The Remarkable Quests of Raddish and Quill: The Sea-Venture6 August 2019
“Aiden! Amy!” Quill cawed, looking ahead at their glossy white tails. They had been flying ahead of Quill for quite some time now, almost tirelessly.
“Is everything alright, Quilly?” Amy responded, nudging Aiden. Aiden, at once, stopped fluttering his wings, and the pair glided gracefully through the air, slowing down just enough for Quill to catch up.
Behind them, the orange hues of the evening were slowly diffusing into the navies of the night sky. The silver twinkling stars had finally started to make an appearance, and the Moon and the Sun sang in perfect harmony as they crossed each other’s paths.
“We’ve been flying for days. Are you sure we’re on the right track back home?” Quill gasped, huffing in exhaustion. They’d thought all the yoga would’ve better prepared them for such a feat. Alas, they were barely managing to flutter their wings cohesively.
“Well, the magnetic map seems to be pointing towards the direction we’re flying, so I’m sure we’ll be home soon, Quilly!” Aiden squarked in encouragement.
“Hang in there, buddy, we’re almost there!” Raddish purred from atop Amy’s back. They held out a soft orange paw, which Quill gratefully perched upon. Aiden and Amy looked at each other and smiled. Old Mr Jack Lee, meanwhile, sat still upon Aiden’s back with his eyes closed, as though meditating deeply.
The smell of the ocean had been troubling Quill all throughout their journey to Iceland. And now, on their way back to Butter Town, it had become unbearable. It reminded Quill of bad sushi—specifically, the tuna sushi from their Capybara neighbours’ new sushi shop. Every single time Quill went outside for their morning jog, they came running right back in to escape the smell.
But the smell of the ocean also reminded Quill of those musty old socks Raddish refused to throw out. Raddish hated throwing out things. Their room was cluttered with items that were of no use to them anymore—empty perfume bottles, chipped china teacups, and about twenty jars that once contained scented candles. Quill knew, however, that the socks were special. They had been a gift from Raddish’s grandmother, who had spent a hundred nights knitting them. And they were the colour of Raddish’s fur—bright orange. It was a perfect gift for Raddish—they could even wear them outside with thongs! Ah, what a gift! Quill thought. “If I had them, I wouldn’t be throwing them out, either” they continued, aloud.
“What?” Raddish asked in confusion.
“What, what?” Quill replied.
“What, what, what?” Aiden and Amy said in unison, and this went on for a while.
Seeing Quill’s state, Old Mr Jack Lee started scouring for something through his robes, which were almost touching the surface of the ocean a hundred meters beneath them. The ocean was vast, blue and infinite, just like his robes. Finally, he found what he’d been searching for—a, seemingly infinitely long gummy-worm!
“Here Quill, take some of this! I know you love lollies!” He said, handing one end of the worm to Quill.
And that wasn’t all Old Mr Jack Lee’s robes had to offer. To Aiden, he handed a tin of sardines that didn’t seem to finish. To Amy, he gave a bag of nachos that tasted like guacamole, salsa and cheese dip all at the same time. And to Raddish, at last, a cup of warm English tea.
After lying under the dynamic play of lights of the Icelandic sky, the powers of Old Mr Jack Lee had become unprecedented. Only a few hours before, Old Mr Lee had conjured (out of thin air!) a saddle for himself that perfectly fit Aiden’s back. The day before he’d materialised an entire four course meal for the troupe. Every time Old Mr Jack Lee scoured through his robes, or touched the red ribbon that still decorated his infinitely long white beard, Quill could only think of one thing that they hoped Old Mr Lee could conjure—an aeroplane, or at least a small helicopter. They’d even slightly hinted at it once. But all that came of their efforts was a remote controlled aeroplane toy for Raddish to play with. Raddish had laughed, and happily accepted this gift. Two days later, whilst playing with the toy out of boredom, Raddish accidentally sent it whizzing right past Aiden’s face. The poor albatross was, at once, taken aback and stopped fluttering his wings long enough to lose control and send Old Mr Lee tumbling into the blue water below. To everyone’s surprise Old Mr Lee emerged completely dry, with only a seahorse entangled in his white beard to show for his dip in the ocean. The poor seahorse looked just as confused as Aiden. Of course, Raddish then had to apologise to both of them, which Quill couldn’t help but laugh at. It was one of the highlights of the whole trip.
“QUAAAA” the pair of albatross squawked.
Quill shook themself out of their reverie. In the distance—where the sun still lingered above the horizon and the sky appeared particularly bright—a shoreline arose out of the nothingness. Raddish screamed in excitement. Quill let out a sigh of relief; they were glad to see the sight of land, to know that soon enough they could finally relax. They had done enough aerial cardio for a lifetime. All Quill wanted was to take a long hot shower and immerse themself in their cosy bed.
“Oh honey, this doesn’t look like home! Where is our mellow, yellow Buttertown?” Amy asked Aiden.
A brown coastal sand, about a million bamboo and timber boats, and a seemingly urbanised yet chaotic city lay before them.
“Raddish” Quill said, somewhere between disappointed and terrified, “Where are we?”
“If only I could read those words. What language is that?” Raddish asked, trying to make sense of the curvy lines and dots that adorned the flags of those tiny bamboo boats.
“Uh oh!” Aiden said, guiltily.
“What happened, darling?” Amy said. “Is everything alright?”
“Uhhhhh, no! QUAAA! The magnetic map was broken all along. I don’t know where we are!”
Raddish and Quill looked at each other, scared, yet excited, at the uncertainty that lay ahead of them.