Unbearable creaking rang in the cloaked figure's ears as the large stone doors opened. He walked down the hall of the castle slowly towards the king’s throne as the guards walked beside him, eyes shooting hostile glares. He grasped the clasp at his neck, drawing his hood tighter, and gulped at the sight of the king, a magnificent lion, sitting on his throne with the largest sword he had ever seen grasped tightly in his paws.
The lion, breathing heavily, looked down upon the small figure. “So you’ve come at last,” he muttered, his amber eyes looming over the creature. The animal lifted back his hood to reveal two velvety dark brown ears. He was a rabbit.
The king leaned back in his throne and growled, “What news have you got, rat? I hope it’s good; I need more information on this town you call…Jamaa.”
The rabbit winced at being called a rat; he understood he looked like a weak rodent to the king, who was massive compared to him, but the name still clutched at his pelt with disdain. “W-well, Your Majesty,” he stammered, tugging at his cloak once more, “There have been new additions to Jamaa, hyenas and eagles,” he hesitated, but continued when he received an icy stare by one of the king’s guards, “And..er, that’s all I know of for now.”
The king sniffed. “I suppose that’ll be alright for now. But I believe that we should start…the invasion soon, Harvey.”
The brown bunny nodded slowly. His heart sunk at the thought of Jamaa, his homeland, plundered by these creatures, but he knew he couldn’t question the king himself. The lion was suffering from the complaints from the villagers and the stress as his land which was falling apart and rotting as slowly as his sanity was.
A silver-armored weasel guard standing by the king’s throne turned his head stared at Harvey with blazing gray eyes. The rabbit suppressed a shudder. The mustelid was named Slate, after the unusual gray color of his eyes. However, he frightened Harvey, always sent chills up his spine. The weasel was an excellent tracker and fighter, and served as one of the king’s personal assassins. Slate swayed his tail back and forth as he murmured to the king, “When will we invade, Majesty? What is the plan?”
The king replied, “I will send a few of my best scouts, but we will not kill any resident of Jamaa. Not yet, at least, unless they are a major threat. I have decided to send only Willow and you, Slate. Harvey will guide you around Jamaa, and you will all come back in about a week or so to report.”
Slate grinned with pride at the thought of going on such an important mission. Harvey sighed and lowered his head; he didn’t like the thought of the weasel travelling with him, for he could be impatient and arrogant sometimes.
Slate caught the rabbit’s dismay and sneered. “Not so keen on me comin’ with you, rabbit? Well, you better get used to it!”
Harvey glared at Slate with hatred as the king ushered forward a fox guard clad in the same gleaming armor as Slate. “Go fetch Willow,” he said, and with a salute the fox bounded out of the castle hall.
The king finally sheathed his sword in a scabbard at his waist and beckoned at Harvey to come closer. The rabbit hastily stepped a few paces forward in front of the lion’s throne as the king lowered his golden-maned head and whispered, “Look, Harvey…” he turned his head and motioned with his paw to Slate to leave them to talk in private. Slate obeyed, and the king continued with a harsh rumble to his voice, “Harvey, I hope you won’t fail this mission. I am glad you have remained loyal to me all this time, but if you turn traitor on me, you will pay, I promise you that.” His paw strayed to his sword, claws flashing at the hilt. Harvey gulped. “I’m trusting you, Harvey. I really am. If you, Willow, and Slate can uncover the weaknesses of Jamaa, then we will be dominant.”
Harvey lowered his head as tears leaked freely from his eyes against his will. Wiping them with a paw, he faced the king, his voice shaking. “May I ask why again you want t-to invade Jamaa?” The king sighed, and replied with a growl, “I don’t want you going soft on me, rat. I can see the tears from the corners of your feeble eyes. You know why I want Jamaa. The town I rule over is slowly fading away, dying. Citizens complain about everything! Nagging me about sick family members, food shortages, everything! They think I can just miraculously cure all their problems because I’m the king. Well, sometimes, I just can’t! I can’t solve EVERYTHING!”
The king had risen from his throne and paced around the hall. Just as he was about to unleash his anger even further, the doors opened once again and the armored fox returned with a creature next to him, a felid. The cat was short yet slender, with a sleek, mottled pelt of spots and faint stripes, and eyes of liquid amber. She was an ocelot. Harvey blinked at the ocelot’s striking appearance as she strode toward the king, bowing gracefully. “Your Majesty,” she began, “Vermillion has informed me of what I need to do for the mission. Thank you for choosing me for this mission; it is an honor to serve you in this important deed.”
The king turned to Harvey again. “You can get ready to prepare the portal, Harvey.” The dusty-brown rabbit nodded and fumbled with the satchel at his side, at last pulling out three luminous green stones. The king stared at the beautiful jewels with wonder and said, “Does Jamaa really have such marvelous riches as these?”
Harvey nodded. “Yes, Majesty, and many more of these alpha stones can be earned in Adventures, and jeweled garments can be bought in the everyday clothes’ shop, Jam Mart Clothing. In fact, there may be many countless undiscovered riches to be found in the future.”
