Jefferson Middle School newsletter
Chapter Eight: In Which Chief Frost Is Alerted And An Important Message Is Revealed
The guards ran in the room. They searched everywhere, under the bed, in the closet, even under the drawers. Meanwhile, Flake was running to his dad’s room to alert him.
He pushed servants, yanked on doors, and caused a bunch of fragile expensive vases to topple over. He didn’t care. His only mission was to deliver the news to his father. It was the only thing he thought about. He didn’t want to linger on Snow’s disappearance, on the dream, or anything that was troubling him. It helped to focus on one simple goal: letting Chief Frost know that his daughter had magically disappeared.
Flake got to his father’s office, out of breath. He faced the guard in front of the office door. “Al- Alexander. Tell -huff- tell the chief that- that there’s an emergency -pant- I need to speak with him-”
The guard, Alexander, silently nodded, knocking on the door. “It’s your son. He has something urgent to tell you.”
There was a pause from inside. “Is it about his birthday?”
“No! Just let me in! It’s a life or death matter!” Flake shouted, pounding on the door.
There was another pause, and then the door was opened by a guard on the inside. Flake practically ran in and skidded to a halt beside his father’s desk. Chief Frost looked very busy, with important-looking documents strewn across the table. He was clutching a scroll in his hand, with the Flame Kingdom seal on it. Flake didn’t worry about all that. He immediately told Chief Frost about his dream and Snow’s sudden disappearance.
“...so, she just disappeared! Right in front of my eyes! Well, not really in front of my eyes, but I saw her there just a second before! Did Chief Phoenix kidnap her?” Flake asked. He looked at the chief, who had been strangely quiet all that time. He didn’t looked surprised or angry, just with a grave expression of someone who was contemplating a matter very serious. His fist crushed the scroll in his hand.
“You aren’t… surprised?” Flake asked in confusion. “You aren’t going to do anything about it?”
“Of course I am, Flake. Of course. I just need to figure this out,” said Chief Frost. The chief was facing the ground, as if he didn’t want Flake to see his expression. “Someone is doing it. I just don’t know who.”
“Doing what? Stealing people?”
Finally, he faced Flake, and dropped the scroll he was holding. It unravelled, revealing Chief Phoenix’s bold script. “I think you should read this,” he said. Flake picked it up.
You think I don’t know what game you’re playing at, Frost? Kidnapping Flint like that? You are transparent, you know. If you don’t like the proposal, just say it. I didn’t think you’d sink so low as to kidnap people. Really.
I will get you. I will have something in plan that you will never expect. You will severely regret your decisions.
Flake looked up in disbelief at Chief Frost. “He thinks you kidnapped Flint? So he kidnapped Snow?”
Chief Frost stood up. “Yes, he does think I kidnapped Flint, and no, I do not think he kidnapped Snow. That is not his style. He does not like to get dirty, or have to deal with a prisoner. No, I think something more sinister is at work here, something related to your dream.” He sighed. “Do you know what setting your dream was placed in?” Flake shook his head. “Is it the ancient temple on Crumbling Frozen Peak. The one I visit every sixth month?” Flake nodded, but he was a bit confused. “Why would I dream about that? Who is the old man in the dream?”
“I think that the man was the Oracle. The one whose spirit is in the sock puppet. He knows everything that happens. If he says they’re going to be gone, they’re gone. I assume that Snow is the she and Flint is the he that the Oracle is referring to. As for the Palantine you mentioned, I really don’t know. Maybe he is the culprit to all this. I will need to send a letter to all the kingdom chiefs immediately about these things.”
Flake nodded again, trying to digest everything that was going on. With all the thoughts in their heads, neither Chief Frost or Flake noticed a certain person in a invisibility cloak sneaking away from the window.
Chapter Nine: In Which An Old Man Appears In The Bedroom
Flake spent the rest of the day cooped up in his room, pacing back and forth. The letter was opened up on his desk, but he didn’t look at it. It was practically burned into his forehead already, with the amount he was thinking about it. Who is causing this? Where is Snow? Do the kidnappers want ransom, or something else? Will we be able to convince Phoenix that we didn’t steal Flint? Will they die? All sorts of questions floating around in his head, none which he had to answer to. Was this what his dad felt every day?
He tried to fall asleep several times in the afternoon, so that he could go in his dream and interrogate that old man. He knew something, Flake was sure of it. However, his thoughts and frustration kept him wide awake.
Finally, at midnight, Flake felt a bit drowsy. Finally, he thought. I’ll go to sleep and find that old- then his eyes flew open. The blank ceiling of his bedroom stared back at him. Awake again? He would never enter the dream if he kept on waking up! He groaned and pulled the blanket over his head.
“Your bedroom is rather drab,” said a voice. Flake bolted up from under the covers. The old man, the Oracle, was sitting on the big rocking chair, looking rather comfortable. “My home was better, but it has fallen into a state of disrepair. Sad, really. Those paintings of me were marvelous.”
“You. Who are you? The Oracle?” Flake said warily. “How did you get here? Where did Snow and Flint go? Who took them? Is it Palantine?”
The Oracle put his hand up. “Now, now. One question at a time. For the first one- yes, it is a difficult question, isn’t it? I am the Oracle. I am me. I am you. I am the stars. I am Apollo. I am in everyone who can guess about the future. That is a hard question, who I am. You might want to choose another one, or ask it to someone else. Who are you, I may ask?”
Flake resisted the urge to fling a pillow at the wall. “We don’t have time for formalities! Where is Snow?”
The Oracle stroked his beard. “So that is what you wish to know? How to find your sister? Well then, you can know. But it will come with a price. All knowledge does.”
“Okay! I get it! I’ll pay the price, but you have to explain very precisely, not in riddles or whatever. And come back every night will updates on her condition. And also mention who she’s with. Got it?” Flake said, staring intensely at the Oracle’s milky white eyes. He seemed unfazed.
“That’s quite a bit of knowledge, and therefore has a big price. Be cautious. Many heroes face their doom because they act rashly on paying the price. Don’t you want to know what the price is?”
Flake bit his lip. “Heroes? I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to get my sister back, okay? I don’t want to get involved with all this doom that you Oracles are so fond of.”
The Oracle sighed. “We are not fond of it, Flake. But that is the price, and we can not change it. Just like you can not change your prophecy. If you pay the price and survive, you will save your sister and become famous. But if you die… then, you die. The choice to try is the first step.”
“Can you be more specific? Like, what exactly is the price?”
“The price,” the Oracle said, “is that you’ll need to find her yourself. I’ll help you along, but in the end, it’ll have to be you.”
Flake was silent for a moment. He recalled every single hero story he encountered. All were brave. All could fight. All were cunning and athletic and handsome and Flake was none of those things. If he were to face a dragon, he’d be burned to crisp. If he had to infiltrate the Flame Kingdom, he’d get arrested by the guards at the gate. Heck, if he had to do some sort of performance to gain entrance to someplace he’d probably fail too.
“You won’t,” the Oracle said. Flake stared at him, having the feeling that he’d read his thoughts. “You’ll survive, as long as you have the heart.”
“No! I can’t! The prophecy, remember? I’ll try, but Snow will die anyways!” Flake protested. “It’s pointless! Why can’t you just tell me where she is?”
The Oracle looked carefully at him. “I can’t,” he said simply. “I am bound by my spirit to not tell. Only if someone has paid the price.”
Flake frowned. “I’m not sure.”
“Very well then,” he sighed. “I will still leave a clue for you, just in case you change your mind.” He disappeared into a poof of snowflakes. A piece of parchment was left in his place.
Flake looked at it for a moment, then gingerly picked up the parchment and read it.