A trip to the zoo in Ardougne was always a treat for the children. Free admission meant they could go on any day they had free. There were so many fascinating animals to see: parrots, wolves, grizzly bears, monkeys, even jogres and cyclopes! Larry was especially fascinated by the penguins. They seemed far more sociable with each other than any of the other animals. They seemed to be… plotting.
“Larry! It’s time go home!”
“Aww… mother, a few more minutes, please!”
“I want to hear the penguins talk.”
“Don’t be silly, penguins can’t talk!”
Larry’s mother should’ve listened. As she led her son away from the cage, a crate emerged from behind the zoo wall and waddled over to the cage. The lid opened slightly and a penguin peeked out cautiously. One of the penguins in the cage waddled over to the edge of the cage besides the crate.
“What news from the Motherland, comrade?” she asked.
“We’re still gathering information about the humans. The mastery of their language has been quite helpful in the process.”
“We might have a problem here.”
“A little boy. He might be a spy the humans have sent.”
“What makes you think that?”
“He seems to understand our language. Earlier he stood by our gate, observing us, begging for his mother to let him stay longer.”
“Hmm, he could prove to be a problem. Continue to watch him, comrade. I will report to the Commander on this matter.”
The caged penguin squawked once before waddling back to join the others as the crate wandered away.
At home, Larry was on his bed, paging through his book on animals. He wanted to become a zookeeper and be in charge of all the fascinating animals. He paused on the section on penguins and thought about the conversation he had overheard. It had been something about dominating Gielinor. He had wanted to hear more but his mother was so adamant on leaving.
“Next time,” Larry thought to himself. “They can talk!”
Many years later, Larry found himself at Gielinor’s greatest institutions of study. Often regarded as odd, he excelled through the rigorous courses on magic and animal care. He gave lectures on the lives of penguins, how misunderstood these creatures were.
On the dark purpose they had in mind for the humans.
The professors and fellow students laughed, called him insane. The brains of penguins were far too small to be intelligent enough to do something to them. The term “feather-brains” fit quite well. Despite being booed off stage, Larry continued his research. Every free day he had he went to the zoo and stood by the penguins, listening to them and taking notes on what they were saying.
“The human is back again.”
“Gotten a lot older, hasn’t he?”
“He’s listening. He knows what we’re saying!”
“Ah, but do you see that his comrades do not believe him? They believe that he is crazy, that he cannot understand us. It all works perfectly, don’t you see?”
“YOU EVIL CREATURES!” Larry suddenly roared, startling the penguins. “I will find someone who will believe what I have to say about you! You shall not take over Gielinor! You shall not destroy us humans!”
“Oh ho! Look at him! Look at his anger! His fury!” the penguins laughed. “They shall never believe!”
Larry flung his notebook down, ready to climb over the enclosure when a zookeeper came up to him. “Now, Larry! What is this about? You know better than to harass the animals! Come way from there at once. We’re closing.”
“No buts. Off you go home now, that’s a good lad.”
Larry sighed, picking up his notebook, and walked dejectedly out of the zoo with the penguins still squawking with laughter behind him. A few months later, he finally got his license to become the main zookeeper for the penguins. The officials couldn’t deny that he was well educated on the subject, but had assigned another zookeeper by his side in case he went into another one of his “crazed episodes.”
“One day,” Larry thought. “One day I will show the world just how horrible these creatures are!”
To be continued…