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Authors Note: I hope you like this story. Hopefully it will keep you attention. I should warn you the rate at which I write a story generally depends on the response I get from your emails.
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“Sir, Cadet Queststar was not at the library and Sturgis Manor said he’d not seen him for many weeks. He did mention that two other cadets had been there and one girl. He said that they said they were friends of Cadet Queststar.”
“Did he mention their names?”
“Yes sir, Cadet Nucomb and Cadet Redellious and Cadet Redellious’ sister. As I left he said he thought the girl looked more like she’d be Cadet Queststar’s sister.”
Commodore Feder shook his head. He knew Garthon didn’t have a sister. The girl must have been Zaron.
“So, they weren’t in the library?” asked Commander Nucomb.
“No, sir. Sturgis Manor was surprised that they weren’t there as he’d been in the archives retrieving books he thought Cadet Queststar might like. He suggested we check out the game hall which we did. But no one had seen them since they got off the transport and none of them had seen Cadet Redellious’ sister or Cadet Queststar.”
Commander Nucomb looked at the Commodore, “Please question anyone other than Sturgis Manor if they saw the girl with the two cadets – when and where and details.”
The RP saluted and left the room.
“Not a good day for them to disappear. Senator Redellious will be arriving to see his son this afternoon. A surprise visit from one of our biggest supporters of the High Council. He and a few others not so friendly towards us were expecting to meet Zaron. What worries me the most is they are likely to demand custody of Zaron. I can’t let that happen,” said the Commodore.
Over a thousand kilometers from Alron-by-the-sea and a mere ten feet from the three foot dead zone which runs along the west side of the Forest of Esquelon is an outcrop of boulders. The boulders have no particular shape with the exception of one boulder which sits upon the largest boulder. This boulder is the same color as all the other boulders in the outcrop and because of it’s placement unless one is standing on the same level it blends in with the other boulders so that its cubic shape goes unnoticed.
It was from this cube-shaped boulder that the three boys exited from the library portal. They stood silently for several minutes staring at the scene before them.
For as far as they could see to the north, south and east was the forest. It was a blend of multi-colored vegetation. Ahead of them a mire of shrubs so thick and green it looked like they could be one plant. Behind the shrubs like a huge wall was a hedge at least thirty feet high and so thick a mouse creature couldn’t get through. Every few feet you could see brightly colored blossoms hanging from the hedge. Twenty feet before the shrubs is a luscious green grass then comes the natural boundary where absolutely nothing grows. It’s called the dead zone and is only three feet wide. The ground in the dead zone is dry and hard. Beyond the hedge one can see the giant Mongor trees stretching high into the air. Covering the top of the forest is a thick layer of clouds.
“It’s so beautiful,” said Garthon in a hushed voice, “It’s so alive. We have to get down off these rocks!”
Zaron took off his wig and wiped as much of his makeup off as he could with his shirt while Garthon and Trender searched for a way down but neither could find a way down off the main boulder.
“We can’t find a way down” said Trender as he and Garthon returned to where Zaron was standing and staring at the forest as if in a trance.
“Look again. It’s blends with the rock but its there,” Zaron spoke in a monotone voice as he continued to stare.
“Zaron are you okay?” asked Trender as he’d never seen Zaron in this state and speaking with a monotone voice.
“Look again. It’s blends with the rock but its there,” Zaron repeated in the still monotone voice as he continued to stare ahead.
Garthon pulled Trender away gently and they began their search again. A few minutes later Garthon was on the ground calling up to Zaron, “Zaron, Trender’s on the other side of the cube thing waiting for you to show you the way down – I’m going over to the plants.”
“NO! Come back now!” ordered Zaron.
Garthon looked disgruntled but did as Zaron ordered.
Zaron went slowly around the cube as if in a daze.
“Zaron? Are you sure you’re all right?” asked Trender.
“Yeah – no – I don’t know.” He paused. Garthon appeared on this side of the cube.
“I am nothing special. My name is Zaron of the Queststar,” he said softly staring to the west, then looked at Trender, “I am not the heir apparent. There never was an heir apparent. My memory is returning.”
“What do you mean?” asked Garthon.
