When I started this week, I was ahead. Now, well, not quite so much. I’m really hoping to get more of this done Thursday before I go to bed, because I have to get up early again tomorrow, and take my car to the shop. I’m just not entirely sure I can afford it. Oh well. Part of life, I guess.
I failed to mention yesterday the fact that Magic Mountain was the park used for Wally World. Now you know. And knowing… Well, it’s what you do.
Of course, I only got the story half done last night and this morning before I had to get to work. I am now exhausted and poorer, but, have a car again.
There seemed to be nothing left but to start the long journey back home. It seemed pointless to stay in this extremely strange and harsh land, but going back didn’t hold much appeal for either of them. Without any tangible evidence of their journey, no rewards or witnesses that would be of any use, it felt like a failure, and like they had simply created one more thing about themselves that others would mock.
However, having made the telic decision to return, both felt like it was the right one. They did have their map as a souvenir, and Hector had speared a map of Six Flags Magic Mountain from the ticket kiosk.
They made their way over miles of open country, and did their best to avoid populated areas. At last, they once again saw the visitor’s center where the helpful ranger had pointed them to California.
They decided to stop in again, for no particular reason, except perhaps, that this stop was the nicest part of their quest, and they had positive feelings about the place.
By some coincidence, or writerly intervention, they were greeted by the same ranger who helped them on their way.
“How was Magic Mountain?”
“Terrible.” said Marshall. “There was no actual mountain. We returned their sticks, across two worlds, and they gave us nothing but coupons. I thought that a Magic Mountain would have,you know, actual magic, and nothing! Not even some sort of cure for a dragon who hates to fly, or a chest of gold for facing a foreign and dangerous world.”
The park ranger took this all in. “Your kind can fly? Really? I’d have thought your proportions were all wrong for flying. Why, your weight alone shouldn’t be accommodated by those wings, no matter how strong you are. That seems to be pretty magical to me. Here, of course, our legends tell of many types of flightless dragons. Perfectly normal. Of course, I’ve also never heard of a dragon who was friends with a unicorn. Is that something normal in your world?”
Marshall looked at the man. He’d never heard of entire races of flightless dragons, nor had he ever thought that there were people in existence who had never expected him to fly. Well, maybe except for Hector. “I never thought about that. Are you sure you aren’t some sort of Oracle? I suppose next you’ll say something cryptic which will make sense later. Then you’ll say something lame and cliche like ‘the magic was part of you all along.’ Yuck.”
The ranger smiled. “That would be lame. Nope. Not an oracle. Just a proud member of the National Park Service. ”
After a nice visit, the two travelers found their stowed boat, paddled it out of the lake onto the river, and repeated the ritual that brought them to Yellowstone. Another terrifying plummet later, and they found themselves back in the cavern of passage, breathing the sub-terrestrial smells of home.
They tethered their boat on the appropriate stalagmite, and Hector feeling somewhat melancholy, said, “It feels strange to be home. It feels like it has changed, somehow.”
Marshall looked at him. “Or maybe Hector, it is us who have changed.” And then he burst out laughing. “Yeah. I guess I’m not going to be an Oracle anytime soon.”
“Who needs an Oracle?” laughed Hector. “Let’s go.”
As they entered their village, no one could believe they had returned. They were stared at, but, this time, no one jeered. It was a pleasant change. They went to find the Council, which conveniently, was available anytime the writer wanted them to be.
The large doors to the meeting hall swung open dramatically, the the two strode in down the center of the hall. The crowd, as if on cue, parted before the triumphant heroes.
This time, Marshall did not trip. “We have fulfilled our quest.”
Samson, dumbfounded, said, “Have you now. And what proof have you? Where are the spoils of Magic Mountain?”
Marshall showed him the maps. “This quest was not for spoils or glory. We both know that. It was a convenient way to ignore embarrassment. Hector and I will not longer be grist for your rumor mills. You will leave us to live in peace. We are not ashamed of ourselves, and we are not an embarrassment.” With that, he simply turned and walked out of the meeting hall, not even bothering to wait for a response. Hector followed.
After their return, the two were asked to recount their adventures often. Hector decided that they should write a manual for adventurers, with a whole chapter about how rope is not as important as everyone thinks it should be. They book was hugely popular, and Marshall and Hector opened a school for would-be adventures. Marshall never flew again. He didn’t need to.
In short, or perhaps long, they lived happily ever after.
Yeah, that should about cover everything.
telic / TEA – lick / tending toward an end or outcome. OK, it’s a little “on the nose,” but, I couldn’t resist.