Where There's a Will

It looked like it was going to be another boring day at the Screen Gems studio. Mike was throwing chocolate chip cookies into the air, and he watched his pet baby dragon, Sparky, catch them. Jerry was sorting through the records he was going to play on his radio show that afternoon. Drake and Peter were playing Ping Pong. Micky was helping Reggie tune up his motorcycle. Quacky was (as usual) sitting on the couch reading a book. Davy was on the phone with a girlfriend of his, Ellie Reynolds. The two of them were going out that night. They were actually going to triple with Jerry and Linda, and Mike and Phyllis. And last but not least, Bob was in the office going over some figures from the last movie the group had made.

"Why doesn't Bob give us somethin' to do?" Mike asked, as he threw a cookie like a miniature frisbee.

"You know Bob," Reggie said, tightening a bolt. "He's got to check and double check the figures on all our movies and then crunch some numbers, and after that, he has to see if there's anything left to start a new movie."

"He should get someone to do that for him," Mike replied. "Or at least do it with him. It drives me nuts when he does this sort of thing."

"Hey Mike, is your uncle due back to California soon?" Quacky asked, putting down his book. "I can't wait to read his new book."

"Well, Uncle Will's been travellin' to who knows where this time," Mike said with a shrug. "I'm not exactly sure when he's supposed to be back."

Suddenly, a door flew open and banged against the wall so hard, everyone stopped what they were doing, and practically jumped a mile. Snow was blowing violently in the doorway, which was odd for this time of year. There was a figure standing there, wearing a large beige coat, that had about fifteen layers of padding in it. He wore a fur-trimmed hood that covered his whole head, and large black, leather gloves, and black boots attached to snow shoes.

"Yipe!" Peter shouted, diving underneath the Ping Pong table.

The others began to dive for cover as well. They didn't know who in the world this person was, or what in the world it was for that matter. For all they knew, it could have been the Abominable Snowman. Mike was the only one who didn't seem to flinch. He looked up at the figure, smiled, and tossed a cookie to Sparky.

"Hi, Uncle Will," he said.

"Darn you, Michael," Mike's favorite uncle, Will Westerman, said, as he pulled his hood down. "How is it I can never trick you?"

"Simple," Mike said. "You blew in a snow storm and it's the middle of July. I know you too well!"

Will said nothing, and peeled off his heavy coat. The others crawled out of their hiding places and groaned.

"Why does he have to make such elaborate entrances, Mike?" Jerry asked.

"He's eccentric," Mike said with a shrug. "But that's what I like about the guy."

Jerry groaned, shook his head, and went back to his records. Mike stood up and walked over to his uncle.

"So where were you this time?" he asked.

"A myriad of places Michael, my boy," Will said, dragging a large bag behind him. "But the one place where inspiration hit was the small, unearthly kingdom of Crystallious."

"Unearthly?" Micky asked.

"It was somewhere in the Realm," Will explained. "I picked up a little something that the queen herself gave me."

Will opened his jacket and pulled out what looked like a large diamond. It was a pretty impressive one at that. Everyone gathered around and stared at it.

"Whoa," Mike said. "What is that, Uncle Will?"

"This is the crystal of Gonomorrha," Will explained. "It is very sought after by many a witch and warlock. It's one of the most powerful pieces of magic in the entire world."

"What does it do?" Peter asked, reaching over to touch it. Will smacked his hand before he could get close.

"Sorry about that, Peter," Will said. "But this shouldn't fall into the wrong hands. If it falls into the hands of evil, then who knows what will happen."

"Looks like a piece of junk to me," Mike said, looking at the crystal. "What, does it hold every magic known to man in there?"

"It's hard to explain, Michael," Will said. "It has been around for generations, and many a witch and warlock has had it in their possession. There is a fascinating story behind it."

Mike shrugged, and he and the others began to dig through Will's bag, looking for goodies. This was one thing they could always count on when Will came to visit. He always brought presents.

After a long and boring day at the studio, Will returned home with Mike and told about the crystal of Gonomorrha. It was created a long time ago from witches and warlocks of a province known as Gonomorrha (well, duh!) The crystal held many magic properties, and always flourished in the hands of good. There had been times where it had fallen into the hands of evil, but not for long.

"What kind of things does it do?" Phyllis asked.

"It holds hundreds of years of magic," Will said.

"Who'd want that thing, anyway?" Mike asked. "Looks like an overpriced piece of junk, to me."

"That's the trouble with you, Michael," Will said. "You don't appreciate your heritage."

"Oh, I appreciate my heritage all right," Mike said. "It's just that I think I'm more mortal than witch, anyway."

"I suppose you're right," Will said with a sigh.

"In any case, Phyllis and I are outta here," Mike said, standing up. "We're triple datin' with Davy and Jerry tonight."

"We'll see you guys later," Phyllis said, and she and Mike left.

"I don't know what I'm going to do with that boy," Will muttered.

A little while later, Mike, Davy, Jerry, Phyllis, Linda, and Ellie were walking along the beach. Mike was telling them about the crystal.

"Personally, I think it's a lot of bull," Mike said. "I mean, if it's so sought after, why would some queen give it to somebody like Uncle Will?"

"You know your uncle's been around for a long time, Mike," Davy said with a shrug. "Maybe there's more too 'im than you know."

"As much as I hate to say it, Davy's right," Jerry said. "After all, your uncle is like seven hundred years old or so. Maybe he's done more than just write books all his life."

"No, I'm pretty sure he's only just an author," Mike replied.

"All this talk about your uncle and witches and warlocks is going over my head, Mike," Ellie replied. "I'm a little lost."

"Let's just drop the subject," Mike said.

"Good idea," Davy replied, and he put his arm around Ellie's shoulder. A minute later, the two of them started kissing.

"Well, we won't be seeing them for the rest of the night," Jerry said. "But I like the idea they have."

Linda giggled, and she and Jerry leaned in to kiss as well. Mike groaned, shook his head, and continued walking further down the beach with Phyllis.

"There ya have it," he said. "Those two are always gettin' mushy every time I see them with girls."

"Well, that's Davy and Jerry for you," Phyllis said. "Besides, what's wrong with getting mushy?"

"It's not that there's anything wrong with it. It's just that there is more to datin' than standin' around and makin' out."

"You have no romance, Mike."

"Oh yeah? Well come here, baby, and I'll show you romance!"

Mike grabbed Phyllis by the hand, and pulled her close to him. But just as he did, he stopped for a moment, and put his hand to his right temple.

"Mike, is your sixth sense acting up again?" Phyllis asked, with a small groan.

"No," Mike said, shaking his head out. "No, not at all. It's probably nothin'. Anyway, you said I had no romance, and I'm about to prove you wrong."

Mike picked up where he left off, ignoring the tingling feeling he was getting in his sixth sense. He and Phyllis leaned closer to each other, until what looked like a laser beam fired right at them. Both jumped aside, and looked up at the sky, to see where the beam had come from. They saw a giant circular ship hovering in the sky.

"What is it?" Phyllis asked.

"Looks like a UFO," Mike said. "But . . . . but it can't be a UFO. There's no such thing."

"Look out!" Phyllis yelled, as another beam came shooting at them. She and Mike dove to the ground seconds before the beam hit the spot where they had been. Davy, Jerry, Linda, and Ellie ran over to see what was going on.

"What in the world is that?!" Davy shouted.

"I have no idea," Jerry said. "But I don't like the looks of it!"

"Duck!" Linda shouted.

Everybody ducked, as the ship came zooming downward. It turned around, and extended a claw from a door on the bottom of the ship. It swooped down again.

"Scatter!" Mike yelled.

Everyone ran in different directions, and the claw ended up scooping up sand. Mike pointed his index finger at the ship, and shot his magic out at it. It was a direct hit on the claw, and Mike's magic caused it to snap off.

"Yesss!" Mike shouted triumphantly.

"What's that thing doing here, anyway?" Jerry asked. "Are we being invaded or something?"

"I don't know, but it's coming back again!" Ellie shouted.

Everyone ducked once more. Nobody knew why in the world that thing was just diving at them.

"If it's 'ere to invade Earth, I 'ave to say that it's not doing a very good job!" Davy exclaimed.

Mike looked up at the ship, and concentrated hard on it. He was trying to see exactly what was inside of it. He got a good view of what was in it, and began backing up. He moved his hand to his right temple, and began massaging it.

"I think these guys might be from the Other Realm," Mike said. "My sixth sense is sendin' me bad vibes about this!"

"So what do we do?" Phyllis asked.

"The five of you lay low," Mike said. "I'll handle this!"

Mike swung both arms out, and aimed his fingers at the ship. A powerful blast of magic hit the ship, and knocked it off course, but only for a moment or two. Suddenly, the cockpit opened, and a man with long, light brown hair and beard stepped out. He was holding a stick with a green gem on it. He held it up, and lightning flashed from the sky.

"I don't like the looks of this," Davy said.

Mike wasn't even phased. He took a deep breath, and was ready to give the ship another blast of magic, but the man pointed the gem at Mike, and a blast of magic flew out at the Texan Monkee, wrapping tightly around him, securing his arms to his body, so he was unable to use his magic.

"Hey guys!" he called. "I think now's the time I could use a little . . . ."

Before Mike could finish his sentence, the piece of magic clapped itself over his mouth. The man with the stick laughed sinisterly, and the ship began to float upwards, taking Mike with it. The others ran out and headed for the ship.

"Hang on, Mike!" Jerry shouted. He jumped up, trying to reach Mike, but the ship already was flying out of range.

"What do we do?" Ellie asked.

Before anything else could happen, a laser canon appeared out of the ship, and began blasting at Davy, Jerry, and the girls. All five of them screamed, and ran for cover.

"Why is it so hard to hit a moving target?" the man firing the laser asked. "We can't have them hanging around here!"

"Everybody run!" Jerry shouted.

The quintet fled as fast as they could. They had to make it to the parking lot before they got blasted. It wasn't easy, but they made it. Jerry started his car, and practically tore down the street. The ship was in hot pursuit, firing the laser all the way.

"They're right on top of us!" Phyllis shouted.

"Do something, Jerry!" Linda yelled.

"I've already got the pedal to the metal!" Jerry shouted.

"Well, you'd bettah do something before they fry us!" Davy yelled.

Jerry took a deep breath. He was about to try something incredibly risky, and dangerous, but it didn't look like he had any alternative. He carefully unbuckled his seat-belt.

"On the count of three, we all jump out of the car as fast as we can," he said.

"Ah you crazy?!" Davy shouted. "It's too dangerous!"

"Either jump out of the car, or take your chances with the UFO! Take your pick!"

Davy looked back at the ship, and then clicked his tongue against his teeth.

"Tell me, do we jump on three, or is it one, two, three, and then jump?"

"Glad you see it my way," Jerry said. "Everybody, ready! One, two, three, go!"

The quintet dove out of the car, and rolled into the street. The car then plowed straight through a guardrail and rolled down a hill, which completely totaled the car.

"Where'd they go?" the man firing the laser asked.

"Oh, never mind them," the man with the stick said. "We've got the one we want, anyway. Let's go."

And with that, the ship disappeared into the sky. The others stood up, and looked at it.

"I 'ope you're covahed by Geico, Jer," Davy said.

"Well, at least we ditched that spaceship thing," Ellie replied.

"Now what was that all about?" Davy asked.

"I don't know," Phyllis said. "But I do know there's only one thing to do now. We've got to tell Will about this."

It was agreed that Davy, Phyllis, and Jerry would tell Will about what happened. Linda and Ellie were going to stay out of this completely.

Will was sitting in the guest bedroom of the Nesmith house, typing his latest book on a typewriter. He always used a typewriter when he was working on his books. And, usually, when he was working, he would always hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. He absolutely hated to be disturbed when he was working, and Phyllis knew it.

"Uh oh," she said when the group reached the door. "The Do Not Disturb sign's on the door. Will's working, and he hates to be disturbed when he's working."

"But this is an emergency," Jerry said.

"I know, I know," Phyllis said. "But I don't know what his reaction would be if we disturb him. He has said never to disturb him when he's working."

"'Ow about we just knock on the door, and see what 'appens?" Davy suggested.

Phyllis gave in. Jerry took a deep breath and knocked on the door, slightly nervous.

"Uhh, Will?" he asked. "Are you in there?"

"Yes," Will said, from the inside of the room. "But you'll have to come back later. I'm working on my book."

"We know, but we've got a problem," Davy said.

"Well, whatever it is, it's going to have to wait," Will said. "I'm extraordinarily busy in here."

"But, Will, it's an emergency!" Phyllis shouted.

