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Author Topic: Around the World  (Read 2841 times)

Offline Chipster-roo

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Around the World
« on: January 10, 2016, 04:53:01 PM »
Some of you may recall that I wrote a WD fanfic for Nanowrimo 2015.  Here is the first chapter.  It is based on the book, but with :captain-broom :buttercup2 :hickory2 :marigold2 :spartina appearing later on.  I will try to post one or two chapters each Sunday.



Cover credits:
Bigwig by “Wild Wind”.
Blackberry taken from the WD film.
Buttercup and Fiver taken from the WD series.
Hazel by “Shaydeelady”.
Hyzenthlay by “LadyMaryJane”.
Pipkin by “Xbox-DS-Gameboy”.
Spartina by “shuvuuia”.
I forgot where I got Vilthuril.
Heart by “clker”.
Map by “Karamidov”.
The whole thing put together by Chipster-roo using Pinta.

==========
Chapter 1: The Mysterious Hrududu

[...]this is a box thing humans travel inside to go places, a human carrying travelling thing, and it is noisy, and I do not like it at all!
--Fred L. Tate, The Warren

It was an ordinary day on Watership Down.  It was late summer and most of the rabbits were either sleeping in the burrows below ground or having an enjoyable silflay.

Nearby, at Nuthanger Farm, there was a large hrududu full of crates of fresh vegetables.  Inside the hrududu were two rabbits, enjoying the rich taste of the flayrah.
-It's been a while since the last successful raid.  It's nice to finally have flayrah again, don't you think, Fiver? asked one of the rabbits, taking a break from her leaf of kale.
The other rabbit, however, seemed tense.  He was staring wide-eyed at the inside of the hrududu, and finally spoke:
-This place isn't safe, Vilthuril, my dear.  If we stay here, something will happen.
-But Fiver, what could possibly go wrong?  Plenty of flayrah, no smell of cats, no sounds of men.  Everything seems fine!
-Sometimes, things happen suddenly.  Everything is all right one moment, and the next it is total chaos.
-Fiver, is this one of your visions again?
Fiver hesitated for a few seconds.  He continued to look around him.
-I don't know.  I feel...something, but it isn't very clear.
-Then it's probably nothing.  Come on, Fiver my dear, cheer up.
Fiver then realized that there was no way he could get his mate to leave the hrududu before it was too late.  He would have to leave her, which was entirely out of the question.  He was still thinking about a way to convince her to get off, when the ground under them began to move, knocking them both off their balance.  Vilthuril got up and said, almost tharn:
-Frith and Inlé, what is happening?
Fiver replied with a slight hint of panic:
-It seems that the man woke up the hrududu.
-We must get out!
She went to the back of the hrududu and put her front paws on the tailgate.  She could see the road moving in front of her.  She had never seen a road before, apart from the iron road near Efrafa, making this experience terrifying.
-Calm down, calm down, reassured Fiver as he went beside her.  Hrududil probably aren't alive, so we are in no immediate danger.  As long as the human doesn't know we are here, we should be safe.
-This hrududu is travelling so fast, observed Vilthuril.  Unless we get off now, we will end up far from the Down.  But I don't think jumping off is a good idea.
-You're right about that: jumping off a moving hrududu is never a good idea.  Let's just hope it doesn't take us too far away.  But never mind that, we will see where it takes us when we get there.  Until then, let's get back to our flayrah.
==========
Meanwhile on Watership Down, Hazel was searching the burrows for his brother.  He had not seen him since the previous evening and was getting seriously worried: it was not like Fiver to suddenly vanish without a trace.  He finally found Pipkin, alone in his burrow, awake.
-Pipkin, have you seen Fiver? asked Hazel.
-Yes, I saw him this morning, answered Pipkin.  He told me to tell you that he was going to the farm for some time alone.  He left just before sunrise.
-He went to the farm ALONE?
-No, not alone, Vilthuril went with him.
-Nobody else?
-No one.
Hazel was shocked.  Fiver and Vilthuril were some of the most sensible rabbits in the warren, and recklessly going on a raid without bringing anyone from the owsla was unlike them.  The only thing that he could rejoice in was that the two rabbits had unusual powers, which should keep them out of trouble.

But at sunset, they still weren't back.  Hazel was seriously worried.  What if, for some reason, neither rabbit felt the danger before it was too late?  What if they were attacked by a cat and killed?  He called a general meeting in the Honeycomb.

As the great burrow became filled with rabbits, Hazel took his spot in the middle of the great burrow and began:
-Friends, this is a crisis.  Fiver and Vilthuril went to the farm this morning and they are not back yet.  The farm can be a dangerous place, especially for them since they never took part in any serious raids.  We must organize a rescue mission as soon as possible.
-I volunteer take part in the rescue mission, shouted a random rabbit somewhere in the Honeycomb.
-I volunteer too.
-So do I.
Pretty soon the Honeycomb was filled with the sounds of many rabbits, all of whom wanted to take part in the mission.  Once things had quieted down, Hazel made his choices.  The first one was Bigwig, as there was a high chance they might have to fight some cats over at the farm.  He then chose Blackberry, in case the rescue would involve using some clever trick only he could think of.  The third rabbit he picked was Hyzenthlay.  While, in most situations, he left her in charge of the warren while he went on the dangerous missions, she also sometimes felt things, somewhat like Fiver, and such information might be useful.  Finally, he also selected Pipkin, whom he could always depend on, no matter the situation they were in.

