To the moon and back - free web novel

To the Moon and Back – Chapter Six

Chapter 6: The Algorithm Unfolds

Alana approached Jinjing’s yellow spacecraft, her heart pounding and her nerves on edge. She pushed open the door and stepped inside, finding herself in a sleek and futuristic interior that was a stark contrast to the barren landscape of the moon outside.

Jinjing was waiting for her, reclining on a plush sofa with an air of confidence that bordered on arrogance. He looked up as she entered, his gaze sweeping over her with a calculating expression.

“I’ve been expecting you, Alana,” he said, his voice smooth and composed. “The algorithm never fails me, and I must say, I appreciate that you dressed up for the occasion.”

Alana felt a tinge of pride at Jinjing’s words, but she shook herself out of a paradox of emotions and offered him a polite smile. “Thank you, Jinjing,” she replied, her voice steady despite the nervous fluttering in her stomach.

Jinjing gestured for her to take a seat opposite him, and Alana sank down onto the sofa, her eyes darting around the opulent surroundings of the spacecraft. It was clear that no expense had been spared in its design, and she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of awe at Jinjing’s extravagant lifestyle.

Before she could dwell on her thoughts any further, one of Jinjing’s robot minotaurs appeared, bearing two steaming cups of Cappuccino on a silver tray. Jinjing accepted his cup with a nod of thanks, and then turned his attention back to Alana.

jinjing to the moon and back

“I hope I got your choice of drink right,” he said smugly.

To Alana’s surprise, he had indeed guessed correctly, and she couldn’t help but be impressed by his attention to detail. “You did,” she admitted, a small smile tugging at the corners of her lips.

As they sipped their cappuccinos in the lavish sitting area of the spacecraft, Alana’s mind raced with questions and uncertainties. She couldn’t shake the feeling of unease that had settled over her since stepping foot inside the yellow spacecraft, nor could she ignore the subtle charm of Jinjing’s demeanor, which seemed to draw her in despite her better judgment.

* * * * * * * * * *

With each passing moment, the weight of her purpose pressed upon her, urging her to confront Jinjing about his intentions towards Jeffrey. She knew that she had to tread carefully, to choose her words wisely if she was going to sort out the mysteries behind his enigmatic facade.

Finally, unable to bear the silence any longer, Alana cleared her throat, drawing Jinjing’s attention with a pointed glance.

“What is it that you want from Jeffery?” she asked deliberately.

Jinjing regarded her with a calm expression, his subtle smile sending a shiver down her spine. For a moment, he said nothing, his gaze fixed on her with an intensity that made her heart skip a beat. But then, to her relief, he spoke, his tone suave and collected.

“I could ask you the same question, Alana,” he challenged. “What brings you here, to my humble abode, seeking answers from me?”

Alana felt a surge of frustration at Jinjing’s evasive response, but she pushed aside her doubts and resolved to get to the point.

“I want to know your intentions towards Jeffrey,” she said, her voice firm. “He’s been through a lot, and I won’t stand by and watch him suffer because of you.”

Jinjing’s expression remained impassive, but she could sense a flicker of something in his eyes, a hint of amusement or perhaps something more sinister.

“My intentions towards Jeffrey are my own,” Jinjing replied cryptically. “But rest assured, I have no desire to see him suffer. In fact, quite the opposite.”

Alana’s brow furrowed in confusion at his words, but before she could press him further, he gestured towards the window, where the barren landscape of the moon stretched out before them.

“But enough about Jeffrey,” Jinjing said, his tone light and casual. “Tell me, Alana, what do you think of the view?”

window view on the moon

As Jinjing posed his unexpected question about the view, Alana was slightly taken aback. She glanced out the window, where the barren landscape of the moon stretched out before them, devoid of life or color.

“It could be better,” she replied honestly, turning back to face Jinjing, who smiled approvingly at her response.

“That’s precisely what I intend to do,” he declared, his voice dripping with self-assurance. “I plan to turn the moon into a metropolitan wonder, a bustling hub of innovation and progress. And I want you to be a part of it, Alana.”

Alana’s eyes widened in surprise. Why her? What could she possibly offer to such an ambitious project? But before she could voice her doubts, Jinjing spoke again, his voice calm and persuasive.

“I have my reasons, Alana,” he spoke, his gaze piercing as he fixed her with a steady stare. “Reasons that I believe you will come to understand in time. It’s all about the algorithm.”

He extended his hand towards Alana, a silent invitation to join him on his journey. She hesitated for a minute, her mind swirling with suspicions and fears, but ultimately, she reached out and took his hand, her fingers trembling.

“Promise me, Jinjing,” Alana said, her voice firm despite the uncertainty that gnawed at her insides. “Give me your word that you won’t hurt Jeffrey. He’s been through enough already.”

