A Hero's Journey: Part Six
Unlike the sunny days that usually illuminated the little
village of Trestin, this one was cloudy, gloomy and gray. Sir Reynold still hadn't
returned, and Melissa hoped with all her might that he was having better luck
than she was and that the weather wasn't a bad omen.
It was only a few minutes after breakfast, and
instead of practicing together, Reuben casually told his mother that he was
taking a short walk around the village, promising to be back as soon as he can.
However, the female white Blumaroo didn't realize that he had snuck his spare
wooden sword underneath his shirt. As he opened the door, he spotted his younger
sibling reading a book entitled "KNIGHTHOOD IN A KNUTSHELL" while perched on
a small rock.
Making sure that Rohane didn't see him, he snuck
around him, careful not to disturb his little brother. Then, he walked off as
silently as possible off towards the river that flowed through the village.
Apparently not many villagers were outside at
this time, since quite a number of them were probably paranoid about rain. The
daring white Blumaroo on the other hand had assumed that days like this often
cleared up afterward. Reuben saw the large tree beside the raging river and
surveyed its thick branches. They were just evenly spaced, perfect for climbing,
except for one particularly big bough slightly higher than the second lowest
branch. As he began to scale the trunk, his eyes met a young Aisha milling around
Perhaps she could be of assistance, he thought,
stroking his chin. He walked over to her and said, "Hey, are you willing to
help me in this prank? Come on, it'll be fun!"
Liwanag looked up at him. "I know what you're
planning, Reuben," she said matter-of-factly. "Going to fool Rohane, I see?"
"Are you going to help me or not? Get the brat
over here when I say so, and then I'll do the rest. See, I'm going to dangle
this scary spider on a string that my uncle gave me for Christmas some time
ago - see, it's all big and hairy and all things scary - and you go and call
him over here. Then when he gets close enough, I wave this in front of him and
give him a good scare!"
"Look, I'm not taking part in your petty thrills,"
said Li serenely, standing up and strolling away. "You're on your own, mister,"
she added, glancing back at him sternly.
"Oh, fine!" he yelled after her. "I'll do my
own prank myself! It's my idea, and I'm going to - "
The crackling noise of thunder interrupted his
words as the lone figure of Liwanag got smaller and smaller in the distance.
He reached up for the higher, thicker branch. Reuben's fingers eagerly gripped
the rough texture, keeping a tight hold. Unfortunately, he didn't count on the
rain coming in so soon or so hard. In several minutes every single inch of the
white Blumaroo and the tree was drenched. The bark became slippery thanks to
the tiny rivulets flowing down onto the grass below.
It was that same observation that caused Reuben's
foot to slide backwards, nearly sending him tumbling over the branch he was
hanging on to. A strong wind howled and pitched his spider on a string into
the nearby river, carrying it away. The anarchic gusts began to toy with the
dangling prankster, who tried to shout for help. His only lifeline was beginning
to crack under his weight.
"HELP!" he called out. "I'M SLIPPING!"
But nobody heard him. Everyone was already inside.
That is, except for one, who was about to enter his house till he heard the
horrified shrieks of his brother.
"Help…me!" The white Blumaroo's grip was about
to completely slip off. Either that or the crack in the branch was getting wider
and larger. He could see the unmistakable form of Rohane appearing through the
sheets of rain.
"I'm coming!" The younger sibling jumped up for
the lowest bough, swinging his legs up. He did the same with the next one, until
he was directly below Reuben.
Balancing gingerly, Rohane held out his arm.
"Hold on! I'll get you down!"
Reuben felt the last of the color drain from
his face. "I'm…what if we fall?"
"Trust me, I know what I'm doing!" At last, the
older brother reached out his free paw towards the yellow Blumaroo. As their
fingers closed together, Reuben let go of the damp branch. Unluckily, the wind
took this time to increase in speed, nearly blowing the two away into the river
beside the tree. If it hadn't been for the quick grip of Rohane onto the second
to the last branch, they would have been finished instantly. Instead, the storm
mercilessly ripped the thick bough where Reuben had been dangling from a few
seconds ago off the tree.
"ARGH!" shouted the elder Blumaroo.
"We're okay! Just one more…stretch out your arm
and grab it!" coaxed his sibling. The storm continued to lash against them,
soaking the two to the skin.
"But I can't!"
"Just do it! If you don't do it now, we'll never
get the chance!"
The white Blumaroo bit his lip nervously. But
after a glance at his brother's determined stare, he did as he was told. The
strong gale nearly had him, but as he let go of Rohane and swung down, he found
himself dropping safely to the wet grass. After a few moments, Reuben felt his
sibling drop beside him. At first, both of them were silently sitting and shivering,
the climax still giving them the willies.
"You…saved me," whispered Reuben hoarsely. "We
were nearly…nearly…" He was interrupted by a huge rush of wind that blew a lot
of raindrops onto their already drenched bodies.
"At least we're okay now," his little brother
replied, patting him on his wet shoulder. He looked at the oblivious tree that
continued to stand tall as though nothing horrible had transpired before.
Reuben stared at him like one gone mad. "Are
you kidding? If it weren't for you, I would have been done for! I didn't expect…expect…"
The rain began to roar, drowning their voices
and drenching them even more. Rohane shrugged, and answered, "Well…it's what
brothers do. And besides, Father won't like the fact that one of his sons met
a terrible death from something as simple as climbing a tree."
"And by the way, isn't that the same tree that
we used to sit underneath whenever it was hot? Why did it try to kill us? It's
our friend!" Reuben put on a mock dramatic tone as he pretended to kneel down
at its roots.
The yellow Blumaroo chuckled. "Good point, Reuben.
I never remembered just how funny or clever you are."
"And I never remembered just how brave you REALLY
are," said his big brother. He was the first to stand up and regain his strength,
and offered a paw towards Rohane. The pair was no longer sitting, huddled underneath
the lowest canopy of leaves, but standing and watching the raging river beside
their village as it continued on its journey towards who-knows-where. Rain was
still coming down in torrents on the two siblings as they surveyed the village,
which by now looked more like a ghost town.
"Everyone's inside," croaked Reuben, shivering
in the cold winds that played around them. "Mother's probably worried about
As the two walked towards home underneath the
storm, they both realized something. Their mother! She would ask what was going
on, and they would both get in trouble. How were they going to explain where
they had gone? The brothers traded panicked looks as they neared their refuge
from the rain.
"I'll tell her I talked you into playing a game
till it rained," suggested Rohane. "I don't want you to get in trouble."
"No, I should tell our mother the truth. I owe
you the truth too after that whole saving me business," said the white Blumaroo.
Before any of them could say anything more, they finally got to the front door
of their house. Their urge to finally get into a dry domain overcame their plan
of staying outside and figuring out a good explanation, so the siblings stumbled
right inside, scaring Melissa, who was warming herself beside the fireplace.
She took one good look at her sons before running
to her bedroom. She came out, a huge bundle of blankets in her arms. The brothers
soon found themselves being bundled up tightly and warmly, and it made them
feel much better after surviving a breathtaking ordeal. But it also gave them
a pang of guilt - what if she asked why they were outside in the first place?
Melissa sighed and hugged them lovingly. "Oh,
thank goodness you two are safe. I thought something had happened to you both,
but at least you're alive." Then, her grateful, concerned face turned into a
panicky, surprised one. "Why in Fyora's name were you outside in that storm?
Don't you know better than to stay outside in such stormy weather? You had me
Reuben and Rohane could only stare at their mother,
and at each other, as the drenched duo tried to think of a way to explain their
predicament. The house was silent except for the continued beating of the rain
outside as they thought of something to say.
To be continued...