Tears of Liberty: Chapter 2: Valley Forge

Cobalt’s pocket started to buzz with activity, so he reached into his front left jeans pocket, to withdraw his cell phone.  The lock screen showed a notification, of a text message being received.  Unlocking the phone, he started to read aloud. “Cobalt, this is Pudgy. Get over here quick, Pudgy found something at Mr. Bear’s house.”  Blinking his eyes, the man shook his head, and headed downstairs to put his boots on.  The man started to chuckle, thinking this would be probably a grand catastrophe.  But after many months of constant hedgehog related activity, Cobalt had learned to not be in a rush.  The phone started to vibrate once more, as he stood up to head towards the door.  “Cobalt, where are you?”  The man read aloud after taking the phone from his pocket once more.  The man had bought a second cell phone and added a line to his cellular plan.  It was a lot better to be able to contact his little friend quickly.  Exiting the home, he locked the front door and then started to walk around the house.   

There was a path through the neighborhood, that was lined by a variety of trees.  Grand oak trees, there for decades had boughs full of green leaves.  Locust trees with their white flowers were scattered amongst the maple trees.  In the Autumn, the forest was full of orange and red trees.    There were pines, but not that many for some reason in this section of the forest.  As the man crossed a road that led into the plan, he crossed into the forest where Pudgy and his friends lived.  Past a large thorn bush, he headed down a trail, and crossed the babbling creek that flowed through the forest.   The water wheel was turning, and the plants had taken root, and were glowing strong around the area.  The little underground home of his hedgehog friend had grown in.  The rock and dirt settled in, and the green grass and other plants disguised the front of the underground structure well.  Cobalt saw Pudgy waving from his front door, and he waved back.  In a short travel of a couple steps, the man reached the home.    “Are you ok, Pudgy?”  The man asked, with a smile, and concerned look in his eyes.

“Pudgy ok, we found something!”  The hedgehog excited told the story of what had happened at Mr. Bear’s house, and the treasure they found underneath the granite boulder.  Argente was backing out of the home’s front door and pulling something out.   In a short time, he could see that it was the hilt of a sword and part of a broken sword blade.  Argente set the sword down and sat on her rear end, with the white tipped fluffy tail curled around her.  As Cobalt bent down, he picked up the sword and started to examine it. “My word, this is an old sword, did you find anything else?”  The hedgehog nodded, then scampered inside and back out with a leather pouch.  The man sat down on the ground in front and placed the sword back down on the ground.  Taking the pouch from Pudgy, he opened it up and examined the coins.  “1770….my word, this is colonial era money.  Pudgy, you might have found something unbelievably valuable.”  However, when he found the sapphire on the silver chain, the man’s mouth dropped.  The sapphire was finely cut and inlaid within the silver clasp.  This was quality work to say the least, and since it was found with the coins, it could be of that era as well. 

The hedgehog bounced excitedly, “Can you take this to the nice man at the antique shop Cobalt?  We need to know what it is.”  Cobalt nodded and stood up, putting the objects back into the pouch.  He picked up the sword, “Ok Pudgy, I will see what they say.  At the very least, we know the coins and Sapphire are valuable, so depending on what they say, we can tell Mr. Bear what they’re worth.”  Pudgy waved, as his friend turned and walked away.  “Argente, please keep him out of trouble while I’m gone.  Oh, and, start looking for a home site.  I would like to get a home built for you soon.”  The fox blinked as Cobalt talked, and Pudgy scampered over to hug his fox friend.  The fox blinked and her brown eyes peered at Pudgy. “What does he mean?”  Pudgy bounced and motioned for her to follow him.   The fox nodded and watched as the hedgehog shut the front door of his home.  She followed Pudgy as he scampered past the front of his home, and around the curve of the hill, leading further up the tree covered hill.  In a short time, they reached another cave opening.  Pudgy pointed, “Pudgy and Cobalt found this cave when looking for Pudgy house.”

