Dreaming of Adventure: Part Four
”H ey, look who it is! Cairo!” Stevie interrupted Ramona and Sweet’s conversation and pointed with his stubby trunk.
The adults turned to look and Stacie stirred on Sweet’s lap. The eventide Wocky had just entered the inn. The dinner crowd had just begun to enter.
Sweet looked at Ramona and tilted her head towards Cairo. “Would you mind if I spoke to Cairo? There are some things I feel must be said to him. He is the cause of all of this mess that we are currently in.”
Ramona sighed and nodded her head sadly. “No, I do not mind. Cairo is not bad. He just did not think that what he did would cause something like this. He was only trying to help me. Really.”
“I understand but, if no one wants this to be repeated. In order to prevent it, he needs to be told what he did wrong. If he is truly a good friend only wanting to help you, he will accept that he made a mistake and do everything he can to amend it.”
Sweet set Stacie on the couch next to Stevie and rose to her feet. She wanted to talk to this Cairo for herself.
“Excuse me, Cairo? My name is Sweet. I am with your friend, Ramona. We need to talk,” Sweet said by way of introduction.
Cairo looked nervous and his eyes flicked to Ramona. “What is this about?”
“Hey, Cairo! Jace and Ellie ran away!” Stevie said.
“That is what we need to talk about,” Sweet said.
The Wocky sat on the couch as Sweet faced him from a nearby armchair. Ramona had Stevie and Stacie playing patty cake off to the side so that they were not interrupted.
“Jace and Ellie ran away shortly after you filled their heads with your adventures,” Sweet began.
“You are blaming me for that?!” Cairo rose to his feet, offended.
“Partially, yes. Children are very impressionable. You told them about everything you did and they believed they could do it too.”
There was a very awkward silence as Cairo shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Sensing that she was missing something, Ramona looked up at her friend.
“What are you not telling me?”
~ ~ ~
Jace and Ellie were ice sliding with Zaira watching on. The instructions that the Negg Faerie had given to her assistant were to watch the children. Kari had hardly felt comfortable leaving them unattended, after the trouble they had gotten into that day not just in the Neggery but earlier too. They did not seem to mind Zaira’s presence and they were having a lot of fun. Zaira was just thankful that they had not gotten themselves into any more trouble.
The Negg Faerie’s assistant noticed a familiar figure approaching Jace and Ellie. She smiled and waved at him. He waved back and she headed back to the Neggery. She could tell Kari that the children would be just fine now. There was no one better to take responsibility for these wayward children than he was.
“You look like you are having fun. May I join you?”
Jace and Ellie turned to see a baby Yurble looking back at them. He looked friendly and the two children did not hesitate.
“Yeah, you can. My name is Jace and this is my friend, Ellie,” Jace said.
“My name is Lofty,” the baby Yurble introduced himself.
Jace and Ellie exchanged a shocked look and then turned to the Yurble in front of them, wide eyed.
“You are Lofty?” Ellie’s shock faded and now she sounded a little disbelieving.
“We have been hearing about you all day,” Jace said.
“Yes, I am Lofty,” the Yurble said with a chuckle.
“From what we have heard today, you have has so many adventures,” Ellie said, sounding awed.
“But you are a baby,” Jace pointed out.
Lofty shook his head. “I can explain that but I will do it on the way. Ramona is worried sick about you two.”
Jace and Ellie exchanged a guilty glance.
“Kari said our idea was dumb,” Jace admitted.
“We were just having fun,” Ellie put in.
“Yeah, it was so boring at Ramona’s. We wanted to have our own adventure, just like Cairo!”
“Cairo? Who is that?” Lofty flicked his cinnamon roll ears as he led the children out of the Ice Caves.
So, they told Sweet’s brother all about the eventide Wocky and his ‘adventures’. Lofty didn’t comment on any of them. Then, they told him about their own adventure. He had been able to guess most of it, having trailed them. Though, he had no time to give input because they had arrived at the inn where Ramona, Sweet, Stevie and Stacie had been waiting.
As soon as they entered, Jace and Ellie raced away from Lofty.
“We are back! We are back!” Jace yelled.
