Chapter 16 - The Magic Tree House
"So son. You think you know everything, don’t you? Listen to your mom instead of your own father who put food in your stomach and clothes on your back. Well, let’s see just how well you do on your own. Since you know everything.”
That was the note my dad left on top of a box of my stuff. Apparently he’d gotten the locks changed too. Because my key doesn’t even work anymore!
I had the essentials with me. The clothes on my back. My gameboy and pokemon games. A mysterious green present that I think Ellie left me. And all my limited edition batman comics.
It was funny. I legitimately just lost everything. No food, no home, no clothes, not even a shower. But I couldn’t help but smile. I’d never felt more free before. I didn’t need Ellie, Aden, my dad. I didn’t even need my mom. For the first time in my life, I could really embrace, me.
I was gonna show them all, what an aArbuscula could really do.
“You smell like a camel ate rotten eggs, threw up those eggs. Ate it, then crapped it out.” Jack whined while pinching his nose.
“Sorry but I slept in a cave last night!” I roared back.
“That’s no excuse! And aren’t those the same clothes from yesterday!?”
“I got kicked out last night! What do you expect from me!?”
“Some form of human decency…. Did you not think to wash up in a river or a waterfall? You can sense bodies of water can’t you!?”
“Well I-! I- I don’t know actually. I guess I’ve done it before, but never on purpose…” I paused and thought about it.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us I see.” Jack sighed. “Well once the others get here will make a stop by Dragonfang. Cuz I’m not dealing with this stank.”
“Whatever.” I huffed.
Hopefully I could charge my phone there. If I recall that’s Stryder’s guild. I could ask him about some good caves to squat in too.
I walked over to a tree and leaned against it. I looked down at the present. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I pretty much wanted to throw it away. But I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out.
I eyed it for a moment. How did I even feel about Ellie? Flashes of their kiss flared into my mind. Thinking about it just made me feel weak. No, insecure was the proper term for it. I wonder what Icarus would think of all this.
Gotta pick his brain later…
“Sorry I’m late!” A rough and raspy voice called out from the tree line.
If I focused hard enough. I could get an idea of just how heavy someone was. And whoever this was had some heavy feet. I bet he was the strong type.
I knew exactly where he was coming from. I turned to my left and waited for him to emerge. I could see Jack eyeing me out the corner of his eye. He looked a lot more serious than I’ve ever seen him.
I pretended like I didn’t notice and focused on the tree line. Waiting on the guy to arrive. He was right on the edge of the tree line now.
A latino man emerged from the trees. And he was definitely a fighting type pokemon. He wasn’t huge or anything. But he was very well built.
His unkempt black hair reminded me of a movie star’s hair style. Like he just walked off a set. He was wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt with a golden coin necklace. He had a huge childish smile on his face. It almost made me forget about the funk I was in.
“Ah my luchador is here!” Jack cheered. “Where are my tacos?”
“Don’t you think that’s a little racis-”
“Here they are!” The guy chimed.
He pulled a small plastic container from his pocket, and I could see Jack’s eyes glitter.
“Ah yes! The tacos!” Jack asked as he walked over to him.
“I appreciate you amigo! Tomorrow’s will be burritos!”
“Literally the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. And I’ve been around for over a hundred years!”
Suddenly the gears started to turn in my head…. I squinted at Jack and looked over the new guy.
“He’s paying in food isn’t he?” I asked skeptically.
“Mmmm Max’s food is to die for.” Jack said as he stuffed his face with a taco.
“My dad taught me a lot. Never knew his cooking lessons would be the thing that helped me out so much though.” Max chuckled.
“Unbelievable” I muttered.
After all that strife with icarus, and yet he was so easily bribed…
Then it was like an alarm. I could feel the weight of something about my size coming closer. Must be Rushon.
“Rushon’s here.” I announced.
“You mean chicken little?” Jack corrected.
I grumbled. “Can you at least use Icarus? It sounds cooler.”
“Primarily why I chose not to use it. That’s kinda how jokes work.”
“Sorry I’m late!”
I heard Rushon cry out from the trees. He soon emerged and nearly tripped over his foot coming out.
“And now that the band of misfits are together. Let’s head to Dragonfang’s base.” Jack pinched his nose. “Eden needs a bath.”
“I was wondering what that smell was.” Max cheered hitting his fist into his palm like he just solved a riddle.
“Did you not have enough time to shower?” Rushon asked.
“Ah, I gotta catch you up on the tragedy that is my life.”
I reached down and grabbed the present. Jack nodded to us and turned around.
“Well, let’s get going misfits.” Jack cheered.
So today I learned Jack can summon snowmen minions! I also learned that it’s really hard to scream, “you’re freezing” when you’re on the verge of vomiting. I swear, it’s just my luck. I get the chance to voyage the magical world! And I get motion sickness!
“You okay?” Rushon asked.
“O-okay, I-I am n-not. E-edensciccle I am.” I stammered out.
“Well bean sprout! No need to worry, cuz we have arrived!”
Before I could even react. I was dropped face first onto the dirt floor. Then, the avalanche of snow dropped on top of me. Followed by the snickers of Mr. Frost.
If I had another sun arrow...
