Raoul is a stubborn nimal. He hated being told what to do, so when his father told him to drop the issue regarding the bears, who were stealing and terrifying villages, he stubbornly hid some supplies. There was no way he would've given anything to a bunch of thieves!
He practices his fencing outside of the village. His father, Raymond, would disapprove. It wasn't like this before. Louise, Raoul's mother, taught him and his sister, Amie, fencing. It was customary for carnivores to learn how to fight.
Cats are not considered royalty or nobles, but they can own land and carry blades. Raoul did not understand why his parents would live in a village near the woods. The forest is full of monsters and demons. Criminals, who wear the mark of their crimes, are cast down to the land of dirt. The Sun and Moon had nothing better to do to throw away their unwanted children to the ground below. It makes Raoul's whiskers twitch.
How dare they make it difficult for us? Raoul grinds his teeth. Don't they care what is happening to us?
No! Of course, they don't!
He thrust his wooden sword into the scarecrow. The hay and fabric made the perfect dummy. Raoul kept stabbing it until it fell off its stick. It dropped with a plop and rolled along the tall yellow grass. He smiled. Finally, he would be able to protect his village soon.
He turned around. Amie was behind him, frowning at the sight of the scarecrow. Her white calico fur shone in the dim sunlight as she carried her small wooden sword by her side. He forgot that she wanted to spar. Raoul stared at the heap of hay that lay scattered on the floor.
"I… got carried away. Sorry."
"Are you thinking about mom again?"
He squinted his eyes. Their mother tried to defeat the large mammals with the help of a small group, but the bears' strength overcame them. They all came back with broken bones and scars that would never heal. Their mother was the only casualty. She was a warrior to the very end. Some day he'll be able to be like her and take revenge.
If Amie knew what he was about to do, she would talk him out of it or, at worst, join him. There was no way he was going to let anyone change his mind. Best to keep it a secret until his skills have sharpened.
"No," he shook his head, placing his sack on the stick and tied a rope around it.
It was full of some meat that he hunted early that day. Raoul took it before his father noticed. He tightened the sack's opening with rope. Hopefully, it won't spill.
"This should fix it," Raoul smiled at his work, "hit it with your best shot!"
She prepared her stances and lunged at it, making tiny holes in the sack. The pungent smell would draw any predator. A cat was no different. Raoul quickly took off his green cloak and wrapped it around the bag. He didn't think she was strong enough to do that.
"Are you hiding food? If dad finds out, he's going to get mad."
"No one is going to find out. It's fine. We need this, Amie," He looked into her blue eyes, "Winter is coming, and we barely have any for us. Promise me you won't tell anyone."
"Okay.." She responded after a long thought.
"Let's head home," Raoul carried the sack, "it's getting dark."
The village was small and adorable stone houses with hay roofing. Tiny rabbits, mice, and cats are playing around like human children. Their cute clothing reminded her of stuffed animals. Olivia wanted to pet them all. To feel their soft fluffy coats brushing against her fingers. She wanted to touch that cream rabbit, too but restrained herself. Soon.
Sirius clenched onto her tightly. She flinched from the pain. Seeing this, he loosened his grip and shied away from her. The white wisp blinked in a smooth rhythm, making his scarlet cloak pink.
"S-sorry," he whimpered, staring at his filthy boots.
He kept a close distance from her, surveying their surroundings. He didn't linger staring at things for long, quickly looking away before someone saw his face. Sirius pulled his hood further down to cover his mask. It only makes the villagers look at them more.
What strange creatures they are. Olivia couldn't stop staring at them either. She smiled and waved at them, but they did not seem to like that. Their ears twitch, their tails wagging, and they stare at them with wide eyes while they huddle around each other, closing windows and doors. Olivia was disappointed to see such behavior.
They went inside a building labeled inn. They must have some information about this "Raymond" or "Raoul." Olivia took a deep breath and opened the wooden door with shaking hands. The smell of fresh bread rushed at her like a swarm of bees. Olivia's stomach rumbled. She hadn't eaten since last night or at least a few hours ago. Olivia was not sure how time works here.
A white mouse wearing a yellow dress stood behind a desk. The mouse looked at the two with big brown eyes. Its mouth quivered as Olivia moved closer to her.
"Hello," Olivia smiled nervously, "do you know anyone named "Raymond" or "Raoul"? I was told that they can help us."
The mouse nodded but quickly shook her head. Sirius kept his distance further away, standing by the door. He glances around the crowd gathering around them. Their animal ears were alerted by the slightest of sounds.
"I'm not going to hurt you. We traveled from a distant land and got lost in the forest. Please help us?"
"The forest?!" a brown rabbit yelled in horror, "where the demons dwelled?!"
The crowd talked among themselves, gasping and shivering at the thought that a demon could enter their humble village. Sirius pulled his hood further down, hiding deeper in the corner near the door.
"That's preposterous!" an old grey mouse argued, "everyone knows that demons cannot leave the forest. Besides, she doesn't have a mask."
"A... mask?" Olivia touched her face.
She looked at Sirius, the boy with no name, hiding in the corner with his scarlet hood concealing his mask. Olivia frowned. He certainly doesn't look or act evil, especially right now. He glowed like the summer sun and gave her advice, even if it was just one. A demon would never do that, right?
She shook her head and lied," we're humans. We were lured in here by a black rabbit. It took something from me, and I followed it, and he followed me. We certainly are not demons."
"You certainly don't look like a demon," the grey mouse nodded, "You're human, you say? My, I haven't seen a human since I was a young pup."
The mouse looked at her from head to toe with curiosity. There are other humans? It never crossed Olivia's mind that humans are rare in this world. Then again, Sirius mentioned that he had never seen a human before either.
You're not the first human to enter the portal, and you won't be the last.
"Are humans rare?" Olivia asked, her eyes wide with attention.
The other animals huddled around to listen as well. Such nosy animals they are!
"Humans only appear in times of disaster. Heroes who are summoned by the sun or moon to balance our world. You being here means something is off balance."
Whispers echoed in the crowd. Olivia shook her head, trying to absorb what this old mouse just said. Her? A hero of a mythical land? The thought excites her. This is a perfect way to prove that she can be responsible. However, no one will believe her if she tells them about this place. They would think that she is more childish.
However, something else concerns her.
"How do I get home?"
"That… I do not know," the mouse frowned.
"Would this 'Raymond' or 'Raoul' help me?"
The mouse was interrupted by a loud noise. Sirius sunk even deeper in the corner, hoping to avoid eye contact. Everyone had their eyes on a black cat standing in the doorway as a black cat walked by him without looking. Another cat with white fluffy calico fur followed behind.
The black cat looked at Olivia with its emerald green eyes," Who gave you those names?"
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