Melissa held her breath and curled up as small as possible. Is that the mole or what-ever-else? Will one spider be enough for it? Another sigh echoed down the tunnel, this time a little louder. Melissa thought she recognized Reginald’s irritated snort. She was so relieved, a couple of tears ran over her cheeks.“Reginald. Leander. Here I am”, she called. She got up and felt her way along the wall in the direction of the sigh. After a few steps, her finger touched emptiness. A second tunnel branched off. Melissa examined the new tunnel. It was just about big enough for her to walk upright. The walls felt rocky, and there were several cracks in the rock.
Did the two turn off here? At least, no giant animal passed through this. Her fingers touched something silky. Leander’s thread. She grabbed but her fingers stayed empty. Once more, she searched the floor. Without success.
Again, someone sighed in the darkness. The sound came out of the branching tunnel she squatted at. She was sure that her friends had turned off here. If I follow the noise, I will find them. Then, they will help me out of here. She touched the walls with her hands on either side of the tunnel and groped carefully around, moving forward step by step. In vain, she hoped to feel Leander’s thread. Instead, she heard the unicorn sigh more and more often.
“Don’t make such a fuss, Reginald”, she mumbled while she followed the tunnel feeling carefully. Since no light broke through the darkness, she advanced slowly. Her hands kept constant contact with the walls, and she tested the floor every step with her healthy foot. After a time that seemed like an eternity, her foot came down on nothing. She pulled back, knelt down and felt with her hands. She had reached the end of the tunnel. In front of her, the rock fell vertically. She listened. Far below, she heard the gentle swelling of the wind. Was she standing at the edge of a big cave? Finally, she came to the conclusion that Reginald and Leander must have taken another route. After all, the unicorn could neither climb nor fly.
I probably have missed a branch. She turned to crawl back. With her healthy foot, she ran into something hard that rolled away and fell into the cave clattering. The echo rebounded so loudly that Melissa had to cover her ears. Her eyes searched for the falling object, but it was too dark. She stiffened. Two plate-sized, amber-colored eyes gleamed at the brim.
For a long time, Djarret sat motionlessly at the beach of the Baltic Sea and waited. When the sun threw the first rays over the rocks and onto the sea, the magician regained consciousness. Groaning, he sat up and patted the dirt from his coat.
Djarret ordered, “show me the person the stone found.”
The magician sighed tiredly but obeyed. From the folds of his wide coat, he pulled several bottles, a bowl and a red blossoming herb. He put the herb in the bowl, poured some water over it and mumbled a rhyme. Finally, he added three drops from every bottle and handed the bowl to his master.
Djarret bent forward and looked into the water. First, only bright radiance swirled on the water, but soon a picture crystallized. He saw a slim, young girl, hardly more than fifteen summers old. Her red hair shone in the setting sun like copper. She held Korosadja in her right hand and a book in her left. She put the stone into the pocket of her dress and disappeared. The book stayed behind.
“Where did the stone take her?”
The magician held his hand over the bowl and mumbled some more words. The picture dulled. When it brightened again, it showed a world that was mostly green. Djarret immediately recognized it. He laughed. “Greenwitch, the World of Thousand Kingdoms. Well, that will be an easy hunt. Do they still have any magic there at all?”
The magician shrugged.