The fox entered the cave, looking around, “This looks … nice.”  Pudgy tugged her tail gently, and she turned to face him. “Cobalt said he would build you a home like Pudgy’s.  You wouldn’t have to live in a cave, and plus you would be nearby to visit.”  The fox grinned, and but sniffed her nose, “Pudgy, I don’t know what to say.  I … I spent so many years being angry.  And now, has been nothing short of wonderful.”  The hedgehog hugged her, and the fox curled around him as she hugged back.  After several quiet moments passed, the two ended their embrace, and started to explore the cave.  It was not wide like Pudgy’s original cave, so using the same construction methods, the home would be narrow front but a deep interior.  There was no need for a human sized meeting area, so the construction would be straightforward.  Pudgy looked around, “Cobalt tell Pudgy, still have supplies left over from the ship as well as home building, so we can start building soon.”  The fox nodded and turned to look out into the forest.  A stand of pine trees was off in the distance, and she could see the stream winding through in the distance.  With Pudgy moving little rocks out of the way, Argente helped to widen the cavern’s interior walls. 

Meanwhile, Cobalt had reached his big red car and was driving to the antique shop.  The man shook his head, as it would appear this was the start of another Pudgy related adventure.  He had his music on, and the store was a short distance away, so it was a pleasant drive through the forests and housing plans of Pennsylvania.  The store had no off-street parking, so you would need quarters for the parking meters.  The meter maids were stealthy like ninjas, and ready to pounce during the week.  However, it was Sunday, so parking was free, which was one less thing to worry about.  The traffic was light, so in a couple of minutes, he had reached the antique store.  It was in an old coal mining town, with cracked concrete streets that seen better days.  Old streetcar tracks were seen running up the road, with red brick pavers in-between.  As the man parked the car, he turned the engine off.  The broken sword, and bag was in a cardboard box sitting in his front seat.  As he opened his car’s door, he got out with the box, and then shut the door with a push of his hip.  The key fob in his hand, the pressed button locked the doors.  As he approached, the large ANTIQUES sign was hanging above the store’s front doors.  The front door was wide open, being held open by a steam engine from a local farm. 

Cobalt smiled at the man behind the counter, “Hello Mr. Miller!”  Mr. Miller originally owned a farm, and when it was too hard on him to run the farm, he became an auctioneer.  Eventually, he opened a store to sell the unsold items.  The elderly man was in his 80’s and walked with a cane.  Wild white hair unkept was sticking out in all directions, “Hello young man, what brings you here today?  And where is your hedgehog friend?”  Cobalt set the cardboard box on the glass counter and extended his hand to shake Mr. Miller’s hand.  The two men shook hands with a smile, and Cobalt nodded to the box.  “Pudgy was playing in the woods and found something.  Oh by the way, that steam engine you sold, worked like a champ, until Kentucky.”   Mr. Miller laughed, “what?”  Cobalt smiled, “I used it in a steam powered ship.  Pudgy sailed down the rivers from McKeesport to New Orleans.  It broke down in Kentucky on the return trip.  I had to go get him.”  The elderly man’s mouth dropped, “you got it running?  Darn, I wish I had been there.  And I should have charged you double,” The store owner said while laughing hard.  “Now, let’s see what Pudgy found…”

The store owner looked inside the box and found the broken sword.  “My word, well…this is an officer’s sword.  It is in bad condition; the blade is broken.  Hmm …” Mr. Miller said while getting out a jeweler magnifying eye piece.  “Samuel Harvey … 1770.  Oh, my word, this is revolutionary war era.  The sword appears to be made from brass, and steel.  It is too bad it is broken.  On the auction market, you might be able to get a couple dollars for it.  As he set the sword down on the wood bench that served as the front table, he found the black leather pouch.  As he emptied the pouch onto a felt lined plate, the coins fell out.  Then the sapphire, which drew a look of shock from the elderly man.  “Cobalt, you said Pudgy found this.  Where?”  Cobalt explained where abouts it was, and the elderly man nodded.  “There are stories of a detachment of British troops that had pressed this far to the west.  The Pennsylvania colony’s forces had a base somewhere around here.  This may have been a cache, in case of emergency.  The coins are also of 1770 age and appears to be British coinage.  The American colonies did press their own coinage, which there are a few in this bunch.  But this …. this is a Sapphire.  I am not an expert in gemstones, but based on my rough estimation, this looks like it is 2 carats.  I would hold onto this, keep it in a very safe place.  Value wise, if I were to make a guess, you are looking at about $200 for the coins and sword.  The sapphire … easily $1,000.” 

