by Meredith Blair
 Junior Category – First Prize  

The elf and the strange-looking water creature walked cautiously through the forest. Though the elf walked in front of the creature with long, slimy green kelp fur, if you could even call it that, it was the creature who was trailing and watching avidly from behind for any lurking dangers.

“Now Gur,” the elf said, gesticulating strongly, “I simply cannot get these shoes ruined! Not even on a quest to find sacred grass. They cost me half of my dwelling and premium leather is too precious to just waste.”

The strange slimy kelp furred creature only gargled in response.

“I forgot you couldn’t talk, oh, you silly little kefer!” He said in a condescending tone to the very not little kefer, who was double his height, longer than the elf when laying down and at least 3 times the weight of the elf. Though the kefer was certainly more impressive on a physical level, the elf thought his mental intellect could beat the creature easily.

The pair strolled through the forest, taking in everything visually in an attempt to make sure they didn’t get caught up in any booby traps set by hunters of wild creatures or fall into any natural dangers like random holes in the ground or large unconcealed tree roots that could easily trip you and sprain an ankle. They looked out most carefully though for things that could damage premium leather shoes that cost half of a dwelling, that, of course, being the highest danger they’d face.

It felt like hours, the amount of time the elf and the kefer for walking for. Not much banter or even conversation was exchanged during those seemingly hours. The strange-looking pair just walked towards their destination is mostly silence except for a few huffs, puffs and bated breaths.

Suddenly, the kefer heard a scream and saw the elf who was previously in front of him in a deep hole. The kefer looked cautiously into the hole and heard a few curse words along with annoyed screaming about premium leather shoes.

“Help me out of here you stupid kefer! You’ll get nowhere without me! Help me, please!” The cries and screams from the elf became more desperate, louder, more violent.

The kefer knew just what to do in a situation like this. He grabbed some conveniently stashed away rope in an unseen leather satchel that he carried. While holding the rope in his mouth, he threw it into the hole, allowing the elf to climb up the rope to safety.

Once the elf had pulled himself up from the hole, he brushed himself down, then taking a deep breath the calm himself from his previously erratic behaviour. He then looked down at his shoes and breathed a sigh of relief to see that neither of his premium leather shoes were damaged in the fall.

“Well let’s get on with it.” He said cheerfully, not even taking a moment to thank the kefer who has just saved him from rotting in a hole for hours, possibly even days.

The kefer just gargled a disappointed gargle and walked along with the elf.

After quite a few more seemingly hours, the unlikely pair sat down by a slowly moving stream to rest for the night. While peeling a raw potato for his own dinner, the elf began to talk.

“If you, a kefer could talk, I wonder what you’d say? Would you be an eloquent speaker like me I wonder?” He bragged.

“But you’re only a stupid kefer. I don’t know why I brought you on this stupid adventure for sacred grass anyway.” The elf turned his face into an unpleasant scowl and forcefully threw himself to the ground, preparing himself for rest.

The kefer gargled an upset gargle. This verbal abuse from this privileged elf was not what he had signed up for on this journey. But the resilient kefer just blew it off and joined the elf in lying down to rest for the night.

The elf and the slimy kefer rose at dawn to complete their journey of gathering sacred grass. They hiked and hiked until they finally arrived at the beautiful valley, covered by sacred grass and sprinkled with dainty, colourful little flowers that waltzed with the wind whenever she decided to come through the valley in search of a dance.

The two creatures breathed in deeply, savouring the natural scents that surrounded them and appreciated the freshness of the air, a rare delight they may not see or experience again for a long while.

The elf leaned down to pick some grass but did not follow the procedure he was meant to. His frustration with this entire adventure got the best of him. Rather than carefully picking the grass as he was meant to, the resentful elf ripped the grass out, not caring as to whether he would hurt the grass.

The grass was displeased at the way the elf had picked at it and started to swallow him, but only to his stomach, making it impossible for him to move. The elf flailed about and yet again let curse words fly about his premium leather shoes and how the grass needed to let him go. He hit the grass and ripped at the grass even more, further displeasing it.

The elf looked to the kefer to help it out of this situation. The kefer backed away a few steps before he did something truly shocking.

“Be quiet, you self-centred hog.” A posh sounding, British accented voice sounded from seemingly nowhere. It took the elf a few seconds to realize who it was that spoke, before realizing that the words that he heard had come out of the creature that had previously in front of him only gargled. He stopped his screaming and replaced it with a bewildered expression on his face, not knowing how to react out of shock.

“You have been nothing but rude to me this entire trip and I have had enough of your nonsense. I simply don’t give a rats bottom if you paid half of your property for premium leather shoes. I can and only watched out for you, any incident that happened, I assisted you and this is how you repay me!” The posh voice continued to speak and only continued to get continuously more annoyed and higher in pitch.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I shall be proceeding home.” The kefer stated before turning on the balls of his 4 feet and preparing to leave.

“But you can’t just leave me here! I’m worth more to society than you think!” The conceited elf screamed at the kefer.

The kefer suddenly turned back around to the elf and gave him an unpleasant, cold, wet slap, rendering him with a muddy mark on his face. The kefer continued to leave with the sounds of screaming and violent slurs behind him. Only one thought remained in the kefer’s head. If only that conceited elf had been a tad less selfish and a tad bit less concerned about him premium leather shoes?