Sonic the Hedgehog
Quest of the Jewel Pendant
Disclaimer: As always, Nack and Nic are Sega's (or is Nic Archie Comics'?) Nova is Diane Olexa's. Dr. Peggy Fowler belongs to unknown (Peter O'Fallon?) "I Will Remember You" sung by Sarah McLachlan, is copyright?? Everything and everyone else (including the story idea!) are mine, though I borrowed most of the fantasy-type names from various sources, and of course Merlin isn't mine!! ;)
The Legend of the Enchanted Talisman of Geates
Long ago in England there lived two sorcerers. One, a kind man named Geates, had created a talisman from the most exquisite crystal and planned to give it to his betrothed, the love of his life—Lady Melinda. Before he could however, the other sorcerer, a wicked man named Fafnir who had always had an eye for Lady Melinda himself, ran off with her, stealing the talisman and giving it to her himself. Betrayed by both his beloved and his friend, Geates, hurt and enraged, and now believing that everyone in the world was cruel, cast a spell on the talisman. The spell would bring destruction and damage to everyone it came in contact with. When Fafnir found out, he modified the spell so that the talisman would adhere to the current owner's wishes, and bring destruction and damage on the owner's rivals and on anyone else the owner wanted. Eventually Fafnir, Lady Melinda, and Geates all died, but the enchanted talisman remained, turning up every once in a while in the possession of the latest generations of evil sorcerers and sorceresses, but then disappearing back into oblivion again. Now a new reign of terror has begun, and only the most courageous, brave, and selfless individual can bring it to a halt by destroying Geates' talisman for good.
Nack winced as he watched the late night news. Yet another strange phenomena had occurred: This time a tornado had plowed right through downtown Denver, leaving a trail of pandemonium in its wake.
Lately, things like that had become commonplace all over the globe, and no one could figure out what was causing it. The Tower of Pisa seemed to be leaning more than usual. Paris had had an earthquake. Perhaps strangest of all, a waterspout had touched down in Utah, visiting all the lakes and rivers.
Also sighted were odd creatures that certainly seemed to have something against the other inhabitants of Earth. Reports had come through of giant trolls (not the cute kind) especially, attacking people and buildings.
"It's a strange world we live in," Nack muttered, flipping the TV off. He'd had enough of tornados and waterspouts where they weren't supposed to be.
On nights when Nack wasn't involved in a case, he sometimes liked to prowl around whatever city he was near and see if there was anything interesting going on. This was one such night.
The city of San Francisco was unusually quiet tonight, and the infamous fog drifted over the housetops and through the streets.
Suddenly Nack heard a strange sound coming from behind a building. Stun gun held high, he cautiously peered around the corner . . . and gasped. He rubbed at his eyes and looked again . . . and it was gone. "All that Tom Foolery on the news must be gettin' to me," he muttered. He had thought he'd seen a monstrous, sickly-green-skinned creature, but it wasn't there now.
Instead, Nack became aware of another sound, mournful-like. He looked around, finally deciding it was coming from somewhere a couple of blocks over. How the sound could carry that far, Nack had no idea, but it wasn't any stranger than anything else that had gone on.
Nack didn't know what he expected to see when he ventured down into the alleyway, but it certainly wasn't Rocky McCallon sprawled on the ground while Andre DuBois wailed away.
"Now, look here . . ." Nack began. Andre looked up, pink eyes wide with fright. "What happened?"
"Rocky got thrashed!" Andre gasped.
"I can see that," Nack replied impatiently, a cold shiver running down his spine. If something could thrash Rocky McCallon and get away with it, it'd have to have been something very dangerous, Nack knew. Even he had lost to Rocky at times, and he was quite a fighter himself.
Andre shook his head. "It . . . it was *horrible!* It must've been nine, ten feet tall!!"
"WHAT was, Andre??" Nack demanded.
"It . . . it just CAME at him, lunged at him, and Rocky growled and jumped in for the fight like he always does. But this time . . ." Andre heaved a sob. "This time he didn't come out so well!"
"C'mon, Andre, WHAT came at him??" Nack nearly felt like yelling, but he tried to keep his temper in check. Andre loved Rocky like a brother, Nack knew, and was probably worried half to death about the old rascal.
