Part 2: Chapter 4: The Figgie Hunt

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Part Two

Chapter Four 

The Figgie Hunt 

Chase was hot on the trail of his thirteenth figgie. As Amy had envisaged, they were giant 'truffle-like' vegetables but that was where the similarity stopped. As the ground thudded with the sound of the keppets hooves, the strange vegetation, which were half buried in the undergrowth, would suddenly frail out long tentacles and start using these to roll and scurry across the ground at surprisingly great speeds. Chase couldn't believe his eyes when he saw his first figgie and found it all very amusing.  

"Pinch me, I'm dreamin'! Who's ever goin' t' believe this back home?"

The only way to catch a figgie was to chase it, lasso it, net it or, while at full gallop, reach down from your keppet and grab one of the tentacles and swing it over your head until it burst. Chase was amazed when the first one he caught in this way, exploded and covered him with hundreds of tiny red seeds. This left him covered in little red dots. It looked as though he'd suddenly caught chickenpox!

Everyone laughed and said he'd been 'reddened' which happened to everyone on their first figgie hunt.  Chase soon realised the swinging had been unnecessary, but it had made everyone laugh at his expense and instantly Chase  became part of the 'team.'

Chase found it hard to believe most of the people riding here now, had been amongst the audience in The Great Council and had watched him crushed in agony, with no emotion on their faces at all. Now they all looked so different, colourful, smiling, everyone very happy and eager to pat him or shake both his hands.

"You are very good at this Chase!" called Kish. 

"Beginners luck, I guess. Angry little veggies aren't they!" grinned Chase. 

"Is good luck to be  good figgie catcher. Amy will be pleased, no?"

"I guess so, now she knows they're not animals. She didn't want me to come if they were."

"You argue like before, no?"  

"Umm, no, not really," said Chase slowly. He was keen to catch up as the rest of the hunt had suddenly galloped off leaving him and Kish behind, but Kish seemed set on talking and slowly walking in a different direction. 

"When Prelli and I first met before we became mates, before our colour matched, we used to have, how you say, tiffs? But now, with four spring-offs we have grown much closer."  

"Spring-offs? Kids?" 

"Yes. Little ones. Is time for you and Amy soon, your colour match is good and you are already experiencing O'minjay. We make preparations for Joining– much merriment and celebrations for all!"  

"No!" snapped Chase angrily. "And what does O'minjay mean anyway, yer never said."  

"I forget that you do not hear with your mind. This you must practice. It means you are attracted to one another. You are..." Kish grinned broadly, "you we say? Very..." he raised his eye-brows and jigged about in the saddle, "very...  O'minjay! You have no words to describe!" 

Chase scowled at him. "I've told yer before– me and Amy are just friends." 

"Yes, you are mates. No?" 

"Yeah, I mean no! We're friends!

"Prelli and I are mates, mates for life. You and Amy are mates. You have spring-offs soon. In a few days I think. Yes? Little versions of yourselves, no?" 

"Wowah! Hang on a sec! NO! Hells Bloody Curses! I'm not even eleven yet! Giv'us a bloody chance to grow up will yer!"  

"Ah! Yes! I understand. You will grow bigger very much soon, no?"  

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