page fourteen:

A Swarm Of Bees

the woman heard the Great Spirit returning and knew what was coming. He was traveling in one of his favorite forms: an entire swarm of bees. He liked doing that because all the bees shared a piece of the same consciousness, so they always knew what all of them were doing while flying around on a busy day. The Great Spirit especially enjoyed being a group of bees flying against a gentle breeze so that they all seemed to be hovering in formation.

The swarm flew around the room for awhile before the Great Spirit was ready to speak. This is what he said:

"It's true that adventurers seem to have lost interest in climbing a spiral staircase for personal evolution. So I have thought of a way that we could keep some of what transpired, and then open the padlock and abandon the tower."

"The cats and spiders would be able to go free also?" the woman asked, concerned about her helpers through the years. "What will happened with all the strawmen?"

The Great Spirit didn't want to make her feel unintelligent by pointing out the obvious, but he said, "without the tower and the staircase, there won't be anymore strawmen in the tower."

The woman, realizing the obvious also, said, "good."

The Great Spirit continued: "I know about all the strawmen in the cities and in cyberspace now, but i will deal with them in time, and you don't need to worry about them."

"Now, you must complete this task for your padlock to open: you must write a thesis describing what you have learned through your years in the tower. If your thesis gets a passing grade, your padlock will be opened."

"thank you, " she replied, feeling fortunate to have an alternate solution to waiting forever for adventurers to open the padlock. she was a bit baffled as to where to begin, but she figured she'd just think it over for awhile. In the meantime the swarm of bees joyfully circled around the room a few times and then launched themselves out the tower window.

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