Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Seven: B’frona
Previously: Zack returned to Ismara in search of Gina. Meanwhile, in a different part of the Ten Kingdoms.
⇔ ⇔ ⇔
It had been nearly a year since B’frona the Miller’s son befriended Prince Jenblevó, heir apparent of the South Frengan Pixies. After his father’s accident, and despite his young age, B’frona had been forced to learn to funnel, dress, and balance the stones by himself, and to take over the day to day operation of the gristmill. He hated it, but he was good at it, better, in fact, than his perpetually drunken father had ever been.
One night he’d awakened to the sound of the waterwheel turning and the stones grinding. He’d tiptoed down to the millhouse and there in the moonlight found Prince Jenblevó and his cohorts attempting to grind lespin nuts. Being unable to carry more than a single nut at a time, and in constant danger of being crushed themselves, the pixie youths were failing miserably, and cursing loudly.
To their astonishment, the lonely boy volunteered to do the grinding for them. After adjusting the rynd and runner stone, he loaded the nuts and began to produce a steady stream of the damp, pungent lespinell the pixies adored. It was the largest amount the pixies had ever seen. Prince Jenblevó immediately swore “immutable amity forever!” to the boy miller.
So now, after nearly a year of immutable amity, B’frona was making his way through the forest in the early morning light, a bucket of lespinell in one hand and a pinewood staff in the other. His heart was lighter than usual, for he was going to see the pixies, the only friends he had.
He picked his way between the golden lespins and pale irontrees (the sycamore-like giants Gina had brushed against when she’d fallen into the forest), exulting in the ginger-rose glow of dawn.
He finally came to the Sacred Circle. What he saw, however, was not the familiar ring of standing stones and waiting pixie delegation, but the remains of a toppled temple and the feet of a giant, or rather the feet of a human girl—for a boy accustomed to the world of the Fae (the faerie realm), she seemed immense.
This was followed by two other shocks: first, the girl was curled up with a dragon hatchling—this infuriated B’frona beyond what he could bear—and second, she had clearly kicked over the pixie’s Sacred Circle, an act of heinous disrespect toward his friends! Just inches from the prone giantess, a courageous pixie crew was directing team-harnessed squirrels in the transport of temple stones.
Gina was jarred from her sleep by a series of blunt kicks. Before she was even awake, she began to complain, “Owwww, Zack! Cut it ouuut! I’m going to tell Dad!” The kicks continued. They weren’t play kicks either, they were angry kicks. “Owww! Craaaaaaaap, that hurts! Zaaaaaaaaaaaack!”
“Your use of the incantations ‘craaaaaaaap’ and ‘zaaaaaaaaaaaack’ will not save you, sorceress!”
Gina’s eyes snapped open. All she could see was a forest so aglow with red and yellow that it seemed to be on fire. She’d have been completely enrapt in its beauty if she hadn’t been distracted by the increasingly vehement kicks. “Ow! Who are you?”
A boyface came close enough to kiss, or more likely bite, her. “Why did you destroy the Sacred Circle and kidnap the hatchling? Did you think your magical fur feet would make you invincible?” To show that Gina’s pink monster slippers could not, in fact, protect her, the boy whacked them with his staff.
“Owwww! Stop it!!” Gina raised herself up against the lespin trunk. She was beginning to recall where she was and at least some of what had occurred. The little dragon shifted in its sleep and burped a small cloud of smoke that smelled like sulfured plums. Gina began to make out more clearly the figure of a very angry boy a little younger than Zack, dressed in faded breeches, loose-fitting shirt, and oil-stained leather jerkin.
“Where did you come from?” he demanded.
“I fell from the sk…” Gina began, but figuring the truth would sound absurd, modified her response to, “…from far away. Really, really far away.”
“That is a lie! You speak perfect Frengan. You’re from D’nair, aren’t you?”
“What?” She suddenly realized that she was, in fact, speaking perfect Frengan.
“Even though D’nair is a great city, they have no dragon, so they sent you to steal ours!” He poked her in the stomach with his staff.
“Ow! Stop that!” Gina involuntarily kicked over a stone that had just been raised by a pixie-mounted rabbit and two cable-pulling squirrels. She rose, dumping the little dragon’s head onto the ground in the process. “I’m not from D’nair, I’m from Middleton, I didn’t steal anybody’s dragon, and I didn’t destroy your silly little circle!”
“It is not mine,” B’frona said, pointing down, “it is theirs!”
Following his gesture, Gina saw at least twenty pixie construction workers dressed in mouseskin jackets and lespin nut hardhats.
Just then, Jenblevó rushed into the clearing, shouting,
“Now is the hour! To die is glorious!”
⇔ ⇔ ⇔
Thoughts: Have you unintentionally offended someone else’s culture or values? How did you resolve the problem? Or did you?
To read The Wishing Map 25, click here!