Okay, so we know where the lions are taking Rainy. The Crocodile Kingdom must be close! Either that, or the lions are leading us into a trap with false footprints. But honestly, things have been going so well now I don't even wanna think about it!
So disregarding my suspicion, we finally have direction in this quest to save Rainy.
The trail became less waterlogged the further we walked– a pretty good sign! After a longer walk, the sun began to shyly peek out of the clouds. Sunlight! Real shimmering rays of molten gold! After trekking through the sad and soggy marshlands, this was amazing! If we didn't have an important task to accomplish at the moment I would have joined Happy and quietly gawked at the sky. But we had things to do, so I had to prod him along.
Actually, I had to physically push him along for most of the trip. It sounds funny until you recognize that I'm a koala and he's an elephant.
"Why can't you walk on your own!?"
"Hehe, I'm thirsty so I can't move. You need to push me!" replied Happy like he knew exactly what he was doing.
"That doesn't make sense! I'm thirsty too but I've been dragging you through the trail for at least 30 minutes!"
"Huh– what?! You have? I barely noticed. Oooh, so thats why I thought I was hovering when you were carrying me!"
"I wasn't carrying you!" I exasperatedly sighed, "You see that big, elephant shaped shallow in the middle of the path that stretches on from over there? Yeah, that's you! Or more accurately that's me pushing you!"
We bickered for ah, I dunno. 15 more minutes? We finally settled on a truce, if however unfair: Happy would walk on his own if and only if he claims all of the carrots as his own. I only accepted because I was so tired out from arguing.
Anywho, we walked on until Happy stopped dead in his tracks.
"What? What's so important that makes you wanna start all over again with this nonsen–"
"Shh," he silenced me. "just listen to the sound of the wind."
I did, for about three seconds.
"Happy, I don't know what happened but I think we need to rest a little. You're acting a little crazy. C'mon, there's some shade over he–"
"Why would we need shade when theres a LEMONADE STAND UP AHEAD?!" Now he must have really lost it, why would there be a lemonade stand on this empty flipping road?
But he had already raced ahead.
I struggled to catch up with him and– what!? Is that a lemonade stand I see up ahead?! That's crazy! So crazy. Yep, preeeetty wacky. But why–
"Hello friends! Free lemonade for all."
"Now hold on just a min–" I tried to say.
"Me! Me! I want some!!!" called Happy jumping up and down.
"Alright, take whichever one you want!" said the awfully familiar looking crocodile.
I decided to hold my tongue until Happy was quiet.
"Alright, sooo..." began the crocodile, wincing weirdly, "nice weather we're having, huh?"
I was so sick of this. "Thanks for the lemonade, but I know who you are. Please just tell us what you want. You sent Rainy off on a 'journey' to the crocodile kingdom but all you did was send him to his doom! And now we have to go rescue him from the lions you told him to fight. So why are you here? Why did you follow us?"
There was silence for a second.
"I, err, don't know what you're talking about. I am but a simple farmer working my crocodile claws to the bone growing lemons and selling them here to travelers. It is what I have always done." said the crocodile.
There was frustrated silence again for a second.
"ALRIGHT BERRY YOU GOT ME!" the crocodile admitted, collapsing in the sun bleached path, "I followed you here because I thought something was wrong. Yeah, all the way from your den to the Marshlands to here– all the while carrying this fold-up lemonade stand!" he sighed weakly.
"Uhh... why did you take the lemonade stand?" I questioned.
"I, uhhh..." began the crocodile- looking pretty embarrassed! "I thought it would be useful somewhat..."
I had many questions, but I decided against wasting any more time. The crocodile obviously had no idea that Rainy was going to become prisoner, and I actually felt sorry for him! I decided that he deserved a chance.
I stood up. "C'mon, Happy. You can come too, uhh...?"
"Alex," the crocodile said, gaining more confidence, "My name is Alex! Why do you keep forgetting?"
"Yeah, of course! You seem pretty capable, and we don't have much reason to be mad at you anymore." I turned around to Happy, who had been quietly relaxing in the shade looking on for a while. "C'mon, Happy! Let's go!"
He bolted up. "Yay! Let's go!"
And so we walked on, and soon enough we found the entrance to Honeygrass!
*TO BE CONTINUED IN FEBRUARY!*