The key was still there, but now a metal object that looked like the hilt to a sword lay next to it. Andy turned it over. It was gold with four carvings. One carving was a bunch of clouds with puffed up cheeks that looked like they were blowing. Another was a giant wave. The third was a flaming ball of fire, and the last was a pile of rocks. While the detail was beautiful, Andy had no idea what the symbols might mean. Near the top two stones were set on either side, one pure white, the other pitch black. Andy picked it up and found it surprisingly light. He slashed down as if fighting an invisible enemy. Immediately a shiny blade grew out of the hilt! Andy nearly dropped it.
Andy assumed the stance he always did back home when playing his video game, Dragon Slayer. Pretending there was a red dragon attacking him, he prepared to fight. He jabbed and thrusted, jumped and bobbed all over Mermin’s library. His imaginary fight lasted a long time. The dragon was a tough imaginary opponent, but in the end, Andy plunged the sword into its heart and watched the beast collapse. Andy danced in victory, whooping and hollering.
Hearing a commotion as he was going by, the King stuck his head in the door of the library.
“Oh, hi sir.”
“May I ask what you’re doing?”
“Just fighting a red dragon with my new sword!”
“May I see that, Andy?”
As soon as the King saw it, his eyes grew large and his mouth opened. He gasped.
“What’s wrong, sir?”
“Where did you get this?”
“Right here, in the gold book. I was getting the key to pack it for tomorrow, and I found the hilt next to it.”
The King handed the sword back to Andy and knelt before him on one knee.
“What are you doing, sir?”
“I am your humble servant, Andrew, Son of Smith.”
“What do you mean? What are you doing? Stop it! Get up!”
The King stood slowly. “Andy, this sword is named Methuselah. It is the sword that divides good and evil everywhere. That’s what the black and white stones on front and back, along with the carvings of the four elements—wind, water, fire, and earth—represent. Until now I thought it was only a legend. Many stories have been told about the battles it has fought to execute judgment and justice. Legend says it shows up only when there is a significant showdown about to happen. And it only appears to the one who has been judged worthy to wield it in victory.”
The King looked at Andy, “I’ve never seen or heard of it appearing in my lifetime. For it to show up now, and to you. I don’t know what we’re up against…” His voice trailed off.
“Please, don’t say any more. You’re scaring me, sir.” Not waiting to be dismissed, Andy grabbed the gold key, closed the book, put it back on the shelf, and headed for the door, sword in hand.
“Uh, you might want to...”
As soon as Andy thought about putting it away, the blade retracted back into the hilt. As before, it startled him and he nearly dropped it.
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