"An emergency," they heard Will groan. The others could still hear the clacking of the typewriter. "You know I won't open this door even if there is an emergency. It depends on the nature of the emergency. Now, if the house was burning down, then you'd get me to open the door, but other than that, nothing. Is the house burning down, Phyllis?"

"No," Phyllis said.

"Then, there is no reason for me to open this door," Will continued. "Now if you all don't mind, I should like to finish this book before the end of the millennium."

"But, Will, seriously, it's really important!" Jerry shouted. "And we won't leave until you come out of there, because this is an emergency here!"

"Oh for heavens . . . . ." Will groaned. He stopped typing for a moment, but then picked it up all over again.

"All right, already," he said. "What's so important?"

Jerry, Davy, and Phyllis looked at each other just then. They weren't sure how they were going to put this. For one thing, it wasn't very believable. And for another thing, they weren't exactly sure if Will would buy it.

"I'm waiting," Will said, still typing. "What's the emergency?"

"Well, uhh, Will, it's kind of like this," Jerry said. "You . . . you know how Mike and Reggie and I . . . . you know sometimes we'll go do things, and then, uhh, I end up getting into some kind of trouble, and you know, Mike has to bail me out of it?"

"Yes?" Will asked, getting pretty impatient.

"Well, this time . . . . we sort of switched places," Jerry said.

Will stopped typing upon hearing that. He stood up, and opened the door, looking directly at Jerry, Davy, and Phyllis.

"Switched places?" he asked. "What exactly do you mean by that, Jerry?"

"You want to tell him, Phyllis?" Jerry asked.

"Not especially," Phyllis said. "Why don't you tell him, Davy?"

"I don't know," Davy said. "Why don't you tell 'im, Jerry?"

"Uhh," Jerry said. "I, uhh, I honestly don't think it's believable, really, and lately, we have been seeing some unbelievable situations, and . . . ."

"Will the lot of you stop beating around the bush and just tell me what the emergency is?!" Will shouted, losing his temper completely over this. "Because I have a great deal of work to do!"

"Okay," Davy said. "I think the best way to do this is for the three of us to just come right out and say it."

Jerry and Phyllis agreed. The three of them took a deep breath and looked directly at Will, still a little nervous about the outcome.

"See, we were all out on that date of ours," Davy said. "Me, Ellie Reynolds, Linda, Jerry, Phyllis, and Mike."

"And we all started making out under the stars," Jerry said.

"Mike and I started, but before we could get anywhere, this spaceship thing came out of the sky and started blasting at us," Phyllis said.

"Spaceship thing?" Will asked.

"Yeah, and it had this long claw," Jerry said. "And it reached out, but ended up with a claw full of sand, right? So we all thought that, you know, some aliens were invading the earth, you know?"

"And Mike stahted blasting it," Davy said. "And 'e blasted the claw right off the ship."

"And after he blasted the claw, the ship started coming back," Phyllis said. "And then Mike said that the people in the ship might be from the Other Realm."

"And then this guy came out of the ship," Jerry said. "And he had this magic wand thing . . . . kinda like that walking stick of yours, but there was this really weird green gem on it."

"So 'e aims the gem at Mike," Davy continued. "And this light came out of it, and it surrounded Mike."

"And the ship started to take off, and it was taking Mike with it," Phyllis said.

"Then it stahted to come aftah us," Davy said. "It gave up aftah awhile, though. And that's when we decided to come to you."

"Go back to the part about the man with the walking stick," Will said. "What did he look like?"

"Well, he had really long hair," Jerry said.

"Yeah, and a beard, too," Davy said. "And 'is 'air and beard were light brown. And the stick. It was black, and like we said, there was this green gem on it."

Will nodded. His expression then turned serious. He didn't look happy at all, but Davy, Jerry, and Phyllis weren't sure if it was because they had interrupted his work or not. All they knew was that Will looked a bit intimidating.

"I thought I had put a stop to them," Will said. "I thought I had banished them to the far ends of the earth, and even beyond. I know what they're after."

"Who? What?" Jerry asked.

"Never mind that!" Will shouted. He ducked back into his room, and began rummaging through his bags. He pulled out his crystal, and attached it to his own walking stick.

"All right," he said. "The three of you come with me. Time is of the essence! Phyllis, which way to the portal to the Other Realm?"

"Through the basement," Phyllis said. "But I don't know off hand where it is. Mike doesn't let anyone go down there. You know he uses the basement as his laboratory."

"Don't you worry, I'll find it," Will said. "Come along! We don't have time to fool around!"

Davy, Jerry, and Phyllis glanced at each other, and then raced down the stairs, following Will to the basement. They wondered what in the world was going on.

By this time, the "spaceship" was returning to it's base, which was on some sort of planet of some kind. The two men piloting it took Mike to a large palace, and led him into the throne room.

"My lord, we have returned," one of them said.

"Excellent," a man sitting in the throne said. He was obvious their leader. "Young Michael Nesmith, I presume."

"How'd you know?" Mike asked.

"I make it my point to know. Permit me to introduce myself. I am Lord Astor. The most powerful warlock in this entire solar system!"

"Whoop dee doo."

Mike folded his arms across his chest, and glared at Lord Astor. He wasn't afraid of him. In fact, he could probably have taken him out.

"You're not at all intimidated by me?" Lord Astor asked.

"No way," Mike said. "It takes a lot to get a panic outta me, fella. You make it a point to know things, right?"

"Of course I do."

"Then you should already know that I've defeated Mr. Zero, Maldour, Spiero, and a whole lot of other witches and warlocks around, especially the ones who claimed they were all powerful. Why should you be any different? I may be only half witch, but I can lick you, buddy."

"You are definitely Westerman's nephew. You have spunk."

Mike smiled, sneakily. He knew he had spunk. That was something he prided himself on when it came to using his magic against evil.

"And I hate spunk!" Lord Astor shouted. "You're no match for me, Nesmith. I have more power in my little finger than you and your whole family has in your entire body!"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Mike said. "That's exactly what Maldour said. Or maybe it was Spiero. I can't remember which."

Lord Astor picked up his walking stick. It had a ruby on the top of it. He aimed it at Mike. The Texan Monkee was unfazed. He just looked at it, and then at Lord Astor.

"You gotta be puttin' me on," Mike said.

Lord Astor smiled, and a beam of magic came flying out of the gem. It hit Mike directly. Mike screamed, and fell to his knees. He had been zapped by magic before, but never before was the magic this painful. Lord Astor retracted the beam, and Mike fell to his hands and knees, gasping for breath. He looked up at Lord Astor, wide-eyed.

"What . . . . how . . . . huh?!" he shouted.

"You've underestimated me, Nesmith," Lord Astor said. "You should never underestimate me. Men, take him to the dungeon."

The two guards took Mike by the arms and started to drag him down to the dungeon. Mike was still confused about something. What was he doing here? Mike had found himself in weird situations before, but this one he couldn't exactly figure out. Some of the other guards were curious about this as well.

"Begging your pardon, my lord," one said. "But why did you order the capture of Nesmith, if it is Wilhelm Westerman you want here?"

"Westerman has in his possession of something I want," Lord Astor said. "Therefore, we have something he wants."

"But why Nesmith?"

"I've done my research. Nesmith is Westerman's favorite. He's sure to give us what I want in exchange for Nesmith's life."

The guard nodded. Lord Astor laughed. He was sure that this was a fool proof plan.

In the meantime, Will, Davy, Jerry, and Phyllis had just walked through the portal to the Other Realm, from the Nesmiths' basement. They were now in some kind of shop, but it appeared deserted, and that no one had cleaned it for years.

"This place gives me the creeps," Davy said.

"It is rather intimidating," Will agreed. "But don't let apperances fool you. We're here to see someone."

"I've got news for you, Will," Jerry said, picking a cobweb off a lighting fixture. "There's nobody here."

"Then we'll wait," Will said. "And whatever the three of you do, don't touch anything."

"What did you say, Will?" Davy asked, as he opened a small box. Bats flew out of it, and began screeching. He, Phyllis, and Jerry screamed, and ducked until they all flew out the window.

"I told you not to touch anything," Will said. "Now listen to me this time."

"Sorry," Davy said.

The quartet continued walking around the shop for awhile. Jerry came across a statue of a midget hunchback. He had white hair and a pasty complexion.

"Hey, Davy, come here and check this out," he said, waving the British Monkee over.

"What in the world is that?" Davy asked.

"Looks like an albino midget," Jerry said. "Amazing what sculptors can do with wax these days, isn't it?"

"Yeah, I 'ere ya, mate," Davy said. "The detail in this is really great."

Both Davy and Jerry ran their fingers along the "wax statue" until it moved suddenly, and smacked both their hands.

"Wotchit there, blokes!" he shouted. He had a very thick Cockney accent. "Blimey can't a body cop any sleep 'round 'ere?"

Davy and Jerry were so startled, they jumped back and screamed. Will and Phyllis looked over to see what the commotion was all about. Then Will saw the albino midget and groaned.

"Wyatt," he said. "Must you always do that? Now look what you did, you scared these two boys half to death!"

"Aw, Will, I was just 'avin' a bit of a sport, I was!" Wyatt shouted. "But I must say, Will, it's right good to see you. I 'aven't seen you in, what? One fousand, one fousand fifty years?"

"Yes, it's been awhile," Will nodded. "Tell me, Wyatt, where's . . . ."

"You and your friends dropped in just in time for tea!" Wyatt shouted. He ran out of the room for a moment, and came back in in nearly a second, pushing a tea cart.

"Wyatt," Will said. "I seriously need to . . . ."

"Tea time before business, Will," Wyatt said. "Your British. So am I. We 'ave to have us tea time, you know!"

"I'm British meself, and I can do without tea time," Davy said. "Listen Mr . . . . . Wyatt is it? We've got a serious problem 'ere and . . . ."

"One lump or two?" Wyatt asked, holding up a sugar bowl. Phyllis groaned.

"Will, we're not getting anywhere with him," she said.

"No one for tea?" Wyatt asked. "No one at all?"

"Enough of that, Wyatt," Will said. "Where is Rafaela? I desperately need to speak with her."

"Oh, you picked a bad time, you did," Wyatt said. "Rafaela don't see no one wiffout an appointment. Not even you, Will."

"It's urgent, Wyatt."

"You don't get in wiffout an appointment, Will. I know Rafaela is a good friend of yours, but she don't even let 'er own mum see 'er wiffout an appointment! Now, if you would like to make an appointment, I could pencil you in for one in . . . . . twenty-two years."

"Twenty-two years?!" Jerry shouted. "We can't wait twenty-two years!"

"We don't have time," Will said. "Just tell Rafaela that I need to see her right away! It's an emergency!"

"Well . . . . oh . . . . . oh, all right, Will, but she'll just tell you to come back later. Like in twenty-two years."

Wyatt hobbled up a flight of stairs, and opened a door. Then he shut it quickly.

"Who's Rafaela?" Phyllis asked.

"The best medium in the Other Realm," Will said. "She'll get to the bottom of what you saw."

"Medium?" Jerry asked. "You mean like a psychic?"

"Exactly," Will said. "I have a very good clue to who is behind this UFO as you call it, but I'm visiting Rafaela to make sure. I can not afford to go on a wild goose chase."

After what seemed like an eternity, Wyatt reappeared in front of the group.

"Rafaela is not seeing anyone wiffout an appointment," he said. "Sorry, Will, but I don't make 'er rules. She makes them, and I just carry them out, you know."

"But it's an emergency!" Phyllis protested.

"Sorry, luv, there's nuffin' I can do," Wyatt said. "Rafaela don't see no one wiffout an appointment. No exceptions."

"Of all the . . . ." Will grumbled. "Appointment, or not, I'm going in there! I haven't the time to fool around!"

And with that, Will stormed up the flight of stairs. Jerry, Davy, and Phyllis followed him. Wyatt chased after them.

"Wait! Wait!" he shouted. "Don't go in there! Rafaela won't like it! You can't just bahge in there and . . . ."

"Watch us," Jerry said, glaring at the albino hunchback.

Will threw opened the door so hard, it hit the wall with a BANG! A gypsy woman jumped up from her seat and stared at the quartet at the door. She did not look at all happy to see them.

"Vhat ees zee meanink of zis?!" she demanded.

"It's me, Rafaela," Will said. "Will Westerman."

"Vilhelm Vesterman?" Rafaela asked, like she couldn't believe it. "Vyatt said somesink about you beink out zere. But you do not have an appointment, so I can not see you now."

"Forget the appointments, Rafaela!" Will shouted. "I am in a terrible hurry, and you're the only one I trust to help me. My nephew, Michael, is in trouble."

"Michael . . . . Michael, Michael," Rafaela repeated. "Oh, zee Nesmith boy, yes. Yes, I am familiar vith hees feats. He takes after you, Vilhelm, you realize zat?"

