Happy Feet: Farewell Mumble

In the peaceful and frozen plain of Antarctica, a little school of 20 penguins chicks from several species were gathered around one Rockhopper Penguin, who was speaking at the entire class telling stories about the past.

They were in the border of the land called New-Emperor-Land, and at one or two miles from them, there was a big emperor penguin's colony of about 100.000 inhabitants.

Every little penguin listened respectful to the Rockhopper speaking about their common ancestors. Every single word was heard with great interest by the small birds.

"And that's how, or at least, that's how we believed that we turn our back to flying, in order to conquer the seas"

Sounds of wonder scattered over the class, until a little emperor penguin came out of the crowd.

"That's a great story professor" The little penguin said. "But, is it true?"

"I don't know if it is true, but it's what I was told and the only true I know. Maybe it's a complete lie. When you grow up, you can investigate more on your own" The teacher answered "Ok class, we are done for today. You can go home and I'll see you next week" He said.

"Sir! Can we ask you something? It's about history" Asked a little adelie.

"Kids, not for nothing I'm the Culture and Tradition's teacher. What do you want to know?"

"Please, tell us the story of Happy Feet!" Other little emperor said.

"Well kids, it's a long story and your parents surely want you to sleep well this night. Don't forget that tomorrow you are going to have yours lessons about Hearthsong and dancing"

"But sir, we have enough time to hear it!"

"I doubt it…"

"Please?" The 20 penguin said in the sweetest voice they could.

Their teacher stared at them for a moment before answer.

"Ok! You win! Get close to me and sit down. But Miss Nadia is going to kill me if you don't sing well tomorrow"

"YEAH!" The kids shouted, getting close to their teacher.

"Well kids, I might not be able to tell you the whole story… but I can tell you some things about Mumble's life. At least part of it, since I haven't seen him for a while"

"You knew Mumble Happy Feet?" A chinstrap penguin chick asked.

"Of course I knew him! He saved my life, more than once. You already know the story of his childhood, so let's begin after the iceberg incident."

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Five long years had passed since the Doomberg threatened to finish the lives of the Emperor-land's inhabitants. Those penguins that used to live there were forced to leave. Eventually, after days of walking, they reached a new place where they established and called home once again.

It was more open than the last (In case of another iceberg, they would have several ways to run away) and had a cliff in a side with several caves, where the Elders and some important families lived.

Mumble Happy Feet was the owner of one of these caves for elites penguin The reason? Well, I think it's obvious. He was an Elder, and not any elder, he was a High Elder. Actually, he was the second in charge after Noah, who despite of his age, continued ruling in New-Emperor-Land.

It's quite strange and funny how destiny plays with all of us. One day you are considered a useless fool without Hearthsong. The other day you found the love of your live, and in the next day you save your nation twice and you became the greatest hero of the story of Antarctica!

It's almost unbelievable! However, Mumble was the living proof that it can be done.

By the time this story takes place, he was in his first decade of life. Its may look like an entire life for some of us, but for emperors penguin, It's a middle age.

They usually live 15 or 18 year, but there are legends that tell that some penguins, born into the families of wisdom, are awarded by their god, The Great Guin, with the gift of endurance. The stories tells that they can live 50 years!. And if you ask me, I think Noah is one those awarded. Sadly, Mumble wasn't, but that doesn't matter now.

As I was saying, he was an Elder. Not because he wanted. After the whole business of the aliens and the incident with the iceberg, Noah offered him and Erik (When he was older, of course) a place in the council, and literally all the nation forced him to accept.

When he entered the council, he showed that dancing wasn't the only thing he was good at. He was a great politician too, and brought some great ideas to his nation.

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"You can see some of those ideas been implemented right now, because was him who suggested this system of education with all the nations of penguins together, so you can learn with who you are sharing this giant piece of ice that we call home… And was him who named me teacher, because I have seen every single species of penguins and I know the stories and legend that everyone of them have"

"It's true that he couldn't sing" Another little emperor asked.

"Yes, it's true. He couldn't sing a note. He expressed himself through Tap dancing"

"So how he met Gloria? Our traditions says that you have to sing for that"


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Mumble loved Gloria since the day he was born (Litera… Well, maybe not). His lack of Hearthsong did not prevent him to express his emotion toward Gloria, only delayed it.

