Chapter 18:

A Field Trip

A Tour of the World Between Worlds

When I arrived back at the base, Orrin was already up and about. He was gleefully starting a blue fire on the metal tray—which I had been informed was called a portable stove.

“Good morning!” the green guy said as I walked closer. He didn’t seem at all concerned that I was out in the woods so early. I suppose, in a way, that meant he trusted me to walk around freely, but in another sense, it could suggest he had no concern for what I might encounter.

I wasn’t sure if I should mention the frog to him. For the moment, I thought it best to keep it to myself.

“Morning,” I lazily replied.

“So, today, you are going to join me on a trip to another world!” Orrin added. He spoke in a friendly enough tone, as usual, but his words seemed to indicate I didn’t have a choice.

“Why?” I asked in reply.

“Well, I’ll need a helper to carry the stuff, and it will be good to get you onto some solid ground for a little while!” Orrin replied in his chipper way.

I looked to my feet. My clogs seemed just as firmly pressed into the grey ground as ever. Was he implying this wasn’t solid ground? What would that even mean?

Before I could reply, Orrin began to cook some thinly sliced meat in his skillet. Lerato walked while making a yawn.

“What a fine day!” Lerato chirped.

“If you say so,” Enas grumbled as he walked up behind the hero.

In short order, Casey also came out, and everyone gathered around the stovetop for Orrin to hand out plates of meat. The only one missing was Pythagoras, but metal sounds echoing from his small cottage indicated he was up at least. I suspect he was working on repairs for the suit of armor that had been destroyed.

“Well, I’m going on a food run today!” Orrin declared to the others, and they silently nodded as they ate. “I’m thinking Kiko and Pythagoras will join me today; any objections?”

The others shook their heads. We quickly finished eating and parted ways. While the others went into the woods, Orrin and I went to knock on the goblin’s door.

“Hey Pythagoras, we’re going on a food run,” Orrin shouted.

“Go away; Hypatia’s not going to fix herself!” the goblin shouted through the door.

“But we need the extra hands,” Orrin added.

“Get someone else to join you!”

“We’re going to the world with the giant robot!”

There was a sudden crash as if something metal was knocked over, and many small objects hit the floor. After a moment of silence, several tiny footsteps grew increasingly louder. The goblin happily opened the door and stepped out. He had an empty sack tied around his shoulder and several tools hanging around his waist. A cloak was draped over his body with a large enough hood to conceal his face. On his feet, he had slipped two fabric shoes.

“Well, why didn’t you say so? Let’s go!” Pythagoras happily began to lead the way.

Orrin chuckled and shook his head, and we followed into the woods. It took no time to reach the large lake which would lead into the other world. I felt my heart pound as I looked at the sparkling blue water. This would be the first time I entered a world since coming here. How exactly were we to do it?

Orrin held out his hands, and Pythagoras took one. He shook his other to me.

“We need to be connected, or we might end up in different parts of the world,” Orrin explained.

“How far away would we be?” I asked.

“Depends on the ‘world,’ could be down the block, could be on the other side of a planet, or could be on the other side of a galaxy,” Orrin explained, but I had no idea what his words meant. I took a deep breath and took his hand.

“Okay! On the count of three, we jump in! I have the location in mind, so just keep your thoughts as clear as possible!” Orrin explained. Pythagoras and I nodded, though my nod was slightly weaker than the goblin’s. “On the count of three… one… two… three… geronimo!” Orrin shouted as we jumped in unison. I had not been quite ready, but we moved together well enough.

We seemed to sail in the air over the water for hours, though I know it was only a few seconds. So many thoughts began to swirl in my mind they became difficult to keep track of.

Should we just jump in?

Where exactly were we going?

Would it hurt?

Would it be safe?

I didn’t have much time to ponder thoughts that seemed to attack from all directions. Our feet hit the faux water, and we plunged in. I closed my eyes instinctively.

The feeling was hard to describe. It was like a rush of wind but also as solid as stone. It burned like fire but felt cool like water. We moved down and backward, but we moved forward and upward simultaneously. If we ever got out of this in-between space, I felt I might need a minute to sit since my head would be spinning so much.

I’m not sure how long we were in the space, but the intense and conflicting sensations suddenly stopped all at once. I could feel my feet pressed on the ground, and I slowly opened my eyes. We were standing on a hill that overlooked a city. To our backs was a thick green forest. The town was built of square buildings which had been painted in all sorts of colors. Seeing them once again was almost overwhelming. I might have fallen over if Orrin wasn’t still holding on. I felt his hand tense as he attempted to keep me upright, though he continued to smile and stare at the city as if I wasn’t about to fall over. It took a minute, but eventually, I regained my bearings. Once I was stable, Orrin let go and took several steps ahead of us.

Many people walked around dressed in form-fitting but comfortable-looking clothes. The roads in the city were paved, but the roads leading out were made of dirt and, more notably, had giant footprints. Besides the city and a large dam off in the distance, I couldn’t see much evidence of civilization.

As if to immediately answer where the footprints came from, giant steps began to echo in the distance. Pythagoras’ red eyes seemed to sparkle as he turned to the sound. I followed suit.

Well above the treetops, a giant metal form was marching along. It was painted a wood brown color with golden, red, and blue highlights. The form resembled a human encased in armor.

I stared in shock as the giant made its way out of the forest and into the city. It carried a large bag that was apparently full, and the people in the town seemed to rejoice at the sight of the giant.

“It’s pretty cool, right!” Pythagoras asked after noticing my expression.

I wasn’t sure what to say or how to react. Was the goblin trying to build one of these back in the base? I didn’t have much time to process before Orrin waved to me.

“Come on, there’s plenty to see!” he said.

We headed down the hill and into the city.