The puppies are starting to tumble around, and I had to go take a look, mainly because Salsa was out and her puppies were crying. But that’s not what I wanted to write about. I want to finish telling you about yesterday before anyone else wakes up.
Okay, when I left off because of the crying puppies, Darwin had just complained—yet again—that I spoil my longcats. I think we’ll get a lecture on how people should treat pets soon because this time, he grumbled about Kris and Alex’s fox-dogs too.
Anyway, once that was settled, we picked up our leaf-baskets and headed out to the bees, or rather, the tree where they have their hive. It really was full of honeycomb, too much honey really. It’s another sign, to me at least, that Kappa ought to have more people around, people to take honey so it doesn’t build up.
Otherwise, why would bees here need to store that much? It’s not like there’s ever winter here!
“You’re the shieldknot,” Bristol said when we all stood together under the tree, where we could look up and see bees swarming around their hive, a hole in the tree. “I’ll help, but you arrange it.” He lifted a hand in warning. “Though we want honey too.”
“We’ll split it,” Darwin promised, looking up at the bee hive. “Bees, listen! You wish to swarm. Let us take some of your honeycomb for you, to let you kindred establish themselves in their new home and to let continue using your current home. As it is now, you have no room for your eggs, though plenty of food for them. All we wish, in return, is a share of the honey we move for you.”
“And some drones or a queen,” Alex prompted.
I wouldn’t have interrupted, but Alex can’t sense magic at all, so he didn’t feel the forest’s magic flowing around Darwin while he talked, swirling around him and the bees.
“We would also like some drones to come with us,” Darwin continued. “To sleep in safety, unharmed and untouched, until they’re brought to a queen. Not only will you swarm now, but we will allow you to swarm wider in the future.” He pulled the top off the bee basket and held it up. “If you agree, send some drones down to us, to sleep in this basket until they’re needed.”
Kris flinched and edged back when a few dozen bees, drones all of them, flew down towards us, to land neatly in the basket, where they immediately went into suspended animation.
I don’t know why she was worried. Bristol had bespelled us to keep us safe from bees earlier that morning.
Um, wait, I do know why. I knew that Bristol was warding us against bees for the day, but Kris didn’t notice when he cast his spell. She wasn’t aware of it, much less what it did.
Once the drones stopped coming, Darwin handed the basket to Alex and gestured at Bristol. “So that we don’t disturb your hive more than necessary, this nightmare will remove the honey for us.”
“I do so now,” Bristol said promptly, once Darwin finished speaking.
I’d expected the honeycombs to fly out the hole. They didn’t. Instead, Bristol grabbed two-thirds of them with his magic, turned them immaterial, and pulled them right out through the tree, like it wasn’t quite real, the way you see things happen in dreams.
I shook my head, staring, not that I could actually see anything until the honeycombs started floating down towards us. I know Bristol’s a nightmare. I just, I always knew they could make real illusions. I hadn’t realized they could make real things fade out before.
“Swarm, guide us to where you wish your new hive to be, and we’ll bring you your honey there,” Darwin promised. “We keep half of what we’ve taken as our fee.”
Kris gawked as the bees started swarming, half the bees from the hive heading away, all together, like a flock of birds except a lot smaller.
“We will also protect you along the way,” Bristol promised, sending his magic out to ward the bees. The wax honeycombs followed him, floating over his shoulder, a few steps behind him. They stayed immaterial though, probably to prevent anything from snatching them.
Then, we walked for miles through the forest. The bees could go pretty straight, but we had to go round things they could go through, like patches of thorny berry bushes or a cliff. We had to wade through three streams too.
Kris was happy enough. She got to see all kinds of plants, not just crops, but meadow and riverbank plants too.
Alex was delighted, not only to have his bees safely in their enchanted basket, but also to watch the swarm on the move. He took pic after pic with his camera.
I really wished we’d brought some of our horses. The trip would have been a lot easier then. At least we didn’t have to take them through the upper forest. That would have been a real scramble!
We ended up stopping near another tree with a hole in it, one that had been used by some birds for a nest. Bristol cleared the old nest out. Darwin wished all bugs and fungi out. Then, Bristol flew half of the honeycombs in, restoring them to normal inside, and Darwin arranged them properly with a spell.
“You get half, and I get half of what remains,” Darwin said, beckoning for Bristol to lower the honey so we could put it in baskets.
“I could argue that I’ve done more, but I won’t,” Bristol said, lofting the rest of the honeycombs in front of us. He split them neatly in half, sending one comb flying towards Darwin, another towards me and Alex.
We all packed our honey away, went home. After dinner, I spent the rest of the evening separating wax and honey and packing it away. Well, most of it. I kept a little as honeycomb, for a sweet snack.