This time I wake up with a splitting headache. Apparently drinking a barrel and a cask of alcohol with zero tolerance was a bad idea. I am alive, but I wish I was dead.
Immediately I turn on my metabolism, making my organism process all the poisonous stuff in my blood. Hopefully most of the alcohol will be neutralized soon. For now I need to get a drink.
I raise my head, trying to look around. I am in a dark cave, minimum light coming from somewhere beyond my vision. The cave walls don’t let me see the exit. Around me are four little furry things, the size of a football. They seem to be moving around, and once I stand up, they turn into four small creatures. They look very cute, but they don’t seem to be capable of caring for themselves. Looking around I see a half-eaten corpse of something resembling those creatures. I hope that I didn’t do that. Looking at myself, I find myself covered in green blood, different from the red blood around the corpse. Well, I can guess that I might have not killed the little ones’ parent.
Picking up the four small furry things with my huge hands, I make my way outside. There I see a massacre. A big something, which I can only describe as chimera, with many different animal parts mashed together, is ripped in half with chunks of meat laying around. The green blood covering me seems to belong to the chimera. It is hard to make up what it is exactly made up of, but I notice a horse head, some lion feet, a snake for a tail, but also there are some parts I don’t recognize.
I settle down the four small creatures next to the dead chimera. They move their faces around and smell it, then they come closer and dig in. I get to have a good look at those little fur balls. The lack of light in the cave made it difficult to distinguish their features before.
They look like cats, with six feet and smooth dark brown fur. The fur remind me of moles, it is short and shiny. At least I think that’s what mole fur looks like. They also have long tails, as long as their bodies, which look like they belong to a rat. The fur balls seem to have sharp teeth, which makes it easy for them to rip away some meat and eat it. Honestly I haven’t seen a creature like that before.
After looking at the cat-moles, I look at myself. I am in my beast form, the one that is made up of all beasts. I have both reptilian and mammalian features, which make me look weird. I am covered in green scales, with short brown in-between them. My underbelly is also covered in yellow fur, with rough reptile-like skin underneath. My face seems to be weird as well, it feels like a mix between all the forms, it’s hard to describe properly. There are some very sharp fangs in my mouth, and my horns make me look like a goat. Yes, ram horns. I also am very big, like four meters big, with my hands and feet being huge.
Looking around I am somewhat confused about where I am. I seem to be in a jungle, with giant trees all around me. The titanic trees surround us and the cave, some of which were broken during the massacre of the chimera. I question whether I did any of the damage, but unless I ask somebody, there is no way to be sure.
Now, the jungle could be one of the two, either a forest to the west, where elves and dryads may be, but I never heard of the cat-rats there or about the chimeras. On the other hands, there is jungle to the east, but it is way too far from where I’ve been before. I mean, last time it took me little less than two months to get there. Granted, I now have an extra beast to use, but still the distance is too great. I would have had to be out of it for more than a month and travel in the straight line without stopping. Not that it would be impossible for sober me, but not for drunk me.
This makes zero sense. I doubt drinking as much as I did would knock me out for more than a month. Yes, I did set my tolerance for alcohol to zero, making me as susceptible as a newborn, but a month is a long time. This situation is very weird.
Thinking about my course of action, I decide that the best thing to do is to move west. If I am in the Great Forest, I would soon reach western cliffs or beaches, where it would be obvious where I am and I would be able to decide what to do then, when I am in little danger. But if I am in the eastern jungle, I would be getting closer to going home. Win-win.
As I am thinking about what to do, one of the four fur balls comes close to me and snuggles up to my leg. I pick him up and look at him. What I discover, is that his under belly is bald, covered with very short fur and it is somewhat yellow in color, instead of brown as the rest of the fur. I then look at each one and see that each one has a distinct color of their bellies as well as their eyes. I decide to name them accordingly. There is Lemon, Rose, Smurf and Green. I thought of naming the last one Salad or Brocolli, but decided against it. Green seems like a swell name to me, it is also my favorite color.
Seeing how they are totally defenseless and alone, I can’t abandon them, so I take them with me. Putting them on my shoulders, I start to make my way west.
There are plenty of animals, which would be dangerous to regular people, with their razor sharp claws and their amazing mimicry abilities, but I am too much of a monster right now. Four beasts are no joke. Looking at the animals present here, they are all very scary and very deadly, but they don’t seem to be corrupted or malformed, as they could be in the Zone, which is supposed to be in eastern jungle. If they were, I would probably freak out, I don’t want to be anywhere near that place right now. I don’t want to be in the jungle either, but this is manageable.
