In the following weeks, Stephen’s disquieting dreams started to become more explicit, as if some outside force was trying to lend him enough information to carry out his ordained task. Still, upon waking from these dream-visions, Stephen found that he couldn’t remember everything he wanted to; he could only remember that there was something worth remembering, and this frustrated him greatly.
Still, he would press on, hoping that his intuition would allow him to see the portal-creation process to completion. The “Outer Gods” would surely bestow the highest honors upon the mortal human who had the skill and perseverance to visit their realm not once, but twice…
“Man, I didn’t know this place existed,” Kevin Durant said, following behind Stephen as the two descended a wooden staircase that smelled of decay. “This is nuts.”
Stephen could see that Kevin’s doubt as to the legitimacy of the Three-Point Shooting Amulet’s existence was starting to come undone, faced as he was by their mysterious and obscure surroundings. “Yeah, I’ve been here a few times,” he responded.
Having reached the bottom of the secret stairway, the two men proceeded down a tunnel that cut through the bedrock below the arena. They went forward for a few minutes, lighting the way with phone flashlights, until they came to a large subterranean cavern.
“So, what’s the plan?” Kevin asked.
“The plan is for you to shut up while I channel my dream-self,” Stephen snapped. Kevin looked slightly offended, but kept quiet while Stephen closed his eyes and entered a semi-meditative state.
After a few seconds of staring at the darkness inside his eyelids, a scene formed in front of Stephen’s eyes. This one could solidly be classified as a vision, as Stephen knew that he was fully awake. The vision depicted the steps necessary to open another portal: the gathering of five different precious gems from the cavern, the careful combination of those gems into a single pentagram-shaped object; the placement of the jewel-pentagram into a star-shaped hole hewn into the chamber’s floor; the uttering of the final sorcerous words to complete the rite.
He opened his eyes knowing exactly what must be done. Thankfully, he had planned ahead and brought some necessary tools with him. While he got those out, he noted with amusement that Kevin was poking his phone angrily, frustrated by the lack of reception so deep underground. They would soon be visiting a place where phones would be laughably useless.
An hour later, Kevin Durant was sitting against the rock wall of the cavern looking miserable, and Stephen had finally combined the gems (orpiment, chalcedony, spinel, onyx, and turquoise) into a pentagram. The methods had been crude, but Stephen had the feeling that his actions were being directly guided by an outside influence, so he was unworried. When he placed it into the recession in the floor and whispered the sacred Latin words, he was gratified to see a shimmering green portal materialize in front of him.
“Whoa, no way,” Kevin said, awestruck.
“Yeah, but my portal is gonna be way cooler,” came an unexpected voice from the entrance to the chamber.
Stephen squinted into the shadows until he could make out who had entered. “Klay, you have no idea how to make a portal.”
Klay Thompson laughed and withdrew a flask of potion from his pocket. After taking a swig of it, he held his hands in front of him until an orb of blue light was in them. When he spread his hands apart, the light-sphere spread with them until it was a portal of similar nature to the one Stephen had just created. “Yeah I do,” he said with a smirk. “And now I will take the amulet for my own.”
“STOP! STOP!” yelled another new voice, this one belonging to a panicked Steve Kerr, who sprinted into the chamber with Larry Bird and Dell Curry following close behind.
Klay touched his portal with his hand and was whisked away into another time and place as Steve lunged towards him, trying to stop him. Seeing this attempt fail, Steve turned to Stephen. “Steph, don’t do it!”
“It’s the only way for him to liberate his mind!” Larry barked, roughly grabbing Steve around the waist to prevent his interference.
Stephen grabbed Kevin by the arm and touched the glassy surface of the green portal, sending both of them hurtling into another dimension. Simultaneously, Steve broke free of Larry’s grip, but as he stumbled forward, one hand entered Klay’s portal, and the other entered Stephen’s.
“AAAAAAHHHHH!” Steve wailed. Not only was his physical body being wrenched by the warring portals, but his soul itself was being ripped asunder. His body started flickering and pixelizing. Finally, the torment ended, and he disappeared as well.