Hey, y’all! Did I ever mention here that I was writing a Dausneux Part II? Well, I pushed Part II to Part III, but that was because I wrote a different Part II and Part III is too long to be in the newspaper! Did that make any sense? Probably not! Anyway, enjoy Dausneux, but this time it’s Part II.

(It’s completely irrelevant to Part I because it had to go in the school newspaper, but reading Part I first makes it easier to understand. Either way, Part III is about a quarter of the way done and WILL relate to Part I.)

“I hate this so much,” I muttered as I slid off Venspred the Rawc. “Why couldn’t we go to a nice cold place instead?”

Venspred ruffled his black feathers, tucking his blue beak under his white wing-tips. “You promised me honeycomb, and bees don’t live in extreme cold like you snow-elves do.”

“I just want to go home,” I grumbled, scanning the surrounding trees. Everywhere I looked, there was color, whether green foliage or bursting flower and berry bushes. I was unused to so much color after the familiar white and blue tones of the snow and ice that made up my homeland.

“And you will.” Venspred’s beady eyes bored into my back. “After I get my honeycomb.”

I grumbled again quietly to myself as I dashed through the tall grass that reached up to my shoulders. Reaching the thick trunk of the nearest tree, I began to scale it, scampering up the rough surface nimbly like only a snow-elf can. It took a while for me to clamber up onto the branch where the hive swung, but I made it.

I hurriedly snatched a thick leaf off the tree, nearly losing my balance, but held it in front of me as a shield. I wrapped another around me to protect me from stings, then ventured into the hive.

Bees swarmed around me, larger than my head. I suppose, I mused as I slid through the tiny corridors within the hive, I am smaller than the average bee.

By the time I made it to the main cave, I was covered in sticky residue that had come off the honey that the bees carried back and forth throughout the whole place. Most of it was clumped on the leaves, but a bit had stuck to my clothes, which I would have to wash off later in the next stream we came across. I didn’t bother trying to wipe it off; I already knew the result of that.

Climbing into the main cave, my eyes followed the rows upon rows of golden honeycomb lining the walls. There wasn’t much light to go by, but I was fine – snow-elves could see well even under six feet of snow. I skirted the edge of the honeycomb cells, each of which were about half my size, trying to avoid the mass of bees in the center of the cave, clustered around who I assumed was the queen bee. I stepped carefully, trying not to stumble and give myself away. With one eye on the milling workers and the other eye searching for cracks in the honeycomb to exploit, it would be easy to trip and catch everyone’s attention.

I quickly found a crack and pulled out a little wooden sword I had made in absence of my ice one – it had melted in the warm weather as we flew south. Wedging it in, I twisted it around until the crack widened and I could break off a sizeable chunk of honeycomb. Of course it was much larger than I was, and I began to wonder how I could roll it out without getting caught.

My answer came sooner than I thought, however. A few bees had noticed me crouching in the shadows just as the cavern began to shake. Globs of honey dripped down the walls faster than before. Hurriedly, I shoved the honeycomb towards the exit.

The bees dove at me instantly, recognizing me as an intruder and a thief of their beloved honey. I yelped, leaping away and scrambling over the honeycomb to the exit, losing my wooden sword in the process. I abandoned it there, valuing my own skin over it. I was sure Venspred would understand.

Speaking of which, where was the Rawc? He surely could have dismantled the hive himself, but noooo, I had to risk my life to do it instead. Why had I ever offered him the honeycomb in the first place?

The angry buzz of the bees filled my ears as I scurried through the corridors, trying to find the hive’s opening. “Venspred!” I screamed, though I knew he couldn’t hear me.

The hive shuddered even more, and I could hear a faint cracking sound. Oh, no.

Suddenly, I noticed a thin stream of daylight filtering in from a hole high above. Without hesitation, I launched myself onto the sticky wall and clambered up as fast as I could before the bees caught up to me.

I had a little bit of a head start, and I pulled myself out just a split second before the other bees came rocketing out of the hive. I have to admit, I screamed like a little girl as I slid off the branch that the hive was dangling from and fell into the tall grass.

I stood up immediately and made for the water, wherever it was. It wouldn’t be long before I found some anyway. “Venspred!” I screamed again. “Where are you?”

It began to cross my mind that the Rawc may have led me into a death trap. After all, Rawcs and snow-elves are supposed to be sworn enemies. Predator and prey.

A dark shadow hovered over me and I froze, crouching in the tall grass. I hoped the long blades would hide me from the bees overhead, scanning the area for me. I quickly pretended to be a rock, but I wasn’t a very convincing one.

They were just about to dive at me again when a vehement cry arose from the remainder of the now-broken hive. Venspred came soaring to my rescue, bellowing at the bees. They, being intimidated by the huge bird, began to fly in different directions – especially when they noticed the dead queen bee he clutched in his blue beak.

Before long the bees had scattered, and neither of us were hurt – except Venspred, who was stung on his wing once by a very belligerent bee that he soon swatted out of the air for good. Other than that, we had gone relatively unharmed.

Venspred landed smoothly next to me, his wing hanging to the side awkwardly, and dropped the queen bee’s corpse on the ground. It was easily as big as I was, something I hadn’t been paying attention to as I tried to steal the honeycomb. I stayed as far away from it as I could, still disgusted.

“Thanks,” the big bird cawed. “I’ll take you home now.”

“But you didn’t get the honeycomb,” I mumbled, dumbfounded and exhausted. I inwardly berated myself for reminding him.

Venspred shook his head. “The hive exploded, the bees are gone. It’s a honey feast.”

“Well.” I allowed myself a wan smile. “Maybe we should go to the water first and clean off all this honey. Do something about that sting.”

Venspred let out a trill and bent over to let me sit on his back again. He rose up above the treetops to search for water.

I leaned forward on his neck, hands curled in his warm black feathers, and fell asleep.