The visual prompt:
Our main characters are:
A Centaur ~ He lopes to rope up interlopers.
A Yeti ~ He has a fever of absolute zero. Anything he touches freezes instantly, even ice!
The special object in this story is:
A Secret Room ~ This trap door was definitely here all along.
Our story takes place in:
A Beanstalk ~ A child's poor business decision grew into this colossal vine!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~After a long day of diamond digging and gem sorting in the mines, Boldaphist found himself shuffling tiredly to the dwarf elevator, ready to collapse just as soon as he made it to his bed.
"Oy, wait! Hold the elevator!" The sudden shout made Boldaphist snort awake and reach an arm out before the doors closed. He'd almost been asleep on his feet.
It was old Slabak, dragging behind a large metal cart full to the brim with precious stones and minerals, glittering and flashing in many colors.
"Thanks, Boldy. I mighty 'preciate it. Lord knows 'ow long I'd have been down there if ya didn't wait." Boldaphist had to stand right up against the wall of the elevator as he let Slabak wheel the big cart in with them.
"Not a problem at all, Slab. What floor would ya be gettin' off?"
"36 would be the one, laddie, if ya please." Boldaphist pushed the button for his friend's floor, as well as his own. The doors slid shut, the elevator rattled with a start, and with a hiss and a metallic shake, the 2 dwarves were heading up.
The salt-and-pepper bearded Slabak sighed with a happy smile and leaned against the wall, patting his friend on the shoulder. "How've ya been, Boldaphist, m'boy? Good day in the mines?"
Boldaphist shrugged and failed to hold back a mighty yawn. "Yeah, I s'pose so. Feel absolutely knackered at the moment, I'll tell ya that."
"Yep, same 'ere." Slabak wheezed and coughed, leaning against the metal cart of gems. "Me bones have been aching and acting up so much, I might soon be gettin' too old for the pick axe. What I wouldn't give fer a hot springs bath right this second."
The elevator halted suddenly on floor 15, and another dwarf scurried onto the elevator, walking sideways as he avoided the cart and joined his fellows. It was Pebled, an excitable fellow who was slightly shorter and younger than Boldaphist. His black beard and hair were still in need of a lot of growing. "Hey there, Boldaphist! Slabak. 24th floor, would ya mind, Boldy?"
Boldaphist obliged, pressing the button.
"Bloomin' boulders, what a day! D'ya know that this was me first time working in the Ruby Room? I had no idea there could be so many rubies in one room!" He looked into Slabak's cart, spied all the little red gems, and his eyes grew wide. He started compulsively grabbing at them and sorting them into little ruby piles by size and by color shade. "'elp me, laddies! I can't stop workin'!" He laughed at himself and pushed the piles aside, scattering them among the other pretty stones.
Old Slabak chuckled at the younger dwarf and put a thumb under each of his dark overall straps, stretching them forward. He looked contented somehow, despite the many aches and pains he had. "It does a dwarf body good, knowin' that even with all the work there is yet to be done, there always be another 5 dwarves fit and eager fer the task."
Boldaphist shrugged, giving a tired, surly grunt.
The older dwarf looked at him, noticing his bored expression. "Is somethin' the matter, m'boy? Feeling a little overworked?"
Boldaphist scratched at his brown, bushy beard and he sighed. "I don't know, Slab. It's just... Sometimes there are days when I... I feel like there must be somethin' more to life than simply... Working. Ya know?"
"Oh, don't be such a moldy Boldy! What under earth are ya talking about? What could possibly be better than good hard work?"
"I don't know, Peb. All I know is that I don't exactly want to be hackin' away at mountain rocks day and night for the rest of my life. It's gotten old. I want to be doing something new!"
Pebled looked at Boldaphist with some confusion, but then at that moment, the elevator reached the 24th floor, so Pebled slapped a cheerful smile back onto his face and said, "Well, so long, chaps!" Then he started happily singing a little song to himself as he walked off. "Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's home from work we go..."
The elevator continued traveling it's long way up the mountain shaft. Boldaphist sighed, exhausted. He felt like he had some idea how that young annoying dwarf had gotten his name. It was like he had a pebble for a brain. He couldn't be bothered to think that there were so many possibilities, that the world was so much more than the mountains and caverns that the dwarves called home. Not that anyone had ever ventured out far enough to see what more there was... But there had to be! Boldaphist could feel it in his bones.
Slabak was quiet for a while, then he placed a kind hand on Boldaphist's back, who sighed and scratched a thick hairy arm.
"Slab, have ya never been curious to know what lies outside them there caves?"
"I don't think about things like that, Boldaphist. It's not in a dwarf's nature. Besides, I'm getting on in age, laddie. I'm no spring cockatrice." The old dwarf chuckled to himself, then had to cough a little. "I'd just be happy to be useful for a good year or two more before I retire, on account of me health."
Once again, the elevator rattled to a halt as it landed on Slabak's floor. "Ah, here we are." He rolled the heavy gem laden cart out of the elevator and turned around slowly to wave to the other dwarf. "Take care of yerself, Boldaphist. I best be getting these gems to Lymeer. He don't like to be kept waiting. See ya tomorrow, perhaps!"
