A Burly and Grum Tale

by Kate Tenbeth
Copyright 2011 Kathryn E L Tenbeth
Smashwords Edition, Licence Notes
This ebook is licensed or your personal en!oyment only" This ebook may not
be re#sold or gi$en a%ay to other people" & you %ould like to share this book
%ith another person' please purchase an additional copy or each recipient" &
you(re reading this book and did not purchase it' or it %as not purchased or
your use only' then please return to )mash%ords"com and purchase your o%n
copy" Thank you or respecting the hard %ork o this author"
The ri$er glistened and sparkled in the sunlight as it hurried on its %ay to the
sea" *ragonlies dipped and darted across the surace' their %ings bu++ing
noisily" ,illo% trees along the bank draped their long branches la+ily into the
%ater %hile nearby ducks di$ed and bobbed and %aggled their tail eathers"
Burlington Bear -Burly to his riends. stood in the shallo%s o the ri$er under
the cool shade o a large oak tree" /e %as staring as i hypnotised at the ri$er'
sure that at any moment a large' at ish %as going to s%im by"
0ust a e% yards upstream %as Grum the groblin %ho %as up to his ears in
mud" Literally" 1ud or a groblin %as apparently the best thing in the %orld"
Burly kne% this because on the %ay to the ri$er Grum had talked endlessly
about ho% %onderul mud %as and ho% the thicker' blacker and stickier it %as
the better" 2ersonally' Burly al%ays tried to a$oid mud because it stuck to his
ur and he %as $ery proud o his thick' glossy coat but he3d tried to look
interested as Grum had chattered on" All Burly could see o Grum no% %ere his
eyes' the tips o his ears and the top o a red stra% that he used to breathe
through" /is lucky stra% he called it"
Burly liked peace and 4uiet" /e liked ish" /e kne% he %asn3t ha$ing any
luck catching ish because his human riend' 1a5' %ho %as a !ust a e% yards
upstream o Grum %as scaring them a%ay" As soon as they3d arri$ed at the
ri$er' 1a5 had run up and do%n along the ri$er bank like an e5cited puppy until
he3d disco$ered a tree that had allen so that part o it hung o$er the ri$er like a
di$e board" /e3d %hooped %ith delight at the disco$ery and immediately raced
along the tree trunk and di$e bombed into the %ater" /e3d spent almost an hour
doing this and each time emerged rom the %ater %ith a huge smile and a
sparkling clean body" 6ne clean riend' one muddy riend thought Burly"
7o%' beore & go any urther & eel & should e5plain a couple o things" & kno%'
o course' that you kno% %hat a bear is because the chances are you ha$e one
o your o%n at home -not a real li$e one o course. and' being human yoursel -&
hope.' you %ill kno% %hat a human being is' but you may not kno% %hat a
groblin is so &3d better e5plain"
Groblins are creatures that li$e in the %ild %here there are no humans so you
%ould probably ne$er ha$e seen one" They are pea green in colour' %ith large
red eyebro%s and red eyes" They3re $ery $ain and boast about the number o
%arts they ha$e and the crookedness o their yello% teeth" They3re not $ery tall
8 maybe about the si+e o a large child but they are $ery strong and they argue
a lot amongst themsel$es" They speak their minds and this can make them
seem rude but they don3t mean to be' they !ust see things dierently" Their
arms reach the ground and they s%ing them or%ard %hen they3re %alking 8
they can mo$e $ery 4uickly like this" 6h' and their a$ourite ood is rotting meat
and insects" But unnily enough' despite all this' they can be $ery endearing"
1aybe it3s because their honesty is rereshing" ,ho can say9
Burly' Grum and 1a5 had been riends or !ust a e% %eeks" They(d met
%hen Grum had been thro%n out o his home by his t%o brothers' Gripe and
Grimly' %ho(d told him he couldn3t come back until he3d pro$ed himsel to be a
bra$e and %orthy groblin" Grum met Burly %ho took him under his pa%' and
together they %ent to a human to%n so that Grum could ind a %ay to pro$e he
%as bra$e" &t %as %hile they %ere there that they met 1a5 %ho3d sho%n them
around and taught them ho% to use a skateboard"
To other bears' humans and groblins it may ha$e seemed an unusual
riendship but none o them noticed"
E$en though the summer air %as sot and %arm' the ri$er %as icy cold and 1a5
shi$ered as he clambered out o the %ater" /is goosebumps had goosebumps
but still he couldn3t resist running along the tree trunk !ust one more time and
di$e bombing into the clear %ater" :/ey' Burly;< he shouted and %a$ed his
arms' :look at me 8 &3m going to see i & make a %a$e big enough to splash
Burly politely tore his ga+e a%ay rom the %ater" :&3m %atching;< he called
1a5 took a deep breath then ran as ast as he could along the tree trunk until
he got to the point %here it hung o$er the ri$er %hen he !umped' 4uickly curling
up tightly in a ball" :&ncoming;< he yelled as he barrelled through the air" /e hit
the %ater like a ton o bricks"
0ust abo$e the mud' Grum3s eyes %idened as he sa% the e4ui$alent o a
large bucket o %ater come lying through the air in his direction" /e s4uirmed
and tried to bury himsel deeper but didn3t mo$e ast enough and clean %ater hit
him s4uare on top o his head" /e pulled his lucky breathing stra% rom his
mouth and %riggled his %ay to the surace"
:&3m so going to get you;< he shouted"
1a5 laughed and s%am a%ay" :Come on then;<
Grum muttered and grumbled as he slurped his %ay out o the clinging mud"
Burly smiled but then heard a disturbing sound # his stomach rumbling" :&
think it3s time %e had something to eat' don3t you9 Are you ready or a picnic9<
he called" They %ere magic %ords" 1a5 and Grum immediately orgot their
s4uabble and turned and headed or the ri$erbank %here three separate bags
sat %aiting or them"
1a5 got there irst" /e grabbed a large to%el and %rapped it around his
shoulders beore rummaging through his backpack to see %hat his mum had
prepared or him" /is teeth chattered noisily %ith cold" :C""c""come on you
guys'< he called" But as Grum got nearer' ho%e$er' a strong and horrible smell
hit him" 1a5 %rinkled his nose' :1aybe you should sit do%n %ind a little bit 8
are you sure that %as mud you %ere lying in9<
Grum shook himsel like a dog and lumps o thick mud le% e$ery%here"
:,hy don3t you check9< he snickered"
:E% gross"""< said 1a5 as he picked a sticky glob o gunk o his to%el"
:Burly' can3t you stop him rom being disgusting 8 that could ha$e gone in my
Burly sat do%n hea$ily ne5t to 1a5 and the ground shook a little" :Grum'
beha$e'< he said' :and &(m araid & ha$e to agree %ith 1a5' you can(t eat %hen
you(re co$ered in mud # go and ha$e a 4uick %ash in the ri$er"<
Grum looked horriied" :But the mud"""<
:& kno% that mud is a good thing to you'< said Burly as kindly as he could'
:but it(s only manners to be clean %hen you sit do%n to eat"<
Grum pouted but turned and made his %ay to the edge o the ri$er" /e
touched the surace o the ri$er and shuddered"
:Go on'< said Burly"
Grum put a large hand in the %ater' scooped a little bit up and lightly
sprinkled himsel" /e turned to ace them' a %ide smile on his ace" Burly
raised his eyebro%s" :A bit more than that # go on;<
Grum(s ace ell and he %aded into the ri$er" *ark mud spiralled a%ay rom
him as the %ater lo%ed around him" /e looked crestallen as the mud
disappeared do%nstream" A minute later he stomped out o the ri$er' clean and
almost sparkling' and back to their picnic area"
:,ell done'< said Burly" :1a59<
:=ou smell a lot better'< said 1a5 handing him his bag' :%hy don(t you see
%hat your mum(s packed or you9<
A huge smile illed Grum(s ace and he rummaged through his bag %ith
e5citement" :& kno% %hat she(s gi$en me' all my a$ourites' and she3s the best
cook e$er""" look # crispy ried ear%igs %ith green ungus sauce' ancient tree
mould' reshly baked cockroaches and mushrooms seasoned %ith"""""<
:)top;< 1a5(s ace paled" :That is all !ust so gross 8 and don3t put it out' &
don3t %ant to see it' it3s horrible and smells re$olting"<
Grum looked oended" :Actually it smells great and & ha$en3t commented on
all the stu you3$e brought along"< /e pointed at 1a53s pile o ood 8
sand%iches' biscuits' apples and crisps"
“That3s all good stu and none o it smells'< replied 1a5"
:)top it both o you'< instructed Burly sternly' :and 1a5' & ha$e to agree %ith
Grum this time" /e may eat ood that(s dierent to yours but you ha$e to accept
that i you %ant Grum as a riend"<
Grum stuck out his tongue at 1a5" Burly rolled his eyes" :& suggest you both
ignore %hat the other one is eating" 7o%' %ho3s going to un%rap this bag o
cupcakes or me' it3s a bit diicult %ith these cla%s"<
:& %ill'< 1a5 $olunteered" :My are really clean'< he added pointedly to Grum"
:My hands are really clean'< mimicked Grum"
:6h go eat your grasshoppers or %hate$er they are'< replied 1a5 as he tore
open the packet o cup cakes"
:Ear%igs'< said Grum tetchily' :they3re ear%igs and you should try them'
they3re really crunchy and tasty"<
1a5 made a ace" :& don3t think so someho%" /ere you go Burly' they look
nice 8 are they ones that 1ike made9<
1ike %as a riend o Burly3s" /e %as an angel %ho li$ed in the orest and
%hen the three o them had got into a trouble in to%n he(d come to their rescue"
Although 1ike %orked ull time as an angel his hobby %as baking cakes"
Burly3s hobby %as eating cakes" They %ere $ery good riends"
:1mm' yes'< Burly %iped some pink icing rom his mouth" :/e made them
resh this morning" /e sends his lo$e by the %ay 8 he(d liked to ha$e come
along' but he3s $ery busy at %ork at the moment"<
