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Crimson Dawn: Chapter 4: Gaijin

Disclaimer:  This story series is going to feature the emperor of Japan.  The emperor and his family in my story, are fictional, and do not correspond to any actual persons that are living or dead.  Here is my reference:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruhito

In the days of the human disappearances, the city of Kyoto experienced many changes in a far too accelerated timeframe than the animals would have liked.  The nation of Japan has always experienced earthquakes, usually some so slight they are barely noticeable.  However, the ground movements were severe, and the city was destroyed over the course of many months.  The buildings crumbled, the ground started to sink in many places, and the plants spread quickly to cover the ruins.  Where the Determined was now moored, was once a parking lot and stone path for the shrine and surrounding land. 

As the ocean began to rise, the entire area was besieged by heavier than normal rainfall and snowfall.  The newly formed low-lying areas grew into a series of ponds, lakes, and streams.  The water way which always flowed along the railroad tracks, quickly flooded, and overran its meticulously lined stone wall banks.  Every week, the river claimed more and more of the land, and stripped any last vestige of humanity out to the ocean.  As the land became very quiet, and night once more returned, the animals adapted and thrived.  Until one day, when new animals arrived, confused and excitable.  They remarked about the state of the world, and what happened to the temple and surrounding grounds.  The humans were being brought back, for reasons as mysterious as that for their original departure.  “And one day, you appeared in our tree Fett…”

An older owl was perched to a tree branch, and rubbed his small black beak with his left-wing tip.  The owl’s body was compact, with short feathers that clung tight to his frame.  The feathers were a mixture of beige, darker brown, and black striped markings that ran vertical.  There were many places where the coloration almost was white, and if one was not paying attention, It almost looked as if the owl was a part of the tree.  Dark brown iris ran along the black interior pupils of the owl’s eyes.  And feathers formed a almost a V-shaped set of horns above his head.  Motioning with his wing to the owl perched opposite, there was a younger owl of similar lighter markings.  Hooting softly, “yes … I still don’t know how I wound up here?  One day I was at my computer, working on an art project, and then suddenly I am in this gray void.  Then poof, I’m in a tree with a bunch of owls.”  The leader hooted softly as he laughed while correcting the former human, “parliament of owls.” 

Nodding to his superior, Fett fluffed his feathers a bit, and narrowed his eyes as he looked out towards the water.  “Broken Claw … look …do you see a ship?”  The superior nodded, “your eyes are coming along nicely Fett.  Yes, and by the looks of it, I would say that appears to be a junk ship. Shh, let us listen to what they say as they pass.”  As the owls went rigid, blending in with the tree’s canopy, the branches swayed in the breeze and rustled the leaves.  It took some time before the ship came into range of their ears, and their patient was rewarded.  There were five large cats, covered in thick gray fur, and almost had tiger stripes on their faces.  Their faces resolute, almost bordering on angry.  Their captain was Standing at the rudder at the stern of the ship, “Bataar … any sign of them?”    The cat at the bow of the ship turned and shook his head, “no sign yet Genghis!  But if our maps are correct, this is the direction of the imperial palace for the Emperor of Japan.”

A second cat emerged from below decks, carrying a hat of some sort.  Quickly he, maneuvered around the decks, and up to where the captain was standing.  “Genghis, I found it, we had packed it along with the trade supplies.  The leader quickly snatched it out of the subordinate’s paws, and placed it upon his head.  The hat was ornate, with a thin spire at the top, covered in gold.  The finest red fabric was the color of human blood, and ringed by exquisite black leather from a horse.   “Let us see that upstart … hedgehog … marvel upon the magnificence of a proper captain’s hat!  Come brothers, let us seek out this false emperor and inform him of our empire’s claim to these lands!”  The cats hissed evilly, and began to cheer in guttural tones.  The ship was steered to the north, and sailed out into the deeper waters, out of range of the tree. 

