Wit’s World: Never Was, Chapter Ten by Elizabeth Watasin
In short: EM is now in Darque Towne.
And Pip is eating chicken.
Even though she was in the company of a notorious Wally rake, Pip was enjoying her fried chicken. Being starved, she couldn’t discern whether it was better than what she could have at home. Apparently, food in this dimension just existed; prepared, cooked, and served on a platter with silverware. She and Wit, Jr. sat in the Crystal Dome at the foot of Mystica’s castle. The castle loomed above them, its pastel stone walls covered in climbing ivy. Pip never had the pleasure of enjoying the Crystal Dome of Amazing World. It was a ritzy restaurant priced far beyond meager Daring means and Em and Pip usually settled for the playground snack stand and rode the carousal there. Pip doubted that a playground could be found where she was then, much less a carousal horse. Each terrace of the island was a careful arrangement of gardens with statuary, lily-covered ponds, fountains, and tucked-away arbors and gazebos. The Mystica of Never Was was more like a rich noble’s leisure estate than a fantasy setting for children to run and play. Granted, the castle was far too big for a noble, so Pip reassessed her impression and qualified that as: rich Queen’s leisure estate. Mystica, according to park mythology, belonged to the Queen of Night, the Carny Man’s wife, after all.
Since she’d never been inside the Crystal Dome back home, Pip wasn’t sure if the chandeliers were characteristic of the place. The white glass was etched in gold with figure portraits that looked like the Queen of Night and her daughters, the Sun Maiden and Moon. When Pip and Em had peeked through the restaurant’s glass walls as small children they had been more preoccupied with trying to see what the diners were eating than what might be in the dome above. Em would have loved seeing these portraits. Pip was not much for glitter, but she could still admire the beauty of the chandelier crystals even while stuffing her face with chicken and mashed potatoes. Beyond the glass of the dome were the many lush trees and flowers in the castle’s arboretum. It also served as an aviary. Twittering Puppetron birds of colorful plumage flitted about the trees. Pip even saw one fly. Again, she was impressed by the remarkable sophistication of the Puppetrons of this dimension.
The dining area she and Wit, Jr. sat in was the picture of civilized repast. Crystal glasses and centerpiece glass figurines decorated every table. All the place settings were of gold utensils and gold-trimmed china with white napkins and white tablecloths. Pip had to wonder; were the centerpieces really glass or carved ice? She poked their table’s unicorn for the answer. It was ice.
A Puppetron string quartet with shiny, oval metal heads and black evening wear roused from a sleeping state next to the illuminated fountain and began to play. Their faces were smooth plates entirely lacking features. Like the Puppetrons Pip was used to back in Amazing World, the string quartet appeared to be fixed to the chairs they played from. Among all of the tables in the glass dome, she and her host were the only patrons. Pip had laid her sheath and sword aside to be polite when the maitre d’ had seated them, but decided that wearing the crown of Sun was okay.
“Will I really feel full or will this be like dream food?” Pip asked, cleaning up with her cloth napkin and dabs of the drinking water.
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