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JOURNEY 1.1 - "Yeti or Not"

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I’m’a tell ya’ll this right now… this wasn’t on my “first-ever adventure” bingo card.  Apparently, “I’m looking for a magical artifact that grants immortality” in English translates to, “I’d like to marry your daughter” in Yetese.  And if I didn't go through with it, it was fox on the dinner menu.  But, that's what happens when you're someone who is suddenly thrust across the multiverse by a dormant, spiteful genie living in your hat as per a wish you made nearly a decade ago to become a treasure hunter.  (Now, that's a sentence I bet you didn't expect to read today.)


But yeah, I was 0% prepared for what was waiting for me.  Turns out, I had worded my first wish incorrectly way back when.  That djinn made it so that my first wish wouldn't kick in until legal drinking age (21)!  Looking back, I guess that was for the best...


Okay... best to start at the beginning, right?  By now, you're reading this like, "What the heck is this guy on?"


It began one humid summer night, when I snuck out with my grandma's fedora.  My grandma Jean was a former treasure hunter who had raised me since my parents died in an accident.  I grew up listening to her stories about all her quests and adventures, traveling across hundreds of worlds in a multiverse of endless possibilities, looking for dangerous magical artifacts to safeguard from those who would use them for evil.  She always said, "It's not about the artifact, it's about doing the right thing."  It must've struck something in my soul the same way it did her, because I wanted that life so badly.  Adventure, freedom, literally getting to visit hundreds upon thousands of other worlds with different peoples and creatures!  It sounded amazing.  Certainly better than having to go to school.  Ugh!  Don't get me started on how much I detested math class!  I can't even do simple addition in my head!


Anyway, shortly after my twelfth birthday, I discovered that... her stories were true!  Not just bedtime stories to get me to shut up and go to sleep, she had a secret cave underneath the farm house where we lived!  She was not happy with me finding it, but what's done is done, right?  The biggest discovery out of all this, though?  She had a for-real genie trapped in her fedora.  Yeah, like straight outta One Thousand and One Arabian Nights!  She warned me not to mess with it (or any magic for that matter), but did I listen?  Ha!  I'm a fox, we never listen.  We're right up there with felines.


I stole the hat, summoned the genie, and made my three wishes:


1.  I wished to become an adventurer just like my grandma.


2.  I wished to be able to travel to other worlds in the multiverse, but it had to be the genie who opened the portals to these other Earths/worlds.  I didn't want to be blasted with a power I didn't think I could control or one that might've backfired on me.  I thought I was soooooo smart wording it that way...


3.  I wished for the genie to never fall into the hands of another, even after I died.  It would forever be by my side in that fedora.  I don't think the genie liked that one very much.


And so began my adventures... but at what cost?  Did I have to lose my grandma in that house fire that same night?  Was it one of my wishes that resulted in her death?  I'll never know.  The genie doesn't even know.  Not that the genie wants to talk to me.  Every time I summon it, it's just a plume of scary, roaring smoke.


Anyway, back to the story.  The genie, without any warning, transported me from my Earth to another populated completely by yetis (yes, the Asian equivalent to bigfoot on the human worlds) on my twenty-first birthday.  I had no supplies, was not prepared, but what can you expect from someone who was living on the streets, stealing to just get by for... uh... hold on, let me count this...


...NINE years?!


The only thing I did know about this place was what my grandma had written about it in one of her many journals that had survived the fire.  These yeti knew of an elixir that, when consumed by anyone who was not a yeti, would be granted immortality.  Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!


The yeti, to my surprise, were a mostly peaceful bunch.  Sure, they had their warriors, their military, but they weren't monsters as one might expect.  Although, I will say, the introduction was not the best.  The yeti warriors weren't sure what to make of me, and thought I was some kind of monster or spy.  This left me hanging upside down over a chasm while one yeti warrior held me by ankles.  Luckily, I was able to get through to them... or so I thought.  As I said before, apparently certain English phrases or sounds translate to something wholly different in yeti speak.


I was brought to their village, met their chief, and then instantly proclaimed as the betrothed to Princess Labeti.  Help...


Lucky for me, things did work out before I had to put a ring on it.  I stumbled upon a plot by the chief's brother to usurp the throne before the wedding.  On top of exposing the chief's brother as a traitor, Princess Labeti found a proper lover in another Yeti warrior (yes, the same one who dangled me over a cliff).  Turns out, he had been trying to win her affections for years.  Pretty sure his name was Ugg.  He saved her life during the chief's brother's initial siege of the village.  What can I say?  Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.


As for the elixir?  Well... some things are best left where they are, and the Yeti tribe relies on that elixir to sustain themselves in the harsh, mountainous conditions they call home.


I may be a thief, but... who am I to steal life itself?

I may have already stolen one as it is.

Story by Christopher S. Fox

Illustration by Sorena Tamburrini (SkyBlueArts)

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