The Quest for the Sword of Justice! Part Fourteen: Under New Leadership
This is my NaNoWriMo 2016 project, updating daily, then coming out as a book later on. Thanks for reading!
Lisa’s mom looked around at the white expanse of nothing, then noticed her shoes were getting wet. She looked at each one of her assembled characters. She smiled.
“Hey Pal,” said Osiris. “Long time, no see.” The portal closed behind Lisa’s mom.
The Wizard came running forward, staff suddenly in hand. “Aha! What new devilry is this! Have at — “
Settle down, Wizard, I’m not here to hurt you. Far from it.
The Wizard stopped in his tracks. “Oh! Well then. I just thought — “
Osiris turned to the group. “This woman is indeed here to help us.” She turned back to Lisa’s Mom. “We’ve been stuck here for a very long time, and we were beginning to get nervous.”
I’m sorry. I had a lot of things to deal with. But I’m better now.
Osiris nodded. “Good.”
Brutus stepped forward. “Is this woman your boss? She looks…strange. I don’t recognize the look of ‘er.”
“I like her!,” shouted Willow. “And I don’t know why!”
“Agreed,” said Elena. “She seems to be a woman of character. I’ve had to get pretty good at judging people in a few seconds, running the pub.”
King Jeff had been too concerned with the whereabouts of his sword and horse to notice that Osiris had created a portal, and someone had come through it. He looked up now and saw Lisa’s mom. “Oh my goodness! Good heavens!” He ran over to Lisa’s mom and gave a little bow. “Hello, my lady, you must be a representative of Whimseria, here to guide us out of this infernal place.”
No. Haha. No, Jeff, that’s completely wrong.
“Ah, well, do you at least know a way out of this place?,” asked King Jeff.
I do indeed. It’s right over there.
Lisa’s mom pointed past the group. There, hanging out of nowhere, was a ladder leading up into a square hole.
“Aha!,” said the Wizard. “Behold! A previously-unseen ladder! That’s often my favorite kind of ladder. Though, I’m also partial to ladders you can see beforehand, and ladders that go up to the shelf where I have placed the cheese.”
“Thank you, my lady,” said King Jeff, giving a royal bow.
Hah, you are most welcome, my King. And please, do take good care of that turtle.
“Oh, do not worry,” said King Jeff. “Taking care of turtles is something I excel at.”
Turtle Jeff let out a pleased little squeak from within his bag.
Osiris nodded to Lisa’s mom. “Thanks, I’m sorry to bug you.”
No it’s okay. I should have done better. That ladder leads into an old farmhouse on the edge of Whimseria. You’ll be able to find your weapons in a chest somewhere inside it, and your mounts will be hitched outside.
Brutus came running over and gave Lisa’s mom a hug. “Barry’s okay?!”
Haha, yes, you big oaf. Barry’s okay. I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to Barry. Now off with you all! And be careful. Like many things in Whimseria, the farmhouse is enchanted. If you spend too long there, it’s very likely to baffle you. As long as you’re quick about it, you shouldn’t have any problems. I have to be going now.
Lisa’s mom turned and snapped her fingers. A portal appeared in front of her, and she disappeared through it.
“Something mysterious about that woman,” said Elena. “Though I felt no danger from her I felt something…else.
“I liked her,” said Willow, smiling.
Hey honey, how was school today?
“It was good,” said Lisa. “Been pretty busy with a group project.”
Ugh. Group projects are the worst.
“Tell me about it,” said Lisa.
I read all about it on your blog.
Lisa’s face took on a shade of fear. “You…you read my blog? I mean, I know it’s public and I sent it out to the whole company, but — “ Lisa was interrupted by a big hug from her mom.
I’m so sorry! I didn’t even realize you were trying to be a writer! I didn’t really know that you were working QA for the company! I had so much focus on my own work these last several years, and trying to keep the house going, and then with this story I —
“Mom, whoa whoa, you’ve got to slow down,” said Lisa. “Wait, you didn’t know I was working at the company? You had to sign a permission form because I’m so young! You’ve been helping me cash my checks!”
I…I thought those were just from some weird fundraising thing if school.
“Hahaha,” said Lisa, laughing uncontrollably. “You thought I was fundraising for myself at school? What does that even mean? Oh I get it, it’s a joke, you’re funny!” Lisa punched her mom in the arm.
Come sit down with me. I have to tell you something.
“Okay, what’s up?”
