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Chapter 3 - Vorsnash!

Mary finds herself in a strange land after falling asleep on the bus. There she meets Grenville, the headless immortal knight with greet manners, among other strange and wonderful people...

Chapter 3 - Vorsnash!

Chapter 3 - Vorsnash!
"Mary...Mary...Are you awake?" Mary heard Grenville's voice calling out to her softly. She opened her eyes to find Grenville standing over her bed. There was something different this time, however.

"Grenville, is that you?" she asked, gazing into the eyes before her, shrouded in the darkness of his helmet.

"Yes! Do you like them?" he asked.

"Very much so!" Mary said, sitting up and looking into his lifted visor at the new eyes he had. The corneas were a yellow colour from being pickled for so long, and the irises were a dark brown-black colour. They were very strange-looking, but Mary found them beautiful all the same. "They're lovely, Grenville."

"If you say so," Grenville said. "Frankly, I think they look repulsive, but the fact that they are there pleases me to no end!"

"And that's all that should matter," Mary replied. She stretched her arms greatly and got out of the bed, still wearing the dress she had came to Sokolatopia in. After all, she didn't have any other clothing to dress in. This was fine, though, as Grenville had not packed anything either. He was not accustomed to leaving his field.

"So, I suppose we should be going," Grenville said, now that she was up and about. "The castle is still very far off, it is best we travel as early as possible."

"Indeed," agreed Mary. "Let me tell Matilda good-bye, first. She has been quite a help to us."

"Same here," Grenville said. "She is out in the yard chopping fire wood."

They meet her in her backyard, where she was still standing with the ax. Mary called to her, "Matilda! I'm afraid we must be leaving. We wished to tell you good-bye first, though."

"Oh, yes, I can agree to that," Matilda said, laying the ax down and approaching them. "It is still a long way, after all."

"We will greatly miss you, Matilda," Mary said. "And we are very appreciative of your help."

"Indeed," agreed Grenville. "These eyes will make much difference when meeting new people now!"

"Thank you," Matilda said. "I will greatly miss you two as well. I really hope that you are able to find a way back home, Mary, but if you do not...feel free to visit me anytime."

"Oh, I will, Matilda!" Mary said. "But we must be going now. Good-bye!"

"Good-bye!" Grenville joined in.

"Good-bye!" Matilda said to them in return.

And with that, they were on their way again. Grenville kept his visor up this time, though, so as to show off his new set of eyes. Travel seemed easier today, and it wasn't too long before they started running into little villages. These villages were not quite what Mary was expecting to see, however. While the rest of Sokolatopia had been primal-looking, like something out of a story book, this village looked like a little suburban setting. Little pastel houses were on either side of the road, and what was once a beaten path was now becoming paved street. Pastel cars that matched to the little houses they belonged to were parked alongside the road. Every hedge had been trimmed just so, and every yard was blooming with beautiful flowers. Perfect little families were seen everywhere, living their lives as they normally would. Everything just seemed perfect, like an old-fashioned family sitcom.

"I was not expecting this!" Mary exclaimed.

"I know," Grenville said. "I figured someone would have inquired about my helmet by now."

"No, I mean to say that I was expecting everything to be...well, village-like," Mary said. "Like Matilda's house had been."

"Oh," Grenville said. "Well, that would come naturally from someone not from Sokolatopia, I suppose."

"So...what else is Sokolatopia like?" Mary asked. "If it is part medieval and part modern?"

" not sure," Grenville said. "Your home land seems to separate things. Things here...they are not separated so much."

"It is very confusing, coming from one land to another," Mary said. "Nothing is how I was taught it was here, and you know nothing of where I come we have many misunderstandings."

"Mayhaps," Grenville said, "but we have gotten along so well despite."

"And that is all that matters, I suppose," Mary said.

"Just like my eyes," Grenville beamed as best he could without a mouth.

"Very much so," said Mary.

At that moment, a small, fat little man in a regal uniform approached them. He cheerfully took Grenville by the hand and shook it, saying, "Hello! Hello! I must say, I don't believe I have seen you around here before!"

"That is because we are not from around here," Mary said as he took her hand next and placed a gentlemanly kiss on it. "We are only traveling through."

"Yes, we are on our way to the castle," Grenville said, tilting his helmet in confusion, his eyes matching his emotions now.

"Oh well, you will stay for but a small visit, won't you?" he asked. "I am the mayor here, and would love it if you explored out humble town!"

