In this week’s issue of Weekly News, we have, the next part of the TFRC Story, and ‘Who Was Albert Einstein?’! First, Who Was Albert Einstein?
In complicated words he is a ‘theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science.’ This means that his theory, or scientific idea, was a starting point of modern physics and made people think about new theories they hadn’t considered before. Einstein was born March 14, 1879, Ulm, Württemberg, Germany and he died April 18, 1955, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S. He also developed the special and general theories of relativity and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. This is the “emission of electrons from a surface (usually metallic) upon exposure to, and absorption of, electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light and ultraviolet radiation)”, so it is not a very easy concept to understand. Moving on, the moment you have been waiting for, here is Chapter 6 to Chapter 12 of the TFRC Story:
Disclaimer: Some audiences may find some scenes disturbing in this story. It is advised that parents read this to confirm that their child will not be scared or shocked by anything included.
Ted pounced upon him trying to snatch the key from the demon’s slimy, filthy hand and as they rolled about, Ellie glanced out of the window. The people were gaining on them! Ellie hauled Ted up from the ground, who was triumphantly clutching the key in his paw, and dragged him down the stairs as fast as she could while the demon struggled to get up behind them. Ted stumbled and tripped, tumbling down the stairs. Ellie had to support his weight and they trudged along together, aware of the crowd of poisoned villagers gaining on them but unsure of what to do. They struggled onwards, Ted hopping and Ellie half – carrying Ted, but they soon realised they would not be quick enough like this. The portal was starting to fade away, but it was still there just about. An idea struck Ellie. The chest in the windmill! She ordered Ted to wait behind while she gathered heavy rocks from the chest, scraped them against each other, and started to create an invention, while the furious crowd came steadily closer.
Eventually, the device was complete. Ted crouched in the rickety trolley while Ellie shoved it along with all her energy. It was going faster and faster as it rolled downhill; they were almost there! Yet there was a problem. The wheels were breaking down. She started to panic. What would they do? There was no time to think. Ellie shoved as hard as she could, then tumbled after Ted through the waiting portal.
The dizzying mist engulfed them once again, but when it cleared, the angel was nowhere to be seen. They seemed to be in the next location, but a deserted apple orchard? What was this to do with the key? Ellie safely pocketed the key they had just collected, for they had given all their previous keys to the angel, and started creeping forward through the fog, carefully avoiding the rotten apples scattered on the ground, Ted sticking close beside her. Soon, through the fog, they noticed an eerie abandoned cottage. Ellie eagerly knocked three times on the door, hoping for some food or water, as they had had scarcely anything the past few days. They spotted a small tap and drank until they had quenched their thirst, before peering through the misty windows to see if anyone was home.
Nobody seemed to be there. Ted gently pushed the door. Surprisingly, it creaked open and they both crept inside. Suddenly, a sweet, sly voice drifted into the room. “What are you doing in my house?” Sweet like berries dipped in poison. “I- I,” Ted stuttered. They were lulled into a trance, and started walking closer. “Looking for the key?” “What? Erm, yes,” said Ellie, swallowing her fear. “And we’re going to get it, but if it’s not here we don’t mind and we’ll leave you in peace,” she added confidently. “Get it?” I think not.” Without warning, a hand shot out and dangled them by their legs above the ground. One hand dropped Ted with a thump, and he scrambled away. “Wait there, Ellie!” he cried. “I’m coming!”
Ellie struggled to escape from the powerful grip, twisting and turning frantically, but the thing would not let her escape. Panic pounded through her veins as she tried to haul herself into an upright position. Then, it emerged with its entire body from the shadows. It was a water siren, who were dangerous creatures that lurked in the murky depths of the ocean, luring sailors into the sea by singing a beautiful song. Her heart raced. Ted kicked the door, in order to escape outside, but it was staying in place. Then the siren began her song. Water began to trickle in from the corners of the room, before flowing in like a rivulet, then cascading in like a stream, before torrents of water gushed in through all of the little crevices in the brick walls like a river. Ted and Ellie were nearly submerged, and they desperately tried to break the glass windows, but they refused to break, because of the water siren’s spell. Then, Ted had an idea. Fitting his paws into the gaps in the wall, he pushed himself upwards out of the water, beckoning Ellie to follow. “Ted…we…should…do something!” said Ellie, panting heavily. “The roof. Climb up to the roof!” cried Ted, before the water rose higher and his mouth was under water. They clambered up to the rafters, clinging on tightly, and together they used all their combined strength to shatter the roof into tiny pieces. Immediately, the water vanished. But the siren was coming after them again. They sprinted towards the gate, and dashed out as fast as possible. Exhausted they watched in horror from outside, but it seemed the siren could go no further. Sulkily, she trudged back inside the house. Suddenly, a flicker of light shone behind them. They spun around. It was the key.
