Kodiak Queen: Chapter 1: Changes

Pudgy awoke the next day to the sounds of movement outside of his home.  A growing pile of supplies, and materials were forming in front of his home.  His dragon friend Cobalt had started early, and was sitting down by the creek looking at the start of the grist mill.  The critters with Mr. Bear’s help had built the three cabin walls that would surround the actual mill.  The little hedgehog wiped the sleep from his eyes, attending to some business, and then scampered out his front door excitedly.  

The forest had really grown from the warm spring sunshine and multiple heavy rains.  As the hedgehog moved through the tall grass, he arrived at the creek.  The water was flowing swiftly, causing the water wheel to turn at a fair speed.  “Good morning Cobalt,” the little hedgehog happily shouted.  The dragon turned his head and smiled, “good morning Pudgy.  I hope I didn’t wake you, I wanted to get an early start to today.  I was looking at your grist mill.  It is like the one we visited a while ago,  I see you even carved the mill stones right.  Good job Pudgy,” Cobalt said happily.  

The hedgehog bounced, and then scampered a bit further down the creek.  The woodland critters had made a bridge they could use to cross the creek.  After using the bridge to cross the swiftly moving water, Pudgy headed up to where Cobalt was sitting.  Carefully he scampered around, and found that on the floor of the mill, was a layer of crushed stones.  The dragon narrated, “I headed over to where the sewage authority spread the drainage gravel.  We need a nice stable footing for the mill, as when this thing gets going, it will cause a terrific vibration and noise.”  The critter nodded and listened, watching as a heavy stone base had been placed, and the bottom mill stone was locked into place.  

Cobalt was growing accustomed to his new dragon body, and the sharp talons meant that he did not need a knife to carve things sometimes.  Support pieces were cut, positioned, and then assembled.  Though he did bring his wood carving tools for precision work.  While working on the mill, the celestial events from the night before weighed on his mind.  The former human decided to not tell Pudgy for now, because that would only worry him.  Since bears were involved, it would make sense to talk to Mr. Bear for his insights.  The grist mill involved two stones that wound rub against each other, and grind grain into flour.  Pudgy used acorns sometimes, so if properly prepared, that could supplement the need for wheat or corn.  

The dragon applied some pressure to the base stone, and it did not move.  Satisfied with the result, Cobalt lifted up the mill stone and placed it on top of the base stone.  There was a center hole where the grain would feed into the mill, as well as a wooden shaft which connected to a wooden sprocket.  As Cobalt assembled things, Pudgy scampered down to the beaver pond.  They too had been woken by the sounds of work at the mill.  The hedgehog excitedly asked if they could help cut wood for the roof.  The beavers bounced happily on the shore of their pond, and emerged from the water to head to a nearby set of small scrub trees.  

The dragon watched as little trees started to fall down, and chuckled while speaking, “good idea Pudgy.”  It would give the hedgehog something to do, while he worked out the gearing.  After about an hour passed, the gears were sorted out and turned the mill stone when Cobalt tested by hand.  The next part was connecting to the water wheel.  The concern was, if the critters had followed Pudgy’s original idea, the stone would turn constantly.  That would be dangerous, and also wreck the mill stone.  So there had to be a disengage mechanism somehow.  The dragon figured out that the best way was a lever that caused the sprocket to slip out from the chain sprocket on the side of the water wheel with the alternator. This way the wheel could still generate power, even if the mill was offline.  

Pudgy helped the beavers move the cut pieces of trees up beside the mill, when Cobalt tested the engage lever.  The mill started to turn, and the sounds of grinding stones started to be heard.  The beavers bounced happily, and came up to investigate.  Pudgy excitedly looked up at the dragon, “is it time to test?”  Cobalt nodded, “Pudgy, can you ask your squirrel friends if they can spare a couple of acorns?”  The hedgehog nodded, and scampered off happily towards an oak tree nearby.  The former human attached a flour chute underneath the base stone, as well as a feed chute above the mill.  The beavers were also helping, chewing notches into the logs, so they could be attached accordingly as roof beams.  

