Reassuring himself that the brothers were safe, the bear slipped back into the night, searching for the next task. Retracing his steps, Bilal could again hear the sounds of merriment, but something caught his attention. There was a pile of fabric stuffed behind some bins and, when it was pulled into the light, he was startled to find the remains of numerous teddy bears. They had been normal plush bears, and yet someone dared not take the chance that they would wake. Turning to leave with a mournful sigh, Bilal noticed more felt behind the bins.
Pulling the tattered, muddy pile closer to see, he found that this bear had barely been damaged. Smiling to himself, he thought that this would make an excellent companion for some lost soul. He jumped back when it began to move, sword immediately in hand. The bear gave a soft groan and Bilal put away his weapon before rushing over.
“Can you speak,” he said. The words were soft, yet insistent, betraying the hope that underscored their tone.
“I think so.” The words came out haltingly, sounds just barely shaped into words. The bear began to move a little more before slowly raising its eyes to Bilal’s.
“I am Irfaan, I think.” The words were coming out stronger now as the bear began to move some more. The gashes in his felt had sealed up and the filth seemed to have slid off of him, revealing a bear the color of chocolate with deep, amber eyes.
“A pleasure to meet you, Irfaan. I am Bilal. I had long wondered why there were no other bears around here, but it seems someone has been destroying them before they could come alive into this world. You are most fortunate.”
Irfaan smiled wanly under Bilal’s concerned gaze. He stood on shaking legs, reached into empty air, and drew forth a curved blade that was far heavier towards the end than Bilal’s lighter weight sword. Bilal nodded in approval at the speed which Irfaan was coming into his birthright.. Looking at the wooden sword in his hands, Irfaan began nodding in solemnity.
When he raised his head again, the dull gloss was gone from his eyes, replaced with a warm glow that matched the look of serenity across his features.
“Bilal, I understand much, now that I can see, but what is my purpose?”
Bilal smiled warmly at this new friend and placed a paw on the younger bear’s shoulder.
“My friend, we are teddy bears, you see? We end nightmares. Shall we proceed to work, then?”