"I am not sure," Mary said. "We must get to the castle as soon as possible. What do you think, Grenville?"

"I think we should keep going," Grenville said. "But...I suppose it would be rude to turn down such an offer. This town is quite small anyway..."

"Lovely!" The mayor said, taking them both by the hand and leading them down the road. "Then I will show you everywhere! Starting with town hall, of course..."

"Of course," Grenville agreed offhandedly, not really meaning it. Mary herself remained quiet.

The tour of the town ended up taking much longer than they had thought, and the mayor almost made it seem as though he were trying to hold them up. He did so so cheerfully, though, that Mary's kind heart could not be mad at him. Grenville, on the other hand, remained polite, but often tried to intervene. He kept saying to the mayor, "That is lovely, but we REALLY must be going!" and "It is getting late, I'm sure we have seen the majority of the town by now!"

The mayor did not listen, however, and soon it became dark again. Grenville was regretting agreeing with the mayor now. He looked at Mary with apologetic eyes for dragging her into the situation. She looked back at him as if to say she understood. The mayor then interrupted their silent conversation by stating, "And that is our humble town!"

"It's very wonderful!" Mary agreed, glad that the tour was over. "And now that we have seen it all, we must be on our way."

"Indeed!" the mayor said. " will you travel with it so dark now? Our tour seemed to take longer than I thought..."

"THAT is a GOOD point," Grenville said, trying to hide his aggravation. "What would YOU suggest?"

"I suggest staying in one of our comfortable hotels!" the mayor said in his increasing strange, cheerful way. "And since it was I that disrupted your journey, I shall pay for the expenses."

"Oh, that would be very, very kind of you," Mary said. "Would you really do that?"

"But of course!" the mayor said. "Now come, I will show you to one of them."

Mary looked at Grenville for advice, and he answered for them both, "Very well then. It would be a shame for us to turn down such hospitality."

The mayor then cheerfully took them to the nearest hotel, where they were set up with two rooms next to each other. Mary's room was a soft pink colour, and graciously supplied with the toiletries women cared so much about like perfumes and hair products. Though it was a bit overly feminine for her taste, she found this quite wonderful, as she had really been wanting to freshen up for some time now. Grenville's room was a beautiful emerald green colour, with a huge bed inside. This was prefect for Grenville's taste, because he had the perfect bed to sleep in and test his new eyes. Once they were settled, the mayor left them to their own business.

After Mary had showered herself and was settling into her outrageously soft bed, she heard a knock at her door. Curiously she got up and opened it, to find Grenville standing uneasily in the hall. She said in a surprised tone, "Grenville? I thought that you would have been in bed by now."

"Admittedly, I would," Grenville said quietly, "for I am quite tired. However, now that we are left alone, there is something I must say. This town...there is something not right about it."

"Whatever do you mean?" Mary asked. "It seems like a dream come true to me. It's almost TOO perfect..."

"Exactly," Grenville said. "I am sure that you have heard the saying about being too good to be true."

"Indeed I have," Mary agreed. "Of course, I have never put much thought into it. I have never had a scenario where I have had to put much thought of it."

"Now is the opportune moment, then," Grenville told her. "I am sure that something is afoot here."

"Why would you think so, Grenville?" Mary said. "That saying cannot be true all of the time."

"I would think so, but," he said, growing quieter and looking around to make sure no one was listening. "don't you find it odd that no one even asked about my helmet? Not even once?"

"That is true," Mary said, "but..."

"I know that you are unfamiliar with what is common and what is not here in Sokolatopia," Grenville cut her short, "but I will have you know that my helmet is out of place, even on Sokolatopian standards. That is why I live so far away from everyone."

"Then I do find that odd then," Mary agreed. "But what do you think will happen, Grenville?"

"That is the problem," Grenville said. "I cannot fathom what could be going on here. I just know that something is amiss..."

"Very well then," Mary said. "So if we do not know what is going to happen, how shall we prepare for it? Do we just...leave?"

"" Grenville said, rubbing the chin of his helmet. He was not sure of what he was to tell Mary, and was afraid that he was beginning to look foolish. Finally he said, "We shall stay, and we shall act as though there is nothing wrong. However, we must keep on our toes. If anything does go wrong, we will need a way to communicate with one another..."

"How about a secret knock?" Mary suggested. "Our rooms are right next to each other. All we would have to do is knock. Then, just to know that it is a specific meaning and not just some other knock, we will decided on a pattern. One we can count on that is easy to remember and fast in case of emergency."

