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Why are these magical beings here? What should be done? Is that axe sharp? Can Pixies be given aspirin?
Arty with his friends — and spying jerks, and questionable strangers with long names — follow the clues and try to find out, even as things turn dark and dangerous.
The mythical beings are taking sides. The Gwyllion, that legendary Old Woman of the Mountains, has a sinister plan, turning the neighborhood into a fantasy battleground. One that awaits young heroes.
Read an Excerpt
I found a Dwarf, and there is something funny growing in my yard.
That’s what I was thinking as the Dwarf—short, rectangular, and grunting—and I ran through the woods, early in the morning, trotting away from the bus stop, his breath like fog, his beard like a flapping flag, and his axe like a swarm of wasps—which was making me very nervous, even though he hadn’t stung anyone with it.
He made me miss the bus.
I kept running. He followed me, and I followed him.
I didn’t have a beard to sway or an axe to swing, but in comparison, my overstuffed backpack bounced back and forth behind me and released loose school notes and to-do lists to the wind and to the ground.
A Dwarf and a funny thing in my yard, I thought, again.
I didn’t want to worry about that funny thing yet, and since it wasn’t following me and my new, strange, dangerous, and impossible friend, it was easy to forget.
But the Dwarf—a wide, muscular, fantasy-warrior Dwarf—was easy to remember and hard to ignore. When he followed me, I led him: from the corner bus stop and away into the wet morning trees. As we ran, I grasped for breaths and for reasons why: why I found a Dwarf this Wednesday, why he followed me, and why I followed him. And what: what should I do with him? And whether: was I still asleep? And another why: why were my dreams now about fantasy characters? I hate that stuff and am more of a scientist who likes math and logic and making lists of things to do before doing them—and keeping them on color-coded sticky notes like the ones flying from my bag and leaving a pretty trail behind us.
This was like those games other kids play, rolling dice shaped like extra-credit geometry, pretending to have swords and sorcery, imagining Elves and Orcs fighting, arguing over treasure and whether charisma is better than a catapult and how many dragons fit in a dungeon. There aren’t even any rules to that nonsense.
But there I was, a human running wildly with a fantasy character whose axe had already killed a tree, scared my dogs, and made me make at least two bad decisions already. He kept yelling things in some strange language that sounded like how cement mixers might communicate. And I couldn’t even stop to keep track of it, or take notes or pictures, or anything.
About the Author: Professor Welkin Westicotter Marplot, of Coillemuir, Scotland, is a collector of esoteric tales of global wisdom and curator of ancient manuscripts. He is a recluse and, as he claims, has been collecting and collating adventure and fantasy stories for over a century.
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