The rest of Team Idiot presented an unexpectedly orderly picture. They were gathered in the parlor eating bread and fruit which the Jaspers seemed to be providing.
"Not very poisonous," Jen remarked acerbically.
Nelda just shrugged semi-apologetically. She noticed HoneyBeard, despite his protests, was riding herd on the disparate group. [I guess he is a next-level idiot herder now.]
"Gather 'round, people," Nelda said. "Aunty Nelda has a plan to prevent the end of the world."
Jen had managed to get her centaur body folded neatly onto one of SmithGuild's couches, which was, amazingly, supporting her weight. Tyrone's serpent body was coiled under the window, and he seemed to have achieved enough control of his spine to sit upright and turn in her direction. Reg, the satyr, sat cheerfully on the windowsill. Even dragon-Phyllis gave Nelda her attention, but with dragony forearms folded and a somewhat sarcastic tilt to her head.
"Right." Nelda looked back at the variously gold, green, and glowing eyes of her compatriots. "Off in this direction, SmithGuild tells me, is a centaur who is a seer. He might have some information we need regarding the more overarching issues"--Nelda made a rainbow gesture with her hands--"at work in this world."
"Including the prophecy that you're going to end it," Phyllis said. "Failed to mention that, didn't you?"
[What was I meant to say? Hello, my name is Nelda, and I might be the anti-christ of Chimera World?]
"Thank you, Phyllis. I had a lot to cover, so a few things ended up on the cutting room floor. But in any case, in that direction is also the centaur herd, Echidna Drakaina the only known female version of whatever Tyrone is now, and the nesting areas where the female dragons are raising their new clutches, and somewhere beyond that the satyr settlement. The nesting dragons include Pytho, whom I--we--are acquainted with. So whether you are up for adventure, assimilation, or saving the word—this is the party to join."
"You do seem… confident," Reg said.
"I [am] confident. The bridge that connected to this world was influenced strongly by Brenda, but also by me. We both handled that fuse. I am still figuring out exactly how this works. But I do have a connection to the world. And I think—one way or another—I am here for a reason."
"Hark to the Messiah," Phyllis muttered.
[She is going to be a dragon-sized pain in my ass.]
From behind Nelda BugleHead prompted: "And the unicorn. Don't forget about the unicorn. Tell them about the unicorn."
"And the unicorn," Nelda agreed, noticing that she very-much had Jen's attention with that word. "My immediate goal is to ask Asborus if he knows how to go about resurrecting the unicorn. The unicorn has been gone from this land for a long time. But last time I was here, I located the horn needed to bring it back, now in the care of the satyr BugleHead here."
BugleHead grinned. He then looked around slightly puzzled and then rushed off.
"Hopefully he can remember where he left it," HoneyBeard remarked.
"Any-who." Nelda said. "Obviously, you can all do what you like. But if there is some kind of design to all this. We may all have arrived in this way for a reason, for a purpose. Maybe even to save this place. So I think we should stick together, visit the seer, and then have some kind idea what it is all about before you—as I presume you want to—get to know your new… people."
"And the unicorn?" Jen prompted enthusiastically.
"It seems to me this world will be a better place with a unicorn in it, and the unicorn is considered some kind of holy ancestor of the centaurs here. They want it to come back. Come to think of it, Jen, maybe you chose this"—she indicated the saccharine art on her sweatshirt—"for a reason you didn't even know at the time."
Jen seemed amazed and delighted. Phyllis obviously disgusted.
Tyrone coughed awkwardly. "So, when you say this Echidna girl is the only female of her kind… are there any other males?"
"Not that she or I know of. And given the way dragons can travel around, I think they would have told her if there was."
Phyllis clicked her talons on her scaled arm. "Tyrone, for god's sake, you all but invented a dimensional transporter and emigrated to a new world, and you think your main focus should be getting laid?"
Tyrone's face flushed. "Mine your own business, Phyllis. Like Nelda said, we turned out like this for a reason, and I'm just following through on my… destiny."
Phyllis snorted but didn't press the matter.
"So, no pressure," Nelda said with forced cheer. "I'll leave you guys to discuss it amongst yourselves, while I tidy up a few other issues and make sure we haven't misplaced that alicorn. Okay?"
In the hallway, Nelda turned to SmithGuild. "Could you possibly help BugleHead find that horn?"
"All right." SmithGuild hitched up his pants awkwardly. "I have to say that in this form, I am starting to understand how uncomfortable clothing can be. In fact, I have a few questions about how this… body works."
"Of course… and we will put sorting out how to reverse this on our list of things to do. Assuming that is what you want to do."
"I don't mean any offense to the human form…" SmithGuild said.
"But it's just not you?"
SmithGuild still walked like he feared he might fall over at any moment, one hand running along the wall. "Herby said she thought your god might have made me human to match me to you."
"Well, that's kind of worrying."
"What do you mean?" Smithguild stopped in his tracks.
"I mean that a lot of what we are doing is predicated on the idea that if there is a higher plan of some kind, that it's a good one and we should follow it. But I would never want anyone I… care about, to be anything other than who they truly are and who they want to be."
SmithGuild was silent for the moment, But then continued on his way.
The back door was propped open, and they could see out into the brightness of the gardens behind the house. The Jaspers started squawking, louder than usual, somewhere back in the trees.
"I think I had better go and check on that," SlithGuild said, shuffling off with his old-man walk.
Nelda turned and went up the stairs towards the roof. Maybe luck would be on her side this time.
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