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To Distant Lands


by yatomiyuka

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It was a grim morning - the sky was coated with silvery-grey stormclouds, and the sea around Krawk Island was pitch black. No rain, though the wind was so cold that it hardly mattered, and even the few pets blessed with long fur or thick scales were hiding in their houses. The streets were deserted, windows and blinds were closed to the world, and there was no sign anywhere that the island was populated.

     The wind was picking up, and carried the sound of an old door slamming, rattling the hinges, over the island. The sound came from an old, rather creaky shack, near to the south coast of the island. The door slammed again, and a silvery figure darted out from behind it, fast as lightning and low to the ground, as though trying not to be seen. A second later, a shadowy figure followed in the same fashion.

     "I told you this was a bad idea," hissed Jen, her eyes narrowed at her silver friend, who looked markedly uncomfortable.

     "Yeah, well... you-"

     "I know, I know - I didn't have to come with you. But when I don't come, you get mad at me."

     The small, silver Kougra opened his mouth to reply, but the words died in his throat. Finally, he glanced around the corner of the wooden hut, and nodded to Jen.

     "C'mon, coast is clear!"

     Rolling her eyes, the young Wocky followed after her friend, and they made a dash for the dock, at the end of which several small, wooden boats were rocking gently in the breeze. Obviously, they were unattended - who would be foolhardy enough to steal a boat and sail it out to sea in this weather? The owner of the boats was inside, taking shelter - like any other sane pet. What he hadn't realised, however, was that 'sane' didn't apply in every case...

     The two youngsters were hiding behind a large barrel not more than a few metres from where the boats were tied. Jen was still glaring at Pemero, her long black fur looking rather messy and tangled after her mad dash.

     "Well, you said you had something to show me. I've seen the dock before, Pemero - you forget that my parents used to live here..." she broke off, unsure how to finish the sentence.

     "Well, we're not there yet! Just trust me, okay? When I say 'go', follow me."

     "'Kay. But I don't like this one bit..."

     Pemero crouched still, and sniffed the air. No sign of man nor pet for miles around, and the air had a wonderfully salty smell that many associated with pirates and adventure. Jen glanced at Pemero suspiciously, but said nothing. The air fell suddenly still, and Pemero got ready to spring.

     "Ready... go!"

     Launching from his hiding place, the young cub sprang forward and dived towards the nearest rowing boat, with a shadowy flash on his tail, and they hit the boat with a soft thud. Jen's eyes flashed as she realised what Pemero was doing, but it was too late - flexing a single claw, Pemero sliced through the rope that held them to the land, and the small boat rocked dangerously as it made its way from the shore.

     "Oh, Pemero! You could have warned me!" yelled Jen, who was crouching low in the boat. Pemero was scrabbling around, looking for the oars. "We're going back right now! I can't believe you!"

     Pemero straightened up, looking completely at ease. "Oh, no - not now. We've come this far, right? And I told you before we came out that it would be dangerous, so..."

     His eyes were twinkling with a familiar light, a kind of excitement that could only mean adventure was around the next corner. "If it gets too bad, we'll come back right away. I promise."

     The shadowy shape in the bottom of the boat considered this for a moment, then picked up one of the oars. "Okay," she said. "But I get to decide when to turn back."

     "Deal," Pemero agreed, grinning broadly.

     A light rain started to fall as the two young pets maneuvred the boat with some difficulty towards the open seas. The wind was back in force now, and blew the rain into their faces. They were a fair distance away from the dock by the time the first thunder was heard, and weren't about to turn back.

     "You know, Pemero... this isn't so bad once you get used to it. Kind of tiring, though."

     The silver Kougra nodded, but didn't reply, too focused on rowing the boat to register what she was saying. A heavy mist obscured the horizon, and they couldn't be sure of where they were, or where they were going, but on they sailed for the next hour or so. Finally, they stopped rowing, too tired to go any further.

     "I'm tired, Pemero," said Jen. "Can we go home yet?"

     The silver Kougra shook his head. "We'll just stop here for a while, till we're ready to move on. I'm tired, too, but we've come so far..."

     He looked at Jen imploringly. "It can't be far now, you know. I wanted to take you to Mystery Island, where I was born. I never lived there, though - I was adopted by a human before I was a day old. I've always wondered what it's like. Now, I might be able to find out..."

     "Well, couldn't you have just gone with your family on holiday or something?" Jen questioned, to which Pemero replied, "I had to find out for myself. It just wouldn't be the same going as a tourist, Jen - you don't see much of the island, or learn anything about the culture... it's all merchandise." He sighed. "Maybe you're right, though. It was a stupid idea."

     Jen didn't reply. She was fast asleep on the floor of the boat. Pemero laid down next to her, and fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean as it rocked the boat.

     ***

     How long they slept, they didn't know. The ocean carried them further from the island through their slumber, and when Pemero sat up groggily and stared at the horizon, Krawk Island was nothing but a speck in the distance. The air was fresh, and the sky a pearly white - no sign of the storm. The sea was calmer, too, and Pemero felt completely at ease as he watched the waves rise and fall.

     Before long, Jen was stirring. They sat in silence for a while longer. Finally, Jen asked the inescapable question: "Where are we, anyway? This doesn't feel like home."

     She was right, thought Pemero - the atmosphere was not the rugged, piratey one that fit Krawk Island so well. They might have been in a different world altogether. "I don't really know, Jen - I think we're lost." He said this softly, not wanting to admit it. "I suppose we could try to head back..."

     "But which way is back?" Jen asked, for Krawk Island was completely out of sight now. Pemero shook his head, trying to shake off the remnants of sleep, and think of a reasonable solution. "If we row for long enough, the wind will carry us someplace," said Pemero. "It's the only thing we can do."

     And for the rest of the day, they rowed as hard as they could, but no land came into sight. The two pets were soon tired out again, and unable to keep up the pace, so once again they slept, this time under a blanket of sparkling, pearly-white stars and the baleful gaze of Kreludor. Little did they know that a guardian faerie was watching over them, protecting them from harm as they slept.

     ***

     The boat landed on a sandy shore in the early hours of the morning. The two youngsters were still sleeping soundly, and didn't hear the sound of a faerie's magic guiding them until it faded into the night. Pemero only stirred when the light of dawn hit the small boat, hurting his eyes and throwing the whole world into sharp relief.

     "Oh, wow..."

     The cubs' black eyes widened as they saw the soft white sand around the boat, and he reached out to wake Jen up, but decided against it. She was younger than Pemero, and it was best that she slept a while longer. Anyway, this was his journey - and he'd made it. How, he didn't know - but he could guess. As he stole one last glance at the sky, he thought he saw a flash of green amongst the clouds.

The End

 
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