The adventures of Lexi in the Land of Pandas

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just a fairy tale for children, written as a Christmas Gift for a friend of mine; may it make her smile when she's feeling down, and be enough to get her back on top. Finished version

Submitted: December 05, 2011

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Submitted: December 05, 2011

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Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lexi. Lexi was the kind of girl that really likes pandas. Or like she says, who wouldn't love pandas? They're sweet, warm, cuddly, lovable, and huggable. What's not to like? So Lexi had a lot of panda stuff. She had panda sheets, panda mugs, she even had a panda hat! And because of that, her friends at school teasingly called her panda girl. In the beginning, she didn't mind being panda girl. Pandas are cool after all. But after a while it became annoying, and then even irritating and mean. So one night, when she came back from school, she went straight to bed, crying, whispering. And she whispered to her pillow "Why are people so mean? I love pandas, but why do they bully me for that?" She snickered. "Well, if they don't like pandas, they're just stupid. Stupid and mean. I wish I could have a lot of panda friends, instead of mean people around me. And with those words, and a couple more tears, she slowly drifting into sleep. But little did she know, or else she just had forgotten, it was the night of 11 november 2011, the night all wishes come true. And so, unknown to her, her adventures in the Land of Pandas began.

When Lexi woke up in the morning, the sun was already shining behind her curtains, and birds were whistling outside of her window. Her clock showed her she had overslept, and her alarm hadn't gone off, so without opening the curtains or doing anything that took too much time, she jumped out of her PJ's, into her clothes, and ran down the stairs. Downstairs, she grabbed a bowl, some cereals and milk, and yelled to her mom, asking why she hadn't woke her up. But there came no answer. So she yelled again, but still, there was no answer coming from her mom. With only half of her cereals finished, she went to seek around the house, in every room, asking "mom, are you here" every time she opened a door. But the house was empty, safe for Lexi. So Lexi went downstairs again, finished her cereals, and put the bowl in the sink, unwashed. Then she grabbed her bag, and opened the door.

What Lexi saw when she opened the door, wasn't the street she lived in. It wasn't the neighbour washing his car, or the cute old couple sitting on a bench in front of their house. In fact, her entire street was gone. And what she saw, was grass. Grass as far as the eyes can see, and fileds of flowers all over. Trees with birds singing songs while making nests, and crickets chirping in hidden places. Standing in her doorway, she dropped her bag in surprise, too surprised and amazed at what she saw to wonder where her street had gone. After some minutes, when she had taken it all in, she decided to do a little bit of exploring.

As Lexi explored this strange land, she had so much fun she forgot about time. She picked flowers. She rolled down the hills, and climbed back up. She chased butterflies, climbed trees. She tried to find the nests of the birds, singing in the trees. She ran as far as she could, as fast as she could. She screamed on top of her lungs, and nobody scolded her for doing so. And when she finally got tired, she picked a flower, put it in her hair, and sat down on the grass in the shadow of a tree. And after she sat there for a while, and rested, she sighed a bit, and whispered to herself. "I'm starting to feel a little bit lonely" she whispered, and looked around her. She had ran so far, and explored so much, she didn't know the way back home anymore. She thought and thought, but no matter how hard she thought, she couldn't remember which way she came from. Feeling a bit sad again, she closed her eyes and laid her head back against the tree. She tried to take a little nap, but she heard something she hadn't heard before. A trickle. Water?

Lexi stood up, and closed her eyes again. Then she heard it even clearer: there was a stream of water somewhere nearby. Lexi decided to look for it, and maybe drink from it too. With every step she took, she heard the sound grow louder and louder, until she climbed up a small hill and saw a river flowing closeby. She follewed the river with her eyes, and found it came from a group of mountains with snowy white peaks, melting and slowly forming a river. "Snow!" she thought, but then she thought that it would cost her too much energy to climb the mountains to make some snowmen and snowwomen. so she sat down, and drank a little of the water, that turned out to be cool, refreshing, and unpolluted. She wanted to swim, but when she looked up to the sky she saw the sun slowly descending towards the horizon, and she knew from school that it meant it was going to become dark in a couple of hours, and she wnated to have some shelter for the night. Lucky, Lexi had also learned that people usually live close to water, so she decided to follow the river, following the current, until she found a place to stay, or until it was too dark to continue.

