Direct Delivery

by Michael Nastov

Summer 708

Phil sat down on his haunches, a mistake as the picnic cloth hid the true location and angle of the ground below the lush grass. The lapin fell backward and rolled a ways down a hill before coming to rest in a berry bush. Another lapin face peered at him from above. Heather’s whiskers twitched and a sigh escaped her nose.

“Phil, you’ll sail through a storm and go down with the ship but you can’t sit on a cloth.”

Phil’s ears rocked, “picnics are a menace; with a boat you know what you’re in for!”

She grasped his paw and hefted the white rabbit to his feet, “Dear gods, Phil, the ocean is unpredictable; the picnic cloth is a picnic cloth!”

Phil shrugged as they climbed back up the small slope, “I just don’t have picnic legs. We’ll try this again on a ship at sea!”

The quill tip tapped the parchment several times. It’s writer didn’t hide his angst. It had been months, no, well over a year since he’d seen the Whalish Prince and now, after finally returning to Metamor there was no sign of him.

‘My dear friend’

“Hmmm, no.”

‘Greetings and...’


‘Phil, where the hell are you, if you’re reading this...’

“Yup, that’s the one.”

Misha quickly finalised the letter and sealed in within an envelope with his stamp. His first thought was that of trouble but he knew better then to jump to conclusions. The bunny was delayed, his instincts told him. The Long was just checking up on him.

‘A bunny, a bunny prince... a bunny prince named Phil...’ The feline sighed to himself as he bounded down the road south. He suddenly grimaced, ‘The bunny noble... that Misha tried to eat at Three Gates...’

How was he to find a lapin prince? And what was the feline to do then, help them fix a broken wagon? Or maybe he’d been attacked by lutins or ogres or trolls or... or maybe he was lost, no that wasn’t too likely. But so far he’d come across no sign of a Whalish carriage, a Whalish dragon or whatever. Maybe he never even showed up?

Stealth ploughed through the bushes and tall grass, looking for shortcuts, and some shade. He began to wonder furiously what he was to do if this Prince was never found, if he’d been attacked and if he did meet the noble what was supposed to happen next? How was he to address a foreign prince from a powerful ally?

The cheetah began to feel very nervous. Should he hide and get dressed properly first or something? Could he risk creating a diplomatic incident? He knew almost nothing about this rabbit except that his name was Phil and Misha tried to eat him.

Stealth leaped through another bush and immediately came to a halt, crashing into a big pile of white fluff. Could it be? It... it is! By the gods, he’d found...


“Stealth!” The rabbit exclaimed in response.

“...Are you alright?” Heather asked.

“I have been pounced!!!” Phil cried out.

“I’m really sorry.” The feline whimpered with his head turned down.

The rabbit’s ears rocked, “It’s alright, I said picnics were dangerous.” He said while reading the contents of the letter that Heather held out for him. “So my old friend is checking up on me, a few must be anxious about this visit.”

“Phil... can I call you Phil? How did you know my name?” The cat asked.

“Aye, you can and I didn’t,” He shook his head, “you surprised me!”

“Oh! I’m usually a lot less discreet... so, any message you have for me to send back?”

“If you ran here on your own steam? I think it can wait. Ride to the keep with us, tell me what I’ve missed.” He answered and nibbled a carrot.

Stealth nodded, “I can try. I guess I earned the break after that direct delivery.”