Jinjing’s lips curved into a smirk at her earnest plea, his gaze holding hers with an intensity that gave her goosebumps. “I promise, Alana,” he replied dismissively, “Jeffery and I always had similar tastes in women you know”.

Alana’s heart raced as Jinjing’s words sank in, a mixture of disbelief and apprehension washing over her. She had never expected their conversation to take this sudden and unexpected turn, and now she found herself grappling with the implications of his cryptic declaration.

“You mean Vinci?” Alana asked, her voice faltering slightly as she broached the delicate subject. “Jeffery told me about your love triangle situation back in college.”

Jinjing’s expression softened at the mention of Vinci, a hint of nostalgia flickering in his eyes. “Ah, yes, Vinci, she believed in the algorithm” he mused, his tone tinged with regret. “She was a remarkable woman, wasn’t she? But alas, our paths diverged, and now I find myself on a new quest for love.”

“You’re not saying what I think you’re saying, right?” she whispered, her voice barely above a whisper.

Jinjing’s smirk widened into a knowing grin, his eyes gleaming with mischief as he met her gaze. “Obviously, I’m talking about you” he replied, his tone teasing. “And let’s face it, Alana, there’s something between you and Jeffrey. But unfortunately for him, I’m here to steal your heart.”

Alana’s breath caught in her throat at his audacious testimony. She tried to brush it off as a joke on his behalf, but the unsettling conviction in his tone made her fret.

“Come now, Alana, there’s no need to play coy,” he continued, “I can see it in your eyes, feel it in the air between us. You’re drawn to me, just as I am to you. It’s all in the algorithm.”

Alana’s cheeks flushed bright pink at his bold assertion, her mind reeling in chaos. She had never encountered anyone quite like Jinjing before, with his arcane charm and uncanny ability to unnerve her with a single glance.

“You’re… you’re too much,” Alana stammered, her voice wavering slightly as she struggled to maintain her composure. “I’ve never met anyone quite like you.”

Jinjing merely nodded in response, his gaze never wavering from her face. “And that’s precisely why you’ll fall in love with me,” he replied, his tone filled with quiet confidence.

Alana felt a surge of panic rising within her, a sense of unease that she couldn’t shake away. She had always taken pride in her independence and the ability to see through disguises, but with Jinjing, she felt as though she was losing her grip on reality.

She glanced down at their intertwined hands, and a rush of embarrassment washed over her. She immediately yanked her hand away, her cheeks burning with shame.

“I… I should go,” she murmured hastily, “Thank you for the coffee, Jinjing.”

And with that, Alana fled from the opulent confines of Jinjing’s spacecraft, her heart pounding like crazy in her chest as she struggled to make sense of the whirlwind of emotions that raged within her. She knew that she needed to distance herself from Jinjing, to regain control of her thoughts and emotions before it was too late.

But as she made her way back to the Lunar Oasis, she couldn’t deny that Jinjing’s words had left an indelible mark on her soul, a lingering echo of a truth that she was not yet ready to confront.

* * * * * * * * * *

Alana’s heart skipped a beat as she entered the living room of the Lunar Oasis and found Jeffrey seated there, his expression one of concern as he took in the distraught drawn all over her face. She tried to muster a reassuring smile, but her nerves were frayed from the encounter with Jinjing.

to the moon and back

“Are you okay Alana?” he asked tentatively.

“I’m okay, Jeffrey,” she replied, her voice unsteady as she sank down onto the sofa beside him. “I just… I needed to talk to Jinjing.”

Jeffrey frowned. “Alana, that was a risky if not dangerous move,” he admonished gently. “You know how unpredictable Jinjing can be.”

Alana nodded, her gaze dropping to her wobbly hands as she struggled to find the right words to explain her actions. “I know, but… I had to do something,” she declared. “I needed to understand what he’s planning, why he’s here on the moon.”

Jeffrey’s expression relaxed and he reached out to gently squeeze her hand in a gesture of comfort. “And did you find out anything?” he asked, his tone filled with quiet apprehension.

Alana hesitated for a moment, unsure of how much she should reveal to Jeffrey about her conversation with Jinjing. But then, she met his gaze, and she saw the genuine concern shining in his eyes, and she knew that she couldn’t keep the truth from him any longer.

“He… he wants me to be a part of his project to turn the moon into a metropolitan wonder,” she admitted, her voice barely above a whisper. “It’s…bizarre, Jeffrey; he’s crazy or perhaps his mind games are driving me crazy!”

Jeffrey’s brow furrowed in alarm at her words, and he reached out to gently brush a stray lock of hair from her face. “You don’t have to be a part of his project if you don’t want to, Alana,” he reassured her. “Your safety is what’s most important, and I’m here to protect you.”