In a couple of minutes, the hedgehog returned with two excited squirrels carrying a half dozen or so of acorns.  The squirrels showed Pudgy how to take off the outer shell, and split the pieces of the nut within.  With the materials ready, Cobalt noticed that the field mice had arrived to also look at the mill.  “Did someone bring a basket, to catch the flour when we grind?”  Cobalt asked, and watched as Mr. Field mouse moved a tiny basket to the end of the flour chute.  The dragon smiled, “thank you Mr. Field Mouse.  This mill is dangerous, so when you run it, this is a multiple animal process.  We need one to catch the flour, one to run the mill, and one to feed the mill.  Two animals could work, but I would prefer three for safety.  DO NOT TOUCH THE STONES when it is running.”  The former human said, raising his voice for effect to get everyones’ attention.  “Ok start feeding the acorn pieces in the top chute,” Cobalt instructed while moving the sprocket engage lever  into place.  

The top millstone started to turn, and soon tiny acorn pieces were being placed into the angled chute.  When the pieces fell into the feed area, the mill engaged, and the whole structure shook.  Pudgy excitedly scampered down, and bounced happily. “IT’S WORKING EVERYONE!”  The hedgehog exclaimed, while the other animals bounced happily.  Soon the loud sounds of the mill settled down, and a fine powder started to fall out from the bottom of the base stone’s center hole.  Once all of the nut pieces were processed, the mill just sounded like stones rubbing against one another.  Cobalt showed everyone how to disengage the mill.  The water wheel still turned, but the sprocket that connected to the wheel chain was moved out far enough so that it did not turn.  

The mice collected the flour, and wiggled their noses.  While it was not much, about half a teaspoon worth, it represented a major advancement for their village project.  Pudgy hugged all of his animal friends, and then took the basket. “Pudgy going to bake test muffins now!”  The dragon laughed as the squirrels and mice followed after the scampering hedgehog.  The former human worked on the roof, with the pieces cut by the beavers.  As the sun rose in the sky, soon it was almost overhead when Cobalt finished the roof work. A tiny, but proper looking cabin was now sitting beside the water wheel.  The front was open, and perhaps when winter came, they may need to make some doors to close off the mill.  But for now, it could be left open, and the dragon found Mrs. Field mouse looking around inside the mill.  She emerged and twitched her nose at the former human approvingly.  

“I wonder how the test muffins worked out?” The dragon asked, and the female mouse giggled in a high pitched voice. “The squirrels were happy, and inhaled the muffins.  Pudgy and my husband will soon be bringing a bag of mixed nuts that was taken from your home.”  Cobalt turned his head and noticed that there was a bag of mixed nuts being dragged through the forest and towards the creek.  Once it was in range, Cobalt leaned over and picked up the bag with his clawed hand.  One requirement for milling was that the source materials had to be dry, and dragging through the creek would be a bad idea. Setting the bag of nuts beside the wall with the feed chute, the critters scampered into their positions.  

The mill was soon engaged, and all manner of mixed nuts were being fed into the mill chute.  The noise grew loud once more, and  the grinding had begun in earnest.  It was during the sustaining loud noise of the second grind, that Argente and the bunnies slowly headed over to watch.  Unlike the first time, much more flour was being produced.  Eventually the bag of nuts was emptied, and the last batch was in the mill grinding.  Multiple baskets of flour were filled, which drew curious looks from all in attendance, except for Cobalt.  He was happy the mill was done, and could now move onto the next project.  In time the mill grew quiet, which meant the grinding was done, so the lever was moved to disengage.  With proper measures taken to secure the mill, the former human watch as Pudgy and his field mouse friends carried the baskets back to his underground home.  

Once it was safe, the dragon gathered his carving tools, and then stood up.  Wiggling his tail, he had started to lose feeling in his hind legs, so it felt good to move around.  Walking slowly up to the home, Cobalt called out, “Hey Pudgy, can you open the big room doors?”  Next on the list of things to do … was the big room for Pudgy’s home.  Now that humans were gone, Cobalt was too big to fit inside, and needs changed: it was time to adapt the home to its new purpose.  As the bifold doors opened, the dragon laughed at how full it was.  So step one was to empty the room, enough to be able to work in.  The chimney pipe of Pudgy’s home was puffing white smoke from the wood stove, and the smell of baking bread was escaping into the air.  

