You walk through the portal,

praying that this time you will just end up back in your room, 24 hours later. You’re almost used now to the sucking sensation as you’re dragged through the darkness until the colors appear again and you land on solid ground.

 

Green ground.

 

Dammit, I’m outside.

 

You look up from the grass, and have to admit the scenery is beautiful: there are rolling hills, the sun hitting the snow-covered peaks just right, so that it reflects an almost magical light.

 

But then you look down again, seeing that you’re holding a sword. You start to get a sinking feeling in your stomach…

 

“Hello, again,” I say as I pop up next to you.

 

“What did you do?” You ask. Clearly, you’re not a fan of surprises, are you?

 

“I thought it’d be fun to make you part of a story. You know, so you can become a proper hero.”

 

You look back down at your sword, only now noticing that you’re also wearing armor. As you gaze back to the mountains, you see a dark patch moving rapidly toward us.

 

“Which story?”

 

I grin widely. “Lord of the Rings. It’s one of my favorites—I mean, it’s a classic after all—and who doesn’t like the chance to kill some Orcs?”

 

“That’s an army of Orcs?” Your voice shoots up at the ending, and your hands are starting to shake. “I don’t know how to fight.”

 

“Relax.” I wave my hand at you. “Look behind you.”

 

You do, and you let out a breath when you see the army of elves standing there. But still… you don’t know how to swing that sword.

 

“Lucky for you, I’m the one writing this story. So don’t worry, you’ll know what to do when the Orcs get here.” I turn to you, hold your shoulders and squeeze them lightly. “Good luck.”

 

Before you realize what’s happening, I disappear. Your eyes widen, your pulse quickens. “Wait! Don’t leave me here!”

 

Well, it’s really up to you now. Go and fight some Orcs!

 

You stare at the advancing army, now clearly seeing the outline of the Orcs. Up close, they look even uglier than they did in the movies. You take a few breaths, gripping your sword with two hands.

 

Behind you, the archers are loosening their arrows on the Orcs. Still, there are so many of them, they keep advancing. Before you know it, they’re on you.

 

You swing your sword with an expertise you didn’t know you possessed. You dodge attacks from the Orcs with fluent motions, dancing between your enemies while swinging blow after deadly blow. The Orcs are screaming, dying by the many.

 

Your blood is pumping, your fear turning into something close to euphoria. Like a grinning maniac, you swing and hack and stab at every Orc that catches your eye.

 

The whole battle is over before you know it. The ground littered with Orcs, bleeding, dying, or already dead. Together with the elves, you hold up your sword and scream.

 

“Victory! Victory!”

 

I pop up next to you again with a big smile. “Didn’t I say you have nothing to worry about? Pretty ecstatic to win such a battle, ain’t it?”

 

You can’t even find the words to reply.

 

“Well, as you continue to celebrate, a new email has popped up in your inbox. It’s called “How to get the best out of your reading“.

 

I’ll leave you to your celebrations. Go easy on the drinks! You don’t want to be too hungover to read, after all.”