Gloria liked the free nature of Mumble, the funny he was, the kind he was with her and how he was always saying what he thought (Attribute that caused his banishment). She did not see the tapping skills of Mumble as something bad; actually, she thought that it was kind of cute.

Gloria loved Mumble, but deep in her heart, she was still loyal to the traditions of their nation, including the mating ritual, so she always treated him like a good friend.

This was until the mating ritual, where she realized that the Mumble's Hearth-Tap fit perfectly with her Hearthsong. This eliminated any doubts they might have had. They were meant to be together and to become mates.

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"Sir?" Another chick asked.


"I have heard that word before, but I don't know what it means"

"Which word do you mean?"

"Mating" The professor choked at the question "And mate, used as a verb. What they suppose to mean?"

"I have heard it too, but I don't know what they mean" A little adelie said.

"Yeah, what they mean?" Another chick asked.

Soon the entire class was asking the same question and their teacher did not have the slightest idea how to answer.

"Well… that something… I just… can't tell you, kids" The teacher replied nervously

"But why?"

"Because... that lesson you are going to take it from your parents when you have the right age"

"That's unfair"

"Why you can't tell us?"

"Professor Lovelace, please tell us!"

And again, all the class was to asking the same thing.

"Kids please… don't insist… I can't tell you"

"Everything is alright here?" A voice asked from behind.

A young adult emperor penguin appeared in scene. He was like every other emperor penguin: he had black feather in his back, tail and head; and white feather in the chest with a necklace of golden feather.

"Elder Erik!" Lovelace said, doing a reverence "It's an honor. Kids, this is Erik, Mumble's son"

"Hi kids!" Erik greeted

"Hi Mr. Erik!" The 20 kids said together.

"Kids, you must go to your homes now. It's late" ordered Lovelace.

All the little obeyed, complaining a bit.

"Papa!" A little female emperor penguin shouted, running to the adult and hugging his leg.

"Hi little one. Did you miss me?"

"Yes, I did"

"So Elder Erik. How wa…"

"Cut it out Lovelace. We are friends. No formalities, please"

"I'm sorry Erik but, as part as my work arrangement, I have to teach the children respect to the council's members. So I have to refer to you as Elder, at least in front of the kids"

"I know. It's just that the title of "Elder" makes me feel like an old penguin and I'm only 5. Besides I'm not officially an Elder"

"Well, usually the Elders are that: elders" Lovelace laughed a little "So, how was your trip to Adelie-Land?"

"Good. It brought me some good memories, just like the old times. Oh! And Sven send you his greetings"

"Sven? That crazy puffin? How is he?"

"He is fine. He just still a little scared of the aliens. Were you talking about my father with yours students?"

"Yes... you know how curious the young can be. I hope you don't mind"

"Of course not! In fact, I think is a good way to honor him"

"There is no way to honor him as he deserves. After all he have done… for all of us"

"Yeah… well Lovelace I should go home now. Bo must be wondering where me and Emily are"

"I understand Erik. Go and see your wife"

"Come sweetie, said goodbye to Professor Lovelace"

"Bye professor!" The little girl said.

"Goodbye Emily. I'll see you next week"

Father and daughter turned back and stated walking toward the cliff, to their cave.

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Two weeks ago:

Erik, son of the great Mumble Happy Feet, was on his way to visit his father. He wanted to hurry because, judging from the cold and the color of the sky, It was probably that a blizzard was coming.

He had a lot of excitement, since the last time he saw him, was two weeks ago, due the obligations of being an Elder, Mumble was busy most of the time. But at the same time he was a little worried, because Mumble had sent a messenger to him, and he told him that he had something extremely important to say, but he didn't give more details.

Everyone knows that when an Elder says that he has something important to say, it's because he has it.

Soon he reached to the entrance of the cave where his father lived, but when he was about to enter, he heard familiar voices coming from inside the cave.

"Are you sure about this brother?" A raspy old voice asked.