They picked it up and pocketed it, before a gurgling sound announced the appearance of another portal. Stepping through it confidently, Ted and Ellie shut their eyes as the strange dizziness engulfed them for a fourth time. When the dense mist had cleared, Ted and Ellie found themselves in the middle of a wood. Not an eerie, desolate wood, like many others that the bears had encountered before, but tranquil and peaceful. Ancient oaks loomed powerfully over their heads, while spindly birch trees reached out with pale, thin branches. Vibrant flowers danced in the gentle breeze. Contentedly the bears strode forward, admiring their surroundings and taking in the warmth of the sunlight, streaming through the canopy of leaves above. Leaves crunched and twigs snapped beneath their paws in colourful shades of red and orange. Various birds soared over their heads, singing beautifully but occasionally splattering droppings all over the muddy ground. Ellie sniggered as Ted narrowly dodged getting a huge, disgusting puddle of goo on his head, then hastily try to wipe it off his boot. Then, Ellie noticed a mysterious shadow in the distance. Creeping towards it hesitantly, her mind began to race. Was it something sinister? Was it the demon back again, or something worse come to haunt her and Ted? However, she breathed a sigh of relief and amazement when she saw it. The trees had woven together to create a beautiful, delicate masterpiece. It was like a twisted, winding den, carved by nature made from the roots of the trees. It made Ellie feel like she was in the time when she and Ted had made a rickety little treehouse, just for them, hidden in the muddle of branches and leaves of the tree in their garden. They used it as a relaxing place to discuss their top-secret plans, sneak the cookie jar into their little storage compartment, and to their delight, nobody could have entered but them, because it was their own special place. The memory brought a smile to Ellie’s face. She sat there for a while, daydreaming and remembering the past, before eventually deciding to leave. She climbed down again, ready to re-join Ted, before realising with a sickening jolt… Ted was gone.
“Ellie?” cried Ted frantically, for the ninth time. “Ellie, where are you?” He repeated it again and again before finally collapsing onto the floor, terrified. I didn’t even notice that she was gone, he thought anxiously. Ellie would be frightened and alone, or in terrible danger, he couldn’t just leave her behind! He was fighting against the voice in his mind, who was determinedly insisting on finding the key by himself. He breathed in and out slowly, trying to reassure himself. Ellie will be furious if I find the key without her! Ted thought, biting his lip with concern. Panic flooded through his veins, and his heart pounded. It was beginning to grow darker, and shadows scuttled menacingly across the forest floor. Desperately trying to contain his fear, he huddled against a tree, wrapping his thick coat around his knees. Cold was stinging his eyes and biting his freezing paws. Then a thought came to him, through the fear and worry. Ellie will be furious if I don’t find the final key before she comes back. I have to find it, and I have to find it now! Purposefully, he hauled himself off the ground and started towards a cosy shelter, where he could sleep before heading off to find the key. In two different places, both Ellie and Ted both drifted to sleep, uncertain of what strange things would happen the next day.
Ellie woke in the morning, cold and shivering, curling up in a heap among the twigs. She felt downhearted and sick with worry; Ted was no longer beside her to comfort her, as he always was. Shakily, she stood up, and brushed the dirt off her devastatingly matted fur. She knew she would find Ted, but she had no clue where to start.
