"Why did you ask about that particular power?" SmithGuild asked.
"It's on the dagger." Nelda pulled it out to show him. Somehow the letter seemed so much clearer now, even though the trees made it some much darker.
SmithGuild smiled smugly.
"I probably shouldn't tell you. It's possible that Pytho was right about that. If you have some kind of implicit power to change reality."
Nelda opened her mouth, with the urge to mention just how many questionable assumptions were part of that chain of reasoning. Then… "Oh. There were no words on the dagger."
"There were not, I am quite sure of it. A few scratches and signs of wear. But if I am correct, by your assumptions based on its origin and appearance, you have now bestowed a magically ability on it. Just like you did with the stripeflower tree."
"But now I know about it… it's probably not."
"The words are still on the blade."
"But they were already there. Whatever power I was thinking the weapon might have … that wasn't really decided. Or, I don't know, my unconscious mind sort of by definition doesn't let me know what it's up to."
Jen's progress had slowed and then stopped. With a somewhat length maneuver, she got turned around to face them. "What the heck are you guys talking about?"
[What kind of girl says 'heck'? I guess it's better than H E double-hockey-sticks.] "SmithGuild put a few things together and the things my unconscious mind has the power to change things in this world based on assumptions it makes about the way things work. Given that, for the most part, I still don't know shit about this place."
They were now blocking Tyrone's path and as he stopped he drew up about eight feet tall on his snake body. "That's like the lamest superpower ever."
Phyllis sighed and turned back to join them. "Can you people work on having the ability to walk and talk at the same time. If it helps, a study at Harvard found that the placebo effect works even when you tell people that you are giving them a placebo."
"That…. Wait where did BugleHead and Reg go."
They all looked around.
"Idiot herd's getting too big, sister," HoneyBeard said. "I lost track of a few."
[You know, no one's even asked about Manny. It's like they never really counted him is present – so he's just a lot less… missing.]
In the distance, a cheerful voice called out. "Whoot!"
HoneyBeard led the charge to see what the other satyrs were getting up to. Nelda proved to be one of the slowest in the party. Jen and HoneyBeard quickly cantered out of sight. Phyllis was closed behind, knocking trees out of her way rather than dodging around them.
Nelda stumbled after then, benches whipping back and smacking her in the face.
"Don't wait for me," Tyrone called redundantly. In the panic, he had lost control of his body and it was coiling like a salted worm.
Nelda was just starting to wonder if she was still going in the right direction when she burst out into a clearing. The bleached and broken remains of a handful of giant fallen trees crisscrossed the ground. Tall grasses grew between them and ahead of them was a long cliff where it looked like the hillside had collapsed. More tall tries trembled on the brink.
BugleHead was excitedly explaining, "The centaur tried to take the treasure. But Reg ran away with it and I hit her with a stick until she went away."
He pointed. The round furry ass of a bay centaur could be seen almost at the top of the cliff where it was made somewhat more accessible by a tumble of jagged boulders. At the top a few other centaurs could be seen, silhouetted against the near-noon light of the open aqua sky. They seemed to be carrying some kind of lumpy packages.
"I ran away," Reg agreed happily, using the top of the alicorn to scratch his back.
Nelda struggled to catch her breath and stamped her feet to check both her ankles were still in working ord. "Guy—huff—have you—huff—noticed…" she began.
She didn't even manage to get their attention. The centaur lifted their… it looked like sacks. Backing away they raised and shook them, objects fell from the sacks and tumbled over the edge of the small cliff.
Tumbling. Flapping, 'Bu-cawk'ing.
Nelda was still leaning over and puffing, distance behind the reunited party as the angry, fluffy, creature bounced off the ground and directed their attention at the nearest accessible target.
The grasses twitched and swirled marking the approach of the creatures.
[Oh right, bas--]
As Jen spun a feather furry trailing the python's tail burst over a fallen log. As their eyes meet Jen shiver, and with a sparkling ripple transformed from hair and lest to carved white marble.
[Oh, fuck.] Nelda pulled her dagger and closed her eyes. [Let's hope ScribeGuild is wrong.]
She heard a lot of cursing and thrashing. Feeling her way forward.
[It's like HoneyBeard said, right? They are chicken-snakes. What the worse they can do.]
[So long as they are not venomous.]
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