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the1SAR

the1SAR's Chronicles of Survival fanfic

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the1SAR    13

LAST UPDATE: 4/11/13Quick Note: This is a slightly AU fanfic. Please keep that in mind while reading. Enjoy!Don’t Starve: Chronicles of SurvivalChapter 1The First Two Days“Say, pal, you don’t look so good.”The boy began to stir upon hearing the familiar voice. When the boy’s eyes cracked open, they spotted the numerous white clouds covering the sky. The boy groaned before his hands dug into the ground, the boy pushing himself up a moment later. The boy’s tired gaze glanced around the grassy plain, a few tall tufts of grass and small saplings dotting the landscape. A split second later, the boy awoke fully, head twisting left and right in quick movements.“Where am I?!” The boy, after remaining still and thinking for a moment, turned around and saw a thin man wearing a black suit towering a few feet behind. The boy’s gaze transformed into a glare as a snarl formed in his throat. “Maxwell…” The boy rose to his feet, but the aggression faded as a dizzy spell struck, the boy raising a hand to his head to pinch his forehead.The thin man smirked in response. “You better find something to eat before night comes!” In a puff of smoke, the man disappeared.The boy released a gasp upon seeing Maxwell vanish. The boy’s anger soon returned, however. “If I see him again…” With a sigh, the boy returned to scanning the environment as a hand ran through his black hair. “What have you gotten yourself into, Wilson? You should’ve known you couldn’t trust him. What was I even thinking, going along with him…?” Another sigh passed by the boy’s lips before he straightened up. “Well, standing around won’t solve anything. I’ve already wasted enough time.” Wilson, after pulling his fingerless gloves back, walked over to and picked up a sharp piece of flint. “I better look around and find some materials I can use since I’m in the middle of nowhere, it seems.” The boy turned towards a nearby grass tuft and, using the flint he picked up earlier, cut the grass then placed it in his right front pocket. Wilson repeated the process with several other tufts of grass until he spotted another piece of flint on the ground near a small sapling. After picking up the piece of flint, the boy sliced off several of the sapling’s branches. However, one twig fell near a leafy plant that caught the boy’s attention.Wilson knelt next to and examined the leafy plant before pulling it up. The boy smiled upon recognizing the orange vegetable and placed the carrot in his left front pocket. As Wilson stood up, he saw a berry bush a few feet away and walked over to it. Wilson plucked one berry off of the bush, and, after examining the berry, nodded and ate it. After grabbing the rest of the berries on that bush, Wilson then continued harvesting grass, flint, saplings, carrots, and berries while wandering around the grassy field for hours.While walking, Wilson heard the sound of waves crashing. The boy glanced around until he headed towards the source of the sound. Wilson soon found himself staring out at the water below the cliff he stood on, a strange mist hiding what lay beyond the western horizon. “Salt water… This doesn’t help me at all.” The boy licked his lips before saying, “I do need to find a good source of water, though…” Wilson turned his head to follow the edge of the land. “I might as well see how far it goes. Maybe I’ll come across a river in the process…” Wilson followed the land’s edge for a couple of hours, grabbing any nearby food and materials. The boy, however, took notice of a forest of evergreen trees to the south. The boy paused to think then looked up at the sky. Upon seeing the sun approaching the horizon, the boy turned his attention back to the trees. Wilson walked over to a small tree and examined its bark. With another moment of thought, the boy came up with an idea. The boy pulled out a piece of flint and a few twigs from his pocket. With a nod, Wilson began combining the two items faster than the normal eye could follow. Wilson then held up an axe and gained a devilish smirk. The boy swung the axe at the tree several times. Within minutes, the tree fell to the ground. The boy gained a triumphant grin. “Take that, nature!” The boy then began chopping the tree trunk into smaller logs. However, the sky turned red as the sun began to creep below the horizon. Wilson looked up upon hearing screeches of fear. The boy watched as several strange horned rabbits ran towards various rabbit holes in the ground. Wilson continued staring in the direction of the rabbits for a short time.