Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN XANTH PIERS ANTHONY OWNS XANTH. See I can write simple disclaimers.
Marsha's room was decorated in pinks and browns, with pillows everywhere and no bed. The curtains had a climbing vine printed on them and were pushed open to reveal a bay window with a lovely view of the town and the forest beyond. It was the later that Marsha was staring at when Kassie knocked on her door.
"Sorry Marsha," She turned her head to look at her guest Kassie noticed the tears in her eyes.
"I didn't mean you." she sniffed "You can come in" she turned back to the window scene.
Kassie picked her way through the mass of pillows. "It's a nice room," she commented "I wanted a room with lots of pillows when I was your age."
"What do you mean 'when' you 'were' my age?" huffed Marsha "I thought you were my age."
"Nope, I'm a doddering old lady of twenty-five," laughed Kassie "I've always looked young for my age."
"I hope I look eighteen when I'm twenty five" Marsha sniffed "That must be so nice"
Kassie laughed again "Perhaps, but you wouldn't believe how hard it was to get my drivers license, and I still get carded all the time."
"Yeah," Kassie pulled her license out and handed it to Marsha "See," she said pointing to the little 'A' in the corner "This proves that I'm an adult."
"Yuck," said Marsha "This doesn't look like you."
"No ones driver's license picture looks like them" explained Kassie.
Marsha turned and threw her self on to a huge pile of pillows "I could carry around a whole bushel of cards like that," she complained "and my mom would still treat me like a kid"
"Listen Marsha," said Kassie "I don't want to get in the middle of a family fight. So if this is a bad time for me too..."
"No," Marsha punched at a fluffy pink pillow "Mom and I always fight. Don't worry about it."
"Because I was thinking, that if I'm going to make it out of the point of entry tonight; I should say good bye."
Marsha looked out the window again "The sun is going down," she commented "It'll be dark soon, and the magic path in this area is almost impossible to see after dark."
"Don't worry," shrugged Kassie "I'm sure I can manage.'"
"No," said Marsha "I could never forgive my self, if you wandered off the path and into a dogwood. I want you to stay the night. The pillows over there are fresh," she pointed to a huge pile of pillows near the door "why don't you make yourself a nest? I'll go pick you some jammies."
She walked out the door and right into her father
"Ooof!" she gasped "Sorry about that Dad."
"That's all right," he said "I was hoping if I came up here I would bump into you"
Marsha laughed and slugged him in the shoulder "Thanks Dad."
"I was hoping," he said giving her a hug "to have a talk with my favorite daughter."
"Dad," said Marsha "I'm your only daughter."
"So what do you say to a talk?" I brought chocolate pods. He pulled out two sweet smelling dark brown pods.
"This is going to be a serious talk, isn't it?" asked Marsha when she saw the pods.
"Well," he confessed "I do have a lecture prepared, if that's what you mean, but since you're eighteen now you don't have to listen to it if you don't want to."
"That's Okay, Dad," she hugged him again
"Kassie," she said to her new friend "The Pajama tree is in the north corner of the garden and there's a slipper tree right next to it."
"Thanks" said Kassie taking the hint and leaving to fetch the items.
Downstairs in the garden she found roaring dandy-lions, two-lips that kept trying to kiss her, fluttering butter-fly bushes, fire breathing snap dragons (placed by them selves to protect the other plants), and a plethora of various other magical flowers and trees. A pitcher plant stirred its contents as she walked past it, and the blue bells next to it tinkled lightly. The center piece was a huge water-lily display Kassie had thought at first to be a fountain. She breathed deeply. Everything smelled so lovely and fresh. She closed her eyes and imagined for a moment that she actually did live here and had a garden just like this one. Maybe Marsha was right, maybe Xanth wasn't all that bad. She thought she would like to see more villages like this one and meet more families like Marsha's.
She looked down and noticed she was standing on dirt instead of the stones of the garden path. The path had wandered off when she wasn't paying attention, but even this added a certain charm to the arrangement. Stepping carefully, so as not to crush any of the delicate plants, she picked her way back to the meandering path and followed it to the trees Marsha had described.
When one has only been in Xanth for half a day the simplest things can seem perplexing; Kassie stared at the pajama tree in awe. There were night gowns, and night shirts; one piece pajamas and two piece pajamas, wrap-round's and pullovers. They came in every color and pattern imaginable, in silks, and satins, brocades, and knits.
Kassie chose a blue two piece with sleepy looking clouds all over it. But when she tried to pull it down it was caught on the branch. Caught on, Cotton, she glared at the pun, everything here thought it was so funny. She picked a long embroidered purple gown and matching slippers instead.
She ran her hand over the inlaid jewels on the slipper. It was so beautiful; fit for a queen or at the very least a crown princess. She started to put them back.
"Don't do that," Kassie turned around to see Anna walking toward her "You've already picked them after all."
"I'm sorry," said Kassie "It's just that they're so nice I thought you might object to me wearing them."
"The only objection I have to you wearing that gown and those slippers," remarked her hostess "is that they are not your color."
"But I love purple," Kassie objected
"Love it or hate it," said Anna "it doesn't like you. With your coloring you should avoid all purples, except for deep plum and wine stain. Trust me, I was an image consultant back in Mundania, I know these things"
"Oh," said Kassie "then what should I..."
"Wear this one," Anna pulled down a gold colored two piece "and these," she selected matching slippers from the slipper tree and handed the pile to Kassie.
"I meant, what do you want me to do with the other one?" said Kassie.
