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A Guide to Living as a Bunny • by Lulu Age 10

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

I can never fall asleep without being bothered. First, I was captured by fairies and put in slimy chains in front of King Oberon who was demanding gold for my last passage through his putrid, underground kingdom. Black spots danced above my eyes but I was barely holding consciousness.

The king was a rather short fellow with a big belly and beard, and wine stains around his mouth. He was screaming as far as I could tell and kicking wine jugs all about the room.

It was actually kind of beautiful the way the colors all melted together. And then, I lost consciousness.

I was glad to catch a break from Oberon. At any rate, what’s the difference if I can’t sleep in my own bed? What ho! It seemed I was traveling but hadn’t moved my legs. I was strapped to Vince’s back. He had a leather pouch that I assume he’d put me in, and there was some sticky stuff at the bottom. Eli was traveling beside us but I didn’t think we were in the pixie’s cave anymore.

When night fell, Vince promptly took me out of the bag and placed me in the river. “I’m sorry about the sticky stuff at the bottom of the bag. I had been saving some honeycomb for later,” Vince explained.

When I was done bathing in the river, Lulu, Eli, and Vince told me of their daring escape. Apparently, they had found me asleep as they were devising a plan for our liberation. They had snuck passed Pixie guards and climbed through a vent, which was hard for Vince because he is quite plump.

In the morning, we journeyed through the mountains to find Bobby’s Tavern, owned by an old friend who could give us advice on why the guards had arrested my friends. The tavern was a small place, cozy and warm, with lots of exotic spice aromas. When I stepped into the tavern, I felt a calm that I hadn’t felt in days. Bobby greeted us with big hugs and a warm smile. “Come in, come in,” he insisted. We came in and sat at the bar. As he gave us warm soup, I touched the side of one of the high wooden stool and felt engravings that I recognized as my friends and me on our old adventures.

When I looked up, there was a poodle with messy, dark fur and a satchel over his shoulder. He limped over to the bar without saying a word. Bobby simply poured him a drink without even having to ask. I could tell he was a regular. I went back to examining the stool, but there was something about the dog at the bar that didn’t seem quite right. Reluctantly, I approached the poodle with a saunter but I could tell he wasn’t buying it. When I got closer, I could see his eyes were kind, and he was trying to hold back a laugh.

Yet something was still not right. I just could not tell what. I was compelled to ask his name and after awkward minutes of silence I did. He told me his name, or at least his stage name, was Lightening John, and that most people know him as The Traveling Tradesman. As we started talking, I asked him what his trade was. He said he peddled fortunes and traveled a lot, but he always came back to Bobby’s Tavern. It was his safe haven. My friends were anxious to get me back to our table and get on our way, but first I gave him five coins so that he could tell me our fortune.

I called my friends over and we all huddled around while he delivered his prophecy.

Seven heros will answer the call; to storm or fire the world must fall. An oath to keep with the final breath and foes bear arms to the doors of death.”

At the time, I thought it just an old peddler’s trick. I was broken out of my trance when Bobby asked me if we wanted to stay the night. I said yes. It had been a long day and I was sure it wasn’t going to be any easier tomorrow. But as I lay down in the thatched bed, the words of the peddler kept echoing in my mind.

Again, I was woken up frantically by my friends. Even Bobby was in a tizzy. Bobby was usually calm but now he was yelling at my friends to get out. I got up groggily and walked over to asked him why. He said that the peddler wanted us to go to a certain grove and had given a map that led straight to it. I wondered why Bobby was giving so much trust to this peddler. He handed me the map and rushed away muttering about how the grove was cursed and it would probably be certain death.

We hurriedly packed up and left. I almost forgot about the map in my pocket but then remembered and pulled it out to started examining it. The map was dotted with a few towns, lakes, and rivers, but I guessed if we were going to stop along the way, it wouldn’t be for long. It showed the wide grove about a two days’ journey from the tavern.

We set out at once. We’d only traveled a short while when a crooked old man came onto our path pushing a little cart with dolls made of corn, coal, and other earthly charms. He didn’t stop to talk to us. He simply took a doll from his cart and left it for us on the side of the path.

Vince walked over, picked it up, and put it into his boot. It didn’t seem to bother him that the old man didn’t leave any footprints and that the scraggly old gentleman didn’t ask for any money. I could tell by his tattered clothes and his withered form that he wasn’t getting enough to eat. I dismissed the lack of footprints as a trick of the light and figured he was a peasant from a nearby village.

