"Arabelle, wouldn't you like to go through the portal instead of just looking?" Daire asked.
"Of course I would but the portal closes down the instant I even think of going through," Arabelle admitted. "It just won't let me."
"Yes, I'd almost forgotten. That's a protective device built into portals to keep the keeper safe. It won't allow you to go through unless you are accompanied by an escort, a trained explorer. Fortunately I happen to be such an explorer. How would you like to come with me and actually step on an alien world?"
"I'd love to! When can we go?" she asked excitedly.
"No time like the present," he said happily. "I'll pick a few pretty safe settings for your first foray. Wait until you get a look at what's out there! Well, of course you have seen some amazing things but now you can actually touch them."
"Don't move," he whispered in her ear. "We don't want to scare them. Aren't they incredible?"
"What is a huge lion statue doing out in the middle of nowhere?" Arabelle asked.
"Presumably it's on vacation like everyone else," he said lightly. "It's got to be somewhere, so why not here? You're always going to find more questions than answers. That's part of the fun."
She was being swallowed up in all the foliage. What a mistake to wear a green dress! She could barely see anything over the plants. Arabelle really hoped Daire knew where he was going because she was lost. The size of these leaves was amazing. It made her wonder what else was huge out here. She really hoped she wouldn't run into another giant frog. Worse would be to stumble across a predator that ate giant frogs. She had held her own against a frog but she didn't like the idea of encountering anything more deadly.