Peter peered around the corner. The coast was clear, so he made the dash. Down the corridor, past rows and rows of doors. He rounded a bend, and froze. Two large wooden doors towered in front of him. A brass tile in the center read, "London Hill Courtyard", and in a smaller print, "The Royal Chairs". Peter stepped slowly towards the doors, and gave them a gentle push.

The doors creaked open and revealed what they had been hiding for centuries; a marvelous courtyard, filled with warm, sweet air.
Peter held his breath. To breathe would be to spoil this place's beauty. High stone walls boxed the courtyard out from intruders. Glistening, dew covered, ivy had made it's home throughout the courtyard. Peter's eyes ran over every magnificent detail of the courtyard. They then became fixed upon the chairs. Humble, and elegant, the ivy covered mahogany seemed to radiate the beauty of the room. A ring of roses protectively surrounded the chairs, and a sparkling marble fountain completed the picture from behind.
One thing seemed out of place, Peter noticed. A weathered wooden stand, and a similarly weathered looking leather bound book stood just before the roses. Peter crept over to the stand, and undid the strap of the book. He opened the cover and flipped lightly through the pages. The penmanship was sloppy, but Peter could manage to read the title on the page, "The Seven Chairs" it read. He glanced up at the chairs, knowing that this book was written in their honor. He began to read what he could make out of the writing;

The walls of the royal courtyard are now complete. Now comes the construction of the garden, and floor tiles. It is hard labor for the young men building this, and to think that they work without knowledge of their creation. The king has directed that no one is to know about the chairs, besides the palace staff. But someone did.
After Johnathon finished crafting the seven chairs, they were stolen And separated to seven different parts of Europe. The first chair stayed thankfully, in London. The second however, did not. It was had appeared in Dublin. The third was found in Berlin. The fourth had been taken to Rome, and the fifth was taken to Paris, but was found later in northern France. The sixth had been found in Athens, and the seventh had finally been discovered in Amsterdam.
A spell was placed on the chairs, so that whoever sat in them, would instantly be taken to the place the chair was found, and never be able to return to their home.

Peter shut the book and placed it back on the stand.
"Who would be dumb enough to believe that these chairs were cursed?" he mumbled to himself. "First off, magic is not even real, and second, someone cannot be frozen into a city? What rubbish this book is!" he kicked the base of the stand, and it toppled over the roses. Peter looked at it awkwardly. The part that had fallen past the flowers was no longer visible, and he part that hadn't was in clear sight. How strange? Peter thought, maybe there really is magic here!
He took a large step onto the other side of the roses, he didn't feel different, and he could still see all of his body. He strode nervously to the first chair. "London..?" he whispered to nobody, and took a seat.
A whirl of wind hugged him as the ground sped up to meet him. His head throbbed, and his heart pounded. He searched the area, expecting to see his hometown. "Amsterdam?!" he shouted to himself. "How could I possibly be in-" Great, he thought, my dimwitted mind costs me again. I chose the seventh chair, not the first. How much thicker can I get?
He looked around for the chair he had taken for a spin. Where had it gone? Peter needed that chair to give him a ride home. He turned around, only to find a scraggly piece of cloth at his feet. He picked it up. On it was a rhyme written in that same messy handwriting from the book;

Foolish child, you were warned, of what bad things you would hoard, but a curious mind you chaperone, a restless heart you call your own, listen next
time, of what you will fear, your lesson learned, now you are here.

Peter thought about the poem, and knew that he couldn't be stuck here. The chair had come with him and it would take him back.


Peter took one last look around for the chair. No such luck. Where could it have possibly gone? Back to London? The book didn't mention the chair returning, but then again, it didn't say anything about it staying in Amsterdam either.

Peter walked around inspecting his environment. His father had taken him to Amsterdam when he was toddler, but clearly this wasn't the place.
He was in a small wooded clearing with a small body of water directly to his right. This, was most likely the Keizersgracht canal. When he was last in Amsterdam, his father told him about the canal. In English the canal was titled 'Emperor's Canal', which was among Amsterdam's four famous canals that lead to the center of the city.
A trail seemed to snake out of the clearing down along the canal. Peter walked down the path until he reached a rental stand on the side of it. A sign was posted on the top of the stand which read, 'Canal Bikes'. Behind the stand was a scraggly looking fat man, whom smelled of peanut- butter and rum, and was slobishly sprawled over his renting log.
"Hello?" Peter questioned. The man snorted and smacked his lips, but did not wake. "Sir, are you okay?" he asked, poking the man lightly with a stick. This time the man looked up and grunted.
"What?" the man groaned, "What do you want?"
"I was hoping to know what a canal bike was", Peter replied, "and if one would be of use to me I would like to buy one."
"Canal bikes are like pedal boats" the fat man said, "So do you want to buy one?"
"How far do they go?"
"Heh," the man chuckled, "pretty much as far as you can go until your feet stop working"
"Alright, I'll take one" Peter said, "How much?"
"Hmm." the man groaned, "How much have you got?"
Peter paused. He had nearly 200£. He didn't want to tell the man of all that he had, for fear he would drive the price higher.
"Seventy-five pounds" Peter stated.
"P-pounds?" the man snorted, "You're in the Netherlands lad, not Britain."
"So?" Peter questioned.
"So. pounds won't get you very far," he chuckled.
"Well why not?"
"We don't use pounds here son, we use 'Guilders'", he said, "So unless you can get your self to the International Exchange Board, I'm afraid I can't sell you any of me peddlers"
"Where might I find this exchange board?" Peter asked.
The man looked sick of answering all these questions. "You might find it in center city. It's about 6 miles down the canal"
"Do you not get it?!" Peter exclaimed, "I came here to get a boat so that I could go to center city. And in order to get a boat, I have to go to central city to exchange my pounds for guilders" he said, "This is hopeless!" Peter shouted.
"Ey, you're confusing me a bit here lad, but if you mean to say you can't ride the canal, then why not walk the trail?" the man asked.
"How long is the trail?" Peter asked.
"About and eight-teen mile difference from the canal" he said.
"Difference?!" Peter shouted, "You mean its 24 miles?"
The man took a moment and paused, counting his stubby fingers to see if these calculations were correct, and then nodded vacantly.

To be Continued.