A Bug’s Eye View

This is chapter 2 of my webnovel, The Elementals: Song of Spirit. If you are on the wrong chapter, or have just begun to read, click here for the linked table of contents. And happy reading! ~ JR

Chapter 2

A Bug’s Eye View

“Ok, forgive me if I’m a little skeptical, but I’m thinking you’re off your rocker,” Mae retorted as her siblings struggled with something – anything – to say to Romin’s grave pronouncement.

Ellen glared at her little sister. “You thought I was off my rocker when I told you Romin even existed, remember?”

Mae wasn’t to be swayed. “And the fact that he does exist is proof that what he says is true? How’s that logic at all?”

“It isn’t,” Romin replied before Ellen could answer. “I am aware of that, Sorceress. Still…”

“Stop calling me that,” Mae scolded. “My name is Mae.”

“I am not permitted to address you familiarly, Sorceress. I am to use your title.” Romin’s tone of voice matched his words: apologetic yet firm.

“Permitted by who?” Ellen asked.

“Whom,” Mae corrected. Ellen glared back at her.

Romin shook his head with a sigh. “Either way, I am not allowed to tell you who or whom, Mistress. I am sorry, but I am only to escort you. That is all.”

“Escort us?” Ellen asked, raising an eyebrow. “And I suppose you can’t tell us where to, either?”

Romin shook his head.

“Great!” Mae snorted, jumping up from the table and throwing her hands into the air. “We’re just supposed to run off with you without any idea of where we’re going?”

“Sounds fun!” Quinn cried, grinning.

“Sounds scary,” Kat mumbled. Ellen put her arm around her and she snuggled into her big sister.

“I’ll admit, the adventurer inside me is intrigued,” Mae went on, “but really, we’re modern kids, Romin. We’ve been taught better than to just run off with some stranger, even if that stranger is an elf.”

“I apologize in advance for this, humankin.” Romin sighed. “But we truly have no time.”

Before any of them could ask what the elf meant, the siblings felt a sudden and extreme wave of dizziness. Mae bent over and groaned, holding her stomach. Ellen held her head, forgetting about the toddler on her lap. Quinn screamed, and Kat cried, holding on to Ellen tight. Rose gave out a tiny squeak of surprise. They all closed their eyes firm against the vertigo.

Within a moment, however, the wave passed. Slowly, Ellen opened her eyes, opening her mouth as well to yell at Romin. But her words caught in her throat as she looked around, shocked by her surroundings.

She sat at the edge of a giant plastic mountain, suspended between a planked wooden terrain below and an enormous white disk above. It all looked somewhat familiar, but she couldn’t quite place from where.

Ellen started with surprise as the forgotten Rose giggled in her lap.

“Oh! Rose! What the… where are we?” she asked, not expecting an answer.

“Home,” Rose replied, grinning up at her.

Ellen shook her head. “No, Rose. Not home. Somewhere else.”

“Home,” Rose repeated, pointing up. “Mansy!”

Ellen followed her baby sister’s dimpled finger with her eyes, shielding them against the glare of the sun. Well, she thought with a small satisfaction, at least the sky looks normal.  Then she caught sight of a familiar green face peering down at her from the white disk above. Glaring, she put Rose aside and stood up, cupping her mouth with her hands.

“Romin! Where are we? Where are my siblings? What did you do?” she demanded.

Instead of answering, the elf moved back again, disappearing from the edge of the disk. Ellen snorted and picked Rose up, setting the toddler against her hip. “Well, I guess as usual it’s up to me to …”

Before she could finish, Romin appeared directly in front of her, floating in the air off the edge of the plastic mountain. Only he was no longer tiny, but the perfect size for a grown-up man!

It was at that moment that Ellen recognized her surroundings and realized what had happened – they had all been shrunk! She stood on the same chair where she had been sitting, now the size of a small mountain. The disk above was the table, and the planks below, their deck. She squeaked in surprise, but regained her composure quickly. After all, she figured she should expect this kind of thing when hanging out with an elf.

“Mistress, forgive me for the shock, but as I said we don’t have much time,” Romin apologized, rubbing his hands together nervously.

Ellen sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Just tell me where my siblings are. Please.”

“They’re where they were before, just as you are.” He scrunched up his face. “Well, except for Princess Kathleen. She almost fell off the edge, and for that I am ashamed.”

Ellen glared. “Almost fell off what?”

The elf moved towards Ellen through the air, landing gently next to her. “The edge of the chair. I should have looked more carefully at where everyone was situated.” He sighed, shaking his head sadly.  “But I was able to catch her and lower her to the ground with Sorceress Mae and Sir Quinn, thank The Great Queen. They’re all down there now.”

Ellen glared harder at Romin as she passed him, walking carefully to the edge of the now gigantic plastic chair on which she had been sitting comfortably only moments before. Leaning over slowly and once more shielding her eyes, she peered down at the wooden planks of their back deck.

