Day 59

“Doesn’t sound too bad,” Alastair mused aloud. In his mind, he thought of sound skyscrapers poking out from a layer of soft, white clouds. He imagined a dark city scape at night with the hazy glow of lights blinking as the city breathed through the activity of cars and their passengers. Alastair’s palms began to sweat for he knew that what he conjured from his mind was never going to align with what Sannier and Adriei thought of when they spoke of The Heights.

The group turned left, leaving the rocky hallway of hard, polished floors and the faint scent of wax, and arrived at the heart of the mountain. The children’s mouths fell open from amazement. Even the seemingly worldly Digitalis had to scrub her eyes with the heels of her fists to clear her vision.

Above them should have been the very top f the mountain. Even if the mountain was twice the height of Mnt. Everest, the children should have seen the top. They couldn’t. At the apex of the mountain was a brilliant orb that lit the insides of Rockestel all shades of orange.

“They must have collaborated with a Kitsune for that faux sun.” Alastair heard Perceval tell Lila.

Around the faux orange sun were fluffy blue and green clouds twirling about the lit ceiling as if they were engaged in a non stop dance. Every now and then, the blue cloud would collide with the green, causing a few raindrops to fall onto the inhabitants below. Some of the elves would hold out their hands to catch the drops.

Built directly into the walls of the mountain were houses upon houses. They were constructed similar to Ancient Greek and Roman architecture, built with opulent pillars lined with imprints of unknown gods and goddesses. Flowers hung from the balconies that were on every house and residence, bursting with colors and pizazz. The elves had somehow wove brilliant gems and precious stones into their houses and around them so that every movement of one’s head would produce a dazzling glimmer. The elves themselves shimmered as they walked along the incredibly small outcropping that led from one house to another. Ginger was reminded of the goats from Earth that scaled mountains with ease, even though gravity should have knocked them off from the moment they stepped onto the mountain’s rocks.

“Wow,” Zane gasped. “I really have to sketch this. Will we be staying long?”

“As long as you need to, starling,” Sannier said. She smiled at Zane, making her very eyes resemble the stones along the walls.

“At least until Tipper feels better,” Perceval said.

“Awesome! I’m going to sketch that huge house up there!”

“Ah, that’s our sub-queen, Faeley’s, residence. She’ll be wanting a briefing on those Batals. Batals never group together. They never attack groups. Yet they did, and that worries me,” Sannier said. Her previous kindness had washed away, leaving a grim and strained twitch to her jaw. “First, I’ll take you to my house to rest.”

“Mother! They won’t fit!” Silverskin pouted.

“Don’t be ridiculous, son. They can and they will.”

“Um, I hate to be rude, but…um, how exactly are we getting up to any of these houses?” Glue Pot asked. He was right. The lowest of the houses was a good few hundred feet up on the wall.

“Oh, you’ll find out. The hard way.” Adriei cracked their knuckles.

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