This is part of a series on Asher’s Writing

When I was in middle school I decided that I was going to write a big novel.  I partly succeeded.  I was going to write it with this girl I was friends with in school, but she read the first couple pages of my first draft and I remember, perhaps inaccurately, that she lost interest.  It was pretty bad, but I didn’t know it at the time.  That was the beauty of it.  I’ve included the parts I crossed out so you can see the evolution of my writing.  I think it’s hilarious.

The Secret of Magic

By: Asher

Rough Draft 1st Half

There are no chapters in this book because we felt it would get in the way of reading.

Tol was picking at a small dinosaur skeleton when Cal came over.  “What kind of dinosaur is that?”, Cal asked.

“A Plateosaurus Velociraptor,” Tol replied casually.

“Oh, well.  I came over to tell you that we made a big discovery over in at the ruins.” Cal said excitedly.

“This place is full of stuff, isn’t it?  First a dinosaur patch, and now a big discovery in some ancient ruins.”

“Yep.  Anyway, you should come over and check this out.”

“Ok. Whatever.”

As Tol walked he thought of how he became to be an archeologist archaeologist.  When he was a kid he was always fascinated with dinosaurs.  When he was going to college he studied enrolled in the archeological classes and loved them.  He didn’t have much of a life in college he realized but he brushed it off, just like he brushes everything else off.  When he was twenty-five he came to this place.  A sort of secret base made for scientists.  In the year 2045, you can’t be too careful with all these terrorists around.  They seem to like killing scientists the most for some reason.  They finally got to the entrance of the ruins.

“Wow, this place is huge!” Tol said with enthusiasm.

“Ya, ya, ya, let’s go.” and with that Cal was tugging at Tol’s sleeve, urging him on.  They went down some dark stairs into a crypt.  There were laser beams across the ceiling to light the tunnels.  They took a left, then a right, (and) another left when they got to this tiny room. A lot of people were in it the room, so it was crowded.  All the people formed a semi-circle around something.  Tol couldn’t quite see but it looked like a box (of some sort).  They inched closer because in this spot the ceiling was very low.  When they finally got there Tol realized it was a box.

“What do you think?”, Cal asked almost out of breath.

“I don’t know… what is it?”, Tol asked.

“A treasure chest, dummy  We can’t seem to open it.”

“And you expect me to be able to open it?”

“Well, yeah.  We all knew how good you are at puzzles.”

“Well.  Ok.  Here goes nothing.”

Tol lifted the box and examined it very carefully.  He found a chain stuck to it.  It fastened the box to the ground somehow.  Tol pulled and pulled but the box was stayed fastened fast.  Soon everyone in the room joined in on the effort.  Finally, the chain popped out of the ground and the box went flying.  It landed with a thud.  Tol picked up a key from the end of the chain, (it was) not attached to the box.  “And you call yourselves archeologists…” Tol retorted.  He carefully stuck the key into the keyhole in the front of the box and turned it a little.  Tol saw a flash of light and then darkness.  He couldn’t believe his eyes.

He was crouching on a small pedestal.  A clear crystal case surrounded him.  Outside the case, he could see a statue of a very strange creature.  It was moving!  Maybe it wasn’t a statue after all.  It had four arms and a serpentine-like tail.  Six legs supported the enormous body.  Tol looked around some more, he saw a window.  Through the window, he could see it was just sunrise.  That’s funny, when he went into entered the swirly pool ruins it was way past sunrise.  Just then, a bunch of men in white robes entered.  The creature stopped moving around.

“This is one of our best specimens, I think it’s called a human,” one of the men said, pointing a finger at Tol.

“Let me out! I want to go home!”, Tol yelled at the top of his lungs.

The men didn’t even seem to hear him!  They were whispering to each other in a strange language.  Then they left.  Tol was all alone again in this crystal case.  Just then a voice in his mind said, “Do you really want out?” it sounded feminine and beautiful.

“Yes,” Tol spoke aloud.

“You don’t have to speak, just think and I will hear you.  If you speak you will upset the Garganuta over there.  They don’t like noise.”

“How will you help me?”

“I will give you this.” And with that, a shining, red crystal ball appeared before his eyes.  It moved around the cage like it was looking at him.

“What is it?”

“It’s a magic light ball.  It’s one of many spells the White Princess I can cast. I am the White Princess.”

“Are you the White Princess?”

“Yes. “I’m using a telepathy technique to talk to you.  I would like to free the humanoids, that can understand me out of here. Now let’s get you out of here.”

“Where am I?”

“No time for an explanation.  Just look at the ball.”

Tol looked at the ball and found he could move it by slowly moving his eyes where he wanted it to go.  When he moved his eyes to fast he lost control of the ball and had to start all over again.

“Weird.”, Tol thought.

“Yes. Now direct the ball towards the crystal case.  Remember, slowly.”

He moved the ball towards the edge of the crystal case.  It burned a hole in the crystal!  He moved it in a circle just big enough for him.  The crystal disappeared when he was done.  He slipped through the hole carefully so as not to wake the Garganuta.  He moved towards the window.  Out the window, he saw a garden and rolling hills in the distance.  He was on the ground floor!  If he could just climb out of the window!  He reached for a flower outside of the window, but his hand met glass…  He looked back to his former cage and motioned for the light ball to come over where he was.  It flew over obediently and started to melt the glass.  Soon he could go out the window. would be able to leave through he did but just then was halfway out the window when the Garganuta screamed, “Escape!”

Tol was going to hit the ground very hard. so he started to bend his knees so as not to break his legs.  When he landed he crouched for a second, and then fell again through a hole in the ground.  He landed again on a hard, cold, wet stone.  He looked p at the hole he fell had fallen through.  It was a hatch!  It closed up again and locked.  Tol was left in darkness.  Then some light began to appear all around him.  It was his ball!  It had followed him out of the window.  Tol tried not to imagine what could have happened if he didn’t have hadn’t had that ball.  He could be lost for days in this tunnel.  Who knows, it might even be a maze of tunnels!  Then he heard a rumbling.  It seemed to be coming from a far distance.  Then he saw it.

He almost froze in his tracks when he saw the tunnel caving in, but he remained calm, for a second.  Soon adrenaline rushed through his blood and he started to run.  He was running like no other mad when he fell throwing his arms out for balance.  When he pulled his arms back to his side again he saw some blood.  Blood!?  He didn’t care at the moment, he just kept on running and trying to get out of the tunnel.  Surprisingly, the tunnel only went straight, with no turns and no intersections.  Finally, he saw the light at the end.  It was very far away.  If he could just make it that far he would be safe.  He blinked from all the dust piling up in front of the cave-in and he suddenly was halfway to the light!  “Neat trick.” Tol thought to himself quickly then he quickly opened his eyes and closed them again.  He had cut the remaining distance to the light in two!  He was so close he didn’t have to blink because he was out of the tunnel.  He wondered if his mind had played tricks on him or if he actually ran that fast.  He also wondered in the back of his mind if the White Princess saved him again with some more of her so-called magic.

Then he noticed his left hand missing!  The light ball suddenly turned off and he found himself watching it attach to his wrist!  It slowly turned into a crystal hand.  Tol was amazed, he could move it like a real hand and everything.  He whispered, “Thank you, Princess.”

All around Tol was a forest.  The trees ranged from huge and overwhelming to small and insignificant.  He could even step on a few some of them!  He didn’t do that however, he was too tired.  He lay on a soft patch of grass slowly closed his eyes and fell asleep.

