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I stood impatiently behind my grandpa as he looked out across the frozen river. Drifts of snow swelled on the far side of the river, but there was very little at our feet. Phillip and Whizzy were standing on either side of me as the wind blew at our backs, sweeping the snow across the ice. It slithered along the frozen river top like a snake in the sand. The sun was very low and dim in the sky.

I squinted to see what Grandpa Whizzenmog was doing as he reached into his pocket for something. When he found it, he quickly moved onto the ice.

“What is he waiting for?” Whizzy crassly remarked.

I didn’t have any idea. No one did, because none of us responded.

Phillip, Whizzy and I stayed back on shore.

“Do not follow me, kids. I will make sure it is safe first.” He stopped only a few feet away from us when a strong gust of wind swirled around and engulfed him in snow.

“Grandpa!” Whizzy yelled then started to run on the ice.

I grabbed him by the arm, “Wait! Don’t move!”

The snow blew into the air and Grandpa Whizzenmog reappeared. He had huddled and covered his face.

“I’m fine. Please, stay there,” He commanded while wiping snow from his eyes and beard.

The winds had caught us by surprise. Phillip was cuddling Aevion to his chest and I knelt down and huddled around Princess Merran. Snow was flying around like we were in a winter tornado. It was somewhat difficult to see until my grandpa pulled something from his pocket.

A bright green light made the fluffy white snow seem to disappear. It shot rays of dark green light into the river.

“What is that?” Phillip croaked. He seemed very nervous. I didn’t like it when he was nervous…I liked him better when he was confident.

My grandpa raised his arm into the air. He was chanting something, although I couldn’t hear him, I could see his lips moving. The light from the object in his hands grew brighter and brighter just before he slammed it onto the frozen river with a loud grunt. A circle of green light rippled out from the object, shaking the ground like a tremor when it passed us by.

“That was wicked!” Whizzy shouted.

Grandpa stood up and backed away with his wand still in his left hand. He eagerly studied the small green object now sticking out from the ice.

“It’s the emerald!” I shouted above the rushing winds.

“What?” Phillip asked.

Whizzy and Phillip each listened intently, “A green emerald. I saw it in Grandpa’s room last night,” I explained as my hair whipped against the increasing winds. “I asked if it belonged to Grandmother, but he didn’t say.”

Small cracks began to splinter in the ice. They stretched out from the center where the emerald had pierced the ice. The river began to change colors like it was melting rapidly. A large circle formed near where my grandpa now stood.

“Hurry!” Grandpa Whizzenmog shouted as he emphatically waved us toward him.

We dashed onto the icy river and slid to a stop next to the only person who seemed to have any idea what was happening beneath us.

I saw the water bubbling and swirling under our feet. It changed colors directly below us, from a white to clear like the sliding glass door in our basement.

“Hold on!” I heard my grandpa’s voice shout, as he firmly grabbed a hold of my arm.

A sinking feeling came over me. Now I knew how Phillip felt almost every single day in school. My stomach flipped and I suddenly felt sick when I watched the icy river-top disintegrate under my boots.

I screamed as I fell into the river, which now swirled like a whirlpool. The water was all around me, yet I wasn’t wet or cold. We were in a portal. Grandpa had done it…he had opened the portal to Mistasia.

An orange fish flew past my face. I screamed and then covered my mouth for fear of drowning, but I could breath.

I watched as Whizzy flipped around doing somersaults. He smiled so widely that I almost didn’t recognize him. Phillip, however, looked terrified.

Colors began to fade. My brother and Phillip grew smaller until I could no longer see them. Then everything went dark.