“I still don’t understand why Turner Towers caught on fire,” I asked.
“The motorbike probably smashed into the time machine and it exploded,” replied Clayton.
We recently came back after travelling to the past and meeting a famous scientist named Nik Turner. We were attacked by an organisation called I.F. We barely escaped but brought Nik with us. He is currently living with my slightly creepy but really weird neighbour, Caleb. While talking to Clayton, Snowy was sleeping on my lap and couldn’t move. That cat is really heavy. Clayton asked me if I had already packed my bag for the trip to Rome. I nodded. Clayton said that he was leaving and waved goodbye. I carried Snowy of my cramping lap and went to sleep. The next day, I received a call from Clayton.
“What is it now?! Stop calling me at four in the morning! It’s becoming a bad habit.”
“When can we research Rome. Rome is so big. Where do we start?”
“Fine. Six o’clock at my house,”
I ran to the door to see Clayton waving happily at me. He was no better than Caleb. He invited himself into my house and picked up Snowy. He asked me if I wanted to still wanted to wait until six. I narrowed my eyes at him. I took my laptop and sat on my couch. Clayton sat beside me with Snowy in his arms. Clayton suggested that I search for famous places that might have a possible connection with the map. After searching for hours, we had no idea. I rested my head on Clayton’s lap with my eyelids started to close. I yawned and my eyes gave way.
Clayton held my head up and put a pillow under my head. I heard footsteps and Clayton pouring water. A familiar smell drifted through the air. Coffee! A sudden jolt of energy made me sit upright. I dashed to the kitchen and saw Clayton making two cups of coffee. He handed me one and I took a sip. My eyes no longer felt tired. Clayton suggested we rest for a while. We sat on the couch enjoying our coffee. I put my map and coffee on my little table beside my couch. I wanted to get some biscuits to go with the coffee but before I could even walk, I tripped on Snowy. I tried to break my fall by holding the nearest thing to me. I held edge the coffee table but the whole table toppled over with me.
“Owwww! Oh no! The map!” I said.
The map was spilt with my coffee. I picked up my mug and map up. Suddenly, the words Rome started to fade and letters started appearing. Clayton lifted the table back up. I showed Clayton my discovery. He gasped. Letters started to form. M.E.L.A.K. A, A.F.AM.O.S. A. I turned the map around and saw a riddle materialised before us. I read it out loud.
“Worthy ones, Congratulations. You have found the next clue.
If you want the next map, listen carefully, this is not a game.
When finding the door, your eyes would be useful to you.
The carvings seem different but look closer, it’s all the same,”
Clayton was upset that he had to cancel the flight to Rome but he was excited to go to Melaka. Clayton said that we would drive there in his car. He said that they were departing early. In an hour, they would be heading to Melaka. He finally left my house and I had some peace and quiet. I threw myself on the couch and Snowy threw herself on me. I didn’t bother to carry Snowy off as I woke up early enough. I set my phone alarm to wake me in one hour.
Kring! Kring! Kring! Kring! I rubbed my eyes sleepily. I fought the urge to continue sleeping. I took a short shower and got changed into a white turtle neck and brought my bag along with me. Two days’ worth of clothes. I waited for him in the car park. I called Clayton to ask when he was coming. He was on the way. A few minutes later, he arrived with a silver Mercedes which looked nearly polished. Its shiny car hood glimmered in the light. He walked out of his car wearing his usual mock-neck shirt and his leather ivy flat cap. He helped me put my bag in the trunk. I got in the car and we drove off.
“Can you believe we went all the way to Rome?”
“I know the map is here somewhere”
“Sir, I think we should give up. Rome is too big,”
“You got a point. Haiss,”
The I.F had given up on Rome.
I nodded. Clayton asked me if I wanted to hear the story of A’Famosa. I was curious about A’Famosa’s history so I nodded. In 1511, a fleet arrived in Melaka led by Afonso de Albuquerque. Alfonso’s force attacked and eventually defeated the armies of Melaka Sultanate. He quickly built a fortress around a natural hill near the sea. I listened attentively to every detail. Alfonso thought that Melaka could be a very important port that links the famous Spice route and Portugal. While Alfonso did this, other Portuguese were setting up an outpost in places such as Macau, China and Goa, India. They tried to create a chain of ports for ships going to Ming, China and returning home to Portugal.
The fortress once had long ramparts and four major towers. Most of the village was inside the fortress’s walls. As Melaka’s population increased, it outgrew the fortress and the extended the fortress in 1586. In 1614, the Dutch drove the Portuguese out and renovated the gat in 1670. Eventually, the Dutch handed over the fortress to the British so the French expansionist, Napoleon, could not get his hands on it. The English ordered the fortress’s destruction in 1807. The fortress was almost demolished. Luckily, Sir Stanford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore intervened.
“Interesting,” I mused.
By the time Clayton’s history lesson had ended, we were at Johor Baru. Clayton stopped at a rest stop. Clayton went to the bathroom while I bought coffee. I did some stretching. My butt was really cramped. Clayton came out of the restroom and asked me if I ready to go. I nodded. I got in the car and handed Clayton his coffee. Once Clayton switched on the AC, my lack of sleep took a toll on me. I immediately closed my eyes. I couldn’t fight it anymore.
“Aww, now who am I going to talk to,” Clayton said sadly.