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The Wishing Map
Chapter Fifteen: Destiny (Continued)
Previously: Aunt Aloysia demanded to know if Zack and Gina had returned the Objects to Ismara.
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“It was Zack’s fault!” Gina blurted. “He grabbed my hand, and then—”
“Only because I thought you were gonna drop the letter opener into Sur Kellan!”
“There was no blue circle for Zshinia. I just wanted to see what would happen if I held it over—”
“Wait, wait, wait!” said Aloysia in a flat Midwestern twang. “You dropped the ‘letter opener’ into Sur Kellan and it disappeared?”
“Yeah, but only because Zack knocked it out of my hand! And then he fell over, and—”
“We fell over, and the Objects went—”
“So…you know where you sent the Revealer?”
“The Revealer. It’s the first of the Objects, so called because it can reveal many things, including where the other Objects are!”
“Like GPS,” Gina observed.
“Secret tracking device!” Zack corrected. “So we just have to get the Revealer and then…what do we do then?”
“It must be taken to Zshinia.”
“Right!” said Gina. “And then the Prime Regent can use it to find the other Objects!”
“Yes! And, besides, we promised Aviar—”
“Aviar?” Aloysia reacted. “You met Aviar?”
“Yeah. You know who he is? But how could you—”
“On’y heard of him, lad, on’y heard of him,” she replied, turning Irish again.
“Aunt Aloysia,” asked Gina, “I don’t understand. How did you end up with the Objects? And the Map? And why send us there? I mean, Ismara was amazing, but it almost killed us! And what made you decide Zack and I were the Two Strangers?”
Aloysia stared at the Dore children for a full minute, then collapsed onto the bed, her eyes glistening. “Then it’s true. You are the Two Strangers.” She beckoned them to sit beside her, pulled them close, and began stroking their hair. “My darlings, I would die before I would let anyone hurt you.” She spoke with Southern conviction. “Do y’all hear me? Before you were born, even before I met your parents, there was a young man. He had a secret, and it was burnin’ him up. He simply could not bear the burden alone. He was the Courier from Ismara. Y’all know about the Prophecies?”
“Some,” said Gina. “We know about returning the Objects—”
“—at the Time of an End and a New Beginning,” added Zack.
“And about all of the Objects being brought together so the true ruler can be revealed.”
“Only Aviar says that Melcarhassen already is the true ruler forever, so why—”
“Aviar does not lack for opinions, does he?” said Aloysia.
“But, Aunt Aloysia,” Gina struggled to understand, “the Courier came here a thousand years ago. How could—”
“An hour in Ismara is as a minute here, and a minute here is as an hour in Ismara.”
“When the double moon appears, Ismara and this world are ‘in similis,’ in sync. That’s why, when you went to Ismara—”
“Only minutes passed here!” Zack aha’d.
“Exactly. So for someone like the Courier who came from Ismara—”
“Only minutes would pass there?” asked Gina.
“Precisely. But when the double moon disappears the connection is broken. During double moon this world and Ismara are like interlocked gears, spinning in similis. When the double moon is gone they fall ‘out of similis,’ and time passes independently in each world.”
“So that’s why we couldn’t go back after the double moon disappeared?”
“Yes, and why you will not be able to return to Middleton if the double moon disappears while you are there.”
Zack’s and Gina’s eyes grew as round as the double moon.
“There is no time to waste!” Aloysia announced in clipped military British. “You must find the Revealer, transport it to Zshinia, and return forthwith!”
“Wait!” said Zack. “There was something else—about how one person is supposed to choose something and another one isn’t, and how one of ‘em is a stranger and the other one isn’t. What’s up with that?”
“Aviar tell you about that too?”
Aloysia recited a foreign curse.
Thoughts: Has anyone ever shared a secret with you that changed your life?
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