Though they had many questions to ask one another, Hearan (bless him) could see that Mugs was very near exhaustion. So rather than interrogate him about his extraordinary appearance, seemingly out of nowhere, Hearan and Missy enfolded Mugs in their arms. Mugs took a deep, deep breath and visibly relaxed.
“Come on, Brother.” Hearan said. “Let’s get you something warm to drink and let you rest awhile. Answers can come later.”
“No!” Mugs objected, pulling away. “There is no time to waste. The Leader said, ‘Time is of the essence.’ Plus, I have so much to tell you, and…”
At that point, Mugs seemed to run out of everything—words, breath, and energy. Hearan, understanding (at least partially), just put his arm around the little guy and, without further resistance from Mugs, directed him toward their home. Missy prepared some hot Hai Berry tea, and Hearan covered Mugs with a light blanket.
(Mugs was having a hard time comprehending what was happening. Missy and Hearan were acting like they had all of the time in the world; like there were no important questions to be answered; like everything was normal! Even though it was still very early morning on Hai Mountain, Mugs was filled with a sense of urgency!
“What is the matter with them? Don’t they know what trouble we’re in? And why can’t I talk?” These were the jumbled thoughts running through his mind. He was exasperated!)
Missy handed him the cup of tea. She and Hearan did not take any for themselves (saving as much as possible for the children), but sat down opposite Mugs, and waited expectantly (but patiently) for him to regain himself. A few sips of the delicious hot brew did wonders for his disposition.
“Just a few sips more,” Mugs thought to himself, “and I should be able to speak.”
Sure enough, a few sips later, having regained his composure, Mugs cleared his throat (which didn’t really need clearing), the words began tumbling out! He related the events of the previous morning: his discovery of the missing path—which wasn’t really missing…he could tell them about that later!; his shock and concern; his meeting with The Leader and his subsequent encounter with aforesaid missing path; the fright of the children; his hasty preparations for the journey (for which he had volunteered, but didn’t know why!); the backpack prepared by The Leader; the harrowing trip up the mountain; the prayer from The Leader; the Protection Amulet and its effects; his discovery of the partial path; the zigzagging back and forth up the mountain.
The words kept pouring out, so that Missy and Hearan were having difficulty piecing it all together! At one point, they thought they heard him say that the path was still there. At another, they were certain that they had perceived something of a confession that sounded like he had walked in the stream! Incomprehensible! Then there was that mention of the backpack from The Leader. There was a lot of information to reconstruct in order to make sense of this jumble!
While they were listening to Mugs’ heartfelt recounting of the last day’s events, the village was beginning to stir. Sounds of people awaking were easily detected.
“Oh, dear,” said Missy. “I must go out to greet the morning. In all of these years with the Hai, I have never missed this customary start to the day. I’ll be back shortly, my dears.” Off she went.
“All right, my friend and brother,” Hearan began. “It is time to start assembling the ingredients of this tale. I’m sure that you would not deceive, but, frankly, I am unable to make much sense of what you have said. No, no! Don’t worry. We will figure it out together. This much is clear—the path has been tampered with. Is that correct?”
Mugs nodded assent.
“Now, Brother, you mentioned a backpack from the leader. Would that be the pack strapped to your shoulders?”
Another nod of agreement came from Mugs.
“May we have a look at what you have brought? It must be important for you to have undertaken such a dangerous journey—a journey that took you into the night, and through the brambles; into the dark and the unknown.”
Again, Mugs nodded, but this time he actually responded to what had been said with more than a nod. This time, he removed the knapsack from his shoulders and handed it to Hearan, who promptly opened it and removed its contents.
There, laid out before them, were the contents which The Leader so hastily, yet carefully, had intended for their protection and well-being:
Hearan tucked the folded page into the front of his shirt, saying, “Now, little guy, time for you to get a little rest. You have done your part!”
Mugs struggled to object, but the goodness and gentleness of Hearan and Missy were so powerful, that he acquiesced and leaned back in the chair—sipping more tea and wrapping the light blanket more closely around his shoulders. “Somehow,” he thought, ”things are going to be all right. I’m glad Hearan is in charge.”
Hearan and Missy moved a little ways away, out of hearing for Mugs. “Here, Missy, are instructions from The Leader.”
