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Cheese? All of this, a gateway to another realm, accidentally summoning Pan, attacking Penny and Oz with a chess golem (also by accident, it seemed), all of it just because of cheese?

 

"Cheese? You're doing all this for cheese?" He paused but briefly, shooting an incredulous look at Penny, then at Oz. "And you want a body of cheese?"

 

Pan could follow quite a bit. He had his share of adventures, he had seen much weird and strange, but this? Cheese? This was a bit much. Just... Cheese?

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"I'm doing it to regain my form!" corrected Lorenzo, sticking a finger up in the air to emphasise his point. "And the best way I can do that is fungus! More precisely, the fungus that lives in cheese!" he said, patiently. 

 

Penny squirmed her mouth and put finger to lips, thinking on the matter. "Well, if the Puzzle Box brought me here I think there is a puzzle to solved. There always is. Admittedly, its the first time it has directed me to anything related to cheese" she conceded. 

 

"Excellent! The first journey is always the most jovial!" commented Lorenzo. 

 

"I don't know much about the fae realms. But what he says does kind of make some kind of almost sense" said Penny. "They are bristling with life. They might have the key to restoring his body. They might...."

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"the golden ratio is the key my friends...the golden ratio is the key!" Oz interjected as he used the said ratio spiral to calculate the relative positions of the realms along the cosmic coil furiously transmuting the circle one step at a time as he danced around it like a frenzied if portly imp chattering about arithmantic principles to himself as much as to Lorenzo and the others.

 

"Tiny tiny errors." He mused as he tapped away with his umbrella pointing to various points in the circles construction "made a siphon! Pulled things in rather than a vortex to travel through!," He explained "yes yes, a backflow, the fae realm was too thaumaturgically dense to be pulled in so it grabbed the nearest source of Fae magic instead! Sympathetic ressonance you see? A bird of the feather rather than the flock." He explained as he finished up and dabbed at his brow

 

"Like reversing a rite to summon death in hopes of banishing it instead sending the caster to the realm of the dead!"

Edited by Exaccus

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"A yes! La razione d'oro of course, of course! I totally understand you!" bluffed the Black Rose. 

 

"It is so nice to speak to one who is nearly my equal!" he congratulated Oz. Sort of. 

 

He cracked his creaking leather gloves. Presumably there were no bones underneath, just that same orange vapour, but one never could tell. 

 

"Well then, sir! I would be delighted for you to witness my extraordinary achievement...the summoning of a gate to the wild fae realms!"

 

Before waiting for approval, or dissent, or any other interjection, he mumbled some latin phrase about pixies and cheese and mushrooms, and, lo!

 

A portal appeared!

 

It was a wibbly wobbly sphere of several dimensions, and inside one could smell rainbows and see sweet fragrances. And then, in a wibbly wobbly mess, the portal exploded!

 

"An almost perfect success!" declared Lorenzo. 

 

He stood in a vibrant forest full of colour. And he stood with Penny Coin, Neverboy, and Oz....

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"Yes, yes, body restored, but... He would still be in a cheese body." Pan was obviously not a big fan of the idea. Not that he had anything against cheese, but not as somebody's body.

 

And then, Lorenzo went to work, everything changed and they stood in a vibrant forest. It was... strange. It felt almost like home. It looked almost like home. But the smell was off, was it not? This was not Neverworld. Perhaps it was the Fea Realms, as Lorenzo had hoped. He was not too fond of having been moved to another location against his will, or at least without asking, twice in one day. The last time, he had ended up on Earth, and he was starting to fit in here. He had plenty of friends. And now he was in another world again, without even being asked properly? No, he did not like that.

 

In a flush of golden glitter, he was by Lorenzo, right up in his face, or what passed for his face, anyway. "Who said you could take us along?" There was an underlying anger to his tone. It was as much a statement of his feelings on the matter, as it was a question.

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"Why, so I did not sir! I assumed that you would be delighted with such an adventure? And to such a lively, splendid place! Look at the colours, sir! Why, I have no nostrils nor nose, and yet so magnificently repslendent be the land around us that even I can conjure up the fragrances to my mind's eye! Or, in this case, my mind's nose!"

 

It was indeed colourful, and rather fragrant, in a rather sickly sweet way. Like an apple that was just starting to rot. 