Broken Claw’s eyes closed, “this is not good.  First, we observed the large sailing ship, and now a second ship approaches that is tracking the first.  We are duty bound to report this to the emperor … Fett prepare to fly.”  The two owls quickly leapt from their respective branches, and then began to fly over the water.  The owls lived at the ruins of what was once called Momoyamacho Kojosan, which was now surrounded on three sides by water.  Ascending quickly into the night skies, the former human called out, “Broken Claw … you said emperor?  I thought Japan was a democracy?”  The older owl hooted, and called out, “the lands of this nation has always been ruled by the emperor.  He might have deferred decisions to subordinates from time to time, but he never relinquished control.  It will take time for us to reach the imperial palace, but we will arrive before the junk ship does, with time to spare to inform the ministry of security.”

As the two owls flew as fast as their wings could handle, they soon began to fly over the farms and fields of Fushimi village.  It was amazing at how quickly the small village had sprung up and quickly began to thrive in the post human world.  Fett called out as he spotted the Determined, “Look … it’s the first ship!  They docked here in Fushimi Village!”  The superior nodded, “hai … I am sure their presence has already been reported.  I wonder what a hedgehog is though?”  The former human laughed, “I only know one hedgehog, and his name is Pudgy.  He goes on adventures, and saves the world.  Covered in brown quills, wearing a spiffy adventure outfit.”  Broken nodded and wiggled the tip of his left wing, “like that?”  As Fett banked slightly to get a better look, he could see Pudgy walking the deck of the ship, and checking on the sleeping animals on board.  The hedgehog turned, and waved at them as they passed.  “Oh, my goodness, it really is Pudgy!  We have to go back and chat with him!” 

Pudgy watched as the two slender owls flew quickly past overhead the ship’s masts, and waved friendly at them.  He wondered where they were going, and then drifted off to Alabaster and the arctic owls.  It had been an exceptionally long time since he last seen or spoken with his parliament.  Though only an honorary member, the hedgehog was part of their numbers, and was the official story teller.  The world was so much warmer now, and his parliament preferred the cold temperatures.  Mary the snow fox was having a hard time adjusting to the new weather patterns, and it was most likely the same with his friends.  The original ley lines being off line, meant that communication had been severed.  The little hedgehog sighed, and looked in the direction where Touma had hopped off to.      

Narrowing his eyes, a bit, he saw movement in the shadows.  It was fleeting, something darker than the surrounding night.  The faint moonlight that illuminated the trees was broken for a split second.  It almost felt as if the ship was being watched.  Slowly the hedgehog walked around the deck of the gently rocking ship, and then crossed the gang plank to reach the docks.  Now standing on a firm platform, the ground still swayed beneath his paws.  Although, he did not feel sick this time, “oh good …Pudgy not pass out this time.”  The docks were well built, with heavy piers driven into the ground beneath the water’s surface.  They were painted red, though where the water line splashed against the post, the paint had been eaten away by the brackish water. 

Bending down, he looked at the deck boards.  They were milled lumber, and nailed down with tiny nails.  Wiggling his nose while he wondered, Pudgy stood back up to wander a bit and look at the boats tied up.  They were all well-built, painted in vibrant colors, and tied off with a rope of much higher quality than the ship.  Out of the corner of his eye, the shadows moved again, which prompted the hedgehog to turn and look again.  Reaching up to his mining helmet, he pushed the button to illuminate his headlamp.  A tiny beam of light started to shine out, and he turned his head slowly from left to right.  There was nothing, only the tall grass swaying gently with the breeze.  Turning the lamp off, “it was just the grass moving.” 

Turning around, the hedgehog scampered back to the gangplank, and sat down at the end of it.  The little hedgehog was proud of what his friends had accomplished.  Building a town, gathering supplies, prospering, gathering more supplies, building a ship, sailing to the Philippines, and now sailing to Japan.  No group of animals had ever done such things before, and if they kept going at their current place: who knew what they could accomplish?  Drifting off to sleep, the captain woke when the sun was just starting to rise.  It was not the light that had stirred him, but the sound of bunny paws approaching.  Goro grinned, “good morning, Captain.  It is good that you slept on the dock, it will make the land sickness dissipate quicker.  Sichio Touma will be expecting us to arrive at his home by noon, so we should get going shortly.”

