Stargazer was in quite a jam. The rim of the opening to the outside of the fourth pillar was beginning to crumble in on us. After seating Sir Alistair I looked over the edge to see where Alexa was. She was backing up from the edge of the cliff in an effort not to fall off. I reached for the rope that I had used to hall Sir Alistair up with and got ready to toss it to her.
I never got a chance to toss it.
The moment I lifted the vine up the rope that had been tying Stargazer down to the entrance of the fourth pillar snapped-and Stargazer shot up in the air. I looked down at Alexa in horror, Stargazer, Alexa's ship, was leaving her behind.
I gripped the vine and tied it onto the ship. Then, without even testing the knot I dove headfirst over the edge of Stargazer. I fell about thirty feet straight down before the vine caught my weight and I started to shoot back up.
I wasn't going to reach the edge. Alexa would have to jump for me.
I can't even describe the feeling that rose in my chest as I reached this realization. Pure panic, horror, and oddly a sense of failure over took me. I reached out my arm to Alexa in hope that she would jump for it.
She did. She ran for the edge and made a while leap through the air. I sent a prayer up to Elyon to let me catch her.
When she slammed into me I nearly lost my grip on the vine. However I righted myself and tightened my grip on both the vine and her. All of the sudden what I had just done hit me. I had just jumped out of Stargazer into a crumbling pillar in a vain attempt to rescue a girl who couldn't stand me.
And I knew I would do it again in a heart beat.
I turned my head to look at her, and she was looking at me in a way that made my breath stop. It was if I were the only thing in the world at that moment.
"Thank you." She quietly murmured, never breaking her gaze.
"Your really going to owe me after this one." I said and I could feel a smile working its way up my face. At that instant Yipes and Matilda began to pull the vine and us back up to the ship. Alexa broke our gaze and looked up at the ship.
"How's she doing? That was quite a hit she took."
I looked up at the ship and felt an irrational flare of pride. "You and this contraption were made for each other-both tough as stone...but I don't know, gentle at the same time." I turned my gaze back from the ship to her. She was smiling at me.
"Are you being... what is it...nice to me?" I didn't answer her as we rose higher towards the ship. I couldn't help but feel a since of melancholy as we reached the ship. I was trying to imagine my life without the five pillars, or Alexa in it. I had only known her for a very short while but I couldn't imagine her not being in my life. Heck, when I'd first met her I'd wanted nothing more than for her to disappear-but now I was terrified by the thought of her leaving.
Once we reached the ship I climbed back to my seat at the pedals. Things happened so fast after that, that most of what happened next is a blur. All I really remember is seeing the fifth stone pillar fall onto Abaddon and feeling an uncontrollable burst of elation as I watched it fall. Suddenly I was aware of a hand on my shoulder. I looked up from my position-it was Alexa.
"We did it she whispered next to my head." I suddenly felt ecstatic and terrified at the same time. "Why don't you take us down on the first pillar? I think the wheat field would be the perfect place to land." She then let her hand rest on my shoulder while I pedaled us back to the first pillar.
We were greeted by an elated crowd-they couldn't believe the Stargazer was real. Then they saw Sir Alistair. The reunion with our friends was truly great.
And then Alexa told them she could take them back to the land of Elyon.
I have to admit, when I had first heard her intentions I had felt a deep hate towards her. But now my feelings on the subject had changed. Alexa glanced over at me as she spoke about returning to Elyon. I could tell that she wanted to know if I would remain the Stargazer pedaler and steerer. I returned her gaze with one that I hoped made my intentions clear. I would stay on board. I had found the place I belonged in life on the Stargazer. She gave me a small smile and turned back towards the crowd.
The journey to the tenth city took us seventeen days. Alexa and I would spend hours on end talking about everything and nothing-usually when everyone else was asleep. Whenever I was pedaling and nothing needed tending to she would come to the front of the boat and sit next to me. I really came to cherish these quite moments when I could have Alexa all to myself. I've honestly never had more fun in my life. I really can't explain why. It was just that everything simply seemed right. It was like I was meant to be on this ship-with Alexa as its captain.
After we dropped Phylo of in Castalia we headed off to the Tenth city. The only directions that Alexa would give me were to just keep pedaling until I couldn't pedal any more. And I did. I pedaled with everything in me. Until we floated over a patch of mist. When we made to land we almost had to give it no effort-it was as if some one had taken over the ship and was landing it with out our help. Then we got out of the ship and the mist lifted. There are no words to describe the Tenth city. It's the kind of place that you live to reach. A few figures walked up from the city and accompanied Sir Alistair to the gates of the beautiful city. Alexa, I, and Yipes were waving a fond farewell to him when Alexa suddenly gasped.
"What is it Alexa?" I questioned she didn't reply but just kept staring ahead.
"You heard the voice again didn't you?" Yipes questioned. "Why does he speak to you and never me? I think he should speak to me just once." The request wasn't even fully out of Yipes mouth before a deafening roar filled the air. It was so full of power that I instantly fell to my knees as I covered my ears.
"So that what it sounds like." Yipes stated in a shaky voice once the roar stopped. "I think I've heard enough to last me a life time."
Suddenly out of the mist a little squirrel came bounding up to Alexa. She got an overjoyed look on her face and grabbed him right up
"Murphy!" She cried out. And then she continued to talk to the squirrel. This, I have to admit, caught me off guard. I had been shocked when I heard the talking cats of Sir. Alistair, but it had never occurred to me that there could be more talking animals. As she continued her conversation I quietly climbed back on board the ship. I know it was petty but I couldn't help but feel sad that there was so much about her that I didn't know. So many people out there that new her better. Even a squirrel knew more about her than I did!
Once every one climbed on board and we had started off into the air the squirrel named Murphy came up and started to sniff all over me. He then turned around and squeaked at Alexa.
"What did he say? Does he like me?" It was maddening not being able to understand him.
She gave me a broad smile "Oh he likes you all right. And he thinks you smell like a rose garden." I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment. I hadn't even thought about my appearance. What did she think about me? Did I look like alright? I probably smelled like a troll! I felt Alexa's hand on my shoulder again and she leaned down to my ear.
"Let's head for Lathbury. I think we've earned a short rest."