‘’C’mon, just one hair’’
‘’Awwww is someone a scared little neera?’’
High in the treetops of the forest, three nekos sat on a branch, bickering amongst themselves. They were children, the largest one being no more then 14 years old. The middle one was 13, and the youngest being 11. They all belonged to the same tribe which lived in the area, and were out for a little ‘’fun’’ as the largest one liked to call it.
‘’I am NOT doing that Leshal’’ the smallest neko whispered, her voice close to squeaking at her young age. Her skin was dark brown just like the two other in the trio, common in their tribe to help blend into the trees they inhabited. She had a small piece of cloth wrapped around her chest and wore shorts that barely reached her knee. Her tribe favored wearing cloths to some extent, as long as it didn’t hamper their natural feline abilities .Long dark hair flowed down her shoulders, with a small pink ribbon, studded with ascalrin, tied in a bow on the top of her head. Her brown tail twitched irritably while her green eyes burned with defiance at the largest neko of the group.
‘’Whaaaaaaaaat? The daughter of Orin and Silca too scared to get a simple hair? ‘’ Leshal said grinning, revealing his sharp canines. The oldest of the trio and by far the strongest and fastest, Leshal was the so called ‘’leader’’ of the group. His short hair was jet black, which he named ‘’Ever night’’. Unlike the two younger nekos, Leshal only wore a loincloth to cover his privates, believing it was more ‘’manly’’.
‘’Ya Mishla, it’s just a hair’’ added the 3rd member of the group, Atun, his slightly long blond hair covering his left eye and ears twitching in anticipation. Like Mishla, he wore shorts but no other clothing beyond that.
‘’It IS not just a hair! And YOU!’’, Mishla said, pointing to Leshal, ‘’don’t bring my papa and mama into this!’’. They had been at this for sometime and she was starting to get frustrated with the older nekos.
‘’Whoa, easy cuz’’ Leshal replied, raising his hands palms outwards, ‘’ I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, coming from the neera lover’’
This statement caused Mishla to blush furiously, being called her infamous nickname, bestowed by Leshal, no less. ‘’I DO NOT LOVE NEERAS!’’ she replied with all the anger she could muster.
‘’Mishla! Quiet!!!! You don’t want to wake him!!!’’ Atun said nervously. Who Atun was referring to was the goliath dridder sleeping at the base of the large tree in which the three were positioned in. They had stumbled across him sleeping and so far, the dridder had made no movement to indicate he’d be waking up anytime soon. The dridder was sprawled out with his human half against the tree while his spider half was laying on the ground. His legs were positioned inwards and his arms were crossed, as if he went to sleep angry. Surprisingly, this dridder was wearing clothes plus a hat, and had a strange item on his back.
The small neko covered her mouth with both hands quickly and after a moment, lowered them. ‘’I am not a neera lover’’ she muttered, not bothering to look at Leshal.
‘’Right…..says the only neko in the whole tribe who hasn’t eaten one.’’
‘’ Momma says I just haven’t found the right one…..’’, she whispered in response.
‘’Uh, Leshal? Its getting late…’’, Atun said, pointing to the sun in the distance. ‘’We can’t be gone too long…’’
‘’I’m not leaving without that hair’’ the leader said, again grinning at the smallest of the group.
‘’Humph’’, replied Mishla, who crossed her arms and turned away from the group, pouting. ‘’I’m not getting it, never, ever, EVER. You might as well get it yourself!’’
‘’Alright. I guess I will’’
‘’Wait, wh-? Leshal!’’ too surprised to move, she could only watch as her older cousin scrambled down the tree, toward a predator know for eating their kind! He reached the ground within a minute and continued to run past the dridder’s human half, reaching his spider abdomen. Barely paying any heed to the danger he was in, Leshal moved directly next to the massive body, and plucked an arms length hair from the dridders abdomen.
Running like no there was no tomorrow, he scampered back up the tree and in moments had rejoined his two companions. Waving the hair in front of him like some sort of trophy, Leshal addressed the younger nekos.
‘’Well, I got mine. Whose next?’’
Both stared at him, dumbstruck, as if the whole thing was not a problem. Finally, Mishla spoke.
‘’You are the biggest dummy in all of Felarya! No wonder Daddy says you have rocks for brains!’’ She said flustered.