Cobalt nodded, and started to carefully pack up the items, and place them in the box.  “Thank you, Mr. Miller.  I need to talk to Pudgy first, tell him what you said.  The two men shook hands, with the elderly man waiving as Cobalt left. Watching the younger man load his vehicle, and then subsequently drive off, he smiled.  “Those two bring me such neat things to appraise.  They’re my best customers too…” he trailed off, while looking out the front door.  He was going to close it up, retire, then the hedgehog showed up wanting to know about a Morse code signal lamp.  The man and his hedgehog would tell these wild stories, of travels far away by the hedgehog.  He thought they were just that, until the purchases began.  The fact that the steam engine was able to be fired up made him smile, as that had come from his farm.  The red car pulled out from the parking spot in front of the store, so back to his normal work of the day.  The shop would not run itself, and so with a loud pop of his back as he stood up, the elderly man leaned on his cane to check the store. 

Cobalt drove away excited about what the antique store owner told him.  He recognized the fact that since this was on Mr. Bear’s property, the bear would need to approve of any action that was taken with the objects.  $1,200 was the estimated value, though that was an estimate.  The resale market was a tricky thing, and the jewelry store would no doubt be interested in the gemstone.  In a short period of time, he had returned to his home, and parked the vehicle.   While getting out of the vehicle, something entered his mind.  A stray thought, from where it came, he did not know.  He rummaged around in the box and opened the pouch.  Pulling out the sapphire, he looked through it.  The blue distortion of the stone made everything look distorted.  But as the man looked, he saw a light as he looked towards the east.  “Holy crap …” the man stammered out, realizing this was a compass of some sort. Continuing to look, the light did not diminish, unless he turned towards a different compass direction left or right. As he turned back to the east, a familiar face was looking back at him. “Hecate’s Daughter?”  The face quickly disappeared, “Oh my, we haven’t seen her for a couple months.  What is she doing here again?”  The man remarked, as he put the gemstone back into its pouch.  

He decided to keep this to himself and carried the sword and pouch carefully after he locked his vehicle.    Walking the familiar path back to Pudgy’s home, Cobalt quickly reached the hedgehog’s forest home.  “Pudgy?  Are you home?” He called out, while looking around.  Soon Argente came scampering through the woods and waved her paw. “Hi Cobalt, Pudgy was showing me a cave.”  The man smiled at the fox, “oh good, do you think it will work?”  The fox nodded and tail swished back and forth.  Soon a scampering hedgehog scurried through the forest ground cover and bounced at Cobalt’s foot. “Hi Cobalt, what did you find out?”  The man smiled, “The objects are colonial era, 1770 estimated era.  This stuff is 250 years old.”  The fox blinked, “oh my….” Pudgy nodded and started to open his front door.  “Mr. Miller who runs the antique store said the sword is not worth that much, but the coins and gemstone are.  We are looking at around $1,200, estimated of course.  Pudgy, can you put this inside, and in your safe spot room?”  The hedgehog nodded, and the man knelt to hand the pouch to his hedgehog friend.  Cobalt angled the sword inside through the front door and set it gently onto the ground.  As he puled out his arm, he found Pudgy hugging his wrist, and a silly look on his eyes.  “Oops, I forgot Pudgy, sorry.”  He had not remembered to let Pudgy know he was reaching into the house. 

