[See Part 1 for Disclaimer.]
A flow of warm air blew past her body, the breeze blowing back her
hair. She was flying - flying free. Below her was the blue earth, the white
clouds dancing freely above it. Above her were the shining, silver stars.
She felt their warmth on the back of her neck, countered by the coolness
of the earth below.
She fell to earth.
"Hmmmm...." She pressed her eyes tight together, then slowly opened them. "What the-?" She looked down, seeing the same, ugly clothes.
"Ya, it's pretty weird," added Adam. It took Kimberly a moment to realize that she was seated. Before her was a large wood goblet with some fowl-smelling concoction inside. They were in some kind of bar.
Tommy leaned his head towards Adam and Kimberly. "We're still in a midieval place."
"Could be outside of...wherever we were?" asked Kimberly.
"Beats me," said Adam. The bar was a large room, with wooden floors and walls. There was a large bar across from the three with small stools scattered before it. No bartender was too be seen. They were in a booth along the wall. There were several other booths, and tables across the floor. There was no one else.
"Where do you suppose everyone is?" asked Adam, looking around the bar.
"I don't know," replied Tommy. "But I think we should try to figure out what's going on."
"Good idea," agreed Kim.
"Okay, I tell you what I think." Tommy cleared his throat and began. "We seemed to be in some kind of castle. I have no explaination for that. But that Keeper guy..."
"He's majorly weird," commented Kimberly.
"From the way he talked, it was almost like we were in some kind of game. A challenge...to climb?" Adam said.
"He also called it that. 'The climb'. That's what we started out doing - climbing up those stairs," said Tommy.
"And then the room with those skeleton things, and those two guys. Hercules and Iolaus," Kimberly said.
"That's also weird," said Adam.
"What's that?" asked Tommy.
"Hercules. Doesn't that name sound framiliar?"
Tommy and Kim thought for a moment. Kimberly said, "Come to think of it, ya. There was this old lame cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid. It was about Hercules!"
Adam rolled his eyes. "Ya, but that cartoon was based on a Greek myth. Hercules is a mythilogical hero. He was the son of Zeus and a mortal women. He was a demigod."
"English?" asked Kimberly.
"Half man, half god."
"And you think that that guy was...?" Tommy said.
"I don't know for sure. But what else do we have to go on?"
"Good point," Tommy said. "Hey, how do you know so much about him?"
"Grade six history project. Ancient Greece unit."
"It looks like the entire town is deserted," remarked Kimberly. The three rangers had left the bar to try to see where they were. It was now getting dark.
"Well," said Tommy, glancing up and then back at his companions, "it's getting late, and we should find someplace to stay the night."
"Yeah..." Adam agreed. Then, in a meaningless look up to the sky, he stopped.
"Adam?" asked Kimberly, wondering why he had stopped. Adam mearly pointed up to the sky. There was a giant ball of fire descending towards the rangers. All of the rangers were speachless. They could only run in terror.
They could feel the heat - as intense as the sun. Hotter, hotter. It was close. They wouldn't outrun it. Wouldn't make it...
"No! NOOOO!" Kimberly was lying on the floor, her knees pressed to her chest, her arms behind her head, protecting it.
"Kimberly," a soft voice said. Kim stopped crying, but was still suffering from the shock of the incident. She felt hands on her arms, slowly moving her arms from her face. "It's okay."
It took Kimberly over fifteen minutes to calm down. When she had finally regained her senses and was on her feet, she asked "So where are we now?"
"Back where we started, I think..." replied Adam. The room appeared identical to the one where they had fought the skeletons.
"No fireplace," Tommy pointed out. "So...what do we do?" asked Kimberly.
"Well, from what we've been through..."Tommy said, "we wait."
"They have sucessfully passed."
"Do they know?"
A pause. "They are...putting the pieces together."
Laughter. "As I assumed they would. Where are they now?"
"Prep chamber 12B. Would you care to watch?"
"Indeed. Now, go. There are other players to attend to." A pause. "And take extra care of the Thunderer. He is a god, after all."