At river's edge

Derabble stopped behind some tall reeds.

"Now be aware of the hotspot chilli soup miss. It may be toddler soup for a Water Buler, but for a human, it's like sticking your tongue in to a fire."

"That's true," Suki-Mae laughed, "I went through five flagons of water before my tongue went back to normal."

"And even then you stuffed your face with cool mint cordial and sana cakes." Suki-Mae blushed. Derabble drew himself up, grinning, and dramatically pushed aside the redds. Arabella peered through.

They were beside a river. Trees hung over the water, dipping their branches in to the depths, sending little ripples out each time the wind blew them. A boat sat on the water, rocking with the current. Music drifted over to the three companions, a cheery tune which seemed to dance with the small fire on the bank. Around the fire there were many creatures, some sitting, some dancing, and all eating.

"Derabble Shrouwd! You've brung some guests wit ye!" shouted a tall otter-like creature. He wandered over drunkenly and flung his arm around Suki-Mae's shoulders. "And if it ain't Suki-Mae, terror o' every sensible beast that walks the land!"

"Aw quiet you drunkard! Arabella, meet Tam O'Gregor, captain of the Sharkies. He's a Nutria, they're swimming folks too."

"Nice to meet ya pretty one. How's about a dance?" He pulled Arabella towards the fire, and set to swinging her around shouting, "Everybeast, meet me new friend, Arabellie!"

"Arabella!" shouted Suki-Mae, laughing at the pair. Derabble wandered over to the food table and swiped a couple of pasties. He threw one to Suki-Mae, then rescued Arabella from Tam's drunken dancing, sitting her down on a blanket and passing her the pastie. 

"Here Miss, try this. Tis good old Nutria cooking. Blackberry and apple pastie, yum yum." He stuffed an entire pastie in his mouth and licked his paws satisfiyingly. Arabella put the corner of the pastie in her mouth and bit it, surprised at how good it tasted, and how empty her stomach was now she could smell food. She dug in to the pastie and finished it in no time at all. Derabble bought her a plate of nice things to eat, and she sat and ate them whilst the creatures danced around the fire. 

The End

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