T AND THE JELLO CASTLE
Chapter 2
CLIMBING


T, RA and limiL crossed the drawbridge over the moat and skipped and hopped through the meadows. limiL scampered ahead smelling flowers, tasting wild blackberries. T shouted to limiL, "You are running too fast and are going to bang a toe on that rock. Oops, too late."

limiL bumped into a rock, curled up and rolled a few yards. "Ouch," he cried, "That rock got in my way."

RA muttered, "Idiot."

T scolded RA for calling limiL a name. "He just likes to experience the world around him and doesn't pay attention."

"At least his sister Limil knows enough to stay home."

"Limil told me last night that we would have a happy adventure today."

"You were dreaming," RA said. "Besides, what does Limil know; she never goes on adventures like her bumbling brother limiL. She just sits around and says "be happy", "be sad", "be angry", "be glad". RA pointed to some bushes up the hill and indicated there was some string caught on a branch. "I am going to go over and get that string. It might be useful. I will catch up with you at the apple tree."

T caught up with limiL who was sitting rubbing his toe. When he saw her he jumped up and said "I'll race you." They ran up the long hill toward the apple tree, the slope tapered off in all directions and everywhere there were other fruit trees, pears, crab apples, peaches, cumquats, mulberry, plum, cherry and others she had never seen before. They all could have been today"s adventure but the apple tree was at the top of the hill. Maybe the cherry tree would be on top tomorrow. Adventures changed like the rooms in the Jello Castle.

As they ran they heard RA yelling, "Wait for me." They slowed down and RA ran past them yelling "Suckers ." He got to the tree first and tagged it. "I win."

limiL made a fist and started swinging his right arm in windmill motion. "You little garbage collecting rodent I am going to win you a trip into a hole.

RA stood up in front of him and said, "Oh yeh, what is the second half of the half-wit team of the Palindrome twins going to do. Sense the pain of a broken fist on this rock I collected." RA held up a round metal disk.

T picked them both up by the scruff of their necks, "You two knock it off. We have some serious climbing to do." "Besides, RA, that is a manhole cover not a rock."

She put them down and they stared upward. This was not an apple tree. From a distance it looked like an apple tree but standing under it, it looks different.

"I thought apple trees had a trunk and some branches we could climb on like a ladder," T said.

RA shook his head. "I thought tree branches started big at the bottom and got smaller on the way up. These are all different sizes and shapes. They even look like they are growing and twisting around. See that, a branch just bent down and hooked onto another branch and both are climbing upward."

A flapping sound and a rush of air rustled the leaves. The Grif, the mentor, dropped to the ground folded his wings and stepped behind them and looked up into the labyrinth of branches. "Looks tricky. Is this where you want to be?" You might want to climb up a little ways and test the kinds of branches you can hang onto and the best path up so you can reach strong branches that aren't so big you can't hang onto them. RA, if you brought a saw you might have to cut away some of the dead wood. Be careful so you don't get stuck like those caterpillars." Grif pointed to three caterpillars trudging along on a long flat but curved branch...

T asked, "Is there a problem?"

Grif nodded, "They are on a mobius branch. It only has one side and they can never get off it going straight ahead. See, they have left foot prints in the pollen. Every day they come back to the where they started without ever ending and without turning around and half the time they are on the other side of where they are now."

"Actually this is a topology tree and its fruit is hard to digest. Very pithy and can leave a funny taste in your mouth. See", Grif pointed to clear bottle like fruit hanging from a branch reflecting light like a rainbow. "That is a Klein bottle fruit. The juice is hard to drink because the bottle doesn't have an inside or outside."

T looked puzzled, "If this isn't the apple tree, where are we?"

The griffon tilted his head one way then the other and looked at T then over to RA and limiL. The two were playing a game on small board. They appeared to be taking turns rolling dice very rapidly and shouting out the totals. Turning back to T, Grif asked, "How, did you get here and why do you think this is the apple tree?"

"That is a silly question. T answered. "Because the apple tree is at the highest point on the hill and RA ran up here and beat us in a race to the tree."

"Oh!" Grif answered slowly nodding his head and asked, "Did you look on the other side of the tree and look down the hill on the other side to make sure you really are on top?"

"No, we didn't have time."

"What are RA and limiL playing and what are they playing on?" Grif asked.

"Stochasts", T answered, "It's a board game with eight dice. They start the game with eight new dice made of cubes of wood. Each cube has six sides and on each side is number. Well, sometimes it is a letter or a picture or even a hololink. They roll the dice on a board with a sandpaper cover. RA always carries a piece of sandpaper to play on and then would find a board to put the paper on."

Grif rubbed his nose with the tip of a wing and smiled. Stochasts was one of his favorite games. The outcomes were always different because every time the dice were tossed on the sandpaper their sides rubbed off a little and the probabilities of outcomes changed. A game ended when the dice had been thrown a thousand times. A thousand times was called a sample. Whoever had the highest total score won. "RA", Grif asked, "Where did you get the board you are playing on?"

"It was lying over there."

"When you two finish your sample, read what is on the bottom of the board."

"I won," RA said.

"No, I won." limiL responded.

T intervened in what she knew to be the beginning of a huffing and puffing match. "Who had the highest score?"

Both answered, "It was a tie."

"RA, why do you think you won?" T asked.

"Because I got there first."

Grif rolled his eyes upward, blew a small flame into the air and asked, ?What does it say on the bottom of the board?"

      "MAXIS MINIMUS TOPOLOGY FOREST"
                          "BEWARE"

"Come with me." Grif said hopping to the other side of the tree. The others followed.

"What do you see?"

"A higher hill." T answered. "And the apple tree."

"I'm hungry." limiL said. "Let's go home."

"I'm tired," RA said. "Let's go home."

Grif said, "T, they have a good idea. It is getting late and you should probably be heading home. You don't want to be stuck out here in the dark."

"I want to get the apple at the top of the apple tree." T said and stomped her right foot down.

"Watch it T, you stepped on my foot. Now I have two sore feet." limiL said and sat on the ground to rub both feet. "Now you have to carry me." T sat next to him and said, "I am tired, let me rest and then decide what we are going to do." She leaned against a rock away from the topology tree and closed her eyes. The sun rays were warm.

"You hurt limiL's foot," Limil said shaking the green bow in her hair. "I was going to stay home but decided to climb into your pack and just sleep. It bothers you that you made his foot hurt. You should apologize. That will make you feel happy and he will feel happy to. Besides, you should head back so you don't get afraid in the dark. Now, I am sleepy too and I am going to go back to sleep."

Griffon waved his wings back and forth sending a gentle breeze across T's face. T woke from her nap. The sun was already setting behind the higher hill to the west casting long shadows into the topology tree. Some shadows got trapped in Klein bottles and on Mobius leaves leaving holes in the shadows on the other side of the tree. Other shadows showed something crawling inside the branches of the tree.

"limiL, I am sorry I got mad and stepped on your foot." She picked him up, hugged him and said, "I will carry you." limiL purred.

T started down the trail in the direction of the castle.

RA said, "I'll race you."

T looked at him and said, "No, RA. You have to ride on my shoulder with limiL. We have a better chance of getting home.

Grif lifted into the air, climbed in expanding upward circles and then drifted toward his lair somewhere near the castle.

                                                                 


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