Cathryn led Maria into the large hut inhabited by an older woman with grand white, black tipped wings, despite not having a crown, she seemed noble, due to the lone chair upon which she sat and the placement of the chair.
"Mother Goose." Cathryn nodded before stepping back, leaving Maria in Mother Goose's gaze.
"Thank you for coming, Maria." Mother Goose said softly, "Has Cathryn already told you of the island's conflict with the Company?"
Maria nodded slowly and turned around to see the saddened young woman and her flying, nearsighted friend who's feathers were drenched, "They left me a letter."
"I see...I'm sorry we couldn't have fought better against the Company, we thought we knew the situation, and you became a casualty of that brief war." Mother Goose stood and walked to the wall to her right, and pushed a panel back, revealing a dark room, "Their...belongings are in here, you may wish to bring some to your room in the Sea Side Wolfe."
"Thank you...I think I'll just try to get some sleep, though." Maria turned away and started for the exit when Kokoso bounced into the room.
"Hey, Maria, Cat showed you around, yet?" Kokoso asked eagerly.
"Yeah, I'm going to start up business tomorrow...maybe." she said drearily.
"You feel okay, Maria?" Kokoso wondered.
"I'll be fine...just need some time to think." Maria went out into the rain, making no hurry for the shack that was to be her home. Kokoso started after her when Byrd grabbed his arm.
"She just found out about her parents...on the way here Cat and I decided that would be her responsibility...I've never known Cat to fail to follow through." Byrd turned to Cathryn expectantly and the purple haired cat girl nodded.
"I told her...as a friend of a friend, you and I should help out around the shack until she's ready to take over." Cathryn decided, having saved her idea for a moment like this when she wanted to change the subject or fill a silence, now was definitely that time.
"We can get better with our magic like that." Byrd noted, adjusting his glasses.
"Someone should teach her how to fish." Kokoso turned his eyes to Cathryn.
"Right, I'm one of the best fishers in the village." Cathryn agreed.
"How you don't brag on your skills is beyond me." Kokoso sighed, shaking his head.
"It runs in the family," Cathryn explained, "it's not like something I had to work at."
"Is that why you don't use dual blades?" Byrd inquired, "You wouldn't believe it, but she uses an axe, it's out of the way, but that's on purpose, most cat type Animen go for swift or light weapons, but not Cathryn."
"I'm pur-roud of myself, though." Cathryn said, wearing a small smile.
"That pride will get you killed." Byrd sighed, "Or the lack of, I suppose."
"I'm also working on that lisp we have." Cathryn beamed."Notice how I cut that last purr short?"
"You did say 'pu-roud', now that you mention it." Kokoso agreed.
"It's not easy, but working on it." Cathryn smiled, "My family's waiting for me, I should be going, see you two bright and early tomorrow."
"Scratch the 'bright' part," Byrd remarked, "we're going to be seeing a bit of this rain for while yet."
The next morning found a tired Maria waking up from her interrupted sleep, she kept seeing harsh red lights blinking, fumes irritating her nostrils, metallic din threatening to deafen her unless she suffocated first.
For ten or twenty minutes she sat with her head resting against her hand, she was tempted to lay back down when she heard something downstairs, and someone bouncing upstairs. From the knocking on the door, it wasn't Kokoso, it must have been Cathryn or Byrd, she concluded, but then, why did she hear Cathryn's admonishing tone telling someone not to go in there?
The answer revealed itself as three little kids flooded in, all with slender ears poking out of their heads, "Well, there goes that option."
"I'm sorry about this, I didn't know he was bringing the whole family over." Cathryn gave her hasty reply and tried to herd the children out the door again.
"It's not my fault," Kokoso said defensively, "my parents thought it'd be a good idea to see my siblings, bonding time if you will...they're not very inclusive, I guess I'm outside their age group, though."
"Kokoso!" Byrd yelled from downstairs, "Tame your siblings!"
"They don't act like they're my siblings!" Kokoso called back, "Tell them that! Ha, hi, Maria, the kids don't really want to stay home, they wanted to follow their big brother to his friend's home...and then abandon me."
"Hmm." Maria grunted, "I'll be down in a bit."
Maria made her way down stairs to find Kokoso and Byrd debating something, as she drew near she heard Byrd tell Kokoso that the bunny was better off showing Maria how to cook, while Byrd swept the floor.
"I'll let you two figure it out, then." she called out as she made her exit, surprising both the boys, who had no idea she was in the room with them.
Outside she found Cathryn sitting on her heels, entranced with a pill bug. She had an umbrella over her to keep the rain off, and two fishing poles lay beside her, neglected in favor of the little creature on the ground.
"Cat?" Maria was almost amused, if her mind wasn't on her parents.
"Meuh?!" Cat jumped upright and uprooted the umbrella, then lowered herself and let it hit the sand, leaving her exposed to the rain. Maria smirked a bit as Cathryn retrieved her umbrella and frowned at the short sleeves sticking to her, "Ugh, I hate this."
"Um, you regularly...look at bugs?" Maria pointed at the fishing poles, "Or did you get distracted?"
"In addition to the purr that haunts our words," Cathryn began, "we also have a tendency to get...sidetracked easily, fortunately this means we can occupy ourselves pretty easily. As for these, I was wondering if you wanted to go fishing, increase your overall stock before you have to open shop."
"I hate fish." Maria sighed, forehead creasing.
"Oh...well, the act of fishing?" Cathryn inquired.
"I don't think so, but I guess I need something to cook."
"Well, there are other things, but fish is the most popular item, from what I recall." Cathryn handed Maria the umbrella and collected the fishing poles.
"Well, me and the boys will help, while you keep the place oppu-rating." Maria gave Cathryn a quirked eyebrow at the strained pronunciation and Cathryn lowered her head, "I know, I know...I'm working on it."
Maria gestured to the fishing poles, "How does this work?"
"You just cast the line and wait until you feel the fish bite to reel it in," Cathryn handed her a pole and led her to the covered pier, "I'll show you how to pro-purrly cast, and let you try it, it may take a few times, but you'll get the hang of it."
"Alright, I'm watching." Maria said, twirling the umbrella as Cathryn showed her the proper form for casting a line.493Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡMcIxwxADwP
"It looks tough, but here...here everything's so much easier, the stronger your connection to this place, the easier it is to bait fish, grow food, even cooking gets easier." Cathryn took the umbrella back and smiled, "Your turn."493Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡBXAQmMUq7E
"Do we have a fish basket?" Maria wondered, casting her line.493Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡRqbYuekttl
"We can use Pocket Zones--the dimensional pocket we generate--to store supplies, fish included." Cathryn explained.493Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡJ3qpiwGFeZ
While Maria was out, Kokoso and Byrd were figuring out what roles they'd take on.
"Look, I'm tired of arguing, I'll do the cooking." Kokoso relented.
"I knew you'd see reason, good thing your parents took the kids back, I won't have to worry about the dust bunnies making a mess of things." Byrd grabbed a broom and pointed at the kitchen, "Why are you just standing there?"
"Nothing...I just had some weird nightmares last night," Kokoso replied, "probably nothing...I'll get the ingredients ready for something, what are you in the mood for?"
"I don't know, just think of something basic." Byrd shrugged.
"Hmm, fish and chips are popular, I'll make sure we've got enough ingredients for that!"
And the next update will see the four meet back in the 'Sea Side Wolfe."ns 22.214.171.124da2