The breeze was nice. Delias opened his eyes. He was on the ground, laying on a dirt road in the middle of a forest. The canopy was sparse, letting the sun rays through.
Delias got up. His body felt strained, but he began to move with more ease as he stood. Dirt fell from him. He brushed himself off, cleared out his hair, and looked around, searching for signs of anything he recognized. Just where the hell am I?
Delias was not sure what had happened. This was the third time he woke up to find himself in a situation beyond his control. He sighed. At least that Malkivo guy isn’t here. And just like that, Delias was startled. His eyes shifted to his two normal looking legs, he felt the lack of pain, and his throat clenched.
“Haha Ha. HA!! I can walk!” Delias jumped. “I can jump!” He roared. Then he ran back and forth, testing his legs. He looked at his left hand. My hand! I have two hands!
Tears ran down Delias’s cheeks. He crouched low, thanking God. At this moment, all that pain, that torment, it all seemed worth it. Then Delias remembered how they made him whole again. He remembered the insects-like things that went on him. He pulled open the slacks he wore, and looked down. He sighed with relief. I still have one… Hmph! Not as big as before, but better than not having one.
Delias stretched his arms out, wide. Except for the breeze, and the rustling of the leaves, the forest was quiet. It was nice. But that nice was fleeting. “I should leave. Don’t want to run into those two again.” Delias glanced up and down the dirt road. He was not sure if he was in the same country, especially given the strange abilities the two he met have; he would not put it passed them to take him to some far away place. But he did not know much about other countries. So he decided to assume he was still back in Polun.
With that assumption, Delias chose east. In Polun, the eastern side was bordered by the Olkin Ocean. If he could find the ocean, then finding Northcroke City would be easy. Polun was a small country. Crossing it within a few months was not impossible. So, based on the sun, Delias went down the dirt road.
The entire time Delias was on the road, he thought about what happened. He examined his body. It was definitely different from before. He seemed a tad shorter. His skin was a bit pale, and his hair was long. But he was whole, so looking different was not bad. Delias wore a common tunic and linen slacks. He figured these were put on him when he was unconscious. Even though the clothes were a bit shabby, they kept him covered, and most importantly, they were free. Delias did not complain.
Hiking down for what seemed to be an hour, Delias began to jog. He had so much energy, and he wanted to test his body, but as he began, he felt a weight bouncing within his tunic that he did not feel before in his excitement. Reaching in, he pulled out an envelope.
The envelope was white with golden engraving, and it was heavy. Delias gulped. Could it be? And just when Delias was about to open it, the ground shook.
He tumbled back. He tried to get up, but it shook again. With each shake, the vibration ran through him, rattling his chest, and causing him to lose his balance. Delias knew this was no quake. It was almost like…
Boom! Another large bang. Then the sound of a deep cracking and tearing sound echoed forth. Delias’s heart thumped. He knew what that sound was. It sounded like a falling tree. More like trees. And the sound was getting closer.
Delias ran down the road, the envelope gripped tight in his hands. His bare feet slapped against the earth, scraping and ramming into rocks and twigs, but Delias bore through the pain. That is until he stepped onto a particularly sharp rock.
“AH!” He screamed. He fell on his butt and held onto his foot. They couldn’t bother give me some sandals or something? It was bleeding as a thick splinter was stuck in it. I just got these feet. They are damn new. Why is the world against me! Taking a deep breath, Delias grabbed the splinter, and in one jerking motion, pulled it out. He clamped hard and fast on the wound, hoping it would clot and seal even just a bit.
The sound was getting closer. Delias did not have time. He was not sure what was heading his way in the forest, and he had no interest to find out. But just when he was busy hobbling himself along further down the road, the sky went dark.
Delias looked up. A long giant tree was falling down. Delias pushed off, jumping far to the side. The tree crashed into the ground, digging up a trench and slamming into the other trees on the other side of the road.
Delias was sprawled on the dirt floor. Just as he was getting up, he saw a little black thing run into the road from the direction the tree flew from.
He gaped at the thing. It was… a skunk!
Within seconds, a giant creature rammed forward. It stopped right in front of the skunk. It was ten meters tall, with a giant brown head. Its eyes were wide, irises the color of burgundy, and its mouth was in a natural frown. The face seemed human, but the rest of it wasn’t. With the body akin to the abdomen of an insect, and four long insect-like legs coming from it, it squealed. Its body looked disproportionate. Like a tick, only the head was the butt, and the butt was the head.
It hissed and hissed, its multiple jagged, silver teeth gleaming at the skunk. But the giant creature never came into the road.
“Ha ha! Bitch! That’s what happens when you mess with the King! The skunk twirled around, and stuck its fanny out. “Now kiss my black and white ass, bitch!”
The giant thing just screeched, and with apparent reluctance, turned around and left.
Delias just laid there dumbstruck. A talking skunk! He was startled, but only for a moment. Such things were not entirely strange. He heard the stories; it was just that such creatures like the giant and the skunk were not seen anywhere civilization. That thought daunted Delias. How long will it be before I meet another person?
The skunk seemed happy. Proud of itself even. It was standing on its two hind legs, with its arms on its hips. It turned around, and stopped, shock written on its skunk like face. It was looking at Delias.
Delias was not sure what just happened. He was glad that the giant left. His body was swamped in fear. He literally could not move the entire time it was there. Not that he would try to bring any attention to himself. He had wanted to get himself ready to hide behind a tree when it went to chomp up the skunk, but it being gone was way better than that plan.
Now what to do with the skunk? Delias was not afraid of a skunk. What could it do, exactly? Make him stink for a few days? But a talking skunk could be of help. Maybe it knows where I am? Delias had many questions. Like why did the giant just leave like that? And where was the closest town or city?.Thinking that, he got up, put the envelope back in his tunic, and went towards it. He did not go closer than a few meters to stay out of the skunk’s butt spraying range.
The shock on the skunk’s face quickly went away. It hissed and stomped its feet. A known thing for skunks to do before they sprayed.
“Wait!” Delias shouted. The skunk seemed startled. “I just want to talk… Mr. King.” Delias smiled. The skunk looked at Delias from the corner of his eye.
“You know of me?” It asked. It seemed wary. But of course it would be after what just chased it. “I have never seen you before. What an ugly thing you are. No stripes at all! Just like that other guy. He he he. But its wife did. Ah. She was lovely.”
Delias was dismayed. Just what kind of wife could that thing have? Ugh. Delias shivered. He came to understand that the skunk had probably never seen a human before. And calling the skunk, Mr. King, was just because he overheard his rant to the giant. He was just saying that to butter him up. He didn’t actually believe the little pest was named ‘King’.
The skunk mumbled on and on about its past dealings and misgivings. Delias coughed, bringing the skunk back to attention. “I’m trying to get out of the forest. Can you help?”
The skunk looked at Delias. Its eyes narrowed. It put its claw to its furry chin and tapped it. After a quick moment, it smiled. “Sure, my new stripe-less friend.”
It scurried over to Delias. Delias jumped back, but it didn’t matter. The skunk was so fast that before he knew it, the skunk was on his shoulder. “The dirt road is very long, and has many forks and turns. I can can show you the way out. But in return, you must carry me. Ha ha! Now Onwards!” It laughed.
Delias was wary of the skunk. He realized he had greatly underestimated it. Looking at those sharp claws, and knowing of it speed, it could have slit his throat in that instant. But for a creature who got away from a giant so easily, it had to be fast. Damn it! What is up with this forest.