The next thing Jessica knew she was feeling very lightheaded and she was still sitting down. One thing that she did take comfort in was the fact that she was no longer feeling constricted. She had also lost the sensation that she was about to explode as well and this was more than a welcome relief. She was somewhat confused with everything that had just happened and she began to think that it had been in her head.
When it came to Jessica’s enchanted dress it never allowed her to grow beyond her natural height or shrink any smaller than eight feet. She had never felt like she was going to explode before and she had never truly lost the ability to control her size like that before. It just continued to make her think that the entire experience had been in her head. But she still had one problem, she didn’t know where she had to go or if she was even doing the right thing. After everything that had happened she just wanted to get out of this chamber and forget that it even existed.
With that Jessica stood up and began to look around but the environment around her looked different. She knew that she was in the same chamber as she was before but there was something about it which was very different. She didn’t have chance to think about it before she heard a deafening chirping sound.
Slowly Jessica turned around and she was horrified to see that the lizard was standing behind her. Before there had not been any reason for her to be afraid but this time was different since it towered above her. It was easily a hundred feet tall and it looked down at her. This was only the second time that she had ever met a living being that was larger than her and the first thing she felt was fear. She realised this was probably how other people felt when she was at her full size.
Jessica was completely confused with how the lizard had grown so much without her noticing and how it could even fit in the chamber. That was when she took a good look around and she could clearly see why it looked so different. Much to her horror she discovered that she couldn’t be more than a couple of inches tall now that the world around her was gigantic.
It hit Jessica that what she had experienced hadn’t just been in her mind but her body expanding beyond its normal capabilities and the exploding leaving her at a mere fraction of her former self. She was in utter shock and for the first time since she was a baby she was truly small.
She also became afraid when the lizard lowered its head at her as she was afraid that it was going to eat her. She wanted to run but she knew that it would be futile, remembered when she would play with Sir Tucker when they were younger. He would run and she would try and pick him up as quickly as she could. When it came to an open space like this she would always catch him within a few seconds. This was basically the same situation however she was the small one.
Jessica did step backwards as it lowered its head and it nudged her slightly. Unfortunately it nudged her with a little too much force and she went flying off her feet and onto the ground. From the lizard’s response it seemed that knocking her down hadn’t been its intention and it even used its head to try and help her back up. She was able to get up to her feet by herself but now it seemed the situation had just become worse. If she had difficulty completing the test when she was a giantess, now that she was tiny it would be almost impossible for her to complete.
Jessica was overcome with emotions as she realised that she was probably never going to get out of there. She was never going to see Sir Tucker or her family again and she felt her eyes welling up. Soon she began to cry and she sat down on the ground and just placed her head in her hands as she allowed herself to cry. When she was a giantess she had felt that she could always help herself and protect those she loved. Now that she was tiny that feeling she had truly lost herself, she saw no way out and after everything that had happened she just felt like she was rock bottom.
The lizard could see that Jessica was upset and once again gave her a nudge. This time the strength that it used was a lot less and it became just a gentle nudge. It could hear her crying and wanted to do what it could to make her feel better. She felt its enormous head nudging against her body and she couldn’t help but turn and give it a hug. She would have preferred if it was Sir Tucker in her arms but right now she didn’t really care. The lizard was no threat to her despite the size difference.
“Are you really going to sit there and feel sorry for yourself?” asked a voice. Jessica looked up and saw what looked to be another woman. This woman looked to be normal size which to Jessica was gigantic. That wasn’t the only thing was striking about her, from head to toe she just looked like Jessica. She even wore the exact same dress that Jessica did and had the same hairstyle. Jessica became afraid and she stayed close to the lizard in the hope that it would give her some protection.
“W-who are you?” replied Jessica. She wanted to be brave but all of her courage seemed to have left her body.
“Well you could say that I’m you.” She smiled down at the tiny Jessica and even squatted down so that she could see her better. “In a manner of speaking of course, seems that this trial is testing you in ways that you didn’t expect.”
“I-I don’t understand.” By now she was close to the lizard’s leg and he was standing strong. It chirped a couple of times.
