Lee woke up with a start. His breathing short, raspy, and fast. Lee looked around and pulled a hand through his damp, dark brown hair. ‘Just a dream…’ since he was up he knew that he wouldn’t fall back asleep. Lee sat at the edge of his bed and stood up. Walking to the mirror his dad built, he looked himself up and down and sighed.
His green eyes sparkled, the dull light filtering in through the window next to the mirror. His dark brown hair was a mess as he had been sleeping. The stained tanktop and black sweatpants were hanging loosely on his body. Lee was skinny, about one hundred twenty three pounds. He was around four feet six inches tall.
Turning on the lamp on his bedside table, Lee sighed. The light reflected a dull light around the room keeping the far corners as dark as midnight. Pondering what to do, he grabbed a book and sniffed it. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, a classic book to read.’ He started to read it and went on for a couple of minutes before he gave up, restless energy built up inside of him. He suddenly realized that he had forgotten to check to see what time it was.
His clock on the bedside table blared in a faint glowing red numbers 2:52 a.m. He sighed and mumbled in a tired voice, “Only three hours of sleep tonight.” He heard footsteps and quick as a flash turned his lamp off. Turning to face away from the door he faked being asleep. ‘I forgot dad has good hearing.’ The door opened and he guessed his father was staringat his back. After a couple of minutes, the door creaked closed and the footsteps went to his parents’ bedroom.
Lee quietly hummed and went back to reading his book. He hated that he had bad nightmares. Barely getting sleep when he did have them. He was constantly teased and bullied because he always looked tired. He sighed and gave up on reading, setting the book down, he went and grabbed a jacket then cautiously he started to open his window listening for the sound of footsteps. Opening it the rest of the way, he slipped out. Closing it, he walked into the forest.
The forest was big, covering a good chunk of the continent. That's where the creatures lived though. Lee yawned and rubbed his eyes, starting to feel tiredness take grip of his body. He went a small ways down a path before a clearing was present in the forest. He went to a tree that was on his side of a stream. Gracefully climbing it, he smiled and sat up in the tree. He felt safe in the trees being able to see in all directions for miles; it was also comforting to him.
Lee whistled a short melody into the night; knowing it would do nothing as he did that quite often. Whistling some more he noticed a pair of silver eyes watching what he did. Waving in the direction of the eyes, Lee started to climb down from the tree. He noticed a teenage female with light brown hair. Deer like ears, wait no, those were deer ears! It was Peach who was staring at him.
His trusty friend, Peach was a half human half deer hybrid. A Doma to be correct. Like the Centaurs that roam the forest, Doma’s also inhabit a good portion of the forest, living in village-like groups. Also like Centaurs, Domas lower half is that of a deer. Their upper half is human, but with the addition of deer features. Males have antlers and both male and females have smaller lower halves, deer ears and noses. Their hair normally matches their fur coat, based on what kind of deer they are.
Peach was a common forest deer, her fur and hair were a light brown. Her nose was tinted black and freckles splashed on her face and arms. Her brown skin helped her blend into the forest quite well. Peaches silver eyes always gave her away though. “One day you won't see me coming!” she declared as Lee walked down to the side of the stream.
“I dunno Peach, terrifying silver eyes looking at me through the tree,.” the boy mocked terror. Peach crossed her arms and walked to the edge of the stream. Lee was there at the edge. The stream marked the edge of Doma territory that the government gave them for this area, thousands of years ago. The folks that lived in this forest didn’t have equal rights as humans after all.
“One day when I grow up I’m going to live on your side of the stream and then we’ll see how scary I am then,” she declared. That remark got a giggle out of Lee. As childish and different the pair was, they were the best of friends. Lee would get even more bullied for being friends with such a foul creature, but he tried to ignore it. Another cause of his nightmares. Someone hunting or killing his best friend. He walked as far as he could without getting wet and held out a hand.
“It's a deal then. When you live over here you have one big chance to scare me,” Peach smiled mischievously and took his hand.
“It’s a deal then. No backing out when I move over.” A deep bellow echoed across the meadow and Peach looked alert. Lee recognized it as the stray Centaur who lived in a part of the meadow. Peach sighed but still looked shaken. “Don’t worry it's just Catarus. There's probably some unusually shaped rock on his land he doesn’t remember being there.” Peach nodded to confirm her words and actions.