With supply piles made, and tools moved out around the exterior of the home, the dragon got to work.  He was making a noise, and pulling out the banquette seat cushions.  Measurements taken, and wood started to but cut with a saw.  Having the use of a tail to stabilize you, and four working paws to hold things was becoming very useful.  As the hours passed, The banquette seats were transformed into a support structure for a large platform.  Wood planks were moved in through the door, and laid across to make a very study floor. Underneath the platform, were rooms laid out like a stable.  The rooms could be used for guests, or for storing things, and could be finished off in the future if the animals need to.  Along the back wall were two small sconces which were wired into the home’s power system.  The dragon relocated one down below the platform, so that the concrete floor level would have light.  

As Pudgy peeked out from his interior door, he saw the changes taking place and waved to his dragon friend.  “Cobalt, bread is ready!”  The hedgehog said excitedly, and watched his dragon friend look at him.  “Smells good Pudgy, did it bake well?”  The hedgehog nodded, and scampered inside.  As the dragon laid a piece of plywood against the edge of the platform, The dragon pulled out and stretched his body.  Cobalt had been stiffening up, and it felt good to move around.  As he turned to face the front door of the hedgehog’s home, he found multiple critters bouncing happily and eating freshly baked bread.  “Is it good everyone?” 

Argente walked over, and then peeked into Pudgy’s big room.  “Oh my word, look at what the big room room looks like now?!?!”  As she padded over the threshold, she saw the new store rooms as well as the spaces where animals could sleep.  The fox counted, and there was space for all of their needs just on the ground level.  The tunnel was now properly fox ascessible, and she did not have to wiggle through anymore.  Argente peeked out from under the platform, “my word, this is wonderful Cobalt.  What is going on upstairs?”  The dragon grinned, “Well it is going to be storage for now, but eventually I want to do the same thing, possibly even putting in a third level.  I need to put ramps in, so Pudgy and the mice can get to all levels.  This big door will be going away, in favor of a fox sized door … like your cottage.  I made the cottage bigger because I knew you were going to grow.”

As the other critters wandered over to peek, then run around inside exploring, Pudgy handed Cobalt a tiny piece of bread.  The dragon smiled, “thank you Pudgy.”  Using the tips of two of his claws, he took the offered bread, and then lifted it to his mouth to eat.  The bread tasted good, and had a nutty flavor, but was over way too quickly as it was almost the size of an oyster cracker.  The former human needed about forty more of these to make a proper mouthful, but he was happy to have been offered a treat by his hedgehog friend.  “Can you help me move the supplies back inside?  Put them in places you think would be best, on the main floor.  Except for the tools, I am still working on the ramps to get to the second floor.  

Pudgy nodded, and then started to locate supplies to move.  The bunnies, the mice, the squirrels, and Argente all pitched in to help.  Some of the heavier items Cobalt picked up and placed inside the room on the concrete floor.  Then the fox was able to move it into place, while bumping occasionally into excited critters.  Once the last bit of material was moved into place, Pudgy wandered the hallways that had been constructed.  The hedgehog was amazed at all of the space, and there was still plenty of room despite the partially full stalls.  It looked almost like an antique mall that Cobalt had taken him to once.  Looking up, the wall sconce was mounted as a chandelier over the floor area.  Scampering over to the light switch, Pudgy pressed the button to turn on the room’s lights.  Soon a soft white glow illuminated the area underneath the platform.  

The dragon returned to work cutting wood, and installing the ramps to get to the platform level.  However as soon as the dragon had them partially fitted, he watched a parade of little critters scamper up and then bounce around on the wide open platform.  Argente was pouting when she was stopped by Cobalt, so he could properly fasten the ramp sections into place.  Once it was safe, he let the female fox past, and then watched her struggle to get up to the platform level.  She looked at the former human sadly, “it’s too small again for me.”  The dragon nodded, “well Argente, that ramp is not for you.  I will make a fox accessible ramp, from here to here….”  Cobalt said while motioning with his claws.  The fox nodded and then padded around exploring with the other critters.  

