Fixing Genius 2

Of all the adventures I’ve written so far, this was one of the most fun to write. I just had to rerun it to see how readers would choose for a second time.

Welcome to the adventure. I hope you enjoy=)

Fixing Genius

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

The walkway is stone, multicolored but still dull due to the overcast sky. The deep gray clouds threaten rain in torrential amounts but they haven’t opened the floodgates yet.

You lengthen your strides, just waiting to feel the first splatters of water on the back of your neck.

Of course you were summoned at the worst time of year to travel. The Scholars never take such ‘minor’ details into consideration when they need repairs. All they care about is that their precious equipment works, now!

But the Scholars won’t suffer a repairperson to live in their blessed mansion. Oh no, it would taint their studies.

So you and the few others who know anything about the equipment live down the coast about 20 miles away in the town of Mandril.

When the Scholars need repairs, they send a mouse. Any time of day.

You woke about midnight with the tiny messenger sitting on your stomach twittering at you. The mice always come to you when they’re sent at night. They know you’re the only one who doesn’t threaten to kick or cook them.

Marrick, another repairperson, kicks the poor creatures any chance he gets.

And Adrianna grabs them by the tail and holds them over steaming pots just so they know she’s not pleased.

Your irritation at being woken shows but you never take it out on the messenger. No matter how tempting it might be.

Instead, you take your time collecting your tools and donning warm clothes.

Then you meander to the mansion, knowing the Scholars will be in a frenzy because it’s almost been two days since their piece of equipment broke.

The mouse at your feet skitters faster as wet drops splatter the stone.

You agree. Irritating the Scholars isn’t worth getting soaking wet. It’s not like the Scholars will offer you dry clothing.

To your right the ocean swells with white caps just before breaking on the beach. It knows a storm’s in the works.

Luckily the mansion sits on a cliff and rarely do the waves reach its walls.

You hike up the walk as it rises toward the mansion. The ocean below you continues to roar as the wind kicks up.

The mansion rises before you, a great marble structure that stands out starkly white against the drab background. It’s circular with narrow slots for windows. Light shines through some of the slots in an unorganized pattern.

At least some of the Scholars are awake.

Hopefully one of them is inclined to answer the door.

Banging the knocker, a hand holding a gong, you wait and your mouse guide snuggles under your left pant leg out of the rain. His whiskers tickle your ankle and you hold in a shiver, reminding yourself the little creature, or one of its brothers, has helped you in the past.

The door creaks open to show a narrow face with a long nose.

It’s Scholar Edwin. You think. The Scholars don’t usually give out their names but you’ve picked up a few.

Edwin steps back to allow you in. His gangly frame is covered with a chest to toe apron.

Part of the apron’s smoking.

You point to the spot and Edwin goes cross-eyed looking down at his chest.

He licks his fingers and tamps out the smolder.

“Darned scope,” he mutters.

“What needs fixing?” You ask before he disappears.

“Darned scope,” he mutters again and continues walking.

Maybe one of their magnifying glasses? You follow Edwin. He climbs up several flights of stairs and then walks to a platform against the wall.

He steps on and waits for you, giving you a look like your mother’s evil eye when you were young.

Okay, you step onto the platform and feel a tickle on your ankle. It’s the mouse, clinging to the top of your sock and quivering.

Edwin gives you an evil, mischievous grin and throws the lever to his side. You didn’t see it before because it was sunk into the wall behind the Scholar.

The platform whooshes and your stomach sinks out the bottom.

Edwin cackles as you escalate up the wall. Up and up and up with cackling laughter the whole way until—thud—the platform stops in the room just below the mansion’s roof

You know this because the entire ceiling’s glass and the rain’s crashing into it with fury.

Edwin points to a large machine in the center of the room. A round thing with glass at either end, one side huge, the other small enough for an eye.

This isn’t just any scope. This is the Telescope. Pride of the mansion. Made of Massidion, an extremely rare material rumored to hold magical properties. The fact that the scope sits in a Scholarly mansion is a bit of irony. Scholars always scoff at magic, although, now that you think about it, you’ve never heard these Scholars say a word one way or another.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

Several Scholars stand around it holding their chins and muttering. One holds out a tentative finger and the contact with the scope zaps him.

He yelps and jumps back, part of him smoldering. Judging from his apron, this wasn’t his first time touching the thing.

In fact, all of the Scholars bear black dots all over their clothes.

The best and brightest—don’t come to the mansion but somehow these men and women still surprise the academic community year after year with their discoveries.

How is beyond you.

As you approach, your get a few “finallys” and “about times” but the Scholars step back.

“What happened?” You ask.

They all look at their toes.

“Can’t fix it if I don’t know,” you push.

It’s Edwin who steps forward.

“Struck by lightening,” he confesses.

“How?”

The telescope’s covered and grounded. It shouldn’t even be holding a charge, for that matter.

They all point to a large cable running across the floor and up the wall. It leads to several large metal poles on the roof.

They meant to strike it with lightening. They’d rigged it!

“It’s holding a charge. What’d you do to it?” You ask.

They all give you suspicious looks.

You simply wait. They’re always like this when you need more information.

Finally Edwin mutters, “Sticky Static.”

“What?”

Edwin swallows and then holds out his hands. “The charge comes from us. We all infused the scope with it.”

You eye them all, a bit apprehensive. Of all the times you’ve been to the mansion, you’ve heard nothing like this. The only people who claim to channel charges were Magicians. Were these people Scholars and Magicians?

“Sticky Static,” Edwin says again and points at the scope. “Massidion will hold any sort of magic. We gave it our magic.”

They are Magicians! Or so they claim.

“In heavens name, why?”

“Stronger charge,” Edwin says, his eyes wild. “Couldn’t electrocute ourselves, so we moved the Static to the Massidion. Now we can’t get it back.”

You’re jaw drops. They want more power!

“What do you mean?”

Another Scholar touches the scope and yelps. “It pulls more charge from us!” he exclaims.

“And what do you expect me to do?” you ask.

They glance at each other and then at their toes.

“Get the static out of the scope,” one mutters, you’re not sure which.

“How?”

“We’ve a few ideas but…” he leans in and whispers, “you can’t tell anyone what you see.”

You feel the mouse, still clinging to your sock, start to shake.