Lee knew none of the Centaur language but knew it consisted of roars, grunts, snorts, stomps, and huffs. “I don’t know, maybe we should go and check it out just in case.” Peach knew that maybe Lee was right and she started off.
“I don’t think that it was about that anyways. I have a creepy feeling about whatever it was.” Lee looked around for a decent stick while Peach was talking and nodded. He found one and grabbed some dry moss, tying it around the stick. He lit it with a lighter and he now had a sort of weapon. ‘Fights for territory are common in Centaurs but I don’t think it was that. The level of distress he was in. If only I had been closer to hear what he said.’ Peach became a little aware that she was putting her friend in danger by seeing what made Caturus cry out in distress and by trespassing on his land.
She trotted on her side of the stream, Lee on his, as they made their way to Caturu’s land. Lee found a spot and jumped over to join Peach. He was jogging alongside her which was abnormal for humans to keep pace with a hybrid animal like that.
“Look at our adventure together, we haven’t had one in a long time,” he smiled tiredly. Peach had forgotten humans sleep during the night. She was up day and night and slept in the middle of the day, her long day at least. She had also forgotten it was night and that she had a kind of night vision like all Doma’s have.
“Sorry Lee if you're tired and want to go back-” she was interrupted by a roar a few feet ahead of them.
“Not my children, anyone but them!” Caturus cried out. Lee jumped seeming wide awake now. Peach froze up.
“Rose and Marsh? What happened to them!” she rushed forward then skidded next to Caturus. Before her was a sight she wished she hadn’t seen. Vans, human men whipping the two children into cages, crying children and the fury of strong men.
One yelled, “Look, another Centaur child! The Centaur must have lied to us!” he roared and pointed to her. Lee was not far behind, not comprehending what he saw. Caturus cried out again.
“She isn’t one of us. Peach is a Doma!” The men approached with whips, leads, and muzzles. Peach backed away afraid for what would happen. Lee held a hand out ready to run when she took it.
“What is going on? Why are they taking those Centaur children?” She took his hand and slowly backed up.
“This has happened to Centaurs before but I thought the men were caught… Maybe these are a new group of child exportation, illegal child exportation.” She shook a little. Caturus reared up and charged with his club in hand forward at the men.
“Run children. Run as fast and as far as you can!” Caturus yelled as he charged. “Children run. This isn’t a safe place anymore!” Peach started running, pulling along Lee.
“What did he say?”
“Lee we need to run. It’s not safe anymore. The men are taking all the children and claiming the land.” Lee’s eyes widened.
“What about school? Home!”
“Lee never again can we live the way we did, they will look for us as we saw them commit a crime.” Lee rubbed his eyes keeping pace with Peach’s galloping.
“Lee, I have one question that you haven't answered.”
“Peach, I told you that I’m just very athletic. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“I feel that's not the truth, hybrids are faster than humans yet you can keep up.”
Lee sighed, “I told you that I’m just athletic and I’ve been around you for a while so I've had time to try and catch up with you.” She sighed and slowed down as they had been running for thirty minutes.
After two hours of running, walking, climbing, and swimming the two were exhausted and tired. The light from the moon reflected through the branches of the trees, in small patches reaching the ground. “Peach, we’re alone in a forest, damp and tired. We need to stop and sleep.” Lee was stumbling about; the tiredness ready to claim him. Peach shook her head.
“Lee they will be on us, they don’t want anyone knowing or telling. Men are cruel and have no care! Don’t you see Lee, they’ll kill me or, probably kill you as well.” Tears starting to fall down her brown and exhausted face. She stumbled a little and fell. “Lee my home… My parents, my friends, my whole life is gone now because of humans like you! I don’t know if I should even trust you. You're keeping secrets from me!”
“Well, I’m sorry that I exist in your Oh so perfect world! I didn’t mean to be born and harm your Oh so wonderful life. Peach you’re being rude.” Lee glared at her and turned storming off in a different direction in the forest and running off. Peach stared in shock at herself and then the direction Lee disappeared into.
“W-wait! Lee don’t leave. I’m sorry!” She shook, starting to cry. Grabbing some of the grass from the ground and pulling on it, she broke down. Peach always disliked being alone. Being left alone to run from being hunted was the worst thing to happen to her yet in her life. She never thought she would fight with Lee; the two of them argued before but nothing serious had happened like this. She had known him since they were babies, yet the two lived separate lives. Getting up tiredly, she stumbled some ways to a brush covering and huddled there. Starting to drift off her last thoughts before falling asleep were that hoping that Lee was okay.
