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A illustrated adventure story about a rabbit.

Story and Illustrations © 2001 by Donald L. Brown.
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Chips Adventure Page 6..

    Back in the valley. Mac, and Sidney leave Lacy's farm after helping her with some chores she needed done.  Mac asks if he wishes to spend the night at his farm.. The young fox nods in appreciation. While walking along the trail. In the distance they can see the glow from the volcano.

     Sidney shakes his head. "I hope those rabbits are able to tame that dragon with magic.  I didn't say anything. But my mother told me about the same story as Lacy did. I don't think that dragon will stop till we are all gone by choice or not."

    They stop while the skunk helps the fox with his pack. Mac looks at the volcano once more. Then nods."I too hope they are able to tame the vile beast.. But we should do as Tim wishes, and give the valley folk a chance to choose." The fox nods. "Yes it is their right. But I hope no one is harmed when the dragon tires of using us." Mac nods as they walk through the gate to the skunks farm. "Tim is a smart raccoon. I am sure he can keep peace with the dragon for now."

    Sidney nods. "I hope your right Mac. Hey it's a warm night. I think I will bed down in your barn if you don't mind." The skunk smiles looking at his tail. "I hope I don't offend." Sidney laughs. "No. You smell ok, I just enjoy sleeping out in the fresh air after being inside over that long winter."

         Moments later the quiet of the night is shattered by a mighty roar. The two turn to look just as the huge flying object disappears past the trees.  Shaken they look at each other then back at the night sky. Where the dragon blasts a stream of fire as he dives towards them once more.
 

    Run for your life! Cries the skunk as they both dash for the nearest trees. The dragon's hot flame singes their tails as it passes  then climbs once more into the night sky. They both hide behind a large oak as the great beast lands near them. He then loudly laughs. "So you don't like my breath.  That was only a sample of what I will do if my demands aren't met."

     Mac steps out, and nods. "We won't forget sir." The dragon rumbles. "Be sure you don't." The air fills with leaves, and dust as the dragons massive wings lift him into the air. Moments later he disappears into the night sky..

     Sidney growls as he looks at his tail. "Now it's personal." Mac nods."We can't trust that vile beast. We may have to leave this valley I fear." The fox nods. "I think your right Mac. Tim's a stubborn raccoon, but if that dragon scorches his fur he will come to our way of thinking."

     Mac nods as he, and the fox walk toward his house. "I hope so. But it's been a long day, and I need some rest."  The fox nods. "Ok Mac see you in the morning." The skunk waves goodnight, then steps into his house. The fox then walks to the barn.  After settling into some soft hay. He is soon fast asleep.

     In the mountain village, Chip follows close to Tasha as her father leads them to a large home. He enters with Chip, and Tasha following close behind. Just inside she tells Chip to sit. "Stay, and talk with my father while I get some food for us." He nods as he sits down.
 
      After a short while the elder rabbit looks at Chip. Then steps to a window. Where in the distance he can see the volcano's fiery glow.: "It started three months ago. Then our lookouts spotted the fire demon a few weeks later." He then walks over to sit near the young rabbit just as Tasha walks back in with a tray of food, and a pitcher of spring water.

      Chip stands as Tasha walks in. She smiles: "Are you two getting along alright?"  Her father smiles at the young rabbit. "It's hard to say. But he is polite. I like that in a young man." Tasha smiles: "I am sure you two will grow to be good friends." She then places the tray on a table, pours, and hands each a cup of cool water.

      The young rabbit sips a bit of the water then says: "Thank you. That is refreshing." Dinre smiles: "Try some of my daughters berry pie." Chips eyes grow large as the fragrance of the sweet pie reaches his nose. He drools: "Oh my favorite."  She smiles, and cuts the young rabbit a large slice of pie. "Would you like some father?"

  .  "Not now daughter. After you, and your young friend eat. Show him where he will stay while he is here. I will speak with him tomorrow. Now I must tell our guards about our young visitor or he may be harmed." She nods: "Yes father." Then hugs him tightly. He smiles at the young rabbits then  quickly leaves.

      Tasha smiles as she watches Chip finish the meal,.Then asks: "Do you wish anything else?"  He shakes his head. "No thank you. But do you have any more water?" She nods. Then fills his cup again. "There you go."  Chip mss as he finishes the second cup of water. "Thank you Tasha. She smiles.  "Your welcome. Wait here while I put the tray away.
 