Lexi walked and walked, until she felt she couldn't go much further, when she noticed a little blue canoe at the side of the river. She walked over to it, sat next to it and started thinking. "Why would someone leave a canoe here, and not use it? Does that mean there's someone nearby, or did they just forget it? And would they be angry if I used it?" This, and some more questions she asked to herself, until she decided that she would leave the canoe where it was, so that nobody would be angry with her. But when she stood up again, a cold breeze made her change her mind. Carefully not to fall in herself, she pushed the canoe in the water, got in herself, and pushed herself away from the shore with the paddles.


Lexi floated on the current of the river, occasionally paddling to steer, or to make a little bit of extra speed, finding the change from walking to sitting to be a pleasant one. She enjoyed the boat ride on the river: it was a gentle current, not too fats but not too slow either. She enjoyed the fields of flowers on each side of the river too, filled with all kinds of butterflies being attracted to the sweet scents hanging all around her. It made her feel happier again, happier, but also drowsy. She felt like she was about to fall asleep, and maybe she already had, because this looked a lot like a dream. And so it was she didnt believe her eyes at first, when after a while she saw what she loved the most, but expected the least to see. They noticed her before she noticed them, and stared at the girl in the blue canoe with curiosity.

Lexi, slowly falling asleep, listened to the sound of the river as it kept flowing, possibly to the sea or even the ocean! Lexi had seen the ocean once, but she was very young still back then, and she wouldn't mind seeing it again, but from the beach, not from a boat in the middle of it. She listened to the splashing sounds her paddles made as they hit the water; the occasional bump if she accidentially hit a hidden rock; the sounds of the birds around her, who sang a different song then they did before: One that spoke of going to sleep after a day of hard work; and the sounds of the crickets on the river bank, who had just woken up and prepared to start their nightly concert. She smelled the scents of wild roses, and tulips, and lots of other flowers, of which most she didn't know their names. She looked at the wind playing with the leaves, falling through the trees, sweeping aroubd the fields of grass, and making the flowers dance. And then, she finally noticed them. She saw them, but she didn't believe her eyes. "I must be dreaming" she said to herself, "this is all probably a dream". But when she rubbed her eyes, they weren't gone. They became even clearer, and slowly came closer as she drifted further on the currents of the river.

There they were, a big group of them, in their black and white cuddly glory. "PANDAS!" She yelled out, steering the blue canoe towards the shore, jumping out as soon as she could, and running as fast as her legs would carry her to where the group of pandas was still watching her. A big panda walked in her direction, as Lexi came closer and she stood on her legs, making herself big and broad and growling ferociously at the newcomer. But Lexi, really happy to finally see real pandas in the wild, ignored the growling and fearlessly she ran towards the panda, jumping to it, hugging it and clinging tightly. "Pandas, YAY!" she exclaimed, as the big panda looked at her with confusion. Then, the big panda decided she wasn't dangerous as long as hugs were not deadly, and licked her cheek. "Well hello there" the panda said "Who may you be?". Lexi let go of the panda, falling on her butt, her hands in front of her mouth by surprise. "You can talk? But how?" "The question is not how we can talk. It's how you can understand us. You're not secretly a panda too right, a panda in disguise?" "I wish", Lexi said, as she slowly stood up again. "My name is Lexi, and I love pandas". "Well then," the panda said as the other pandas slowly approached Lexi, gathering around her and sniffing this newcomer in their middle. "My name is Amanda, and I'm a panda. And these are my panda friends"

Lexi hugged every panda as they introduced themselves, and tried very hard tio remember their names. there was Leo, there was Chip, there was Victor, Alicia, Katya, and Luca. There was Ceri, and what there was more made her squeel from pleasant surprise.
"PANDA CUBS" She yelled, so loud some of the pandas around her jumped away of fright, then ran to them and started chasing them. Amanda walked over to her, holding her back and licking the cubs. "These are my children", she said, "and the reason why I growled at you before. My eldest is called Luke, and his younger brother is Ray. The youngest of three is my daughter, Jen. Say hello to Lexi, children". They all gathered around Lexi, sniffing her to get to know her better. Then Ray, the most bold of them, tried to climb her leg. Lexi giggled, and lifted him up, hugging him tight and tickling his paws. "Hey, I got an idea!" Jen said. "Why don't we go and play a game? Let's play tag! You must try to catch us, and we run away". They all agreed, and Lexi put ray down and counted to 10, as Amanda watched them play, then decided to take a bath in the river, always keeping an eye on her three children.

