Ramya was very fond of her grandparents and usually looked forward to their visit. But when they turned up that weekend, she was anything but excited. For it meant she was grounded that weekend. Navneeta also could not stir out of the house as her parents were very conservative and would not allow her to spend the day with the boys. So it was just the boys who went to visit the gnomes that week.
When they reached the borough, they were greeted by a smell of dampness and decay. A very old and tired looking dog sat in the corner looking at them mournfully out of its shaggy eye brows. For a moment they wondered where this new animal had come from. Then they realized – It was of course their old friend ‘Smelly’. That was the name they had given to the creature from the Land of Odors. The general mood in the borough was that of gloom and doom. Even Happy was no longer smiling nor Doc launching into one of his long drawn lectures.
“So was Sleepy able to find out when the Land of Odors will be back here again?” asked Vinod hesitantly.
The general mood conveyed what the answer would be. “Yes. It will be here again in twenty five years.”
That was too bad. What would they do now? Would Smelly have to stay with them for twenty five years? Vinod could not imagine Smelly living in their world for so many years. He was already so depressed. It would only get worse and he would transmit the mood to the gnomes as well. This was not at all good. They had to do something.
“Isn’t there any other way to reach that land?” asked Vinod.
“Well, there are a few ways I can think of. But then there are challenges,” said Doc mournfully.
“Anyways let us explore the options. What are the other ways?”
“Well, there is the Wishing Chair.”
“Yes – it is a magical chair. If you sit on it and wish to be somewhere, it can take you there in a trice.”
“Where can we find this wishing chair?”
“We have no idea. It was last rumored to be in the possession of some children in Britain. But that was ages back. They chair would have left them the moment they grew up and stopped believing in magic.”
“Stopped believing in magic?” The boys looked puzzled.
“Yes. In the earlier times, all the people of the earth were aware of us magical folks and the working of magical artifacts. So they abandoned all enterprise and began to depend entirely on magical artifacts.”
“The Elder race had nearly perished out of over dependence on magic and the dark race had turned evil due to their greed for use of more and more magic. So the remaining members of the Elder race decided to save you people from being corrupted by my magic. So they cast a subtle spell to hide the magic. But still there was a loophole. Children continued to be able to perceive the magic. It took some years before the spell worked on them.”
“But won’t the children who have perceived the magic in their childhood retain memories of the same?”
“That is a very good question! You are right. The Elder race thought of this as well. To remedy that they tinkered with your educational system and ensured that it is designed in such a way to make you forget your experiences.”
“But what about those who have not gone to school?” Once Vinod got his teeth into an issue, he would not leave any angle unexplored.
“Well – basically the educated people set the norms for the society. They call the memories of the others superstitions and scoff at them. So the illiterate people also try and forget these memories to avoid being called clods and oafs.”
“So what do we do about Smelly?” Ajay was finding all these theoretical discussions boring. He was the one who lived by the moment.
“You are right, Ajay. We should think of something. So what are the other options?”
“A flying broom!”
“We do not have one of that at our disposal or any means of procuring one I believe.”
“We can buy one from the Land of Spells.”
“Would that land be coming soon?”
“We did not check. But it is definitely not the land that is currently here.”
“What is the Land that is there now?” asked Ajay, his curiosity aroused.
“It is the Land of Knowledge.”
“Does not sound like a very useful land for our purpose, eh?”
“It isn’t. However you might find it a very fascinating place, Vinod. You can get most of your questions answered there.”
“Yeah, that sounds interesting. But I guess we need to focus on the problem at hand. Is there any other way of reaching the Land of Odors?”
“Well – we have heard that this is not the only portal between our lands. This one is known as the portal of the earth. We have four more portals.”
“Where are those portals?”
“We have no idea about them. Ever since we came into your world, we have lived in these caves. We do not know any other place on your world?”
“You do not belong to our world?”
“No-we are from the land of gems. We came to your world to explore and got marooned here. It is more than seven decades and our land is yet to make its reappearance. We have long given up hopes of ever returning and have more or less established our lives here. Maybe Smelly can do the same thing.”
The smell of dampness intensified and a strong feeling of sadness swept through the minds of Vinod and Ajay. Bashful and Dopey broke out into tears. Grumpy spoke up, “No. That won’t do. His world is too different from ours. He would not be able to manage. Also we were seven of us. There aren’t any others of his kind in this world. To remain in this world would be a cruel fate for him.”
Then Vinod spoke up, “You said we can find any information we seek in the Land of Knowledge?”
“Maybe we can find out from there where the other portals are.”
The Magical Cave I: A Cave in the Hills <<<< The Magical Cave IX: An Intriguing Problem << >>The Magical Cave XI: The Land of Knowledge
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