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As he sat down, Phil’s anger slowly turned to frustration, then desperation. He said, “I don’t care what happened. ….I don’t care how it happened….I just need to see her. I need to be with her. Please. ….. Take me to where she is.” He then placed his hands on either side of his head, entwined his hair, and bent his head down between them in defeat.
Jayben: She’s different now. She’s been under the spell and imprisoned in the Food Stall for so long that she may not even know you. She remains beautiful, but her wings are mostly black now from sorrow and age. That’s why she’s called “Midnight Butterfly.” …….Players want her from the Food Stall so they can use her to open the Dreamcatcher in the Ice Hall. Once they get what they need from the Dreamcatcher, she flies back to the Food Stall for when the next Player comes. …..We cannot collect items from within the Food Stall ourselves, but we can be nearby for when a Player enters. Players have a better chance of getting her when it’s close to midnight, so that’s the best time for us to be there. It’s nearly suppertime, so I suggest we see what Mrs. Fletcher has on her menu tonight.
Phil: I’m not hungry……………
Jayben: Don’t you remember from our youth that you always eat when it’s available because you never know when will be the next meal?
Jayben then asked Mrs. Fletcher what she was serving that evening. He also asked if there was sufficient for two more.
(……and now, we wait for midnight)
As I was about to say something, I am shut down by the pain of a sharp swift blow to my shins.
This could only have come from Roo Roo so I move nearer to whack her back with my broom.
It is at this moment that a streak of jet black lightning hurtles though the door as my owl is projected through it at a considerable rate of knots.
It is holding a pot in its claws which is far too heavy for its safety and acting as its momentum as my owl zooms on into the kitchen where it manages to deposit its load.
Miss Katzz has been briefed via her amulet as to its contents and quickly catches the pot before all Opel’s healing potion is spilled over her pristine floor.
In the meantime, my owl is behaving very strangely. As far as I can gather from my crow it is acting as though it is scared stiff of something which is following it!
Then I get the image of the largest snowy white owl I have ever seen which is tracking it, obviously for food!
But the Tea Room wards are all in place and active. Nothing ill can possibly come in.
This is why I am not overconcerned with this strange but very large woman/man appearing and telling us her/his tale.
But before I can say or do anything an enormous bewiskered ogre appears through the front door and descends on our visitor like a whirling dervish!
This is all too much and I am wishing I was back in my hospital cot.
Why on earth could I not have said I was too ill to come down?
To this scene before me?
But I remind myself that I am the 2ic of the group and so it is my duty to be polite and offer some refreshment.
Once they have stopped battering each other to death.
I look around me and see three if not four pairs of wide-open eyes and saucer shaped mouths as the others follow the action between the two visitors.
I note that there are a few twinkles in a least one pair of them!
I also take note that I have not understood a word the two giants have said!
More importantly I have not yet relayed any of this information to the Cap’n
This I must do forthwith.
I reach The Tea Room and am about to open it when I am dive bombed by a hugemungus white Owl that just about rips my ear off.
Never seeing this Owl before I draw my Sai and am ready to make stew out of it when it fly's to the top of my thinking tree.
Noise coming from inside I put aside that crazy Owl and fling open the door Sai still drawn.
#$%^&()_+_)(*&^%$#@!@#$%^&*()_ what in tar nation is going on here??
Again can I NOT leave you alone and expect YOU NOT TO GET IN CHIT??
I see two huge men sitting with Roo Roo ,, PTG and Mrs Fletcher over by Charlie's chair with a*** what the heck is going on look on her face**
Where is Angel??
Come on speak up what is going on here AGAIN ??
I swear this better good ** I look squarely at PTG and ROO ROO ** you do remember I am on an urgent mission with The Golden Queen over at The Main Camp so this pulling me away better be for a good reason.
