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Chapter 17

When, after a few hundred heartbeats, the brightness around them ended and they started to slowly open their eyes, they noticed that the ugly color of the ‘lake’ had disappeared to be replaced by the enormous collection of brightly colored pebbles again. All of them felt a tremendous relief as though they had been granted a cosmic ‘do-over’ by the ring somehow.

Now, having been given a reprieve from the damage that they had caused on their earlier trip, they hoped that in some way, they would also be granted relief from their multi-colored skin effects and also that they would no longer itch.

They all decided that there was now no reason why they couldn’t go on their originally planned trip to the nearby mountain. Leven bent over to pick up the ring which was no longer reddish-orange, but had resumed its original sky blue color complete with the little wispy clouds. But when he tried to lift it off the rock it was resting on, he found that he could not even budge it.

“I can’t seem to move this little ring no matter how hard I try,” Leven complained.

Nissa was standing right next to him and she said, “Let me try.”

She bent over and easily lifted the ring and held it up so she could examine it. She was transfixed by the little clouds on a blue sky and showed the others. Leven had to pretend to be seeing the little ring for the first time. Everyone took turns handling the ring and holding it up. But when Leven was handed the ring by Iknow, the ring broke through his fingers and instantly resumed its position on the ground.

Nissa bent over once again and this time put it on her left ring finger where it fit easily.

“That’s so it’ll be safe while we go to the mountain. You can have it back when we’re back home,” she told Leven.

They set off toward their original destination and everybody felt excited about what they thought they’d find when they got there. They also were happy that the ‘lake’ of crystal pebbles was back to its original beauty. Without saying it out loud, they hoped that the strange multicolor skin effects they had noticed back home and the itching which everyone had started to feel were also behind them.

As the group got closer to the mountain they were approaching, they began to make out some individual details. Nobody was sure, but they all agreed that the nearest green area they had seen when they first chose this mountain as their destination looked like there were trees growing there. Now they picked up their pace as excitement grew in anticipation of encountering possible life. While all of the children appreciated the beautiful rainbow colors they had seen so far on this planet, it felt a bit dead and boring to them since they had seen nothing living since they first arrived other than the forest they were approaching.

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