     Chip nods, as she leaves the room. The long days travel catches up with the young rabbit as he waits, and soon falls asleep. A short time later Tasha returns. She shakes her head as she notices her sleeping friend. She decides to let him sleep, and gently lays a blanket over him just before she quietly leaves the room.
 
     A bright ray of sunlight stretches across Chips face waking him up. The smell of cooking drifts from the next room as he sits up rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Moments later Tashas father walks in, and says: "Good morning young fellow ".  Chip jumps up, the blanket nearly causing him to fall as he stutters: "Y. Y.. Yes sir. Thank you sir.".
 
     Dinre grabs Chips paw to catch him. "Whoa young fellow. You alright?" Chip nods: "Yes sir. You just surprised me is all".  The elder rabbit smiles. "You must have been very tired to sleep so late." Chip brushes his tunic with his paws  as he notices the sun just clearing the distant ridge.  "I am sorry I didn't know it was late."
 
     The elder rabbit nods. "It's  alright. You will learn our ways as you train to tame the fire demon  Tomorrow you will rise when the stars leave the sky. You must build your strength, and learn to use the bow. To succeed you will need much skill, and strong muscles to run, and shoot the arrows true.  To fail is to die."  Chips eyes grow wide as he listens to the elder rabbit speak. He then gasps. "Die?"  Dinre nods as the young rabbit collapses in a faint..
 
     Dinre shakes his head as he looks at the young rabbit laying on the floor.  He steps over Chip as he leaves for the next room. There he finds Tasha preparing breakfast. She smiles as he walks in. "Good morning father."  He just nods as he sits at a table. "Is Chip awake father?"  Dinre scratches his furry chin, and shakes his head. "I think he fainted. I was telling him about the training for the task ahead. The next thing I knew he was passed out on the floor."  Tasha gasps "Oh my!." Then dashes to see about the young rabbit."

     Moments later she is kneeling next to Chip rubbing his cheek with her paw.  He blinks as he looks up to see Tasha, and her father looking down at him  Feeling rather embarrassed he sits up.  She asks"Are you well?" He nods. "Yes I think so."  Dinre remarks. "I need to speak with you my daughter."  He then walks back to the other room.
 
     Tasha nods. "Yes father." She tells Chip to rest while handing him a cup of water. Then follows her father to the next room. There he looks at Tasha with a frown, then nearly shouts.. "This is our savior?  One who faints at the mention of danger.  You know if he fails. The fire demon will come to destroy our village.  This coward is of no value to us. I should have him removed from our valley."

     She cries out "No father. I beg of you, Let him stay. I am sure when the time comes he will have the courage to use the bow.  Only a creature with a pure heart, and true kindness can use the arrows to tame the demon.. You have taught me this."  He nods taking her paw with his. "You are right my daughter. I should give him the chance to prove himself."

     Chip steps near the door in time to hear Dinre speak of sending him away for being a worthless coward. Feeling he will be a burden, and possibly a danger to them by failing. He decides to slip out quietly. Moments later he is running down a narrow path, eyes filled with tears half crying.  Stopping to rest a minute, he hears the faint sound of a young bunny desperately crying out for help.
 
    Hesitating only for a moment, Chip's long ears turn to find the direction. He then calls out. "Where are you?"  As he again hears the cry. He moves quickly toward it.   A short distance later he again calls out. "Keep shouting so I can find you." Still looking he finds the area becoming more like a swamp.

     Looking down at his feet as he starts to slip, and slide. Chip finds the ground becoming soft, and very muddy as he continues to search.  Moments after hearing another cry he spots a small bunny that seems to be buried in the mud up to it's chest, It's small fingers holding tight to a vine. As it sees Chip it shouts. "Help me Please!"
 
     As he moves closer he starts to sink into the mire.. By now he can tell it's a small girl bunny. Sobbing she cries again. "Please help me." Her little fingers slip a little, letting her sink deeper into the muck..  With this he struggles to get closer, but each step sinks him deeper into the sticky mud as he continues trying to reach the girl. .
 
     Back in the village Tasha, and Dinre find that chip has left. She turns to her father, and frowns. "He must have heard you, and left."  He just shakes his head."I will ask the guards if they have seen him. He can't leave the valley without being spotted." Tasha nods, as they both quickly leave the house.

      They spot a guard, and ask if he saw the young rabbit leave.  He nods. "He was heading toward the south. Tasha exclaims "South!. If he finds his way into the swamp, he could be trapped in one of the bottomless mud pits!."  The guard nods."I warned him to stay on the trail. But he seemed rather upset, and didn't answer."
 
