I said this story would go on, didn't I? All characters and elements of this story belong to Disney.
A few miles up ahead, Cecil and Arthur circled around the towering peak, keeping their sharp eyes on the cubs. The scavengers had been tailing Rebecca and Baloo ever since they caught sight of the odd pair running through the jungle.
Why two cubs were trying to get past dangerous peaks just to follow some puny falcon, Arthur and Cecil had no idea. They didn't really care either; all the two starving vultures did care was that nobody who lacked wings had ever survived a trek through this mountain range and lived to tell about it. As far as the vultures knew, those cubs wouldn't last long in such a place.
So Artie and Cec decided to speed the process up a little.
They had tried to off them for an easy meal by causing an avalanche, but Lady Luck and Mother Nature favored the brats by providing them with that annoying crevice. It was a shame the boulders didn't seal them in either. Arthur heard that dead animals cooked in rocky tombs in the summer heat made interesting cuisine.
Oh well, the vultures just needed a change in tactics, is all.
"I tell ya, Artie! This trick will work!"
"That's what you said the last time!" Arthur griped in response, throwing his wings up in exasperation.
Right now, the dim-witted pair perched on a ledge high above the trail, a slim yet deep crevasse just beneath them. Rebecca and Baloo were coming up quickly from further down, so Cecil perked up, rubbing his wings together in excitement, once he caught sight of the two cubs. 'Right on time...'
"It's show-time, Artie!" The vulture readied to swat the wall with a wing.
"Whatever ya say...," Cecil half-heartedly copied his bud's position, "so 'long as this plan's a good one for a change."
Baloo shot a hand out to gesture to the peak, which seemed even closer than before. "See, Becky-Smecky, we're makin' great time."
'He's right. We're just about there,' Rebecca mused with renewed hope at the prospect of getting closer to Eggie. Having Baloo around to keep the mood cheery really helped, too. "At this rate, we'll find Eggie in no time. Nothing can stop us now!"
An eerie series of faint screeches suddenly came about. Baloo and Rebecca stiffened where they were and shared a wide-eyed look of fear. Oh boy.
"Maybe I shouldn't have said that," the sow meekly squeaked. They both knew they'd regret looking back, but they did anyway.
Baloo shouted at the top of his lungs, "SCORPIONS!"
Indian red scorpions, to be exact—and millions of them were swarming down the wall towards the cubs like a flood of blood. Despite being one of the deadliest of scorpions, this type, like its brethren, didn't cause as many deaths as folks would expect it to. However, the ability of its poison to kill could make quite a difference in children, whose small bodies guaranteed a thorough end by this arachnid's stringer.
And Baloo knew that one sting from at least one of those little suckers would be enough to do him or Becky in. With a newly born burst of adrenaline, Baloo grabbed Rebecca by the hand and dashed up the trail with her in tow.
But alas, even though they dodged the scorpions on the wall, they discovered that more of the creatures were directly in their path. Baloo had been lucky Rebecca pulled him back in time once she saw the arachnids they'd been blindly charging towards. The cubs looked back; the scorpions weren't only scaling towards them via the wall. They were scattering all over the trail as a well as a means of preventing their victims from backtracking.
Baloo stared at the remainder of wall not covered by their pursuers. 'I'm strong, but I ain't gonna out-climb 'em, 'specially if I got Becky on my back.'
Meanwhile, Rebecca stared off to the side of the trail in desperation. She gulped at the sheer height of the drop. The only way out would be down...and, personally, Rebecca would rather remain hole-free and in one piece, thank you very much.
'Wait a second...'
Something stuck out in the peripherals of the girl-cub. Peering closer, she discovered a rock-made slide that trailed around the mountain—right below where she and her friend stood, in fact.
As opportune as this development should have been, the sow couldn't help grimacing. After that initiation-turned-rescue from long ago, Rebecca didn't look forward to being on another dangerous slide, especially with any "surprises" that were anything like that crocodile. Besides, this slide not only appeared to be dangerous but seemed to go down—way down—a direction that surely would put considerable distance between the cubs and their egg.
Unfortunately, circumstances weren't giving the pair much option at this point: either jump off the cliff and possibly die or face an army of scorpions and surely die.
'The lesser of the two evils, I suppose...' Without any more hesitation, Rebecca grabbed Baloo's hand and crouched low, prepping her mind and body. "We gotta jump!"
The larger cub shot his friend an unbelieving stare, utterly unprepared for what she had in mind. "Wait, Becky, what are ya—AAAAAAHHHH!"