 

"Would you care to return to the mundane world? Why you only need to step through the portal which is just over...oh...its gone...."

 

He looked a bit shocked, a bit sad, a bit scared!

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"Oh yes the coil is constantly in motion, the portals do not last indefinately." Oz piped up "if it were set there'd be no need to calculate as i do." He added.

 

"Tis a relatively simple matter to open another home when we're all said and done...but yes it is a rather splendid place to visit." OZ Sighed contently "remember this is the home of the fae, tread cautiously and with respect, remember they are nothing if not courtly in their ways." He added as he stooped to sniff at some flowers that caught his interest.

 

They were also quite vain and playful, capable of callousness devoid of malice as only amoral immortal beings of mirth and mercurial nature could be but there was no need to bring that up.

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"Yes yes, of course! I knew that, of course!" said the Black Rose, as he surveyed the Fae Realms. 

 

"Now, dear ladies and gentlemen and you" he started, nodding at Neverboy for the latter "this realm is where I have determined the best chance of locating the best fungus is. And more so, I hope that we have arrived at the area of this realm which has the greatest concentration of fungus!"

 

There were indeed some very colourful mushrooms to be seen scattered around some nearby trees. Some where as small as a button, and one was as tall as a man. 

 

"There! Hmmm....I wonder if these would do?" he pondered, putting leather finger to the place in his glass fishbowl helm where his chin was approximately located. 

 

"Would any of you care to eat them to determine if they are poisonous?" he said cheerfully. "I am afraid I have no sense of smell. Or indeed a functionoing gastic system...alas!"

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Adventure, yes. But an adventure for cheese? Pan did not like that at all, no. The Fae realms were indeed vibrant, they were indeed an adventure, but he did not like the idea of this adventure on Lorenzo's terms. He had already proved to be strange, and quick to take hostile actions, after all.

 

With a loud sigh, he flew away from Lorenzo, instead hovering by Penny. Fine, he was here, but he was not going to act like he liked it. Being pulled between worlds against his will was not something he cared to repeat. He frowned at the mention of the poison mushrooms. Sure, try to eat something you knew nothing about, and from a Fae realm. Absolutely brilliant idea. "Please, would anyone like to tell me a bit more about the Pixies and other Fae, or just about this realm? It is quite different from the Pixies back home." Some knowledge would do, yes. It would help, at least.

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"the fair folk are very emotional beings...they change like the sea and the seasons with such rapidness and ease that it catches many off guard." Oz began "Playful and curious beings but they have a grasp of morality and philosophy that we mere mortals tend to struggle with." He rubbed his chin as he pondered how to get his point across without offending any of the Fae who might be overhearing him.

 

"They have difficulty empathizing with humans as they are whimsically detached from notions that tend to bog us down; like time, entropy, death." He added "causality, logic, reasoning." purely emotional beings." He again emphasized his next words "they do not suffer rudeness or trespass it is considered prudent to come bearing a gift and a means of defending one's self...though their powers are bound into narratives they themselves concoct; the origin of the term fairy tales if I recall."

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"You seem to know a lot about the Fae!" came a squeaky voice. 

 

There were a few of them. It was hard to tell, because they were clearly excellent at hiding. Stealthy, sneaky, and very small. 

 

Standing at a collosal six inches was their leader, a little fae creature with a bow, a green costume, and a tall hat that added an impressive extra inch to his stature. 

 

Quite fearless, he continued. 

 

"What are you doing here? This is wild lands, and dangerous! And you don't look like a fae. Except for you...a bit..." he added pointing at Penny Coin.

 

"Thanks! A bit!" said Penny, who wondered what sound the tiny sprite would make if she trod on him. 

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So, like the Pixies back home, but not quite like back home. And they sounded quite a bit more chaotic. Potentially more dangerous. Interesting, in a way. He chuckled a bit at Oz's line about being detached from things that bogs mortals down. Not something he felt particularly like sharing with total strangers, but yes, that was something he had some experience with himself.

 

And then, the Fae was all around them, asking questions, what they were doing here and everything. And at least Penny looked a bit like a Fae. What was he, then? Well, not really a Fae, just with some of their tricks, after all. Maybe something he should keep to himself for a little bit?