“Well let me explain it a little better. Everything that made you strong has been stripped away from you. Your size, your strength, your fortitude and desire. All that has been taken away leaving behind this shell of a person behind.”
“But why? What’s the point in it all?” Jessica was still feeling scared but she began to understand why she had been feeling so fragile. Everything that was strong about her either physically or emotionally had been stripped away. Despite this she still didn’t see how this could help her in this trial.
“I don’t know, I’m just something you conjured up to try and make sense of this whole situation. Or I might actually be real but whatever it is you can bet that unless you figure your way out you’ll be stuck like this forever. You’ll be small and pathetic for the rest of your life which in this place will only be a few days until you die of thirst.”
“What am I supposed to figure out? When I was bigger there was nothing here that I could have used. No kind of indication of what I was meant to do and obviously I had no way out at all.” Her words began to become angry as she was practically shouting at the towering figure of herself standing right before her.
“Well there is something that you haven’t even considered. Maybe for once your size was your disadvantage. Maybe being the big one for once actually worked against you rather than in your favour.”
Jessica looked down and began to think. This other her seemed to be talking some sense, she might have been too big before to see what she needed to see and at this reduced size she could actually do what she needed to do. She looked up again and saw that the other her had suddenly disappeared. This whole place was messing with her head and now she was more than determined to get out.
She also felt that a small amount of her confidence had returned to her, she knew that sitting and crying wouldn’t get her anywhere and that she had to do something or else she would be stuck there. She felt that the only way out was to rely on her brains and not her strength since it was now completely stripped away from her.
Jessica looked at the ground not too far away from her and she noticed something on the ground. It looked to be tiny even compared to her, it would be more than easy for a regular sized person to completely miss it and she knew that whatever it was, was definitely her key to solving the task and hopefully growing to her normal size.
Jessica quickly moved to what she had seen and she could see what seemed to be a small carving in the ground. She was glad that it wasn’t writing since she had difficulties reading but what she saw puzzled her. It was the carving of a fish leaping out of water. There was another what seemed to be a human being and there was another one to the right which looked to be some kind of snake. As Jessica took a closer look she could see that it wasn’t a snake but some kind of worm.
The next diagram that Jessica saw that was above it seemed to be a larger and more carnivorous looking fish. She took another quick look around and could see no other diagrams at all. She stood there and began to think for a few moments as she tried to figure out what it meant. She hadn’t noticed that the map that she was carrying was no longer in her hand. It had dropped during her sudden growth spurt and her explosive shrink spurt. It was lying somewhere on the ground but it was outside of her vision.
It didn’t take long for Jessica to figure out that the diagrams represented the food chain. The worm would be eaten by the small fish who was in turn eaten by the bigger fish who would then be eaten by the human. She thought that it was a simple enough test and she began to press down on each diagram in order. They began to glow when each of them were pressed and once all four of them were pressed in the right order there was a very bright glow which lasted for a few moments.
Jessica felt a shiver suddenly run down her body. Before she could properly react she found herself growing much to her relief. Unfortunately the growth spurt lasted nowhere near as long as she expected as she stopped growing after a gain of only an inch. From her perspective it was still a large gain since it had made her fifty percent taller than she had been before but still nowhere near her normal size.
“That’s it?” asked Jessica as she looked at herself. She had hoped that she would have grown back up to eight feet but she was still only three inches tall. “I’m still tiny!” There was a hint of frustration in her voice. She was afraid that she would have to complete several more tests until she was her full size and could progress. If she only grew an inch every time she completed a puzzle it meant that she would have to complete another ninety three of them until she was back up to her old size.
On more than one occasion Jessica attempted to increase her size thanks to her dress but each time had been a failure. She had even tried to shrink herself just to see what would happen and again nothing happened. She did consider taking off her dress in the hopes that she would grow but she didn’t think that it would work. Either way it meant that she would be stuck at that size.
Despite the height increase of an inch Jessica knew that she was heading in the right direction. It was a step forwards nonetheless and she felt that soon enough she would be back to being a giantess once again. She looked over to the lizard who was still standing there and watching her. She tried to push all of her frustration out of her body and she remembered that keeping a cool head at all times. If she was angry or panicked it would make her more likely to miss something of importance. Only by calmly observing everything around her could she return to what she was.