"Yes Noah. There is no other way." This voice was very different from the other. It was calm, gentle and politely… Mumble's voice

"Well, I'm not very sure about it. He is too young to be a member of the council"

"Yes, I know. But he has that same age I had when I entered. And even at his age, he is wiser than some of the oldest members of the council" Noah narrowed his eyes "No offense"

"Nah, don't worry brother. I know what you mean and I agree with it. But I think that those other member do not going to like the idea of calling him an Elder. And don't forget that if he enters the council, he will enter as High Elder too, so I have to be sure he will do a good job. That is a title I cannot give to anyone so easily, because if something happen to me, he would have to replace me. And don't forget that your case was special, usually applicants with less than twelve years are not even considered"

"I know, I know, but believe me, he can do it. How about this: Give him a place in the council, but not the title of "Elder" until he reach the proper age and show that he can be a leader"

"Well, that is something I can do. Besides, the tradition says that the title must remain in the family"

"I know the traditions. That rule is only applicable in the families of wisdom"

"Well, I'll invent a new rule: The title of "Elder" can be passed from father to son, even if they are not part of the families of wisdom, if the Patriarch approves that, and I do."

"Thanks Noah, it's means a lot for me"

"It's the least I can do for you, brother"

"Now, I don't want to be discourteous, but Erik is about to arrive and I would like to talk with him about this alone"

"Of course, I understand" He replied, turning around and walking towards the exit "Farewell Happy Feet. I hope we can meet again"

"Don't worry, we will. But in a very long time" Mumble shout

Noah laughed a little as he walked out of the cave, finding Erik.

"Young Erik? What are you doing hiding here? Were you listening to us?"

"Me? No! I just arrived and I didn't know you were here" Erik lied "Dad is here? "

"Yes, he is waiting for you" Noah replied, as he walked away.

Erik hesitated a moment, but finally got in the cave. There, not far from the entrance, a fully grow emperor penguin, but with gray fluffy feather instead of the black and white ones, was waiting for him.

"Erik!" He shouted in the moment he saw him. "You cannot imagine the pleasure it gives me to see you!" The old penguin ran up to Erik and hugged him with his flippers.

"Hi daddy! Where have you been?"

"You know, Elder's businesses. But that doesn't matter. Now tell me, how is my little granddaughter?"

"She is fine. She has good marks at school and a lovely voice. In the future, I'm going to need your help to keep the males away from her" He completed the statement laughing a little.

"She is going to be a very beautiful penguin when she grows up"

"Just like mom"

"And just like Bo" Mumble added, causing that Erik narrowed his eyes "Just kidding... Well… I have to admit that she had lovely eyes … and a great voice… and a great body… and also she…"

"Hey! Shut up or I'm going to get jealous" He joked.

"I'm just kidding with you again, my son"

"For your own good, I hope so" Both of them laughed at the false threat of Erik.

When they ended, Mumble faced Erik.

"Tell me son, what did you feel the first time you sang?"

"The first time I sang? You mean, after Bryan betrayed us?"

"No, no… I mean, when you sang your Heartsong. How it was?"

For penguins, this is a very personal question. It's something you would only ask or answer to someone whom you trust a lot. Erik thought about it before answering.

"I felt that I was expressing myself in a form that I could never do in another way. I felt as if that song was an extension of my soul. But still, I felt incomplete" A big smile appeared in his face "Well, that was before I sang it along with Bo. That was when I felt that my soul was completed, that my song has a reason, that my feeling toward her… were true"

"That's great son" A big smile appeared in Mumble's face "I would have given anything to be able to sing with your mother"


"Yes son?"

"Do you remember the first time you heard mom singing her Hearthsong?"

"Of course I do. It was in our first class at Penguin Elementary… I remember it like it was yesterday"

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Years ago, in the old Emperor-Land.

The long winter had finished months ago and the families were together again. The penguin chicks were growing up a little slow, due to food scarcity.

According to the tradition, when the penguins are four months old, the chicks must assist to the Penguin Elementary, take the lesson that are taught there and graduate (If they can, of course), so when they become adults they are allowed to participate on the mating ritual and, possibly, choose a mate.

This was the first class for Mumble and his friend, Gloria. They were waiting with great excitement, along with other small penguins, for the teacher: Miss Viola.

"Hey Mumble! You are not excited! We are going to start school!" Gloria said to his friend.

"Oh… yeah… I think… I'm kind of… happy" Mumble answered shyly.