Do you…

A. Offer to help them?

B. Refuse?

or

C. Consult the mouse?

Fixing Genius Option A: Offer to Help the Scholars

You’ve suspected before but now you’re absolutely certain. The Scholars are insane. They’re smartish magicians with no small amount of something off in the head.

Great.

But if you refuse to help, they’ll probably destroy the mansion and the town of Mandril in the process.

“All right,” you say, “I promise not to tell anyone about what I see here.”

The Scholars start bouncing on their toes and they all grin at you. It’s kinda creepy.

“So what kind of ideas do you have to pull the static from the scope?”

Thankfully your question pulls their attention from grinning at you and they all huddle together to discuss. The mouse takes the opportunity to release its hold on your sock and skitter across the floor to disappear into a small hole in the marble wall.

Thanks for abandoning me!

Like it heard you, it peeks back out, you hear a high pitched twittering and then it disappears again.

“Here’s our thoughts,” Edwin says.

You raise a brow and wait for him to continue.

He glances nervously back at his colleagues but then squares his shoulders.

“Use extra cable to pull the charge from the scope to the ground,” he ticks the first option off on his index finger, “use the mice to disconnect the scope from the cable,” second finger ticked off, “or…”

A crack of lightening makes everyone jump. The vibrant tendrils of electricity collide into a single bright stream connected to the rods on the roof. It races through the cables and into the scope, which turns from its usual mahogany color to a bright ruby red.

You know little about Massidion but what you do know is it explodes if overloaded. Stories involving the substance almost always end with it going boom. Big boom.

“Or?” you prompt Edwin.

He frowns.

“What’s the third option?”

“Oh, break the ceiling and flood the room for the charge to release into the water.” He grins. You could count his teeth if you wanted to.

“Really?”

“Yup. Those are the options we can think of.”

“And what about your sticky static?”

There’s a yelp and you look over to see one of the other Scholars shucking his apron off. The apron turns to ash on the floor and the man looks at the scope like it made him touch it.

Brilliant Scholar.

“We think when the charge dissipates, the static’ll return to us.”

You don’t point out the problems in such an assumption. If they loose their sticky static, it’s their own fault.

Another snap of lightening draws your attention. The scope rocks on its base from the force of the charge.

“Okay,” you say, “We’re running out of time.”

Do you say…

Aa. You’ll try the cable?

Ab. You’ll have the mice help?

or

Ac. You’ll break the ceiling?

Fixing Genius Option Aa: Try the Cable

Using the mice will probably get them all killed and although they’re annoying when they wake you in the night, you don’t exactly have a death wish for them.

And breaking the ceiling seems extreme.

So you point at the cable, “lets try more cable.”

Edwin nods vigorously and snaps his fingers at his colleagues.

With a jump, five of them race to the platform and release the lever. The platform whooshes away and you hear a collective “weeeeee” as they disappear.

It’s moments later that you hear another “weeeee” and the five Scholars reappear on the lift huffing for breath. You don’t know how they made it so fast but you haven’t the time to ask as another bolt of lightening sends the scope rocking on its base. You’re not sure you’d get an answer anyway.

The Scholars bring over a gigantic coil of cable.

You sigh, realizing your chances of this working are slim and the likelihood of you getting the stuffing shocked out of you is extremely high.

“Okay,” you say, “lets ground the cable to the ground outside, can we run it out a window?”

The Scholars all look at each other and then at their toes like a class full of students reluctant to be picked.

You suppress the urge to growl.

“I saw a window on the lift ride up,” you say, “if you have to break it, do so, then run the cable out until it hits the ground.”

You toss one end to a short man to your right.

He yelps but catches it and stares at it like it’s a snake.

“Now!” you shout and he jumps toward the lift with two other Scholars following behind.

Good.

“Do we have something to insulate the cable with?”

Edwin shrugs.

You grab him by the shoulders and shake him. The contact sends an odd cold feeling through your hands but you ignore it. “We don’t have time for you to be evasive. Go get whatever you have that will insulate! Now!”

Edwin hops toward the lift platform and you resist the urge to kick him.

He comes back a bit later with some type of rubbery blanket.

Throwing it over the cable running from the roof, you allow yourself a sigh.

The small Scholar who you charged with grounding the second cable scurries back to you. He hands you the free end and gives you a wide grin.

Ugh! Creepy.

“Everyone stand back.”

What you have in mind isn’t exactly a clean way to ground the cable, but you don’t have a lot of time, so you’re willing to try it.

All the Scholars back against the wall.

You lay the free end of the cable over the rubber blanket.

One, two, three…

You pull the blanket out from between the cables, rolling the top one into contact with the charged one beneath and duck out of the way.

Your hair stands on end.

Holding your breath, you wait.

Cheering makes you look up. The Scholars have their hands raised into the air and they’re shooting static back and forth from their hands like it’s a ball.

Relief laced with apprehension settles in your stomach. The crazy Scholars have their static back. Glancing at the scope confirms it’s calmed to mahogany from ruby red.

You scrub your face with your hands, allowing your stress to drain but as you rub your face, an odd tingling covers your head. You pull away your hands only to find the hair on your arms standing up and light sparks tracing your finger tips.

Oh daft.

The static was supercharged. The extra had to go somewhere.

You stuff your hands in your pockets as Edwin comes to hug you. Awkwardly accepting the embrace, you back away with a slight bow.

“I would not suggest trying that again,” you caution. “Now, thankfully our attempt to diffuse the situation worked. I’ll bid you goodnight.”

“Oh, yes, yes.” Edwin agrees and leads you out.

As you walk away, you look down to find a mouse walking beside you. It follows you home and curls up on the rug in front of your hearth.

Interesting. You’ve now gained sticky static and a pet mouse that can teleport.

Staring at your hands, you shudder. Now you just need to figure out how to handle the static. With a glance at your bed, you grimace. The bed’s in pieces from when the static shot from you to it. Learning to handle the static could take a lot of time. But you’re not willing to go to the Scholars for answers. You’ll just have to figure it out as you go.

The End

 

Blessings,

Jennifer

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Fixing Genius

Welcome to Monday!

Some stories are just fun to write. Some are challenging. This one was both. I’m not a science person but this one flowed and I had to catch up my gaps of knowledge as I went. If anyone has a critique, I’d love the feedback.