"That sounds very logical," Grenville agreed. "Now what kind of pattern should it be?"

"Hmm," Mary thought for a moment. She then answered, "I know! How about three rapid knocks, wait a second between, then three more rapid knocks? Like this..."

She then knocked on a table to the side to demonstrate, "See? It is not very suspicious either!"

"Ah, that will work then!" Grenville nodded. "Now I suppose I shall head back to my room before anyone thinks that anything is wrong..."

"Alright. Goodnight, Grenville," Mary said.

"Goodnight!" he answered and stepped back to his door.

Mary then went back to bed and settled down. After she had gotten comfortable, she turned off the lamp next to her bed and began to fall asleep. As she drifted off, she could not help but wonder why Grenville did not trust this place so much. It had absolutely no sign of threat. Maybe he was just tense after his knight days. After all, the king probably had more threatening situations going on for him. Soon her thoughts put her sound to sleep.

"Knock, knock, knock...knock, knock, knock!" Mary heard quietly in her sleep. She murmured a little to herself and turned over. Then it came again, "Knock, knock, knock...knock, knock, knock!"

She soon found herself awake. Then she heard it a third time, "Knock, knock,knock...knock, knock..."

It had been cut short. That when she realized what it was. Quickly she sat up and yelled, "Grenville!"

That's when she found a sack being put over her head. Someone put their arms around her and was carrying her away now! She struggled to get loose, but their grip was too tight. She screamed, "Let me go! Let me go!"

the person only answered, "I am not here to hurt you! I am here to help!"

The voice was not one of familiarity though. Mary cried, "Who are you? Why are you doing this?"

"I am here to help!" the voice repeated. "All will be perfect soon!"

Mary Felt herself being dragged through a hallway. Behind her she heard Grenville's voice, "Mary! Mary! Where are you? Do they have you too?"

"Yes, Grenville, yes!" she cried out. "Oh, Grenville, you where right!"

"That does not matter!" Grenville shouted to her. "And do not worry! I will get us out of this!"

She then heard the sounds of a struggle behind her. Grenville was apparently putting up a fight with his captors. Grunting and shuffling was heard and various taunts from Grenville were uttered. A man's voice of unknown identity called out, "Do not resist! All will be perfect soon! All will be perfect soon!"

This was followed by a grunt of pain as Grenville had apparently struck him in some sort of manner. Footsteps were heard from all around, and Mary was under the impression that more men had come to fight with Grenville. Suddenly a loud clang sound was uttered and all was still. Mary screamed, "Grenville! Grenville! Did they hurt you? Are you okay? Grenville!"

She was answered by a woman who sounded rather old, "He is fine, we just had to subdue him."

"Why are you doing this?" Mary asked again. "We have shown no harm to you!"

"All will be perfect soon," the woman answered just how all the others had.

Mary soon found herself let go and thrown down on her knees onto some kind of cold, hard, carpet-less floor. She heard Grenville's helmet clang as he was apparently thrown down beside her. Now that she was free, she grabbed the sack on her head and tore it off. Looking around, she found herself in a well lit room full of all the families and citizens they had seen earlier. Despite the violence they had just shown, they were all smiling brightly and looked very pleased to see them. Grenville was coming to next to her, and slowly pulled his helmet free from the sack that had been placed over it. Now sitting on his knees as well, he looked at the scene before him. He demanded, "What is going on? How dare you do such a thing to us and then beam as though all was well!"

"We are sorry for showing such harshness to you," they heard the mayor's voice. He stepped out from behind the crowd and approached them. He continued, "Most people do not like the idea of joining us at first. We had to find a way to show them that it is a good idea...even if it meant using force at first."

"What do you mean joining you?" Mary asked, becoming increasingly frightened.

"Indeed!" Grenville added aggressively.

"You have seen our town today," the mayor said. "You have seen how beautiful it, how PERFECT it is..."

"Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?" Mary inquired.

"The houses are perfect, the cars are perfect, the botany is perfect," the mayor continued as though Mary had never said a word, "and the PEOPLE are PERFECT. However, while houses and cars and such can be altered pretty well...people cannot be altered so well as much. They have a mind and a free will. They cannot be changed like something manufactured can."

"Are you trying to say that you intend to alter us?" Mary said, very frightened now. "But...but HOW? WHY?"

"I am getting to that," the mayor said. "If you had not so rudely interrupted...which will also no longer be a problem. See, we have found a way to alter people just like one would a house or an automobile! And you know what? It is all actually very simple! Why, so simple, that it is painless even! Not something you would expect from something that would alter an entire individual, yes?"