"Yes, I realize it. Now are you going to help me or not?"

"Ah, wery vell, wery vell. I vill help. All come gazer around zee crystal ball."

Will sat down at the table, followed by Davy, Jerry, and Phyllis. Rafaela waved her hands over the crystal ball.

"Come, spirits," she said. "Show us Michael. Show us vhere he ees. Show us zee trouble he ees in."

The crystal glowed for a moment or so. Then a picture began to fade in. A large, stone castle appeared, underneath a dark sky. The land was not a prosperous one, and the people around the palace were working hard, like slaves.

"What is that?" Davy asked.

"I don't like it," Will said, narrowing his eyes. "I don't like it one bit. Lord Astor, you devil. I should have known. You've crossed the line, this time!"

"Who's Lord Astor?" Jerry asked.

"An old enemy of mine," Will explained. "He'd stop at nothing to get his hands on the Crystal of Gonomorrha. He once tried stealing it."

"You mean he tried to steal it from the queen of Crystallious?" Phyllis asked.

"No, no," Will said. "He tried to steal it from me. I am the rightful owner of the Crystal of Gonomorrha. It was I who created it."

"You?!" Davy, Jerry, and Phyllis shouted in unison.

"Indeed," Will continued. "You see, when I was around Michael's age, a long, long, long time ago, there were many demons controlled by evil sorcerers around Gonomorrha. I was the head of a council of witches and warlocks, in charge of ridding the demons. That's when we decided to create the crystal. I was in charge of testing it, and so I did. The sorcerers' demons never again attacked Gonomorrha. I was named keeper of the crystal, and I have had it in my possession for years. Lord Astor was part of the nobility in Gonomorrha, but he was cold, cruel, and power hungry. He not only wanted to use the crystal's power to rule Gonomorrha, but the world as well. He has tried nearly every attempt to steal it, but I bested him in a wizard's duel, and banished him from the earth. After I had banished him, I sent the crystal to Crystallious, and Queen Amethyst agreed to keep it for me until I returned. As I grew older, I decided to leave Gonomorrha, and pursue a career as an author, writing adventure books. I had been doing that since the late nineteen forties. I had not heard from Lord Astor since I had banished him."

"Well, it looks like he's back," Jerry said. "And with a grudge."

"But if 'e wants the crystal from you," Davy said. "Why did 'e go through the trouble of kidnapping Mike?"

"It's a simple plot, David," Will said. "I know Lord Astor's mind. I'm willing to bet that he will use Michael to try and get me to give him the crystal. Lord Astor is clever. He knows Michael is my favorite."

"So what are we going to do?" Phyllis asked.

"I'm going to find Lord Astor," Will said. "He won't get away with this!"

Will stood up, and started to leave. Davy, Phyllis, and Jerry followed.

"Wait for us, Will!" Davy called.

"We're coming too!" Jerry shouted.

"No, no, absolutely not!" Will shouted, as he continued walking. "This job is too dangerous for mortals. You three are to stay here!"

"Come on, Will," Phyllis said. "Let us come with you! We want to help!"

"I know you do, but I can not allow three mortals on this journey," Will said. "It's too risky! Besides, Phyllis, Michael would never forgive me if I allowed you to accompany me."

"You know, Will, it has yet to be proven that I'm all mortal," Jerry said. "So what if I come along and . . . ."

"I know your habit of landing in trouble, Jerry," Will said. "Out of the question! Michael wouldn't be too thrilled with me if I let you tag along, as well."

Davy, Phyllis, and Jerry then continued to yell and protest about going on this journey. They obviously wouldn't let up until Will gave in, but they didn't know Will all that well. He turned around, and banged his walking stick on the ground. Thunder crashed and lightning flashed as he did so.

"YOU THREE ARE STAYING HERE!" he bellowed. "AND THAT's FINAL!"

With each word Will yelled, thunder crashed and lightning flashed. Fire was practically shooting out of his eyes. Davy, Jerry, and Phyllis stepped back, and began cowering. They had never seen Will lose it like that.

"Now then," Will said, calming down. "The three of you will return to the mortal realm, and stay there until I return with Michael."

Davy, Phyllis, and Jerry nodded, and walked through the portal back to the mortal world. Will sighed, and gripped his walking stick.

"Well," he said. "Here goes nothing."

Will took a deep breath, and held up his walking stick. The crystal started to glow brightly. The light grew bigger and bigger, until it was all Will could see. When the light subsided, Will found himself in a dark, empty land. There were few people there, and they were working in the fields. Nobody said a word as they worked.

"This is the right place," he said. "Now to find Astor's palace."

Will could see a large castle in the distance. All he had to was follow the path he was on until he reached it. He had a long way to go.

In the meantime, Lord Astor had his guards take Mike out of the dungeon. He wanted to see what the Texan Monkee could do with his powers.

"It should be entertaining seeing what you can do with such limited magic," he said.

"I know I underestimated you," Mike said. "But don't you underestimate me, fella. I'm capable of more than you think I am."

"We'll just see about that."

The guards led Mike to what looked like a pit, and pushed him in. Mike landed flat on his stomach, but got up almost immediately. He brushed his clothes off, put his hands on his hips, and glared up at Lord Astor.

"Okay," he said. "What are you gonna have me do? Face a two headed dragon, or somethin' along those lines?"

Lord Astor said nothing, and pushed a button. Mike looked over his shoulder, and saw a giant bengal tiger coming out of a door that had opened. It was the size of a normal tiger. There was nothing magical about it. Mike could sense that with his sixth sense. He would be able to talk to it without any problems, but he knew he wouldn't be able to just strike up a conversation with it right away. This was a very ferocious, very hungry tiger. And Mike looked like lunch.

"Let's see you tame the tiger," Lord Astor said. "It shall be fun seeing you try."

"He don't know me very well, do he?" Mike said, to nobody in particular.

The tiger growled, and stared at Mike intently. Mike stared at the tiger himself, and crouched down a little. He wasn't going to let this tiger intimidate him.

"No little ol' pussy cat is gonna make a monkey outta me," he said. "You got that, fella? Yeah, you're just a little ol' kitty cat, aintcha?"

The tiger growled, and in one lightning quick moved, pounced. Mike ducked out of the way just in time. The tiger growled again, and swiped. He hit his target this time, getting Mike right in the shoulder. Mike took a deep breath, and composed himself.

"Easy, kitty," he said. "No need to maul me."

The tiger wasn't going to listen. Mike began circling. The tiger followed. Mike stared right in the animal's eye. This was something he usually did when his pet tiger cub, India, was in a playful mood. India had a tendency to play a little too rough, and Mike often tried to stare her down. Unfortunately, this was a full grown tiger, so the tricks Mike used with India were not going to work on him. The tiger jumped, fell right into Mike, and tackled him to the ground. He dug his claws into Mike's shoulders. Mike could hear Lord Astor laughing, and he knew Lord Astor wanted to hear him scream, but he held it in. He was not going to give this guy the satisfaction of seeing him in pain.

Mike really hated to do this to an endangered species, but he had to blast the tiger to get it off him. He snapped his fingers, and the tiger practically flew off him. Then he stood up, and glared at the tiger.

"You wanna play hard ball fella?" he asked. "You haven't seen all I can do!"

Mike reeled his hand back, and then threw it forward, like he was throwing a baseball. A blast of magic surrounded the tiger. He roared, and got up on his hind legs for a moment or so. It got down calmly, and Mike waved the magic off. Then he stood straight, and looked the tiger straight in the eye.

"Come!" he commanded. The tiger walked over to Mike and just stood there.

"Down," Mike said. The tiger started to lie down. Mike smiled and knelt down next to it.

"Yeah, you're� just a big ol' kitty cat," he said, rubbing the tiger's head. "Just a big ol' pussy cat."

Mike began to scratch behind the tiger's ears, which caused him to start purring. Lord Astor was surprised.

"Well, Nesmith, I'm impressed," he said. "How did you manage that?"

"A little magic goes a long way," Mike said, still petting the tiger. "That, and I also have a pet tiger at home, so it helps when you know the psyche of the species. And I happen to speak animal."

"Oh lord, a Dr. Doolittle," Lord Astor groaned. "No wonder you were able to tame that."

Mike smiled sneakily. He loved driving his adversaries crazy. Although it wasn't much fun for the adversary. Especially not to Lord Astor.

"You seemed to do well with the tiger,"� he said. "But how well are you with taming snakes?"

"It depends on the snake," Mike said. He stood up, pointed his index finger downward, and jet propelled himself out of the pit.

"Good," Lord Astor said, sneakily. "Then you'll enjoy this."

Mike started to get that twinging feeling in his right temple. Something told him he wasn't going to like this one bit.

Lord Astor led Mike to another pit, full of cobras. Mike made a face, and started to back away.

"I don't do poisonous snakes," he said.

"You do now," Lord Astor said. He laughed, and held up his stick. The ruby glowed, and a blast of magic shot out of it, and hit Mike directly. The Texan Monkee screamed, and fell into the pit flat on his back.

Mike was only dazed for a moment or so, but he gained his senses quickly when he heard the distinct sound of hissing in his ear. He jumped to his feet, and spun around so fast, he actually knocked a snake to the other side of the pit. Slowly, he began to back towards the side of the pit. The snakes were closing in fast. Quickly, Mike held up his arms, straight out in front of him, and sent out a beam of magic. An invisible wall surrounded him. The cobras tried to penetrate it, but the forcefield was stronger than it looked. But the snakes were persistent. Nothing was going to stop them. That's what worried Mike. He had to keep holding his position until the snakes gave up, which wasn't going to be easy, especially since he felt like his arms were going to fall off any minute now.

By that time, Will had reached the end of the path, and was now standing at the front door of Lord Astor's castle.

"No moat," he said to himself. "Lord Astor, you are a real buffoon. Once an idiot, always an idiot."

Will took his walking stick, and wrapped it against the door. A small window opened, and one of Lord Astor's guards leaned out.

"Who goes there and what do you want?" he asked.

"Open the door, Harris," Will said. "You and I both know why I'm here."

"Ah, Sir Westerman," Harris said. "Come in, come in! Lord Astor's been expecting you!"

Harris opened the door, and Will walked through it. Harris led him down a hallway, and told him to wait in the front hall.

"Wait here," he said. "I'll go inform Lord Astor that you've arrived."

Harris ran to the throne room. Will glared after him. He was sensing something wasn't right here. He was determined not to let his guard down.

"Pardon me, sir," Harris said to Lord Astor. "But Westerman has just arrived."

"Excellent," Lord Astor said. "Show him in, show him in!"

Harris nodded, and went out to the hall. He returned a moment or so later with Will right behind him. Lord Astor looked at him and smiled.

"If it isn't the great Wilhelm Westerman," he said. "How pleasant to see you again, old friend. It has been a rather long time."

"Indeed," Will said. "And you can save the hypocrisy. You're no friend of mine, you know. And I am quite sure you'd rather talk business than exchange pleasantries."

"Always on your toes, Will. I've always admired that about you. Now then, I assume you have the Crystal of Gonomorrha?"

"I do."

Will held out his stick, so Lord Astor could see the Crystal of Gonomorrha on it. Lord Astor looked at it and smiled.

"And I know that you are too smart to just hand it over," he said.

"You know me as well as I know you, Astor," Will said. "Precisely why you took the liberty of bringing my nephew up here, am I correct?"

"You are. Now if you will follow me, I will be only so happy to bring you to your spunky little nephew."

Lord Astor led the way to the snake pit. Will looked down, and saw Mike leaning against the wall, with his arms outstretched, and the cobras still banging against his forcefield trying to get in.

"Michael?" he asked.

"Hi, Uncle Will," Mike said, not looking up. "What's happenin'?"

"Why don't you look at me?"

"I would, but I have to keep my concentration on this forcefield I've got goin' here. These suckers are relentless!"

"Prepare to take down the forcefield. I'm going to get you out of there."

"Got it."

Will took a couple of steps back. He used the sleeve of his jacket to shine up the crystal on his walking stick, and then twirled it around. Then, the sounds of a snake charmer's pipe began to fill the air. The cobras were mesmerized. Almost immediately, they stopped trying to get at Mike, and started lining up against a wall of the pit. Once they were all away from Mike, the Texan Monkee lowered his force field, and watched the snakes intently. They were forming a staircase, that led directly out of the pit.

"Good ol' Uncle Will," Mike said, as he walked up the stairway of snakes. Once he was out of the pit, the cobras slithered down the wall, back to the bottom of the pit where they belonged. Will stopped the music with a wave of his hand.

"You gotta teach me that trick," Mike said.

"All in good time, Michael," Will said. "Good grief, what in the world happened to you?"