SPEAK UP NOW
Jayben was the first to recover from the Captain’s” inburst” and outburst. He had ASSUMED that the Captain was being kept aware of the goings on via his open Amulet. If he had been listening, the Captain would have realized that nothing was out of control nor was it necessary for him to interrupt his mission with the Golden Queen in the Main Camp.
With grace and aplomb, Jayben rose from his chair and approached the Captain. “My good man,” he said. “If you had been listening through your Amulet (and you must have heard SOMETHING for you to even be here), you would have heard the entire story as I related it to PTG and Roo.
“You would know that my brother Phil – sitting at the table over there – and I came here many years ago in search of Phil’s wife who had been placed under a spell and taken in retaliation when we encountered an evil man in a cave long ago. Everyone in this room – you included – met Phil a few months ago when the Tea Room was recommended to him as a good eating establishment.
“He currently looks a bit disheveled.” (looking directly to PTG) “But he certainly is not an ogre as some may think. He’s been searching for me because he has just learned that I know the location of his wife.
“You have also met me on several occasions; however, you have never seen the man standing before you. Again, had you been listening, you would already know that I have been known to you as Agnes (PTG’s Godmother) and as a powerful Mage (using several different shapes because I could not safely use my own image). It is that true image you now see before you.
“Although you see a man standing here, make no mistake about who I AM and what I CAN DO. If you have further questions, you can either replay your Amulet or sit down and ask your questions --- in…a….calm…..and….civilized….manner--- OR you can reap the consequences.
“My brother and I have plans to discuss for this evening. Plans that need to be carried out this evening – WITHOUT INTERFERENCE……He also needs to find a place where he can clean up because – if we are lucky ….. if we are very fortunate…..he will once again see his wife after them being parted for 15 years.”
At that point, Jayben turned his back on the Captain and returned to the table to continue his conversation with his brother.
Not to be deterred, the Captain retorted that he didn’t take kindly to a dressing down, let alone in front of his crew. As Jayben walked away, the Captain followed while still berating the brothers as well as threatening to toss them out on their ears.
Phil started to get up from the table. The look in his eyes was no longer of sorrow, but pure rage. Jayben calmly raised his hand toward Phil and said, “I can manage this one little brother.”
Without turning around, Jayben muttered, “Zip it.” ----Instantly, the Captain’s mouth became a zipper and was zipped shut. A look of horror came across his face as he touched his mouth with his hand. Phil said, “That’s gotta hurt, bro.”
With a wink at Roo, Jayben replied, “Nah…..it’ll revert back when we walk out the door. ….. Which reminds me. We need to get you cleaned up so we can be on our way. Do you still have that upstairs apartment in Kaley’s Fancy Goods?”
When Phil nodded affirmatively, Jayben said, “Good. We have just enough time for you to shower, shave and change clothes. I wish we could also do something about your hair, but there’ll be no barbers available at this time of night.”
The brothers left the Tea Room with Phil protesting that there was absolutely nothing wrong with his hair. As soon as they crossed the threshold, the Captain’s mouth returned to normal – complete with a cursing string that caused all the women, and even PTG, to place their hands over their ears. He stomped to the door, flung it open, and yelled after the men: “Don’t think you’ve seen or heard the last of this!!!!”
As the brothers leave the Tea Room & Randy stomps to the door, I take PTG’s arm & forcibly lead him through the kitchen & out the rear door.
“Come on PTG we must follow them NOW”
“ Roo, we were asked not to intervene.”
“I do not care!....Jayben as The Mage & as your Fairy Godmother has protected & watched over us for years.He is one of us, I will do everything I can to keep him safe & I will use every weapon I have in his defence.Now get moving.We need to find out where they are headed after Kaley’s.
“The Cap’n will not like this.” PTG mutters under this breath.
“The Cap’n is busy right now, we have our Amulets switched ‘on’ & if we get into trouble you can hide in the folds of my cloak.Just make sure you keep you hands to yourself!”
