Twig knew there was something odd going on in the forest that day... The animals were fussing even more than usual. Every creature he passed that allowed him to see was making a horrendous noise. So, Twig laid down, covered his ears, and promptly went to sleep.

When his stomach awoke him several hours later, things had quieted down. Twig smiled, then hummed to himself as he went off in search of food.

He was just about to pluck a juicy fruit from a tree, when something sharp flew over his left shoulder, severing the fruit from the vine. The fruit dropped down into the bushes, and Twig growled, then he plucked the small sharp object from the tree trunk in front of him, looking at the mini knife with interest.

"Can I have that back?" A bossy female voice came from behind him. Twig shimmied down the tree trunk, turning the knife over in his hands and keeping his back turned.

"Depends, can I have my lunch back?" He asked, hoping he sounded equally as snobby.

Something connected with the back of his head, and he dropped the knife.

"OW!" He cried, watching as a small hand snatched the knife from where he dropped it.

"That's for being rude to a lady" The voice replied snootily.

"I don't see a lady..." Twig replied grouchily as he turned around.

His eyes fixed on a curtain of bright orange hair standing opposite him. He jumped back, remembering the last time he met up with a girl with red hair.

The girl facing him now flipped her head to the side, and her hair parted. Twig's jaw dropped.

The girl was his height, perhaps a bit shorter, with a slender face and large green eyes staring up at him.

"Er..." He said intelligently.

"Mara" She said, holding out a slender hand for him to shake.

"Twig" He replied, shaking it. He had never seen a girl that was like him before... She was so delicate, unlike the troll women.

"Right, so I haven't been here long. As i'm sure you noticed" Mara continued, planting her hands on her slender hips. Twig found himself looking her up and down, then mentally slapped himself. It was probably rude to stare at a lady, as she put it.

Unsure of what else to say, Twig went around the tree and rooted through the bushes looking for his piece of fruit.

"How about I get another one down for you?" Mara asked, following him around the base of the tree. Twig just looked at her. Mara rolled her eyes then pulled a knife out of the leather tool belt around her waist. With little effort, she flicked the blade into the tree, waiting.

A second later, a fruit plummeted out of the sky, narrowly missing Twig's head. Mara snapped her fingers, and the metal knife came soaring back to land in her outstretched palm.

"Bend metal" She said as Twig gawped at the knife. "Once you bond with it, it'll come when you call and never cut you" Twig swore in awe.

"Got that right" Mara said, putting the knife away and picking up the fruit by her foot. She pulled out a bigger knife from her toolbelt and sliced the fruit in one smooth effort. She handed half to Twig, then stowed her knife.

Twig ate greedily, taking the opportunity to stare at his companion a little more. Her clothes were of a style he'd never seen before, a short dress that ended at the top of her shoulders and just above her knees and Brown boots covered in what Twig could only think of as leg warmers. Everything was in different shades of green, accenting her hair and eyes.

"So, Twig..." Mara said as she finished her half of the fruit. "How did you come to be here?"

"Long story" Twig said in between his last bites. "You?"

"Long story, but I know where there's a flying ship full of treasure" She replied.

Twig decided that it was time for him to leave this female.

"Wait!" She called after him, tripping over roots as she ran to catch up. "Twig!"

Finally, she grabbed his arm and swung him around.

"Don't leave me here... please" She pleaded, her eyes losing the haughty look they had held before.

"If you let me stay with you, i'll lead you to the ship..." Twig thought about it.

"It has more gold than you could ever imagine" Mara wheedled.

"Fine" Twig said. "But then you have to leave my half of the forest"

"Deal!" Mara replied happily, tackling him into a hug. Twig pushed her off.

"No hugging" He said grumpily.

"Fine" Mara replied saucily, setting off through the undergrowth. Twig groaned and followed.

As hard as he tried, Twig could not bring his eyes up from the sway of Mara's hips as she led him through the forest.