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Bastion: Part 2
"Nimos! Nimos!" Julie called, as she walked along the trail.
"Yeah, some folks like it peaceful!"
"Youngsters these days! No manners!"
Julie ignored the patch of crab grass and kept looking and calling for Nimos. The sun would be setting soon, and even members of her family didn't tread these grounds at night without good reason. Finally, she heard him calling. A quick gallop, and she was in a familiar small clearing. The satyr sat on a moss-covered rock, playing his pan pipes. At a willow.
"She's never gonna come out, y'know," said Julie, smirking, her tail swishing in amusement. "How long have you at this? Fifty years? Sixty?"
"Almost sixty-eight." The satyr sighed and shrugged. "I fear you are correct. She values her privacy - and her chastity - too highly to be drawn from her tree."
"Anyway, it's getting close to dark. I need you to change me back so I can head home."
"So soon?" asked Nimos, smiling mischievously. "You've been one of the horse folk for less than a quarter of a day. Wouldn't you like to find that fine young stallion Ixion and flirt with him?"
"That would be fun," admitted Julie. "He has such a chip on his shoulder about centaurs being better than humans. But I'll have to do it some other time. I - uhm - sorta gotta go apologize to my parents for messing up their party."
"I know," said Nimos, grinning so hard his beard pulled up. "I skryed the entire adventure."
"There you are, young lady!" cried a familiar voice. Julie's mother strode into the clearing, fixing Nimos with a glare. "And I should have known you would be behind this!"
"Guilty as charged, Lady Abigail," Nimos replied, with an apologetic grin.
"I suppose you have an explanation?" she asked, of them both.
"I just got tired of Daddy thinking I'm making all this up," said Julie, nervously stamping a forehoof. "I'm sorry about your party. I got so excited that I forgot you were having it."
"Well, no major harm done," said Abby. She turned towards the satyr. "You, however, should have known better..."
"I did," said Nimos mildly. "That's why I did it."
"What?" said Abby, startled. She shook her head. "No, not this time. You aren't going to trick me out of giving you a stern lecture."
"Lady Abigail, you are wise and knowledgeable... for a human," said Nimos. "But please don't fail to recognize that I am far older than any human currently living in your world. Yes, I am prankish, and often yield to my baser instincts. In spite of that, I am capable of making better-informed and wiser decisions about most things than you."
"What possible reason could you have for transforming my daughter into a centaur?" Abby demanded.
"I like her," said Nimos, spreading his hands. "I want her to be happy. I want her to get along with her father. And I want her to know the joy and freedom of running with the wind on four hooves."
"You always were an eloquent son of a goat," said Abby, a slight smile spreading over her lips in spite of her resolve to be stern with the satyr. "If you hadn't added that last bit I'd have been able to accuse you of holding something back."
"My kind, in spite of our faults, are known to be generous," said Nimos. "What better gift could I give than the grace, speed, strength and nobility of the centaur form?"
He leaned forward, his august expression turning to one of mischief.
"I also remembered how much you liked being a centaur, and figured your daughter would, too."
"Whoah, Mom!" said Julie, grinning. "You used to let him turn you into a centaur?!"
"Not him," said Abby, blushing a bit. "Prince Deltherian. And only a few times."
"If you consider twenty-eight a few," said Nimos, casually examining his nails.
"C'mon, Mom!" said Julie, eagerly, "let him shift you and I'll race you to the Mirror Pool!"
Abby actually thought about it, hesitating for a long moment. Then she shook her head.
"Maybe another time," she said. "It's too close to dark, right now, for us to have enough time to enjoy it. Besides, your Father is waiting for us."
"Oh. Okay," said Julie, her enthusiasm waning. She glanced around, noting how dark the trees were. "Yeah, it'll have to be later."
"Then I shall take a rain check," said Nimos, as he stood, gathering his magic. "I shall also personally escort you two beautiful ladies back to the portal. Never let it be said that I am not a gentleman!"
* * *
They were almost to the crossing point, the actual portal between Arcadia and the mundane world, when they heard someone calling to them. Looking back, they saw a pixie approaching at a run, her green garments in disarray from her haste. She stopped, breathless with both exertion and excitement, panting as she leaned against a tree near the two humans and the satyr. The trio looked at each other, then back at the small elf. Finally, she was able to speak.
"Lady Abigail! Young Lady Julia! Old lecher Nimos! Fantastic news! Young Ixion has discovered a new Bastion!"
Even Nimos - though bristling at the pixie's insult - was happily surprised at this.
"Where?!" gasped Julie. "I mean, where does it come out in our world?"
"He is not certain," panted the pixie, wiping her delicate brow, "but from what he has learned it is in your country! And the owner of the land has already given his permission for us to use it!"
End Part 2
All original characters and concepts in this document are © 2002 Rodford Edmiston Smith. Please contact the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to repost.