At least seven different people are complaining - talking, Ben corrects politely in his head, though there's no mistaking the whining as anything but - to him at once, and he spares a pleading glance to Doug who matches the look as five people crowd the dwarf's descendant.
"Please, everyone," he calls, taking a step back to look at the large group. "I know that everyone was unprepared for the trip, but I'm sure we can figure it out."
"Unprepared?" Mal snorts from behind, looking over the group from her perch on one of the branches of a large tree - her back against the trunk, one leg hanging off, and the other bent and resting against the branch lazily. In the back of his head, he thinks his girlfriend looks predatory.
Evie sits on a branch nearby, ankles crossed neatly in the air. Jay stands on a thick branch below the girls, leaning his crossed arms on another branch just under his shoulder level while Carlos hangs upside down on the branch just above Evie, his head half a foot beside the girl's.
"You all have clearly never been camping before," Carlos states matter-of-factly, waving his arms at all of the AKs' luggage - a large and bright pile of a variety of colors with wheels jammed by muddy leaves and sticks. "Do you see what we're carrying?"
At the male's words, eyes scan the four VKs and their "luggage," which the group pulls out of pockets (and one drawstring bag) and holds out for perusal. Between the four of them, they have one pocket knife each, one change of clothes each, one sewing kit of two colors (white and black), one fishing line and hook, one tarp, a coil of rope, and a lighter.
"If you know what you're doing, this is more than enough for a weekend," Evie informs with a sweet smile as if she were complimenting an outfit rather than subtly insulting their preparation.
"There's no way that's all you need for three days," Audrey scoffs, stomping her foot and accidentally digging her heel into the soft dirt below though she doesn't even stumble. "What about water or even the bathroom?"
"Do you usually not research where you're going to sleep, princess?" Jay asks, his lips turned up in a flirty half-smirk. "That river right there? There's your water. You're in the middle of a forest. Pick a tree, any tree. There's your bathroom."
The horrified looks of the princes and princesses cause the four to break out in laughter.
"You all are in for a world of surprise," Mal drawls with amusement. "The four of us are going to go camping separately on that side."
She nudges her chin across the river in direction as the other three begin to climb higher on the tree.
"If you need us, call us on the walkie-talkie, channel 4. We left our phones at the dorm, and I'd say come find us, but..." she trails off with an amused grin. "Well, we'll let you know when we make camp."
"You don't have a walkie-talkie," Doug points out carefully, hand going to his belt and double-checking the presence of his.
"Oh, Doug," Evie calls from the top, tone amused and indulgent all at once. "You say that like we couldn't snag one of the extras."
Jay holds the object up, shaking it lightly like a taunt.
"Remember," Carlos teases, smile sharper - more the Isle - than normal, "channel 4."
With that, Mal lithely climbs up to the top with the rest, Jay handing her a vine. The four jump from the tree, inciting shouts of surprise from the watching AKs, but there's no reason to worry. The VKs swing from vines and flip mid-air, landing amidst the branches of the trees on the other bank and disappearing into the shadows.
Ben exchanges knowing looks with Doug; he is not the only one who worries what they signed up for.