"After they played for a little while, the sun started setting over the horizon, and as they watched the different colours in the sky, some of the pandas lighted some lanterns hanging from the trees. The whole place was filled with a soft yellow-orange light, as the pandas enjoyed their dinner, bamboo, and offered Lexi what they could find that humans eat too. After dinner, they played hide and seek while some of the pandas cuddled close together, and some other pandas danced with eachother. As Lexi was looking for the three panda cubs, suddenly they ran out of their hiding places to a really big panda Lexi hadn't seen yet. "Daddy!" they yelled, jumping in excitement upon the return of their father. "Look daddy, we made a new friend!" they said, as jen ran between Lexi and her daddy. "Well hello there", the panda said, with a deep but gentle roaring voice, "Who might you be? We don't often see non-panda's in the Land of Pandas. How do they call you?" "Well, I'm Lexi!" Lexi said, as Amanda joined them "and where I come from they call us humans.". "Nice to meet you Lexi. I'm Raymond. I'm the father of these three, and Amanda's husband."
Then Raymond turned to Amanda, as they laid their heads on eachother's shoulders. "Hello dear, had a nice day? Has Junior behaved today?"
"My name is Ray", the panda cub closest to him said, "But daddy calls me Junior because mom named me after him."
Raymond laughed, as he picked Ray Junior up and carried him on his back., together with his two other children. Lexi followed them and Amanda to a tree, where they sat and told stories about their lands, and thethings they've seen and done, until Lexi no longer could suppress a yawn. "Well there", Raymond said, "It seems like you could use a bit of sleep. And you three need to go sleeping too" he added, looking at each of his children in turn. "It's already past panda cub bedtime" "Aww dad!" they said on choir, "can't we play for a little longer?" But their dad held firm, and so the panda cubs went to sleep. Then Raymond turned back to Lexi. "You might want to go to sleep too." Lexi yawned again, then said "I wouldl ove to go to sleep, it's been a long day and I'm really really tired. But I forgot I got nowhere to go, and I'm afraid I might freeze if I sleep outside". Raymond and Amanda lookd at eachother for a small moment, then both nodded together. "You can stay with us tonight if you want" Amanda said as Raymond went to lay down. "You can sleep between us, and we will keep you warm with our bodies and fur" Lexi would have shouted in joy if sleep hadn't got the better of her, but instead she nodded and lay down, her head on Raymond's body, and she snuggled between him and Amanda, and soundly fell asleep.

Several days went by, and Lexi was having so much fun in the Land of Pandas that she didnt feel sad, not even for a second. She played hide and seek and tag with the panda cubs, made walks with them and the bigger pandas over the plains; and when she got tired they carried her back. They climbed trees, they swam in the rivers, they looked for bamboo in the woods, and caught fish from the rivers. Even though pandas love to eat bamboo, sometimes they like something different too, like fish, or sometimes honey. Lexi and the pandas also worked together on building a little house for her, made entirely of bamboo, with some grass polls to fill the openings to protect her from draft. The pandas even taught Lexi a little bit of bear wrestling, and she tried to teach them kung-fu. And so time flew by, and she forgot all about time, or the people she had left behind in that other world. And she had fun, and hoped this could last forever.