After about two days running, mind you not sprinting or four-legged galloping, I come across a clearing, with some uprooted trees and a huge carcass the size of a truck. Up to the scene, a trail of trees with their tops and branches broken can be seen, as if something crash landed here through them. The remains here look like a mix between a giant wasp and an eagle. It is a feathered body, but it had four insect wings, as well as a massive stinger on one end. It is a bizarre creature. What is more bizarre, is how it died. Its throat is ripped apart, almost separating its head away from the body. By the looks of it, massive claws ripped into its flesh. If I think about it, the marks seem to as if it were my claws that ripped it apart. Huh.
Thinking about it, the creatures is supposed to be a Hurricane Buzzard, the fastest airborne predator. It is not the most dangerous, but it can easily outrun dragons and any other birds. And it is an adult at that. Crossing half a continent in a week should be plausible. And me, going out of it for a week seem very possible too.
Now, from what I can piece together, I got drunk, turned into my ultimate form and sped off somewhere, possibly east. At that point either the dragons tried chasing me and lifting me in the air to stop me, or I decided that leaping high in the air was a fun thing to do. I must have been snatched by the Buzzard and carried off towards its nest. If I was extremely drunk, I might have not noticed anything at all and just slept or enjoyed the ride, but when most of the alcohol has gone through the system, I could get my thoughts together and decide to land. Killing the buzzard and crash landing with it, I then took of somewhere. I traveled, with most animals not being too much problem, until I came across the chimera, which was having a nice meal consisting of the little ones’ parent. It came out to greet me, got ripped into pieces and I decided to crash in the cave for a bit. At which point I woke up and got sober enough to start thinking straight.
The theory seem very plausible, which made me believe that I was in the eastern jungle. Now I had an option to go towards Regios and his city, but seeing how it is Mercissa and her antics that made me react and run away, I doubt it is a good idea to see him… Ever.
Also, it is somewhat a cowardly thing to just run away from your responsibilities. I talk all high and mighty, saving the world and caring for my people, but when a girl falls in love with me and other girls want her to join in with us, I don’t find anything good to say and just run away. So pathetic of me…
Well, seeing how it is a bad idea to travel towards monsters, I should continue to go further west. With that, I and four of the little ones set off.
It takes us about a week of running, hunting and occasional sleeping to notice some changes in our surroundings. The air got cooler and trees began to become little more scarce. By the end of the day, we came out of the forest to find ourselves in front of massive grasslands. So I was in the eastern jungle. Now I got a few options. Do I go into human kingdom and face Eleanor with Leah and Lilith, or do I go to the Great Forest and face Elaya? After the banquet night, I don’t feel like talking with either of them, so I decide to travel towards the Great Forest, specifically towards the Elven territory in the south. It would take a little longer, but Aedim is there and she seems to be the most reasonable of all of us. I will have to hope that she will think first, before saying anything to me about Mercissa.
Before we set off, I use some vines, tree bark and wood to make a harness of sorts, so that I can carry the four little cubs with me while galloping. They should be comfortable enough to sleep in there while I will traverse the vast plains. I don’t need that much sleep now, so I can run straight through the nights. After we get ready, I secure the little ones and then take off, running at a great speed. Now I traveled faster when I did with Meriden, so it took me thirty four days to each the edge of the Great Forest. I tried to stay hidden while traveling, but there were still some sightings of me, although I doubt people realized just who I was. My usual form was that of a werewolf, not of a giant lizard.
When I reach the forest, I travel southwards, towards the elves. It takes another couple of days to reach the first Elven guard post. They noticed me coming, but they didn’t expect me in my current form. I had some arrows flying at me but I didn’t even blink. I just stood there with four cubs, looking at elves being all nervous and trying to defend their Mother Forest, I chuckled for a bit before addressing them.
They recognized the name Zern, and they even apologized for the rude behavior. Their Lady Cerebia has shared the news of the peace talks and of Master Zern disappearing, so elves knew of me. There also was a somewhat vague description of my current form, which they recognized once I told them who I was. They pointed me in the direction of the Star-Whisperer headquarters. Thanking them I ran off once again. It took me another week to get there, meeting regular convoys and guards. Once I reached my destination, I could only hope that Aedim would be more reasonable than the other girls.