After a time to explore, the woodland animals one by one came down from the platform.  Argente needed a bit of help, but was soon able to get back down as well.  The dragon got to work, putting in the much wider ramps, as well as a platform by the door jamb.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, “Cobalt, why are you putting a platform there?”  The former human grinned, “well when this room is sealed off …”  The little hedgehog started to whimper a bit, as many happy memories flood back into his mind of Cobalt and him in this room.  The dragon nodded and softened his gaze, “I know Pudgy, we had many happy times in here.  Also many scary times as well, so once the room is ready, I will seal the doors and then cover the front with rock and soil.  In time, no one will remember the big door, or the human(s) who came to visit often.”

The hedgehog sniffed his nose, and nodded at his friend before scampering back inside.  Construction continued through the remainder of the day, while the daylight still was shining.  As the evening sun started to set, Cobalt decided to stop.  The tools were cleaned up, and stored on the new platform built.  Eventually all materials had been stowed away as well, so outside of the hedgehog’s home was only the wagon.  The big doors were swung shut and secured, while Cobalt sat down and watched as the critters scampered around and played in front of Pudgy’s home.  It had been a very busy day, but much was accomplished.  Tea was being served by the hedgehog to his friends in tiny cups, and much laughing filled the air.  

Pudgy stopped at Cobalt’s tail, and peeked up at his dragon friend.  “Cobalt, thank you for everything.”  The former human grinned and nodded, “you are very welcome Pudgy.  Once we get your home situated, adapted, and ready to go … I will start the construction on my place …”  The hedgehog nodded and turned to face the forest in the same direction.  “Pudgy home full of friends, and many wonderful things …thanks to you.  Pudgy will help you build your home ..” The hedgehog said while bouncing happily.  Cobalt smiled, “thank you Pudgy,  So, you never have told me what happened while I was gone?”

The hedgehog looked up, and shrieked, “Pudgy sorry!  Pudgy forgot to tell you what happened?”  So the little hedgehog began to tell the grand tale of what happened when the human version of Cobalt disappeared.  Alabaster the owl and him went to Texas via the ley line, and met with Mrs. Waffles and Samantha, who drove them to an island on Cedar Creek Lake.  From there they travelled to the desert, met some nice but crazy cacti, rode on a bunny airship, went off course in California, then landed in the town that inspired the village.  As Pudgy explained about the buildings there, Cobalt nodded and interrupted.  “A blacksmith forge would be very useful here, but only I should use it.  A lumber mill also would be especially useful, if we need to expand further.”  The hedgehog nodded, then described his car ride with Mr. Drew to Orick.  Tales of the owls at the grand parliament, and then the great tree to the east of Mt. Rainier.  Pudgy’s repeated ley line jumps on the way back rounded out the tale, to finish with the first trip to Cobalt’s empty home to get supplies.  

The dragon listened and nodded, while very carefully picking up Pudgy in his clawed paw.  When the story was over, he hugged his hedgehog friend gently.  The two were silent for a long time, until Cobalt set the hedgehog back onto the ground.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, “Pudgy glad you are back Cobalt.  Pudgy was very sad when you left, we were all sad.”  The other animals nodded in agreement, then waved as they began to depart for their various homes while there was still some daylight left.  Argente padded past and hugged Cobalt’s leg, and then ran off silently through the woods to head to her cottage.  The hedgehog shut his front door, and in time, the lights turned off one by one.  The forest was dark and silent once more, leaving a wide awake dragon alone with his thoughts.

