After breakfast and a rousing game of Barato ball, Smoggit and Pamela bid goodbye to the wood elves. Esäk and Smoggit exchange a passionate hug on the edge of the elf camp.
“Be blessed on your journey, friend Smoggit,” said Esäk, “may the winds of Fate be ever at your back.”
“The same to you,” Smoggit replied, “take care to we see each other again.”
Esäk buzzed and clicked, then Smoggit departed. He and Pamela made their way out of the forest surrounding the Firebrand Mountains and down to the rolling hills of Péonguîn. Smoggit stopped and surveyed the terrain, taking a moment to pensively rub his beard as he did so.
“With so much ground to cover, perhaps it would be better to save our feet a little wear,” he said as he turned to his traveling companion. “Would you care to learn a levitation spell?”
He looked to Pamela, but she was still looking out at the hills, specifically to a herd of upa’ku grazing there.
“As much as I enjoy your spells, I would like to try something new,” said Pamela, “with your permission, of course.”
He waved her on. She raised her fingers to her lips and blew. In response,, the upa’ku lifted up their heads from their grazing. When she blew her fingers several more times, one of them turned. Smoggit crossed his hands over his chest and leaned back as creature casually strutted over to and came alongside them. It whinnied and burbled as it presented itself to she who had summoned it.
“Forgive me my insolence,” she said as she mounted the beast.
“Are you kidding me? I am tickled to death,” said Smoggit. “A technique of your people, I take it?”
“Absolutely marvelous,” he added, “you’ll have to teach me that sometime.”
“I’d be glad to,” she said with a glint in her eyes. “Shall we be off?”
“Indeed,” he said.
Smoggit closed his eyes and muttered a sing-song whisper into the wind. A gentle zephyr blew over the plains, tousling the mane of the upa’ku and lifting Smoggit off the ground.
“It’s the only way to fly,” said Smoggit with a chuckle.
Then, he began to float away. Pamela clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth and her mount began to move, following the floating gnome on her journey across Péonguîn.
They stopped for lunch a little after the sun had reached its peak and begun its descent back down to their land. They sat and made a picnic of the wildflowers there. The upa’ku did the same. After they had finished, Smoggit brushed the dandelion dust out of his beard. The cloud of white that exploded from his wiry mane was like the swirling stars at midday. Pamela watched the flowers lift into the sky.
“Did you make a wish?” she said.
“Every time,” he said, “and it’s always the same.”
“Mind telling me what it is?” she said and leaned in.
“I wish the stars would align for us, all of us. That we would all be one, joined together in the bonds of love, and that all our broken pieces would at last be made whole,” he said.
“A good wish,” she said. “You’re not afraid that by telling me this, you will make it not come true.”
He shook his head and tapped his nose.
“No. The reason I tell you is the reason I tell everyone who asks: it is only by the telling that the dream does come true,” he said. “That is the truth about dreams: they must be spoken into being and wrought by the tender workings of callused hands. It is not enough to keep them locked away in the heart, though that is where they begin. The only way to let them live is to let them go.”
She turned back to the ascending cloud of flowers.
“Like dandelion dust,” she said.
“Yes, like dandelion dust,” he agreed.
She stood up and patted the side of her upa’ku. Smoggit whispered and rose back above the ground.