"The *thing!*" Andre burst out. He shook his head. "I don't know what it was, really, but it was awful!! It just clawed at Rocky and threw him at the wall, and beat him . . ." Andre trailed off. "Rocky managed to get a couple of good hits with his mace, but it didn't faze the thing for more than a few seconds. I've never heard Rocky scream so pitifully before," he added softly.
Nack stepped closer. "How is he?" he asked. He could see Rocky's left ear had been mangled even more, he had gashes on his right shoulder and on his chest, and his eyepatch had nearly been pulled off, though it still concealed most of whatever it had been hiding.
Andre wrung his hands. "I think he's still alive . . . I *hope* he's still alive . . .!"
Nack kneeled down next to his bad boy cousin and checked for a pulse. "He's alive, alright," he said.
Rocky's left eye flew open. Focusing on Nack, he growled low. "What are you doing, cousin?" He spat out the last word with contempt.
"Making sure you're still with the living," Nack replied.
Rocky struggled to stand but fell back down. He growled in pain.
"Rocky, you're hurt!" Andre exclaimed.
"I'm just . . . fine," Rocky replied in the low voice he used when he was trying not to blow up. He accidentally bumped his left ear, which was red, sore, and bleeding where the whatever had taken another chomp out of it. He gritted his teeth, trying not to scream out.
Andre reached to help him up and Rocky didn't resist. Bad sign, Nack thought grimly. Rocky was fiercely independent. If he would actually accept help from anyone, it meant he was probably hurt very badly. And, as Nack had thought moments before, if anything could hurt Rocky McCallon that bad, then that meant everyone was in trouble.
"Get me outta here, Andre," Rocky growled, glaring at Nack as though he were responsible in some way.
Undaunted, Nack trailed along after them. "I know I'm the last guy you want to talk to now, Rocky . . ."
"That's always the way it is," Rocky spat out. "I don't want to talk to you any more now than I did the last time we met."
Nack shrugged. "Fine. Just . . . tell me about what attacked you," he requested.
Rocky snarled. Underneath all that anger, Nack figured his cousin was really quite embarrassed about the whole thing.
"If you tell me, I'll go away," Nack persisted.
That made Rocky's lips pull back in a nasty grin. "Alright, cousin. I'll tell you. It was ten feet tall, with sickly green skin, yellow teeth, and reddish hair that looked as though it had never been cut or combed."
"And claws!" Andre broke in. "Long, sharp claws!"
Rocky glared at his mechanic.
Nack nodded. The claws would've had to have been razor sharp to catch Rocky offguard long enough to rake through his fur and flesh . . . twice.
"It was also wearing clothes made out of some kind of animal fur," Rocky continued, growling again. He picked up his mace, wincing at the pain and trying not to gasp. "That's all I can tell you, cousin."
Nack's expression changed suddenly. He hadn't been seeing things. Rocky's description matched that of the critter Nack had seen right before finding his bad boy cousin and Andre.
"Let's go, Andre," Rocky said, using his low tone again. They headed off, Rocky being supported by Andre. Nack noticed Rocky had a slight limp. That cousin of mine is more beat-up than heck, he thought to himself. He shook his head. A few more scars to add to his already vast collection.
Two weeks passed. More strange things happened. Perhaps one of the strangest was that while businessmen all across the nation were being attacked and their businesses strangely gong bankrupt, one Monsieur Jacques Boyer and his business hadn't been touched at all.
"It don't add up at all," Nack muttered. "Could Boyer be the one behind everything?"
But then that didn't make sense either. Boyer would not be capable of unleashing something like a nine-foot critter from a horror flick on the city . . . and certainly not several hundred of them all over the globe.
Nack set the newspaper down and sighed. Things were getting too weird for his tastes.
"And they're about to get even weirder!" an obnoxious little voice in his head proclaimed.
Before Nack could reply to that very strange thing, the Portland Oregon hotel room where he was staying started to rock back and forth. Nack grabbed the couch leg and held on for dear life.
"What the heck??!! The room is buckin' like a wild bronco!" he gasped.
The couch suddenly flew up in the air and nearly crashed down on the hapless weasel, but he was able to scramble away in time and he watched in disbelief as the furniture piece fell back to the floor harmlessly. The room continued to shake for several minutes, sending Nack from one end to the other, but finally stopped.
Nack had slammed against the wall and was laying at the bottom almost upsidedown, dazed, the room spinning in circles. Then his hat fell over his eyes and he flopped over on the floor, where he remained while he collected his wits.
