Last time, on Sarcantasy
Nova reaches into the bushes and grabs the grey creature -- the Epon. It doesn't even struggle, it just hangs in her grip as she lifts it up.
"Would you mind biting my head off first?" it asks in a dull, unhappy monotone. "Or at least don't start in on the belly."
"I'm not going to eat you!" Nova protests, startled. "I'm a herbivore!"
"Oh," the Epon says. It seems lost in thought for a moment. "There's plenty of greens, but I understand. You want to drive me out of your feeding grounds, so you're giving me to the scary predators. Would you mind stomping on my head first, so I don't feel it when--"
going to eat you!" Droz protests. "There's enough bugs and slugs around that we don't need to resort to eating sapients. It's not like we're starving."
"You speak for yourself," Number Twelve grumbles. "I really wanna eat something with bones I can gnaw clean. The carapaces keep getting stuck in my throat."
"So stop gulping them down and chew properly!" Nova snaps.
"I don't have a jawww!
" Number Twelve whines. "Stop telling me to chew properly when I can't
! You're so mean
"Look," Droz says, as he rubs his temples, "we're getting off track here. Who are you uh, mister?"
"Yeah," the grey creature sighs, "I'm a mister. Not so's you'd notice. People call me Gus. They used to call me Gloomy Gus. Now it's just Gus."
"There are more talking pit-ponies out here?" Nova asks as she settles Gloomy Gus under her arm.
"Not that I know of," Gus says. "Haven't been any by to see me. Been out here on my own for… I forget. Anyway. I'm alone. Always alone."
"I'm Droz," Droz says. "Nova's the lady holding you. The bony guy is Number Twelve--"
Number Twelve!" Number Twelve snaps.
"--the big, scaly guy is... well, he's the Halokai," Droz says. "And this is, uh... Do you even have
"I'm a Beachbunny!" the Beachbunny says, proudly.
"... Right," Droz replies, and he coughs, embarrassed. "So. Introductions made."
"Hello," Gloomy Gus says.
"Yeah, hello. So, Gus -- you mind if I call you Gus? Or should it be Gloomy?" Droz asks.
"Don't matter," Gloomy Gus sighs, mournfully.
"... Right," Droz says. "So, Gus. What are you doing out here?"
"Eating greens," Gloomy Gus replies. "Or eating bark in winter. Sleeping in the bushes. Hiding from predators. Same old, same old. It all comes to an end sooner or later. In the end, I'm just fattening myself up for some predator's meal. So it goes. No home. No family. No meaning."
"... You are one depressing
pit-pony," Number Twelve finally complains, breaking the awkward silence.
"Sorry," Gloomy Gus apologizes.
"So you've been out in this forest for a while?" Droz asks.
"Yup," Gloomy Gus replies. "Been out here for years. Decided to take a walk. Nobody came looking for me. Might as well stay."
"No other pit-ponies to miss you?" Nova asks.
"Don't know they ever noticed I was alive," Gloomy Gus replies, shrugging. "Can't blame 'em. Anyway, they're all a long, long way away. No point thinking about 'em. Couldn't reach 'em if I tried, probably."
"You know about a town out here?" Droz asks.
"I know about a town!" the Beachbunny chirps, happily. "Let's go!"
"Yeah," Gloomy Gus sighs. "I know about the town. Folks who live there call it Vlad Tor
. Most other folks in the forest just call it the town. Been there a few times. Nice place. Didn't fit in. Did some work pulling the plough, earned some coin, bought some food, left again. Might go there again, if I get hungry for bread."
"So, can you tell us anything about the lay of the land between here and there?" Droz asks.
"Been a bit busy, lately," Gloomy Gus says. "All kinds of creatures should be getting ready for winter. Instead, they're all rushing around. Figure I'll probably get caught and eaten this year, so I decided to fatten up. Might as well be useful for a change."
"I was gonna say we should kill this guy for the xp, but now he's gone and made it weird!" Number Twelve complains.
"Sorry," Gloomy Gus says.
"Look, we could use some uh, additional guidance to get to the town," Droz says, without looking at the Beachbunny. "We can pay you a shiny gold coin for the job. How's that sound?"
"Gold's shiny. Valuable, too. Wouldn't know what to do with gold," Gloomy Gus sighs. "Better to just buy me a loaf when we get there. If we get there. Forest's pretty dangerous this year. More likely, we'll get killed between here and there. Might as well try to get there, though."
"Yeah!" the Beachbunny says, then giggles. "I'ma brush his mane and make him pretty!"
The Halokai starts to make low, urgent sounds.
"Don't know about pretty," Gloomy Gus says. "But if it makes you happy, you can try."
"Dude, could you knock it off with the depressing?" Number Twelve whines. "You're getting me down!"
The Halokai vocalizes again, louder.
"Aw, come on," Nova says, as she holds the grey Epon a little closer. "He's cute; like the old pit-pony doll I had when I was little."
"Thanks for the kind word," Gloomy Gus responds.
The Halokai vocalizes again
, and its fur is standing on end.
"What is your problem
, you stupid meat-eater?" Number Twelve snarls.
"Probably the thing in the bushes, watching," Gloomy Gus says. "Smells bad. Smells like a Pheme
. Figured it'd get me. That's why I was fattening up when you caught me."
= = = = = = = = = = = =WHAT WILL YOU DO?!
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VOTE CLOSED. Please proceed to: www.deviantart.com/grendelkin/…