Reads: 10

“well, how did Max find you then?”

Alisa finally got herself to ask the map that was lying on her bed. She didn't expect an answer, but no answer tensed her. The question was spinning inside her head for a long while since Zane left. Why would Max asked me to burn such a valuable piece?

“I will ask him later,” Alisa mumbled to herself. Like what she does to all her junk, she threw the map under the bed. Doing so, she remembered that she had put the bag of Floshlids there. She took them out, and remembered that Lucy told her about an app that makes lapidary easier.

She locked the door and she went through the other door that led down to four different floors. She walked down the stairs with the bag and went to the floor underneath the room she got in earlier. Pushing open the door, a whole new place was revealed.

The room was painted white and there was a dozen of contraptions Alisa got placed in the room. The room was practically her own laboratory. There was a blue stain on the ceiling of the room, and Alisa smiled looking up at it, remembering one of the times Lucy made a mess with chemicals. The one who uses the room most of the time is Lucy, and Alisa gave Lucy the keys to her house and the room she is in right now as a gift.

“if Lucy has her own lab she would be able to take part in a research group,” Alisa mumbled putting the bag of Floshlids near some sort of mechanism. Her prediction was true, Lucy was smart yet she didn't get a chance to use it to the fullest.

The contraption was a table with a camera lens hanging from the top over the table. It was all white and attached to the table was a tablet to control what the machine does.

It was the best to use for 360 pictures, and Lucy said there was an app that makes lapidary much easier. Just a 360 picture and the spots you have to break will show up. Alisa remembered what Lucy told her before she came back home.

Alisa started to install the app into the tablet and as it was, she took out a Floshlid from the bag and found a roll of thread in a cupboard next to her. She tied the string on the tip of the Floshlid and attached it to a nail on the middle of the table. When the app downloaded, Alisa continued the next steps. With just a few clicks on the tablet, the Floshlid started floating between the camera and the table, held a bit lower because of the string. Alisa pressed more buttons and the camera lens flashed and started to spin around the crystal so smoothly as if it was sliding on a perfect sphere.

The result, a 360-picture appeared on the tablet, but it looked more like a 3D asset. Alisa opened the app and there were a lot of choices on what she should do to the crystal. Alisa searched ‘making crystals shinier’ and a similar method came up. From what to app said you have to just brush it off with some everyday chemicals. But Floshlids had a special feature. Since it grows out of the ground, the soil it was growing out of gets mixed with the crystal and some even goes through the hard skin of the crystal.

Lucy later specifically told Alisa what to do with the crystals when she and Max finds a black-market that has plastic material. She was supposed to make sure that light can shine through the crystal with no particle of soil making even a small shadow.

All precautions had to be taken. Just to be on the safe side. After a few minutes of looking for the best option she finally found the best. This method Alisa was looking at now was used on crystals that will soon be light bulbs or lamps. She clicked the option and a grid came over the picture on the screen. Parts got underlined in different colours showing where Alisa had to carve, chip off, and break. The app was just showing where to break it, but it wasn’t going to give her the materials.

After a long search, Alisa found similar objects used for lapidary in her junk. Finally, the junk and contraptions she herself thought was useless are becoming important now.

“and they said to get rid of it all!” Alisa exclaimed to herself. She started her work, as a beginner at first, a sort of rookie professional in the end.

 

Three days of her break went by quickly as Alisa perfected two bags of crystals by carving them with a great help from the app. She predicted that she would have a lot of fun on her little break but instead Alisa spent half of it in her room. This plan of going up to the surface was serious and all she wanted was to succeed. To see her family again. And now she just wanted to rest for it.

She thoroughly shined a light through all Floshlid crystals to see if there was any small shadow. Thankfully all her work was perfect. She did break some in the process so it wasn’t as perfect as perfect, but it was fine.

It was night by the time she declared that she was done. Alisa flipped on the bed to sleep shutting the curtains next to her bed, and closed her eyes. An abrupt knocking on the door woke her up about two hours later.

Alisa stumbled off her bed and opened the door. A wide awake, cheery Lucy was in front of Alisa holding Max who was about to fall asleep anytime, and Gary had accompanied them through their journey in the night, looking happy since he was by Max’s side.

“YOU CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT WE JUST DID!!” Lucy exclaimed, and very loudly. Is she hyper again? Alisa asked herself.

“shh! Be quiet, will you?” Max mumbled. He got inside and fell on Alisa’s bed and tried to go back to sleep. Gary jumped inside stopping Max from falling asleep by pulling his hair. Lucy also got inside and squealed happily.

“what happened?” Alisa asked, switching on a few yellow lamp lights.

“we found a black-market!” Lucy squeaked. “I mean, the right one! This one we found, sells plastic suits and bags in different sizes and colours!”