As the group of five left the Honeycomb, Hazel told those who were left behind:
-Don't worry if we're not back soon.  We may even be gone a few days, but hopefully it won't come to that.
As they went outside, they saw that it was a quiet and peaceful evening.  Hazel regretted not having gone to the farm earlier.  They would have to travel in the darkness.  While Inlé was shining brightly without any clouds obstructing its light, it was still much easier to travel by day.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!


Offline Bright Side

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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 12:48:33 AM »
I like it! :) Great story so far. I'm really interested in where it'll go next. It sounds like a cool and fun adventure.

Also, I don't know if this was meant to be funny, but it made me laugh:

Quote from: Chipster-roo on  
-I volunteer take part in the rescue mission, shouted a random rabbit somewhere in the Honeycomb.
Good work. Keep writing!

PS. I like the cover, too :)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 12:49:17 AM by Bright Side »
Thank you to Chipster-roo for the avatar!

Offline Chipster-roo

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Around the World
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 10:55:37 PM »
Quote from: Bright Side on Jan 10 2016, 07:48:33 PM
I like it! :) Great story so far. I'm really interested in where it'll go next. It sounds like a cool and fun adventure.

Also, I don't know if this was meant to be funny, but it made me laugh:

Quote from: Chipster-roo on  
-I volunteer take part in the rescue mission, shouted a random rabbit somewhere in the Honeycomb.
Good work. Keep writing!

PS. I like the cover, too :)
Thanks for the review!  I'm glad you liked it.

I'm glad you found that passage funny, although making it funny not my main intention when I wrote it.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!


Offline Acacia Heartstrings

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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 06:48:35 PM »
This is the second fanfic I read Watership Down, it will be fun. I just wish further improve my English hehe
I hope Vithuril and Fiver are well on the truck.     :hyzenthlay  :fiver2
I love Watership Down!
 
Everything is fine =) (?)

Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2016, 06:09:07 PM »
Quote from: Acacia Heartstrings on Jan 12 2016, 01:48:35 PM
This is the second fanfic I read Watership Down, it will be fun. I just wish further improve my English hehe
I hope Vithuril and Fiver are well on the truck.     :hyzenthlay  :fiver2
I'm glad you like it!

You'll find out how Fiver and Vilthuril are doing next Sunday.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!


Offline Myrkin

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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 07:41:12 PM »
Quote from: Quote:on 
Pretty soon the Honeycomb was filled with the sounds of many rabbits, all of whom wanted to take part in the mission.

They probably knew they could safely volunteer to dangerous mission (and thus show their courage without risking anything), while Hazel would still choose rabbits that have names and are not "random rabbit somewhere in the Honeycomb". :p
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 07:41:26 PM by Myrkin »
"My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today." - Hazel

Pessimist sees a dark tunnel. Optimist sees a light in the tunnel. Realist sees the light of coming train. And the train driver sees three idiots standing on the track.

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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 11:27:34 PM »
Quote from: Myrkin on Jan 13 2016, 02:41:12 PM
Quote from: Quote:on 
Pretty soon the Honeycomb was filled with the sounds of many rabbits, all of whom wanted to take part in the mission.

They probably knew they could safely volunteer to dangerous mission (and thus show their courage without risking anything), while Hazel would still choose rabbits that have names and are not "random rabbit somewhere in the Honeycomb". :p
An interesting conclusion.

Let's just hope Hazel won't ever choose that poor random rabbit who will end up having to go on the dangerous mission :o
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2016, 11:56:41 AM »
Quote from: Quote:on 
Let's just hope Hazel won't ever choose that poor random rabbit who will end up having to go on the dangerous mission :o

I don't know... If he/she did go, then at least they would get a name and some personality, which might be worth the risk. :)
"My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today." - Hazel

Pessimist sees a dark tunnel. Optimist sees a light in the tunnel. Realist sees the light of coming train. And the train driver sees three idiots standing on the track.

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Around the World
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2016, 04:06:39 PM »
Here are chapters 2 and 3.

Chapter 2: The Ship.

So when you're cold [...]
Remember love and friendship,
And warmth will come to you.
--Stephen Cosgrove, The Gnome from Nome

The farmer's hrududu was still travelling on the road, with Fiver and Vilthuril still on board.  They had already eaten a certain amount of flayrah, so they slept for most of the trip.  About two hours after the departure from the farm, the hrududu suddenly stopped.  The air was full of numerous smells, most of which the rabbits had never smelled before.  There were also many sounds, all made by humans.  Evidently the hrududu had stopped in a dense human settlement, thought they did not know that they were near the Port of London.

