You decide to explore part of the forest. Going north you step between large trees thick with moss. Your hands now have moss all over them. You scrape the moss off into your pocket. You hear a roar and decide it is not a good idea to explore this way further.
You walk back towards the cave and examine the boulders near the entrance. Here you see a paper wadded under one. You remove the paper and read;
"Beware the grue
For in the dark they roam free
Keep a light high and true
And there safe you will be."
Strange, you've never heard of a grue before probably some prank. So you toss the paper over your shoulder.
At the entrance to the cave you find a lantern hanging on the wall it's full of oil and has an electric pilot, no fussing with matches needed. You realize only a few feet in that you will need the lantern and turn it on.
You see a boulder with what appears to be red paint. Are you sure that's paint? You take a closer look and feel the gewy stickiness of the red splotch realizing it is blood. You search the area but see no hurt person nearby. Suddenly the hair sticks up on the back of your neck.
You step forward and step in something then slip on it, falling backwards and dropping your lantern. It went out and suddenly you hear a noise, like feet scurrying towards you. You scurry to find your lantern panicking as you remember the note and realize the grues do exist.
You lay your hand on metal and find the pilot. As soon as the flame begins, you notice the sound stops. Looking around you see nothing. You shrug it off to being some mice that crawl in the darkness. A short way down you do find a mouse stuck in a crack in the wall. Feeling sorry for the little fellow you pull him out. He seems friendly enough so you stick him in your pocket.
You walk on to find a split in the passage. After a long decision you choose to take the right passage. After a short way you see a light ahead. There you find a small room with a man sitting on a rug. He seemed to be meditating. You examine the room and see nothing else.
"Um... Hi," you say.
"You are late," he said without opening his eyes.
"You must have gotten lost. How do you expect to save the princess without a proper map?"
"The princess?" You ask.
"Before I give you a map to help you find her you must do something for me."
"You must bring me an apple from the everlasting tree."
"You can find it in the forest to the east." With that the man fell silent and you could get no further response from him.
Deciding it would be easier to find your way out than to find this princess without a map you slowly make your way back to the cave entrance.
You now stand outside a cave entrance. To the north, east, and south is forest. To the west is the mountain. You head east. The forest here is not as dense however you have an ominous feeling that something is not right. You walk forward on the path slowly watching all around. You hear strange noises. Suddenly there is rustling to your left.
You think of the grue again and decide to light your lantern as the forest is getting dark. You step forward slowly and something jumps out of the bushes. A little brown man holds a small brown spear up at you.
"What do you want?" You ask.
"You can not pass." It squeaked.
"Right." You said and began to step over it.
A small arrow passed by your face. Another hit your arm and smarted quite a bit. Not wanting to be pricked by a thousand arrows you stop and put your hands up. "Ok, I'm not passing. Now what?"
"Go back the way you came." It squeaked.
"I can't. I need to find the everlasting tree."
"Oh. The everlasting tree? Well, go right ahead then." It bowed to you and waved you aside. You shrug and take a step. It then stabs you in the foot with its spear.
"Ow!" You scream and the little brownies laugh.
"You think it would be that easy? We protect the tree."
"Fine then. Is there something I can trade you for just a small apple?"
"An apple that you can use to live forever? I don't think so."
"Not me, the old man."
"And did you even ask why he wanted it?"
"Well... Uh... No," you stammer. You just thought that in these types of situations you don't ask you just do as people wish to get what you want. Besides he seemed like a nice enough, calm, old man.
"Listen..." The brownie waved you down to him and you lower your ear. "There is a way. You must bring us back a cheese from the everdying tree."
"Cheese doesn't grow on trees!" You protest, but the brownie only looks at you with a wry grin. You sigh. "Ok, where can I find this tree?"
The brownie pointed south.
You arrive at a cave. To the north, east, and south is forest. To the west is the mountain. You look at the cave and see only a black hole in the mountain side. You head south. Inside this part of the forest everything is cheery and bright. You happily walk forward. Not far along is a tree that appears dead, except for a cheese that hangs by a thread from the top branch. You reach up to take it thinking this was rather easy.
A large paw grabs your arm and lifts you off of the ground. You dangle there before a pink furry nose and thin catlike eyes. "You are tresssspasssssssssssing," it hissed.
"Um... I was just passing through."
"You don't ssssssay?"
You reached down into your pocket and pulled out the mouse. You drop it to the ground. It looks up at you in disgust then runs away. The large cat gets a whiff of the mouse drops you and goes chasing after it.
You reach for the cheese the mouse pounces upon it ripping it from the tree and runs off with it. The cat pounced on the tree crushing it.
Knowing it might be the last you'll see of that cheese you grab a hold of the cat's tale and are dragged off your feet. You're bounced around but manage to hold on as it jumps on the mouse. The mouse too small for the cat sneaks out between its paws holding the cheese by the string in its mouth.
The cat continued to chase the mouse north and to the east until a thousand little arrows hit it on the nose. It screeched and flipped around. You let go and drop hard to the ground breaking your lantern.
A dozen brownies chased the mouse around a small fire trying to grab the cheese. Three more carried an apple to you.
"Our bargain is kept. Here is the apple. You may spend the night here. It is too dangerous to go walking through the forest."
You're a bit wary of the brownies but decide to trust them anyway. You kneel by the fire and grab the mouse as it passes by handing the brownies the cheese and put the mouse back in your pocket.
In the morning you find yourself in front of a cave. To the north, east, and south is forest. To the west is the mountain. You look at the cave and see only a black hole in the mountain side. You enter the cave and begin to hear scurrying. It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue. You suddenly remember that your lantern has been broken. As you search your pockets your hand squishes into the moss you grabbed a long time ago and it comes out glowing. You take out the rest of the moss and it allows you to see the way.
You find your way back to the old man. He is gone and a map is in his place. You take the map. It clearly shows the castle in which the princess is being held and the tunnels in the cave leading to it.
The little light the moss provided you begins to fade. Soon it is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue. You scramble to find something in your pocket which will save you. You happen upon the apple. You hear the scampering feet coming towards you and something that sounds like a fish gurgling. Suddenly something sharp and slavering pierces you. You are eaten by a grue.
You find yourself at a cave. To the north, east, and south is forest. To the west is the mountain. You look at the cave and see only a black hole in the mountain side.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please send me any comments you might have, good or bad. Copyrighted 2009 by Christine Schnell. Go ahead and share it with others just keep my name with it.