Between the Panda & the Bunny

    Between the Panda & the Bunny





    Sword sheathed, Cinnamon waved a striped candy cane wand at SQP, causing him to fall into a deep slumber. His boots clacked against the marble tiles on the floor, causing his bunny army to go into a relaxing rhythm.

    Cinnamon stepped around the sleeping panda and crawled across the master bed. He went through the draping curtains and soft, squishy mattress. He noticed some of his soldiers throwing pillows on the floor, slicing through the curtains, and tearing open the mattress, which already had a coating of feathers on the top.

    “We’re not here to destroy things!” Cinnamon boomed. His army stopped and saluted. No bunny moved. No bunny said a word. “We’re here to get revenge, for we have taken vengeance on SQP! We will show no mercy, but we shall not disturb the innocent. Everything you are destroying is nothing important. Nothing beloved. We shall save our energy for when the time comes.” Cinnamon paused. “Carry on.”

    The sun was starting to rise as the army marched. Just as they were going down the stairs, suddenly there was a groan followed by footsteps. The army instantly froze. Cinnamon’s ears flickered and he crept down the long spiral staircase. He spotted Jaga the chef cooking sizzling vegetarian bacon and leaf-spiced pancakes. SQP’S maid was walking in after a long night, it seemed. She had deep purple bags under her eyes and was slumped over the countertop. The groan had most likely come from her.

    Cinnamon quietly raced up the stairs and whispered to his captain: “Alert the crew. There are two innocents, I repeat, two innocents, downstairs. We must move quickly. The longer we stay here, the longer the book is open and Bunmania is at risk. After our work here is done…we must close the barrier forever.”

    The captain nodded solemnly. He scurried off and rounded up the army, telling them all that Cinnamon had just said. Once he finished, Cinnamon stepped forward and told his bunnies their plan to get rid of Jaga and the maid, named Mandali.

    “Alright, all bunnies of all shapes and sizes matter in this plan; we must get Jaga and Mandali out of the house. Here’s what we are going to do: Tiny, you’re going to hop down the stairs, and once you’re halfway, use your bunny power to cast a huge shadow on Jaga and Mandali. All bunnies with sticky paws will be on the ceiling, waiting with a net. Jaga and Mandali will jump out of their skin and they will want to run outside. Once they reach that area, those bunnies will drop the trap right on them. They will attempt to get out, which is why we need to do this next part to keep them contained. Tricky and Trixie, use the small bottle of flammable liquid in the cabinet and create a ring around them. Hermisa, after they have done that, you will use one of your matches to light the ring on fire. They won’t want to move, so that will keep them in that spot. To keep the fire from spreading, all other bunnies will create an invisible bubble around the scene. The fire will not hurt Jaga and Mandali, because it will not spread inward. Does everybody know their posts?” Everyone nodded and got to work.

    The bunnies with sticky paws took their place on the ceiling with the net while Tiny crept down the steps. He enlarged his shadow and as soon as the panda workers saw the towering figure, they fled to the door screaming. The bunnies with sticky paws were waiting. They dropped the net on Mandali and Jaga and they flailed in its grasp, shouting and tangled in each other’s limbs. Mandali and Jaga pushed each other away, inches away from escaping. Before they could get out, Tricky and Trixie grabbed the flammable liquid and created a ring around the pandas. Mandali and Jaga stopped moving, confused about what was happening yet also very scared. However, they couldn’t get their thoughts together before Hermisa used a match and lit the ring of fire. Flames blazed up high, spreading quickly, until all of the other bunnies created a bubble around the scene, so all the bunnies were safe. Orange and red light shone on Mandali and Jaga’s faces as the army opened the door of King Squappapanda’s palace.

    “Oh, of course. King SQP is sleeping. Well, he won’t be king for long,” Cinnamon snickered. “Benson and Wiggles, go and put SQP in the closet and lock him there. He won’t be able to escape for a while.”

    “Yes!” Benson and Wiggles replied in unison, scurrying upstairs and doing as they were asked. Soon enough, they returned to the bottom floor and the army and commander went out into Carrot Land.