As the sun rose in the morning, Ted ventured out to begin his quest. In the night, he had been tossing and turning on the pile of crumpled leaves he had salvaged to construct a bed. Fear had kept him awake, taunting him with sinister shadows and monsters lurking in the dark. Meanwhile he had experienced a sense of foreboding, as he stared around at the trees, like something was watching him, and he felt he needed to investigate. He gazed around at the calm, relaxed wood, but the air around him suggested that something was not quite right. Peering anxiously into all the ditches and holes in the ground as he passed, Ted undistractedly meandered through the dense thickets and spiky brambles. Suddenly, Ted spotted a sinister shape shift in the light of the golden sun. He walked towards it carefully so as not to disturb it. Creeping closer, he hid behind a tree, but jumped back as it let out a deafening roar. Then the monster lumbered off, making the ground tremble with each enormous stride. Ted followed nervously, trying to avoid being seen. Could this be a clue to the location of the next key?
Soon, the monster was out of sight, but the scuff marks in the dry, dusty path meant that Ted could easily trace it. Leaves had been viciously kicked off the path, and trampled underneath immense feet. Keeping to edge of the path, Ted crept along; he didn’t want to risk being caught by the creature. It’s stained, rotten teeth looked like they could rip him to shreds in an instant. Suddenly, he heard a crashing sound coming from the bushes. Scampering quickly over to the left, he watched as the monster charged through the undergrowth, snarling furiously. Now that Ted could see him properly, he was paralysed with terror. Rooted to the spot, he slowly took in its gruesome squashed – looking face, hunched, powerful shoulders, and stumpy legs, while it stood so close, he could smell its foul breath, saliva dribbling down it’s chin. It was covered it matted, tangled fur, jet black like spilled ink.
The monster suddenly started tearing through the dense green bushes, and Ted raced after it desperately. Fatigued by his weakening journey and disastrous circumstances, Ted doubted he could make it far enough, wherever the monster was leading him, and he was right; however hard he tried, the monster was too fast for him. Soon, his paws were throbbing tortuously and sweat was trickling down his back. The monster seemed like he would never stop. Panting heavily and groaning with exhaustion, Ted was beginning to slowly slip behind. He frantically tried to catch up, but it was no use. He had been running and running, and the minutes stretched out like years. Eventually his knees crumpled beneath him, and he collapsed on the dusty ground. He lay there for a moment, before deciding he must continue. Ellie needed him, and so did the whole of Starzonia. Exhaustedly heaving himself off the ground with the help of a tree trunk, Ted reluctantly started searching the ground for prints.
Meanwhile, Ellie was trudging along the rugged path, lost. Gradually the darkness engulfed her like a blanket, and she could scarcely see, but she determinedly strode forwards. Every rustle of leaves made her flinch. Every sudden noise startled her. Hesitantly creeping through the dense undergrowth, she stumbled and tripped over roots and scattered twigs. Her paws trembled uncontrollably as, distressed and distraught, she blundered blindly through the woods. A sense of foreboding trickled down her spine like icy water; she felt feverish and hysterical, ready to scramble away at any moment as the gnarled, knobbly trees seemed to twist and contort and close in around her. Daunting thoughts chased each other through her mind as she walked onwards, squirming at any disturbance and shaking like a leaf. Suddenly, she noticed a shape move in the distance and panic pounded in her veins. She immediately squealed and jumped backwards. That was when the figure stepped into the light. It was the bear from the library.
Shuffling along the ground arduously, Ted hunted around for faint signs of the monster: leaves strewn across the path, bark stripped from trees, branches viciously torn apart. Cautiously following the signs, he soon stopped abruptly as the tracks came to an unanticipated halt. He looked up. Towering menacingly before him was an ominous, gloomy cave, dark as night and three times as scary. This must have been where the monster had gone. As he stepped inside tentatively, the sound echoed mysteriously off the walls. Spiky, jagged stalactites jutted out of the cave roof, like teeth inside a large, gaping mouth. A chaotic labyrinth of tunnels and forks, enormous caverns and narrow passageways. Then the monster appeared around a corner, and Ted saw it properly for the first time…
It had an elongated head and body, like an alligator, while its legs were wide and stumpy. Blood dripped from its rotten teeth, and malicious claws scraped at the rock like daggers. Its scaly body writhed and contorted with outstanding fury and rage, while its powerful tail lashed at the air, mercilessly tearing through the damp, cold wind. Ted stumbled backwards hastily, and tripped over something wedged in the dirt behind him. The monster fixed him with a threatening gaze, but Ted barely noticed as it lunged savagely towards him. Curiously, he reached towards the shiny object, but before he realised what was happening, the monster had scooped him up in one monstrous claw, and, giving him a fiendish grin, chucked him head-first into the impenetrable stone wall. As Ted stood back up, feeling bedraggled and dizzy, he saw what was coming before it happened, however he was too unstable to dodge the tremendous blow. The monster’s next murderous swipe struck Ted forcefully, and knocked the breath from his lungs. In an instant, he felt his feet leave the ground, and his body slam back down, scraping his paws against the jagged stone and making his arms slump to the ground painfully. His back was throbbing torturously, and thin rays of sunlight seeped in through the cracks in the boulders.
