Dingos don’t consider themselves afraid of anything, but when dawn’s early light revealed an army of razorback pigs, each with a warrior mouse upon its back, charging at them, they yelped and ran.
At the lead was William the Kangaroo. “Pumba, send a detachment after them. Slay them to the last. The rest, stand guard.”
The head razorback, a jolly fellow in spite of his fierce reputation, gave the order.
“Can I get off now?” An extremely shaky Bernard, clad in leather armor and wielding a mouse-sized spear, quietly addressed his mount.
“Sure, sure,” replied the amiable Pumba. “Just don’t get stepped on.”
The mouse quickly viewed his surroundings, dominated by hundreds of huge razorbacks, most of them none too careful what they trampled, and reconsidered his position. “I think I’ll stay up here.”
“Oh, Bernard,” remarked the admiring Miss Bianca on Joanna, a neighboring hog. “You were absolutely magnificent in the battle against the King and his rats. I’m so proud of you.”
Bernard blushed. “Oh, it was nothing.”
“Way to go, Berno. You got in the final stab that defeated the King.” Jake the kangaroo mouse gave Bernard a “thumbs up”.
“Wait,” called a puzzled Gadget upon yet another razorback. “I thought only Daniel could defeat the King.”
“Only Daniel can defeat the true ruler of this realm, and that battle is yet to come.” The kangaroo recalled the legend which was now a grim reality.
“In the meantime, I should get rid of this itchy thing.” William reached behind him and unfastened an unseen buckle. The “pouch” around his middle came off, revealing it to be a piece of apparel, rather than a part of his anatomy. “Useful if cumbersome device.”
His sister Esmerelda came hopping up. “Oh, I don’t know, brother. I think it kind of suits you.”
He scowled at her, but the conflict was only the ongoing bantering of siblings carried over from childhood.
A cry from far above drew everyone’s attention. Rochelle the Roc took flight from her nest and the pigs made way for her to land not far from the tree’s base.
“If you’re looking for Daniel, you’re too late. Olivia has taken him to see her so she can tell him what must be done.”
“Too bad,” William mused as he reached into the pouch, now laying by his feet. He rummaged inside and drew out a small cage. “I think he would have been interested in seeing this.
The kangaroo raised the container and rattled it. A tiny, angry hiss emerged from inside.
The mice and pigs close enough to see witnessed a small, pink kitten with glowing green eyes staring with evil intent upon them.
“No more of that, oh mighty King,” William chided the feline. The kitten named “Wings Aspire” by Daniel’s Aunt Abby, who had been killed by Jackson the Frog in the human world, but who assumed the form of the King here, had been finally defeated. The “King” had been stabbed dozens of times or more by the warrior mice, who had been shamed into action when they were told by Rochelle that William, Bernard, Miss Bianca, and Jake had been captured (and even the frivolous mice could not ignore a “suggestion” by the imposing Roc).
With the razorbacks as their allies (another group rallied by the imposing avian), they were unbeatable, and it was Bernard who struck the killing blow. Except while the Lion died, the essence of the cat endured in the form of the raging but helpless pink kitten.
“With the King captured and powerless, it is a shame the Queen must still suffer.”
“True, Rochelle,” replied William. “But she also holds the keys to her own freedom.”
“Yes, but Daniel is the one who must wield those keys. May the boy have courage and wisdom.” The Roc looked into the sky in the direction she last saw Olivia and the child soar.
The contingent sent after the dingos was returning with the bodies of their slain foes. Pumba called out to the rest of the pigs. “Breakfast anyone?”
Miles away, high in the frozen morning sky, an owl and her charge were preparing to land on a mountain top, the keep of the one who could teach Daniel how to free the realm, or die in the attempt.
This concept is loosely based on Iain Kelly’s recent A to Z Challenge 2017 story series. Every day, Iain crafted another puzzle piece to his murder mystery that had me and his other readers spellbound. I doubt I can create the suspense he conjured up, but when my wife got a giant A to Z jigsaw puzzle for our two-year-old granddaughter, I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I don’t have a lot of time, so I think each “letter” will be shorter and I’m not sure I can write one every day, but I’ll do my best.
The previous story is O is for Owl.
The next story is Q is for Queen.
I’m back home now, and I have a little more time to write. I took photos of each of the remaining puzzle pieces, so I should be able to continue writing regularly. My schedule will be interrupted again next Thursday, but hopefully, I’ll have several other chapters published by then. Enjoy.