 

And so, standing by Penny, doing his best not to fly or otherwise show off his Pixie Dust, Pan gestured towards Lorenzo the Black Rose. "The fellow who has a severe case of missing a body would like some cheese." 

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"Cheese?" squarked the sprites. "Cheese?"

 

Their leader, the tallest, stood as tall as he could. "I am Flint Boddyflock" he said proudly. "Leader of my merry band of mercenaries! We come here to stop the invasion of the mushroom men into our kingdom" he explained. 

 

"What that has to do with Cheese, I do not know!"

 

"Me likes cheese!" piped up one of his soldiers, a cross eyed buffoon who looked quite slow on the uptake. 

 

"Pipe down, Muddlehead!" hissed Flint. "We don't want these oafs...I mean people...to think we are stupid, now, do we?"

 

"mmm....Cheese!" piped up Muddlehead. 

 

Flint gave him a clip round the head and turned to the humans again. 

 

"As for cheese, I suppose it grows on trees in this land" he said. "Anything can happen in the wild fae realms!"

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Oz was never quite ready for it whenever a Fae happened to use their narrative powers to turn up when dramatically appropriate as dictated by their stories.

 

"greetings cheif boddyflock!" He piped in otherwise unperturbed. By the suddeness of it all but quite familiar with the situations and scenarios and given the whole context of this conflict and the appropriate appearance of these Fae he and his companions had been drawn into a story and we're now characters within it.

 

"We apologize for our trespass." He began "I had prepared a small gift as a token of good will but perhaps our interests align! For it is the fungus that veins cheese we seek, perhaps we may instead lend our aid to your noble quest against these myconid miscreants as we search their domain?" He offered "and remove the fungus we seek with your consent?"

Edited by Exaccus

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"Fungus! You seek the FUNGUS!" roared Boddyflock, incensced. He drew his sword and waved it around alarmingly, as if it was two yards long not two inches. In reality, it would do against a spider, or maybe a cat at most. 

 

"The Fungus men have been raiding our lands for the last month! Viscious, wild, smelly!" he explained. "You should have nothing to do with them! They are a blight on our world! On EVERY WORLD!"

 

"KILL THE FUNGUSMEN!" roared his small squadron of sprites. 

 

"But I ne...." started the Black Rose Lorenzo. 

 

Penny kicked him sharply in the shin. 

 

"...ouch!"

 

"To help you. We need to help you!" added Penny. 

 

She knew enough about the Fae to realise that even six inch sprites could be annoying and vexing at best, dangerous at worst. 

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Pan watched with amusement, holding a hand over his lips to hide his smile at the situation. Oh, these Fae did not like the fungus at all, did they? Seemed like that would just make things much more difficult for Lorenzo. Such a shame. Of course, he was biased. He freely admitted as much, but that did not mean that he was about to change his opinion of Lorenzo quite as easily. 

 

Still, this was an adventure, and he had followed along passively for long enough! If there were fungus men to be slain, then fungus men would be slain! So, he stepped forward, Forever Blade materializing out of Pixie Dust in his hand, held high above his head. "Indeed! Lead the way, brave chief Boddyflock, and we shall aid you in the defeat of the fungus!" His voice was raised, his tone dramatic. Time to play the game and win the prizes!

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"Hurrah Hurrah and thrice Hurrah!" screamed Boddyflock, sword raised high (ish) to meet Pan's. 

 

"Tallyo Tallyo!

Its off to slay we go!

With a cutstab here,

And a cutstab there,

We slay and slay till there's nought left to slay,

Tallyo Tallyo!"

 

Squeaked the five sprites in unison. 

 

"Tallyo, Tallyo!" sang Penny, swinging her fist excitedly at the refrain. 

 

"Can you give me a sword, Oz? A shiny sharp one?" she asked. "Cutstab here! Cutstab there! Awesome!"

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"of course my dear of course, now let me see." Swords were of course a far safer and less worryingly random and clumsy than guns so Oz felt little objection in giving penny one, but perhaps it would serve best as a pair, with a shield.

 

With his words of arcane power and finger wiggling of comedic but potent importance he span the thaumatons in the air into a long slender rapier, it's flat but mirror polished blade engraved with a delicate leaf pattern and a a basket guard stylised after flowing vines with ivy leaves, a small budding rose making up the pommel.