Sure enough, her three remaining siblings were safe down below, Kat and Quinn sitting in a small semicircle with their legs crossed as Mae circled them, waving her arms over her head wildly. Ellen couldn’t make out what she said.

“I figure you can take us there, huh?” Ellen asked Romin, not looking at him.

“Right away, Mistress,” he answered.

Ellen sighed. “OK. Do that then. Please.” She held up a finger quickly, struck by a sudden thought. “Wait. Will this make me feel like puking again?”

Romin shook his head. “No, Mistress. That’s just a particular effect of shrinking. Vertigo like you’re falling because you kind of are. Traveling is different.”

Ellen nodded, relived. “Well that’s good. So how do you do it?”

“Like this!” Romin answered, waving his hand. For a moment everything went dark to Ellen, as if she had closed her eyes though she hadn’t. Then her vision cleared and she was standing on the plank ground, still holding Rose, facing three very surprised siblings.

There you are!” Mae snorted as Kat jumped up and ran to hug Ellen tight. “It’s nice of you to finally join us. I was about to declare a mutiny!”

Ellen grinned, relieved to see her siblings again. “Like you ever listen to me anyway, Mae.”

“How did you do that?” Quinn asked, awed. “You just appeared out of nowhere! I wanna do that!”

Ellen laughed, turning to the elf that stood beside her. “Ask Romin. He did it.”

Quinn, noticing the man-sized elf for the first time, widened his eyes in surprise. “Mae! You’re right! We’re shrunk!”

Mae snorted again. “Of course I’m right. I’m always right.”

“Guys, I think we should go with Romin,” Ellen said quietly.

“Yes!” Quinn yelped, jumping to his feet and punching a fist in the air.

Kat looked worriedly at her eldest sister as Ellen set Rose on the ground. “Are you sure?

The teenager nodded, taking a deep breath. “Yes, I’m sure. I mean, he’s an elf, and he shrunk us, and… well… I mean, that’s just something people don’t see every day. It’ll haunt me forever if we don’t go with him to see what’s up with all of this.”

“Seriously?” Mae asked, hands on her hips. “I say we make him make us big again and go back inside. I say we just forget this happened at all.”

Ellen eyed her sister, surprised. “Really Mae?  But you’re the one who reads all those adventure books. You’re the one who’s always going on about having adventures. Well, what’s a greater adventure than this?”

Mae looked around at her siblings, frowning worriedly. “But see, that’s just it. This isn’t an adventure book. This is real. And we could really get hurt. Should we risk our lives for curiosity?”

“Are ya chicken?” Quinn asked, grinning. Mae glared at him and he yelped, running behind Romin for protection.

“I know, Mae,” Ellen replied, frustrated. “But I just think we have to try. Can you honestly tell me that you can forget this happened? I know I can’t… and won’t for the rest of my life if we don’t go. Besides, if Romin’s telling the truth, this is about more than us.” She glanced at the elf, who nodded gravely. “Apparently we have to save the world!”

Mae looked pointedly back at her big sister. “Isn’t that how it always is though? The heroes have to save the world? It just feels… it doesn’t feel right. It’s too…”

“Perfect,” Kat mumbled. They all looked at their middle sister, surprised.

“Yeah,” Mae said, smiling at Kat. “It’s too perfect. It’s like a movie or a play or something.”

“’All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’,” Romin said, gazing up at the sky. When nobody replied, he looked back at them. “It’s a line from one of the human Shakespeare’s plays.”

“I knew it sounded familiar,” Mae said. “But what’s it mean?”

“It means that life is a play, Sorceress. Some acts are more thrilling than others, some are more dangerous, some are more comfortable, but in the end it’s all a play.”

“Only in a play, people don’t really die,” Mae reminded him.

“Everyone dies,” Ellen said. “It’s just when that’s the question.”

Mae sighed. “You’re bent on going, aren’t you?”

Ellen nodded firmly, crossing her arms over her chest.

Mae matched her sister’s stance. “Fine. I’ll go. But only because you are all going and I don’t want to be left out. But I want it known that I’m going with you under duress.”

Ellen stuck her tongue out at Mae. “It’ll be great. You’ll see. Don’t be such a pessimist.”

Mae rolled her eyes. “We’ll see.”

Romin rubbed his hands together. “Wonderful! Finally! Let’s go!” He turned and began walking towards the deck stairs.

“Romin?” Ellen asked, stopping him.

He turned to face her, impatient. “Yes, Mistress?”

“We will make it, right? I mean, plays have happy endings, right?”

Romin thought for a moment. “Some do, Mistress. Some do.”

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3 Responses to “A Bug’s Eye View”

  1. […] Worlds to Explore « Song of Spirit – Chapter 2 […]

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