That night Nelda took the flying leaf. If she had trusted Herby more-slash-at-all she would have asked the gryphon about it first. As things stood, she would be happy just not to be standing—with both legs not currently in working order.
Nelda considerd that the not rock might be species-specific in some way. So Before going to bed she recruited the assistance of the satyrs to find a nice large stone and stowed it beside her bed. The rolled it onto a bedsheet and tied the cloth in a big knot at the top with two rabbit-ears of clith sticking up. Then she left the rock on the windoe sill.
"Nature makes beds for us," HoneyBeard said. "I do not know why some folk insist in sleeping in these coffin-caves."
"Then it is just as well you never got stuck in my world," Nelda said. "It is full of little else and you would have to wear clothes all fo the time. Keep that in mind if the golden light returns for me."
BugleHead had found some more spirits some where and was considerably drunk. "Buh, arensch you gonna marry cat-bird?"
"Well, if we are a love story it's one of those unhappy ones, I think. The mermaid prophecy suggests that if I saty here it will do a lot of hamr, And SmithGuild would be as out of plac ei my world as you, maybe more so. I wouldn't want him to be with me if it madehim unhappy."
HoneyBeard added, "And I've never heard a man so unhappy about having a cock."
"Wasch it, like, a really weirdt wun," BugleHead asked.
"No, it was a rather nice one, of it's kind, from what I remember. But SmithGuild is not a big fan of genitals in general. I think he'd be happy to see a bit less of yours. Try to keep that in mind if I end up going back before I can get you home. I'm sure he'll help you out, the best he can."
"I dun thunk you shood go," BugleHead said. "You wouldn't break Mirth. I think yoor a hero."
"I am honored you think so. But I imagine every villain is the hero of their own story. So it all depends on which version you believe."
BugleHead climbed out the window. "Aym not gonna even thunk about that. Idt'lll give me bahd dreams."
Nelda awoke with her nose pressed against the ceiling. [Yay, I guess.]
She wiggled around under she was lying on the ceiling, facing downwards. She could feel rivet-shaped indents on her nose from where the sheet metal of the ceiling was fixed together. It was as if this world wa slowly tryig to destroy ne from th face down an the ankles up.
A braind raised under grvity response to suddenly being lighter tha air by sent relentless WTF WTFF WTFFF signals.
[My kingdom for a Dramamine.]
Even tentatively standing upright on the ceiling, Nelda could not see the not rock on the windowsill. [OMG, not those birds agina. We had a deal!] She found she could not reach the bunny-ears of her wrapped stone.
[I seriously could not plan my way out of a wet paper bag.]
Looking out the open window, she saw the satyrs were sleeping in a nearby flower bed, the aroma of goat musk and crushed geraniums wafting up from them. She whistled gently to get their attention.
One of BugleHead's goat ears twitch with each whistle. His eyes opened. "Hey Nelda. Seems like you might already be part bord, just need to work on the cat part to be a real Mrs. Cat-Bird.
"Sometimes it's the differences that bring people together."
BugleHead scrunched his face skeptically. "H=Nah. I don't see it."
The was a knock on the door. Under the circumstances, Nelda had worn her underwear to bed. SmithGuild still seemed rather unsettled when he saw her.
"This is a very nice ceiling," Nelda commented/ "Copper, is it?"
"Yes. I was quite pleased with how it came out but that material is somewhat delicate."
"Oh." Looking down at her fett, Nelda couldn't see any damage. "Sorry abou that but my buoyancy gas a kind of binary status, up or down. And in preparation for an overseas trip I thought I would try for up."
"You said you had no more flying leaf."
Nelda indicated the remining bouquet of stripey flowers with associated foliage.
"That's just Both-forage. It' really only good for treating flatulence in centaurs—it doesn't…." His words wilted under Nelda's glare.
"I've had this conversation before and I feel it timely to state that facts can change theories, but the reverse is not the case."
"I don't suppose I can argue with that."
"I am sure you could but appreciate that you won't. Now do you suppose you could help me get down from here?"
SmithGuild balanced carefully ob his femine hind egs, partilly unfurling his wings. He reached up and try=ied to grasp her around the waist.
"Okay, let's try rhis." Nelda turned to face awy from him and tried to curl up her egs and forward-roll into an upwards standing position facing him. T almost worked except er buoyancy was qyuite strong, and SmithGuild seemed surpeisingly Iight. [Well, not that surprising for a flying creature.]
She ended up sort of straddling the underside of SmithGuilds chest with her ams wrappd around his neck.
"Oop. Sorry to be so familiar," she said.
"I can't say I mind." SmithGuild replied.
As she was trying, with no particular urgency, to work out how to get disentangled, Nelda saw a slight flash of gold at the corner of her eye.
With a convulsive kick, Nelda launched herself off SmithGuild's body like a drunken grasshopper having a lawnmower nightmare. She shot directly out the open window. Her horizontal movement sloed anf her vertical movement began t excellerate upwards,
She could see a kind of glob or custer of bubbles that shimmered oily gold. It inflated outwards, caught her foot, and swarned to engulf her even as she started to shoot upwards.
She caught a distorted glimpse of Smoithguld hurdling netly out the window and snapping open his ganted tawbing wings.
[No no no no no.]
The satyrs saw SmithGuild launch upwards in a flurry of wingbeats, and snatch Nelda up into his arms.
Then they both disappeared.
"I'm going to lose my idiot herder's license over this," HoneyBeard said.
BugleHead replied, "I think it's romantic. I am sure thet will rerurn soon."
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