Chapter 1: A Strange Plant
Long time ago, there lived a race known as the Skypeople, or so we were called by our human inhabitants. Our land stretched on for a vast length, the trees seemed to be stretching on for miles. Inside our beautiful forest, there were also many ponds, lakes, along with a few rivers for us to drink from. There were more than enough roosts to accommodate us, and our smaller cousins who would come to visit. Our children were as beautiful as a ripe mango, their golden yellow fur shinning in the morning sunlight, providing a testament to our beauty.
Our Goddess the Lord of Fruit must have been truly pleased with us, for she blessed us with a bountiful harvest. There were so many different kinds of fruits, such as apricots, oranges, and melons to list a few. Those fruits were so delicious and sweet, that you couldn't stop yourself from coating your fur in those juices. There was more than enough food for everyone, and we were truly blessed. We even slept beneath the branches of that delicious fruit. One day, while I was out in the forest, the young girl that I was, had a prank played upon me by the Lord of Fruit. I was just about to reach for a golden fruit, when another one fell on me.
The fruit and I fell to the ground and landed with a big splat. Luckily for me the fruit cushioned the fall. However, it trapped me inside.
"Hahahahaha!" The Lord of Fruit laughed as she touched down gently.
"This is not funny! Who is laughing at me?" I said as I felt the juice run down my fur.
"No it is not child, in fact it is hilarious! Melonhead." giggled The Lord of Fruit. She was practically rolling on the floor with laughter. "The fruit suits you quite well, child."
"Melon head? Oh no, no, no, no, no, no." I squeaked in frustration as I realized who it was.
"Oh yes. It is I, the delightful trickster." The Lord of Fruit smiled. "The fruits suits you quite well, child."
I struggled hard to get out of my fruity prison, but I wasn't making any headway. I felt more of the juice begin to run down my sides, coating me in its stickiness. As a fruit bat I enjoy the taste of a golden fruit, but to be trapped inside one by the Lord of Fruit, that was humiliating.
"Help, help, help! Someone get this thing off me!" I cried out. "I don't want to be trapped inside of a fruit!"
"And spoil all the fun?" The Lord of Fruit laughed. "No."
"Please, if I don't get out of here, the other fruit bats will laugh at me." I sobbed.
"Laughter is a good medicine." The Lord of Fruit smiled mischievously. "I got to go, see you."
As she said these words I began to panic, thinking that I would be stuck like this forever. Tears began to flow across my face. I was a golden foxwing with a golden fruit over my body, and I would be made fun of for the rest of my life.
"Please don't leave me! I don't want to die inside a golden fruit!" I cried out.
"I was only teasing you, Chekiw." The Lord of Fruit replied.
"That is not funny!" I yelled and then my mind turned. "Wait, how do you know my name?"
"I am a Bat God, silly. I create all the food that you can possibly eat." The Lord of Fruit smiled.
Suddenly, I began to hear the happy sound of chewing. Bits of the golden fruit began to fall inside. The Lord of Fruit's teeth are said to be so sharp, that she can eat through even the toughest fruit. I became quite excited and beamed with happiness. I knew that I would soon be free. The Lord of Fruit smiled, knowing that she could pull off one more trick. She stopped eating as soon as the hole was big enough. I stuck my head through the hole and breathed a sigh of relief smiling. "Thank you."
"No problem, little Chekiw. I am glad I was able to help." The Lord of Fruit replied.
I tried to pull myself further through the golden fruit, but found that it was no use. "Help, I am stuck."
The Lord of Fruit smiled, knowing this was the result she wanted. "Are you sure?"
"Yes I am sure! Now get me out of this thing!" I replied with a hiss.
"Temper, temper! That is no way to act towards your God, let alone another bat." The Lord of Fruit chided me.
"Well, how would you like to be stuck in a fruit?" I said, no longer amused at her antics.
"If you want to act that way, then find a way out yourself!" The Lord of Fruit huffed and then turned her back on me.
"Hey, that's not fair! You are the one who got me into this mess!" I yelled at her.
The Lord of Fruit looked away, saying nothing. As newborns, we were taught that you never insult your God, otherwise bad things would happen.
I knew that I needed to remedy the situation. I heard that a famine could be caused by her powers, which would indeed harm all of us. So what could I do to please her? I thought. Some of the fruit from the sacred trees? A birth of a new child in our world? A rest within the colony's trees?
