The twelfth bell rang throughout the town and Axel suddenly emerged from the arch. He took a look around, but Akteal and Eldak were nowhere to be seen.
“Akteal? Eldak?” he called out, “Where are you?”
“We are right here,” Akteal answered.
“Why can’t I see you?”
“Because in your world we cannot be seen. Who knows what would happen if other people were able to see us. It is only when the clock freezes that you will be able to see us, but that won’t happen for another 24 hours. Until then we must remain invisible.”
“I better get back home before my mum finds me missing.”
“We must wait in the park for you. It is best for us.”
“Ok then, I’ll come get you in the morning.”
With that they walked back to the fountain and Axel departed.
They met again at 10 o’clock by the fountain, but it was difficult for Axel to sense where they were. Eventually he found them and they left to gather information.
“Where do you think is the most likely place it would be?” asked Eldak.
“Probably in a museum,” Axel replied, “But which one?”
“We’ll just have to search them all,” Akteal included.
“Well, there’s three museums in this town,” Axel continued, “They’re in a kind of triangle shape, with one in each corner.”
“That reminds me of something,” Akteal went on, “There was something I read in the Sacred Book of Knowledge. I believe it said:
The triangle shall reveal the way, each corner a crucial part.
That must mean that we will find something in each museum which will lead us to the sword.”
“It would be a good idea then to split up,” Eldak suggested, “I will go to the museum in the bottom right. Akteal, you should investigate the bottom left one, and Axel you shall go to the museum at the top. Let us leave now and meet up at the fountain at noon.” They all agreed on the plan and said their goodbyes before they each went their separate ways.
The Museum of Ancient History was by far the biggest of all three museums, and it was also the most popular tourist attraction. Axel was not looking forward to completing his task. As he made his way there he wondered why it was him that was meant to save the other world. Was their something that he had done wrong previously? He walked past the train station and watched as the bustling businessmen hurried to catch their train, and the mothers and children getting off. He also thought about his friends, Chana and Niko. Would they be alright? Would they miss him when he went? Would they even notice he was gone at all?
After another two minutes Axel had made it to the entrance of the Museum of Ancient History. He had never been in a museum, so this would be a first. The building stood proud, with its stone columns almost stretching up into the clouds. Inside there were many people walking about, some as a class there on a school trip, or by their own free will and just curious about history. He approached the old man at the reception desk to ask for help.
“Can I help you?” the old man said in a weak voice.
“This is my first time in this museum,” Axel replied, “Can you suggest where to start?”
The old man took off his glasses and gave them a wipe on his green-woolen jumper, and put them back on, before answering.
“You should start in the prehistoric section,” he said, “That would be a very good place to start indeed. Do you need anymore help?”
“No thank you,” he replied kindly before walking away.
The prehistoric section was filled with cavemen models, scribbling on the cave walls and cooking a freshly caught meal. There were also remains that had been found in far off countries. Apart from that there was nothing really exciting to look at, so Axel continued into the next section.
He preferred the next section to the prehistoric one, as it was about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He had always wanted to know what it felt like to be a King, so he studied the information and looked at the various models. That was when he found it. As he looked on to a model of King Arthur pulling the sword out of the legendary stone, he noticed some inscriptions on the side of the stone. He leaned in a bit closer so he was able to read what it said:
“Watch the crying face…”
Axel thought for a moment about what it could possibly mean, but then he was interrupted by a class of small school children and was forced to move on.
As he made his way outside he found himself face-to-face with Chana and Niko.
“Well well well,” Niko said, “Looked what the cat dragged in.”
They all laughed for a monet and went for a walk in the museum garden.
“So what were you doing in a museum?” asked Chana.
“I should be asking you the same thing!,” Axel replied.
“We’re here to study for our English essays, how about you?”
“I was studying too.”
“Yeah right, you’ve never studied in your entire life! C’mon, what were you really doing?”
“I was just looking.”
They walked silently for a few minutes until they came to a sturdy wooden bench and they sat down to talk.
“Would you guys miss me if I went away somewhere?” he asked them.
“Why?” asked Niko, “Are you moving?”