“Hey big guy can you point me the right way please?” asked Jessica. Her voice was somewhat pleasant and she couldn’t believe that she had called it Big Guy. She was used to being called large herself but never had she called it to anything else. She did watch as the lizard pointed his nose in a particular direction. She looked over to that direction and although she couldn’t see anything she thought that it was best to head there anyway. “Thanks, when I get big again I’ll be sure to hug you as much as you want.” She could hear it chirp at her a little which made her think that he approved.
Jessica did make her way in the direction that he was pointing. Unfortunately at this size it was much further than it had first seemed. She walked at a quicker pace than normal but she didn’t run, she had no idea how far she would have to travel in that direction. At least with her one inch growth spurt she wouldn’t have to travel as far as she would have done. With each step she took the lizard stayed by her. It only needed to take one step for every several that she took. It was a scenario that she was used to doing with other people but never with a creature much larger than her.
After roughly a minute of walking Jessica reached two tiny bowls on the ground. Both were filled with a liquid, one was a solid green colour while the other was a scarlet red. This test seemed to be simple enough, she thought that one of them would allow her to progress further while the other would likely lead to some kind of ill effect. She could imagine that one of them would restore her to her full size while the other would shrink her even further and would likely be so small that she couldn’t be seen.
It was going to be a difficult decision for her since it was a literal fifty, fifty chance. She didn’t even know what the effects of the liquids were going to be. They could both lead her either success or ruin. Both bowls were small enough for her to handle and there was nothing around which indicated which liquid did what. It was going to be a complete leap of faith.
Jessica sat and looked at the bowls and thought for a couple minutes before picking up one of the bowls and drinking its contents. She had picked the bowl which contained the green liquid and she quickly drank the entire content of the bowl. After she was done carefully put it down and waited for the effects to take place.
Her body didn’t feel to be any different and she didn’t think that there was going to be any kind of change. She had gone through enough growth and shrink spurts to know what one felt like and she certainly didn’t think that one was going to take place then. Instead the world around her began to become dark. There was some fear that shot through her body as she saw what was happening.
Jessica could do nothing as everything around her became dark. She couldn’t see a thing and immediately she put her hands on the ground in an attempt to find the other bowl but instead she found nothing. She had remembered where it was but she couldn’t feel anything at all. She even called out to the lizard but it didn’t respond to her. She seemed to be all alone in the darkness with absolutely no idea what had happened. She thought that she might have died and this was her on her way to the next plain.
“Hello is anyone there?” asked Jessica. She continued to look around to see if there was any kind of indication of where she was supposed to go. Everything that had happened to her since she shrank hadn’t made sense but right now that meant nothing. All she could do was try and find something of use.
Jessica began to walk forwards and she held out her arms in hopes that she could feel something that would be of help. Each step she took was with great care as she had no idea what was in front of her. She could easily trip over something that she hadn’t seen or run into a wall. At this moment in time she seemed to be in a huge, empty black space with nothing to it at all. A part of her feared that she would be like this for the rest of her life, a fate that she wouldn’t wish on anyone.
There was something that Jessica did notice behind her. She could see what seemed to be a source of light. It was a bright white light which she could see and she thought that it was her only true way of getting out and returning to normal. She ran towards it but it seemed that no matter how close she came to it the light seemed to stay the same distance away from her. Despite this she still kept going and she just hoped that she would eventually reach it. Unfortunately for her eventually fatigue began to set in and she had no choice but to stop and take a breath. She looked up and saw that she wasn’t any closer to the light and all of her effort had been for naught.
Jessica wanted to do nothing but sit down and cry once again but she refused to do this, she knew that it wouldn’t get her anywhere. She had people counting on her and she wasn’t going to let them down. Her mind was able but right now her body wasn’t, she still needed to rest before she could do anything else.
She did sit on the ground but rather than crying she instead began to breathe steadily. This was to keep herself calm and her mind clear. Since shrinking she had wandered too much into sadness and confusion, she knew that only a clear head and a sharp mind would win her the day.
