“What?” Did he really just offer to help me?
“I never really liked Puck anyway. Let’s make him keep up his end of his bargain.”
I was flying through the air, the small leafy man sitting on my shoulder. He has suggested a direction based on a vague guess that I won’t try to understand. His level of excitement has gone up, at least. And I have a companion on this journey. So, I can’t complain.
“So, what’d you do to piss off Goodfellow?” The leshy spoke.
“I didn’t really do anything, I think. I’ve just been traveling through this magical door, trying to get home. For that I needed his key. So, I asked for it. He challenged me to keep up with him, and I failed, maybe?” Still not sure about that. “Anyway, after tricking me with thinking I won, he gave me this new challenge and disappeared.”
The wood spirit let out a laugh. “That’s just like Master Puck. Never assume he’s straight forward.”
“Yeah, I got that. And I’m sorry for the scene I made back there. It’s just been a lot to deal with.”
“You just died. Even if you’re just a human, that’s still a lot to deal with.”
“Um, thanks? I guess.”
I soared on, the trees whizzing past us. This sideways forest was growing on me, no pun intended. After getting used to the insane spectacle of it all, it was an interesting thought. Do the birds fly like me? Or do they fly perpendicular to the ground? Which way will the water in the river flow?
We approached the river, and my last question was answered. Water flowed downward, with gravity.
“Alright, kid, time to go searching.” He hops off my shoulder and lands on the closest tree.
“So, what’s the plan? How do you find this weird feather?”
“That’s on you, kid. I told you which river it might be, but it’s up to you to figure out where this feather is.”
Crap. “Um, well, he said it was… under the river?”
“Under the river? Kid I don’t know about you, but I don’t swim.”
“It was also under a rock. And next to earth.”
“…I bring it to him to show my worth.”
The leshy sighs. “You have to be kidding me. I think he sent you on a wild goose chase.”
“No, he has to play by some sort of rules. I mean he may be a trickster, but…” It hit me. “…He’s messing with me. He never planned to give me the key.”
“That’s what I told you. But let’s not jump the gun. He likes nothing more than to make an ass out of people, sometimes literally, but there’s always a point to it. Even if we can’t find this feather, we’ll find something.”
“And if not, we beat the leaves out of him.”
“Attack a god? A prankster god at that. I’m sure he can come up with some witty and ironic punishments.”
“Yeah, but the alternative is letting him win, and I ain’t a fan of that.”
“Point. Okay, so let’s follow the river down and if we can’t find anything suspicious, we suicide by God. Epic way to go.”
“Well, let’s get started.” And he jumps down to the next set of trees.
The spirit and I examined the river. It was interesting. While not everything obeys the law of gravity, this most certainly did. The way the water rushed through the river, it looked more like a waterfall than a river. And Puck had said the feather was beneath… above? It was near the river, right?
Oh no. I had forgotten most of his obnoxious rhyme. While I remember it being near river, earth and stone, I can’t remember the directions! It was… next to the earth! Yes! That was one. Now where was it in relation to the river and rock?
“Hey! Ya mind helping to look for this stupid thing?” The spirit was a bit upset with me. I realized I had become lost in thought and stopped looking around.
“Right! So why don’t you head upstream, and I’ll head down. We’ll meet back in a bit?”
“Sure thing, buddy. Just remember, not everything is what it looks like.” And with that, he hopped up to the next tree.
I floated further down, looking for anything resembling a feather or bird. What kind of lesson could I gain from searching for such an item? Seemed like a simple gofer job. As I floated down, the river bent to the right, the rushing stream seeming to change direction by magic. It still had the waterfall effect to it, but now it was going in a different path, away from the ground. It still flowed with the riverbed along the earth.
I have to remind myself that this realm isn’t like the normal world. Even if I think I understand the way something works here, it can shift itself just to spite me.
There. I see a rock. It’s particularly large compared to any I’ve seen, and I’m drawn to it. This had to be the stone he was talking about. Now where was the feather in relation? Over? Under? I continued flying around it examining every nook and cranny. The thing was big, larger than two of me, and so much to explore. I should call the spirit over and see if he has any ideas.
I don’t know his name. How can I not know his name? This was all a bit of insanity.
“Mr. Leshy! I think I’ve found something!” I really hope he heard that.
I don’t know how far away he is, so I continue about my search. The rock isn’t too far from the river. I think the feather was over the river? But is that in relation to our current perspective? Does it change based on how I’m seeing the water moving? Luna taught me how to adjust my gravity, so to speak, could I do that here and change where the feather is?
I move up to the earth by the river. I put my foot out, flat against it. I focus on the dirt and rocks being the floor. Finally, I put my other foot against it and stand up. It feels different and right. Kinda wish I knew how to tap dance, then I could pull off some Fred Astaire routines right now. But I was oriented the way I felt I should perceive the forest now. And it was beautiful. The trees were incredibly tall, though I’m not sure why I noticed before. I guess it made it easier to maneuver when they’re on their sides.
I hear a sound. It’s water crashing. I turn and look behind me, in time to see the water adjust its orientation to my new perspective. The water stops flowing like it was before, and slams into the riverbed. I get splashed with some water, though I wonder how I get wet if I’m not really here. It was beyond weird though. While I had considered the water doing that, part of me didn’t think it would. I mean, it’s not like I can manipulate the stuff around me…
I start remembering what Luna had said. She told me my thoughts can only influence so much. I might not have been able to teleport, but could it be that I can adjust the… perspective? Does the way I see the world change the way the world is shaped?
“What did you do?!” It was the spirit. He was hopping down the trees toward me, as if they were in the previous perspective.
“What happened to the water?!”