Then one day, Katya came running over the fields of grass and flowers, and she seemed in a hurry. She ran as quickly as her four paws could carry her, and didnt stop until she came at a rest near Lexi, Amanda, Raymond and all the other pandas. Breathing heavily, she sat down as every panda watched her, and then she spoke; "They got Leo!", she said, and the pandas started muttering amongst eachother, until Raymond stood on his hind paws, and roared over their chattering. "Silence!" he roared, and everyone became silent. Then, he turned back to Katya. "Who took Leo, Katya? Did you see them?" "Yes", she answered, "I could see them clearly but I was unable to help. They threw nets over me and him, and put him in a cage. I could escape before they caged me too." She took a small pause to catch up on breath, then she looked at Lexi. "They looked a lot like Lexi, only bigger. I think they were humans too." Everyone stared at Lexi, who was dumbfounded by this news. "More humans?", she thought. "Where did they come from and what are they doing here? And why are they attacking my panda friends?" This she asked to herself, until she got pulled back to reality. Some of the pandas were growling at her, eyeing her warily. But Amanda stood between her and those pandas, and spoke to them. "Calm down, Calm down! Whoever these humans are, Lexi is not like them. She's been living with us for a while and hasn't harmed us at all. She's one of us." At those words, the pandas calmed down, but there was sadness in their eyes, and some of the others started howling softly. "What should we do, then?" they asked, looking around at all the others. They looked at Raymond and Amanda, but it was Lexi who came with the solution. "We must find Leo and free him, of course! Katya, did you see where they went?" Katya put her head between her paws, and started thinking. "I'm sorry", she said, "I didnt really see. As soon as I got free I ran to here to look for help, but I think they're far away now. They had this thing on wheels" "Well, that's no problem", Lexi said. "Can you bring us to the place where they took Leo?" Katya nodded, and stood back up. "Who's going to come with us?" she said, "We're going to free my husband". Almost every panda volunteered, but Raymond said they had to watch over their children too. So Raymond and Amanda stayed behind, with some other pandas to protect their homes. And Lexi went to rescue Leo, together with Katya and three more pandas.

Katya, Luca, Ceri and Chip ran over the plains, Katya leading them and the other 3 carrying Lexi in turn, so they could travel faster. The ride on the back of the pandas was bumpy, and Lexi had to hold on tight if she didnt want to fall off, but their fur was soft and warm, and the wind played with her hair. She liked it, even thought she felt sad for Leo. "Hold on, Leo" she thought to herself. "We're coming to rescue you!"
After several minutes travelling over plains and through forests, they came at an open spot at the edge of the forest. Katya came to a sudden stop, and the other pandas slowed down around her. Chip bent over to allow Lexi to walk on the ground again. They saw a net, cut into pieces, by what they expected to be Katya's claws. But the humans were gone, and so was Leo. "Let's split up", Lexi said, "And look for clues. But don't go too far away." So they split up, and after about three minutes, Lexi and Katya called the others back. "We got a clue!" they yelled out on the top of their lungs. The other pandas rushed back to them, and looked at them with curiosity. "There was a cart here" Lexi said, "If you look carefully you can still see the tracks in the grass." "And you can smell their scent too!", Katya said. "If we follow this trail, we should be able to get where they took Leo to." The pandas roared in agreement, and together they followed the track they found.

An hour later they were still following the track, partially following the trails in the grass, partially following the scent when the tracks were not visible, like when they passed through that river, or through that field full of fallen leaves. Lexi started to get sore feet, and wondered how far they still had to go before they found Leo again, when they turned around the edge of a forest and saw a really big house about a mile away. They came to a stop, and walked back around the corner, to avoid being seen in case someone would patrol. "What kind of building is that?" Chip asked, looking at Lexi. Lexi giggled, and scratched his head. "That's what we humans call a house. It's the place we build to live in." "So humans live in houses?" Katya asked. "Why don't they live in forests? That house doesn't look like a nice place to live in". Lexi thought about that question for a little while, then gave up on trying to find the answer. "I don't know why humans don't live in forests. But if there are humans here, and they took Leo, that's probably where they took him." "Let's free Leo!" Luca said, and she would have run for the house hadn't Lexi blocked her way. "Not so quick! If they see you, you might get caught too! I think we shouldn't run over there, but rather sneak to the house, and see if we can find a way in.". And so they sneaked to the house through the edge of the forest, and when the forest ended they ran for any cover they could find. And they reached the house unseen, and split up in two teams, one team existing of Lexi, Katya and Chip, and the other team of Luca and Ceri.