"Not something I would expect in the least," Mary had to agree, "but why would you want to alter someone? Why would you want to take away their free will? Simple and painless or not, that sounds perfectly horrible!"

"Perfectly indeed," the mayor said, "but not horrible by any means! Why, when you become perfect, you will no longer miss your free will! Come, let me show you..."

And then he snapped his fingers. Two men then came through carrying a pillow with some object on it covered by a cloth of some sort. handing it to the mayor, he lifted the cloth to reveal some kind of decanter similar to the kind of bottle you would expect a genie to be in. A glowing pink substance was in, and the crowd gazed at it with awe. It were as though they absolutely worshipped the liquid. That's when the mayor snapped his fingers again. A woman came out this time, carrying a silver tray with two goblets on it. Smiling, she stood before the mayor who took the decanter, opened it, and poured a small amount of the pink liquid inside each goblet.

Turning back to Mary and Grenville and smiling widely, he said, "Why, all you have to do is drink the liquid from these goblets! Then...THEN you will be perfect!"

As he said those last words slowly, he picked up a goblet and held it before Mary. She looked up at miseriably and said, "But...I don't want to drink it!"

"Nonsense, girl," the mayor insisted, gesturing the goblet closer to her face. "Now...DRINK."

Mary hesitated. Looking around the room, she saw all the smiling faces staring her in the face, looking hopeful that she would accept the drink and become one of them. They began to chant, "Join us! Join us! Perfection! Perfection! Join us!"

Mary began to tear up now. She had no idea what to do. She was sure that they would not release her and Grenville until they agreed to drinking the liquid. Slowly she reached for the goblet...

"I will drink it first!" Grenville cried out. "I want to be perfect first! Why, if ANYONE needs help to be perfect, it is ME!"

"Goodness, yes!" the mayor said, looking around in confusion. The crowd seemed pleased by the idea as well. Grenville was, in fact, the most imperfect of the two. They all muttered in agreement, nodding their heads and looking at the mayor. The mayor announced, "You! You will be made perfect first!"

Grenville then got up off his knees and took the goblet from the mayor's hand with much enthusiasm. Mary looked at him with much confusion, and a hint of Grenville was not buying into all this? However, Grenville could not see her. He was walking to the center of the crowd. They all followed him with equal the enthusiasm he was showing, waiting for him to take the first sip. He said unapologetically, "Why, had I known my problems could be fixed just by drinking some magic liquid, i would have came here a long time ago!"

Mary still gazed at him in confusion, until a dress brushed her face. Looking around she soon found herself buried in the crowd as they all totally forgot about her and began to focus all attention on Grenville. In fact, it was as though she could get up and walk right out, and no one would even notice her. She then realized what Grenville was doing. Why, Grenville could not have drank that potion even he wanted to! He had no mouth! Not that these people had known that. Slowly, Mary began to back out of the crowd, looking cautiously for the nearest door as she did so. She found one at the back. Unfortunately, it was a fire exit. If she was to even touch it the wrong way, the fire alarm would go off. Quickly, she began to look around for an alternate escape route.

Meanwhile, Grenville held his goblet high for the crowd a bit longer as he decided for the opportune moment to reveal that he could not, in fact, drink the beverage in the first place. The mayor was impatient though. He did not want to wait for an opportune moment, even though he was unaware of one even being planned. He insisted, somewhat forcefully, "Enough show! You must drink now! You cannot become perfect until you do!"

"Oh, goodness! Pardon me!" Grenville said, eyeing the little man with fake apology. "I will get right to that..."

Since his visor had been pushed back down when they had thrown the sack over his head, he lifted it up as though to drink the liquid through his very helmet. The mayor found this very unorthodox, however, and insisted, "Why do you not just take the helmet off? After all, when you become perfect, you will not want to wear such a silly thing!"

"Why, yes!" Grenville said, fake laughter in his voice. "Silly me..."

