Standing there, admiring the absolute hopelessness of the situation, I noticed something peculiar. Robin Goodfellow was staring at me. Not in the incredulous way he was doing earlier. As a matter of fact, it was almost a knowing smile. Only without the smile part.
He seemed to understand exactly what I was thinking. The emptiness piercing my being. I felt hollow. And my competitor was not taking another leap towards his ill-defined finish line. A curious sight.
The swarm was getting closer. My feet weren’t moving. It was done. I embraced the pain to come. As the first of the flying pests struck me, something odd happened. I felt nothing. The bees passed right through me.
The look on my face must have been something to see, because the imp broke out laughing. After the horde of insects made it through my now even more ghostly form, they faded out of existence. What in the hell is going on?
“The mortal’s mind twists and turns
He reaches for answers, he grasps and yearns
This strange event bewilders his senses
Let’s end this charade and drop the pretenses.
Ask the question. That you wish to know
I’ll answer in kind and make it so.”
The imp had hopped back over to me, laughing to himself. This whole thing was freaking me out, and that’s saying something considering the kind of time I’ve had recently. I was too tired to deal with this.
“What just happened? Why didn’t the bees sting me to undeath?”
Robin gives me a wry smile, almost as if he expected me to already know. A beat later he responds.
“The spirit of the moon told you the means
Through which your will has provided these scenes.
Your emotions and belief change your person…”
I blink and from seemingly nowhere he pulls out a screen, displaying an uncanny picture of myself.
“…And since your self confidence could only worsen
The wispy form you currently possess
Ditched what little it had; removed the excess…”
He snaps and the screen changes, showing a transparent version of myself. Little animated bees flew at the false visage of my being. I don’t know how it was doing that, but it was odd to say the least. Best not to ask.
“…Your non-physical body let the massive swarm
pass right through you, without coming to harm.”
He snaps and the screen disappears into nothingness. Robin grins, appearing pleased with himself.
I finally get the nerve to speak.
“So, I felt bad. And I became… feel-through? That’s… That’s ridiculous. What in the hell does feeling bad have to do with teaching me something?”
“Well you see, mortal-”
“DON’T ‘MORTAL’ ME! You jerk! What are you trying to do to me!?”
“Now it is with a chortle-”
“Stop with the rhyming! I’m done with it. Why in the hell do you rhyme?!”
He gives me a dirty look. Still not as scared of him as Luna, but I do have to remember he is the spirit of the forest. Best not to trifle with such beings.
“You forget that our existence is based on belief.
And we play such a charade without a relief.
Now if you’re quite finished with all your screaming
I’ll tell you why it is you should be beaming.”
“I am the master of pranks, who is sometimes called Puck
If find those around me who are down on their luck
Then I change their thinking, add a correction
Take a good hard look at your life in reflection
And if the mortal in question has a head far too big
Then his ego must shrink, lest he become like the pig”
“And yet back to you, our dear, good friend Rodriguez
“Can’t think of anything that rhymes with my name?”
The imp looked embarrassed. His whole monologue fell apart. He takes several minutes, thinking through his words. If he’s supposed to rhyme, what does that mean for our ‘delightful’ conversation? I sit down on the tree trunk, quickly becoming bored. I should be trying to get the key out of him, but after his last outburst, I don’t think it so wise. Still, this was taking forever and-
“Allow me to start again. That rhyme was too slick
My words fell apart with but a mere simple flick.”
“Hold on, that’s not fair. You can’t just stop rhyming halfway through! You told me so yourself.”
“Devil’s in the details, my dear boy! Pay attention.
I can’t stop solely because it causes you tension.
But if my knowledgeable mind can’t find that right verse
I can slip around it, to stop my speech from becoming worse.
Now hold on a second… What was I saying?”
He takes his time again, perusing the recesses of his brain. I think I would prefer to deal with Luna over this. She at least knew where she was going and had a lesson I learned at the end of her test. This guy is trying to explain what I should know from completing his task. Wait…
“Robin, sir, if you don’t mind me interrupting, why are you acting like I finished the race when I didn’t?” Crap. That was probably going to bite me in the ass.
His eyes lit up at my question.
“Ah yes! I was going to explain the game we’ve been playing!”