Otherwise, welcome to a new adventure and enjoy=)

Fixing Genius

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

The walkway’s stone, multicolored but still dull due to the overcast sky. The deep gray clouds threaten rain in torrential amounts but they haven’t opened the floodgates yet.

You lengthen your strides, just waiting to feel the first splatters of water on the back of your neck.

Of course you were summoned at the worst time of year to travel. The Scholars never take such ‘minor’ details into consideration when they need repairs. All they care about is that their precious equipment works, now!

But the Scholars won’t suffer a repairperson to live in their blessed mansion. Oh no, it would taint their studies.

So you and the few others who know anything about the equipment live down the coast about 20 miles away in the town of Mandril.

When the Scholars need repairs, they send a mouse. Any time of day.

You woke about midnight with the tiny messenger sitting on your stomach twittering at you. The mice always come to you when they’re sent at night. They know you’re the only one who doesn’t threaten to kick or cook them.

Marrick, another repairperson, kicks the poor creatures any chance he gets.

And Adrianna grabs them by the tail and holds them over steaming pots just so they know she’s not pleased.

Your irritation at being woken shows but you never take it out on the messenger. No matter how tempting it might be.

Instead, you take your time collecting your tools and donning warm cloths.

Then you meander to the mansion, knowing the Scholars will be in a frenzy because it’s almost been two days since their piece of equipment broke.

The mouse at your feet skitters faster as wet drops splatter the stone.

You agree. Irritating the Scholars isn’t worth getting soaking wet. It’s not like the Scholars will offer you dry clothing.

To your right the ocean swells with white caps just before breaking on the beach. It knows a storm’s in the works.

Luckily the mansion sits on a cliff and rarely do the waves reach its walls.

You hike up the walk as it rises toward the mansion. The ocean below you continues to roar as the wind kicks up.

The mansion rises before you, a great marble structure that stands out starkly white against the drab background. It’s circular with narrow slots for windows. Light shines through some of the slots in an unorganized pattern.

At least some of the Scholars are awake.

Hopefully one of them is inclined to answer the door.

Banging the knocker, a hand holding a gong, you wait and your mouse guide snuggles under your left pant leg out of the rain. His whiskers tickle your ankle and you hold in a shiver, reminding yourself the little creature, or one of its brothers, has helped you in the past.

The door creaks open to show a narrow face with a long nose.

It’s Scholar Edwin. You think. The Scholars don’t usually give out their names but you’ve picked up a few.

Edwin steps back to allow you in. His gangly frame is covered with a chest to toe apron.

Part of the apron’s smoking.

You point to the spot and Edwin goes cross-eyed looking down at his chest.

He licks his fingers and tamps out the smolder.

“Darned scope,” he mutters.

“What needs fixing?” You ask before he disappears.

“Darned scope,” he mutters again and continues walking.

Maybe one of their magnifying glasses? You follow Edwin. He climbs up several flights of stairs and then walks to a platform against the wall.

He steps on and waits for you, giving you a look like your mother’s evil eye when you were young.

Okay, you step onto the platform and feel a tickle on your ankle.

It’s the mouse, clinging to the top of your sock and quivering.

Edwin gives you an evil, mischievous grin and throws the lever to his side. You didn’t see it before because it was sunk into the wall behind the Scholar.

The platform whooshes and your stomach sinks out the bottom.

Edwin cackles as you escalate up the wall. Up and up and up with cackling laughter the whole way until—thud—the platform stops in the room just below the mansion’s roof

You know this because the entire ceiling’s glass and the rain’s crashing into it with fury.

Edwin points to a large machine in the center of the room. A round thing with glass at either end, one side huge, the other small enough for an eye.

This isn’t just any scope. This is the Telescope. Pride of the mansion. Made of Massidion, an extremely rare material rumored to hold magical properties. The fact that the scope sits in a Scholarly mansion is a bit of irony. Scholars always scoff at magic, although, now that you think about it, you’ve never heard these Scholars say a word one way or another.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

Several Scholars stand around it holding their chins and muttering. One holds out a tentative finger and the contact with the scope zaps him.

He yelps and jumps back, part of him smoldering. Judging from his apron, this wasn’t his first time touching the thing.

In fact, all of the Scholars bear black dots all over their cloths.

The best and brightest—don’t come to the mansion but somehow these men and women still surprise the academic community year after year with their discoveries.

How is beyond you.

As you approach, your get a few “finallys” and “about times” but the Scholars step back.

“What happened?” You ask.

They all look at their toes.

“Can’t fix it if I don’t know,” you push.

It’s Edwin who steps forward.

“Struck by lightening,” he confesses.

“How?”

The telescope’s covered and grounded. It shouldn’t even be holding a charge, for that matter.

They all point to a large cable running across the floor and up the wall. It leads to several large metal poles on the roof.

They meant to strike it with lightening. They’d rigged it!

“It’s holding a charge. What’d you do to it?” You ask.

They all give you suspicious looks.

You simply wait. They’re always like this when you need more information.

Finally Edwin mutters, “Sticky Static.”

“What?”

Edwin swallows and then holds out his hands. “The charge comes from us. We all infused the scope with it.”

You eye them all, a bit apprehensive. Of all the times you’ve been to the mansion, you’ve heard nothing like this. The only people who claim to channel charges were Magicians. Were these people Scholars and Magicians?

“Sticky Static,” Edwin says again and points at the scope. “Massidion will hold any sort of magic. We gave it our magic.”

They are Magicians! Or so they claim.

“In heavens name, why?”

“Stronger charge,” Edwin says, his eyes wild. “Couldn’t electrocute ourselves, so we moved the Static to the Massidion. Now we can’t get it back.”

You’re jaw drops. They want more power!

“What do you mean?”

Another Scholar touches the scope and yelps. “It pulls more charge from us!” he exclaims.

“And what do you expect me to do?” you ask.

They glance at each other and then at their toes.

“Get the static out of the scope,” one mutters, you’re not sure which.

“How?”

“We’ve a few ideas but…” he leans in and whispers, “you can’t tell anyone what you see.”

You feel the mouse, still clinging to your sock, start to shake.