No I’m serious, let’s sit down like we used to. On the couch. With hot chocolate.
“Ooooookay, fine,” said Lisa. “But I’ve really got to get some work done on this project.
Lisa’s mom made them both hot chocolates and they sat on the couch together.
“So, what’s this big news that couldn’t wait till I had a dangerously-hot beverage in my hands?,” asked Lisa.
I quit my job today.
“Cool!,” said Lisa. “I’ve been waiting for you to do that!”
Wait, you’re not upset?
“Upset?,” asked Lisa. “Are you kidding me? You hate working there. Every week you tell me about how frustrating it is, and how it seems like Randy isn’t listening to you, and about how Melanie is no good because she’s always taking a weird opposite viewpoint, and about how the donuts are bad, and — “
Wow. I guess I never thought about how much it might stick with you, or impact you.
“Oh, I’m totally fine with it mom,” said Lisa. “I think you should do what you want. Wait a minute, they didn’t fire me did they?”
Haha no. I told them they had to keep you on, or else.
“Thanks!,” said Lisa. “I use that extra money to fund my fundraising operations at school.”
Haha. Very funny. So, I also found out that Melanie was hired just to make life difficult for me.
“Hey I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we go to Randy’s house and cover it in eggs? Or better yet, we could burn it down!”
Get ahold of yourself there, my little criminal. Your 13th birthday is coming up in a couple of months and I don’t want you to have to spend it in jail. I worked everything out with both of them. Melanie is actually a really cool person, I think we’re becoming friends. And Randy agreed to give me a big bonus, which should help me get on my feet until I have an income again.
“What are you going to do for money?,” asked Lisa.
God, how did I raise such a serious little girl? I’m going to write. Finally. I’ve been putting it off for too long, and it’s time to do it.
“That’s so cool!,” shouted Lisa. She almost spilled her hot chocolate.
You really think so, huh?
“Yeah! I’m totally for it.”
Good. Cause I’m gonna need your help.
“Awesome! I’m in! I charge minimum wage plus all the free hot chocolate I can drink.”
I’ll do it for the hot chocolate. You’re already getting a better hourly wage out of Randy’s company than half of our contractors.
“Deal! So, are we working on the story tonight?”
Not yet. First I think I should go buy a new laptop.
“I know just the one you should get!,” said Lisa. “It’s called the LittleBook 12. It’s the perfect tool for portable writing. I’m saving up for one myself.”
Well, maybe I can put you over the hump and we can pick up two.
The adventuring party climbed the ladder one-by-one.
“This ladder seems awfully sturdy for being anchored against nothing,” said Elena. “If I tried to do something like this in my pub, I’d fall immediately on my ass.”
“Not if ‘oi caught you!,” said Willow.
“We Wizards do not like climbing,” said The Wizard. “It’s bad for the constitution.”
“No climbing, no running,” said Osiris, “what is it that you Wizards even do?”
“Well! We mostly talk, walk, and cast spells of course! Oh, and eat! And drink! And sleep! And — “
“I hate this man,” said Brutus. “Can I kick him off the ladder when he gets to the top?”
They eventually all made it into the farmhouse. King Jeff came through last, and as soon as he made it inside, the hole in the floor that the ladder lead into disappeared in a flash of white. Light streamed into the windows of the farmhouse.
“Well,” said Osiris. “So much for sleeping. Looks like we burned the rest of the night, and most of the morning down in that place.”
“Why could we not just sleep here?,” asked the King. “Seems like a perfectly reasonable place, no?”
“No,” said Osiris. “Remember what the kind lady told us: like many places in Whimseria, this place is quite baffling.”
Brutus smelled the air. “It doesn’t seem baffling.”
“Tell me,” said Elena to Osiris, feeling a little bold, “is that woman we met…your boss or something?”
Osiris pondered her answer for a few moments. “I’d say she’s more like a…spiritual advisor. I can tell you more later, once we find the keys, and the Sword of Justice of course.”
Willow’s ears pricked up. “Wait, what? A sword?”
“Turtle Jeff has found something!,” shouted the King. He was halfway up a staircase on a small landing, next to a chest. He kicked the chest open, revealing everyone’s weapons. “Look! Our weapons!”
The group gathered all of their belongings out of the chest.
“Right!,” said Osiris. “We have to go before — “
In that very moment, all of the walls of the farmhouse turned into bright yellow cheese.
“I feel rather baffled now,” said Brutus. “I politely retract moi previous statement.”