Chapter 21:

Ring of Stability

Full Moon! Through the Rings of Love

Just as the portal activated before our eyes, there was an extremely bright burst of light on the other side of the building where we'd left the birds.

"Did those birds just blow something up?" I asked, worrying they might have done something crazy.

"I didn't hear an explosion…" Zumi said.

That was weird. It was like gold lightning, but without the thunder.


That sounded like a loud bird call. What was going on with them?

There was suddenly another bright flash! And another!

When we raced back, all stunned to find that the birds were starting to grow golden feathers. Each one that appeared on them would cause a bright flash of light.

"This is wonderful!" Luna went off to embrace them, circling her arms around one. The other birds got jealous and started encroaching on the cuddling. She accepted them all with open arms.

"Doesn't daddy get any love?" I smiled, trying to get the bird's attention.


Hey! Did one just blow raspberries at me?!

"Brother, I don't think they like you much."

I can't blame them, since I did call them monsters. But I didn't realize they were this intelligent!

"Tisk tisk!" Luna scolded the bird. "You shouldn't treat your father that way."

The bird made a disappointed squawk, then it looked at me with sad eyes.

"If it means anything, I'm sorry for calling you three monsters before."

The bird shook his head, then went back to letting Luna cuddle him…or her. What were these birds, anyways? We should probably come up with names.

"What should we name them?" I asked Luna.

"I know just the names. We'll name them after the three wise men of the Lunar Imperium…" She pat each of them on the head, reciting a name. "This one is Larry, this one is Curly, and this one is Moe!"

I'd heard of those wise men before. Rumor has it they all got along fantastically well and never fought at all. These birds got along well enough, I suppose. I guess the names were fitting.

Zumi said they weren't ready to fly, since their wings weren't fully fledged. But very soon they'd be taking to the skies like the golden birds they were.


We had a hard time getting the birds into the courtyard in the sandstone building, but even when we did manage it, the portal was too small for them to use.

"What do we do?" I asked.

"I could try and expand the portal," Charlie suggested, "but it would take some time."

Today was Wednesday. Luna said we'd only have a week to do all this, which was on Sunday. So we roughly had about four more days until we had to be at the Moon.

Who knows what challenges awaited us on the last 2 rings? We really didn’t have the luxury of waiting around.

The bird, Moe, went up to the portal and gave it a sniff. He turned his head up to the sky and then started cawing at the other two birds.

Then they all started to chirp loudly and make all kinds of noises, presumably communicating with each other.

Larry tried to take a jump into the air, but came crashing back down.

"What are they doing?" I asked.

"I think they're trying to fly," Zumi answered. "Moe seemed interested in the portal. But why?"

He started nudging us all closer to it, like he wanted us to go in. Then he motioned his wings in a way that made it look like he wanted to fly again.

"Luna, your children are trying to say something. What is it?"

"They are ‘our’ children," she corrected. "Perhaps he wants us to go and wait for them to fly there?"

Judging by how full their wings were starting to look, it probably wouldn't be long until they learned to fly. But how would they get to us without going through a portal?

Zumi wasn't sure, but these birds are known for doing some strange things, according to her.

Well, if they wanted us to leave them behind, we could wait for them on the other side of the portal. We settled on leaving them here for now.


Luna and I took a step through the portal, but when we came out, we immediately felt like we were tipping over, about to fall.

Both of us clung to handlebars in front of us.

We couldn’t prevent whatever we were standing on from completely flipping over. But while holding the handlebars, we both started to float.

“Woooah!” We both uttered.

Eventually, we were right-side up again, and that’s when Charlie and Zumi appeared.

This platform we were standing on was kinda shaped like a letter Y. Luna and I were on the tail end, Zumi was on one of the arms, and Charlie was adjacent to her.

Just like us, the other two latched onto the handlebars for dear life. The Y platform wobbled until we all were grabbing on tightly.

"It's stable." Zumi said, quickly getting the picture.

"What is the meaning of this contraption?" Charlie questioned.

If one of us were to let go, the whole thing would tip toward them. It was a big problem, meaning we all needed to feel out how to keep this thing from going topsy turvy.

Luckily, the worst thing that would happen if we tipped is just kinda float back around. The gravity here was really weird, almost like we were swimming.

"What do we do now?" Luna asked.

I could see some rocky landmass a little ways away. We were currently hovering over literal space.

The view of space was gorgeous. We got a great view of both the planet and moon. Lots of stars too. Once we were on stable land, this would be one for the sketch book…

"We all just need to wait here until the birds arrive. Then they can probably fly us over to the next area over there."

How long would that take? The birds were growing quickly, but I sure didn't want to wait much longer for them. I think we needed to learn how this thing worked. Maybe there's a way to get it to move around?

Mario Nakano 64
Taylor J
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