Immolation Zebra stared at Davy with apparent apathy. “He took longer than the others,” she said in a flat voice. “The revelations of his personal sojourn may likely prove the most fruitful.”
Davy looked around him. He was sitting on a chair in the front room of the Institute of Mind. Lady Gut Possum had been right in his face when he woke up and had since backed off. To one side stood Olivia, Steve, and Connie. Immolation Zebra and Consecration Tony peered at him with curiosity on the other side.
“Your mind has been awakened,” Consecration Tony stated. “Share your experience!”
Davy rubbed his forehead. “Was I really out longer than everyone else?” he asked.
Steve chimed in. “Yeah dude,” he said. “We woke up after about twenty minutes. You’ve been asleep or whatever for almost two hours.”
“So the rest of you guys went inside of your minds too?” Davy asked.
“You bet,” Olivia chirped. “And it was awesome! I got to hang out with Admiral Moustachepants and Sunglass Butt! Like, the real Admiral Moustachepants and Sunglass Butt, or at least the ones that exist in my own head. We played board games, and I won all of them! Though I think Admiral Moustachepants let me win a few. She’s such a noble lady.”
“That sounds pretty cool,” Davy replied. He turned to Steve and asked, “What about you? What happened inside your mind?”
Steve hesitated for a second. “Uh, nothing all that weird,” he muttered. “I was just a pig for some reason and a bunch of clowns were throwing rocks at me and laughing and the clowns were also on fire the whole time.” Steve’s face went blank as he recalled the experience. He snapped back and gave Davy a forced casual grin. “Nothing that crazy or anything. I’m good. We’re all good.”
He quickly turned to Connie. “What did you see?” he exclaimed.
Connie shrugged nonchalantly. “Not much,” she answered. “I just sat in front of my TV and watched a cooking show. I learned a nice recipe for chicken kebob with a serrano chimichurri. We should try it sometime. My brain said it was great for a summer barbecue.”
“Your brain is acute!” Consecration Tony interjected. “It knows the correct ways of food!”
Lady Gut Possum ignored him. “None of that sounds helpful for your current situation,” she said, worried.
“Well what about you, buddy?” Olivia said to Davy. “What did you see?”
Davy thought back on everything he had experienced in his mind. He decided to give the condensed version. “Well my penguin-dad told me I needed to believe in myself,” he replied.
“A penguin-dad is almost always a source of sage advice,” Immolation Zebra stated. “Its teachings should be taken with optimal seriousness, like azure water from a dilapidated cistern.”
“Okay sure,” Davy responded, brushing off whatever that was supposed to mean, if anything at all. “I also was pointed to that tent the Iron League was hanging out in. I think we’re supposed to go in there.”
Steve didn’t appear happy to hear this. “Why?” he asked. “Won’t they just beat on us again?”
Davy thought back to when he saw the tent in his mind. He remembered seeing the moon above him.
“In my head, I was there at night,” he continued. “I think, maybe if we sneak in there in the middle of the night, we can find whatever it is we need while they’re asleep, or doing whatever it is they do in the middle of the night.”
“A revamped sneak attack,” Olivia said. “I like it.”
Lady Gut Possum looked surprised. “Tony’s therapy usually doesn’t provide epiphanies on such concrete terms,” she said. She smiled at Davy. “You should consider yourself lucky, I was expecting the answers you were looking for to be far more abstract. Was there anything else?”
Davy didn’t want to bring up the words he saw in the white space just before he woke up.
YOU DO IT WRONG
He figured sharing this message would do little to inspire confidence with the rest of the group.
“No, not much else,” he said. “I got stuck in a hole for a while, I guess. And I saw a sea monster or something, but none of those seemed as currently applicable as seeing the tent.”
Davy felt that Lady Gut Possum could tell he was leaving something out, but she didn’t push the issue. “Very well,” she replied. She addressed Davy and his companions as she began to head for the door. “I believe your path has been illuminated for you. I wish you luck in your next steps.”
Connie followed Lady Gut Possum. “It should be fun,” she said, grinning. “I bet we’ll find something in that tent that will take down the Iron League. They’ve had their fun long enough.”
Olivia followed as well. “They’re about to finally taste the sweet scent of justice,” she added. “For real this time.”
Steve helped Davy off his chair. “I don’t know about you, but I’m really feeling like some ice cream right now.”
“No ice cream for now,” Lady Gut Possum interjected, glaring at Consecration Tony. She paused a tool a breath before addressing the lizard who was smiling back at her.
“Consecration Tony,” she began reluctantly. “Thank you for your help. You have likely been instrumental in helping the Steward save this world.”
Consecration Tony tilted his head. “Mind therapy is always an answer!” he exclaimed. “I appreciate the recognition you have given to the mind. Always pay it heed!”
Lady Gut Possum nodded as she ushered Davy and the others out the door. “Again, I am thankful for your help,” she said. “And for both of our sake, I hope these four never see you again.”