Clouds began to form, and thunder was heard approaching.  The rains came, and so too did the wind.  It was a particularly bad storm, with the water coming down almost hard enough to hurt.  There was a smell of ozone in the air, as the lightning bolts started to fill the sky.  From the far edge of the forest, flames were starting to dance and illuminate the darkness.  It was in the direction of the former human’s home, and since the dragon was still awake, decided to go investigate.  Through the muddy woods he went, across the creek, up the hill, past the thorn bush, to the scary road with the delivery trucks.  The water was flowing so fast, that branches were being pulled down the road.  The former human was not concerned, as he was too heavy to be pulled down by the water, and started to cross the road.  As he did, he heard panicked meows from a cat being pulled down the road in the water.  

Taking a few quick steps, he felt the cat hit his leg, and latch onto him. Craning his long neck around, “Hey, grab onto me, I’ll get you across.”  The waterlogged white cat with patches of color all over her body nodded, and started to climb up onto the dragon’s back.  “Thank you, I don’t know what happened?  I was in my home one moment, and then woosh I was in a rain storm and swept down the hill in a flood.  What sort of creature are you, and who are you?”  The water logged cat said tiredly, as she clung to the spire along the dragon’s back.  The former human nodded as she continued up the hill, to reach the backyards behind the homes that ran along the forest.  “I am Cobalt.  I used to be a human, but somehow got turned into a dragon.  Who are you?”

The cat nodded, “I’m Patches.”  The dragon stopped mid step, “Patches you said?  Do you happen to know a human named Brenda?”  The cat perked up, “yes, do you know where she is?”  The dragon shook his head, “when I disappeared, I was sent to somewhere warm and gray.  It was a void of some sort, but one day I could see Pudgy and his friends being attacked by coyotes, so I somehow was able to return.  Brenda, along with the other humans are in that void I suspect too.”  The waterlogged cat started to bounce, “Pudgy lives nearby?  I know Pudgy, he came to visit us a couple of times on his adventures.”  The dragon started to walk again through the tall grass, to reach a home that was on fire.

The cat heard the dragon make a startled sound, and the two watched in the pouring rain, as a terrible fire had broken out and was burning the home.  Despite the heavy rain, explosions of flames were coming from the home.  There had still been some natural gas in the lines, as well as other chemicals stored on the various floors in the home.  It was an older home, and with no available fire department to call, there was no saving it.  The ground was starting to shake also, which was of concern to both animals, so Cobalt turned around and started to increase his pace to get away.  Patches turned back to watch the home’s walls fall in and the building was starting to sink.  Then the next house they passed started to crack loudly, as the ground began to open up underneath them.  

Cobalt increased to a full gallop, and was moving much quicker than he had before.  Patches was meowing in terror, as she locked onto the dragon’s back with her claws.  While it did hurt a bit, Cobalt didn’t say anything.  In a short time, they had reached the scary road with the torrential water still flowing down the hill.  As the dragon slid out on the asphalt sending a splash of water around him in a semicircle, he turned around to face the hill.  The former human realized what had happened: a massive sinkhole had opened up underneath the homes, and were swallowing them up.  This was most likely due to the decommissioned mines that ran throughout the area.  There would be no going back to the man’s house, as it was most likely gone, and it would be too dangerous to check until the ground stabilized.  His plan to move to the forest was a requirement now.  Cobalt was glad that he got all that he could out of it before the storm.  

“Patches, you ok?”  The cat meowed softly, and let loose her death grip of the dragon’s back.  Turning once more to the forest, Cobalt walked past the thorn bush, and slid down the slick hill to reach the forest floor.  The happy little creek was running three times higher than normal, and was flooding the grist mill.  But the walls were holding, and Cobalt made a mental note that they needed to beef up the mill and water wheel’s defenses against these torrential rains.  As the dragon crossed the swiftly moving creek water, he walked the short distance to Pudgy’s home.  The former human began to tap on the front door with one of his front paw’s claws.  “Pudgy, wake up, I need you.  Patches, can you hop off my back?”  The dragon said, while feeling the cat hop off, and then scamper up to the round front door.  It took a couple of tries, but soon the lights turned on, and the front door opened.  

