Walking down the starlit path of the forest really brought out the beauty of Port Malocum. Brandon had spent so much time trying to find things that reminded him of home, but somehow the night made him see more than just what he recognized. It was not a dark night full of shadows and secrets, but a glittering new perspective of nature. This is what Earth needs more of, thought Brandon. Nature. No building could replace this. He smiled at a waving leaf, a perfect bead of water sat on its tip, illuminated by the blue moon.
“Striking, isn’t it,” Hal breathed. Brandon looked in surprise to see his face full of appreciation. Hal was never one for scenery. Brandon thought he was more of a serious mission guy. He glanced up to where Hal was looking and the stars caught his attention immediately. The dots of light were sprinkled over the dark sky, full of blue and purple splashes.
“Yeah.” Brandon’s face softened into a smile. “It’s a sight for sure.”
Their pace slowed as they admired the sky. After a while of quiet strolling through the forest, Hal turned toward Brandon. “Do you have something like this on Earth?”
“Uuh,” Brandon thought, scratching the back of his head. He felt an itchy bump on the back of his neck. He didn’t know there were mosquitoes here.
Now that it’s been mentioned, thought Brandon, I don’t think Earth has sights like this every night. Why did humans have to wreck nature? I’d trade my front porch light for less light pollution any day! We can’t even see the stars properly anymore!
“Not really,” Brandon replied sadly. “I mean, we’ve got the aurora borealis, but you can only sometimes see that in a special place.”
Hal shrugged. “You humans really have wrecked your world already.” He let out a sigh of laughter.
“Y-yeah, I guess,” Brandon agreed. He was a bit taken aback that Hal would make such bold claims about a species he knew so little about.
“I mean, what would it be like to live how a human does without nature? They kinda brought it upon themselves anyway,” Hal went on.
Humans really are missing out on a lot. Brandon realized. Just compare Earth to Port Malocum! But, what does Magi-Land have that’s so much better than Earth? They have a city too, mostly populated by creatures like Hal. But then again, the majority of the land they have is uncharted by anyone greedy enough to claim it.
Brandon had never really seen much of the nature in Magi-Land except for the coloured forests, plains, and mountains. Brandon’s chain of thought was interrupted by a sudden blow to the stomach.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to smack you,” Hal said without looking at the winded boy. “I just had to stop you somehow. I found the perfect place to spend the night.” Ha! Thought Brandon. I knew Hal couldn’t be just looking at nature! He was looking for a space to sleep!
Hal motioned to a small hill made of rocks. In it, there was a shallow cave full of dead leaves and sticks. A grassy overhang sheltered the entrance of the cave from any weather that could be coming.
As Brandon entered the cozy enclosure, he was reminded of a cat in its nest, a small circular bed for sleeping in. He thought that the cave almost resembled a nest.
“Okay, what’d you bring for sleeping?” Hal said in his usual down-to-business tone.
“Just two blankets, and a flashlight,” Brandon said cheerfully, though, the night had started making him tired. Hal nodded curtly. He began to lay down the tent on the dirty stone floor.
“What’re you doing?” Brandon asked.
“I thought maybe it could work at a mattress?” Hal said in uncertainty. He looked up at Brandon not waiting for approval, but letting him know that that was all they had. Brandon shrugged. “Sure.”
After the two travelers were settled on opposite sides of their makeshift mattress, they held their blankets tight, hiding from the chill of the night. “I’ll just put this here…” Brandon said softly, placing the flashlight in between them.”
“You scared of the dark?” Hal asked.
“Nah, it’s just for if you need to go to the bathroom or something in the night,” Brandon explained.
“Ah, I see,” Replied Hal.
For the rest of the night, they were silent, beginning the quest to finally fall asleep.