The Stable Fire

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"We have to rescue the animals," Enitala shouted. The teens covered their mouths and noses with handkerchiefs and shirt sleeves and then rushed into the blinding smoke.

The teens headed toward their own mounts first to free them. In the midst of the confusion of noise, heat, smoke, and voices, Nehat found Prince Crenip beside him.

"Here," Prince Crenip said holding out something, "I need you to take this. You can look at it later. Just put it in your pouch quickly. We must save the animals and the gear."

Nehat did as he was told, barely thinking about what he'd been given. After all, it didn't really matter. The important thing was saving the stable and all its animals.

The teens and Prince Crenip worked as quickly as they could. They quickly freed their own animals and then began releasing the other animals in the stable. When Noj Vidad and Eticia went to free their mounts, though, they discovered the source of the fire.

The unicorn's stall was blazing and the passageway was smoking horribly. Eticia's oliphant was using its trunk to squirt water into the passageway.

The wetness was keeping the hay and oak leaves from bursting into flame but the water was making everything smoke worse.

"Oh no," Noj Vidad exclaimed in horror. "My unicorn." He rushed to the stall door, and using his handkerchief to protect his hand from the heat, he released the latch.

His unicorn burst out of the door coughing and sneezing. With each cough more flames came pouring out of his mouth. "I've got to get him out of here."

Noj Vidad jumped on Fire's back to keep out of the way of his flaming mouth. Keeping his head low, Noj Vidad and his unicorn rushed out of the stable. Everyone else jumped out of their way.

Several new fires sprang up and began consuming the dry hay as the coughing unicorn ran through the stable passageway.

There were many animals in the passages, milling around in great confusion. Although they were free, they were too confused to know where to go.

The teens rescue efforts were very organized. The girls led the terrified animals to safety while half of the boys began to remove gear from the tack rooms and the other half began bringing buckets of water to throw on the fires.

Once the girls had the animals outside they didn't bother to tie them up. It was too important to continue saving other animals and gear.

Some of the stalls, like those of Prince Relos's centaurs were locked. It was too hard to unlock them, but Thifa & Thananoj's yellow dragons gladly obeyed the order to spit on every lock.

The acid quickly dissolved the metal, so that the doors could be opened. Most of the animals were bellowing in terror. Some were trying to kick in their stall doors. Once the stalls were open the girls quickly led the terrified animals to freedom.

By this time, adults were arriving and quickly pitched in to help. They were able to contain the fires fairly quickly thanks to the teens' fast action and Lio's training in fighting fires.

The Oliphant's squirting water into the passageway had kept the fire from quickly growing out of control. When the fire was contained, Ffej & Nan asked, "Where is Noj Vidad?"

"Yes, and where is Eticia?"

Nnalo & Bibma questioned. "Has anyone seen Nehat & Enielda?" Kelu & Onima pleaded. "Where are my centaurs?" Prince Relos demanded.

Thalanein said, "Noj Vidad ran off because he was afraid his unicorn would be in trouble for starting the fire. Eticia went after him to convince him to come back."

Enitala reported, "Nehat and Enielda told me they were going to find the animals that had run off. Since they were responsible for the animals under their care, they felt that it was their job to bring them back."

Along with the four teens and their mounts, the two centaurs were missing along with 7 other animals. The adults, worn out with searching and overwhelmed by events, looked at each other with despair.

The adults were upset about the fire, but when the teens told them about the way the unicorn was coughing and sneezing they realized it wasn't his fault. Some of the adults searched the hay stack and found melbamfal leaves.

Everyone knew that the unicorn was allergic to melbamfal and that whenever he coughed he would flame. He could flame at other times, but he couldn't help flaming while coughing. It was his fire-breathing ability that had caused Lio to be housed close by.

The adults praised the teens for staying calm and quickly organizing their rescue efforts. Thanks to them, the stable was mostly undamaged, and except for those who were missing, everything was safe.

Because of the search parties that were still out, there were plenty of stalls in the other stable until the youth stable could be cleaned.

Everyone worked together to move the animals and gear, and then they met to decide what to do about the missing teens and animals...

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