“He knows something I know he knows something” started off Rose. “It was just really weird the way he kept looking at me when he was saying certain things like “the girl was adopted” it was freaking me out. And when I went to speak at the beginning and couldn’t talk I knew something was wrong.”
“You mean you couldn’t speak at all?” asked George “I just thought you didn’t want to say anything!”
“No I couldn’t say anything. Nothing was coming out. It was like something was stopping me.”
“There’s definitely something up with him then” said Issy. “It was like you were being warned in some way. Maybe you’re just not supposed to tell too many people about what’s going on.”
“I don’t know what it is,” continued Rose “but it doesn’t matter anyway does it. He said as well that my parents are dead” she said sighing and looking at the others for help.
“You don’t know that it’s true Rose,” said George, jumping in again. “Why don’t we look on the internet and look for the news reports. There’s bound to be something on there.”
“Great idea” said Rose, pulling out her phone from her pocket as the others did the same.
They spent the next twenty minutes searching online to see what they could find but one by one they realised that they couldn’t find anything. It was taking ages to get a signal anyway and every time they tried to look up different pages that could hold some clues they kept getting error and reload messages.
“Ugh, it’s so annoying,” said Callum after a while. “We’ll have to wait until we go into town tomorrow. Why on earth hasn’t this place got Wifi?”
“Probably so that people actually enjoy their holiday and don’t spend all of their time on their phones and tablets” said Ruby as she realised at that moment her response wasn’t exactly helping. “Sorry,” she whispered and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, ‘What now?’
Callum looked around and said,
“What about the estate agent that cleared out the house. I bet that if we go into town and ask them there’s a chance that someone will remember what happened to everything. It will be worth asking at least.”
They spent the next few hours going over all of the details of Mr Johnson’s story. Everything from the couple being killed in a car crash that could have been Rose’s mum and dad, through to the short story about the crystals hidden in the magical wood. They even spent some time writing a song about the Crystal Kingdom that mainly Rose and Issy worked on.
When they had finished Rose looked up at the skylight in the bedroom as the sun started to go down. It had been a long few days and her head was spinning. On the one hand she was thrilled to be part of such an exciting adventure and it had been wonderful discovering the Crystal Kingdom; but on the other hand she was feeling weighed down with the responsibility of finding the King and Queen and feeling that she was no further forward. Could they really be dead? Maybe they were but were still able to guide her somehow, she just didn’t know.
There was a light pattering of rain on the windows and having taken off her tiara and laying it by her side she closed her eyes to let it all sink in, the others were still chatting excitedly in the background. She must have drifted off to sleep as she woke with a jump when Callum tapped her on the shoulder.
“Sorry Rose, I didn’t mean to make you jump. The others have just gone downstairs for dinner. Come on let’s go.” Callum reached out his hand and helped pull Rose to her feet. He smiled at her and gave her a hug. “Everythings going to be ok. We’ll work this out I promise.”
Rose gave Callum a weak smile “I hope so,” she said as she followed him out of the bedroom and downstairs into the kitchen.
Everyone was rushing around getting everything ready for dinner. Although there had been lots going on Rose was still happy that they were all together on holiday. There was a large feast emerging on the kitchen table, lasagna, chicken kebabs, bread rolls, sausages, a huge greek salad and a few other bits and bobs. The smell of all of that food was just amazing and for the time being it took Rose’s mind off everything!
As they all sat down to dinner they all chatted and laughed and talked about everything that had happened so far and what their plans were for the next few days.
“All of us adults are going off early in the morning tomorrow,” started Alice, “we’ve got quite a lot of boring stuff to do in the town. A bit of shopping and while we’re down there we’re going to have brunch in a nice little restaurant that we spotted. We’ll be back just after lunch time. You guys are welcome to come with us but since you’ve been sleeping in so late we thought we’d give you the choice.”
“I think we’ll stay here. We’ll be alright, won’t we guys” said Rose looking round at the others who all nodded and mumbled with their mouths full.