When he woke up it was mid-afternoon. He looked around and noticed how beautiful the forest was! It wasn’t a jungle but it wasn’t exactly a bunch of bushes. He loved it! The smell of the wood and leaves, the chipmunks climbing all over some of the trees, the cries of some exotic birds. It was just like a fairy tale. Actually, he wondered, was this a fairy tale? After all, how he got here was very strange, and how he escaped that strange museum was beyond him. Was this all a dream? He hoped not, he would hate to wake up after this and go back to work. This place was so wonderful! He started to walk around, looking for fallen sticks. Soon he had built himself a shelter and a fire. By then it was evening so he climbed into his shelter and prepared to sleep in intervals so as to keep his fire going. If he left in unattended it would surely go out. Then he heard something peculiar. It sounded like an owl. He walked out of his make-shift tent and looked around. It was an owl! The owl looked at him and made a hooting noise. Tol said, “Stop it! Shoo! I’m trying to sleep!”

The owl replied, “I’m only asking a question!”


“I said, ‘I’m only asking a question!’ After all, if you are going to sleep in these woods you should at least tell us who you are.”

“Who I am?”

“Precisely, who you are, where you came from, where you’re going, and why. I always ask travelers that but they don’t ever respond. They either shoot at me with arrows or they throw rocks at me. You’re the first one to even yell at me! I guess it’s because I say ‘who’ all the time. They don’t even bother anymore. Back in the old days animals and humans conversed all the time. Now there seem to be fewer magical animals around. Anyway, answer the question.”

“Oh yeah, of course, I will. But first I want to ask you something. When I’m done I’ll tell you who I am and you can answer my question after that. Fair enough?”

“Ask away.”

“Ok. I’m interested in this ‘magic’ thing. What do you mean when you say you’re magical? And also how do you talk? Now, the answer to your question. My name is Tol Harrison Holt. I came from a land far-away called Earth…”

“Earth? Never heard of it.”

“I see, anyway, I am just traveling anywhere, I don’t know where I’m kind of lost.”

“Ok. You should travel north. That way you can get to a safe place…”

“A safe place?”

“I’m not allowed to say anymore. I am a magical creature because I was blessed with magical power when I was born. I can’t do anything special but talk. I talk by simply thinking of something to say and moving my beak around. Then these sounds come out and whoever is around seems to understand them even if they are a different language than you’re own. I can also understand any language that is spoken to me. That’s how the animals talked back in the old days.”

“How old are you, if I may ask?”

“I am one hundred twenty-eight years old. I must be leaving now.”

“Thanks!” Tol said gracefully as the bird flew off. “I wonder if the magic makes him live longer too,” he thought to himself as he went to his shelter and back to sleep.

At sunrise the next day Tol was sitting on a rock thinking. He was thinking about magic. Where did it come from? How was it made? Why isn’t there any magic on Earth? When did it first appear? What exactly is it? He had many questions for many things but he had no one to ask. So he set off towards the north, he could tell the direction by the son. He just walked for a while absorbing the scenery as he went. Sometimes he would see a dark figure much larger than him in the distance. He would walk a bit faster at those times. A couple of hours later he found a little circle of stones with a white rose in the middle. He picked it up and examined it carefully. It was none like he had ever seen. Suddenly a flash of light appeared and he closed his eyes. He didn’t want to be back on Earth! He wanted to learn more about magic! He slowly opened his eyes and saw the strangest thing. It was a pearl statue of a tiger! Tol was relieved, he thought he had traveled back to his homeland. He examined the statue carefully and found that the tiger was actually striped though it was the faintest he had ever seen. From only a foot away you couldn’t see the stripes at all! Suddenly he saw another flash of light and the tiger was real! On it was a white ribbon with cyan-colored letters on it. It read: Sabin. The tiger motioned its head and Tol heard again in his head, “Get on my back.”

“Are you a magical talking creature?” Tol thought.

“No. I am magical though. I’m the White Princess talking. I’m talking, seeing, and feeling through one of my elementals. I have different kinds, as all the princes and princesses do.”

“There is more than just one princess?”

“Yes. Actually, there are many. We are all brothers and sisters. Would you like me to tell you more while we traveled?”

“Yes please,” Tol thought as he jumped on the tiger’s back. The tiger started walking north again and started to speak but Tol interrupted it, “Could you tell me why we are traveling north?”

“It’s a surprise,” The tiger teased.

“Ok. Tell me more about magic.”

“Well, first there is a lot of different kinds of magic. My specialty is safe. White represents pure and that’s what I am. There are other colors too. Black’s specialty is destruction since black represents evil. Red is heat, Blue is water, Purple is earth, Gray is wind and clouds, Pink is games, Green is all that grows from the earth, Orange is shapes, and Yellow is music. They all have their own unique magic abilities. They also control each of the wonders of the world.”

“How do they get their magic abilities?”

“Oh, well, since we are all sons and daughters of King Rainbow and Queen Rain we all have magical abilities bestowed upon us.”

“Who are these King and Queen? Where can I find them?”

“Oh, you’ll have a lot of trouble finding them. I wouldn’t even suggest trying it.”


“Well, their whereabouts are a secret that even I don’t know.”

“Who does know?”

“Why, the King and Queen themselves. I know of no one else.”

“Thank you very much for clearing that up for me. I also want to know something else, how does magic work?”

“That is a secret also. No one knows. The King and Queen are said to know but getting to them is a secret. Perplexing isn’t it?”

“Yes, very. I wonder why it’s all secret?”

“If everyone knew the secret of magic they would all run around with magical powers and practically destroy themselves in silly war.”

“Good point.” They didn’t speak the rest of the day. Tol kept wondering why everything was such a secret and also who knew these secrets. When night came, Tol built a tent and the tiger made a magic light ball. The ball heated them. Tol slept inside the tent with his guardian tiger outside. It was very comforting for Tol to have the tiger around because he kept remembering the black figure. Soon even the restless Tol went to sleep.

He dreamed wicked dreams.

The tiger was cleaning itself when Tol woke up. He saw the magic light ball had gone away. Tol asked, “How long ’til we get to this ‘surprise’?”

“Just another day of traveling,” the tiger replied.

“Ok, well, we better get going then.”

“Hop on my back.”

Tol got on the tiger’s back and looked around at the scenery some more. That was all there was to do in these woods. They traveled all morning when they got to a little pool of water. The tiger bent down to drink while Tol watched the surrounding area. He was having an uneasy feeling about this. That dark figure kept popping into his mind. All of a sudden he heard a ‘hoo!’ That owl that he had talked with earlier came down and landed on his shoulder. “What are you doing here?” Tol asked surprised.

“I came to accompany you and your beast to the safe place. The high order of the forest got direct orders from the Green Prince to have me be your companion. I don’t know why though.”

“I never asked you this before but, what is your name?”

“Devorins, a family name.”


Tol got on the tiger’s back and they all started off towards the north. After a while, they heard a flapping of wings and then a thud. They looked around but nothing was there. They kept on walking when all of a sudden a giant head of a bird popped out from behind one of the biggest trees there. It startled Tol so bad that he fell off the tiger and almost squashed Deverins. Then the rest of the beast came from behind the tree. It had the top part of a giant crow, wings and all, the bottom part of what looked like a giant goblin, and a huge serpentine tail. It screamed and started to charge towards the tiger. Then it abruptly turned at the last second and started to charge towards Tol! Tol dodged under its legs while Devorins flew high into the air. The tiger went for one of its legs and missed. The beast whirled around smacking Tol across the chest. Tol flew back and hit a tree. A couple of apples hit him on the head and he fell unconscious. The tiger went for the beast’s legs again but, using the same tactics as the beast, jumped at the last second. The tiger barely hit the beast’s neck and fell to the ground. Devorins started to fly down very fast and hit the beast in one of its eyes. The beast screamed and hit the bird with one of its wings. The bird fell to the ground, also unconscious. The beast twirled around again and almost hit the tiger. The tiger jumped onto the beast’s leg and took a big bite. The beast screamed in agony. The tiger kept climbing up the beast’s side and bit into the beast’s neck. The beast thrashed about tossing the tiger like a rag doll. But then the beast fell to the ground and was paralyzed. The wound in his neck had made him lose too much blood. After a while, it was finally dead. Tol woke up and looked at the beast, and then at the tiger. He picked up Deverins and said to the tiger, “Nice work!”

