It felt like forever. Being in the portal. Brandon was so afraid of feeling those freezing teeth again. When he was traveling between shelves, his fear was overwhelming. He felt a terrible pull on all his limbs. They threatened to pop off and float out into the blackness of the portal. Thinking of blackness, he floating in a pool of it. It was so dark. He couldn’t open his eyes. It was too dark. A pool of nighttime. Maybe he should just go to sleep.
“They must be comfortable,” said a silky, quiet voice.
“Of course,” replied another, sounding very smooth calm.
Brandon was suddenly aware of something on him. It was a blanket of some sort. It felt like it was made out of delicate fur, the softest fur he had ever felt. He jolted upright and a jumble of critters ran towards him.
They looked somewhat like ferrets with blond fur. They were wearing shiny blue bangle bracelets that made a tinkling noise every time they moved. The tips of their ears were dyed the colour of the sky. Or maybe their ears were just usually like that.
They gracefully walked over to Brandon on their hind legs and handed him a damp cloth. It smelled amazing. Brandon couldn’t bother to talk, he just buried his face in it. The scent wafted around him in… Where was he? It took a long time to make himself take the wonderful cloth off his face, but when he did, he was amazed. He was in a large cave that was illuminated by giant blue crystals jutting out of the walls. The beautiful enclosure was carpeted by soft, turquoise moss. He ran his fingers through it and it immediately felt like home. He was again taken over by a feeling so perfect that need not to talk or to question. The soothing ambiance of the cave was all he needed. If this is what Port Malocum’s like, Brandon never wanted to leave.
“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!” The scream was from Hal. It broke Brandon out of his trance and bounced off the walls. Brandon jolted to his feet automatically. “What did you do to him?” Brandon demanded. “Who are you?”
“We are Jemons, we were bred for being servants,” said one of the Jemons. “As for your friend, (“I wouldn’t really say friend,” Brandon mumbled. “More like a colleague.”) he was a bit dirty. Doesn’t want to take a bath.”
“A b-bath?” Brandon’s eyes grew wide. “You can’t give a creature a bath!”
“A creature? That’s what you call them…” The Jemon nodded.
“Yes! OH! Call it off!” Brandon yelled, running down the cave towards a big tub overgrown with vines. “He’ll die!”
Hal was screaming and squirming. His little black stick-feet were kicking and paddling the water. Three Jemons were holding him just above the steaming water, waiting for a command. The Jemon from before ran up from behind Brandon and with one motion of its hand, Hal was placed gently on the moss floor. He was furious. “They were going to kill me! KILL ME!”
“Hal, they didn’t know,” Brandon sighed and turned to the growing crowd of Jemons. “Creatures look like hairballs, but really they’re made out of a very delicate substance. They can’t handle water let alone hot water the way we can. It takes a long time for them to dry and can stay soggy and helpless for a long time. If they’re put in hot water, they’ll start melting. Th- it’s- … you guys okay?”
The cluster of Jemons were sobbing and bawling into their paws. “We’re sorry! We’re so sorry!” Their tears were crystal clear and sparkling. Something about them made Brandon uncomfortable. “G-guys, it’s okay, you didn’t know.”
They sobbed more. “We failed our job, our one job. Again.”
“Wait, what?” Brandon asked. “Who are you? Is this Port Malocum?”
The Jemons starting to talk and then stop, finishing each other's sentences and adding onto each other. “We are Jemons,” one said. Another added, “Bred to serve.” They were all nodding their head furiously. “But we failed.”
“F-failed what?” Brandon asked.
The jumble of Jemons began to speak again. “Failed the master.” “Yes, we were his servants.” “Very faithful.” “But we didn’t know.” “We didn’t know the magic was good.” “Was it good?” “It was good magic.” “Good for the master.”
“M-magic?” Hal asked. “Who is this?”
“The master.” “The great Lord Bomsile of course.” “The great lord of Lourdwarfs.”
Hal and Brandon exchanged worried looks.
“He had magic.” “Magic that he didn’t know how to use.” “We didn’t either.” “We hurt him.” The Jemons burst into tears again. “But we need someone to take care of.”
“S-sorry to hear that,” Brandon stuttered and looked back at Hal. “But what do you mean about the magic?”
“Lourdwarfs have never had magic.” All the Jemons were shaking their heads. “Not until…” “Shush!” “Well, anyways…” “The master wanted magic.” “When he got some, he was gaining power.” “He was acting weird.” “Yes, very weird.” “He wanted more.” “More magic.” “More power.”
Brandon shuffled uncomfortably.
“We didn’t stop him.” “We didn’t know better!” “We just did what he asked.” “We helped him learn more.” “Until it was too much.” “Now he’s not like he used to be.” “No, he was taken by the magic.”
“W-we need to go,” Brandon said quickly. He and Hal started walking down the long cave.
“No!” This voice was no longer the sweet voice of the Jemons. It was deep and scaly tone. The two looked back to see the Jemon’s eyes glimmering with an unnatural anger. “We need someone to take care of!” Yup. That was definitely the Jemons talking.