Friday, 30 May 2014

Chapter 2: To the Rescue

Not again, sighs Neko. It is that same dream again, starting off with that macarena song playing in the background as cats of all breeds and sizes line up before her to pay her the homage she deserves, to her PURRfection. She sighs and decides to roll with it, and soon finds herself dancing with the kittens as they worship her, as befitting their lowly position. The cats then bring her before a throne, though the image is always fuzzy.
Positioned beside it is a large, beautiful Russian Blue acting as her page. It stands up on its hind legs and bows deeply, which she acknowledges with a dip of her head. As she sits down on the throne, the Russian Blue turns to face the sea of admiring cats numbering hundreds, if not thousands of legions. "All shall bow down before the might of the Nekomancer!" decreed the Russian Blue.
An amused grin curls her lips as Neko watches the cats stand up row-by-row to pay their respects to her, creating a wave of bowing cats that seems to go in forever, receding into the blurry distance. She waits patiently until they have finished, then rises magnificently from her throne and raises her hands.
"Let the feast," she announces, "BEGIN!"
"Neko?" calls Somn.
Neko rolls her eyes in reply. Just as the cats are doing the Dance of the Opened Tuna Can... she thinks before sparing Somn an annoyed glance. One look at her friend’s face immediately changes that annoyance to worry, though she keeps up her irritated expression.
“Let me guess, you forgot something again, didn’t you?” Neko asks, raising an eyebrow. “You do know this is the only time I can rest from all the insanity you cause every day?”
“Not right now," Somn says, her face twisted into a state of panic. “I need two Bricks, stat. Bring them near the Origin."
Neko sighs, then remembers something. “But I only have one Brick left,” she says. "And I worked hard for that Brick!"
“It’s an emergency,” pleads Somn. “Just yell at someone and hurry!”
“Alright, alright...” Neko says, closing her eyes.
For a few moments, she feels disoriented as the world around her seems to spin out of control. Not trusting her balance or sight till the sensation stops, she waits until she is sure everything has finally stabilised. She then opens her eyes to find herself inside her room. She doesn’t know how Somn is able to wake people from their dreams-- and her friend will likely never tell her how-- but she guesses that it's a part of her “dream powers” or something.
Neko shrugs and jumps out of bed, looking around for her Blue Brick. A quick scan of her room reveals it resting inside her backpack under the table, with her guitar on top of the whole lot. She sweeps out the Brick from under the table, then flings open her bedroom door.
One more to go, she thinks, running out of the student-deities' allotted residential block. On the way down, she meets an god with messy hair held up by a headband and goggles-- the deity still in the same batch as her, but he was born early in the creation season.
“Hey Fred!” Neko calls.
Fred smiles brightly and says, "You're up early--the sun's still shining. I guess you've heard about the orientation later today?"
“Oh yeah, I forgot about it,” she says. “I'll deal with that later. Do you have another one of these lying around? Somn needs them,” she adds hopefully, waving around the Brick to make her point.
“Hmmm.. Lemme check my pack. Always gotta be prepared, ya know?” he says as he rummages his bag. “Why does Somn need it anyway?”
“She didn’t say. And this is my last one too, curse that idiot. If I disappear because of this so help me Random I will find a way to haunt her,” Neko grumbles. She looks back at Fred and asks, “Do you have one in there?”
Fred laughs knowingly. “Here we go!” He reveals a shiny blue brick. “Just accumulated this one a few weeks ago. Lots of hard work. Here.” He hands the brick to her and says, “Now let’s go see what our wonderful friend has gotten herself into this time.”
With that, they head off to the Origin, mindful of the few pits along the way. They’ve been warned by their seniors that monsters would often dig pits to the point that it was an in-campus running gag.