Mike looked down, and noticed his shirt was torn, and his shoulders were bleeding slightly. He clicked his tongue against his teeth and looked at his uncle.

"Oh that," he said. "Well, ahhh, Astor had me tame a tiger, and before I tamed it, he sorta . . . . . tamed me as it were."

"I see," Will said, rubbing a piece of Mike's shirt in between his thumb and forefinger. "Does it hurt?"

"Nah, they're just scratches. Nothin' serious. I'm all right, there's nothin' to worry about. Those cobras didn't get at me because of that forcefield I put up, but I'm glad you showed up when you did, Uncle Will. I couldn't hold that position much longer."

Will nodded, a sense of relief washing over him. He was glad Mike was all right, and resourceful enough to know what to do in the situation he was in.

"I do so love reunions," Lord Astor said. "However, this one is going to be short lived."

Lord Astor snapped his fingers, and two guards grabbed Mike by the arms. Mike tried to break loose, but these guards were too strong for him. They led him over to the cobra pit again.

"Let's see what you're willing to give up, Westerman," Lord Astor said. "The Crystal of Gonomorrha or your nephew."

"I can make another forcefield," Mike said. "And Uncle Will can get them to make that staircase, you know!"

"But can you make a forcefield with no magic?" Lord Astor asked. "Guards, the restraint."

Mike gulped, as a third guard appeared, holding a shackle in his hand. Mike knew that if that were fastened to one of his wrists, his magic would be cut off completely, and Will wouldn't have the time to make a snake staircase before Mike was bitten by one or more of those cobras.

"Fine," Will said. "You win, Astor, but I will only surrender the crystal if you first let Michael go."

"Crystal first," Lord Astor said. "Nesmith afterwards."

"You know what happened the last time you made me angry, Astor. I banished you to this planet. If you know what's good for you, you will let Michael go and then I will give you the crystal."

"Very well. Guards, release Nesmith to Westerman."

The guards let go of Mike, and Will motioned for him to come to him, and fast. Mike immediately raced over to his uncle.

"And now, Westerman," Lord Astor said. "Your end of the bargain."

"Of course, of course," Will said, with a nod.

"What are you doin'?" Mike whispered.

"Trust me, Michael," Will said. "If you liked my snake staircase trick, then you'll love this one. Astor, what is that frightful creature behind you?!"

"What? Where?" Lord Astor asked.

Will smiled sneakily, held up his walking stick, and whacked Lord Astor over the head with it, knocking him out cold.

"That's not really a good trick, Uncle Will," Mike said. "Even I coulda done that!"

"Yes, I know," Will said. "Now let's get out of here before he regains his senses!"

Mike agreed that was a good idea, and he and Will raced out of the palace as fast as they could. They were out of the palace, and about ready to zap themselves back to California, when Lord Astor and the guards came running out of the palace.

"Zap us home, Uncle Will!" Mike shouted.

"There's no time for that," Will said. "We must out fly them."

"Out fly? How? I don't have a broomstick on me. Or a vacuum for that matter."

"We'll take one of their ships. Hurry!"

Mike and Will raced for a small space ship in the distance. Both climbed in, and took off, just as Lord Astor and the guards reached the spot where they were standing.

"You haven't won yet, Westerman!" he shouted, shaking his fist at the ship. "Guards! To the Mother Ship! We'll shoot them down!"

Lord Astor and the guards raced to their own ships. Lord Astor was not going to let Will get away. He was going to get the Crystal of Gonomorrha if it was the last thing he did.

Will knew that Lord Astor's ships would find them any moment. And he was right. A few moments after he and Mike had taken off, Lord Astor and his men began firing their lasers at them.

"What is this, Star Wars?" Mike asked. "I thought these were witches, Uncle Will."

"They are," Will said. "But Lord Astor and his men have developed some great technology over the six hundred ninety-nine years they've been on that planet."

"Six hundred ninety . . . . . you're kiddin', Uncle Will!"

"Indeed I'm not. You know I'm seven hundred thirty-four years old."

"Why do they want that stupid crystal so badly? Why didn't they bother to steal it from . . . from . . . . from whoever the heck it was who gave it to you?"

"The queen of Crystallious didn't just give it to me, Michael. It's a long story about it, and I'll have to tell you later. Right now, we have some fancy flying to do."

Mike looked out the window and saw that Lord Astor and his men practically on their tail. Will was doing all he could to maneuver the ship.

"Uhh, Uncle Will?" he asked. "Maybe you'd better let me drive. I can outrun these goons."

"I hope you know how to pilot a space vehicle, Michael," Will said.

"Well, no, but I can ditch anybody on my tail. I have avoided many a speedin' ticket that way."

Will wanted to ask, but he kept his mouth shut. Mike took over driving the ship. He also began zig zagging as fast as he could, jerking the steering mechanism from side to side. Lord Astor and his men didn't know what to think. Neither did Will. All he did know was that Mike's driving was making him a little airsick.

"Michael, please, stop jerking the wheel," he said. "I'm starting to get airsick."

"No can do, Uncle Will," Mike said. "This'll throw them off the track."

"Can you at least slow down?"

"You want them to get that crystal of yours?"

"No, of course not!"

"Then sit back, buckle up, and hang on."

Mike shifted gears in the space craft, and blasted off into the stars. Lord Astor was far from pleased.

"Shoot them down!" he ordered.

"Yes sir!" the guard piloting the ship shouted, and he pressed a button that fired a laser out. It missed Mike and Will by a hair.

"Time to pick up the zig zag," Mike said. "See, this is precisely why I can't stop the zig zaggin', Uncle Will. They'll shoot us down. It's harder to hit a movin' target."

"I suppose," Will replied. "But it's still making me sick."

Unfortunately, Mike's methods weren't going to work. A laser beam blasted the entire back end of the craft, and it started going down.

"Now what?" Will asked.

"There's only one thing to do," Mike said. "Put your head between your legs, and kiss your butt goodbye!"

Will didn't like the sound of that, but he held on, as Mike tried to pull the ship out of the nosedive that it was in. Mike even tried to use his psyches to try to keep the ship in the air, but it was too heavy for him to do so. Luckily, he saw that the ship was heading for a body of water. Maybe he could land on that.

"Hold on, Uncle Will!" he shouted. "We're gonna splash down!"

Will took a deep breath. This was something his magic and Mike's magic wouldn't handle. There wasn't enough time. The ship hit the water, in turn, causing a small tidal wave. Will and Mike opened their eyes and looked around.

"Are we dead?" Mike asked.

"No, I believe we're still alive," Will said, unfastening his seat-belt. "Come on. Let's get out of here before we sink."

Mike opened the doors of the ship, and he and Will practically dove into the water. They started to swim to shore, when Will suddenly looked up.

"How long can you hold your breath?" he asked.

"Why?" Mike asked.

Will didn't answer. He just ducked down underneath the water. Mike never questioned the reasoning of his uncle, so he did the same. Will came up a little bit, just to take a look at the sky. It was filled with Lord Astor's fleet. Ships were circling the area. Mike popped up a little too, just to get some air, but immediately, Will grabbed his hand, and swam towards a bunch of tall reeds in the water. The two of them hid behind them.

"What's goin' on?" Mike asked, highly confused.

"Lord Astor and his men will probably be looking for us for quite awhile," Will said. "And until it's safe, you and I will stay right here."

Mike nodded. He normally didn't like being told to stay put, but he knew his uncle knew what he was doing. After all, he had been around for over seven hundred years. He should know what he was doing by now!

After a few moments of circling, the ships finally began to leave. Mike and Will swam out of the reeds, and looked up at the sky, watching them go.

"You were right," Mike said. "How'd you know they were going to do that?"

"I had a similar experience with Lord Astor and his men awhile back," Will said. "Believe me, Michael, this is exactly his style. Although my experience was never this . . . . . wet."

Mike laughed over that, but stopped abruptly when he was suddenly pulled down underneath the water. He came back up not even a second later, and looked around.

"What was that?" he asked.

"I'm not entirely too sure," Will said. "This is actually the first time I've ever been in this solar system."

Before anything could happen, Mike was yanked back down underneath the water again, rather abruptly. Will dove down almost immediately to see what was going on. Almost immediately, he saw Mike in the clutches a strange, green creature. He had webbed feet, and hands, a long nose, and tail, and a large, webbed fin down his back. It was swimming at a fast pace. Mike was struggling to get out of the creatures grip, but couldn't.

Mike had a special shell he wore around his neck whenever he went swimming and diving. It enabled him to breathe underwater. But he didn't have it with him this time, and was struggling to hold his breath. The creature did have one of his hands over his nose and mouth, but Mike still felt like he was losing all control of his breathing altogether.

"Oh no you don't," Will said, swimming after the creature.

Will caught up with the creature, and grabbed it's tail. The creature jerked to a halt, and immediately let go of Mike, who was nearly out of breath. The Texan Monkee slowly began to sink to the bottom of the lake. Will aimed his crystal at him, and caught him in the magic beam. Then he let go of the creature's tail, and it swam off as fast as it could, without even looking back. Will then pulled his walking stick upward, and brought Mike up to him. He then swung his arm around Mike's chest, and pulled him up out of the water, and swam over to the shore. Mike practically gasped for breath. He coughed, gagged, and spat water out of his mouth. He practically collapsed on the shore line, and then started gasping for breath.

"Wh . . . .what in the world . . . . was that thing?" he asked, in between breaths.

"A Water Nymph," Will explained.

"I thought nymphs were supposed to be represented as beautiful creatures."

"They are, but some nymphs can be very ugly. Water Nymphs like those eat humans. Just like mortals to get everything wrong about mythical creatures."

Mike made a face and groaned at the thought of that he was almost somebody's lunch. He groaned, and pulled himself out of the water. Will climbed out as well, and wrung out the black cape he always wore. Then he pulled Mike too his feet, and placed his arm over his shoulders.

"Come on, Michael," he said. "Let's get out of here."

Mike nodded, and just let Will help him through the nearby forest. He was wiped out. Will looked around the forest for a safe place for him and Mike to hide out. The crystal couldn't get them off the planet and back home. It needed a recharge. Will walked around the forest and glanced around until he spied a cave in the distance.

"Ahh, there we go," he said. "They won't be able to find us in there."

"You mean they can still come back and find us?" Mike asked.

"Indeed. Lord Astor may be the biggest buffoon in the entire known universe, but he's not the type to give up easily."

"And you can't just zap us off this planet because . . . ."

"The crystal needs a rest. It works a little like you and your magic. And my own brand of magic isn't strong enough to get us home."

Mike nodded. He walked into the cave and glanced around. He took a deep breath, and sat down on the floor.

"Not bad," he said. "Not exactly the Ritz, either, but not bad. I just hope whatever was livin' here moved out."

"I'm not exactly sure about this planet," Will admitted. "I haven't done much outer space travel, especially in other galaxies."

Mike just nodded, pulled off his wool hat, and wrung it out. He was about to put it back on his head, when Will grabbed it out of his hand.

"Don't you dare," he said. "Look at you, Michael. You're soaked. I'm not one to do a fast blow dry job like you. I'm more of a traditionalist, using my magic when only necessary. You should start thinking of doing that, yourself."

"Yeah, but it's faster," Mike argued. "Watch this."

Mike snapped his finger, but nothing happened. He tried again, but didn't even get one little spark out.

"Okay," he said. "I guess the ol' battery's run out. Now what?"

"Now you sit back, and leave everything to me," Will replied, rubbing his hands together.

Mike nodded and started unbuttoning his shirt. He peeled it off, and handed it to his uncle. Then he yanked off his boots, and poured the lake water out of them.

"Why do lakes have to be so cold?" he asked.

"Some are, some aren't," Will said. "Come on, come on, off with the rest of it."

"You're beginnin' to sound like my doctors whenever I go in for a physical," Mike said.

Will didn't respond. After a few minutes, he had a fire going, and Mike's clothes were hanging over tree branches. All Will had to do was take off his cape, outer jacket, and boots, and they were hanging out to dry as well. Mike was laying on his stomach, on a blanket Will had conjured, and he was covered by another blanket Will conjured.

"So why does this Lord Astor creep want that stupid crystal so badly anyway, Uncle Will?" Mike asked, leaning up on his arm.

"It's not just a stupid crystal, Michael," Will said. "It contains hundreds of years of magic. I told you that! I wouldn't have created it just to have a bauble to place on the top of my walking stick!"

"Yeah, well, so it contains all that magic. I mean, what could this Lord Astor guy do with . . . . . wait a minute. Did you just say . . . ."

"Yes, I created the crystal of Gonomorrha. It is a very long and complicated story."

"Well, lay it on me, Uncle Will. We've obviously got some time on our hands before we get off of this crater."

