Spartypuss took Daryl to England – well, he didn’t right away. Their first stop upon leaving Kirkalan was a desert, where Daryl almost fell over from the wind. ‘Woopsie,’ said Spartypuss, right before teleporting himself and Daryl to a swamp before arriving at his intended destination – a park. Daryl had to hold his head when entering this new world, just because of the smell. Upon their arrival, they both sat at a bench, there to admire the flowers. While the park did boast an array of greenery, with plenty of trees and flowers, the colours were much more subdued than those of Kirkalan. It was almost as if the plants were blending into the grey houses behind the fence, becoming a part of them. As he looked at the flowers, Daryl saw some children passing by. He cowered.
‘What’s wrong, Daryl?’
The children passed. They didn’t say a word. It was like he didn’t exist.
‘Oh, nothing,’ said Daryl, ‘It’s just that…I can’t really imagine myself living here.’ He tried to look at the swaying flowers to calm him, but his eyes were more drawn to the lumps of brick surrounding this area. They looked just like the homes he had burned down, only with elements of Aosoth’s dungeon.
‘Don’t be scared!’ Spartypuss put his arm around Daryl’s shoulder. ‘I know this world may look big and mean, but you’ll get used to it!’ Being talked to as if he were a child made Daryl rise from the bench in order to explore this world on his own. However, when he reached the gate of the park, he froze again. Tired of his body constantly choosing not to move, he bit his lip in an attempt to force movement out of himself. He managed to exit the park, and heard his shoes clack on the pavement, but froze again when he heard a fierce roar. Another creature swept past him, a rapid blur almost knocking him over. Then came another. And another.
‘Daryl!’ Spartypuss ran towards the dragon, seeing Daryl clutch onto his trilby while shuddering on the spot. Just as Spartypuss placed a hand on Daryl’s back, Daryl leapt into the air, clinging to a lamp post. ‘Oh, don’t be silly.’
Daryl looked around at the dungeon-houses, then back to see more of those strange figures blasting past. ‘Cars?’
‘Yeah!’ Spartypuss nodded as Daryl fluttered down from the lamp post. ‘They’re pretty cars which take people to places quickly!’
‘They…they were like…’
‘There’s nothing to be afraid of if you just remember the Green Cross Code!’
‘Is that a monster?’
Thus, after a lecture from Spartypuss, Daryl made his way across the road and into the town. Now that he had a closer look at the houses, he could see how wildly they differed from those in Kirkalan. There were more windows for one thing. Bigger windows at that. Big windows shrouded by lots of grey.
Spartypuss holding onto his hand, Daryl was led through rows of these oppressive buildings, all seemingly leering over him. He tried to avoid their gaze, but one especially large window had caught his attention and wouldn’t let go. An array of squares, each with a strange resemblance to Aosoth’s crystal ball, revealing moving images of some kind. Daryl couldn’t really interpret any of these images, yet he couldn’t help but watch. His mind had gone completely blank, while his body was unable to walk away.
‘Oh,’ said Spartypuss, turning to see what Daryl was viewing, ‘That’s a magical object they have, which they call a “Tell-Hee”. It brings all these “shows”.’
‘They’re like little plays performed just for you!’ Spartypuss squealed, ‘I like watching this one about ponies…’ He stopped for a moment to drag Daryl away from the window. While the world had seemed to disappear when Daryl was watching the boxes, they soothed any doubts Daryl had about this world for a while. ‘But there is a lot more to see here. I think you’ll really like it.’
So off they went into the town, with Spartypuss revealing more of this world’s wares and inventions. Once again, Daryl felt his attention drawn towards another window, but this time, it was not because he had seen something new, but rather, something from Kirkalan. A display of skulls, visions of goblins and demons, all arranged as some sort of altar. The face of Aosoth flashed in Daryl’s mind again, causing him to wring his hands.
Thankfully, he asked Spartypuss what ‘Halloween’ meant.
After their little walk around town, Daryl had begun to feel weary. Not just from the walking, but rather from how heavy his head felt with all he had learned today. All these machines, these inventions, and what they could do. The television showed miniature plays. The toaster burns bread; an invention Daryl saw little point in owning. Who would want to eat charred bread? It was time to take a rest, and what better place to relax, Spartypuss said, then at a place called McDonald’s?
Having drank from a bowl for so long, a cylindrical drinks container confounded Daryl. He ended up inspecting it for ten minutes before Spartypuss stuck a stick in it and slurped. He did the same, even if he found it difficult to engulf the stick with his snout. Unusually thick for a drink. Then came the ‘burger’, which made Daryl laugh at himself. He liked eating bread, and he loved meat, and yet he had never thought of combining the two!
‘Oh, you’re laughing!’ said Spartypuss with a handful of those yellow fingers, ‘You must really like it here, huh?’
‘Well,’ said Daryl, scratching his head, ‘If I didn’t, some monsters would be coming out, I guess…plus, I don’t really have anywhere else to go.’
‘Oh goody!’ Spartypuss jumped up and down on his seat, throwing his ‘chips’ everywhere. He did a short dance before he saw the stares he was getting.
‘Boy, these mascots are bloody annoying,’ said a patron.
‘Anyway,’ Spartypuss continued, twiddling his fingers, ‘I’m going to find us a nice hotel, then we can look for a nice flat for you.’
Spartypuss shook his head for a moment. ‘Oh dear, Daryl. Some people of this world have nice houses, but the limits I have on my power means I can only get you a flat. Still, never mind. As long as we help you make a new start.’
After leaving McDonald’s, Daryl decided to take a gander at this place at night. The breeze was like that of the mountaintops, the type of air that made his head feel hollow. The lamp posts resembled staffs of light magic, illuminating a path for Daryl and Spartypuss to follow. Even the shops, their wares hidden behind a shield of steel, seemed at peace. As Spartypuss tried to remember where a good hotel was, Daryl stood under a lamp post, bathing in the holy light it bestowed. Just doing this wouldn’t redeem him, of course, but he’d do anything to wash away any remaining doubts about this new setting.
‘Come on, lazy bones!’ Spartypuss gestured. ‘The hotel’s this way!’
Daryl ran after Spartypuss, which has hard to do with how much his trousers were restricting his legs. ‘You know,’ said Daryl, ‘Why haven’t they chased after me yet?’
‘Well,’ said Spartypuss, ‘they don’t know what you’ve done.’
‘B-but,’ said Daryl, ‘I thought everyone hated dragons.’
‘Well, these people don’t. They make movies and write books about your kind, and they think you look good on their clothes. Teeth-shirts, they call them. I think they’re called that because they make people’s teeth look brighter.’
Getting out of the light, Daryl followed Spartypuss to a large white lump next to a restaurant. It was hardly glamorous, but still looked like a better place to sleep than Aosoth’s dungeon. They entered, and it looked much brighter than most of the buildings outside. At a desk sat a woman, her face barely having any expression. Spartypuss had a brief chat with her before pulling some money from his pocket, and booking a room for him and Daryl.
‘Huh. A dragon,’ said the woman as she took a slight gaze at Daryl, ‘Don’t get many of them here.’
Daryl took his keys with one hand, and held his head with another.