The following scene shows how Buttersby originally came to be in the forest, away from Rancho Diamante. Remember, this is back from the original draft, where there was no Tale and no Sacrifice–no Arks. It starts with some material that made it into the final version, but quickly diverges. Originally, this was the entirety of Chapter Eight. Here we go.
“What’s the matter with you?” Meander asked. “You’ve been nothing but boring for the past two weeks.”
Buttersby sighed. Her latest approach to handling Meander had been to go beyond the call of duty. She tried to be simpering, and it was hard work. “Forgive me, O great Suri. I did not mean to bore your gloriousness,” she said.
“Don’t start that again,” Meander said.
She bowed her head to the floor. “I have angered his wonderfulness. Smite me with your wrath.”
“I’ll smite you on your face if you keep this up. And you’ll have deserved it, too.”
Buttersby snapped her head up to glare at Meander. “I don’t deserve any of this, thank you very much.”
He smiled. “Some spirit again at last. Good.”
“I’ve always had spirit,” Buttersby said. She stood back up to her full height and berated herself for forgetting her goal. She wasn’t too hard on herself, though—it had been getting old, anyway.
“Why don’t you devote more of that spirit to your Spanish lessons, then? It would help your reputation enormously if you could say something other than ‘my toilet is feeling very squishy today.’”
Buttersby reddened. All she had meant to say was a more elaborate hello. The other alpacas had found it extremely funny, and now used it as a standard greeting for her. “It isn’t my fault the language is so slippery. We can’t all be Suri genius freaks.”
Meander nodded. “True. But we can try.”
That did it. Buttersby made a rash decision. “I don’t have to take this any more,” she said. Rash decisions, like the rashes they are named after, have a tendency to crop up where you don’t want them, and make your life quite itchy and uncomfortable for the next while.
It would have been best if Meander hadn’t helped the rash grow by responding, “Oh yeah? What’s that, squishy face?” But he did say that, and Buttersby’s rash decision became a firm resolution.
“I’m running away,” she said.
“Running away? That’s the dumbest thing you’ve said yet.” Meander turned to leave.
“I’m serious, Meander. I’m running away. This caste system is just as confining as it first sounded, and I don’t want to put up with it any more.”
Meander stopped and faced Buttersby again. “Where are you going to run to?” he asked. “The surroundings outside of Ranchero Diamante aren’t exactly welcoming. And as much as these alpacas like to think they’re self sustaining, the humans are still the ones who bring the food. What will you eat?”
These were all good questions. And if Buttersby had thought of any of them before she made her mind up, she never would have considered fleeing. But she didn’t want to buckle under before Meander again. She wanted to stick up for herself, which was a worthy goal. She just picked a stupid thing to stick up for. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “I’m resourceful. Alpacas lived for thousands of years without humans. I think I can manage for a year or two. Maybe even a decade, if I must.”
Meander sniffed. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Buttersby decided to put her plan into action that very night—just to spite Meander and prove him wrong. The only problem was, she didn’t really have a plan. Of course, that made its implementation all the easier. Her only goal was to get away, and Ranchero Diamante wasn’t heavily guarded, to say the least. There were the llamas, of course, but their focus was always on keeping bad things away from the alpacas—not on keeping the alpacas away from bad things. And they didn’t care much for Buttersby, anyway.
A glance at the gates showed that they weren’t hard to open. The alpacas stayed out of consideration for their own pride and their caste system. It was better to be the lowest rung on a ladder than not to be on a ladder at all, and anyone who didn’t belong to a farm was practically worthless. Not that any of that mattered to Buttersby. Her life seemed worthless to her as it was now.
That evening, she looked for Meander to tell him what she was about to do. She thought it would feel more formal if she had an audience for her escape. But he was nowhere to be found. He didn’t show up at the stall, and none off the other alpacas would respond when she asked if they had seen him or Primero.
This provided a temporary halt to her non-plans. But as she considered it, Buttersby decided it would be even more dramatic if she disappeared without a trace. She pictured Meander strutting into the stall to rub his superiority in again by not rubbing it in. He would look for her, but she wouldn’t be there. He would ask the other alpacas, but they wouldn’t know, either. They never paid attention to her.
Meander would tell Primero, and in her mind Buttersby could see the frantic looks on their faces as they raced around Ranchero Diamante, calling her name. And she smiled when she thought of how stricken they would be when they realized that it was their lack of friendship that made her want to escape. They would see that they should have treated her better. And perhaps it would be enough to bring the rest of the alpacas to their senses. They would see that being prejudiced against award winning Huacayas is silly, and they would reorder their caste system.
It was with those thoughts filling her mind that Buttersby left her stall. Even the night air wasn’t enough to break through her imagination. She went straight to the gate and opened it with her teeth. A howl from the woods outside the gate made her pause for a moment, but then the image of Meander sobbing in sorrow over his misdeeds popped back into her head. She walked through the gate, and it closed shut behind her.