The Secret of the Forest
“Do you think we should just ask him if he knows where he’s going?” Blaze kept on, glancing from face to face.
Jack rolled his eyes. “I think you should just –”
“Quiet!” Willow interrupted, bringing them once again to a standstill.
“Why? What is it now, Willow?” Blaze asked with a grin. “What’s going to eat us all now? A flock of giant dweezlehangers or something!”
The girl glared at him. “He’s stopped.”
“She’s right,” Jack backed her up, looking ahead. “But I’m not sure why? I don’t see anything?”
Blaze beamed, and when he leaned in close to Jack he was fairly delighted. “He’s lost,” he said amusingly, then hurried off quickly to find out.
Jack and Willow went away with him, looking around doubtfully, while at the same time trying to avoid the I-told-you-so look on Blaze’s smug face. Gryldor stood awaiting them, then turned away and started off again, heading now for a cluster of tropical trees that had trunks twisting into each other so tightly together they had formed what looked like a dead end. “This is it!” he shouted, his eyes glittering with excitement. “Almost there!”
Mystified, the young ones stared on and followed after, all eyes searching through the trees for an opening in this entanglement, finding none. But they had not gotten far when they suddenly found themselves face to face with what looked like an enormous wall of red-hot laser fire. They took a step back, and it was safe to say that neither of them had a clue as to what they were supposed to do next. The wall crackled and buzzed, hissed and pulsed with laser beams and bolts of electricity, and it seemed impenetrable. In the seconds that followed, however, they stood there in shock and amazement, watching on as Gryldor strolled past without slowing and showed them the way forward. When he reached its sparking surface, he pushed through it with his hands and it gave way to him; the enormous shield of energy shimmered all around the forest, changing colour from red to gold like a mirage on a desert and transforming all about them into bubbles of liquid and beads of jelly. Jack looked on and felt himself melting in confusion and wonder as the spongy wall took first the old Elf’s arms, then his head and body, and finally his legs, gobbling him up and closing behind him without bursting. Speechless, he moved through the slippery surface with Willow and Blaze close by his side, entering this mysterious force of nature without a struggle. Once inside, they found themselves in another forest of massive trees, swamps, and tall grasses, with the glow from the golden wall behind them providing light to the darkness of this new and somewhat secret forest. Jack found the air breathable, although it felt to him as though he was underwater, as if he’d just been suddenly swallowed up by a bright, clear sea.
Following a string of connecting footpaths it was clear that this hidden forest was no paradise. Huge...