"Fold it up and put it in your bag," suggested Anna "You can give it to someone who will look good in it."
"But it belongs to you." protested Kassie "I couldn't keep
"And what would I do with it?" asked Anna "It's not my size, and 'Sha can't wear that shade of purple either. You're doing us a favor by finding someone who can wear it."
Kassie didn't know what else to say so she said "Thank you."
Anna smiled and gave her a hug "I'm glad 'Sha brought you home" she said.
"I'm glad I got to meet you too ma'am," said Kassie.
"Please call me Anna," laughed the woman "I feel like an old lady with a doily bush, when you call me ma'am."
"I'm glad I got to meet you Anna," both women laughed and walked back to the house arm in arm.
"Mom!" called Travis from behind a closed door "Monster under My Bed wants another pillow!"
Anna rolled her eyes "I don't have time to gather pillows for things that don't exist!" she called back "You want another pillow, you pick it yourself!" She carried her bundle down the hall and through another door.
Travis opened his door and poked his head out.
"Having monster problems?" asked Kassie
"Yeah," he admitted "did you ever have a monster under the bed when you were my age? I mean in mundania."
"A monster under the bed," said Kassie trying to sound as shocked and insulted as she could without laughing "Don't be ridiculous. Mine lived in my closet."
Kassie skipped up the stairs leaving the child in a state of complete confusion. Apparently, in Xanth, monsters didn't frequent too many closets.
She passed Russell on her way up the stairs and found Marsha in her room still crying but not looking as upset as she had before.
"Hi Kass," Marsha sniffed and smiled wanly when she saw her "did you find the tree okay?"
"Yeah," Kassie held up the two-piece "Are you sure it's okay if I decide to stay the night?"
Marsha sniffed again and laughed "I wasn't planning on giving you a choice about it. I told you it's too dangerous to go walking around Xanth at this hour."
"The guide book says the path is perfectly safe to sleep on," objected Kassie.
"It is," explained Marsha "but if you sleep out there, I wont have any excuse for a pillow fight!" she launched a pillow at Kassie who reached for a weapon of her own. They laughed and screamed as pillows and stuffing flew everywhere until both of them were exhausted.
Finally, still laughing and gasping for breath, they each collapsed on a pile of the mess.
"Kassie" asked Marsha "can I call you my friend?'
"'Course," said Kassie.
"I've never had a friend before," Marsha pulled apart a piece of pillow stuffing "It has to do with my talent; it's not considered lady like you see. And now that I'm in the DAC I want to find a guy to marry." She sighed "no guys gonna, I mean going to, want to marry a girl who's uglier than he is. That's why I want to go see the Good Magician. I want to ask him what I can do about my talent so I can find someone to be with."
"Oh, I see," said Kassie "so escorting me to see him is just an excuse to get in your self."
"I know it sound selfish, but this is just the excuse I need to get out of this place."
"But your village is beautiful," objected Kassie
"Yeah," laughed Marsha "I'm sure you think so, but you haven't been stuck here for the past eighteen years. The last time I was out in Xanth proper was when the stork was bringing me here."
"Alright, Marsha," said Kassie "I'll go with you."
It took Marsha a moment to register this "Really? You will?" she asked excitedly.
"Sure," shrugged Marsha "it means a lot to you, and you're my friend now. I just don't promise to enjoy myself."
"Wow thanks!" Marsha threw her arms around Kassie "You're the best..." she stopped short "I forgot," she said "you haven't seen me uglier than an ogress. You'll probably stop liking me when you see me like that."
Kassie held up her right pinky "I Kassie, do solemnly pinky swear," she began "that I will still be your friend when you, Marsha, are uglier than the ugliest ogress."
"It's a custom in Mundania," explained Kassie still holding up the finger "a very, very, powerful oath."
"Oh," said Marsha "do I need to do anything my self to seal the oath?" "You sure do," said Kassie "Give me your right hand."
Marsha presented the requested hand which Kassie arranged appropriately. Once their pinkies were linked Kassie said "Now we are bound and must be friends forever. Do you pinky swear?"
"Do I what?"
"Do you pinky swear to be my friend forever?"
"Sure" said Marsha "Of course I DO."
"Then say it."
"I pinky swear to be your friend forever."
"Great!" Kassie released her pinky "Now let's get some sleep, I'm tired."
"Good night," yawned Marsha.
"Good night" answered Kassie
"Call me 'Sha, Okay."
"Okay, 'Sha." Kassie changed into the pajamas and curled up on a pile next to the window.
Nimby smiled as he watched the pair fall asleep. Young Marsha had no idea just how much she had already done for the land of Xanth. He noticed two night mares entering the room, and turned them away; his only explanation to them being that he did not need to give explanations.
1. Sorry about the long chapter, I couldn't find a way to shorten it.
2. I know, I know it took me nine chapters just to get her to the end of her first day in Xanth
3. Want to talk to me about fan fiction? Mine? Yours? Anyones?My YIM, AIM, and MSN IM are all rbdfrs. My ICQ # is 244-887-924.
4. If you're going to IM me please introduce yourself as frequenting the fan fiction sight. Sorry,I've been having problems with trolls.
5. I know this chapter is kind of dry compared to my others but I needed a way to coherse her into staying.
6. I wish I didn't have so much homework. I would get this done sooner.
7. I'm no longer a archaeology major. I had gone into it to learn about the evolution of different cultures, instead I'm getting lectures on how much better every other culture besides that of the United States is. Don't know what my new major will be. Probably English. (write professionally). I don't know, I'm confused. Okay that's my rant for this chapter.