Chapter 4- Mixed Emotions
… Your mother and father are dead. Your mother died of grief, thinking she had lost you for ever. Your father died a heroic death, searching for you. Whatever you are doing do not give up now. It has cost both your parents (our leaders) their death, and it would be an insult, we feel, for you to give up now. Return only when you have finished whatever you are doing. Good luck to you.
Pipkin stopped reading and the writing faded. Tears trickled silently down his face. He felt responsible for their deaths. Podkin heard his whimpering.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, gently. “We’ll get out of here, don’t worry.”
“It’s not that,” said Pipkin, sniffling.” Mother and father, their…” And his voice broke.
“What’s up?” asked Podkin, again, concernedly.
“Their… their… their dead.” Said Pipkin, at last.
Podkin and Pipkin fell silent, tears streaming down their faces, each remembering their parents’ cheery grin, their loving care and all the adventures they had been on as a family. At long last, they got lifted out of the Rabry. Something lifted the sack off their heads and the brothers blinked in the brightness of the day. Podkin no longer cared. He had taken the news even worse than Pipkin had.
“What use am I if my parents died because of me?” he thought, miserably. “Pipkin is a better big brother than I ever will be. He’ll be better off without me, everyone will.”
On that happy thought, the two rabbits got dragged to a cave in the mountainside decorated with skulls of all animals.
“How nice of you to drop in.” A voice thundered, obviously amused and unsurprised about the arrival of the two rabbits.
A fairy flew forwards. “Master,” she said, bowing low. “We found these intruders on the Mountains of Misery. My spy tells me they are looking for the opal of Steelheart.”
Podkin and Pipkin looked up and found themselves face to face with an evil teddy bear. The giant monstrosity of a teddy bear smirked at their frightened faces.
“As a tradition, I fight every intruder. Pick any weapon and let’s fight. If you lose, which you definitely will, your my slave. To give you some hope before enslaved, I shall spare you if you win. Which you won’t.”
Podkin nudged Pipkin. “Happy chap, isn’t he?” he said, in a low voice, as they were led to pick their weapons.
Pipkin gave a nervous laugh. He picked a shield to go with his sword and Podkin chose a sword with a jewelled hilt to go with his dagger. They walked nervously back to the bear. Podkin gasped. You couldn’t see the beastly, hideous animal anymore. He was covered with old-looking, rusty, metal armour from top to toe. He held a shiny, sharp sword in one hand and a brutal, deadly dagger, still covered in old, flaky blood, in the other.
“Ready to fight?” Came the voice from underneath all the metal.
They circled each other wearily. Podkin thought it was a wonder that the foul creature could see at all. The enemy lunged first, clumsily. Pipkin easily blocked him with his shield while Podkin stood and stared at his brother’s fierce, set face as he gracefully attacked. It was a short but dirty fight. The bear was clumsy but unexpectedly fast. However, Pipkin finally found a clink in the armour. He stabbed, without hesitating, Podkin watching his brave brother in amazement. The bear fell to his knees, roaring in pain. Fluff flew everywhere and Pipkin’s clothes were covered and soaked in blood. Having finished their fight, the boys ran from the cave. Podkin, recalling the last few seconds, remembered how he had just stood there, uselessly.
“I’m no good here. Pipkin would be way better off without me embarrassing him.” He thought. “I’m a pathetic excuse of a brother.”
So, when they were just passing Poisonous Ponds, Podkin had an idea. He wanted to see his family again. He turned to Pipkin.
“I’m no use to you as a brother.” He said, sorrowfully. “You’ll be better off without me. Good luck and goodbye.”
Pipkin realized his brother’s plan a split second too late.
“NOOO!” He yelled. “Don’t leave me too! I need you!”
He dashed after Podkin, but he was too late. Podkin was gone, drowned himself, thinking he was no use and that Pipkin was embarrassed by him and that Pipkin didn’t love him. Poor Pipkin fell to his knees. He kneeled there for hours on end. Tears of sadness, remorse and regret poured down his face. Words cannot explain the anger he felt right now. He had lost his mother, his father and now his brother. Everyone he cared about had gone, left him and all because he and Podkin wanted to find a stupid jewel. Hours later, he got up. He had decided to find the opal as that is what Podkin would have wanted.
“After all, there’s no point in staying here, mourning for ever.” He reasoned with himself as he dragged himself up and set off once more. He walked for miles, determined to find this opal and bury it beside his brother. As the sun was beginning to set, he noticed a golden glow around him.
“I’ve arrived!” he thought, happily, the dark thoughts vanishing from inside his brain. From inside the glow, he saw a piercing, black beam. He half-ran, half-skipped there. In the very heart of all the beautiful, bouncing light he saw the most amazing thing he had ever seen in his life. The opal, at long last!