The tiger replied, “Oh, it was nothing.”

After that Tol just walked beside the tiger and they didn’t talk for the rest of the day. It was like the tiger had lost all communication with Tol. Tol was very suspicious of this but he kept walking north. By evening they reached something.

Tol saw a glimpse of shining white stuff in the distance between two trees. The owl said, “This is the surprise. IT’s our destination. It’s the White princesses Castle.”

In a few steps, Tol suddenly saw the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. It seemed to appear right out of thin air, “That’s one of the best magic effects around. The ability to hide things. It’s like they’re not even there ’til an invited person walks up to it,” Devorins replied just as if he could read Tol’s thoughts. The center of the castle was a humongous glistening ivory dome. There were three towers around the dome connected at the bottom. The towers were ivory also and they rose high above the dome. There was a fountain above the dome that rose halfway up the towers. The fountain was in the shape of a pedestal with a statue of an angel standing on it. The pure sparkling water showered out of the angel’s mouth. The water rose as high as the towers and came down in a creeping mist. The water was then collected at the bottom in a circle around the castle. The water would stay in the moat for a minute then sink into drain holes to be showered out again. This way the moat always seemed to be full. Around the castle. Tol stood there awestruck. His mouth was wide open and he muttered, “Have mercy on my soul.”

The owl suddenly replied like all this was really nothing, “Soul? What soul? What’s mercy?”

Tol looked at him perplexed for a moment and said, “That was just a saying where I come from. Never mind.”

A bunch of holes suddenly opened in the dome. A bunch of swans fluttered out of the holes and flew around the escapade of mist and ivory. This was truly inspiring! All the holes closed and a hole in the front of the dome opened. The tiger started to walk in so Tol and Deverins followed. When they got into the dome the hole closed and they saw a beautiful garden. There were all kinds of flowers that Tol never seen before. The flowers were all white and blue. Tol looked around at all the flowers. He saw white roses, morning glories, daisies, snapdragons, and many more he has never seen before. One that he was interested in had long pedals that draped downwards. There was also a silvery tree with many white blossoms that looked like snowflakes and drops of water. There was a bush that was a white bush that had flowers that look like they were made out of snowy blue glass. The garden seemed to be arranged in a maze. The garden was truly magical. Sabin motioned with his tail to follow and they began to traverse the maze. They soon came to a staircase. Vines grew all around. Deverins got off of Tol’s shoulder and said, “Finally we made it through the maze.” Then he flew up the stairs and out of sight. The tiger looked at Tol and suddenly disappeared!”

“I guess I won’t be needing that tiger anymore,” Tol thought to himself. He then started up the stairs and came to another hall. At the end of the hall was another staircase going up. There were five doors on either side of the hall and one of them was slightly ajar. Tol walked up to the door and opened it slowly. He looked inside and saw Deverins sitting next to Deverins!

“Mighty fancy contraption isn’t it? I thought the same thing when I saw it myself. Then I just flew over and started to stand here beside myself. Ha ha ha ha!” Deverins said in a Scottish accent.

“That’s not the real Deverins! That’s just a machine! I’m the real thing you know, ” The other Deverins said in an English accent.

“Of course, those aren’t anywhere near real! I’m the real one!” Yet another one said flying in through the door that Tol came through. This one seemed to talk in a robotic voice. Tol was very confused now and decided to leave. The three birds started to argue with themselves when they saw Tol leaving.

They all said, “Wait! I want to go with you! I’m the real Deverins!”

So they all flew after Tol. Tol was very annoyed at this point but didn’t know what to do. So Tol exited the room with all the owls following him and entered another room.

This time when he entered this room he was met with a sett, garlicky smell. It was very misty here so he couldn’t see. He wandered blindly while the three owls chattered behind him. Suddenly he bumped into a wall. He felt his way to a window and close it. As soon as he closed it the mist went away and he could see. He saw a pool in the center of a circular room. There was hot lava in the pool. Right above the pool is a circular ball as hot as the sun. All around the pool sat a bunch of fire people, or what looked like fire people. They all turned their heads slowly and looked at Tol. One fire person that had his back to Tol even turned his head all the way around! Tol was sweating like a pig and was very frightened! He ran right out of that room as if his pants were on fire! He slammed the door behind him and noticed that the three birds were missing! He quickly opened the door again and out they flew. They were as sweaty as dogs on a night with a full moon. Tol just watched them wheeze and pant. Then he tried another door. He was desperate now because he wanted to meet the White Princess but he couldn’t find her! In the third room, the floor felt like a sponge and it was very soggy. Seaweed covered the walls and there was a hole on each of the walls. Suddenly he heard a click and he turned around and saw the door had locked itself. He ran to the door and tried to unlock the door. He then noticed that again the owls weren’t with him and decided that he was stuck. Just then he heard some splurts and splorts coming from the holes in the walls. He slowly approached one of the holes and looked in. Water shot into his face and he flew to the ground. He looked around. All the holes were spewing water and the room was filling up! He couldn’t escape! He would soon drown! He started flailing his legs which were now underwater but he didn’t move! He was in some kind of whirlpool. He was turning around slowly as the water sank into one spot in the ground. Soon he was pulled under and into a tunnel full of water. He was shot through the tunnel-like a bullet out of a gun. Then he finally hit some dry ground and the hole which he came through sealed up. He was in a totally different room now. A funny little man was sitting in a chair in the corner. Tol approached the man cautiously and asked, “Where is the White Princess?”

The man turned around with some kind of controller in his hand and stared at Tol blankly. Tol looked at the wall in the corner and saw a video screen with a map of the castle on it. There was a picture of a tunnel next to the map on the screen and it showed up blue. Under the tunnel, it showed a little room with two men in it. One appeared to be a funny little man and one appeared to be… “No! It can’t be! What is going on! That can’t be me can it?” Tol thought frantically. He looked at the funny little man who was now smiling and slowly backed away. He ran through the nearest door and saw the worst thing he could ever see.

Inside the room, he was now in was a giant four-armed six-legged Garganuta!  Tol turned around but saw the door was gone!  He turned to face the Garganuta and who was now also smiling.  It laughed a deep laugh and said, “You are going to be stopped before this goes any further.”

Tol was frightened out of his wits!  With one step the Garganuta could crush him like he was a peanut!  But Tol mustered up enough courage to say, “Who are you?  What are you doing in the castle?”

“Me?  Oh, I actually met someone who doesn’t know who I am.  Well, let me tell you who I am.  I am the creator of all darkness.  I am Prince Black!  And with my strength and magic I will destroy you!” The creature cried.  It then moved its four hands in strange motions and a huge fireball appeared before the creature.  The fireball shot at Tol who dodged.  The fireball immediately caught on to Tol’s path and turned around towards Tol.  It shot forward and was inches in front of Tol’s face when it stopped.  Prince Black yelled, “Go on! Kill him!”

Tol lifted up his hands to shield his face from the heat when he noticed his crystal hand glowing!  He almost forgot about his hand because it felt so real!  He looked at the fireball and pointed towards the Prince with his crystal hand.  The fireball turned to face the Prince who was now shocked to see his own spell work against him.  The fireball then shot towards the Prince’s stomach in a zig-zag motion.  The Prince lifted one of his legs though and stomped on the ball before it hit him.  The ball was crushed under the foot and it disappeared.  “No!” Tol yelled as he ran towards the creature with all his might.  He grabbed the creature’s flesh and before the Prince even knew what was happening the power of the crystal hand was coursing through him.  The Prince screamed in agony as the power of the White Princess went through every part of his body.  He then collapsed to the floor in what appeared to be a deep sleep.

