Elidor rubbed his neck as he followed Saponaceous into the forest. Pierce walked beside him, his eyes fiercly fixed on a pile of nothing right in front of him.
”Dint fink yer had dat kinda strempf in yer, kid!” Elidor said. He glanced up to the tall figure next to him. ”Yer know…yer know, kid, dat almos’ fel’ like…like, hurtin’ an’…”
He fell silent. Nobody said anything. Saponaceous collected the odd mushroom and herb on the way, until they got to a little cottage. There was a small lake close to it. Saponaceous opened the door and invited them in:
”Here, my friends! It might not have seen a broom in quite a while but still it’s mine, and I call it home…it’s better than that tree anyway! So, come on in!”
Elidor and Pierce sat down at a small table. Saponaceous put a pot on the stove.
”Elidor O’Caigh?” he said.
”Is there a reason for the two of you wandering around?”
”Gotta get der princess!”
”Has she been stolen again?”
Saponaceous looked the blacksmith up and down.
”It was the trolls, wasn’t it?” he asked.
”Yep! How d’yer know?”
”Oh, some things never change!”
Saponaceous got a small, rusty axe out of a cupboard.
”I’m going to get us some wood in a second! Would you be so kind to wash out the pot and fill it with water afterwards?” he asked.
Elidor took the pot and disappeared.
”Say, what’s your name, oh tall one?”
”What were you doing in that tree?” Pierce asked. Saponaceous smiled at Pierce and held out his right hand.
”My name is Saponaceous!”
Pierce hesitated but shook the hand.
”I’m Pierce.” he said.
Saponaceous nodded and went to get some wood. A little later, the hairy man fixed them a nice soup with the mushrooms and the herbs. Then, he told them what he did in that tree.