The rabbits were still getting over the shock of this new, dangerous place, when they heard the farmer approach.  Before he could spot them, they jumped into a large crate full of lettuce.  As it was nearly full, they could hardly move without attracting attention.
-What did we get ourselves into? wondered Vilthuril.
-Don't worry, we will be able to get out of here soon, replied Fiver.
The farmer walked around the back of the hrududu, absent-mindedly examining his load.  Since the spring, he sold part of his vegetables to a major food company, which shipped them overseas for processing.  The vegetables looked delicious and he would probably get a good price for them.  There were a few leaves of kale and lettuce on the floor, half-eaten by the rabbits, but he believed they had simply fallen out of their crates during the trip.  He made a mental note to drive more carefully next time.

A forklift then went in reverse towards the farmer's hrududu and picked up the first crate.  Soon afterwards, another forklift picked up the the one where Fiver and Vilthuril were hiding.  It was a rather unpleasant experience for them, as they found themselves being shaken and moved around without being able to do anything about it.

After a while, the shaking stopped.  The place the rabbits were in felt unusually cold and was full of new smells.  They jumped out of the crate and inspected the area.  It contained lots of vegetables, but also several other substances with which they were not familiar.  While Vilthuril wandered through the hold, Fiver remained motionless near the lettuce crate.  After a while, he finally spoke:
-This place is mostly safe, but it's cold.  So cold.
-You're right about that, said Vilthuril.  What I don't understand is where all this cold comes from.  There isn't any snow, so it can't be winter.
-This place is definitely the doing of humans.  Who knows why or how they build places like this?  Either way, we must stop this cold.
The refrigerated hold of the ship felt even colder to rabbits than to humans.  While the employees who visited it wore warm clothes when they did so, the rabbits did not have this luxury.
-I hope we will find a way to stop the cold, but until then, I guess we shall have to stay active, concluded Vilthuril, and sleep closely together to stay warm.  At least food won't be a problem, with all this flayrah.
With that, they went to explore the rest of the hold.  It was very large and there were plenty of small hiding spots and tunnels inside and between crates.  It was a nice place, apart from the cold.
==========


Chapter 3: The Trip to the City

Through the beautiful valley
And its lovely countryside
As he sits up by the window
And the views go gliding by
--Bryan Daly, Jess the Cat

The rescue party from Watership Down had been travelling for most of the night.  It took them much longer than they had expected, and they only reached the farm the next morning.

Nuthanger farm was quiet at this time of day.  There were no cats, apart from a fat white one sleeping near a window.  The dog was still asleep.  The humans, if there were any, were not working outside.  Leaving Pipkin to act as a sentry, Hazel smelled around.
-Fiver and Vilthuril were here, all right.  This is their scent.  Let's follow it.
The group slowly progressed through the farmyard, until the scent suddenly stopped in the middle of a dirt path.  There was no blood, no signs of a struggle, nothing unusual.  There was just the scent of humans, which was everywhere, and that of fresh flayrah, which was unusual considering the trail was nowhere near the garden.
-But they can't just vanish into thin air! insisted Hazel.  What could have happened?
Blackberry looked at and smelled the ground, before finally guessing:
-They have probably been taken away by a hrududu.
-A hrududu?  But that's impossible! claimed Bigwig.  Hrududil take no notice of you if you leave them alone.
-But what if, explained Blackberry, they were already on the hrududu before it started to move?  Some of them carry flayrah, maybe that's what they were after.  Besides, you can see a few tracks left by the hrududu.
Most of the rabbits were skeptical towards Blackberry's idea, but nobody could offer a better explanation.  After a quick silflay, they continued on the dirt trail that the hrududu took, until they came upon a road.
-All right.  Which way do we go now? asked Bigwig.  And supposing they did get on a hrududu, can we seriously expect to catch up with it?
Just as he said that, another hrududu, which was travelling on the road, stopped right in front of the rabbits and opened its doors.  It was a self-driving double-decker bus.  It had been built a few weeks before and set loose onto the roads of the UK in order to convince the public that self-driving vehicles were the way of the future.  So far, people had expressed little interest in such vehicles, especially since the bus had a tendency to deviate the path it had been programmed to follow.
-Um, Bigwig? said a perplexed Pipkin.  I thought you said hrududil ignore us.
Bigwig was amazed at what had happened.  The hrududu was almost looking like it was inviting them to go inside.  The first of the rabbits to move was Hyzenthlay.  She hopped onto the steps and smelled them, then finally jumped inside the hrududu.
-It's all right, there is no danger.
The other rabbits remained motionless.
-It's safe, I can feel it.
Pipkin was the second rabbit to go on board, his curiosity being stronger than his fear of the hrududu.  Blackberry came next.
-You two really should get on before it leaves, you know? he suggested.  You can't expect it to just stay here forever, waiting for you.
Bigwig and Hazel stared at each other for a few seconds.
-What fools we look like! whispered Bigwig to prevent the others from hearing them.  As Chief Rabbit and captain of owsla, it is our task to go first to see if everything is safe, and now we are the last ones to go inside the hrududu.
With that, they jumped inside.

