It was the most confusing experience I've ever had. First Mina took me to central fountain, where she tossed me to Joyce, a twelve-year-old girl whose mouth never stopped talking. Her duty was to walk me around Childworld.
It was no bigger than a village. I was walking beside her, licking a double ice-cream she got for me. Price-there's no price.
"You're just in time!" Joyce said to me just then. "Just in time for what?" I asked, licking my ice-cream. "Tonight, Bill will be declared as the next prince. There will be a grand banquet at the palace lake," Joyce explained. My head started spinning. "But how do you know when he'll born?" I asked.
"No, no, citizens don't just born at Childworld. Only adults allowed to have child. That's the only adult rule we follow in Childworld," Joyce told me.
"A person who did good deeds to the community and perform difficult tasks earns a 'Starpoint'. The citizen with the most Starpoint is the next prince. This time, it's Bill. We don't have kings or queens, just princes and princesses."
Now I was excited. This royal banquet sounded like fun. "What's the banquet like?" I asked. Joyce clasped her hands together.
"It's wonderful! There will be fireflyworks and ballerinas will perform in floating boats! But my favorite is food. Have you ever ate Childworld food before? If you haven't, you must eat pine cone soup at least once. The spiderwebs serves as noodles, it's delicious!" Joyce licked her lips just thinking about it, but I wrinkled my nose.
"Can you eat those stuff? Yuck!" I said, making a face. Joyce smiled. "Everything in Childworld is fresh and safe to eat-including pine cones and spiderwebs," she said. I didn't think I could still eat the same thing the wild beasts eat. Just then I stumbled over a huge root and fell with a loud "Oof!"
"Ooh," I moaned. "My knee is skinned," Joyce helped me up. "You should watch your step around here," she told me. "If you don't-like this time-you might trip over a root of the Lifetree,"
"Lifetree?" I asked myself and looked up. There, standing firm and proud was the biggest tree I've ever seen!
"Wow!" I gasped. Joyce looked proud. "Our Lifetree has all basic necessaries we need. And it grows every few inches a day. Most of us live here, though some of them live at the Pearl Hall-that's where children from rich family lives. You will be living here too-in room 337 in floor three," she explained.
Then Joyce led me inside the tree. I've never imagine myself happening to live inside a hollow tree-or something more important than that.
Inside, a confusing staircase coiled all the way to the top of the tree, and children offered me berries and other fruits as I passed their rooms. Sunlight shown through the many windows.
"This is beautiful!" I exclaimed. "How did you build it?"
"We didn't build it," said Joyce. "We just live in it." was her mysterious remark. But I barely heard it, though I was the one who asked. I was touching the smooth inside surface of the Lifetree and peeking through every corners of it. At one room, a modest-looking boy was playing a piano, and a pretty little girl was singing.
I intended to watch them, but Joyce said I had to clean my room. "The cloths and other things are ready in there. We must see if it fits you and choose one for the royal banquet."
I was overjoyed. I ran well-ahead of Joyce to my room. It was a very newest room, and some points, the paints wasn't even dry. Joyce told me that after about ten minutes, some fourteen-year-old boys-and girls-will come in, carrying my furnitures. Until then, I was stuck outside.
I decided to meet some of my new neighbors, but most of them were shut inside, safe from the unusually freezing October cold.
I was alone, sitting on one of the roots of Lifetree. Just then, I saw that-the Pearl Hall.