|Animalos (story) chapter|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
A few months later
I walked around the Black Kestrel Forest, wandering about. “This place is so beautiful. Can’t believe it exists.” I smiled to myself.
Flowers flourished in all corners –white, blue, red, orange, purple and pink – all the colours of flowers known. Various shades of green flourished throughout the Forest. A small creek ran through a large copse, where it eventually ran into a large lake. The scents were overwhelming, and I couldn’t tell what was what scent.
“I could stay here all day.” I nodded, looking up at the bright blue sky.
I heard rustling of a creature I couldn’t see. “What’s this?” a snarling voice stated, eventually jumping up onto a stump. It was a Caracal, known by its four-digit code, CARA. The tawny-brown cat stared at me with a greenish-golden gaze. It swilled its long, black ears, which end in black tufts. The short tail wagged apprehensively.
“A Caracal, huh?” I looked at the small cat’s gaze, not even breaking it. “Oh, wow. I’ve heard they’re rare! I’m going to try and catch you!” I smirked. “Go Kessie, use an Aerial Ace!” I commanded as I let her come out of her aniball.
She immediately materialised. White stripes of energy formed around her as she flew. Her sleek body instantly making contact with the Caracal. She flew up, avoiding the Caracal’s Close Combat.
“The Caracal is a fighting-type! Kessie has an advantage here,” I thought.
However, something unexpected happened: the Caracal easily leapt into the air, using a Take Down. “Damn!” I cursed as both crashed into the ground. “All right Kessie, use a Fire Spin!” I commanded.
Kessie spat out streaming orange and yellow flames, trapping the Caracal in a circle of flames. The cat easily moved out of the way, but managed to get some damage to its pelt. The cat screeched and jumped up at Kessie, using a Double Kick.
I looked at my Anidex, a nice little system that lets me check the HP of Animals. I noticed that the Caracal didn’t have much HP left. I grabbed an Aniball from my belt, tossing it at the tawny-brown cat. The cat dematerialised, sucking into the Aniball. The Aniball wobbled a little, and eventually clicked.
I grinned, picking it up. I stared at the Aniball for a few seconds, deciding to let the cat out. I looked at Anidex. It was telling me that it was actually a she. “Hmm…” I thought aloud. “I think I’ll call you Stealth!” I decided.
Stealth walked up, letting me rub her head softly. She rubbed against my arms and legs. Her fur was soft as sand. I grabbed my backpack, unzipping it. I grabbed two potions. Kessie flew down, perching on my shoulder. I sprayed a potion on each Animal. Their health immediately went back to 100%.
“Phew. Glad that’s over with.” I smiled, sighing in relief.
After walking for a while, I noticed a sign. It seemed odd that there would be a sign in the middle of the forest. “A sign, huh?” I looked at my two friends. Kessie easily glided towards it, her wings sleek and graceful, landing on it, while Stealth ran quickly towards it, her body lithe and strong. They made it to the sign before I could even start to run. Their speed amazed me.
“Greifvögel Town? I guess we’re almost there.” I noticed the Town was just over the hill. “Wow! I already see it.” The Animals were one-step ahead of me, already racing towards Greifvögel. I immediately started to run, quickly catching up to them.
“I guess the Town of Raptors is calling us, right guys?” I asked while we stopped to take a break. We had made it to the edge of town. “C’mon, let’s find us an Animal Centre before darkness breaks.”
“Yes,” Kessie and Stealth agreed. I could understand them perfectly.
Smells of food wafted towards my nose. “Are you hungry, guys?” I asked. Kessie shrieked and Stealth nodded her head. “Okay. Let’s go then.” We immediately walked towards where the food was located.
I noticed many people and animals crowded about, clustering around some food vendors. All kinds of food was being served, including synthetic meat.
“Do my carnivores want some synthetic chicken?” I asked, smiling. They both nodded. Kessie landed on my shoulder, allowing me to feed her a bite. Stealth sat quietly beside my legs, not even moving as I gave her a piece. She did not even bite me as my hand was close to her maw.
Before I took another bite, a teen boy appeared before me. He was looking and walking around, eventually noticing me.
