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Chapter 5
Welcome to a New World

“Another locked door!?” Arthur yelled out, completely flabbergasted. His wife Gwen stared at Miggty and Lord Casmo with a stone-cold look. Nothing could budge her. Nothing could wipe that intense look off her face.

Everyone else was completely dumbfounded and stunned stiff as well. The villagers surrounding them stopped their whispers and remained completely still, as if turned to stone. No one could believe it. Rook himself was stiff and astounded. Another locked door, which meant the test was not yet over.

“If you remember,” Lord Casmo wiped the sweat off his brow. The sun was nearly set now, giving a purplish hue to the cloudy white snowy skies above them. “I mentioned the initial stepsfor the initial lock. Now, if this slate doesn't come off then the boy goes to his grave in this coffin. However, we can't have all these keys go to waste anyway. That's not to say I know which key will open that lock though.” He turned to the local weapons-maker Arond, who was in the crowd, and nodded at him. Arond was perhaps the only person not surprised. In fact, actually, he seemed quite bored.

“Milio and Mary, you are next.” Miggty cleared his throat.

Lord Casmo quietly walked toward the bench but didn't sit down. “Any time now,” he warned the competitors.

“Is this the final door?” Arthur asked. The Lord didn't respond.

At first Milio and Mary didn't move from the bench. They were stone-cold statues, completely stunned. It took a hassling nudge from Miggty to bring them back to life and get them to pick their next key. They slowly shuffled through the snow toward the neutral pile, looking at the array of keys. For once, the couple that seemed to always be in control and sure of themselves was stumbling around. They exchanged perplexed looks and miscued hand gestures, unable to communicate a single strategy or sure signal. They also didn’t know what to say to each other.

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