Cathryn jumped at the sound of nearby thunder and pulled her line out of the water, "I think that's enough fish, we can count them all inside."
Maria was surprised by how unsettled Cathryn seemed, but agreed nonetheless. After learning about the Pocket Zone ability and storing three fish in it, Maria thought that today's was a fulfilling lesson.574Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡf6Y2TG0UwC
The two hurried to the shack, when they approached the door Cathryn held the umbrella and turned around, backing into the building as she closed the umbrella with practiced ease, before turning back around and closing the door with her foot, her tail around her waist to keep it out of the door.574Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡvdrWksV4Dn
"That's another thing to be wary of," Cathryn said suddenly, "doors closing on your tail."
"I guess I haven't thought of that before." Maria remembered last night when she had to go through two doors, this and the one for her room, if she'd been in a rush, that might not have ended well.
"Hey, where's everyone?" Cathryn called out, looking around for the two men left alone to their argument, "Hopefully they didn't slap each other silly."
Maria chuckled as she heard Kokoso bounce out of the kitchen, while Byrd came in from the back door.
"Who's ready to learn how to cook?" Kokoso inquired excitedly.
"After that," Byrd announced, "I'll teach you how to run this place."
After a day of rigorous training, Maria Wolfe found herself standing behind the counter, taking orders from costumers pouring in from the rain pouring down outside.
She was introduced to the villagers in this way, talking to a handful of them as they waited for Kokoso and Byrd to get their orders ready.
Since Maria was sure she didn't want to handle this alone, she enlisted the help of her three friends, Cathryn--at Byrd's advisement that she was the most well suited to the task--ended up waiting the tables, she was just as quick, agile, and observant as Byrd talked her up to be.574Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡE9mhg79Sae
The thunder's rumbling and wind's howling barely rose above that of the costumers, it almost felt peaceful, even with the rain pounding against the roof.
The next day Maria learned from Kokoso's older brother how to plant a garden, something about the land made crops grow more quickly than anywhere else, the day after that a groundhog type Animen gave her a pickax to collect forging materials and a choice of a basic weapon, and the day after that she went to answer Mother Goose's summons.
"Mother Goose," Maria began, "you wanted to see me?"
"Yes, Maria, please, just Goose is fine." Mother Goose smiled and rose to her feet, "Today you were heading out into the woods, in search of some material for the old groundhog, is that right?"
"Yes...how do you know?" Maria inquired, surprised Mother Goose could find out so much without noticeably leaving to gather information.
"As...improvisational matriarch of these yet unnamed wilds, I'm brought up to date on important matters by the spirits of the woods." Mother Goose replied.
"It's just some ore, though, right?"
"Not quite, anyone going into the woods needs an escort, and since you're here, I take it that your friends have taken over upkeep of the Wolfe while you're away, so I'll be your escort." Mother Goose seemed to float towards the door, she turned to see if Maria was behind her, gesturing for the still wolf Animen to follow her.574Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡykaxs01iGb
"So, I see you've decided to take up the claws?" Mother Goose remarked, to break the silence.
"Yes, I'm not used to dealing with weapons, but claws are light and small enough that I can move them to block attacks from...whatever lives in the woods that I'm supposed to be wary of." Maria looked around briefly and returned her attention to the older woman, "What is it that lives here?"
"Monsters, very many monsters; they may be monsters but they were once animals, or so the spirits say."
"What else do they say?"
"To reveal to a chosen few that, the further in you go into these woods, the more powerful they become."
"They get more powerful, why?"
"Because, 'they live there', that's what the spirits said."
"Because...the monsters live there?"
"So...the land makes them stronger? Then this...energy...is it me, or is it more intense?"
"It's not just you, the deeper we go, the more powerful the energy here."
"Then the answer lies deeper in these woods, we have to find out why!" Maria concluded.
"Exactly why I can only tell a few...I know not to stand in the way of human curiosity, I ask only that you be mindful of what you find, and tell the other three to aid you in your journey."
"So, you're not exactly happy with us going?"
"Not exactly, it's dangerous, and I can't go that far in, but eventually someone will have to, you're one of the ones the spirits selected."
"Who are the others?"
"Oh...you'll know upon returning to the Wolfe, in the meantime, look upon this tablet." Mother Goose indicated the towering slab of stone with lettering etched into it, "Touch it, and the spirits will reveal key points in your work and relationships."
Maria stepped forward and a world of transparent squares with titles appeared before her, one being "Hoppy Friend" with Kokoso's image, another being "Feathered Friend" indicating Byrd, and Cathryn's was "Feline Alright", Mother Goose also appeared as "Goosey Goddess", and one set apart from the rest, profile shrouded in darkness, "Lone Wolfe", and four of what seemed to be missions, "Spring Into Action", "Summer Friends", "Fall Back", and "Winter Wonders", along with what seemed to be a map of the place, though it was a bare outline, with what seemed to be previously visited areas colored.
"That stone is the Mosiac Rosetta, none know how it works, but the effects are clear, you can see glimpses of reality, some seemingly unrelated, like a mosiac, but all of them are purposeful," she heard Mother Goose's voice from the world outside her mind or wherever she currently was, "there are people who'd misuse this. But take note of the four season themed portraits, they seem to be prophecies, while everything else is like a book where you look at all the people in your life, which is helpful if you forget something about someone, but you can't see something about someone if they haven't told you beforehand."
"No wonder Kokoso's the only one with anything on his list." Maria mused.
"Quite right, now, onto the cave, there's work to be done if you're to get your weapons, and remember, monsters will likely drop things useful in crafting, so do remember to fight a little, you'll also be doing the villagers and animals inside the monster a favor."
"They lash out in anguish, I suspect there's a reason they've turned into monsters, I imagine nothing pleasant in their history, the items they leave behind are their gratitude...I didn't believe it either, when the spirits told me."
"Where are these spirits, anyways?"
"Everywhere, they only showed themselves to me after watching me for months as I built a life here, marooned on this beach, and taught me of the blessings of this island."
"So, will I see them?"
"I don't know, they're not clear in their reasoning, maybe it takes exposure to the elements...maybe I died one day, and I'm unaware of my passing, tied to this plane for some unknown reason...maybe I'm connected to the Mosiac Rosetta."
"Unaware of your passing...so you could be a ghost, then."
"Indeed, I was here long before the others, there's no telling what happened before that time, as there were no other witnesses."
"You were on a square, in the Mosiac Rosetta, your title-" Maria found that, for some reason, she was unable to comprehend the words, as though her intention to share this knowledge was forbidden, "Hmm, that's odd, it's like if I plan on saying, then the spirits or something out there knows, and prevents me from saying anything."
"That's intriguing, possibly to keep one from being forced to surrender information?"
"Possibly...or to prevent traitors from selling it...or spies from using it."
Mother Goose set to work helping Maria collect materials, and after a few hours, the two headed back through the woods, towards the village.
Maria had her weapon forged and gave the starter weapons back, then went to the Wolfe to find her three friends armed, Byrd with a lance, Cathryn with her axe, and Kokoso with a sword and shield, it was then she knew who the others chosen by the spirits were.ns 18.104.22.168da2