:& can imagine it must be a tough !ob being an angel'< said 1a5 solemnly"
:&ndeed it is'< said Burly" :/e does look $ery tired sometimes"<
:1aybe %e could take him something back as a present 8 y3kno%' cheer him
up a bit9< suggested 1a5"
:That3s a good idea'< said Burly' :%hen %e3$e eaten let3s go and e5plore' see
i %e can ind him a nice lo%er or rock or something"<
:1aybe something to decorate his slide9< said Grum" 1ike had a steep red
slide that Grum lo$ed"
:Good idea'< said 1a5"
They ate in peace or a e% minutes %hen Burly said' :)hhh' %e ha$e a
$isitor"""< Grum and 1a5 stopped eating and looked around" Burly nodded in
the direction o a sil$er birch tree" )tanding close by the trunk o the tree'
%atching them %ith large %ary eyes %as a deer"
Burly lo%ered his $oice" :&t(s alright' %e %on(t harm you'< he said to the shy
The deer stepped out into the clearing"
)he had a dappled honey bro%n coat and delicate eatures> she %alked
daintily past them to the %ater3s edge and lo%ered her head to sip the %ater"
:6h %o%'< said 1a5 4uietly' :this is such a cool place"<
Burly nodded his head and smiled" :&t certainly is'< he replied" :7o%' & think
%e should !ust carry on but be !ust a bit 4uiet so %e don(t righten her"<
They continued their picnic"
:/ere'< said 1a5' :do you %ant a peanut butter sand%ich Burly' mum al%ays
makes %ay too many"<
Burly snied it %ith his snout and popped it in his mouth" :1mmm' good'< he
mumbled' :crunchy"<
:The only %ay to go'< said 1a5" :)mooth peanut butter is rubbish"<
The deer inished drinking and shook her head" *rops o %ater plinked into
the ri$er"
:)he3s beautiul'< said 1a5"
:,hy thank you'< replied the deer"
1a5 dropped his sand%ich" :)he""" it""" the deer"""< /e looked at Burly and
pointed at the deer' :"""spoke"""<
Burly raised his eyebro%s" :Any reason %hy she shouldn3t9 =ou3$e been
talking to a bear and groblin or a e% %eeks no%"< Grum sniggered"
:& suppose you($e got a point'< muttered 1a5 picking up his sand%ich and
licking o the bits o dirt" :,hy %as & e$en surprised9<
The deer %alked daintily to%ards them" :/ello'< she said and lited her nose
to sni the air" :Are those peanut butter sand%iches you3re eating9 They smell
:/ere you can ha$e one'< oered 1a5"
:)mooth or crunchy9<
:Ah' thank you' but & preer smooth"<
Burly laughed out loud at the e5pression on 1a5(s ace"
:=ou %ant some crispy ear%igs instead9< asked Grum"
The deer licked her ears and looked around" :& must be going'< she said
politely" :Good day'< and she disappeared 4uietly into the %ood"
:,o%'< said 1a5' :that %as really cool" And odd" Cool and odd" And %eird"<
:The orest'< said Burly' :is all o those things' no% come on you t%o' let(s get
looking or something to take back or 1ike"<
The three o them inished o their lunches and packed all their rubbish a%ay
tidily" Grum stretched and patted his stomach" :That %as great' my mum(s the
best cook in the %orld'< he declared' :Come on' let(s e5plore" ,e should go
that %ay'< he pointed randomly into the orest"
:/ang on'< said 1a5' :& !ust %ant to %ash my hands"< /e ran to the ri$er
through the little hoo marks that the deer had made and bent to s%irl his hands
in the %ater" At the bottom o the ri$er bed he sa% something glinting and
reached do%n to pick it up" :/ey guys'< he shouted' :&($e ound something;< /e
picked up the shiny ob!ect and rubbed it on his shorts"
Burly ambled do%n to see" :,hat is it9<
1a5 scraped o some dirt and held it up to the sun" :& think it(s a coin #
y(kno%' money"<
Both Grum and Burly remembered money' they(d got into a lot o trouble
%hen they(d gone to to%n and had lunch %ithout being able to pay or it" Burly
%inced at the memory" :&t(s nice and shiny'< he commented"
:1aybe 1ike %ould like it'< said Grum" :/e can stick it on his slide"<
1a5 e5amined the coin" /e(d ne$er seen one like it beore' it %as $ery old
and' no% it %as clear o mud' it %as a shiny yello% colour # gold9 6n one side
there %as a picture o a bird and on the other side a man(s head' and the man
seemed to be %earing some kind o hat made o eathers" /e handed it to Burly
%ho snied it %ith his large snout and looked at it closely" :Could be rom one
o the 6ld 6nes'< he said"
:6ld 6nes9< 1a5 elt a 4ui$er o e5citement in his stomach"
Grum laughed" :/umans don(t kno% much do they9<
Burly ro%ned" :There(s no reason or them to kno%' Grum' e$erything has
been lost"<
:,hat9 ,hat(s been lost' tell me;< 1a5 %as really e5cited no% and hopped
rom oot to oot"
:1en used to li$e here'< said Grum"
Burly nodded" :A long time ago there used to be a big to%n in the middle o
the orest" The story says that they %ere good people %ho li$ed %ell %ith the
animals but one day they all disappeared" ,e don(t kno% %here they %ent #
maybe to another orest" They let their buildings and e$erything they had"<
:,o%' oh %o%'< breathed 1a5" :?eally9 A secret city9 Are the buildings
still there9<
:)ome'< shrugged Burly" :1ostly they($e allen do%n no% and it(s a
dangerous place"<
:1e and my brothers play there all the time'< said Grum %ho could tell 1a5
%as interested"
1a5(s eyes %ere shining" :?eally9 Can & go and see it' please' please9<
The thought o going to see a secret ruined city in the middle o the orest made
1a5(s head almost e5plode %ith e5citement"
Burly looked slightly troubled" :There(s nothing there 1a5" &t all happened a
long' long time ago and some things are best let alone"<
:But %hat i %e ind something' you kno%' stu they let behind9 6h please
Burly"""" it %ould be great""""<
Burly looked do%n at 1a5" All his instincts %ere telling him it %asn(t a good
idea but he %asn(t sure %hy" :,hat do you think Grum9< he asked" :=ou and
your brothers play there' is it sae9<
:Course it is'< said Grum' :and there(s loads o stu like that'< he took the
coin and e5amined it closely" :& think 1ike %ould really like it"<
1a5 almost screamed" Treasure' there %as treasure;;;
:2lease' please' please Burly"""""<
Burly hesitated" :& %e go you ha$e to listen to me' the %ay %e listened to
you in to%n"< The memory o skateboarding le% through his mine" :,ell'
maybe not 4uite the same %ay' but this isn(t to%n 1a5' this is a orest and it can
be dangerous"<
1a5 took Burly(s pa%" :Burly & trust you and & promise &(ll listen to %hat you
:6h go on'< said Grum" :,hat can happen9<
A narro% road %ound its %ay like a black ribbon through the dark orest" 7ot
many humans used the road because they ound the tall trees that loomed on
either side o them 4uite scary and threatening" E$en in summer %hen the sun
%as shining the road %as dark and cool %ith little or no sign o the sky abo$e"
7o one %illingly stopped along the road but a large scruy %hite $an had dri$en
o it and parked bet%een t%o large trees"
T%o men stood ne5t to the $an" 6ne %as young' tall and handsome but %ith
sharp eatures" /e had broad shoulders and thick blond hair that had been
gelled irmly into place" /e %ore a brilliant %hite t#shirt that sho%ed o his
muscles and held a rile %ith both hands" /is name %as Captain @uentin Tee"
The second man %as $ery short and at" /is light bro%n shirt and shorts %ere
too tight and dark s%eat stains sho%ed under his armpits and do%n his back"
/e %ore a lat cap to hide the act he had no hair" /is name %as Tyre"
:,atch'< commanded the Captain" /e raised the rile to his shoulder' aimed
it into the darkness o the orest and s4uee+ed the trigger" 2ou; A little dart
lashed out" Almost immediately there %as a loud s4ueal ollo%ed by a crashing
Tyre trotted into the undergro%th and a couple o minutes later' grunting and
s%eating' pulled out a large hairy boar by its ront legs" :Cor blimey'< he
gasped' :that %as a great shot )ir' you($e got a great eye"<
Captain @ Tee %alked o$er and nudged the pig %ith one oot" :/e(ll still be
sleeping %hen %e get back" Tie him up Tyre and %e(ll take him back %ith us'
there(s nothing 4uite like resh bacon" And Tyre9<
Tyre mopped his bro% as he pulled the boar closer to the $an" :=es )ir9<
:/urry up"<
“=es )ir' course )ir' sorry )ir"< Tyre 4uickly tied the boar(s legs together
and hauled him up and into the back o the $an" Aour large cages %ere inside
the $an and Tyre locked the pig in one o them" /e hopped out o the $an'
padlocked the door and ran to the Captain"
:?ight'< said Captain @ Tee" :Let(s go get oursel$es a bear then shall %e9<
Grum(s mother %as preparing tea %hen she stopped and as still as stone %ith
only her ears 4ui$ering as i listening careully to something" /er red eyebro%s
knotted together in thought" :Gripe; Grimly;< she bello%ed at the top o her
Gripe and Grimly %ere in the orest collecting dried up mushrooms %hen they
heard her shout" They immediately dropped their baskets o mushrooms and
ran # %hen their mother called they didn(t %ait around" &t took them a couple o
minutes to get back to the house %here she %as already %aiting or them" )he
didn(t look happy"
“,hat took you so long9< she demanded"
Gripe and Grimly opened their mouths but she interrupted" :=our bother is in
trouble' go and ind him"<
Gripe(s !a% dropped" :/o% do you"""<
:& kno%'< said his mother sternly" :Bs mothers al%ays kno%" Grum is in
trouble" /e(s %ith Burly and that skinny human # %here did they go9<
Grimly shook his head" :&(m not sure' & think Grum %anted to sho% them
some mud"""<
:Go no%' go and ind him and don(t # & repeat don’t come back %ithout him'<
demanded their mother' :or your ears %ill be red or the rest o your li$es"<
They stood like deer caught in headlights"
:7o%;< she yelled and clapped her hands" :Go no%;<
