(Originally posted at Aug 26, 2020, at deviantART.)
After spending some days and nights on the road, the expedition group finally makes it to the desired destination; they are, however, welcomed with a blocked entrance. It seems it was supposed to have a passage through the gate, but the floor made of stone ended right before the bamboo grove.
Looking again into the maps to check on the charted route, there’s no mistaking we didn’t deviate from the right track. But now, having no means of going through, what were we supposed to do?
While Amalthea waited for a little behind with the rest of the group, Capella, axe in hand, tried – to no avail – cutting down the bamboo preventing the passage, as Alecsander inspected the plants closely.
Huff… No matter how much I go at it, there’s not even a scratch… Have you found something out, Ale?
Yes, actually. I can sense a strong flux of magic coming from the stems of these bamboos… It’s way more powerful than the barrier spells I can cast, mine doesn’t even compare, but there are certain similarities between them.
So you’re telling me the famous bamboo grove that surrounds the Moon Capital… is actually a magic barrier?
I believe it’s safe to assume so. That being said, I don’t think we’ll be able to cut them down at all; and even if we could do it, we have no idea how many more there are ahead.
By the looks of it, there are a lot. 💧
Well, it IS a bamboo grove still… *smiles*
*approaching with the group in tow* Any progress, my children?
It’s no good, Amalthea. They deflect my axe’s blade, so it’s impossible to cut through them. They don’t even budge if I try to move them by hand either.
Oh… What shall we do now?
If we’re not able of finding a way through, it’ll be no use staying here. So the best we could do is backtrack, I guess… And make another route, the expedition must go on.
However, I’m certain this is meant to be a blockage on purpose, so there must have been something we missed… Let me think for a second…
Suddenly, the rustling sound of leaves is heard, startling the group. Capella immediately jumps front, taking a defensive stance.
Something is coming!
From behind them, it comes forth. As soon as the figure approaches, its shapes become recognizable.
Capella’s expression instantly changes.
A… wolf…! *tightening the grip on her axe’s handle* Stay back, everyone! I’ll handle this!
N-no, please! Please, don’t hurt me! I mean no harm, I’m just tired and famished…!
As if I’d believe the lies of the likes of you! You’re just like him… But I’ll spare you of seeing your leader go down when his time comes!
Please, listen to me, my child. I know this looks like one of Red’s giant wolves… But look at how hurt and feeble it is, as well…
You don’t mean…
Yes… It could be a survivor from Red’s raid on our village… It could be one of our kind, turned into a wolf, just like happened to the others. We should listen to what it has to say first.
(Amalthea… Believing the wolf right on the spot like this… That’s risking a lot…)
I am not… from the Village of the Seven Goats. But-
May I ask how you know which village we’re referring to if you weren’t involved…?
Your chances to be heard are rapidly decreasing, you fleabag… Spill out the beans already!
Please, listen to me… I’ve traveled for days, with no rest or food. I’ll tell you everything I know… if you just give me something to eat…
As if! I have no reason to trust your trickery, why should we spend valuable resources on you?!
I… I think we should do it, my children. I won’t force you to do it, but please consider its request…
Amalthea… (No way…)
Okay, I’ll ask the two of you to please calm down… and propose we listen to what the group has to say since we’re unable to get to an agreement.
Everyone, what do you want to do?
This is a reaction-based interaction! Please choose one of the options below, and answer in character to it, filling out the form in the comment accordingly.
You can answer as multiple characters if you so desire for development purposes, but that doesn’t increase the number of votes given; your choice will be registered only once. Your answer will help decide the route the story takes.
Your choice is…?
► Give the wolf something from your bank
► Refuse to give anything to the wolf
Optionally, you can submit a drawing or literature to go along with your answer.
- Stories must have at least 400 words, on which you describe how all of your involved characters will deal with the situation. Stories may be written in any language and mentioning any of the NPCs but the wolf is optional.
- Drawings must have at least base colors and either a background or props, on which all of your involved characters appear as at least half-body. Including the wolf and the NPCs is optional.
- Your entry must contain all the characters you’re linking in your reply. You’ll get 5x Memory Fragments per MEMORY KEEPER featured and 1x Shiny Nugget per AVATAR. Rewards’ boosts given because of bonds between Avatars and Keepers won’t count for this activity.
- You/your characters don’t need to have taken part in any prior chapter to participate in this current chapter.