“Well,” the king implied, “then once my warriors conquer Jamaa, we will soon discover these riches and have them for ourselves.” The lion’s eyes shone with such a determined ferocity Harvey forced himself to look away.
Several minutes later, Vermillion and Slate returned heaving a large circular stone through the hall. Spiral designs were carved delicately into the stone, and three empty spaces were carved in as well.
Harvey stepped forward and placed one of the emerald crystals into the empty space in the stone. There was a whoosh! and the gem illuminated in the stone. The second, and finally the third, until finally, the hollow center of the stone ignited into a flashing green, thus becoming the portal to Jamaa.
It was an Adventure portal. The stone was a special material that was used to build the adventure portals of Jamaa. Harvey had roughly sketched an adventure portal on paper and delivered large quantities of the special stone to the king, who ordered his sculptors to make the portal following the design of Harvey’s sketch. Soon the stone circle was finished, and ready for the gems to be placed for the portal to function.
The portal was whooshing a radiant green. Harvey turned to see Willow and Slate behind him, the determined look in their eyes and tails twitching excitedly. They craved adventure. Harvey gulped. He knew what he was risking. He was putting Jamaa, his home, in danger of falling into the paws of power-hungry beasts. He was even risking his life; if he failed this mission, he would be put at the mercy of the king and his claws and sword. But he had to do it. He swore his loyalty to the king, and that was how it would stay before Harvey’s end.
He took one deep, calm breath, shut his eyes, and plunged into the portal, with Willow and Slate close behind. His brain spun endlessly as they whirled in the portal. He could hear Willow and Slate’s screams of excitement as they spiraled in the hissing portal. Harvey felt sick, and clutched his paws to his stomach, groaning as the portal shrieked in his ears. Then everything went black.
Harvey blinked. His paws felt cold, and he looked down to realize he was lying on his side on a cold stone floor. He looked up, and saw bodies of animals of all kinds. Yowling, barking, screeching, and advertising hollers littered the air. He gazed over his shoulder to find Willow and Slate by his side, grinning at each other with eyes filled with power-hungry glee. Harvey’s heart pounded. Thoughts of what he had to do cluttered his mind, and for a heart-stopping moment he didn’t want to carry on with the mission. But he had to. They were here already. And his partners were ready. He rose to his paws and shook off his cloak, exposing the rest of his luscious brown fur. With drooping ears he faced Willow and Slate.
He took a deep breath, leaned in close to them, and murmured, “Willow? Slate?” His voice nearly cracked with emotion at the thought of what will happen in the future.
“We’re here. We’re at Jamaa.”
“Let’s get started!” Willow rose to her paws in an instant and gazed around Jamaa Township. “Where can we start?” her amber eyes glanced around the Township.
Harvey lowered his eyes. He didn’t know what to say. He had to help them; it was his duty. But he couldn’t bear to see his land fall apart.
Meanwhile, Slate was peering at the Jammers with curiosity at their modern clothing and confident attitude when advertising for parties or other social events at their homes. An arctic wolf nearby dressed in clinking jewelry bounded past, shouting, “Trade me! Trade me rares everyone!!” she unexpectedly stepped down hard on Slate’s tail in the process. The weasel cried out in pain, gritting his teeth. He grabbed her by the throat and whispered harshly, “Don’t hurt me like that, mutt!”
The arctic wolf’s eyes widened in shock and fear. “I-I’m sorry, sir, I just-“
Slate leaned in close to her face so that they were nose-to-nose. “I don’t want your apologies, you whelp!” he squeezed her throat tighter.
The poor wolf choked as some Jammers paused to stare at the horrifying spectacle. Harvey froze in panic, and cried, “Slate, stop!”
Slate gazed at the wolf lying helplessly in his grip. Then he let go of her and turned away. Willow slapped him with a paw when he turned around. “What were you thinking?!” she snapped as the arctic wolf nearby rubbed her neck with a paw. She took one less look at Slate, whimpering, before finally running away.
Some of the staring Jammers dismissed what was happening at last, returning to their advertising or begging for trades or items. Harvey grabbed Slate’s ear and hissed at him, “Slate, you idiot! We can’t draw attention to ourselves!”
The weasel pulled away from Harvey’s grasp and scowled. “She HURT me,” he replied quietly.
“Oh, don’t you start whining, Slate,” Willow growled. The ocelot gritted her teeth with frustration.
“Guys, please calm down.” Harvey said. “We’ll just make things worse if we argue, so-“
“Wait, hang on…” Slate interrupted Harvey, “I just noticed something.”
Willow sighed. “What is it?”
“It’s just that…we don’t look like…well,them.” Slate turned to gaze again at the Jammers’ attire. “We don’t dress like them or anything.” He gestured to his and Willow’s tunics and cloaks. “If we’re going to go undercover, we might as well look like the animals here.”
Willow sighed again. “You have a point, Slate.” She started to wander through the crowd of Jammers until she found a store with a clothing logo on it. “We can get something here! Let’s go!” She grabbed Slate and Harvey by the wrists as she pulled them inside.
(Work in progress)