    Cinnamon stepped out first, his army behind him. He stood there for a while, a sweet sensation washing over him. Glory? No. Enjoyment? No. Worry? No. It was something else.

    It was the feeling of triumph. For Cinnamon, as a bunny who had come to save the world, had emerged from SQP’s palace triumphant.

    And that was the best feeling of all.



    Breaking Barriers



    A bunny threw him in his olive wood closet and put SQP to sleep. It was a peaceful dream. SQP was wandering through the forest in Carrot Land, happier than ever, jumping around without a care in the world. His crown and royal robes were gone. His fixed frown had disappeared. It was just him, running around like a child again, knowing that this was where he was meant to be.

    SQP awakened, startled. His frown returned and he sat up, rubbing his eyes. Unknowingly, he pushed against the heavy doors of his closet. When they wouldn’t budge, he realized they were barricaded. Those little bunnies, SQP thought. Always so sneaky. They just have to get into my business. He sighed and decided it was best to call Mandali or Jaga.

    King Squappapanda snapped his fingers. “Mandali! Come quick!” Unaware of the situation Jaga and Mandali were in, SQP kept shrieking for help. Finally, a faint, raspy scream answered, saying, “King SQP! Help us! It is Jaga and Mandali! We’re trapped—” As their voices faded, SQP felt a shiver go up his spine, realizing they were also trapped. Overcome by fury, the panda roared and smashed his whole body into the closet, blowing it to smithereens. SQP’s lungs were instantly filled with smoke and his eyes began to water. He tumbled down the stairs and when he reached the bottom, to his horror, he saw flames rising around poor Jaga and Mandali who were suspended in the air and caught in a net.

    SQP pushed through the flares of smoke and jumped, grabbing the net and clinging on for dear life. He untied the net slightly and swung with a final push.

    The three pandas fell to the tiled floor and scrambled to get out of the house. Suddenly, a wave of horror washed over SQP as soon as he had stepped foot out of the house. He knew where Cinnamon would be, and it wasn’t good.

    Cinnamon was heading for the bunker.

    SQP ran as fast as he ever had in the direction of the forest, lush green trees surrounding him as he sped through the fields. His bunker was deep in the forest, so surely he would get there before Cinnamon.

    Squappapanda went to his left, going off the path a little. Prickly bristles brushed against him, causing him to shiver. He could hear loud clanging ahead of him, and he ran even quicker. Suddenly, he came upon his bunker, both armies facing off. He fixed his crown and stepped out of the brush, taking his place among his army.

    “I see you escaped,” Cinnamon said with a hint of frustration in his voice.

    “I did,” SQP replied, “and so we must fight.”

    Cinnamon nodded. “We must.” He paused. “Attack!”

    The armies surged towards each other, swords thrusting against shields. The battle was brutal. Arrows flew overhead, swords slashed wildly through the air, and many fell.

    SQP watched as his army was pushed back. He did not expect for Cinnamon to win, but he couldn’t let his whole army disappear.

    “OK!” SQP shouted. “I surrender! You win!”

    Cinnamon emerged from the dust, victorious. “Then, as my first declaration as king, there will be no more kings, not even me, and everyone will be free without a ruler above them.” Cinnamon smiled. “I will also move here to Carrot Land with my friend, Sunny the Duck. Bunmania and Carrot Land will live in harmony together.” And so, everyone marched back and spread the good news, and everyone was joyful.




    On that bright day, SQP realized that he couldn’t keep pretending.

    He headed due north, towards a cave where water slowly came in over many years, where his brother, the real SQP, was trapped. Soon enough, he arrived.

    “I don’t have to be SQP anymore,” he whispered to himself. “I can be my true self, QQP.” QQP rolled away the boulder as water rushed out of the cave, his brother tumbling out with him.

    “QQP—what, I—I don’t understand, how—” SQP stuttered.

    “I’ve had a change of heart,” QQP said. “I’ve realized what is right in the world. What is most important. Not money. Not fame. Not power…” He paused.


    And so, SQP and QQP walked hand in hand through the forest, laughing and smiling, jumping around without a care in the world. It was just like QQP’s dream.

    And all was well in the world of Carrot Land.

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