They turned and ran" :A%'< said Gripe as they crashed through the
undergro%th' :not again;<
Burly' Grum and 1a5 %alked in single ile through the orest" The deeper they
%ent the denser it became' the trees became larger and gre% closer together
so it %as diicult to see the sky' but Grum led the %ay conidently' s%inging and
marching %ith ease %ith 1a5 directly behind him' his head ull o ruins and
treasure' and Burly taking up the rear" )omething %as troubling Burly but he
couldn(t lay his pa% on %hat it %as" But i there %as one thing he was sure
about' it %as that he had good instincts and at the moment they %ere on ull
alert" /e(d ha$e to keep a $ery careul eye on Grum and 1a5"
:7ot much urther no%'< said Grum" :&n act # %e(re here;< /e stepped into a
small clearing and 1a5 rushed in ater him"
1a5 stood and ga+ed at the scene in ront o him' a huge smile on his ace"
A tall' thick cur$ed %all co$ered in a sea o green $ines and i$y rose out o the
orest as i it %ere an ocean liner ploughing through %ater" )ome parts o the
%all had crumbled and broken and beyond it he could see the ruins o a large
Grum %as e5cited to be sho%ing 1a5 something special" :This is only part
o it'< he said' :it goes on ore$er once you(re inside"<
:There(s more9< said 1a5 %ho already could not belie$e his eyes"
:Lots more'< said Grum" :Come on' &(ll sho% you %here my bothers and &
hide out' it(s really great" This %ay;< And they ran o to e5plore %ithout a
second thought" Burly ollo%ed more sedately behind them' noting that the
orest had allen silent"
Grum and 1a5 spent a happy hour e5ploring the to%n that lay %ithin the
%alls" There %ere hundreds o small houses' narro% alley%ays and shops"
)ome houses still had urniture in them' bo%ls and cooking pots lay scattered'
s%ords' bo%s and arro%s looked as though they(d been tossed aside'
abandoned" They also ound lots more coins and 1a5(s pockets %ere soon
bulging" The orest had' o course' mo$ed in" 2lants and trees gre% %here$er
they could and many small animals' birds and reptiles li$ed in the shelter the
buildings pro$ided" All the streets led into a %ide' cobbled road at the end o
%hich %ere steep stone steps that %ent up and up"
:,hat(s that9< 1a5 pointed at a building at the top o the steps"
:*on(t kno%' man stu & guess'< replied Grum" :There(s lots o things there
made rom the same metal the coins are made o # %e can ha$e a look or
something or 1ike"<
1a5(s eyes %idened %ith delight" Treasure; :Come on;< he shouted' :race
you to the top; =ou coming Burly9<
:/old on there both o you'< said Burly irmly' :it(s getting late' too late to
e5plore' %e should turn around and head back"<
:A%%%%%%< came the cry rom 1a5 and Grum"
:There(s plenty o time'< said Grum sulkily"
Burly ro%ned" :=our mothers %ill be %orried and %e need to lea$e no%" &t(ll
be dark in a couple o hours"< /e looked at their disappointed aces" :Look' %e
can come back tomorro% morning and then you can ha$e all day to e5plore'
ho% about that9<
Grum looked at 1a5" :&t does get dark 4uickly in the orest and %ell' you($e
met my mum' & don(t %ant to be late home"""<
1a5 stuck his hands in his pockets and looked up at the building standing
there !ust %aiting to be e5plored"
:=ou promised you %ould listen to me'< reminded Burly"
:,e can come back tomorro%9< asked 1a5"
Grum grinned" :=es' and & can sho% you e$erything properly' it(ll be great
and Grimly and Gripe can come along as %ell;<
1a5 nodded" :6kay'< he said slo%ly" :Let(s go home"""<
Captain @ Tee %as by the ri$erside e5amining the prints let on the ground" /e
ro%ned in thought" :There %ere three animals here'< he obser$ed" :The large
bear that %e(re looking or' a deer and""" and""" something else" &($e ne$er seen
anything like those prints beore" Tyre9<
Tyre peered at the huge ootprints that %ere Grum(s" :7e$er seen anything
like Cem beore either )ir"<
:& you look closely you(ll also see hand prints""" no' knuckle prints"""" close to
the oot prints' as i it %ere mo$ing by using its hands"< /e stood up and
scratched his chin" /e couldn(t scratch his head because o all the gel there"
:Could be %e ha$e a rare animal here Tyre'< he said and rubbed his hands"
:1oney' & smell money"<
Tyre beamed" :,e could do %i some o(that )ir'< he replied"
:&ndeed' indeed" 7o%' %hat(s this9< /e stooped do%n once more" :Tyre'
there %as also a child here"<
:A child )ir9<
:A child' maybe ten years old or so' look' ootprints are all o$er the place"<
:*(you think the bear ate him )ir9<
The Captain scratched his head and ollo%ed the ootsteps back to %here
Grum' 1a5 and Burly had had their picnic" :7o' no & don(t think so # he sat
do%n %ith them here # look"<
:Could he be a %ild boy )ir' y(kno%' like Tar+an' brought up by %ol$es and
:*on(t be stupid'< Captain @ Tee snorted' but then he hesitated" :Although
maybe not so stupid""" a %ild boy9 A %ild boy""" %hat an attraction; This is a
good day' Tyre # boars' bears' boys""" %e could retire i %e play our cards right"<
:Cor blimey Captain Cutie' that %ould be good' my poor old bones""""<
:=es )ir9<
:*on(t call me Cutie again"<
:=es )ir' sorry )ir' !ust sort o slipped out )ir"<
:7o% come on' let(s ollo% these tracks" 6ur ortune is at the other end"<
:Comin( )ir"<
:Lead the %ay then Tyre"<
:=es )ir"<
Tyre ound the three pairs o tracks leading a%ay rom the clearing" :7ice
and easy tracks )ir" That bear(s a big un' he(s lattenin( e$erything in sight"<
Captain @ Tee held his rile irmly in his hands" :Let(s hope %e latten him
irst Tyre' let(s hope %e latten him irst"<
Gripe and Grimly reached the ri$erbank not long ater Captain @ Tee and Tyre
had let" They looked around' pu++led" Like most creatures o the orest'
groblins ha$e $ery sensiti$e noses and they %ere both soon sniing the air # the
Captain(s eau de cologne had a $ery distincti$e smell"
:That(s horrible'< obser$ed Gripe making a ace and co$ering his nose %ith
the ne% blue scar his mum had knitted or him' :%hat is it9<
Grimly shook his head" :)mells like""" & don(t kno%"""< /e looked do%n at the
ground and sa% the clear ootprints" :1an"""< he said" :1an""" men ha$e been
here' look' they put things on their eet and there are their ootprints"<
Gripe elt his heart beat aster" /umans didn(t come into the orest' they !ust
didn(t" ,hy %ere they here9
Grimly shook his head" :Let(s !ust ha$e a look around' double check Grum
%as here shall %e9< /e spotted the area %here they(d sat or lunch and
headed o$er there" :/e(s deinitely been in mud'< he said looking at the drying
blobs splattered all o$er the grass and bushes"
:And here(s one o mum(s crispy ried ear%igs he(s dropped'< said Gripe
picking it up o the ground and popping it in his mouth"
:/e(s been here alright and it looks like they headed in that direction" The
humans ollo%ed them" 1um %as right' Grum(s in trouble"<
:A%'< %hined Gripe' :%hy does he al%ays do this9 ,hat are %e going to
:Aollo% them'< said Grimly" :Let(s see %hat they(re up to' but Gripe' %e($e
got to be careul' this isn(t good"<
:,hat about the alarm9 )houldn(t %e set o the alarm9< The orest had its
o%n system or dealing %ith intruders and an alarm could be set o %arning all
the animals that li$ed there that something %as %rong"
:,e ha$en(t got time to go back no%' but & think someone else %ill do that'
ha$e you noticed ho% 4uiet it is9<
Gripe hadn(t and he immediately pricked up his ears" =ou could ha$e
heard a pin drop" /e paled" :&($e ne$er heard it so 4uiet'< he %hispered and
shuled closer to Grimly"
:The alarm(s going to go o any second'< said Grimly' :no% come on"<
Grimly %as taller and bigger than him and he leant or%ard' grabbed both ends
o Gripe(s scar and pulled hard' :& said # come on;<
They disappeared into the orest' ollo%ing the tracks"
Burly %as leading the %ay back along the narro% %inding track %hen the orest
alarm %ent o" /e stopped in his tracks and 1a5 bumped into him" Grum %as
startled' it %as the irst time he(d e$er heard the alarm properly although he(d
been through lots o drills" 1a5 looked at the aces they %ere making" :,hat(s
the matter9< he asked"
Grum put his ingers in his ears" :,hat' you can(t hear that9< he asked'
scre%ing up his ace"
:/ear %hat9 Burly9< 1a5 tugged Burly(s ur"
:The orest alarm has gone o"< Burly said"
:Aorest alarm9 ,hat orest alarm9< 1a5 asked"
:& there(s a serious problem in the orest %e ha$e an alarm signal'< said
Burly" :A high pitched bird song o sorts # can(t you hear it9<
:6h""" a %hat9 A bird song9< /e strained his ears but could hear nothing
that sounded remotely like a bird song"
:& did say o sorts'< replied Burly' :it(s a diicult noise to e5plain but either %ay
% e(d better hurry up ' the t%o o you need to be home"<
0ust as they started to hurry along the path the deer they(d spoken to
earlier sprang in ront o them> she looked terriied' her legs %ere trembling and
e$ery part o her %as alert' ready to run" :*on(t go that %ay'< her $oice %as
rightened" :There are hunters' they(re ollo%ing your tracks' you(re going to
meet them soon i you continue"< And %ith that' she bounded a%ay into the
depths o the orest"
Burly tried to sound calm as he ga+ed at the t%o rightened aces looking up
at him" :6kay' you heard %hat she said' there are hunters" Airst thing' let(s get
o the track shall %e9 Aollo% me"< /e immediately turned and led the %ay
deeper into the orest" :1a5'< he called o$er his shoulder' :you stay close to
me" Grum' you kno% the orest' try to co$er up the tracks as %e go"<
1a5 elt his heart beating %ildly and he hurried along ne5t to Burly' %ho %as