     Moments after the guard leaves, Tasha frowns at her father."If I loose him. I will never forgive you." She then runs south along the trail.  Dinre calls after her. "Tasha!  Tasha!  Please be carful. I will have some of the guards search for him."  She shouts back. "Tell them to hurry."
 
    Back in the swamp, the small bunny has slipped deeper into the muck. Now up to her arms. She continues to beg Chip to help her.   Only a couple of meters from her now. He reaches for the same vine she is holding tight to. He says. "Hold tight little one. You will be alright. My name is Chip. Tell me yours."

     Her large brown eyes brighten as Chips words give her comfort. "It is Tina. Sir."  Chip nods. That is a pretty name." He then stretches till his fingers just are able to grasp the thick vine. He then pulls till he can reach the small bunnies paw. Then he gently pulls her to him, "Climb on my back Tina, and hold on tight." She nods, and with Chips help is soon sitting on his shoulders.

     After making sure Tina is secure, he starts pulling hard on the thick vine. He slowly works his way toward the edge of the pit. Panting as he says. "W...We are almost on solid ground.' The little bunny holds on tight as Chip starts to climb out.

     Without warning he loses his footing, and falls face first into the muck, his arms just reaching solid ground. He gasps as he raises up out of the mud.. "Go ahead Tina . Climb out. " She nods, and quickly climbs over Chips head, then bounces on to solid ground.

     Chip smiles seeing she is safe. Then feeling the ground give way under him.. He struggles, and paws trying to keep from sinking deeper. Even the vine stays just out of his reach as he cries out. "Help! Help me! " Too terrified to get close. Tina decides to run for help.
 
     Tasha walks quickly along the path going south. Watching close for any sign of the young rabbit.  Moments later she spots a small bunny running toward her.  Tina cries. Tasha! Tasha!  Please I.. I .. I  need need....   Tasha kneels to grab the small bunny in her arms, and tells her to calm down, and speak slowly.  Tina nods, and after catching her breath. She explains about being rescued by a young rabbit, and that he is now trapped,  and needs help quickly. Tasha exclaims "Oh my! We must go save him."  Tina nods, and they both run as fast as they can to the swamp.

     As they near the place that Tina left the young rabbit. Tasha hears him crying out. "Help me! Please."  Moments later she spots him.  He is still pawing at the mud that is now nearly up to his chin.  Tasha tells Tina to run back to the village to get more help. Then shouts to Chip. "Don't fight. It just makes you sink faster."

     Chip nods, and tries to relax while Tasha looks around for something to throw to the young rabbit. He cries out. "I have a rope in my back pack."  She nods, and quickly finds it. Then makes a loop, and tosses it so Chip can grab it. She then tries to pull the young rabbit to more solid ground.

     A few minutes later Tina comes running up with three guards close behind.  Tasha shouts. "Help me get him out." They nod, and quickly drag the young rabbit from the muck, and help him walk to a spot where he can sit in  the grass.

     After catching his breath he looks into Tashas eyes. "You saved my life again." She smiles, and hugs him. Mud, and all. Tina giggles as she watches.  "Thank you for saving my sister.".  Tasha points her finger at Tina. You shouldn't have been here Tina. Then Chip wouldn't have had to save you.   Tina nods with her head lowered.  Chip smiles. "It's alright. I am glad I could help."  Tina raises one of her eyes to look as Tasha tells the guards she will return with Chip shortly, and to take Tina back to the village.

     Moments after they left. Chip looks at Tasha. "She is a sweet little girl. I really didn't mind to help. " She smiles."She will be fine thanks to you.  But why did you leave?" Chip looks at the rabbit girl. "I didn't want to put you or the village in danger. I faint so easy. If I fail the dragon will.. " Tasha shushes him. "You will be fine. My father doesn't understand you like I do."

     Chip shakes his head. "I will try my best." Tasha smiles. "You have more strength than you know Chip." She then kisses his nose. " Let's go now.  It's time you started your training."  He nods as she helps him to his feet, and after putting his back pack back on. They both head back to the village.
 
    The same morning back in the valley. Tim was out chopping some wood for the cookstove. His wife Charlotte comes out of the house to help him carry the wood to the house.  He smiles. "I think this will be enough to fill the wood box . " She nods as they both walk back each carrying a armload of firewood.

     Tim drops his wood as he stubs his toe on a large rock."Ouch! My toe!"  Charlotte shakes her head.  "I told you to move that rock."  The raccoon grumbles as he hops on one foot rubbing his toe.  "Here let me help you. " Charlotte then helps her mate into their house. There he sits down, and says. "Thank you." She smiles. "Your welcome. Now let me look at your toe."