The thought popped into his mind unexpectedly and as the monster’s claw once again launched him across the cave, he realised what he had to do. As the light had filtered in, the monster had flinched slightly. Not enough for someone in Ted’s situation to really notice, but critical for his plan. He slid underneath the monster’s grasp, petrified and painting heavily, and helplessly stretched out to grab the shiny object he had seen earlier. He scarcely touched it when the monster knocked him away. Shaking like a leaf, Ted once again stood up, dodged the dangerous strike, and crawled exhaustedly towards the object. Clutching it triumphantly in his paws, he turned it gradually and directed it towards the sunlight.
Immediately, a blinding light filled the cave; the monster howled in terror while Ted, delighted at his brilliance, scampered away through the forest… still holding the fourth magical key of Starzonia, and unable to believe his stupendous luck.
Ellie walked forward to meet the stranger. Bubbling inside her stomach was a mixture of trepidation and apprehension, as well as excitement. Could this be the clue to the last key? This man hadn’t been the threatening, dark man who was using the fire. A sense of comfort came from this bear; after all, he had been the victim, not the creator. “Excuse me? Erm, Sir?” she paused and looked up. “Have you seen my brother, Ted, anywhere?” “Ted?” replied the strange young bear. “No, I’m sorry. Could you describe him to me?” “Erm, well, he has brown fur, and brown eyes… and, and, and he’s gone missing!” She broke off and burst into tears. “Brown eyes, brown fur… he sounds familiar,” The man murmured. Then a grin spread across his face. “He sounds like my cousin! He’s also called Ted and he matches your description! I’ve been looking for him and his sister Ellie for ages, as well as the keys!” he cried enthusiastically. “Keys?” asked Ellie, who had stopped sniffling and brightened up at the thought of finding Ted. “I shouldn’t have said that,” he replied. “No, wait! The magical keys of Starzonia, is that what you’re talking about? We’ve been looking for them, too! My name is Ellie, and we were told that the keys protected the land from evil and dangerous creatures! We found three already and- “Ellie rambled. “You’re Ellie?” the man asked. “You must be my cousin. Let’s go find Ted and the last key together, so we can finally save Starzonia.” They started walking along the dusty path, Ellie describing Ted and their countless happy memories together, while the bear described the haunted, abandoned cottages filled with sirens, and the caves filled with beasts that were alive before the keys were created. “I’m sorry, but I haven’t even asked your name,” said Ellie curiously. “Oh yes, my name’s Jack!” he cried in an exaggerated French accent, making Ellie explode with giggles. “What was that man after, anyway, in the library?” she said, after she had calmed down. “The dark angel, you mean? He was one of the dangerous villains from the Dark Times, who wanted the keys for himself. He planned to take over our world and Starzonia, so they put protective spells over your world, which blocked the magic there, and created the keys here, so they could keep half of it and give the other half of the magic to the creatures. But the Dark Angel wasn’t happy, and started causing chaos and wreaking havoc everywhere, see, so they banished him to a far-off land called Torment, where he couldn’t escape. Tragically, he distracted the guards, stole the book off me, and came here so he could get the keys to- ““Wait,” Ellie said questioningly, “Did you say, dark angel?” She couldn’t help it, her horror and panic crept into her voice before she could even try to conceal the daunting truth. “What?” he asked nervously, dreading what she would say next. “The keys… he told us… safe… I mean, well,” she took a deep breath. “We gave the first three keys to an angel… and he never mentioned anything to do with keeping them safe.” Jack suddenly realised what she meant but it was too late: in an instant, a skeletal hand had clamped over Jack’s mouth.
