Hey jammers! Here's the continuation of last week's story. I hope you enjoy it!
Groaning, Shadow opened her eyes to a dim den. She gasped and jolted upright before grimacing at the pain in her head. Slowly, she sunk back down.
Through narrowed eyes, she surveyed the room. She was on a soft mattress in the corner. The den was relatively empty, besides a few jars and herbs stacked in another corner. A healer’s den.
There was a sharp rap on the door. Shadow started, then quickly closed her eyes. She heard pawsteps thumping beside the bed, then the door creaking open.
“Hello, Chartreuse. What brings you to this side of town?” Shadow heard an older female voice speaking from inside the den.
“Healer,” a young female voice panted. “There is unease where I live. Some patrols spotted… a strange creature. Fierce, with razor sharp claws and a gaping mouth. They’re calling it a monster! I came to let you know. We don’t know if this creature could travel or not.”
“Thank you. I am most grateful. Would you like to come in?”
“No, thank you. My sister is waiting for me to return.”
“Well, you should hurry. Thank you.”
The door shut, and Shadow felt herself slip back into sleep.
* * *
An old fox was staring down at her.
Shadow stifled a gasp.
“Oh, my dear, I’m sorry. Did I startle you?’
Yes, and you were probably drilling a hole in me with that gruesome stare. “No, not at all,” Shadow said with effort.
“Good.” Healer looked around, then leaned closer. “I assume you heard about the monster?” Shadow must have looked offended, for she laughed. “You realize I’m skilled enough to tell whether or not my patient is asleep?”
Shadow grunted. When she turned back to face Healer, she was startled by the intensity of her gaze.
“Will you help us?”
“From what I’ve heard, you are a quite capable warrior.”
“Oh, the battle! I, uh, forgot to ask. What happened? I mean, I’m assuming it was okay?”
“Yes, we won. Thanks to you. And now we ask one more favor of you.” Healer gazed at Shadow, pleading. “Will you help us?”
Shadow swallowed. The last thing she wanted was to become tethered to responsibility again. She wished she could just run out the door and leave. She wished the earth would swallow her up now.
But all of those poor animals. What would happen if she just left? She wanted to leave. But she couldn’t. Her conscience wouldn’t let her. She wanted to slap herself, but that wouldn’t do much good.
“Fine,” she muttered.
“Thank you. I’m sure we all appreciate it,” Healer murmured solemnly. “Oh, and I forgot to ask you. What is your name?”
It had been a while since anyone had asked that. Since she had stayed around long enough to let anyone ask that. She was reluctant. It felt like she was signing a contract. “Shadow. My name is Shadow.”
“Well, Shadow, it’s nice to meet you.”
“You, uh too. Um, I guess I should be going now.”
“Are you sure you feel okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m- I’m fine.” Shadow slipped off of the bed and to the door.
“Wait here.” Healer trotted out the door, returning a minute later.
“Shadow, I have one more thing to tell you. You will have a companion. A young warrior in training named Ruby. My neighbor’s daughter. We hope you can teach her.”
“Okay.” Shadow wasn’t sure what else to do besides stifle the sarcastic comments bubbling to her lips. Trotting out the door, she froze. “She’s Ruby?” The black and white pup who had tackled her in the battle was sprinting around the clearing, chasing a butterfly.
Ruby noticed Shadow. “Oh, it’s you! Are you okay? Did I hurt you? I’m sorry I jumped on you.”
Shadow closed her eyes to block out the endless stream of questions.
“I guess you’re off. Good luck!” And with that, Healer was gone.
“Alright, let’s go.” Shadow walked towards the path, not even checking to see if Ruby was behind her. The endless skittering was enough to tell her so.
“We’re going to be awesome! Will we have to sleep in a cave? Will we starve? Will I get to fight a monster?”
Shadow turned around. “Look kid, first rule. You’re gonna have to cut the yabbering.”
“You got it. Nothing.” Ruby looked solemn for a moment. Then, she bit her lip. Her cheeks bulged. “This is gonna be the best trip ever!” She burst out.
This is going to be one long trip.
That's all! See you in Jamaa :3