The following night, Lucy put the magic ring on and entered Hyperborea, but she didn’t end up on a high mountain summit like the night before, or by a lake in a forest.
No, this time she appeared on a very long, pearly white beach – lined all the way along with a headland at either end.
Before her, there was a mighty, shimmering ocean, which curved upwards for three to four thousand miles to meet the haze of the interior star.
Both to the right and to the left of Lucy, the coast arced up out of sight. Behind her, there were immense, shining cliffs – streaked with crisscrossing veins of silver – lining the entire beach.
It so happened that Lucy was not alone on the beach – far from it.
There were hundreds of people, all enjoying themselves in total harmony, total serenity. They were either walking back and forth, Sunbathing, playing, building sand sculptures with golden buckets and spades, eating, drinking and swimming – very far out.
There were many dogs too.
Lucy saw several people resembling those that inhabited the island, where the library of Hyperborea was situated and a few inhabitants of Eldorado, but the rest, she was unfamiliar with.
There were people with red hair, people with black hair, people with brown hair, people with dark skin, Chinese-like people, Japanese-like people, people with silvery blonde hair and many others.
They were either wearing shorts, t-shirts, sandals, trunks and swimming costumes, which were being worn by the girls and women only. Most however, were barefoot.
As for Lucy, she was wearing a shimmering, multicoloured swimming costume.
There were more than just people about.
In the sea, there were whales, dolphins, serpents, seals, water dragons and Mer people. Up above, there were Pterodactyls, birds and more dragons.
Furthermore, there was plenty of shapeshifting going on. People were transforming into creatures of the sea and of the air. The same was happening vice versa.
Suddenly, Alcyone materialized in front of Lucy.
“Greetings again Lucy.”
“Ready for another adventure?”
“I sure am. Where will you be taking me?”
“How will I manage to survive? How will I manage to breathe?”
Alcyone made a small mushroom materialize out of thin air.
“By eating this.”
“What will happen when I eat it?”
“An invisible shield will surround you. It will give you air, prevent you from swallowing lots of water and keep hunger and thirst at bay, for we will be underwater for a considerable amount of time.
“Now remember, the seas of Hyperborea are fresh – fresh, warm and clear, which gives one the advantage of seeing a long distance.”
“I presume that you will change into another form?”
“Indeed I will. Now come.”
Alcyone and Lucy entered the sea, which was indeed warm and swam out a long way.
And then, Alcyone transformed into a golden serpent.
“Get on my back,” she said.
Lucy got on the serpents back, right behind the head and the pair of them went beneath the sea surface.
So the underwater adventure began.
Th begin with, Lucy saw many brightly coloured fish, octopuses, sharks, whales, dolphins, seals, squids, seahorses, turtles, jellyfish, Mer people and other sea creatures.
That was just below the surface of the sea, which was very clear indeed and over two hundred feet in depth at that point with crystals, corals and mushrooms growing on the floor.
But that was just the beginning, because there came a point where the sea floor began to slope downwards at an angle of about ten to fifteen degrees. It went on like that for some way, until it got even steeper, by a further fifteen or sixteen degrees.
Lucy began to see all the familiar life forms – only they were oversized. There were two-metre-tall sea horses, limpets the size of umbrellas, orca-sized dolphins and sharks, squids thirty feet in length, jellyfish with caps five metres wide.
Only the water dragons, the serpents and the mermaids were of ordinary size.
After descending over two miles below the sea surface, the underwater terrain levelled out again.
At that depth, things were even larger in size. There were giant squid, Kraken-sized octopuses, eels as large as serpents, huge crabs with six-metre-wide shells, Plesiosaurs, six-metre-high seahorses, crystals up to five hundred feet in length and seaweed up to a mile in height.
For about fifty miles it went on like that, until suddenly, the terrain dropped away vertically with overhanging projections in some places.
Alcyone headed down into a vast gully – some three hundred metres wide and the same in depth, which wound its way down this way and that, at an angle of roughly twenty degrees for two to three miles, to an even greater depth, which withheld an astonishing secret – a secret, which blew Lucy’s mind right away.