“No,” he replied, “I just wanted to know.”
“Well, you are our friend, so of course we’d miss you!”
“Are you sure there’s nothing wrong with you?” enquired Chana, “I mean, first we find you in a musuem, which you have never been in, and secondly, you ask us if we’d miss you if you went away somewhere.”
“I’m fine,” replied Axel “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
He checked his watch, the time was 11:50 am.
“I need to go now,” he told them, “I’m meeting up with my mum at the fountain at noon.”
“Ok,” they said, getting up, “We’ll walk you to the train station. We’re going to the beach!”
All the way to the park he couldn’t stop thinking about whether he should have told them or not. But would they even believe him if he did tell them the truth? He doubted that very much. There was no way they were going to believe that he had travelled to a different world and now he had a griffin and a strange man invisibly helping him. No one would believe a crazy story like that, no matter how true it was. At noon he sat down in his usual seat by the fountain and waited for the other two to arrive.
“Sorry we’re late.”
Axel jumped when he heard the voice, but then he recognised it to be Akteal’s.
“We met up on our way back from the museums and we got to talking,” Eldak mentioned, “What did you find out?”
“Well,” Axel replied, “I was in the King Arthur section and I found some inscriptions on the side of the stone.”
“We too found inscriptions,” Akteal said, “What did yours say?”
Watch the crying face…”
“Well, mine’s said:
When moonlight shines……”
“And mine’s said:
Ancient treasure awaits,” included Eldak.
Axel continued, “Well if we put the three together in the right order we get:
When moonlight shines, watch the crying face. Ancient treasure awaits.
I wonder what it all means?”
“What about this crying face it mentions?” asked Eldak, “Do you know what it speaks of?”
“It doesn’t have to mean crying exactly,” added in Akteal, “It could be a different meaning.”
“That’s it!” Axel exclaimed, “I wasn’t sure about it until you just said that!”
“Then tell us,” Akteal continued, “What does it mean?”
“I won’t tell you just yet,” Axel said, “Meet me here again just before midnight. I’ll tell you then.”
He then started to walk away.
“Just before midnight!” Eldak exclaimed, “But that will be too late!”
“Just trust me!” he shouted back and headed home to get ready for what was to come.
Time passed, and at 11:55 pm Axel joined back up with Akteal and Eldak at the fountain once more.
“It’s almost midnight and we still don’t have the sword,” Eldak said, “What are we going to do?”
“Calm down,” Axel said, “I’ve got it all under control. Now, do you want to know where the sword is?”
“Please tell us,” Akteal said.
“Well,” Axel began, “Once we had put the inscriptions together, I started to try and figure it out in my head, but I just didn’t understand what the crying face could be. But when Akteal mentioned that it could have another meaning, that’s when I figured it out. The moonlight bit was obvious, we just had to wait until the moon came out. Then, the crying face is referring to the face of the clock tower fountain behind us. There must be some kind of button on the face that only appears at night. Then if we press this button the sword will appear.”
Axel spun himself around to face the fountain. He then stood up and looked closely at the clock face. He was right, right in the middle of the face was a small button, and when Axel pressed the button, the fountain began to shake violently.
“Well done Axel!” exclaimed Akteal, “You are quite intelligent, I applaud you!”
The three of them then watched as the body of the clock sank down into the water, leaving behind a sword of power and beauty. Axel picked it up and examined it. It was extremely light, and yet seemed like it was the most dangerous thing in the world. The handle was made of the same infusion of granite and marble, like that of the King and Queen’s palace. He could feel a strange energy flowing through him, the same feeling he felt the first time he had seen Akteal. The next thing they heard was the clock starting to bring in the midnight hour. As soon as the eleventh bell rang they began to walk back through the groves and found themselves back at the arch.
“Let’s go,” Axel said with a smile, and they all went through the arch together, united by the tremendous power of the Balance Sword.
“It doesn’t matter where I am, you’ll never find me.”
“But that’s just it, I won’t stop until I do find you.”
“Then you are foolish.”
“But recently I’ve felt like I’m getting closer to you.”
“You are farther from me than you think……”