The Wizard and the Princess, Part 5: Yonder Rainbow-Spattered Hills

A remote island beach, high winds and large waves violently crash about, defying any attempts to enter the water.  I can see land in the distance, but how can I reach it?  Gazing up into the clear blue sky, I'm suddenly reminded of the mysterious vial handed to me by the bird on the peninsula.

Taking out the vial, I look nervously at the remaining flakes of dead snakeskin on my arms.  I'm pretty sure I know what the outcome of drinking it is going to be, but I see no other way forward.

I take a deep breath, open the vial and gulp down its contents...

In mere seconds, feathers begin sprouting violently from my arms and rear end, as my face contracts and transmutes into hardened keratin.  Before long, my body is adorned with so many feathers that the beach's high winds launch me skyward.

Animation based on images from the 1980 Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess, showing a beach scene getting blurred and fading into another shoreline.

Having had no chance to practice winged flight, I'm helpless as the heavy winds hurl me every which way.  I flap my wings frantically, feeling much like like a spider tossed into a flushing toilet.  At first, I just rock back and forth with every gust of wind, unable to control where I'm going but still managing to remain upright. Finally, however, a large upward gust of wind catches my wings askew and I'm driven headfirst into a spin, which culminates in a spectacular, crashing series of somersaults on the opposite shore, feathers flying everywhere.  My head and beak are half embedded in the sandy beach when the transmutation back to human form begins.

My only consolation, as I lay on the beach, face-first, with large clumps of sand in my nostrils and feathers sprouting from my rectum, is that there is nothing left in the vial to tempt me into trying this again.

Day 8

The new land on which I have... landed, appears to be a much greater expanse than the last.  Countless hills sprout from the grassy earth, occasionally intermingled with tall pine trees.  The going is difficult, but I'll take it over flying any day.

I'm several hours into the countryside when I stumble upon a mysterious ring, just laying on the ground by a tree.  It glimmers brightly in the sun and the grass underneath it points sideways, as if making way for its presence.  I fear the magic that might be contained within it, but decide that it would be even more foolish to let such a treasure pass me by, so I quickly pocket it.

Continuing on, the hills gradually become denser and taller.  Suddenly, I see a peasant woman coming toward me.

An image from the 1980 Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess, showing an old lady in the hills with a basket.

My past experiences with Serenians have been anything but cordial, so I immediately get into a defensive stance.  My eyes scan her warily, and I’m every moment expecting to be tossed into a hole, kneed in the groin, or changed into a ground squirrel.  She looks at me with a curious expression, and then, feigning friendliness, issues a warning about a giant that lives in the hills.

I’m not convinced by her act.  I quickly pull out my shovel and wave it about frantically, hoping to cow her into submission.  

She continues staring at me, more confused than intimidated by my display.  I fear that I'll eventually tire myself out waving the shovel around, so I pull out the apple that I recovered from the chasm-side cabin.  Holding it up close to her face, I shout at her,

"See this?!  I'll ram it down your gullet if you try anything.  Maybe you want a long nap, huh?"

This seems to work, as she drops her basket and takes a step back from me.  Seeing an opportunity to escape, I quickly tuck the shovel into my pants and dash full tilt into the hills.

I'm leaving nothing to chance, these Serenians are crazy.

Day 9

The previous night was extremely disturbed sleep.  Maybe this was to be expected from sleeping upright against the wall of a cave, but even so, my dreams were... unusual.  In my mind's eye, my life was set on a loop of repeated actions, falling -- dying -- over and over again.  All the while, I saw the landscapes of Serenia flowing in and out of the images like spirits, as if the fabric of the place was somehow intermixed with its occupants.  At one point, I had visions of being stranded outside of a mysterious castle while watching a travelling salesman ramble into the distance, laughing at me.  In the final moments right before I woke up, a small bird was flying toward me.  It flew so close that I saw nothing else, then it disappeared just as I awoke.

On waking, I find that an item has fallen to the ground next to me.  It's a locket that I found in the desert... I hadn't looked at it closely before, but it appears to have a name carved on it -- "LUCY".  I don't know what it means, but I've spent too much time in Serenia now to believe in coincidences.  I put the locket around my neck.

Collecting myself, I exit the cave and continue on my journey.  I travel deeper and deeper into the hills and after a while, begin to wonder if I should have taken the basket from the peasant woman, as I'm running dangerously low on provisions.   Over the next ridge, I spot what appears to be a rainbow cradling the peak of one of the hills.  There hasn't been rain or even clouds all the time I've been in Serenia, so this rainbow must be of magical origin.  One end of it seems to be sprouting from between two of the hills, so I decide to follow it in that direction.

At the end of the rainbow, there's a coin lying on the ground.  I pick it up.

Animation based on images from the 1980 Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess, showing a rainbow with a coin at the end.

The rainbow disappears.  I look around nervously, half expecting an ambush from a pack of vengeful leprechauns, but the countryside is quiet and still.  Maybe this part of Serenia is more sane than the others.

Adding the coin to my collection of artifacts and MacGyver-bait, I travel on to the edge of the mountain range.  Here, I find another bridge, this time spanning a fairly short chasm.  Memories of my last chasm-side adventure send a shiver down my spine, as I peer nervously into the rocky abyss.  The sight of the chasm also brings to mind the dreams from last night... is this where I was falling?

The locket, still hanging from my neck, seems to shudder...

Animation based on images from the 1980 Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess, showing a bridge fading out.