The hedgehog let go and bounced on his rear end, looking up expectantly.  “I’m going to go get the building supplies and tools.  We will start on Argente’s home today.  Hey, can you let Mr. Bear know about what we found out?”  Pudgy nodded, “Ok Cobalt, Pudgy send him message on phone.”  The man nodded, and patted Argente’s head gently, then Pudgy’s head, and stood up to walk off.  The fox wiggled her ears and watched Pudgy disappear back into the home.   She padded over softly, and stuck her head through the front door, watching Pudgy tap on the phone’s touch screen.  “Hello Mr. Bear.  Cobalt went to Antique store.”  Mr. Bear’s voice rang out, with a slight metallic sound. “Oh, what did he say Pudgy?”  Pudgy nodded, “the coins and stone are about $1,200.  The sword is not much since it is broken.  The bear spoke again, “Ok Pudgy, hold onto them for now.  I want to do some research too.  I will let you know what to do soon.”  The bear ended the call, and Pudgy shut off the phone.  He scampered over to the sink and poured himself a cup of water.  Looking at Argente, “are you thirsty too?”  The fox shook her head, and then withdrew her heard from the doorway.  As the hedgehog scampered back out, he shut the front door, and watched as Cobalt’s big red car drove on the road that was off in the distance, with a trailer full of supplies.  Pudgy motioned for Argente to follow, and they went back up to the cave where her home was going to be located. 

By the time, the two animal friends had reached the cavern, Cobalt had pulled the vehicle further up into the forest, then normal, with the front end of the vehicle just peeking over the crest.  The man got out, and pulled of the trailer, a big piece of corrugated metal half pipe.  This was the one piece left over from Pudgy’s home construction.  He carried it over his head and walked up the hill to the front of the cavern.  Setting it down into position, Cobalt shoved it hard into the cave opening.  Suddenly Argente and Pudgy shot out of the cave, while Cobalt chuckled, as he watched their scared sets of eyes look up at him.  Cobalt did not realize they were inside the cave when he started to work.  Thankfully, the pipe fit and would serve as a good support structure to build the home.  Having scouted this location before, Cobalt knew there was no water in the cave, so he would not have to put the crushed rock and French drain to channel the water.  As he knelt, Pudgy looked up at him from the side of the cavern. “There was about 2 feet from the floor of the cave to the top of the pipe, and Argent when she stood, was about 12 inches.  “Ok you two, I’m going to start moving supplies and tools.”  The man said while standing back up.  As Cobalt walked away, Argente padded into the cave, and marveled at the silver galvanized corrugated pipe.  “Pudgy, why is this in here?” 

The hedgehog scampered inside, “well, this will keep the ceiling from collapsing.  Plus, it lets Cobalt put in the various parts of the home.”  The fox giggled, “my own home.  I never had one, always had to wander around.”   As the two looked back out towards the opening.  A stack of supplies was now forming, which resulted in the two critters moving forward to peek out.  Already having the measurements for the pipe, and a left-over template, Cobalt was quickly at work marking and cutting the various wood sections.  Since it was a warm day, with a nice cool breeze, the work could proceed at a fair pace.   Cobalt had set up his radio, and with Credence Clearwater Revival playing, soon there was a flurry of activity.  After a couple of hours had passed, the prep work was completed, and Cobalt entered the cavern with a piece of metal.  Pudgy and Argente sat pouting outside while the man worked.  He was using a portable welder to secure the back-steel plate that would serve as the rear wall.  The sparks, and bright light was not good to look at, but the two still wanted to help.    Argente looked up, and he ears went up as she looked around.  Pudgy noticed, “what is it Argente?”  The fox shook her head, “I thought I heard something.”  The radio was playing so Pudgy nodded, “was it the radio?”  The fox shook her head, “No, but it might have been that.”  The fox nodded and watched as Cobalt’s rear end started to emerge from the pipe.  It then went back inside, as he was shifting position. 