I slowly moved myself up. I could barely feel my arms anymore. They were still numb from the frozen hands of Jack’s snowmen. Plus my head was just starting to stop swirling.
“Y-you frostbitten- A-AAHH CHOO!” I sneezed hard.
“What was that green bean?” Jack snickered. “Jack frost nip at your nose?”
“I-I hate you.” I chattered out.
I went to chatter more. But my attention was taken away by the sight beyond. In front of us was a huge convoluted tree house! I could see drawbridges and huge wooden houses built ino and on the tree limbs. The tree looked ancient, like something out of a D&D game.
The tree was grey in color and seemed to have some huge light blue and purple moss on it. There was a huge winding staircase leading up to the biggest building of the tree house. It seemed to be the core of everything.
I studied the tree a little bit more. I could see some familiar gems embedded into the trunk of the tree. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the stone’s looked like the tips of the sun arrows.
“This is Dragonfang’s guild? A treehouse?” Max asked with skepticism.
“Yeah, doesn’t exactly scream dragon. Seems more like a fire hazard…” I muttered.
“You’d be surprised kid. Now come on! Get a move on! I can still smell you from all the way over here!”
I growled, and max just chuckled.
We walked up the winding staircase. I avoided touching the tree. I didn’t want to magically Dr. Phil this ancient looking tree’s life story. We eventually came upon these big wooden doors. They towered over me like an ant in the grass.
Jack, being the great subversion of my expectations yet again. Just pushed them open like paper. We all walked forward into the hall. And it was exactly what I thought it was. It looked like some huge tavern. Round tables and chairs everywhere, a huge stage, Stryder and a pink hair girl making out by the bar. Stryder and a cute girl kissing by the bar!?
I saw Jack slowly creep up over to them. They were entirely too into each other to notice.
“So is this how were cleaning guilds now!?” Jack cheered.
Stryder and the girl both squealed and jumped away from each other.
“Look at you! All grown up now. I remember when you could barely look at a girl without hiding in your hood.” Jack sighed.
“Jack! Why didn’t you knock!?” Stryder groaned.
“Cuz it’s a guild hall numb nuts!” Jack joked. “Not exactly your bedroom. And you better not be doing none of that either! I haven’t even given you the talk yet.”
I could see Stryder’s face turn beet red. His girlfriend turned away with a very similar look, and Jack just laughed.
“One day old man frost will tell ya about the dragons and fairies.” He snickered as he walked back over to us. “Anyways, mind if the young lad uses your shower? He’s been tarzaning it for a bit.”
“Huh? What’s he doing that for?” Stryder asked.
“No, no no. Don’t let me interrupt your precious moment superman.” I hummed. “I just need to borrow a shower.”
“And clothes right?” Stryder added.
“I don’t want to do-”
“Don’t worry about it. Come on, follow me to my room. I’ll get you set up.” Stryder chimed.
I felt kinda bad. I interrupted this man’s quality time with his girlfriend. Plus asked to use his shower and take his clothes. He even yelled at my mom on my behalf. And I’ve literally given him nothing in return for it. This guy was too nice.
I followed him outside on the drawbridge. And I practically squealed at the sight of it all. The dragon statues on top of the poles at the end of the bridge! The beautiful scenery reminded me of dragon quest!
You know, with all the birth giver issues, sleeping in a cave and giant monsters chasing me. I forgot how freaking awesome this was!
I got plant powers! I mean it’s kinda lame. I can’t walk in a crowd without vomiting. But I’m like a walking GPS! Plus I can talk to animal’s! Which hasn’t yielded anything beneficial….but hey! Maybe I’ll be able to speak merpeople! Yeah! Get me a mermaid girl! Hhmmm then again sirens exist…
“Here it is.” We stopped at what looked like a shed sized room.
Stryder opened the door, and my eyes got wide! For starters, there was a stone like light fixture illuminating the room with a blue twinge. There were swords and shields hoisted on his walls. This dude was a real rpg character!
He had a futon in the back corner of his room. And a desk next to it with a computer. Wait computer?
“Hey, does this place have electricity?”
“Oh yeah, we use the sun stones.”
“Yeah, you know that arrow you used to blow up that rock?
“Oh yeah, I remember!”
“That stone at the tip has the ability to absorb sunlight. Kinda like a solar panel. We harness that energy and use it as a source for our electricity.”
“WHAT! THAT’S FREAKING AWESOME!”
“If you think that’s cool your gonna flip over our weather control.”
“Yup, stones from the sky guardians mountain. Not fully aware of the science. But it allows us to control our seasons here.”
“This place is awesome! Can I join this guild!?” I asked cheerfully.
“Just pass the test and I’ll put in a good word for you. I’m sure Erik would be happy to have you.” Stryder smiled.
He went into his drawer and started rummaging around.
“You know, you can stay here if you don’t have a place to go,” Stryder called out to me.
“What really!?” I cheered.
“Yeah, I don’t mind sharing. Rule’s say I can’t train you. Not that I can’t room with you.”
“You sure I won’t be in the way?”
“You’re fine. I’d feel worse if you left and didn’t have somewhere to go.”
This guy. He really was the best!