Lexi tried opening the front door, but it was locked tight. The windows were locked too, and the only way they could think of to get inside was to smash through the doors and give their presence away. But before they could do that, Ceri came around the corner. "We found a way, we found a way!" she whispered, and gestured for the others to follow. They followed her, sneaking around the house, until they found Luca sitting near some door. "Luca found this entrance, and it's open!" she whispered. "Isn't he great?" "Well, it was my stomach that found it. I smelled something nice, and I followed the scent. and it led me here." Lexi looked through the door, and found herself looking at a kitchen. Someone had just been cooking, but the kitchen was empty now. "Quickly, get inside!" she whispered to the pandas as she led the way, "Before anyone returns and notices us!" So they entered, and closed the door behind them. Crouching, they sneaked past the furniture, using it as cover, and sneaked out of the kitchen into a big hall. Luca had found what her nose had picked up: a chicken leg, which she was chewing on at that very moment. Lexi shook her head at her, then looked around the hall. There were several doors to each side, and a big stairway in the middle. So they decided to split up again, and she climbed the stairs with Katya and Chip, slowly and silent as a ninja. They checked several doors, until they bumped into a big bedroom, where someone was sleeping. Carefully, they looked around for Leo, then closed the door again, very softly, and continued looking. Eventually, they came into a playroom, bathing in sunlight entering the room from a big window with a balcony. They looked outside, and saw a big garden with flowers, bees, benches and carefulyl trimmed hedges. They also saw a fountain, and not far from it, a big cage. Lexi peered through her eyes, to see if she could see Leo, then spotted him inside the cage. "Leo's there!" she whispered to the pandas, "There! Outside! In that cage!" The pandas were filled with excitement, and thought of a way to get to Leo. "There must be a door downstairs, that leads to the garden" Lexi whispered, and they turned around and left the room. On her way out of the room and downstairs, Lexi noticed a key sitting on a small closet, and took it without second thought. She put it in her pocket, and sneaked downstairs.

"Luca! Ceri!" they whispered, as they looked for their friends downstairs, looking in every room, until a door opened at the end of the hallway, and Ceri peered through the hole. "We're here!" she whispered, as she gestured for them to come closer. "Is there something wrong?" "We found Leo!" Chip said excited, "But we're looking for a door." "We found the door to the garden" Ceri whispered, "But we can't get it open. It's right here, in this room!" She turned around and walked back inside, and the rest followed her. Luca was looking at a door, trying to open it, but without success. "I think it's locked." She said, and she dropped her head; "How are we going to get to Leo like this?" Lexi thought for a small moment, then had an idea. "Locked...Locked...Wait! maybe that key I found can open it." She took the key out of her pocket, and put it in the lock. It fitted! But when she tried to turn the key, it wouldn't turn at all. Lexi sighed. "This isn't the right key. We need to find a different key, but one that looks a lot like this one." They nodded, and looked around the room. Lexi tried every closet and drawer she could find, until she found a drawer, in a locket close to the door, that was locked. She took the key again and tried it. This time, the key did turn. When she opened the drawer, to find another key. Was this the one they needed? She tried it on the garden door, and slowly, they key turned and the door opened. "Guys! I mean, pandas!" she whispered, and they all turned back to her. "I did it! I found the key and opened the door!" They rejoiced, and sneaked out in the garden, like four ninja pandas and a ninja panda girl. They moved under cover of the hedges and benches, carefully making their way towards the cage. When Leo saw them he roared in happiness and relief, but they gestured for him to be silent, and Leo was smart enough to be silent after that. They reached the cage, and tried the lock, but again it wouldn't fit. When they thought about how they would open this lock, they suddenly heard a voice. "Hey! What are you doing there!" the voice yelled, and they jumped and spun around. A grown up man ran towards them, and he seemed very angry. "Go away from that cage! That panda is for my daughter, not for you!" he yelled, waving with his fist at Lexi. Katya saw him, and whispered "That's him! That's one of the men who took Leo! I'm scared Lexi, protect me!". Then Chip jumped up, and ran for the man. The man, overtaken by surprise, hadn't noticed the four pandas before, but as a very angry panda ran to him he was unable to move out of fear. Chip jumped, and with one big leap he crossed the distance between him and the man. Then he stood on his legs, and gripped the man tightly. "Brother, help!" The man screamed out. "Intruders! Intruders! They're kidnapping our panda!" Chip, still holding the man tightly, roared back to his panda friends. "I got him, I got him!" he roared, but at the sound of his roaring the man, who didnt speak panda, fainted, and dropped limb to the floor. Something fell from his pocket on teh grass, something silvery and shiny. Chip lowered his head at it, sniffing to see what it was, then extending a paw and picking it up. "I found some keys!" He said, "Maybe there's one for your cage too, Leo." He carried the keys to the cage and gave them to Lexi, who looked for the right one. "Hurry! Quickly!" Leo exclaimed, "Before more of these humans come." Lexi finally found the right key, and opened the cage. Leo was free again!