We arrive at Kaley’s & manage to conceal ourselves at the side of the Doll’s Showcase, it seems only moments before the brothers descend the stairs from the upstairs apartment....we follow at a discreet distance.
It has been hard to keep up with the brothers as they take huge strides.I was so intent on keeping them in my sight I did not look at my surroundings.
I ask PTG if he recognises where we are but I think perhaps his mind is still a little befuddled with his ailment as he replies
“I’m not sure,it sort of looks vaguely familiar but I just cannot place it”
The brothers make themselves comfortable on the seat of the wagon, PTG & I find a safe spot to hide at the bottom of the stone tower.
PTG ‘rests’ his eyes while I keep watch.If he starts to snore I will give him a (not so gentle) elbow thump in his ribs.
When Phil was ready, the brothers set out for the Northern Islands in companionable silence. Arriving at the Island Shore,
they continued on through the Sacred Grove.
They entered the Frosty Fort
and found themselves on the Jousting Field.
The woman standing in front of the Ice Hall gave them a once over, but basically ignored them as they walked to the covered wagon just outside the Food Stall and sat on the driver’s bench.
It wasn’t long before a Player entered the Food Stall and came out with a Fire Horse. The woman descended upon the Player and replaced the horse with a shard as she declared, “I need this more than you do. He will be a fine steed upon which to ride during my upcoming joust.”
Another Player came several minutes later and came out holding a delicate butterfly. As the Player walked past the covered wagon to enter the Tower Top, Jayben quickly swapped the butterfly for a few coins without the Player noticing. Phil and Jayben hurried along the corridor between the wall to the Ice Hall and the Tower Top.
As Jayben gently opened his hands, the butterfly hesitated a little before starting to fly back to the Food Stall. Phil called after her: “Lindy? …….Lindy, wait. ……It’s me…… it’s Phil.” The Midnight Butterfly faltered mid-flight and would have fallen to the ground if Phil had not caught her in his hands. As she lay there in his hands, Phil lowered his head speaking very softly and gently. “It’s really me, Lindy…….I’ve finally found you.”
While he held her ever so close, his lips grazed the edges of her wings. His touch; his breath; his tear of love caused a wondrous thing to happen……..the beautiful Midnight Butterfly transformed into a beautiful White Butterfly.
Jayben stood next to his brother and said: “Tell her the words she needs to hear. Tell her the words to break the spell.”
Without even thinking, Phil said: “I love you, Lindy. I’ve loved you since the first day when I saw you on that park bench.”
The White Butterfly fluttered from his hands. She gradually grew in size and transformed into a woman who stood in front of him. Lovingly, she looked up into his eyes and said, “I remember those hands. ……And I would know the scent of you anywhere. Thank you, my love, for coming for me.”
As Phil drew Lindy into his arms, he looked over her shoulder at his brother saying, “Thank you, Jayben………thank you from both of our hearts…..”
Jayben quietly left to give the couple some privacy. While he was gone, he conjured a similar looking “Midnight Butterfly.” He put a spell on the creature so that it would behave in the same manner as the original, and watched it fly to the Food Stall when he released it.
He then returned to the corridor and approached the embracing couple. “Ahem……uh…..I hate to cut this short, Phil, but you really must be on your way. I cannot guarantee that the decoy will fool the evil sorcerer who took Lindy. As we discussed after dinner, the two of you must leave this realm and never come back.”
Phil released Lindy, but continued to hold her hand, as he said, “Aren’t you coming with us?”
Jayben replied, “No…..the time for my departure has not yet come. The woman we saw on the Jousting Field has come from the Southern Islands. She will soon joust with the Knight we saw standing outside the Frosty Fort. For now, I need to watch over my friends in the Tea Room (especially Roo and PTG) to be sure they don’t suffer from the effects of that battle.” And as an afterthought: “Although, I may have lost one friend tonight.”
With a knowing grin, Phil replied, “She doesn’t know, does she?” ………..to which Jayben sheepishly replied, “No. …..But I’m working on it.”