Finally he picked himself up and staggered to the phone, where he called the desk clerk. "What happened?" he demanded.
"I'm sorry, sir, I don't know what you mean," the desk clerk replied, confused. "What happened about *what??!*"
Nack looked at the phone in disbelief. "What happened?" he repeated. "What happened? My room has been doing the hula-hula like crazy, that's what happened!! And I wanna know WHY!"
There was a long pause, then finally the desk clerk said, "Sir, it sounds as though that was some party you attended last night."
Nack bristled. "I don't drink!" he yelled into the phone. "Or do drugs!" he added.
"Oh." The desk clerk paused again. "Perhaps you would like to have a meeting with um, Dr. Fowler then . . ."
"A psychiatrist?" Nack gasped. He had heard of Dr. Peggy Fowler, one of the best psychiatrists in the Portland area. "Not on your life! I'm not crazy!!" He slammed the phone down, not bothering to hear the desk clerk's reply to that.
He righted the couch and plopped down on it, rubbing his temples. It had really happened! It had! But how?? And . . . why??
"I told you things were going to get weirder."
Nack leaped up, looking around wildly. It was that same durn voice, only now it wasn't in his head—it was in the room somewhere!!
He didn't have far to look. Perched up on the end table was a little man about three feet tall with a long white beard and twinkling green eyes. A tall hat decorated with stars and moons was placed on his head. It swayed precariously, looking as though it would fall over his eyes any minute.
"Who are you, what are you, why are you in my room, and how did you get in???" Nack demanded, stomping over to stand in front of him.
"My name is Azhi Dahaka and I'm a gnome," the little man replied, the mischievous grin never leaving his face. "And you should get very scaredy, because things are gonna get very hairy!"
Nack leaned on the end table, bringing himself down to the little man's eye level. "What in the heck are you talkin' about??"
"Old Geates magic is loose again!" Azhi cackled.
"Geates?" Nack repeated. "Stop talkin' in short sentences and give me some real answers!!" He glared at the gnome.
"You are a testy one," Azhi replied but seemed unfazed. He pulled a piece of parchment out of his robe, also studded with stars and moons. "Here."
Nack took the parchment. "The Legend of the Enchanted Talisman of Geates," it said at the top. He read quickly, his expression darkening with each new sentence. When he was done, he let the parchment roll back up as it had originally been. "What is this Tom Foolery?" he demanded, waving it around.
"Ahh, not 'Tom Foolery,' O Testy One," Azhi said knowingly, taking the parchment from Nack and replacing it in the folds of his robe. "Very real!" He paused. "Know magic exists, you do," he proclaimed. "Your Aunt Lucretia dabbles in it . . ."
"Don't ever call her my 'aunt'!" Nack rumbled. "She nearly killed me—on purpose! And she would've finished the job, too, if she'd had the chance." Now he paused. "But it says that thing is a legend. That means it might be true, and then again, it might not be."
"Oh, it is true, most assuredly, O Testy One," Azhi said.
Nack glared but said nothing. Suddenly he exclaimed, "Wait a minute! How did you know my room was gonna shake??! You didn't have somethin' to do with it, did you??"
Azhi shook his head, his long beard waving and his tall hat swaying. It was a comical sight, but Nack was too upset to see the humor. "Saw into the future, I did!"
"Well, then, mebbe you can just tell me who's responsible while you're at it," Nack said, drumming his fingers on the tabletop.
Azhi again moved his head from side to side. "So sorry, O Testy One, I cannot do. That is something you must find out for yourself."
"And just how the heck am I gonna do that?" Nack didn't know whether to be annoyed, concerned, or both.
"There is always the Quest," Azhi replied mysteriously.
"Huh?? Wha . . .?? Quest??" Nack was about to demand of Azhi to reveal more, but the gnome vanished into thin air.
Nack groaned, plopping back on the couch. The Quest? What was it the parchment had said . . . Oh yeah: "Now a new reign of terror has begun, and only the most courageous, brave, and selfless individual can bring it to a halt by destroying Geates' talisman for good." Hmmm . . . That made sense—weird phenomena happening where they normally wouldn't or couldn't, giant troll-like critters running around attacking people . . . it sounded like a reign of terror, alright. . . . But who had unleashed it this time??