"Morning class!" An adult female penguin greeted, appearing from behind of them, and made her way to the center of the chicks "I'm Miss Viola and I'll be your teacher this season"

"Hi Miss Viola!" The penguins greeted.

"Well, my dears. Let's start with the lessons, but first, let's see if you know the ABC" Miss Viola raised her flippers and began "Say with me: A, B, C..."

"A, B, C…" the whole class answered, all talking at once.

"Very good. D, E, F…"

"D, E, F…"

"Excellent! Now continue without my help"

"G, H, I, J, K…" And so, they continued until they reached the Z "…X, Y and Z"

"Very good class! Very good!" The teacher said, clapping her flippers "Well, today we begin with the most important lesson you will ever learn at Penguin Elementary. Does anyone know what that is? How about… you, Seymour?"

"Ermm… fishing?" A little penguin answered.

"No… Mumble?"

"Me? Eeeh… It's…" Mumble was taken by surprise by the question, because at that time, he was admiring Gloria from behind. His little brain had no time to process the question correctly "Ermm… don't eat yellow snow?" He answered, causing that several of the chicks started to laugh, including Gloria.

"No, that's not it, no" Miss Viola said.

"It's our Heartsong, Miss" Gloria said.

"Thank you, Gloria. Excellent, yes. Without our Heartsong, we can't be truly penguin, can we?" The teacher explained "But, my dears, It's not something that I can actually teach you. Does anyone know why? Anyone?"

"You can't teach it to us ma'am because we have to find our Heartsongs all by ourselves" Gloria answered again "It's the voice you hear inside… who you truly are"

"YES! Excellent Gloria! Maybe tomorrow I'll stay in my house and leave the class to you"

"Thank Miss!"

"So let's all be very still now. Take a moment and let it come to you" They remain in silence for a few second, until Miss Viola spoke again "Ok kids, who want to give it a shot!"

The crowd of small penguin began to shout

"I got one!"

"Me too!"

"Pick me! Pick me!"

"Not him, me!"

Everyone wanted to be the first to show his or her Hearthsong.

"One at a time! Kids, one at a time" Miss Viola said, trying to calm them down "Ok, let's see… Seymour"

The little penguin from before began with his song.

"That not fair! I wanted to be the first" Gloria complained.

"Take it easy, Gloria. You are going to have your chance too"

Just then, Seymour finished his song

"Lovely Seymour, now… Gloria, want to try it?"Asked Miss Viola

"See? Wish you luck!"

"Thanks Mumble" She said, before walking to the center of the crowd.

"Well, mine is something like:

Midnight creeps so… slowly into hearts of men… who need more than they get

Daylight deals a bad hand… to a penguin who has laid too many…

(In an angelical voice) beeeeets…

The chicks, along with the teacher, cheered with great excitement for Gloria's song. Even some adults that were walking around stopped just to heard it.

"Very good Gloria! Lovely song! Excellent!" The teacher congratulated.

"Thank Miss" Gloria said, walking back where Mumble was.

"Woao, Gloria that was simply awesome! You are the best!"

"Thank you Mumble" She said smiling, and approaching her beak to Mumble's face "Maybe one day I can sing it only for you" She whispered in Mumble's ears, winking an eye to him. Mumble blushed almost immediately. Gloria giggled and turned his head to pay attention to the other songs

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Mumble looked at the ceiling of the cave with dreamy eyes.

"Your mother almost broke my heart that day" Mumble said "In a good way, of course"

"And when she song it to you when you return from Adelie-Land, was as good as that day?"

"No my son… It was even better… Despite the contribution of Raul"

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Mumble and Gloria were dancing together. Gloria was singing while Mumble tip tapped at the rhythm of the song.

Gloria: Midnight creeps so slowly into hearts of men need more than they get

Daylight deals a bad hand to a penguin who has laid too many bets

Chorus of penguin: The mirror stares you in the face…

G:And says, Baby Uh uh It don't work!

You say your prayers though you don't care

You dance and shake the hurt

C: DANCE! (Mumble does some Tap movements) MUMBLE!

G: Boogie wonderland!

C: Dance! Dance! Dance! MUMBLE!

G: Boogie wonderland!