     Tim nods holding his foot out so his wife can look. He winces as she bends his toe a little. "I think it will be fine. Nothing broken."  She retrieves a pillow so he can put his foot on it.  Tim wiggles his toe after resting his foot on the pillow. "Yes it's feeling a bit better."

      Moments later there is a loud heavy knock at their door. Tim starts to get up as Charlotte tells him to stay, then hurries to answer the door. Moments later Tim hears her cry out "No! Please don't hurt me." Followed by a scream, then a rush of wind as Tim runs toward the open door. There she is not to be seen. He shouts. "Charlotte! Charlotte!  Where are you!".
 
    Filled with worry Tim runs about calling out to his wife.  Searching all around the house, barn, and wood shed too. To rest a minute, he sits on a tree stump. Then the air fills with dust as the massive dragon lands nearby.  Tim blinks, and rubs his eyes a bit as he turns to face the huge beast.

     "Looking for someone?" Rumbles the dragon as Tim looks up at him.  The pain of worry showing in his eyes as he nods."I can't find my wife." Then the dragon drops a strip of yellow cloth. "Would this be hers?" Tim mouth drops open as he picks up his wife's scarf. He then cries."Where did you get it? " The dragon laughs "From your wife it seems, and where?. Now that would be telling." The raccoon falls to his knees. "Please tell me.. She means every thing to me."

     The huge beast grins. "Your wife is close by. Just follow my demands young raccoon.  If not I will turn this valley to ash along with those who remain."  Tim cries.  "We will follow your demands, but please tell me where she is." Then the dragon takes to the air with Tim running after, begging him to say where she is. But is sent rolling across ground by its huge tail.  Laughing as it flies away , the dragon leaves the raccoon face down in the dirt sobbing.

     Tim's sharp ears perk up as he hears a faint cry for help. He struggles to his feet. His body bruised from his encounter with the terrible dragons tail. He calls out. "Charlotte! Is that you?" Then listens once more. Again he hears the faint cry. Feeling it must be his wife, he searches desperately.
 
    In the top branches of the large tree near the raccoons farm house.  Charlotte holds on tight as she continues to cry for help.  After watching Tim run to, and fro she is.still too scared to move. Her feet slip a little causing a few small twigs to fall where Tim has stopped to rest. As the twigs fall around him he looks up just as one bounces off his nose.

    Crying out with a "Ouch!", He continues looking up while rubbing his nose.  Just then his wife cries out as loud as she is able. "Help me please!".Tim eyes search the trees branches as he calls out. "Charlotte is that you?". Then just as he thinks he may be mistaken. He spots her. He then shouts. "Hold on tight . I will get you down." He runs to the barn, and quickly returns with a ladder, and a coil of rope.

    He leans the ladder against the tree, and after climbing to the lowest limb.  He ties the top of the ladder to the limb, and continues climbing higher. He calls out to his wife. "Hold on I am nearly there. " She smiles as she sees her brave raccoon coming to save her.

    His wife calls to him as he gets closer to be carful as she feels the limb bend under Tim's added weight. He assures her that all is well as he reaches out to grab her by the arm. "Don't worry just hold on to me. I will get us down. She nods feeling safer with him close by.

    Charlotte cries out with fright as a strong breeze blows through the treetop . Causing it to swing, and sway. The two raccoons hold tight as the limb they are on moves more with each gust of wind, as the wind lets up a bit Tim tries to help his wife move down toward the trees center. But with the next strong gust, There is a terrible cracking sound, and the limb they are on starts to fall. Taking them both to a uncertain fate.
 
     Charlotte screams as she feels the branch give way. The two raccoons hold each other tight as they fall, bouncing from limb to limb.. Till the rope Tim tied to his waist pulls up tight holding him, and his wife swinging in mid air.

     Still nearly four meters from the ground. Tim groans as the rope starts to bite into his waist.  He asks Charlotte if she is alright. She nods as she looks around. Still holding tight to Tim. She asks "How are we to get down?" He shakes his head. "I am not sure." After pondering the situation for a bit he then says."It's up to you Charlotte."

     She looks up ."How can I help?"  He smiles. "Just climb down till your holding my feet, and drop to the ground." She shakes her head no. "It's too far. I would likely hurt myself. He responds. "I would do it myself. But you would have to hold on to the rope while I hang from your feet to drop.

     She shakes her head. "I couldn't do that." Tim moans. "I fear this rope will cut me in two soon." She looks up feeling sorry for Tim. She bites her lip a little, and says.. "Alright. I will try". She slowly moves down till she is holding on to Tim's ankles.
 

