CHAPTER ONE: PUNISHMENT
Marlene was having a nice stroll across the park when she heard King Julien shouting something out in rage. His voice could be heard in the most remote part of the zoo. Mason and Phil were sitting on the top of the tree, bananas stuck up in their ears.
Marlene caught a snatch of King Julien's angry sermon and she realized he must had been scolding Mort again.
"It's probably da feet stuff" she thought as she walked up to the lemurs habitat.
"I have enough!" roared King Julien, goggling his eyes at Mort. "I told you not to overuse my patience, but now things have gone definitevly too far! You keep disobeying my orders, and I am pretty sick of it! You made me mad, absolutely mad!!! Therefore!.. he sustained his voice for a while. "Therefore I'm banishing you from my Kingdom!" he finished, stretching his arms in a theatrical gesture. "At least for this day! And you ARE NOT allowed to join our Monkey Assembly today!" Maurice was standing right next to the throne, his face calm and motionless as usuall. He seemed to be totally nonplussed with what was going on, waiting patiently for his King to calm down.
Marlene climbed on the top of the fence and watched the three lemurs attentively. Maurice spotted her after a short while and grunted:
"Erm.. your Majesty.. we've got company!"
"And what brings YOU here?" snapped King Julien,eyeing Marlene with an unpleasant look. Marlene gulped and gripped the wall with her paws. His eyes were blood shot and his whole body was shaking from anger. She never saw him so pissed.
"What exactly made you throw a fit like that?" she asked bravely, slidding off of the wall. "
"Mort has been banished from King Julien's Kingdom for disobeying his orders.At least for a day" informed her Maurice. "He is also banned from joining our Monkey Assembly which is going to be held tonight at 11 o clock p.m. "
"B..but Julien! Mort was really looking forward to attending this meeting! He's been waiting for it for two weeks!" gasped Marlene. "You can't just...!"
"Oh yes I can! This is MY Kingdom and I will do as I please!" grumpled King Julien, folding his arms and turning his head away.
Marlene took a quick glance at Mort who was sitting under the throne, clutching his tail with his paws. She saw tears forming in his black eyes.
"Congratulations, Julien!" mumbled Marlene. "You've already made him cry! Is that what you just wanted?"
"My decision is IR RE VER SI BLE!" scanded Julien slowly, poking his finger at Marlene's chest. "And neither your pleading nor Mort's sobbing is going to change my mind.Na-ah! You're waisting your time here." He then turned his back on her and called to his second servant:
"Maurice! Bring me my new outfit! I should prepare myself for the meeting!" Maurice nodded his head submissively and headed off towards the lemur's secret storage magasine. "And don't forget to clean my crown!"
Marlene glanced at Mort again. A small tear slid off his eyelid and streamed down his cheek.
"Come on" she whispered to him gently, wrapping her paws against his delicate wrist. Mort layed her watery eyes on her, despair and consternation written all over his face. He eventually let himself being dragged away from the lemurs habitat.
As they had finally found themselves outside the wall, Marlene kneeled down right next to Mort and looked straight into his eyes. She could hear him sobbing quietly under his nose.
"Naaaw, Mort, calm down and tell me what's been going on."
Mort couldnt utter a world because he suddenly burst out crying. It took some time for Marlene to calm him down. She took his hand in hers and lifted him carefully up.
"Hey, Mort, how about a little walk? We can go to the nearest souvenir shop and take a peek inside. There are lots of nice, colorful pendandts hanging on the window. You will tell me everything on our way, alright?" she said.
Mort nodded his head, still sobbing.
They started their walk through the pavement, Marlene holding Mort tightly by hand.
"It was all about that feet stuff again, wasn't it? she asked rethorically, adjusting her pace of walk to Morts quiet stamp.
" Yes... King Julien got angry at me... and banned me from joining the Monkey Assembly. He promised me to take me along. But I got banned for my disobedience! That's why I won't be allowed to join! he rubbed his left eye with his fist. "There is going to be lots of tasty food.. rawspbeeries... coconuts.. and my favourite kinds of bananas!And dancing!"
"Now Mort.. quit thinking about that!" pleaded Marlene, leaning over him and touching his chin with her paws delicatelly. "It will only make you feel worse. I know that King Julian's decision is irreversible.. yet.. it's not the end of the world! The earth keeps spinning around and we really should not keep bothering abouth things we have no impact on, right?" she gave him a warm smile.
Mort nodded his head in silence, his cute face distorted in painful grimace.
