In the secret cabin beneath Captain Kid’s raft, the young captain explains the true nature of reality. As Charles, William, Dawn, and Ozzie watch on, he presents two decks of playing cards. One of the decks is blue. The other is red. He shuffles the decks together so the two stacks of cards just barely interlace. Then he explains that reality is like a deck of cards, there’s layers. If a person knows where the layers touch, it is possible to jump between them. Furthermore, one side of the Reality Deck is red, while the other side is blue. This concept remains mysterious.

Captain Kid says that Charles and his friends live on a layer very near the top of the blue side of the Reality Deck. Also introduced is the concept of Reality Gravity, which means it is easier to travel “down” the layers than it is to go “up.”

As for the fairy, Marshal Rayban found her cart turning to dust outside a Victorian house in an otherworldly version of New Orleans. Neighbors reported that the house was rented to a girl without parents. After entering the house, Marshal Rayban discovered a trap set for the fairy beneath the girl’s pillow in her bedroom. Now, the marshal suspects the fairy was taken up the Reality Deck into a place he calls the Attic of the World.

“But you should know,” he says, “monsters live in the Attic of the World. Great things, too, but even they are dangerous.”

When Charles asks, what kind of monsters, the marshal answers, “Spiders with faces, dead kings of darkness, the terrible black unicorn, Night Mare, with all of his minions.”

Making the matter even worse, the Patch Fairy is no ordinary sprite. She is a princess of the highest order, daughter to the king and queen of the entire Blue Realm.

Amazingly, the captain wants Charles and the other kids to help with the rescue mission. All of this is very exciting and interesting, but Charles feels compelled to raise the alarm. “No offense,” he says, “but we’re just kids. We can’t save a princess.” Then gesturing to the gunslinger, he adds, “Take him. He could do it easily.”

Much to Charles’s disappointment, Marshal Rayban is unwilling to go into the Attic of the World. According to him, the Attic is outside of his jurisdiction. Besides that, it’s no place for grownups.

With varying levels of reluctance, our earthly friends agree to help the captain find his missing fairy. Charles is amazed and scared, and he cannot help but remember that this is exactly what he’d prayed for.

So it begins, in the belly of a magic raft, the makings of a quest.

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