Swamp Tea – #BlogBattle

Howdy!

In last week’s #BlogBattle, Frankie and Fyrn found themselves in a bit of a pickle when they got caught in a giant spaceship-eating flower. Today’s Battle sees them trying to extricate themselves. Catch up on all their shenanigans HERE.

As always, you can find the rules and other entries for the weekly #BlogBattles HERE.

The Word: Tea

The Genre: Sci-Fi

Frankie stepped cautiously out of the ship, expecting to be assailed by the musty smell of swamp. What he smelled instead was something mossy and vaguely floral. He couldn’t decide if he liked it or not. The ship-eating flower was firm underfoot and he and Fyrn could stand comfortably between the jaws clamped around the ship. They had about another good ten feet of space to move around in and they cautiously edged to each side looking for any way down. Nothing. They were stranded a good hundred feet in the air with no idea how to get the ship free.

“Any bright ideas?” he asked Fyrn. Her purple ponytail swished back and forth as she shook her head.

“I’ve never heard of these plants so I have no idea where to even start,” she said.

“Awesome,” he muttered. “Well, you said the locals use them to hunt for food. So since we got chomped, we could probably assume that someone is close by.”

“Possibly.” Fyrn eyed him. “What are you going to do?”

“Something stupid most definitely,” he reassured her, tip-toeing over to the edge of the flower. He gripped the shell-like petal and leaned out. “Hey! Helloo! Anyone home? We come in peace!” He could practically hear Fyrn rolling her eyes behind him. “Listen, we don’t want any trouble. We’d love it if your pet…flower thingee would let us go and then we’ll be on our merry way.”

Silence greeted him. Then the swamp flower a few yards away turned as if to look at them, before sinking back down to the water below.

“Ookay,” he muttered. Their captor lurched forward throwing him off balance. He would have fallen forward if Fyrn hadn’t grabbed the back of his jacket to steady him. “Holy fudge pudding!”

They both readjusted their balance as the flower began to descend, slowly but surely. They came to rest a few inches above the water, small tendrils of algae forming to anchor the lower jaw of the plant.

“Look!” Fyrn pointed. Slim figures had appeared among the sprawling roots of the monolithic trees. They appeared to be dressed in the local plant life, the browns and greens only a shade darker than their green skin. Their spears were what held most of Frankie’s attention, the tips were a little too pointy for comfort.

“Are you what?” a guttural voice asked.

“Pardon?” Frankie asked.

“Pardon?” the speaker puzzled back, curled eyebrows raising in confusion.

“Friends,” Fyrn said. “We’re friends.”

The speaker considered this new word, then nodded, pointing to the water where a surface of algae formed. He pointed at them and then back.

“Come on,” Fyrn told Frankie, taking a tentative step out. Frankie was surprised to see it hold her weight, only a few dribbles of water leaking through to dab at her boots. He followed suit, making sure to keep his hands away from his weapons.

“We’re stuck.” Fyrn pointed at the ship. “Can you get us out?”

Their new friend considered the ship then turned back to hold a warbling conversation with his friends.

“Eating good for is that?” He jabbed a spear at the ship.

“I pretty much only understood the ‘eating’ part of that sentence, but no, it’s not,” Frankie said. The man frowned and turned to Fyrn instead, repeating his question.

“Um…eating good for is not,” she said.

“Ah!” he turned back to his companions.

“Good job, so we just switch everything backwards and we’ll be fine?” Frankie asked.

“Like it looks,” Fyrn replied with a slight smirk.

“Funny you’re not,” he retorted.

It took a few minutes of garbled speech to convince the wiry natives that they were not a threat, but rather hiding from what would be eventually termed a “sky predator”. They were however very interested in the ship and once the jaws of the flower loosened, Frankie led them on a tour.

The kitchen was the room of most interest, the Emwae as they were apparently called, poking and sniffing around.

“How do we get them to leave?” Fyrn murmured to Frankie.

“No idea,” Frankie replied, dodging several excited spear tips as the Emwae discovered the cayenne jar still sitting out.

“Of this more have you?” the leader asked.

“Jar only that I have,” Frankie said. Then added, “If want keep it should you.”

The Emwae jabbered together and then the leader carefully gathered the jar in his hands.

“With us drink!” he commanded and darted out of the ship. Frankie and Fyrn had no choice but to follow, running after the Emwae. They were led deeper into the swamp over a path made of fallen logs and knotted roots, plant life springing up to fill in the gaps as they approached. They were by no means as agile as their new hosts, who had to stop occasionally to wait for them to catch up. When they finally stopped, they were in a sphere of woven roots hundreds of yards wide, sheltering dozens more Emwae.

“Sit you,” they were ordered and took places on plaited mats. The cayenne was passed around for inspection and warbles of approval were raised.

“They’re not going to flavor and eat us with that are they?” Frankie asked under his breath.

“They’re probably going to use it for that,” Fyrn pointed to a rack several yards away on which hung a great carcass, leathery wings drooping from its sides.

“Let’s be glad we ran into these guys then,” Frankie said.

Two Emwae approached with carved wooden mugs, steam curling from the edges.

“Good gift gave us you,” the lead Emwae said, indicating that the drinks were for them. Frankie and Fyrn gingerly accepted. Frankie stared down at the pale green water, the small petals that floated inside the source of the fruity odor. He took a daring sip and was surprised to find that it tasted like fresh strawberries. He smiled and gave a thumbs up and was rewarded by dozens of grinning faces.

He made to hand the empty cup back, but it was gently replaced in his hand.

“Keep you.” He was told. Fyrn’s mug was likewise bequeathed upon her.

“To go have we,” Fyrn said, and Frankie almost recanted the statement for her as cheerful faces turned downcast within a second. “Travel far must we,” she bravely persisted. There were sad nods all around and their host mournfully agreed to lead them back.

The journey was slower this time but Frankie was still glad to see his darling perched right where they had left her. The plant opened its mouth wider at their approach and they clambered aboard. Frankie settled into the cockpit, waking the engines from their doze. He slid her smoothly away from the ship chomper and gained altitude, taking one last glance down at the glum Emwae. Fyrn joined him, still fiddling with her mug.

“I don’t know about you, but that was the weirdest cup of tea I’ve ever had,” Frankie eventually made conversation as they broke atmosphere. The scanner was clear of galactic cruisers and they’d survived getting half-eaten by a plant so things were looking up.

“Can I update your database?” she asked.

“Sure. And set a reminder to pick up some extra cayenne at the next trading post, you know, if I should ever find myself in this area again,” he said.

“Softy are you,” she grinned.

“Funny still aren’t you.”

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