And the Threat
Chapter 2 Part 2
Happy Friday, fantasy readers! Here’s the second part of Chapter 2 of Saving Foreverland.
If you didn’t get a chance to read Chapter 1 and/or Chapter 2 Part 1, remember to check those out.
For those of you crunched for time, the estimated reading time for this post is 7 minutes.
“Josh, Peter, Ava! I’m back with Sarah! Please come introduce yourselves.”
Sarah could hear the pattering of feet on the cave’s floor before she could see the three teens approach. Then Sarah saw the shadows of the figures walking towards her. The cave was dim right now, but so deep that it was impossible to make out Josh, Peter, and Ava until another minute had passed and they were standing under the light of the lantern on the left side wall.
When they were finally positioned close enough to the light, Sarah could see them properly. One of the boys was very tall, the other average height, and the girl (who must have been Ava) was quite petite, only reaching up to the shoulders of the average height boy. The tall one spoke first, clearing his throat and looking at the other two before asserting himself.
“Hey, I’m Josh,” the boy said. “I’m gunna be your trainer and mentor here in ForeverLand.” He stepped forward and gestured to Ava and Peter. “This is Ava.” The small girl waved at Sarah, her eyes bright blue and deep. Sarah thought that Ava might be older than they appeared. “And this is Peter,” Josh said, gesturing to the other boy. Peter nodded.
Elozar stepped between the group of three and Sara. “This will be your new family. And, as Josh already said, he will be your official mentor and trainer.” Josh grinned and crossed his arms over his chest. Sarah noticed the muscles jutting out of his arms as they contracted - stretching the short sleeves of his navy blue t-shirt. Then he ran his hand quickly through his brown hair, before speaking.
“I’m going to have a lot to show you. And I’m sure Elozar didn’t explain the mission yet, so there’s definitely that. But, let’s sit down and eat dinner before we jump into all the excitement.” Josh stated both clearly and amiably.
Ava and Peter turned around and walked towards the back of the cave. Sarah assumed there must be some sort of dining area back there. Josh remained next to her, as well as Elozar. One on her left, one on her right.
“Sarah,” Elozar said. “I know this is a lot, but we really need to explain the mission tonight.”
Josh jumped in, “There’s not a moment to waste.” Then Josh and Elozar led the way to the back of the cave. Sarah already lost sight of Ava and Peter in the darkness, so she tried to follow closely behind the other two.
They walked for a few minutes and then the area got lighter. They entered a large circular room with lanterns all around the outside and a stone table placed in the center - currently covered with food. From what she could see, there was salad, chicken, and bread - enough to serve all five of them. Sarah noticed her stomach grumbling as she looked at the feast before them.
Ava and Peter were already seated at the table, utensils in hand and plates filled with food. Josh, Elozar, and Sarah on the other hand remained standing as if they needed to be invited to sit.
“Well, come on then. Let’s eat!” Josh urged them, taking the last two big steps needed to get to the head of the table. Elozar’s hands gestured for Sarah to go first, so she did. With Josh on Elozar on either side of her, Sarah was ready for a relaxing dinner - though she knew too well this would be anything but relaxing after the mention of a ‘mission’.
Sarah watched Josh load his plate with a double-portion of chicken and bread. She hesitated before taking her first bite, anticipating another bomb to be dropped. Her stomach growled and she decided she couldn’t wait any longer. Taking the first bite of her chicken, Sarah felt herself relax for a moment. She looked up at Josh and started to feel uneasy. His eyes had been focused on her own, but as soon as she met his gaze, he looked down at his plate. It was like he was waiting for something. Sarah had just turned her attention back to the feast when Josh cleared his throat and stood up. Was he going to make a toast? She wondered. Everyone had their eyes on Josh, but Josh was looking only at Sarah.
“Sarah,” he started. “We need to tell you why you’re here.”
The rest of the group nodded seriously.
“I know why I’m here. Elozar told me - I would have been killed in Leisata!” Sarah yelled, annoyed at the lack of communication between her trainer and the messenger.
“No - I mean yes - that is one reason you’re here, but now…” Josh trailed off. Sarah didn’t know why he was being so wishy-washy.
After a couple of more seconds of awkward silence, she couldn’t take it anymore. “What?” She demanded. “Tell me the truth! I’m sick of everyone hiding things from me - first my parents and now you.”
