Petpet Adventures: Reunited - Part Four
Jimmy whistled as he made his way through the mountains of Shenkuu. It was cold, but then it always was. He paws made indents in tough mountain grass and the Eyrie grinned.
That was until a voice came out of nowhere.
“Do you know where the White Cap Mountain Lodge is?” said an impatient female voice.
He looked around wildly, trying to find the source of his voice. The Juma standing in the path in front of him sighed to herself. Pets were just so dull, and this one was no exception.
“Look down,” she growled.
The Eyrie looked down and stared at her like she from another planet.
“You talked!” he exclaimed.
“Wow, you talked, Folfeux!” said another voice sarcastically as a second Juma, this one larger than the first, came out from the bushes at the side of the road and stared at the Eyrie.
“I know I did, Malei,” the first Juma said scathingly. “And so did the Eyrie. But he just had to say it out loud as confirmation. I don’t even think he even took in the question.”
There was a strange barking-growling sound, and a Dandan scurried out to join the Jumas. He stared up at Jimmy with wide eyes, then growled again. The second Juma made similar sounds, but there was more barking involved, and the Dandan smirked.
“Well?” said the first Juma. “Do you know where it is?”
“You talked,” was all Jimmy managed to squeak.
“This isn’t even worth it,” said the Juma, then growled something to her companions and they trudged off the road.
“Well, that was a complete waste of time,” Folfeux said as they watched the Eyrie rub his eyes and hurry off. “Not a very bright lot, pets.”
“Hahaha!” said Kororr as he rolled around on the ground. “Did you see his face?”
Folfeux and Malei stared at him.
“What did you say, anyway?” Kororr continued, finishing his laughing for the time being, but still lying with his back on the ground. “I wish I could understand pet.”
“They don’t have very many interesting things to say,” Folfeux scoffed.
Malei sighed. “I disagree. Scelaris was just particularly bad. Most pets are smart.”
Folfeux shuddered. “Don’t ever mention my former pet’s name again.”
“Scelaris,” Malei said scathingly.
Kororr had climbed to his feet and was now twirling in circles, a favourite pastime of his, singing, “Selarees, Selarees, Selarrrreeeees!”
Folfeux was starting to regret bringing him along. He had even forgotten the way to the lodge.
“Sellllaaaarrrrrreeeeeeeeeee...” Kororr paused and did a scan of the mountainside, then his face broke out into a smile.
“I’ve got it!” he shouted. “This waaaaaayyyy...”
And he took off down the path.
“I blame you,” Malei snarled as he took off after the Dandan.
Folfeux followed at a slower pace, quite sure she would be able to find them because she could still hear Kororr singing, “...aaaaaayyyyyyyy...”
It was many hours later when they finally stopped and Kororr turned a few circles. Folfeux prepared for him to start spinning like crazy again, but then he sat down, looking puzzled.
“Can’t remember where to go next,” he muttered.
“Great,” Malei huffed as he threw himself to the ground over by a large rock. “You could at least try to go a tiny bit slower.”
Kororr didn’t hear him, lost in thought.
Folfeux sighed and lay down as well, breathing in the crisp mountain air. Sometimes she thought this journey would never end. It was already two days since she had been reunited with Malei, and already she was exhausted. Only the goal in sight could keep her going.
Her neck prickled and she casually flicked her head to the side, catching a flash of movement in her peripheral vision. Her eyes narrowed and she turned her body to face the low-lying brush and stunted trees that was the only vegetation. Of course, there were a fair few jagged rocks, and she was sure that without them she would be able to see the cause of the movement.
Slowly she padded forward, and Malei’s ears shot up, his head lifting from his paws as he watched her.
“What is it?” he asked, a trace of a growl in his voice.
Folfeux didn’t pause but continued to prowl towards the place where she had seen the movement.
“I think I saw something,” she growled as she ran her eyes over it carefully.
Malei stood up, his whole body tense and swiftly closed the gap between them.
“Let me go look,” he offered, his eyes narrowed at where she was looking.
“I’m quite alright by myself,” Folfeux said coldly.