Then all Tol could see was darkness.  He felt like he was moving but he wasn’t quite sure.  He saw a tiny light in the distance.  He tried to swim towards it for there was no floor.  He was getting closer to it.  It kept moving away though.  Tol swam harder and reached after a lot of effort.  He found the light was a little fairy.  She seemed to be unconscious.  Then Tol could was back in the room he killed the Black Prince in.  The Prince was gone!  The fairy sprang to life and said, “Thank you for saving my life.  I’m the White Princess.”

“No, thank you!  I was the one who needed saving in the first place.  Why were we in that dark place?” Tol asked curiously.

“That was a magical prison cell created by the Black Prince.  HE is darkness so the cell was darkness.  My cells are white.”

“I should have guessed.  Why did he imprison you?”

“I don’t know… He was up to something I know that.  What could have benefited him by capturing me is beyond me.”

“Good thing I showed up.  I do need to ask you a little question though.”

“What is it?”

“Where do I go next?  You know I want to find the secret of magic.  I don’t know where to go though.”

“Follow the sun to the west until you reach the river of purest blue.  Then ring the bell that hangs from the purple tree and there an otter you will see.  He will lead you to a lake and there his leave he will make.  A purple cloud you will see and in that cloud lays the key.  The key is to find the Purple friend that from there will be your guide.  But beware!  There is a guardian to the key.  He will destroy you if you do not see the truth.  I will give conjure you a real hand and I will give you this magical dagger for saving me.”

“Thanks.  I will be leaving now.”

“No! I mean, don’t go yet.  Stay the night and have a tour of my palace.  It’s the least I could do.”

“Uh, okay.  Where will I sleep?”

“Just a moment… There!” And with that Tol felt refreshed like he just slept for a whole day.  His hand was back to normal too!

“Wow, thanks!  Now I won’t have to sleep.  To tour your most wonderful castle would be a pleasure.”

“Why thank you.  Hold on to my hand.  This place is the dungeon, we don’t want to stay here.”  Tol took the fairy’s hand and they both disappeared.

They reappeared near a small bed.  It was a canopy bed.  The sheets were laced with light gold, just enough to keep you from being uncomfortable.

“This is my guest room.  My room is across the hall,”  the White Princess said.

“Why, it’s very nice.  I think I’ll be very happy here,”  Tol replied.

The fairy left the room and Tol was alone.  He found some neat clothes on a chair next to the bed.  He put them on and looked at himself in the mirror nearby.  He thought he looked pretty good.  He washed his grimy hands in a basin next to the mirror and walked out of his room.  He went across the hall to the door to the White Princess’s room.  He rapped on the door and asked, “Where’s the bathroom?”

“Down the hall and to the left,” a muffled voice said behind the door.

Tol followed the instructions and went down the hall and to the left.  He found a bathroom.  He did his business and came back to the hall he came from.  The White Princess was there waiting for him.  “Follow me and we can have a tour,” she said happily.

Tol followed the princess through a door, and into the maze again. “This is the maze. It is used to keep intruders under control. Only me and a few others know the way through. Follow me,” the White Princess said and without hesitation, she started to go through the maze. It was hard for Tol to keep up. He was soon lost as to where they were. He rounded a corner and saw something strange. He walked towards it not noticing the White Princess. He saw a picture only it wasn’t exactly a picture. It seemed to be painted straight into the air. It was three-dimensional he knew that because he could walk around it and still see the same thing only from a different angle. It was moving too. It had a bunch of little men and houses on a huge elaborate landscape. There was a cave in the west with a large purple guy in it. There was a cloud floating around above the landscape with a skinny and frail gray-colored guy on it. To the east, he could see a large chessboard. The chessboard however was not colored in two different colors. It was colored primarily in pink but there were other squared all colors of the rainbow. In the north, he could see a little dome in a bunch of trees. It had three little towers around it. Tol suddenly realized this was a map of the place he was in! This map must be magical. He looked around some more and saw in the center a little hut made out of trees. A little green elf came out of it and stretched his arms and yawned. To the south was an ocean. It was very large but right at the edge was a mountain with a cliff on the side. The cliff was very large. Suddenly the ocean froze over and it became a landscape of its own. It had suddenly formed glaciers and it was snowing! The cliff suddenly had a honeycombed shape building appear on it. But then the building and the snow and ice went away and everything was normal. Above the cloud that was floating around was a large circular castle that was shining as bright as the sun. Flames licked the edges of the castle and it looked very strange. He little east from the center of the map was a building that kept changing shape. It was very hard to focus on that particular building. A little west of the center was a very high tower. It was colored yellow and seemed to be emitting some kind of faint music.

“What is it?” Tol asked finally.

“It’s a magical map. You are able to see it because of a magic power called Illusion,” the White Princess replied.

“Who controls illusion?”

“I can’t tell you that.”

“Another secret eh? Well, I think I’m getting used to secrets now. I’ll try to find out this secret also.”

“Oh, you have to find out! If you want to know the secret of magic that is. It is morning now. Will you be going?”

“Yes, thank you for your hospitality. I need a way to get out of this maze though.”

“Here… take this,” she then handed him a crystal ball that had three arrows inside. They were silver. One pointed forward, one pointed right, and one pointed left.

“Thank you again. I could never repay you,” Tol said wondering about the crystal he was holding. The fairy then disappeared waving her hand. The crystal then shot out of Tol’s hands and was hovering in front of Tol. The little arrow pointing forward was lighting up like crazy and the ball was shaking in mid-air. Tol started to walk forward and the ball went forward too. He kept following the ball around long turns and short turns, through long straight paths, and short wiggly paths. Finally, they got to the entrance. The ball then started to drop to the ground but something caught it quickly. It was Deverins!

“I see you had a good time in the castle while I was left out here from a brief magical disturbance,” the owl said. It was not a very happy owl.

“I’m sorry. I forgot all about you! I won’t do it again! I swear!” Tol said truthfully.

“Oh, sure! ‘I’ll never leave you behind again…’” the bird cruelly mocked Tol’s voice. “Where have I heard that one before…” And with that, the owl flew off leaving the ball with Tol. What did the princess say again? Tol thought hard but suddenly heard a voice. It was coming from the ball! Tol almost dropped it when he saw a picture of lips in the ball. The arrows were gone.

It said sounding like the princess, “Follow the sun to the west until you reach the river of purest blue…”

“Okay! I got it. You can stop now. The west eh? Okay, that should be easy. He tucked the orb into a pocket in the clothes he took from the princess. He then proceeded through the forest following the red orb in the sky just like the fairy said.

He had been eating berries and drinking water from small pools along the way when it became nightfall. He built another shelter and slept for another night.

When he had awoken he brushed himself off. He then cleaned up the mess he had made in the forest and started to proceed west. He finally reached the River of Purest Blue at about midday. He looked around for a purple tree and saw none. He looked all around the edge of the forest but there was no purple tree to be found. He then lay down and started to play with his crystal ball. He rolled it across his chest lazily and then he tried to balance it on his nose. He was just about to balance it when he noticed the sky was a different color when he looked through the crystal. He stood up and put the crystal to his eye and saw a totally different world. He looked up and saw an orange sky with small birds flying around. He took the crystal away and saw a blue sky. There were also no birds flying around. He put the crystal back up to his eye and looked around the forest to see if he could find a purple tree. He saw nymphs and little baby centaurs playing in the woods. He saw elves climbing trees and a town nearby. There were animals everywhere. He saw a human among the animals playing with a dog. A human?! Tol walked over to the human and said, “How did you get here?” The human however did not pay attention. Tol thought, “Maybe I’m just seeing illusions.” Tol then walked around the edge of the forest occasionally walking through people. He then saw a purple tree with a golden bell hanging from it! He ran over to it and tried to grab the ball. His hand however passed right through the bell. He then took the crystal away from his eye and he saw a plain, brown tree before him with no bell. He then had a marvelous idea! Every time he put the crystal up to his eye he closed one of his eyes. He thought that if he kept both eyes open he could see both worlds and be able to reach for the bell. He tried carefully adjusting his vision. It was really weird! He could see the bottom half of the bell but the top half was missing. The middle of the purple tree was brown also! It was really hard but he finally rang the bell. He rang it a lot. Then he waited. He sat down and put the ball into his pocket.