"All we have to do is to move on" continued Marlene. Then she frowned. She could hear Skipper's commanding voice somewhere in the distance. He was shouting out orders to the rest of the team his voice strong and firm as usuall. She realized that they were very close to the penguins habitat right now.How on earth did they find themselfes here? Did she choose this path subconciously?
"Twirl, punch, kick, spin, backwards, forwards, punch, corkscrew!" Marlene turned her head around and gazed at the penguins, especially at the one with sapphire-blue eyes, watching attentively his every move. A firm grip of Morts paws clutching her wrist brought her down to earth. She looked at the little fellow's face.
"Dear me, Mort, you really need a handkerchief" she stated and started searching in her pockets to get one, but she couldn't find it anywhere. She eventually picked a leaf from the ground and handed it to Mort.
"Ain't gonna fly, sister" she heard Skipper's voice behind. She startled and jumped up in shock.
"It might give him a nasty infection".
"Skipper, what exactly did I tell you about giving me a start like this?" she snapped to her colleauge, her heart whomping like crazy.
"Easy now, Marlene." replied Skipper,smiling with the corner of his beak.
He waddled up to Mort and took a quick glance at his delicate face bathed in tears.
"What is it, Sad Eyes? he asked. His voice was firm and stable, yet Marlene could see a glimpse of concern and care in his sapphire-blue eyes.
"It's King Julian again" she informed him and rolled her eyes. "Mort has been kicked out from King Julian's Kingdom and he's got nowhere to go. Altough the banishment is only temporary, Mort isn't allowed to join one of their top secret meetings tonight.
"With rawspbeeries, coconuts and bananas!" added Mort sheepishly and distorted his lips in a painful grimace ready to burst out crying again.
"And that's what's bothering you? asked Skipper, squinting his eye in astonishment.
"Did you ever get a chance to say something during those meetings, Mort?" asked Marlene, leaning over Mort, her paws resting on her knees.
"I truely doubt that Marlene." mumbled Skipper.
"oh well.. yeah.." said Marlene and looked up the sky, confused.
"Maybe you should think about some sort of a practicall activity for Mort " adviced Skipper, scrubbing his chin with a thoughtfull look. "Something that would keep him busy for the rest of the day and make him forget about that goddamned meeting. His world cannot just spin around King Julien's caprices and whims."
"Well, yeah. He is still a kid. He should enjoy life!" admitted Marlene and patted Mort gently on the head. She forced herself to smile, but there was that strange feeling of rancour deep down inside her. What was this all about? She was really looking forward to taking care of Mort, she wanted to make him feel better. But...
She raised her eyes on Skipper, who was talking to Mort in calming words."How about doing it with Skipper?" Her heart sank. "Naaah.. there's no way he would agree. He has to go back and take care of his own team. They haven't finished their training yet. Or... maybe?"
"Skipper, how long have you been having your training excersises over there?" she asked with a ray of hope.
"We've just started." mumbled Skipper fuzzily, leaning over Mort and cleaning his nose with his own white handkerchief.
"Ah, okay" she mumbled, trying to smother the note of dissapointment and frustration in her voice.
"You can keep this one, Sad Eyes" smiled Skipper when Mort wanted to give him back his handkerchief. He turned his eyes on Marlene and patted her friendly on the back. "Do your best, Marlene" he said warmly. "Figure something out for this little guy, take him to the park or maybe.. RICO, PRIVATE, NO!!!! " he screamed all of a sudden, goggling in horror at his team mates, who were now wolfing down some crisps from a black package."Xcuse me, Marlene" he mumbled and hurried back to his HQ.
"Fish and chips, man! Where on earth did you get that stuff?" she heard Skipper's annoyed voice, echoing all over their habitat. He picked up the package and shook it violently. Several crumbs of crisps came out of it. Rico and Private stared at his leader, guilty and panic written all over their faces.
"Some kids must have left it near the fence". informed Kowalski who was standing nearby. "I told them not to put too much interest into it as we don't know what it is, but they wouldn't even listen to me! "We should taste a bit of everything in our life, ey, Private?" he said, mocking Private's chidlish voice.
"Well that's the most ridiculous motto I've ever heard in my life." barked Skipper, throwing the package away. "You guys realize you might get sick after eating that trash?!"
He got a lourd burp coming from Rico's throat as an answer.
"Let's sit down on a bench, shall we? We'll try to make some plans for the day" proposed Marlene. Mort nodded his head in silence and they both headed over towards the nearest bench.