“I heard all that, and yes, that is my plan.” The angel looked terrifying, the thought that her pleasant, smiling face was just a fiendish disguise had never even crossed Ellie’s mind. Her nails had lengthened into claws, and her front teeth dripped with blood. Pale and menacing, her hands closed around his throat, disturbingly tight. “This is my true self. I am a morphosis remius, a creature of change,” she hissed savagely. “Wh-wh-what?” muttered Ellie, frantically trying to distract the angel. “You don’t fool me, girl!” she spat, and without warning, she disappeared, along with Jack, as quick as lightning. Ellie’s mind was in chaos. Blundering blindly through the wood, she stumbled into trees and brambles wound around her ankles, weaving a fiendish trap. Ted…. Ted…. Ted…Ted; the thought raced itself through her mind. Trees cackled maliciously, and she slowly lost consciousness. They had given the angel all the keys, but one. If Ted had given the last key to her without realising the truth… this was all their fault. That was when she collapsed.
Sunlight trickled through the canopy above, blinding Ellie. She squinted up at it, wondering where she was. The night before was hazy and vague in her mind; she had been so shocked and anxious she couldn’t think. Now it all came flooding back to her: the keys, the angel, Ted, Jack. Jack! Where was he and what was the angel doing to him? They had just found him: how could it all suddenly change?! Panic pounded through her veins, her thoughts chasing each other in frantic circles inside her head. “Ellie?” said a curious voice. “You’re awake?”. Who is this? she thought. Then she realised. “Ted!” she squealed, and launched herself on top of him. “Ellie! You really are awake! What happened?” he asked interestedly. She explained it all to him, and he suddenly gasped. “Oh Ellie! I can’t believe it! I gave the last key to the angel! I knew something was wrong…” “What do we do?” whispered Ellie nervously. Ted’s voice became deadly serious. “We have to head towards the mountains.” he said gravely. Both had heard that the mountains were treacherous terrain, with perilous sloped and jagged cliffs. However, the angels castle lurked there, hidden between the rocks. She had briefly mentioned it when they met, and probably hadn’t realised how much trouble it would cause for her now. Well, they had no other choice. Jack was there too, and Ellie tried hard not to imagine the torturous time he would be having there. They packed up, watching for any sign of movement, ears pricking up at any slight noise. “We have to go, it’s almost midday.” said Ellie. And slowly they headed towards the steep, desolate rocks that loomed over the land.
Ted and Ellie trudged through the sand lining a small cove, hiding underneath a chalky white cliff. It was soggy and disgusting as it seeped through their shoes and into their fur. They had reached the edge of the forest, then clambered unsteadily down the cliff, unsure of where they were heading. Hidden from the ocean and surrounded by rocks, it didn’t seem like there was anywhere they could go, but nevertheless they searched persistently for a tunnel or a mine: anything that could lead them in the right direction. However, a storm was brewing. The sea hissed as it flowed around their paws, and the clouds had darkened. Crouched in a small rock pool, the waves came ever closer.
Ellie had barely noticed the change in the weather. She was busy scrounging for berries in the small bushes by the cliff face, as both herself and Ted had no idea what sort of things were edible by the beach. She had found a couple, but it was hardly a sustainable snack, let alone a meal. “Ted, will you come here a second?” she called. There was no answer, but a second later he appeared from behind the bushes. “What?” he groaned. “Are these safe to eat, do you think?” she asked. He examined them meticulously, and nibbled a dark red one that was dripping with juice, before stating that they were fine. He went back to the cave while Ellie collected a few more; still her focus was on the berries, not on the incoming arcs of water. Suddenly, it started to pound with rain. It was getting dark and the tide was coming in closer, churning and gurgling maliciously with dangerous intent. Anxiously, Ted called her over, and she could hear the panic echo in his voice. Rushing over, she saw his expression and turned around. Seeing the sea edge closer by the second made her freeze, petrified and paralysed with fear. Ted hauled himself up onto a ledge and dragged Ellie up too, breathless.