Once inside the hrududu, Hazel began to explore it.  He was amazed that such a large open space was possible, especially since there weren't any tree roots or anything to hold the ceiling up.  At the front, there was a large flat surface with several lights on it and he went to sniff it.  As he did, a beep was heard, a green light flashed, the doors closed and the hrududu began to move.
-Frith and Inlé, we're trapped inside! said a panicked Pipkin.
-Don't worry, Hlao-roo, reassured Hazel, everything is going to be all right.  If we got in, there must be a way to get out.
He was not very convinced of what he said.  He, like Bigwig, had just blindly trusted Blackberry when he had suggested that they ride a hrududu, and Hyzenthlay when she said it was safe.  But then, what did they know about hrududil?
-Hey everyone, come up here! came the faint voice of Blackberry.  You can see!
The others startled.  The voice sounded like it came from above.
-Blackberry!  Where are you? asked Hazel.
Blackberry came down the stairs at the back of the bus.
-I'm up here.  Come and look!
The other rabbits followed him up the stairs.  It was a difficult climb, and Pipkin nearly fell at one point, but eventually everyone reached the second deck.  Outside the windows they could see the trees moving around them.  It was an unusual sight, very different from what the rabbits could see at ground level: it looked as if they were travelling through the multicoloured leaves.  Suddenly, Bigwig collapsed.
-Bigwig!  What's wrong? asked Hazel worriedly.
-I can't...stand...this...!  I'm...dizzy...ARGGH!
-It seems that Bigwig has trouble adjusting to movement, determined Pipkin.
-How do you know that? questioned Blackberry.
-Kehaar once told me about a time when he rode on top of a hrududu.  He felt terrible, just like Bigwig right now.  We have to bring him down.
Going up the stairs was very hard for the rabbits.  Going down was even harder, as the steps were narrow and one false move would cause them to fall to the bottom, especially with Bigwig.  Hazel and Pipkin were forced to push him from one step to the next, with Blackberry and Hyzenthlay stabilizing him each time.  After at least one hour of hard work, everyone was back on the first deck.
-So now we are trapped inside a hrududu, Bigwig's sick, and still no sign of Fiver, said Hazel while cleaning Bigwig.  We never should have gotten inside.
-I'm already feeling much better now, Hazel-rah, assured Bigwig.  I should be all right soon.  Thanks for getting me out of that embleer place up there.
He then struggled to his feet, but Blackberry stopped him.
-No, don't strain yourself, just remain calm.  Otherwise you may get sick again.
-Don't worry, Hazel, we will find Fiver, promised Hyzenthlay.  This hrududu will probably bring us closer to where he is.
-But where IS he? wondered Hazel.  And how do you know we're going the right way?
-We will find out soon enough.  If we're going the wrong way, we can always ride another hrududu back here.
==========
Over the course of the trip, the hrududu stopped hrair times, as it had been automatically programmed to do so to let passengers on.  However, its stops were always in the middle of nowhere, so no humans got on.  Each time, the rabbits sniffed the air, but Fiver and Vilthuril were nowhere to be smelled, so they stayed inside.

After a while, however, it stopped in the middle of the city, at the worst possible place: in the middle of a crossroad.  Traffic screeched to a halt in all directions, then a traffic cop who was nearby approached the bus and shouted:
-Hey!  Get your bus away from here!
However, upon looking inside, his attitude completely changed.  Inside the bus, there were no passengers, no driver, not even a steering wheel, only four tharn rabbits hiding under a seat (Blackberry had gone back to the second deck).  He shook his head in disbelief, then slowly walked away from the bus thinking he was hallucinating and badly needed a vacation.  As he was back on the sidewalk, the bus' doors closed and it resumed its trip.

A few minutes later, the bus reached another programmed stop, at the Port.  Suddenly, Hyzenthlay ordered:
-Everyone get out!
The other rabbits were very surprised at this.  She was the first one to go inside the hrududu, and now she wanted them to go outside.
-Why now? asked Bigwig.  This place is full of humans.
-It seems, observed Blackberry, coming down the stairs from the second deck, that there are many hrududil around here.  The odds are that the one that carried Fiver and Vilthuril stopped somewhere around here, so we might as well look for them.
Hyzenthlay breathed a sigh of relief.  She did not know herself why they needed to get off the hrududu, it was one of her feelings that she was unable to explain.  Blackberry had provided a convincing argument that would force everyone off.

Just as the last rabbit, who turned out to be Pipkin, jumped out of the hrududu, its doors closed and it rolled straight into the Thames river, causing water to splash everywhere.  All five rabbits, who were now wet through, stared at the sinking hrududu.  They all knew that, had they still been inside, they would have drowned.

The incident attracted the attention of all nearby humans.  Several Port employees went to investigate and rescue any victims if necessary, while most passersby simply took out their smartphones to film the scene, hoping it would go viral on the Internet.  The rabbits soon found themselves in the middle of the crowd, struggling to avoid being stepped on.

It took several minutes for all the rabbits to escape the ever-growing crowd.  Once they were all together again, they shook themselves in an effort to dry their fur.  While this removed most of the water, it would take a while for them to become entirely dry again.
-So what do we do now? asked Bigwig.  We can't stay here, we are bound to be noticed sooner or later by these humans.
-I think we should get away from these humans as fast as possible, explained Blackberry.  With so many of them, it's only a question of time before they find us, and they won't like to see us here.
-But there are humans everywhere! pointed out Pipkin.
-Then let's go where there are the least humans, decided Hazel.
Soon afterwards, they came upon a ramp leading to a cruise ship.  The employees in charge of checking the passengers' tickets had left their posts to look at the bus.  As such, the ramp was entirely deserted.  The rabbits climbed it and walked around the deck for a while.  There were a certain number of humans around, but nearly all of them were looking at the spot where the bus had sunk.  Finally, the rabbits saw an open door without any humans near it, so they approached it.  They gasped as they saw what was on the other side.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 04:14:07 PM by Chipster-roo »
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!