At the bottom end of the gully, there was what turned out to be, a mighty forest of giant luminous mushrooms, which came in a numerous range of pale colours.
The sea was still clear, which meant that Lucy could see for miles.
There was plenty of life about too.
Up to a thousand miles the forest stretched for – a thousand miles, all the way to a range of craggy mountains, higher than the Andes.
It was then that Alcyone swam through a large opening in one of the mountains. She made her way down a winding passage for over three miles, to a huge cavern with two far larger passages branching off on the far side.
The cavern happened to be illuminated by some kind of pale bluish green luminescent light, as were the passages.
There was plenty of life there, such as giant octopuses, jelly fish the size of parachutes, three-hundred-foot- long squid, two-hundred-foot-long blue whales, Mer people, water dragons, Plesiosaurs and serpents.
Furthermore, there were mammoth crystals, over a thousand feet in length.
Alcyone swam into the right-hand passage, which led down to a slightly larger inhabited bluish green crystal cavern with three more bluish green passages branching off – one to the left, one to the right and one directly opposite.
At that point, Lucy began to suspect that Alcyone was starting to swim into a very large system of caverns and passages. She was going to find out soon, just how right she was.
Alcyone continued swimming through bluish green, inhabited crystal caverns and passages, which were getting larger and larger.
Not only that, but she was swimming downwards.
At one point, she entered what turned out to be an immeasurable cavern, all lit up by a pale green luminescence. In height it was roughly four miles, but neither its length, nor width were known.
The astonishing thing, was the fact that there was a vast forest of enormous, luminous crystal clusters – hundreds of feet in length. The sight of it overwhelmed Lucy.
Furthermore, there were lifeforms about, only they were of a stupendous size. There were kilometre-long squids, mile-long eels, octopuses with tentacles two-thousand-feet long, sea horses a hundred feet high, jellyfish with caps five-hundred-feet wide, turtles up to a thousand feet in length and more.
There were however, Mer people, dragons and serpents. The Mer people were like insects in comparison to the largest over-sized creatures and the serpents and dragons were small enough against them.
Alcyone headed out over the vast forest at a heigh of a thousand feet.
The sight of it all was totally inconceivable to Lucy.
A crystal forest on land in Hyperborea was one thing, but one in a super-sized cavern deep beneath a fresh water sea floor was another.
Eventually, the crystal forest came to an end.
Alcyone entered a pale green passage, which ran down for up to seven miles to another immeasurable cavern – lit up by a mauve luminescence.
Unlike in the last cavern, there was no forest of mammoth crystals. Instead, there was another secret, which surpassed anything that Lucy had seen so far, by a very long way.
Instead of either a forest of mushrooms, or crystals, there was a forest of trees – trees, which Lucy was all very well familiar with.
There were oaks, elms, beeches, pine trees, palm trees, acorn trees, yews, horse chestnuts, birches, willows and many others. They were all bathed in the luminescent lighting.
The thing, which stumped Lucy the most, was the fact that the forest was inhabited by a wide range of creatures, including wolves, deer, boars and bears.
There were many sea creatures too in the cavern, but those woodland creatures looked entirely out of place to Lucy.
For hundreds of miles Alcyone swam over the forest, which was inhabited everywhere by woodland creatures.
When she reached the far side, she entered an opening and headed up through a mauve passage, which led to a third immeasurable cavern.
Lucy was still totally baffled by what she had seen in the previous cavern. At that moment she didn’t see how things could possibly get any weirder, but she was soon to discover how very wrong her line of thinking was.
In the third stupendous cavern, there was neither a forest of crystals, a forest of mushrooms, or a forest of trees and the lighting was peach in colour.
Instead, there was a vast expansive area – resembling the African Bush in every way – except for the large mushrooms and the well over-sized cacti, which lay scattered about. There were trees too, but everywhere else was tall grass.