Alana nodded, grateful for his words of comfort. She pushed aside her fears, and gazed at Jeffrey with adoration flashing in her eyes. She knew that she needed to tread carefully with her next words, since the fragile balance of their friendship hung in the balance.

“Jeffrey, there’s something I need to ask you,” she began, anxiously.

“Of course, Alana,” he replied warmly. “You can ask me anything.”

Alana took a deep breath, steeling herself for the conversation ahead. “Is there… is there something more than friendship between us?” she asked hesitantly, her heart pounding in her chest.

For a moment, Jeffrey was silent, his brow furrowed in thought as he considered her question. Alana held her breath, waiting for his response, her nerves on edge.

“I… I’m not sure, Alana,” Jeffrey admitted finally, his voice tinged with uncertainty. “It’s too soon to tell, and I don’t want to rush into anything. But I want you to know that I care about you, deeply.”

Alana felt a surge of relief at Jeffrey’s words, her qualms momentarily assuaged. She reached out to take his hand in hers, her fingers intertwining with his in a gesture of comfort and solidarity.

“Thank you, Jeffrey,” she murmured, her voice filled with gratitude. “That means a lot to me. I just… I want to make sure that we’re on the same page, that’s all.”

Jeffrey nodded, his gaze meeting hers with a look of understanding and compassion. “I understand, Alana,” he replied softly. “And I’m here for you, whatever you need.”

As they sat together in the quiet comfort of the living room, Alana felt a sense of peace wash over her, knowing that she had Jeffrey by her side, ready to support her through whatever challenges lay ahead. She leaned into his embrace, knowing that their friendship was stronger than ever, and that together, they could face whatever the future had in store.

* * * * * * * * * *

Later that evening, as the soft glow of moonlight cast a tranquil ambiance over the Lunar Oasis, there came a gentle knock on the door, interrupting the quiet solitude of the night. Alana, startled from her reverie, made her way to the door, her curiosity piqued by the unexpected visitor.

To her surprise, standing before her was one of Jinjing’s minotaurs, its metallic frame gleaming in the dim light of the corridor. In its metallic hands, it held a letter and a parcel, both addressed to Alana. Jeffrey was nowhere to be seen, so Alana accepted the items with a sense of trepidation, wondering what could possibly be contained within.

She retreated to the privacy of her room, the letter and parcel clutched tightly to her chest. She settled onto her bed, the soft fabric of the sheets providing a comforting backdrop as she prepared to undo the mysteries delivered to her.

She carefully opened the letter, her heart racing as she unfolded the parchment and began to read the elegant script inscribed upon its surface. To her surprise, she found herself staring at a beautifully crafted poem, each word a testament to her beauty and wit, penned with a skill and eloquence that left her breathless.

poem of beauty and wit

“In the garden of grace, where wisdom does bloom,

There walks a rare beauty, dispelling all gloom.

Her eyes, like the stars, with brilliance they shine,

A testament to her wit, both keen and divine.

Her smile, a sonnet, where each verse is a thrill,

Her laughter, a melody, no silence can still.

She moves with a purpose, her mind sharp as a dart,

A fusion of elegance, intelligence, and art.

Her beauty’s not just in the features so fair,

But in the strength of her spirit, none can compare.

With every wise word, she weaves a spell so grand,

In the tapestry of minds, her thoughts take a stand.

So here’s to the girl, whose radiance glows,

Whose intellect impresses, and beauty bestows.

May her path be lit with the light of her grace,

And her wisdom guide her through time and space.

Yours truly,

JinJing

P.S: May the algorithm guide you Alana.”

As Alana finished reading the poem, she felt a flutter of excitement in the pit of her stomach. A rush of emotions swirled within her as she contemplated the words before her. It was indeed a beautiful gesture, but what to make of it?

She turned her attention to the parcel that lay beside her, and a note attached to it caught her eye. The message scribbled upon it struck a chord deep within her soul. “Whoever you choose, this gift will follow,” the note read, its words cryptic yet filled with promise.

With unsteady hands, Alana unwrapped the parcel, her breath catching in her throat as she beheld the exquisite sight that lay within. It was a gorgeous platinum bracelet, the delicate design adorned with sparkling sapphires that shimmered in the soft glow of the moonlight.

Yet, what truly took her breath away was the inscription carved into the metal: “A & J,” a reminder of the choice that lay before her. While holding the bracelet in her hands, she felt a sense of clarity wash over her – a realization that the decisions she made in the days ahead would shape not only her own destiny but also the fates of those she held dear.

Alana had traveled to the moon to distance herself from worldly problems and responsibilities. Who knew that the moon had a separate set of ordeals waiting to pounce on her?

* * * * * * * * * *

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