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Dinner at Daffodile's

‘Don’t be so dramatic,’ said Daffodil. She grabbed the bottle in Brevis’ hand and dumped it into the cauldron she had recently expanded to accommodate for its swimmers. She muttered a comment about how situations like the current predicament were the root reason why she did not regularly practice good magic. As young and pretty as he was, Umbilicus was starting to get on her nerves.

‘I cannot help it, I am alive because of him, and now he might die,’ cried Umbilicus.

‘No one is dying,’ said Brevis, climbing the ladder against the shelf for ingredients. ‘You are over-reacting.’ Cutter, who was the most injured of the rats after the battle with the dragon, was currently happily floating, bathing in the cauldron, and squeaking a sea chantey about his wonderful pirate life.

When the Fish House docked on Daffodil’s island after completing the chore, the crew brought Cutter to Daffodil, who then began brewing a bath, which was bubbly, pink, glittery, and marvellous for a rodent’s body. A few other hurt rats crawled in with him, and a couple who wanted in on the fun joined too. The bruised rats were feeling better already, and the ones taking a dip for enjoyment were overly energetic.

Umbilicus continued to panic, not knowing how to stop. Captain Brandy tried to calm him, but Umbilicus continued to discover new things to say about the state of the rats. The house had gone mad. ‘Was he this talkative when you got him?’ whispered the Captain, scooting towards Brevis, who had come down the ladder.

‘Unfortunately, yes,’ replied Brevis, measuring the ingredients.

Umbilicus trailed off, speaking about the glory of his animal friends and their evil faerie foe. Cutter and a few rats sank to the bottom of the cauldron, holding their breaths in an attempt to drown out the knight’s voice. ‘How did you quiet him last time?’ inquired Captain Brandy.

‘I put him in an uncomfortable situation, but now he is too comfortable,’ Brevis sighed.

The crew was somewhat able to tolerate Umbilicus but, having spent plenty of time with him trapped on a ship, Daffodil was not. For her, Umbilicus was a thorn to the side that she was ready to remove. ‘Take him away!’ she screamed. ‘I cannot listen to him any longer!’

Startled, Captain Brandy jumped and shooed Umbilicus out of the kitchen, pushing the boy and telling him that he should continue with his stories elsewhere. Luckily, because Umbilicus wanted to be comfortable when speaking, they were able to move him into the sitting room.

‘He’s only good to look at,’ she mumbled, locking the kitchen door so that neither Captain Brandy nor Umbilicus could enter until she was ready. The pretty boy did need an audience.

She turned to return to her work, but she heard scratching. The Captain’s muffled voice came through: ‘Do you need help with in the kitchen?’

‘Oh, no,’ Daffodil called, ‘I already have a man, a wolf, and half a dozen rats. I am sure I can fish out a rodent if I need help an extra pair of paws. Dinner will be ready in no time.’ She silenced the other room, but the kitchen was not as quiet as she had hoped it would be. The singing rat had surfaced the moment Umbilicus left. She shook her head in frustration. Only Umbilicus and Cutter did not know how to be quiet.

Being alone with Umbilicus, and with his cause of distress out of sight, Captain Brandy was able to convince Umbilicus that real gentlemen were quiet. Umbilicus returned to the curious lad he was, and instead of continuing to chatter nonsense, he asked Captain Brandy to tell him tales of pirate adventures.

In the kitchen, Daffodil prepared dinner with Brevis and the rats, Biscuit and Biscotti. Daffodil wanted to treat the crew to a delicious home cooked meal in return for the lengths they had gone to shop for her. Having planned the dinner party since the moment they embarked on their chores, she was certain it would be the largest and best party she had ever held. She had wanted to feed the Fish House for some time because of how often they helped her over the last couple of decades.

When the meal was ready, Daffodil went to the dining room with her housekeeping wand. First, she snapped her fingers, changing into her new purple dress. Then, flicking her wand, she quadrupled the space in size, stretched the table, and sprung chairs until she had enough seats for the entire crew. On her spot, she set a lone place setting with her favourite silverware and dishes, folded a napkin into an intricate design she found charming, and tweaked the arrangement until she was pleased. Smiling, she waved the wand. The setting multiplied, one for every seat. In the corner, Daffodil put a bowl on the floor for Dira.

