This is a story that I wrote before the Daughters of Bast came to life. It was partially inspired by the Search for WondLa series.
The great escape
By: Madeline Todd
150 years from now…
It was past midnight. Hillary Vulpis sat in her dorm at her boarding school. She was crying. Her smart-pillow piped up. “I sense that you are not well. Would you like some comfort?” it asked in a robotic monotone. “No,” groaned Hillary. She shut off the smart-pillow and lay down on the memory-foam bed. Her robot August (nicknamed “Auggie”) sat at the foot of the bed. He was the reason she was crying. Hillary built August for a robot-building project. Hillary had based him off of an extinct domestic animal called a “cat”. She had gotten a bad grade for it because it apparently “did not conform to the standards of robotics”. This was extremely unfair because Auggie could do almost anything. He could play music, he could comfort, his paws could transform into tools for various tasks, and his power cell would replace itself when it ran out. Also, Auggie was Hillary’s only friend. Hillary was angry and she locked herself in her room in despair. Auggie luckily provided some comfort. “Oh, Hillary. I completely understand. That teacher of yours is quite an insult to me,” he purred. “No kidding, buddy. We have to find some way to escape this prison,” Hillary replied. “Escape? All because of a bad grade? That seems very unnecessary,” Auggie inquired, cocking his feline head. “There are more reasons why, You know that, Auggie,” Hillary retorted. Hillary had been in the boarding school her whole life ever since her mother had died. Hillary’s father knew he couldn’t take care of a child all by himself, so he sent her to a boarding school when she was only a month old. She had hated the place ever since she arrived. Everyone was mean, including the teachers. There was no way to contact the outside world. It felt like a prison where Hillary would be trapped until she turned twenty. Hillary was thirteen. Hillary let out a long sigh as her body sunk into the soft memory-foam of her bed. Auggie kneaded the sheets with his paws. “I guess I agree with you now,” he meowed. He turned his head around, surveying the room. “This place is sort of a prison. Even for someone like me,” he continued. Auggie stopped for a second, looking out the window. “Would you like some early 21st century music to help you get to sleep, Hillary?” he asked. “Thanks, Auggie,” Hillary whispered. A hatch opened in Auggie’s back, revealing a tiny screen. On the screen was an album. It was a St. Vincent album. The picture on the alum depicted a woman in a strange cloak sitting on a throne. Her hair was like a silvery cloud resting on her head. One either side of the throne, strange symbols floated on a white, gradient background. Electronic music quietly played out of a speaker, slowly lulling Hillary to sleep.
When Hillary woke up, Auggie was sitting vigil on the foot of her bed, the music still playing through the speaker. “Watching it go, I’m just a bad believer…,” the music played. Seeing that Hillary was awake, Auggie shut off the music and closed the hatch in his back. “Morning, Hillary! I have an escape plan!” he meowed in a cheerful tone. Hillary groggily pulled back the covers and said “Okay, Auggie. Tell me when I’m actually awake.” Before she got out of bed, Auggie straightened Hillary’s hair so she would look presentable. Hillary’s red hair was pulled back in a fishtail braid at the back and two small pigtails at the top of her head that looked like tiny, russet geysers. People commented that Hillary’s hairstyle looked like a fox, with the pigtails being the ears and the braid being the tail. After Auggie’s quick makeover, Hillary put on her itchy school uniform and polished Auggie’s smooth, metal surface. Together, they walked over to the cafeteria for breakfast. At this time in Earth’s history, people are able to imitate foods in tiny tabloids which replace normal food. Hillary always thought this was very bland and tasted like pure starch. Auggie really didn’t care because being a robot, he did not need to eat or drink. After breakfast, it was time for classes, which included history (in the year 2015, people had regular food…), piloting gliders, creative writing, and many more classes to boring to even mention. Hillary went through the day, almost falling asleep in class about five times. Then, it was evening and everyone went back to their dorms. After Auggie and Hillary had sat down on the bed, Auggie discussed his master escape plan. “First, we get up at approximately 1:00 a.m. Before exiting the dorm room, I will have to remove the tracking device located on your left shoulder blade. I will be careful so as not to cause you severe pain,” he explained. “Then, after I have disabled my tracking device, we enter the piloting gymnasium and grab one of the portable gliders. I will strap the glider onto my back and we exit the building through the pipe system. Afterwards, we unfold the glider and fly off! Sounds like a plan?” Hillary nodded in shock. How could her robot come up with such an intricately formulated plan? Hillary the tucked herself in to bed, Auggie watching over her as she slept. Hillary awoke with a start to Auggie’s beeping alarm. She tiptoed out of bed and put on a thin flight suit. Then, Auggie removed Hillary’s tracking chip, transforming one of his claws into a clean scalpel. After disabling the tracking device inside him, Auggie led Hillary to the piloting gymnasium. The pair dug through a closet until they found a portable glider. It was decorated to look like a Luna moth, an extinct flying insect. On the side, the words Luna Moth were printed in bold, red lettering. Auggie scanned the craft with a laser. A hologram materialized above his tail, showing the Luna Moth. “The