He was tall, possibly 5’7”, no taller than I was. He had black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a maroon shirt and dark blue jeans. Around his neck was a necklace, which was made out of silver and had a ruby imbedded in it. He was lithe and muscular, not on the heavy side. He seemed timid, not holding my gaze.
“Who are you?” I asked.
He held his breath and finally spoke softly. “Ryder,” he simply stated. “My name is Ryder, and I’m an Animal Researcher. This is my first time to Greifvögel.”
I noticed the Cockatiel-shaped gym badge clipped onto his maroon shirt. “Oh, cool!” I said nonchalantly, focusing on his badge. “I’m Phoebe Zimmerman. I’m a Trainer, although I don’t like gyms that much.” I shrugged. “They sound scary.”
“Hello Phoebe,” he stated quietly but with more confidence. “I suppose gyms are scary places.” He nodded.
“Hmm.” I nodded. “Already have the badge for this gym anyway. Kessie and I got it a month ago. I kept it at home, though,” I thought to myself. I picked up a synthetic chicken leg. “You know, this is synthetic, right?”
“Well, that’s good to know.” He smiled. “I wouldn’t want to eat a real Animal,” he said while grabbed a leg too.
“Me neither,” I agreed with him. I ate about five before feeling full.
Ryder seemed to be in a reverie, as he wasn’t talking to me. He ate some more chicken quietly. I knelt down and gave Stealth another leg, her tail wagging slightly. I gave Kessie smaller bites.
“…Did you just come from a gym?” I asked, breaking the silence.
“Yes, I did,” he responded after swallowing. “I just beat the gym leader not too long ago.” He nodded while I stared at where the badge was pinned. “I must say, that was a tough battle. My Animals really put up quite the fight,” he said while grabbing a can of Dr Pepper. He cracked it open, drinking it. “Speaking of fights, I need to go to the Animal Centre soon; they have to be exhausted from that ordeal. Still, they did a great job.” He smiled.
Kessie cocked her head while Stealth purred slightly. “I bet they did.” I nodded. “It took my five tries before I could get that dammed badge!” I hissed to myself. “I ought to kick that Michael’s arse again someday!” I looked at Ryder. “Wow, really?” I responded. “I’d like to battle him again,” I muttered, shrugging. “Not sure what to do. Maybe I’ll skip that.” I picked up a can of pina colada. I looked down the street at the Centre. “Speaking of Centre, maybe I should go there soon.”
“All right, let’s go together then.”
“Okay, let’s go!” I nodded and we began walking to the Centre. I was starting to feel a bit dazed from the colada. “So, you’re a researcher, huh?”
“Mm-hmm.” He nodded.
“Researching sounds fun.” I drank the last bit of colada, tossing it into a nearby trashcan. I had scored. I yawned, feeling tired from the alcoholic beverage.
“Let’s head to the Centre now and heal our animals up. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.”
“I’m going to spend the night in a hotel; you’re welcome to join me.”
“Wow, thanks!” he said with a smile. “I’ll take you up on that offer.” He was looking at everything in Greifvögel, enjoying the sights.
“Sure thing.” I nodded as we walked into the Centre.
“As for researching, it’s a bunch of fun but it’s also hard. It has its rewards, however. I’m just a beginner, so I’m still learning. It’s quite the experience,” he mused.
The sliding glass doors opened and we walked in. A blast of air conditioning and air fresheners hit my face, screwing my eyes. “Eww.”
I returned my Animals so they could rest. “Return, Kessie and Stealth.” They dematerialised into their Aniballs.
A nurse immediately greeted us. “Hello. How may I help you?” she said happily, a typical statement from a nurse.
“We’d like to get our Animals healed,” I stated as we both set the Aniballs on the table. The nurse took them and set them into a machine, instantly healing them.
“Thank you!” we stated in unison.
“No problem, come back again sometime!”
I nodded and turned my attention to Ryder. “I guess I’ll see you later, huh?” I asked, waving.
He gave me smile and waved. “All right, I’ll see you later then.”
After getting a room booked, I immediately lied down and fell asleep, only to be woken up by a phone ringing.