Boldaphist nodded and tried to smile back as he watched his friend walk away. The elevator doors shut behind him, and the dwarf was all alone now. No one else came on to join him as the elevator climbed up and up and up.
When he stopped at his own floor, 59, Boldaphist hesitated. As tired as he was, he didn't feel like getting off just yet. Instead, he pressed another button on the elevator. The top floor, number 80.
The big metal box rattled and shook as it continued on it's way, traveling higher up than most dwarves usually went. When at long last, the doors opened again, Boldaphist was blasted by a great gust of wind that made the temperature drop tremendously. Not that it bothered him any. Dwarf skin was more than tough enough to handle a little mountain air. He didn't even shiver.
He stepped off and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. Why couldn't the caves smell like this cool, sweet, fresh air? It was always so dark, dank and miserable to him all the way down there, but if he could just bottle this very smell, and take a whiff whenever he felt like it, he might be a little happier in his dwarf life.
Opening his eyes, Boldaphist's heart swelled in his chest as he took in the glorious view. Dull stone-gray mountains covered by snow and ice filled the horizon before him, mighty and majestic, round and pointy, rising and falling as far as the eye could see. There were so many mountains, you could hardly count them all, or tell where one ended and another began.
Coming up to the mountain tops usually cheered Boldaphist right up. This time, however, even though it was really nice getting a little fresh air, he wished he could do something more. He wished he could know what lay just beyond the horizon. Just more endless mountains? Or maybe something else?
The dwarf sighed and leaned his elbow against a rock, admiring the incredible view.
He heard a curious sound just then, like something had clicked into place. All of a sudden, the floor disappeared from right under Boldaphist's feet, and he was falling! He screamed like a little dwarf lass as he slid down the chute that had appeared out of nowhere.
Down, down, down the dwarf slid. It was so dark, the light from the sky becoming farther and farther away, and he was going so fast! He didn’t have any idea where he was going, but Boldaphist felt like he was falling deep, deep into the mountain. He felt like the mountain wanted to close in on him and crush him. He was downright terrified.
Finally, after a couple of stressful, endless minutes, Boldaphist came out of the other end of the sudden slide. He yelled as he reached the bottom and front-rolled out of there, landing in a dwarf heap on the floor.
A tiny glowing violet light appeared in the room. Then another, and another. Boldaphist looked up, and saw that he was in cave, crawling with purple subterranean glow-worms. Well, at least they allowed him to see now. At least a little bit. Slowly he got to his feet, still feeling a little leftover shock from his fall, and squinted around. Where under earth… deep under earth… was he now?
He walked around, exploring the cave, when he just about tripped over some kind of round metal loop bolted into the ground. “Great granite, I can’t take many more of these bloomin’ surprises!” Boldaphist exclaimed to himself.
He felt around for the culprit, and on closer inspection, he could vaguely see that that the metal thing was a handle to some kind of secret trapdoor. Curious, despite all that he’d just been through, the dwarf lifted the handle upward. The trapdoor was not locked, and came open without any trouble. Inside, leaning against one of the walls of the perfectly rectangular trapdoor hole, was a wooden ladder. The ladder led down even further and deeper into the ground.
The dwarf rubbed his bearded chin in thought, considering. Then he took a little crystal vial out of his tool belt and went up to one of the walls of the cave room, collecting a handful of the glowing worms and slipping them into the vial.
There. Now he’d be able to take some of the light down there with him. Glowing vial in hand, he climbed down to the ladder, praying that it wouldn’t go too far down.
Thankfully, it didn’t. The ladder only went down a few feet, and Boldaphist’s feet touched the ground after ten seconds of climbing downward. Holding the glow worms out in front of him, the dwarf examined his surroundings, not able to see very much. But a moment later, something glowed bright white, and he no longer needed their purple light to see by.
Right before Boldaphist was a shining, twisting, spinning circle… thing. It was like nothing the dwarf had ever seen before in his whole life, and dwarves can live an incredibly long time! It could hardly be described. Mesmerized, he approached the spiraling circle in the wall, sticking an arm out towards it.
His hand passed right through it, leaving a funny tingling kind of sensation on his skin. Alarmed for a moment he pulled his hand out, but saw that it was just fine. Trying again, the dwarf put a leg through the mysterious thing, and then his entire body.
It was like passing right through a curtain, and on the other side, Boldaphist could barely believe his eyes. This was just too much!
No longer was he deep in the heart of the Dwarvian mountain. Instead he was outside in the open air, in a green grassy field, where the sky shone bright and the clouds were perfect and fluffy. There was a small wooden cottage and stables nearby, and when Boldaphist looked behind him, it appeared he’d just passed through a thick stone wall.
The dwarf looked down. He’d never seen grass before, and he bent down to feel the short green leaves sticking out of the ground. “Incredible...” he whispered to himself.
Just then, he heard something galloping his way. Boldaphist straightened up to see who it was, and got another big surprise.
He found himself face to face with a creature that had brown horse legs and a palomino horse body, but instead of a horse’s head was the upper body of a muscular man wearing a big brown funny looking hat.
“Howdy,” he said to the dwarf.