“I’m not the heir apparent. I’m nothing special. I’m not what everyone thinks I am,” Zaron swallowed hard then looked at Trender, “You and Garthon need to go back to the academy. I belong elsewhere.”
“NO! I won’t leave you!” insisted Trender, “I love you! I don’t care if you’re not the heir apparent!”
“Trender’s right, Zaron. It doesn’t matter. You’re our friend and we love you,” voiced Garthon.
“You won’t love me when you find out what I am,” said Zaron. Then in almost a whisper he said, “I’m not like you. I never had parents.”
“What do you mean?” asked Garthon as he reached the other two.
Zaron looked down at his feet, “I was genetically engineered. I’m – I’m one of five hundred and one clones.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Garthon, “That is so cool! You’re the first clone I’ve ever met.”
Trender grabbed Zaron by his shirt and gently pushed him against the cube wall. “I don’t care, you are Zaron. You are special. I know that! You are the one I love,” Trender said and then pressed his lips to Zaron’s lips and kissed him passionately which Zaron couldn’t help returning and pressing his groin into Trender.
The kiss lasted for several moments and they only broke it when Garthon said, “Okay, well that’s settled we’re not going anywhere but with you, Zaron. Oh and by the way nice tent you made, Zaron,” laughed Garthon, “You too Trender.”
“Oh, and before I forget, the portal to Queststar is almost dead center of the forest in a temple like structure,” said Garthon.
The other two boys looked at Garthon with a surprised look.
“How do you know?” asked Trender.
“I asked,” giggled Garthon, “Guys, I talked to a friendly plant. That forest is awesome! I love it! There are plants in there that are highly intelligent and animals too. I happened to talk to one which happened to talk back – it was very much like what you do Zaron.”
“Really?” said Trender.
“Yeah, hey Zaron, maybe you’re part plant to as well as human?”
Trender rolled his eyes, “He is not part plant! He doesn’t have any leaves.” Trender then looked at Zaron, “You don’t do you?”
“Well,” said Zaron, “I was thinking of turning over a new leaf.” And then he burst out laughing.
Garthon started laughing and barely got out, “Yeah, and – and he had a woody growing in his pants!”
“We’re all part plant!” laughed Trender, “Because we all have morning woodies.”
Their raillery continued for a short while longer before the three boys descended the large boulder and walked to the forest.
“It’s really beautiful,” voiced Garthon, “Look!” Garthon pointed to a brightly colored red and yellow flower that a small bird as hovering near, “It’s going to get some nectar from that flower.”
The little bird stuck its long beak into the blossom as its wings rapidly beat. Suddenly the flower’s blossom closed tight. The three boys watched as the blossom shook from the little bird trying to escape but the petals of the flower closed tighter and tighter until the was no movement.
“Wow!” exclaimed Garthon, “That was incredible!”
“Not for the bird,” voiced Trender, “The vegetation seem so thick I don’t see how we can get in there unless…” Trender looked at Garthon, “You talk to your plant friend. At least I hope it’s your friend. Maybe it could tell us where a path is.”
“Yes, good idea,” agreed Zaron.
Garthon stared at the forest a few feet in front of him trying to make contact with the plant he’d spoken to before but there was no answer.
“It’s not responding,” said Garthon, “Maybe I imagined it. Maybe we shouldn’t go in right now.” He turned to walk back to the rock.
“No wait,” said Trender, “Look there’s a path sort of. Your friend must have heard you because that wasn’t there a minute ago. Come on let’s follow the path.”
“Uh – I don’t know,” said Garthon as Trender followed by Zaron walked into the forest. He reluctantly followed.
“Guys! I really have a bad feeling about this!” exclaimed Garthon as he followed a step behind Zaron and Trender.
Zaron stopped turned around, saw that the path behind them was rapidly closing and soon they would be completely trapped. “Oh! SHIT! RUN!” he yelled as he grabbed Garthon by the hand and yanked him in front of him.
The three boys ran along the path that was rapidly closing in on them. Trender came to a halt as a wall of plants sprung up six feet in front of him causing the other to also come to a halt.
Within a second they were completely surrounded by a wall of vegetation and then the ground beneath their feet gave way and they were falling.