And then there was the "most courageous, brave, and selfless individual" part—the Quest. Nack had to laugh at that. At least at the thought of it being in reference to himself.
Nack tried to sleep that night, but it was impossible. He kept tossing and turning, thinking about the rocking room and the mysterious, annoying Azhi Dahaka. Finally, around two in the morning, he got up, muttering to himself. He went downstairs, told the desk clerk he'd be back soon, and went out for a walk in the cool Pacific Northwest air.
He hadn't gone more than half a block when he heard the sounds of fighting, and a familiar voice.
"Now take that!! And that!!"
Nack surveyed the almost-empty parking lot of a bank, where Rocky McCallon was beating what looked like a Red Radish. The latter, finally deciding he had had enough and that he couldn't fight Rocky, whimpered and ran off, hoping Rocky wouldn't follow.
He didn't. "Go on, run, you coward!" he yelled. "Go on and run away! See how long *you* survive in the gang!" He turned around, noticing Nack. "What're you doing, cousin?!" he growled.
"Little tiff?" Nack asked, not answering the question.
"That happened to be one of the wicked creeps that tried to murder Andre a couple of months ago," Rocky hissed.
Nack took a good look at his battered cousin. He hadn't seen Rocky since the incident with what must've been one of the trolls. Rocky still wore bandages on his right shoulder and his chest, and Nack could see red through the white gauze on his cousin's shoulder, indicating that the wounds, and that one especially, had been particularly vicious. Rocky's left ear was tattered even more so than before, with three or four pieces missing now. His gold earring still hung from what remained.
Rocky caught Nack staring and glared. "Confounded beast," he snarled, referring to the troll. He shrugged. "But my wounds will heal in time. Though this one will probably leave a scar." He indicated his shoulder. Suddenly realizing something, he advanced on Nack, who noticed that Rocky was still limping. "And just what are you doing, cousin?" he demanded again. "Spying on me??"
Nack stood his ground. "I was out for a walk," he replied.
"And you just *happened* to be where I happened to be?" Rocky growled.
"You have a problem with that?" Nack folded his arms, looking blase.
Rocky backed off, looking thoughtful. "You've changed since we were kids, cousin. You're bolder, less afraid."
"I was always bold around you, Rocky, only when we were kids, you used to punch my lights out regularly!" Nack said, blinking his blue eyes at Rocky. "You can't do that anymore . . . at least not without a fight!"
Rocky mumbled something Nack couldn't catch and then said louder, "I can see that." His expression darkened again. "But that doesn't mean I'm not gonna be threatening. It doesn't mean I'm not really mad, either."
Nack didn't looked impressed. "I expect that from you, Rocky."
"I'm actually very mad," Rocky said low. "Because I don't know but what you *were* spying on me! And I don't like being spied on!" He waved his mace warningly, as if he were about to attack.
Nack never did find out whether Rocky was going to charge at him or not, because Angel came along just then.
"Rocky, baby," she cooed, wrapping her arms around him.
Instantly Rocky softened. "Hey, Angel," he said, looking over at her.
"You're hurt," she commented, lightly touching what remained of his left ear, which was bleeding again.
"It's nothing . . . just a bite from a Red Radish idiot. . . . I showed him that he couldn't get away with it . . . or with attempting to kill Andre," Rocky returned.
Angel gasped. "He was one of the ones who . . ."
"That's right," Rocky growled.
"What's Nackie doing here?" Angel asked disapprovingly, speaking as though Nack *wasn't* there.
"He was just leaving . . . unless he wants to get thrashed." Rocky's left eye narrowed. "Isn't that right, cousin?"
Nack shrugged. "Have it your way, Rocky. But I'm only leaving because I don't have anything more to ask you . . . right now."
Nack tried to leave—he really did. Unfortunately, Mother Earth (or whatever was causing the freak accidents) had other plans. The entire parking lot started to shake.
Angel grabbed Rocky. "What's happening?" she gasped.
Rocky tried to steady himself, but fell over, sending both himself and Angel to the asphalt. "I don't know, but I sure as heck don't like it!" he snarled.
Nack was having a hard time staying upright himself. "It's like an earthquake, only . . ." He shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs. What he'd seen was still there. "Only the parking lot is the only thing shaking!" he exclaimed.
"What??!" Rocky and Angel yelled in unison. "Are you out of your skull, cousin??" Rocky added.