A sleepy hedgehog was rubbing his eyes with his paw.  “What is wrong, Cobalt … Pudgy was sleeping?”  Patches waved her paw, “hello Pudgy, Cobalt saved me from the flood waters.”  The hedgehog recognized the cat and waved her in.  After the soaking wet cat scampered inside, the hedgehog looked at Cobalt.  The dragon appeared sad as the water cascaded off of his body, “Pudgy, the house was hit by lightning and burned down.  Then a huge sinkhole formed, and swallowed multiple homes over there.  It is good we got the things from the home when we did.  Now, go help Patches.”  The hedgehog looked sad too, scampered inside and shut his front door.  The cat was dripping wet, and Pudgy rushed to get towels to dry her off.  It took many towels, but in time the cat was dried off. 

The little critter now was wide awake, so he went over to his wood stove.  Pudgy loaded it with wood pieces, and got the flames stoked up inside the fire box.  Turning to the shivering white cat, “Pudgy glad Cobalt was able to save you.  What happened?”  The cat started to meow sadly, “one day Brenda went to work and never came back.  Our home was fine, and food was left out for me, but it ran out eventually.  I could not get out of the house, and started to feel sick.  Then one day, the front door opened and I was able to go outside.  All of the human houses had their doors open, and animals were roaming around confused.  I saw this funny shimmering light, and decided to investigate.  Then suddenly, it was pitch black, and heavy rain.  I was swept from my paws, and caught up in a flood.  Thank goodness your creature friend outside was out, because I was able to grab onto him and climb up for safety.”

Pudgy listened, and motioned for the cat to get closer to the wood stove.  While stilling drying his cat friend off, the little hedgehog thought about what Cobalt said.  Patches looked at Pudgy with pale blue eyes, “The creature said his name was Cobalt.  You mentioned your human friend was named Cobalt also?”  The hedgehog nodded, “Cobalt turned into a dragon.  He saved us when the coyotes attacked, a time after Pudgy returned from another adventure west of here.  The owls told Pudgy that the good humans may return as animals.  Patches, what happened to Cobalt’s house?”  The cat meowed softly, “we headed up a hill, and crossed through tall grass.  The lightning was so bad, it kept striking the homes.  The buildings were on fire, and when we reached one home, the dragon stopped.  The ground started to shake, and suddenly the house began to sink into the ground.  It was so scary, I held onto the dragon for dear life.  He ran as fast as he could to get us to safety, as the homes were sucked into the ground.”

The hedgehog sighed sadly, and went to get a blanket to wrap up his cat friend with.  As Pudgy found a white blanket, he stopped and looked outside the window.  Cobalt was out in the pouring rain, with no home now to go back to.  The little critter started to feel very guilty, being warm and dry in his home.  Shaking his head, Pudgy started to wrap up the shivering cat. After she was taken care of, Pudgy went to his sink, and started working the hand pump to fill his kettle with water.  Patches was looking all around the home, “this is your home?  I can’t believe it, I am here now to visit.  I wish Brenda was….”  The little critter nodded, “do not worry Patches, Pudgy sure that Brenda will come back.  Cobalt was gone so long … Pudgy was sad a long time.  But Cobalt came back as an animal, so he can spend all day with us now.  No more work at job, just all day for play.”  The cat sighed and nodded, “I hope you are right Pudgy.  I want to see her again, as a cat.”  

Pudgy watched his window, and the lightning had stopped, and the heavy rains were slowing down to a light shower.  The underground home had warmed considerably, and the kettle was beginning to boil on his wood stove.  Keeping himself busy with making tea, Pudgy kept thinking about what Cobalt said about the big room conversion.  The former human had mentioned space for supplies, and perhaps new friends to stay?  The lower level would be a nice spot for Patches to live.  But the little hedgehog looking out his window started to look at the trees that would occasionally be illuminated by the cloud to cloud lightning flashes.  Heading over to his table, the little hedgehog wrote with a red crayon piece, “tree house.”  A place high enough in the trees where they could look for danger, and if need be stay in.  Pudgy would have to ask Cobalt about it tomorrow, but before they built anything else, the dragon needed a place to stay during bad weather.  

