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Chapter 29

–Krokotopia–
I came to my senses in a hammock slung in between two poles. It wasn’t the comfiest… The ropes it was made of chafed my skin, and it was woven in a fishnet pattern, so my feet kept slipping through the holes. I forced myself to look on the bright side: I could be in a much worse place than a hammock. I remembered what had happened, with Keira and the poisoned cookie, and realized that I probably should be in a much worse place than a hammock. In that case, I wasn’t about to complain any more about the uncomfortable hammock I was lying in while it gave me rope burns… Oh, forget the whole “look on the bright side” thing. All I wanted was to know where I was. In order to find that out, I needed to get out of this hammock. I realized that my wand had been taken from me, so I couldn’t extract myself using magic. I would have to do it using my own strength. Which didn’t exactly sound like a picnic, considering that the hammock was cutting into my body and preventing any movement without pain. Not to mention that my feet had gone through several of the diamond-shaped holes, making chanced of freedom pretty slim. But not impossible, I told myself. So I struggled into a sitting position. Err, tried to struggle into a sitting position. All I really succeeded at was further entangling myself into the hammock. As the inter weaved ropes tightened around me, I realized that the poison in that cookie had sapped my strength as well as knocking me out. There was no possible escape from my rope prison. Or was there? I didn’t have my wand, but what did I have? Highly fashionable robes, a pair of boots/socks-with-soles, a few hair clips, and a hat. Nothing of use there. That was all I had, I thought with despair, clothing. Suddenly something clicked in my brain. Clothing! Of course! My wizardly outfit wasn’t the only clothing I had… I looked at my wrist. I had one other item on my person: a piece of jewellery. A bracelet with a sun emblem on it. Something I had had as long as I could remember, my only reminder of my real parents. The sharp, pure-gold rays of the sun on my bracelet could be my salvation. The thought gave me a tiny spark of hope. I clasped my hands together as best as I could, then rotated my wrist a little so that the pointy spikes were touching the rope. I moved my hands back and fourth. The rope began to fray. I kept sawing at my bonds using my bracelet. It was agonizing work. The rope kept rubbing, and the backs of my hands were red with my own blood by the time I finally managed to sever the cord. But I didn’t care.
“Yes!!
” I said aloud. My hands were free. I leaned forward slightly, far enough to reach my feet but not so far as to cause the hammock to swallow me up again. I began slowly snapping threads of the rope until my right foot was free. I began using my fingernails to untie some of the knots that held the whole mess together. They disappeared slowly, one by one. Until eventually, I was free! It took two hours, but I was free. I finally was able to stand up and explore the room where I was a prisoner. I stood up and stretched. My muscles felt stiff and unused, and my joints creaked with agony. Not a good feeling, but I was beyond caring at this point. I just wanted to know where I was, and what I was doing here. I realized that there was a small, circular window in this room, just a little bit higher than my eye level. I went over to it and poked my head out. What I saw surprised me: A vast, unbroken span of deep blue stretched on to the horizon. The room pitched, and I realized that I must have been in a boat of some kind, sailing over the ocean. That still didn’t answer the question of where I was, or what I was doing there. I figured that since this was a boat, I must have been below-deck. Which meant that the door over there must have lead to the top deck. Yeah, there was a door. I hadn’t seen it before, even though it was sandstone yellow and covered with hieroglyphics, while the walls were brown wood slats. I honestly have no idea how I could have overlooked it. I guess that poison Keira had given me had messed with my brain, too. I walked over to the door, expecting it to be locked. I backed up to the far side of the room and did a flying roundhouse kick at the door. It swung open before I even hit it. I guess it had been unlocked after all. A staircase lead up. I stepped out of the chamber and climbed the stairs. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I know I was certainly not expecting a boat that looked like a cross between a yacht and a giant canoe. It had space below deck, but one end curled up, and a flag emblazoned with a winged scarab waved in the gentle breeze. Oars stuck out to either side, and there was a raised portion of the deck on the back. Oh, and the ocean, wasn’t an ocean. As impossible as this sounds, the boat was being rowed through the air. I saw clouds strip by, and a chunk of land with some kind of large sandstone statue in the distance. But what topped it all off, was the fact that this magical zero-G boat… Was being piloted by giant lizards in tunics and fezzes.
Can my life get any stranger?
As I was about to find out, it could.
A lot stranger.

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