“I have a suggestion,” Kororr piped up, leaping to his paws. “How about we all go look together?”
Malei shot the Dandan a look that bordered on dislike, then stalked into the bushes.
“Fine,” he shot over his shoulder before he disappeared from sight.
“Teehee,” said Kororr. “You and he don’t get along very well for siblings.”
Then he had dashed off after Malei.
Folfeux followed. Kororr’s words had caused a jolt in her stomach. But she couldn’t quite put her paw on it.
Her nose picked up an unfamiliar scent. But something in her brain clicked. She realised that she was tracking Malei, but there was also another scent there. It wasn’t a pet, but a petpet. Puzzled, she moved forwards.
There was crack of twigs to her right and she sprang over the jumble of rocks and took Malei down where he stood studying a bush.
He yelped in surprise and threw her off, then recognised her and narrowed his eyes.
“We should be searching separately so that we can cover more ground,” he said.
“Well, seeing as we’re together now, we might as well keep going on by ourselves,” Folfeux said, brushing her fur off.
Malei turned his back on her and moved forwards with Folfeux right behind. A rock loomed above them and Malei leapt onto it, surveying the land below.
“Dead end,” he called. “Just a really steep slope. Nothing without wings could get down here.”
Folfeux jumped up beside him. “Just checking,” she said.
She had an odd feeling of foreboding, but he had been telling the truth; the ground dropped away almost vertically below them. Quickly she leapt down, but as she landed the large rock began to slide.
Before Malei even had time to yelp the rock was sliding down the slope.
Folfeux sprang forward and tried to seize his paw, but misjudged her jump and sailed past him, claws scrabbling to get a purchase on the stone.
Teeth sank into her neck and flung her sideways. Her mouth opened in shock as she realised that Malei had just thrown her away from him and prepared to land down the slope.
But instead she landed on level ground, mercifully firm. Her clenched eyes opened and then opened further as she saw that Malei had lost his grip on the rock and was almost free-falling down the slope. It was a five-metre drop. He would never make it.
She shut her eyes at the dull thud she heard and peered over the edge, realising that Malei had saved her instead of saving himself. She saw a bundle of red-brown fur lying unmoving, but then it stirred, moving one paw feebly.
“Malei, wait there!” she shouted down to him, then realised that it would be stupid to assume that he would be able to walk at all.
She spun around wildly and collided painfully with Kororr, who was inching towards the edge.
“We have to get down there!” she shouted at him.
The Dandan drew back at her yelling, head cocked to one side, then he bounded away.
“Kororr?” Folfeux said to his back.
Without hesitating, Folfeux plunged after him. She found him standing by a relatively gentle slope compared to the one Malei had tumbled down. The Dandan waited for her to catch up, then lay down on his back and slid down the slope, trailing pebbles behind him in his wake.
Folfeux watched him reach the bottom, them she began to gingerly step down.
“Slide, Folfeux!” Kororr bellowed.
Folfeux didn’t need to be told because at that exact moment, and probably a result of him shouting, she slipped and slid down the slope of her own accord. She reached the bottom and staggered to her feet. It hadn’t been fun, but at least it had been fast!
She took the lead this time, racing over broken rocks and plants until she reached Malei.
The large Juma looked up at her approach. He had managed to get into a sitting position, looking dazed, but amazingly he looked completely intact. Folfeux rushed up to him and then paused, not sure what to do next. He gave her a small guilty smile.
“Glad to see me?” he asked. “That’s a first.”
“I am, actually.” Folfeux looked away, studying the slope he had fallen down. It loomed over them. Finally she looked at him.
“Thanks for... you know, saving me,” she said quietly.
He smiled properly this time. “You're welcome,” he said.
She shuffled her paws, then finally turned away and lay down. The sun was sinking slowly behind the crags of the mountains.
“We should probably just stay here for the night,” she yawned as she lay down.
Kororr and Malei muttered their agreement, and Folfeux laid her head on her paws, eyes closing, still thinking of what Malei had done. Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all. She was so tired she didn’t catch the scent that lingered near Malei. It was the scent she had been tracking.
To be continued...