Lee had it with the way Peach treated his mothers species. He knew he wouldn’t be able to tell her that he was in fact a Satyr. Yes he admitted it he was a half human, half goat hybrid. And now was a good time to ditch the sweat pants and boots he had on.
Taking his boots off he relished the feeling of the fresh ground on his feet. He focused hard and his human illusion started to fade away. His true form showing. He preferred being a human but he needed to use his Satyr form to survive being out alone in unmarked territory. Taking his sweat pants off he stretched. In his Satyr form he had hair that was always pulled back in a braid. It was a light yellow that also covered his eyes. He still was short and skinny.
A pair of goat ears replaced the human ones. Small, fat goat horns protruded from his head. His lower half was strong and that of a mountain goat. He sighed and started forward. Not wanting to be out in the open for long, he started to climb the nearest tree. He knew that he would be at an advantage by being in the tree. Lee yawned and started to drift off.
Peach mumbled a few words still asleep. The light from the sun fell directly on her eyes, causing her to turn away. The light still bugged her and wearily she opened her eyes. She noticed that she was on the ground and that she was human. ‘Wait human? I finally did my human illusion! Wow! I don’t look much more different.’ she got up and walked around a little. “So stiff and feels off.” She walked around trying to get used to this new feeling. “I should probably go and find Lee and apologize. I was a little harsh.” She said looking guilty. She started in the direction he went, trying to find signs of his movement. She hated not knowing what was going to happen or to what territory she was entering.
Many different creatures lived in the big expanse of the forest. And she didn’t want to meet any of the bad ones that inhabited the forest. She noticed Lee’s sweatpants and boots on the ground and shook a little. ‘I don’t wanna know why they're off or why they're on the ground. But at least I’m close’
“Lee! Where are you? I’m sorry for what I said and my outburst! I’m scared and hope you stay with me…” she hoped that was near Lee and he heard her calling out. Lee had been awakened by mumbling below him. He looked down to see Peach there looking at his sweatpants, and realized he didn’t grab them before climbing up the tree. ‘Shoot, she’ll look for me now.’ his ears perked at the shouting down from below and he listened well.
“Fine but don’t insult my mom again, okay?”
“I won't insult you or your mom, okay?”
“Just my mom, Peach, just her.” he gracefully swung down from the branch he was on and landed in front of Peach stunning her. She jumped in surprise and said.
“Lee? You're a satyr! Oh, my gosh! That was the secret you kept from me!” She looked like she was about to cry as she pulled him in for a hug.
“It seems like you got your illusion down.”
“I know and don’t leave me again! I hated being alone.” he shook his head and smiled patting her head.
“You're clingy for a Doma, you know that?” Peach nodded.
“I’m also loyal you know, so I’m just doing my part in our friendship.” she smiled and stuck her tongue out at him.
“Ouch, Peach, ouch.” he held a hand to his heart and faked looking hurt. There was a crunch from a distance away and some shouting.
“They're here Lee! We need to run,” and she took off running.“Wait up Peach I hate being alone.” he mocked her.
“Lee shut up.”
“I chose to not shut up and I’ll continue to do what I do.”
They continued to run and came up on a pond.
Nin didn’t have much but her very cozy home, her tent looked small on the outside, but was a house on the outside. She enjoyed watching the creatures come and go, to and from the pond. It seemed this was the only safe place in the world to her. Nin was an independent witch who had settled at the pond. “I really need to talk to the creatures even if they don’t understand me,” she got up from her chair and she left the tent.
She walked to the edge of the pond and smiled holding her hand out and dipping it into the water. It rippled a little and some fish swam up towards her fingers curious. Nin moved her fingers and the fish swam away. Yawning, as she was a night potions master, she got up and swiped her dress of any dirt.
Nin was a tiny bit short. Exactly five feet solid. Her bright red hair cut in a bob and ice blue eyes made her stand out. The tiny brown hat with patches all over was sitting crookedly on her head and she moved it to sit on the top. Her button nose was pink and so was her the rest of her face. She hated the fact that she blushed so much. Her pale skin was the best thing she liked about herself.
