two options: run or fight. Obviously they chose fight.
Seth 2 reached for his grenades. The guards were faster. They took their laser guns out of the straps on their backs and pointed them at the kids faces. “RUN!!!” they all shouted in unison. As they ran down the hallway they heard the muffled sound of an explosion and shouts and kicks. As the smoke cleared the guards realized that the children had ran away.
The kids knew that there was no time to waste. They needed all the time that they could get, so they kept on running. As they started to think that they were lost and the hallway was never going to end, they walked into a giant ballroom. There were tables circling a stage in the center, and there were red cotton curtains that were hanging over stained glass windows describing how good the king was. They didn’t care about any of that. All they cared about was the polished oak staircase at the back of the room.
Before they went on, they knew they needed to change out of their white clothes. Seth motioned them with his hands and used Sign language to tell them that they needed to quickly take off their supply bags, go into different corners of the room and change into their black clothes. Once they finished changing, they made sure to take their grenades this time and put on better shoes so they can never be surprised again.
As they slowly tiptoed up the staircase they were annoyed at how creaky it was. One would think a new polished staircase wouldn’t creak so much. Must have been used a lot. They thought that would have been a good sign, but it was a bad sign.
Suddenly, the staircase ended and immediately opened up to a dark and dull hallway. There were messages smudged on the walls, but they were barely legible in the faint light. They slowly tiptoed toward the main attraction: an iron door that had smears on it that looked suspiciously like blood. By now they knew something was up, and that this probably wasn’t the king’s chamber. They also knew that there was probably a hint, or at least something that would help them face their upcoming obstacle: the king’s pet. (The king’s pet was a giant golem that could spit fire, and could poison you just by touching you. And sometimes, if you looked it in the eye, than it would make you feel nauseous. And it’s breath was poison also. They knew this because before they decided to go on this quest, they studied the maps of the kingdom – one, so they could make a hasty escape. Two, so that they could know what they were up against. On the original map, there was no sign of the golem, and no sign of the hallway that they were slowly making progress through. They knew that they were going to be tricked. So they took the map, and used Jason and Xavier’s portal to summon the same person who told them everything they knew, and asked him to reveal the actual structure of the kingdom. The strange man casted a spell, and then in a flash of light, and a three second silence, a new map appeared. It was a papyrus scroll, so they treated it with great care. It was very old, so they were not sure that things might have changed. They knew this because when they touched it, their fingers almost went through the piece of paper. When they took their fingers off of it, it was covered in dust. So they decided to just leave it where it was, and that’s how they knew of the golem.)
Jason 2, always the brave one of the group, reached out and knocked. They couldn’t just open the door because it was bolted, and they couldn’t turn the doorknob because there was none. Once they started to give up hope, they heard a raspy voice behind the door.
They each one took turns saying their names, and where they came from. When it was Seth’s turn, and he said he was from Chicago, the man opened the door, and through a mass of tangled hair, he spoke, “I am the oracle of the newcomers. I am not on the king’s side, but I am not on yours. I used to give prophecies for everyone, but the king banished me to live my immortal life in this prison.”
“Prison!” The kids said. We thought this might be a secret entrance into the king’s chambers, or at least it would give us a hint –” They suddenly clamped their hands over their mouths, and they whispered to each other, “Maybe we could get this guy to help us. He said he is an oracle after all, maybe that’s why the king put him here.” Because he was helping people too much, and giving away secrets, they were over a googleplex reasons that he might kill them, or might help them. They decided to go with the risk, and they turned to the man, and said, “We will let you come along with us, and we could free you, but at a price. And that price is information.”
The man said, “Eh best hope I’ve had in over a millenia, and I’m immortal so nothing to lose, so why not.”
A preview of the next book!
Success and Failure
Back on Earth it was 1:30 and their parents expected the kids to meet them at the park on 59th for a picnic. One of the mothers was a pessimist and said, “They’re probably dead.”
“I highly doubt it, they’re in another dimension called Htrae.” She looks down at her phone, a little beep came from it. “Seth just texted me that they’re chasing down a bad king and trying to kill him. And that–”
“And what? Did they die?”
“What is it with you being all pessimistic?” said the optimist.
“No they didn’t die it’s just…”
“It’s just what?”
“Well…it’s just that, well I think that our kids just made the worst choice of their lives. They made a deal with the Oracle of Newcomers.”
“Ooh that is bad!”
“What can we do about it? Let them die!”
By now you should know who said that, so let’s just all say it on three. One, two, three. The pessimist.
“We have to go warn them!”
“But first, we need to prepare for what comes ahead, and we need to visit the Oracle of Oldcomers.”
“That’s far too dangerous to go without the Map of Vzifs.”
“Then we will do that first. It will be a long journey, and if you don’t see yourself fit for accompanying us, you can stay behind. We will send you pictures and you can like it on Instagram so that we can get more followers.”
So they went back to their houses and did the combination lock of the certain light switches in a certain order. They all dropped down and met in their emergency bunkers under their houses. They started to gather all of the things that they would need – a laser gun, a portal gun, a teleportation gun, baloney sandwiches, pepper spray, grenades, the kids’ favorite blankets, and a lot of other things including some fruit punch, pizza, disco ball, laser pens, and confetti.