- Participations in this chapter will be accepted until September 26th, 11:59 PM BRT.
Original text by ShiroganeRyo
Music: Ōkami – Silence of Stones
Chapter 2 Story Response
It was unclear why Ophelia decided to trust Remi when they got to land, because even with a snack to “jog” her memory, they still got lost. They had only been walking for a few hours, but it already seemed hopeless. Groaning in frustration, Ophelia plopped down to the ground, ears and tails sulking.
“Remi, I don’t understand you,” Ophelia griped at her memory keeper, “on how you can’t seem to remember anything useful!”
Remi sat about a foot away from her sailor friend. Scratching behind her ear with her front left paw, she responded, “Whatcha talkin’ ‘bout, Ophi? Wasn’t it your idea to let me lead?”
“You said you knew where to go for fresh supplies AFTER I gave you a snack!”
“Did you? I don’t remember at all,” Remi exclaimed as she turned onto her back to roll on the ground.
Ophelia angrily groaned once again, “UGH, you’re so frustrating! I’m going to take charge now and I’ll do a better job than you!”
Ophelia shot to her feet to start walking, but wobbled and fell forward from dizziness. She cursed under her breath for standing up too quickly, and then stood up slower. Finally on her feet and feeling good, she picked up her keeper and began to walk in the direction of what she thought was the correct path, with Remi enjoying being carried in her arms.
Now exhausted at this point, Ophelia walked with Remi for a few more hours with no avail. Just when she was about to give up, she did notice a red gate that looked like it should open to a town, but was covered greatly with bamboo. It was a strange sight to see – why would a town entrance be barricaded like that?
Ophelia ducked behind a nearby blockade, and pulled Remi in by the tail (of course, Remi didn’t even notice her tail being pulled). She bent down and told her to remain quiet. At the gate a small group of avatars and keepers were trying to deal with the bamboo. Soon after that a wolf showed up, and conflict arose in the group ahead of them.
“Shh, stay quiet Remi, let’s hear what they have to say,” whispered Ophelia.
Remi nodded, putting her focus on the group before her.
The two listened carefully, trying to understand the situation. It was something about a village being raided, beings turned into wolves, and whether or not to kill the wolf of feed it. Ophelia leaned in closer, her brow furrowing.
‘ A raid on a village?’Ophelia thought to herself. Had they been at sea for far too long?
The two made their way forward after assessing the situation. Ophelia smirked and used the back of her left hand to push her hair out of the way. “You guys’ certainly have issues, let’s just feed the wolf,” she said, pulling out a snack from her small satchel.
Remi ran after her, tackling Ophelia’s right leg, almost making her fall. “NUUUU OPHI YOU CAN’T GIVE AWAY MY SNACKS, THEY ARE MIIIIIIIINE!”
Ophelia’s faced flushed. “Remi,” she muttered in frustration, “You’re embarrassing me. We’re going to feed the wolf.”
Remi’s eyes welled with tears, “But why though? Those people don’t trust the wolf! Plus those are my snacks!”
Ophelia smirked at the group. “Well, we should share with someone hungry. I mean, if they lie to us or try to do something to us, it’s not like we can’t kill them afterwards!”
Arriving at the Moon Capital was one thing, getting into it a whole different thing!
A mixed group of other Memory Keepers and their Companions were lost in a discussion as a wolf emerged on the scene, offering possible help if they were to give him a bit to eat.
But given the history between wolves like this one and their expeditions leader, Capella, everyone was uncertain as what would be best to do.
“Should we trust him?” Elara asked her human companion, whilst sitting on their feline steeds back. She was eyeing the wolf closely and simply felt safer on the back of something big and toothy.
Vincent didn’t seem to concerned himself, toying with the idea of just giving the poor guy some food without telling the others, “It’s hard to say. He’s alone, we’re plenty of people.. I don’t think there’s much danger, but then again.. I saw how upset Capella was…”
Elara merely squinted at the wolf more, as if to warn it to behave, despite it not even looking her way.
Suddenly a shout broke through the chatter, turning everyones head to the path they had come down just a while ago. A Memory Keeper with black and purple fur, a single horn and four glowing butterflies fluttering around him, stumbled into the midst of them.
As he plopped down to catch his breath, a small anthro cat jumped from his back and cleared his throat, giving everyone a look as if royalty itself had arrived.
“I say….” the kid said, pausing for dramatic effect, even glancing up at everyones confused face for a moment, “… we should feed the wolf.”
