They glanced out of the corners of their eyes at the newcomer and saw all their eyes could see. Jesedra dropped on her knees and gasped from the sight of his bawdy mask. Phero said, "I prithee -- get up!"
A hornet's nest festered the air; they all were quite scared.
The newcomer deserted as quickly as he came, and the four were four and for one another again.
"What is this fell ghost," Oinipew strained, "that stalks our flower feelings in such a pernicious way?"
"It's nothing, but a figment," Phero did claim.
"The pigments -- the duller -- the whispering stains!" wailed Coltice, her voice a poultice, and the hornets closed in.
They all four went a-dashing 'cross fields of heather 'til they fell upon a stream.
Some of what Phero was saying puzzled him, but he preferred not to interrupt before he had finished crossing the stream.
Coltice was up to her knees in stream when a hornet stung and she screamed. Oinipew fell on the watery stones and she too screamed.
Phero exclaimed: "Silence, all!"
Jesedra said: "Who, Phero, made you master?"
Phero said: "Hush, now, and help."
They carried Oinipew to the far shore, her eyes wet with water and salty with tears. Her ankle was twisted at an awful angle.
Coltice sat upon the bank, tending her red bite. The hornets had dispersed at their shrill cries.
Bright light in her eyes, Jesedra fell to her knees and kissed the earth. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
They gathered themselves and lifted Oinipew along. The way back was circled with vultures overhead, sensing for weakness.
They had met the Other, the newcomer, the ghost. And pleased they were not. Careful next time to wish, and for what: perchance they will never come again. The Wild Wonder Land was a harsher majesty than they had heretofore imagined.
Bright light in all their eyes now, arrived, and nothing but tender thanks.