Luna Moth was invented in the latter part of the 21st century. It’s specially designed wings and body resemble the luna moth, an extinct insect that is otherwise known as Actias luna,” he explained in a whisper. Hillary regarded the vehicle silently before folding it up carefully and strapping it onto Auggie’s back. Then, Hillary pried open a large manhole and the girl and the robot began their journey in the pipe systems. Auggie had no trouble navigating the tunnels because the bottoms of his paws had turned into miniature suction cups that stuck to the damp wall of the pipes. Hillary on the other hand, struggled to keep a firm grip on the floor. Eventually, Hillary and Auggie reached another manhole and opened it up. Hillary peered out and saw that they were at least a few meters from the back of the boarding school building. The predawn sky shone a brilliant blue-violet. Hillary unstrapped the portable Luna Moth and folded it back out, revealing the elaborate design of the craft. Hillary pried open the cockpit and she and Auggie jumped inside. Auggie grabbed a pair of flight goggles and handed them to Hillary. Then, after Hillary booted up the machine, the Luna Moth burbled to life. It hovered a few feet off the ground before Hillary steered it high into the air above the city.
After a few long hours of piloting, Hillary and Auggie landed the Luna Moth in a strange field. The pair stepped out onto the soft green grass. Hillary looked around her. The landscape surrounding her was nothing like the teachers and holograms had taught her. Instead of oak trees, there were towering trees that had mossy leaves and bowl-shaped knotholes. Strange birdlike creatures rested in the knotholes. They had beaks like pelicans and six wings that resembled those of hummingbirds. Their calls were long and sweet, like the loons that Hillary had seen in her eduholo shows. Pairs of these strange animals sat in the knotholes. Some took care of their young, but some fought for territory. Auggie opened a hatch with a screen and took a picture of the otherworldly flock. But suddenly, one of the birds was hit by an dart, killing it in an instant and scattering the rest of the group. Hilary gasped in shock as the birds flew off into the distance, their iridescent wings fluttering quickly. The dead individual sat lifeless in the mouth of the knot hole. “Do you think we should investigate, Auggie?” asked Hillary in a hushed voice. “I don’t see why not,” replied Auggie. The pair tiptoed towards the strange tree where the dead animal lay. They peered in the knothole and saw the animal. Blood stained its neck where the dart pierced it. Auggie examined the arrow. It was wooden with a feather at the far end. The feather was from the same birds that had rested in the trees. Suddenly, while Hillary was examining the dart, she heard rustling in the bushes. Hillary froze in her tracks. Auggie fell silent. Suddenly, Hillary heard a raspy voice coming from the bushes. “What are you doing in my territory?” the voice demanded. Auggie nervously looked over at Hillary. “I don’t understand a word that it said,” he whispered. “That’s weird. I understood it perfectly,” Hillary whispered back. Then, Hillary’s green eyes darted over to the place the voice was coming from. Standing in front of the vegetation was a strange, bipedal creature. It was covered from head to toe in white, peach-fuzz fur. It wore a long loincloth around it’s waist. On its face sat two leaf shaped ears and a short trunk. In it’s calloused hand, the creature held some sort of blowgun. The creature’s gleaming, sky-blue eyes bore down on Hillary and Auggie. Hillary backed away slowly. Auggie jumped out of the knothole, allowing the creature to take the dead bird for himself. Gathering up all of the courage that she could, Hillary spoke. “My name is Hillary. This is Auggie,” she said in a wavering voice she gestured to Auggie. She held up her hands in surrender. “We come in peace,” she explained. The creature’s expression softened the slightest bit. “If you say so. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hawargus,” said the creature. Auggie tapped Hillary’s leg with a metallic paw. “I still can’t understand a word this thing is saying!” he said. “Um, uh….whatever your name is? Auggie here can’t understand a word you’re saying. Yet I can,” she explained to Hawargus. The alien’s eyes widened. “Let me look at you for a second, Hillary. You may have a special gift,” he replied. Hawargus slowly stepped forwards and laid his hand on Hillary’s shoulder. Hillary could feel the soft grip of Hawargus’s hand and his warm, damp breath. After a minute or two, he stepped back. “I was correct,” he concluded. “You have the ability to commune with our kind.” Hillary looked at him quizzically. “I also have a way to help your little friend do the same,” Hawargus said with a grin. He pulled a tiny silver ball about the size of a medium-sized dewdrop. “Give