Photo courtesy of Michael Joseph, found here.
Previously: After saving Pagewyn several times, from xlurps, blurghs, and an exploding couch, Nadec decides to stick with him until he’s back in his kingdom, Paralelo. He shows her why he is ‘the master of the Squares, defender of the Triangles, chief of all Lines’. A darkness rams Nadec while alone in the woods and she passes out.
Upon waking, she experiences what it’s like to have a concussion, and finds herself prisoner to a zlurp and his vegetarian dragon, Blackie. Nadec finds herself being rescued by Pagewyn. Blackie and Kitty, Nadec’s cat, appear to get along, but the zlurp wakes up and tosses Wyny aside. Blackie turns against the zlurp with Dragon’s White gas, burbing him to unconsciousness. Wyny got hurt in his fall, but Nadec’s concussion is much more serious.
Read all the previous chapters here.
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A trickling sound, as of water falling down in a small stream. Like a waterfall, Nadec thought. It made her aware of the urge to pee. She opened her eyes while struggling to come to a sitting position, stiff muscles protesting.
There was no headache. In a rush everything that had happened flowed back into vivid memory. She gasped, looking around. Tried to look around anyway. Wherever she was, it was dark. Oh, wait. Her arm felt like lead when she lifted it up to her face, removing the cloth.
Her eyes adjusted to the strange light quickly. After a few blinks she could see her environment. Her first thought was that she’d left earth and had somehow ended up on an alien planet. The absurdity of that struck her straight away. She was in The Other Realm after all, which was about the same thing as being on a different planet.
Dark rock all around her, areas of them illuminated in a bright blue, grouped in patches, providing light and dark contrasts. At the far end it seemed like daylight coming in. Reflections in a lake finished off the beautiful environment. Drops dripped from stalactites everywhere. Some fell into the lake, others dripped onto the stalagmites they’d formed, forming an impenetrable terrain. It took about more than half of the open space next to the water. The chuckle at remembering the trick for what was what—tits hang down, so stalactites were the ones hanging from the ceiling—broke off midway. It had reminded Nadec of her clothes’ destruction.
With relief, she discovered she’d been dressed—or at least covered up—in a crude shirt and skirt. Not her outfit of choice, but she wasn’t about to complain. Better than nude.
Her head shot up at something moving in front of her.
‘Wyny,’ she sighed in relief. Utter joy exploded on her face when she saw Kitty next to him. The grey cat ran up to her quickly when she stretched out her arms.
‘What happened, where are we?’ She asked Wyny while receiving headbuts from Kitty, his loud purrs working their calming effect. He grinned at her, causing a sudden burst of butterflies to explode in her stomach. What the hell, body, stop reacting like that. It’s not as if he was the first handsome Other Realmer that she’d saved.
But then she awkwardly realised he was the first one who had returned the favour. Several times. As much as she’d saved him. Guess we’re even now. Almost, anyway. She only had to take him home to live up to the promise she made herself, even if home-delivery hadn’t been in the contract, which had only said to free the guy from the xlurps. Wyny had made it more complicated by skipping accidentally along to her apartment. Which was then destroyed.
‘Blackie showed me the way to this cave. She carried the zlurp after I helped heave it onto her back. I carried you.’
Nadec’s thoughts churned around dozens of different questions with those few sentences. How did he lift the zlurp, that thing must weigh a ton? He carried her? How far? A blush heated her cheeks when she envisioned him carrying her, both naked. Why did she pass out so soundly? Is this Blackie’s cave? How long ago was that? Why did her head no longer hurt?
‘Where can I take a pee?’
Out of all the questions, this was the one that came out of her mouth? She grimaced, although a full bladder was to be expected after being unconscious for who knows how long. Wait, do unconscious people hold up their pee or does it just flow out? The possibility of the second option flushed her cheeks even more in embarrassment. Wyny saved her from bearing the shame for long.
‘Of course! I apologise, I should have expected that after a week of slumbers, the body will want to take care of their natural needs. Follow me.’
He helped her to her feet—Kitty jumping on her shoulders as usual—for which she was grateful. After a week of no use, her legs protested at bearing her weight again. A week! She asked Wyny how that happened while he led her through the cave to a side tunnel.
He explained that Blackie used his Dragon’s White Gas on her, in order to give her the time for healing. This ability of dragons is elusive and not much is know of it, but Wyny believed it put the body on some sort of timelessness, meaning that they can survive without food or drink. He wasn’t certain if bodies would age while in the slumber.
Wyny showed her into a hollow of the tunnel, forming a room of about two meters in diameter. As far as she had seen, this whole cave, tunnels and all, appeared to be lighted by the bio-luminescence. There was a hole in the floor, against the wall opposite from where they’d come in. He waved his arm toward it, so she went to check it out. Daylight shone through, and when she looked down, she almost grew dizzy with how far above ground they were.
‘Do not fall through, that would not end well. The garderobes in my castle discharge into the moat, so if you were to fall down one, it would not be such a problem. They are smaller too, so falling through would require an effort. But, we cannot complain, I certainly did not expect a chamber like this in a cave. There is even a stream.’
Nadec saw the stream he pointed at, a narrow flow of water coming out of one wall at about belly height, weaving through the room to disappear through another wall. She hadn’t noticed stepping over it to check out the hole. Her eyes widened when she realised the small waterfall can act as a way to wipe her butt. Or, well, whatever needed wiping.
‘Great!’ She was genuinely pleased with it. Nothing worse than doing your business, whether that’s taking a piss or a shit, and having nothing to clean yourself with. After doing what she needed to do, ignoring the familiar feeling of cramps in her lower belly, she re-joined Wyny in the cave where she’d woken up.
Blackie was there now. At the sight of her, she jumped around in a circle, and stood there trampling in excitement. ‘No licking!’ Nadec told her in a stern tone, laughing. Kitty meowed at her, jumping from her shoulders to greet the large black beast. Apparently the dragon had gone out to fetch food, as a variety of fruit lay in front of Wyny. He explained that it had taken several fails to get the food gathering right. Blackie had been confused about him not wanting any poo to eat.
After eating their bellies full, Wyny’s expression grew serious. He looked at her with such intent and gravity, the witty comment she was about to say got stuck in her throat. There were plenty of questions remaining unanswered. Were they going to get solved now?
‘I understand you have many questions at this moment…’ he cleared his throat, looking away from her a second. Her face must have shown the sarcasm she felt. She’d always thought that eyebrow had a life of its own.
‘… but I won’t answer them yet. There is something else we have to handle first, and I am quite certain it will take care of a portion of those.’ He nodded toward another tunnel leading out of the main chamber.
‘It is time we wake the zlurp.’