Hot Herb Tea and a Happy Ending: Part Six
“Rubia, another of my dreams came true.”
“No,” she gasped. “This is beyond coincidence. You’re wrong, there’s something about you that’s wrong!”
“I’m sorry.” I choked. The time would arrive for the Creator to spell my doom. I hadn’t done anything: it was what I was, my origin. As soon as Rubia finally received what she thought was a Creator’s Child, she started realizing that it couldn’t be one.
“Have you ever seen a tiny brown Ogrin outside before?” I inquired.
“Why do you ask? The only things that could fit that description would be the Dust Pixies, the Creator’s Servants. While she grew the Xweetoks, she shrank the pixies so they could serve on the field better.”
“Then that’s what I’ve had to have seen twice.”
“I did. One when I first came here pointed me in another way and told me not to change direction... come to think of it, I followed its orders and look what’s happened to me. I fell in a trap. The other one I saw in my dream and came true. It actually pointed me in another direction again and I think it saved me from Chix that time. Is she the one with the red stripe and purple suit?”
“Cerulean, you need to leave! Just go. No wonder the first led you into the trap; the second one must have made a mistake. The Creator will hate both of us if I let you stay here. I doubt I can give you anything before you go. It isn’t my fault and I’m sorry to let you go. Goodbye,” she bid me.
“I’m sorry I have to go. But I think I have to, and I’ll do it so she will let you go.” I started for the door. “Just one last thing I have to ask: Just how forgiving is our Creator, anyway?”
She stood silent for several long moments.
“Well, she’s forgiving. She just hates Xweetoks.” She left me there, standing at the door. I opened it and left.
On the porch, two big leaves sat on either side of you, collecting rainwater for bread and drinking. It was actually more of a small dirt circle, shaded by some plants growing on the side of the tree the house was made of. Rain made a natural curtain streaming off the plants, the ones hosted on the tree.
The forest loomed before me. As I looked through the curtain, I knew I didn’t have any other options handy. I could sit on the porch and let a hunter get me or Rubia shoo me off the next time she opened the bark slab door, or I could run.
The steady pour bounced off my fur do to my hydrodynamic self. As I made the plunge into the world, the question arose as to whether I should find a hunter and let myself be captured immediately or let myself collapse from running and wake up inside a Xweetok craft. Or even look for a trap. Back to my origin anyway, I thought.
Bounds of forest paths rolled under my paws, the trees opened up to me. I couldn’t go back. At the same time, there was no option for going forward. How was I supposed to establish myself, being what I was? The only possibility was ending up in some trap.
I figured that going fast would make it all that harder for my kind to capture me, so I slowed to a steady swagger. The trail went to crawling under my feet instead of rolling. Trees seemed to loom overhead instead of open up to me. Time was running out.
I carefully adjusted my talons on the branch and aimed again. Gathering my energy, I released it in a sudden jolt, landing on the side of the oak with my claws dug into it. Finally, I spotted a four-legged Xweetok on the ground. Actually, it was the jewels that caught my eye. Four perfectly diamond-shaped, glittering sapphires on his legs...
I had to have them for myself.
Maybe Master would shake them off of him for me. But first, I had to do my assignment. Stealthily catching up with this “Cerulean” was not hard, as his rate was most pathetic. Of course, I sacrificed all that excess speed for stealth. Stealth was my profession.
I constantly, silently flitted behind him in the trees. He seemed to gain strength and return to a real speed over time. Finally, I actually got ahead of where he was running, but my brown feathers camouflaged me, hiding me from his sight. He stopped to catch his breath. Taking aim with care, I dove for him.
The last thing I was expecting in that moment I stopped to pant was somebody trying to slay me.
In a state of shock, I yelped and tried to flee, but my pursuer just bolted after me, a storm of pecks beating my pelt. When I was calm and concentrated, all the tough paths were made easy, but under the ambush, I barely stumbled along. No matter how fast I crawled, it wouldn’t stop. A commotion rose in the forest as pets foraging saw us, and then I realized it.
While there was the fury of attacks that hit in a different spot every time, there also seemed to be two steady pains. Slowing pace for a moment, I counted the claws I felt gripping my back in those spots. Eight. Birds have eight talons altogether.
No bird should be able to run after me at the speed I ascended to... He was riding me. While his talons held on, his beak did the tormenting. I assumed that his wings were balancing him, as we could only fly to save one another from Xweetok hunters.
He was doing the opposite of saving.
Noting the fact that he was actually relying on my actions (moving, but allowing him to remain there) to do what he was doing, I followed the sounds of rushing water. While there was always the constant beating of rain and rippling of small brooks, by chasing the loudest noises I found a huge, rushing creek constantly being fed by the showers.
Doing what he least expected me to, I bolted to a part that was submerged and anchored my paws into the mud. He seemed to lose his grip on me and the pecking stopped as he washed away with the current. But I really shouldn’t have sighed in relief just then, as he had realized what I did, found me again and it started once more. Still, I didn’t catch a glimpse of him.