"I am sorry for the way I acted, and I'd like to apologize for it." I trembled in her presence. "Please don't harm the other bats for my mistake."
"It is alright, child. I don't plan on harming anyone... At least not now." The Lord of Fruit replied. "Come child, there is work to be done."
I felt relieved to know that no harm would follow us. "I would like to, but I can't move."
"That can be easily fixed." The Lord of Fruit smiled and set out to work on the fruit.
She turned me over and began to nibble on the bottom, where my feet would be. It was a very strange sensation, to say the least. In just about a few minutes, I was ready to follow her. I had to go on foot, because I was only a week old at the time.
"Thank you, your fruitiness." I smiled as I walked after her. I didn't even care that I still had the fruit around me.
"You're welcome, now follow me." The Lord of Fruit smiled back as she leaped into the air.
I was in awe as I watched her spread her beautiful wings. I wished that someday I could soar in the air, traveling at her side as we soar through the treetops. We traveled cautiously down a narrow path through the forest. It was a known fact that some creatures would eat us if we were not careful.
"Um, Lord of Fruit, why are we heading this way?" I asked curiously.
"So I can show you something truly beautiful, that you have never seen." The Lord of Fruit laughed.
I looked from side to side, and began to see different trees and flowers. The scent was truly heavenly, and it seeped into my nose. I stopped and began to sniff around, taking in the different smells.
"Chekiw, don't stray too far. I don't want you to get lost." The Lord of Fruit looked a little bit worried about my safety.
"Don't worry, I will stay with you. And besides, if anything happens, you will protect me." I smiled and gave her a kiss.
The Lord of Fruit was struck by my gesture and began to blush before sighing, "Your mother and father would be very upset at me if something happened to you."
I nodded knowingly. My parents were concerned with my safety ever since I was born. But really, out in a forest like this with the trickster, what was the worst that could happen?
I began to follow my nose as a new scent took a hold of me. I couldn't escape it, and I started to travel in the opposite direction of where the Lord of Fruit was heading. The path then forked into five different directions. To me it was like a game. I decided to choose the path to the far left, because it had the most interesting smell. Meanwhile, the Lord of Fruit continued across the straight path for about 15 minutes, when she noticed the quietness of the path she was traveling.
"Chekiw? Chekiw? Chekiw?" The Lord of Fruit spoke, now noticing that the little girl bat had disappeared. "Now where did that little bat girl go?"
I continued on my path until my feet began to hurt. I then spotted a nearby stone, and decided to sit down so I could recover my strength. As I sat down, I began to notice several different plants that I have never seen before.
"Wow, this is so different." I said, my curiosity had peaked quite high. I had discovered something that no bat had ever seen before. "What do you think of this, Lord of Fruit?"
The only sound I heard in this section of the forest was my own voice. It was deathly quiet, except for a few buzzing insects.
"Lord of Fruit? Oh no, I don't see her. Where is she?" I began to panic.
A strange scent began to fill the air. It was quite pleasant and tantalizing. I couldn't let go of it, and I could almost feel it pulling me.
Suddenly, as if in a trance, my whole body began to move. The more I sniffed the faster I was propelled forward. It smelled like a delicious orange, and I felt my stomach rumble as if in response. I bent down and looked at my stomach, liking my lips. I guess I forgot to eat before I journeyed with the Lord of Fruit. Then, right before my eyes, there was some sort of strange fruit on the ground. I poked it with one wing claw, and it felt kind of soft. I decided that it may be tasty and my stomach would complain more if I didn't eat it. "Mmmmh, yummy yum."
Somewhere close, the noise of rustling bushes echoed through the trees. The fur on my back stood up on end, and I began to tremble with fear.
The Lord of Fruit continued her search for the fruit bat girl. "Chekiw, Chekiw, Chekiw. Where are you?" However, no answer was returned from the female bat. She scratched her head, thinking intently. Now let's see, she was with me when we spotted those trees, the Lord of Fruit thought. She began to pace around nervously in fear for the bat's safety. Oh I hope that child has not been eaten by a predator, her parents would be angry at me for failing, she thought. She began to cry, and the tears streamed through her eyes. There were many trees both left and right, and it was big task. Nonetheless, she was determined to see it through.
