So they're randomly wandering around, and for some reason Kale is mainly paying attention to the SMELL.
Fairren Forest had smelled fresh with a breeze carrying the fragrance of tropical flowers.
TROPICAL flowers? Absolutely NOTHING we've seen about this fantasy world hints that this is tropical.
Now warm air lifted a musty smell of rich humus from the black ground beneath their feet.
Why does the author keep using words like "humus" (which makes me think of Middle-Eastern spreads) in a book where she also makes up fantasy names… for chickens and rats?
So having randomly wandered into a rainforest with tropical birds and tropical flowers, our heroes are all sweaty and tired.
Dar offered to tell her the names of all the plants and animals, but Leetu hushed him.
“On another trip, Dar,” the emerlindian had said. “Now Kale and I must work to equip her for this journey.”
"Stop telling her useless trivia, Dar! We have to work hard to NOT educate Kale on the many dangers of this swamp!"
So Leetu educates Kale on the stuff in her cape pockets and teaches her mindspeaking. Paul sums this up in about one or two short paragraphs, which would normally piss me off… but considering we're twelve chapters into this book and NOTHING HAS REALLY HAPPENED, I don't care.
Where Leetu had been negligent before, now she was conscientious, to the point Kale’s head ached from all the mental exercise.
… so in other words, Leetu's instant redemption is actually just a new way to be bitchy.
They randomly wander into Bedderman's Bog, which just leaves me wondering who Bedderman was and whether he was more interesting than these three. So it's pretty much your standard bog - mud, giant trees, water and lots of big zombie vines. As a gold-crapping elf, Leetu is graceful and fast and awesome and sparkly and dull as ditchwater. Kale, being the featureless heroine self-insert Bella Swan, is endearingly clumsy. And by "endearingly," I mean teeth-gratingly ANNOYING.
Then… Kale hears a hiccup. It's almost as exciting it sounds.
My excited face, let me show you it.
As much as the knobby wood hurt her backside,
Wow, she really IS like Bella.
Then she hears a hiccup, and then a hiss. I am filled with terror.
“What’s wrong?” asked Dar just behind her.
“I thought I saw something.”
“So you sat down to watch for whatever it is?”
"Well, it was a sparkly vampire. They're attracted to helpless wusses."
Also, Dar is being a dick. She fell down, he clearly saw it because he's RIGHT BEHIND HER, and he's sneering at her.
“There’s nothing there.”
“I heard a hiccup.”
“Two, and a hiss.”
“Two hiccups and a hiss.”
"You have the lamest glimpses of a villainous creature ever."
He suggests it's a frog, but Kale insists that it's not. So instead of checking out the place himself… Dar tells the noob to use her psychic powers that she didn't know about two days ago Yeah, that seems like the best approach to take when threatened by an unknown creature! That way if she fails miserably, you will be attacked and probably die!
Kale asks why Dar doesn't just smell the creature following them, and he responds by saying that he can't smell anything except the swampy smell. Yeah, that still doesn't explain why they don't have Leetu, the psychic powers EXPERT, check it out.
“Oh, to have the horribly deficient olfactory equipment of an o’rant.”
Haha! Racism is funny!
So Kale, the same person who blundered right into a camp of Evil Minions, can now tell that someone is watching her. Does she use her magical mind-raping powers to detect their thoughts? HELL NO. That would be logical.
Instead she stands there listening… even though they're in a swamp, which is pretty noisy. And her companions decide that haw haw, there couldn't POSSIBLY be anyone following them, even though they're in the middle of hostile territory to take on an evil wizard who presumably has minions! What a silly idea!
Leetu led them upward to walk through The Bogs on the lowest branches of the cygnot trees. At regular intervals on each huge trunk, limbs stuck straight out and twined with the limbs of neighboring trees. This made floors of tightly woven greenery in a network of strong branches.
Yeah, what happens when you step on a DEAD BRANCH? And this seems awfully convenient… another PLOT CONVENIENCE TREE! It sculpts its branches into a convenient platform for the heroes to walk on! With a convenient gap between these layers so just about everybody can comfortably walk. Because God forbid that they actually walk in a swamp… IN A SWAMP!
And since HighFantasyBella has gone five minutes without whining, she's having trouble moving with her super-fancy non-slave clothing, and keeps getting her hair caught in the branches. And since Leetu and Dar are insensitive dicks, they don't bother to check on her progress or slow down for her. Onward, Christian assholes!
And then she sees… a weird old guy!
Oh, I wish. No, it's presumably a human or whatever the equivalent is in this fantasy world, who looks like a crazy-ass hermit with moss in his beard. I suspect he's another friendly eccentric there to help them for no real reason except "People on the side of good always know and help each other!"
Kale, being useless, doesn't yell for her companions. She just falls over and nearly crashes through the branches, but is saved by her quick reflexes and acrobatic skills…. nah, she's saved by her fancy non-slave clothes getting caught on the branches.
“Oh dear, oh dear, tut-tut, oh dear.” The muttering came from the man she’d seen.
“Help me!” she demanded.
Nice to see this guy is as much of an asshole as the other characters.
And to reinforce this, he vanishes without a trace. For some reason, Dar and Leetu come running to save her even though she hasn't yelled for them, and they didn't show any sign of giving a damn BEFORE this.
“Did you see him?” Kale gasped.
“Who?” asked Dar.
“The old man.”
"He was little and green and he talked backwards!"
Leetu shook her head. “Just a trick of the light. No one’s around.”
“He spoke!” Kale insisted.
“What did he say?” asked Dar.
“Well, he said, ‘Oh dear.’”
“Is that all?”
Kale felt her face grow warm in a blush. “He said, ‘Tut-tut.’”
Yeah, I'd be ashamed too if my hallucinations were that lame.
Leetu and Dar think that she just heard bird noises, and this seems to be backed up by a bird that makes those exact noises. Now that it's been all but proven that it was just a bird and a patch of moss, Dar suddenly decides that it was actually Fenworth, who is supposedly an ally of theirs.
“No, not the bird,” said Leetu, and she began examining the area more closely. “But Wizard Fenworth has a reputation…”
"He's quite the Casanova! A total manwhore!"
So they start speaking out loud to Fenworth who… I guess is the bird.
Leetu sighed. “He’s the master of The Bogs. We won’t find him unless he wants to be found.”
SO WHY DID YOU EVEN COME THERE? The guy you're there to find CAN'T BE FOUND unless he decides he wants you to… and even though you're on the same side, he's not going to let you! OW! I THINK A BLOOD VESSEL JUST EXPLODED IN MY BRAIN FROM THE DUMBASSERY!
“So what are we going to do?” asked Kale.
“Keep walking,” answered Dar.
“Where to? For how long?”
“It doesn’t matter where. And how long? Until Wizard Fenworth decides we can find him.”
Their skeletons were later found in the swamp after several years of wandering aimlessly. Wizard Fenworth declined to comment.
Yes, our heroes who allegedly have GOD HIMSELF on their side can't do anything except wander around the swamp waiting for the somebody to finally get tired of them.
Oh, and I'm going to be very disappointed if Fenworth doesn't say THIS: