“I refuse, Father! This is ridiculous! My entire life will be hell living with her.” Before his reddened father could react, the boy stormed out of the house into the night woods. He didn’t want to so much as see his father’s face anymore. The boy was seventeen—old enough to make his own decisions. What gave his father the right push him down this unwanted path?
He didn’t care whether his father chased him or not. He wanted to cool off his rage, find a way to cancel the arranged marriage, and pursue his dreams. Even if he couldn’t, to arrange the marriage with her, of all women . . . did his father want him to live the rest of his life in absolute misery? The boy refused to reminisce on the manner in which his father arranged the idea and where he did it. The thought alone was shameful.
Abruptly, he nearly tripped on something, glowing as bright as a torch, plunged into floors of the woods. He inched toward it, curious. A sword? He’d never mistake that hilt for something else. The second he touched it, the entire world around him vanished, replaced with a white void. White nothingness paraded everywhere, even on the ground the boy walked. The air felt still. The sky didn’t exist. The silent void seemed to stretch for eternity.
The boy pinched himself, but the relayed pain debunked his hope of a dream.
He stood alone with the sword. He wanted to panic; his heart raced, but he knew that the sword was the obvious reason why this place existed.
He stared at it for a while, examining every detail of it, from its golden hilt to its glistening silver blade. It looked like it belonged to a knight.
For what felt like hours, the boy searched for a clue on the sword. He examined and re-examined, hoping to find even the smallest hope of undoing this dream-like reality.
“Don’t tell me I’m trapped here!” he yelled, lifting the sword and plunging into the white, marble-like ground. The sword produced a wide crack that seemed to travel forever. Gas as black as midnight seeped from it, fizzling, whispering. The boy quickly backed several feet away.
“So at last, it found the man worthy of wielding it, interrupting my thousand-year slumber, in this zero space.” The echo of the dark voice made the boy shiver. He frantically looked around but saw nothing.
“Over here, boy, at the miasma.”
Miasma? The boy assumed it referred to the black gas. He gazed at it, unwilling to take another step toward the funnel.
“What’s happening?” he finally asked after a minute of silent waiting. No reply. “Who are you?”
Laughter, deep and dark, filled the still air. “You are quite impatient, boy. Do you not wonder how you survived in here for three days without food, water, or even a need for such human things?”
“Three days?” the boy said. “I’ve only been here for a few hours.”
“This is the sword’s introduction . . . Have you not learned anything?”
“You jest about the three days—”
“Silence boy! Jonas Ariel, you have awoken something far greater than yourself and the world you live in. Now is not the time to dwell on such petty things.”
“Petty things?” Jonas said. “I don’t understand what’s happening.”
“You’ve got a lot to learn, boy. I suppose you can’t help it since you are just a village boy unaware of the world around you.
However . . . what you want no longer matters. Someone as powerful as you cannot roam around carefree like a mockingbird.”
“Powerful as me?” Jonas said, confused.
“You have a vast destiny awaiting, powerful enough to engulf you. However, let us discuss the now. A great calamity brews for your world, one that is bred to destroy everything you know and love. It is not something that should be taken lightly by those that know of it, but that plague is something that can be stopped, prevented. You, who have been selected by the sword, must go to Olympus, compete for King Zeus’s power, and use it to stop it—that is, if you care anything about humanity.”
Jonas’s eyes widened.
“If you want to leave zero space, then accept the sword’s contract.” Jonas didn’t respond, his mind wailing over the calamity, his place, the sword, and the king that lives in the skies. “I’ll take your insolent silence as a yes, lowly human. The one who observes that which shall occur will lead you to Olympus.”
Zeus, the king of the skies, huh? Jonas knew, no his entire village knew the legend of the king of the skies.