"You can look for yourself," Nack replied, pointing with his forefinger before collapsing to the ground as well.
The shaking continued for what seemed like ages. Suddenly Rocky looked up cautiously. "It's stopped," he announced. "Are you alright, Angel?"
Angel nodded, looking unnerved.
Rocky turned to look at Nack, and glowered. His cousin was sprawled facedown on the asphalt. "Get up, will you! Just . . . go away and leave us alone!!"
Nack struggled to get up. "Rocky, aren't you just the least bit curious as to why an earthquake would only shake up the parking lot where we are?"
Rocky just growled.
Nack browsed through the large, two-floor Barnes and Noble store, searching for some solid proof that Azhi Dahaka hadn't just made up the Jewel Pendant story as a joke and that it really was a famous legend. One thing was certain—before Azhi Dahaka so suddenly popped into his life, Nack had never heard of such a thing before.
Nack was also looking for a book on strange natural phenomena. He didn't *really* believe that old legend and he was still hoping that perhaps the odd things were just freaks of nature.
Except for the trolls. Nack knew he could never explain those, unless . . . unless . . .
"Hello. Can I help you?" Nack turned to find a friendly-looking female clerk watching him.
"Perhaps so, ma'am," Nack replied. "Do you have any books on myths and legends?"
"Oh yes," the clerk said. "We have several wonderful selections in that category, right over here." She started walking and Nack trailed behind, following her several aisles away. "Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with."
"Thank you, ma'am," Nack said, pulling a thick book off the shelf. "Legends from England," he read.
He set the book on a nearby table and sat down to investigate. He read through page after page of strange and unsettling legends that the book insisted were "true blue, through and through."
Then, towards the end of the book, he found it: "The Legend of the Enchanted Talisman of Geates," he read in surprise. The legend therein was slightly different than the version Azhi Dahaka had given him to read, but still basically the same. This version mentioned something else enchanted called "The Mirror of Fafnir" and also said that Geates had created many other enchanted and dangerous things before his death, all of which were roaming free somewhere on the globe.
"Oh brother," Nack muttered to himself. Supposing all this really *was* true and not just a legend? He had briefly considered the possibility after Azhi Dahaka's visit, but wondered if the mischievous gnome was just teasing. Maybe he'd even imagined the whole thing. Yeah, that was it. He'd knocked himself unconscious when his room had rocked and Azhi hadn't really been there . . .
But *why* had his room shaken? Nack groaned. As much as he hated to admit it, the legend was the most sensible explanation for everything right now.
He shut the book and put it back on the shelf. When he turned back around, he discovered Azhi Dahaka looking at him, grinning mischievously.
"You!" Nack exclaimed.
"Oh yes," Azhi said with glee. "It is me! You have been reading about Geates' talisman, no?"
"And how would you know that?" Nack demanded. "You weren't here a minute ago!"
"I wasn't?" Azhi gave Nack a searching look. "And who's to say but that I wasn't invisible?"
Nack sighed. Gnomes *were* known to have a few magic powers. "Alright, you win."
"More willing to believe it now, are you?" Azhi asked.
"I don't know what to believe," Nack returned.
"You know, there is more to yourself than even you know," Azhi said mysteriously.
Nack fixed the little man with an odd look. "And what's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that you are much more noble and selfless than anyone, even you yourself, can know," Azhi replied. "You are capable of accepting the Quest."
"And what would be in it for me?"
Azhi wagged his forefinger at him. "Ahh, there you go again, my friend."
Nack sighed. "I wouldn't even know where to begin."
"Then you would just let your heart lead you," Azhi said simply, suddenly vanishing. Nack was left alone to puzzle over his latest conversation with the gnome.
Two more weeks passed, and things only got worse. And Nack seemed to be being targeted now as well. If there had been any doubt in his mind before that he was marked for trouble, there wasn't any after he nearly got run down twice, nearly fell off a building frame when the whole thing tipped forward (then returned to normal when Nack climbed down), and had got whacked with a stray sink faucet that came out of nowhere.
It didn't improve his mood any when he found out that Nic had been hired to retrieve the Mirror of Fafnir.
"What?" he gasped to Nova, who had relayed the news. "Now, hold on a minute! You're joking, aren't you?"
Nova shook her head. "No way. Me and Nic are workin' together on the case. In fact . . ." She grinned. "We have procured the object."
