They left the craggy mountain top with haste and started their decent to the Valley of Humungi, where they would place the crystal in the river. Drix and Miknish glanced at each other with a hint of horror in their eyes, thinking the same awful thought. Only one was brave enough to articulate. “Aah Amchaut my friend, you do know how to return that to full size now don’t you?” Drix asked in a gentle tone betraying the rather deep concern he held for the opposite.
‘’Don’t worry I had a new wand crafted before we left. The mighty Wandweavers never use Crookedcast rubbish material in their work. Crookedcast dealers were a spurious crowd who used dark and second hand alchemy for profit. They are renowned for use of only local and ancient Sukonini material” Amchaut chuckled and waved his somewhat bent and noduled wand in the air…
“Do you want me to show you?”
“Nooo !” Miknish leapt a good three Sukonini feet to grab Amchaut by the wrist and aim the wand at the ground. Sukonini feet are a quite large so this was indeed an achievement on Miknishs behalf.
“Oh for goodness sakes I wasn’t going to let it rip here Mik, give a Suki some credit. I was going to aim it down the ravine” Amchaut loosened his wrist from Miknishs grip and just as quick it was restrained again. O.K, O.K. !” The Crone gave it a good check when we visited her, surely you trust her?”
“We’re only to return it to full size once we reach the river Amchaut. Do you understand? We only get one chance at this, there’s no mucking around.” Drix now stood eye to eye, with the two, all their citrine brows sparking and shimmering brightly with all the excitement.
The river laid a couple of ravines away and Drix was wondering if there wasn’t a quicker way of getting there. They couldn’t use their hover shoes as the land beneath them was mainly granite and when a hover shoe crossed granite sparks would fly and fires could rage. The wisdom weavers in their clan were forever working on how to change those glitches in the hover shoe and would continue to do so as there was a lot of granite surrounding their land.
While Drix pondered this, his gaze fell on some very old trees towering precariously on the slope with their bases entwined around and within giant boulders of granite. Ahead, towering further above the very tips of some of the tallest trees appeared a burst of color. There were stripes of red, white, blue, deep green and yellow.
“Well, what say we take a stealthy walk closer and see what that is?” Amchaut and Miknish stood stock still at this suggestion as they came to gaze upon the same sight.
As they got closer, they saw a very small individual leaning back, almost in a lying position, pulling on a thick rope. A few paces away another individual was doing the same. Just as the Sukonini appeared from the bush, another gaseous roar was heard. They could see now blue and yellow flames and a haze of heat blasting its way up into the colorful balloon.
‘G’day!’ bellowed Drix.
The almost prostrate pair holding the ropes turned to the group with a jolt.
‘G’day yourself,’ one of them returned with a smile. The other one said a brief ‘Hey,’ and then continued to concentrate on his task.
‘What can we do for you?’ the individual asked.
‘We’re trying to get over these ravines. Drix offered his hand to the fellow. Unable to offer his hand in return the stranger replied courteously.
‘No offence Sukonini, but I’ve kind of got my hands full at the moment. If you like, it would be very helpful if you could grab those other two ropes and fasten them to the trunk of that eucalypt over there and the melaleuca over there.
“Ah bless you sir, do you have a cold?” Drix asked jokingly. “Mela euco who now?”
Introductions followed and the three were directed in helping secure the ‘Balloon’ it was called, to a couple of trees. They shared some Broth and negotiated to borrow and return the Balloon, in exchange for some highly sought Sukonini alchemy. They were then instructed in the basics of flying the colorful giant.
Soon they felt the chill of the mountain winds and the fear in their hearts, as they took flight. Soaring across the dense almost impenetrable granite laden bushland. Not long into their flight they were called to deal with an unlikely guest. Splat, something hit the basket then the balloon. Splat then Amchauts’ face was obscured by bright yellow thick goo. This caused Amchauts’ finger stones to cut into his hands as his grip around his Shilo tightened. The wind seemed to pick up. It raced around and smacked them on their backsides and tickled their ears, then dropped giggling into stillness. About to guffaw loudly at Amchauts’ face, saliva became quite scarce to Drix as he heard a deep momentous sound. Beside him, Miknish’s pink lips fell open.
‘Watch out!’ it yelled. ‘You there, move!’ The huge, hairy creature seemed to have far too many legs, yet it wasn’t using them. It seemed to be gliding at a super speed and the sound it made nearly shook them from the basket.
The furry looking giant just clipped Amchauts’ thick hair and landed heavily, clinging to the seemed now like, their fragile balloon.
“I told you to move Sukonini. You know, I tried to give you fair warning.’ This is the land of the Humungi you know!”
The creature used all of its black, hairy legs to turn and look at the stunned group. Amchaut was fixing his hair tufts back into place with one hand and was still gripping around his Shilo so hard there was another trickle of blood making its way through the air to the forest floor.
‘Teddy Bear Bee. How do you do?’ it said trying to break the silence of the trio.
‘Te…Te…Teddy. Hi…We…I…’ Drix was quite speechless, and Miknish had tried to lift his jaw.
‘You hug your food. You hug the flowers. You shake them and release all their pollen and pollinate the bush,’ Miknish informed the bee like it didn’t know its own self.
“I see my impeccable reputation precedes me and yes things here are a little larger than usual for you. You think I’m huge? Wait ‘til you see the snapdragon flower ahead that I just came from,’ the bee gestured with one of its furry black arms.
‘Please don’t shake…please don’t. You could burst the balloon!’ Amchaut eventually explained to the huge, buzzing insect.
‘Blow some gas Drix, we need to get higher,’ Miknish ordered.
Licking his fingers and face, Amchaut commented that the yellow stuff was so sweet. What he had not noticed was the yellow stuff had made his lip grow very large and so too his moustache. Just as Miknish pointed this out to Amchaut, the bee had taken flight and the balloon was caught up in a sudden rush of air. The trio was soon to bear witness to a colossal landscape. The roses with giant thorns and giant teddy bear bees to go with them, whose hum offered a tremendous sound of unity.