I sat at the table in our cell, poking at the meal the guard had served us. My appetite had left me after the hours of questioning. I glanced irritably across the room at Tim, who was sitting on one of the beds. He appeared lost in thought as he picked at the fuzz on the blanket. Finally, I could stand it no longer. “I told you to stay off the grass,” I muttered. “There was a sign right there and everything. You should have listened to me.”
Tim didn’t even look up. “I was trying to find another passage so we could leave.”
“Well, why couldn’t you have looked closer to the path? There were weeds in there, anyways. You probably could’ve found a passage a lot easier on the lawn near the duck pond. Was it really that important?”
“Yeah, well, it doesn’t really matter now, does it? We’re stuck here.”
I blinked at him for a moment. “What do you mean we’re ‘stuck here’? Why don’t you just use some of your magic and get us out? Come to think of it, why didn’t you do that a lot earlier?”
He looked up and glared. “Don’t you think that might have occurred to me a million times by now?”
“So why are you just sitting there?” I yelled. “Come on, genius, what’s the plan? Isn’t there some magic spell you can use to open this door?”
“I CAN’T USE MAGIC!”
Words failed me. I blinked at Tim in complete consternation. “Wait ... what? So ... now what?” The truth finally sunk in. “We’re really stuck here, aren’t we?”
There was a long pause. Finally, Tim looked up at me. “Not exactly. Say the word walmolkah.”
I looked at him incredulously. He seemed serious. “Um … why, may I ask? What good is saying … whatever that is?”
“Just do it. Walmolkah.”
“Seriously? What does that even mean?”
“It’s a rare fruit found in the rain forest that gives you sudden bursts of energy. Does it matter? Just say it.”
I sighed. “Fine. Walmolkah. Or whatever it is.”
There was a click at the door. We both turned. Tim got up and went to the door. He pushed the latch and the door swung open on creaky hinges.
My eyes widened. “Was that … magic? Was that … me?”
Tim shushed me and motioned for me to follow him. Together, we crept down the hall to the room where we had been questioned earlier in the day. The room was empty, so we snuck in. I started opening cabinets looking for the pendant, which the officers had taken from us that morning. Tim stayed at the door in case a guard showed up. He mumbled something that I didn’t quite hear. I kept rummaging in the drawers for a moment. “Found it!”
“Found what?” I turned toward the voice. A guard had appeared in the doorway. “Oh, you working on the magic smuggling ring case? Working late into the night, huh?”
“Uh, yeah. There’s a lot to go through.” I glanced around for Tim. He was nowhere to be seen.
The guard’s eyes narrowed. “Say, I don’t think I’ve seen you around before. Where’s your badge?”
I swallowed, thinking quickly. “I, uh, left it in my office.”
The guard frowned. “If you’re on duty, you should be wearing your badge. And you need paperwork to move anything in this room. Where are your papers?”
“Um, they’re in my office too.” I was getting nervous. Where was Tim? Shoot, next the guy was going to ask where my office was.
“Your office must be cluttered with all the things you leave there. Did you leave your ID there too? And your uniform?” His sarcastic tone told me he didn’t believe my story.
I stepped back, my mind racing for thoughts. “Well, I … uh …” I stumbled backwards over a chair and fell to the floor. A crash and a thud sounded as something heavy fell to the floor at the same time. I looked up to see Tim standing over the guard, who was lying prone on the floor among pieces of broken glass. “Where were you?” I asked as Tim helped me up.
Tim shrugged. “I was, you know, around.”
“Well what took you so long? You should’ve done something sooner.” I looked down at the guard. He appeared to be sleeping. “Did you hurt him? It looks like you knocked him out cold.”
“He didn’t feel a thing. It’s a trick I found in the cabinets among the evidence.”
“What’s a trick? That thing?”
“Yes. A trick is an object designed to perform some kind of magic spell. I read about them in Renolia’s royal library. That one puts a person to sleep.”
“Convenient. So is this a ‘trick’ too?” I held up the pendant, which I had recovered from the drawer.
Tim shook his head. “No. That’s an enchanted amulet. An enchanted item is altered by magic to do something that item would not normally do; a trick does a spell once and ceases to function.”
“Ah, got it.” I stepped over the sleeping guard. “We should go before someone comes to investigate. Maybe you should take another one of those tricks in case we run into another guard.
Tim shrugged. “There’s none left. Let’s just go.”
We made our way down the hall and out the door without undue difficulty. To my surprise, there were no guards in sight. The door was unlocked. As we walked down the street toward the park, I handed the pendant back to Tim. He took it and started scanning for passages. “Don’t stir up any more of those robot things in the weeds.” I warned. Tim nodded. Soon, the pendant flashed with light as it located a passage. A picture of what appeared to be a tropical rainforest came into view in the crystal. At that moment, a familiar mechanical beep sounded.
“Quick! Into the passage before those robots find us again!” Tim grabbed my hand and we dashed into the passage without hesitation.