“…Wolf..?” the Memory Keeper that had carried him there looked up, only now noticing there actually was a wild animal present at all.
“Yes.” the kid proceeded, “More specifically, it should be me who feeds the wolf. Does anyone have a cookie on hand?”
Some of the people giggled now, others looked confused and even others a tad annoyed at this little guy just butting in like that.
Vincent pat his cat with a word for it to stay, before walking over to the two, Elara following close by to check on the other Memory Keeper.
“Ashen, right?” the human kneeled down to him.
“And Valentine!” Elara chirped, giving the dark colored Memory Keeper a happy nudge, only getting a deep sigh in return, “… did you carry him all the way here?”
Ashen waved his tiny hands as if to silence whatever it was that Valentine would say. After all, everyone obviously had seen him carry him there.
“That is right, uh…” Ashen finally answered, glancing up to the human, searching for his name in his head.
“Right, right.” he nodded, almost as if bored, “Sooo, about those cookies for the wolf…” he then gestured with grabby paws.
Vincent chuckled, patting Ashens head.. much to his annoyance, “Ashen, you DO know, that wolves prefer meat, right?”
And with that, he plopped a tiny chunk of meat into those grabby hands, making Ashen visibly recoil at the first touch of it.
“Yes. That’s meat.”
Ashen was uncertain at first, but as he saw the wolves eyes light up, he felt that maybe Vincent wasn’t too far off. Maybe wolves didn’t like cookies that much after all… who knows!
Valentine had finally found his legs again, wriggling away from Elara as politely as possible, to stand at Ashens side, “There, I’ll go with you! Just in case…!”
With that, the two slowly approached the wolf, who looked far more intimidating up close than he had from afar.. but nevertheless did he seem to be focused on the food most of all.
“H-Here you go…!” Ashen just squeaked, holding it out carefully.
“You got this!” Valentine chirped!
Of course it wasn’t much and Vincent did plan on giving him a bigger piece to eat down the line.. but there was something cute about seeing Ashen just wanting to feed the wolf because.. hey, that’s cool!
R: huffing What’s happening here?
B: You’re awfully slow today, Red.
R: Give me a break! I collected all those stuff last time!
B: Lorelei, want to race to the Capital?
L: Sure! See you there!
R: HEY, WAIT UP, YOU TWO-!!!
L: A wolf?
B: Stay back, Lorelei! I don’t want you to get hurt-
L: Surely, you won’t harm us then?
B: glares It’s getting late and we should honestly keep on going.
L: But this bamboo grove might take us a while to get through. It’d be nice to have a friend along the way, I suppose.
B: Are you sure you want to give it some?
L: It wouldn’t hurt to give them some, right? We have enough for the journey, for sure! ^o^
R: SWEET STARS IT’S A WOLF-!
“The poor little thing, I know this is not much but please accept it. I know a few of my fellow companions here are very against offering you any kind of help, but I believe sharing and caring for each other will help us broke this cycle of violence and hurt.”
Alka: I’ll try healing the wolf, Iaso! I have already cast simple healing spells before.
Iaso: You are stupid, aren’t you? If you heal it, it’ll get stronger and you won’t even be able to get away from it. c h o m p.
Alka: Hnnng so mean- We can’t leave them hurt like that though, it’s totally the opposite of what I learned during my years at the church…!
Iaso: *sighs* Alright. I’ll give it something then, you wait here…
*Iaso gets out of the chariot they are in and walks a few steps closer to the Wolf*
Hey, Wolf! You can have this if you want *throws cookie* let’s see if a tree grows out of your nose or smtg!!
Anushka and Simba look at each other.
“Well”, he said, looking into his bag for anything that could be useful, “It wouldn’t hurt to, I guess…”
“Are you really going to give it something?”, Simba asked, tilting his head in confusion. “Why?”
“Have you forgotten that one time we got lost from the crew in the desert?” Anushka’s husky voice had a somber tone to it as he recalled, “If those people hadn’t helped us, we’d be done for. At least I would, it’s nice not needing to eat and get hydrated, right, Simba…”
“But what if it’s one of the bad guys and attacks us?”
“Then, you just follow my cue. We’ve escaped worse.”
He took a step forward and left the items on the ground, keeping a safe distance from the wolf.
“It’s not much, but I hope it helps. I think you’d have no use for the fragments, but if you find a Keeper around, they might potentially want these and give you some food in return.”