Feather Fall

Chapter 5

Twee, Aryll, Kaun, Wormeatter

Summery: Because counting was one of the requisite rules ever after.

It took a while to compile the facts.

The first hint that something was wrong was the shadow chu chu was hiding. Actually, it merely thought it was hiding. The beast was pooled in the center of a well lit hall, not a good way to hide considering the creature was black as night. Actually it was shard of living night, so perhaps black as night was a redundant descriptor.

Ah well.

The beast's gold eyes were scrunched up, it shivered as he paced by, "two"ing to itself, quivering all the while. Leaving the muck alone, Kaun picked up the pace, claws clicking on the stone as he walked a little faster.

One turn and a stairwell down and he was in a different room. There he found Wormeatter stuffed head first in a pot. Cloven feet kicking. Well, one was kicking. It wasn't a frantic "the air's getting stale" sort of thrashing, but a "I'm bored" sort of motion.

He considered the bound beast, considered asking, then considered the source. Decision reached he went back to looking; knowing the main perpetrator of this incident would be about somewhere.

The last leg of his search actually required effort. A snout to floor, sniff snuff, kind of search that made him glad he was a Wolfos. No pig could search this way, not with any success, and it spared him a number of misadventures amongst the lobster cages if nothing else. Bypassing pots and barrels where he might have searched –most were full of oil, others empty, she'd hidden there a time or two before- he threaded amongst carelessly tossed coils of rope.

Stuck in a forgotten corner, her hiding spot was a touch rank with mold. Nose dead, she hardly had noticed. Nose not dead he took a deep breathe of relatively fresh air before he got to pulling at flaps of rotting sail. Amusing, really, to find her hiding amongst ruins from piracy days centuries ago. An Islander on a pirate ship, well bits of a pirate ship… Funny. Checking a smile, they always alarmed her when she wasn't expecting them, all those sharp teeth or so she'd told him once, he simple allowed his tail to wag and wondered how to wake her. She slept rather deeply for a little she amongst monsters.

A claw poke later and she opened her black eyes wide and yawned in his face. Her head fur was a dirty blonde (truly dirty since she was covered in filth, he foresaw another bath for the she on the horizon) and rather mussed. His claws clicked as he found, and fought the strange impulse to rake his claws through her mane and tidy it up.

It was the clicking of his claws that woke her up the most, so he supposed.

"Mornin' Kaun!"

"Good afternoon." He corrected. "What are you doing this Din's life?"

"Day." She corrected muzzily.

He grunted, shrugged, and she simply smiled, eyes definitely glazed.

"What about we wait for you to wake up, then when your wits are back I'll ask again?" Kaun growled.

Aryll, the she in question, opened her mouth, closed it, then rolled over and snuggled torn canvas sails like they were blankets. Squirming about, snug and supposedly warm, she peeped up at him, a worm of sorts bound up in cloth like that.

"Sorta wake now." She murmured.

Considering her that was as good as it was going to get.

"Alright then." Wolfos' could not clear their throats, but he managed a passable hackish cough. "Why in Din's name is there a shadow chu chu "hiding" in the center of the floor, a mokoblin stuffed in a pot, and you out of your cage?"

"I got bored." Aryll informed him.

And while that answered the last question it left the other two unanswered. He glared and she shrugged at the familiar expression. Or rather the upper most span of her warmish bundling lumped just so.

"I dunno what Wormeatter's doin'."

Well that was reasonable enough. Perhaps he should have asked the mokoblin what was going on, on second thought it could remain a mystery.

A little mystery in his life hardly hurt after all.

"Twee's "it" though. He's counting."

"It?" Kaun rumbled.

"Yeah," rolling over, on her back now, she looked up at him, upside down, it wasn't doing much for her sleepiness. She yawned again. "Like in hide and go seek. Whoever's it seeks, and everyone else hides." She kicked the air aimlessly. "Fire Eyes was "it" first, but he just flew off." Her heels tapped a nonsense rhythm against the wooden floors. "Twee was supposed to count to three, then come looking for me, and Wormeatter-" which explained what the green pig was doing, hiding badly, "-but it's been a while now."

"Well, Twee is counting." Kaun assured her, heaving a sigh he rolled his crimson eyes. "He was stuck though, on two."

"Two." Aryll muttered, non Wolfos features twisting as she realized… something.

"Two." Kaun growled.

The she thought that over a little, then eyes wide, muttered a contrite. "Oops."

Oops indeed.

"Next time, she pup," Kaun rumbled. "Make sure the person who's "it" can count to three."

"Sorry..." She sighed, then brightened as another thought came to her. "How about you? You can count to three ri-"

"Absolutely not!" Kaun roared.

"So, you can't count to three?" Aryll asked, grinning all the while.

With a savage snarl that put her in her place, cringing and creeping back, Kaun told her without words the subject was closed.

And showing how smart a she she was, Aryll didn't bring it up again.