I retried the trick, first leading him to temporarily thinking I was unaware of his exact method. This time, he didn’t let the rush pull him away; remembering what I did the first time and also that I knew what he was up to. I had to think of a new plan, but I already had a critical disadvantage: He knew I had figured out he wasn’t actually chasing me. Noting that it was my back he was clinging to, I came up with an audible solution: Roll over.
So I did.
A startled Lenny bumbled a bound away, but I quickly regained composure before he could get it in his head to attack my underbelly. Forgetting my ache (at least it was steady now), I bolted after him. Pausing only to build up hind-leg tension, I jumped, bringing him down before escape was possible.
“No, this is wrong. I’m-supposed-to-be-hunting-you--”
“No, you aren’t. Give me your name and motivations, scrap.”
“It-it’s not Scrap, it’s Rachroth.”
“You are a prodigy, actually thinking I thought your name was Scrap. Rachroth is a hideous name. The motivations?”
He remained silent. Hissing, I unsheathed my claws, bringing them down one wing. While he had the chance, he ran off. My triumphant laughter to nobody in particular (especially since I was alone) was interrupted by a tiny ah-em.
Whipping my head around, I saw a dust pixy peering from behind a tree. It thrashed its head in the direction I recognized as towards home. Remembering that one had led me into a trap before (and that I was sort of an outlaw from the Creator’s perspective), I traveled in the opposite direction, as it was likely safe.
Stopping after I realized how critical my injuries were, I barely covered any ground. Sniffing around in a few plants, I found a big fallen leaf and some suitable vines. My hurts were eased as I splinted the leaf to my back and continued.
Not long after that I felt a strange surge of energy to press on with. I decided it would be best to try to find a deserted house to survive in until fate came into play. Before I could decide how to go best about doing this, however, I heard footsteps behind me. They weren’t steps of a forester.
Which meant they could only be the pounding feet of a hunter.
My legs went hyperactive in a struggle to get away. If I was caught, what would they think? They could force the tactics of avoiding hunters out of me so they could develop traps and weapons to catch pets better. My head rang with a possible voice of those creatures.
“Come on, we’re the same species. We can share secrets, right?”
Cringing at the thought, I propelled myself even faster. They probably wanted me. Okay, so they wanted all of us, but for me... Flipping through my memories, I recalled they’d seen me before.
My ears perked. Around me was the forest, as usual. The leaf was still splinted to my back and when I tried rising from the leaf litter, my body ached. I discovered I must have fallen asleep after tending to my wounds. How could I, out in the open?
Thoughts raced through my mind, and I discovered that I must have dreamt of being chased. Well, if I’m alone now, I might as well make the best of it and seek out an abandoned shelter now, I thought. My body hurt once more when I rose, but wore off with a few steps.
I strode along at a semi-leisurely pace, not daring to go any faster than that. The home I recognized as Rubia’s inched into sight, and slowly inched out again. If I could take a slow walk every day like that, no, it’d be too vulnerable.
My steady pace halted when yet another dust pixie appeared to me, trying to direct me back to Rubia’s. The Creator didn’t want me there, and they were her servants. I didn’t have to try to recall that to break into a run in the opposite direction.
It vanished on the horizon when I looked back. I decided it was safe to slow down. Shortly after, I gaped. The trees stopped for a square several bounds long and several bounds wide. Rainfall beat down with its full force in the Blank, as no leaves slowed its fall.
My trance was interrupted by a figure penetrating the rainclouds above and landing in the middle of the piece of wasteland. Six spindly, hideous steel legs hit the ground first, and then the cabin which they were attached to bounced and was held up by its set of limbs. An unseen door in the giant metal box opened, revealing a Xweetok clad in pink armor that stepped out.
She pushed her locks of scarlet hair aside and surveyed the area. The first thing she saw when she cast her eyes upon my general vicinity was, of course, me. Who was once calm and almost beautiful was instantly thrown into a rage and took after me.
Of course, it caused a chain reaction and made me take off, too.
Only after her as well.
Chix seemed to smirk and was about to take firm ground and shoot something out of her arm cannon, when she slipped. I had led her close into a puddle of oil on the ground, so she had put her foot in it and slipped. Smirking, I stole away past the Blank.
A wind suddenly picked up, sweeping leaves in my face. After dashing behind a tree, I breathed. It would be impossible to continue with the wind alone, but the dust and leaves and rain... I wouldn’t be able to see a thing. It took contemplation to finally decide to knock on the door I noticed in the tree.
To be honest, I was hoping and expecting no answer. From the outside it seemed as though the house was abandoned, but it wasn’t. Not knowing what exactly to say when I was answered, I questioned,
“Do you know where there might be a deserted house around here?”
“Cerulean, my boy! I don’t, but you look soaked, come inside.” Tor nodded and stepped away from the doorway. I followed inside to his house. When I took a seat on the floor directly in front of the fire, he mimicked me.
“I take it Rubia is having you run an errand?”
“No. Actually... She kicked me out.”
“She WHAT?” he shouted, staring me down. “Rubia’s waited years for a Creator’s Child! She wouldn’t just go on and kick you out!”
“The exact reason I was kicked out was that I’m not a Creator’s Child. We’re suspecting I’m from the Distance.”
To be continued...