Malcolm’s excitement turned to dismay as he took in Milo’s pronouncement about Nana Owl. “What do you mean she’s not there anymore? Where did she go?”
“From what I heard, Nana Owl moved to Whimzafir Mountain at the northern edge of the forest. She’s living in pine tree so high the clouds keep her company.”
Malcolm opened his mouth to say something, then closed it again. He sighed, disappointment washing over him the way Ozzie still dripped with water from Evergale Falls.
“Are you sure about that Milo,” said Ozzie. “I heard nothing about Nana Owl moving. Thought she was still in that Elder tree up yonder.”
“Not one hundred percent. But I heard it from a blue jay who heard it from a robin.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Malcolm asked, finally finding his voice. “I need Nana Owl to help me find what I’m looking for.”
“And what’s that?” Arthur asked.
“I had a dream,” said Malcolm. “There was a mountain and a waterfall and plenty of flowers. I’ve never seen anyplace more beautiful,” he finished with a sigh as he gazed into Evergale Falls. Well, until now, he amended to himself and for the briefest of moments he didn’t feel quite so sad about the prospect of Nana Owl being so far away.
As if reading his mind, Ozzie echoed his sentiments. “Except for Evergale Falls, you mean,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes.
Malcolm’s heart skipped a beat. “Wh-what makes you say that?” Malcolm had already thought this place had magic. Did the animals have magic powers here? Could Ozzie read his mind?
“Look around,” said Ozzie as a tiny paw swept over the air around them. “I don’t have to go everywhere to know Evergale Falls is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.”
“Plus, we have berries,” laughed Arthur. Milo and Ozzie joined in, but Malcolm was still too perplexed to find anything funny about this situation. Should he continue west or head to the north? What if Nana Owl moved on before he got there? What if he never found his mountain and waterfall?
“Oh, cheer up, my new foxy friend,” said Milo looking at Malcolm’s grim face. “You’re here now. You might as well enjoy yourself.”
“Yeah,” said Ozzie. “Come on. We’ll introduce you to the other animals, get you some berries to eat, and then you can splash around in the water for a little bit. It’ll take your mind off things for a while.”
“If you say so,” said Malcolm, even though he wasn’t quite sure that would happen. But half an hour later, it had happened. Malcolm was having so much fun with his new friends that he almost forgot about the conundrum facing him with finding Nana Owl. Then a thought occurred to him that took him completely by surprise.
What if…No. He didn’t want to think it. But there it was. The thought had come to him and he couldn’t not think it, so he might as well consider the option. Evergale Falls really was the most beautiful place he had ever seen and the waterfall certainly rivaled the beauty of the one in his dream. He also had berries to eat, new friends, and he knew at the end of the night they would have a place for him to sleep. What if he gave up his quest to find Nana Owl and his mountain? What if he stayed here?
To be continued…