The hedgehog nodded, and stepped aside so that both Goro and Minato could hop past and return to the dock.  They padded down, and made a right to check on their boat.  Scampering back to the deck of the Determined, Pudgy headed to the ship’s wheel and located his pack of supplies.  While the animals were sleeping, he had gone below deck to grab it, as well as some supplies for a short excursion.  Slinging the pack on, and adjusting his helmet, the various deck crew members were looking expectantly at him.  With Argente stretching in her hold, she looked expectantly at her critter friends.  “Pudgy will be heading into town with Goro and Minato.  Argente, can you please get out of the ship, and stay at the end of the docks on land?  Pudgy think everything ok, but just in case something were to happen to the ship.”

The silver fox nodded, “I need to stretch and get my legs working again.  My mother spoke to me in my dreams last night.  The shrine is not far from here, and she will be stopping by to check on us.”  The hedgehog nodded, “did she say where the ley line node is?” Argente nodded, “it is on a mountain behind the shrine.  She mentioned about passing through the hundred gates, but also said that there was a complication.”  The crew nodded as they looked at each other, then back to Pudgy.  “Pudgy want to take everyone with Pudgy, but we do not know about this area.  For now, please stay on the ship, or on the docks.  We are guests here, so everyone has to be on best behavior.”  The hedgehog captain said, which resulted in acknowledging nods.  “Mr. and Mrs. Field mouse, please start maintenance crews.  We pushed the ship hard, so there may be damage in the rigging.” 

Mr. Field Mouse nodded, as he was hugged gently by his wife from the side.  Twitching his nose, “good thinking Pudgy.”  The female rodent raised her paw, “Pudgy our food supplies are almost gone.  We need to gather soon; can you please impress that upon the mayor?”  The hedgehog nodded, and then scampered off the deck, and over the gangplank.  Turning around to wave at his friends, the hedgehog quickly turned back towards the end of the docks and scampered to where Goro and Minato were sitting.  The deck of the dock was weather beaten white, and were smooth under paw.  Whether the boards had been sanded, or it was done via weather, Pudgy did not know.  But it was not long until his paws touched the soft grass covered ground once again.  The grass tickled his paws, and he smiled. 

The elderly rabbit did not move quickly, and padded slowly ahead towards a strand of tall oak trees.  Minato was starting to lose patience at the slow speed, and wanting to hop off quickly.  But he saw that at the speed that Pudgy scampered, it was not much faster than his elder.  Distance wise, it was only about a hundred yards from the docks to the start of the forest.  Looking up into the tree canopy, the oak tree leaves looked almost the same as the ones back home.  There were birds chirping, and chatting about a variety of subjects.  The tones were different, and the cadence as well for that matter.  It meant it would take longer to understand.  Air breathing animals all have the same basic language, and can understand each other.  However, there are dialects, and physical limitations that sometimes make that process difficult. 

The little hedgehog learned yesterday that the former humans were incorporating their original language into the natural speak of animals.  Wiggling his nose, Pudgy wondered what such a course of action might result of such a course?  Putting those thoughts aside, the hedgehog watched a stone pathway appeared.  The stones were laid by the former humans, so very long ago, that they had been rendered smooth as glass.  Stone monuments dotted the sides of the path, written with those funny markings.  Pointing up at one rectangular block of granite, “what does that say Goro?”  Pudgy asked with a curious look, to which the elderly rabbit nodded and stopped for a moment.  “It is a directional marker on the path.  It says Azumamaro Shrine ahead.  These are written in kanji, which is the traditional Japanese writing style.” 