mo$ing 4uickly" Grum sprang into action and tried to co$er up the act a bear
that %eighed a ton and %as the si+e o a small house had %alked that %ay"
:Gi$e me the easy !ob %hy don(t you'< he muttered as he looked at the trail o
broken branches and s4uashed $egetation behind them"
Tyre and Captain @ Tee %alked steadily along the path that had been made
earlier by Burly" :/e(s a big one'< said the Captain"
:/a$e you noticed ho% 4uiet it(s gotten )ir9< asked Tyre behind him"
:That(s because they kno% %e(re here' they kno% %e(re hunting them'
they(re araid Tyre" This is the best part Tyre' the hunt' the ear" 7o% come
Tyre looked an5iously at the trees around him and scurried along ater the
Burly %as thinking hard" &t %as only a matter o time beore the hunters ound
their tracks and he had to get 1a5 and Grum to saety" /e made a decision
and stopped"
:Grum'< he called"
Grum(s ace appeared behind a straggling bush he(d been trying to make
look natural" :,hat9< he asked tetchily holding t%o bits o broken branch"
:The hunters'< said Burly' :t hey(re ater me' not you" ,e($e got to split up #
take 1a5 back to groblin territory and then make sure he gets home saely' and
&(ll lead them a%ay" *o you understand9<
1a5(s eyes immediately illed %ith tears" :7o Burly; =ou can(t do that; ,e(ll
come %ith you' %e(ll lose them someho%;<
Burly looked at the trampled $egetation behind him and kne% it %as !ust a
4uestion o time" :1a5'< he said gently" :1a5' you ha$e to do %hat & say" &(ll be
alright & promise" =ou both promised you %ould do as & asked' no% &(m asking
you to lea$e" Grum' take 1a5"<
Grum(s ace %as pale' but he took 1a5(s arm"
:7o;< shouted 1a5 and held on to Burly(s ur"
:1a5' & can mo$e aster' &(ll stand a better chance %ithout you' do you
1a5 %iped his nose" :6h Burly"""<
:Come on'< said Grum' tugging 1a5(s arm" :,e($e got to go" Good luck
Burly"< Grum turned 4uickly so Burly couldn(t see that he' too' %as close to
:*id you hear that9< asked Captain @ Tee"
:Thought & Ceard a boy cry out'< said Tyre" :Came rom o$er there'< he
pointed o the track"
The Captain smiled slo%ly" :& %as right Tyre' & %as right # there(s a boy
loose in the !ungle" This is our lucky day # this %ay;< And they $eered o the
track in the direction that the $oice had come rom"
Burly %as running or his lie through the orest' the earth shook beneath his
eet and bushes and undergro%th pulled and tore the ur he %as so proud o"
/e didn(t %ant to conront the hunters because he kne% they %ould ha$e guns
and that guns al%ays %on" /e headed or the ri$er' thinking that he could head
do%nstream through the %ater and they %ouldn(t be able to ollo% his tracks" &n
e$ery single ibre o his ur he could eel them coming or him"
The Captain stopped and e5amined the ground" :They split up Tyre # the boy
and creature %ent that %ay' the bear this %ay" /e(s running no%' he kno%s
%e(re ater him"<
:,hich %ay %e gonna go ' )ir9<
Captain @ Tee stood up' :The bear' Tyre' the bear' let(s bag him irst and
then %e(ll get the boy' come on;< /e started to run" :/urry up Tyre' %e($e
almost got him;< Tyre(s short legs ran aster"
Burly stood by the side o the ri$er and looked at it as it raced by" & he %aded
in no%' he(d be out in the open and easy prey but i he didn(t""" he looked o$er
his shoulder""" they(d ind him any%ay" /e had no choice' he had to try to lose
them" /e %alked into the ri$er" The orest behind him seemed to hold its
breath" Then there %as a noise' a breathless pou; and a dart hit him in his
hind4uarters" Burly crashed into the shallo%s o the ri$er and the cool %ater
trickled around him"
1a5 and Grum ran in the opposite direction' Grum dragging on 1a5(s arm the
%hole time" But 1a5 suddenly pulled ree and stopped in his tracks" :Grum;<
he shouted' :,e can(t lea$e Burly;<
Grum stopped and rolled his eyes" :& kno%' & kno%' & %asn(t going to go
much urther # !ust ar enough to ool the hunters' o course %e(re going back;<
:=es;< 1a5 punched the air"
Grum put his hands on his hips " :Look' this is the orest' e$ery sound at
the moment is carrying # !ust be 4uiet %ill you9 Aollo% me and be 4uiet"<
1a5 nodded solemnly and they headed back along their path" :)orry'< said
1a5 4uietly" :& should ha$e kno%n you %ouldn(t lea$e Burly"<
:=eah %ell'< snied Grum" :/e(s a riend' & don(t lea$e my riends in trouble
:6kay'< nodded 1a5"
They came to the place %here they(d parted %ith Burly' and Grum snied the
air" :They($e been here'< he said' :can you smell that9<
1a5 snied the air" :That(s 1an/unk'< he said" :1y dad uses it" 1y mum
hates it"<
:And you ha$e the ner$e to say us groblins smell bad'< said Grum"
1a5 grinned" :&t is a bit gross"""<
:Burly %as right'< said Grum' :they(re ollo%ing him' look' they($e run ater
him" & don(t suppose you($e got a plan9<
:A plan9<
Grum sighed hea$ily" At that moment he heard a rustling" :)hhh;< he
signalled to 1a5" :/ide;< They di$ed behind a bush"
Gripe and Grimly strode into the opening" Grimly snied the air" :They %ent
that %ay'< he said"
Grum couldn(t help himsel" :Grimly' Gripe;< he shouted and sprang out o
the bush"
Gripe almost collapsed' and clasped his hand o$er his heart" :Grum' don(t
do that;< he said"
Grum grinned %idely" :,hat a re you doing here9<
:Aollo%ing you as usual'< replied Grimly" :1um sent us' said you %ere in
:1um in a million'< said Grum happily"
:,e($e got to take you home'< said Gripe' :or she(ll kill us"<
Grum looked back at 1a5 and then at his brothers" :Can(t and %on(t'< he
said" :,e($e got to ind Burly"<
:,hat9< s4ueaked Gripe" :=ou can(t do that # they(re hunters' hunters;
They(ll kill you;<
:Look'< said 1a5" :Burly led them a%ay rom us to sa$e us and he(s in
trouble" ,e(re going to help him %hether you like it or not" These hunters are
men' & can talk to them"<
Grimly looked at the t%o o them and elt a amiliar tingle o e5citement"
:,hich %ay9< he asked"
Grum pointed to the lattened bush" :That %ay"<
:7o;< groaned Gripe' t%isting the end o his scar" :7oooo' mum(ll kill us"<
:Then go home'< said Grimly"
Gripe thre% his arms up in the air in deeat" :Let(s !ust do it shall %e9 ,e(ll
probably be dead by the end o the day' may as %ell get it o$er and done
They ollo%ed the track or a e% minutes" :/e(s heading or the ri$er'< said
:&s that good9< asked 1a5"
:2robably hoping to make it do%nstream # they %on(t be able to ollo% his
tracks i he(s in the %ater"<
:/e(s pretty smart'< said 1a5"
:,e(ll see'< said Grimly"
They made their %ay as 4uietly as possible through the dense $egetation
until they came to a clearing that led do%n to the ri$er"
:)hhh'< hushed Grum" :/ide' %e(re not going out there until %e(re sure it(s
They hunkered do%n behind the trunk o a large oak tree and peered out
into the open area" There by the ri$er %ere t%o men and Burly" Burly %as lying
motionless in the shallo%s o the ri$er and the tallest man %as resting one o his
eet on Burly(s hind4uarters"
Burly; Burly %as dead; They(d killed him; 1a5 elt a large green hand
clamp itsel o$er his mouth beore he could cry out"
:Take a picture'< he heard the tall one saying to the short at one" The at
one bustled about and took a small camera rom his top pocket" The tall one
smoothed his eyebro%s and stood proudly ne5t to Burly"
:& ain(t ne$er seen such a big bear' )ir'< commented the short at man as he
snapped a%ay"
:=es' he(s in his prime'< said the tall man happily" :/e(ll etch a pretty
1a5 elt his heart skip a beat' maybe Burly %asn(t dead" /e looked at Grum
ne5t to him' %ho %as %atching the scene intently" 1a5 signalled or him to
mo$e his hand rom his mouth"
:Let me talk to them'< he %hispered' :maybe & can con$ince them to let Burly
Grum raised his hairy red eyebro%s" :7o" They(re hunters" Let(s !ust see
%hat they do ne5t' they(re in our orest' they %on(t go ar # ho%(re they going to
carry him or one thing9<
1a5 drummed the tree trunk impatiently %ith his ingers' then he %alked out
into the open"
:/ey;< he shouted"
/e heard the rustle o bushes behind him and guessed that Gripe and Grimly
%ere restraining Grum"
The t%o men stopped %hat they %ere doing and turned to look at 1a5"
:,ell'< said Tyre" :There(s your %ild boy )ir' but he don(t look much like a
%ild boy t(me"<
:)top right there;< commanded Captain @ Tee and raised his rile" 1a5
s%allo%ed and put his hands up like he(d seen them do in ilms" :,here(s your
riend9< asked the Captain"
:Ariend9< asked 1a5"
:*on(t play me or a ool boy # there %ere three o you' the bear' you # and a
:Ah"""< 1a5 tried to think 4uickly" :/e got scared and ran a%ay"""< /e heard
a muled s4ueak rom the bushes behind him" :& !ust %ant to see Burly"<
:The bear9< asked the Captain" :The bear has a name9<
:/is ull name is Burlington' Burly to his riends" =ou(re not allo%ed to call
him anything'< said 1a5 bra$ely"
:)o'< said the Captain' :you are a %ild boy ater all" Tyre' tie him up"<
:=es )ir;< said Tyre"
:,ait;< said 1a5" :& ha$e money" & you let my riend go &(ll gi$e you money;<
The Captain snorted" :=ou9 1oney9 )ho% me"<
1a5 rummaged in his pockets" The Captain kept the rile trained on him"
1a5 pulled out a handul o the coins he(d picked up at the secret city and thre%
them on the ground"
:)tep back' boy'< said the Captain" :Tyre' ha$e a look"<
Tyre trotted o$er and picked up a couple o the coins" /e brushed them o'
held them up to the light and then bit them" :Gold )ir' they(re gold' ain(t seen
nuthing like them beore )ir"<
:/o% many ha$e you got 9< asked the Captain"
:A e%'< said 1a5" :But & kno% %here there are a lot more" & you promise