Mercilessly, the malevolent waves crashed into the sand, breathing its fury on the rocks. The wind was a ferocious beast, lashing at their cheeks like a whip, while a putrid salty stench flooded the air. Clambering further up, the water grabbed at their ankles, dragging them down. Desperately trying to ignore the ubiquitous, seething rock pools below, it costed all of Ellie’s effort to catch up with Ted. Salty spray stinging their face, they exhaustedly heaved themselves further upwards, towards the inky sky. Delicate threads of silvery moonlight slipped through the dark, heavy clouds above. Eventually, Ted slid forward over the edge of the cliff, and collapsed on the ground, panting. Ellie followed, whispering, “I think we went the wrong way, Ted.” before they both fell asleep.
They both had a rough night, drenched with briny water and tossing and turning on the bumpy rock surface, and decided to keep going as soon as possible. The sunlight danced merrily on the surface of the water, lighting up the vibrant fish below. Seaweed waved up at them from the rocks. The violent storm had passed, leaving sand strewn across the beach and rocks upturned, but the landscape undamaged. Their clothes were sticky and damp, but had dried significantly overnight. However, with these clothes the mountains were much to cold and unwelcoming. They needed sanctuary. Meandering up the winding path, they soon came across a small coastal village. Little wooden huts with makeshift, thatched rooves lined the cove. Knocking cautiously at the door, Ted stepped back as it swung open, creaking dangerously on its hinges. Stumbling through a curtain of darkness, it took a while for their eyes to adjust to the light. “Ted?” muttered Ellie, “I don’t trust this place. Why is it so dark? Where is everyone? If they’re not here, why was the door open, and – “
“Sshh,” Ted whispered sharply. Catching a glimpse of something shiny, Ted spun around… and spotted a book. Enveloped in a chestnut leather cover, the yellowish pages were stained with beautiful ink handwriting. “Stumbling through a curtain of darkness, it took a while for their eyes to adjust to the light. “Ted?” muttered Ellie, “I don’t trust this place. Why is it so dark? Where is everyone? If they’re not here, why was the door open, and – “…
He stopped reading abruptly. “This- this is- this is us!” he cried. “It’s talking about us! This is evil, Ellie, I can tell. We have to get out of here!” At least, that’s what he would have said. But at that moment, a mist had started spinning out of the book. Accompanied by skeletal screams and gnarled fingers reaching out of the lettering, the strange swirling fog terrified Ellie out of her wits. But she tried desperately to keep calm, and urged her mind to remember what Jack had told her. “It responds to fear, and grows bigger,” she whispered anxiously to herself, “it can give you one wish if you control it. How do I control it?” The mist seemed to be biting her cheeks and face, nipping at her uncontrollably. She forced herself to block it out. “Don’t let it use your fear… Ted, I’ve got it!” she cried. “We have to relax, so we can give it our wish! Wait for me!” She scrambled over the furniture towards the book, struggling against the wind. Concentrating only on her one thought, she said clearly: “I want to be transported to the mountains with warm clothes for me and Ted!” And they were suddenly whisked away to the tall slopes of Azmarlorn.
“That was seriously creepy!” cried Ted, huddled in a thick warm coat, hat, and scarf complete with padded climbing gloves. “Yeah, I only remembered it from a story, we wouldn’t have escaped otherwise!” Ellie said. There was a pause. “But it was sort of funny too, how it was like ‘I will kill you’ and then you ask for warm clothes and a trip to the mountains and it acts like that fine, as long as you make sure you’re prepared!” “I should’ve asked for a travel brochure!” cried Ellie, and the both burst into fits of hysterical laughter and collapsed into the snow. “Concentrate, Ted,” said Ellie once they had finished, pretending to be stern,” we actually have a world to rescue here.” “Suppose your right,” laughed Ted, oddly,” let’s go.” The trundled up the slope ahead of them, knee deep in snow, their breath icy, unaware of the sinister shadow looming above them at every step.
It was getting dark, and the cold winds drifted around like a lingering stench. Grateful for their warm clothing, they huddled closer together, but their breaths were short and rapid and they had no food or water, nor was there any in sight. They settled down to sleep, hungry, but more overwhelmingly tired, the hours had seemed like years during their climb. Yet the had not yet caught a glimpse of the castle. As they slept, dreams disturbed by nightmares of portal books and spinning fog, their mind became twisted and confused like threads entwined in a basket.