this to Auggie. When he ingests it, this little thingy will dissolve and the particles within will grant him the ability to communicate with us,” Hawargus explained. “But how?” asked Hillary. “That I do not know, my dear girl.” She took the little ball from Hawargus’s hand and helped Auggie ingest the ball. After ingesting the ball according to Hawargus’s instructions, Auggie’s metal body trembled slightly then stopped. He gulped and his wire whiskers twitched. “Ugh. That certainly wasn’t pleasant. Are you sure this is gonna work, Hillary?” asked Auggie. “It will be alright,…..wait, Hillary? What was his name again?” Hawargus asked. “His name’s Auggie,” Hillary explained with a little giggle. “Hey! I can perfectly understand this guy now! It did work!” Auggie exclaimed. Auggie began jumping up and down excitedly like a kitten playing with an enticing toy. Hawargus rolled his eyes. “Calm down Auggie,” Hillary said. Auggie abruptly stopped jumping and landed on his side. Hillary picked Auggie up in her arms and carried him like a mother would a baby. “Why are you here in the first place, Hawargus?” she asked. Hawargus sighed deeply and then began to speak. “I was exiled from my clan. They said that I was unworthy,” he said. “I’m sorry,” Hillary whispered as she laid a hand on Hawargus’s shoulder. Auggie stretched his neck out and nuzzled Hawargus’s face. “Hillary, how did you get here? I have never seen anything like you and Auggie in my entire 102 years of living,” he asked in a whisper. “I was in a terrible boarding school since I was a baby. Auggie and I escaped at dawn,” Hillary replied with a mischievous grin. Hawargus stared at them for a little while, looking confused. Hillary shot a short glance at Auggie, who shrugged. (Believe me, I’ve never thought of what a robotic cat would look like if it shrugged.) After a few minutes of awkward silence and shrugs, Hawargus gasped. “I have an idea! Hillary, we could use that glider of yours and I can teach you the way to the city?” he shouted. “Wait, so you’re saying that we go back to my city?” Hillary asked quizzically. “Of course not! I’m talking about the great city of Eas!” he corrected. “What’s this ‘Eas’ place?” asked Auggie. “It is the great city that lies beyond the forest, ruled by Queen Follir,” Hawargus continued. “Okay,” Hillary muttered as she opened the glider. After the trio boarded the Luna Moth, Hawargus guided Hillary to the city. When the reached Eas, Hillary looked out the window and saw an enormous city with a strange palace right smack in the middle. Hillary landed the ship and opened the door. Voices, music, and the sounds of bustling traffic greeted the trio. Hillary cautiously climbed out of the glider, along with Hawargus and Auggie. Hawargus turned around and whispered, “Act casual and try not to call any attention to yourselves. The Queen despises humans.” He shuddered after saying this and they began to walk into the city. They disappeared into the throng of citizens and walked on. As they were walking, an elegant figure caught Hillary’s eye. The figure was dressed in elegant robes, and bangles and charms were crowded onto it’s four, lanky arms. On the back of it’s head were three antennae-like structures that had iridescent eye spots on either side. On it’s head sat large, bat-like ears pierced with hoops and gems. The figure was flanked by three, heavily-armored body guards carrying large, spear-like weapons. Hawargus grew suddenly tense. “It’s the Queen,” he whispered. Hillary stiffened, trying not to call attention to herself as Hawargus had instructed. But suddenly, the elegant queen turned around and spotted Hillary. Her beady eyes seemed to bore into Hillary’s soul. Hillary walked as if nothing had happened, but Queen Follir suddenly let out a gasp. Her bodyguards snapped to attention. “Guards! I have spotted a human!” she shouted. “Where is it, your majesty?” said one of the guards. “O-over there,” said the Queen, pointing a shaky finger in Hillary’s direction. Her eyes narrowed and began to show a glint of malevolence. “Find the human and whatever companions it has and bring it to me. The companions will be arrested. In the meantime, I’ll figure out a fitting punishment for the human,” ordered Queen Follir. As the guards began to search the crowd, the queen let out an evil laugh. The guards were upon Hillary, Auggie and Hawargus in the blink of an eye. As Hillary struggled in the guard’s grip, she demanded, “What are you doing to me? What have I ever done to you?” But then, realization hit Hillary. The Queen hated humans. But why? The guards escorted Queen Follir back to the palace with the three captives. The palace had white, tiled flooring and the ceiling was like a prism, reflecting light off of objects below. It was a beautiful place, but the fact that Hillary and her friends had been captured by a cruel queen and were being dragged by guards took away from the moment. “Take the white one and the hunk of metal to the prison. I’ll take the human to…well where we put the humans,” snickered Queen Follir. The guard holding Hillary dropped her on the ground and bound her hands behind her back. Hillary followed the Queen down a long corridor. “Why do you capture innocent humans, your majesty?” Hillary demanded as they walked. The Queen looked back at her and said, “because I can. Humans are disgusting creatures.”