to let Burly go &(ll sho% you %here they are"<
:Bring them here Tyre' let me see"<
Tyre took the coins to the Captain %ho inspected them" :They(re deinitely
gold" ,here did you get them boy9<
:& told you' &(ll sho% you i you orget about the bear"<
The Captain raised his rile and aimed right at 1a5(s heart" :Tell me'<
:7o'< 1a5(s knees %ere shaking"
The rile %as slo%ly lo%ered" The Captain turned' looked at Burly then
looked at the coins and made a decision" :=ou ha$e a deal' sho% me"<
1a5 elt relie lood through him and his legs almost ga$e %ay" :& %ant to
see Burly properly'< he said"
:Go on then'< the Captain %a$ed the rile"
1a5 splashed through the %ater and thre% his arms around Burly(s neck"
:/e(ll %ake up in a e% hours'< said the Captain"
:/e(ll be cold in the ri$er'< said 1a5' :can(t you pull him out9<
The Captain laughed" :=ou($e had enough rom us" 7o%'< he pulled 1a5
by his shoulder' :you sho% us %here the gold is okay9<
1a5 looked do%n at Burly' he seemed to be alright' !ust sleeping" /e
nodded" :6kay'< this %ay" As he headed back into the orest he looked or
signs o the three brothers but there %ere none" /e didn(t doubt' ho%e$er' or
one second' that they %ere %atching and keeping an eye open or him"
1a5 led the %ay back to the ruins" The %alk seemed to take ore$er and he
deliberately slo%ed do%n on occasions' pretending he %asn(t sure %here he
%as going"
:,hat(s this creature %ho %as %ith you9< demanded Captain @ Tee' poking
him in the back %ith the rile"
1a5 staggered or%ard" :& don(t kno% %hat you(re talking about"<
:& told you' boy' don(t treat us like idiots' &($e been hunting since & %as born
and &($e ne$er seen tracks like that' it looked like the animal %as %alking on his
eet and knuckles"<
:6h' that %as me !ust messing around'< said 1a5" /e %as pushed in the
back again and this time stumbled and almost ell"
:&(ll ind it boy' don(t you %orry' &(ll track it do%n and &(ll ha$e it stued and
mounted but don(t %orry' you can still come and $isit"< /e laughed nastily"
:Cap(n Cutie' )ir9< asked Tyre"
Cutie9 1a5 snickered # he got another sharp poke in the back or that"
:,hat is it Tyre9 And don’t call me Cutie"<
:=es )ir' sorry )ir" Er' it(s going to get dark soon' %e ha$e to lea$e enough
time to get back %hile it(s light"<
:&(m a%are o that Tyre" /o% much urther boy9<
:Ai$e or ten minutes"< 1a5 %as %ondering i he could spin it out until it %as
dark and then the hunters %ould be at a disad$antage"
:And the gold9<
:The gold(s right there or the picking"<
:Gold )ir'< said Tyre happily" :&t would be nice to Ca$ some money )ir'
maybe buy mesel a little bit o(land some%here"<
:=es' Tyre' but let(s make sure %e get it irst shall %e9<
7o matter ho% slo%ly 1a5 %ent' it %as still broad daylight %hen they arri$ed
at the edge o the ruins" The Captain and Tyre ga+ed up at the crumbling %alls"
:,ell &(ll be"""< said the Captain impressed" :A secret city hidden in the orest"
Good hea$ens Tyre' do you kno% %hat this means9<
Tyre scratched his head" :Lots o old buildings alling do%n )ir9<
:7o Tyre' it means money' more money" 6nce %e($e taken the gold %e can
open it up to tourists' sho% them around 8 %e(ll be rich beyond our dreams;<
1a5 %as immediately angry" :=ou can(t let tourists in here; They(ll spoil it #
%hat about the animals9;<
:They(ll ind some%here else to li$e' no% go boy' sho% us %here the gold is"<
1a5 ound the large opening in the %all and led them through" The Captain
beamed %ith pleasure as he sur$eyed the city lying beore him # this %as more
than he could e$er ha$e hoped or"<
:Bit e5citing this )ir ain(t it9< said Tyre" :?emember %hen you %as a boy
and dreamt o inding old cities and pirates and stu9<
:& %as ne$er a boy Tyre' no% get mo$ing"<
1a5 %ound through the ma+e o narro% alley%ays" :,here are you taking
us9< asked the Captain"
:,ell'< said 1a5" :& ound the coins lying on the ground in lots o places'
mostly in homes and stu # you(ll ha$e to %ander around like & did and pick
them up"<
The Captain stopped in his tracks" :&s that so9 =ou think %e should %ander
around until it(s dark' collecting coins and then your creature riend can attack
us' is that it9<
1a5(s eyes %idened" Actually' that had sort o been his plan"
:=ou must take us or idiots" Tyre' put a transmitter in there'< he pointed to
a crumbling house" :,e(ll head back no% but return tomorro% %ith more men'
more guns and set up camp" =ou'< # he pointed to 1a5' :%ill come %ith us' &($e
got !ust the place or you" & hope you like pigs but actually' it really doesn(t
matter much i you don(t"""< he laughed and grabbed 1a5 by his t#shirt and
sho$ed him along the narro%' cobbled street"
Cool %ater lapped around Burly' gently splashing his ace" The little deer
stepped daintily out into the shallo%s and snied him gently" /e %as still ali$e
but sleeping deeply" )he nudged him %ith her nose" 7o mo$ement" )he
looked around' she had to do something to %ake him up" )he spotted some
ducks s%imming by" :/ey'< she called' :come here"< The ducks s%am o$er to
see %hat she %anted" They bobbed in a ro%' %aiting or her to speak"
:This bear'< said the deer' :has been shot by men"<
Loud 4uacking broke out amongst the ducks"
:=es' yes' & kno%' but they(re not here no%" /e(s asleep but & need to %ake
him up" Any ideas9<
The ducks %ent into a huddle" Then they split up" /al o them s%am up to
Burly(s head and hea$ed themsel$es upright> they stood up in the ri$er and
lapped their %ings so that %ater %as scooped and licked o$er Burly(s head"
The other section o ducks %addled up along Burly(s back and inspected him
And then they started 4uacking"
&n Burly(s dreams it %as raining hea$ily and he %as being attacked by
millions o ducks' all o them 4uacking loudly" /e reached out a pa% to s%at
them a%ay but they !ust kept 4uacking and 4uacking and 4uacking""" /e
ro%ned more deeply and tried to ignore the noise but they %ere persistent"""
and that rain""" and that 4uacking""" /e could take it no longer" /e sat up and
roared" :,ill you stop that 4uacking;<
The 4uacking stopped and the ducks s%itly retreated' %aggling their tails in
:Ah'< said the deer politely' :& see you(re a%ake"<
:1y head hurts'< groaned Burly"
:& think it(s going to hurt a lot more in a moment""""< replied the deer"
1a5 stood in a small cobbled street %ith crumbling houses on either side" The
Captain still had the rile poked irmly in the small o his back but %as talking to
Tyre" 1a5 looked around' no sign o Grum or his brothers any%here" ,here
%ere they9 As i they %ere reading his thoughts' he heard a %hining $oice'
:A%' %hy me9 & got shot last time"""< and Gripe appeared in ront o him # it
looked as i he(d been sho$ed" The Captain and Tyre %hipped around and
stared in ama+ement at the green creature trying to steady himsel" Gripe
smiled and ga$e them a little %a$e %ith his ingers"
&n l ess than a second the Captain had raised his rile and shot Gripe in the
shoulder" Gripe didn(t e$en ha$e time to look ama+ed and ell like a brick to the
ground" 1a5 rushed o$er to him" :Gripe' Gripe;< he shook his shoulders" :,hy
did you do that9< he demanded angrily" :/e %asn(t going to hurt you;<
The Captain stood o$er Gripe(s body and ga$e it a little sho$e %ith his oot"
:1y goodness that(s one ugly creature and %hat a smell"< /e %rinkled his nose"
:=ou don(t smell that great yoursel;< said 1a5 hotly" :=ou didn(t gi$e him a
The t%o o them ignored 1a5 completely' they %ere !ust transi5ed by the
green creature in ront o them"
:,hat is it' )ir9< asked Tyre" :& ain(t seen nothing like that beore"<
:& ha$e no idea'< said the Captain" :&t(s a ne% type o creature and it(s going
to make us more money than %e($e e$er dreamed o" =ou' boy' %hat is it9
=ou kno% it' don(t you9<
:=es' & kno% Cit('< replied 1a5' :and it(s a really nice creature # you didn(t ha$e
to do that;<
The Captain shrugged" :,e(ll ind out more later' mean%hile' Tyre' &
suggest you bag it and then %e(d better get going"<
Tyre %hipped out a large hessian bag rom his pack and started to roll Gripe
into it" 6nce he %as inside' Tyre tied the top and then picked him up and thre%
him o$er his shoulders" :Cor blimey )ir' it %eighs a bit"< Tyre(s legs %ere
deinitely buckling"
:=es' yes'< said the Captain' :&(m sure it does' but ne$er mind !ust keep
%alking Tyre' %e($e got a long %ay to go"<
1a5(s head %as spinning' %hy %ould Grum and Grimly do such a thing9
2oor Gripe' yes he %hined a bit' %ell' a lot actually' but he didn(t deser$e to be
shot" But as he sa% the s%eat on Tyre(s ace and his legs tremble under the
%eight' understanding began to da%n" They %ere slo%ing the hunters do%n'
making them tired and $ulnerable" The !ourney back %ould be a long and
interesting one""""
Burly tried to stand up properly but his legs %ere %obbly" /e closed his eyes
and tried to concentrate %hile the deer illed him in" :The last & sa% the human
had been taken prisoner and three groblins %ere ollo%ing them' they seem to
be going back to the place %here the 6ld 6nes li$ed"<
Burly tried to talk but his mouth seemed to be glued together' it %as dry and
tasted horrible" /e bent his head and took a long drink o %ater rom the ri$er"
:Thank you'< he e$entually said' :thank you or your help"<
There %as a loud 4uacking and the sound o splashing %ater" Burly looked
at the bobbing ducks all lined up looking e5pectantly at him" :And thank you as
%ell'< he told them politely" :=ou did a great !ob"< The ducks bustled a%ay'
%aggling their tail eathers in a pleased %ay"