‘’Uncle Orin means im hard-headed. Good to have in a fight’’ he smirked, and tapped on his head with his knuckles as if to illustrate his point.
‘’Alright little bro, your up!’’ Leshal said, indicating towards Atun.
‘’M-Me? But Mishla was the one who was supposed to get in the first place!’’ the younger sibling stated.
‘’Well, the neera lover’’ He paused, enjoying the reaction the nickname caused before continuing, ‘’ is to scared, and besides were Lavals! Were warriors, we fear nothing! Don’t you want to make father proud?’’
‘’O-of course! But is this the best way?’’ his sibling asked nervously. Leshal made a blank face and again waved the hair, this time directly in front of Atun’s face.
‘’A-Alright I’ll do it!’’.Gathering all his courage, the young neko scampered down the tree, but taking nearly twice as long as his older brother. He was glad he was quite the distance away from the other two; he didn’t want them to see him shaking. He was scared out of his mind being close to a creature that ate their kind by the 100’s, well at least that’s what his father had told him for bedtime stories. He was barely past the human half when suddenly the legs of the dridder decided to unfold, spreading out along the ground and nearly crushing him in the process. He would have curled up in the feedle position then and there, had his fathers golden rule not popped up in his head. ‘’Keep moving, Keep living!’’. Again gathering the shattered remains of his courage, he moved to the closest leg, which was barely 15 feet away and without bothering to look back, grabbed a hair and scrabbled up the tree.
Reaching the trio, nearly exhausted, Atun presented his prize. ‘’Easy as catching a neera!’’
‘’Correction. You TWO are the biggest dummies in all of Felarya!’’ Mishla countered.
‘’Well we’ve got ours. Were waiting on you…’’ the eldest spoke.
‘’Nu-uh. I’m not doing it! You guys can get yourself eaten without me! I’m going home!’’ the small neko got up, and prepared to leave.
‘’Ok ok cuz, so you won’t do it for the hair, maybe you’ll do it for something else….’’ Without warning, Mishla felt her hair being pulled on, and to her horror, realized her pink ribbon had been pulled off. She turned hissing, ready to pounce on her older cousin, only to realize he was holding the ribbon over the edge of the branch.
‘’No! Don’t cousin! Please! This isn’t funny!’’ she pleaded. The ribbon was her prized possession, given to her as a baby, and she had been wearing it to this day.
A wicked grin formed on her cousins face before he whispered ‘’ooops’’ and released the ribbon to fall over the edge, directly above the dridder! She only watched in horror as it descended to land on near the brim of the dridders hat. Nobody said anything, but eventually Leshal spoke up. ‘’Well? Are you gonna get it or what?’’
Mishla was shaking, but she was not crying, no she was angry. ’’You……STUPID…..ASSHOLE!!!’’ she yelled at him, surprising him and herself. She had heard her daddy use those words before, but she had been taught to never use them herself. She covered her mouth, shocked at what she just said. Recovering from his own shock, Leshal realized she had given him an edge.
‘’Ooooooooooooooohhhhh, I can’t wait to tell Uncle Orin about what you just said.’’
‘’NOOOOOOOOO!!’’ she cried but once again was silenced by Atun covering her mouth.
‘’Please be quiet!!’’, he told her, then turning to Leshal, he asked ‘’Brother, can we please go home? We really should be getting home!’’
Grabbing his hand off her mouth, she forcibly pulled Atun’s hand off. ‘’Not without my ribbon!’’
‘’Well, it is your ribbon’’ the eldest spoke annoyed. ‘’Go get it’’
‘’It was you who dropped it in the first place! You go get it! Dummy. ‘’
‘’Tell ya what? You go get your ribbon and I won’t tell your daddy what you said. You get your ribbon and you don’t get in trouble. Win Win!’’
‘’I don’t want to…. He’ll eat me’’ she whimpered.
Leshal rolled his eyes. ‘’Do I look eaten to you? Does Atun look eaten to you? No. That dridder will keep on sleeping long after were gone! Just climb down, grab it, and come back up! Simple’’
‘’You guys are meanies’’ Mishla said defeated and began climb down the tree, ever so slowly.
The remaining duo watched her decent, eyeing the large predator warily.
‘’Brother? Did we really have to send her down? You could have grabbed it and been back by now’’
‘’She needs to toughen up, if she’s to be the next chief, she’s got to be brave. Besides, what’s the chance of that dridder waking up now?’’
Mishla eventually reached the very top of the dridders hat, and after a few test prods with her foot, stepped completely onto it. She could see were her ribbon was, probably no less than 15 feet away, but it felt like the longest 15 feet of her life. Each step she trembled, expecting some reaction to occur from the predator. After what felt like an eternity, she finally was in arms reach of her priceless possession. She grabbed it quickly and held it close to her chest whispering ‘Thank you……’’. Suddenly, the ground, or rather, the hat she was standing on shifted downward, and being so close to the edge, she had no time to grab anything. She screamed as she fell and landed none to gently later and rolled to a stop a moment later. Dazed, she barely had time to recover before a very loud voice spoke.
‘’Huh? Aw crap! I slept in again? So much for this... ‘’ The dridder stopped talking and its eyes quickly locked on Mishla. ‘’Uh, how long have you been there?’’ the dridder asked.
Mishla realized she had fallen and landed on the dridders stomach! Now the predator’s titanic face was right before her! She looked up frantically into the tree to try and spot Atun and Leshal, but they were gone! They had left her?! The realization that she was alone, and about to be eaten caused her to burst into tears. She clutched her ribbon tightly and did the only thing she could do.
• The Center Tree, Tree Dancers tribe, 3 hours later*
Inside of one of the largest trees near the lake of Illusions, a meeting was taking place in one of the carved rooms of the trees insides. The room was well lit thanks to the various fire beetles that had been captured in lanterns which hung around the room. The room was well furnished with various furniture that seemed to be expertly carved by hand. The attention in the room, however, was on the two young nekos who were kneeling with their heads bowed in the center of the room. Surrounding them were 4 adult nekos, two male and two female.
‘’What happened to Mishla, Leshal?!’’ one of the male neko’s spoke. He was the father of the two and twin brother to the other male neko standing beside him.
‘’Please boys, tell us what happened’’, the younger of the females spoke, Silca. She had the typical light brown skin, black hair and tail, and had striking silver eyes. She was the boy’s aunt and wife to the leader of the tribe. She wore a very unique green tunic that matched the chiefs green robe.
The boys looked at each other, the younger close to tears. The older looked away, the guilt building inside.
‘’Enough! Tell us what happened now!!’’ The other female spoke, the very angry mother of the two.
The chief, Orin, continued to remain silent as he studied the young nekos before him. The chief was an intimidating neko. Extremely well built, a large beard matching his striking red hair and tribal tattoos marking along his heavily built arms, he was most intimidating. His wife beside him and brother beside him, he finally addressed the boys.
‘’Is Mishla dead?’’ He asked deadpan. This caused a shock through everyone in the room. The boys both looked up immediately in shock, and then overcome with their guilt, they burst into tears.
‘’We shouldn’t have….’’
‘’But we did!’’
‘’Mishla she didn’t want to…..’’
‘’Forced her hand!’’
‘’She was eaten!!!’’ They both cried, before collapsing on the floor, sobbing. This was a blow to everyone in the room, especially to Silca as she covered her mouth with both hands and had to be steadied by her husband. The boy’s mother immediately went to console her crying children. Orin’s twin brother turned to him, shame and sadness apparent on his face. ‘’Brother’’
The chief’s demeanor remained stoic despite the atmosphere around him. Still holding his wife, who had burst into tears herself he addressed his twin.
‘’There will be no punishment for this Niro, we have already lost one member of the tribe today, we don’t need to lose two more. Please if you could leave us’’ The chief said, motioning for the door which connected to various other rooms inside the tree.
Niro nodded and moved over to his wife and children telling them they were leaving. The boys couldn’t bear to look their chief in the eye as they passed with their mother. Before the Niro passed his brother, Orin grabbed his shoulder with his free arm. Looking directly into his brothers face, Orin said, ‘’Hold them tight brother’’. Niro sad expression did not fade and only offered a small nod in reply.
Only after his brother had left, did Orin join his wife in grieving for their lost child.
To be continued………..