 

The shield was less fancy but every bit as full of personality, a simple kite shape with a black boarder, a pink center and a stylised black cat face emblem with deep green eyes, the objects hung in the air floating alongside the group as they moved.

 

"To your liking I hope, penny dear." He commented as he dabbed at his brow with his everhandy kerchief.

 

A mix of exertion and the balmy heat had brought a bit of a sweat upon him.

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Pan quickly joined in on the song, singing loudly and proudly along. Yes, his initial annoyance at the reason for the adventure were giving away at the sheer joy of the new adventure, of the new world to explore! "Tallyo, tallyo! Come now Oz! Come now Lorenzo! Sing along too!" 

 

Cutstabs! An interesting way of phrasing it. And the song was much like at home, was it not? That appeared to be one thing these Fae had in common with the Pixies of Neverland. The songs, the music. Pan flew up high, did a quick loop, then landed before Boddyflock and performed a quick bow. "Lead the way, chief Bollyflock, and I shall follow!" Well, they had remained kind of motionless, but perhaps a repeat of his earlier statement would move them along? Pan could quickly fight the fungus, if that was the adventure of the day, but these Fae would have to lead the way.

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"Awesome!" replied Penny. She gave the blade a few clumsy swings through the air. Swish swish. 

 

She looked less happy with the shield. "I guess its practical!" she conceded. "Although I kind of wanted to look like Betty Bladz from Land of Battlecraft. She dual wields!" she explained. Although she still had a smile on her face as she swung her blade. 

 

Boddyflock gave a little jig. "We are searching for the Mushroom mountain! A foul fungus as big as a mountain" he explained, although quite what a mountain meant to a six inch tall sprite was anybodies guess. 

 

"Inside lives the King of the Mushroom Men!" he added. "Where he practices his foul religion and black sorcery!"

 

The five sprites hissed in union. 

 

"But..." said Boddyflock, rather awkwardly. "We can't find our way...its very confusing, this realm! If only we had a map. Or a compass!"

 

Oz's compasses started vibrating and spinning, then settling to a clear direction. The Mushroom mountain!

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"I fear I am a bit out of tune in my old age." Oz responded, modest but true, his attentions were however quickly grabbed by the frenzied whirling of his compass needle.

 

"Oh-ho! I have a signal, similar to the veins of your golem Lorenzo though a much stronger version." He looked up and pointed his umbrella.

 

"We will find the vile mushroom men that-a-way!" Oz chimed as he offered the compass to his companions, bending to show the face to chief boddyfock.

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And so...

 

Of to work we go!

 

More precisely, Boddyflock and his four companions trotted along (and remarkable speed, quite capable of keeping up with the tall folk) with Oz, Pan, Lorenzo the Black Rose, and Penny Coin the Puzzle Pixie. Penny was swishing her sword around with great enthusiasm and less skill. There was a considerable risk of enucleating somebodies eyeball. 

 

The land was lush beyond anything one could comprehend, let alone see. It was, as Lorenzo said, practically bursting with life at every point. 

 

This did not just mean brightly coloured birds and bright eyed rabbits (although there were both of these in plentiful amount). It did not just mean magnificently tall twisted trees and fragrant flowers (although these too where in abundance). Life came in all shapes and sizes, and this included bacteria and viruses. 

 

Yes, there was plenty of sickly sweet rot everywhere, and quite a few animals and plants infected with something horrible. Spores littered the air threatening some kind of lung irritation (if one was lucky). 

 

But ahead, soon, they spied the Mushroom mountain. Yes indeed, it was a mushroom as big as a mountain. 

 

"Excellent!" cried Lorenzo, clapping his black leather gloves. "We shall have to take a sample. And somebody with a mouth must try eating some!"

 

"Not bloody likely!" retorted Boddyflock. "Thats the mushroom mountain, hall of the mushroom king. We don't want to let him know we are coming. The element of surprise is key!"

 

"Besides, when uncle Flockboddy put some of that mushroom in his soup, we all tasted of funny colours for hours afterwards" he sighed, his eyes wobbling and diverging at the mere memory. 

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