The game opened with a long camera move that shows Washington DC during the summer, specifically the mall, Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. From there it goes through a grove of trees into the hedge, a huge mass of tangled brambles and thorns with strange fruits and strange creatures. Lots of mood setting.
We cut to Crump the 16th smashing rocks in the bottom of a huge quarry. A leprechaun, Lucky, all short and wearing green overalls, is sitting right next to him, whipping him with a huge vine of thorns and brambles and drinking a lemonade with a little straw umbrella in it. This is how it has always been for Crump. At one point Crump is given Lucky's lemonade to hold and just crushes it without thinking about it.
A trumpet blasts and a red carpet rolls down from the top of the quarry. A little changeling servant with a trumpet announced the arrival of the all-poweful Fae Lord of this realm of Arcadia, the Leprechaun Baron. And down comes a man in a very nice green Armani suit. He tells Crump he needs him to pull his chariot. So Crump for the first time ever puts his hammer down and goes to the top of the quarry to find a black Jaguar sports car, though it is fitted with a harness for Crump to pull.
Crump pulls it out of this little bubble of Arcadia into the hedge, staying on the path, before heading into another bubble that is completely different than the Leprechaun Baron's quarry. It is a keep floating in the middle of space with the sun and moon spinning behind it like hands on a clock. As he pulls the Jaguar up next to the keep, he sees two cats, one black and the other a strange wooden, six-legged cat with green stripes and exaggeratedly pointed ears and a statue of a man with a quill and a scroll.
As Crump pulls up the car, an incredibly beautiful blonde haired woman comes to the door. Every time the "camera" switches to a new shot, she is in a new outfit, ranging from wedding dresses to bikinis to burkas. As Crump follows the two fae and two changelings inside the keep, he keeps noticing the bits of lemonade on his hand. He eventually sticks out his rock tongue to taste it, and suddenly gets a memory back to when he was human! The shock has him lose basic motor skills and go crashing through a wall into a lost room filled with oddities, most importantly a beautiful clock made of stars, a fish in a fishbowl, and a chess set.
Through all of this, fireworks go off, and we see memories of 4 of the 6 changelings: the clock as it falls remembers being a high school gymnast and falling at a meet with talent scouts there, hurting her ankle; the black cat outside sees the fireworks that go off and remembers the same memory as Crump, though this is her as a human girl, homeless and being handcuffed for loitering; the statue's stone skin dusts off as he moves and remembers that same night as well, watching the fireworks with his wife. As the changelings deal with their memories coming back to them, the fish gets on his back fins and tries to collect some gunpowder. "I'm going to need this."
The six-legged cat, Hobcat, tells them the basics of what is happening and suggests that everyone run before the Fae get there and just straight up murder them. So all five of them plus hobcat (leaving the chess set, who was slightly mobile but did not make enough noise or motion for Crump to notice he was there) run out onto the path and leap off it into the nothing ... and fall through a hole at the bottom into the thorns landing in the Hedge Lake described in the opening.
The five of them introduce each other, and talk with Hobcat about some of the things going on as the fish, clock, and cat find themselves much more human than they were. The fish goes swimming along the bottom and finds a big screen TV inexplicably plugged into the ground and showing static. He swims back up and everyone swims down. Hobcat throws some glamour into the tv and everyone drains out and finds themselves in the mall in Washington DC, wet and in the middle of a thunderstorm. JJ, the clock now knows innately what time everything is, and tells everyone it is July 14th, 2012. They all realize they've been gone for varying amount of times, from the few weeks for Crump to "Madagascar" alluding to perhaps decades.
As they argue, a taxi (actually a huge hobgoblin frog with seats in its belly) pulls up and an Ogre with a crazy third eye comes out, introduces himself as Boston Whipperwheel, and greets Turnip Husk (the fish) incredibly warmly. He tells them they should all get in, and he will take them all to Hearthhome.
Back in Arcadia, the two Fae lords, the unnamed blonde and the Leprechaun Baron argue about their items being stolen and escaping and wanting them back as the little trumpet player looks at the chess set, whose pieces are spelling out the word go. The little changeling unhappily wishes he could help, pulling out a stopwatch and showing the clock that time is all messed up here now that the walls are broken. At one point, the hands on the clock (there are 6 hands: seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years) all line up for "5 years" and at moment, the chess set magically transforms back into a human in a very nice black suit ... but just briefly, as he turns back, scaring the little trumpeter and causing it to drop the watch. The trumpeter puts the hands close to 5 years again, and the chess set becomes much more distinctly changeling, with a strange chessboard pattern covering his skin. The trumpeter tells him he better run as he is forced to blow the trumpet. The chess set, Eric Vale, pantomimes tipping his hat to the changeling, and leaps out the hole in the wall.