Nack's mouth dropped open. "Of all the . . . Where the heck did you find it??" he demanded.
"In a junk shop in jolly old England," Nova responded. "But our employer lives here in the States, so we had to bring it all the way back. We're hiding it in a warehouse down near the docks." She paused. "Would you like to see it?"
"How do you even know I'm interested in it?" Nack shot back.
"I just do. Of course, I don't believe all that garbage about it being enchanted or whatever." Nova shrugged.
Nack's voice was rising. "Who the heck would hire you to get the Mirror of Fafnir?" he burst out. "Most critters don't even know about it!"
"We don't know, and we don't care," Nova said. "We just want to get paid. As long as he/she pays us, we don't have a problem."
"Normally that's how I feel too," Nack replied, "but for cryin' out loud, you don't know what you're doing!!"
"What's up with you lately?" Nova asked. "You act like you believe all this supernatural nonsense! I thought you were more level-headed than that."
They were walking as they talked, and before long, they were in front of an old abandoned warehouse. Nova opened the door.
Nack wasn't exactly sure how to answer Nova's question. Finally he said simply, "I know the supernatural exists. Maybe this nutty old story about the mirror isn't that far-fetched."
Nova rolled her eyes, leading Nack to the back of the warehouse, where a cracked mirror was hanging on the wall. It was rimmed in gold, but didn't seem to have the luster it did when Fafnir (or whoever) first made it.
"See? Just a regular mirror."
"A regular *cracked* mirror," Nack replied. "Now why would your employer want a beat-up old thing like this? And how do you even know it's the real thing?"
Nova shrugged. "He said that it was one of a kind, and that there was a letter 'F' carved in a very out of the way place. And it was right where he said it would be."
"Yeah . . . an 'F' for Fafnir!" Nack exclaimed.
"Oh yeah, we all know this thing is called the Mirror of Fafnir," Nova agreed. "What we don't know is whether Fafnir was a sorcerer or not."
"Why do you want to take a chance? Something could happen to you before you can even get this durn thing to your employer!" Nack said.
"We brought it all the way from England and nothing happened," Nova said, looking bored. She sighed. "Nic probably won't be happy that I let you see the thing."
"You're right!" A new, but familiar voice joined in. "I'm not happy!"
They both turned to see Nic standing there, arms crossed, glaring at the both of them.
"Oh, come on, Nic, he's your brother," Nova sighed, tired of the sibling rivalry she'd witnessed ever since she and Nic had become best friends.
"Why the heck do I want him to know what I'm up to?" Nic crossed the room, placing herself in front of the Mirror of Fafnir.
"Search me. If you don't care that you're liable to get yourself and Nova into all kinds of trouble, it's none of my business." Nack crossed his own arms, staring defiantly at his sister.
"You know we don't get along famously," Nic complained to Nova. "Why did you let *him* see our merchandise?" Before Nova could reply, Nic rushed right on. "We're just two unfortunate critters who happen to be related. We're not really *brother and sister*!" She said the last statement with scorn dripping, glaring at Nack.
Nack glared back, not wanting to show how deeply Nic's remarks had wounded him.
"And what kinda hocus-pocus do you think is in this thing anyway?" Nic turned to look at the mirror incredulously. "I know about the legend surrounding this thing, but it's all nonsense, of course." She leaned way into the mirror, and suddenly with a scream, was pulled inside it by some unknown but powerful force!
"Holy cow!" Nova gasped. She and Nack ran to look at the mirror, which looked perfectly normal now. "What *was* that?!"
"Are you happy now?" Nack yelled. "The durn thing's enchanted, alright! Your employer probably wants it to wreak havoc on the world—as if there's not been enough havoc already!"
Nova tapped on the glass. "I just don't understand. It's perfectly solid!"
No sooner had she said that then the mystic force took hold of her and yanked her through as well. Her hat remained behind.
Nack stood in shock for several minutes, then picked it up, turning it over and over. "Fools!" he declared. He looked around. He was all alone. "Now what?" he said softly. "What do I do now?"
And the answer came. There was really only one thing to do.
Clutching Nova's hat tightly, Nack took a running leap, calling, "Here goes nothing!" and closing his eyes, crashed into the mirror. Instead of broken glass, though, Nack felt himself falling . . . falling . . . Faster and faster . . . Then the ground suddenly rushed up to meet him.
And so the Journey begins.
**End of Part One**