The run-down store we had stumbled upon was run by elves, I was sure.
“No,” you said. “But they were a curious sort of folk.”
Why then did they have no maps, no scribbled signs with the price of flour, no newspapers or books? Elves are averse to the printed word, I think I heard somewhere.
And how did they know about magical flowers?
“They didn’t say magical, but magnetic.”
“Of which there are no such things either.” But I wanted to see them anyway.
We had been on our way home from a journey to see mountains that did wondrous things, and were just passing through the secluded town. We didn’t intend to get waylaid by whimsical tales.
Still, we never know when adventure will call, so we delayed our return with this detour.
Now here we were, tramping through a meadow dense with wild greenery, following directions given by folk whose twinkling eyes I couldn’t quite trust.
A lodestone would have eased our task, if magnetic blooms were our goal. Just hold it out and let it lead the way.
“Haven’t got ’un,” the shopkeeper said, glancing aside with a smirk. “Mebbe next year. Come back then.” The other one silently chuckled.
See what I mean?
“This is the way,” you said, breaking into my thoughts. “I think we’re getting close. Yes, look.”
Electrically-charged blossoms of yellow and pink seemed to hover amid pulsing green stems. The air around them tingled. Anything metal caught in their field felt the tug of unseen attraction. Our buckles and clasps drew us in, pulled by the evident force.
“It’s true then.” This was worth seeking out.
We knelt and touched the petals. Not metallic themselves, yet not soft either. The smooth stalks buzzed faintly and smelled of ozone.
We devised experiments to test the shopkeeper’s tale.
We moved our compass around and sent the needle dancing. Measured how the force diminished by a factor of distance squared. Bent flowers close together and saw their petals splay apart as like repelled like, magnetically speaking.
We didn’t pick any flowers though. They seemed too precious, possibly unique. And I was afraid of getting shocked.
Satisfied with our brief diversion, we prepared to go.
I don’t know how long we’d been gone when we finally got back to the road. My watch had stopped working.