“This way! Tally-ho!” Sir Goodwin’s words were bombastic, and the group treated them with the respect they deserved.
Charlotte watched as his tweed walking suit disappeared into the leaves of the tropics. The rest of the team didn’t wait for her, they too took various paths into the wall of green. Once they had all evaporated, Charlotte gave a heavy sigh and followed.
Goodwin’s booming voice carried to her even through the jade mass. By his noise alone, she could follow him even if she couldn’t track the jagged rend in the jungle floor.
“He really is a very special sort of adventurer,” Stella laughed as she bent to rest her perfect head on Charlotte’s shoulder. “As if any animal worth it’s oats would still be this side of the range with his roaring.”
“How many species did you say that he has discovered?”
“None,” there was a happy ring in her words. “He has found many. All tracked and trapped by the team. They put them in his direct path. Hence why they have run ahead.”
Despite herself, Charlotte laughed.
“Do you really want to go on this hike?” Stella rubbed against the girl like a large cat trying to get attention. “Come with me and we will do something that I am sure you have never done before.”
Stella had always been able to pull Charlotte away from her activities. The Goodwin’s tried to impress upon Lottie that Stella was a bad influence, but they never went as far as to forbid the two from interacting.
Stella grabbed Lottie’s hand and pulled her back toward the edge of the trees. Giggling the girl allowed the icy hand to pull her.
Once they had ran across the field where the hunt had begun, they stopped at the dirt road. A rumbling began below them and quickly breached the hill they stood on. Two horses pulled to a stop for the two ladies. The horses neighed and pranced. Lottie had never seen anything like them before and her face betrayed it.
“Mechanical Hobbyhorse Racers. They will run as long as we peddle.” Her red lips pulled into a smile showing her spiked canine teeth. The mischievous glint in her almond shaped eyes gave Charlotte pause. “Come on! Leg over.” Stella jumped up onto the wooden pony.
Lottie placed her feet on the peddles and pushed. The horse pushed forward. Before long, she was gliding down the road, wind in her hair. The rocking gait of the pony lulled her into a feeling of security. The scenery changed to blurring colours, beautiful in their way.
“Here!” and the motion stopped at Stella’s command.
The colour-blur solidified transforming into the gold, red, and purple tiles of Goodwin House. Lottie stepped off the horse and as her feet found solid ground, the horse tore off in a cloud of dust.
Turning to Stella, she smiled. “Tea?”