Luckily, the landing only gave the pair a few scrapes and bruises since Baloo pressed Rebecca to his chest in mid-fall and cushioned the brunt of the impact with his bulk. Since the part of the slide they landed had a steep incline, the momentum from the fall allowed the cubs to instantly slide down. Baloo and Rebecca clung to each other for dear life, screaming all the way through their wild ride.
After what felt like an hour of chaos, the slide ended by taking a nearly vertical lunge and depositing them into a cave, Baloo and Rebecca bouncing off of the top of a boulder (that felt oddly softer than they expected) and tumbled to the ground, dust rising up in a cloud from their touchdown and forcing the kids to clear their throats.
"Well," Baloo pounded a fist into his chest to get any remaining dust out of his lungs, weakly grinning in spite of his coughing, "...that wasn't so bad."
Rebecca opened her mouth, about to respond...except her mouth remained agape when she caught sight of something behind her—something very, very angry. "Baloo...," the sow asked in a strangely calm tone, "please do both of us a favor. Run."
With an ominously slow turn of his head, Baloo fixed a wary stare on his friend, "Uh...why?"
Rebecca pointed back to the boulder.
Seriously, what the Shiva was a rhino doing in a place like this?!
On second thought, never mind. Baloo and Rebecca were more interested in how long they could continue running like this before the rhino caught up with them. They needed a plan—and fast!
That's when Baloo heard it: a strange hissing sound. If there was a giant snake in here, that would the icing on the cake. Only when he sensed the increase in temperature did he realize the true identity of the source. Without warning, he picked Rebecca up and made her go piggy-back on him.
"Whoa! Baloo, what are you—"
"Just trust me on this one, Beckers! I might've found our ticket outta here!" Pumping his legs more than ever before, Baloo dashed as
well as he could. Unfortunately, Rebecca could hear the rhino quickly gaining ground over them. She swore she could even hear the beast's foul breath on her neck. 'Baloo, you dumb lug, whatever you've got planned, you better do it fast!'
As if on cue with her thoughts, Baloo shouted out in triumph, "Aha, there it is!"
Rebecca gasped at what she was seeing: geysers...five of them that billowed out skyward in slots in the wall, three of them covered by makeshift rocks huge enough to serve as platforms. This wasn't just a mountain...it was a volcano! And all five of those geysers sounded ready to blow on account of the increasing frequency of their hissing.
Baloo wasted not even a single second. With his last bit of strength and a savage grunt, he jumped the last distance. Rebecca closed her eyes. Either they'd get gored or they'd get roasted. She prayed against all prayers that chance would favor them once more.
Baloo barely landed on his belly when the slab jettisoned upward, taking him and Rebecca far, far away from the rhino, whose enraged bellows quieted more and more as time went on. Before either cub knew what hit them, sunlight struck their eyes, forcing them to cover them up. Once their eyes had better adjusted, Baloo and Rebecca drew away their forepaws.
Only to gawk at the scene set out before them even while the slab continue to soar—they could see all of the jungle from here, from the mountains to the dense canopy in the distance, all of this united under one cloudy evening sky of tangerine, salmon, and fringes of midnight blue.
"Wow...," Rebecca breathed in wonder.
Baloo nodded. "You said it...Say, Beckers, how far do ya this thing'll go anyway?"
"There!" Rebecca pointed to an upcoming ledge. Together, she and Baloo jumped onto it just as the slab passed it—and not a moment too soon because the second they leapt off, the slab rocketed into the sky from a sudden excess burst of steam from its geyser.
After the slab disappeared from view, Baloo swiped a hand across his forehead. "Phew, remind me not to have a family when I get big. All this parenting's stuff is bad for my health!"
Rebecca rolled her eyes with a smirk as she began walking the new trail. "Whatever ya say, Big Boy..."
"Do ya hear somethin', Cec?" Artie asked with a curious tone. He and Cecil were perching on a branch overlooking the geysers, where they'd witnessed the cubs riding one of the currents. Needless to say, Cecil was none too pleased.
'Seriously, what does it take to kill two measly cubs?' the irritated vulture griped. He barely noticed his buddy's repeated attempts to grab his attention.
At least until Artie shouted out, "CEC!"
"WHAT IS IT?!"
"Sheesh, I said don't ya hear somethin'?"
"No, what makes ya say that?" Cecil barked back with a perplexed stare.
A growing shadow enveloped them. They noticed too late.
Down went the vultures along with their branch. Their impact, sandwiched by the slab, resulted in brutal injuries in their wings, completely depriving them of their flight. Thankfully, the slab broke apart into a million pieces once it had landed on them.
Unfortunately, Cecil and Artie, to their horror once they came to, were now face to face with a swarming mass of displeased scorpions...and judging by the angry glints in their beady black eyes, they were about to be the last creatures the vultures would ever see.
