"Good morning, Michael," a soft voice sounded from behind me.
I sleepily opened my eyes as I groped around for my alarm clock, but my hand only touched air. Moaning, I groggily rolled over onto my side, fearing that I would see my mom's face. Not that I didn't want to be with my mom, but I would much rather have exciting adventures with Jenna in Deyri instead of being in my boring old bedroom that I slept in for all these years.
"Mom," I groaned as I laid on my stomach with my head down, "Can I please sleep in for a little while longer? I promise I will help with the chores today."
"What?!" The voice was a lot louder this time, and a burst of laughter followed. "I'm not your mother," it shrieked, loud enough that I almost had to cover my ears. "It's me, Jenna!"
Sure enough, I spotted Jenna as I flipped over onto my back. She was bent over, howling with laughter. As I looked around, I saw with immense relief that I was still in the guest bedroom of the castle.
"So it is reality," I whispered loud enough for Jenna to hear. The corners of my mouth widened into a smile.
"Of course," Jenna smiled, still laughing. "You're such a crazy boy," she said as she playfully slapped me on the cheek.
"All right, all right," I said while I swung my tired legs over the edge of the bed. I saw that Jenna was already dressed in an orange robe, which coordinated especially well with her hair.
"You, Michael, had better get cracking," she playfully commanded to me, with a somewhat angry look on her face. Obviously she was playing along with me when I thought she was my mother!
I washed up and dressed myself as fast as I could, and then the two of us headed down to the dining hall for breakfast.
Our breakfast consisted of nothing more than wheat cereal and almond milk with a chopped pineapple on the side, but it was delicious nonetheless. We told the king and queen about the hilarity that occurred this morning, which they found to be very amusing.
A random thought suddenly crossed my mind as soon as I finished the last piece of pineapple.
"Your Highness," I asked the king out of curiosity, "One of our friends told me that you are alerted to any new guests that enter Deyri. Is that correct?"
"It's a special power we have," the king replied. "Contrary to what many people believe, we are not born with this power."
"Then," I asked hesitantly, "How... How did you get your power?"
The king sighed deeply. "Well, I first have to tell you that you cannot say anything about this to anyone else, except Jenna of course because she's here with you. Do you sincerely promise that the secret will be kept between just the two of you?"
"We sincerely promise," both me and Jenna nodded.
"Very well, then," he began. "The secret lies within the throne. The throne has a special jewel hidden inside it, called the Stone of Sinful Secrets. This jewel will grant whoever possesses it a special power that he or she can choose. For instance, if you were to be the holder of the Stone, what power would you wish for?"
"Hmmm," I thought deeply. "I think I would like to travel into the future, back to where I came from."
"Then the Stone would grant you just that. If you wanted to give your power to another person, he or she must be touching you on any area of your body. Once you gain your power, you will have it for life or until someone else acquires the Stone's power. However, since you said you would like to travel into the future, which is technically impossible-"
"Remember, we traveled into the past to get here," I reminded him.
"Yes, yes," the king nodded apologetically. "Since you said you would like to travel into the future, you can only travel into the future from now on. You cannot go back unless someone has a contraption that can send you back in time again. If someone in this time period acquires the Stone, then your power will suddenly be taken away, no matter what time period you're in at the moment. And about giving the power to other people, that means that if any part of your body is in contact with Jenna's when you first acquire the Stone's power, she will also be able to travel into the future, so then both of you will be able to safely return to your time."
"Sounds good," Jenna smiled. "The secret is perfectly safe with us."
"Oh, and one more thing," the king interjected. "I don't mean to scare you, but the possessor of the Stone can only use his or her power while awake. That means that if we are sleeping, we will not be able to detect the presence of any new guests."
Well, guess what? It scared me all right. "T-that means we have to t-take extreme precautions, right?" I stammered.
"Yes," the king spoke in a low and very serious tone. "I mean, you still need your sleep, of course, but I'm sorry if it won't be quite as sound as it was last night."
Jenna and I exchanged worried looks. "So what do we do?" Jenna asked, with more than a hint of fear in her voice.
"That is why we have guards," the king said. "They have the latest weapons available to us, and they have never, ever let any intruders pass without a fight. Even if they did make it, more guards would be there to slash the hooligans to a bloody pulp."
Suddenly, an even more disturbing thought crossed my mind, but I didn't dare say it in front of the king and queen. Instead, I excused myself and Jenna and we went up to our room.
"The king said the guards have the latest weapons available, but that means they're the latest from their time," I said in a very breathy voice once we got there. "Since we time-traveled here, what would happen if a person with 21st-century weaponry traveled here, too? Think about it, there is one bully in our school who is being recruited for a violent gang, and they use fully automatic machine guns."
Jenna's eyes widened with fear. "Drake Penner," she whispered.
"Yes, I'm afraid so," I replied. "I knew for two years that he has always wanted to go back in time, so our science teacher's time machine would be his holy grail. If his gang arrives, we wouldn't stand a single chance. They'd mow everyone down, and if-"
"If what?" Jenna wondered. She noticed my heavy breathing. "Don't worry, you know it's just me listening," she consoled me.
"If Drake ever touches that throne, then he'd have all the power of the Stone of Sinful Secrets!" I almost shouted. "We'd be doomed!"
"Now, now, Michael," Jenna said, trying to buffer my rising emotions. "Don't worry. Everything will be all right. We'll make it through this."
"DON'T WORRY?!" I screamed, causing Jenna to back away and cover her ears. "DON'T YOU REALIZE WE COULD ALL BE KILLED? What would happen if he unleashes the power of the Stone? The whole civilization could be destroyed, and in the end it would be our science teacher's fault because it was his own invention, and he was my favorite teacher!" This time I was the one about to cry. "And then he could be arrested by the police and I'll be hated, maybe even ostracized, forever because..." My voice trailed off and was replaced by a single tear that rolled down my cheek. "Because... I was his favorite student and I let him down." At that instant, it felt like I had swallowed a boulder. Embarrassed, I hastily swiped an arm across my eyes to wipe away the glistening teardrop.
"Your fellow students would never do such a thing to you," Jenna said, laying a hand on my trembling shoulder. "They all like you and respect you. And how would you know what their reaction is? You'll only know when you find out."
I decided to abruptly change the topic. "Let's just go and meet up with the king and queen again. I just want the day to begin."