After a cautious walk through the streets of Buccaneer’s Den, Mack Glynn walked through the doorway of the Scoundrel’s Den, and greeted his friend Johnny Runner. Johnny stood up with an ecstatic smile on his face as he greeted Mack.
“My goodness Mack! You get uglier and uglier each time I see you!” Said Johnny as he chuckled and gave Mack a friendly pat on the shoulder. Mack grinned and replied:
“I have a keen eye on you, you bastard!”
“I hope it’s not the one behind the eyepatch now…” Replied Johnny, whom was met with a punch to the shoulder by Mack. Johnny grinned, and offered a seat to his friend, and motioned to a few bottles on the table.
“Newest batch of the Boot Lager. Just bottled them up today, and ready to ship in the morning.” Said Johnny. Mack looked at the bottles curiously, and then proceeded to take one, uncork it, and indulge himself. After a few large gulps, the bottle was half-empty.
“I think this is your best batch yet! These should sell rather quickly.” Said Mack. Johnny smiled, and motioned for his friend to lean into the table closer.
“As good as the Boot Lager is, I may have stumbled onto something much, much better. Not only in taste, but well… it’s kind of hard to explain.” Said Johnny. Mack sat back in his chair, and with a few more gulps, finished his bottle of lager. He then replied:
“You have my ear Johnny. I must say, you have piqued my curiosity.” Johnny grinned, and continued:
“Let us see Mack, where to begin… Ah yes. They call it the Slumbering Tree. Well, rather a grove of Slumbering Trees. I heard rumors of this place from some Yew rangers who came to the tavern several months back, that I was tending bar to. When I inquired further with them, I was met with silence. Actually, they stood up and left. Naturally this only increased my curiosity about this fabled grove.”
“What is so special about this grove, and these… Slumbering Trees, Johnny?” Inquired Mack. Johnny smiled and continued:
“Ah that’s just it Mack! These trees are very sacred. A bit I overheard from the rangers, they mentioned something about the fruit of the trees… eating it can add years to your life! Some sort of tree that bears fruit that can heal? This is surely a well-kept secret!”
“I have a feeling I fit in here somewhere.” Said Mack hesitantly. Johnny smirked as he reached into his pocket, and removed a corked vial containing a small amount of clear sap. He laid it on the table, and glanced at Mack.
“I won’t go into the weeks of preparation, or the details on how I got to the grove, but what is important… I made it back with some sap to experiment on. This vial is all that is left. I used up the rest, and was met with failure each time I tried to condense it, boil it, or turn it into something useful. I think I may have finally found a method to extract the healing properties from the tree! But, there is only one way to test this theory.” Said Johnny as he pushed the vial across the table towards Mack. Mack glanced down at the vial, and then back at Johnny. He then inquired:
“What’s in this for me Johnny?”
“Half. Whatever I make selling this stuff, you get half.” Replied Johnny. Mack hesitated for a few moments, and then picked up the vial off the table. He popped the cork out with his thumb, and sighed deeply as he gulped the liquid down.
“How do we know if this stuff works Johnny?” Inquired Mack.
“I think well know soon enough my friend.” Said Johnny. Mack chuckled as he reached for another bottle of Johnny’s Boot Lager that was on the table. After opening the bottle, and taking a few gulps, Mack set the bottle down on the table. An uneasy feeling came over Mack as he looked at Johnny across the table, who now had a journal out, and was penning notes with a small piece of charcoal.
“I don’t feel… right… Johnny.” Said Mack as he slumped over, and fell on the table.
Mack could hear Johnny calling; yelling his name repeatedly, but could give no response. A sense of a calm, euphoria came over Mack, as he suddenly had a vision that he was floating above where he was seated, watching Johnny try and wake his unconscious body up. Moments later, as if an apparition, Mack floated his way out the door of the Scoundrel’s Den and floated into the sky, looking down at the island of Buccaneer’s Den. He was looking around at the various buildings, the dock, the jungles and off into the distance at the horizon. After what felt like only a few short moments, he felt his body being pulled back down towards the ground. The moment turned frightful as he felt himself falling back down towards the tavern, and his unconscious body. As he was about to crash into the roof of the tavern, his apparition was rejoined with his body, and he awoke in a flash. Covered in sweat, he sat up in the bed that Johnny had carried him to and inquired:
“Wha… What happened…?”
“You passed out you glut.” Replied Johnny.
“H… how long was I gone?” Inquired Mack.
“Most of the day. It’s the middle of the night right now.” Said Johnny. A look of confusion and wonder came across Mack’s face. He then looked over at Johnny and inquired again:
“What happened to me Johnny?”
“Like I said, you passed out. You drank the sap, and a few moments later hit the table. You were out for hours.” Replied Johnny.
“That’s odd… It felt like only a moment to me.” Said Mack. With a suave smirk on his face, Johnny motioned to Mack to go and look in the broken shards of a mirror on a vanity that was across the room. Mack carefully stood up, trying not to stumble as he wearily made his way the vanity. A sense of shock came over Mack as he looked at himself in the fragments of the mirror. Scars that were once prominent were now gone. Wrinkles that highlighted his face were now gone. But most shockingly, when Mack took off his eye patch, he could faintly see out of his previously blind eye! He turned around to Johnny with a look of amazement on his face.
“Tomorrow, we set out to the grove, and we get every, last drop of the sap. I have a new vintage to work on.” Said Johnny.