“Damn,” Revis swore.
“What,” the still slightly inebriated Twindaddy asked.
“Jaded is the one who sent us through the portal,” Matticus answered. Turning to Revis he said, “So…trap?”
“Trap,” he replied with a nod.
“Are we going in?”
“It ain’t but a few hours out.”
“Yeah, but remember the part where it’s a trap?”
Twindaddy interrupted the serenity of the moment by questioning, “Hey geniuses, why don’t you find out what’s on the other side of the portal before you go rushing in?”
“That’s a great idea,” Revis sarcastically shot back. “Why didn’t I think of that? Oh yeah, that’s right. It’s because we won’t be able to see what’s on the other side of the portal until we cross through it!”
“Why don’t you just ask Elyse?”
“She knows everything.”
“And just how long will it take us to reach this Elyse,” Matticus queried skeptically.
With an exasperated sigh, Twindaddy pointed to his computer monitor. “You see that glowing device right there? I can talk to just about anyone in the world on that thing instantaneously.”
“It can do that? I thought you said magic doesn’t work here…”
“It’s not….you know what? Never mind. Just let me handle this.”
Twindaddy sat down in front of the strange looking device and started furiously clicking away on another strange looking device that rested on the desktop between him and the glowing screen. Revis and Matticus exchanged glances, and when his Knight shrugged his shoulders, Matticus asked, “I thought you said you could talk to anyone you wanted instantly?”
Twindaddy replied curtly, exasperated, “I am.”
After another exchange of glances with his Knight that included a raised eyebrow, Matticus replied, “You don’t appear to be talking at all.”
Twindaddy stopped typing and glared at Matticus, and then flicked his eyes to his brother, “Can you keep him quiet for two minutes so I can get this done and get you two out of my life.”
“He’s a Jester, he doesn’t know how to be quiet.”
Twindaddy sighed, shot Matticus another dagger laced glare, and then went back to working on the glowing device.
Matticus thought about egging Twindaddy on by starting to sing a song, or something else to pester the man, just to be annoying. But, opted against it, and instead turned to Revis and whispered, “Can’t we just kill him and be done with this? I’m sure if we stepped into the portal we could find our way back to the kingdom eventually.”
“We could,” Revis opined, “but who knows what is now waiting for us on our side of the portal? Let’s just see what this fortune teller of his says first.”
“If you two ladies are done talking about your hair,” Twindaddy interrupted, “I’ve got something here.”
“What’s wrong with my hair,” Matticus asked, confused.
Ignoring him, Twindaddy continued, “Elyse says that if you throw a Murphy’s Law at the portal, it’ll let you see what’s on the other side of it.”
“What’s a Murphy’s Law?”
“It’s a special drink made at the bar up the street.” When both Matticus and Revis shot him skeptical looks, he argued, “Read it yourselves if you don’t believe me.”
Revis looked where he was pointing, but it seemed like a bunch of gibberish to him. “Is that what it says,” came Matticus’ question.
“Yeah,” Revis answered, even though he didn’t know if it was true or not. “Let’s get to this bar.”
“Wait a minute,” Twindaddy raised his voice. “We may have been able to get away with you guys being in your armor in Drun’s world, but that won’t work here. You’ll need to put on normal clothes.”
“No,” Revis denied. “Our armor does not come off. You’ll just have to think of something else.”
With a string of curses, Twindaddy grabbed some large white cloths out of the portal closet and wrapped them around each of the men. “If anyone asks,” he said after he was done, “just say you’re Amish.”
The trio left the dwelling, and while Matticus felt obliged to warn Twindaddy that his defenses needed serious upgrades, the pace and chaos of the outside world kept him too distracted to say anything during the short trip to the bar.
There were horseless carriage contraptions that were speeding along paved roads faster than looked safe. There were people running next to those roads, but when Matticus and Revis looked, prepared to jump into action and rescue the runners, it didn’t seem like they were being chased by anyone or anything. The dwellings all looked soft, easily taken by a wandering band of miscreants, but there were larger buildings that reached up into the heavens that seemed to be more solidly fortified. Though, they were all made out of glass, which didn’t make sense at all.
The minds of both the Knight and the Jester were reeling when Twindaddy pushed them into a building with a, “here we are.” And they were instantly flooded with relief. The bar looked like a bar, smelled like a bar, and was as familiar to them as any bar would be in their own world. It was a welcome relief after the stress and chaos of the journey there.
“Hey Twindaddy,” Bardictale said from behind the bar where he was busily polishing glasses, “What can I get you?”
“You again,” Revis cried.
“Great,” Bardictale sighed. “It’s the snake again.”
“So, you recognize us this time?”
“Never seen you before in my life. Now order something, and pay me up front for it, or get the hell out.”
“We need a Murphy’s Law,” Twindaddy ordered, “But I need it to go.”
With a raised eyebrow, the bartender asked, “You know I’m not legally allowed to let you take alcohol out of here, right?”
“The quicker you get it to me, and let me leave with it, the quicker you’re rid of the snake.”
“Sold,” Bardictale exclaimed as he took the weird, green paper Twindaddy was holding out.
“You guys use paper as money,” Matticus queried. “That’s ridiculous.”
“It’s easier to carry than gold,” Twindaddy pointed out.
“But it’s so much more fragile. It can rip or burn.”
Before the argument could continue, Bardictale walked back over to them with a cup. “Here’s your Murphy’s Law,” the bartender grumbled. Pointing at Revis, he added, “Now get him out of my sight.”
Revis opened his mouth to offer a retort, but Twindaddy grabbed his brother and dragged him away from the counter before the Knight could let loose the series of insults he had prepared to hurl. Matticus chuckled under his breath as the three of them left the calmness of the bar and returned to the chaos of outside, where he then cursed, and wished he’d thought to grab a drink before they’d left.
Soon enough though they had managed to return to Twindaddy’s domicile. They quickly shuffled into the closet where Twindaddy turned on the strange light again and swung open the portal.
“Now what?” Revis asked.
“Throw the drink through.” Twindaddy replied with a shrug.
“That’s absurd, how is that going to tell us anything?”
“Yeah, sounds like alcohol abuse,” Matticus added, with a forlorn look towards the soon to be doomed drink.
“Are you sure you read the instructions correctly?” Revis asked.
“I showed them to you, didn’t I?”
Not wanting to admit that they couldn’t read the words of this world, Revis and Matticus shrugged. Then the Knight grabbed the Murphy’s Law out of his brother’s hand and threw it through the portal.