Nin noticed across the pond were a Doma and a Satyr. “That's a rare sight, I should…” She pulled her phone out from the ruffles of her puffy and distressed dress. Turning it on she looked at the screen-saver which was of her and her twin sister. Her twin didn’t look anything like her. For instance she had brown hair. She missed being in the chaos of home. She went to the camera and took a quick picture before heading back to her tent with a yawn. “It’s still too early for me,” she mumbled, “I wonder what I can make now.”
She pulled her bags of ingredients into her tent and went to her room. Looking for ingredients to make a sleeping potion. “Being a young potion master is hard work. Heck being a witch is hard.” she yelped as she felt the tent being shaked. “Um I’m busy. Sorry come again. But don’t forget half price potions until Saturday!” Nin yawned and curled up on her bed falling asleep.
Lee shook the tent, wondering if someone was inside. A voice inside replied to the shake about half price potions. “I don’t want a potion, who are you?” The two had found a tent on the other side of the pond, and went to check it out. Crossing his arms he thought of something to do. “Eating it? Could I eat it? Could I eat the tent Pea?”
“Lee, no eating the girl’s tent!”
“Fine but you're no fair, Peach..” he sighed and walked around the tent.
Peach looked up, “I hear voices. The men are here, Lee! We need to hide.” She shook a little, Lee nodding took off, vaulted up into a tree sitting and waiting.
“I’ll be here if you need help.”
“Okay!” she ran to a nearby cave and crouched in it. Her human illusion dropping. Men ran past to the tent looking confused as to what to do.
Magnolia was the youngest on the search team. He was hoping to get a raise in the ranks when he finds that Doma girl and human boy. “We gotta check this out. Who knows how dumb those two are? They’re dumb just by running.” He yelled at the men. They agreed in a small roar. Magnolia shook the tent violently, earning a yelp and shouting from inside.
“Hey, you. Do you gotta be so rude about that? That's twice now this has happened.”
“Show yourself! We have a death warrant for a human boy and a doma girl. We must know if you're one of them.” A red haired girl appeared at the entrance of the tent and stared blankly at them mumbling words.
“Can’t you let a potion master sleep? Gesh. No, I haven't seen any human boys or Doma females. Now leave me to sleep.” she went back in. “I’m sleeping now.” and some snores and whistles of snores were present.
“We’ll be back later for this wicked witch, who seems to not be in a cooperating mood with us, at the moment. Let’s go now men,” he was about to head off when one of his fellow officers ran to him and said.
“Sir, there's a cave nearby. Should we check it?”
“No, those two the boy and the Doma, aren't that smart. Who runs from death?” There was a booming roar that echoed around the small clearing and a Centaur ran into view. Looking around she roared and grunted and sat down. “We're leaving now.” He walked off and was gone.
Peach saw a Centaur and waved at it as it grumbled about getting into fights. It saw her and sat down. “Hello, little one, why are you in there?” She said.
“I’m hiding from the men over there.” she pointed and let out a sigh of relief. The men were leaving and disappeared. “Lee we’re okay now.” Lee appeared as she walked out of the cave in her Doma form again.
“What is your name little ones? I’m Blaze of the Clydesdale Centaurs.”“I’m Peach of the forest Domas.” she smiled and held her hand out. Blaze took it in a strong grip and shook it, noticing Lee's confused face she asked.
“Who’s your friend? Does he not even know basic Centaur? He looks confused.” The female said.
“He doesn’t. If you know how to speak English he would appreciate it.” The Centaur grumbled and talked again.
“Hello, little one, I’m Blaze and you?” She had a strong underlying British accent.
Lee jumped down at the safe call from Peach. He noticed that she was talking to a Centaur. He took a good look at the Centaur. She had on a white shirt with the words, ‘More Dance, Less Talk.’ printed across it in pale fading yellow letters. A lime cardigan on top of the shirt. Strong arms and legs, expected from a Clydesdale though. She had black and white fur and markings on her tail. Her hair was white and skin a beautiful cream color. Her eyes were a fiery red. The woman spoke and it sounded strongly of British.
“Hello, little one, I’m Blaze and you?”
“I am Lee and I’m a Satyr if you didn’t know.” he hopped a little on his mountain goat feet.
She sighed and asked. “So why are you two running from the humans?”