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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2016, 02:08:22 PM »
For any rabbit is going crazy inside a car and a bus worse. Hyzenthlay had very good instincts to take on track, although it was dangerous and risky.
I hope you do not end Fiver And Vithuril frozen in the refrigerated warehouse.  :blackberry3
I love Watership Down!
 
Everything is fine =) (?)

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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2016, 09:43:09 PM »
I like it. Adventure stories like this are interesting. Keep it up.
Thank you to Chipster-roo for the avatar!

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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2016, 11:27:00 PM »
Quote from: Acacia Heartstrings on Jan 21 2016, 09:08:22 AM
For any rabbit is going crazy inside a car and a bus worse. Hyzenthlay had very good instincts to take on track, although it was dangerous and risky.
I hope you do not end Fiver And Vithuril frozen in the refrigerated warehouse.  :blackberry3
Quote from: Bright Side on Jan 21 2016, 04:43:09 PM
I like it. Adventure stories like this are interesting. Keep it up.
Thank you both!

I will post a few more chapters on Sunday.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!


Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2016, 04:37:34 PM »
Here are chapters 4 and 5.

Chapter 4: The Inspection.

[It] is a relatively stress-free method of travel. [...] You only have to come to terms with hiding from people whose job it is to find you and arrest you, but would prefer to beat the [hraka] out of you and leave you stranded 100 km from anywhere.
--Ard Arvin, Freight Across Canada

Changing the temperature of the refrigerated compartment was rather easy for the rabbits.  Vilthuril accidentally turned a dial on the wall while jumping on top of a crate full of apples, raising the temperature of the compartment to a more acceptable level in the process.

A few days later, while they were half-asleep, a bright light shone from the back of the room.  The compartment was kept dark to save electricity, so whenever someone entered it, the light from the room beyond flooded inside.

This was the first time since the rabbits' arrival that the compartment had been opened.  They were both awake in a fraction of a second and bolted towards a small hiding spot they had discovered between a few crates.  The humans, meanwhile, slowly walked around the compartment.  Each had a flashlight in one hand and a gun in the other.  They were searching for stowaways.
-We must get these humans out of here, they will kill us if they find us, warned Vilthuril.
-You're right about that.  Don't worry, I have a plan.  Follow me, said Fiver.
They both sneaked out of their hiding spot and went to the other end of the room, where cardboard milk cartons were stored.  As quietly as possible, they began to chew them.  After a few cartons had been destroyed, the entire tower was extremely unbalanced and collapsed in a frightful noise.

All the humans pointed their flashlights towards the scene of the accident.  They slowly approached it, their guns in their hands, ready to shoot any intruder they may find.  One of them slowly brushed away a few cartons to see if anything was underneath, but only found more cartons.

Suddenly, they heard yet another noise, from the opposite end of the room.  The rabbits had just knocked down a shelf full of raw meat.  The entire crew ran there, until one of them decided that they split up.  Each worker was to inspect one batch of crates and blink their flashlight if they found anything.  This way, there would be no place where the stowaways could hide.  Seeing this, the rabbits went tharn.
-Don't worry, Fiver, you did your best, it almost worked.
-We must not despair, Vilthuril.
Despite what he had said, Fiver still had little hope that they would be all right.

A few minutes later, one worker pointed his flashlight straight at both rabbits.  He stared at them, slightly amused.  He was a disgruntled employee, unhappy about his low-paying job searching for stowaways.  Besides, he only got a bonus if he found a human, his contract said nothing about rabbits.
-Have a nice trip, he whispered.
He then proceeded to another batch of containers.
-What just happened? questioned Vilthuril.  This human saw us, there's no doubt about that.  But he left us alone!  Why?
-Humans are one of those things nobody must try to understand, replied Fiver.  Either way, they will leave and they won't come back.  We should be safe until we reach the other side of the Big Water.
-You mean...there's something beyond it?
-I don't know.  We'll find out when we get there.
A few minutes later, the employees had finished patrolling the compartment.  While all these collapses were suspicious, there were clearly no stowaways in the compartment.  They therefore left the compartment to inspect another one.  As Fiver had predicted, they did not go back inside for the rest of the trip.
==========
Chapter 5: Raiding the Kitchen.