The deer smiled politely" :The orest alarm has been turned o but
e$eryone is mobilised' those humans %on(t get out o the orest"<
:& don(t think %e should hurt them'< said Burly 4uickly" :&(d like to think %e(re
better than them"<
:A e% o the big cats are eeling peckish so it(s not like they(d go to %aste'<
replied the deer' surprised" :?ecycling' you kno%' it(s all natural" Also' i the
cats are ed' &(m a bit saer or a %hile"<
Burly smiled at the logic" :=ou(re right' that is $ery important'< he admitted"
:&(d better go' ho%e$er' and sort this out beore anyone gets seriously hurt"
Thanks and & o%e you"<
The deer nodded then bounded neatly a%ay"
Burly took a e% unsteady steps' sho ok himsel all o$er' and then strode into
the orest" /e %as going to rescue 1a5"
The Captain aimed the rile at Gripe(s head" :&(m going to lead the %ay'< he told
1a5' :i & turn around at any point and you are not %alking right ne5t to Tyre &
%ill shoot your green riend again and this time the rile is loaded %ith bullets #
do you understand9<
1a5 looked at the large sausage shaped bundle that %as Gripe and
:?ight' !olly good' let(s go' it %ill be dark soon" Tyre' %hat are you %aiting
:)ir' ready )ir"<
1a5 almost elt sorry or Tyre> although he %as $ery strong he %as ob$iously
struggling under the %eight o a ully gro%n groblin # s%eat poured do%n his
ace and each step %as an eort" 1a5 decided on another tactic" As the
Captain turned and led them a%ay rom the city o the 6ld 6nes 1a5 beamed
his best smile at Tyre" :Can & help at all9< he asked politely as they %alked
:7ah son' this is man(s %ork'< grunted Tyre"
:,hat are you going to do %ith him9< asked 1a5"
:,ell' the Capt(n %ill keep him # in good conditions mind so you don(t Ca$ to
%orry Cbout that' he(ll get ood n(stu # and then he(ll probably sho% him' y(kno%
like in a +oo"<
:6h" Er' ho% long ha$e you kno%n the Captain9<
Tyre %as pleased to talk' it took his mind o the pain that %as shooting
do%n his back and legs" :Long time son' long time # Ce looks ater me y(kno%"<
1a5 raised his eyebro%s" :/e is kind o rude to you isn(t he9<
:(e looks ater me'< repeated Tyre" :,ithout him &(d be useless"<
:6h & don(t kno%'< said 1a5" :=ou(re really strong and pretty smart"<
Tyre made a ace" 1a5 couldn(t tell %hether it %as a smile or pain" :Al%ays
Ca$ been strong son" )hort and strong my old mum used to say but smart' nah'
brains don(t run in our amily' the Cap(n takes care o( the thinking"<
There %as a rustle o undergro%th ahead o them and the Captain strode
back to%ards them" /is handsome ace %as lushed red %ith anger"
:7o talking;< he commanded" :Alert Tyre' you ha$e to remain alert; This is
the orest # %e could be attacked at any moment;<
:=es )ir' )orry )ir"< Tyre shited the %eight a little"
:7o more talking;< The Captain turned on his heel and stalked ahead o
:/e(s an old bossy boots'< %hispered 1a5 out o the side o his mouth"
/e %as sure that the grunt Tyre ga$e %as in agreement"
6n and on they %alked" Light %as alling 4uickly around them and the
shado%s deepened" 1a5 listened intently or any sign o mo$ement # he %as
sure the groblins %ere out there some%here and had some kind o plan' they
%eren(t ar rom the ri$er no% and time %as running out""""
Groblins use their long arms not only to mo$e 4uickly along the ground' but to
s%ing rom branch to branch and Grimly and Grum had mo$ed s%itly through
the treetops and %ere no% almost at the picnic spot" The lo% menacing sound
o %ild cats snarling and gro%ling nearby' ho%e$er' made them stop on a
branch and pause or a moment"
:Bh oh'< said Grimly"
:Bh oh9< echoed Grum"
:The big cats are closing in" They lo$e a orest alarm and a crisis # one %ay
or another it usually ends up in a meal or them"<
:,ell as long as it(s the human %ith the gun they eat and not me & don(t care'<
said Grum" :/old on' %hat(s that9< Arom belo% came a loud crashing sound
and it %as getting nearer" Grum grinned happily" :/al the orest is coming
do%n # & kno% %hat that is # Burly;;< /e !umped to the ne5t branch do%n and
then on to the ground # and %as almost run o$er by a stampeding bear" Burly
screeched to a halt' lea$es and dirt scattered e$ery%here"
:Burly;< Grum thre% his long arms around Burly(s neck in a big hug" :=ou(re
Burly sat do%n %ith Grum dangling rom him like some kind o odd necklace"
:Grum' you(re ali$e; 1a5' %here(s 1a59< he said"
:/ello Burly'< said Grimly %ho %as standing on the sidelines' a broad smile
across his ace" :/o% are you9<
Burly ble% out a large sigh" :1y head eels like it(s been trampled on but &(m
Grum inally let go and dropped to the ground" :,e thought you %ere still
knocked out;< he punched Burly playully"
:The t%o humans ha$e got 1a5'< said Grimly' :they(re on their %ay back to
the human road no%" 6ur plan %as to %ait or them in trees %here the track
runs alongside the ri$er and ambush them # they %on(t be e5pecting an attack
rom abo$e"<
:And'< said Grum happily' :%e($e slo%ed them do%n;<
Burly looked around" :,here(s Gripe9< he asked"
Grum grinned" :6h they ha$e him as %ell # he(s %hat(s slo%ing them do%n #
great idea eh9<
Burly %as lost or %ords"
:They(ll be here soon'< said Grum' :%e(d better get a mo$e on so %e can
ind the right hiding place and %ait or them"
A sudden roaring and snarling illed the air and a lock o birds screeched
and s4ua%ked and took to the air' eathers lying" :The big cats are practicing'<
said Grimly" :,e(d better hurry"<
The Captain stopped dead in his tracks and scanned the track ahead' light %as
ading 4uickly no% and he(d heard the cats" As a proessional hunter he kne%
that the tables had turned # they %ere the ones no% being stalked" /e smiled a
slo% smile and continued %alking # hunting or being hunted' he lo$ed both"
Behind him staggered Tyre %ith 1a5 right ne5t to him" :*id you hear that
noise9< %hispered 1a5 trying his best to sound scared" :)ounded like cats #
lions or something"""<
:7ot lions son' this ain(t Arica y(kno%'< came the reply"
:,ell they didn(t e5actly sound like any house cat &($e come across'< replied
There %as a sharp but loud crack and a pou o dust ble% up !ust in ront o
1a5(s eet" 1a5 looked up" Captain @uentin %as staring at him do%n the
barrel o the rile" :& thought & told you""" 76 talking;<
:*id you !ust shoot at me9< demanded 1a5"
:*on(t push it son'< ad$ised Tyre"
:But he"""<
:@uiet or the ne5t time & %on(t miss'< commanded the Captain" :Tyre' stay
close to me' it(s going to get tricky"< Tyre trotted as best he could up to the
Captain" :=ou boy' i anything happens' remember & shoot your riend irst # &
can al%ays sell his body to scientists # it doesn(t matter to me i he li$es or dies"
*on(t think you can outsmart me' &(m the best hunter in the %orld"<
:/e is that an( all son'< obser$ed Tyre"
They continued %alking" :/e(s still really horrible to you'< %hispered 1a5
out o the side o his mouth" Tyre did not reply but looked straight ahead' his
ace a picture o concentration"
Burly hid as best he could behind the largest bush he could ind" Grum %as
perched up in a tree abo$e him and Grimly %as on the other side o the track"
They(d agreed a signal" ,hoe$er sa% or heard the hunters irst %ould make a
ca%ing sound like a ra$en" The minutes ticked slo%ly past and the orest
seemed eerily 4uiet" All o a sudden there %as a rustling sound s%itly ollo%ed
by loud ca%ing and Burly tensed"
:*on(t mo$e;< hissed Grimly rom across the track' :alse alarm # that really
%as a ra$en"""<
:,e should choose another signal"""< %hispered Grum loudly"
:7o'< came the s%it reply' :it(s too late no%' and hush up %ill you"""<
:& think a duck %ould be good'< continued Grum' :%e(re near a ri$er"<
:,ill you /B)/; Listen' that(s them;; Ca% ca%;<
Burly %iggled his bottom in anticipation o the pouncing and then he' too'
heard the sot crunching sound o human ootsteps trying to %alk 4uietly
through the orest" /e strained his ears' he could only hear one pair o
ootsteps" The delicate crunching came closer and closer"
Then' rom no%here' came a cry that %ould ree+e the blood o any animal #
the groblin %ar cry # and Grimly ell like a ton o bricks onto Captain @uentin
Tee" Burly burst out rom behind the bush but all he could see %as a pair o
legs and arms sticking out rom underneath Grimly" A rile had allen to the side
o the track and he immediately hurried o$er and pushed it %ith his snout into
the long grass saely out o the %ay"
:,ell that %as easy'< said Grimly' a big smirk on his ace" The arms and legs
%riggled as the hunter ought to be ree" :7o use him doing that"< Grimly(s
bottom %as placed s4uarely o$er the Captain(s ace" :Actually it 4uite tickles"<
There %as a muled protest rom beneath him"
“& think'< said Burly' :that you(d better tie him up and 4uickly' there(s a
second hunter and he %on(t be ar" ,here(s Grum9<
Grimly looked around" There %as no sign o Grum"
Grum %as' at that precise moment' lying through the air on a $ine at a
hundred miles an hour heading straight to%ards Tyre" Tyre couldn(t see a thing
because o the s%eat pouring do%n his orehead into his eyes and didn(t stand
a chance" Being hit by a groblin mo$ing at a hundred miles an hour is enough
to s%eep anyone o their eet and that(s !ust %hat Grum did # he smacked Tyre
s4uare in his stomach %ith his eet and Tyre %ent do%n like a skittle at a
bo%ling alley"
:=ay;< yelled 1a5' his arms in the air' :Go Grum;<
Grum landed on the ground and then thre% himsel like a %restler across
Tyre(s ample stomach' pinning him do%n" :@uick'< he yelled' :tie him up or