After traveling for three days, we finally reached the grove. It was a strange place. The trees were bright white. They weren’t maple, oak, or poplar, like we usual saw. In fact, I didn’t know what they were at the time. I had warned Eli not to touch anything in the grove but as usual, he didn’t listen and touched a tree. It crumbled like paper revealing a pig, or at least what I thought was a pig. It was round and pink, and had black hooves, but when I looked at its face, it had the face of a human. Its hair was black and tangled, its teeth were pointy and yellow, and its beady eyes frightened me.

q“Hello,” said the pig in a hollow voice. “Welcome to the doors of death. Would you like doom, prosperity, or pain? I’m sorry, I misspoke. Sometimes I have a stutter. I meant doom, pain, or death-by-pig. I will provide special services for the last option.”

Vince pulled the doll from his boot and handed it to the pig. The pig took it in its mouth.

“Oh, special visitors,” the pig said. “I’ll take you to see my master right away.” The pig led us to a pit that I was sure hadn’t been there before. “Right this way,” the pig said. She beckoned us again to come down into the pit.

Lulu took the first step. I could see the tears burning her eyes because when she looked down the stairs they were made of toenails...giant toenails. I nudged her forward. We weren’t going to get anywhere if we kept going at this pace.

When we reached the bottom, I gawked at the stalactites. I was so busy looking at the ceiling that I almost fell into a river that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.

At that very moment, I realized who the pig goddess was. Her name was Ochrera. She was the goddess of human misery. She had been around a lot longer than any other god or goddess because misery has been around since the dawn of time.

Ochrera led us to a white boat made entirely of bones. I was afraid that Vince might sink it but as he plopped down, the water didn’t even ripple. We all climbed in and then so did Ochrera. I had been so stunned that I hadn’t noticed the water was blackened and it seemed to be running. I looked for the source and then found it. Ochrera was crying black tears.

I had the sudden urge to give up the quest. The boat rocked violently as we started moving.

I thought Ochrera was steering with one of the bones from the structure of the boat but as I looked closer, I saw black liquid pouring from her side. Ochrera was steering with her own rib.

We went a ways before we stopped. Stepping onto polished black obsidian, we were led by a different figure. It seemed that the river and Ochrera had vanished. The mysterious figure rushed us into a dark throne room where white poplars made of gold, diamonds, and other precious stones sat in pots made of the same obsidian.

I had heard stories about this tortured soul since I was a child. Although there were primordial gods, there were lesser gods to handle the small stuff like one happy goddess names Othos. Othos was a liar. From the second she was born she lied. She started as a demigod, daughter of Phython. She lied so much that her father was forced to give her a punishment when she died. When her spirit drifted into the underworld, Phython did the opposite of punishing her. He made her a god named Orcus, the god of punishment.

I glanced back. I felt a cold presence ever since we came down those toenail steps. It could’ve been that we were underground. I hadn’t noticed before but another hooded figure sat on a throne at the end of the long hall. I could see nothing but vacant eye sockets that seemed to be filled with hate. They sent a shiver down my spine. I went to hold Vince’s hand but instead of his warm palm, I touched what felt like the gnarled hand of a skeleton. Fluorescent lights flickered on from the ceiling and I could see that it was Vince holding my hand. Where were Eli and Lulu?

ELI

While Bunny was being led about by that misty spirit, me and my sister Lulu were exploring the caverns near the river. We had just found a particularly pretty tree made of emeralds when we were plunged into darkness.

I awoke on a grassy river bank by yet another river. Soupy, grey fog rolled across the black grass and I remembered where we were. We were in the underworld. But where was my sister? I looked around and thankfully she was laying next to me. I didn’t see any terrible wounds. I assumed she was just unconscious from the fall. But how far had we fallen? I looked up at the ceiling and all I saw was a gaping hole about 30 feet in diameter. I couldn’t see from where we had fallen so it must’ve been a pretty long drop.

I looked more closely at my surroundings and saw that the river bed was made of red crystals. I saw a reflection of the darkened clouds in the black water. Was that a figure emerging from the clouds?

But where was my sister? I looked around and thankfully she was laying next to me. I didn’t see any terrible wounds. I assumed she was just unconscious from the fall. But how far had we fallen? I looked up at the ceiling and all I saw was a gaping hole about 30 feet in diameter. I couldn’t see from where we had fallen so it must’ve been a pretty long drop.

I looked more closely at my surroundings and saw that the river bed was made of red crystals. I saw a reflection of the darkened clouds in the black water. Was that a figure emerging from the clouds?

When she emerged fully, I saw that she was filled with a warm light that I hadn’t previously seen anywhere in the underworld. She had a cheery disposition. She wore bright pink robes and her long black hair was tied back in a ponytail. She beckoned to us, but how was I supposed to trust this cheerful spirit who seemed so out of place here in Tarturus. But she seemed like somebody that would give you a blanket and welcome you in. So, I hoisted my sister onto my shoulders and we approached the glowing pink form.

