Danny’s Story

34. in which three dryads sleep, nestled in the tree


So enthralled was Danny with the magic pulsing from the tree that she almost missed the pad of hooves along the ground. She ducked behind a normal-sized tree just in time to escape detection from a small guard of centaurs — real centaurs of flesh and fur. The muscles under their horse pelts rippled as they walked. Their human hair was a mess of matted dreadlocks and braids. Each gripped a spear.

Danny had already faced the centaurs’ cyberpunk brothers. She was all too happy to avoid the real things. She remained hidden until they had passed, then glanced back toward the goliath tree. No doubt, the centaurs were guarding this. Even those that had been transformed into cyborgs had carried out their duty with single-minded ferocity.

She performed a quick bioscan of her surrounding area. It was teeming with life. Green plant life, red animal life, and bright yellow unknown lifeforms. The guard of centaurs were red forms moving away from her. At the ground near her feet scurried little red shapes – mice, rats, insects. She glanced back at the humongous tree. It was a blazing, brilliant green. Nestled in the core of its trunk glowed several slim yellow shapes. Yellow, because her sensors could not recognize them.

Danny puzzled over this, and zoomed in closer with the Suit’s telescopic vision. The three shapes resolved into three slim female humanoids, bodies still and heads bent, their backs pressed against each other. They seemed to be asleep. Dryads? she wondered.

On closer inspection, Danny noticed that the tree itself had a yellow tinge in the bioscan. It was highly possible that her cyberpunk technology recognized the presence of ephemeral life forms – of spirits – but could not categorize them. To the world of Circuit Runner, such creatures did not exist. It was a wonder the Suit could sense them at all.

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Christie “Iamba” Bailey