Raul walked toward the front of the penguins and began to sing and dance, with all the penguins following him from behind.

The Amigos: Check it out! Check it out! Check it out! Check it out!

Raul: ¡Yo soy Raúl!

¡El pingüino mas cool!

Latino por su puesto, 100% español.

My brothers (¡Que!) loco me llaman

Una señorita me enciende como flama, la fiesta

¡Baila! ¡BAILA muchachita!

¡Mi corazón, tiene dinamita!



You look so beautiful to me, baby!


A little penguin: Mumble!

G and C: All the love in the world can't be gone (MUMBLE!)

All the need to be loved can't be wrong! (MUMBLE!)

All the Heartsongs are playing,

and my heart keeps saying

Boogie Wonderland, Wonderland...

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Mumble suddenly started to laugh.

"Why are you laughing dad?" Erik asked with a puzzled expression.

"It just… (ja ja ja ja) I just remembered how you and Bo did the song ritual... (ja ja ja ja) It was so funny!"

"Dagh, don't even mention it"

"Come on! It wasn't so…"

"Dad, I slipped and pushed her, she fell on her belly with me on the top of her… tail! IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE NATION! Bo was totally embarrassed. She didn't speak to me for days!"

"But she forgave you, didn't she?"

"Well… Yes"

"And she became your mate and she gave you a daughter, didn't she?"

"Yeah, but…"

"Well, from my point of view, it seems that everything went alright"

Eric thought a bit and smiled before answering.

"You always see the positive side of everything, right?"

"Almost everything"

Mumble expression changed from joy to deep sadness. He dropped his gaze to the floor and remained in silence. Erik felt the sadness of his father, and put one of his flippers on his shoulder

"Pa, I'm sorry. I'm…"

"Sorry for what? You didn't do anything. I was supposed to protect her. It was my role as a man… and I failed" Mumble sadly responded.

"Dad, you don't have to blame yourself. It was not your fault that she didn't return from the fishing trip. It was something that just happened. Nobody has the fault for what happened that day. It was only the desire of the Great Guin. It is the natural order of things"

"Well, the Great Guin has a strange way to thank the heroes of his nation…" A tear was sliding down his cheek, but he took it off quickly with one of his flippers "I miss Gloria so much"

"Of course you miss her. I miss her too but we have to move on. It's what mom would have wanted"

"Thanks Erik. I really needed someone to talk with" Said Mumble, forcing a smile.

"Anytime, dad" He said, and continued with a playfully voice "Besides, loving season is in three month and I would love that you get someone to play with Emily"

Mumble blushed a little, but laughed.

"Well, you and Bo get her someone to play with, because I'm too old for that sort of things"

"Ok, I'll take your word. But later I don't want to know anything about surprises brothers"

Both males looked at each other and burst out laughing.

"Erik, no doubt. You inherited my humor sense"

"That is supposed to be good?" Erik responded, causing both of them to laugh again.

After a few seconds, Mumble stopped and looking at the floor, he spoke to Erik.

"Erik" He said in a serious tone "I need to tell you something important"

"What is it, dad?"

"I know that this can be hard to you, but… my time in this world is coming to an end, that's because I summoned you here"

"What! What do you mean?" Erik asked, very concerned.

"I'm old ... and I'm very sick. Some days ago I was injured by a leopard seal. I thought the wound had healed, but it only did in the exterior, leaving important internal wounds that are impossible to heal. I can't eat anything without throw up, mi flippers didn't work properly so I can't swim and I can't even do the thing I do best: I lost my dancing skills" If there is a word to describe the voice and face of Mumble, it would be pain "I'm very weak, my son. I'm afraid I will not be here for long ... but I want you to know that I am very proud of you, son"

"Dad, don't said that, please. You are just overacting"

"No, I'm not.. I'm afraid that is true" Said Mumble, while he started to walk to the opening of the cave.

"Dad, come back here! Where do you go?"

"Do you remember the story of how I travelled to the Forbidden Shores, with Lovelace and the Amigos?"

"Yes, I remember the story but…"

"Remember what Raul said when he thought that Lovelace had run away?"

