The next morning, they got up early and traveled to the city…thousands of Himmincats of all kinds were traveling as well.
On Orth, there were no such things as roads. Instead, Himmincats traveled in hovercrafts or on moving platforms.
The moving platforms were like escalators, only flat – more like the “people movers” that you see in airports or shopping malls. The difference was they went much faster and were as wide as a road, so that many Himmincats could fit on at once.
The only way to get on, since it went so fast, was by first sitting in a little chair (with your luggage, if you had it) that was kind of like a ski lift.
The chair was in a little on-ramp area, like those of a feeder road, to the side of the people mover.
Then, every few seconds, after someone sat down in the chair, it would move down the ramp towards the people mover (which the Himmincats called the “Cat-way”), slowly at first, building speed until by the time it reached the Cat-way you were traveling at the same fast speed that everyone else was.
When a beep sounded, you had 10 seconds to just slip out of the chair onto to the mover. When you were out, the chair rotated back overhead for another waiting traveler.
They get to the city. The children are sorted by males and females. Their mother kisses them and says goodbye – knowing that if her children win, they will never see each other again.
She closes her eyes and places her paw on their heads. Their heads get hot and they realize she is imparting an image of their father that they will be with them always (she says).
Their father isn’t there – he’s a mystery that you can introduce at a later time.
They begin the contests. The contests can really vary in many ways, depending on the interests of your children.
When I told the stories to my kids, I liked to mix in a combination of physical activities, because all kids are familiar with that, along with intelligence, along with common sense kinds of things.
That way, there wasn’t an over-emphasis on just one quality, and a reinforcement that a balance is good.
I liked using an obstacle course as the last one, because it gives the best opportunity for you to mix brains, bravery, common sense, and strength.
They jump over things, they solve 12 dimensional puzzles, they climb walls to get away from pits of sticky goo, they help each other to finish a maze (emphasizing the need for teamwork), etc.
The point is, Lyla and Bendle emerge victorious. Hoo-RAY!