Pudgy scampered over to the pile of cut lumber and found a piece of paper being held down by a rusted blue metal Maxwell house coffee can, full of nails.  It was the plans for the home, and you could tell it was Cobalt, because his handwriting was terrible.  Pudgy could never read it, which was glad when he texted.    Argente peeked over the hedgehog and saw the drawings.  All this preparation, for her home, was shocking to her.  She would have been happy with a cave, and a soft spot to sleep, but this was almost too much to take in.  As Cobalt backed out of the pipe once again, he started to pack up the portable welder in its bright yellow carry case.  Turning around on his knees, he saw the two animals looking at the plans.  “Ok, I’m going to work outside for now.  You two, please go inside and make the floor level.”  The two animals nodded and scampered inside the pipe.  Just like building the ship, Cobalt would make a frame, with supports.  Instead of sheathing a hull to the exterior, it would be connected to the corrugated pipe accordingly.  As he arranged the wood sections, he started to take nails from the coffee can, and secure the sections together with his claw hammer. 

While the man worked, he thought about the sapphire, and why Hecate’s Daughter was looking back at him? They had not seen her since the party where Lord Doomcock had given Pudgy that watch, which led to a civil war adventure.  Thinking back, she was not in this forest until the events of Harvey’s first escape.  Pudgy had seen her in the north, on his way to save Christmas.    As the hours passed, the frame structure was ready to go, and Cobalt called out. “Hey, you two, are a you ready?” Pudgy peeked out and waved, “Pudgy ready!”  As Cobalt picked up the wood frames, he positioned them and then began to insert the sections into the pipe.  The two animals inside helped guide the sections into place.   When the last set of frames were placed into position, the man knelt and looked inside.  It was going to be a very tight fit for him, but the fox and Hedgehog were bouncing around inside, looking at the clearances.  “Oh good, you two can stand up, and bounce. Ok, I need you two to exit, I need to secure the frames.”  The two critters nodded and scampered out once more.  Cobalt had his tools, and another can of fasteners: nails, screws, brackets, etc.   Pudgy giggled as he could see Cobalt’s bely sticking out, as his shirt has moved out of position.  So as various hammer noises could be heard, Pudgy looked around at the piles of materials.  The radio had run out of battery power and had grown silent. 

Argente’s ears went back up, “Pudgy, I hear something.  It’s not Cobalt, nor the radio.”  Pudgy looked around, and the bright sunshine that travelled in the blue sky above, did not lend itself to any sense of doom per se.  Pudgy listened too, and the errant crack of wood could be heard, as if someone were walking somewhere.  “Pudgy hear it too, wonder who in forest?  Cobalt!  Pudgy and Argente need to go for a while, is that ok?”  The man wiggled his mud-covered boot, at the hedgehog, with a very muffled voice, “Ok, you be safe Pudgy and Argente.”  The two friends nodded to each other and started to explore the forest.  Stopping occasionally, trying to listen for the noise once more.  At times it was difficult, as the humans who lived in the houses that were adjacent to the forest, were awake and doing things.  Soon however they located the source of the noise and wandered down to the creek.  As Pudgy investigated the water, he could see the reflection of a woman dressed in a white gown covered in sparkles.  Her eyes were glowing blue, and she had a soft smile.  Pudgy smiled, and waved, which drew a look from Argente.  She saw the woman’s reflection but turned and did not see anything in the forest.  “Pudgy bounced, “Hecate’s Daughter, Pudgy see you in water.” The woman smiled and pointed back to Pudgy’s home. Argente looked at the water and did not see anything. 

“Pudgy,” Argente stammered out, “I do not see anyone.  Who are you talking to?”  Pudgy looked up at his fox friend, “Pudgy knows a human woman, she has magic.  Unsure why she not here though, she wants Pudgy to go back to home.”  The fox nodded and followed the hedgehog as he scurried through the forest, back to his home.”  At hedgehog speed, the trip too a lot longer than Argente would have liked.  But she enjoyed these romps through the forest.  As the two reached his front door, Pudgy opened the door and entered the home.  With the fox following besides, she saw her hedgehog friend looking around. The two critters looked confused, though Pudgy was jerked to the left by an unseen force.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, “ok, ok, Pudgy go this way.”  He looked around, and the black leather pouch was sitting open on his little table.  Reaching inside, he found the coins, and laid them out on the floor.  The markings were unique, and as he lined up the coins, Argente saw something from her vantage point. “Pudgy, turn the coins.”  The hedgehog nodded, and as he turned the coins, it started to show a picture of sorts.  The hedgehog nodded, “Argente is right, it’s a map.  But to where?” The hedgehog asked out loud, looking up the pouch was open, and the silver chain fell out.  Argente blinked, “Pudgy, I don’t like this…” The fox trailed off, while she watched Pudgy reach into the pouch to pull out the Sapphire. 

The hedgehog investigated the gemstone by peering inside of it but did not see anything.  He turned with it towards Argente and saw the color inside brighten.  Walking on his back paws, he moved forward towards the door, and the brightness increased.  He also saw a human hand making a come-hither motion outside.  Argente backed up, and out the front door, to allow Pudgy to leave the home.  As he looked around, she could see the hedgehog looking intently through the stone.  “What is it Pudgy? What do you see?”  The hedgehog turned until he faced eastwards, “Pudgy see bright light to the east.  Hecate’s Daughter is in distance smiling.  She is magical woman Pudgy talked about.  What? Pudgy can’t hear you.”  The fox looked in the direction her friend was facing and saw just the forest.   Pudgy saw Hecate’s Daughter in the distance, pointing to the east.  It was clear she wanted him to go somewhere. Pudgy looked up out of the stone but did not see the woman.  When he looked back inside, she was gone.  However, a new image appeared of a well-kept stacked gray and brown brick home with white mortar.  It had two red brick chimneys sticking out a slate tile roof.   Log cabins were scattered about, with green roofs.  Another gray brick building was seen, next to a series of railroad tracks.  As the scenes of green fields progressed, a little red sign nailed onto a weather wood post caught his attention. “To Washington’s headquarters.”

The gem grew extremely hot, and Pudgy let go of it.  As the stone dropped onto the ground, the hedgehog felt lightheaded, and passed out.  Argente shouted, “PUDGY!”  Worriedly, she placed a paw on his back and gently shook him.  His soft quills were ticklish to her paw, but the hedgehog was not responding.  The fox pushed the sapphire gemstone back into the home with her paw, and then quickly ran around the hill back up to the home site.  She hurriedly pushed on his leg with her paw. “Cobalt! Come quick, Pudgy’s sick!”  The man scooted back out and looked at the worried Fox.  He nodded, and sat up, then got to his feet.  The man followed quickly, back to in front of the hedgehog’s home, finding him laying motionless in front of the doorway.   He sat down quickly and scooped up his hedgehog friend into his hands.  “Pudgy?  Are you all right?” The hedgehog’s eyes were shut, but he was still breathing.  “Argente, what happened,” Cobalt asked with a concerned tone in his voice.  The fox was not easily able to be understood, as she was upset causing her voice to be shrill and bark.  The man placed a hand on her head, which snapped her back to attention.  Smiling softly, “Argente, please calm down.  Start over, I couldn’t understand.” 

The fox nodded, “We followed the noises we kept hearing, and Pudgy saw a woman in white in the creek water.  He said it was someone he knew, and she pointed to the home.  Pudgy went inside, and we found the pouch open.  The coins form a map of some sort, and then the silver chain fell out, Pudgy investigated the crystal, and saw someone called Hecate’s Daughter.  Pudgy would not speak afterwards, and just kept looking.  He fell down, and the stone was so hot, I could barely touch it.”  Cobalt frowned, and gently squeezed Pudgy.  The hedgehog’s eyes opened, and he groaned, “Pudgy head hurt.”  The fox’s ears perked up, and she quickly passed over looking at the hedgehog.   The man sighed a breath of relief, “Pudgy I’m glad you are ok.  What happened?”  The hedgehog looked at the two and wiggled wanting to be sat down once again.  Cobalt gently placed him on the ground, watching the hedgehog start to act out the scene that was shown to him by Hecate’s Daughter.  As the two listened, the man nodded.  Pudgy narrated the scenes, the buildings he had seen, the train tracks, and the signs.  Cobalt rubbed his chin, “I looked into the stone earlier, and saw her too Pudgy, to the east.” 

