Well, this is starting to get interesting. I’m kind of digging this Donkey Kong vibe. On Day 8, I ended with the group of heroes getting attacked by something flying through the air. Were they fireballs? Were they flaming barrels? And how does a monkey fit into this? Let’s move to the scene after the Asura attack and see how this goes:
“The Asuras are getting stronger,” Serenity said softly. “It’s a good thing that Shivani was with us.” The worry on her face was obvious.
“I agree,” Paw Paw nodded. “We wouldn’t have defeated them without her.”
“Hey, what about me?” Ryan exclaimed, putting a hand on his hip. I didn’t know him very well, but I already recognized mock outrage on his face when I saw it. He lifted up his sword and slashed at the air. “I was amazing in battle. I knocked off at least ten Asuras all by myself.”
“Yes, yes, you’re very amazing. We’ll give you a cookie later,” Shivani muttered. When Ryan raised an eyebrow at her, Shivani raised her hands defensively. “Okay, I admit it. You’re a much better warrior than I expected you to be.”
“Such glowing praise,” Ryan replied, putting his sword on the ground. He placed his hand over his heart. “I’m overwhelmed. Thank you, sunshine. You’re not a bad warrior yourself. For a girl.”
Shivani scowled. Before she could say anything, Director Fussybottom said, “I have to return to the castle. The Asuras will be back.” He and Paw Paw exchanged glances. “And now that they know about Shivani, they’ll use more force.”
Paw Paw exhaled in frustration. “We need help. But who?” His dark eyes surveyed the land before us and suddenly gleamed. “The Vanaras.”
“Who?” I asked, glancing at Shivani. She shrugged. Neither one of us knew who Paw Paw was talking about.
Aryana’s blue eyes widened in surprise. She shook her head as her dark brows knit together. “Surely you jest,” she said. “They won’t help us.”
Director Fussybottom nodded. “The girl is right. They keep to themselves.”
“What are Vanaras?” Shivani asked.
“Forest dwellers. They aren’t a part of civilization,” Professor Pedantic sniffed. There was contempt in his voice. “They prefer to live in the woods like animals.”
“The Vanaras are far more than that,” Paw Paw sighed, shaking his head. He squared his shoulders and looked right at Aryana. “Do you want to save your princess?”
“Of course,” Aryana said indignantly.
“Then we’ll need their help,” Paw Paw replied simply. Aryana opened her mouth to protest, but then remained silent when he held up his hand. “The Devas are no match for the Asuras right now. We’re outmanned and outnumbered. If we can convince the Vanaras to fight with us, then we may have a chance.”
“If you can trust them,” Director Fussybottom muttered.
“There is no reason to distrust them,” Professor Serenity said mildly. “I’ve only met a few, but the ones I knew were honorable.”
Paw Paw smiled slightly. His eyes met hers. “Perhaps you should be the one to lead a group to ask for their help.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Director Fussybottom frowned. He looked at Serenity. “You should come back to the castle with me.”
Serenity ignored him and nodded at Paw Paw. “I’ll go, but I’ll need help finding them.” She looked at the rest of the group. “Who will come with me?”
“You’ll need at least one Warrior, so I’ll go,” Ryan said, smiling at his mother.
Serenity returned his smile, before raising an eyebrow at the rest of us. “Anyone else? Shivani? Charlie? I could use another Warrior.”
“I’ll go,” Shivani nodded slowly, before shooting a wary glance at Ryan. “But your son has to stop trying to make me mad.”
Serenity’s face broke out into a smile. Her mischievous grin startled me. She looked so much like Ryan. “If he so much as breathes on you inappropriately, he’ll have to deal with me.”
Both women looked at Ryan. He held up his right hand and placed it over his heart. “I promise. I will be on my best behavior.”
“What about the rest of you?” Serenity asked.
Paw Paw shook his head. “I need the others to help me. The Elders will need protection on their journey home. But after we see them safely to the castle, we’ll catch up to you. Are you headed for Dandaka Forest?”
Serenity nodded. “Yes. That’s the last place they were spotted. We can start there.”