Daffodil returned to the kitchen and gave the dishes a once over. Seeing that the food was as intended, Daffodil unlocked the room containing Umbilicus and Captain Brandy; she told the pair it was time for dinner. Lastly, she pulled out an able-bodied rat from her cauldron and ordered him to fetch the rest of the crew.

The rats entered her home in an orderly fashion, and each greeted her with a squeak. Daffodil took her place at the single seat at the far end of table. Acting as a buffer between her and the knight, Brevis sat to her left and Captain Brandy sat to her right. Umbilicus decided to sit next to Brevis. Across the table, she saw two long lines of rats and Cutter at the opposing side. Daffodil groaned. With a full house, the noise was worse than when Umbilicus was raving about what he assumed was a good topic.

Enhanced with magic, Daffodil yelled, voice booming. The room went rigidly silent. ‘Let’s get dinner in and say grace.’ she softly said in her usual tone. She waved her wand, and the meal trotted in from the kitchen, positioning itself on the table. Not a squeak was heard. After the plates settled, they silently said grace.

With his fork, Umbilicus prodded the spaghetti in front of him. He had become uncomfortable, and thus quiet. The courses were foreign and did not appeal to him as the faeries had. Putting on a brave face, Umbilicus took a bite. The texture and taste were far different from what he knew. Leaning to Cookie, who sat next to him, Umbilicus asked, ‘What is this?’ Cookie squeaked and continued eating. The rats seemed to like it, but Umbilicus did not know what to make of it. Umbilicus stared at the steak drenched in rainbow gravy. Curiously, he cut into the meat and sampled it. Once again, although the colourful sauce was delicious, he did not trust the dish. Umbilicus leaned to his right and whispered to Brevis, ‘What is this?’

Brevis laughed. ‘What do you think? You were with us when we went grocery shopping.’

Blood from Umbilicus’ face drained; he was stark white. ‘Is hair normally eaten outside of Tarsus, and was that dragon not your friend?’

‘I am not eating her flesh,’ said Brevis, gesturing to his vegan meal, which did not include his cousin’s hair. ‘Besides, I do not know what you are complaining about. Rats are a common cuisine in a certain Tarsusian state, and I know for a fact that the knights travel there annually.’

‘That is not the same,’ Umbilicus defended. The rats who overheard their conversation squeaked. For them, it was the same.

‘If you’re that put off, have a drink,’ said the Captain.

Umbilicus looked at his glass, which was filled with mysterious blue liquid that featured yellow bubbles. He thought it was similar to the drinks they served at balls in Tarsus. Besides Daffodil, they each had one, and from what he observed, he was the only one remaining with a full glass. Umbilicus attempted to restrain himself from contemplating the recipe. Daffodil stared at him intently, causing him to feel pressured. Umbilicus took a small sip, and then a larger one. The drink was the most delicious concoction he had ever tasted. ‘What is this?’ he asked, positively delighted.

‘Truth potion,’ Daffodil answered, nonchalantly.

‘Evil witch,’ mumbled Umbilicus.

‘I am not evil,’ she said, feigning hurt. ‘This is the entertainment.’ Winking, she raised her glass of water and drank.

Brevis sighed. ‘If you were asking about what it is made of, its key ingredient is fairy spit, which is nothing for you to worry about considering you had it in your mouth.’

Umbilicus groaned. He was unable to understand how they were able to stomach the food—and joyfully too. They were nearly finished, and he had barely started. Thankfully, they had a few normal dishes; after all, they had gone to the normal Jonquilian market.

Umbilicus skimmed the table for the safest option. He saw what he thought might be anchovies and something that looked like faerie wings. He hoped they were butterflies. Spotting something that looked like potatoes, he sighed in relief. He was not going to be left hungry. He reached out, but as he did so, the plate zipped over and unloaded a portion for him. Making room for the potatoes, Umbilicus offered Cookie his plate. ‘Do you want mine?’ The rat nodded, taking the hair and dragon’s meat.

As Umbilicus’ fork neared his mouth with a piece of potato, he felt Brevis’ eyes pierce through him. He dropped his potato and turned to the man. ‘Why do you want our Princess?’ asked Brevis.

‘Because I want to be King,’ admitted Umbilicus. He covered his mouth with his hands.

‘I notice you used present tense,’ said Brevis. ‘You still intend on being a gold digger even after I showed other possibilities.’