The fox looked up at Cobalt, who nodded again, “I didn’t want to say anything yet, as I was unsure what this meant.  But it is clear, she is trying to tell us something again.  But I wonder why this way.  Why doesn’t she just come here herself?”  The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy confused too, but …what if she is in trouble?  We have to save her!”  Cobalt patted his hedgehog friend’s head, “She can defend herself Pudgy.  Besides, perhaps this is her way of helping, while she attends to other business.  Either way, we must be incredibly careful looking into that gemstone.  We need to keep the coins and stone safe.  Something is happening, which we need to carefully plan our steps.  Research, confirm, then we can proceed to test out the theory.  In the meantime, Argente, can you make sure Pudgy doesn’t look into that stone again?”  The fox nodded, while Pudgy looked up at Cobalt.  The man sighed, “I was hoping you would stay home longer, and rest.  We may be on the cusp of another adventure my friend.  In the meantime, I will still come over to work on Argente’s home.  One thing is for certain, a steam ship will not suffice for travel purposes.”  The man laughed and patted his friend gently on his head once again. Cobalt looked at Argente, “why don’t you go check out your home, Argente?  I’ll stay with Pudgy.” 

The fox nodded and scampered up around the crest of the hill.  The sunshine was still bright, though it was quickly sinking into the southwestern skies.  The shadows changed their angles, and she approached the front of her new homesite to see what Cobalt had done.  There was now a wood front to the pipe, with a round opening for where a window was to go, as well as a round open doorway for her to enter.  As she entered inside, the inside of the pipe was now clad with wood slats the whole way back.   Two LED lights were wired in the home spaced out to provide light efficiently.  There were signs that the construction was not done yet, but the man had made quick progress today.  As the fox sat inside, the sense of wonder was drowned out by concern for her hedgehog friend.  She scurried out of the home and padded quickly through the forest to find Cobalt raising his voice at the hedgehog.  “Pudgy no, we are staying put!”   The fox quietly proceeded forward, hearing the hedgehog snap back, “But what if Hecate’s Daughter is in trouble?”  The man’s expression could not be seen, but the fox could see Pudgy’s eyes burning bright as he looked up at Cobalt.  “I’m not saying you can never go Pudgy, but we don’t know where this is.  Please, give me time to find out, ok?”  The hedgehog nodded, “Ok Pudgy wait for Cobalt.”

The man scooped up and hugged his friend, and then placed him back down onto the ground.  Standing up, “Pudgy, I need to head back.  I will text you later when I have more information.”  The man walked to the big red car parked nearby, and then fired up the engine, backing the vehicle out of the woods.   As this occurred, Argente stood next to the hedgehog. “Are you all right Pudgy? I heard Cobalt yell.”  The hedgehog waved at the red car, “Pudgy not mad at Cobalt, nor he at Pudgy.  Cobalt gets worried, that Pudgy will go off on adventure and not tell him.”  The fox nodded, “he’s your friend, I can understand why.  I would be worried if you disappeared one day.”  The hedgehog hugged her leg and looked up at her. Once the car had disappeared from the forest, Pudgy turned to head back inside of his home, finding the coins and gemstone right where they had been left.  Taking careful notice to not look inside the stone, Pudgy placed the Sapphire and coins back into the pouch, securing it tight once more. 

