Mianda and the Crystal Portal
Dawn was breaking, and the air was cold and fresh as a tall dark figure in a long dark cape, made his way through the dark corridor. Above his head was a large stone head. The man was intensively looking for something, it took a while, but eventually he found exactly what he was looking for. It turned out to be a particular rock formation which he inspected with great care. He checked the rock with his hands and, after being more than certain, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a large crystal which he held up in the air, so it gave off just enough light to show him the way. After looking around once again and then being satisfied that this was the right place he opened a leather pouch he had in his other pocket and poured its contents onto the tunnel floor. A humming sound could be heard and several small dark crystals rose up into the air and slowly began to take on the form of an arch. Once the arch was completed, the crystals buried themselves into the hard stone wall until they were well hidden. The man grunted with satisfaction at having seen his work, but, before he could say anything, he could hear children’s voices and laughter coming closer, so he noticed just how long it had taken him to complete this mission, so, reacting quicker now, he silently chanted a spell over a few crystals he had left, they began to glow and a glimmering portal opened, he stepped through and the portal vanished. The tunnel sank back into darkness.
Immediately after breakfast, Mianda, a young girl of ten years of age, ran up the stairs to her room to pack her belongings before leaving for Askabet. Her long black hair fell over her eyes so that she had to throw back her head and revealed the most incredible green eyes anyone had ever seen. Lilly and Cedric, her two best friends, had already finished packing and were waiting downstairs.
“Lilly, run up and see what’s keeping her will you?” Lilly’s mother was getting nervous “You’ll miss the ferry otherwise” She was a small pleasantly plump woman with an always happy face and dark blue eyes. But, at the moment she was quite nervous and there was a fine film of sweat on her brow. Lilly watched her somewhat worried because she knew her mother was usually the steadiest person, but know, why was she so nervous? Not because of the Ferry?
But Lilly just said “Yes mother”.
But, just as she was about to run up Mianda came running down the stairs with her shoulder bag and Keops beside her. She looked so happy Lilly just couldn’t be upset with her for taking so long. She just smiled with relief and said “At last. We all thought you’d got lost somewhere between your bedroom and the kitchen.” Lilly laughed out loud. “Now we can go, Mother’s getting nervous because of the ferry. Come on Cedric, grab your things and let’s go”
The children ran out of the house to where Lilly’s father was waiting with the family carriage. Her father was a small thin man with very little hair on his head. He was a happy go lucky person with a big heart, willing to help anyone as well as he can, but his family would always come first.
“Ok kids, I’m letting you three go on your own this time, so don’t dawdle.” He then gave Lilly and Mianda a big hug, and he shook Cedric’s hand. “I’m really looking forward to having you two here again.
“Thanks for having us over for the holidays, it was really fantastic” Mianda went over to Lilly’s mother and took her in her arms. “Thank you so much for having me here, it was wonderful being part of a real family, I hope I, we may come back sometime”
“Certainly, you’re always welcome, now hurry up, the ferry won’t wait” Mianda was a sweet tempered good mannered child always ready to give a helping hand with the housework and cooking, but after hearing from Lilly what she had gone through, she had rather that Mianda could just relax and enjoy her holidays.
Now, the holidays were over and the children would soon be back at Askabet where she knew they would be well taken care of.
The carriage began, as soon as they were aboard with their baggage, to roll towards the small town where the ferry would be waiting to take them to Bendrill. Lilly turned around to wave her parents goodbye and was surprised to see her mother crying, leaned against her father’s shoulder. She turned to Cedric and said “I don’t understand why my mother is crying. It’s not as if we or I won’t be back” Lilly was feeling quite worried now.
“Oh Lilly, she’s just a little sad because the house is going to be empty for a while and she had no one to take care of other than your father.” Cedric replied with a logical answer. “We were quite a handful for her. Don’t you think?”
Lilly thought it over and said, “Then she must be glad we’re gone” Then laughing again “But the next time we’ll behave ourselves ok?”
