Advice the Autumn Crone Gave Me On Climbing the Wall
By Annette Marie Hyder
(from the Night Fairytales series)
Continued from previous installment.
The sky was full of blackberries, currants, and figs, a fruit bowl spilling its night all along the table of the day. A round cheese moon stood ready, surrounded by many scattered tea-light-stars flickering in the cool wisteria scented breeze.
But we inside the artificial hill couldn’t feel the breeze nor smell it. We could only see it through the clear glass-looking pane that the ceiling had become. In the moments following Gnar’s accusations and revelations the ceiling had rolled back magnificently and looked as if it were displaying a view of another part of our world — certainly not the part we had just left behind teeming with Verms.
It slowly dawned on me that it didn’t just look like it was a different part of our world — it was a different part of our world. Another mystery to be figured out. But in the meantime, Gnar was talking again.
“It was cunning of the small dragon to gift you with the stone without your realizing what it was. I think in its own way it was trying to protect you in not telling you.” Gnar said.
“But how could it have told me anyway?” I interrupted. “I don’t speak dragon.”
“Oh rest assured that if a dragon wants to tell you something it will tell you in your own language.” Gnar said. “Dragons are master linguists; the most learned in linguistics, etymology, and philology that you can find on our world. Every dragon you will ever meet is worldversant.
So, had the dragon wanted you to know he had given you the Flame Stone, he would have told you. The question remains as to why he gave it to you. On the surface, it looks like he was trying to help you in your quest for the stones.”
While Gnar was explaining this to me, I noticed Erhaiel watching the two of us, his eyes peeping like two little spies from under his eyelids. Gnar followed my gaze.
“Yes.” Gnar said. “He’s been awake and listening to us the whole time. In fact, he faked passing out and hasn’t missed a thing. But he already knew everything that we’ve been talking about, so no harm done there, eh Erhaiel?” This last was said on a rising growl.
Erhaiel flushed a deep bruised purple and opened both eyes wide and (I have to admit he looked rather adorable when he widened his eyes and looked at us with such feigned innocence) gave a faint squeak as if that was all he could muster.
And I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. “Can’t you have the Verm —” I started to ask.
“His name is Twotongue.” Gnar interrupted.
“OK. Can’t you have Twotongue set him down?” I asked.
“Not before Erhaiel agrees to owing Twotongue three wishes.” Gnar replied. “He earned them well and true.” At this praise from Gnar, Twotongue looked so pleased I thought he would swoon.
“I agree. I agree. I agree!” Erhaiel said. “Please have him set me down.”
“No.” Said Gnar. “Keep holding him, Twotongue and do not set him down until I say to.”
Twotongue held Erhaiel a little closer at this and the little whiskra squirmed in discomfort. “You said I would be set down if I agreed to granting him three wishes!” Erhaiel said.
“No.” Gnar said. “I said that you would not be set down until you agreed to the wishes but I said nothing about your being set down immediately after doing so.”
Gnar gave Erhaiel one of his most charming smiles.
To be continued.