A while later he could see a large brown spot in the water. Then a head of an otter poked out. Tol got on the otter and sat down again. This otter was very big. Big enough even to hold two men! And that’s just what it did.

Right then a little gnome popped out of the water and landed on the otter’s back right next to Tol. It said, “Hi! My name is Jargon! What’s yours?”

“I am Tol Holt. I am from a land called Earth,” Tol replied a little surprised. His voice however was more surprised than he was and that made him feel uneasy.

“Earth? Never heard of it. This land doesn’t have a name yet. I just live on it. Can I join you on your travels?”

“Why, of course, you can. I’m going on a quest to find the secret of magic. My only directions so far are from the White Princess. See,” Tol pulled out his crystal ball and asked it for directions. It politely rehearsed the riddle-like it had known it for years.

“The White Princess? The secret of magic? I don’t get it,” Jargon said a bit confused.

“It’s okay. I am a bit lonely so you can still travel with me,” Tol said reassuringly.


They kept traveling along the river on the otter. After about an hour the river took a large turn towards the south. Tol was asleep at the time with the gnome sitting on top of him fishing. Jargon suddenly caught a fish and jumped off Tol. Tol suddenly awoke startled and confused. He looked over and saw Jargon holding a shiny bottle with something inside.

“Look! I caught a fish! Now we can eat!” Jargon said happily. He then stuck the top of the bottle in his mouth and proceeded to eat it. Tol was quite surprised and just sat there with his mouth open. The Jargon spit out what was inside the bottle. “I don’t like the insides of these fish too much. They always scratch my throat,” Jargon said. He looked like he had just eaten a whale.

“Interesting… let me try one,” Tol said grabbing the fishing pole from the little gnome. He then caught another one of those fish and proceeded to eat the bottle top side first. It tasted like sugar mixed with maple syrup and a touch of water. When Tol put it in his mouth it practically exploded! He swallowed quickly and said, “Wow! That sure got big!”

“Yeah, they explode when they touch saliva. That’s why they’re so filling,” Jargon said acting like he knew everything.

“What are they called?”

“Bottlefish of course.”

Tol then ate the rest of the bottle. He put the thing in the middle of his mouth and then pulled it out. It tasted awful! He then noticed it was paper! He unfolded it and started to read the writing inside: I know who you are…

Scary… Tol thought when he got indigestion. He looked up and saw Jargon bending over the side of the otter bottom first. Tol asked, “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to the bathroom. Those bottlefish sure make you go.”

Tol then felt the need to go to the bathroom too and did the same as Jargon.

It was quite a sight.

When they were done they came to a large lake. The otter then went near the land and the two passengers god off. Tol took out his crystal ball and put it up to his eye. He kept his other eye open and he looked around. He could see a small wisp of purple in the middle of the lake. He got in the water and swam near it. The gnome just watched. When Tol got close to the wisps he could see they were forming a staircase. He got on the first step of the staircase and proceeded to go up it. He had to skip every third step because he couldn’t see it. Jargon just sat there in amazement. Tol kept on climbing silently counting the steps. One, two, three, four, five…

Finally, at about the thousandth step Tol could see the opening to a purple cloud. He passed through the opening and got on top of the cloud. On top of the cloud, he could see a castle and another fountain. Jargon was sitting on top of the fountain letting the water make him float in the air. He then got off of the fountain and looked at Tol. He said, “Hi! I got up here too! You can take the crystal away now. I don’t have one, see? After that, we should explore the castle. It must hold the key.”

“I don’t think I should. What if I fall?” Tol asked. He really didn’t want to fall.

“Ah, you won’t fall. I’m not falling, see?”

“Wait! Show me the truth!” Tol screamed remembering the riddle.

“Why should I?”

“Ha! See, I knew you were lying. I will see the truth myself!” And after Tol said that the little gnome suddenly disappeared.

Now to find the key. Tol thought as he walked towards the castle with the crystal up to his eye. He tried to open the purple door in front of the castle but his hand went right through it! It was made of clouds. That made sense to Tol and so he walked right through it. In a semicircle around him, Tol saw eight doors each with its own rune printed on the front. Tol walked through the first door and saw a gigantic yet empty room. He walked back again and stuck his head through the rune and into the eighth room. He saw a very large man, almost like a giant, laying on a bed. He had a toga on and he seemed good-natured. Tol walked all the way through the door and said, “Are you the Purple Prince?”

The man replied in a booming voice, “Yes, I am the man who you wish to see. What do you want?”

“I want to know the secret of magic. The White Princess told me to come to see you. At least, I think she meant something like that,” Tol said with a doubtful look on his face.

“Ah, magic, you see, is really a shift of paradigm. It’s just the way you look at things. Once you shift your paradigm you can see things that you never even imagined.”

“What’s a paradigm?”

“A model, as defined by the Winston College Dictionary.”

“A model of what?”

“Of the way you look at things.”

“I’ve seen things like magic light balls and invisible castles. Haven’t I already shifted my paradigm?”

“No, you haven’t. You can’t use magic right?”

“Yes… I think.”

“Well, then you haven’t shifted. You only suspended your disbelief. As soon as you don’t believe in this place, and magic, it all goes away for you.”

“Wow! I’m really glad I still believe in these things.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHA!” A menacing laugh came from deep within the large man wearing a toga, “You haven’t seen the truth! I am not the Purple Prince… now I will destroy you!”

“Oh, no you won’t” Tol exclaimed as he pulled out the dagger he got from the White Princess. Then the crystal ball he was holding up to his eyes started to melt. The large man was now a skeleton and everything around him was covered with slime. Bugs crawled on the ground and the ball just kept melting. It wasn’t burning Tol’s hands. All he felt was a trickle of cold running down his spine. Soon he couldn’t look through the ball anymore and began to fall. He let go of the ball and flailed around, thrashing his arms for some kind of hold. Then he fell really fast. So fast so that when he hit the ground he went right through it! Actually, he was going through the earth like he wasn’t there. He didn’t make a hole or protrusion in the soft earth. It was like he was suddenly transparent. He then became solid and he landed in a chair. A throne to be exact. In front of him were two tables with all sorts of foods on them. He saw a bubbling purple soda, a leather bag full of purple apples, a purple tree with purple fruit hanging from it, purple smiley-face candies, and a purple loaf of bread. Behind the tables was what looked like a science lab of some sort.


Tol was jumped up in his chair and his hair stood on end. In front of him was a bearded face of a man. He was smiling. He said in a bright and cheerful voice, “Scared be not and not be scared. I think I have found the promised one! Tee, hee!

“With one full moon and two full mountains lies a path to the underestimated! With two full moons and one full mountain lies a path to the underappreciated! With no full moon and one full mountain lies a path to the unforgettable!

“Three cows came down one path and followed another, I wonder what happened to them!

“One human happened across one and said: ‘How ’bout a drink?’ and I said, ‘Why not you weirdo’

“I love to scrape the wood but to write on the chalkboard is way too hard…

“When I was five years of age, my father was in a daze! When I was ten years of age my father was in the den! When I was twenty years of age my father said: ‘Canty, manty’

“Four paths in all so come to the mall!” And with that all over the man pushed the chair from behind and Tol started to move forward. The chair lurched forward and started towards the end wall. At first, Tol thrashed again and grabbed a small bottle with some purple bubbling potion inside. Then he hit the wall.

He didn’t feel anything though. It was again just like the first time except he was sitting on a chair.

