Chapter Seventeen Part Two: In Which Flake Receives A Lot Of Attention
“I will now welcome him to the sacred circle,” the man said. He seemed like the chief of the village, though Flake never heard anyone call him that.
“Go!” Violet whispered. “This is your moment! Step in the circle surrounding Alder!” She softly pushed me toward the village leader, Alder, and the circle that surrounded him.
He found himself slowly walking to the circle. All eyes were on him, watching him curiously. He was rather used to that in public events, being the son of a chief and all, but these were all strangers. Flake was in unknown territory, and neither Snow nor his father was at his side.
“Now, young boy, what’s your name? What brought you here?” Alder said. He had a brief panic attack. What should I say? Should I give him my real name? What if one of the people who heard this was my ‘foe’ as the Oracle said? Would anyone realize who I was?
“Um… Colden,” Flake blurted out, silently apologizing to the real Colden. “Yeah. Colden. That’s my name.” Everyone seemed to believe it.
“And, um, I’m here to look for- for my sister. She’s gone. Disappeared.” Flake wasn’t ready to disclose any more information than that. Everyone looked sympathetically at him, making him a bit more uncomfortable.
“Well. I’m sure you got quite a story to tell. Why don’t you come over to my house?” Alder said.
Flake fumbled for words. He really didn’t want to stay in anyone’s house, especially since he had no idea who anyone was, but he couldn’t just flat-out refuse an invitation from the chief of the village. “Um, well, I have things to pack, and I don’t want to bother you, so I’ll just stay at the healing cabin-”
“Nonsense!” Alder took Flake’s hand. He flinched. “You won’t be bothering me at all! Come now, my cabin is just this way, believe it or not, I cook very nice beef stew…” He started walking out of the sacred circle, dragging Flake along with him. Somewhere in the back of his head, a voice told him, don’t go with Alder! He might be dangerous… But he couldn’t fight Alder’s grip as he dragged him toward a big cabin along the edge of the village and went in.
Chapter Eighteen: In Which Flint Discovers Something Interesting
In an intricate system of caves underground, there were three kids, two boys and one girl. One of the boys pretty much played games in the game room all the time, or watched moving pictures on a rectangular device called a ‘television’. The girl, either joined the boy in playing games, poked at the television in wonder, or wrote letters to her brother who was probably never going to come. The other boy mostly threw things at walls, or collapsed on the bed from exhaustion of throwing things at walls. The latter kid’s name was Flint, and during the third day in the system of caves he decided throwing things at walls wasn’t very productive and began running through the tunnels of caves instead. After all, his aim was to escape, and the best way he could think of to do it was to run around until he found a path out.
With a ball of string to unroll so he wouldn’t get lost and a bobby pin to pick locks, Flint started running through the system of caves. He was a pretty good thief, and even though he was in the royal family in the Fractured Flame kingdom, he still found pleasure in nabbing a coin from the chef’s quarters. He probably could pick a lock in this place.
Every so often, there would be a door and Flint would attempt to open it, either by pushing it, or picking the lock. Most of the time, the doors were locked with many different keyholes, and Flint couldn’t open them no matter how hard he tried. There were rooms he could open with his bobby pin, but those turned out to be full of broken furniture. Maybe someone had a habit of throwing things too. There were also rooms that weren’t even locked, and those were just dusty storage rooms that had nothing except a broom and a lot of spiders.
After a full day of searching in vain, he was about to follow the string back to his room and try another day. That is, until he reached a door that was unlike all the other doors. The other doors were made of plain wood, with a brass keyhole or two. This one, however, was shiny, and it had no keyhole, or even a doorknob. Instead, there was a small rectangle with three numbers on it, 592. Underneath, there was a red button. Flint poked at the 9 and found that it moved downward a little, revealing an 8. That was weird. He pushed on the red button, which emitted a beeping noise, making him jump back. The door didn’t open, but he decided that this was one door he really wanted to open.
Flint pushed on the door. It didn’t budge. He tried sliding the door to the left or to the right. It didn’t budge either. He tried sticking his bobby pin in the crack between the 5 and the 8, but it didn’t fit. He pushed the red button again, then twice, then held it down forcefully. Nothing happened, except for the beeping noise. He pushed on the door harder. No effect. Okay. If force wouldn’t get him to the other side of the door, then brains would.
He started fiddling with the numbers and pressing the red button at regular intervals. 123. 639. 782. 450. 001. There seemed to be an infinite number of combinations, and Flint didn’t have an infinite amount of time. At least, he didn’t think he did. So far, the only people he’d seen around were Jack and the other girl, both who couldn’t stop him from fiddling with the numbers, but he was pretty sure, at any moment, some evil sorcerer might appear. He had to be ready for that.
Fiddle with the numbers. Press the red button. Push on the door. It became rather monotonous, but the prospect of seeing what was behind the door. He would get the right set of numbers at some point.
On about the two hundredth try, the door slid open from the side, accompanied by a whirring sound. He looked at the combination. 592. He sighed and stepped into the room.
He was shocked by how bright the room was. There were glowing bulbs suspended from the ceiling, casting everything in golden light. Everything in the room was smooth and sparkly clean, from the floor to the countertops. On the counter there was all sorts of see-through vials full of colorful mixtures. On the far end of the room there was chairs and a table that was as sparkly white as everything else. The only thing that wasn’t was the books on the bookshelves against the wall, which seemed tattered and crumbly.
One thing that caught Flint’s attention was a thin, small, silver box that seemed to be glowing. He went over to it. The box had the word PASSWORD on it, with a rectangle and a set of numbers below it.
Flint tapped the number 5. The number 5 appeared in the rectangle. He jumped back. Was the box magic of some sort? He tapped the 9 and the 2. Suddenly the box changed, showing a bunch of squares showing different images.
Flint was extremely curious about this box. It seemed like a television, one of the things Jack was talking about, but televisions were bigger and when you touched it, nothing happened. He picked the box up and examined it. It seemed to be humming, vibrating a little under his touch. Strange. The back had a picture of a silver apple on it. More strange. Maybe the owner of all this belonged to a kingdom called the Silver Apple. He never heard of it before.
Suddenly, there was a loud beeping noise. It wasn’t coming from the box, but from everywhere. Flint jumped a little, then ran. Maybe this was the time for the evil sorcerer to come and take away his enchanted box that Flint messed with. He took off running out the door, but not without dropping the ball of string in the room so he could find it later and taking the Silver Apple box with him. After all, he was going to find out more about it later. And if the sorcerer could somehow track the magic box, Flint planned to hide it in the girl’s room. After all, no one had any evidence that he was there, might as well blame it for someone else.
He obviously didn’t see the black box hanging from the ceiling, which was something that Jack called a 'security camera’.