“I swear," begins Neko, "whoever falls into one of these things would be the--” Her sentence was cut off when she hears her friend’s voice coming from one of the pits. “Did you hear that?” she asks Fred.
“Is it someone we know? Someone who’s name starts with S and always seems to get into trouble?” Fred says, grinning.
“The same ‘Somnone’ that asked me to get these bricks to her, it would seem,” Neko says, chuckling at her pun. “I can’t believe she actually fell down one of these things!” she laughs.
“Guys!" shouts Somn, having not heard their conversation clearly. "Thank TGR-- hurry and toss those Bricks down here!"
Neko and Fred look down to find their friend stuck inside a ridiculously large and deep pit. With her are two gods that they suspect are newborns.
“I didn’t know you had a date, Somn?” teases Fred with a laugh, before he notices the symptoms of the Fade on one of the newborn gods. He immediately becomes serious. “Neko, you really should give her the Bricks now.”
“Here you go,” Neko says, deliberately aiming for her friend's head as she throws the Bricks into the pit. “You owe me one.”
Despite being affected by the Fade, Luke somehow manages to catch the Bricks before they hit Somn. She quickly snatches one out of his hands before he could accidentally absorb it, for as soon as the Bricks touch his hands, they start glowing. The Brick in Luke's hand dissipates into swirling mass of energy that circulates around his body for a brief moment before being absorbed by his skin, the energy giving him a faint glow and turning his limbs back into opaque body parts. Somn slips the other Brick into Krill's hands and the same process happens to him. Both Somn and Luke in sigh in relief.
"Thanks," says Luke gratefully.
“I’m gonna go find a rope,” Neko says, getting up. She pauses and looks at Fred. “Or do you happen to have one in your pack?”
“Are you kidding me? That’s basic equipment!” Fred says in mock disbelief. He grabs his pack and produces a rope. “You guys really should be more prepared.”
“Yeah, for camping, or anywhere outdoorsy,” Neko laughs, giving Fred a playful shove. “And as you can tell, I didn’t bring my pack with me.”
The god blushes, but takes care to make sure Neko doesn't notice. “Never hurts to be prepared,” he replies, handing her the rope. “You’ll never know when a Godville Administrator will appear and trap you into a hole.”
“Well, these three didn’t need the monster’s help for that,” says Neko jokingly, tying the rope around a nearby tree. She tosses the other end into the pit. "Please don't tell me you guys are dense enough that I need to tell you what to do next."
Somn helps tie a still unconscious Krill to the rope, then gives it a quick tug. “Okay. Pull him up!” she yells.
Neko wraps the rope around her and digs her feet into the ground. Fred follows her lead and together they slowly pull the young godling upward. It takes a few long minutes but they eventually get him near the edge. With a final tug, the young god flies over, crashing onto Neko and waking up.
“Oww…” moans Krill, rubbing his head.
“Umm… Hi?” Neko says awkwardly, not really sure about what she should say.
“Oh. Ah. H-hello there…” the god replies, his dark cheeks deepening colour at their close proximity. Their faces were only inches apart and for a moment, Neko forgets about everything else. Then Krill realises he is on top of a complete stranger, and the gravity of the situation reminds Neko that she is still pinned down to the floor.
“Can you please get off me?” she complains.
“Oh.. Sorry.” The young god blushes profusely, scrambling off her.
He’s... cute, I guess, she thinks reluctantly. She watches him get up and offer her a hand, which she gladly takes.
“I’m Krill,” he says.
“Nekomancer,” Neko replies.
“Nekomancer?” he asks, slightly confused.
“It's my name. You can just call me Neko though.”
Fred watches the exchange with narrowed eyes, then clears his throat a little too loudly. “Ehem! A little hand here?” he asks, directing a not-so-subtle glare at Krill.
“Yes, please!” calls Somn from the pit. “You guys still have two more people to pull up.”
“You can go up first,” offers Luke politely.

“Are you mad?” asks Somn, taking a step back in horror. “The moment I get up there, Neko’s gonna kill me for interrupting her dream!”

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