Do you…

A. Offer to help them?

B. Refuse?

or

C. Consult the mouse?

Fixing Genius Option C: Consult the Mouse

The mouse might be the only other sane creature in the room. Although you won’t look sane consulting your little guide, who cares? You’re not the one who electrocuted the most expensive piece of equipment in the mansion.

“Pardon me,” you excuse yourself and step away from the waiting Scholars. They eye you with varying degrees of curiosity but look away when one yelps. A short, pudgy Scholar tried to touch the scope again.

Good grief, you’d think they’d stop after the first few tries.

Crouching down, you hold your palm out to your left pant leg.

A tiny whiskered nose peeks out to sniff your hand. Then the creature scampers onto your palm.

“What a predicament,” you mutter as the mouse’s tiny claws dig into your skin.

“Marcus!”

You jump. It’s Edwin. He must have walked over while you were waiting for the mouse to emerge. The Scholar looks over your shoulder with a scowl.

“Back to your room!” He shakes a finger at the mouse.

Marcus’ small body shakes and-pop -he disappears.

“Now hold on,” you say, “I’ve a few questions for Marcus.”

Pop! The mouse is back in your palm. You shiver a bit. How did Marcus know to come back?

Edwin’s mouth pinches like a lemon’s clamped his jaw shut. Clearly he didn’t call the mouse back.

“Mice are never allowed in the upper rooms,” he shouts.

All the Scholar’s heads pop up like dogs after a scent. “Mice?”

Their attention’s broken by a loud snap!

Lightening zaps the metal rods on the roof, races down the cable and sparks on the telescope.

The Massidion sizzles and turns from its usual dark mahogany color to a deep ruby red.

Edwin races back to join his colleagues chattering about overloading the darned scope.

You turn back to Marcus, who’s crouched tight against your palm.

“What are my options?” you ask.

Marcus scrunches up his narrow face and his gray fur stands on end. It kind of looks like he’s going to poop in your palm.

Pop! he disappears only to reappear at your feet with a poof of hair.

He scrunches up again and pop–he’s half way across the floor.

Teleporting mouse!

Now you know how the mice show up in town right after something breaks. You glance at Edwin but he’s still chattering with the other Scholars and has completely forgotten you and the mouse.

Marcus appears in your palm again and flops on his side. His sides heave with breath.

“Tires them out going a few feet,” says a woman.

She’s detached from the group and looks at Marcus like he’s a beloved pet.

You frown, “So they can’t make it to Mandril?”

Her eyes grow round, “Good heavens no! We boost their ability for that.” she glances at the scope, which is throbbing like a hot branding iron now.

“You boost them?’

The woman bites her thumb and glances guiltily at her colleagues.

So between the natural abilities of the mice and the Scholar’s sticky static, they could teleport a mouse to town. Poor Marcus must have run the distance this last time. Without the Scholar’s static, he wouldn’t have been able to teleport far enough.

What would happen if the Scholars were super charged?

“Were you trying to teleport a person?”

The woman squeaks and scampers away.

They’ll never admit it but you know this is why they wanted supercharged sticky static.

The sky above the glass roof arcs with vibrant tendrils of lightening. The streaks collide and shoot into the metal rods, ending with a sizzle along the scope.

There’s your biggest problem. The attraction to the metal rods continues to draw lightening and every time it strikes, the scope throbs more with energy.

Massidion can hold a lot but there are stories about it exploding when over used.

Oh no…

The Scholar’s chatter about overloading the scope makes sense now.

If nothing else, you need to stop the lightening from charging the scope.

But how when the whole system’s electrifying.

Take out the rods?

Disconnect the cable?

Ground the telescope with something?

A Scholar yelps and shucks his apron as it goes up in flames.

The rain pelts the roof above you.

The Scholars aren’t going to be happy with you no matter what you do. The want their sticky static back but you can’t guarantee it’ll return to them when you cut the power.

The scope glows a deep ruby red.

Something needs to be done before it explodes.

Do you attempt to…

Cc. Remove the rods?

Cd. Cut the Cable?

or

Ce. Ground the Scope?

Fixing Genius Option Ce: Ground the Scope

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

None of your options offer great appeal and no matter what you try, you’ll probably end up shocked.

Great.

You can see the rods on the roof but a closer look reveals no easy egress. You’re not sure you want to know how the Scholars got the rods up there in the first place.

And the cable’s giving off waves of sizzle so touching it in any way seems like a horrible way to go.

So grounding the scope might be the best of the bad options. But with what?

The telescope’s already bolted to the floor but apparently the sticky static doesn’t act like regular electricity because it’s staying in the scope and not traveling through the base. So not just any material will work.

“Do you have more Massidion?” you ask as you rejoin the Scholars.

They look at their toes.

Really?

“It’s a simple question,” you press, looking at the tops of their heads.

“Do you promise?” Edwin asks.

What? Oh yeah, they said you can’t tell about what you see. Simple enough, it’s not exactly like the town’s people want anything to do with the Scholars.

“Promise,” you say.

The Scholars look at each other in apprehension.

“No Massidion,” Edwin admits.

Okay, that won’t work.

Your ear tickles. With a start you look over to find Marcus on your shoulder.

He scampers down to the floor and across to the cable connected to the scope. He squeaks at it before coming back to wait at your toes like an expectant dog.

The cable’s still sizzling. Maybe grounding the scope isn’t your first priority. Maybe redirecting the lightening is and the cable clearly can handle the charge.

“Have more cable?”

“Heaps of it,” Edwin shrugs as another strike of lightening races into the scope. They all jump as the scope wobbles from the blast.

You’re running out of time. One more strike will probably make the scope explode.

Connecting a new cable to the scope won’t work. You’ll only end up electrocuting yourself. But maybe if you can create a taller rod and run the cable down the outside of the mansion to the ground, you can attract the lightening away from the scope. Then you can deal with the scope problem with more time.

“How’d you get the rods on the roof?”

They all point to Marcus at your toes. Edwin lifts his hand and Marcus floats into the air. He rises higher and higher until he’s right next to the ceiling and then-pop- he’s on top of the roof.

With another pop, he reappears and Edwin lowers him.

“Marcus,” you address the mouse when he’s back on the floor, “how many mice would it take to raise a taller rod?”

Marcus squeaks and twitters and mice come scampering across the floor from every nook and cranny possible.

Several Scholars give cries of dismay. One faints.

