keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 79: Slade 167
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 78: Kondor 168
Slade looked around at the green surrounding him, and tried to focus. The green was lush, full, and touched with colors. Gradually he got his eyes to focus more clearly, and recognized that he was in a stand of low trees and bushes. They appeared cultivated, almost like topiary, which led him to think he was in a garden or park.
Shella appeared to be having a bad dream. He nudged her. “Time to wake up, dear,” he said. “We’re in another world now, and I’m probably going to need your help to figure out where.” She grunted and rolled over. That was fine; he didn’t really need her help yet, he just wanted to pull her out of whatever she was dreaming.
On the other hand, he didn’t want to walk away from her while she was asleep, and he couldn’t learn much about this world without walking away. In fact, he was several paces from his equipment, and he would need to walk over to get that, which might put him out of sight of his lady.
He realized that he was still holding his sword in his hand, reminding him of the battle he had just lost. He didn’t expect to lose. He couldn’t remember the last time he had lost a fair fight against one person. That girl was truly remarkable. He wished he could practice against her again. If he could fight like that--well, he was getting there, and it was good to be reminded that he was not the best. Make that, not the best yet.
Shella abruptly sat up.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Mrnng,” she replied.
“Actually, I’m not certain whether it is. Standing in these trees all I can tell is that it’s daylight and not raining.”
She nodded. After a pause, she stood, looked around, and said, “Luggage?”
He sheathed the sword, and then waved his hand, “That way.” He started walking, and heard her following.
The copse was quite small, and was apparently part of a village park; there were houses in the near distance. A few carriages and wagons could be seen, drawn by large unfamiliar non-equine creatures, but they were a bit too far to identify in detail. A few benches dotted the grassy expanse that constituted the bulk of the park area.
Someone on a nearby bench stood and turned around. Slade was startled, but so was the person he was facing. The face was fuzzy and brightly colored, as of bright down on a bird. The open mouth revealed a yellow beak-like ridge behind the lips. The person was short, dwarf- or child-sized. Although the creature was clothed in something not unlike human clothing, it was apparently one of the parakeet people Slade had helped a couple years back.
He knew bits of the language then, and it wasn’t so long ago. Most of it was whistled, and he made an effort at whistling “Hello. My name is,” and then in English because there never was a parakeet equivalent, “Bob.”
“Bob?” the bird mimicked, the startled look on its face becoming even more surprised. “Bob?”
All Slade could do was nod and wonder why that was a surprise.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #347: Versers Scrambled. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: