There was no sun to shine, no moon to divine. It was a place where none can see and nothing can be seen. There stood Moon bewildered. No noise was heard, as even his heart beat could be made out. He started to move forward with delayed and trembled steps. Even though he had tried hard to find a sign about how he had got there from his mansion, he couldn’t even find a bit of a clue. After few minutes of darkness and a walk, some thing caught his attention. There was a gleam (I couldn’t define what colour it is, as I am even bad in differentiating colours, but it was more like a greyish green). His delayed steps were no more, as he caught up with his speed to reach the glow. Reckon me none had seen such a delighted view in this world, even Moon was never so bright.
His path was very long than it seemed. It all looked like magic, the gleam never came nearer. It’s been hours and his legs didn’t feel a thing. Everything was muddled and finally he was near the gleam accompanied by a mass. He couldn’t find what it was but, as he approached near to it, he could see a man. His face couldn’t be figured, he had a long beard and shaggy hair.
“Welcome child”, he said.
“Where on earth am I?”, asked Moon with more in a curious tone accompanied by confusion.
“Earth? You are in the place where you ought to be, my child”, he said and vanished in the gleam.
Moon was more puzzled and he could notice the gleam growing bright and big. It was like nearing a bright sun in greyish-green colour and he was forced to take his eyes off the light. Everything took place in a fraction of a millisecond (Even I might have failed to notice what had happened if I were there). Moon found everything to be normal and he was back to his room. He realised that it was a dream but, it’s effect was still with him. His eyes were stressed and the gleam was still in front of his eyes. He couldn’t forget the shape of the man he saw there and the words he told were heard over and over again. He tried to force himself to sleep but it ended in vain. His thoughts weren’t here anymore as he had already started missing the village where he had stayed for a year. As he was unable to get his sleep, he started recalling those memories especially ‘The Adventure Of The Five’, as everyone called it.
It was a hard early morning where Moon was having his practice and Baishu came running to him. After she had stopped panting, she started,” Stop whatever you are doing right now, master has ordered me to bring you this instant!”. Loosening the sword he had on his arm he asked, “What happened?” and there came a disappointing answer, as even Baishu didn’t have a clue about what was going on.
Baishu took him to a place that Moon had never seen before. “I have never been to this place”, he said in anticipation. They were far from the house and there were tiny hills and a waterfall. It was so calm that the splashing sound of each micro droplet was heard. There stood master accompanied by Li and the two brothers. None of those students had been to that place before except for Fred and George (And this would give you a clue about why they were asked to take part in the task. There is no place in the forest that wasn’t visited by the brothers) .
The old man started,” I want all of you to get me something that I am in deep need of. There lives a man at one of the corners of the forest and he has a red trunk which contains something that no one must see. You must bring it to me safely without losing it to anyone or anything that sustains in the forest. I need you to start in an hour. Fred and George will lead you with the way, rather Moon will lead you with your thoughts”.
Li started saying something, which he stopped when master was on his way unbothered about Li’s words. Li gave a bitter look at Moon (I hope you would have known the reason already).
“Is it everything? There is no proper info about the address, there is no proper info about the man, all we know clearly is that red trunk. How are we supposed to get it?”, exclaimed Baishu.
“We might probably find the answer for your questions on our way. Get ready guys!”, yelled moon, as he was already on his way back to the house.
It was almost noon when they started their journey. Everyone’s face was delighted with excitement except for Li’s as you already know the reason. They entered the forest. It didn’t look like the forest Moon had been before. This forest seemed to have life in it. They had enough food for their travel. After miles in their journey, it was dawn and they had settled down for a halt.
“Beast.. Beast!”, Fred cried pointing at something. When every one had a glance, nothing could be seen.
“Do you think they are real, Fred?”, murmured George.
“Huh? What do you mean by they?”, asked Baishu in anticipation and fear.
“Well, as you all know about the witch and the Caspian, it’s been believed that the witch still lives in the forest where she had lost all her powers. We have heard that those who enter deep into this forest had never found their exit and the witch’s life still exists in the form of wild beasts which kills the people who tried coming here”.
“Don’t be such foolish, master wouldn’t have sent us here if it wasn’t safe”, cried Baishu.
“Stop your fairy tales you two brothers. I don’t want to hear a single word from you two anymore. There is no work for your mouths, all you have to do is show the way.”, shouted Li arrogantly.
“Oho, better mind your language mister”, replied Moon while the two brothers were already asleep.