With his curiosity satiated for a time, the trio continued to scamper down the stone path.  It was primarily straight, though in places it gently curved around the trees.  The forest was becoming much thicker.  Bushes full of wild berries could be seen, as well as tall pine trees full of pine cones.  His squirrel and chipmunk friends were going to be so happy once Pudgy told them about the trees.  In many ways the trees and plants resembled those back home, which meant gathering would be easier.  “Hello Goro,” a voice called out from above.  Suddenly a tiny bird flew in, and landed in front of the trio.   The bird was shorter than Pudgy, but not by much.  A very slender body with white, black and brown markings all over its body.  A tiny black needle shaped beak pointed towards Pudgy as equally small black eyes looked at him intently. 

The elderly rabbit stopped and waved his front left paw at the bird.  “Hello Twig, good to see you.”  Pudgy waved at the bird, “my name is Pudgy, it is nice to meet you!”  The bird wiggled a bit as it fluffed its feathers, “hello Pudgy, did you come from the ship that docked yesterday?”  Minato nodded, “yes, he did, and there are all sorts of animals on board that ship too!  They sailed all the way from America here!”  The younger rabbit excitedly spoke as the bird nodded, “oh wow!  I must tell my flock about it!”  The bird quickly flew off, and up into the tree canopy.  Goro chuckled, “Twig is a nice, but a gossip monger.  Now everyone in the forest will know …”  Minato chuckled, “well as least he stopped trying to eat your boat!”  Pudgy wiggled his nose looking a bit confused, when the elderly rabbit replied.  “Well … he is a wood pecker after all.  It’s not the wood he eats, its insects within it.  A coat of primer stopped that bird.”

Once more the started to scamper up the path: around the trees, past monuments of stone with Kanji written on them, to reach another one of the strange red and black wooden structures.  This one however, was much smaller and was clearly built by the animals.  Minato smiled, “these are called Torii gates.  They mark the entrance to a shrine, or in this case … Fushimi village.”  The rabbit pointed to the Kanji written in black paint.  The little hedgehog nodded, and while he knew it was writing, he had no idea how to read it at all.  Passing underneath the gate, which was about five feet wide and four feet tall, the trio started to pass by traditional Japanese houses.  All were one story, with low triangular shaped roofs.  They were painted dark brown or black, with white paper panels that served as doors or window coverings.  Most of the homes had wide doors that opened to the left and right, and were wide open.  Inside the homes were rectangular brown mats, spread out in various places. 

Rabbits, mice, birds, and all manner of animals were living here.  Each house was built to account for the size of the animals living within, so they varied in size and scope.  However, all were of simple design, and expertly crafted.  As the group passed by, several moved out to their porches to wave at Goro.  Mothers were barely able to restrain their children, as the strange quill covered animal walked past with his adventure outfit on.  The hedgehog would smile and wave as they passed, and watched as the stone path branched off into different directions.  Minato was narrating the signs as they passed by, “store … rice fields …”  The hedgehog wiggled his nose, “rice field?  Pudgy remember rice … when Pudgy good friend Cobalt was human.  He would eat that stuff, and put this black sauce on it.”  Goro nodded, “teriyaki sauce … I miss that.  We have tried to make it, but are having problems.  No one can get the taste quite right anymore, so its back to regional varieties.  Your grandmother could make a good version Minato.”  The younger rabbit nodded, “I miss her.”  The elderly rabbit nodded, “as do I Minato.”

“We have time for a bit of sightseeing,” Goro said.  Taking the right path, they hopped down the stone path and several more homes to reach a large series of fields.  Passing by underneath another Torii gate, Pudgy stopped to marvel at what he was seeing.  The fields were enormous, and darn near level.  Neat rows of vegetables were planted as far as the eye could see.   A thick strand of trees grew around the edge of the farmland, protecting it from the harshness of typhoon weather.  More signs were made, and as they passed, Minato read out the words.  “Carrots, lettuce, leeks, daikon radish, natto, soybeans, potatoes …” They passed by as a group of mice were tending the fields.  They were wearing circular hats that had a point in the middle where one’s head would go.  They were traditional Japanese hats, and made of weaved grass that had been bleached by the sun. 