Will sighed, stood up, and began pacing around.

"It was the year twelve ninety-five," he said. "I was twenty-four years old, just about your age. I was the head of a witches council. Not the same one your aunts Hilda and Zelda are always going to. We have a very extended family, you know. But that's not the point. In any case, I was head of the Witches Council of Gonomorrha. That was a little place off the coast of England. A small dot on the map. In any case, Lord Astor was a sorcerer in Gonomorrha as well, but he was not part of our council. As a matter of fact, Lord Astor was pure evil."

"Sounds like a relative of Mr. Zero's," Mike commented.

"Oh don't get me started on Zero, Michael. I had the unfortunate task of meeting him once in eighteen sixty-five, but I'm not going into that, considering how you feel about Zero."

"Yeah, so tell me about Lord Astor."

"Like I said, pure evil. Oh, Gonomorrha was a giant mess as long as he was around. He would do the most terrible things. If I remember correctly, he controlled Gonomorrha, and ruled it with an iron fist. He had all the people enslaved, and he even destroyed them with his magic."

"Then how come you guys didn't just over throw him?"

"We weren't powerful enough, and everyone in Gonomorrha was afraid of him."

"You not powerful enough. I can't believe you just threw me that, Uncle Will. You've got more power than I ever will have!"

"Let me finish the story, Michael. The Council met one day, saying that we had to put a stop to Lord Astor. There was only one thing we could do. We combined as much magic as we could, and we created the crystal."

"So what'd you do with it?"

"Well, I was the head of the council, so it was my duty to put Lord Astor in his place. He and I battled it out with our magics. But, as usual, good conquered evil, and I banished him from Gonomorrha, and sent him and his minions to live in another galaxy entirely. He once told me that I would pay for doing that to him. He's not the brightest wizard out there, so I didn't think anything of his threat. After that, I carried the crystal wherever I went, and then I decided to retire and pursue a writing career. This was in the nineteen forties. So when I visited the kingdom of Crystallious, I asked the queen to keep an eye on it for me until I returned, which was this past trip. I felt it was time to reclaim it."

Mike took Will's walking stick, and pulled the crystal off it for a moment or so. He stared at it intently, just looking at it.

"I still think it's just a piece of junk," Mike said, and he began tossing the crystal into the air, and catching it in his hand. "Why'd he wait this long to come back for the darn thing? It doesn't make sense to me."

"He was probably waiting until my guard was down," Will said, watching Mike like a hawk. "Michael, please stop throwing the crystal like that. You might drop it and damage it."

"I won't drop it."

"Just the same, please put it back on my walking stick."

Mike was a little insulted that his uncle was acting as if Mike were an irresponsible two-year-old.

"You know I'm a careful person, Uncle Will," Mike said. "It's not like you gave it to Peter to hold onto it, who drops practically everythin' he can get his hands on!"

Mike continued to throw the crystal and catch it, but it still made Will nervous. He was about to say something when a bird of some kind let out a loud screech. Mike was so startled, he dropped the crystal. Will could practically feel his stomach drop out. In a lightning quick move, he dove, and caught the crystal about two seconds before it hit the ground.

"Nice save, Uncle Will," Mike said. "Sorry about that."

"You said you wouldn't drop it, and look what happened!" Will shouted. "You dropped it! Don't you understand that this is not a toy?!"

"I didn't mean to!" Mike protested. "If that bird hadn't startled me . . . . ."

"Never mind! Do you realize what could have happened?! This crystal is not as hard as a diamond! Although it is not very easy to break, it can crack, and then it would practically be worthless!"

"Well then let it get cracked and then we can hand it over to Astor!"

"That's not what I meant! This crystal holds too much magic! It's been collecting magic for seven hundred ten years of magic! I can't afford to drop it and lose all that magic now! I told you to put it back on my stick and leave it alone! Why don't you ever do what you're told, Michael?!"

Mike stared at his uncle wide-eyed. Never in his life had he heard his uncle speak to him in that tone of voice. He was stunned. He couldn't think of anything to say at the moment. Will just grumbled, picked up his walking stick, and promptly put the crystal on it. Then he sat down by the fire, and stared at it.

"I said I was sorry," Mike said finally. "It was an accident. I don't know why you're blowin' this whole thing out of proportion. It's just a piece of magic junk . . . . ."

"It is not magic junk, Michael," Will said, a little more harshly than he meant. "You don't understand it. You'll never understand the powers this crystal contains! I was going to give it to you when the time was right, but now I'm having second thoughts. You don't deserve this kind of power if you just think it's junk. I'm wondering if you even deserve your magic at all. You don't use it correctly, and all you ever do is play around with it! Is it any wonder why your battery dies out so fast?! Honestly, Michael, you are one of the most irresponsible witches I've ever met! Lord knows why I even bother with you to begin with!"

Mike sighed, and turned over on his side. Will was about as stubborn as he was. There was no way Mike was going to get into an argument about this. All he wanted to do right now was get some sleep. It had been a very long, and trying night.

The next morning, Mike woke up, feeling like he was hit with a sack of lead. His entire body ached. He figured it was because he had slept on the ground all night. Mike liked camping, and he was usually okay with sleeping on the ground, but this was unfamiliar territory to him, anyway. That, and he figured he didn't get a good night's sleep because of the fight he had with Will over the crystal.

Mike leaned up, and looked out of the cave. Will wasn't around. Mike figured he woke up earlier, and went to find some food or something. He would be back. Mike knew Will wouldn't leave him alone in a strange land with no way to get back home, no matter how angry he was. That just wasn't Will's way, and Mike knew it. Mike was about to get up and get his clothes, but he changed his mind at the last minute. He ended up crawling back into his blankets, in order to catch a few more Z's before Will got back with breakfast or something.

Mike tossed and turned a little, but he found he couldn't get back to sleep. He heard some rustling in the distance, and sat up, hoping it was Will. He glanced over at the nearby brush, and waited. What emerged from them was definitely not his uncle. Out from the bushes came three creatures looked a little like teddy bears. As a matter of fact, they reminded Mike of the Ewoks from the Star Wars movies. But something was telling him they weren't. And after that experience with the Water Nymph the night before, Mike wasn't so sure he trusted these creatures.

The creatures began mumbling to themselves. Mike couldn't quite pick up what they were saying. All he knew was that he didn't understand a word of it. He figured there were some type of animal species out there that he couldn't communicate with. These creatures must be some of them. The smallest of the three finally spotted Mike, and stopped dead in his tracks. Mike backed into the cave, completely on his guard. The creature started to walk forward, slowly. It was acting if Mike were some kind of animal, ready to run away if it got too close. The creature moved closer, step by step. Slowly, Mike came out of the cave as well, but he didn't want to come too far out. He reached his hand out to touch the creature as it came closer, but he hesitated. He wasn't so sure if this creature was friendly, or if it was like the Water Nymph. His instinct wasn't telling him much about this, he knew that.

Mike finally decided to just go for it. He extended his hand, and ran his fingers along the creature's head and ears. It's fur was soft. The creature chortled, and raised it's hand. It ran it's fingers along Mike's hair. Mike smiled, and laughed a little. The other two creatures came over as well. The biggest one held up it's hand at Mike. On an impulse Mike did the same, and touched his palm to the creature's. It was clear to the Texan Monkee that these creatures were friendly.

As Mike was making friends with the creatures, Will came walking around the bend, but the only thing he had in hand was his walking stick.

"I'm at somewhat of a loss on where to find food, Michael," he said, as he pushed through thick brush. "But I'm sure we'll find something. I know you and your low blood sugar, so I figure if . . . . . what are you doing, Michael?"

"Oh, hi, Uncle Will," Mike said, looking over at his uncle. "Check this out. They kinda look like Ewoks, don't they?"

"Yes, they do," Will said with a nod. "I do know for a fact that the Ursas are related to Ewoks, but they are very different creatures."

"Ursas?" Mike asked. "As in Ursa Major and Ursa Minor? The Great and Little Bear? Is that what they are?"

"Indeed. And, as you've already found out, they are very friendly creatures."

Will retrieved Mike's clothes from the branch they were hanging on, and brought them over to his nephew. Then he proceeded to greet the Ursas. He held his hand up, and the biggest Ursa did the same. Then they brought their hands together, and touched palms.

"Neeja," the Ursa said.

"Neeja," Will repeated.

"What does that mean?" Mike asked, as he buttoned his shirt.

"Your basic hello in Ursalese," Will explained. "They have a language all their own."

"You can understand them?"

"I've picked up a few words and phrases here and there. Enough to get by. Ursas are rare things, and you don't see them too often."

Mike nodded, and pulled a comb out of his pocket to comb his hair. Will kneeled down until he was eye level with the Ursa.

"Commente," he said. "Jeena pourlon Will Westerman. Toulon pelow Michael Nesmith."

"Tell them most people call me Mike," Mike replied, putting on his wool hat and his boots.

"Pourlon Ketae," the biggest Ursa said. Then he turned to the medium sized Ursa. "Toulon windack kilan Chee-Kah. Hai toulon follathe kilan Pickatte."

"What'd he say?" Mike asked.

"He said his name is Ketae," Will explained. "And that's his older son Chee-Kah, and his younger son Pickatte."

"Hi, uhh, I mean neeja," Mike said, trying to remember the language Will was using with the Ursas.

"Neeja," Pickatte said, and he walked up to Mike. The Texan Monkee laughed, and bent down to rub his fingers against the Ursa's head. He seemed to enjoy that. But as he was petting Pickatte, he lost his balance and fell forward. Will caught him before he hit the ground.

"Michael, are you all right?" he asked.

"Yeah," Mike said, nodding. "A little dizzy, but I'm okay."

"We'd better get you some food before you pass out," Will said. Then he turned to Ketae. "Faylo leenoh hectate sustaneh?"

"Follante mourche," Ketae said.

"Come on, Michael," Will said. "Follow them."

Mike nodded. He leaned on Will to get his bearings, and the two of them were off, following the Ursas down through the woods and the brush. They came around to a small cottage in the distance.

"This is very quaint," Will said, looking around.

Mike wasn't paying attention to where he was going, and when he tried to walk through the door, he ended up banging his head on the doorframe.

"Ow!" he shouted. "This is very small!"

Will shook his head, and laughed under his breath. He and Mike ducked down and walked into the house. It was actually� bigger than the door looked. Inside there was another Ursa, holding a much smaller one.

"Regante," Ketae said. "Toulon yolan Thorania, hai toulon kilana Lorana."

"Hejania," Will said. "Michael, these are Ketae's wife Thorania, and his daughter Lorana. Lorana is a baby Ursa."

Mike nodded, but said nothing. It was obvious he wasn't going to pick up the language, no matter how hard he tried. He sat down at the table, in one of the small chairs. His knees nearly came up to his chest. Will sat down as well. He was only a little shorter than Mike, so he had somewhat of the same problem.

"Maybe we should sit on the floor," Will joked. "We might be more comfortable."

Mike cracked a smile, but he didn't laugh, even though he knew his uncle was only joking. Thorania came to the table, and placed two small bowls on it, filled with some kind of liquid. It was thick, and transparent. It sort of looked to Mike like purple slime.

"Thenae," Will said to her.

"What he said," Mike replied, indicating Will. "What is this? Some kind of soup?"

"I think so," Will replied.

"Where are the spoons?"

"Ursas don't use utensils, Michael. Their paws are too big to get a good hold on them."

"So I'm supposed to pick it up and drink it?"

"That's the basic gist."

"I'll pass."

Mike pushed the bowl away, and folded his arms on the table, and slowly rested his head on them. He started coughing a little, too. Will looked at him, and noticed Mike's eyes were a bit glassy looking. He didn't look at all well. But Will figured he would feel better if he ate something.

"Come on, Michael," he prompted. "You must eat something."

"I don't want to," Mike said, stifling a cough. He let out a low groan, and closed his eyes. "I'm not hungry."

Will immediately put down his soup, and stood up. He knew Mike only refused to eat whenever he was feeling extremely bad. And Will also knew Mike had low blood sugar, and he needed to eat.

"Michael?" Will asked, taking hold of the Texan Monkee's shoulder. "Michael, wake up. You have to eat something. You need to keep up your strength."

Mike didn't answer. He just shifted his position a little, and coughed. Will began to shake Mike's shoulder a little.

"Michael?" he asked. "Michael! Wake up!"

Mike moaned a little. Will sighed, and tried to get Mike to his feet. It wasn't easy. Mike was just dead weight when he was asleep. Ketae walked over and indicated a hammock in the corner of the room. Will nodded, and guided Mike over to it. He placed Mike onto it, and swung his legs into it, pulling off his boots in the process. The minute Mike was in the hammock, he started to shake, and he started coughing more. Will pulled the blanket at the end of the hammock up to Mike's neck. Then he put his hand on the Texan Monkee's forehead. He got a grim look on his face when he realized Mike was running a fever.

