The Highway to Fantasy Land

It was ten o’clock at night when James heard a violent knock on his glass door. He was currently resting on his couch watching my TV when this happened. His first thought was that it was the mailman. But then, the mailman only came in the morning and had already delivered mail that very same day. James looked through his window and saw a man wearing a black hoodie. He hesitated and then opened the door. At first, the man did not say anything. He just stared at him. He creeped James out without even talking. Then, he held up a red envelope.

James took it very slowly because he was expecting it to explode. The stranger said, “The king of Fantasy awaits your reply.” Then, with one last glare, he was gone in a puff of black smoke.

That night, James thought about what happened. The envelope stated that the king of Fantasy would like to meet him. That was weird. “How did this king from a land he had not even heard of before know him?” James thought. Then, when he put the letter back in the envelope, he found a key at the bottom. He took it out, bewildered. On it, there were engraved words: “Welcome to the Kingdom of Fantasy!” James at first thought this was some kind of joke. Why would someone give him a key, if they did not tell him which door it would fit on? With that thought, he fell to sleep.

That night, James dreamed that he was in the kingdom of Fantasy. There were farms, fields of candy corn and sugar canes, flying cars, and even buildings that were taller than the clouds. The building that James noticed first was made out of solid gold. There was a neon light on the door flashing shiny red, white, and blue. James walked in and found himself in what seemed like the biggest lobby he had ever been in before. He saw people rushing in and out.

Then, a man came towards him. He looked oddly familiar. “ I suppose you are here to meet the king, a newcomer. I am Luke, the messenger of the king. Follow me,” said Luke. And then what happened was perhaps the most embarrassing moment of James’s life. He followed Luke and that proved to be a fatal mistake. Luke led him up to the three hundred thirty-ninth floor. James, a person who was afraid of heights, saw himself in a glass room. He looked under the window and could see the whole of the kingdom of Fantasy. Suddenly, Luke pushed him and James toppled off the building. The window seemed to have suddenly disappeared when Luke pushed him. “AHHHHHHHHH!”, James screamed. He heard the sound of roaring laughter and then all was pitch black.

 James woke up with a start. He was sweating badly. But that was not all. He saw three people wearing bronze armor. They were muttering among themselves. Then, James whispered, “What are you people doing in my house? First, a black hooded stranger sends me a weird letter, then three people in full battle armor look at me asleep. This is breaking and entering you know!” Then the anger in him exploded. “ GET OUT OF MY HOUSE OR I WILL FORCE YOU OUT!”  Then, he got out a remote control from under his pillow. He pressed the red button and an invisible door appeared in front of him. He got out a key and opened the door. Before the stunned warriors could stop him, James dived into the door.

When James was conscious again, he found himself in the same place he dreamed about: The Land of Fantasy. He suddenly remembered what had happened. This door, an invention of his, teleported him anywhere the key that unlocked it wanted it to go. So the strange key from the Land of Fantasy must have teleported him here.

James looked around. It was exactly like the city he dreamed about. He saw the gold building which had neon lights flashing on the door. He hesitated and then ran to the door.  He spotted the staircase leading to the three hundred thirty-ninth floor. He dashed up the stairs and after an hour, he arrived at the glass building. But there was no one there.

James decided to explore a bit. Finally, he got to a room with paintings hanging on the walls. The pictures were moving. Then he heard footsteps. He quickly hid behind the curtains. It was the three warriors he saw in his bedroom. They said an incantation and the painting of a person wearing full battle armor flung open. James decided to follow them. He jumped in a moment before the painting closed. He tumbled into a room. But when he looked around, he figured out it wasn’t a room at all. He was sitting on a statue. “Where to?” said a deep voice.

“Umm, the king?” James replied. Then he found himself dropping down. BOOM! He landed in a crash. When he opened his eyes, he saw a thousand eyes staring at him.

“Why hello, it’s a pleasant surprise to meet you, James,” said the king.

“How do you know my name?” James demanded.

The king smiled. “I was an old family friend. The reason I summoned you here on this fine spring evening was to let you know that you will command my army from now on.”

“Army? You want me to command an army. I mean, I know how to fight, but why me?” James asked. He was suffering from his lack of confidence.

The king said, “ It’s in your blood. You are a descendant of Merlin.”

James gulped and said in a tiny voice, “ Ok, I start training tomorrow.”

The next day, at dawn, he was greeted by a man dressed in golden robes and a sword in his hand. “Hey, you are Luke!” James said.

Luke grinned. “How did you like my little dream I sent you? That is my specialty.” Then he straightened up and looked more businesslike. “Luke, lord of dreams, magic, and mischief, at your service. I used to be a general in the army, but now that you are in charge, I became your personal guard and mentor. Now, let’s start with something that is crucial for your training curriculum: sword Fighting. Here is your sword.” He pulled out a silver blade. “Here, try this one out.” James swung it and found that it was light and fits perfectly well.

That day, James learned to fight with a sword. Luke said that he was a natural and that he should participate in the annual Sword Festival. James turned it down, however, and made an excuse that he needed more practice. But he could not fool Luke. Luke knew he was lacking self-confidence. The next day, James had to admit the Sword Festival was sort of fun. The winner was a warrior called Alex. Alex glanced at the crowd and said, “I would like to face you, James.” James faltered. He wanted to fight, but he was afraid he would make a fool out of himself. The crowd, on the other hand, cheered him on. James could not control himself. His legs drove him up the stadium. Moments later, Alex made his first strike. Maybe some normal warrior would be wounded in seconds if they were fighting against Alex. But James was not a normal warrior. He could see each of Alex’s strikes clearly. He was the first one to actually beat Alex. The crowd was shocked that the best warrior they had lost against a newcomer like James.

Alex smiled, however. “Nice skill.” James grinned at this compliment. Luke decided to let James partner up with Alex for his training. Each time, they would fight to a stalemate. At the end of the year, James excelled in every kind of training, sword fighting, archery, hand-to-hand combat, and many other techniques. But no one knew about his weakness: Real life experience in a war.

But he was about to get more experience than James ever wanted. Every warrior knew that they were about to start a war very soon against Chen, king of the nearby city, Aegis. During one of James and Alex’s training sessions, they were summoned by their king. He said that the war had started and they needed to gather the entire army quickly. James pulled out his horn and blew it. Soon, the whole of the Kingdom of Fantasy was at his service. James told Alex to lead part of the army around the enemies and attack from the back. He told Luke to lead the other part of the army up the hill. Then James himself would guard the gate to the Kingdom of Fantasy with five soldiers: Jack, Chase, Nathan, Percy, and Fred.

The plan worked out perfectly. Chen’s army was trapped. But James found himself face to face with Lord Chen. James charged Chen and motioned the others to stay where they were. He followed Chen into the mountains. James slashed at him but Lord Chen dodged. He unsheathed his sword and struck James. He ducked but then he heard a tiny groan behind him.

It was Alex. He used his body to intercept an arrow aimed at James. The arrow wounded him in the arm. Outraged, James slashed Chen’s armor with all the might he could muster. The sword made a lash in his armor. Chen’s shock gave James the perfect chance to strike him. James slammed Chen with his shield and shot an arrow directly at Chen’s heart. Chen, with horror on his face, fell down and gave a last twitch. He was defeated. James blew his horn one last time and fainted.

When he woke up, he was in the hospital wing. He tried to sit up but quickly sat back down because his arm was still bandaged. He called for the nurse and asked her if Alex was alright. The nurse nodded. The next Monday, James was able to get out of bed. The moment his fellow soldiers saw him in the hallway, they all cheered for him. James then knew that he was awarded for his act of bravery and finally gained self-confidence.