Aunt Marshmallow sat silently shaking her head. It was obvious that Prunella had not changed. Perhaps she never would. Aunty Marmalade shed a tear and quickly gathered more food for them all.
“She’s an unsettling influence,” said Garibaldi, glancing round as if Prunella might jump out at them at any instant.
“Judging by the trail of hay, she’s headed away from here,” said Beanstalk.
With that, a thunderous flapping noise came from near the Reservoir’s mainflow, as hundreds of black headed gulls rose, flustered, from the wetlands and circled in the air.
“She’s headed toward Hadrian’s Wall,” they all said at the same time.
“If you’ve finished your food, girls,” said Uncle Broccoli, “I suggest we start off straight away. I think we need to warn Great Uncle Celery.”
Juniper and Rowan were ready, even if it was sooner than they expected.
Button Mushroom didn’t mind being left behind, this time. She needed a rest. Curled up by Aunt Marshmallow, she listened to the older ones chatting.
“It’s understandable that Celery can never quite forgive Prunella,” said Christopher. “After all, Asparagus was very young at the time, and he is Celery’s only son.”
“Yes,” agreed Pavlova. “If she had let the sheep rustlers take him away, he would never have been seen again.”
They all nodded, silently.
“And of course, Prunella will never forgive Celery for banishing her from Hadrian’s Wall,” added Cornelius.
Meanwhile, Broccoli, Rowan and Juniper travelled as fast as they possibly could. They followed Prunella’s trail of destruction. Past flustered wildlife, angry sheep and agitated walkers, they hurried on. Half a stolen sandwich lay in the undergrowth. Branches were hanging, torn, from young bushes. She had even managed to upset a dog.
Close behind, Ashley and Herbert raced as fast as their legs would carry them. Not only did they wish to support and protect Rowan and Juniper but they were also determined not to miss out on any excitement.
Prunella stopped and sneezed. She was beginning to feel quite worn out. Perhaps she had caught cold in the rain. However, she could see Hadrian’s Wall now, so she continued on.
“Come out, Celery you coward,” she called, then slowed to stop and cough.
Celery heard the words drift by him on the wind, followed by the wheezing cough. He wondered if he had drifted off to sleep and was having a nightmare.
“Come on, cowardy custard Celery,” she yelled again and again as she drew closer. “Come out and see if you want to fight me now that you are old and weak.”
Alarmed, Celery thought he’d better rouse himself and see what this was all about.
To his surprise there stood Prunella, after all this time, threatening to knock him off the Wall. Looking down at her skinny figure greatly weakened by a bad chill, Celery was tempted to laugh. He tried to find the anger and rage he had felt towards her all those years ago. It was gone. Gazing at her, he felt a mixture of pity and worry; it seemed she had not changed a bit and, although there was no longer any need to fight, she might not be deterred from trying. Indeed, after an extra sneeze, Prunella put her head down and charged towards him.
She had just about reached him when a huge shadow loomed over her, blocking out the sunlight. Prunella stopped in her tracks. Tilting her head to the left, she gasped to see a large, younger version of Celery standing on a nearby rock. Asparagus stared back at the straggly figure about to attack his father, and squared his shoulders.
Broccoli, Rowan and Juniper arrived and skidded to a halt right behind Prunella, wondering what would happen next. Slowly, she started moving to her right. However, at that moment Ashley and Herbert hurtled toward her from that direction, out of the woods. Prunella suppressed a groan as she realised she was surrounded. They all stood frozen.
A soft, throbbing engine noise drew swiftly ever closer. They were all surprised when a car appeared, towing a trailer. However, Prunella recognised Grace and Georgia immediately. With a sudden spring she leaped toward the trailer and clambered on board. Her face was expressionless as the car pulled away from Hadrian’s Wall. She was headed back to Selset.
Georgia and Grace had not wasted a moment. When Prunella had left the pen, they could tell by the look on her face that there was going to be trouble. Grace had contacted the Rangers and they had let her borrow the car and trailer. It hadn’t been difficult to trace Prunella.