In this extract Ben and Jess are inside the British Museum. The Thief is looking down at them from a balcony. He has activated three ZiyZo dragons as part of his plan to kidnap Ben.
‘Look up you stupid boy. What’s this sudden interest in history?’
The Thief watched as the last flashes of purple light faded from the dragons that circled above Ben’s head. The three monsters vanished, dissolving into small sparks of electrical dust.
‘You’ve missed the dragons, mouse brain.’
His hands felt hot and sweaty as he pressed against the metal railing that lined the walkway. He leant over as far as possible, studying the cabinet where the children stood.
‘What the -?’
A golden circle of light, a circle that looked like a time travel disc, shone inside the cabinet. Behind it – no – NO - he couldn’t believe it.
‘What’s that?’ Jess tapped the glass window of the cabinet.
Ben smiled at her. ‘ZiyZo stuff.’ A circular black screen, about the size of a mini laptop, stood propped up behind the shining disc, glowing with blue light. ‘That must have been specially made for the game. It’s not like any monitor I’ve ever seen. It’s so small and chunky. Or maybe it’s the first screen ever, from when computers were invented. Good idea from the ZiyZo Zero. I’ll teach you how to play if you like. Once the game appears try to find a dragon, while I search for a control.’
Ben ran his hands around the solid base of the cabinet, feeling for some kind of hidden keypad.
Jess laughed. ‘He doesn’t look like a dragon.’
Ben looked back inside the cabinet. A boy’s face showed on the monitor, pale and thin and surrounded by long straggly fair hair. Dark shadows lay under his grey eyes, the mark of someone who spent a lot of time indoors studying or gaming. Probably both, judging by the way his voice shook. He had the same crushed expression as Jess, a definite sign of pushy parents.
The boy stared at them, his mouth trembling. ‘Come nearer, let me see you, I am not afraid.’