Baloo, Bagheera, Raksha and Grey walked through the jungle. Baloo shouted “hey, little britches? You out here, kid?” as Bagheera called out “MOWGLI!”
“Where could he be?” Grey asked Raksha, who said “I don’t know, dear. We must find him.”
Suddenly, a twig snapped in the bushes, as the four of them turned. Bagheera said “Mowgli, is that you?”
The leaves on the bush began to shake, as Baloo squinted. Suddenly, several monkeys burst from the bushes holding flaming twigs and sticks. The four of them were cornered by the monkeys, one of the apes saying “put them with the others! It’s the mancub he wants!”
Bagheera and Baloo looked at each other as Grey held close to his mother, while the monkeys led them back to Council Rock.
Meanwhile, Shere Khan walked through the jungle with Mowgli behind him, as he said “if you want to survive, I suggest you keep up, mancub. You’d better hope we get to that man-village before dark.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“No, not really.”
“Why do you hate man so much?”
“Well, that’s a rather hard question for me to answer, don’t you think?”
“But why is it?”
“It’s hard to answer because... it’s not about hatred. It’s about trust. Man cannot be trusted in this jungle.”
“You’ve met the ape, haven’t you?”
“Louie. But he’s dead.”
“Yes, he is. But King Louie and the monkeys want to learn the secret of the Red Flower. I don’t know why. An attempt to evolve, I presume but if they ever did, they could destroy the whole jungle if they wanted to. And what better way to find the secret than to manipulate a young, innocent cub?”
Mowgli sighed, as Shere Khan said “so you see, you cannot stay in this jungle.”
When they passed a river, Mowgli said “what about your eye? What happened to it.”
Shere Khan was about to answer, until he thought of the memory. The dark night. The flash of the Red Flower that the man singed his face with. The cub in the basket. He shook his head and said “I don’t remember. But it was a long time ago.”
Eventually, as the sun began to set, they reached a hilltop, and Shere Khan said “here we are.”
Mowgli looked at the bottom of the hill, seeing a thick canopy of trees, and then he saw it. Small wooden houses with straw-thatched roofs: the man-village.
Mowgli turned to Shere Khan and said "you know, you're not quite what I expected."
"Hm. Neither are you. Well, I'm not one for long goodbyes but, it disappoints me that you have to be a mancub. Had you only been a true wolf, a true creature of the jungle. Why, you would have made a fine apprentice. So, goodbye, and good luck to you... um, Mowgli, is it?"
Suddenly, Shere Khan saw a man at the bottom gate aiming a barreled weapon, which fired smoke and steel at them. Both Mowgli and Shere Khan dodged the blast. As the dust settled, Mowgli turned to Shere Khan, who said “that shot was meant for me, not you. Go! NOW!”
Mowgli ran down the hill into the trees as Shere Khan returned to his lair. Mowgli trekked through the forest, as the man-village became more and more visible. He was inches away from leaving the bushes, when suddenly...
“HELP! SOMEONE HELP!”
A man ran out of the jungle, running across the stone steps to the gate. It was the same man Mowgli had seen earlier, who fell into the arms of one of the villagers who said “what is it, man? What happened.”
“There is fire in the jungle. All the animals are going mad.”
Mowgli looked back at the jungle, seeing the smoke rising from the trees in the distance. A look of horror came to Mowgli’s face. His wolf pack lived in that area, and they were in danger. Mowgli thought for a moment. It would be nightfall by the time he got that, and Shere Khan’s deal would expire. But his friends were in trouble, and he had to help.
Mowgli looked one last time at the village, before running into the jungle.