As soon as we got within ten feet of the spirit, we were lifted off the ground with a force so powerful that I almost fell down. I landed on a soft comfortable surface instead of plummeting into the depths of the river. No words were passed between the spirit and me but a soft voice that wasn’t my conscience echoed in my mind. It seemed to be the voice of the glowing pink spirit and she asked me why we had journeyed to Tarturus. I told her it had been a mistake and we had fallen from the underworld into the depths.

The pink cloud descended to the floor of a cavern. There it settled and the cheery pink spirit led us to a chamber where crowded spirits were drawn to an obsidian egg. A ghostly yellow trail came out of the spirit’s eyes and mouth. The pink aura crumbled away and a ghoulish figure appeared in her place.

At first, I couldn’t tell what it was. I’ve always been a bit near-sighted, but as I looked closer it almost looked like the peddler that we had seen at Bobby’s tavern, except this figure was uglier and didn’t have a comic glint in his eye.

It spoke in a raggedy voice as another ghostly aura poured from its mouth. Its empty eye sockets looked me in the face and said, “You must find the stones before it’s too late. Touch the egg.” Being a cautious person, I wasn’t too hasty to touch a glowing purple egg but I feared the spirit was right. I reluctantly climbed towards the egg. When I got to the top of the mounted spire, I touched it.

BUNNY


There were traps and snares placed all around the room, so as soon as we touched the stone the room started to fill with water. I was clutching the stone in my hand trying to find a way out. Water was filling the space too quickly. We had retrieved the stone from the lord of the dead but I was stupid to think it would be that easy.

I urged Vince to use his gift but he refused. Even in a life and death situation, Vince was too skittish to use his family gift. So I was surprised when Vince stood up and spoke. He poured all his energy, all his raw anguish, into his words Willing the water to stop pouring in.

Once the water had cleared, I looked over at Vince. He had collapsed onto the marble floor. A small trickle of blood came from his abdomen, but how was that possible? Vince had fallen onto his back. The blood started to pour faster. I wrapped the wound but the blood kept coming and a woman arose out of his chest. She had pale skin and white curly hair. Even her eyes were white, as white as the trees we’d passed in the grove.

She spoke in a voice that was much deeper than a child’s. It seemed to reverberate off the dark river flowing behind her. She spoke.

“I am Mamiwatar. I rule all the waters and I heard your cry. Your friend, Vincent, will be made a minor god for that deed. He sacrificed his life so that you could find the rest of the stones. And because you are noble, I shall give you the third stone.”

As I approached the goddess, a fissure opened in the ground and Lulu and Eli emerged bewildered, holding a glowing obsidian stone. Mamiwatar spoke again.

“You must find those who your ancestors called foes. I shall give you a map and let you return to the upper world. The place that you are said to meet is not far from here." With that, Mamiwatar’s eyes started to glow. She rose to her full height. The stone grew painfully hot in my hand and then...she vanished.

I blinked the dark spots out of my eyes and looked around. We were standing on a hill overlooking a magnificent golden staircase leading up to a palace in the sky. We climbed down a narrow pathway heading towards the entrance to the glittering staircase. Eli was wincing with every step he took. I had done the best I could to wrap his ankle with the supplies I had: two boards and some duct tape, but unsurprisingly it was still hurting him.

When got to the bottom of the mountain, my stone grew painfully hot again and Vince appeared, but this time he was dressed in a glowing purple toga with a laurel wreath upon his head.

He spoke in a booming voice, “I shall transport you to the top for only the gods can climb the celestial bronze staircase.” A cloud lifted us slowly to the top of the staircase. I looked over at Eli and he seemed grateful for not having to walk the flight of stairs.

When we got to the top, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were gardens filled with beautiful flowers, temples to all the gods, and in the center, a forum where the gods sat in a half-circle arguing loudly.

We approached the forum. Vince kneeled and encouraged us to do the same. I quickly understood that if we were not to be killed on sight, we should do as Vincent demonstrated. The gods fell silent as they noticed us. Vince addressed them each by name. “Ogion, Amera, Igon, Cephelus, Phython, Hyperion, and Polarity, these heros have brought you the three stones of Gaia. Bring forth the hunters.”

Girls ranging from two to twelve marched in perfect order into the forum. They all looked like Mamiwatar with white hair, white skin, and those intense eyes that seemed to be fractured. The girl in the front held out her palm, showing a red stone and two tiny green ones.

Polarity took all the stones and a pedestal materialized with six holes carved, waiting for the stones. She placed the stones in each individual hole and spoke.

“We shall prevent the rise of our mother, Gaia, for she shall take her anger out on us. I, Polarity, am named after the original Polarity, Gaia’s mother. But I am the goddess of divine order. You, heros, and three chosen huntresses, shall go to Iman and stop the rise of Gaia."

And with that, my friends and I set off to prevent the rise of Gaia and fight the giants. But that is a story for another time. Now, we are all are children of the gods.

This is the story of how I saved the world.












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