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The Guardian
4. Up and down

Nlaminer touched her hand and turned her back. She shook her head, warding off the memories.

"There was something on the roof, don't you remember ? See, there's nothing here now !"

"What ?" Rhissa turned to him in surprise. "I do not remember anything here."

"Come !" He pulled her to the ladder. They moved quickly to the first floor, then outside, and to the beginning of the tunnel.

Something dark and round stood on the roof. In the moonlight it looked like a cracked glass sphere, about ten feet wide, that rested on a small hut-like support. Rhissa eyed the object carefully; she thought she saw small sparks run on the surface of the sphere.

"I saw it several times, when a lightning struck," Nlaminer explained. "And I know we were alone on that roof.

What could you say ?"

"I say let's return to the roof," Rhissa made several notes in her diary and hid it in the belt again. "I have some idea about what's happening here."

They turned back. Nothing. They studied each bit of the surface; not even a sign that it was there.

"Well," Rhissa said. "Now you go to the tunnel and look at the roof again. I will stay here."

Nlaminer nodded... he began to understand her thought. He did as he was told. The sphere was in sight again... but not Rhissa. Rhissa, also, did not see anyone coming to the Ladder. The sky remained clear and cold; a breeze moved around, bringing salt and moisture. She was deep in thoughts when Nlaminer reappeared.

"I see," Rhissa said when he finished his story. "That gives me bad feelings."

"That it is another roof... not of this lighthouse."

"Yes. And this is not the only strange thing. You remember the plan ?"

Nlaminer took the lighthouse plan out of the pocket. "Aha...

there is such a sphere here, on the plan. Do you think it's hidden under an illusion of some sort ?"

"No," Rhissa shook her head. "I think this is another reality where we are right now."

"What ?!"

"Look," she pointed to the stars. "Try to think what the constellations looked like. I tried to find a familiar one. Not even a star known to me ! All is different here."

Nlaminer viewed the sky for a while and then nodded again.

"We should visit all the other parts of the lighthouse,"

Rhissa added after a long pause. "We can find something similar, I hope. But first... let us stay here awhile."

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-- mecenat --

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