1a5 didn(t need to be asked t%ice" /e unhooked a pair o handcus rom
Tyre(s belt and snapped one end on to one %rist then on to the other" The
moment Tyre %as secure Grum !umped o him and ran to the bag that
contained a still snoo+ing Gripe" /e tipped Gripe out onto the ground"
:,asssup9< murmured Gripe in his sleep beore turning o$er and nestling do%n
into some sot grass"
Grum nudged him %ith his oot' :/e(s okay;<
Burly galloped onto the scene and skidded to a halt in ront o them" :=ou(re
alright;< he cried' :6h thank goodness' let me look at you both"< /e made Grum
and 1a5 stand still and inspected them" :1a5' did they hurt you9 Are you
1a5 thre% back his shoulders" :7ah' %e(re ine # look' %e put handcus on
Tyre %as still lying on his back like a tortoise that had been turned o$er'
%a$ing his arms and legs and trying to catch his breath"
:& think & knocked the %ind out o him'< grinned Grum" 1a5 high#i$ed him"
:Let(s get him to his eet'< said Burly' :and make our %ay to the picnic site #
Grimly(s holding the other one there"<
Grum %alked o$er to Tyre' put his ace right up against his and grinned as
nastily as he could' sho%ing all his broken' yello% teeth" A little noise that
sounded like :eep or eek< came rom Tyre" Grum grabbed him and hauled him
to his eet" Tyre looked around in desperation"
:& you run'< said 1a5' :either %e(ll get you or the cats %ill"<
:1ind you' &(m 4uite peckish mysel'< said Grum smacking his lips"
Tyre paled" /e didn(t understand %hat Grum %as saying # the %ords
sounded like a %ild animal slobbering and snarling # but he kne% instincti$ely it
%asn(t good"
:)top playing %ith the human'< said Burly' :let(s get back to Grimly' he(ll be
%ondering %here %e are and it(ll be dark soon"<
:&(ll bring Gripe'< said Grum" :& suppose &(d better' mum(ll be cross i & lea$e
him behind"""< /e bent do%n and picked up Gripe' s%inging him casually o$er
his shoulder"
,hen they got back to the camp area' Grimly %as perched on top o a large
boulder %atching the Captain" Captain @ Tee had been tied securely to a large
tree trunk' his ace %as lushed and angry as he struggled to get ree" /e %as
shouting at Grimly' :That %as disgusting # %hat kind o animal sits on
someone(s ace # &(ll put you in a cage or the rest o your lie' you see i & don(t'
you"""" you green reak you;< Grimly curled back his lip in an eerie smile"
:)tand %ith your back against that tree'< 1a5 told Tyre' pointing to another
tree a e% eet a%ay rom the Captain"
:Tyre' Tyre' don(t you dare do %hat he says;< commanded the Captain" :&
order you to ight # ight man;<
Burly took a step closer to Tyre and breathed %armly on the back o his neck"
Tyre trotted o$er to the tree and %aited to be tied up" :)orry Gu$'< he said
1a5 got a length o rope and tied him securely to the trunk"
:Look or kni$es and stu as %ell'< ad$ised Grimly' :look %hat & got rom the
other one'< he pointed to a small arsenal o %eapons deposited on the ri$er
bank' %ell a%ay rom the Captain"
:&(ll do it;< $olunteered Grum' :& 4uite like scaring this one;< /e smiled
%ickedly and approached Tyre %hose chubby knees buckled"
:,ell' %hat do %e do no%9< asked 1a5 as Grum rummaged through Tyre(s
A lo% gro%l $ibrated through the air" :The cats are almost here'< said Burly"
:7o% listen careully # no matter %hat these humans ha$e done to us %e ha$e
to get them back saely"<
:But they($e seen the secret city' and he'< said 1a5 nodding in the direction
o the Captain' :%ants to bring lots o people to the orest to see it # the orest
%ill be ruined and the animals %ill lose their homes"<
Burly looked glum"
Grum %ent up and prodded the Captain %ith his inger" :=ou sure %e can(t let
the cats ha$e them9< he asked" :&t %ould sol$e a problem' & mean' they(re so
horrible & don(t think anyone %ould miss them"<
:,ell'< said 1a5' :he(s really mean # he shot at me and %as going to put
Gripe in a +oo or people to look at # but the other one(s sort o okay"<
The Captain %riggled and shouted' :,hy you little""" you %ait till & get ree
rom here' &(ll soon sort you out;< Tyre ga$e a %a$ering smile" 7either o them
understood Burly or the groblins but kne% rom %hat 1a5 %as saying that their
ates %ere being decided"
:6kay'< said Burly decisi$ely' :here(s %hat %e do # %e make our %ay to
1ike(s # he(s the only one & kno% %ith enough po%er to make these t%o orget
about the secret city"<
Grum sighed hea$ily" :6h okay' let(s get going"<
:There is another problem'< said Grimly" They all looked at him" :,ell' apart
rom the act night is alling and big' hungry cats are only a e% eet a%ay' i &
don(t get Grum and Gripe home soon mum is going to kill me"<
:6h yes'< said Grum slo%ly' :mum # &(d orgotten about her"<
Burly looked uncomortable' he(d met Grum(s mother and kne% she %as a
orce to be reckoned %ith" /e hadn(t met 1ike(s mum but he had a eeling she
%as also probably someone not to be triled %ith" 1ums seemed to be like that
%hen it came to their children"
:,ell'< the Captain spoke calmly or the irst time to 1a5' his $oice like ice" :&
may not understand %hat your riends are saying' but & do understand one
thing' it(s too late # look behind you"<
1a5 turned around" Aacing him %ere t%o large mountain cats' their po%erul
golden bodies muscular and scarred' their amber eyes calculating and cold"
Grum(s mother appeared as i rom no%here behind the cats" )he had her long
skirt hitched up %ith one hand and a tight grip on a large rolling pin %ith the
other" )he took in the scene %ith a single glance"
:&(d mo$e i & %ere you boys'< she said in a irm but clear $oice to the cats"
The larger o the t%o turned to ace her and t%itched the tip o his tail # in all
his years in the orest he(d ne$er seen anything 4uite like her"
Grum' Grimly and 1a5 shuled closer together' placing themsel$es
bet%een the cats and the capti$e humans" Burly stepped or%ard and the
second cat gro%led and hunkered do%n' %riggling its hind4uarters' positioning
itsel to leap at him but Burly stood his ground> he seemed to double in si+e and
roared so loudly the %hole orest shook" The cat hesitated"
Grum nudged 1a5" :/e did that to me once # pretty scary eh9<
:,o%'< breathed 1a5 impressed"
:)o %hat(s it going to be boys9< Grum(s mother asked the t%o cats" :=ou
seem to be in a bit o a tight spot here # you(d better get going beore & use this
and the bear has you or breakast'< she %a$ed the rolling pin at the cat acing
her" /e lattened his ears and snarled' sho%ing long sharp canine teeth and
s%iped out a pa% to scratch her %ith his cla%s" )he s%atted it easily a%ay %ith
the rolling pin and the cat ga$e a 4uick gro%l o pain" &t backed a%ay" The
second cat !oined it" )lo%ly' careully' gro%ling sotly to themsel$es they
retreated rom the clearing"
:?ight;< Grum(s mother ad!usted her skirt and strode to%ards Grimly"
:=ou;< she said' grabbing him by a green ear and t%eaking hard' :%ere meant
to go and get your brother and bring him home saely not put him on the lunch
menu or cats"<
:)orry' sorry'< s4ueaked Grimly"
:&t(s not his ault"""< started Grum but aster than a cobra can strike his
mother had grabbed his ear as %ell"
:,hy is it al%ays you9< she demanded' her red eyebro%s knotted in
:Eeek"""< s4uealed Grum' %ho %as no% on his knees"
:,here(s Gripe9< she paused in the ear pulling or a moment"
:Er' o$er there' sleeping""" %e didn(t orget him"""< %himpered Grum" /is
mother let go o his ear and marched o$er to inspect the snoo+ing Gripe" )he
prodded him %ith her oot beore turning around" /er bla+ing ga+e homed in
like a la+er on Burly" /is eyes %idened and he took a step back' 1a5 bra$ely
stood beside him but held on to his ur"
:=ou;< she said" :& thought you %ere a responsible bear; E$ery time he
meets you he gets into trouble; And %ho are these creatures9< )he %a$ed her
rolling pin in the direction o the t%o hunters %ho %ere %atching the scene %ith
their mouths %ide open # not a sound could be heard rom either o them"
There %as a sudden rush o inormation as e$eryone tried to ill her in'
:hunters""" humans""" shot Burly""" +oo""" knocked out Gripe""" scientists""" guns"""
gold""" tourists"""<
:/old it;< )he raised her rolling pin up once more and silence ell" )he
%alked slo%ly o$er to Captain @uentin Tee" Aor the irst time in his lie he elt
real ear %ash o$er him' a deep desire to run a%ay o$er%helmed him but
although he %riggled %ildly he %as tied ast" /e s%allo%ed and closed his
)he stood in ront o him and snied the air" :This one'< she said' :is bad
inside' really bad" 1aybe & should ha$e let the cats ha$e him"< )he %andered
o$er to Tyre %ho s4uirmed" )he poked his bulging %aistline %ith her rolling pin"
:They(d ha$e had a good meal rom him'< she obser$ed" Tyre ainted"
Burly coughed and bra$ely interrupted" :&t(s getting late'< he said' :and %e
all should be getting home beore it gets dark" &(ll take these t%o to a riend o
mine %ho %ill make sure they orget e$erything # they(ll ne$er e$en remember
they($e been in the orest"<
Grum(s mother raised her red eyebro%s" Burly had raised a good point # it
%as getting late and it %as time her sons %ere saely home"
:1um'< said Grum' :& %ant to go %ith Burly"<
/er eyebro%s shot up a notch" :6h you do' do you9<
Grum rubbed his throbbing ear" :=es' & do" ,e should all stick together"<
There %as a gentle th%acking sound as she smacked the rolling pin against
the side o her skirt" :Actually'< she said' :this time & think you(re right # %e need
to make sure these t%o are out o our orest and ne$er come back and as & can(t
trust you &(m coming %ith you" Burly' lead the %ay"<