"I may as well start searching, even if I only find her dead body." She sobbed. She knew that whatever the outcome, the little fruit bat's parents would need to know.
The noise of the rustling continued, as if something was walking through. I used my eyes to look for a nice hiding place, to keep me safe from danger. It took me a little bit of time, but I found a huge tree. Some of its limbs were over 20 wing beats high. Good thing for me that I made the climb in time, for soon the creature began to emerge from the bushes. I decided that I would silently climb up a few more limbs, just so I would feel safe. All my worry evaporated as it turned out to be just a small rabbit searching for some edible leaves.
"Lucky for me, this creature eats grass." I told myself as I breathed a sigh of relief.
Sometime later the rabbit disappeared, having eaten what it wanted. Just before I began to climb down, I decided it was a good idea to check to see what else may come. Luckily for me, none did. I descended the tree rapidly, and soon I was hit by the same smell again. Where is that delicious smell coming from? I thought. It smelled a lot like apricots. Not too far off, there was a strange tree with spikes. What a strange tree? I thought. The strange tree felt the footsteps of the approaching bat with its roots and began to increase the intensity of the apricot smell. As I got closer, I soon became hypnotized by the tantalizing smell. It was so strong that I couldn't break out of it. Without warning, the strange plant wrapped it's tendrils around me, and hoisted me into the air. Fear flooded my mind as I was pulled towards it. Its jaws began to open.
The Lord of Fruit searched through tree after tree, desperate to find her. Please let her be in this one, she thought. She tried one, but it turned out to be empty. Again she tried, but still the same result. No Chekiw was found there. It was one of the most devastating blows to her pride. Oh child where have you gone? She knew how small and innocent the little one was, and now she was gone. The Lord of Fruit rarely experience sorrow. But for this one, the one she tricked, she felt quite guilty. "I should have not teased her so." After a while, she began to think about all the places that she could have gone.
"The last time I remember seeing her was that forked path. Maybe if I go back, I might find her." She spoke. She spread her wings and began to flap back the way she came.
I shrieked in utter terror at the sight of those spiky jaws. "Help, help, anyone please! I don't want to be eaten by a plant!" The plant was pulling me in and I could feel it's breath on me. My head began to enter its jaws. It was going to eat me. Then, even more vines began to curl around my body, as if to prevent me from escaping. I had never been in such a scary situation in my life. I tried to free myself, but the vines were too strong. As I stared helplessly, I noticed that my body was still contained within the fruit. I decided that my best bet for escaping involved freeing my wings and body from the fruity prison. My teeth raked at the fruit, but I didn't take time to enjoy the flavor. My teeth only made small little dents in the fruit, and by the time I would be done, it would be too late. My only hope now rested in the large fruit God who tricked me. "Help me Lord of Fruit! Please help!"
After returning to the spot where she and Chekiw had been, the Lord of Fruit heard a dreadful cry. "That voice, it's got to be Chekiw, and she sounds like she is in serious trouble." The Lord of Fruit yelled, beating her wings quickly. "I am coming, hold on!" The Lord of Fruit began to pick up the pace upon hearing the cry for help, and she beat her wings with all her might. She began to track the sound with her ears to locate Chekiw. Sensing that the sound was stronger to the left, she started to veer towards that direction. Her eyes soon began to notice several different trees, bushes, and grass. In this part of the forest, it would be easy to miss her. "Help me please!" The voice shouted again.
The Lord of Fruit tilted her ears, eliminating a lot of the forest's sounds. She then began to scan the remaining section where the voice was the strongest. It seemed to be emanating from a tree up ahead. After traveling closer she was clearly startled at the horrible sight. Resting inside the jaws of a plant was Chekiw's body, half of it already eaten.
"I am going to get you out of this plant Chekiw!" She shouted. She was clearly mad as she entered the fray, facing the plant head on.
"Lord of Fruit, is that you? Is it really you?" I cried out of the plant, my voice reverberating down the plant's throat.
"Yes, it is me, but I am kind of a little busy at the moment." The Lord of Fruit hastily replied, barely avoiding the strange plant's vines as they lashed out at her.
