The Enchanted Press Part 13
Before I knew it, my hooves went out from under me, the ceiling closed over, plunging us into near darkness, and my neck ached from the whiplash of the unexpected fall. The dip was so swift I scarcely had time to cry out before my rump bumped against a large poofy cushion.
“Umph,” I exclaimed as it dumped me onto my back. The poof flounced beneath me, and I took to the air once more. The second time I landed, it gave a slight shiver and then stilled.
Prostrate and panting, I stared up through the murky shaft. I might have been staring at the upper reaches of a cave. No trace of the trapdoor was discernible. I wondered how Sen achieved this without her magic wand—but knowing she wouldn’t tell me, I didn’t ask. After what she’d just done, I craved to keep some of my pride. The drop hadn’t been long, but it unsettled me, nonetheless.
Both equipped with wings, Sen and Duncan, zipped down the flue, dignity intact and stifling grins. They hovered above me.
I narrowed my eyes at Sen. “You might have warned me!”
Unapologetic, she shrugged and fluttered away from me. As I sat up, Duncan perched on my shoulder and urged me to look around. A broad stone chamber met my gaze. At first glance, the room seemed a conventional storage cellar: wooden crates loaded with dried fruit, baskets of herbs, and barrels of cider filled up most of the space. I presumed we were beneath the pub, but something about the air indicated otherwise.
There was a humid, briny taste to it that hinted of the sea, and the lazy rolling echo of surf slapping against the shore could be heard in the distance. I quirked an eyebrow at Duncan, who returned the curious expression. Together, we leapt up. With Duncan still on my shoulder, we cantered past the barrels and baskets toward another room that Sen had just disappeared into.
As we rounded the bend, I saw a wide opening diffused with mellow sunlight that opened to a walkway comprising tiny pebbles and coarse sand.
Surprised and confused, I halted for a fraction of a second before following Sen onto a remote beach where a collection of well-tended grass huts sat clustered in a loose circle. Each hut had a thin wooden door and a large window that faced the water.
Beneath a cloudless cobalt sky, fairies and children frolicked and loitered about: some dove and rode the waves, others built sandcastles or climbed trees for coconuts. All of them appeared happy, healthy, and unaware of the troubles afflicting the Kingdom.
I caught up with Sen and asked, “How is this possible? Where are we?”
A boy covered in skeleton leaves handed me a cup of coconut water and said, “Welcome to Neverland.”