‘No, I want the title, but I will earn my own gold and glory too,’ Umbilicus defended.

‘Faeries do not approach a man in love,’ stated Brevis, causing the knight to flinch. ‘That is why we had not completed that task until you came into the picture. Faeries saliva was not a requirement. Daffodil included it as a joke because of my situation. You do not feel an ounce of love for my Nelumbella. Am I correct?’

‘Yes,’ Umbilicus confirmed.

Brevis crossed his arms. ‘Tell me what you think of her feet.’

‘Her feet are tolerable considering her title,’ blurted the knight.

‘I should have you beheaded.’

‘I would prefer if you did not.’

Daffodil laughed. ’What did I tell you? This is entertainment!′

Brevis paused contemplatively and decided to be merciful. Daffodil using him as entertainment had always irked him. ’I will allow you to claim the glory of returning the Princess home, but if you continue to pursue her, you will be drinking Daffy’s lovely truth potion before the King,′ he said,

Umbilicus hastily nodded in agreement.

‘If you learn to keep quiet, I will offer you all the gold in the world and help you become President of Jonquil,’ said Daffodil, sprinkling a red powder into her water. ‘My word goes far in these parts. I’d be the perfect first lady.’ She gulped down the drink, which numbed her eardrums as it settled into her system. She tilted her head, admiring Umbilicus. ‘Such a pretty thing you are, young knight.’

Umbilicus smiled weakly. The older woman was likely the optimal choice.

‘Why did you and the dragon have such a long standing feud?’ inquired Umbilicus, needing to redirect the attention.

Captain Brandy answered with a full mouth.

‘Can you repeat that?’ asked Umbilicus.

Shoving another hunk of meat in, the Captain mumbled the answered again.

Umbilicus then asked Brevis if he knew what had happened between Captain Brandy and the dragon, but the man shrugged. Sighing, Umbilicus shifted his thoughts to Daffodil. Although she was not drinking the same drink as they were, he inquired about a matter that had been on his mind since the event: ‘Why did you have us slay the dragon and cut the Princess’ hair?′

‘Honestly?’ He nodded. Feeling generous, she provided the truth: ‘I didn’t like where my money was going. I do not pay my taxes for it to be spent on boatloads of cattle, sheep, and hair product for a useless figurehead and a dragon. Without her hair, not even the deliveryman will recognize her. By next month, they will assume that Ilium is dead, and that the woman in the tower is a deranged hag who saw an empty tower she could nest in, which will hopefully result in our taxes going to better places.’

‘Taxes are coming up in Jonquil, but she isn’t listed nor does she actually pay,’ whispered Captain Brandy. ‘I don’t pay either.’

‘That is amazing,’ said Umbilicus, full of admiration. ‘You are such a good witch.’

Daffodil scoffed. ‘Do not think too much of it, boy. I simply did not want to waste my time in the capital searching for an anti-aging cream suitable for my skin type. Witches are extremely sensitive to beauty products.’ A good deed could help her turn back the clock a couple years and erase a few fine lines better than any beauty product.

‘Her heart was so radiant,’ Brevis brooded, his mood suddenly changing as his mind wandered to how a witch’s exterior reflected her interior.

Umbilicus stared at him awkwardly

The Captain threw a carrot at the knight. ‘He has issues. My only issue is the law,’ the Captain whispered, mouth half full. Captain Brandy swallowed. ’Daffy, aren’t you related to you know who? Maybe you could—′

‘There are no merits for me,’ Daffodil said, cutting off the pirate.

‘Like I would want a manipulative witch as my sister,’ grumbled Brevis. ‘I had a wonderful sister in-law.’ Dira plotted her head on his lap.

Offended by his honesty, Daffodil threatened him: ‘I won’t give you dessert then.’

‘You wouldn’t dare!’ Brevis and Captain Brandy exclaimed simultaneously. Captain Brandy shot up and continued, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’ Brevis attempted to join the protest, but Dira extended her arms over him, keeping him in place.

‘You brought it up, and you’re a pirate,’ said Daffodil, narrowing her eyes. The Captain sat back down. ‘You have done plenty wrong.’

Daffodil went to Umbilicus’ side and stroked his soft blond hair. ‘Dinner has gone on for too long. It is time for dessert.’ Captain Brandy could be worse than her tomatoes.