The queen laughed to herself. Hillary rolled her eyes. This is one insolent queen, she thought. After walking down flights of stairs and numerous corridors, Queen Follir opened a door and Hillary followed. Inside, there was a row of metal cages. Two of them held humans. The Queen pushed Hillary into a cage and locked it. As Queen Follir walked away, Hillary fought the urge to call her an idiot. “Looks like ol’ Queenie’s got herself yet another guinea pig,” one of the caged humans grumbled. “Luke, stop calling everyone guinea pigs!” shouted the other one. The second voice was right next to her. It belonged to a girl with dyed black and white hair, a matching dress with a frilled collar, and squinting, brown eyes. She looked to be in her early twenties. “The name’s Chickadee. This over here is Luke,” said the girl, pointing to a teenager behind her. The teenager had dark skin, dreadlocks, and he was wearing something close to a biker jacket. “How’d you end up in here?” asked Luke. “Well…it’s a long story. You know those boarding schools? The ones where you don’t get out until you’re twenty?” explained Hillary. Luke nodded. “All too well, missy,” groaned Chickadee. “So, the robot I had made and I hatched an escape plan. We ended up escaping successfully and then we found this alien named Hawargus. He’s really sweet if you get to know him well. He told us that we should go here, and then the stupid queen captured us,” continued Hillary. “You will not believe how insolent she is,” said Hillary. “When she was leading me here, I asked her why she was capturing all the humans. Her answer: ‘because I can’.” Chickadee did a face palm. “How can you even understand that freak?” asked Luke. “Hawargus told me that I can somehow understand the aliens,” Hillary answered. “Cool,” muttered Chickadee, not making eye contact. Hillary sighed and lay down on the cold floor. She thought of Auggie and Hawrgus and silent tears began to stream down her cheek. Try as she might to think of the “early 21st century music” Auggie had always played for her to help her get to sleep, the lyrics of the songs were marred by memories. In the end, Hillary cried herself to sleep.
When Hillary woke up, it was still dark outside. She heard Luke snoring. Chickadee was almost silent, save for her occasional sniffles. Hillary lay on her back again, listening to the few sounds in the prison. Suddenly, as she was listening, she heard quiet footsteps in the hall. Was it the queen, coming to punish them? Had Hawargus and Auggie somehow escaped and were coming to her rescue? The footsteps stopped and Hillary heard the click of the door’s lock opening and the door creaked open. A figure stepped into the room. She was almost identical to Queen Follir, save for her smaller size and her dress. She was wearing a strangely ornate nightgown that had gems encircling the sleeves. The figure stepped over to the prison cells and bent down in front of Hillary’s cage. The figure’s eyes shimmered as they surveyed the prisoners. She sighed. “Stupid mother,” the figure muttered under her breath. “Capturing innocent humans and locking them up to be fed to the zoo animals.” Hillary’s eyes widened in fear. “Is that what the queen really does?” Hillary whispered. The figure sighed again. “She’s done that three times. I can’t remember what mother did to the other two,” the figure continued. “Who are you?” whispered Hillary. “I’m Princess Chareen, the queen’s completely unloved and shunned daughter,” the princess said sarcastically. “Ya think?” Hillary smirked. “She hates me. She acts like I don’t even exist,” Princess Chareen continued. “I know how that feels,” Hillary said. She slipped her arm through the cage bars and patted the princess’s shoulder. “I don’t really care for mother anyway. She’s a cruel, insolent, air-headed, evil hog,” Princess Chareen said. “Wow, you really hate your mom, eh?” Hillary laughed. The princess and the prisoner laughed together. Suddenly, Chickadee said, “Heck who are you talking to, Hillary?” Chickadee looked out of the bars and saw Princess Chareen kneeling in front of Hillary. The princess gave a shy wave towards Chickadee and Chickadee smiled in response. “Did you hear what she called Queen Follir? She called her ‘a cruel, insolent, air-headed, evil hog’!” whispered Hillary. The three girls shared a laugh. Then, a voice echoed behind the door. “Chareen! Get back here this