We set off in a direction that looked promising, Imag chattering all the way. I ignored him for the most part... but my mind was too quiet to drown him out completely. Normally, I would enter my own world inside my head to keep myself busy, but I couldn't muster a single creative thought to occupy myself.
Uh oh... this is not good. I tried again, but I couldn't form anything! Just as I grasped some thought: Once upon a time.... poof! it was gone in the jumble of the rest of my mind! The letter said that I had lost something. Perhaps this had something to do with it. But what did I lose? I shrugged it off for now, focusing on what Imag had to say:
"--And we should be coming up on the town any moment now. We'll need to purchase some supplies, of course. Chocolate, namely..."
"Chocolate?" I said licking my lips. "I LOVE chocolate!" My mouth watered at the thought.
"Yes! And I suppose it shall come in handy with the trials!"
"Yes, trials! Why must I repeat everything twice for you?"
"I am a stupid human girl, that's why," I shot at him.
His voice caught mid-word. "Precisely! How did you know I was going to say that?"
"Lucky guess, I suppose...."
"Yes... or..." He muttered to himself, contemplative.
"Or?" I prodded.
"Tell me, Imag," I insisted.
He sighed. "I am not sure that it is wise for you to know now, later, Andromeda, I promise. But back to the trials."
"Fine," I said in defeat. But I was sure that I would make him keep his promise.
"You must completely three trials before you will be able to see Queen Alli. Each one involves something that you fear greatly."
Something I fear greatly? Aw, man!
"Wonderful. Just wonderful. I finally get to enter a different world and I have to work to escape!"
"Did you think it would be easy?" Imag asked.
"I didn't ask to come here!"
"Oh, but you did, my dear! You've dreamed of this ever since you were old enough to think! You always knew that you would come here!"
He was right. "I just didn't think it would be like this! I built my own worlds to escape not to have to fight for my life."
He paused. "I did not say that you had to fight for you life."
"Yes, but is it not the truth? I knew you were thinking it."
"Hmm..." He scratched his 'chin' with one tiny hand.
"Yes, Imag, it is possible."
"Is what possible?!" He was panicked now.
"I don't know, whatever you are pondering! I just figure that it is possible. No matter if it has never happened before. Or that you know of. Again, just a lucky guess I suppose!"
"No," he said, a conclusion forming, "You are reading my--! Inadvertently, you are picking up on my thoughts, dear Andromeda!"
"Really? Hmm. And I'm not sure either if you can read mine yet."
He huffed in both astonishment and frustration. I could feel what he was feeling as well. And he knew it. Suddenly, he took off from my shoulder and soared above the trees, both to check our surrounding and to break away, hopefully, the link that was forming between us. (I knew this fact from his thoughts as well.) As he gained distance, the 'essence' declined. I could fell his presence, but it was faint and muffled.
I heard his voice from above the trees: "What an interesting new development, Andromeda!"
I agreed, shouting back to him. "And yes, I also believe that we are getting close to a settlement, Imag!"
I felt rather than heard his irritated huffing.