“Certainly we will, she won’t even know we’re there” promised Mianda with a big grin on her face. For her, it had been the first time ever living in a house with parents that had taken care of her, even though she was not their child. They were so kind to her and even took the time to ask her how she liked it there. Mianda was really looking forward to coming back to this now her family. She felt good and she really glowed from inside. Lilly and Cedric also felt good, their friend Mianda was happy and that made them happy.
The ferry was still there and it took nearly two days before they reached Bendrill. Once here, Mianda wanted to go and visit her brother in the castle, but, the time was short and they were expected to arrive on that same day.
“Never mind, you’ll see your brother at school.” Soothed her Lilly. Then, with a slight frown on her face she asked a Mianda something she had on her mind for quite some time now. “May I ask you something Mianda?”
“Sure, what’s on your mind?”
“Well, we’ve been friends now for a while, before we know that you are a princess. Well, your brother will be, one of these days, King. What’s going to happen to our friendship? You are the sister to a prince who will be, one of these days, as I had said before, King; we can’t just say Mianda to you then. Oh, I don’t know, I just don’t want to lose you as my best friend.” Lilly didn’t feel too good as she said these things but, she knew it had to be explained one of these days.
“We’ll always be friends, no matter what happens.” Answered Mianda “I’ll never be able to live together with my brother I simply do not belong there. I grew up in another world and even though Mandolph is my brother, he seems to be a very jealous person, and he doesn’t really want to have me there. So, I’ll stay at Askabet till I’m grown up and after that, who knows”
“Yes, that’s right, and you’ll never be such a snob. But right now, we’d better hurry before it gets goes down, I really don’t want to pass those heads in the dark”
“They’re ok, I really like those heads, they’re funny” Cedric exclaimed. “But your right, I’d rather get there before it gets dark as well”.
“Hey you three, over here” someone cried out to them. Mianda looked around and to her surprise, there was Professor Drake. He had just come out of a small clothing store and saw them coming toward him. They saw him and raced over, closely followed by Keops and Leo, with Snowball flying overhead.
“You three are running somewhat late don’t you think?” he asked them “Come on now, we can go together from here. Come here, I have ordered a horse, if we are lucky, there might be enough for you lot as well, that way we’ll be quicker”
Sure enough, just outside of Bendrill, a man was waiting with a horse by a small way station. Drake went to him to see if he had more horses to take them to Askabet. The man turned around and disappeared in the stable to come out with three saddled horses. Drake thanked him and beckoned the children to climb up so they could get going. It took nearly two hours but it was still enough daylight, just as the children had hoped. Upon reaching the first head they halted and climbed off their horses. Drake then let the animals go so they could return home.
“Ok, follow me” urged Drake. “How was your holiday Mianda? Was the first time for you I take it?”
“Yes, and it was really good and we had lots of fun” answered Mianda happily. “I hope to be able to go there again for the next holidays”
“I’m certain that Lilly’s parents will take you in again” They then reached the head under which the tunnel was and Drake called out “Hey, open up ok?”
The giant head yawned opening its huge mouth revealing huge teeth and a long tongue of stone. It then looked down and upon recognizing Blake and the children it said “Well, hallo Professor Drake, not alone this time? How nice to see you Mianda. And Lilly and Cedric, how nice to see you two again. I suppose you want to go back to school? Ok, just a moment”
It lifted its chin and a long dark tunnel appeared. “Thank you” Came in chorus from the children and the four stepped in and made their way through the tunnel. Mianda thought she saw something glistening in the walls and ceiling so she looked somewhat closer but she didn’t see a thing, so she shrugged her shoulders and forgot it.
Cedric stepped out of the tunnel first and looked down into the valley. Drake was right behind him, then Mianda and Lilly with the animals directly behind them. Drake noticed that Cedric was very quiet and was astonished to see him shaking like a leaf and staring down into the valley.
“What’s the matter boy? Did you see a ghost?” He looked down and suddenly, knew why Cedric was afraid.
“What the……….” He started. Where the houses normally were was nothing but trees. The river was there meandering through the valley but the houses, they were gone. Mianda and Lilly, wondering over the reaction of the two, also looked down and “Oh, what happened to the houses?”