"I was afraid of this," he said. "You're burning up, Michael. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what I can do about it."

"Sornae," Ketae said, tapping Will on the arm. He handed him the bowl from the table.

"I don't think that soup is going to help us," Will said, pushing the bowl away. He wasn't understanding Ketae. True, he knew a few expressions of Ursalese, but he had never quite picked up the language, and wasn't at all fluent in it.

Ketae persisted, though. He pointed at the liquid in the bowl, and then at Mike's mouth.

"Sornae," he repeated. "Geeja tokana."

"Mechaka," Will replied, shaking his head, which meant "I don't understand" in Ursalese. It was one of the few things in the language he knew.

Ketae handed Will the bowl, and continued to indicate the liquid in it, and Mike's mouth. Ketae finally took the bowl from Will, and walked over to Mike. He carefully placed the bowl to Mike's lips, and looked at Will expectantly.

"Sornae," he said again.

Will then realized what Ketae was trying to tell him. He took the bowl, and looked at it's contents.

"Medicine?" he asked. "Well, it's worth a shot."

Will placed his hand behind Mike's neck, and tilted his head upwards. He held the edge of the bowl to Mike's lips, and poured. Mike's body jerked forward, and he started coughing. Will was afraid the medicine would come back upstream. After a moment, Mike went back down into the hammock, and let out a moan.

"Take it easy, Michael," Will said, brushing Mike's bangs away from his forehead. "You'll be all right."

Mike moaned again. He slowly opened his eyes and looked at Will.

"Uncle Will?" he asked, his voice sounding very weak. "What's goin' on?"

"Don't you worry about a thing," Will said, as he smoothed Mike's bangs. "I'll take care of everything. How are you feeling?"

"Lousy," Mike replied.

Will suspected that. Mike was pale, glassy-eyed, sweating, and shaking. Thorania brought another blanket over and gave it to Will. Will draped it over Mike, in an attempt to keep him warm. Fever and chills were not a good combination.

"I need more medicine," he said, turning to Ketae, but he kept on smoothing Mike's bangs. "I don't think that little bit of it is going to cut it."

The Ursas just stared at Will. They couldn't understand much English, just like Will couldn't understand much Ursalese. He had to think fast. He desperately needed more of that medicine. He really wished there was a Ursalese dictionary in existence. Then he could just look up what he needed to know. He started to think a moment. A thought finally hit him.

"Sornae," he said.

"Follante," Ketae said, and he started toward the front door. Chee-Kah followed him. Will sighed, stood up, and started to follow them.

"You're not gonna go now, are you?" Mike asked, suddenly grabbing Will's sleeve.

"I'm going to find you some more medicine," Will said. "You want to get well, don't you?"

"Well, yeah, but . . . . do you have to go? I mean, you don't even know what you're lookin' for. They can go find it themselves, can't they? You always staid with me and took care of me whenever I got sick when I visited you."

"Yes, yes, I know, Michael, I know. But this time, I have to leave you. Thorania and Pickatte are going to take care of you while I'm gone. You're going to be all right. You just get some rest."

Will gave Mike's bangs a final rub down, and patted his shoulder reassuringly. Mike coughed, and closed his eyes. Will hated to leave him while he was this sick, but he wanted to get the medicine himself. He took a deep breath, and turned to the Ursas.

"Don't worry, Michael," he said. "I won't be gone long."

Will received a long moan from Mike as a response. Thorania walked over to the hammock with a bowl of water and a cloth. This was one thing Will understood perfectly. He placed the cloth into the water, and drenched it. He took it out of the bowl, wrung it out, folded it, and pressed it against Mike's forehead, in an attempt to bring his fever down.

"Joudorna farenthe," Thorania said.

Will didn't know what that meant off hand, but he had a pretty good idea that it meant that Thorania and Pickatte would take care of Mike while Will, Ketae and Chee-Kah were out getting the medicine, and he didn't have to worry. He smiled at the female Ursa, and followed Ketae and Chee-Kah out the front door.

"I hope you know what I'm after," Will said. "Because I don't speak your language fluently. I only know a few words."

"Jeekhana," Ketae said. "Arias tekalnae respahr tiente."

"Tiente," Will repeated. "I know that one. That means danger. Now if I can only put the rest of that together."

Will pondered over that for a moment or so, but quickly realized what Ketae had said when he heard a low growl coming from the bushes. He stopped dead in his tracks, and gripped his walking stick, determined not to let his guard down for anything, which wouldn't be too hard. Will had been around for over seven hundred years, and he had lots of practice not letting his guard down. He was an expert.

"Ah ha," he said, nodding. "Now I understand what you said. There are hidden dangers around here, so we must be careful."

Ketae said nothing (he didn't understand Will), and kept moving, but a little more slowly. Will had a feeling whatever that was growling in the bushes would like to have an Ursa sandwich for lunch. They had to be careful not to disturb it.

Ketae and Chee-Kah wandered over to a field, growing high with reeds. Among the reeds were purple flowers. None like Will had ever seen before. He picked up one of the flowers and looked at it.

"I've never seen anything quite like this before," he said.

"Gretina," Ketae said. "Herveka tourchilo sornae."

"Whatever you say," Will replied, and he began picking the flowers.

As that was going on, who should be hovering around the cosmos, but Lord Astor and his crew? He wasn't ready to give up the Crystal of Gonomorrha easily. And he was extremely angry too, angry at Will for the most part, especially after falling for the old good-guy-yells-"what's that over there"-and-hits-you-on-the-head-when-you're-not-looking trick. He walked over to the cockpit, and looked towards the pilot.

"Any sign of Westerman yet?" he asked.

"None, sir," the pilot said. "He and Nesmith just seemed to have vanished into thin air."

"Impossible," Astor said. "I know Nesmith. He can't disappear! I want them found and I want them found now! I know there on that planet! But where?! That's what I want to know!"

Astor went back to the back of his ship, and groaned. He began rubbing the side of his head. This was driving him crazy.

"Sir?" one of his men asked, coming forward. "I, uhh, think I might have a solution."

"What's that?" Astor asked, not bothering to look up.

"Well, sir, I've been using the onboard computer to tap into the frequency of the crystal."

"How can you do that?"

"It's magic sir."

Astor couldn't argue the facts there.

"In any case," the guard said. "If Westerman uses the crystal at all, we'll be able to track him down."

Astor sighed, but went ahead with the plan, anyway. After all, he didn't have any better ideas to obtain the crystal.

As Astor and his men were searching, Will and the Ursas were just picking the last of the flowers.

"I think this should keep you in medicine for quite awhile," he said. "Now then, let's go back, shall we?"

Ketae and Chee-Kah nodded, and began following Will down a path, but the two Ursas stopped almost immediately. Will turned around and looked at them as if they were crazy.

"Why are you stopping?" he asked. "There's not one moment to spare!"

"Nourla Doon! Nourla Doon!" Ketae shouted. "Rapide! Rapide! Tiente! Tiente!"

"Run, run, danger, danger," Will translated. "But what on earth does Nourla Doon mean?"

Will was going to get the answer to that question. As he was trying to think of what "Nourla Doon" meant, a blast of flame shot out of nowhere, and a loud screech was heard. Will whirled around, and saw a giant monster standing there. It was at least ten feet tall, with long, gangly arms and legs, and sharp claws, razor sharp teeth, glinting with drool, and purple scales. It's yellow eyes glared right at Will and the two Ursas, and they seemed to go right through them.

"I see," Will said, calmly. "Nourla Doon is a giant, fire breathing monster."

Ketae and Chee-Kah screamed, and ran for cover, dropping the flowers. Will just stood there and looked at Nourla Doon.

"I seem to remember reading something about you," he said, tapping his chin thoughtfully. "Yes, you're the female of the species. Your young eat these flowers, and you eat the Ursas. Well, I'm sorry for ruining your offspring's breakfast, but I need these flowers to make medicine for my nephew. He is quite ill."

Nourla Doon growled, and breathed a large blast of flame at Will. Will stepped back, and gave the monster a glare. He was tired of playing games.

"Now see here!" he shouted. "You're being very unreasonable! Albeit, we don't need all of these flowers, so we'll leave some for you."

Nourla Doon would have none of it. She wanted an Ursa to eat. Or a human, for that matter. Nourla Doons were known to eat anything that moved. She growled, and began to sniff at Will.

"I'm warning you," Will said, in a no-nonsense tone that he often used with Mike when he was younger. "I am in a great hurry, so if you please, take some flowers to feed your babies, and I shall only take enough for medicine for my ailing nephew. And then, you go back to where you came from, and I go back with these two fine Ursas, and I shall not have to hurt you."

Of course, Nourla Doon was not going to cooperate. She lunged for Will, but he side stepped her, and held up his walking stick.

"Very well," he said, as calmly as he possibly could. "You realize, of course, that now I shall have to use force."

Will twirled his wand, and aimed the crystal at Nourla Doon. A flash of white light came out and surrounded the monster. She let out a deafening shriek, and tried to fight back, breathing out her fire. Will just increased his magic.

But if Will had known what was in store, he would have just left well enough alone with Nourla Doon. At that exact moment, Lord Astor's guard began to pick up a blip on his computer.

"Sir!" he shouted. "I think I've picked something up!"

"What have you got?" Astor asked walking over.

"Strong magic, very strong. It's coming from the same planet that Westerman and Nesmith crashed down on. It's got to be the Crystal of Gonomorrha, sir. No other magic in the universe is this strong!"

"Excellent! I know that planet very well. However, we'll have to be tricky. I've said this before. Westerman will not give up the crystal without a fight. We'll just have to make him an offer he can't refuse. We'll hunt Nesmith first."

"Yes, my lord."

Astor sat down, and smiled sneakily. He had a trick up his sleeve, one guaranteed would be enough for Will to surrender the crystal.

In the meantime, Will and Nourla Doon were still fighting. Nourla Doon couldn't take much more. The creatures could never stand bright lights. She reeled her head back, and let out a screech that only meant defeat. She crawled over to the pile of flowers the Ursas dropped, picked some of them up, and crawled off.

"I warned you, Nourla," he said. Then he picked up the remaining flowers, and turned towards the Ursas. "Shall we go?"

Ketae and Chee-Kah smiled and clapped their paws. Never had they seen anyone stand up to Nourla Doon. Will figured it was survival of the fittest on this planet. As they were walking, they heard what sounded like a jet plane flying overhead. Will looked up and saw it. He recognized it as one of Lord Astor's fleet, and immediately stopped dead in his tracks.

"That doesn't look good," he said. "Come on. We have to see what Astor is up to this time!"

Will ran off in the path of the jet, but because of the thick brush on the planet, he shortly lost sight of it. But something was telling him to head back to the hut as fast as he possibly could. And that wasn't going to be easy, due to the dense forest, even with Will cutting through it with the crystal.

When the trio got to the hut, Thorania and Pickatte were outside the hut, shouting, in somewhat of a panic. Pickatte was jumping up and down in a terrible frenzy. Will didn't have the slightest idea what they were yelling. He didn't bother to ask what had happened. Instead, he brushed past the two Ursas, and went into the hut. He found the place ransacked. He glanced over at the hammock and saw that Mike wasn't there.

"Oh dear," he said. "Oh no. Oh, great Gatsby, what happened?"

"Dualan humanis," Pickatte said. "Gochakha artinise. Mourlante keelorna Mykhall journada kayle."

Will sighed, and began to think hard. He had to put two and two together here. He knew "humanis" meant "human," and "artinise" meant "weapons." He also knew the number system. "Dualan" meant "two." And it was obvious "Mykhall" meant "Michael."

"Two humans . . . . weapons . . . . Michael . . . ." Will said. And that was all he needed to do before he realized what had happened. "Darn you, Astor. Just wait until I get my hands on you! Unfortunately, my crystal can not tell me where he is now."

Will turned to the Ursas. They were his only hope at this point. He needed to find one that spoke English.

"Gelante Ursa angalaise?" he asked, which roughly meant "is there an Ursa that speaks English?"

"Shamballa," Ketae said. "Follante."

Will followed Ketae out of the hut, and down a path. Chee-Kah and Pickatte followed. Will wasn't sure what Ketae meant by "Shamballa," but he was going to find out soon enough.

Mike was going to be doing a little finding out of things himself. He was thrown to the floor of a dim lit room. He leaned up, not exactly sure where he was. All he knew was that his head was spinning, and he felt a little sick to his stomach.

"So, Nesmith," a voice said. "We meet again."