In their last moments, Arthur and Cecil clung to each other for dear life in spite of their injured wings. Of all their plans, of all their attempts for food, how could it all come to this?
"L-Listen guys, heh, w-we get that you're a little upset by our little joke, but c'mon, there's no need to take your anger out on me and Cec, right?"
The scorpions only stared.
Then they marched forward, their combining hissing haunting and overwhelming. They were ready to kill without mercy.
"THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, CEC!"
Cecil shot a betrayed glare to his so-called friend. Where the heck did thatguy get away with saying such a thing? "WHAT, HOW'S THIS MY FAULT?!"
Artie merely jabbed his fellow vulture in the chest. "IF IT WEREN'T FOR YOUR BRILLIANT IDEAS, WE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS MESS!"
"OH YEAH, WELL I DIDN'T SEE YOU TRYING TO STOP ME! WHADDA YA SAY TA THAT?!"
That statement only sent Arthur into a rage.
In shock, the scorpions that surrounded the brawling birds hurriedly scuttled aside to avoided being trampled on. They could only watch on as Cecil and Arthur continued their tussle, ignorant of the dangerous drop they were nearing until they slipped off the edge and fell into the distant ground below, their only means of escape useless to them.
After all their schemes and troublemaking, the vultures had gotten their just reward.
They reached the nest in no time. Sure enough, Eggie could be seen there, nestled against other similar-looking eggs.
But reaching Eggie had only been the easy part.
The hard part: getting past the mother falcon that eyed them with deep mistrust.
Rebecca stepped forward despite Baloo's protests. She simply felt as if she would be better suited to reason with the bird.
"I'm sorry we've disturbed you, ma'am. You see, one of your eggs is ours. His name is Eggie and he slipped away from us and fell into the river. Then he got swallowed up by the fish you caught. That's why we followed you here, so we can have our little one back."
The mother falcon only intensified her glower.
Baloo stepped in. "C'mon, Momma, she's tellin' the truth! We had to put up with long walks, heights, scorpions, a crazy slide, and even a rhino! All we want is our Eggie back! Is that too much to ask—"
A suddenly peeping sound cut through Baloo's plea, everyone falling into stark silence as the bears and the falcon all looked to the wiggling eggs, little beaks poking through the shells to see the world for the first time. Before long, one of the chicks managed to pop out, its head pink and bare and its eyes dull and a tad large for its head. Twisting its neck to and fro, the newborn craned its turkey-like neck to observe its surroundings.
Its eyes landed on Baloo and Rebecca...and grew wide once it realized who those voices it had heard during its hatching belonged to.
CHEEP! CHEEP! CHEEP!
To the shock of all the older animals, especially the falcon, the baby bird broke away from its remaining shell and waddled the best it could towards Rebecca, nuzzling its head against her leg once it reached her. The young sow gently picked up the fledging and cooed at the wonderful bundle of life she'd cared for.
"Oh Baloo, isn't Eggie just beautiful?"
Actually, Eggie looked kind of homely in Baloo's opinion, but the bear knew better than to say such an inconsiderate comment out loud. 'Besides, I don't wanna ruin the mood, do I?'
Putting an arm around Rebecca's waist, Baloo plastered an easygoing smile on his muzzle as he looked over her shoulder with a chuckle. "I'll admit; the little guy's got a bit of charm, just like his old man."
Rebecca's expression soured as she gently set Eggie down then faced Baloo, her hands akimbo. "Oh really old man, and what makes you think our little Molly got her good looks from you?"
Baloo arched an eyebrow in confusion. "Molly?"
"Well, how do we know it's even a boy? For all we know, it could be a little girl instead. Besides, I like the name Molly."
"Oh yeah," Baloo retorted with smirk, pulling his arm away from the sow. He playfully poked Rebecca in the nose. "I guess Mr. Daddy will hafta find a skirt for his baby girl then, huh?"
"At least Molly is more creative than Eggie! Seriously, Baloo, is that the best you could come up with?"
"Okay then, how about Kit?"
That idea removed the edge from Becky's resolve. "Kit? Kit what?"
"Kit—K-I-T," Baloo explained as he gestured off each letter of the name with a finger, "I just thought it off the top of my noggin."
It was simple...very simple. Heck, it was only one syllable. But for some odd reason, Rebecca actually kind of liked it.
"I guess that's a better name for a boy...," she admitted, "but I still say we call her Molly."
Their argument lasted all the way to the Lair.
They only noticed enough to know when the mother falcon offered to have some friends of hers guide them back home safely, a sort of gratitude for saving her baby.
However, the falcon could only roll her eyes amusedly at the cubs' antics as they left.
At last, their misadventure comes to an end.