This brought a dispute between Li and Moon. They had a very long conversation (which would make this chapter too lengthy if I put it here), that would have aroused a fight if Baishu hadn’t stopped them.
They started their journey the next day as soon as the sun had arisen. Fred had delusions of someone following their trails and no one listened to him except George, who would drag a story about the witch. They were fatigued by their journey. After continuing for a day with small halts in between, they had decided to stop their journey for the night. Everyone were asleep except Baishu. The forest’s environment gave her fear instead of sleep. She saw something passing to her left and she started following it’s trail. She didn’t return for a long time and everyone woke up hearing a huge scream from the forest and when they had realised that it was Baishu’s, they ran as fast as they could.
There stood Baishu more with a shock accompanied with a man who was pointing his face towards her. As soon as George and Fred saw them, they caught him and started to pretend as if they had done something that is worth feeling proud of.
“Leave him! If not him, I would have been dead by now”, cried Baishu.
When Baishu followed the trail, she had seen something that kept saying,” Come here girl, come here”. The voice was very intense that she couldn’t be diverted from it. She moved nearer for a clear view and then she realised that it was not a human. It had no form, it was a black mist and it tried to get through Baishu and that caused the reason for the screech! Meanwhile, a man interrupted in front of Baishu facing his lantern towards the spirit that made the dark mist vanish with a growl.
Baishu explained everything to the boys who seemed to be very curious in knowing what had happened. They didn’t care to thank the man who saved Baishu. The man was old (Not too old though), with a long black beard and a shaggy grey hair.
“Was it the witch?, asked Fred.
“Witch? Ha-ha. Every soul in this world after death needs a place to live, and you see the forest where you are right now, is the place for it. That is why it is known as the ‘Forest Of The Souls’!”, exclaimed the old man.
“The souls of the dead? Interesting!!”, jinxed Fred and George while the others had already started to feel embarrassed.
They weren’t sleepy anymore. Everyone were cautioned and it had been minutes since they have blinked their eyes. All the children were very glum except for the two brothers who had the old man’s glim. The old man offered the children to spend their night in his hut and none dared to reject. It was a long journey, it was almost midnight and they started hearing sounds that children weren’t supposed to know what they were. They were walking for hours and finally, they reached a place where there were no trees. Nothing was there in that bare land except for a hut which seemed very small that it couldn’t sustain more than two humans in it.
As soon as they saw the hut everyone got back their sleep and hurried into it with enjoyment, which was jiggered when they entered the hut. There wasn’t enough place for all of them. Hardly three members could sleep in it. They didn’t even dare to have a thought of sleeping outside.
“I think this hut couldn’t afford a bed for everyone. I will have mine outside”, the old man said.
“I will come with you, as I am not willing to stay with these two annoying brothers and an arrogant fellow”, Li sighed.
This made everyone give a pale look at Li. The two were out of the hut. Baishu and Moon were preparing themselves for their nap, while the two hyper brothers had already started investigating the hut. The two brothers didn’t stop, even after they found nothing for hours. Baishu and Moon were fast asleep. The old man’s snore could be heard inside the hut, it was so loud that it made the two brothers feel embarrassed more than the howl they had heard in the forest. After hours of investigation, they found a metal piece on the floor. They started digging it out and it wasn’t a piece of metal. It was a large one but they couldn’t find what it was, as there was no proper light in the hut.
“What are you two doing?”, asked Baishu, who just woke up, disturbed due to the increased sound of the old man’s snore.
“You will have to take a look at this”, the brothers jinxed.
She went to take a clear look at it, while Fred went to bring the lantern for them to have a clear investigation.
“Is it right to keep hands on things that doesn’t belong to us?”, asked Baishu.
“Everything is fair in fun and war”, George cried with excitement.
When Fred had brought the lantern, they had a clear look at what it was, they were very excited and that had made them wake moon, which took more time than it took for them to find the red trunk. Moon joined them and they didn’t know what to do. Fred and George were looking very keen into the trunk.
“Bewlooooowed two keeei”, started reading Fred.
“What is it Fred?”, interrupted Baishu.
“There is something written here”, said Fred pointing at a marking on the trunk.
When everyone had a look at it, they were very excited and astonished. This made Moon and Baishu believe in something they didn’t mind to care all this time. The markings said, “BELONGS TO THE KING CASPIAN”.
“I said ya, I said ya, everything is true. The witch, the king. Everything!”, cried George.
“What are we supposed to do now”, Baishu whispered.
“Open it?”, asked Fred with his eyes glowing in excitement.
