Her fingers grace the smooth wood illuminated by the forbidden light. Her cape glistens with jewels. Her circlet sparkles with gold. “This is my only chance,” I hear her whisper. “My only chance at a winning over my people. Introducing a new form of being.” She seems to be talking to someone, almost through a window. I see no one.

“Gem—” I hear another voice cut the thick tension with a dull knife. Her voice was soft and tangible, and simple to understand.

Quickly, I flip the switch on my belt to begin recording. I have exactly fifteen minutes—no more, no less. The time starts now.

“The Dark Ages have long since passed,” the queen continues, “but I know they are returning. My world will soon be at war and there will no longer be a monarchy, but democracy. My people don’t understand how to yield such power, and eventually, our existence will stretch to the knowledge of others.”

“You know you’re better than this,” the other woman said. “Your knowledge is an override to our people. You extend their authority over the rest.” A blurry arm rests on the queen’s.

“It’s not my decision to make,” she says thickly, after quite a brief moment’s pause. “It’s not anyone’s. This pathfinder is a memento of your people’s extended gratitude to my world, Nell. I will never forget the kindness you’ve lended.”

“A pathfinder is a pathfinder,” the person who I assumed to be ‘Nell’ says firmly. “I, personally, own at least three others with a similar design, give or take a few. Using this one will come to no harm to my people. But hold fair warning; it is never safe to hide anything from your people. Especially when their suspicions are exactly what’s occurring.” I see a small distortion in the air as Nell moves to the window and then everything is silent.

I flip the switch on my tool belt. I know all that I suspected, and now I have it on recording. I wait until the door closes shut and motion for my brother to follow me as I climb out the back room window, stepping in each crevice in the stone wall to hold my balance. I reach the last one as my silent brother opens our portal home and we are pulled away.

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