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Deal 1145: Dungeon crawl

He was forgetting something important again. He was sure of it. Problem was, he had no idea what. A quick check revealed that he was indeed wearing pants, shoes, and his glasses. So it wasn’t that obvious. But it was driving him nuts.

Even so, his only way out was through, so he kept moving.

But as he went along, he remained certain he was missing something important.

That’s when it bit him.

He forgot his amulet. He wasn’t invisible. He wasn’t silenced. He wasn’t concealed from all senses.

And the grue knew that, and was watching from the shadows waiting for the right moment.

From the sounds around him, possibly more than one grue.

Still, bitten or not, the only way out was through so he went on.

The noises in the distance got louder and closer. Then his cat appeared, a satisfied grin on its face, and licking its chops. There was no further sign of the grue.

Together in the dimly lit cavern, they went onwards. Clearly his cat knew that this was the easiest way to find more delicious snacks, and stayed close.

The darkness closed in.

Then, there was nothing he could do but hunker down, and drop everything as the change swept through his body.

He was now a rat!

And that cat is huge. And grinning.

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Deal 1040: Gwen muses

Interesting times indeed. This latest adventurer or victim (it is so hard to tell them apart) has potential. He might yet live to prove himself.

He survived his initial trials mostly unscathed. Since that usually involved a visit to the labyrinth, that is no mean feat. There are enough deadlies in there to give even me pause.

He ignored the taunting of the frog, or at least broke away from his attempt to control him. That at least shows an innate stubbornness that will prove valuable. The frog is a slippery critter, however, so he could very well return. We’ve seen him attempt to crash my garden already. I expect more.

Sydney has not attempted to make a pass at my human form, also a sign of innate or latent capability. Or perhaps he’s just not interested, although I get the sense that he sees through my form more than is typical. I wonder how many of my forms he can recognize?

Our next few days together will be interesting. I won’t have many more days to work with him before others take an interest. So he needs his strength tested soon. After that, assuming he passes, we shall see.

But for right now, he’s getting much needed rest, and while this form needs less of it, I should take some rest of my own.

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Deal 1036: Awaken awake wake ake a

Despite the narrative complexity, Sydney was resting rather comfortably. He was getting enough dreaming done to last him a month.

seven worried thoughts
calm costumed clumsy chicken
left alone to dream

But he had the nagging feeling that waking would be wise before he got too comfortable. Lacking formal training in walking among the dreamlands, he had to improvise. He needed a way to disrupt the calm, but not so much that it would cause him trouble later.

Then it hit him. The perfect solution.

He imagined he’d find it just behind the next tree. Concentrating, he moved cautiously around the large trunk under the branches laden with fragrant apple blossoms.

And there it was.

A magnificent rooster, sound asleep in a sunbeam.

He snuck up on the rooster, and picked it up. To his surprise, it just snorted a little in its sleep, and ignored him as he carried it off.

Back at his campsite, he set the rooster down near his sleeping form.

Then he prodded it awake, hoping it would crow loudly in surprise.

“Arwwk?” it grumbled. “Why am I under the wrong tree?”

Sydney stepped back. The rooster was talking. “I’m sorry. I was hoping you would be startled enough to wake me from several layers of dream.”

“I suppose. What is in it for me?”

“Satisfaction? I don’t really have anything to offer you, other than this pocket I suddenly notice is full of corn.”

“One pocket of well dreamt corn sounds fair enough. You can leave the corn here. One never knows for sure which of you will wake up or what will happen next. I imagine I’ll enjoy my snack and return to my slumber, though.”

“Certainly.” Sydney emptied his pockets of corn, and even found a pocket full or worms. The dreamlands are an uncertain place, and not for the squeamish.

The rooster nodded in satisfaction, then stretched himself out, ruffled his magnificent plumage, and took a deep breath.

“squrrk”

It was just about the quietest noise Sydney had ever heard come out of a rooster that large. The rooster looked chagrined, shook himself, and tried again.

“COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!”

This time the noise shook the trees, the ground, and the very sky.

Sydney felt a lurch as his point of view suddenly snapped to his sleeping form. Then it lurched again. And again.

In time, he settled down and found the orchard looking much like it had when he had settled down to rest after tea with Gwen. Looking around, the formal garden was a few hundred feet away, with its roses in neat rows and the little table groaning under a breakfast spread. There was no sign of the rooster other than a faint echo and one large tailfeather falling slowly to the ground.

Sydney pocketed the feather and wandered back into the garden to see what had become of Gwen.