I happen to have discovered a direct relation between magnetism and light, also electricity and light, and the field it opens is so large and I think rich.
--Michael Faraday

The rabbits were staring at the inside of the room.  It was the most colourful thing they had ever seen.  The carpet, the walls, the bed, the furniture, everything was of a different colour.  But the most colourful thing had to be the cover on the bed.  Bigwig nearly collapsed again after seeing it, especially since he had not fully recovered from the bus trip.  Blackberry was struggling to figure out how such an ugly thing could possibly exist.  He voiced his concern to Hyzenthlay, who suggested that humans don't see very well.  Hazel smelled it and decided that it was safe as long as nobody stared at it for too long.  Pipkin clawed at it a few times, then tried to climb onto the bed, but due to his reduced size, was unable to reach the top and fell back on the floor.
-At least we're away from the humans, sighed Hazel.
==========
The next day, the rabbits were still hiding under the bed.  Luckily for them, the passenger who was supposed to occupy their cabin didn't show up.  Pipkin had finally made it onto the bed and was jumping crazily on it.  Bigwig had entirely recovered from the previous day's incidents, but the rabbits were facing an even bigger problem: hunger.  Since they had left Watership Down, they had eaten absolutely nothing except a few pieces of clover and dandelions in the farmyard.  Hazel told the group:
-I think we should go raid a garden.  We need some food, and there is clearly no grass anywhere around here.  Besides, we're supposed to look for Fiver and Vilthuril, aren't we?
He peaked outside the door.  There were several humans walking around, it was clearly a dangerous place.
-Let's wait until tonight, shall we? he added.  There are too many humans roaming around this place during the day.

Several hours later, after all the passengers had retreated to their cabins to sleep, the rabbits sneaked out of theirs.  There was nobody in sight.  They were however faced with the dilemma of choosing whether to go left or right.  Bigwig was against the group separating, as this was a dangerous place and if anyone got lost, the others would have to spend time looking for them.  That would be a major waste of time, and would cause the chances of getting caught to rise.  They eventually decided to begin by going left and, if there was nothing useful there, go right.

The rabbits walked for a short distance and came across a swimming pool.  It was currently being drained for cleaning, but the rabbits were nevertheless amazed by it.  It contained more water than they had ever seen.
-Is this the Big Water Kehaar talks about all the time? asked Pipkin.
-No, Hlao-roo, came the distant voice of Blackberry, this is!  Come take a look!
The four other rabbits stared at each other.  For the second time since they had left the Down, Blackberry had vanished mysteriously and was nowhere to be seen.
-Why don't you come take a look?
-We would if we knew where you are, answered Hazel.
-I'm over here, in the boat.
It took a while for the other rabbits to realize that he was referring to a lifeboat that was lying on the deck while awaiting repairs.  Hazel, Hyzenthlay and Pipkin jumped into it, while Bigwig stayed outside.  He claimed that a sentry was needed, but the real reason was that he was afraid of getting sick like the previous time he looked at one Blackberry's discoveries.

The rabbits sat with their front paws on the side of the boat, staring.  Beyond them was an endless mass of water, its surface moving, and making soft noises as the waves crashed onto the ship.  It was just like Kehaar had described it, but none of the rabbits really knew what to expect.  The idea of so much water was beyond their comprehension.
-Wow!  It's so big! said an amazed Pipkin.
-It's...water, said Hazel.
From what Kehaar had told him, he had expected something far more exciting.  He could absolutely not comprehend how birds could be interested in such a place.
-It's big and it's made of water.  That's why it's called “Big Water”, explained Blackberry.
-I...think we've seen enough now, decided Hazel.  This Big Water won't help us find Fiver and, from what Kehaar said, it's full of fish, and you know how that smells.
And the rabbits jumped out of the lifeboat and continued their journey across the deck.  There were no other stops until they were faced with a wall.  They had travelled from one end of the deck to the other.
-I feel our direction is wrong, complained Bigwig.
-Not necessarily, said Blackberry, who was inspecting a staircase.  We can keep going this way.
Bigwig stared at the stairs for a few seconds, before telling the others what he thought about it:
-I'm certainly not going up those things again!
-We don't have to go up.  There seem to be others that go down, Hyzenthlay pointed out.
All the rabbits looked at the stairs that went down.  It was dark down there, and it looked as if the stairs went on forever.  Hazel was the first to go down, eager to show his skill as a leader, and was soon followed by the others.  These stairs, unlike those in the hrududu, seemed to be made of thick wire.  As a consequence, walking on them was rather unpleasant for the rabbits.

After what felt like a very long time, the rabbits finally reached the bottom of the stairs.  It was still dark, and full of smells, all of them new to the rabbits.  Then came the faint but unmistakable scent of flayrah.

The rabbits followed the scent all the way to the end of the hallway in which they were, where they were faced with two tall metal things.  They were the doors to one of the ship's elevators, this one being used to carry food from the kitchen to the dining rooms.  To their left were two other doors, leading to the kitchen itself.  Blackberry simply had to push one of them for it to open.  While he held it open, the other four rabbits entered the kitchen, and hid under a table.

The kitchen was very large, and very dirty.  The floor was littered with vegetable peals and pieces of plastic packaging.  The countertops and cooking surfaces were covered with grease and dirty utensils.  A party had been held earlier that day on the ship, and the chefs had been forced to prepare twice the usual amount of food in record time.  As a consequence, the kitchen was twice as messy.

The janitors were the only people in the kitchen in the early hours of the morning.  They were left with the ungrateful task of cleaning up the mess to make the kitchen usable again.  It was a very depressing job, and they didn't hesitate to leave some parts of the kitchen dirty if they thought it would take too long to clean them.