“and we really don’t care about the colours,” Max yawned, rubbing Gary’s head as he started chewing on Alisa’s bed spread. “I mean, we really don’t need pink or purple right? Black is fine,”

“plastic was banned from Polatil because the material that is used to make it is toxic to the nature and the animals,” Lucy started with another one of her big explanations. “it was banned about a few years before Polatil’s citizens moved underground, but that never got rid of the recipe, so people still illegally made plastic at their own home,”

“why does people make illegal stuff? Is it cool or something?” Alisa asked.

“having something other people doesn’t seems cool,” Max said.

“they found out by accident that plastic actually protects us from the gas,” Lucy continued. “scientists made an organization with hundreds teaching them how to make plastic and luckily they made a few thousand suits each hour for a day, thanks to the help of machinery and the power of an old tourist that was in Polatil and offered help by giving them speed strength,”

“how do you know all this?” Alisa asked.

“why should we know all this?” Max asked.

“it will be useful for later,” Lucy said. “as I was saying, the recipe wasn’t forgotten. A small group still continues making and giving away plastic creations. On their list there was suits too,”

“that’s great! How do we get it?” Alisa asked.

“it takes a lot of time making plastic, at least the ones that is made on Polatil, that’s why the old tourist even offered his magic as help. With all the other non-plastic compartments in the suit such as emergency extra oxygen bottles, four suits need exactly one— one,”

“one what?” Alisa asked.

“a crystal known as a Spesh Crystal,” Lucy said quietly. Alisa smile fell, and Max lifted his head up. “we all know what it is,”

‘Spesh’ is another word for special, and a Spesh Crystal is an artificially made crystal where someone melts gold and titanium on a crystal that is half a diamond and a very rare gemstone. Polatil had a thing for making expensive objects, and this was the currency that had the highest value.

Alisa took her laptop from her desk and typed in some keys.

“a Spesh Crystal can be converted into fifty rare titanium coins, and fifty rare titanium coins can be converted into—”

“hundred gold bars,” Lucy said glumly.

“you have to have a signed contract at all times if you are under twenty and have more than thirty gold bars in your bank,” Alisa said. “none of us are that old, and none of us make money like that, not even me,”

“and hundred gold bars is about a thousand mini rubies that is used as the lowest valued currency,” Lucy said. “I never had to have or need even one full gold bar,”

“can’t you ask the council?” Max asked.

“they would ask for what purpose, and they can’t know why, and I'm way too young to ask them for even five full gold bars,” Alisa said. “we have to wait years to get those suits! Why four?”

“they sell in odd numbers as a tradition of luck, and the fourth one can be our extra,” Lucy said.

“how can we get a Spesh Crystal?” Alisa asked. Max sighed.

“okay! Fine!” Max exclaimed sitting up on the bed.

“what?” Lucy asked, and Gary stared at his owner.

“my dad, well he has a lot of those crystals,” Max muttered.

“how do you know?” Alisa asked.

“I was going through his stuff when I found it,” Max said.

“are you serious?” Lucy asked.

“yes,”

“Max, why are you saying this?” Alisa asked.

“I can just take a small one,” Max said. Gary bleated.

“by ‘take’ are you saying steal?” Alisa asked.

“he won’t noticed if one is missing,” Max said.

“you know, instead of stealing you can just ask for it,” Lucy said.

“then I will have to tell him we are planning to have some business with a black-market,” Max said. “I think we would be in trouble if they know,”

“we know,” Alisa said. “but even if it’s a small crystal that’s a big thing to steal,”

“if we are caught stealing then we would be in more trouble,” Lucy said.

“we can pay back to my dad after we reach the surface,” Max said.

“stealing is wrong,” Lucy said.

“he will be fine with it after we go to the surface,” Max said. “and besides, he probably won’t even care much,”

“Max, its your choice to do this, but I don’t want you to,” Alisa said.

“not even me,” Lucy said.

“in morning, we will meet at the hut,” Max said. “and by then I will have the Spesh Crystal with me,”

“Max—”

“I still know where they are,” Max said lost in his head. “it will be very easy; the hard part is just getting in—”

“are you sure you want to steal?” Alisa asked.

“it will be fine,” Max said. “now how close are we to go up to the surface?” 

“I finished the two bags of Floshlids,” Alisa said. “just tonight, will it be enough?”

“that’s quick. Of course that will be enough,” Lucy said. “now all we have left to do is get the suits, get a few of those magnetic boxes or make something like it,”

“and get the key,” Alisa sighed. “I feel like that will be the hardest,” Max snickered.

“what’s so funny?”

“we are going to a black market and buy from people who are likely to be criminals on the loose. Getting the suits will be the hardest, they might even trick us,” Max said.

“did you have to think that they will trick us?” Lucy muttered.

“hey, where is this place anyways?” Alisa asked.

Lucy and Max glanced nervous looks at each other, and they looked back at Alisa.

“what?”

“the place, is nothing you out of everyone will want to see,”


Submitted: May 14, 2021

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