The Adventures of Tracy and James! Chapter 9: Shifting Sands


Zach Lewis

Our four heroes believe they have discovered the heart of Prospero the Wizard. Will they be able to harness the information within or will their plans hit a few bumps? Find out below! 

“It’s a diamond?” Ozburtle the Wizard says. He holds the diamond next to the eternal green flame torch in Tracy’s hand. “I wasn’t expecting a diamond.” 

“Is it Prospero’s heart? I mean, was it, or, did we find the right thing?” James asks. A visceral thud is heard throughout the chamber. 

“Maybe. It might have something to do with all that rumbling,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. The ground beneath the four heroes swishes like the back of a purring cat. “It definitely feels likes we have the right one,” Ozburtle tosses the diamond up in the air and catches it again, “or at least an important diamond with all of this fuss.” 

“I thought you said we wouldn’t be cursed?” Tracy asks. 

“This isn’t a curse,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. He side-steps a statue of a golden woman wielding a spear that crashes into the ground. “It’s a booby trap. It’s dumb tech, well, it’s not magic at least. There was a string attached to the diamond that I just ripped off. I totally disregarded a little note that said ‘Ye who pulls this string is in for a reckoning!’” 

“Why would you do that?” James asks. 

“I thought that since we were all good with the curses, you know, I didn’t even think about booby traps. Now quickly,” Ozburtle the Wizard says as he adjusts his vestments and hat, “let’s run.” Ozburtle sprints across the rumbling ground. Tracy, James and ZoopZoop follow his lead. 

“Can’t we just transport out of the orb with the diamond?” James asks. The pathways are now littered with jewels and gold coin. 

“We’re not really inside Orby the Orb, noooo, this is a more like an astral projection into this realm, yes, that’s what it’s like. It’s not a simulation at all,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. “What ever gave you that idea?” 

“You did, you said—“ James says as Ozburtle interrupts him. 

“I said it was basically like a simulation, or something to that effect. Any ideas or assumptions that you made based off that is your own. We can’t take the diamond with us because, technically, we aren’t here,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. 

“It’s like our consciousness is downloaded – well, uploaded – into this realm, our physical bodies haven’t moved though,” Tracy says she slides on the golden detritus like she was wearing socks on a kitchen floor. 

Beep!” ZoopZoop says atop Tracy’s shoulder. 

“That’s right ZoopZoop,” Ozburtle the Wizard replies, “it is like virtual reality except if we lose our consciousness here, we won’t be able to regain it back on Romduppleschwoop 4, at least the Romduppleschwoop 4 we’re actually on. So, for our purposes let’s just pretend we’re here in reality, because we are, but not really.”  

The four heroes take a sharp right turn. “I can harness the energy from the diamond and gather the map if it is indeed Prospero’s heart, but I need a place that’s less earthquakey,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. 

“If we don’t have a map, do you know where we’re heading?” James asks. He hops over the crumbles of a former water fountain. The bow and arrow of a former cherub is still intact. 

“Intuition, my boy, sheer intuition,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. The ground beneath the treasure whips back like a taught wire being released and the four heroes are flung through the Emperor of Khazaduul’s treasure chamber and land in front of a solid steel door in the middle of what appears to be the edge of the room. Stone wall stretches as far as the eye can see with the sole exception of this door. A crude wooden sign with hand-drawn white lettering above the door states Exit. Slightly below are the words This isn’t a trap. 

“Well that definitely makes me feel like it is a trap,” James says. 

Beep! ZoopZoop says. 

“Well we can’t stay here,” Tracy says. She pulls a joint out of her pocket and lights it with the green flame. 

“All three of you are correct,” Ozburtle the Wizard says as he takes a drag from Tracy’s wacky tobacky stick. “But we have no other choice. Into the door.” Ozburtle grabs the handle and pulls. The door doesn’t open. He pulls again. Nothing. “What’s wrong with this door?” he asks. 

“Maybe it pushes open?” James asks. 

“Gadzooks! Brilliant deducing, James,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. The four heroes squish into each other as the flotsam and jetsam of the deteriorating chamber fills up the entire area. Ozburtle pushes the door open. He, Tracy, James and ZoopZoop spill into the next room as the door slams shut behind them.  

Inside, Tracy, James and ZoopZoop stand up and walk forward. Ozburtle stays, sits crossed-legged and spies through the keyhole at the destroyed treasure room. Ozburtle watches it snap back to its former appearance, before they had even step foot in the space. “Maybe it was a magic boobytrap? That goes into the notebook for sure,” Ozburtle pulls out a black reporter’s notebook from the vortex pocket of his cloak. It has a sticker on the front that says top secret. 

“Um, Ozburtle,” Tracy says. She tugs at his cloak. 

“Not now Tracy, I’m making a note in my notebook,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. 

“I think you should see this,” James says. His attention is directed away from the wizard. 

Beep Beep!” ZoopZoop says. 

“Fine,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. He shoves his notebook back into his inside vortex pocket. “What couldn’t wait five seconds for me to write down… Oh my god.”  

Ozburtle investigates the room for the first time. “This is unusual,” he says as he strokes his beard. “This is peculiar indeed.”