It was not long until the stone path ceased, and turned into a hard packed dirt trail with ruts.  There were clear signs of wagon usage in the area, which made sense given the size and scope of the farming operation here.  Pudgy wondered where the wagons were, but watched as a large bog appeared in front of him.  The rabbits stopped and pointed, which made the little critter wiggle his nose as he watched rabbits planting rice plants into the flooded field.  They had planted hundreds so far, and the wet bunnies were carefully planting the fragile plants into the muddy bottom of the bog.  Goro spoke again, “the rice plants require a flooded field to grow.  Once ready, we will drain the field, and harvest the crop.  Each time we do this, our yield grows.”  Minato nodded, “that first harvest was a disaster!”  Pudgy wiggled his nose, “Pudgy amazed at everything Pudgy see here!  Friendship Town has crops growing, but our fields are not as nice as these.”

The group turned around, and started to move a bit quicker, or at least as fast as Goro could handle.  Past the fields, through the Torii gate, and back to the junction they headed.  Making a right, they proceeded into the heart of Fushimi village.  The homes became much closer together, and some started to have second stories to them.  But soon their destination became clear, as one home stood out from the rest.  Its main structure was a rectangular shape, with white painted wood and red accents.  But the main focus was the roof.  It was triangular at the peak, but then had a curve to the woof that spread out all the way to cover the porches which ran around the entirety of the structure.  Somehow, the edge of the roof was curved upwards at the corners, so however did the construction was highly skilled to pull off angles and curves to this magnitude.   A red fence was surrounding the edge of the property, with a sign painted in exquisite kanji lettering. 

 Goro smiled, “Sichio Touma.  All visitors must register with here.  All requests for travel must be approved.  Ring bell to announce arrival.  Pudgy, would you do the honor please?”  There was a tall cylinder-shaped bell that was hanging from a post nearby to where the gate was for the outer fence.  While Pudgy could see over the fence, and the mayor was looking at him, he knew he should follow instructions.  There was a small wooden mallet that was hanging by a black rope nearby, and so the hedgehog took the mallet and gently tapped on the bell.  It had a deep ring, and almost vibrated his teeth.  Upon ringing the bell, the black rabbit looked up from a low table full of papers, and waved his right paw at them.  Goro turned to Minato, “grandson.  This will be very boring, can you head back to our home?  I am sure your friends will be quiet interested in Pudgy and his ship.” 

The younger rabbit nodded, “bye Pudgy!”  Then quicky hopped off, following another stone lined path that ran past the mayor’s house and into the forest.  Goro opened the fence gate, and then hopped slowly towards the red painted porch in the front of the home.  Pudgy entered next, and then shut the gate behind him.  There was a locking mechanism, of black painted metal.  Wiggling his nose, they had metal?  More importantly, someone in this village knew how to black smith, and this revelation meant that things were very different here than he expected.  Turning around, the hedgehog scampered up to stand beside Goro on the porch.  The wide paper doors had been pulled open allowing full view of the interior of the home.  This was the main room, and was wide open to allow for town business.  There was another paper door off to the left behind the major, which undoubtedly went to the rest of the home. 

Sichio Touma smiled, “welcome Goro … welcome Captain Pudgy of the Determined. You may enter my home; you honor me by your presence.”  Pudgy watched as the elderly rabbit bowed, and wiggled his nose.  “Thank you for inviting Pudgy over for a visit!  Pudgy was looking forward to visit!”  The black rabbit was wearing a robe of some sort, which was black and tied off with a wide belt of fine baric which was light brown.  He wore an over coat of some sort, that was long, with wide open sleeves.  The outer vestment was light blue.  It was a very unique outfit, which the hedgehog had never seen before.  The mayor pointed with his paw, “please have a seat.  We have much to discuss.”  Both Goro and Pudgy moved up to sit on small light brown cushions, that were placed upon the rectangular woven mates that covered the wood floor boards.  Taking off his pack and helmet, Pudgy set those beside him as he sat down on his cushion. 