            Just then Sidney Fox calls out with a laugh. “You two do this often?”  Charlotte shouts back. “No!”  Tim groans. “Could you help Charlotte? This rope is getting so tight.”  He nods “Just a moment while I move this table under her.  He then jumps up on it, and assists her down..

After which Tim calls down. “Could you two help me down now?”  Sidney nods. “How did this happen?”  Without hesitation Charlotte tells him about the dragon grabbing her, then dropping her in the top branches of the tree.  Tim nods in agreement as Sidney climbs the ladder to lower Tim with the rope, after which Charlotte helps her mate remove the rope from his waist, then sits with him on the ground.

Sidney grumbles. “That dragon nearly cooked the skunk and me last night on the trail to his farm”. He turns pointing to the scorched fur on his tail.   “I fear we won’t be able to share this valley with that beast”.  Tim nods.” I am thinking you are right.  But I had hoped we could live with the dragon”.

            Charlotte shakes her head. “I could never be comfortable knowing that terrible beast is about.”  The young fox nods. “I hope that rabbit girl you met was being honest. Unless the dragon can be controlled with magic, I fear we will have to leave our valley forever.”

            Tim shakes his head. “I just hate to see our futures dependant on that young fellow Chip sty.. He fainted when we first met the dragon.”  Sidney nods. “True, but I got a feeling that rabbit has a strength that shows when it’s really needed, and Mac likes him. He is a good judge of others.”

            Charlotte chimes in. “Yes you can trust Macs judgment on choosing good friends.” Tim nods. “I must agree on that.” Tim stands up rubbing his back. “Come have some tea with us. It’s the least we can do for your help.”  Charlotte nods, “Yes please.”  Sidney smiles “Thanks I am kind of dry, I will.” Tim gives Charlotte a hug as the fox follows them both into their home.

    A few weeks have past as we return to the mountain village where Chip has been working hard to learn the use of the bow, and to build his strength. Many times the dragon has flown over the nearby ridges from it's volcanic lair to the large valley below.. Chip, and Tasha sit on a hollow log as they enjoy a morning meal.

    Chip turns to Tasha as he finishes eating. "That was a tasty breakfast." She smiles. "Thank you Chip, now we should continue your training. You have learned much. But you must be able to hit the small target every time without a miss." Chip sighs "Ok, but it would be easier if it wasn't moving." She pats his paw. "Yes, but we can't depend on the beast to sit still. You must be ready for anything to survive"

    Chip nods as he picks up the bow, and practice arrows. He then notches a arrow to the string and takes aim at a chestnut hanging from a branch swaying in the breeze, some 50 meters away. "I bet I can cut that nut from that high branch". She smiles. "Um.. Ok if you do I will wash your feet. If you miss, then you do mine".

    He grins. "It's a bet." He then pulls the string back, and waits just so, and lets it fly. Moments later the nut bounces as it hits the ground. Chip hehs "I think that's worth a foot bath". Tasha nods with a big smile: "When you can do that every time. You will be ready to tame the fire demon".


     The young rabbit sits next to her, and smiles. “Surely I am good enough to hit such a large creature.” Tasha turns toward the young rabbit, and nods. ”Yes you could hit the fire demon with a arrow. But the arrow with the potion must be shot into the demons flame just before he inhales. The flame will burn the potion making a magic smoke that will tame the demon.

    Chip blinks. But the dragon has a very large mouth. That should be easy enough. Then in a voice of confidence he smiles. “It will be tricky, but I am sure I can shoot the arrow so it arrives at the right moment.” In fact I am ready. Each day the dragon flies from the volcano to the valley. I think of my friends, and the fear they must be living under. I must free them of this terrible creature.”

    Tasha takes hold of Chips paws, and shakes her head. “You have done very well up to now. But you must practice more.” He smiles at her. “I know you are concerned for my safety. But I don’t think I will improve much more, I am stronger, braver, and much faster than I imagined I ever could be. I think it is time you showed me how to prepare the magic arrows.” The young rabbit looks toward the volcano as he says“. I want to be ready in case the dragon should land here.”

    Tasha thinks a moment. “Maybe you are right. But remember you are not ready. And you should not confront the fire demon until I say you are.” If you miss, the demon will try to kill you.” He nods. “I will remember.” Tasha stands up. “Then let us go to the temple to get the arrows, and we can make them ready to use. Chip nods as they both walk towards the stone temple.



Continued once or twice a week.
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