Episode 7: The Escape
Val heard a second clang and violently shook Theo awake.
"Wha-What is it?"
"Wh--" Val smothered his mouth with her hand.
They heard another clang at the door, then the sound of a metal lock hitting and bouncing on the stone floor. The door cracked open, and they felt cool, fresh air rush into their musty quarters. The widening sliver of light was blinding in their dark room. The door swung wide, and two transparent shadows stood in the doorway, one significantly smaller than the other.
"Come quick!" a voice said in an urgent whisper.
Theovelt felt a familiarity to the voice. Val silently looked at Theo. He nodded, indicating they would take a chance and follow the voice into the unknown. As the shadows retreated Theo and Val got up and followed behind.
Reaching the doorway they looked out just in time to see their rescuers turn a corner at the end of the hallway. They quickly rushed after them, not wanting to get lost in a maze of the zoo's backstage tunnels. Turning the corner they lost sight of who they were following. They ran to the end of the hall and turned left. A few strides and they heard someone say, "This way," from behind them. Theo and Val turned around and ran towards an open door leading into darkness. They bolted through it into freedom through a side exit of the zoo.
"Hurry, you aren't safe just yet. We need to get back to my workshop," said a new voice.
The two blobs rushed off through the city, and Theo and Val followed. They kept to the shadows and silently made their way to the home of the blob with the unfamiliar voice. They entered through his back door and crept down into his basement workshop.
Lining the walls were papers with strange drawings, scribbles, and writings. A chalkboard sat in the middle of the room with indecipherable text. Desks and tables were strewn about with items similar to those hanging on the wall. Against the back wall there was a pedestal with a large stone sitting on top of it.
"There, now we can relax a little. You must be famished. I'm sure the caretakers in that zoo weren't very caring and had no idea what to feed you. What would you like to eat? If my grandson here is correct and you are the ones the prophecy speaks of, then you're going to need your strength to save us."
Looking now in the calm of a fully lit room, Theo and Val recognized the smaller blobling as the child who defended them earlier in the morning and tried to get the crowd to set them free.
"Oh, silly me, you wouldn't be familiar with what you even can eat on this planet. Let's see. My notes should be around here somewhere," the larger blob said, tossing around some papers. "I remember speculating about what you two might eat. Ah, here we are. You," he said, pointing to Theo, "eat mostly organic matter. I'll have you try some flunkle fruit. And she uses light to recharge her system, correct?"
"Y-Yeah," answered Theo.
"Flubbert, run and grab a flunkle out of the garden and find my bigger goggles while I explain to the folks what they must be wondering regarding their escape."
"I was just about to ask about that detail," Theo said.
"I know. Let me begin with an introduction. I am Rheumik, the self-appointed oracle of the Globinians. I divine meaning from old prophecies as well as come up with some of my own from time-to-time. The Great Purple Death Prophecy has been the bulk of my life's work. When my grandson said he believed he found the ones the prophecy speaks of, I was quite excited by the chance to finally meet you. When he said you were trapped in the zoo, I knew we were in great danger. So, we came up with a plan to rescue you. It was quite simple really. All we had to do was throw some shiny red stones over the gate into the courtyard, and all the guards came running. Rubies truly are a delicious treat that few get to taste nowadays. I still keep my secret supply though. Once distracted we could simply walk in, break the lock, and walk out with you following us."
"Here you go," Flubbert said, handing Theo a flunkle fruit and his grandfather a magnifying glass.
Rheumik rigged the magnifying glass up near the small basement window and concentrated the light from the planet's three moons on to Val who had a thankful smile crease her face.
"Wow, this is really good!" said Theo after a bite of the fruit.
"Glad you like it," Rheumik said.
Val had been quietly observing all of the quirks in Rheumik's workshop. Noticing a slight lull in the conversation she asked, "So, what all did he just say?"
"Oh right! He was just explaining how they managed to rescue us. They distracted the guards with food."
"If I may," interjected Rheumik, "What is it that allows us to communicate with you and not her?"
Theo replied, "To put it simply, we both have a universal translator that breaks all language barriers. Mine works, and hers is broken."
"Interesting. I have deeply studied the prophecy and do believe I may be able to help. Let her know that I am trying to help, but this might sting a little."
"Rheumik says he thinks he can fix your translator. He says it might not be pleasant though." Theo conveyed.
"Bring it on," she said.
Theo nodded towards the oracle. Rheumik absorbed a smooth, round pebble, swished it around inside himself, and shot it out at lightning speed. The pebble bounced off of every wall, the floor, and the ceiling before hitting Val directly in the middle of her forehead. She fell back into a nearby chair with a jolt and blacked out.
After a few seconds she came to, and the oracle was asking her how she felt.
"I feel fine," she replied. "A little fuzzy, but fine. Why do you ask?"
Theo and the oracle simply smiled as realization leaked onto her face.
"You did it! You actually fixed my translator. Thank you!"
"No worries. Glad to finally speak with you. Now, where were we? Ah yes. You two are here to save the city from impending doom and destruction foretold by the Great Purple Death Prophecy."
"What is this prophecy exactly?" asked Val.
"Ah, what is the prophecy? That is an excellent question. Hopefully my explanation and interpretations of it will be helpful in you two actually fulfilling it. Now where to begin? I guess we will start in the beginning. That sounds like a nice place to start, doesn't it?"