“We need a longer rod and as much cable as possible,” you direct the scholars.

They stare at you.

“Hope to!”

With a jump, five of them race to the platform and release the lever. The platform whooshes away and you hear a collective “weeeeee” as they disappear.

It’s moments later that you hear another “weeeee” and the five Scholars reappear on the lift huffing for breath. You don’t know how they made it so fast but you haven’t the time to ask. You’re not sure you’d get an answer anyway.

The Scholars bring over a gigantic coil of cable and lift up a rod that barely fits in the room.

“Can the mice teleport the rod and cable to the roof?”

Edwin snorts like you’ve asked if the sky’s blue. All the mice gather on either the cable or the rod and everything lifts toward the ceiling. Your stomach sinks as your feet leave the floor.

“Not me!”

Edwin just shrugs as you continue to rise. As the ceiling approaches you start to worry they’ll crush you against the glass. The mice with their items POP! and you can see their dark shapes with the rain on the glass.

Then PoP! Twenty mice reappear on you. You skin crawls and tingles which reminds you of the time you stepped into an ant hill. Then Pop!

Ears ringing and instantly drenched, you’re on the roof with the mice. The wash of water runs toward drains cut into the roof. It’s strong enough that you have a hard time getting to your feet. You save a couple mice from being washed away in the process.

If the lightening strikes now it’ll fry you and the mice in one fell swoop.

“We need to put the rod up!” you shout over the sweep of wind and water. The distant roar of the ocean thrums in the background.

The mice haul the rod to you and once you have ahold of it, they show you a hole sunk into the edge of the building. It’s the perfect shape to fit the rod. It’s meant to hold a flag.

Fighting the wind and the rain that makes the rod slick, you lift it into place and hear it settle with a hollow thunk.

Thank heavens. Now to attach the cable and run it to the ground, fast!

The mice pull one end of the cable to you. Luckily it’s thin, so tying it isn’t a problem. You loop it around the base of the rod a couple of times and tie off the end, then you pull the rest of the cable to one of the drains and use it as a guide to run the cable through. Collecting the heavy coil, you gather yourself and pitch it off the side of the building.

As you watch the cable fly, you hear a loud crack. Snap.

The hair on your head stands straight on end. It’s like the air’s gone. Your lungs ache.

Out of the corner of your eye you see small bodies racing toward you. They launch at you and when they hit, there’s no way to stop the momentum. You sail off the side of the mansion as the dazzling display of lightening blinds your eyes. Twenty mice ride on your shoulders. You can feel their claws digging in to hang on.

You skin pricks. Thousands of tiny ants.

Pop. Boom!

***

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

When you come to you’re face down on the stone walk. Every part of your skin feels like it’s been scoured with scalding water. Pushing yourself to your knees, you’re surrounded by the small gray bodies of mice. They’re smoking.

Oh no…

One mouse scampers over to you. It tests one companion but there’s no response. Another mouse emerges from behind you. It tucks itself in against your leg and hides its face.

Glancing behind, you see what remains of the mansion. The entire top floor’s gone in a mass of black rubble. For a moment, it appears all of the Scholars were caught in the after math of their own experiment gone wrong but then you notice small white bubbles floating down from the sky. You can just barely make out that each bubble holds a human form.

You glance at the dead mice and anger courses through you. The stupid Scholars! You feel heat in your palm and hear a sizzle.

Looking down, your palms crackle with sticky static.

Oh dear, you’re one of them!

A mouse, one of the five left alive, pulls on your sleeve. You think it’s Marcus. It pulls at you like it wants you to go with it, away from the mansion.

You agree. Even if you are a Magician, you don’t want to go back to the mansion where their experiments have no consequences for the Scholars.

You rise in the rain and hunch your shoulders as you walk away from the mansion. You’ll learn about your sticky static elsewhere.

The End

Congratulations, you survived and found out you have your own latent magic. But perhaps you didn’t like this ending. Don’t worry, there are nine possible endings to Fixing Genius and I’ll be running the story again some time in the future and not all the endings have sad parts. I promise.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Alosian Oasis (Complete Story)

This last week we adventured to the Alosian Oasis in the Choose Your Own Adventure style.

However, I realized if someone wanted to read the whole adventure, they’d have to bounce around the blog and decipher my code. So I decided to make life easier for anyone who either missed the adventure or wanted to read the story as a whole.

Thank you to everyone who participated these past few weeks!

You can find the whole story below without having to bounce around. Enjoy!

Alosian Oasis

You carry a message from the village council. They trusted you because the trek to the Alosians is long and hard and you’re the most experienced carrier they have even though you are also the youngest.

But even being the most experienced, you’ve never been to the south before. you’ve never traversed the sand to reach the desert nomad’s oasis.

You’re five days out now. The winds swirl sand in small devils along the dunes. there’s sand in your clothing, in your ears, even around your eyes and nose despite the protective veil across your face.

You were told the trek was a full five days. Hopefully the council was right because your store of water’s low.

Along with water you’re wearing billowy pants and top and a head scarf that allows the flow of wind but shields you from the blistering sun.

A small pack for food rests on your back and several water skins are tied securely to your waist. On either ankle you have a knife, your only protection on the trek.

If the council had a horse or camel, you’d be riding but, alas, no one’s seen a horse in years and even if they had, no one has the money to buy one. But the village needs animals that can help with plowing and hauling. Over the years, supplies have grown low because people can’t move as much weight as a beast of burdon.

That is why the council sent you through the desert to the Alosians. They want to barter for beasts and the desert nomads are the only ones willing to barter anymore. All other places demand coin, saying barter is old fashioned and useless when compared to solid coin.

The sun sits on the horizon and you angle more left, realizing you strayed a bit in your musing.

Just as the last rays disappear you crest a dune and catch sight of a beautiful green line of trees.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

The wind blows, instantly cooling the air from the heat of the blistering sun. A shiver runs your spine as the breeze cools the sweat on your body.

Heading for that line of trees, you notice several figures emerge and stand, waiting for you.

That line grows until there’s a good twenty people.

Must be almost the whole village at the oasis. More Alosians live farther into the desert but those willing to trade live here, where outsiders can reach them.

You come to stand before the line and a burly woman with dark eyes and long lashes steps forward.

“Water Seeker or Lost Fool?” She asks.