When Ellie woke up, she knew something was wrong. Ted was giggling uncontrollably, rolling around on the floor and cackling like a hyena. And Ted was no hyena, he was a bear. Ellie knew that much. Suddenly, a feeling of absurd happiness started to rise in her too, and she tried to stop it but it was no use. They rolled about on the floor until Ted slowly regained his thoughts and spoke, rather gravely, “Why is this happening? What spelled us and how? We need to know or we’ll never get to Azmarlorn’s peak!” At this Ellie too, stopped. “It was the book… it was cursed, you were right, it was evil!” mumbled Ellie, her voice hoarse. “It changed our minds, confused us, we shouldn’t be happy, we should be worried, scared, confused!”
“But then,” whispered Ted, swallowing giggles, “Why are we still managing to go in the right direction? Why are we still heading up the mountain and not down it again? Unless…”
“Unless the castle is at the bottom,” finished Ellie.
“We should have known, the angel is a master of deception, trickery, and camouflage! Of course she would want to hide something, drive people delusional trying to find her castle!”
“And she’s secretive, too! She wouldn’t want her home to be in plain sight! And the only time she looked comfortable was in the middle of summer, or when she was scaring the life out of people! She probably hated the cold!” By this time, they were halfway back down the mountain. “Ted, we’re doing it! If we distract ourselves with weird questions, maybe we can go even faster!”
“Why is grass green?”
“Why isn’t chocolate rainbow coloured?”
“Why don’t pickles try scuba – diving?”
“What do volcanoes dream about?”
“Do cats gossip?”
“WHY CAN’T BANANAS DANCE IN PURPLE TREES?” Ted shouted at the sky.
They were nearly at the base of the mountain. Their excitement overcame them and they started laughing and rolling on the floor. “Wait, why are we laughing? We actually are happy now.” asked Ted. “The curse! It wore off! We did it, Ted!!!” cried Ellie. They both cheered and slid down the last slope of the mountain, shrieking with excitement. Now all they had to do was find the castle…
Curiously scouting the snow – scattered rocks, they searched continuously for the cave. The angel had stolen three of the keys of Starzonia, and now Jack too! As sunset arrived, the panic had started to dawn on them. If evil had all the keys, they would rule! This was a real dilemma. If they rescued Jack, they would put the last key at risk, without guarantee of success, yet only Jack knew the rightful place for the keys to go to restore Starzonia to the balance of good and evil. “He’s our cousin,” said Ted when they had been discussing it, “We should help him.”
“What if he would prefer to be locked up then risk what has been his entire homeland?” was Ellie’s only reply.
Eventually they discovered a small hole in the rock, small enough to crawl through. A dingy green light shone out of it, and a foul stench invaded their noses as soon as they crawled through. It led to a dark tunnel, through which they unknowingly slid through, desperate to reach the castle. After what had seemed like centuries, they came to a small cavern. In it stood bare, stone walls, on which flickering torches were mounted, illuminating an ancient stand on which lay a ragged, leather bound spell book. Candlelight danced with the shadows along the walls. The trickles of damp whispered ominously as they dripped onto the stone floor. Ellie cautiously reached out a hand to touch the book. In a flash of amber light, the book opened, revealing 5 mystical runes.
“What could this mean?” asked Ellie. Ted was immersed in thought. He had heard of this before… “These runes aren’t runes, they’re distorted letters. This looks like an H… wait, does this look like an E to you?” Ellie puzzled over them for a few minutes. “I think it says H E R O,” she declared. 5 whole days in the cave it took them, rearranging the letters, forming complex codes, mathematical equations, but none worked, and one question tugged at their thoughts the whole time. What was the last rune? Suddenly, Ted spoke. Exhausted and wary, his voice broken, summoning the last of his weakened hope, he said, “I think it’s a 5.” Ellie waited. “This is nothing mathematical, its meant to keep out the unwanted. We would say there are many qualities of a hero, but evil thinks there are only 5. Any villain would think of it by now, but of course any real hero would not. They would be strategic, or use their strength or bravery, without thinking that they could be on the wrong path.” “So, what would it be?” asked Ellie. Ted slowly wrote on the next blank page of the book.
