Chapter 3

In which Shepry and Koen learn of a strangely intriguing sport.

      When leaving the house, the sun had barely risen in Shepry and Koen's world. Landing their balloon in the approximate area of a clearing in the woods, disassembling it, and finding a convenient nearby cove to hide it in consumed a fair deal of their time and took quite a bit of complicated work, but I will spare the reader such mundane details as to only say that the colorfully painted sunrise had been washed over with a solid blue by the time it was all complete. Other days they might only go so far as to tether the balloon, to save the extensive work of disassemblage and reassemlage, but they hid it away today for many reasons. The first consideration was that they were sure to have a long stay in store for them. It was perfectly likely that they'd spend more than one day in this place, since their home was empty save for one bed to the two of them. Furthermore, this was a strange region to them, so they didn't know if there might be some strange individual who would happen upon a balloon such as theirs and decide he should have it for himself. After all, some individual or individuals had been so strange as to take all things of value and of naught from their home.
      Their current destination was a path Koen noticed from the air just outside those woods which could lead them to the great gathering of people. He directed her toward it, and it was no more than a few minutes' walk before they reached the trail. Upon doing so, they met a boy walking the same direction they would. He walked alongside them and greeted, "Hey, are you two the ones who came down here in that big balloon?"
      Shepry replied to him, since she was walking between Koen and him. "We absolutely are. I guess you saw us overhead?"
      "Oh yeah, it's pretty amazing. People really do go to all sorts of lengths to get here."
      Now this was something that sounded intriguing to Shepry and Koen. So she then told him, "Well it must be something great, but... Honestly, we came here blindly. We've never been here or heard of this place, so we're just on our way down there to figure it out. We had a pretty heavy misfortune today."
      "You're not serious, are you?" He laughingly said, almost interrupting Shepry's last sentence. "How can you have no idea about this place?"
      Shepry was displeased with his pandering and apparent disregard for the importance of their situation, but decided at the moment to attribute it to this place being somehow even more important, so she just went on "Well we live pretty far from here, I suppose. Just humor us then, suppose for a minute that we don't get it, what's going on here?"
      He was clearly overwhelmed with disbelief, but conceded to explain, "This is where the great theoball game is being held! You should know it's the world's most popular sport! It's the best game ever. You honestly haven't lived until you've watched it, or hell, even played it! I mean, I know my fair share about the game, but anybody who's a real fan will go to see the professionals, the world's best, go to play."
      "Hmm... Well all right, you say it's so great, we'll just go with you and see if you're right!" She told him.
      "Hey, I'd love to, believe me... But a ticket to this is something that takes special circumstances to get, and I've only got one. It's not something you can just buy once you get there either. You have to find two people who have already been and have them actually make a ticket for you. Apparently people who haven't been are missing some great hidden secret to make one, and no single person can. Only two. It shouldn't be hard though, you know most everyone in the world has been at least once."
      "Ah," Shepry said. Understandably, this whole idea was puzzling to her.
      She and Koen now slowed down, eventually just coming to a stop in the trail, watching the boy continue. As he left them, he called back "Hey, if you are able to get in, you can look for me there! My name's Valentine."
      And so they stood in the road and watched him head off into the distance. This exclusion was naturally a bit disappointing to these two, but as it often goes with children, if Shepry and Koen had something denied to them, it would give them more desire to have it, so Koen broke the silence declaring "All right Shepry, we've got a job to do. Let's find ourselves some people who will get us into this game."
      And they took a direct right off of the trail to search the countryside.

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