Neither one’s technically correct but you keep from bristling at her assumption. Although you need water, it’s not why you’ve come.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

“Barter offer,” you answer.

The woman’s eyes widen and there are a few grunts from the crowd.

“Barter in Water or in Salt?’

It dawns on you that the council didn’t authorize you in either area, instead offering staples. But staples are not what the Alosians value. To barter, you need to offer something these people truly need. Either water to sustain their bodies and crops or salt to preserve their food.

Your village buys salt but it’s not hard to get in mass quantities. And if you have beasts of burdon, it won’t be that difficult to haul several loads of salt to the oasis.

You say “salt.”

The burly woman bows and shoots a smirk over her shoulder at an old wrinkled woman behind her.

“My name is Berta,” she says, “I am the Mistress of the Salt. Follow me.”

She leads you through the crowd and past the row of trees.

As soon as you enter the oasis, the ground becomes lush with a blue tinted grass. Right in the center sits a small lake and around it are small huts with lanterns hanging in front of each.

It’s peaceful after the desert winds.

Berta leads you to a hut on the left and opens the door for you but she doesn’t follow you in.

“Rest deeply, Outsider, for tomorrow we test you.” And then she closes the door.

The hut contains a bed on the left wall and a table on the right laden with water and fruit.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

You select a pomegranate from the fruit, fill a cup with sweet cool water and sit on the bed to eat.

When done, exhaustion from the last five days in the blistering sun catches up and you set the now empty cup aside, lay down and sleep.

***

You wake to Berta shaking you. “Good Morn, Outsider.”

She hands you a fresh set of clothes and leaves to let you change.

After doning the outfit, which turns out to be just like your old one, you eat several figs and almonds and down a cup of water.

Exiting your hut, you step into a crowd. The entire populace has gathered again.

Berta steps forward.

“What do you come for?’ she asks.

“Horses or camels.”

She nods.

“Then you may pick either the Maze test or the Water test.”

You are unfamiliar with either, so you ask “what does each involve?”

Berta scowls, pinching her lips into a tight line but when you don’t back down, she sighs.

“The maze requires you to navigate the Alose Maze in a day. If you succeed, we will offer you five horses, if you fail, you will work at the oasis for a year and a day.

“The water test requires you to fill a water skin in a day out beyond the oasis. Success brings an offer of camels and failure work.”

“Why test me?” you ask, “when we offer salt in return for  beasts. Is that not a fair trade?’

Berta’s scowl returns, her dark eyes angry but you still don’t back down even though her displeasure makes you shake a bit. A few in the crowd mutter. Finally Berta answers.

“Outsiders do not understand that our animals are family to us. If we trade them it is because we trust you to care for our family. Thus the test. We test you to trust you.”

You’ve never been taught how to find water in the desert but you’re pretty decent finding your way so you say, “maze.”

Berta gives you a smile that makes you think of a snake.

“Follow me,” she says.

You shudder but follow her through the oasis and out the other side of trees.

You miss a step.

Before you stands a wall as far to the left and right as you can see. How you didn’t see it the night before, you’ve no idea.

Berta takes you to the only opening in the stone structure. She hands you a water skin and a small pack of food.

“There is a door in the ground at the center of the maze. Find the door and go through it. It will bring you back to the oasis. If you make it by nightfall, we’ll make an offer. Beware the easy way, Barterer.”

You agree and enter. As soon as you step through, the entrance disappears in a cloud of sand.

It hits your throat and you’re thrown into a fit of coughing.

When you recover, you see a single avenue in front of you, so you walk forward until the maze y’s.

The left branch seems to have some sort of greenery farther down. At this distance you can’t be quite sure but the green seems to move.

The right branch has bright red script that glows on the stone walls.

You’re unfamiliar with the script but you also have no idea how the Alosians managed to grow something so green in the maze.

The green avenue seems to move even from where you stand. It makes you shudder, so you turn right toward the glowing, red script.

As you enter the avenue, the script glows brighter and the air grows hotter.

The walls of the maze radiate the heat like an oven.

It only takes a few moments before you’re drenched in sweat.

Sipping from your water, you follow the avenue as it curves to the left, and then back to the right.

You come to a T and randomly take the left. It dead ends, so you turn around and head down the right part of the T.

You drink more water, feeling like it’s dripping out of you as fast as you’re drinking it.

The maze takes a left, and then a right and another right.

Another T presents itself and you wish for an end to the red script as it throbs on the walls.

No luck. Both sides of the T still radiate the script.

You turn right only to find another dead end.

Turning back, you head down the left branch only to find it ends in a wall as well.

You start to despair and drop to your knees. Going all the way back seems like it’ll kill you. You’re loosing water faster than when you traveld to the Oasis.

Part of the dead end pops out like a drawer with a shallow bowl. The red script shifts above it until it resembles drops dripping into the bowl.

Thank heavens!

This is easy enough. You pour just enough water from your almost empty skin to fill the shallow bowl.

The wall pulses brighter still and the bottom of the bowl opens, dumping the water onto the hot sand.

You cry out as that water quickly disappears into the ground.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

The bowl closes and the script continues to imitate droplets…red droplets.

Blood.

Berta’s parting, “beware the easy way,” runs through your head.

This is anything but easy.

You can use your knife to cut your hand and provide blood but out here, every liquid is precious, especially blood.

Or you can turn back and look for another way. Perhaps the other dead ends present a different challenge

You’re low on water now, so you’d have to find something quick but it might be worth trying.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

Sweat trickles down between your shoulder blades. Cutting your hand and bleeding, even just a little, sounds like a bad idea in a spot where any liquid is precious.

You push to your feet and turn around. There’s a shushing sound behind you and when you glance back, the little bowl has disappeared back into the wall.

Since the other end of the T was a dead end and you don’t remember any difference in the script there, you turn back the way you came but stop dead when you find the way blocked by a new wall.

Or did you get turned around?

Inspecting the new wall, the script doesn’t shift, even when you kneel in front of it like you did the last one.

You sip from your skin and turn. Perhaps you’ve gotten your directions mixed.

But when you go down the right side of the T it’s still a dead end.

You head back to the left, sweating buckets from the heat radiating off the walls.

Instead of finding the wall that asked for blood, you find a new T. It dawns on you that the maze moves.