“We saw them doing illegal things to Centaurs near his home.” Peach pointed to Lee. He hummed as the two talked not knowing what to say. Lee wandered off and started to pick berries and mushrooms that were normally poisonous to humans and other hybrids, but not Satyrs. He wondered what to do while the others talked. He found some moss and picked it. Walking to the pond he dipped it in and drank the water, he was thirsty after all.
Peach called to him and he wandered over to her. “Yes Pea?”
“Pea? What the?”
“Yes, I like it, I find it fits you.”
“Anyways Blaze said she doesn’t really reside anywhere and that she doesn’t mind joining us as we run.” She smiled
“You good to go then?” he looked at Blaze and smiled. She scoffed at him and dismissed him.
“Wait!” A voice called out to the three. “Can I join you guys?”
“Oh, you're the girl from the tent? Is that your home?” Lee said.
“You don't have to join us you know. If you live here I mean.” Peach said.
“The tent can fold up. I love adventures so may I join you guys?” She yawned in the process of saying those words.
“You look like you're about to fall; here, get on my back and ride with us.” Blaze said, holding her arms out and lifting Nin without hearing an answer from her. Falling asleep quickly, Nin's backpack hangs loosely on her back.
“We ready now?” Peach asked and tilted her head.
“I am now.” Blaze said.
“I’ve been ready, this place gives me the creeps. I just don’t like the vibes this pond is giving me especially since we did get hunted down by men here.”
“Lets go now.” The group started off and went on their way. Peach taking lead trotting ahead, then trotting around the group as they walked.
“You have so much pent up energy. Do you not little Peach?”
Peach smiled and sighed, “Yes it is hard for me to stay still for enough time.”
“Well I’ll be leading you to a town in the forest that has protections surrounding it. It normally scares off humans so we may be safe. You’ll meet Princess, Tad, and maybe Mac. Mac is my sorta human friend. You see he’s a vampire and a cheeky one at that. It’s you go in and then he kicks you out shortly after. I usually pay in blood but not normally he forgets to have me pay. Mac runs a general store in the town. Tad and Princess are our local clothing people. Princess is a male nymph and Tad is a frog person so don’t be alarmed when we get there and you see a human sized frog, okay?”
“What are you two talking about?” Lee was walking on impossible ledges on a small cliff by the path.
“Lee what are you doing?”
“He’s a mountain goat. that's just how they do things. Climbing impossible objects and being up high is their thing. Okay little Peach?”
“Oh, that makes sense. Lee is this why you like to climb trees and be up high?”
“Yes, it is Pea, it’s just part of my nature to climb up and be like this.”
“So why do you guys hate men again?” Nin said fully awake now. She thanked Blaze and got off her back. “Night is falling so I’m up, the energy keeps me going better than the day does.”
“They chased us from our home and are trying to kill us.” Peach and Lee said at the same time.
“Oh.” She said alarmed they did that.
“Pft.” He started to laugh tiredly as they continued forward.
“You kids need rest. Get on my back with your human illusions on and I’ll carry you.” Lee nodded and did so getting on Blaze’s back. Peach nodded as well and did what Blaze said, she was exhausted and ready to sleep without worry for once. The two kids fell asleep very quickly as they have had a long day. “What are you passionate about Nin?”
“My potions of course! They're my life and soul. What about you?”
“No woman needs a man. We're independent people. I hate that the little Peach is on the run with that boy. I left my man after he cheated on me. That has happened a lot to me so I don’t really trust men.” She snorted and shook her head. “Do you have anyone you're interested in Nin?”
“No, not really. I don’t really do relationships. Same as you, I get cheated on and I always stay loyal all the time.”
“Understood not many can keep a stable relationship anymore.”
“Yeah I hate it happens, no one stays loyal anymore it seems.”
“I guess that we must just carry on and hope we find someone worth our time.” The two talked and carried on for twenty or so minutes, in which Blaze and Nin got to know each other better. Like how Nin was twenty two and Blaze was twenty one. Blaze hated thunderstorms as they can cause fires, and Nin loved the rain as it helped her concentrate. They were friends by the time they arrived at the village. “Well we're here kids.” she shook them a little and picked them up, ‘accidentally’ dropping Lee causing him to yelp and wake up.
