Chapter 11

The Legend

At the same moment that Anza departed to their habitat, Kee returned to the forest. Like Anza before them, they scoured the land high and low for the old man with the white beard. When their search yielded sorrowful stares from others, Kee sat upon a tree stump, tearful, submerged in the memories of sweetness and bitter-sweetness of their beloved keeper.

Thump thump! They could hear something approaching. Thump thump! From the shadows cast by the leaves above emerged a familiar friend with a pink, fidgety nubbin of a nose, long ears that jutted straight up, and cotton tail that wiggled per every hop. It was the rabbit that Kee met on their first day of life. The rabbit was as spry as ever, and hopped around Kee seven times. This rabbit was happy to see them.

Kee and the rabbit re-visited the grounds upon which they traveled together on the first day they met. They waved at humans and Peridots and giggled at funny sights and sounds. The rabbit marveled at Kee’s stature. A true adult, they became. The two sputtered and hopped and scampered and leapt through the forest and soon found themselves at the edge of a beach. Kee had seen this before. The raised stones above the rushing waters remained a striking memory for them, but where did they lead to? Kee probed their head and found the rabbit many paces away. Kee tugged on the rabbit’s ear to follow them. The rabbit grimaced – as rabbits tend to do when their ears are pulled – but followed their friend, as the fun of a new adventure beckoned them.

This was no ordinary adventure. At the edge of the beach, one could see that the waves were, once again, furious. The rabbit hopped away. Their eyes bulged and their eyes flattened backwards. A nervous nelly was the rabbit.

Kee pressed on and hopped onto the first stone with ease. Then the second, with ease as well. The third, a little farther away, provided a safe landing for the Purple One. The rabbit looked on and saw a purple head bob up and down amidst the crashing waves in between the raised stones. A mist soon engulfed the bunny’s view. The purple top of Kee’s head obscured the farther they traveled. The mist thickened, and soon the rabbit saw nothing but crashing waves. The rabbit hopped close to the edge, dipped their foot into the shallow water, and retracted it once the waves rushed forth. The rabbit hopped several paces to the left, then several paces to the right, each time craning their neck (just a smidgeon) to find their friend.

But Kee could not be found.

The rabbit was, at first, scared and anxious, and they hopped about until their feet had tired. In catching their breath, the rabbit realized that perhaps Kee’s fate was neither dour nor bleak. Perhaps Kee had made it to the other side of the stone path. The rabbit’s ears rose tall – Yes, yes Kee did, they made it to the other side! So proud was the rabbit that they returned to the grounds excited to share what they just saw.

How the rabbit shared their story to the humans and Peridots remains as much a mystery as the Peridot species itself. Nonetheless, the humans canonized Kee as the Peridots’ greatest explorer. A pioneer of the Peridot species! The first of its kind! One of a kind! A spirit like no other! An example to which other Peridots ought to aspire! The Custodes Peridotorum established a new holiday honoring the Purple One – Explorers Day. “And on that day,” so the screed goes, “everyone is to wear purple garb and take part in a ceremonial hunt for various items in nature and assemble these in the likeness of Kee.” Others obliged, for Kee was loved by all.

One day, the Elders gathered together to determine what land was at the end of that stone path. Some surmised it was a land filled with the sweetest of fruits and the richest of vegetables. Others believed it was a land of darkness, where soil was infertile and raging storms never let up. None could agree on anything except this: No matter the kind of land that lay at the end of the stone path, Kee would never return.

It would take several years before others had the courage to traverse the raised stones. No one – neither a human nor a Peridot – returned.

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