In Jessica’s mind she recited a poem that she remembered from her childhood. It was about an old man who lived in an old wooden house near a river. One day the river broke its banks and the old man was swept away downriver. In some forms of the poem the man seemingly perished where in others he washed up on a bank a few hundred miles away from his home and rather than returning settled there instead. It was a relatively simple poem but reciting it in her mind allowed her to be calm despite the situation.
As she sat there she began to hear a noise. It was quiet at first but it slowly began to become louder. She also noticed that the world around her began to turn from a dark colour to one that was grey. As she carefully listened to the noise she began to make out that it was a chirping noise. Much like that of the lizard that had been helping her during the trial. This was a welcome relief for her and carefully she stood up.
When Jessica looked over to the light she could see that it was still there but rather than running towards it she instead just walked. It seemed that she was much more calm and composed. Unlike before she also seemed to be making progress with each step that she took. Before she had been in a more panicked state of mind but now everything seemed to be clear to her.
Jessica walk to the light was a short one and soon enough she found herself bathed in the light’s rays. She felt a much greater feeling rush through her body and she could feel the light revitalising her in more ways than she could put into words. Her fears seemed to fade away and she felt that the world was right.
The next thing that Jessica knew she was back sitting on the ground but as she looked around at her surroundings things seemed to be as normal as they ever had been. She saw the lizard and it seemed to be normal size in comparison to her. She stood up and slowly increased her size which to her was a welcome relief. She soon shrank herself back down to her smallest size.
Jessica wondered if what she had just experienced was real or just something in her head. She remember when Sir Tucker had gone on what he could only call his trip, he had seen and experienced things that had felt real but had actually all been in his head. She wondered if she had just received a similar experience but to her it wasn’t important. What was important was that she saw that the map on the ground was beginning to glow. She bent down and picked it up and when she unravelled it she could see something that always amazed her. She could see an ink line which seemed to being pushed by an invisible pen.
The line travelled North until it reached a location in the Wetlands which was right between the cities of Booton and Draketon. This was a relief for her since it showed her where Three Man’s Treasure was but there was one thing that she was disappointed with. It was a long distance away from where she and Sir Tucker were and it would take them a long while to reach it.
Jessica would have been a little disappointed if the treasure was close by. It would have been very convenient but it also gave them the opportunity to meet new people and experience more adventure before their quest finally came to an end. She also looked towards a nearby wall and she saw that it had opened up.
A huge smile had appeared on Jessica’s face as she felt that she was finally close to finding her way out of this trial. She began to walk towards and she began to her a chirping sound behind her. When she turned she saw the lizard standing there and she realised that this would be where they were splitting up. It made her feel sad to say goodbye to it even though she had barely known it.
“Thanks for all your help,” said Jessica. She knelt down and gave it a stroke on its head and it seemed to respond positively to this. It was sad to see Jessica go but it knew that she had places to go. It would always remember the time that it had with Jessica as she turned to walk away. “If I’m ever in this part of the world again I’m sure I’ll come and give you another stroke.”
Carefully Jessica stepped through the opening and it soon closed behind her. The lizard looked at it for a few moments before turning around and making its way towards the wall on the other side. It chirped a couple of times and the wall opened up for it to get through easily. It would now have to wait for the next person to come this way but that would most likely be a very long time. It wouldn’t be alone however since it belonged to a particular being who loved it very much.
The next thing Jessica saw there was a step in front of her. It seemed strange to her that there would only be a single step rather than a full set a stairs. Nonetheless she did go up this single step and moments later she felt what seemed to be her rocketing up into the air. This was no growth spurt but rather the step below her rising up at an almost impossible speed. The young woman had no choice but to scream at the top of her lungs as the sensation had overtaken so fast that she had no chance to prepare.
The sensation only lasted a few moments before she found herself in light. She was breathing deeply but the next thing she felt was a cool breeze come into contact with her face. She began to look around and much to her delight she could see the sky above her and her feet touching a grassy plain. It didn’t take her long to figure out that she was finally on the surface once again.
A sense of relief overcame her as she realised that she was finally out of the trial and back up to the surface. It was better than she could have expected, when she had been below she had felt trapped and somewhat lost but now that she was back it was an amazing feeling of freedom. She knew that she could grow to her maximum size and not have to worry about knocking her head against anything.