“What was that for?” He complained and rubbed his head. Blaze took the lead ignoring his complaints and more walked, more like trotted to a house and walked in,
“Princess I’m back with guests,” she said. Looking back at the kids and Nin walked farther into the shop. The silent conversation stopped the second she entered. There was a Funga and a Nymph. The frog waved Blaze over and licked its eye. The Nymph was about three feet tall. “Princess meet my guests, kids and Nin meet Princess.” She pointed to the nymph who waved with a smile. He gave off hostile vibes until he smiled and it charmed the rest. “Princess stop using your magic on them.” Blaze scolded. Princess smiled at Blaze and nodded the effect wearing off.
“That was so cool, I felt so many things towards Princess and I don’t even know him yet!” Lee exclaimed. Blaze chuckled and nodded.
“Princess is good at controlling others' emotions. As you felt just now.”
“Can he do another?”
“I don’t know, but that’s not what we came here for Lee. Princess and Tad can you take these two to get fresh clothing and some for the road?” Princess nodded eagerly and took Lee to a back room.
“Come along darling.” Tad and Peach disappeared.
Lee got dragged and he meant literally dragged to a back room by Blaze’s friend Princess, the male Nymph. “Alone I can talk to you. When in group, I am silenced.” He said rubbing his head. The Nymph had a pair of silky dragonfly wings, his small and short figure, brown hair and pale skin. Pointy ears and antennae on his head, his eyes were shiny and yellow.
“I like your style. What is it?”
“My style is fairy core. Cousin is a fairy. I have hand-me-downs.” Lee didn’t like the way Princess talked, short and choppy sentences. “Do you have any tank tops, sweatpants or hoodies?”
“Yes, we do… Here you are,” he handed Lee what he had asked for and Lee changed. “I will take good care of these.” Lee nodded and smiled walking out with another pair of clothing and with a warm change of clothing on. He yawned and when he got back he passed out asleep on the ground.Peach got to go back with a Funga named Tad, ‘Fitting..’ she thought. She had known of this species to exist but never thought that she would get to see one. “So darling, what are you planning to wear?” she asked Peach. Tad had started to look at sun hat’s for Domas.
“You guys have everything for every species?”
“No, they appear to us before a customer comes in. It’s very interesting to see what comes.” Tad held out a pair of overalls and a sun hat for Peach to take. “Thank you. This black shirt is making me uncomfortable,” she yawned while she said that. She took the clothing and changed. “Much better,” she mumbled. Peach sank to the floor, then got up leaving the back room. Sinking next to Lee she fell asleep, her Doma form showing again.
“Can I leave them with you two? I’m going to visit Mac and you know how he is with kids or teens. They are fifteen after all.”
“Yes you can darling.”
“Nin want to come with me?”
“Sure I want to see this Mac person.”
“Okay let's go then” Being careful not to knock anything over Blaze turned and left the store, Nin close behind her. She trotted along down a path to a general store called ‘Mac Nacks’. “He thinks he’s funny with that name.”Blaze shook her head and walked in. It was much roomier than the clothing shop and, Nin felt a little better. Her claustrophobia had kicked on in the clothing shop. Walking to the front desk Blaze rang the bell and waited. “Mac, it’s Blaze. I’m here for supplies.”
“Well, hello again dear. What did you do this time?” A young, maybe in his late teens kinda male, walked out from a back room. His skin sparkled in the light and his hair was neat and clean.
“I’m here because I'm helping some kids and they need some supplies,” she said haughty.
“Oh dear, that’s very nice of you to do. Give me just a moment.” And he disappeared into the back room again.
“He seems nice. And nothing vampire like, to me. Are you sure he’s one?”
“I’m very positive. I was there when he was bit. We were friends. A human and a Centaur, then out of nowhere a vampire came and changed him for life. He then vanished for a long time and next thing you know he’s running a store here in The Den.”
“That’s sad and amazing at the same time. I’m just used to my home in the tent, and Niaomi. She was my friend. I hope she understands why I left.” Nin said with a sad sigh.
“Was your friend a human?”
“No she was a-”
“Here you are darlings. Four backpacks full of a year's worth of supplies.” Mac said appearing again.
“A year's worth? Are you sure?” Blaze looked suspiciously at Mac who held his hands up.
“These are the bags I told you about. The bags that can hold anything and everything and have no end. Shoo and leave,” he pushed the two out of the store.
