“Rigel! Rolls are ready!” Mundo yelled at the kitchen’s exit. She set a sheet of glazed cinnamon rolls on the table in front of Esther and Allen. Rigel, a blonde 8-year-old walked into the kitchen with eager eyes focused on the melted white icing. “Near and far, please,” Mundo said to her son, and handed him a small plate. Rigel nodded, then casually waved at the wall; two round portals appeared on it.
One portal was so clear that it looked like a hole in the wall, except that it looked outside on a dark night. The actual windows in the kitchen showed a bright, blue, beautiful day outside. The second portal appeared to be an actual black hole. It was pitch dark and seemed to be completely flat; no light reflected off of it. Mundo walked to the clear portal first.
“Think of the multiverse like a spectrum. Each Earth you visit is like a radio station; it has a certain frequency on that spectrum. You guys have radio, right?” She asked. Esther and Allen nodded, but neither of them spoke. They were mouth-deep in pastry. She pointed at the clear one.
“This portal leads to an Earth that’s closer to where we are now than the other portal,” Mundo pointed at the black one. “Earths that are close to each other tend to be similar. It can be difficult to find any differences between them,” she turned to the exit. “Thank you, honey!” Mundo yelled, then the portals disappeared. The young mother removed her apron, then hung it over the back of a chair.
“I know I told you Mundos and plants couldn’t leave their Earth, but that was just to give you the general info,” Mundo said. She pointed at a sprig of mint pinned to her light-green blouse. “Now that you’ve learned the basics, you need to learn how to take care of yourselves out there.” Mundo turned to point at the wall again. This time, a green-tinted portal appeared; its surface rippled like emerald water.
“If you ever meet a Mundo or plant soul wearing a sprig of peppermint, you should assume they can traverse. Keep your guard up,” she said. “This sprig helps me, and any Mundo, create our own portals or ride through yours. But unfortunately, I can only traverse to certain Earths. They have to have been visited by Peppermint.” Esther tilted her head in curiosity.
“Visited by… is Peppermint a name?” Mundo nodded with a broad smile. She waved a hand at the wall to dismiss the green portal.
“Do you remember what I told you about Ballisea?” Mundo asked. Both guests nodded quickly.
“Run,” they said simultaneously. Mundo giggled.
‘That too, but the point is she’s really strong, right? Well, Peppermint is the Mundo version of her. He’s easier to run from, but he’s just as dangerous as Ballisea.”
“Wait. Did you get that from Peppermint? You met him?” Esther asked. Mundo nodded.
“Well of course,” Mundo said. “He’s a wonderful father; he likes checking in on Rigel.”