Elozar put down his glass of water and turned to Sarah. “We’re not hiding anything from you,” Elozar said calmly. “We just want to prepare you properly for what is to come.”
Ava and Peter looked back and forth between Elozar and Sarah expectantly. Peter’s mouth was actually half-open with his fork frozen an inch from his face. Ava, on the other hand, was still munching on her bread as she waited for the next quip.
“So what is to come? Spit it out already,” Sarah said forcefully.
Josh looked taken aback, intimidated even, Sarah thought. Had he not expected her to assert herself?
“Just,” she said, “start from the beginning.” Her eyes locked on Josh’s.
“Well, you know how Elozar told you about how ForeverLand was founded? That Anna was a dualbender?”
“She wasn’t the only dualbender,” Josh said. “There was another - Hadoo - and he went bad.” Ava’s glass of water spilled, breaking the silence.
“Sorry,” she said sheepishly. Then she grabbed a towel from the counter and began to wipe up the spill. Everyone was just looking at her. “Um,” she said, “continue?”
Sarah, Peter, and Elozar returned their gaze to Josh. He ran his fingers through his hair, took a deep breath, and was about to continue when Sarah spoke up.
“What do you mean he went bad?”
“He was taken here, to ForeverLand when he was 15, just like you, me, and the others. But something happened when he got here. No one really knows what, except that when his trainer discovered Hadoo was a dualbender, things took a turn for the worst.” Sarah looked around at the others. They all knew this story, though she felt confident that Josh was telling the truth when he said no one knew what happened to Hadoo. It’s a mystery, she supposed, contemplating how this contributes to the mission.
Then Josh interrupted her thoughts with the harsh truth. “Now Hadoo’s goal is to destroy ForeverLand.”
Now Sarah was completely confused. “But, he’s a bender,” she said. “Why would he want to destroy the only place that could be safe for him?”
Josh opened his mouth to speak, but Sarah had to get in her final question. “And what does this even have to do with me?”
“It’s a mystery to us too - why he’s out to destroy ForeverLand.” Sarah noticed the others were turning their attention back to their dinner. Were they bored by this conversation? She, on the other hand, was completely mesmerized by what Josh was saying, hanging on his every word, waiting to hear what she had to do.
His eyes were stoic. But his voice began to grow in volume, ending in almost a shout. “We have to stop him. We all have to stop him, which is why we need all the most powerful Timebenders and Spacebenders here to fight Hadoo.”
“But,” Sarah hesitated, “why me?” What would have been a moment of silence was interrupted by the clink of a fork and knife on Peter’s plate. Sarah immediately turned her attention to the source of the noise, frustrated by the disruption. She then noticed that Ava, who had finished cleaning up her spill, was gone. Distracted by these ordinary actions, Sarah almost forgot to return her attention to Josh.
“Hem, hemm,” he coughed.
“Elozar can sense the power of all the Timebenders in Leisata. Other spacebenders come to collect the ‘ordinary’ Timebenders – but you’re special. Elozar sensed your power as soon as you were born. You are a key player in the fight, Sarah. We need you to join our troop.”
Sarah didn’t know what to say. Part of her was angry that they had tricked her into getting involved with this dangerous mission, but another part of her was curious and craved the adventure that was about to begin.
Sarah stood up from her chair at the table, locked eyes with Josh, turned to Elozar and Peter in turn. “What if I say no?”
Josh’s face was wiped clean of all emotion, like a blackboard by an eraser. Sarah sensed he was holding something in.
“You can’t. If you go back to Leisata, you will be captured, and most likely killed, by the Chiefs. This is really your only option.”
Sarah’s face fell as the gravity of the situation hit her, but she recovered quickly. “Ok, then I’m in,” is all she said. Then she turned her attention back to her dinner and continued eating.
Though Sarah wanted to pretend that everything was ok, it was not. She was scared, terrified even, and rightfully so, but Josh didn’t say anything else as she cleared her plate.
Peter, Josh, and Elozar looked at Sarah as if she had just single-handedly saved the world. Little did she know, she might have to do just that.
What did you think? Be brutally honest because I’m always looking for ways to build on my stories.
If you think you want to read more, make sure you look out for chapter 3 on Friday at 5pm EST.