‘But I am still hungry,’ Umbilicus whined. Unlike the others, he had not feasted as freely.

‘That does matter to me,’ said Daffodil. She stopped petting him and commanded, ‘Up, all of you—now!’ She snapped her fingers and the table contracted, the extra chairs disappearing, leaving only the humans seated. The rats took the hint, and they scampered out of the house, save for Cutter who fluttered. ‘You,’ she said, pointing at Brevis. ’Take the cauldron labelled dessert to the garden.′ He and Dira exited swiftly. She crossed her arms at Captain Brandy and Umbilicus, who had yet to move from their seats. ‘What you waiting for? Get out of my house!’ Jumping, the two bolted.

With a sigh, Daffodil shrunk the room back to its original size and bewitched her cleaning equipment to sweep the remaining mess. Daffodil huffed. Her dinner had been cut short. She blamed it on the success the pretty knight had with the faeries. She refused to admit fault in the matter. After checking for stray rats, Daffodil locked her home, not wanting any to sneak in for an extra treat. She switched her housekeeping wand for the one with a large ring at the end and met the crew in the centre of her garden where they were making their goodbyes.

‘We will start with Brandy,’ said Daffodil, standing in front of the cauldron. ‘Are the rats coming with you?’ Captain Brandy nodded. ‘Get on your ship then,’ she instructed.

‘I’m going to miss you, Daffy,’ said the Captain, hugging her.

‘You’ll see me eventually,’ she said slyly. ‘Don’t forget to eat the bubble when you land. I know you and your rats have a sweet tooth. I didn’t slave away over a hot stove for nothing!’

Captain Brandy boarded the Fish House with the rats. Cookie and Cutter were in Umbilicus’ arms until they were told to part.

Dipping her wand into the cauldron, Daffodil stirred the clear thick liquid.

‘What is that made of?’ Umbilicus blurted.

‘Sugar,’ she said as if it were obvious. ‘It is dessert. Pick a fruit or vegetable, pretty boy.’

Umbilicus surveyed the garden. He did not like tomatoes, and none of the other plants had been particularly nice, but he was fond of the taste of, ‘Eggplant.’

With a tap on the cauldron, the liquid turned purple. She dipped her wand into the boiling pot, and the gooey substance webbed across the ring. Daffodil blew into the circle. From the ring, a long purple bubble developed. She huffed, and she puffed, blowing with all the breath she had. The bubble grew larger and longer until it touched the Fish House, engulfing the ship and detaching from Daffodil’s wand. Wiggling into the sky, the bubble took the form of a translucent eggplant and floated away from Jonquil, heading East of East.

Umbilicus was full of wonder. The way they were going to reach their hearts desires had charmed him. There was no better way one could travel.

‘Your turn, pretty boy,’ said Daffodil. ‘Is your heart still greedy enough to save the princess?’ she asked, concerned due to Brevis’ threat.

‘I am still allowed to seek glory and recognition from my peers; and last I checked, bringing her back was the way to do it,’ Umbilicus answered truthfully, the potion still being in effect.

‘Good,’ said Daffodil. She had a chance to become the first lady. ‘As long as you do not want more than that glory, you should be taken to her. Just keep thinking about what you want.’

‘Quick question: how will we return?’ asked Umbilicus.

‘Put the pieces back together. Do not eat your dessert until you are home.’ She instructed the knight to stand several meters away. As Umbilicus stood nervously, albeit eagerly, she whispered to Brevis, ‘Pick a plant.’

Grinning, Brevis answered, ‘Tomato.’

Daffodil tapped her cauldron, and the sugar turned tomato red. She dipped her wand, coating it, and blew another bubble, although this time, much smaller. The bubble encapsulated Umbilicus and carried him up, wobbling. Steadying above, the bubble took the form of a red tomato. A green stem popped out.

Umbilicus let out a scream that was muffled by the sugar encasing. He wanted an eggplant, He pressed against the bubble, trying to form it into something—anything else, but it was too late. Fear overtook him. Not knowing what to do, he slumped in defeat. Thinking back to his previous experiences outside of Tarsus, he decided to treat the bubble as what she called it: Dessert. He stuck his tongue out.

‘Don’t lick it, boy! Do you want it to melt?’ Daffodil yelled, seeing what he was about to do. As his bubble bobbled westward, she mumbled an off comment about how being married to a devilishly handsome young man might not be worthwhile. ‘What would you like?’ she asked Brevis.

