What Elderberry had told us was that a big rock marked the entrance to Honeygrass, but all that was there was a gate! For a moment we'd thought we walked this long way just to get ourselves lost, but our other crocodile friend Alex took the liberty of asking around... and we were relieved to hear from a baby-blue tiger that this was indeed the village of Honeygrass. They had just recently moved the boulder because, well, it was incredibly difficult to get around. So I guess Elderberry's knowledge was a little outdated...
But at least we weren't lost, and if we ever got lost we had a whole village to ask for directions. It really beat walking alone in the Marshlands.
The village itself was much different from the one back home. Yeah, it had the same elements; dens, schools, and markets, but it was very quiet. It had kind of an eerie quiet to it, everyone seemed to keep to themselves.
We decided to make the best of this village and walk around, rest a little, buy some things... but we had a mission to complete, and it was my responsibility to prod along the two less-focused members of our group.
Happy for one, was all over the place. "OMG, look at that temple!!! It looks soooo pretty, I wonder if we can go inside??" the pink elephant was practically jumping up and down. "Can we, Berry?? Can we???"
"Umm... I don't think so. We need to find out where Rainy's at." I didn't feel like I could be the best leader in situations like this, so I turned to Alex.
"Berry's right." He sighed, "Plus, we're not just recuing Rainy. It's ALL of our responsibilities to help him take back his kingdom and drive the lions out of Jamaa once and for all!"
I was about to agree, but then I had this weird feeling that what Alex said was all wrong, and to be frank, just plain mean. Then it hit me! I remembered the scroll inside the bag slung around my shoulder. I patted the scroll inside hen I looked at Happy and it appeared that he got my message.
If we were both telepathic, we both would have thought to each other: At some point we're gonna have to show Alex the scroll.
"Both of you are kinda mean," began Happy sheepishly, "but I think I get what you're saying... Let's go ask around to see if anyone remembers any lions passing through!"
And so we did, and after asking only one giraffe our suspicions were confirmed. The village was awfully quiet for a reason: lions had come through.
The giraffe then went on to explain that it wasn't always like this. Under the crocodile Queen's rule, all animals were required to treat each other with kindness and respect, even the so called kings of the jungle. (Lions didn't ever live in the jungle! I wonder where that idea came from.) But that was before one singular lion ("Patches!?" we both gasped, and the giraffe said yes, his name was Patches) who had been plotting to somehow overthrow the crocodile queen for some time now had his plan go into action. He got closer to the crocodile kingdom's royal family, (for you see the crocodile kingdom was just called the crocodile kingdom because the royal family was a crocodile, so I guess it should just be called "the kingdom" and has now switched from a Crocodile dynasty to a Lion dynasty) and one by one got each royal crocodile lost in the deep forest, where they're rumored to all live together in small shelters by the big trees. The prince Rainbow however, was catapulted into some other village far away, and his wellbeing went unknown until... he came into town today, guarded by lions! And he looked awfully scared, too, so we are all scared for him and the future of our village. What will happen once the lions take full control?
We had no time to waste! Because the situation in the Kingdom was so well known here, there were plenty of resources for us. The kind giraffe gave us maps, we used the last of our gems to buy some food, and we spent no more time in Honeygrass Village.
The castle top behind the forest doesn't seem so far away now. I wonder if I'll get any time at all to write in my journal during the last leg of our mission!
*TO BE CONTINUED IN MARCH*