Mike turned turned his head, and saw Lord Astor standing there.

"You again?" he asked. "Man, don't you ever quit? Get it through your head. Uncle Will is not gonna give you that stupid crystal!"

"He will this time," Astor said. "I'm sure of it. I'll make him an offer he can't refuse."

"So I'm the bait again, aren't I? Look, Uncle Will told me the story. Even though I still think that crystal is nothin' but an overrated piece of magic tripe, he said it's pretty powerful. He banished you once before tryin' to steal that stupid thing, what makes you think he won't do it again?"

Astor said nothing, and held up his walking stick. He held it up, and aimed it at Mike carefully. Then he increased his grip on it, and the same magic Astor had blasted him with before surrounded him. Mike squeezed his eyes shut, clenched his teeth, and groaned. That built up to a blood curdling scream. Astor retracted the beam, and Mike collapsed to the floor, exhausted.

"Westerman will indeed give me the crystal," Astor said as the guards came in, and started to drag Mike out of the room. "Make no mistake about that. You know your uncle as well as I do, Nesmith. If he wants you back alive, he'll surrender it."

Mike moaned, and just let the guards drag him off. He was practically out of strength.

In the meantime, Will was following the Ursas through the woods, until they came to a large hut, much larger than Ketae's. It was made of bamboo, and covered in vines.

"What is this?" Will asked.

"Shamballa," Ketae replied.

"Yes, you said that," Will said. "But what does it mean?"

Ketae didn't answer. He just motioned for Will to follow him, and they walked up to the doorway. Ketae pulled on a vine, and a knocking and rattling sound was heard. Will looked up, and saw what looked like coconut shells knocking into seashells as Ketae pulled on the vine.

"Interesting doorbell," Will said, with a nod of approval.

The door opened, and another Ursa walked out. This one was older than Ketae. Will could see she had gray patches in her light brown fur.

"Weldalla," she said.

"Shamballa," Ketae said. "Toulan Weel Westahmahn. Weel, toulon Shamballa."

"Ah, Shamballa is another Ursa," Will said, with a nod. "Neeja."

"Welcome," Shamballa said.

"You speak English?"

"Yes. Not very good. But I speak English. Why you here?"

"It's a long story, and I am in a terrible hurry, so I'll make it as brief as possible."

Will, Ketae, Chee-Kha, and Pickatte walked into the house after Shamballa. Will explained everything that had happened, with Pickatte filling in some blanks.

"I have no idea where to find Michael now," Will said. "Much less how to find him. And I must find him right away. He is seriously ill, and I don't know how long he will be able to go without medicine."

"I help," Shamballa said. She picked up a box with a pointed bottom on it, much like a driedal. She gave it a spin.

"Hold you crystal over box," Shamballa instructed Will.

Will did so, although he wasn't sure what this was going to do. A light filled the driedal, and soon an image of Mike was shown inside of it. He was on the floor of a cage, suspended from the ceiling. He appeared to be asleep, but Will could tell it was a restless sleep. Mike was moaning and coughing, and he looked absolutely miserable.

"Michael!" Will shouted. Then he turned to Shamballa. "Where is he? I don't recognize the place."

"Cave of Mohnstah Spedyah," Shamballa said, gravely. "Worse than Nourla Doon."

Will looked into the driedal, and saw an enormous spider creature hobble into the picture. Lord Astor was riding it, cackling madly. The spider creature lifted a leg, and swatted at the cage as hard as he could. Mike let out a moan as the cage swung back and forth, making him extremely dizzy. Lord Astor laughed. He was thoroughly enjoying this. Will wasn't. He wanted to go to this cave and wring Astor's neck. The cage stopped swinging, and Will caught a glance of Mike, who was beginning to look worse than before. Will knew Mike. Normally, Mike would have taken a zap at Astor or the spider. But Will could see that he was too weak to do anything.

"We must go there at once," Will said. "Astor, you're going to pay dearly for this!"

"Chakalla," Shamballa said to Ketae, Chee-Kah and Pickatte. "Harivannah assistanshan Weel."

"Yeesah, yeesah," Pickatte said, enthusiastically. "Assistanshan Weel un Mykhall!"

"We help," Shamballa said. "We lead. You follow. It long journey to Cave of Mohnstah Spedyah. We go now."

"Of course, of course," Will said, nodding. He and the Ursas began packing supplies, which was mostly food and water, but they packed some other things, too. Once they were ready, they were off. Will was seething. Astor had gone too far now. He was really going to give it to him once he saw him.

The caravan stopped in a meadow for a rest. They had travelled a great distance, and the little Ursas needed a small rest. While resting, Will pounded the purple flowers he had gathered earlier. Ketae was helping. They had to make the medicine. Once the flowers were powder, Ketae built a small stove of some kind out of some stray sticks he found. He hit a fire, and put the bowl of powder onto his makeshift stove. Then he added some water.

"Elka daeno sornae?" Will asked, which roughly meant "how long until it's medicine?"

"Traetita munocahs," Ketae said.

"Three minutes. All right, then."

Will sat back and waited. Exactly three minutes later, Ketae put out the fire. He waited a few more minutes, and then picked up the bowl. Will used his magic and conjured up a container to carry it in, and Ketae poured the purple slime in there. Then they were on their way again. After about three hours, Will looked at the sky, and saw the sun was setting. He turned to Shamballa.

"How long will it take to reach the cave?" he asked.

"Cave of Mohnstah Spedyah far," Shamballa said. "I no lie to you. It take long as day and night. No Ursa go to cave and return to Ursa Village alive."

"Then you shall be the first ones, my friends," Will said. "Come along, now. Time's a-wasting."

The Ursas couldn't travel all night long, unfortunately. And as much as he didn't want to admit it, Will couldn't either. He knew they all had to rest for the night. The Ursas slept peacefully, but Will didn't. He couldn't sleep. He kept thinking about Mike. Every time he tried to get even a little sleep, images of Lord Astor, Mohnstah Spedyah, and Mike flooded his dreams. He was battling Lord Astor. Will was using his crystal, and Astor was using his ruby. Will was having a hard time holding out, when Mike suddenly came into the scene and grabbed Astor from behind, trying to wrench his stick away.

"Why you little pest!" Astor shouted, as he hit Mike in the head with his stick. Mike let out a scream, and fell to the ground, dazed.

"Haven't you done enough to him?!" Will shouted. "Leave Michael out of this! He's done nothing to you!"

Astor didn't answer. He instead swung his walking stick in a circle, illuminating the ruby, and jammed it into the ground. An earthquake began to shake things up. Will lost his balance and fell, and the impact of the fall, knocked the crystal off his walking stick. The ground split just then, opening to a bottomless abyss. The crystal slid across to the edge of the newly formed cliff. As if that wasn't bad enough, so did Mike, and the ground was still shaking. Mike opened his eyes for a moment or so, and looked over the edge of the cliff. He couldn't get up, he knew that. He didn't have the strength. He tried, though. He tried to lean up on his arms, but they gave out underneath him, and Mike fell, lapsing into unconsciousness. Will knew he had to do something. The crystal was sliding closer to Astor, and the ground was still shaking. At any moment, the crystal would be in Astor's hands, and Mike would fall into the ravine.

"Quite a dilemma, Westerman," Astor said with a smirk. "It's one or the other. Which would you rather lose? Your precious crystal, or your nephew? Or perhaps, both!"

Will knew he didn't have time to weigh the odds before the shaking ground shifted and Mike was thrown to his death down a bottomless pit. And the crystal was moving closer and closer towards Astor. He was about to make a decision when the ground beneath Mike finally gave way, and he fell. Astor cackled and grabbed the crystal.

"It's mine!" he shouted. "At last, it's mine!"

Astor laughed, and a bright light filled the area, and Astor's maniacal laughter echoed all around. Will woke up with a start. By that time, it was morning. Time to continue for the cave. Will hoped that the dream he had didn't turn into a reality. Having to face a decision like he did in his dream was too much for him to think about. If he gave up the crystal, Astor would rule the world. And if anything happened to Mike, he would never forgive himself.

Hours later, the caravan reached the cave, and began going inside, cautiously. The Mohnstah Spedyah could have been lurking around anywhere inside the cave, and they were sure it would love the chance to devour an Ursa. Slowly, they made their way down a corridor. There was a large ravine separating the path. The only away across it was a giant spider web strung between the two cliffs. Will didn't like the looks of it at all. It appeared strong enough to hold them all, but he felt it would be better if they crossed one at a time. So he started to climb onto the web, and turned to the Ursas.

"Shamballa," he said. "We'll cross the bridge one at a time. Tell the others that, and tell them I promise nothing is going to happen to them."

Shamballa translated Will's words into Ursalese, and Ketae started crossing the bridge once Will made it to the other side. He waited until the Ursas made it across, and they continued on. The cliff on the other side of the spider web bridge lead into a dimly lit room. It was the same room Will and the Ursas saw in Shamballa's dreidle. Will saw the cage hanging from the ceiling, and used the crystal to fly him up there. He used a skeleton key to unlock the door (he always carried one with him), and stepped inside. Mike was laying on his side, leaning his head on his arm, while the other arm was spread out in front of him. Will pulled his nephew up into a sitting position, and looked him over carefully. Mike's face was flushed with fever, and his cough sounded worse. Will put his hand to Mike's forehead, and realized his temperature must have risen. He felt much warmer than before.

"Oh, Michael," was all he could say.

Will didn't waste any time. He laid Mike back down on the floor of the cage, slowly and gently. Then he put his hand behind the Texan Monkee's neck, and tilted his head up. He had a canteen filled with water he had packed at Shamballa's. He opened it, and poured a generous helping of it down Mike's throat. Then he took the container with the medicine in it, and poured that down Mike's throat as well. Mike gagged for a moment, and Will was afraid he was going to choke on the medicine. Fortunately, the gagging subsided, and Mike settled down. He moaned, but did not open his eyes. Will brushed Mike's sweat-soaked bangs out of his face, and gently smoothed them down. He also started stroking his hair gently, like he used to do when Mike was a child. Several minutes later, Mike's eyelids began fluttering. Will breathed a sigh of relief. The medicine was starting to take effect. Mike opened his eyes, and let them focus on his uncle.

"Tell me I'm not dreamin'," he said, weakly.

"You're not dreaming, Michael," Will said. "I'm going to get you out of here."

"But how are you gonna . . . ."

"Shhh, just rest now. I have everything all figured out. All I need you to do is just rest."

Mike wanted to ask more questions, but he couldn't keep his eyes open. Will set him back down on the cage's floor, and went to the edge of it. He stuck two fingers in his mouth and whistled loudly. The Ursas came running in with vines they had collected along the route, and a blanket they packed at Shamballa's hut. Ketae threw a vine up to Will, and Chee-Kah did the same with another. Then they threw two more vines up. Will wound them through the bars of the cage. Pickatte tied the blanket to one of the vines, and hoisted it up to Will. Will took the blanket, and tied it to the other vines. He ran a test on his pulley to make sure he'd be able to get the blanket down horizontally. After all, there would be a passenger in that blanket in a moment or so. Once Will was satisfied, he walked over to Mike. He didn't have the heart to wake him up, so he picked him up off the floor of the cage, and gently placed him in the blanket. He tied a couple of vines around Mike's arms and legs, as makeshift safety restraints. Then he and the Ursas maneuvered the vines to lower him down to the ground. Will was planning on just grabbing onto the vine and sliding down it. Once Mike was down safely, Will made his move. He grabbed a vine, and slid down.

"All right then," he said, lifting Mike off the ground. "Let's get back to the village."

"Weebya tiente Mykhall creeshtah," Pickatte said. "Mykhall nune heathyah rognahn."

"All I could catch in that was danger and Michael," Will said, turning to Shamballa. "How about a translation?"

"He say web too dangerous for Mykhall to cross," Shamballa said. "Mykhall no well enough to do."

"Indeed," Will nodded. "Well then, we shall just have to find an alternate route out. Follow me."

"Follante Weel," Shamballa said to the other Ursas, and they started to go.

Unfortunately, they didn't get far. They were about to step out of the room, when who should appear but Lord Astor, riding on the back of Mohnstah Spedyah. He laughed as he approached Will and the Ursas.

"I don't think your little teddy bears are going to be of much help to you now, Westerman," Astor said. "You know exactly what I want."

"I do, and you're not going to get it," Will said. "If you want it, you're going to have to fight for it."

"I was hoping I'd see you before you found Nesmith," Astor said, climbing off Mohnstah Spedyah. "Then you'd hand over the crystal willingly."

"I doubt it. Let's just get this over with. I shall make short work of you."

"Though the Crystal of Gonomorrha may be extremely powerful, Westerman, but don't underestimate the power of the Astor Ruby!"

