After a very uncomfortable night sleeping on the ceiling, Nelda woke up in a semi-fetal position, looking down on the satyrs preparing to decamp from the cave. [If this was caused by the leaf, shouldn't it have worn off by now?] Nelda had worked out how to conduct weightless pooping during the night, there being no real choice in the matter.
She vaguely remembered that drugs like cocaine left the body after a day or two. [So maybe I have another day of this to go? It doesn't feel like it is wearing off at all.]
Eventually HoneyBeard appeared below her, looking quite smug about something. "I made a rope," he said. "Two, in fact."
He held up a length of lumpy plaited dead animal skin. While it looked at about the execution level of a pre-school art project. This was stil pretty impressive given the satyr disinterest in any kind of technology other than brewing. "Um, okay," Nelda said. "What's the plan?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
"I am really getting the idea that you guys don't understand how questions work."
"And I'm getting the idea that I could just leave you on the roof there."
[Just my luck that the sassy satyr is also the only one with any kind of problem-solving skills.] "My apologies, brother. Would you be so god as to explain it to me as my wit's are too deficient to recognize that which is obvious to you."
The look HoneyBeard gave her was very reminiscent of Angry Brenda, but he did deign to explain. "The weight of one satyr is not sufficient to keep you on the ground, but the weight of two satyrs is. So BugleHead and I will each hold a rope, tied to each of your ankles."
"You call him BugleHead too."
"Well, obviously I do. It's his name."
[I mean, I suppose I am just going to have to go along with what passes for logic in this place.] Okay, but I think it might make more sense to just tether me to a rock or a tree until this wears off."
"We have to get you out of here first. Unless you want to live in the cave?" HoneyBeard added hopefully.
The thought of the sheer tedium of being alone in the dark was very motivation. "No! No! I'm sure we can make it work." [I am actually going to become a human balloon now.]
Nelda didn't mention that it would be a lot easier for them both to hold one rope. The ropes didn't look terribly trustworthy, so it was good to have a backup.
Nelda fastened the roadkill ropes to each of her ankles. At least she would be able to stay here in the valley with the satyrs until she resolved her buoyancy situation. BugleHead was fairly agreeable and even HoneyBeard had not objected to her calling him 'brother'.
BugleHead appeared to take his rope, in the form of perversely non-sexual bondage that even Rule 34 might not accommodate. "Here we go," he said cheerfully.
Nelda lurched forward with two good tugs to her ankles and her forehead smashed into the cave wall where is dipped down over the small entrance.
"Oops," said BugleHead, by way of apology.
HoneyBeard just laughed. "Look who's on a leash now."
Nelda kicked in the direction of his head but took care to miss. [I never had brothers, but it must feel like this.] She was struck by a sudden wave of sourceless nostalgia. For the first time since her ordeal began, Nelda started to cry.
"There, there, sister." BugleHead pulled down on the rope leaving Nelda sobbing and bobbing. What's wrong?"
"My… head… hurts."
"We'll get you something for that. But let's go outside first."
They carefully guided her outside. Nelda was annoyed with herself. [I am not the kind of girl that cries.] Nevertheless. now that she had started, it seemed she could not stop. Nelda was full on ugly-crying with snot, and coughing, and deep guttural sounds like she was drowning in her own tears.
"Shhh, shhh, shhh." BugleHead patted her ineffectually on the top of one shoe. Which to be fair, was the only part of her that he could reach. "It'll be all right."
[Did I pass out for a moment? I am not sure. How can you tell if you blacked out in a dark cave.] Nelda's head was split with a headache like a caffeine-migraine and she wretched with nausea but had nothing to throw up. "Just tie me to something," she got out between sobs. "You do whatever you have to do today. Don't worry about me."
"We planned to do nothing today," BugleHead said.
"Yeah," HoneyBeard noted. "And that was a solid plan. We should stick with it."
At that moment a huff-whistling wind tore down the mountain and through the valley. It
swirly and rebounded between the trees and the rocks. It was concentrated by the narrow cleft between the red cliffs that held the Dragon Cave and the tall grey tor just on the other side of the river.
It gathered the cool spray of the river. It gathered the dead leaves from the ground. It gathered Nelda, and by extension BugleHead and HoneyBeard, and it lifted them up, up, up into the sky.
"Somehow," BugleHead said. "This is still unexpected."
"Jump!" Nelda screamed. "Before it's too late! Jump! Jump!"
HoneyBeard and BugleHead did not jump.
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