He started to travel faster. Soon everything was whizzing past him. He saw air bubbles in the earth and a few small caves that had fairies in them. He saw a few moles and badgers and even the skeleton of some creature he did not recognize. Then he felt the chair slowing down and changing direction. It was going up. Soon he had broken through the earth and he stood up. The chair sank back down into the earth. He was standing at the base of a great tree. It was bigger than the biggest redwoods. He saw a green face look at him from behind the tree. He ran around the tree and saw nothing. He looked around again and saw nothing then he looked up and saw a beautiful woman. She had pointy ears and her skin was green. She introduced herself, “My name is Dezi, the Green Princess.” She was hanging upside down from one of the branches. Then she dropped down from the branch and stood next to Tol. She said in a bright and cheerful voice, “Come along, follow me!”

They had not gone far when they came to a meadow. Tol was standing underneath the branches of a tree that was on the edge of the meadow. He heard muttering and curses from above and branches began to fall all around him. One even hit him on the head. “Help catch me please!” And something landed on Tol knocking him over.

“Sorry about that landing,” a girl’s voice said and something helped Tol up. A tall woman was standing in front of him. She was almost as tall as he was. She had long red hair and green eyes. She looked sort of pretty but she was wild. Tol could tell she lived in the forest all her life.

“My name is Navastia,” she said.

“Oh, hi Navastia! This is my friend Tol Holt. He is from Earth,” Dezi says to the woman as if she had known her all her life.

“Oh, hi Tol!” The red-haired woman said to Tol. Then she said to Dezi, “He is the one you have been expecting right?”

“Yep he’s the one, he finally made it here,” Dezi said to Navastia. Then to Tol, she said, “What took you so long?”

“I had a little mishap with a guy in a toga and a perplexing bearded man,” Tol replied sheepishly.

“Oh, you mean the riddle and the Purple Knight. The bearded man was the Purple Knight and the guy in a toga was part of the riddle,” Dezi said all knowingly.

“Purple Knight? A guy in a toga?! What is this all about?” Navastia seemed very confused.

“Oh, nothing. Never mind,” Dezi looked to the ground.

“Assuming you’re the Green Princess where is your castle?” Tol asked.

“Oh, right here,” Dezi looked up from the ground and into the meadow.

“I see, you mean this forest is your castle right?” Tol said a little disappointed.

“No. I mean right here,” Dezi then raised her arms and the ground in the meadow suddenly started to shift. Then something sprouted out of the ground and started to grow. It was a little apple tree. The apples were golden and they shimmered in the light of the sun. The branches on the tree spread out like arms and started to arch towards the ground. They made a quarter circle when they hit the ground. They started to push the tree up and more stuff started growing around the tree. The leaves from the branches started to get very large and spread out like carpet around the tree. A large circle of vines was growing around the tree and they started to form a cylinder. Then they abruptly stopped and thin, tall trees started to come out of the ground in a slightly smaller circle. They grew as high as the vines and stopped. The vines started to form a ceiling while under the apple tree a spiral staircase was forming. In the middle of the ceiling the vines spiraled downwards towards the base of the tree and started to form a circular ledge around it Then everything was finished and it stood still. Tol was frozen in his place with a gaping mouth. Dezi said in an exasperated voice, “There, see? I told you… follow me. You too Navastia.”

“Wow, I didn’t know you could do that!” Navastia exclaimed with a new look in her eyes about Dezi.

They walked through a little door in the back of the cylinder and up the stairs. On the circular ledge, Tol realized that the apple tree was bigger than it seemed. He realized this because it was now a house! They walked in. The ceiling was very high and at the top was a skylight. Around the walls of the large circular room were windows made of pure crystal. On the window sills were little green plants with orange and yellow flowers. In the middle of the room was another magical map. To the right of the map were a bunch of red chairs with lots of soft pink cushions. All around the map were books of all sorts. To the left of the map was a kind of kitchen.

“This is my castle. It’s not as big as the White Princesses but it is my home nonetheless,” Dezi said proudly.

“Oh, it doesn’t matter how big things are. It’s still beautiful,” Tol said.

“You can do all this? Why didn’t you tell me?” Navastia was still awestruck.

“I didn’t want to tell you because I thought you would regard me as something strange. Then you would be less of a friend to me. I didn’t want to lose that friendship,” Dezi said, a hurt look in her eyes.

“Oh, I wouldn’t do that. I still think of you as my friend, but why are we here? Why did you bring us here?”

“I have to. My father, King Rainbow, told me to…”

Tol interrupted, “You know where he is?”

“No, he talks to me telepathically. For some reason he wants this man, Tol, to learn the secret of magic,” Dezi said.

“Aha! So that’s why I was brought here! I want to know though. I’ve visited all these places but no one has taught me anything.”

“I want to know too! Ever since I wandered from Zirius I wanted to know the secret of magic too. Can I join you on your quest?” Navastia said with a desperate look.

“Sure! I would love to have company, and you know more about this place than I do. You can come.” Tol said.

“Oh thank you thank you thank you! I’ll repay you somehow.”

“Oh, you don’t have to repay me.”

“Anyway,” Dezi said interrupting, “You should go down the elevator.”

“Elevator?” Tol and Navastia said surprised.

“Yes. This way, please. Watch your step and please, don’t stick your hands or head out the window,” Dezi said leading them to the far side of the room. A little hole opened up and a long cylinder room came up through it. Stairs unfolded from the door. “Watch your step please,” Tol and Navastia got into the elevator and the door closed. “Thank you for riding elevator enterprises. Enjoy your ride!” Dezi said walking away. Tol and Navastia looked at each other perplexed.

They didn’t have time to speak, however. The stairs folded back up and the cylinder shot down like a rocket. They were going so fast down their lips were flapping exposing their gums. Then the room stopped and they flew towards the ceiling. They hit the ceiling and fell to the ground.

“Oooooh, ouch,” Navastia said, “I think I hurt something.”

“Yeah me too,” Tol said, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

The door slid open showing a dimly lighted cave before them. They both got out and walked down it. They walked a pretty long time when they came to a wall. Something was stuck in it. It was a rose. It was growing out of the wall! Tol reached to pick it up and pricked himself. He jerked his hand away. “Froyd to gul init,” the rose seemed to say.

“What?” Tol and Navastia said.

“Teg em tuo fo ereh!” The flower was swaying back and forth now. Tol had an idea and dug the rose out of the wall. “That’s better. Who are you?” the rose said.

“I am Tol Holt from Earth and this is my companion Navastia from Zirius. Who er, what are you?” Tol asked.

“I am The Rose. I am supposed to be above ground since it’s not snowy out but someone or shall I say something stuck me down here. I know a secret that might amaze you but I can’t tell you.”

“The secret?!” Navastia and Tol exclaimed. Then Tol said, “Why can’t you tell us?”

“Because then it wouldn’t be a secret now would it. Besides, it isn’t the secret you’re thinking of. It’s a different secret about one of you.”

“Which one?” Navastia said anxiously.

“You. I can’t say anymore. Now for something completely different. I am the youngest of all. I am the one blessed not. Who am I?”

Tol said after thinking about it for a moment, “What is your name?”

“My name is Shaara.”

“That is who you are then. Your title shall follow,” Navastia said triumphantly.

“That’s right, I am the youngest princess of the king and queen. I have no power. I search endlessly for the secret of magic just like you. But, alas, I am a rose and have no legs… I cannot walk. You can leave me now,” the rose started to weep and wilted.

Tol and Navastia said to each other, “I think we should be going now.” Then they walked back to the elevator and went back up to the palace. They didn’t get to the palace however because it wasn’t there. The elevator simply stopped when it was above the ground. The Green Princess was nowhere to be seen. Navastia and Tol both got out of the elevator slowly so they didn’t disturb the peace. The elevator sank back down into the ground. They looked around and Tol found a little pedal. It was a rose petal.

They soon left the forest and walked east. It was just like walking through the forest going to the White Princess’ castle. It took exactly three and a half days to get somewhere.