“Did you miss us?” Ellie asked.
Ramona would have hugged the returned babies close but she knew they would have hated that. She settled for crying in relief and gratitude to see them none the worse for wear. They were almost strutting in front of Stevie and Stacie. It seemed they had not really learned anything from their escapade. Then they saw Cairo and swarmed him, chattering about their day.
“Thank you, Lofty. You brought them home,” Ramona said, hugging the baby Yurble tightly.
“You are welcome,” Lofty managed to say, a little muffled, pressed against the brown Kacheek as he was.
“Hey, Cairo! You have to meet Lofty. He sounds just like you,” Jace said, tugging on the eventide Wocky’s hand.
Cairo shifted uncomfortably but with one determined baby on either side of him, he could hardly resist. Lofty did not address the Wocky right away. Instead, he turned to Sweet.
“You know, Jace and Ellie were telling me all about their friend Cairo. All about his adventures. All I could think of was how familiar they sounded. As if I had actually lived them myself.” Lofty pinned the eventide Wocky with his pine green gaze.
Cairo swallowed nervously and did not meet Lofty’s gaze. His eyes darted around, unsure where to settle. Everyone was looking at him now. He could not just stand there. Though, what was he going to say?
“I…lied. I wanted others to like me and think I was cool. Everyone loves Lofty and I wanted that for myself. So I…just took all the stuff I have heard about Lofty and put myself in his place. I told the babies because I was only trying to help Ramona out. I did not know that it would cause all this. I am so sorry to all of you for lying and being a bad friend.” Cairo sighed deeply, having gotten everything out at last.
There was a brief moment of silence. The others were processing what they had just heard. Ramona was the first to speak.
“I do not like that you lied, Cairo. However, I will forgive you as long as you tell the truth from now on,” Ramona said.
Cairo met Ramona’s gaze and nodded. “I will not lie to you, again.”
“We forgive you as well,” Lofty said as Sweet nodded beside him.
“We do too, Cairo!” All four of the babies chorused.
The eventide Wocky looked immensely relieved. With one guilty party down, there were two more to go. That is where Lofty turned his attention next.
“Jace, Ellie, you know what you did today was wrong. What do you have to say for yourselves?” Lofty looked at the baby Acara and baby Korbat.
“We are sorry!” Jace said.
“Really really really sorry!” Ellie added.
Jace looked at Ramona. “We will not run away, again.”
“It is just no fun being a baby,” Ellie grumbled.
“This exploit of yours is going to have to last you until you are both older,” Ramona said.
Both Jace and Ellie cast a suspicious glance at Lofty.
‘What about him?” Jace asked.
“Yeah, he is still a baby,” Ellie pointed out.
Lofty smiled at them both. “Let me explain. I was a red Wocky to begin with. I was painted Christmas then snow before-“
“Before being zapped by Boochi?!” Jace guessed.
“No, I was not zapped by Boochi. I was morphed into a Yurble a few years ago and then painted baby.”
“Why would you do that?” Ellie wrinkled her nose, clearly confused by an adult wanting to become a baby.
“I wanted a change and a baby Yurble still has enough fur to manage Terror Mountain weather.”
“Its high time I got you four home,” Ramona broke in.
The brown Kacheek gathered the babies and, with Cairo helping, exited the inn.
Lofty and Sweet exchanged a warm smile.
“You took that as a challenge, did you not?” Sweet asked her brother.
The baby Yurble nodded. “Yes, I will get those two to change their minds about being babies and not growing up too fast.”
~ ~ ~ Epilogue
Lofty and Sweet visited Ramona and the four babies, again. It took some convincing on Ramona’s part but she trusted the Yurble and Shoyru with her brood. They were still too young to go on adventures or even to visit Tyrannia but Lofty was more than willing to show them the more exciting aspects of their own mountain home. So, he taught them how to ski and snowboard. He introduced them to the Bori and took them through the tunnels where most Bori lived.
“You know, I still want to grow up and have my own stories to tell one day,” Jace admitted.
“Just for now, we like being babies,” Ellie added.
It was just what Lofty wanted to hear.