Part 14/20

Long Live the Donkey Prince!

As Arthur Kirkland appeared at the Wind Tower's door behind Little Al and his companions, holding his keys, a flock of white birds flew quickly over the hills and meadows and over the bright stream of the Beer Valley towards the cities and villages of Hidingland. But in front of the flock flew one dark bird, invisible to all who might look up. And when the other birds landed on the roofs of Hubbub Town, the lonely, dark one flew fast with wobbling wings to the top of the tower of Gilbert Beilschmidt's castle.

The other birds all stayed in the town and sang: "Wake up. Wake up."

And the residents woke up and rubbed their eyes, startled.

"The birds of the donkey lord," they muttered to each other, and the mothers dressed their children and the dogs picked up their hats and the cats quickly took their boots and everyone hurried outside into the streets and started to ask and wonder, "What's the meaning of this? Who freed the birds and from where? And how?"

They all gathered in the big square in front of the castle. The dogs from the Inn of the Flickering Lantern stood there too, quivering with excitement, and the cats from the lift were also present, and everyone else too.

Angry and bewildered, Beilschmidt's main guard fox, Vash Swingli, ran out of the castle and squinted. "Go away! Immediately! Or I'll tell Lord Beilschmidt about you!" he ordered, and then muttered in a low voice, "Or I'll remove you myself, that would be fun..."

But Vash didn't have time to continue because on the roof of the palace the weathervane shrieked loudly and...

Abracadabra!

On top of the weathervane sat Gupta, waving the piece of Rose Lady Francoise's invisibility cloak to the residents of Hidingland.

"I have something important to tell you!" he announced.

"Speak!" everyone shouted back. Well, almost everyone. Those who knew the crow were so startled to hear him speak that they just stared.

Vash didn't answer either. He ruffled his tail and stared up suspiciously, cursing inwardly that he had left his gun inside.

Gupta continued, "No licking your anaesthesia ice creams anymore! Rejoice! I have brought you happy news!"

"WHAT?" Vash screamed, but Gupta spoke over him as fast as he could.

He told them about Donkey Lady Héderváry, and the people were bewildered.

And he told them about Little Prince Al and the people began to stomp.

And he told them how they had destroyed the beer barrel and how sunlight had hit the magic scarf and how that had freed the birds from the clutches of the foxes in the Mirror Mountains.

And then the residents of Hubbub Town understood what was going on, and they started to stomp on the ground even more. And the more they stomped, the faster the last traces of sleepiness and laziness disappeared from them.

"Long live the little donkey prince!" they cheered. "Long live Donkey Lord Edelstein and Donkey Lady Héderváry!"

"Do you want to help them?" asked Gupta, voice already badly hoarse from too much speaking as he wasn't used to it.

"Of course we'll help them!" shouted every little and big donkey, every dog and cat.

"Then quickly go to the Mirror Mountains to help him!" Gupta ended his speech.

But before anyone could make a move to obey him, Vash got angry.

"Oh no, you're not going! You think we foxes are going to let you leave? We're going to tell Beilschmidt about this! If you obey me now, you may only have to spend three weeks without ice cream!

"Who would wanna have your icy surprises in a situation like this?" one old grandmother donkey, who had a white mask covering her eyes and forehead, got mad as well.

"I think it's you who would like to have a taste of that ice cream," continued another granny beside her and then they started glaring each other. The two of them had been housemates for a long time already, but no one knew why. They really couldn't stand each other.

"You go back to your hut!" Vash raged.

"I don't think so!" the elderly ladies said together, and they threatened Vash with their umbrellas.

"Someone help those two, quickly!" Gupta ordered from on top of the palace roof.

Following his orders, the birds of the donkey lord fluttered down and attacked the foxes, who turned around and ran.

"You're not going to get us!" shouted Vash, hiding behind an ice cream cart, the other foxes following.

"Don't let 'em get away to tell Gilbert Beilschmidt!" shouted Denny the innkeeper, seemingly happy, and he grabbed an axe that one fox had dropped.

The townspeople started to chase the foxes, who fled towards the mouth of the underground stream, holding their guitars and remaining weapons. But the dogs of the inn were faster, and they caught the foxes on the riverbank, causing a big rush when everyone else followed.

"Stop!" The granny with the mask silenced everyone.

"I'm sure we would all like to give the foxes some yummy ice cream now," continued the other granny beside her. "I think we've all been so sleepy lately that we've forgotten to give them their share."

"You're sleepy in any case, ice cream or not."

"Shut up!"

"Yes, let's give them some!" said the female cat from the lift.

"Yes!" answered the other citizens.

"No!" answered the foxes, but the dogs were still preventing their escape.

"Open your mouths like good boys should," said another, darker male lift cat.

"It's going to be good," another one deadpanned, offering Vash some ice cream while Ice held him still. And finally...

Slurp

And then...

Krooh!

Immediately, the foxes fell asleep, smiling and poking each other in a neat line on the bank of the underground stream.

So the residents of Hubbub Town quickly began to look for the boats the foxes had taken from them and hidden, but not a single one could be found. And they couldn't ask the foxes since they were all already sleeping. Denny tried to shake Vash awake for a while, but either he was a really good actor or the lift cats had overdone his ice cream portion a bit.

Then the grandmother donkeys took the dogs with them and ran to the Inn of the Flickering Lantern. Quickly they took a couple of tables and brought them to the stream. They were set floating on the river, and the bravest donkeys and the strongest dogs and the lift cats hopped onto them.

"Long live the young donkey prince!" they all shouted, and they started to row with paws and pieces of wood, quickly disappearing up the underground stream.

.*** *** ***

In the Beer Valley, Gilbert Beilschmidt was marching bad-temperedly in front of his fox troops towards the Mirror Mountains.

Suddenly, his current fox captain, Lili (since Ludwig was already in the Mirror Mountains - collapsed, but Gilbert didn't know that), looked behind them and reported, "Master Beilschmidt, there are some pursuers coming this way."

"Whoa... aren't their spirits up..." said Gilbert, turning to look. Then an evil grin crossed his face. "Sound the alarm!"

And Lili did.

Immediately from the hills along the river, dozens of foxes appeared and started to roll beer barrels to effectively block the river and the footpaths. They blocked the Hidinglanders' way.

"You're not going to beat me just like that!" Gilbert laughed, and then turned to continue the march. "Forwards, boys! And Lili. To the Mirror Mountains. There waits our loyal friend Arthur Kirkland with valuable treasure in his towers."

And what happened then?

You'll find out next time...


A/N: Egypt: Yes, his counterpart is quite talkative. Somehow I imagine after his part is over he's somewhere drinking a lot of water and deciding the next time he'll speak is years ahead.

The grandmother donkeys: Originally there was only one and I decided it to be Greece, but I. Needed. Turkey. Dammit. Is it wrong to make them 1. grand 2. mothers? So yes, I genderflipped them. Somehow I see those two threatening Switzerland with umbrellas. They talk more than they originally did.

Fox Captain Lili: Liechtenstein of course.

I must admit, I don't know how the distances go in this chapter, because either Al co. just took a lot of time or then the Hidinglanders are damn fast. They of course could have taken a detour and they don't have to hide from the foxes. But since this is a childrens tale everything goes =)