Chapter Five

In which a villainous lady and her fearsome gyrocoptopus woo a battered academic

Julian’s day was not going well. He had slept on his left arm strangely, and so it ached a bit near his elbow. There was no milk at breakfast, which ruled out cereal and white tea, and put him in a hungry and crabby mood. Then the Skysnail was attacked by an oversized, flying octopus and was sent tumbling from the sky to crash violently into the base of a mountain near a forest undoubtedly filled with countless ravenous beasts. To further ruin Julian’s day, he did not even regain consciousness in the wrecked airship, like Joseph did. He awoke on a large, soft couch in a huge chamber with stone walls and marble tiles. In front of the couch, a small table covered with a lace cloth was set for tea. A large window was set into the wall to Julian’s left, and sunlight was streaming in. Other than the light from the window, the chamber was dark, and a little chilly.

Strange Dark Chamber

Julian stood up, ignoring the twinge in his elbow from where he slept on it strangely, and trying (and failing) to ignore the stabbing pain in his knee. Presumably, this knee pain was a by-product of the crash landing earlier. He gathered the thick blanket that had been tucked around him up, and slung it around his shoulders like a cape. That warmed him slightly. He decided to hobble to the window, partially for the warmth, and partially to ascertain where he was being housed. About halfway there, he realised he wasn’t wearing his glasses, which explained the fuzzy quality the chamber had. They must’ve been lost in the crash. He groaned, then started suddenly as he heard a voice from behind him.
“I can make you a new pair, darling. Yours were steel frames, no?”
Julian spun to face the speaker, and his mind seized up. Before him stood a tall, slender woman, dressed in a close-fitting and slightly shimmering red dress. Her hair was dark and long, with a straight fringe that fell into her eyes, hiding her expression. She was, without a doubt, the most lovely person Julian had ever set eyes on, in this world or the real one. He needed to reply with something smooth and suave…

Steel Frames, no?

Julian and the charming lady dressed in red had tea. Her name was Deidre, and she was intriguing for several reasons. Firstly, Julian had never met anyone else in this world who existed outside of it, Joseph being the obvious exception. This revealed to him that their source of Magnifera tryptamine was not the only one. Other people had found and discovered the properties of the strange fruit. Secondly, Deidre was a villain. She had entered the strange world of the fruit to wreak havoc and chaos, and it was on her command that the Skysnail was forcibly removed from the air. Molly, the gyrocoptopus, was Deidre’s friend and companion. Her acid-drenched tentacles and propellor propulsion were the invention of the lovely lady in red.
“Now tell me, dear, why you could not simply conjure a new pair of spectacles yourself.” Deidre said, stirring sugar into her tea lazily.
“I…I’m not very good with imagining things.” Julian replied sheepishly.
“I see. A man of facts and figures. Solid and tangible things.” Deidre smiled. To manipulate the world of a gomango trip, one needed to have a calm mind and a good imagination. Joseph was the creator of the world he and Julian lived in. He could summon wild and unusual daydreams and make them a reality. In this world, Julian was as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Chocolate Teapot

Deidre opened her mouth, as if to begin to speak, but then smiled and shook her head. Julian gave her a politely quizzical look.

“It’s nothing, really. I just had a brief…imagining.” Deidre’s smile changed slightly. She seemed more menacing now. “If you entered this world with a friend, for instance, he would imagine you some sort of power to ensure you were equal…Any decent person would do that.”
Julian frowned.
“At least, I would do that.” Deidre leant across the table and gently smoothed a blonde wave out of Julian’s eye. “I could be a friend.”

Joseph could conjure Julian pink underwear, but this woman could give him equality in this world ruled by the imaginative.
Julian made his choice.


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