Little did Pudgy know that the dragon was thinking on the same wavelength as the hedgehog.  He had been walking around the home’s front, and up the hill as the rain pelted him hard.  Several times hail fell, and it was starting to hurt.  The dragon was going off of memory, trying to find the cave he had walked past with Mr. Bear after they chased the coyotes up the ridge.  Thankfully for the frequent lightning flashes overhead, the forest would illuminate for brief moments.  It was enough for the dragon to navigate, and eventually locate the cave.  Like the cave that existed before Pudgy’s home was built, this was a shale rock cave.  It was about 6 feet tall in terms of height, with an entrance that was about 5 feet or so wide.  He had never explored this cave, but it was raining so bad, he just wanted to get somewhere it was not raining.  

Slowly entering the cave, the dragon called out, “hello?  Is anyone in here?”  His vision was surprisingly good given how dark it was, but the former human did not hear any responses.   Satisfied enough with the situation, he exited the cave and turned around.  Backing into the cave, his tail went first and eventually connected with a smooth rock wall.  From tail to snout, the dragon was about 7 feet long, so this was a deep cave.  The rock overhang shielded his head from the rain, which the dragon was thankful for.  Laying his head down, soon the world went dark, and Cobalt fell fast asleep during the thunderstorm.  This cave would definitely suit his needs, with some enhancements.  

Patches meanwhile was listening to Pudgy tell his grand story of what had happened to the humans.  She meowed, and sipped hot tea from a mug with both of her front paws.  Brenda’s disappearance made a lot of sense now, and the owl shaman’s words reassured her that her human was gone for now but not forever.  When the hedgehog finished his tale, he took a moment to sip from his mug of hot tea.  The cat sighed happily, and stretched her body a bit while yawning. “Pudgy … Thank you for letting me stay here … for now.”  The little hedgehog bounced happily, “not for now only.  Pudgy wants you to stay here in the forest with us.  Pudgy has a big room, we are working on, and will have space for many friends to live.  Pudgy show you that tomorrow, but first you need to rest.”    The cat nodded, and curled up in front of the wood stove, and immediately fell asleep.  

Smiling at his cat friend, Pudgy picked up her mug, and set it in the sink.  He finished his own tea, and then moved the teapot away from the stove.  After securing the fire box, and checking his front door was secure for that matter, the hedgehog headed over to his bed.  Sitting on the edge of his bed, he looked into his long room.  Given the changes occuring, it may be best to subdivide this part of his home as well.  There were already doors in places, which stayed open to allow the heat to travel.  As his home was now the gathering and meeting spot for the village, a little privacy may be nice from time to time.  That was thought for another day, and he laid down while pulling the blankets over him.  Pudgy fell asleep quickly, while the rain fell softly outside his windows.  

The rest of the night was uneventful, and the rains eventually stopped falling.  The forest was a muddy mess, with the creek still running at flood stage.  Eventually the skies began to lighten, as the morning sun began to rise on the eastern horizon.  The birds were chirping, as they flew and played in the trees.  Slowly, the hedgehog started to stir away, as he was hearing movement in his home.  Opening his eyes slowly, he found Patches standing at the end of his bed looking at him.  Waving his paws at his cat friend, “good morning Patches.  Did you sleep well?”  The cat nodded, “Yes I did Pudgy.  Pudgy, can you please open the door?  I reallllllyyyyyy need to go outside.”

The hedgehog nodded, realizing what his cat friend meant, and slid out of his nice warm bed.  Yawning terribly, he watched the cat back up enough, so the hedgehog could open the round front door.   The white cat had light brown, and dark brown colorings in certain spots, and over her right eye.  Meowing happily, she shot out of the home, and into the muddy forest to find a nice bush.  The hedgehog attended to some business as well, before heading to his kitchen.  He had to relight the wood stove, as it had burned out while they were sleeping.  Once the stove was fueled, Pudgy started the fire again.  It was a new day, and he had friends to care for, so breakfast was in order.  The hedgehog opened his kitchen window to let in some cool fresh air, and smiled.  Today would be a busy day once again, but with his friends, everything would be fine. 

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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