instant! What are you doing in the prison?” shouted the Queen. “Nothing, mother,” lied Princess Chareen. “Sorry, guys. I have to go or mother’s gonna flip. I’ll free you someday,” said the princess. Chickadee and Hillary waved. Luke was still asleep. Hillary turned to Chickadee and said, “What do you think that the Queen’s gonna do to us?” Chickadee was silent for a moment. “Let me tell you about Lindsay,” she said. “Lindsay came in here a few months ago. She was a very bright person and she was as cool as a cucumber in the worst of situations. But one day, the guards dragged her out of the prison and I never saw her again. No one knows what they did to her except the Queen, the guards, and most likely anyone else watching.” Hillary’s eyes widened again. “Well, Princess Chareen told me that she feeds them to the zoo animals and she can’t remember what else she did,” Hillary answered. “Fed to the zoo animals? Ugh. I bet they have some big, fancy-schmancy arena that the animals can eat in,” spat Chickadee. The girls didn’t talk for hours. Luke slept for about the same time. “Why has Luke been sleeping for so long?” whispered Chickadee. “Dunno. Maybe the Queen drugged him or something. He’s stopped snoring,” Hillary answered. Chickadee shrugged. Again, the girls didn’t talk for hours and Luke kept on sleeping. Many uneventful days and nights went by, and Luke eventually woke up. He didn’t talk much either. Then, after about a week in prison, the queen opened the door and let Hillary out of her cage. “We have decided on a punishment. Guards, take her,” ordered Queen Follir. The guards came in the room and dragged Hillary by her arms. Eventually, they cam upon a door which led to a large room. The room was like that of a Roman coliseum. In the middle was a large arena. On the sides were the seats for the people watching. In the seats were many aliens, which Hillary suspected were the Queen’s subjects and nobility. Hillary spotted Princess Chareen in the crowd, looking down miserably. “Human, step into the arena,” ordered Queen Follir. The guards dropped Hillary onto the cold ground and she crawled into the entrance. Standing in the arena was a fat looking alien holding a lock to a gate. The alien looked down on Hillary and said, “I have faith in you, human. Please, defeat the creature so that the queen may be overthrown.” Hillary gulped. “I-I’ll try, sir,” she responded. The alien smiled. “You don’t have to call me ‘sir’ you know,” he chuckled. “Keeper! Release the creature!” yelled Queen Follir. Keeper took a deep breath and opened the gate. “Let the games begin!” shouted Queen Follir. No one cheered. The creature stalked out of the gate. It was a huge, lion-sized carnivore with black and russet fur, small ears, saber teeth, claws as big as Hillary’s hand, and an ugly, snarling face only a mother could love. The creature pounced and the crowd gasped. Hillary darted out of the way and tried to grab the creature’s back. She managed to climb on and the creature bucked like a bull at a rodeo. Eventually, Hillary was bucked off and she fell to the floor. The creature loomed above her, ready to strike her with it’s giant claws. Hillary stiffened and darted out of the way and the creature struck the floor, breaking it’s claws. A howl of pain echoed through the arena. Hillary latched onto the creature’s back once more and held on tight, pinching it’s short fur. Hillary advanced towards the creature’s neck and held it in a chokehold. The creature’s growls turned into whimpers, and then into nothing at all. The predator dropped to the ground in pain, suffocating in Hillary’s fierce grip. Then, it stopped breathing altogether and died. Hillary checked it’s heart to see if the creature was really dead or just playing possum. Hillary could find no heartbeat, nor pulse. It was dead. Hillary stood up triumphantly. The crowd cheered, with the exception of Queen Follir, who was shouting “NOOOOO!” Hillary climbed the arena wall and exited onto the floor. The crow began to chant. “Hu-man!Hu-man!Hu-man!” they cheered. Queen Follir stepped out of the seats and faced Hillary. “This is the first time this has ever happened,” she said, hyperventilating. “This means that I will be overthrown.” Hillary pumped her fist in the air. The crowd took up a new chant. “Death to the Queen! Death to the Queen!” they shouted. Amid the ruckus, Hillary asked “Overthrow you?” “It’s the