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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Microstory 1174: Juan Ponce de León

Famous explorer, Juan Ponce de León lived in the late fifteenth, and early sixteenth centuries. But he also lived in an incalculably high number of other time periods. When he arrived on the Florida coast, he was surprised to find another apparent westerner waiting for him there. The woman spoke of the Fountain of Youth, which up until that point, Juan had never heard of. Still, he was curious, so he broke from his crew, and set about on a journey through the wilderness. Upon reaching what was supposedly his destination, he discovered what appeared to be a dried up river bed. At first he was discouraged, not in disappointment for having missed out on a magical elixir that could make him immortal, but because he felt a fool for having believed it existed in the first place. Just to be safe, however, he decided to dig, but did not intend to go very deep. Perhaps the water was deep underground. He just kept thinking that he only need scoop out one more handful, and water would spring forth. It never did, but he did eventually come across a compass. It must have been buried there for a long time, but it was in pristine condition. Curious, he started fiddling with the device, and after awhile, a rectangular light appeared before him, as if he had created it. Curiouser still, he pushed forward, and stepped into the light, where he found himself face to face with a bus. The bus was not moving, so he was in no danger, but he had no clue what this magnificent structure was. He looked around, and discovered there to be dozens of other buses like it, all in a row. He walked a little farther, until he came upon the road, where similar vehicles were ferrying their passengers to various destinations. He continued to do what he does best, and explored this strange new world, quickly learning this to be hundreds of years in the future. He only stopped when he finally encountered a library, where he could learn almost everything he wanted to know about what had happened to the world after he’d left it.

When he wasn’t studying the books, Juan was studying his new compass. Over time, he learned to navigate this special time object, and moved all across time and space, meeting all sorts of interesting people. Other time travelers started calling him The Navigator, which he had to admit, he quite liked. He learned several languages, beheld beautiful things, and witnessed terrible tragedies. He kept fairly detailed journals of his experiences, but even he didn’t quite know how long he had been gone from home. The possibility of a Fountain of Youth continued to nag at him, and he felt compelled to learn more about it. Certain other travelers believed it to be real, in some form, but even they thought the immortality water was just too difficult to procure. Yet he persisted in his search. Many times, some of the ingredient waters were in his grasp, but he had to give it up, to help others, or because he wouldn’t be able to find all of the ingredients in time. Each one was in a different place and time, and would go bad if they weren’t all found before the timer ran out. Following what must have been years from his perspective, Juan decided to create a map. He sought out each ingredient independently, but did not take any. Instead, he simply confirmed its authenticity, and then moved onto the next, until he had a clear picture of everything he would need. Then, he got a good night’s rest, tied his sweet kicks, and set about on his journey. He literally ran through the continuum, opening portals like a pro, and never stopping until he had checked off the entire list. His efforts proved fruitful, when he drank the waters, and became truly immortal. So now, Juan Ponce de León could never be killed, but that still left him with a terrible conundrum. He hadn’t seen his family in many years, and once he returned to them, would have to watch them die. This he could not have. He got his hands on something called a homestone, which delivers its user directly to when and where they first were when they first started traveling through time. He went back to his family, and his life. Then he frequently ushered everyone he cared about through his compass portals, and along the route towards the immortality waters. His whole family, sooner or later, became just like him. Now the only question that remained was, where in the world could they possibly live?

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