“I don’t need him. Stupid bloody Bummy. I don’t bloody need any of them. Stupid bloody Dave Daveson. Stupid Village. You can’t do this Derek. You can’t do that. I’ll bloody show them. I’ll show them bloody all.”
With every rapid step that Derek Derekson took in the direction of the Pyres in the sky that he and Duncan had seen earlier, his ranting grew. It started as a barely audible mutter, growing in rage and bitterness towards all his former friends in The Village. “Maybe, I’ll just team up with Dragonson and I’ll tell him not to bother leading The Village to salvation. Maybe, we’ll fly off Nob, maybe we’ll fly all the way to Warren and I’ll see Darlyna, and she’ll fall in love with me.”
He didn’t notice The Forest foliage whipping across his face, as he ran full pelt through the undergrowth. He ran and ran, and ranted and ranted. He ran and ranted and ranted and ran.
His adrenaline carried him on deep into The Forest, he had no idea where he was now, or what time it was. He didn’t care, there was no turning back, not now. His ranting grew to such a level that he didn’t register the sound of something altogether more sinister up ahead until he was almost upon it. But what Derek saw stopped him in his tracks, all his thoughts wiped from his brain in the blink of an eye.
Derek Derekson, just like all of the Bunnies in The Village, was well aware of the existence of The Forest spirits although he’d never actually seen one. As much as Derek believed in the legend of Dragon Dragonson, he also believed that you were best off not annoying The Forest spirits. And, according to The Village Elders and generally accepted received wisdom, messing up The Sacrifice was the most effective way the a Bunny could annoy The Forest spirits. There was no way Derek would be making it back to The Sacrifice today. “Maybe this is what happens to the Bunnies who never come back,” thought Derek.
What Derek saw was so hideous to his eyes that it caused the young Bunny to gag up a small parcel of vomit, the taste of which in his mouth snapped him sharply back into reality. Standing much taller than any creature Derek had seen in The Forest before, The Forest spirit appeared to have arms and legs in roughly the positions as a Bunny, but they weren’t covered in beautiful downy fur, they were covered entirely in green scaly skin, its face was elongated into a permanent grimace.
“GRGRGRGUuuuUGRGRGRGRG,” shouted the hideous green monster. Derek had no idea what the creature had said, if indeed, it had said anything. “BRBRBUuuuudgsugTTTT,” is shouted.
“DON’T!!!!!!!” shouted Derek, “NOOOOOOoooooooo!”
The Forest spirit didn’t seem to hear Derek. It raised its massive forearms as though it was about the come crashing down on something. What that something was Derek couldn’t be sure, but then his heart sank and feelings of grim nausea returned. “It’s Duncan,” thought Derek.
“DUNCAN!!” shouted Derek, “DON’T YOU LAY A FINGER ON HIM!” Derek hurled his egg-timer with unnerving accuracy right between the eyes of the enormous Forest spirit. Then, miraculously, the spirit appeared to double over in agony. “DUNCAN!” shouted Derek as the green monster dropped out of sight.
Emboldened by what he’d just seen and with the thought of his closest friend in trouble, all of Derek’s bitterness had disappeared and in its place was an incredible desire to do everything in his power to save Duncan’s life.
As Derek charged into the small clearing, rather than seeing his good friend Duncan Duncanson lying on the ground, he actually saw a much smaller Forest spirit jumping up and down on the larger one’s head.
“OOOOOHHHHOOOHHhhhhhhhh,” moaned the larger creature.
“GHGIUGTIUGIiguiigihiiuiouaoaoa,” shouted the smaller one with detectable glee in his voice.
The smaller Forest spirit looked over suddenly at Derek. “Don’t just stand their gawping,” it said in perfect Bunny, “bite his knackers while I get him sedated.”
Derek was so completely astounded that he immediately launched himself at the larger Forest spirit’s family jewels. He didn’t see what unfolded above him, but shortly after the larger creature had stopped writhing about and screeching in agony, he felt a sharp stabbing pain to his rump. The pain felt for all the world like a bee sting or maybe it was an ant bite or possibly a wasp sting, it was difficult to tell and Derek didn’t really have time to consider all the possibilities since he slipped fairly rapidly and totally uncontrollably into a deep and not entirely unwelcome sleep.