Mary knew something had to happen now. Once Grenville took off his helmet, the jig was up. She began to look around for the door they entered through in the first place. However, try as she might, she was blocked at every turn by the crowd. She looked up cringing as Grenville handed the goblet back to the mayor and placed a hand on either side of his helmet. The enthusiastic crowd gazed on, excited for the great unveiling of Grenville's nonexistent face. Slowly, he pulled it upward, more and more of his neck stub being revealed. Soon, he ran out of neck stub, and then there was nothing. Mary knew it was all over now. As Grenville lifted the helmet entirely off, the smiling crowd was soon greatly changing their expressions as Grenville stood before them all as headless as the horseman of Sleep Hollow. The woman who had been holding the silver tray dropped in shock and placed both hands on her face. She screamed, "Oh, my God! He has NO HEAD!"

the crowd was soon in a frenzy. The mayor himself was backing away from Grenville now. Mary ran for the fire exit, as it could not cause much more of a disruption at this point. Grenville spotted her and began heading that way. To help him get through the frantic crowd further, he yelled, "That is right! I am an unholy person sent here to disrupt your perfection! Run! Run! If I touch you, you shall go back to your old being!"

Everyone began screaming horrifically and running as far as way from Grenville as possible to avoid his "unholy" touch. It was as though he had a magnet repelling them all from him. Quietly, he thought to himself, "This must have been what it was like to be Moses parting the Red Sea!"

Once he and Mary were at the fire exit, she burst it open, causing the alarm to go off. Everyone began ducking for cover as the sprinklers overhead went off. Screams claiming for this to be the Apocalypse were now uttered. Mary and Grenville did not hear them, though, as they were long gone now, heading for the other end of the town as fast as they could go.

They soon found themselves running out of paved road and returning to a beaten trail. It was not too long after that that they found themselves in a forest. They panted as they decided to take a break. Mary finally said, "That was awful! I certainly do not wish to encounter anymore places like that again!"

"And hopefully we will not," Grenville agreed. "Goodness. One decides to seclude himself in a field for a couple centuries, and when he returns to civilization it has turned all topsy turvy!"

"Oh, Grenville, you confuse me so," said Mary giggling.

"I am sorry," said Grenville.

"No, it is a good thing," Mary said smiling. "I will never get an experience like this again. Even if it has had its bad parts, this had been a wondrous experience."

"In that case," Grenville said in a confused voice. "You are...welcome, I suppose."

Mary could tell that if he had had a mouth, he would have been smiling. She then looked around and realized their setting once again. They were in a forest, with no food or shelter or anything. There were also wild animals...or so she thought. Sokolatopia had been very surprising so far.

"Grenville, are there wild animals in these woods?" she asked cautiously.

"Unfortunately, yes," Grenville said. "There are all sorts..."

"Are there any that are dangerous?" she asked further.

"Well...there are a few," he said. "but they probably won't be this close to civilization. They're all deep in the forest where no has dared to tread."

"That is good at least," Mary said. "I would hate to run into a bear or something."

"Bear?" Grenville said. "Bears are nothing. I am worried about the lokscors or the vorsnash."

"Lokscors and vorsnash?" Mary asked. "I have never heard of such creatures!"

"Oh, then you are very lucky!" Grenville told her. "They are perfectly terrible creatures, especially the vorsnash!"

"What is a vorsnash like?" she asked further.

"It is a really large and ugly creature, partially covered in feathers and partially covered in scales," Grenville said. "It's got a long neck and three separate rows of sharp teeth, and a tongue that can shoot out nearly five feet and snatch you!"

"My goodness!" Mary gasped. "Are you sure it will not venture here? I really do not wish to meet such a beast!"

"Me either!" Grenville said. "I have only seen them in books, and once on a television set. Either way, that was quite enough for me! As I said, though, it will not venture here..."

Mary nodded, but still looked uneasy. Grenville tried to think of a way to comfort her. Finally he suggested, "How about we keep shifts then? We shall take turns keeping guard, in case something should happen."

"That's a lovely idea, Grenville!" Mary said. "That will work perfectly. In fact, I will take first shift if you want."

"No, it is alright. I was once a great knight, after all!" Grenville told her. "I will start off, and wake you when I cannot stay alert any longer."

"Very well, if you insist," Mary said.

"And I do," Grenville replied. "Now sleep. We will have only a little further to travel tomorrow so long as we do not find anymore interruptions."

"Thank you," she said. "I will lay down now."

Mary then found herself a tree trunk in which she could curl up to and sleep fairly decent on and went to sleep. After all, she was very worn out from their previous caper. Grenville stood as though he were guarding the king that he once worked for until he was sure that Mary was fully asleep. Knowing that there was no real danger in the woods, he found a tree for himself. However, he climbed up inside of the tree instead and fashioned himself between some branches as somewhat of a makeshift hammock. If anything did decide to creep up on them (though not so much a vorsnash), he would be able to spring down on it. He then soon fell asleep himself...


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