Great.

You take the left because it takes you toward what you think is the center.

The walls grow narrower and you hug your arms to your sides, afraid touching the pulsing red script will burn you.

When your body stops sweating and your water and food’s long gone, you know you’re in trouble.

Your vision swims and you stumble against the right wall. Jerking away, the wall leaves a burn on your arm.

As you continue on, you blink at what you see a little farther down. A opening? Perhaps the center?

You blink again. Between the heat and your gritty eyes, you have a hard time focusing but you rush forward, eager to find a way out.

And smack directly into a wall. Crack!

You’re head throbs with pain.

The maze didn’t move. You’re eyes are playing tricks on you.

You don’t rise from where you fall. The decision to stop moving’s not even processed.

Sadly by the time the Alosians find you, you’re too far gone to save.

They never meant to kill someone with their maze, so an investigation’s started. It reveals Berta, who designed the maze, designed it to “sift out” outsiders. She hates outsiders, who she believes are unworthy of trading for her horses.

They banish Berta to a place called Amonen, an outsider village deep in the desert, where she is sentenced to work for the outsiders.

Then they send ten horses to your village council with their condolences at your loss.

The council erects a small plaque under the village sign commemorating your courage and sacrifice. May you rest in peace.

The End

Blessings and have a wonderful weekend,

Jennifer

P.S. If you enjoyed this adventure, Monday will start a new one. Hope to hear from you next week=)

 

Alosian Oasis Part 5 (Bb2.2)

Welcome to Wednesday=)

If you’re just stopping by, click to the left on Alosian Oasis, Then option B, then Bb, the Bb2, and then come back here for the end to the adventure.

Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and enjoy.

Alosian Oasis Option Bb2.2 Seek Another Way

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

Sweat trickles down between your shoulder blades. Cutting your hand and bleeding, even just a little, sounds like a bad idea in a spot where any liquid is precious.

You push to your feet and turn around. There’s a shushing sound behind you and when you glance back, the little bowl has disappeared back into the wall.

Since the other end of the T was a dead end and you don’t remember any difference in the script there, you turn back the way you came but stop dead when you find the way blocked by a new wall.

Or did you get turned around?

Inspecting the new wall, the script doesn’t shift, even when you kneel in front of it like you did the last one.

You sip from your skin and turn. Perhaps you’ve gotten your directions mixed.

But when you go down the right side of the T it’s still a dead end.

You head back to the left, sweating buckets from the heat radiating off the walls.

Instead of finding the wall that asked for blood, you find a new T. It dawns on you that the maze moves.

Great.

You take the left because it takes you toward what you think is the center.

The walls grow narrower and you hug your arms to your sides, afraid touching the pulsing red script will burn you.

When your body stops sweating and your water and food’s long gone, you know you’re in trouble.

Your vision swims and you stumble against the right wall. Jerking away, the wall leaves a burn on your arm.

As you continue on, you blink at what you see a little farther down. A opening? Perhaps the center?

You blink again. Between the heat and your gritty eyes, you have a hard time focusing but you rush forward, eager to find a way out.

And smack directly into a wall. Crack!

You’re head throbs with pain.

The maze didn’t move. You’re eyes are playing tricks on you.

You don’t rise from where you fall. The decision to stop moving’s not even processed.

Sadly by the time the Alosians find you, you’re too far gone to save.

They never meant to kill someone with their maze, so an investigation’s started. It reveals Berta, who designed the maze, designed it to “sift out” outsiders. She hates outsiders, who she believes are unworthy of trading for her horses.

They banish Berta to a place called Amonen, an outsider village deep in the desert, where she is sentenced to work for the outsiders.

Then they send ten horses to your village council with their condolences at your loss.

The council erects a small plaque under the village sign commemorating your courage and sacrifice. May you rest in peace.

The End

Okay, to remain true to the Choose Your Own Adventure Books, I had to put in a least one of these endings.

But don’t despair, if you’re not satisfied with this ending, there are sixteen possible endings to the Alosian Oasis, so I’ll rerun the adventure at some point down the road and you can try again for a happier fate.

In the meantime, thank you everyone for participating!

Blessings,

Jennifer

Alosian Oasis Part 4 (Bb2)

Welcome to the Alosian Oasis Adventure.

If you’re just checking in, click on the left under recent posts on Alosian Oasis, then option B, the Bb, and then return here. This is the last section in which you get to vote. Wednesday you’ll find out whether you succeed, work for a year or maybe even die. So vote and check back to see what happens=)

Enjoy.

Alosian Oasis Option Bb2: Go Right Toward the Red Script

The green avenue seems to move even from where you stand. It makes you shudder, so you turn right toward the glowing, red script.

As you enter the avenue, the script glows brighter and the air grows hotter.

The walls of the maze radiate the heat like an oven.

It only takes a few moments before you’re drenched in sweat.

Sipping from your water, you follow the avenue as it curves to the left, and then back to the right.

You come to a T and randomly take the left. It dead ends, so you turn around and head down the right part of the T.

You drink more water, feeling like it’s dripping out of you as fast as you’re drinking it.

The maze takes a left, and then a right and another right.

Another T presents itself and you wish for an end to the red script as it throbs on the walls.

No luck. Both sides of the T still radiate the script.

You turn right only to find another dead end.

Turning back, you head down the left branch only to find it ends in a wall as well.

You start to despair and drop to your knees. Going all the way back seems like it’ll kill you. You’re loosing water faster than when you traveld to the Oasis.

Part of the dead end pops out like a drawer with a shallow bowl. The red script shifts above it until it resembles drops dripping into the bowl.

Thank heavens!

This is easy enough. You pour just enough water from your almost empty skin to fill the shallow bowl.

The wall pulses brighter still and the bottom of the bowl opens, dumping the water onto the hot sand.

You cry out as that water quickly disappears into the ground.

The bowl closes and the script continues to imitate droplets…red droplets.

Blood.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

Berta’s parting, “beware the easy way,” runs through your head.

This is anything but easy.

You can use your knife to cut your hand and provide blood but out here, every liquid is precious, especially blood.

Or you can turn back and look for another way. Perhaps the other dead ends present a different challenge

You’re low on water now, so you’d have to find something quick but it might be worth trying.

Do you…

Bb2.1: Try filling the bowl with blood?