“Ok, that’s fine, we thought you’d say that anyway. If we’re not back before you get up and you want to go out then please just leave a note for us and give us an idea of what time you’ll be back,” Alice continued.
“We will don’t worry,” said George. We’ve been doing a lot of exploring in the woods. It goes on for miles so we’ll probably be doing that for most of the afternoon.”
“Alright, well that’s good then. That’s what we were hoping you’d be doing. That’s what this kind of holiday is for!” said Alice.
After dinner they helped clear everything away and then they all sat together and watched a film. It was one that none of them had seen before and they all loved it. After that they played some games which was also great fun. At one point Issy also played the piano and sang to them, she was really good at it and when all of them sang together it was really lovely. Rose and Issy at one point sang the song that they wrote and the other children joined in. It went something like this:
‘Crystals shimmer, crystals shine, crystals sparkle all the time. Crystals gather peace to everyone they can see. They’re like stars shining brightly in the big blue sky. Oh I want to be a magic crystal.’
‘Magic Crystals take me by the hand and lead me to the crystal kingdom. Magic crystals help me understand all the places I can go and all the things I need to know to lead me home.’
Everyone seemed to love it. They spent the last hour before they went to bed sat out under the stars. It was so dark where they were that they could see everything really clearly. They even spotted a couple of shooting stars as well as some satellites high up in the sky moving across the darkness quite quickly and methodically.
When they finally decided to go to bed and were inside their tents and the adults were all back inside the children quickly recapped on their plan.
“We have to bring the crystals in with us,” said Rose “and make sure we all meet up together at the horse’s kingdom. I’ll wait for you there and we’ll come up with a plan. If we have the crystals with us that will help us I’m sure.”
With that they all settled down and one by one they drifted off to sleep.
Inside a quaint little cottage about a three mile walk from the children’s holiday house, Mr and Mrs Johnson were finishing off a cup of hot chocolate before they headed up to bed. As usual they both took it in turns to brush their teeth and wash their faces before changing into their night clothes and getting into bed. They both sat up and read for about half an hour before Mrs Johnson fell asleep and Mr Johnson reached across and turned out her reading light. He kissed her on the cheek and got out of bed for one last visit to the bathroom. Although this time, instead of getting back into bed he quietly tiptoed down the stairs and putting on his long dark coat and placing a heavy black bag over his shoulder, he slipped out of the back door and into the night, leaving the darkness of his cottage and Mrs Johnson asleep inside of it behind him for the last time.
He knew the way quite well as he had been there so many times and after an hour of walking at a steady pace he arrived at his destination. He slipped around the back of the house and into the garden and could see the children’s tents pitched right in the middle.
He reached inside his bag and pulled out a large dark sparkly object which he placed on the ground beside him. After a few minutes it started to glow and with the soft light that came from it he could see through the tents and that each of the children had a small crystal in their hands. He looked around the garden and could see hidden in the corner behind a big rock another large dark sparkly object, almost identical to the one he had placed onto the ground.
He laughed quietly to himself and muttered out loud,
“All of this time!” He shook his head. “Never mind.” I have them all now and this time there’s nothing they can do about it!”
He quietly gathered up all of the crystals one by one. He knew that the children would not wake up from where they were even if he had disturbed them slightly. He knew that they were in a far away land transformed into different animals. He was sure that when he had told his story earlier that they hadn’t realised who he was. They knew that something was wrong for sure but not enough for them to know who he really was. As he stood there with all of the crystals in his hands he started to laugh a low and sinister kind of laugh. He closed his eyes and started to gradually change into his true form. He was fearsome, loathsome, ugly and dark. Another hideous beast that once must have resembled a majestic horse that was alas no more. It was also the end for Mr Johnson for he had completely disappeared and in his place was the evil king Nerrez. He was back and with a flash he shot up into the beam of light and back into the crystal kingdom.