Several hours had passed, and Melora, the Fox, and the Sprite has made their way far into the forest. They were surrounded on all sides by large trees, until soon it was impossible for Melora to tell which direction was which. The Sprite seemed to know where they were going at least, but Melora felt lost and confused.
The forest itself was ominous; dark whispers were in the air, as if the trees murmured to one another. She became worried about the Plague and the air she was breathing in.
“It stinks. I can smell all the different herbs and grasses in the forest,” she said.
“It’s new to you,” the Sprite said, “Why don’t we stop for lunch?”
They paused over by a large tree where the Fox got to work hunting his lunch and the Sprite consumed the pollen among the flowers. Melora ate from the small bag she had packed, but human food is never as good when it’s cold, and she felt sad.
“What’s wrong?” asked the Fox.
“I don’t know,” Melora said, “I’m just sad.”
“She’s too far from home,” the Sprint said, “This is all so new for her. And she’s lonely.”
“Well, I like to think I’m fun to be around,” said the Fox.
“Don’t be silly,” said the Sprite, “Humans need to socialize more than any other creatures. That’s how they build their communities. Melora, we’ll take you to a place where you can meet some friends.”
And so they continued on their journey, and by evening, they arrived at another large tree, but this one contained a door. The Fox knocked on it with his paw, and it opened to reveal a room full of light and music.
“Come on in,” said a voice, “And welcome to Lessie’s Cantina.”
It was a large cantina, much bigger on the inside than the trunk of the tree would suggest. All kinds of animals and creatures sat at the bar, drinking away, while others performed cabaret acts on stage. Fairies fluttered all over the room, and while most fairies are known for being female, there were males present as well. One male fairy named Gaston Ravioli was singing on the stage, crooning away.
Melora turned to see the owner of the voice and was taken aback: it was a large cow.
“Hello,” the cow said, “Well, what do you know? A human? I haven’t had a human come to my place in a long time. Hello, child. My name is Lessie.”
“Hi there,” Melora replied, “I’ve never spoken to a cow before.”
“Well, you’ve come to the right place. I opened this cantina two decades ago, and I serve the finest milk.”
Melora sat at the bar while Lessie produced some fresh milk into a large mug. Melora had milked her share of cows before on the farm, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to drink something quite this fresh. Still, she raised the mug and took a sip.
“Oh my! Lessie, this is the best milk I’ve ever tasted!”
“I knew you’d say so,” Lessie said, “Most humans just drink alcohol at their saloons and it keeps them from thinking too much. Humans have forgotten their place in this world.”
“Excuse me,” a little voice said, “It’s been so long since I’ve been around any humans. Can you sew me up?”
Melora turned around and for a moment couldn’t see anything, then looked down at the floor to see a small raggedy doll.
“Please,” the doll said, “I have a seam on my side and no one to sew it up.”
“Why, sure I will,” Melora said, “I didn’t know dolls could talk.”
“My name is Green Eyes,” the doll said, “A fairy brought me to life years ago–”
“Oh, not that story again,” a new voice squawked. Both of them turned to see a goose flapping over to them. Based on how he spoke, Melora immediately pegged him as a loudmouth.
“Green Eyes talks her woolen mouth off all the time about how she got here. All she does is talk, talk, talk, and she ain’t got nuttin’ to say. Anyway, Miss Human, pleased to meet ya, hope ya guess my name. I’m the Killer Goose.”
She shook hands with the goose.
And from there on, the night passed by in a crazy blur. Melora smiled and made stranger and stranger friends. Soon she lost sight of the Fox and the Sprite, and before she knew it the night had passed away. But in the back of her mind, her journey stood ahead of her, and the sadness of her parents’ passing still hung over her, and the hope of that faraway kingdom rested in the distance.