"Where are they keeping the Winsome Witch?" Amanda asked.
The Blue Faeries pointed miserably towards the darkest part of the woods, where the tree branches were so thick and low to the ground that they formed a tunnel which stretched on an indeterminate distance into blackness. Amanda jumped up and headed towards the tunnel, scarcely taking the time to look back over her shoulder and call out to the faeries: "What are we waiting out here for then? Let's go!"
The faeries did not follow Amanda, however, and they did not break ranks to allow her to pass through them. They had encircled her within their ring when they first greeted her, and they were not going to let her escape it now.
"Pray thee don't prance through that precarious precinct without procuring preternatural protection," begged the Blue Faerie Queen.
"Give me some protection then," said Amanda. "You're faeries aren't you? You must have a spell or some magic powder or something."
"Our ring radiates ramparts against ransack by the rabble of rabid rodents," explained one of the faeries.
"Well, that tunnel is too narrow to travel in a big ring," said Amanda. "We'll have to go through it single file."
The faeries all stared at her in horror. She might as well have suggested that they throw out play time and start teaching multi-variable calculus in kindergarten!
"There must be another way to protect ourselves from the Tree Trolls," reasoned Amanda. "Haven't you ever needed any form of protection other than your ring?"
"Well, this forest is cold and damp, and we'd never even feel a good rain storm in here, under all those leaves. Besides which, the trees are so close together that there's no room to dance. I certainly don't intend to spend the rest of my life here as a prisoner of the Tree Trolls."
The faeries shuffled uncomfortably in their positions, looking first to Amanda, then to one another, unsure of what to do. Finally, the Blue Faerie Queen broke ranks, openning up a spot in the ring to allow Amanda to pass.
"Fare thee fabulously, fearless friend," said the BFQ.
Amanda wasn't so sure about the "fearless" moniker, but she put on a brave face as she turned to wave goodbye to the faeries before entering the dark and forbidding tunnel.