“Gesh, watch the hood!” Nin said, holding her hood of the hoodie. She had gotten a change of clothes from some other workers and she felt warmer than she had in awhile. They tried to get her to trash her hat but she refused, it was her mom's hat, and her mother’s mom, and her grandma's mom, the hat went back many generations.
“Let's get back, the day has almost arrived and I know you're getting weak and tired.” Nin nodded and the two hurried along to the clothing shop. “Princess, we’re back with supplies.”
“What did you two do?” Lee was awake and staring at Nin and Blaze.
“We got supplies, here’s your bag.” She shoved a bag into his arms and he looked startled. Having her bag already on Blaze smiled. Peach walked out and rubbed her eyes.
“What did I miss?” Handing her bag to Peach, Nin put her bag on her back and nodded.
“We all ready?… Let’s go.” she said tiredly and climbed onto Blaze’s back falling asleep. Lee shook his head and Peach giggled a little, yawning as she was still half asleep.
“So where should we go now or can we stay here longer?”
“That man? He probably has a map of the forest and is probably mapping our route.” Blaze said watching what she did while leaving the store.
“Oh, he’s weird and creepy. I hope we can escape him and be safe.” Peach said. “Will I ever be able to go home or is that a lost cause?”
“Sorry little Peach but going home won't be a good idea. They probably have men in the area you first were to see if the little Doma wants to go home. They most likely have many search parties out for you now.”
“Really. God, human men are insufferable.” Lee said with a shake of his head and rubbed behind his ear. “Why us. We didn’t do anything to harm them. We could keep quiet and so on..” Suddenly in their path was a black and white cat just laying, enjoying the rising sun filtering through the trees. Nin was awake and smiled.
“It's Niaomi! She gives me energy and we’re the best of friends. I dunno where her friend is. I named him Space. Niaomi seemed to be a house cat because she had bits of collar in her teeth and on her fur when I first found her. That and she can-”
“I can talk. Come to find out I’m a special kind of cat. I figured that out quickly after being adopted for the first time. I’m a cat and I’m Nin’s so is Ran- I mean Space. His name is Ranger but I like Space so I call him that.”
Lee, Peach , and Blaze stood in amazement at the sight of a talking cat. “Is this for real? Witches cats are real!” Peach looked stunned as Lee said that with excitement.
“I didn’t know you knew so much about mythical creatures, just maybe Doma’s and Centaurs.”
“I know lots more than you probably do. My dad travels through the forest to towns and villages and learns lots from where he goes. He’s part Satyr as well. Mom’s the human in my family.”
“That explains a lot of why he always sniffs the air.”
“Searching for danger and trying to protect his.” The two said at the same time. They laughed and nodded at each other.
“So you two go way back then?’
“Yes, Niaomi, were friends. Known since birth.” Lee said with a smile. Nin got off Blaze and went to pick up Niaomi.
The group had been walking for a couple of hours talking about what they did before this and played a little as they went on.
“Hey. Blaze, do you ever use an human illusion?” Peach tilted her head as Nin asked the question.
“I did once when meeting Mac’s parents. They thought he hung out with a human and not a Centaur.”
“Can we see it?” Nin’s eyes widened at the thought of a human Blaze.
“I don’t see the problem with me doing that now. Sure you can.” Blaze focused and her body started to form. She wobbled a little and shook her arms and feet. She still had on a white t-shirt. She had on jean shorts and was barefoot. Her skin was even more of a light cream with brown patches blotting her skin and her hair was a dark brown. Her eyes were a hazel. “They found me weird because of my skin. But I liked it. I’m going to go change, I got a few pairs of pants back in the town.” She walked off from the group and changed. She appeared a few feet ahead of the group with a pair of jeans and a plaid shirt. She waved and walked to the group who were all human besides Nin and Niaomi. The cat was on Nins shoulder and was purring and Nin pet her head.
“You look nice Blaze!” Peach said with a smile.
“Thank you little one.”
“Of course Blaze!”
“Little one you don’t need to shout I can hear you fine.”
“There they are! After them!”
Magnolia had been fast on their trail with hound dogs to help search for where these four fugitives had gone. A Centaur, and witch, a human, and a Doma. “Boys, there they are! After them!” He charged forward to the human he would be the easiest to catch. Charging, the boy ran faster than he could. “Come here and stop running!”
