In which our heroes solve a mystery
It was later. Much later, and really Free Flower couldn’t be any more specific than that. This annoyed her in a vague way.
They clearly weren’t prisoners, since the store room that they had been locked in included a huge open air window. The window opened on a short inverse cliff, and then beneath that a 20,000 foot first step, but it was clearly a open window.
She was leaning on the window sill and considering the cliff; since the sky wasn’t much to look at. She had decided that she could probably handle the cliff; after all she had a great head for heights, and the skinny pale one could probably handle it too, but the grey haired one would fall, beyond all doubt, she had seen the way he had been affected by the altitude.
There was really nothing else to see out the window, so she turned her attention back to the room, she had earlier spotted five different kitchen ingredients that could be improvised into explosives, but she had left them alone; she didn’t think it was wise to burn her bridges until it was really necessary.
She started listening to her traveling companions again. She had been surprised to see that they hadn’t tried to escape as soon as they were thrown into the storeroom; it was like they had been in this situation before; the skinny one in particular seemed to be very good at thinking logically.
They were discussing the mystery of the plants that they had seen growing out of every crevice in the building. She had to admit that that one puzzled her, Trolls weren’t any good at subtle work like gardening; quite apart from anything else they didn’t have the manual dexterity.
The skinny one suggested the goatmen, and that idea sat well with her, the trolls and the goatmen had a very close relationship, and they would have the dexterity for gardening. But no, that wasn’t right; goatman were always ravenous, there was no way they could work with food like this, and anyway she had seen flowers on the way in; food and decoration right next to each other, she just didn’t think goatmen would understand that.
She listened to the men discussing; they brought up many good points, and they were trying hard, but in the end they were stumped too.
Eventually more time passed.
When the knock at the door finally came Free Flower was relived; she had been becoming worried that they had been forgotten. She trooped out silently behind the troll, and was pleased to see that the others did the same.
The grey haired one was trying to talk to the Troll, but the skinny one hushed him, she wondered where the skinny one had learned about trolls from; he had known that it was pointless for a human to talk to a troll. She hoped that they were being taken to see one of the Goatmen, their voice box didn’t let them speak human languages either, but they would understand her if she spoke to them. If there were none here, and that didn’t seem unlikely given all the plants that they passed, then they would be forced to kill a path to the door.
They came to a great hall, luscious with vegetation. In the center, proud and very central, was a grove of apple trees. The answer came to her at once, as it came to the other two too.
“Dryads!” she called out.