Hearan read softly, but loud enough for Missy to hear: “Greetings, my brother and sister in faith. Since you are reading this, I trust that our small brother, Mugs, has completed his journey successfully. I expected no less from one with such a big heart. Here are my instructions. Follow them carefully and with all of the energy and joy that you can bring to this task! There are some in the world who believe that “Might makes right”, but we know that it is the other way around—“Right makes Might”!
Missy and Hearan looked at one another and smiled. “Let’s do this,” they said, simultaneously.
They returned to find Mugs just dozing off. “Not so fast, mister! There is time for rest later. Right now, we have a celebration to attend and create!”
“Oh, no!” thought Mugs to himself. “The strain has gotten to them. Oh, no!” Mugs exclaimed out loud.
“It’s all right. Come on! Time to do right—make might!”
Missy and Hearan, with Mugs in tow, began knocking on doors, shouting for the people to join them in the village square.
“Come on, people! It is time to celebrate. See who has come to us—braving the dark and cold of the night. Our Mugs is here and brings us good news from The Leader. Time to do right—make might!”
The people came together with joy and thanksgiving, and just as he had planned it, The Leader had gathered together all of The Hai at exactly the right moment to join in this marvelous celebration.
(Also, just as The Leader had planned, the residents of Elsewhere were beginning to assemble in their recreation hall—having been called there by their chief. The Ever-Seeing Globes were just being warmed up for the days’ festivities. They were the screen, were There,was an air of excitement and anticipation as they awaited the demise of the people they envied and despised. They were literally drooling with anticipation of the fun to come! But, wait a minute! Something was very wrong! What they were seeing as the Ever-Seeing Globes gave a clearer picture, MADE NO SENSE! What they were viewing was a celebration at the top of Hai Mountain. It was the biggest, most raucous party they had ever seen. How could they be celebrating? Their chief tuned in the globes to the scene at the base of Hai Mountain—to the same boisterous merriment as at the top! That was it—the people must be mad with fear and regret!. But, no—they were laughing. The children were laughing and running around and playing games.)
The festival was in full swing! It had been quite a while since Mugs had made the journey up the mountain—and certainly he had never made the journey quite like this! Of course, there was always a party of joyful fun when he visited, but this was really over-the-top! He was surrounded by nieces, nephews, cousins, and brothers and sisters of the people. Of course, there was Missy and Hearan, who were always glad to welcome him. But it was in extraordinary circumstances that they were coming together, so the celebration seemed sweeter than ever. He had no idea that what was happening here was also happening down below. The Le Han and The Hai had never had a joint carnival before. The positive energy, the pure joy, fellowship and love that flowed out from the people to one another was exhilarating!
(The energy was so powerful and positive that a very strange thing started happening in Elsewhere. As this joy, love and fellowship overflowed The People, it also began flowing through the Ever-Seeing Globes. Now, these were never meant to transmit anything but agony, gloom, desolation and wretchedness. So, when this great “stuff” began flowing through them, they began to spark and fizzle. The pictures became indistinct and unclear. Their dominant leader tried to shut them down, but he was too late! They began to explode with all of the good that was being transmitted. The denizens of Elsewhere began to scatter and take cover, lest they be destroyed. Their dreams of conquest and glory disappeared midst the sparks and explosions.)
Mugs was having a wonderful time, even though he wasn’t sure what all of the fuss was about. He was just glad to be here and to be safe and loved.
Hearan gathered the people together more closely and suggested that they go to the top of the path together.
“Oh, no!” thought Mugs. “Now the children will be afraid and the festival will certainly come to an end!” Those thoughts were under his breath. Out loud he said, “Missy, I almost forgot. I brought a scarf for you. Let’s go get it. We can go to the path later—much later.” (He really didn’t want the children to be afraid!)
“Oh, silly,” she replied. “The scarf will be there when we get back. Let’s go”
So, while The Hai approached one end of the path, the Le Han approached the other—and, behold, the path was completely restored!
(The residents of Elsewhere would not be heard from again. They were so embarrassed at their failure. They were so chagrined at how easily and thoroughly they were defeated, that all they could do was slink away. Though definitely not content, they would have to settle for life without their hearts’ desire—The Hai Berry. Oh, the shame of it forever would be theirs!)
Mugs kept placing his foot on the top of the path. Even though he knew it was so, he could hardly believe that it had really been gone (at least, the top and the bottom.)
Now there was an upheaval of good will and joy, not the least of all from Mugs. The path was back—completely. The People were saved. The Hai Berry was where and with whom it belonged.
The Leader uttered a little prayer of thanksgiving and grace.
“Right makes Might,” he whispered.