Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes
The group journeyed to the awaiting transports without incident. The moon had risen high into the sky, providing enough light to see, and Will noted the transports into which they were being ushered looked identical to the ones in which they’d been held as prisoners.
Stevens must have noticed Will’s sudden reticence, because he sidled over to the teen an reassured him. “I promise, you are not prisoners. We aren’t with the people you’ve been fighting.”
“I haven’t been fighting anyone,” Will replied. “I just got here.”
Steven’s cocked an eyebrow in surprise. “Really? That’s quite interesting. We’ll have to talk about that, once we’re on safer ground.”
As the lawyer pushed ahead and greeted his waiting subordinates, Bug took up position next to his teenage friend.
“What did he say, Will?”
Will shrugged. “Just wanted to assure me we aren’t prisoners.”
Bug huffed, “Yah, well, we’ll see. Fineflin seems to think they’re on the up and up, but I still think this whole thing is fishy.”
“Do you think this is all an act?”
“I dunno, but keep your eyes open, and stay near Sills. She’ll look after you if everything goes sideways.”
Will gulped. “OK.”
After Bug stepped away Will saw him directing the IBI agent over in his direction. Sills nodded and stood next to the teen as they boarded the transport.
“So, Bug says you’re to stay near me.”
“Yah,” Will nodded.
“He also doesn’t want you speaking with the lawyers unless I’m with you, all right?”
Will scowled with surprised. “How come?”
“Let’s just say our fearless leader thinks they might take a special interest in you.”
Will did not like the sound of that, and as he pondered these words the color began to drain from his face.
“Dont’ worry,” Sills added. She placed a hand on the teen’s shoulder as they took their seats in the transport. “I just mean they might take a special interest in your story. We want to make sure they don’t twist it out of shape.”
The transports travelled along a long-abandoned lumber road, moving ever-higher into the mountains. There were four vehicles in the small convoy. Stevens took a seat in the second, along with Nobody, Bug, and Sindy. Will, and Stills were in the third transport. Grimby, Fineflin, and Oscar joined some soldiers in the fourth.
Stills thought the way the group was divided was odd, and decided to test the waters with a sergeant who was also seated in their transport.
“Why’d you put the two dwarves and a the elf in the rear car?”
“We’ve got reports the elves in this territory can sense danger, ma’am. LT figures he might be able to sense if we’re being followed.”
“That’s true, yes. So why not put the dwarves in the lead car? They can see in the dark.”
“LT wanted to, Ma’am, but the Elf wouldn’t go anywhere without the one dwarf. And the other dwarf insisted on going with them.”
“Ah. Makes sense.” When the lawyer offered no more information the IBI agent closed her eyes and sat back. A few breaths later she was asleep.
Will also attempted to sleep, but found he couldn’t calm down enough to do so. Instead, the stared out the window into the moonlit landscape. They travelled in silence for nearly a hour until Will noticed a change. The transport was suddenly angled down.
“Where are we?” the Teen blurted out to the sergeant.
“We’re in a hidden pass we found, just off an old logging road. We think a pass like this one is how the Firm’s been getting around your fire wall. Though we haven’t found the one they’re using.”
“A hidden pass?”
The sergeant nodded. “We’ve found two, this one’s the safest. It looks like your territory used to have a bit of a smuggling problem.”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t. These haven’t been used for years, it took us three months to clear it enough to make it safe to travel.”
“So why are you telling me this? Aren’t we at war?”
“The firm you’re at war with isn’t one I’m part of, son. As far as I’m concerned you’re a friendly.”
“Oh,” was all Will could think to say. After which he lapsed back into silence.
It took another forty minutes before the transports halted. A flashlight came on next to the diver’s side window, which was then rolled down.
“Password?” a curt voice demanded.
“Mingleflarken,” the driver replied.
Will saw the flashlight waving the transport forward. “Welcome back. You’re expected.”
The four transports pulled into a makeshift parking lot, and Stevens addressed everyone as the group got out and huddled together. Will looked back toward The Realm and noticed flashes in the sky.
“All right. I’m told the Attorney General wants to see you right away. Things seem to have gotten out of hand.”
“Isme’s attack,” Grimby muttered, motioning to the flashes illuminating the sky. He was hushed by Bug.
“It’s all right, Captain,” Stevens offered by way of assurance. “We’ve got eyes on the attack. It seems like your people have thrown everything they have into this.”
“It won’t be enough,” Bug replied.
“I know. That’s why we’re here. Let’s go.”
Stevens ushered the group into a large tent located near the motor pool. As a guard pulled back the tent flap they found themselves ushered into a well-furnished office. A desk made of dark wood filled the space before them, around which several stiff-backed chairs were positioned. To their left Will noticed an espresso maker and a mini-bar. To their right were several closets which, upon further examination, turned out to be porta-potties. Seated behind the desk was a grey-haired lawyer in the most ornate three-piece suit Will had yet seen. His lapels were covered with multi-colored pins, and his jacket sleeves were ornamented with stripes and colored bands. As the group approached the desk he stood and nodded his head in welcome.
“I am very glad you all made it here. My name is Finch Herald. Attorney General of Copyright. We’re here to save the world.”