The sight of it was astonishing to Lucy, but there was something, which baffled her even more.
It turned out that the underwater plain was inhabited by lifeforms found in Africa. There were elephants, lions, giraffes, leopards, crocodiles, hyenas, flamingos, the lot.
Not only that, but there were dinosaurs too. There were Triceratops, Tyrannosaurs, Stegosaurs, Brachiosaurs, Ankylosaurs, Pterodactyls and Raptors.
Lucy was thunderstruck.
Unlike the usual marine lifeforms in the cavern, those dinosaurs and the creatures found in Africa looked right out of place. In fact, the whole area did.
As Alcyone swam across the cavern floor at a height of four four-hundred-feet, Lucy saw other dinosaur species, including Allosaurs, Spinosaurus, Diplodocus and Styracosaurus.
When Alcyone reached the far side of the mega cavern, she swam up through a system of much smaller caverns and passages – pale bluish purple in colour. Within each cavern, there were luminous crystals over a thousand feet in length and marine creatures, which by then were smaller, still over-sized, but smaller.
Eventually, Alcyone left the cavern system.
Beyond that point, there were no more vast luminous caverns.
Instead, there was the turquoise colour of the ocean with the light of the interior star shining on its surface far above.
Not only that, but there was another mind-blowing surprise in store for Lucy.
It wasn’t a forest of mushrooms, it wasn’t a forest of crystals, it wasn’t a forest of trees and it wasn’t an area resembling the African Bush.
Instead, it was a forest of flowers – super-sized flowers. All the familiar ones were there – roses, daffodils, poppies, daisies, violets, bluebells, white garlic, Sun flowers and countless others.
Other than that, there were the usual marine lifeforms.
As Alcyone swam over the expansive forest, Lucy saw many other kinds of mega flowers, including foxgloves, primroses, lavenders, buttercups and tulips.
When she reached the other side of giant flower forest, she swam up to a higher area of terrain, strewn with enormous crystals, and vast corals. There was seaweed up to two kilometres high and the life forms were smaller in size.
After some while, Alcyone swam to a higher area, where everything was even smaller in size – the crystals only two hundred feet roughly in length, the seaweed a kilometre high and the corals no larger than those in the seas of the outer Earth.
Further on, Alcyone ascended to an area of higher terrain – between two and three hundred feet beneath the sea surface. The crystals were smaller and the marine creatures were of their usual size – unlike the giant ones of the deep.
At one point, Lucy began to see people swimming about and communicating with dolphins, whales and Mer people, not far above.
Then finally, she and Alcyone broke the ocean surface – roughly one hundred metres from a very long beach – lined all the way along with shimmering grey cliffs with veins of silver running through them, up to a thousand feet in height.
Alcyone transformed back into her human form and swam to the shore with Lucy.
There were hundreds of people on the beach – either walking about, Sunbathing, building sand sculptures, eating, drinking or playing about.
Others were changing into birds, Pterodactyls and dragons and taking to the air, or transforming into Mer people, whales, dolphins, sharks, water dragons and serpents and disappearing beneath the waves. The same was happening vice versa.
Then there were those who were disappearing or appearing out of nowhere.
“So Lucy, what did you make of all that?”
“Well, it’s all beyond me. Eldorado is one thing, the great library another, but everything that I have just seen is totally out of the realm of my understanding. It’s just so inconceivable. Woodland creatures, dinosaurs, creatures found in Africa, all living underwater. How in the world can they possibly breathe down there?”
“They have gills.”
That made sense to Lucy.
“However, what you’ve seen is just a small fraction of what lies beneath the surface of the oceans.”
“It’s just so much to take in.”
“Just as it will be on your next adventure.”
“So what happens now?”
“You will return to the outer world, but you will no longer be wearing the swimming costume.”
“Well, this is it then for now.”
Lucy exchanged farewells with Alcyone and disappeared.
When she reappeared, she was back in her bed, but the swimming costume was gone.
She removed the ring and placed it on her bedside table – ready to be worn the following night.