INJUM
CHAPTER 1
Journey to the Floating Cities

Regarding a family's journey to the Land of the Floating Cities.

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Our story began when a small family boarded a large ship to the Land of the Floating Cities. The family consisted of the parents Rheia and Nathan Hawking and their eight-year-old son Jiro.

Nathan was an inventor creating machines that could fly, while Rheia was an alchemist making objects change in size and shape.

They met at work when a prince of a small kingdom wanted to build a castle that has legs so that it could walk, and has wings so that it could fly. Two years later they got married, and after a year Jiro was born.

It took ten years to complete the project, due to a war with a neighboring kingdom. By then Jiro was already eight years old and had finished second grade. His teachers considered him a good student, as he inherited his father’s cleverness and his mother’s curiosity. But most important of all, he grew up to be a tender boy who loved both of his parents dearly.

The prince of the Flying Castle, Wiglaf the Wandering, was so delighted with his project that he recommended Jiro’s parents to the Kingdom of Eleon, the Land of the Floating Cities.

After all, during the war his enemies could never capture him, as his castle always flew away at the sight of an invading army. It also proved useful in trampling enemy soldiers. 

“Sometimes it jumps and rolls over them,” he said in the book Prince Wiglaf: A Moving Biography.

The Hawking family accepted the invitation and decided to move permanently to a new home.

On the day our story starts, a presentation was happening at the center of the ship. It was a tour of Eleon by Suliman the Magician, a retired court sorcerer, and his assistant Dorin the Dwarf, a sorcerer-in-training. 

The audience was sitting in rows of chairs in front of a small stage, in the middle of which was Suliman, addressing them.

“Welcome, everyone! Welcome to the Tour of Eleon! You are about to witness what makes Eleon special among the kingdoms of the Nine Empires.

“But first, a question. I will give one of you a free copy of my best-selling book, One Thousand Magic Tricks, if you could get the answer right.” 

The audience held their breath as they watched Suliman hover and then pull a book out of thin air.

“What is Eleon most famous for?”

Suliman surveyed the audience and said, “Only one answer per person! No cheating!”

A young woman raised her hand and said, “Is it the floating islands?”

“The flying ships!” shouted a man with a thick beard.

“Queen Grimhilda!” a toothless, old woman yelled.

There were five more who replied, but none got the answer right.

And then a woman with a kid shouted, “Is it Skystone?”

Suliman looked at the source of the answer, his eyes bulging as though he found a lost treasure. 

“Absolutely correct!” he shouted. He made his book levitate on top of the audience and then dropped it slowly on the person who got it right.

“Thank you! Thank you, Master Suliman!” Rheia shouted back, making a funny face while proudly showing her prize to Nathan and Jiro.

Suliman went back to the center of the stage and gazed at the audience.

“Are you ready to see Eleon?” he asked.

Suliman winked at Dorin. 

That was the sign that the presentation was about to start. Dorin placed in front of the stage a curious device that most of the audience was seeing for the first time. It looked like a small tripod, only a few inches tall.

“That is a Memoroid,” said Suliman. “It is used for showing stored memories, and today it will show you the beauty of Eleon as though you are there!”

Dorin took out from a small chest several glowing balls of light. He searched among them the one with the right label and then placed it in the Memoroid.

“If you are ready, let’s begin!” Suliman shouted.

With this cue, Dorin pushed the opening of the Memoroid, and the ball of light went inside. 

The Memoroid burst with rays of light, and in the blink of an eye, a three-dimensional projection of the floating islands of Eleon formed on top of the audience.