Goro sat down and his white fluffy tail wiggled out behind him as he joints cracked.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, “are you alright Goro?”  The elderly rabbit nodded, “I’ll be fine.  I am old, but at least I still have all my fur.  I was bald when I was a human.”  The mayor laughed softly, “those days seem so very long ago.  Perhaps our hedgehog friend can shine light on to what happened in our world.  Pudgy, you spoke of a much longer tale.  I wish to hear it, and please start at the beginning.”  The little hedgehog nodded, “it was all warm and dark, then suddenly it was cold but Pudgy momma was smiling.”  The mayor laughed heartily, patting the low wooden table with his paws.  Even the elderly rabbit laughed, and once everyone settled down, the hedgehog wiggled his nose.  “Perhaps Pudgy should start when Pudgy headed to the center of the earth.”

The mayor’s mouth dropped wide open as he listened to the stories told by the hedgehog.  There were parts which he requested to skip ahead, but by the time the humans had started to disappear, the little hedgehog had already saved the world many times.  No one knew about it, because he was so far away to the east.  Japan and this region of the world had been shielded from the grand series of hedgehog adventures, until the Gaia stones were activated.  The birds working in conjunction with the owls, had activated ancient mystic rocks that made all the humans disappear from the world.  The story ended with Pudgy high up in the tree at the conclusion of the Grand Parliament.  As the mayor listened, he shuddered at the coyote attack that occurred at the end of the story.  However, it was the appearance of Cobalt in dragon form that drew his immediate attention. 

“Oh my, where are my manors?  You have been telling such a wonderful story.  You must be thirsty, “which resulted in the rabbit turning his head and speaking Japanese.  It was amazing to hear it, because with a rabbit mouth, it had to be difficult.  “Tell me more of the dragon …” the mayor said, looking intently at Pudgy.  But once the words were spoken, the hedgehog started to become upset, and sniff his nose.  The next story was that of the trip to Alaska, and to meet the Mother of All Bears.  Again, it was a fascinating tale, and the ending with Pudgy and his friends at the lodge beside the ocean, wrapped it up nicely.  However, the dragon was not doing so well, which made Goro frown.  As the hedgehog told the tale of returning home, meeting the crazy cacti again, and fighting the moon dinosaurs in Colorado … a younger rabbit emerged from the back sliding door with a wood tray.  She was slender, and dressed in a pale yellow kimono.  She did not look at the males in the room, keeping her head bowed as she set out refreshments. 

Small clay cups were placed on the table, along with a napkin of pale linen.  News of the passing of the dragon ended Pudgy’s tale, which resulted in him breaking down and crying.  The ending of the story took both rabbits back a pace.  Goro nodded, “perhaps we should stop for a moment.  Arigato Sichio Touma,” the elderly rabbit reached for the pale clay cup with both of his paws and lifted it up to his mouth to sip slowly.  The mayor nodded and did the same, though kept an eye of his foreign visitor.  Once he had recovered enough, Pudgy reached for the tea, and sniffed it.  It did not smell like anything he had ever drank before.  He was so thirsty though, and slowly he lifted the cup to his mouth to take a sip.  It was far stronger than any tea he had drunk before, and had a wonderful taste.  His nose immediately started to wiggle, as the caffeine hit his system. 

Touma laughed, “now you have tasted proper tea.  Do you like it?”  The mayor watched as the little hedgehog’s eyes started to bounce around in his head, and he excitedly started to nod.  Even his quills started to stick out and vibrate, which made Goro laugh.  “Sichio … perhaps next time we should make it a tad bit weaker.”  The two rabbits laughed, but then noticed that Pudgy set his half full cup down on the napkin that was on the table in front of him.  Reaching over into his pack, the hedgehog undid the straps, and took out pieces of dried plantains.  He pawed over one for the mayor, one for Goro, and one for himself.  He quickly bit into it, munching away hungrily.  The elderly rabbit sniffed, and then took a bite.  His eyes lit up, “oh my …isn’t this sweet!  Where did you get this Pudgy?”  The critter swallowed, “from the jungle surrounding Mt. Apo in the Philippines.  We are not yet to that part of the story.”  The mayor nodded, and was munching on the offered dried fruit. 