Brevis pondered for a moment about what fruit both he and Dira enjoyed, knowing it would affect the taste of the sugar. Vegetables were poor choices, and he wanted to have more than one colour. He felt bad for Captain Brandy because of Umbilicus, but the rats ate almost everything. Thus, it was not as if the Captain was stuck with eating eggplant flavoured sugar. A fruit was the way to go. ‘Peach,’ he replied. Dira barked in agreement. Daffodil tapped her cauldron, marbling the colours properly. ‘I will see you again soon, Daffy.’ he said, kissing her cheek. ‘Thank you.’

‘Yes, yes, stand over there,’ she said, pointing to where Umbilicus had been. ‘You better have at least a bite of your dessert when you return home. I’ve been preparing this for over a week.’

‘You are exaggerating,’ he laughed, situating himself properly. The bubbles took a lot of magic, but it did not take her that long to melt sugar.

Daffodil shooed Dira to follow him. With the wolf positioned by his side, Daffodil blew. The yellow and pink gradient bubble captured Brevis and Dira, taking them to the clouds. In the form of a peach, his sugar bubble tailed the giant tomato.

Brevis, Dira, and Umbilicus drifted in the sky, over Jonquil and the blue sea, the sun beaming down. They glided over waterfalls and the mouth of the tunnel that had poured them out; and they saw the cities and the towns. They passed by forests and soared between clouds, through the core of cotton, flying with the birds. They were headed for Kmeria.

As they floated over an elfless forest Brevis recognized as a neighbour of the forest the three brothers cared for, his bubble slowed.

‘Is your peach running out of sugar power?’ Umbilicus asked, facing the opposite direction his tomato was going.

The peach sunk slowly and hovered at a steady height, searching. ‘I am unsure,’ said Brevis. He was not aware whether candy power could run out. The bubbles were made purely of sugar and magic, and Daffodil not bewitching it enough was highly unlikely. Dropping suddenly, Brevis saw Umbilicus panicking above. ‘Bring her back. I might not be able to join you,’ Brevis yelled. Hoping that Nelumbella was closer to home than he thought she was, he thought hard on his niece, knowing it might guide the bubble.

Hunting for his heart’s desire, the bubble lowered furthered, skimming over the tips of the trees, dipping, and weaving. Halting above a wide hole in the ground that obstructed life, the bubbled hovered, deciphering the location of its target. Sensing his heart’s desire, the peach gently declined, taking him deep into the cavern. Miles within the earth, the sugar bubble touched a jagged rock on the bottom of the cavern and popped, splitting the peach into shards.

Brevis stepped out of the shell to inspect his stone surroundings. He looked up to the sun’s light, frowning. Dira had chosen to indulge herself in the peach candy instead of exploring with him. He called to her, worried that she was eating their way out, but she barked, telling him to go ahead without her.

He obliged and treaded deep into the cave. There was no need for a torch. Littered with little holes on the ceiling, the cavern was minutely lit. With no intrusive formations clouding the area, the cavern was bare, save for the odd stalagmites, columns, and dripping stalactites scattered about.

Turning a slight corner, Brevis discovered a pool the size of small lake adorned with shelfstones. The water was like a typical cave pool except for the flora. Lily pads and aquatic flower were sparsely scattered about, making it appear as if it belonged on land, rather than beneath. The grass beneath his feet and the young tree further in made the place appear as if it were the beginnings of a meadow.

Immediately, he knew who had to reside in the cavern; and when he heard a twig snap and a small gasp, he understood why the peach had not brought him to where he thought he wanted to go. He turned around, unbelieving of what he saw. ‘Lily?’

In a dark damp corner, she stood in front of him, wide eyed. She was exactly as she was when he first saw her, not having aged a day, retaining the youthful looks she was known for. Only, without the sun’s efforts, her hair was a couple shades darker, and her skin was paler. Smiling, she ran into his arms. It caught him off guard, and he fell onto the soft grass, landing on his behind.

‘You have wrinkles,’ she laughed, inspecting the way his face had changed over the years.

He was still trying to convince himself that she was real, even as she was sitting on his thighs and curling her fingers though his lightly peppered grey hair. ‘You are as beautiful as I remember,’ he murmured, holding her tightly, allowing her warmth to seep into his being.

