Reads: 11

“all we have to do is cross this river now,” Alisa said, pointing at the river near them.

They were miles away from the village and in the wildlife of Polatil, well, at least the wildlife that take place underneath Polatil. The river came from a waterfall of melting ice about a few miles away. Its water was gushing rapidly near their legs, no one can cross it without a bridge, or without flying over it. It was the biggest water source and without it, people wouldn’t have got any water to the caves under Polatil.

“wow,” Max heaved a sigh. “we have to cross that river?”

“I feel like there is an easier way to find a crystal cutter,” Lucy reckoned. “the water will be ice cold,”

“you aren’t sure about that,” Alisa said, and put her feet in the water. She quickly took out, her boots soaking wet, her visibly clenching her jaws trying to not yelp from the cold.

“how cold is it?” Lucy asked.

“ice cold,” Alisa chittered. “we are still going to cross that,”

“why?” Max asked.

“I just skipped my council meeting for this,” Alisa said. “I may have no specific spot but most of the things they do I come up with,”

“aight, we will jump in three,” Max said.

“we cannot jump all the way there,” Lucy said, and looked at the river. It was a big gap, but it wasn’t going to need a big jump, especially since gravity isn’t the strongest even if they are near the core. Still, none of them can jump like that. “actually, we can. Just time it,”

“Max, you go first,” Alisa said. She knew that no one can jump over that easily, but it would be fun to see it happen, or it fail.

“one, two—” Max counted to himself.

“wait!” Lucy stopped and pointed at a distance. There was a bridge. “I thought there was no bridge installed yet,”

“jumping would have been much more fun,” Max muttered.

“come on, let’s go!” Alisa called, now just about a few feet away from the bridge.

Max and Lucy walked to Alisa. She was now observing the bridge. It was made of wood, didn't look so strong, if a wave crashed into the pilgrim holding the bridge, it will be gone. But, it looked safe for now.

“what if it breaks?” Lucy asked.

“we drown,” Max shrugged as if it was a common ‘okay’ thing. “people drown,”

They walked up the bridge, slowly and carefully taking the steps. They felt the wood of the bridge move a bit out of place because of the weight on it, intimidating them. In few minutes they were on the other side of the river.

“okay, that was scary,” Alisa sighed.

“imagine if we broke that!” Max asked smiling. “that would have been—”

“bad,” Lucy said. “Max, you like thinking of things bad,”

“it wouldn’t have been that bad, it would have been funny,” Max said.

“let’s go!” Alisa exclaimed and pointed at a cave that was coming out of a massive crystal, few miles away from them but glowing brightly. She started jogging to it. “I think that might be the place!”

“you can’t just assume the first mine you see is the one Leo is in,” Lucy said, following her.

“good point, but we can see who is there and ask them where Leo works at,” Max said at the back. “hopefully every miner knows every other miner that works here,”

“there are places we can easily go to other than another village we have to go to by crossing a river,” Lucy said. “why here?”

“first, we know Leo,” Alisa began. “second, the other members of the council might see me. Third, I spied on Asher,”

“woah, why in the world would you that?” Max asked. “out of everyone, you?”  

“because Asher was coughing yesterday when I met him,” Alisa said. “I got worried so I looked through his window and saw that he was sick,”

“yeah I saw him too,” Lucy said. “he told me he has a cold,”

“no, I mean getting no starlight sick,” Alisa said. “his friend is a doctor, and said that he has no proteins in his legs, and he can’t walk now!”

“no that sounds so painful,” Lucy cried.

“so you are getting Leo?” Max asked.

“yeah, he doesn’t know,” Alisa said. “we should at least go up to the surface and find out what is happening before Asher dies,”

“Alisa… Asher was an old man since I saw him,” Lucy said. “he like was about sixty when everyone here moved under here. I'm sorry but he is probably not getting sick, maybe it might be his time to go. Everyone has a time to go, and it’s not something we should argue with,”

“but he is a Bemonat. Can’t they live up to a few hundred years?” Max asked.

