Raven the Explorer: Episode Four

September 27, 1852

My Dearest Jack,

Success at last! I have finally caught a glimpse, yes, a glimpse, of not one but BOTH the Whatever Bird and the Were-Rabbit. Somewhat embarrassingly, the glimpse came right as they raided our latest cunning trap. I was not too pleased with anyone on the expedition, Bernie especially.

It happened like this:

I was sitting in our camouflaged hut near the trap for the fourth night in a row, when I heard a crunching sound. I thought it might be one of the men shifting his feet, but then the sound came again. It was someone—or something—coming through the undergrowth towards the trap. The jungle is very dark at night, but I could clearly see its white form against the canvas of undergrowth. The thing came closer, and I saw the silhouette of two floppy ears. I wonder at how it manages to evade predators, looking the way it does…

I stared intently as the small white creature neared the opening to the trap, tantalized by the bowl of sugared milk within. Just as it was about to enter, another noise echoed through the jungle. It was sufficiently loud to drown out the Were-Rabbit’s tread, and sounded somewhat like a macaw’s call. (Except of course there are no macaws in Africa) Then, the maker of the noise appeared through the trees. I couldn’t tell for certain, but it appeared to be quite colourful, was taller than the Were-Rabbit, and walked upon two legs.

It stalked over to the Were-Rabbit, sitting crouched on the ground near the trap. The two seemed to carry on a dialogue before the Whatever Bird reached into the trap with its long beak and snatched the bowl of milk. I could not help but gasp in surprise. The thing heard me—its ears must be incredible—and looked towards our position. At that point, Bernie dropped his whip. I glared rather frostily at him, but the damage was already done. The two elusive animals vanished.

As you might expect, I was not a very cheerful mistress this morning. Bernie has been sulking and carrying out his duties with a rather subdued expression. I feel rather sorry for him. Lord and Lady Harthwaite have continued to make mischief. They continue to tear up valuable specimens, chase the Maltese Poodle, and repeat fragments of conversation in remarkably scratchy voices. The Maltese Poodle has discovered how to jump up on my bed, and there she sleeps whenever she can. This morning a small bird decided to bathe in my teacup, and a snake dropped from the rafter poles of my tent during yesterday’s dinner. I detest snakes.

Aside from that, all is well. Tomorrow we plan to track the two beasties into the jungle, and hopefully their capture will not be far behind. I pray the Lord’s protection over you every day, and hope we shall see each other soon.

Your loving sister,

Raven Hardington

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