The hedgehog turned his attention to supper and began to set out the various food stuffs on his little kitchen counter.  Making a small fire in his wood stove, Argente padded in, and sat down with her trail curled around her body.  Watching her friend put a pot of water on for tea, as well as another to start a soup. The two animal friends did not speak much, though questions about the new home site was a pleasant subject.  The events of today were hanging in the air, like an unwanted houseguest.  Pudgy’s mind was scrutinizing the details one by one from the gemstone vision.  The sun set, and the light started to fade outside.  The cool air grew colder, and the fox shut the front door.  Pudgy served the soup in a small cup for himself, and a larger bowl for his friend.  The fox sipped and smiled at Pudgy.  It was weak broth, with a variety of seasonal plants.  Although it may seem that the hedgehog ate nothing but cookies all day, that was not the case.  As his normal diet was much simpler, plants, the occasional bit of meat if he could get it.   He did prefer baked foods though, and as the bread started to fill the room with its wonderful scent, Pudgy turned back to the stove, to carefully pull out the bread.  Cutting the loaf into thirds, he handed one chunk to Argente.  The fox blew on the piece to cool it, as steam came out of the section handed to her.  Pudgy turned back, and watched the bread continue to issue forth its steam from within.

Pudgy nibbled on his bread chunk and sipped from his cup of soup.  Enjoying the simple meal, with his fox friend.  Shortly later, he cleaned up while Argente padded over to her sleeping spot, to curl up on the soft bed area.  It was not a bed per se, but a series of flat pillows, and blankets that were arranged into a bed type configuration.  As the fox looked at him, thoughts of the coins filled her mind.  “Pudgy, can you open the pouch again? I want to look at the coins.”  The hedgehog nodded and dried his paws off with a small dish towel.   He scampered over to the leather pouch, and untied the straps, then took out the coins.  He arranged them in front of Argente one by one.  The coins were two sized, one was the typical face which showed the value, but it was the reverse that had the information.  So as the fox intently looked at the coins, she slid them around with her paws on the smooth concrete floor.  “Potts …. Varnum …. Stephens …. Knox … Pudgy, these looks like houses.  Maybe someone lived there, by these names?  Pudgy nodded, and scampered over to the phone, turning it on.  Using the search function, the hedgehog slowly typed in the names.  Soon, he started to get matches, for something called Valley Forge Pennsylvania.  “Valley Forge was the site of the winter encampment of the colonial forces during the American revolutionary war.  Oh, it’s a national park now, Pudgy found the visitor center.”  The fox smiled and looked at the phone’s images.  A tall man with a powdered wig was standing in a military outfit.  “General Washington inspects the troops…” The fox read as she squinted at the small words on the phone.

The hedgehog bounced happily, “Now we know where to go.”  As Pudgy used the map feature on the phone, the route calculated, and showed that it was over 270 miles away.  By car, it would take 4 hours or so to drive.  The fox nodded, “Pudgy, we will tell Cobalt tomorrow.  Then we can go to this valley forge.”  Pudgy bounced again, “Pudgy would love if you came with Pudgy on adventure.”  Carefully, Pudgy picked up the coins and put them back into the leather pouch, then tied the bag shut.  He washed his paws once more, and then went over to lock the front door.   Turning the lights off, the hedgehog climbed into his bed, and started to drift off to sleep. “Goodnight Argente.”  The fox waved her paw at Pudgy’s bedroom and settled into her bed. “Goodnight Pudgy.”  She watched as the wood stove’s flickered from the flames within.  That little stove cast a nice amount of warmth within the home.  Soon her eyelids grew heavy, and the fox fell asleep.  The home was warm, and they were safe, with thoughts of far away lands full of adventure filling the two animals’ dreams.    As they slept, the pouch’s straps untied themselves once more, and the coins floated out of the bag one by one.  Quietly they were placed one by one at extremely specific points along the broken sword blade that lay on the floor in the center of Pudgy’s home.  It would seem an unseen force wanted them to find something.

By Cobalt

Cobalt is a normal guy that goes to work. Pudgy is his hedgehog friend who lives in a hobbit style home nearby, and goes on epic adventures. All Pudgy stories are copyrighted to Cobalt. Doomcock, Harvey Cthulhu, and Xanadoom is copyrighted to Overlord DVD.

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