“Don’t you remember what master said? There is something in it that no one is supposed to see. On the other hand, the old man had sustained this as a secret all this while. I don’t think he will allow us to take this with us. So we must take it without his concern”, muttered Moon.
“Yes! You are right”, said Baishu.
“Everyone, we are leaving this hut as soon as we can. Pack everything we need.”, ordered Moon.
Fred carried the trunk and Baishu carried a basket that contained the neccessary food. While Moon and George carried the rest. They were all set and started their journey with fear in those hearts and minds.
“Is it safe to cross the Forest Of The Souls, in this darkness?”, murmured Baishu.
“We have no other go”, replied Moon.
When they were far from the hut into the forest, George cried,” Guys? Don’t you think that we have forgot something?.”
“Oho! Li”, yelled everyone at once.
“How did we forget him? Okay, you guys stay here and I would go bring him before sunrise. If we didn’t return, then either we have lost our way or we have been caught by the old man. So, you carry on with your journey after the sunrise with or without us. And guys stay together”, Moon said.
“Leave you? And do you think that Li would listen to you?”, asked Baishu.
“Its neither of us whom master needs. Its the trunk he needs. I fear that I will have to say that we have no other go. And I will try my best to bring him back”.
Moon went as fast as he could. He didn’t notice anything ,especially, he did totally forget about those souls. He had a good memory and this helped him with his way and time. After an hour of running, he finally got near to the hut where the old man and Li went to sleep. The old man was having a very good night but there was no sign of Li. The next instant some one had a hold of Moon’s neck tightly inside their arms. Moon couldn’t see who it was.
“Who are you? What did you do to my friends who were in the hut?”, asked the voice.
The tone of the voice gave him a clue that it was Li and he explained everything that happened in the hut and about how they had forgotten and left Li. He told Li to follow him and surprisingly this time Li agreed to it. This gave a good feeling to Moon. They started back without leaving a sign for the old man to wake up.
“Leaving those kids in the dangerous forest of the souls? You ought to be insane. And you would be responsible if something had happened to them.”, told Li in a more sarcastic way.
“I had no other choice and I would want to apologize to you for what had happened. We were in a real hurry and we couldn’t help it. Sorry for leaving you, Li”, apologized Moon. Li just gave a bitter stare that made Moon more embarrassed.
Even though they had each other’s company, no words came out of them. This made them feel like as if they were walking alone. They reached the rest of them earlier than they had thought. It was still night and the rest of them were delighted to see Moon and Li. While Moon was gone, the brothers and Baishu had a good nap so, none of them was sleepy. Now everyone wanted to get out of the forest as soon as they can.
They didn’t wait for the next day to continue and their way seemed to be calm and good. Fred and George had been leading them correctly. When everything was going good they heard a sound from the ground. Every one stopped in fear at that instant.
“Get yourself armed”, cautioned Li.
The sound grew big and they heard a voice saying,” Who are you all?”
They had no sign about who had spoken. “OUCHHH!!”, cried Fred, “Something has bitten my feet”.
When everyone looked down, they found that it was a dressed hamster (Okay, a talking dressed hamster). “Now answer my question”, it said (In a voice that sounded like a rat talk).
Baishu got the hamster into her arms and started loving it as she was already excited to see a talking animal which she had heard only in those fairy tales. Everyone were shocked too. When they continued with their way Baishu narrated their story, that had lead them into the forest.
“Where do you belong to?” George asked the hamster.
“Well, my name is Humperclamp and I don’t belong to this forest. When I was small, I got lost from my parents. I have no idea how I got here or where I belong to. That’s all about my story”, said Humperclamp licking her paws.
“Come with us then”, said Baishu with anxiety.
Humperclamp was in need of a company and he had no concerns if it was humans. They had no other obstacles on their way. They were feeling very excited and happy to get back to their village. Humperclamp made their journey interesting with his stories as he was a good writer and a narrator. After few hours of dawn they were back into the village. They went straight up to their master and bestowed him the red trunk.
“Can we know what’s the importance of it?”, asked Moon with a curious look on his face.
(You would probably know what the answer would be)
“You will know it Moon, you will know it. Just wait for the right time for all your questions to be answered”, said the master with a glum look.
This was one of the best adventures Moon had in his life. He wanted to meet his friends and find the answers for his questions.
“Why was Caspian’s trunk so much important to the old man in the forest that had made him hide it? why did the master want the trunk? what is in it?”, asked Moon himself for which he failed to get answers even after a deep thinking. His thoughts didn’t get him answers, rather he fell asleep and that is the end of the chapter and the day!!