Posted By: Frensa Geran<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 20 July 2003, 7:16 PM
Where the Path In The Woods...
"It seems like this Sarong fellow is quite the annoyance." Jack said to Marla as they continued down the path.
"And that isn't the worst of it. There was that one time when I entered the Threshold System, and he started firing on my ship accusing me of "Disobeying Galactic Treaty." I never did figure out what I did wrong, but spent two months in a prison on Basis." Marla replied, continuing on about the Elite that was following her.
"I wonder why he was so interested in you before you arrived here. He must of known what you were after. But why didn't he stop you? Quite a mystery if you ask me." Jack said.
The suns were starting to fall ahead of them, leaving a gold thread of beauty to lie on the horizon. The heat from the air and ground was comforting, like lying on a beach.
Before the sun had gone down entirely, it left the silhouette of a large, half circular hill. The Dome was closing.
"There it is! We're almost there!" Marla shouted, beginning to run. She ran as fast as she could, the distance closing. It was only about a mile away. She ran faster and faster, not opening her eyes.
Jack did not intend to keep up with her, knowing she'd have to stop. And stop she did.
She kept running, opening her eyes to find the straight and narrow road had been cut into three. The road diverged to three separate paths.
"Hey Jack!" She hollered behind her. "Which way?"
Jack finally caught up with her. He didn't say a word, but merely looked at each path. No path gave a small clue if it was right.
"Jack?" She said, "Which way?"
He again did not answer, but lifted his walking stick, and pointing to an old wooden sign on the edge of the left path:
COME ALL YE FAITHFUL
- The Road diverges here. One way leads to nothing, and other leads to town, and another... may only the Human girl choose.
- The Left road, avoids the sun, as the right path does the same. The middle aims for it with perfect precision.
- The Night will help you.
- The Light may help you.
- Oh Human Child, troubles you have. A Mind you have.
Marla read, and re-read the set of clues to herself. One way was a dead end, another to town, and another to the Hero.
"The night will help me. The light will too." She said to herself.
"The second test is not easily figured." Jack said behind her. "The light will help you Marla. You'd better hurry, as the light is going fast."
Marla turned from the sign, looking determined at the three roads. The light could help her pick the dead end.
The one on the left seemed to go until the horizon over a ridge. Beyond that she couldn't tell. The right one seemed to go straight, then stop into blackness.
"Why would it be black during the day?" Marla said. "It must be the dead end."
The middle one could not easily be seen, since the two suns began to shine in her eyes.
"The night will help me."
"And on top of it all, you didn't put a tracking device on her! How the hell are we supposed to find her?" Xexec complained as they entered the atmosphere.
"I know exactly where she is. Chances are the first test killed her. Either falling from the step ladder from high up, or the giant dagger on the other side of the window." Sarong replied as they flew over Nolly. From there it was just trees... save a small thin road.
Stepladders and giant dagger, all of these were foreign to Xexec, who could care less what it all was. He just wanted the girl to be captured, and himself not to be executed.
The purple orb sped along the thin road, till it came to a giant building with a door and a window. Sarong and Xexec both got out and examined.
"The step ladder is broken, but not high enough for her to be hurt. And she couldn't reach to grab the rope again. Damn!" Sarong yelled.
"So... uh, she isn't here?" Xexec said yawning.
"No, but she's probably not far. The three roads take time to figure. Get back in the ship!" Sarong replied, and they sped off towards the sun.
"Hum hum hum hum hummmm." Jernid, the trade Grunt said, humming a tune. All of the junk in his backpack rattled as he skipped through the forest.
He was almost to Grechic, a small town on the other side of the Parsec Mountains. He'd taken the left road at the crossing as usual.
"Wonder if those Humans ever found what they were looking for!" He said to himself.
He continued along the path, when something shiny caught the corner of his eye. He loved shiny things, since they were usually worth something. "OOOO! Gotta have that!" He said, stomping towards it.
It was half buried in the ground, but the other side was a half circle, and very shiny. He reached down to pick it up.
"Ah! Get it off of me!!" he screamed, once the giant bear trap snapped onto his hand. Blue blood began to trickle from the wound. The trash in his back rattled loudly as he screamed.
"Did you hear that?" Marla said, when a low scream came from the left path.
"We better help!" Jack replied, getting from the ground. They ran as fast as they could, when they found the tiny Grunt they met earlier, lying on the ground in his own blood.
"Oh you poor thing!" Marla said, leaning down.
"Hang on, I'll pull it off." She said, pulling as hard as she could. Finally it snapped back open, and his hand was free.
"Phew! Good thing for my gloves, or I'd be... out of my hands! Hahaha! Oh... well I thought it was funny." He said with the renewed happiness.
While Jack was still trying to catch up, the urge to ask was unbearable. "Which way does this trail go?" Marla said.
"Grechic. It's a small trade city." He said. "Well, I thank you young Human. Maybe we'll see each other again!"
By the time Jack got back, he had waddled off. "Was he ok?"
"Yeah, I gave him some tape and band-aids." Marla replied. "Well, we better head back to the cross-road."
"Why's that Marla?" Jack said, smiling.
"We're heading straight towards the sun..."
Sarong and Xexec were closing in on the crossroads in their tiny purple orb. "I see them!" Xexec shouted, pointing towards the left path.
Sarong smiled widely, his yellow teeth glimmering in the faded light. He gave Xexec an evil grin. "Activate disruptors."
To Be Continued...