“Never! I will live my life to the fullest!” The boy turned into a Satyr and disappeared. “They have a Satyr! Release the hounds!”
Lee was running for his life away from the rest of the group. ‘I hope they're okay.. And are safe from whatever hounds they mean.’ There was barking and dogs charged behind him. Sprinting with all his might he saw he was at a dead end. He knew what he needed to do. Searching for a place to start he heard shouting. “Over this way the dogs are running over here!” He jumped up on an impossible ledge and continued up just out of reach of the dogs as they caught up. Barking, snapping their jaws and pawing at the cliff to see if they could dig him down.
“You have to climb to get to me.” He teased the dogs and smiled with a laugh climbing up more. He was almost at the top when he felt a poke in his back. Eyes widening he suddenly started to feel tired. Slipping down the side he tried with all his might to get up but he failed and ended up just sliding down more. The tiredness gripping his body more.
“We got one! He was trying to climb away.”
“You will never catch me… never…….” he said falling asleep.
Peach was running hard pushing her body. Jumping away from the dogs at her heals she jumped over a dead tree and snorted. She refused to be caught for Lee, Blaze, and Nin. She jumped into a little tree and went human, climbing it as much as she could. She went up high and took deep breaths sighing and looking down. The dogs ran by catching a deer's scent and going after it. She heard the footfall of men and climbed higher up the tree.
She let out a sigh and smiled. She hoped the others were okay so she took her chance and jumped down. Walking back in the direction she came from she settled in a cave and hoped the others would find her in the cave.
Blaze was fighting and grunting; she hated being captured and wasn’t about to be captured again. Freeing herself from the lead, she bolted farther into the forest. Farther in she went, she picked up the scent of Peach and bolted in that direction. Hounds after her she went into a cave and went in deep not knowing what she was about to get herself into.
As she went deeper, glowing red crystals in all shades were exploding from the walls and floors on all sides. A wail echoed from deeper inside the cave so Blaze went to see what it was. As she ventured deeper into the cave the light from the crystals faded little by little until there was a soft, faint glow from them. She couldn’t see well and she wished Peach was with her. She had a familiar feeling of an arm on hers and she whispered. “Who are you?”
“Blaze, it’s me Peach.” The female whispered back.
“You found this cave as well then, little one.” heading forward more there was the soft playing of a flute and Peach gasped and walked forward.
“This isn’t any normal cave, this is the cats' den. I’ve only heard rumors about it. The sounds of flutes coming from caves and people disappearing.”
“We’re in a deadly place, is what you're saying?”
“Well, we should leave then.”
“It’s not safe to leave, they'll hunt us down.”
“Well, what do you suggest we do then?”
“We should go and see what that wailing was.”
“I’m coming with you guys.”
The two jumped at the sound of another voice and they both shushed Nin, not wanting to die so soon into their lives. The three went forward expecting Lee to appear and suggest eating the crystals but he never did. As they went in farther they felt like they were being watched.
‘Welcome to the cats’ den.’ a sign on the wall said. There was another wail closer this time. “Maybe this place just has a bad reputation.” Nin whispered and took the lead. She had drank a potion to increase her vision. She could see about as good as Peach could. Smiling she recognized something in the dark and Blaze was confused.
“No way the cats’ den is a place for Nyan’s!” Peach seemed stunned.
“There’s Pin, and Fish, and Tie; and Sky. So many of my consumers come from the cat’s den! Thats cool!” Nin whisper shouted. There were whispers from the Nyan’s and one wailed looking back at the three.
“Hey, there. What are creatures like you doing in our cave?” A male walked up to them. His hair was white and eyes were a bright yellow. He might be a Persian.
“Yeah, what are you doing here?” A female that resembled the look of the Cheshire Cat walked next to the Persian.
“We don’t mean any harm, we’re just here to hide as humans are chasing us because we witnessed the exportation of Centaur children.” Peach said. “My friend and I, he’s a Satyr by the way, have you seen him?”
“We haven't seen any Satyrs in a long while.” Cheshire said, walking behind the Pursian she appeared behind the group. “We haven’t seen anyone for a long time. You're our first this month.”
Peach shuddered and said, “Please can anyone help us. Humans captured my friend and who knows what they're going to do with him.”
“I will then, I’ve been aching for an adventure. I’m Sunny by the way.” She said, appearing back by the Pursian. “He’s Snow.”