They were standing in front of a huge yellow tower. Music surrounded them. Navastia seemed to be in a dreamy state and Tol was wandering lazily. They both then slumped to the ground and went to sleep.

Tol woke up in a small bed in a small room. He sat up and looked around. There was a piano in one corner of the room. It was yellow and it was playing with itself. In another corner was a washbasin which was also yellow. Tol realized that the whole room was yellow. A window was behind his bed and out of it he could see a wide forest. There was forest everywhere it seemed to him. It was getting very annoying. He could see little men marching in elaborate formations through the trees. He got up and looked for a door. There was none! Just then the wall rippled like it was water and a yellow robed woman came in. She asked, “Are you comfortable with the music?”

“I guess. How did I get here?” Tol replied in a daze.

“You aren’t comfortable with the music are you?” Then the woman snapped her hands and the music stopped. “There. In the second lesson of magic, you will learn…”

Interrupting, Tol asked, “Second lesson? I think this is my first actually.”

“Actually,” the woman said mimicking Tol’s voice, “This is your second. The first lesson was more of a law. ‘You must learn to shift your paradigm.’” Again she was mimicking. She mimicked the guy in a toga in the purple cloud this time. “Your second lesson is simple. Be comfortable with the music.” Then she left through the wall.

Tol tried to go through the wall too, but couldn’t. He badly hurt his nose. He sat down on the bed frustrated and looked at the piano. ‘Become comfortable with the music.’ That was his only clue. He looked at the piano and thought, “What kind of music am I comfortable with?” Then the piano sprang into action. It played some soft music which after a couple of minutes erupted into fast exciting music. Tol kinda liked that and felt an urge to dance. Then he realized he was comfortable with the music! He tried to walk through the wall again but he still couldn’t. He sat back down on the bed and looked at the piano again. He concentrated hard and found that he could change the mood of the music but not what notes were playing. He had taken three years of piano lessons when he was a kid and still remembered a few things. He walked over to the piano and sat down on the bench in front of it. He thought about silence and directed it towards the piano. He added a glare in just for good measure. The piano stopped playing and Tol put his hand on the keys. He found Middle C and pressed it. It made a twang that sounded awful. “How could something that sounded so sweet a second ago sound so sour?” Tol thought bewildered. He touched a few other keys and they sounded just as bad. He had another idea and he concentrated on the sweetest voice he ever heard. He pushed the Middle C key and it sounded beautiful. He pushed it again and it kept sounding more beautiful every time he pushed it. He then started to play chopsticks. One of the few songs he knew. The keys got sweeter and sweeter sounding the more he played. Then he stopped and he was swept away.

He closed his eyes and opened them. He was hovering on a piano bench above a large landscape. The piano was in front of him hovering also. He suddenly understood it all. The music, the landscape, his body, his mind, and his spirit were no longer a mystery to him. It felt wonderful. It felt godlike. He pushed a key thinking about the power he had. It sounded grand and perfect. There was no mistake. The ground below him shifted in a certain spot and he saw a castle forming. He played a few cords out of the blue. The ground waved like the sea and he saw the winds part the waters. In the middle of the water was a broad landscape again. It was like he had power over everything. Then he felt a snap in his body. It rippled up his spine and down his right leg. He then was sitting on the piano bench in the yellow room. He forgot all he just learned. He only remembered what had happened, but not how it happened. He started to weep.

Then he heard a chirp. He looked up and around but found nothing. Then he heard it again. He looked all around the room but didn’t find anything. Then the chirp came again only louder this time. He looked out the window and grabbed the bottle. It had wings! He started to stick it in his mouth when all of a sudden it said, “Hey! Let me go! Do you want to be saved or not?”

Tol stuck the bottle top in his mouth and looked around the room for the voice. The bottle too was moving! He took the top out of his mouth and looked at the bottle.

“That’s better! Now, which way would you want to go?”

“Would I want to go? Shouldn’t it be ‘Do you want to go?’” Tol asked confused.

“What would I do with something you want to do now when the possibilities of what would happen are endless?”

Making no sense whatsoever to Tol he put the bottle on his bed and asked, “But what about the shoulds and can’ts?”

“Well, those don’t really matter because something that should happen apparently didn’t and the word can’t is silly. Everybody knows that people can do whatever they want.”

“So where should I go?”

“Not should. Would! Shoulds just tell you what to do. Woulds bring us back to the possibilities again. Now, which way would you want to go?”

“I guess to Navastia.”

“Okay, away from Navastia we go!”

“Wait I said TO Navastia not away!”

“Exactly!” The little flying bottlefish flew through the wall and Tol followed finding he could go through the wall! He was in another room with lots of rooms. Half the mirrors showed the bottlefish and half the mirrors showed Tol. Tol said, “How did you go through the wall?”

“How did you not go through the wall?” The bottlefish replied smiling.

“I don’t know.”

“Ha! You lose the game. I win! Oh, by the way, my name is Alita.”

“Alita. What an interesting name.”

“Thank you.”

“Maybe I could through the wall all along! But that doesn’t make sense.”

“Not could. WOULD! Don’t you understand yet?”

“No, not at all. I would understand if I knew what you were talking about…” Tol started to trail off realizing he just understood the meaning of would. “I get it! I WOULD go through the wall only if I WOULD do it! I couldn’t because my mind said I WOULDN’T do it. It was all misunderstanding! If I WOULD find a way out of here I would be safe and I WOULD find Navastia!”

“Now you understand! Only, it doesn’t exactly work that way. There is always the opposite of would: doesn’t. You see if you WOULD find a way out everything would be fine. But, there is also a doesn’t. The way out doesn’t exactly appear that way.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know really. It just works that way. If there’s a would then most of the time there is a doesn’t.”

“So how come I can walk through that curtain wall?”

“Because that can not have a doesn’t. If something has two doesn’ts they cancel each other out. Get it now?”

“Yeah, now where is another doesn’t. Let’s see…” After a while of thinking Tol finally found something lingering in his head. “How ’bout this: The way out doesn’t have another doesn’t. There! Now I can find my way out?”

“No, because you just contradicted yourself there. Try something else,” Alita said smiling slightly.

“Why don’t I just use brute strength,” Tol said as he started towards one of the many mirrors. He then lifted his hand and knocked on it. It had a low think sound. “Nope, that one’s not hollow.” Then he went all around the room hitting the mirrors until he found that none were hollow. He looked up in thought and then had an idea. “Alita why don’t you fly up there and tap all of those mirrors on the ceiling?”

Alita looked at him and then sailed up towards the ceiling. Then she tapped each one and found a hollow one in the center of the ceiling. Tol thought for a moment, “If I could reach up there I could climb through. If Alita could lift me up I could climb through too, but she can’t lift me up. She would if she could but she can’t.”

Alita looked down at Tol and said, “Well? How are you going to get out of here?”

“I got an idea! How ’bout you go through the mirror by breaking it and go find some rope to hang from the ceiling so I could grab it.”

“Good idea!” Alita said while sinking down to the ground. Tol picked the bottlefish up and threw her up as hard as he could. She flapped once with her wings and flew through the mirror. The mirror shattered, the darkness behind the mirror engulfed Alita as she flew upward. Tol sat down and waited.

Navastia went through the wall easily because she had seen such things on Zirius. She was in a cylindrical room covered with shiny moss. She sat down and thought for a moment and then climbed up the moss. It was hard because the slipper moss was hard to hold on to. She finally got up to the top and found a bunch of mirrors. She then straddled herself across the room hanging on to the moss. She looked closely at the mirrors and found an unusual one. It was different from the others from a spectator’s view. It was more empty than the others. It was an emptiness Navastia couldn’t describe. She checked the mirror and it flew out of its place. The darkness beyond scared Navastia and she began to fall. She flailed around and at the last moment she caught on to the moss stopping herself from breaking a few bones in her body. She climbed back up the wall and heard a chirp. It somehow sounded familiar. She looked down and saw nothing so she climbed up some more. She got to the top and saw a flying bottlefish.