My ears began to pick up the sound of a scuffle. I could hear the slap of the vines swishing through air and the flap of wings. I prayed that somehow the Lord of Fruit might win the fight, so that I would be free. I began to beam with hope, even though I was sliding deeper into the plant's mouth. Suddenly, small pieces of vine began to drop to the ground, landing with a thud. They were slashed off by the Lord of Fruit's sharp teeth. The plant wasn't making it an easy task for the Lord of Fruit to save Chekiw.
Vines whistled from side to side, making it seem like the Lord of Fruit was dancing in the air. Twelve out of the eighteen vines were readily slashing at the Lord of Fruit while the other six held Chekiw in place. Once the plant brought the bat down far enough, it would slowly digest it. It would use the energy the bat had to grow even taller, enabling it to become even more deadly. Even though she was only biting small chunks of the vine, the Lord of Fruit was making headway. As the vines continued to get shorter, the Lord of Fruit began to face the plant head on, moving out of the way before it had a chance to strike.
It was quite an intense battle. The two forces were trying their hardest to break the other. The Lord of Fruit knew that Chekiw's life hung in the balance. She was not much of a fighter, usually looking for a peaceful solution rather than fighting. As a result, her skills in combat were quite rusty. The speed of the vines was surprising, and The Lord of Fruit received a few scratches on her face and cheek. However, she did deal a lot of damage to the plant nonetheless. As she whittled the plant's vines down to nothing, the plant was forced to use some of the holding vines to attack her. The attack from these vines came so suddenly, that the Lord of Fruit was caught off guard. The vines latched onto her wings, and the plant pulled her out of the air towards the ground below.
I suddenly felt a strange sensation, and I noticed that there was less tension on my wings. Below me, my eyes saw a large chamber open up. It was quite large. I began to panic. My heart beating very fast and I tried to free myself again, not wanting to end up in that chamber. My attempts to free myself again ended in failure. I did not even budge an inch, the vines were too tight.
"Help, help, help me!" I squealed in fear. Suddenly, I heard the sound of vines wrapping around wings, and I knew with dread that the only bat that could save me had been captured. I hung limp in defeat and closed my eyes, not wanting to see what happened next. I could feel drops of liquid landing on my fur, coating it.
The Lord of Fruit struggled to free herself but couldn't. She set her teeth to the task of chewing through the vines, and began to chop a small piece off of each vine, one by one. After a while the plant's hold on her finally fell away. She was now free. Beating her wings, she took into the air again. She soon spotted the newborn bat, and saw that she had traveled down even further. Her face began to pale. All that she could see now was the bat's tail. No, no, no, no, she is too young. She thought, realizing at how close the little bat was to being swallowed alive. She then realized that the only way to save the child was to kill the head of the plant.
Swooping in from above, the Lord of Fruit began to slash and bite at the neck of the plant, cutting a few straps at a time. Luckily for the trapped bat, the fruit wedged itself into the sides of the plant's throat, and it prevented her from descending any further. Soon the plant began to lose its energy, and no longer able to support the remaining vines, it began to thrash about in an attempt to crush the Lord of Fruit. However, it failed to extend far enough to flatten her. After a while the plant was finally broken and dead, the vines that once enclosed Chekiw were now hanging loosely around her.
Noticing that the battle was now over, the Lord of Fruit landed inside the plant's mouth. She began to bite the remaining vines holding Chekiw. Lifting her safely from the plant with her claws, she took to the air. Once they were safely outside the plant, she set the bat on the ground gently and landed next to her.
"Chekiw, Chekiw, Chekiw are you okay child?" she asked worriedly, for fear that the bat might already be dead.
"Cack, cack, cack, cack. Yes I am, gah icky plant." I began to cough. Tears came to my eyes. "It was horrible, is that evil plant gone?"
"It's okay little one, it's okay." the Lord of Fruit spoke, trying to comfort me. She gave me a hug. "The plant is dead now. You are safe child."
"I am sorry, it was all my fault." I replied sadly. "If I had followed you, I wouldn't have wound up in this mess, but the smell was so strong that I couldn't fight it."
The light of the sun was beginning to fade. "Come child it is time to go home." The Lord of Fruit said softly.
"Yeah, it has been a long day." I replied. I punched my thumb claws through the fruit and latched myself to the underside of the bat God. Spreading her massive wings, the two bats were lifted into the air, heading for Chekiw's home.