"Yes, he said that sometimes, braves penguin walk away from his friend and relatives, to die without causing suffering to them. But, what has to do with...?" Erik cut his sentence and remained terrified watching his father for a few seconds "No dad" He said with fear in his voice

"Yes Erik. As you said, it is the natural order of things"

"But… but… you are an Elder! You are my father! YOU CAN'T DIE!"

"That is the other reason why a call you. I've already talked with Noah. He agreed to name you my successor. So you will have my place in the council"


"The tradition says that the title have to remain in the family, so… yes. Congratulations son" He said as he took the first steps out of the cave and went out of sight.

"Dad please wait!" Erik shouted, while he rushed to the entrance.

His prediction were right, there was a big snowstorm outside. Mumble was already a few miles away from the cave. It was very hard to see, due the weather, but he was still distinguishable.

"Dad please!" Erik shouted, dropping a few tears. He tried to enter the storm, but the wind was so strong that it pushed him backwards "Please! Don't leave me alone!"

"You are not alone!" Mumble shouted in response "Every time you sing that song you sang for me in front of Bryan, I'll be there with you, in your hearth. And don't worry, I'll give Gloria your regards" That was the last thing the penguin said, before disappearing into the storm.

"Dad?" No respond "DAAAAAD!"

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Present day:

"Erik? Honey, are you ok?" A sweet female voice called from behind. Erik opened his eyes and turned around to see the beautiful penguin he had in front of him, with a very frightened face.

"Yes Bo, I'm fine" He answered.

"Are you sure? You were screaming and moving as if something was happening to you. You really scared me"

"Don't worry my love, it was just a nightmare. I just need some fresh air"

He had already had this dream before, but it wasn't a dream. Those were the memories of the last two weeks that still danced in his head.

"Ok sugar, but don't go very far"

Erik nodded and went out of the cave where they lived. He walked through the dark Antarctic night, being careful to not wake up any of the thousand of penguin there. He leaved the valley where the colony lived, and continue walking until he reached the coast, far outside of the penguin territory.

From the shore, he contemplated the horizon and the beautiful view of half of the moon submerged in the sea.

He remembered the words of his father. He felt a burn in his heart; he felt the need to sing that old song.

He took a deep breath and began:

After all you have done, you really deserve better
Nothing make sense in this world…
It's just a big pile of crazy…

Some tears were falling from his blue eyes.

My daddy told me!
You don't need to be colossal
to be a great heart….

You don't need to fly!
To be awesome

My hero… My father

After he finished his song, silence fell upon the young penguin, who was staring the moon.

"Well…" He finally said after several minutes "I think I was a bit silly to believe that it could happen"

With the head down and his eyes almost dropping tears, Erik turned around, disposed to return his home. Just then, a noise caught his attention, a splash in the water

"Hello?" He called but nobody responded "Great! I must be going crazy. I'm starting to hear noises"

"No, you are not becoming crazy" the wind whispered.

Erik's eyes widened and he felt a lump in his throat. That voice… he knew that voice. A shivering spread across his back; and in his heart, he felt the need to turn around again. There was no one there. Then he remembered the noise in the water. He slowly approached to the shore and poked his head over the edge. His heart almost stopped when he saw what there was there.

Instead of his reflection, there was the image of another emperor penguin with the same height and with blue eyes, but it was covered with fluffy gray feather.

"Dad?" Erik said, almost crying.

"Hi Erik, I just wanted to tell you that it was a great performance" The reflection said.

"DAD!" Shouted Erik, without noticing the words of his father

Tears of joy were falling into the water from Erik's eyes, moving the water and distorting the image.

"You promised Bo that you wouldn't go too far, my son. You should return now"

"It's you! It's really you! I can believe it! Dad, I'm so happy that you…"

When the water stopped moving, the image of Mumble had disappeared. The reflection of Erik was there instead.

A war between his heart and his brain was unleashed. His heart told him that this experience was real and that he should take the advice of his father, while his brain claimed that it was impossible and he should ignore it. But, who was saying the truth? The heart, of course. He always does.

Without knowing why, he felt very happy. A big smile appeared in his face, while he turned around and set out on his way to his beloved family.

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Well, that's it! :D

My first Fic in English. Challenged accomplish!

I hope you liked it.

I don't know what "flames" are, but like everyone here ask to not receive them, I'll ask that too, so I don't look weird.