As they prepared to leave the garden two humans came out of the door to the garden. One of them was an adult male, about 6 feet tall and muscular. The other one was a young girl, about Lexi's age and height, but with red hair and freckles. "What are you doing there with MY panda!" the girl shrieked out, stressing the my as hard as she could. "Put him back in the cage, and those other pandas too!". Then she turned to the adult. "Uncle, who is that girl and what is she doing with the pandas daddy and you got for me?" The adult laid his hand on her head and ruffled her hair, looking at the pandas. Then he turned to her and said: "I really don't know. I also don't know where all these pandas come from. Your daddy and I so far only caught one panda." "Oh," the girl replied. "Maybe she's a panda thief then."

Lexi and the pandas gave up on being stealthy, and prepared to break their way out instead. The man who had fainted before had come back to consciousness and stood at the other side of the girl. The pandas wanted to charge their way through, but Lexi told them to wait a little bit. "Who are you and why are you locking up pandas?" She yelled at the girl, who grew red in anger. "My name is Eve Ville, and what I do with my pandas is none of your business. And I already know who you are, panda thief!" She sneered back in reply, and this time it was Lexi's turn to be angry. "Put my pandas back in their cage, and maybe I'll let you leave unharmed.", She continued, until Lexi had enough. "I will never let you have my friends locked up in a cage or net of whatever! They're coming back home with me, and you won't stop us!" "Then it's war!" Eve yelled out, as she kneeled down and grabbed a rock. "Daddy, Uncle, get them!"

The two adult men grabbed nets and ropes, and started circling the pandas. The pandas in turn circled the men, trying to get to them without being caught. When Chip tried to jump for the biggest of both, the man threw a net at him, causing Chip to trip and get caught in the net. He was trapped, and Couldn't move anymore. When Luca rushed to his help, she too was caught by a net, thrown by the other man, and was unable to move. Leo and Katya, not looking forward to be caught again moved more carefully, Leo circling the biggest man and dodging the ropes he trew, trying to snare Leo, as Katya moved around the other man and Ceri tried to free Luca and Chip. In meanwhile, Lexi was dodging stones and mud as she came closer and closer to Eve Ville, who tried harder and harder to hit her the closer she came. When they were about 10 feet away from eachother, Lexi bit her teeth and endured the rocks on her chest, legs and sides, even though they hurted like mad, and protected her head as she made the final run. She tried to jump, and use her speed to get the upper hand, but she slipped, and fell on the ground. Ouch! Eve laughed, and tried to jump on Lexi, but she too, slipped and fell. Then they were on top of eachother, wrestling, biting, scratching, pulling hair, trying to beat the other. Lexi took Eve in a chokehold, but before she could complete it Eve slipped away from under it, being helped by the slippery mud all over Lexi's clothes. Then Eve punched Lexi on her cheek, and scratched her arm at the same time. Lexi bit Eve's shoulder in turn, and kicked her side. Eve yelped in pain, then pulled Lexi's hair.