Or

Bb2.2: Seek another way?

Blessings,

Jennifer

(Please post a comment with your choice. One vote per person per day please but comment as much as you like=) Voting will end at 8pm Mountain Time Tuesday. Wednesday I’ll post whichever option gets the most votes and we’ll see how the adventure ends!)

Alosian Oasis Part 2 (B)

Welcome to Wednesday and the next part of our adventure=)

If you’re just stopping by, click on the left under recent posts on Alosian Oasis and then return here.

Otherwise, welcome and enjoy.

Alosian Oasis Option B: Salt

Your village buys salt but it’s not hard to get in mass quantities. And if you have beasts of burdon, it won’t be that difficult to haul several loads of salt to the oasis.

You say “salt.”

The burly woman bows and shoots a smirk over her shoulder at a old wrinkled woman behind her.

“My name is Berta,” she says, “I am the Mistress of the Salt. Follow me.”

She leads you through the crowd and past the row of trees.

As soon as you enter the oasis, the ground becomes lush with a blue tinted grass. Right in the center sits a small lake and around it are small huts with lanterns hanging in front of each.

It’s peaceful after the desert winds.

Berta leads you to a hut on the left and opens the door for you but she doesn’t follow you in.

“Rest deeply, Outsider, for tomorrow we test you.” And then she closes the door.

The hut contains a bed on the left wall and a table on the right laden with water and fruit.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

You select a pomegranate from the fruit, fill a cup with sweet cool water and sit on the bed to eat.

When done, exhaustion from the last five days in the blistering sun catches up and you set the now empty cup aside, lay down and sleep.

***

You wake to Berta shaking you. “Good Morn, Outsider.”

She hands you a fresh set of clothes and leaves to let you change.

After doning the outfit, which turns out to be just like your old one, you eat several figs and almonds and down a cup of water.

Exiting your hut, you step into a crowd. The entire populace has gathered again.

Berta steps forward.

“What do you come for?’ she asks.

“Horses or camels.”

She nods.

“Then you may pick either the Maze test or the Water test.”

You are unfamiliar with either, so you ask “what does each involve?”

Berta scowls, pinching her lips into a tight line but when you don’t back down, she sighs.

“The maze requires you to navigate the Alose Maze in a day. If you succeed, we will offer you five horses, if you fail, you will work at the oasis for a year and a day.

“The water test requires you to fill a water skin in a day out beyond the oasis. Success brings an offer of camels and failure work.”

“Why test me?” you ask, “when we offer salt in return for  beasts. Is that not a fair trade?’

Berta’s scowl returns, her dark eyes angry but you still don’t back down even though her displeasure makes you shake a bit. A few in the crowd mutter. Finally Berta answers.

“Outsiders do not understand that our animals are family to us. If we trade them it is because we trust you to care for our family. Thus the test. We test you to trust you.”

So do you say…

Bb. Maze?

or

Bc. Water?

Blessings,

Jennifer

(Please post a comment with your choice. One vote per person per day please but comment as much as you like=) Voting will end at 8pm Mountain Time tomorrow. Friday I’ll post whichever option gets the most votes and we’ll see where the story goes!)

Alosian Oasis Part 1

Welcome to Monday and a new Adventure blog=)

After some feed back from a few of my readers, I realized some people might not be getting to participate because of the time constraint on the voting. So I’m fiddling with the structure of these stories. This Adventure will run for two weeks but instead of posting every day, I’m giving a day and a half for voting each time. Each new section will post Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday, Wednesday and then the second Friday will post the entire story in full so you don’t have to jump around to read the full thing. Let me know what you think. If you have a better idea, please share.

Now, without further ado, you have made your way into the desert.

Alosian Oasis

You carry a message from the village council. They trusted you because the trek to the Alosians is long and hard and you’re the most experienced carrier they have even though you are also the youngest.

But even being the most experienced, you’ve never been to the south before. you’ve never traversed the sand to reach the desert nomad’s oasis.

You’re five days out now. The winds swirl sand in small devils along the dunes. there’s sand in your clothing, in your ears, even around your eyes and nose despite the protective veil across your face.

You were told the trek was a full five days. Hopefully the council was right because your store of water’s low.

Along with water you’re wearing billowy pants and top and a head scarf that allows the flow of wind but shields you from the blistering sun.

A small pack for food rests on your back and several water skins are tied securely to your waist. On either ankle you have a knife, your only protection on the trek.

If the council had a horse or camel, you’d be riding but, alas, no one’s seen a horse in years and even if they had, no one has the money to buy one. But the village needs animals that can help with plowing and hauling. Over the years, supplies have grown low because people can’t move as much weight as a beast of burdon.

That is why the council sent you through the desert to the Alosians. They want to barter for beasts and the desert nomads are the only ones willing to barter anymore. All other places demand coin, saying barter is old fashioned and useless when compared to solid coin.

The sun sits on the horizon and you angle more left, realizing you strayed a bit in your musing.

Just as the last rays disappear you crest a dune and catch sight of a beautiful green line of trees.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

The wind blows, instantly cooling the air from the heat of the blistering sun. A shiver runs your spine as the breeze cools the sweat on your body.

Heading for that line of trees, you notice several figures imerge and stand, waiting for you.

That line grows until there’s a good twenty people.

Must be almost the whole village at the oasis. More Alosians live farther into the desert but those willing to trade live here, where outsiders can reach them.

You come to stand before the line and a burly woman with dark eyes and long lashes steps forward.

“Water Seeker or Lost Fool?” She asks.

Neither one’s technically correct but you keep from bristling at her assumption. Although you need water, it’s not why you’ve come.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

“Barter offer,” you answer.

The woman’s eyes widen and there are a few grunts from the crowd.

“Barter in Water or in Salt?’

It dawns on you that the council didn’t authorize you in either area, instead offering staples. But staples are not what the Alosians value. To barter, you need to offer something these people truly need. Either water to sustain their bodies and crops or salt to preserve their food.

Do you answer…

A. Water?

or

B. Salt?

Blessings,

Jennifer

(Please post a comment with your choice. One vote per person per day please but comment as much as you like=) Voting will end at 8pm Mountain Time tomorrow. Wednesday I’ll post whichever option gets the most votes and we’ll see where the story goes!)