Pudgy set half of his plantain down beside the cup on the napkin, and began to speak again.  The dragon had passed away, as magical creatures could not live long upon this world.  The soul of his friend was taken by the eagles, and a rescue mission ensued to the dense forest of Iron Wood.  The military power of the eagles drew an immediate interest of the mayor, and the conversion from dragon to eagle as well.  The story then led into the terrible fight with the wolves.  Several times, the hedgehog would nibble a piece of plantain, and take a sup of the tea.  The atrocities described by the hedgehog that resulted from Blood Fang, made both of the rabbits shiver.  Once again, the Great spirit saved the day, and obliterated evil from the face of the earth.  However, the world became to change rapidly.  Winter disappeared, and only an eternal summer like season remains in the forest.   

The hedgehog spoke fondly of his forest, and Friendship Town which sprung up around his home organically.  More friends arrived, and soon they had homes and fields built.  A steam ship to haul goods from Beaver Town to the south and the otter outpost to the north, rounded out the story.  It was then flooding that drew attention once more, and the trip to the Philippines.  By the time that they had found the ley line, and activated it, night had fallen outside.  The mayor had requested more refreshments to be served, and the tea was thankfully made weaker for their hedgehog friend.  All three animals were wide awake, so the story continued until the wee hours of the morning of the trip to Japan.   It was several moments before the mayor spoke, and his words had a measured tone to them. 

“Pudgy, your story is incredible.  And yet, I can detect no signs of lie or embellishment.  It goes to explain our current situation.  Thank you for telling me the story, the emperor will be most interested in this.  Your ship is docked at our pier, and will remain there until further notice.”   The hedgehog nodded, “ok, Pudgy understands.  Can Pudgy ask a question please?”  The mayor nodded, to which the hedgehog spoke again. “Thank you Sichio Touma.  Our ship is completely out of food, would it be ok for the crew to gather supplies from the forest?”  The rabbit nodded, “you may not enter our fields.  I know Goro showed you them earlier.  The fields and town stores are for our residents only.  That is unless the emperor deems otherwise.  What will you do next Captain Pudgy?

The hedgehog nodded, “Argente said that Shima Moyo would soon be coming to visit us at the docks.  The plan is to head to Fushimi Inari Taisha, and find the ley line.”  Touma nodded, “and if you find it, can you activate it like the one in your forest?”  The hedgehog nodded, “yes.  Fushimi would be linked to the Philippines and to Friendship Town.”  Goro grinned, “I would very much like to visit your forest Pudgy.  I want to find your friend Cobalt, and talk to him.:  The mayor nodded, “I do as well Goro.  Friendship Town had a gathering of animals such as we do here, which deemed to build an ocean capable sailing ship.  It sailed for thousands of miles, through intense weather, and dangers both above and below the surface of the salt water.  Perhaps we need a vessel of our own …”  The mayor said with a look of wonder in his eyes. 

A small yawn escaped from Goro, as he sipped the remainder of his tea.  The faint twilight of dawn was approaching.  Touma yawned as well, “my word … we talked all the way to morning.”  Bonnnnngggg…..  Someone rung the bell, which resulted in the sound vibrating throughout the home.  As Pudgy turned around on his cushion, he saw Argente standing beside her mother Shima Moyo.  Argente waved her paw, “Pudgy are you done with your meeting?”  The little hedgehog nodded, and the white ghost fox grinned at the mayor.  “Did you serve Pudgy a proper tea, Touma?”  The mayor nodded, “yes …we have to make it weaker though, I though his quills were going to pop out.”  The two foxes laughed, and watched as Pudgy put on his helmet and backpack.  He stood up, and bowed slightly like Goro did earlier.  The mayor smiled, “you need to work on your bow Pudgy, but that is sufficient for now.  I will send word to your crew regarding the ship status.  Our meeting has ended, welcome to Japan … Pudgy hedgehog.”

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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