From their hiding spot under the table, the rabbits looked around, and finally spotted exactly what they were looking for: a large trash can, filled with vegetables.  Most of them were perfectly edible, but had been rejected by the chefs as “imperfect”.
-We found the flayrah.  Now how do we get it? asked Bigwig.  It seems very high to jump, and there don't seem to be any steps leading to it.
-It's very simple, claimed Blackberry, as he walked to the trash can after a brief look around him for humans.  You go like this.
He stood up on his hind legs and put his front paws on the side of the trash can.  It vibrated a little, but other than that, nothing happened.
-Everyone, come closer.
The other rabbits were far more cautious as they left their hiding spot.  The only human they could see was a hairy old man who was sloppily mopping the floor, so they walked towards Blackberry.
-I need you to help me push this thing.  We must all do it at the same time if we want it to work.
-Are you crazy, Blackberry? shouted Bigwig.  I refuse to take part in such a foolish trick!
-Bigwig, be quiet! whispered Hyzenthlay.  Do you want all the humans to hear you?
Bigwig stood there in shock.  He had never been told to be quiet since a training exercise he took part in to earn a spot in the Sandleford owsla.  Deep inside him, he knew that he had spoken too loudly, but he could not get over the insult.

By the time he cane to his senses, however, he realized, much to his horror, that the other rabbits had agreed with Blackberry's plan and were pushing the trash can.  It was vibrating dangerously, and then it was falling...
==========
The most dreadful noise of metallic clanging was heard.  All the janitors turned and saw an overturned trash can with vegetables everywhere on the floor.  And worst of all, five rabbits were sitting next to it.
-I told you it was not a good idea, said Bigwig.
Everyone remained motionless for a few seconds, then Hazel ordered:
-Everyone take a piece of flayrah and run!
The rabbits bolted in random directions.  In the urgency of the escape, several had forgotten where the exit was.

Pipkin, in a desperate attempt to avoid the humans, jumped in a big container full of fish.  The smell was overpowering and he could absolutely not understand how Kehaar's diet could be based on this disgusting stuff.  He looked out, doing his best to avoid being seen, and it seemed that the humans could not tolerate the smell neither, and were now chasing the other rabbits.

Bigwig tried to hide behind a tower of pots and pans.  However, there was not enough space between the wall and the pots for him to go through, causing the entire tower to fall down and several humans to trip over them.

Hyzenthlay had jumped on the counter.  She zigzagged through the various objects as fast as she could and knocked down many utensils.  The countertop was also covered with grease that ended up all over her fur.  “I'm going to have a lot of cleaning to do when this is over” she thought.

Blackberry hid inside a cabinet.  As he looked around him, he saw something that vaguely looked like a tree root, but that was impossible, as there were no trees anywhere near him.  He clawed at it and bit it a few times, then it broke and the room was filled with darkness: it was an electrical wire.

There was a limit to how long the rabbits could have escaped the humans, but with the lights off, they had a major advantage.  As they spend most of their time in dark underground burrows, they are able to see in the dark very well.  Therefore, as soon as the wire had been chewed, Hazel, who was the only one who had found the way to the exit without trouble, rushed back inside the kitchen to save the others.

The first rabbit he found was Bigwig, trying to find his way through the mess of pots and pans on the floor.  Soon afterwards, Hyzenthlay fell between the two after jumping off the counter.  The group of three then went to search for the others.

As the lights turned off, Pipkin heard a dreadful noise.  He could not stand the smell of fish any longer, so he jumped out of the tank and tried to find where the sound came from.  He eventually identified it as coming from a cabinet, and he could smell Blackberry inside.  He stamped to alert the other rabbits, who arrived almost immediately.
-There's something wrong with Blackberry! he said, panicking.  I think I heard him scream.
The rabbits looked inside and saw the limp body of Blackberry against the dark bottom of the cabinet.  He was not moving, but he was breathing.  Hazel went inside to get a closer look at him.
-Blackberry?  Are you able to walk?
He briefly lifted his head, but was unable to talk.
-We'll have to carry him, decided Hazel.  Bigwig, you hold his back legs, Hyzenthlay, you take his middle, and I'll hold his head.
This was a very hard task.  When the rabbits had carried Bigwig, they had to push him most of the way, which was much easier.  Here, they had to hurry, and pushing Blackberry all the way out of the kitchen would have taken too long.  If they were not out of the room by the time the humans brought back the light, they would have to leave him behind to save their own lives, and everyone wanted to avoid that if possible.

After several tense minutes, they were out of the kitchen, but in no better situation.  A guard had just arrived through the elevator, having been alerted by the loud noises.  The rabbits quickly carried Blackberry inside the elevator.  Its doors closed immediately after they got inside, and Bigwig nearly got his tail stuck between them.

Outside, the guard turned on his flashlight and pointed it towards the kitchen.
-What's going on in here? he shouted.
-There were five bloody bunnies running around, angrily replied the hairy old janitor.
-Rabbits?  Are you drunk or something?
-WHAT???  Of course not!
-He's telling the truth, you know? added another employee.  I saw one, running everywhere and knocking down knives and stuff...
-And I suppose there was one in the fish, too? asked the guard sarcastically.
-Come to think of it, there was...
The guard sighed loudly, then screamed:
-I hope you all know I wanted to be a sailor?  And now, here I am, dealing with a bunch of idiots!  What did I ever do to deserve all this?  GET BACK TO WORK!
He stormed off, so angry that he took the stairs instead of the elevator.