She shoved him playfully as her eyes brimmed with tears. ‘What are you doing here?’

He pulled back slightly. ‘I was looking for my niece, but—’

Beaming, she cut him off with a hand over his lips. ‘They had a girl.’

‘It did not work as I expected, and it took me here,’ he continued, pointing towards the peach fragments Dira was licking.

‘Is that one of Daffodil’s sugar bubbles?’ she asked in surprise. She frowned slightly, understanding the girl he was searching for must have been in trouble; but knowing the way Daffodil was, she laughed wetly. ‘You are acquainted with that wonderfully manipulative witch?’

’She is wonderfully manipulative, isn’t she?′ he said, tucking in a stray strand of her hair. ’Tell me, love, why are you here?′

She was silent for a moment and removed herself from his lap. ‘I had a fight with my other sister,’ she said, twirling a patch of grass. ‘I do not know if Daffodil ever told you this, but it is not just her and I. We have another sister, Magnolia. She was not very nice. She was a liar and a sadist—even as a girl. Our pets never lived long. Centuries ago, she started causing many problems for many people. We sought her out and tried to stop her, but she would not listen. Eventually we were able to lock her heart away and burn her body. After I left you, she returned. She found me on my beach and attacked me. I summoned my cloud and tried to ward her off, but she chased me away from my home. She gave me this too.’ Lily removed a much too large, familiar, gold band that hung loosely on her finger.

‘My wedding ring,’ said Brevis, expression blank. He recalled clinging on to every part of his identity, constantly wearing it when he was with her, when he did not know what it stood for.

Biting her bottom lip and crinkling her brows, Lily continued: ‘She told me that you were no more and knocked me from my cloud. I fell here. You know how a witch’s heart is. It is our magic. When it hurts—when it is not right, we are weak, and we break.’ She turned away, fiddling with the band. She continued in a whisper: ‘I could not leave this cavern because my heart was no longer intact. Even if it were, a scoundrel stole it from me.’ She held the ring out to him, refusing to meet his eyes. ‘I should give it back to you. It is yours after all.’

He smiled, took the band, and chucked it into the water.

‘What are you doing?’ she exclaimed, moving to reach for the object she had held onto for years.

‘I do not need it,’ he said into her ear, holding onto her waist, keeping her seated with him. ‘The marriage no longer exists. Besides, you do not need it. You have me.’

Her breath caught. With his chest against her back, she felt their synchronized hearts beat. She closed her eyes and sputtered out a proposal as collectedly and coherently as she could manage. ‘If you like, I can make your wrinkles disappear and bring back colour to your hair. We could live where the water meets the sky in our little home, see over a few life times, raise a child or two that are not plants, and grow old together when we are good and ready; or maybe we could remain and take care of Loti and Tarsus together—forever.’

‘Beloved, I want it no other way,’ he said, turning her face him. Her eyes opened to gaze into his. ‘Is your heart together again?’

‘I think so,’ she replied, smiling softly.

‘Will your magic be strong even though the scoundrel refuses to return your heart?’ he asked, grinning.

‘As long as he is with me,’ she replied.

Dira pounced onto the couple and licked their faces thoroughly. Lily laughed at her antics, but Brevis grunted and pushed the wolf off. Standing up and straightening his clothes, he scolded Dira light-heartedly, ‘Sneaky wolf, I know you were in on this.’ If Dira had focused on Nelumbella and Dirus, there was a chance they would not be here. The wolf allowed his true heart’s desire to supersede the one he consciously wanted.

‘She is beautiful,’ said Lily, stroking Dira’s lush fur, and allowing the wolf continue licking.

Brevis shoved his hands in his pockets, watching the two interact. The scene was sweet, and he wanted them to bond, but that could be done later. He coughed awkwardly.

‘We should find your niece now, shouldn’t we?’ she said sheepishly, knowing his thoughts. He nodded.

Rising, Lily took his hand and led him to the edge of the pool. She bent and touched the water with the tips of her fingers. For the first time since the day she had become trapped in the cavern, she made it rain. The pool dripped towards the sky, vaporizing into a mist. The mist swirled and crept beneath their feet, raising the trio from the ground, supporting them in the air. Taking on the form of a nimbus, the cloud flew them out of the cavern and into the sky.

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