Saying nothing, Will gently laid Mike down on the ground. He woke up then, and looked up at his uncle.

"Now what?" he asked.

"Don't worry, Michael, I've got the situation covered," Will said. Then he turned to Shamballa. "Protect him, and tell the others to do so as well. He is in no condition to fight, and Astor might take advantage of the fact that he's ill to try to get the crystal."

Shamballa nodded, and sat down next to Mike. The other Ursas did the same. Mike leaned up, but Ketae gently pushed him back down.

"No, I gotta help my uncle!" he shouted.

"You no help," Shamballa said. "You rest. Not well enough to help."

Mike wanted to protest, but he knew Shamballa was right. All he could do was watch his uncle.

Will and Astor held up their sticks, and tapped them together three times, like hockey players do when they face off.

"On the count of three," Will said. "We fire. Agreed?"

"Agreed," Astor said.

"All right. One, two . . . ."

But before Will could reach three, Astor fired at Will. The force of the blow, combined with the unexpected shot, sent Will hurling into the wall.

"Uncle Will!" Mike shouted.

"You cheater," Will growled, as he stood up, only slightly dazed.

"You should learn, Westerman," Astor said with a smirk. "I never play fair."

Astor turned, and started buffing his fingernails. That gave Will a chance to fire the crystal. He sent a beam of magic at Astor, and it blew him right into Mohnstah Spedyah.

"Oh, so that's how you want it?" he asked, once he stood up. He aimed his walking stick, and fired.

Will dodged the beam, aimed his own walking stick, and fired as well. The two beams hit each other, and the two wizards just kept it going. They were determined to force the other to give up. Will realized Astor's ruby was more powerful than he anticipated. It would do to win the fight, but Astor still needed Will's crystal if he was going to take over the world. Suddenly, Will began to feel a strange sense of deja vu, like he had done this before. He was beginning to weaken. Mike couldn't take it any longer. In a burst of adrenaline, he jumped up, and tried to tackle Astor.

"Oh no you don't!" he shouted, putting Astor in a headlock.

"Michael!" Will shouted, realizing this was just like the dream he had.

While Mike had Astor in the headlock, he tried to grab the walking stick. But Astor was too quick. He grabbed Mike's arm, and threw the Texan Monkee to the ground.

"Why you little pest!" Astor shouted, as he hit Mike in the head with his stick. Mike let out a scream, and fell to the ground, dazed.

"Haven't you done enough to him?!" Will shouted. "Leave Michael out of this! He's done nothing to you!"

Astor didn't answer. He instead swung his walking stick in a circle, illuminating the ruby, and jammed it into the ground. An earthquake began to shake things up. Will lost his balance and fell, and the impact of the fall, knocked the crystal off his walking stick. The ground split just then, opening to a bottomless abyss. The crystal slid across to the edge of the newly formed cliff. As if that wasn't bad enough, so did Mike, and the ground was still shaking. Mike opened his eyes for a moment or so, and looked over the edge of the cliff. He couldn't get up, he knew that. He didn't have the strength. He tried, though. He tried to lean up on his arms, but they gave out underneath him, and Mike fell, lapsing into unconsciousness. Will knew he had to do something. The crystal was sliding closer to Astor, and the ground was still shaking. At any moment, the crystal would be in Astor's hands, and Mike would fall into the ravine.

"Oh great Gatsby," Will said. "Just like in my dream."

"Quite a dilemma, Westerman," Astor said with a smirk. "It's one or the other. Which would you rather lose? Your precious crystal, or your nephew? Or perhaps, both!"

Will had to think fast. There wasn't much time for weighing the odds. On the one had, if Astor got the crystal, he would surely rule the world. But he couldn't let Mike fall to his death, especially since he couldn't move away from the cliff himself. But before he had a chance to make a decision, the ground shook violently. The crystal slid away from Astor, and Will grabbed it. He illuminated it and caught Mike in the beam, moving him to safety.

"The tables have turned, Astor," Will said, and he readied to place the crystal back on the walking stick.

"Not quite!" Astor shouted, charging for Will. He tackled him to the ground, and the two of them began wrestling for the crystal. The Ursas knew their friend was in trouble, and rushed to help. They all jumped on Astor and began kicking, hitting, and biting, anything they could do to help Will.

"Get off of me you flea bitten little furballs!" Astor shouted, trying to grab the crystal and push the Ursas off him at the same time.

Will took the crystal and threw it towards Mike. Mike groaned, and slowly came to his senses. He saw the crystal laying next to him, and picked it up.

"Michael!" Will shouted. "I know you're not well, but you must take the crystal and run! I'll catch up to you as soon as I can!"

"Okay," Mike said, struggling to stand up. Once he got to his feet, he started running, but Astor saw him. He abandoned Will and started after the younger man. Since Mike was still sick, he didn't have very much energy, and Astor caught him.

"Going somewhere with my crystal?" he asked, grabbing Mike's arm.

"It's not your crystal!" Mike shouted. "It belongs to my uncle!"

"Not anymore it doesn't!" Astor declared. He stuck two fingers in his mouth and whistled. Mohnstah Spedyah came hobbling into the room. Astor gave him a hand signal, and Mohnstah Spedyah produced the strongest webbing he could.

"Now to tie up a loose end," Astor laughed as he took the webbing and proceeded to tie up Mike. Once the Texan Monkee was restrained, Astor pulled him to his feet. Mike glared at him and then glanced over at Will, who was brushing himself off from the fight.

"Uncle Will!" he yelled, trying to get Will's attention.

"That's quite enough of that, Nesmith!" Astor shouted, clamping his hand over Mike's mouth. Mike struggled against Astor's hold and screamed at the top of his voice, but it was no use. He was too weak, and Astor was too strong. But Will's attention had been gained, which was fine with Astor.

"Not only do I have the crystal," he said. "But I also have your nephew. If you surrender now, I promise you, no harm will come to him."

"You are a pathological liar, Astor," Will said. "I'm not going to fall for it. Even if I surrender, you'll still keep Michael as your prisoner, only to get me to do what you want."

"You're smart, Westerman," Astor said. "But since I have both the crystal, and your nephew, I should very much like to see what you're going to do about it!"

Will didn't have to do anything about it. Mike was about to. He bit into Astor's hand as hard as he possibly could. He'd break the skin if he had to.

"YEAAAUUGGHHH!" Astor shouted, letting go of both Mike, and the crystal. Mike managed to grab the crystal and used it to free himself. Just as he was about to run it over to Will, Astor tackled him to the ground.

"Give me that crystal you little wretch!" he yelled.

"Over my dead body!" Mike shouted, giving Astor a shove in his face.

"That can be arranged, boy!"

Astor and Mike began wrestling for the crystal then. Mike was using whatever strength he had left, and it wasn't much. Finally, the crystal slid to the edge of the cliff, and fell. It ended up on a small ledge, and was teetering at the edge of that one.

"The crystal!" Astor shouted, and he ran to retrieve it, but Mike grabbed him, and tackled him to the ground.

"Don't you dare!" he yelled.

Another wrestling match ensued, until another earthquake started. No one had created it, this time. Mike left Astor and tried to make a grab for the crystal, but Astor ended up tripping over him, and knocked both of them over the side of the cliff. Mike grabbed onto the edge, while Astor grabbed onto his ankles. He was so close to the crystal, he could practically taste victory.

"The crystal is mine!" he shouted, reaching for it. "Mine at last!"

"Are you nuts?!" Mike shouted. "If you try to grab it, you'll pull us both down! That crystal ain't gonna do ya much good if you're dead!"

"What do you know?!" Astor shouted.

"Astor, don't be a fool!" Will said. "It's not worth it!"

"Maybe to you it isn't!" Astor shouted, still reaching. Another tremor shook the ground, and Astor made a grab for the crystal with both hands. That turned out to be a fatal mistake, because the minute he had let go of Mike's ankle, he began falling down the ravine, screaming at the top of his voice.

"I'll get you for this, Westerman!" he yelled. "I'LL GET YOOOOUUUUUU!"

Astor's voice faded as he fell into the bottomless abyss. That was one problem solved. Will was thankful for that, and he went to retrieve his crystal. But before he could, the ground shook again, and the crystal was getting further and further to falling into the abyss. And so was Mike, for that matter.

"Uncle Will, help me!" Mike shouted. "I can't hold on much longer!"

"Let me get the crystal," Will said.

Will bent over to grab for the crystal, and the ground began shaking continuously then. Bits and pieces of rock were falling all over the place. Mike lost his grip with one hand, and was now dangling off the side of the cliff.

"Uncle Will!" he yelled. "Please, Uncle Will, help me!"

Will bit his lower lip, and kept his eyes on the crystal. He was so close to it. It wouldn't be a problem for him to grab the crystal and then help Mike, but Mike was losing his grip fast. He tried to pull himself up, but the shaking of the ground and him still being sick made it difficult. Finally, the edge of the cliff Mike had been holding began crumbling.

"Uncle Will!" Mike yelled again.

Will couldn't ignore Mike this time. The edge gave way, and Mike began falling. At the last possible second, Will had grabbed his wrist.

"Hurry, Michael!" he shouted. "Grab my other wrist, and I'll pull you up! But you have to help. You have to climb the wall."

Mike nodded, and grabbed his uncle's wrist, and he used his legs to climb up the side of the cliff while Will pulled. As a final blow, the crystal fell from the ledge, and down into the abyss, smashing against ledges, cracking with every blow until it disappeared. By the time it had disappeared, Mike was safely on the cliff, and the earthquake had stopped. Mike took a deep breath, and collapsed right then and there into his uncle's arms. Will couldn't believe what he had almost done. He was putting the crystal before Mike, and because of that, Mike had nearly been killed. Will embraced his nephew, and held him close.

"Michael," was all he could think to say. "Oh my dear, dear Michael!"

"Uncle Will, the crystal!" Mike shouted, pulling away from his uncle. "It's gone! It's destroyed! I can't believe I didn't try to make a grab for it! If you hadn't helped me you would've had the crystal and now . . . ."

"Michael, Michael," Will said, pulling Mike back into his embrace. He began stroking his nephew's hair. "That's not important. I almost lost what was important."

"You did?"

"Yes, Michael. You're the most important thing in my life. I don't know what I would have done if I had lost you."

Mike couldn't think of anything to say. Will didn't mind. He lifted his nephew off the ground, and turned to the Ursas.

"We'd better head back to the village," he said. "We've got a long journey ahead of us."

"Why can't we just go home now?" Mike asked.

"Because you're not well enough. You still have a terribly high fever. And I promise, I'll not leave your side for one minute."

Once the caravan returned to the Ursa village, Will put Mike in the hammock so he could rest. Ketae and Chee-Kah went out to the valley to gather the flowers for the medicine. Will didn't go with them this time. He figured Nourla Doon wouldn't try anything. She'd recognize his scent on the two Ursas. Instead, Will sat by the hammock, and staid with Mike, applying cold compresses to his forehead, and giving him the medicine. Mike just slept it off. It was about all he could do. Three days went by. Mike's temperature gradually went down, and he was well enough to travel back home, but he still had a slight fever that needed to be looked at by a doctor. The Ursas followed Will to the ship they had landed on the planet it. Though it was a bit water logged, it was still operational. Will carried Mike inside, and laid him down on a bed that came out of a panel with a push of a button. The Ursas climbed aboard the ship to say goodbye.

"I appreciate everything you've done for us," Will said to Shamballa, who translated his words for the other Ursas. "I shall never forget you."

"Me neither," Mike said, as he stroked Pickatte's fur. Pickatte laughed, and did the same to Mike's hair.

"Deej doo, Mykhall," he said.

"What does that mean?" Mike asked Will.

"That means goodbye," Will said.

Mike sighed, and turned to Pickatte, giving his head one final stroke.

"Bye," he said.

"Bayee," Pickatte said, trying to speak English like his new friend.

Will said his farewells, and went to the cockpit. The Ursas climbed out of the ship, and Will closed the door. Then he put the ship into gear and took off. The Ursas called goodbye to their friends, and waved. Will waved back, and smiled.

"How long is it gonna take to get back home?" Mike asked.

"Oh not for awhile," Will said. "So I suggest you lie down and get some sleep. You still need your rest, and we'll probably be home by the time you wake up."

"Think we'll ever see the Ursas again?"

"Oh we might. One never knows these things, Michael. Now close your eyes and go to sleep."

Mike nodded, smiled, and closed his eyes. He was thankful he had Will in his life. There was an old saying he knew of, and he never really quite understood it, but now he did, and it especially applied to his uncle.

"Where there's a will, there's a way," he said, before drifting off to sleep. "Especially if it's Uncle Will."


The End