“Damn you!” I cursed at the phone, waking up with a slight hangover. I rubbed my head.
“Hello?” I said groggily. I noticed it was Ryder’s voice.
“Hi, Phoebe. I’m downstairs.”
“Right… I’m coming now.” I hung up the phone.
I changed clothes lazily, as the hangover was bothering me. I grabbed the card key and closed the door quietly. I went down the one flight of stairs. Ryder was looking at National Geographic. He noticed me and he put the magazine down.
He had a weird look on his face. I wasn’t thinking too clearly, as my shirt was on backwards and my left shoe was untied. “C-crap…” I blushed hard. “You caught me at a bad time!” I sat down and tied my shoe. He had a reassuring look on his face, and I could read what he was thinking: it’s okay. I fixed my shirt. He grinned slightly. “I hate you right now, you perv. Why the hell are you grinning right now?” I thought to myself. “I really don’t like being woken up, you know.”
He seemed to be thinking to himself, as he said nothing.
“Well, I was thinking about dinner.” My stomach rumbled. “Come on, would you like to join me?” I asked.
“Yes, I’ll join you,” he replied. He looked hungry, too.
“All right, let’s go.” I nodded and got up from my chair. I started to walk, and I led him to a local café. “They have all kinds of yummy things here. It's an all you can eat buffet.”
We walked through the entrance, and were greeted by a cashier. Her black and white attire was stark against the colourful walls. Her braided her hung all the way to her hips. Her bright blue eyes looked at us.
“Welcome to the Greifvögel Café! What would you like?”
I grabbed my wallet. “Two buffets,” I replied.
“That’ll be $10.43,” she stated with a smile.
I grabbed my credit card out of my wallet and slid it across the machine. The cashier nodded and handed me the receipt. “Thank you!” I smiled.
“Thank you, Phoebe, I appreciate it.”
“No problem,” I said while walking to the serving tables. Ryder had a weird look on his face, and I could tell what he was thinking: wow!
“Wow, it all looks so delicious,” he said while smiling.
I grabbed a plate and started stuffing it with food; some of it nearly fell off as I was walking to a table. I started to eat quickly, as I hadn’t eaten in a while. We were silent while we were eating.
“You know how you can tell this is synthetic…?” I broke the silence. “…There’s a bar code.” I opened up a synthetic chicken wing, only for realism to set in: there was no barcode. “N-no barcode! This is real meat from an animal!” I fought the urge to vomit. He noticed the urgent look on my face.
“Wait… that’s not right, is it?” he asked, alarmed.
I gulped loudly. “Ryder… come closer.”
“There must be something going on. We better check with the cooks or the meal distributors.” He got up.
I swiftly got up before he could react, and grabbed his shirt. “No… no use going back there.” I pulled him in, whispering. “There happens to be an evil team called Grubbers running around, they sell real meat to unsuspecting people. People generally don’t look for the barcode. There is not much point on telling anyone, they won’t believe you. Grubber grunts can look like normal, everyday trainers. Ryder, we should seriously leave before anyone suspects us.” I let go and looked around, people were already eyeing us suspiciously.
“Okay Phoebe, let’s just do that,” he replied while I let go. He was looking around carefully. I could tell what he was thinking: this is horrible.
I grabbed my stuff and began walking quickly, Ryder quickly caught up.
“We better be careful, Phoebe,” he whispered to me.
“Oh yeah, we should,” I stated, sighing. “Let me get my things from the hotel and let’s get the hell out of here. Run. Just get out of here. I’ll meet you at the ferry to Blue Whale Island.” I stared into his eyes. I winked at him before running off.
“Okay, sure thing, I’ll meet you there,” he said while I started to run off. “See you there!” he called out. I turned around to see his how red his cheeks were.
I grabbed my stuff and immediately ran to the dock. Since it was dark, barely anyone was active after dark. They took no notice to me running. I was completely exhausted from running. I stopped to catch my breath. I almost threw up, not only from exhaustion but also from eating real meat. However, I needed some self-control. I regained my composure and started to run again. There was the ferry in the distance.
“I hate boats…” I sighed, gulping back the sick feeling rising in my throat.