“Alita! Nice to see you again!” Navastia cried out.

“Shhhh. Not so loud! I came to save you from the Yellow Prince.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry. Did you see Tol?”

“Yeah. I taught him a bit of magic.”

“What did you teach him? Maybe I can learn too?”

“Oh, you already know,” Alita said while Navastia looked disappointed, “I taught him about the woulds and doesn’ts.”

“Oh, those! I liked those a lot when I first learned them, but after a while, you kinda get tired of all the doesn’ts.”

“Well I came to get you so maybe you could help me find some rope to save him.”

“Ok. What’s it like out there?”

“Oh, it’s okay. Kinda spooky. Nothing new though.”

Navastia climbed out of the hole and sat down on the floor made of mirrors. She looked around at the many walls that surrounded her. There was scary music coming from somewhere. Navastia got up and asked, “How do we go anywhere? This room has no doors or passageways leading away from it.”

“Just walk,” was Alita’s only reply.

Navastia started to walk and the floor moved but the walls didn’t seem to move. She was very surprised at this and started to ask but Alita caught her to the question. “The walls move with you. The more you get used to this place the more they spread out.”

They walked for a while when they stumbled across a door. They walked through the door and the walls following them vanished. It was a storage room fit for a castle. Navastia looked around and found some armor, a shield, a sword, and some rope. She picked up the rope and yelled, “I found some!”

Then she heard a slight growl. She turned around to face a small black beast. It stepped closer to her. It didn’t seem to have a body. It was like a shadow creeping through the air. It jumped and snarled at Navastia, its spit dripping from its mouth. There was a high-pitched fluting from somewhere behind Navastia and the creature dropped down cringing at the sound. Navastia thought briefly, “I wish I had picked up that sword a little while ago.” Then she turned around and saw Alita whistling that high-pitched sound. They walked out of the room with the rope and closed the door. Then Alita stopped whistling and said, “That was quite a scare! That was a G Minor minion. They can’t stand to hear the highest C.”

“What?” Navastia was confused.

“You know the keys on a piano? Well, that is taken literally in this world. Too literally I think,” Alita said, “Let’s get the rope back to Tol!”

They had a little trouble finding the hole Tol was in because Alita almost forgot where it was. Navastia bent over the hole and yelled, “Here!”

Tol awoke with a start and grabbed the rope. Then he looked up and saw Navastia bending over the hole. He smiled, now wide awake, and tied the rope around his waist. then he looked up and said, “Okay!”

They pulled hard and Tol got closer and closer to the top the harder they pulled. Tol finally got to the top and said, “Thanks.”

“Thanks! Thanks!” Navastia said sarcastically, “Is that all we get for saving you from that room? We could have just left you there you know. Then you could starve!”

“Geez! Sorry,” Tol said as he stood up and brushed himself off, “What do you want: Oh Navastia, thank you so much for saving my life. I’ll be forever grateful to you. I’ll do whatever you say. Is that better?”

“Yeah. It’s perfect. Now I want you to shut up and help us get out of here,” Navastia said looking at Tol.

“I was only kidding! I want to get out of here too, however,” Tol said looking around, “How do we get out of this cramped room?”

“What room? I don’t see a room,” Navastia said. She had gotten used to the surroundings. She hadn’t gotten too comfortable with the music though.

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you. The room is a symbol of your nervousness. Once you get used to these surroundings it will go away. The walls follow you as you walk so you can only see as much as they let you. They’re one of the many inventions the Yellow Prince made. I guess it’s supposed to be a security device. He could be watching us right now. The walls have eyes you know.”

“Oh,” Tol said not entirely getting all of that.

“Come on! We went this way before now we need to go this way,” Navastia urged while pointing away from the armory.

“How do you know where to go?” Tol asked curiously.

“Oh just a hunch,” Navastia said shrugging. She could see some stairs leading up a little ways away. Tol couldn’t see them of course. Navastia heard something and turned the other way. She saw a black shadow that kept changing shape like a blob. She took Tol’s hand and yelled, “Come on! Run!” She started to run but something caught her foot. She fell to the ground and landed on her head. Tol jumped forward and grabbed the shadow thing. It quickly got loose of Tol’s grip and moved backward a step. Tol waved his arms and Alita zipped through the air around the creature. It started to run but it fell also. Tol looked down through the hole where he came from and smiled triumphantly. The monster was stuck.

“What was that thing?” Tol asked shaking a little from the shock.

“A G Minor minion,” Alita said, “The keys on a piano are taking literally here.”

“I get it. I bet they can’t stand to hear high notes right?”

“Right. I couldn’t yell the highest C this time because Navastia had landed on me. When I got loose I saw your idea and didn’t try to stop you. It worked out pretty well.”

Navastia got up and asked coarsely, “What happened?”

“Another G Minor minion attacked us,” Alita replied looking a bit worried.

Navastia got up and started to walk towards the stairs as fast as she could. Tol was used to the environment now so he didn’t have a little room around him anymore so he could see the stairs too. He followed and both of them went up the stairs. Looking back they saw Alita squeaking as she was getting eaten by another minion. “Geez!” Tol screamed as he ran up the stairs as fast as he could with Navastia closely behind. They got to the top and opened the huge door in front of them. They closed it and grabbed a nearby grand piano. They pushed the piano in front of the door so no one could get through. They looked around this place noticing that the floor was plaid. They walked to the other side of the room and through another door. This time they were in a long hallway with a small glowing yellow thing sitting in a chair in the far end. They walked for a while and finally reached the chair. The little yellow thing they saw was a man with yellow hair that swayed back and forth. It had little sparks surging through it and it glowed. The man’s face was long and his ears were pointy. He was very slender and tall.

“I am the Yellow Prince. I see you escaped my dungeon. What do you want of me?” The man said slowly and calmly.

“Why did you put us in your dungeon!? All the other princes and princesses except of course the Black Prince were nice to me! Why are you not?” Tol said outraged.

“It was only a test. The whole thing was set up. Did you not learn something new?”

“Yeah, I guess I did. Sorry.”

“Now that you have met me you must be on your way…”

Interrupting, Tol asked, “What?”

“If you want to learn the secret of magic then you must meet all the people who control some part of the magic. That’s the only way you will find the King and Queen. Now, before you part, I will give you something.” He reached behind his chair and reached with a closed hand towards Tol. Then he calmly and slowly opened it. There was something strange inside.

“It’s my C Major minion. It will help you in your quest. Take it,” The clear little thing in his hand started to move and chirp. Tol took it into his hand and felt calm.

He put it in one of his pockets and said, “Thank you. How will I get out of here?”

“Just wait for the time,” The Yellow Prince said with a smile on his face. Tol looked around for a clock but found none. Then a yellow light from nowhere surrounded him and Navastia. They soon couldn’t see anything outside the light. Then the light faded and they were back on the ground. The tower was nowhere in sight. They had no idea where to travel so they sat down to think things over. Tol reached for the C Major minion in his pocket and set it down on the ground so it could eat. It munched a bit of the leaves on the ground and then started to wander off at an incredible rate. Tol got up to catch it but it was already too far away. He chased after it following every turn and twist it made. Navastia was right next to him chasing also. They had gone a long time when they came to a funny building. The C Major minion was nowhere in sight. They didn’t care though, they were too tired.

(Fade into the distance…)

And that’s it.  The End.  The story was never finished, but it was a hoot getting to where it did.  Thanks for reading!

photo credit: Beneath The North via photopin (license)

Asher Wolfstein

Metaverse Resident

About the Author

A metaverse resident, you can find me on Second Life (kadar.talbot) and other online platforms. I write about my digital life, my musings, and my projects as a programmer, webmaster, artist, and game designer. (exist (be wunk) (use rational imagination) (import artist coder maker furry) (conditional (if (eq you asshole) (me (block you))))

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