Burly %as lost or %ords but scrambled his thoughts together 4uickly"
:Grimly' collect all those horrible %eapons and hide them # %e(ll destroy them
later" Grum untie the humans" 1rs""" er"""" sorry & don(t kno% your name"""<
1a5 giggled"
)he turned and i5ed him %ith a glare" :&s something %rong9<
1a5 stued his ist in his mouth" :7othing""" sorry"""<
:&(m 1rs Gri to you and don(t you orget it"<
:=es' sorry"""< 1a5 turned and busied himsel helping Grum untie the
&n a couple o minutes they %ere all ready" The Captain and Tyre had their
hands tied together and stood 4uietly as 1rs Gri patrolled up and do%n in ront
o them' her rolling pin grasped irmly in one hand" Their %eapons had all been
collected and hidden and they %ere ready to go"
:&(m sure %e($e orgotten something"""< said Burly glancing around the
clearing once last time"
Arom the grass came a lo% moaning sound" :Gripe;< shouted Grum and
rushed o$er"
:1o$e yoursel Gripe;< said his mother' :you($e had a long enough nap' no%
hurry up"<
:1um9 ,hat9 ,here am &9< /e staggered to his eet and looked around
:7e$er mind'< said Grum putting an arm around Gripe(s shoulder' :!ust come
%ith us and &(ll tell you all about it on the %ay"<
And so' !ust as dusk inally ell in the orest' the little band headed or 1ike(s
1rs Gri did not hold %ith angels but she kne% that 1ike' small and skinny
though he %as' %as actually $ery po%erul and %hen they arri$ed at his house
she strode or%ard to meet him" :*aodil'< she said holding out a large green
:Burly9< asked 1ike ga+ing around at the group" /e could eel the t%itch o a
smile on his lips"
Burly rolled his eyes indicating the green hand being oered" :6h' er'
sorry' good e$ening' hello *aodil'< 1ike said hurriedly' shaking her hand %ith
a irm grip' :nice to meet you"""< Grum ga$e him a little %a$e" :Grum' good to
see you # oh' and Gripe and Grimly are here too""" and 1a5""" and' er"""< he
looked the Captain and Tyre' :they are"""9< /e looked up at Burly en4uiringly"
:Long story'< said Burly"
:Cake9< oered 1ike"
:6h yes please;< said Burly %ith eeling" :Cake %ould be $ery good"<
:*o sit do%n'< said 1ike' :there are a e% chairs !ust o$er there behind the
slide i you %ouldn(t mind sorting them out Burly # &(ll be %ith you in a minute' &(ll
!ust get some cake" 6h' and also &($e got some crispy ried ear%igs in the
cupboard # & made them this morning !ust in case Grum dropped by"""< /e
turned to go to his home"
:Cor blimey;< came a loud cry rom Tyre" :&t(s an angel # look Captain Cutie'
it(s a real angel # Ce(s got %ings # my mum al%ays told me they %as real"<
:Ah'< 1ike spun around and smiled at him' :yes' o course' Tyre isn(t it9 &
remember your mother' lo$ely lady"<
:Bless Cer'< snied Tyre' tears springing to his eyes' :she %ere lo$ely %eren(t
she9 Best mum in the %orld"<
1ike nodded gently" :7o% Tyre' you !ust sit do%n and & %on(t be a moment"
/o% %ould you like some honey cake9<
Tyre(s head bobbed up and do%n as he tried to sni back his tears"
:6h or goodness sakes Tyre' stop blubbing like a girl'< sneered Captain
Tee" Tyre turned his back on him"
And so they all sat do%n to tea and cakes %hile Burly careully e5plained
e$erything that had happened" 1ike listened 4uietly and ro%ned in deep
concern %hen he heard that both Burly and Gripe had been shot" &t %as all $ery
serious" /e occasionally glanced across at Tyre %ho had been untied and %as
happily eating honey cake %ith them' and then at the Captain %ho %as standing
to one side glaring at them %ith a %ithering look o contempt on his ace"
:)o Burly' 1a5' Grum' Gripe' Grimly""" er""" *aodil' thank you or not letting
the big cats eat the humans'< said 1ike"
:,hat are you going to do about those t%o9< asked *aodil crunching
ear%igs -she %ould ne$er ha$e admitted it' but they %ere !ust as good as those
she made." :=ou can(t let them go and tell e$eryone about the ruins in the
orest i they(re going to bring lots o humans in # you mark my %ords' they(ll
co$er the orest in stone and %e(ll lose our home"<
:& agree'< said 1ike seriously" :But don(t %orry' in actual act they can(t
e$en lea$e this clearing unless & let them # it(s all to do %ith energy and stu you
kno%' but ob$iously & can(t keep them here ore$er"<
*aodil looked ner$ously around" *espite the act night had allen' there
%as a sot golden light in the air that sent a shi$er do%n her spine" Grum
grinned %idely' :=ou okay mum9< he asked cheekily" *aodil glared at him"
Burly %iped a e% cake crumbs rom his mouth" :Can you help them orget
about the secret city o the 6ld 6nes9< he asked"
:=es' yes & can'< said 1ike' : that(s easy' but &(d preer to try and let them see
%hat a %onderul place the orest is and ho% much more %orth%hile it %ould be
keeping it as it is" Tyre9<
Tyre stopped short o licking the plate and looked across at 1ike"
:/o% %ould you like to stay %ith me or a %hile Tyre9< asked 1ike" :& ha$e
lots o animals here that need looking ater' you could help me"<
Tyre(s !a% dropped open" :)tay %i$ you9 CEre9 *(you mean it9< he looked
around in %onderment"
:=es'< said 1ike' :stay here %ith me"<
:1y mum al%ays said a miracle %ould Cappen' yeah &(ll stay Cere please and
Celp the animals"< Tears sprang to his eyes again and he %iped his nose %ith
his slee$e"
:Good' good'< said 1ike smiling" :/ere' ha$e a tissue Tyre" ,ell' that(s one
sorted # %hat do %e do about the Captain do you think9<
Burly rubbed his hind4uarter as he remembered the dart" :*einitely more
diicult'< he commented' :he(s got a bad heart that one"<
:& think %e should put him in a +oo'< said 1a5' :gi$e him a taste o his o%n
Captain @uentin Tee(s mind %as %orking uriously" The odd group in ront o
him %ere talking about him but he could only understand 1a5 and Tyre #
e$eryone and e$erything else sounded like a series o s4ua%ks and grunts" /e
had to get out o here # this %as a story o a lietime' he(d sell it to the
ne%spapers or millions' he(d capture the green creatures and sell them to +oos
and scientists" /is eyes darted greedily to and ro as he thought o all the
money he could make"
1ike looked at him sadly" :/e(s going to take a lot longer to sort out'< he
commented" :/e has a ine understanding o %ild creatures # that(s %hat makes
him a good hunter' but he seems to ha$e lost his %ay" &(d like to see i & can
change the %ay he thinks and keep him here in the orest or a %hile # he %on(t
be able to lea$e or hurt any o the animals and maybe in time he(ll come to
appreciate the orest or %hat it is"<
*aodil olded her arms and ga$e a loud harrumph"
,ithout a %ord o %arning the Captain broke into a run and disappeared
into the depths o the orest" :=ou(ll ne$er get me;< he shouted o$er his
shoulder as he crashed through the undergro%th"
The groblin brothers pushed back their chairs ready to gi$e chase but 1ike
held up his hand" :*on(t %orry' & promise you he %on(t be able to lea$e the
orest" ,ell' not until &(m sure he(s ready to lea$e"<
:,hat about them cats9< asked Tyre an5iously' :they seemed pretty peckish
and he ain(t got no gun"<
:/e(ll be ine'< replied 1ike' :& %on(t let anything bad happen to him &
*aodil ga$e another loud harrumph %hich %as then ollo%ed by a long
:Can %e go back to the )ecret City tomorro% Burly9< asked 1a5"
:& don(t think & can take any more e5citement'< replied Burly' reaching or
another cake"
:&(ll look ater him'< said Grum"
:6h no you %on(t young groblin'< said *aodil irmly"
:,e(ll go %ith them' %on(t %e Gripe9< declared Grimly' :don(t %orry mum"<
Gripe let out a lo% groan but nodded yes" *aodil raised her eyebro%s and
looked 4uestioningly at Burly"
&t(s impossible or a bear to look in$isible' especially %hen they(re sitting at a
table eating cake and Burly kne% he %as beaten" :6h okay' & suppose you
didn(t get to see much o it today and & did say you could go back'< he inally
replied' :but no running o and getting into trouble"<
:Cool'< grinned 1a5' :that(s really cool' thanks Burly"< /e turned and ga$e
Grum a high i$e"
:&(ll sho% you the tunnels that run under the city' they(re un'< said Grum"
:76;< shouted Burly and *aodil together"
Grum and 1a5 looked taken aback but then started to laugh"
:6kay'< agreed 1a5' :no tunnels"""<
:"""this time'< added Grum beore s%itly changing the sub!ect" :/ey' can %e
go on your slide 1ike9<
:*oes look like un'< said Grimly"
:=ou($e got to try coming do%n headir st'< said 1a5"
:Go on'< said 1ike' :you($e all had a tough day today' you may as %ell en!oy
yoursel$es" *aodil' some more crunchy ear%igs9<
:*on(t mind i & do'< replied *aodil"
:Burly9 Cake9<
:Thanks 1ike' it(s turned out to be a great e$ening' thank you"<
:1y pleasure'< said 1ike' :my pleasure"<
:6h'< said Tyre' :shall & make another pot o tea9<
:=es please'< said 1ike' :that %ould be nice"<
And so they sat back in their chairs in the golden glo% o light and %atched
as the groblins and 1a5 ran around and laughed and slid do%n the slide"
:/old on;< Grum(s $oice suddenly cut through the air' :no one told me there
%ere steps at the back;<
Burly and 1ike laughed out loud and the e$ening %as perect"

2)D Aor those o you %ho are %orried about the boar locked in the $an' 1ike did
o course' set him ree and he trotted saely home to his amily;
Thank you so much or reading this story about Burly and Grum and & do hope
you en!oyed it -& kno% & en!oyed %riting it;." & you %ould like to kno% more
about Burly and Grum' you can $isit their %ebsite at
http://www.burlyandgrum.com" Thank you;

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