The ant king looked around and after some thinking and reasoning he called for Benji and they both started the long walk back to the clearing where Benji lived.
Finally, at dawn, they reached the turtles’ nest, feet sore of walking. Benji was so tired that he almost forgot to thank The ant king for his help and walked straight into bed. The father turtle was so grateful that The ant king had helped little Benji to get out of the hole that he offered him a lift.
The ant king had decided that he wouldn`t walk anymore today, so a lift further down the path was a welcoming offer. The father turtle was going to a neighbor family for a visit anyways and The ant king could sit on his back.
All the turtles except Benji gathered and waved goodbye as The ant king rode slowly away sitting on the turtles back. The ant king was so tired of the adventured he had been through, and the slow rocking from side to side soon made him fall asleep.
The end (for now)
Carried away by the stream, Benji and The ant king had no other option than follow along. As Benji was holding on the best he could, he saw The ant kings mood suddenly shift from surprise to joy. The ant stood on top of the log smiling and laughing at the speed, having a blast. The ant king surely enjoyed the ride, loving a new adventure
A loud rumble like thunder, they floated around a corner and saw the river disappear below them, too late to do anything than hold on. Benji closed his eyes as hard as he could, feeling the wind from the rivers speed, he clung to the log making squeaky noises of fear, and then nothing but a feeling of flying. A big splash and he tumbled sideways, upside down, underwater and up again. Coffing and blinking his eyes he found himself swimming in the middle of the river. The log was gone, The ant king was gone.
«Benji» he heard, «Benji! Swim over here!» He turned his head and spotted The ant king in front of him at the riverside. He started to paddle with his legs, as hard as he could. He manages to shift direction and slowly closing into the riverside, The ant king swam out and helped him the rest of the distance.
Breathing heavily they laid down in the sand, not noticing their surrounding at first. With his eyes closed The ant king thought he heard a bird singing. He was sure he must have heard wrong, but then he heard it again. He slowly opened his eyes and turned his head in the direction of the sound. His eyes saw an opening out, sun shining, birds singing, green grass. He started to laugh and made Benji stand up to. Finally a way out of the dark. Benji smiled and said «home». They had to climb a few rocks slippery of water but soon stood outside in the sun drying up their clothes. Both of them was very hungry and raided bushes of blueberries, ate and ate until they couldn`t eat no more.
After listening to a long speech about many tunnels and danger of getting lost forever, The ant king asked if the mole could draw them a map. An offended mole said that he wouldn`t be a bad host and that he would follow them out of the tunnels. Even if it would cost him a great ordeal and a long walk. A big favour to them he did.
And so they went, through a door across the room this time. The mole walked first, Benji in the middle where he felt safest and The ant king last. Each of them carried a torch, but the tunnel was so dark that it hardly made any difference. After a long walk up and down, shifting tunnels from time to time, they reached some stairs leading downwards. They heard a roar that became louder as they climbed down. An underground river raged through the tunnel, sprouting the travellers with water drops.
We have to cross here said the mole, pointing at a log reaching from one side of the river to the other. The mole walked the log without any troubles, but Benji was terrified seeing the raging river beneath him. His legs were shaking so much that he could hardly walk. Benji was in the middle of the log when he froze. The moles’ curses and laughter didn`t help, The ant king tried to comfort him, but that didn`t help either.
The ant king walked onto the log himself so that he would be next to Benji. He tried to pursue the turtle, but Benji stood still, staring into the water with big round eyes. The ant king made a fatal decision and began to push Benji, the movement rocked the log at the same time. Slowly, the more The ant king pushed, the log slid and suddenly fell into the river with both Benji and The ant king clinging to it.
«Bye», and a laughter was the last they heard from the mole.
A brisk voice answered, «Come in!» The ant king opened the door and entered the room yet again. While fumbling to put on his glasses the mole shouted again «Come in I said! Don`t stand there as a lunatic!» Finally, with his glasses on its place, he saw The ant king «Oh, there you are, whoever you are».
The ant king introduced himself while Benji was hiding behind him, he was about to explain why they disturbed the mole when the mole interrupted. «An ant and a little shivering coward of a turtle down here? » He started to laugh loudly, clapping his hands to his knees. «Well, well, I guess I must invite my uninvited guests for tea». The ant king said that they surely wouldn`t disturb and there was no need for any tea, could only the mole tell them how to get out.
The mole looked at them wondering what`s the hurry, wore they rude and turned off a simple and friendly invite for tea? Didn`t they have any manners? The ant king and Benji unfamiliar with the mole’s behaviour denied that they were trying to be rude, and silently sat down at the table for some biscuits and tea.
Benji was too afraid to breathe as he saw The ant king slowly enter the room. The ant king tried to be as quiet as he could, walking into an unknown creature home. So weird, so many doors, in all directions, were it an underground castle he had entered? He looked in the direction the breathing sound came from and saw a bed in the corner of the room. A creature sleeping was totally covered by his blanket, only the top of the head reviling some greyish fur was to be seen.
A loud crash made The ant king jump, Benji had entered the room and walked right into a table full of cups and plates. A large plate filled with cookies had fallen to the floor. The little turtle froze for a second with big round eyes, oh my… A sound of someone turning in bed, blanket pushed aside. Benji and The ant king rushed out the door full of fear and closed it quickly behind them as they heard the creature talk angrily to himself.
At first, they didn`t dare to move, trying to be as small as possible, hoping that the creature wouldn`t see them if he opened the door. Benji had in is fear grabbed a couple of cookies, which he now chewed nervously, while crumbles fell to the ground around him.
They heard someone clean up the mess Benji made, still angry, still talking to himself. The ant king approached the door again and looked through the keyhole. A mole dressed in a silky bathrobe was busy sweeping the floor. To his terror, Benji saw The ant king brush his clothes from mud and knocked at the door. The poor little turtle thought his last day had come.