They fought on for several minutes, until Lexi finally got the upper hand, and took Eve in a lockhold she couldn't get out. When she looked around, she saw the smaller man had fainted again, and the bigger one was locked up in the cage by the other pandas. Luca and Chip were free again, and the fight was over. They had won! The pandas made a little dance of joy, licking their wounds and recovering from battle. Lexi herself wished she could lick her wounds too; She was pretty battered after that fight. Her right eye was bruised, and her nose was bleeding. She had several scratches on her arms and face, and her sides hurted when she breathed. But she had paid back every punch and every kick she got, and made sure Eve was in a worse shape then her. "You lost", she said, "You see that the good ones always win. Now leave my panda friends alone, and get far far away from here." She had expected Eve to yell at her, or even snarl at her, but what Eve did then took Lexi completely by surprise. Eve started crying. "Hey, what are you crying for?" Lexi asked, slightly confused. "You looked for this yourself, you know?" Eve snickered even harder, teardrops turning to rivers flowing from her eyes. "I have no friends" she cried out, barely audible over her snickering and snobbing. "I just wanted to have some friends, and pandas are so cute. I just wanted to have some panda friends." "But if you wanted some panda friends, why did you kidnap them and lock them up?" Lexi asked, even more confused then before. Was Eve being honest, or was it all an act? "I was afraid they wouldn't like me and run away from me" Eve continued. "Still am. But what does it matter to you?" She tried to break herself free again, but hurted herself in the process, and started to cry harder. Lexi could no longer hear what she said; so instead she looked at the pandas, who'd come closer to her in meanwhile. "Should we trust her?" Lexi asked them. "I'd like to believe her, but I'm afraid of making a mistake." They thought for a little bit, then Leo spoke. "Well, now I think of it...They didn't treat me badly. Well, they locked me in a cage of course, but they didn't hurt me, and they gave me plenty of bamboo to eat and water to drink. Maybe she's telling the truth. But still, I can't forgive them that easily for what they did to me and Katya."

Lexi nodded, and waited for Eve to calm down a bit. Then, she bent over to her and spoke softly in her ear. "Well, maybe we could be come friends, if you promise to be good and not attack us anymore." Eve stopped crying, surprised by these words and the gentleness of them, and thought about it for a minute. "You mean...like real friends? Like playing ith eachother, spending time together, laughing and having fun?" "Yes", Lexi said, "But only if you promise to be good and not hurt the pandas anymore. Also, you should make it up with them. " Eve stopped sobbing and snickering too, then yelled out. "I''d love that! Yay, I finally have a friend! And I'm sorry for locking up your panda friend, I didn't mean to hurt them. I was just lonely, and wanted a friend who'd stay with me. Buyt I'll make it up to them, I promise. To them, and to you, my friend!" Lexi looked at the pandas, and they looked at her, and they looked at eachother for a bit then they nodded, having come to an agreement. Lexi let go of the girl, who turned around then sat up, and caressed her painful arm. The smaller man came back to consciousness, and saw her surrounded by Lexi and the pandas. "Leave my daughter alone you brutes!" He yelled, as he grabbed a broom and ran to them. But Eve stood up, and shook her head. "It's okay daddy, they are my friends now", she said, looking at Lexi and the pandas in turn. "Right?", she added, sounding a bit uncertain. "Right." Lexi confirmed, and Eve smiled. The father, clearly confused, looked from Eve to Lexi to the pandas and back, then realised how stupid he looked and pulled himself back together. "Well," he said, as he shook the dirt off his clothes "Now that's all settled then, would you like a cup of tea? With biscuits, or cookies". They nodded, and stood up, and prepared to go inside when a voice yelled from the garden. "Hey! Can you let me out, so I can have some tea too?" They had totally forgotten about the muscular man! Lexi handed the keys to Eve's father, who let the man out of the cage. She learned that he was Eve's uncle, and that Eve had somehow ended up in the Land of Pandas with her dad and Uncle, and that they had built a house here with what they could find. Her father designed it and her uncle built it, and Eve helped where she could.

