I mused on the situation as I made my way through the world-wood for the third time. The word Renolia floated through my mind in search of something to connect to. I pushed it away irritably, choosing instead to focus on the Gatekeeper and his promise. Who was that guy? And what did he know about what my heart desired? Shoot, most days I wasn’t 100% sure. The memory of that toy dog in the ash heap surfaced again and I began to tear up at the thought of it. At the moment, I wanted nothing more than justice for that destroyed neighborhood. And if that meant confronting some so-called “Crusher of Worlds”, so be it.
“Hey, slow down!” Tim called from behind me. I stopped and waited for him, realizing that my resolute train of thought had caused me to increase my pace. He pulled the pendant out of his pocket as he approached. “Don’t be getting ahead of me. I have the amulet; I’m the guide. You should be following me.” As he located a passage with the magical object, I peered over his shoulder, curious. All I got for it was a brief view of flashy lights and a “back off, give me some room” from Tim.
Suddenly, he located a passage. A few steps further brought the picture of a city skyline into view on the pendant. We exchanged glances. I shrugged, “Looks as good a place as any, I suppose. Lead the way, o sagacious one.”
Tim rolled his eyes.
We stepped through the passage into what appeared to be a city park. Tall buildings could be seen between the trees and, across the lawn, a small duck pond sparkled in the sunlight. The well manicured lawn stretched out like a green carpet - except for the patch we were standing in. It grew tall and weedy around us; rather out of place in the city park.
“Well, this isn’t so bad,” I said. “Nothing’s tried to eat us so far and no destruction in sight.” Tim frowned. “What?” I asked. “There’s just ducklings. It seems pretty peaceful to me.” I stepped through the weeds onto the walking path that lead toward the pond.
Tim shook his head. “If the Crusher of Worlds was here, there wouldn’t be any ducklings. I think we should move on.” He turned his attention back to the pendant and started locating another passage.
“Uh, Tim?” I pointed at a nearby sign. “It says keep off the grass. Maybe you should check over here by the pond.” Tim seemed to ignore me and walked off across the tall weedy grass, holding the pendant as though searching for a cell phone signal. Realizing that further attempts to dissuade him would be useless, I turned my attention back to the colorful duckies in the pond. He’d come over when he got tired of walking through weeds.
I savored the idyllic moment for a while, watching the ducks. Suddenly, I heard a surprised yelp from Tim. I turned. He’d apparently stirred up some small robotic thing in the weeds. The mechanical contraption was now buzzing around Tim’s head and beeping. He swatted at it, but it only beeped all the louder. From across the pond, another beep sounded. A moment later, a second robot zipped over to join the first. Tim was now obviously annoyed. I headed over to help shoo them off.
Within moments, six more robots joined the first two. “I told you to stay out of the weeds,” I said to Tim. “Now you’ve got them mad.”
Tim swatted at another robot. “If I could just find another passage, we could get out of here.” He held up the pendant again, but ducked as a robot dove at his head.
“Hey, you two! Get out of there!” The robots left off dive-bombing us as a policeman appeared on the path behind us. “Didn’t you see the sign? Get off the grass.”
“Yes, sir.” I answered and began making my way back to the walking path. Tim hesitated, fiddling with the pendant for a moment.
“What were you doing in there? And what’s that?” The policeman pointed at the pendant. Tim stuffed it in his pocket quickly, but the policeman wasn’t fooled. “That had better not be magic, young man. Get out here right now.” Tim came slowly.
Moments later, we found ourselves in the back of what appeared to be a squad car. We were taken to a civil building, where several other officers discussed charges of trespassing and magic possession. They took the pendant and questioned us thoroughly, but a single look from Tim sealed my lips tighter than a clam’s. We were taken to a jail cell to be held overnight when they had finally exhausted their questions. Apparently, the judge was not in his office to hold trial until tomorrow.
Heather, l think this post is getting too long.
Tim! I invoke the no-writing-in-the-other-person’s-posts clause of the Coauthors’ Agreement! I’m not done yet!
If you keep writing like this, you’ll have a whole ‘nother post by the time we get to the next logical breaking point!
You need to wait your turn, mister. Tell you what: I’ll stop for now, but then I get to write the next post because I’m not done here yet. Deal?
But- I- Fine.
Consider it your punishment for writing on my post.