We spent the sun greetings exploring mysterious places in Flatlandia...a guided tour, of sorts, I believe the good King intended it as. And we spent the moon greetings near the cottage hearth downing Minute Meads, playing silly word games, and sharing stories with one another. Much as I adore them both, indeed it was so good that Ptolemy the gentle Boxer and T-Yay the nice nice Retriever stayed behind in the Xanadu Forest to resume their training. As I stated in the previous chapter, we would have had much more merriment were there five of us indulging in Minute Meads, but that would have been at the expense of some poignant stories that really needed to be shared. That's not to say we weren't silly and absurd with just the three of us, you know...but sometimes more is more. And less is less. In a most beautiful way.
During the sun greeting tours, dear Caesar and I were educated by the good King in the recognition and application of many herbs that grow only in Flatlandia. With King Midas' permission, we gathered some of these herbs, and Caesar Emeritus tucked them gently into the satchel we had brought with us. Of the herbs we collected, dear Caesar seemed most intrigued by one that King Midas LeBottom had called "Vendlum." Caesar inspected it closely and sniffed it multiple times before placing it in the satchel. Caesar, nearly fluent in the ancient Xanaduvian tongue, knew of course that "Vendlum" translated literally into "seller of light." King Midas explained the magical herb as one that, if properly consumed, allowed one's spirit to travel to other dimensions while the physical body remained completely unaffected by it.
Also during the sun greeting tours, we journeyed even into the far northwest of the dark and misty valleys that cut through desolate lands between ancient mountains. I recognized many of these places, of course, having traveled this land at length during my journey when I left my Sacred Garden for what I thought might well be forever. I saw a particular grouping of shrubs that I remembered vividly: they were where the mysterious Layla and Kehl revealed themselves to me. I knew they were dimension hoppers when I met them, for they told me as much. What I didn't know at that time was that they were Seeders (see Chapter 25 in regards to Seeders)...but I knew that now thankfully. When I told King Midas why I remembered that grouping of shrubs, he exclaimed that I was truly blessed! For, as he explained to me, Seeders are never seen unless they choose to be. And even if they are seen, they do not interact with creatures. But they did with me, and even taught me many things. King Midas was thoroughly impressed and intrigued when I told him this, and dear Caesar seemed thoroughly confused when the good King said to me, "There is more to you than any of us realize, Mr. Kev. Including yourself. And things you'd not tell us." But King Midas LeBottom left it at that and said no more about it then. I shrugged my shoulders at dear Caesar who was looking to me for answers.
Eventually, during the sun greeting tours, we made our way eastward through the mountains, and finally to the bases of Mt Nol and Mt. Sol. It was then my heart began to race, and I trembled. For I had dark memories of that place. I saw the secret door that led to the stained glass stairs beneath the mountains. I could feel that King Midas was intentionally leading us past the secret door with no tarry, so that we would not discover it and ask forbidden questions. See, the good King didn't know I had entered that secret door once, nor the evil I had confronted while inside the mountain. My experiences there were not the sort of thing I would speak of to anyone. It was my own secret, and I intended to keep it that way for eternity. Dear Caesar Emeritus kept mostly silent from that point on, until after we finally returned to King Midas' cottage atop Dew Mound and settled in.
When we did finally return to the cottage, satchel filled with wondrous herbs, the good King Midas made us a fabulous batch of Dragon Stew (no, it's not made of any parts of dragons at all, but it is a recipe handed down from them), and we toasted some slices of pumpernickel to go with it. Only in Interterrestria would currency also be part of a fabulous dinner! But so it was. And so was it enjoyed and cherished, and so did we all three give thanks and express graciousness openly and solemnly.
After our deliciously divine meal, King Midas LeBottom instructed Caesar Emeritus to get the fire going in the the hearth, while the good King himself began filling flagons of Minute Mead for all of us. Many toasts and silly word games followed, and we all greeted my cousin the moon warmly once it rose directly above us.
And then our merriment became solemn when King Midas suddenly asked me to roll up my sleeve and remove my ornate glove that reached almost to my my left elbow. I did so, of course, since we were in the home of a good King--and I felt exactly why he was asking me to do so. But I didn't want to. Because I knew exactly why he was asking me to do so.
To my surprise, however, King Midas made no comment about the mark on my arm that he knew he would see. Dear Caesar was of course taken aback and thoroughly confused. The good King jumped up (we were all seated comfortably before the hearth) and ran off to his ancient trunk. I finished my Minute Mead, and found another flagon full of Minute Mead to quickly drink from.
When King Midas LeBottom returned, he was hiding something behind his back. Then he sat down comfortably across from me as I sipped another flagon of Minute Mead. "Mr. Kev," he began (and dear Caesar looked on intensely with wonder) "I wish not to make you uncomfortable. You need not share the stories you have locked deep inside your heart, and I won't press you for them. But my own heart feels the need to remind you that there is far more magic in these lands--especially in your Sacred Garden--than you realize. And within yourself. Your time has come." With that, the good King held up a silvery orb the size of my palm and tossed it to me. As I rotated and examined it, King Midas continued, "Edwin wanted you to have this when you were ready. It is a Dragon's Eye. Not the whole eyeball, of course, just the lens. It's from the wicked and nameless dragon that lie slain beneath the mountains. No fear, Mr. Kev, it is no object of evil, but of powerful love...in the proper hands. And your blessed and grateful hands are certainly a proper place for it."
Small tears formed in the corner of my eyes...due not only to the King's great kindness to me, but also to the memories of the dark days I once endured. "Thank you, good and kind King Midas," managed to escape my overwhelming and solemn silence. Dear Caesar Emeritus, seated now closer to me, was also overwhelmed with curiosity and wonder, and so I handed him the Dragon's Eye so that he could examine it for himself. Caesar downed another half flagon of Minute Mead while examining the precious and mysterious object. I watched the tongues of the flames within the hearth reflect off of the silvery orb. It was a stunning and mesmerizing sight to behold.
King Midas added, "I can tell you how to use it if you'd like, or you can experiment and learn with it on your own if you prefer. There is no danger so long as it is with you, Mr. Kev, my heart knows that well. Which goes without saying, of course, or I wouldn't have given it to you. But then I just said it, so I guess it goes with saying!" And the good kind King laughed heartily, and so did all three of us. And we tossed the Dragon's Eye around like a game of Hot Potato for a while and laughed and drank Minute Mead until we all fell into a sweet and comfortable slumber upon the floor before the warmth of the hearth.
Life is beautiful. Beautiful.
And Magical. Always.
Thank you for joining me on this strange journey. I love you.
Lovely of lovelies.