Meanwhile, inside the elevator, the rabbits were tending to Blackberry.  He had been badly burned when he had bitten the electrical wire and was in rather bad shape.  Luckily for him, the wire was well insulated, otherwise he would have been killed.  There was not much the others could besides licking his wounds and staying close to him.

It took a few hours for him to regain consciousness.
-What happened to you? asked Hazel while nuzzling him.
-That thing, it looked like a tree root.  But it wasn't.  When I chewed it, it felt like I was on fire.
-What dreadful things humans keep in their burrows.  I'm sorry you had to go through this, Blackberry.  And we're no closer to what we actually set out to: still no trace of Fiver and Vilthuril, and no flayrah.
-Actually, we do have something, corrected Pipkin.
Everyone looked at him.  In the far corner of the elevator, there was a large kale, at least twice as big as Pipkin.  While not exactly flayrah, it was large enough to sustain the rabbits for a few days.
-How did that get there? questioned Bigwig.
-While you were busy carrying Blackberry, I carried this, answered Pipkin.
-Well, at least this raid wasn't a complete failure, determined Hazel.  Can you walk, Blackberry?
He stood up on his four legs and took a few cautious steps.
-I can probably manage it, Hazel.  But I probably won't be able to run for a while.  How do we get out of here?  Where are we, anyway?
None of the rabbits had noticed that the elevator's doors had closed, as they had been too preoccupied with Blackberry.  Now, they realized that they were trapped inside.  The only way out was to use the buttons, but they were out of reach to the rabbits, and none of them knew their purpose.  Bigwig looked around the entire perimeter of the elevator, but could not find a single gap through which they could escape, and the walls were too hard to chew or dig through.  As the notion that they were trapped sank into their minds, the rabbits were filled with a sense of panic.
-Everybody stay calm, urged Hazel.  If we got in here, there must be a way out.  If worse comes to worse and a human finds us here, we just bolt out the way they come from.
Hours passed.  The rabbits became nearly tharn.  Suddenly, there was a jolt and the ground began to move beneath them.  This reminded them of a weak earthquake that had shaken the area around Sandleford Warren a few years before, but this was much stronger.  Blackberry was the only rabbit who remained calm as it happened.  A few seconds later, he said:
-That's right!  We're going up!
The other rabbits looked at him, baffled.  Seeing their reaction, he continued his explanation:
-This thing we're in is going up, and we went down for the raid, so we will soon be at the same level we were before.
They were still unable to understand what he had just said.
-Never mind.  Just be ready to get out as quietly as possible when the exit appears.
A few seconds later, the elevator stopped and its doors opened.  The rabbits were startled by this, but they followed Blackberry's instructions and left the scene quietly, with Bigwig carrying the kale on his back.  They did not get noticed by any humans on the way back from their cabin, except one...
-Hey, look mum, a few bunnies!  That one looks just like...
-Now, Daisy, you mustn't say things like this in public...
-Oh no, not again! screamed the same guard who had dealt with the janitors earlier that day and overheard Daisy's remark.  First the janitors see some rabbits, and now the passengers!  Why can't you just shut up?  I've heard enough about rodents for the rest of my life!
-How dare you speak to my child like this? said the outraged mother.  I'll speak to the captain personally about this and make sure you will be fired!  And believe me, you will be!
She stormed off with her child, then turned and added:
-Besides, rabbits aren't rodents, they're lagomorphs.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!


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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2016, 02:26:04 PM »
Hi, I've been wanting to read this ever since you posted it - I just needed to find the time to sit down and do it :buttercup

Good job on Chapter 4 and 5! I like the action and where these chapters seem to be leading the story.

Also, I laughed at some parts.

Quote from: Quote:on 
Besides, he only got a bonus if he found a human, his contract said nothing about rabbits.
Quote from: Quote:on 
-And I suppose there was one in the fish, too? asked the guard sarcastically.
-Come to think of it, there was...
Quote from: Quote:on 
-Besides, rabbits aren't rodents, they're lagomorphs.
Thank you to Chipster-roo for the avatar!

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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2016, 06:16:57 PM »
Quote from: Bright Side on Jan 28 2016, 09:26:04 AM
Hi, I've been wanting to read this ever since you posted it - I just needed to find the time to sit down and do it :buttercup

Good job on Chapter 4 and 5! I like the action and where these chapters seem to be leading the story.

Also, I laughed at some parts.

Quote from: Quote:on 
Besides, he only got a bonus if he found a human, his contract said nothing about rabbits.
Quote from: Quote:on 
-And I suppose there was one in the fish, too? asked the guard sarcastically.
-Come to think of it, there was...
Quote from: Quote:on 
-Besides, rabbits aren't rodents, they're lagomorphs.
Thanks for the review!  I'm glad you like the turn the story is taking, I wasn't sure how it would be received.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!