“I'm not sure, but he isn’t going to be alive forever,”

Alisa knew Lucy had a point. Everyone has a time to go and it should be respected. But she didn't want to believe it. Asher had been one of the very few people she knows and she cares about personally.

“that is true,” Alisa admitted. “right now, we are getting Leo,”

“do we know how Leo looks like?” Lucy asked. “I never met him,”

“me too,” Max said.

“we know he is a Bemonat, and he will probably look like Asher,” Alisa guessed, confident she will know how Leo looks like, even if she never remembers meeting him.

Few minutes of speedily walking, they made it to the cave. There were lit lanterns screwed into the grey rocky walls of the cave. Few parts of the walls glistened, showing that those spots had valuables. There were buckets scattered across the place filled with pink gemstones.

A Bemonat man with light brown hair, looking like he was in his thirties, was there sitting on a rock, wiping a pickaxe with a white cloth, stained with dust. He was wearing headphones, and the three friends knew right away that he gets a big salary because electronics were hard to get, especially things like headphones.

“ask him something,” Max nudged Alisa forward.

“why me?” Alisa asked.

“you know what to do,” Lucy said. “and make it quick, I'm sleepy and starving now,”

“what do you need?” the man asked, putting his headphones down.

“um, how many mines are here in this village?” Lucy asked.

“this is the only one,” the man said.

“oh thank goodness this won’t take long,” Lucy sighed.

“do you know a man named Leo?” Alisa asked.

“yes,” the man nodded.

“where is he?” Max asked.

“you are talking to him,” the man said standing up, and shook Alisa’s hand. His eyes were blue from what Alisa saw when he looked at her. “I'm Leo, and you must be Alisa,”

“how do you know my name?” Alisa asked.

“I saw you when you were at the hospital. My dad, Asher brought you there,” Leo said. “and no one here has black hair but obviously you,”

“oh yeah, right. Do you know anything about crystal cutting?” Alisa asked. “lapidary,”

“I mine crystals—” Leo said.

“knew he won’t know anything about it!” Max exclaimed.

“but I have a few books of it,” Leo said, eyeing Max.

“I take that back,” Max said.

“be quiet, there is a pillar holding the cave about to break,” Leo said. “any echo might break it collapsing this cave with us in it,”

“damn, this is a dangerous job now?” Max asked.

“eh, sometimes,” Leo said.

“can we have those books?” Lucy asked. “borrow them, but we will have them for a long time surely,”

“after you answer a question,” Leo said. “why did you come to a whole different village to find me just for some books? You can get these books from a library. Is there anything else?”

Few seconds went by quiet with them looking at each other.

“you didn't say libraries can have the books,” Max whispered to Lucy.

“I didn't think of it,” Lucy whispered back.

“this is your cue Alisa,” Max mouthed.

“what’s wrong?” Leo asked.

“your father, Asher,” Alisa started. This is definitely gonna be hard. “he… is sick,”

Leo’s eyes grew wide. “why are you saying it like that? What is happening to him?”

“he is lacking photosynthesis,” Alisa said. “he can’t walk now,”

Leo sighed and sat back on the rock and put his face in his hands. Why so quick? Leo thought. And he isn’t even hundred yet… Bemonats can live up to two hundred. He is not even a grandfather yet…

“I spied on him and found out,” Alisa said. “he said he doesn’t know how to tell you,”

“thanks for spying on him then,” Leo said standing up. “never thought I would say that,”

“I have nothing much to do here,” Leo said. “can you take me there to see him?”

“don’t you have to pack your bags or something?” Lucy asked.

“no need, I think I can get what I need back at my home village,” Leo said. He went a bit deep into the cave and pulled out some books that was hiding behind a bucket. “here are the books about lapidary, art of crystal cutting,” 


Submitted: May 14, 2021

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