There was one thing that she knew that she would have to do next and that was to find Sir Tucker. She wasn’t sure exactly how far away she was from where she had knocked him out but now her main focus was finding and reuniting him. She just hoped that he wouldn’t be too angry with her. She had done what she felt was right but she knew that he would most likely be upset with her. She knew how much he had been looking forward to completing the trial but she didn’t want to risk his health. She didn’t even think that he could have completed the trial by himself. That was the only really redeemable factor that she could think of and she hoped that Sir Tucker was going to forgive her.
The most important thing that Jessica needed to do first was to actually find Sir Tucker. That wouldn’t be too difficult for her since they both shared what she could only call a link. It meant that she was able to feel his presence and vice versa. She did grow to her maximum height to start off with which was a welcome relief for her ow that she didn’t have to worry about ceilings. She kept her mind clear and began to look in different directions until she could eventually sense Sir Tucker. It was close to the hills where the entrance had been and she thought that it was fitting that he would still be there. She wondered if he had woken up yet but she would soon find out.
At Jessica’s current size it only took her a few moments to walk the distance to where she could sense Sir Tucker. After feeling so small she was glad to be big again and if she could she would stay big all the time like before she had her dress. However she knew how impractical it was so she would accept being a smaller size. Just as long as it was much bigger than two inches.
As Jessica walked she noticed that it was beginning to get late. She didn’t know exactly how long she had been inside the trial but she could see that it had been a few hours. At least it hadn’t rained while she had been inside since Sir Tucker would have gotten very wet. He would have found shelter but not before getting soaked first.
When Jessica finally saw a glance of Sir Tucker she saw that he had indeed woken up and was simply sitting on the ground not too far from the boulder which was the entrance. He noticed her arrival in more ways than one. Not only did he see her coming but he could feel the tremor of every footstep she took and the link that they shared allowed him to sense her arrival. He looked up at her and saw that she had a smile on her face, he saw her walking but she was shrinking herself with every step that she took. It didn’t take her long for her to be back down to eight feet in height.
By the time she had shrunk to her smallest size she saw that Sir Tucker had a bruise on his chin from where she had struck him. This only made her feel even guiltier about what she had done but she still felt like she had done the right thing. Her smile turned from a happy one to one that was apologetic.
“Err hi Sir Tucker,” said Jessica. Since she was trying to be as sorry as she could she remembered to call him Sir. “How have you been?” She knew that it was a stupid question but right now it was the only one that she could think of.
“Oh I haven’t been too bad,” replied Sir Tucker. His voice seemed to be surprisingly calm but Jessica did notice that he didn’t stand up. “I’ve just been sitting here and relaxing. The only thing I can complain about is that you hit me in the fucking face!” His last collection of words had been stern and angry. He quickly pointed to the bruise on his cheek and he showed that he was upset.
“I know that it looked bad but believe me I did it for the best of reasons.” She tried to show that she had acted in his best interests but she knew that it would fall upon deaf ears. “Please let me tell you my side of the story.”
“Let me guess, you just wanted to protect me?” He knew exactly the reason why and if anything it only made him angrier. “I’m not some doll that will break at the slightest touch, I am a man and more than that I am a knight of the realm. It’s just like in Laketown, I had the situation fully under control and you decided to barge in and pull me away. Do you know what that does to a man?” He knew that his words might be hurtful towards her but right now he didn’t care.
“Yes I do, it ensures that a man stays in one piece and is able to return to his family with his life and body still intact.” She crossed her arms as she saw Sir Tucker get back up to his feet. “I would say that if I could go back I would do things differently but we both know that would be a lie. Every time I would do the same thing over and over again and do you know why? It’s because I care for you more deeply than anyone I’ve ever known and I would do whatever it took to keep you safe. You can love me or hate me as much as you want but ultimately I don’t care. I ensured that you wouldn’t needlessly get hurt and I still stand behind it. You would never have been able to get through that trial all by yourself but I did, with my talents I was able to complete it where many before us most likely failed. You can hate me for the rest of your life for this but I stand by my actions one hundred percent.”