OUR KINGDOM VANQUISHED
5 RUNES THAT DESCRIBE A TRUE HERO
… And a trapdoor appeared above them. Breathing relief that was too much for words, and triumph lighting in their eyes, they crossed into a room. Light poured down from a window. It seemed they were above ground, but where was the castle now? A row of vials filled with strangely coloured liquids lined the back wall. They inspected it carefully, running their hands over the dust – glazed glass and the paper…
Paper? Ted thought, stopping abruptly. “What is it?” asked Ellie, turning. He prised a piece of blackened parchment out from a gap in the stone wall. The ash crumbled away in his paws, as he examined it. “There’s nothing on it,” he said quietly. Their hope faded like mist on a window pane. “Maybe we have to drink one of those potions?” asked Ellie desperately. Determinedly, she unscrewed the lid of a pale blue syrup, and sniffed it tentatively. A putrid stench flooded out in the form of a translucent smoke of the same colour. She leapt back, repulsed, then left it open and tried another. A puff of crimson smoke appeared and mingled with the blue smoke, creating a lilac shimmering mist that enveloped the room. “Wow…” Ellie exclaimed. “Maybe we should mix them together?” Ted popped off the third lid. “Or… That.” All the colours had flooded together to make a golden – brown light. The parchment started to glow with 4 intricate numbers. 4531… Ellie grabbed the parchment hurriedly and pressed it against the crumbling wall. Joyously, they watched as an opening in the wall grew into a massive doorway. Ellie stepped through… and the door slammed behind her.
Ted could only anticipate in horror as sand started to trickle through into the completely sealed glass room. Ellie, wide eyed, started desperately pounding on the glass. She realised what would happen, and so did Ted. Panic pounded through him and he could only mouth reassurances at Ellie as she slumped despairingly against the glass wall, eyes watering. Ted tried to keep focused; were there any tools around to help her escape? Why had they made such a significant mistake? Why would the castle guards have left clues to its location when they could have entered easily just by proving their identity? They should have known it would all be a trap! Yet while he was anxiously debating their seemingly limited routes to escape, Ted’s mind slipped out of focus…
A blanket of quiet thought seemed to envelop him, frustration and fear giving way to a frenzied state of peace. Oblivious to Ellie’s desperation, he pictured the demon in the castle grinning hideously with rotting teeth. Her beautiful skin melting away to leave behind a mass of distorted features and gruesome claws forming from clean white nails. He pictured her saying sweetly: “Well done Ted, you’ve found the emergency exit! He saw her in his mind’s eye giggling maliciously through a pane of glass… emergency… something stirred in his brain. A squeal came from the other side of the glass, jolting him back to reality and desperation resumed its reign over him. The sand reached almost to Ellie’s knees. He almost blurted out “Emergency!” but kept himself quiet for Ellie’s sake. He pondered the word but could not figure out what he had realised and its connection to the situation they were in. Then it slowly dawned on him… It was dangling at the edge of his memory like a thread he could not quite reach. Another squeal. The sand almost reached Ellie’s waist and there was no more time to wait. He realised. What if a guest got accidentally caught in here? Or maybe a particularly foolish guard? There would have to be an emergency escape exit! But where?…
Breathing heavily on the glass, he wiped away a message for Ellie. Her eyes suddenly brightened, and they both began to scour the edges of the glass walls and the rest of the room. Ellie with much difficulty, tried to wade above the sand, but to no prevail. She was trapped, the sand almost covering her nose and mouth. And finally, Ted saw it. A tiny red button: DO NOT TOUCH. It was worth the risk. Pressing it frantically, Ted looked round at the glass container. Nothing happened. Tears welling, he tried again. Nothing. Then finally, a screeching sound like rusted metal, then the sand suddenly cascaded out of a glass door on the side of the room, and another door creaked open at the back.
In this week’s issue of Weekly News, we have, the next part of the TFRC Story, and ‘Who Was Albert Einstein?’! First, Who Was Albert Einstein?