Jefferson Middle School newsletter
Chapter Forty-Nine: In Which Everyone Once Again Erupts In Speech
Flake wasn’t sure what he thought of the boy. (Come to think of it, he didn’t even know his name.) At first he came off as scared and helpless, then he seemed playful and talkative, and when he met Rose, then he just seemed really weird. He would just stare at her, speechless, then would erupt and start babbling random things like, “I thought you were dead,” and “did you remember when you ate Stripes’s cat food” and “so much stuff happened while you were gone” and other things that Flake couldn’t really make sense of. And from what he could tell, Rose didn’t either.
Who is he? Rose asked. She was sitting on the bed, hair rumpled, like she’d just woken up from bed, which she had. Flake haven’t even told her about the news yet.
“Um, hello?” Flake waved his hand in front of the boy’s face. “What’s your name?”
“Hi, I’m Jack! Did you know that Rosie’s my sister?” He looked so giddy, much different than before.
Flake looked at Rose. No, I’m not, she said, frowning. Is this guy delusional?
“Jack, she can’t be your sister. She said so herself,” Flake said.
Jack put his hands on his hips. “How would you know? She can’t talk.”
Rose inhaled sharply. How would he know that? she asked Flake. Don’t tell me you told him? Flake shook his head.
“How would you know that?” Flake asked.
“Because she’s my sister. I already thought I made that clear.”
“But that’s impossible! She’s lived in the village her whole life, while you’ve only just came here!”
“No! Rosie lived in the caves with me and our dad, until… well, until six years ago. But you’re here now!” He faced Rose. Flake looked at Rose too, who now was looking very uncertain. She hugged her blankets, thinking.
I was only part of the village as of six years ago, she said. And I don’t really remember anything from before…
“She doesn’t remember anything before six years, from the time before she’s been in the village,” Flake told Jack, who looked pretty shocked by the information.
His face fell. “So you don’t remember me?” Rose shook her head. “And you also forgot sign language? How are you communicating, then?” Jack asked.
What’s sign language? Rose asked. Flake shrugged.
“I can hear her. In my mind. It’s a bit weird, and I’ve never heard anything like it, but I can. It’s only one way though, so I can’t say things to her through my mind. So I can act as translator,” Flake explained. Jack’s eyes were wide open, almost disbelieving.
“Wow, that’s weird,” he said. “But don’t worry, Rosie, I’m sure there’s some way to get your memory back. I’m sure we can go on an adventure tomorrow and seek a wizard that knows an ancient spell that can help or something like that, while battling dragons or something like that. Isn’t that how things work here?”
“Um… dragons live extremely far away,” Flake countered. “And real wizards are far and few between. Besides, we can’t do that tomorrow, tomorrow is the Conference, where you tell everyone what you know about the kidnappings.
“What’s a Conference?” Rose and Jack said at the same time (though Rose in his mind of course).
And what does Jack know? she added.
Flake told Jack to explain everything, and he did, in much greater detail than before. He let Rose look at his dad’s book, and she inspected it carefully.
“And a Conference is a meeting every full moon when all the chiefs gather to talk about important stuff. This is an emergency Conference, not on the full moon, but since Jack has the information that can potentially stop civil war, all the chiefs agree it is needed,” Flake explained.
“I do have the information that can stop a civil war?” Jack asked alarmingly.
Flake nodded. “You should start preparing what you are going to say in front of all the chiefs.”
Several hours later…
Rose wasn’t sure whether it was just that Conferences were boring, or that she barely got any sleep last night. It was most likely the latter, since she found herself dozing off at some parts of the speeches. Surprisingly, Jack was a pretty good public speaker, even though he was nearly dying of nervousness on the carriage ride there. The explanation was clear and detailed, but not really concise, and she could feel Flake drumming his hand on the log they were sitting on, anxiously waiting for Jack to be done talking so he could go save his sister already.
The chiefs, however, were listening in wide eyed interest -or horror, at some parts. Rose observed that Chief Oak managed to look completely indifferent at everything, though she wasn’t sure whether it was forced or he really didn’t care. The other Council of the Tree members, however, looked worried, and some were eyeing Jack really suspiciously.
Chief Phoenix, she noticed, was barely keeping himself in check. Sometimes he would yell angry things out, like “this boy can’t be trusted!” and “that’s impossible!” and “there’s no such thing!” then Chief Oak would tell him to be quiet.
Chief Alya kept her anger in better. She remained regal looking and composed while everything came flowing out of Jack’s mouth, and the only hints to what she was thinking were her slight expressions of shock and anger, as well as clenched fists.
This was the first time Rose had seen Chief Frost, Flake’s dad, and he, well, she wasn’t sure what she expected, but he did look a lot like Flake. He too, watched Jack with unwavering attention.
“...and then I found myself here. Telling you about it,” Jack said. “And… well, that’s pretty much all I know.”
Apparently, the rules were that once a speaker was done speaking, you could talk. So that’s exactly what everyone did. Rose wasn’t sure how less than twenty-five people could be so loud, but everyone’s voices were rattling the nearby trees. Everyone was shouting, yelling questions and more questions. The noise didn’t die down until Chief Oak stepped on the podium. Jack sneaked back to the seats and sat next to Rose.
“Quiet!” he shouted, but his loud voice couldn’t rise above the din of everyone else. “BE QUIET!” The noise died down and he cleared his throat. “Is there anyone who wishes to propose what our next action with our new information shall be?”
Nearly everyone raised their hands, even Flake. Rose didn’t. Technically, she wasn’t even supposed to be there, but she insisted, and Chief Ripple just let her come. It wasn’t half as interesting as she had thought, but better than staying at the palace and wondering about what was happening, or whether she was really Jack’s sister, or whether she would ever go back to the village.
Finally, Chief Oak just let Chief Phoenix speak, probably just so that he wouldn’t start yelling and disrupting everyone.
“Oh, no,” Flake said. “Jack, he’s going to start accusing you, just bear it for a moment.”
“How do we know that this boy isn’t lying?” he thundered. “How do we know he isn’t in league with the kidnapper and leading us into a trap?” Jack bit his lip and Flake shrugged as if to say, “I told you so.”
“He mysteriously appears in the Fearsome Forest, saying he came from caves underground, and no one questions it? He just happens finds his way to the Coral Kingdom, with a grand story to tell? And the things he says! No spell can make someone scream for half an hour! It isn’t possible! He cannot be trusted!” he yelled. Jack shrank lower in his seat.
“Okay, that’s enough, we’re limited on time. Does anyone else wish to say anything?” Chief Oak said. Chief Frost raised his hand and he stepped up to the podium.
“Yes, there might be something fishy about the boy,” Chief Frost said, “but even if he’s leading us into a trap, we still know where the kidnapper is and where our children are. We can’t just stand here and do nothing, we must get into the caves and search for them immediately. This is what I propose we should do.”
“All in favor say yes, all against say no,” Chief Oak said.
Everyone said yes, except for a grumpy Chief Phoenix and one of the Council of the Tree members.
“So it is decided,” Chief Oak proclaimed. “We shall go to the alleged entrance to the Cave Kingdom and save the children.” Everyone whooped and hollered.
“Yes! It’s happening!” Flake exclaimed.
“But it might be too late,” Jack murmured, barely audible against the din of the crowd.
Chapter Fifty: In Which We Again Take A (This Time Very Short) Look At What Everyone Is Doing