The Diamond Dragon (Kip Keene Book 4)

The Diamond Dragon (Kip Keene Book 4) by Nicholas Erik

Book: The Diamond Dragon (Kip Keene Book 4) by Nicholas Erik Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nicholas Erik
    A strip of floor lights came on in succession, like a runway. Keene could hear a generator kicking on and breakers being tripped.
    “I first read about this paradise in my father’s journal many years ago,” Leif announced. He reached beneath his gear, into one of the many pockets adorning the front, extracting a well-worn leather journal. “In fact, this is how the UCD first contacted me. They wanted to know more about these mysterious journals. Naturally, not having seen my father for almost a decade, since my teenage years, I agreed to take a look.”
    “Heartwarming story,” Strike said. “You must be a lucky guy.”
    “Yes, I suppose I am,” Leif said, clearly unperturbed by her obvious sarcasm, “I pored over these pages, as a small child would a comic book, drawn in by the yarn. You see, I thought my father had abandoned me. My mother, too. But that wasn’t true. Not at all.”
    Leif pressed his right hand against another lock, and a door opened. He stepped forward into a small room, lit only by patches of faint LED lights. Monitors adorned ever wall, tracking all sorts of physical fluctuations and readings.
    Leif pulled out the prism, which glowed with a tremendous energy.
    “We met your mother. Nice lady,” Strike said.
    “Yes,” Leif said, with a furrowed brow. “Before they initiated her. She can no longer leave.”
    “How do you know?”
    “Trackers are inserted during the initiation. Stray too far and, well, it gets ugly.”
    “You know this from experience?” Strike said.
    Leif didn’t answer, just grimaced.
    “I bet it was from experience,” Strike said, soft enough that only Keene could hear.
    The prism began to shake and move within Leif’s palm as he brought it closer to the ground. He brushed aside some dirt, revealing a strange looking indentation, formed of rock. It looked like a perfect fit for the prism.
    “It matches,” Agent Redbeard said.
    “I thought this thing only worked at the clock tower,” Keene said.
    “Apparently your beliefs were wrong, Mr. Keene.”
    “Why haven’t the locals found this second portal?”
    “They do not know it exists.” Agent Redbeard gestured for Keene to come closer. “Ready?”
    Keene stepped forward, his curiosity overriding Strike’s warning tugs. A massive stream of light burst out from the prism in a triangular beam. The ground rattled as monitors fell over and workstations crashed to the earth. A great wind rushed through the tight space, like a flash tornado, sweeping dirt and broken plastic in the air.
    Then the floor opened up into a black hole, endless and infinite. The wind rose to a deafening crescendo, howling and whipping at Keene’s face. He fell down and was quickly swept towards the chasm. Keene managed to snag hold of a small rock next to where the prism glowed.
    “Is this what you expected?” Keene said, screaming to be heard over the maelstrom. Leif clung to a nearby corner of the wall, his feet dangling above the empty hole. Keene’s grip slipped further, sending him halfway into the abyss. He saw Strike clinging to a desk that was bolted to the ground—but only temporarily. Its bottom support gave way, sending her spiraling past, into the heart of the blackness.
    “I’ll see you on the other side,” Leif said. Then he dropped into the hole, amidst the swirling debris.
    Keene still clung tight, looking at the ever-strengthening beam of light emanating from the portal key. A sensation of incredible lightness passed over Keene’s body. He felt his fist close, clinging to nothing but empty air. The edge of the hole widened.
    And then Keene tumbled into the darkness, with no idea where the bottom would take him.

17 | Shambhala
    Keene didn’t hit the ground. The blackness just ceded into a snowy landscape overlooking a magnificent vista. Cold leached into his bones almost immediately. He sprang up from the snowbank, shucking ice from his short hair. Half of a desk chair slid down the slope,

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