In the Orient
Jockabeb’s and Robert’s faces as they were each handed a water bottle. Even though the water wasstill hot, neither of them complained as they took their first drink in well over twenty-four hours.
    As they all prepared to make the long and difficult descent down to the ferry, they looked back once more at the crevice in the mountainside. When they did, another miraculous event took place. In fact, three miraculous events occurred in quick succession!
    First, the crevice through which they’d just walked suddenly closed seamlessly right before their eyes!
    When Archibald turned to his brother and said, “Wow,” he again couldn’t believe what he saw. The dark red bruises that had covered the left side of Jockabeb’s face had somehow disappeared, his brother’s mutilated ear was whole and normal looking, and Jockabeb looked as fresh and clean as if he’d just come back from a leisurely morning stroll in the park!
    Seconds later, May gasped, “Oh my Lord.” To her and to everyone else’s amazement, the deep gash on Robert Liu’s forehead had somehow disappeared, as well as all other traces of his terrible ordeal. Even his thick horn-rimmed glasses had been restored. Touching his smooth forehead, and then looking at his clean clothes, Robert beamed the first smile in more than a day, almost blinding the rest of the group as the bright sunlight reflected off his gold teeth.
    His work done, the spirit of the Jade Emperor bowed his head to the other spirit that hovered nearby, smiled, and then disappeared.
    The hike down the stone steps was uneventful, and the group was able to catch the three o’clock ferry back to Hong Kong. While they all stood on the fantail and watched Lantau Peak fade into the distance, Archibald suggested what should and should not be said to Mrs. Chen.
    “Jockabeb and I have been through this kind of thing before,” he began. Then he corrected himself saying, “Well, maybe not exactly this kind of thing, but close. Anyway, I think we should just stick with our previous story and say we met Jockabeb and Robert when they were waiting to board the ferry. We all decided to have lunch on Lantau Island before heading back to Central. And, as far as we’re all concerned, that ends that. What do you say?”
    Robert Liu initially had a problem with not telling Mrs. Chen the truth. However, as he thought through how difficult it would be to explain how he’d let the situation get so out of hand, and after Archibald pointed out that no one would believe what had happened anyway, he agreed to go along with the story. That was when Archibald gave Robert back his car keys and said, “I expect you’ll need these.”
    At about the halfway point between Lantau Island and Hong Kong Island, Willow did something she hated to do, but knew was necessary all the same. As she tossed her crossbow and last arrow overboard, she turned to Archibald and said, “Has anyone ever told you that hanging around with you can be hazardous to one’s health?”
    “You’ll get used to it,” he replied, putting his arm around her shoulders.
    “I hope so,” she answered, leaning her head against his chest.
    After watching his brother and Willow, Jockabeb walked over to May and said, “Hey, I haven’t thanked you for what you did back there. If it wasn’t for you and Willow, I’d be a goner.”
    “It was nothing,” May replied quietly.
    “Anyway, I’d like to do something to pay you back,” Jockabeb said. “How about we go out to dinner one night? That is, if it’s okay with your mother. Maybe we could go on a double-date with Archibald and Willow.”
    “I’d like that,” May answered with a smile. “Yes, I’d like that very much.”
    When the taxi pulled through the gates at Jade Place, Mrs. Chen was standing at the front window waiting patiently for her daughter and guests to return home. As she said hello, Mrs. Chen was more than a little bit surprised as she watched the four hungry teenagers walk

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