Then, as they finished their tea and cookies, they agreed to go back to the other pandas, who must have been worried sick by now. So they travelled back, Lexi partially by foot and partially by panda, while Eve's father and uncle both took turns carrying Eve. They talked about themselves, about their dreams and wishes, and about why Lexi could understand pandas when Eve couldn't, though she really tried to. In the end, they couldn't find the answer, but Lexi promised to help Eve as much as she could. And slowly they arrived at the panda home, and explained everything that had happened to the confused pandas, and Eve apologised to them all for her behavior. At first, they were wary around Eve, but as she and her family tried to help as much as possible, soon they accepted her in their midst and forgave her. Several weeks went by, in which they played and had lots of fun, and built some swings and slides to play on with the help of the two adult men. Eve started to understand the panda language, and Lexi taught her as well as she could. But eventually, Lexi got used to living around pandas and started to mis her family again, and her friends from school. Seeing Eve playing with her father and uncle only made her even more homesick. So one day, she decided to share her feelings with Amanda and Raymond. After that, Amanda and Raymond sat apart and talked together, then wouldn't talk to Lexi for the rest of the day. Lexi felt sad, but when she woke up the next morning the entire panda home was decorated. Raymond and Amanda had secretly organised a going-away party for her, or like they called it a "we-will-miss-you-alot party". And they partied and played all day long, and they felt happy and sad at the same time. And as the evening slowly fell, Luca came to her and asked if she was ready to go home. Lexi asked her to wait a little bit longer, and gave Eve, her family, and all the pandas a big, tight, long hug. Finally, she huggled the panda cubs tighly, telling them she'll miss them the most of all and kissing their heads. They hugged her back, licking her cheek and asking their mommy if Lexi was leaving ,and if she was coming back. "Maybe she will, children. Maybe she will", she said, as Lexi turned around and took her first steps on her journey back home, with Luca by her side. Luca, who had the best nose of all the pandas, sniffed around on the grass and in the air, following the river upstream until she finally picked up Lexi's scent. They followed it back, past the fields of flowers, past the trees with the singing birds, past the fields of grass, until Lexi yawned and nearly fell asleep, and Luca carried her all the way back from there until she found a house, smaller then the one Eve lived in. Then she woke Lexi up, and Lexi was surprised to see her house again. She yawned again, and opened the door, and found it was still the same way as she left it a long time ago, only more dusty. Her mom still wasn't there, but at that time Lexi was too tired to think about it. So Luca carried her up the stairs, towards the bedroom and laid her in bed. Then, she put her paw on Lexi's hand, and gave her something. When Lexi looked at it, it turned out to be a whistle in the shape of a panda. "We made this for you", Luca said, "To thank you for everything you did for us, and so that you may not forget us. It's a panda shaped bamboo whistle. If you ever come back, just blow it, and we'll come and pick you up, so we can play a bit more together. Now take care, little one, and don't forget us. Sweet dreams", she said, as she tucked Lexi in, and licked her cheek. Then, she waited for Lexi to fall asleep, and went back to her own home.

When Lexi woke up that morning, it was not to the sound of birds or to the sunlight shining through her curtains. She woke up to the sound of her alarm clock telling her it was time to wake up, and prepare for school. Lexi woke up, and wondered if she had dreamt it all. She got dressed, as her mother called her down for breakfast, and grabbed her bag and books. She ate, then her mom drove her to school and picked her up again several hours later. Nothing at school or home had changed at all, or showed that she had been gone for weeks, even months in a row. At the end of the day, she really wondered if it had all been a dream. She ate dinner, finished her homework, and watched some tv. Then, when it was time to go to bed, she put her cell phone on her night closet, put on her pijama's and made her bed. And as she made her bed, something light fell on th floor. She knelt down and picked it up. A panda-shaped bamboo whistle! So it han't been a dream after all! Lexi smiled, and cuddled under her blankets with her panda teddybear, Closed her eyes, and fell asleep. That night, she spent several days playing with her friends in Pandaland again. And ever since, whenever Lexi felt down, sad or lonely, all she had to do to feel better was close her eyes, and she would be in Pandaland again, with all her friends. And Lexi spent the rest of her life never being lonely, sad or down again, and she lived happily ever after


~~~~~~~~THE END~~~~~~~~


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