rules, human. Although I have some plans to bend them,” she whispered. Queen Follir said the word “human” with particular disgust. Her mouth upturned in a wicked smile. “SILENCE!” she yelled. The chanting crowd hushed. “In most cases, since this human here defeated the monster, I would be overthrown,” Queen Follir explained. The crowd cheered. “But as your queen, I have decided to bend the rules. Everything will stay the same and there will be no overthrowing and the human will go back to prison,” she continued. The crowd booed, even the queen’s subjects. Suddenly, the whole crowd rushed out of their seats and were upon the queen. The guards tried to separate the mob, but to no avail. Everyone dragged the queen out of the arena and out of the palace. Hillary followed the mob closely, eagerly waiting for what would happen. Once the mob was on the palace grounds, they advanced towards a lake that lay at the center of the city. “What are you doing with me? I command you, stop this at once!” shouted Queen Follir. But the crowd pushed on. They stopped at the lake. where the two subjects gripping the queen walked over to the lake. Then, without warning, the duo threw her into the lake. Queen Follir screamed as she fell into the lake. A huge ripple spread on the surface of the lake. There was silence for three minutes straight and then, a few of the queen’s anklets and bangles floated to the surface. Queen Follir had drowned. The mob cheered, including Hillary and Princess Chareen. One of the subjects that threw the Queen into the lake stood up. “Now that Queen Follir has died, Princess Chareen, heir to the Ean crown, shall be queen. Her coronation will begin next week,” he said. “Hail Queen Chareen! Hail Queen Chareen!” the crowd cheered. Queen Chareen’s pale cheeks began to flush a bright red. The guards immediately crowded around the young queen as everyone returned to the city and the palace. Once inside the palace, Hillary gave Queen Chareen a congratulatory hug. After some celebration among the subjects, Queen Chareen said, “I have some announcements to make. Now that I am queen, I will make some new rules. All humans and other prisoners are to be released and will be free to roam the city. Capturing of humans or other citizens who haven’t done anything wrong is now illegal. All species are created equal!” The crowd cheered again. As the guards went to the human prison to free Chickadee and Luke, Hillary asked the new queen to take her to the prison to free Auggie and Hawargus. Queen Chareen rushed down to the prison and opened the door. Hillary looked around the cells to see if she could see her friends. Suddenly, a familiar voice greeted her. “Hillary? Is that really you?” It was Auggie, staring at her from the bars of the cell. Hillary’s eyes became wet with tears of joy. “Auggie! Are you okay?” she asked frantically as tears flew from her face. Queen Chareen pulled a key out of her pocket and unlocked the cell. Auggie jumped out and nuzzled Hillary’s leg. “Oh, Auggie, I missed you. I was so worried,” she cried. Auggie leaped onto Hillary’s shoulder and nuzzled her neck. “What happened to you? How did you escape?” asked Auggie. “I’ll tell you later. We have to find Hawargus!” Hillary answered. Auggie, Queen Chareen, and Hillary searched the cells for Hawargus’s fuzzy, white body. Eventually, they found him hunched in a corner, still dressed in his flight suit that Hillary had given him for the journey to Eas. He was considerably thinner. Life in prison had definitely had an affect on the alien. Slowly, Hawargus looked up. “Hillary? Auggie?” he rasped. “Hawargus you’re alive!” cried Hillary and Auggie in unison. As Queen Chareen opened the cell. Hawargus crawled out and embraced the duo. Tears of joy now ran from his large eyes. Queen Chareen sighed and led them all back into the main room of the palace. “You are all free to live in Eas,” she announced. Hillary thanked her graciously and started to go to the palace door with Auggie perched on her shoulder. She turned around and saw Chickadee and Luke coming towards her. “You guys alright?” she asked. “Why wouldn’t we be, guinea pig?” joked Luke. Chickadee elbowed him in the hip. “For the last time, STOP CALLING EVERYONE GUINEA PIGS!” Chickadee scolded. Hillary smirked. It was clear that the newfound friends were going to lead a happy rest of their lives, and that another great adventure lay before them.