“Were those…?” The boy shook his head as he noticed all the birds in the area fly away. “I better start a fire. Who knows what could be out here…”Wilson sat down and arranged some of the logs to form the base of a campfire. The boy then pulled out a handful of grass and placed it on top of the logs. After a short pause, Wilson pulled out two pieces of flint and began scraping them together. Wilson continued this for a few minutes until a couple of sparks landed on the grass and started a fire. While watching the fire, the sun fell completely behind the horizon, darkness covering all but the area closest to the fire.Wilson turned his gaze to the sky. “Strange… There aren’t any stars in the sky. And it looks like it’s a new moon right now, too.” The boy’s stomach growled a few seconds later. “I guess now’s a good time to eat. Then again, how long was I unconscious…?” The boy pulled out several of the berries and a few carrots. After gazing at them, the boy thought of an idea. Wilson pulled out a long twig and a piece of flint from his pocket. The boy used the flint to slice the carrots, and once a couple of the carrots were cut, he forced several berries and carrot slices onto the twig. Wilson held the twig a few feet above the fire, twisting the twig every now and then. Several minutes passed before the boy pulled the twig back and examined the cooked berries and carrot slices.“It’s nowhere near gourmet, but it’ll do.” The boy began eating the cooked food on the twig. Several minutes passed as the boy ate in silence. Once Wilson ate his fill, he leaned back and poked the crackling fire with the long twig. The boy, after tossing the long twig into the fire, fished a notebook and pen out of his back left pocket. Wilson flipped through a couple of pages in the notebook before reaching a page with a drawing of a strange machine.“If I could make my science machine…” The boy closed his eyes for a brief moment and lowered his head. “I’ve already found some wood, but I’ll need to find some good quality stones if I want to make it. And a piece of gold…” Wilson tossed a small log onto the small campfire. “How I’m going to carry this wood, I don’t know… yet.”Wilson pulled out all of the food and materials he gathered during the day. After skewering more berries and carrots on long twigs, the boy forced the twigs into the dirt near the fire. The boy then turned his attention to the twigs, grass, and flint lying before him. Wilson soon began nodding to himself, a smile appearing on his face. The boy grabbed several handfuls of grass and twigs and, in several quick motions, began crafting a new item. Wilson’s brow furrowed as he transformed the grass and twigs into something new, but he soon gained a smirk as he finished the job. After twisting the twig hosting the cooking food, the boy turned the pale yellow backpack around and opened the front pocket.“This’ll do. This’ll do just nicely… Now I can carry a lot more.” As Wilson began packing the logs into the backpack, rays of light broke up the darkness. “Morning already? It didn’t seem to be that long of a night. Anyways, I better take a look around. Maybe I’ll find some rocks… or a way back to civilization.”Before leaving the campfire, Wilson removed the toasted food from the twigs and placed it in the backpack’s side pockets. The boy left after slinging the backpack over his shoulder and adjusting the straps. As Wilson headed east, he came across a sparse forest, a layer of dead leaves hiding the ground beneath. The boy wandered past several trees for several minutes. However, Wilson soon spotted something and ran over to the cobble path.The boy knelt down and examined the curving path. “This path… Someone put a lot of care into making this, even though it does end here. …Does that mean I’m not the only person here?” Wilson’s gaze followed the path until it disappeared behind a group of trees. “It couldn’t hurt to follow it… It’s not like I really have anything better to do.”Wilson followed the curving path through the forest. While following the path, the boy spotted another grassy plain with several saplings and a few grass tufts and berry bushes. Wilson wandered off of the path and gathered some twigs, grass, and berries before returning to and following the path. Wilson’s stomach grumbled a short time after returning to the path, prompting him to pull out and munch on a couple of roasted berries. After following the path for an hour, munching on a few more cooked berries along the way, the trees began to thin out. The boy gasped upon seeing the rocky terrain and the several boulders lying about.“This is perfect…” Wilson then thought of a problem. “But I need something to break the rocks apart. Like a pick…” Wilson gained a smile as an idea formed in his head.The boy pulled out a few twigs and pieces of flint. Wilson, using swift movements, began combining the two materials. Within a couple of minutes, Wilson held up and examined the pickaxe in his right hand. The boy nodded then walked over to one of the smaller boulders. Wilson then began swinging the pickaxe at the boulder. The first impact created a small indentation, and the following swings lengthened cracks extending from the first impact site. The boy continued pounding away at the rock until it shattered into several pieces, flint and stones falling to the ground.After catching his breath, Wilson picked up and examined the stones. “Yes, yes… These will be perfect for my making my science machine!” The boy gathered all of the stones and flint and stored them in the right front pocket. “Hmm… I’ll probably need a few more rocks in the future. I’ll mine a couple more of these rocks then move on.” The boy strolled over to another nearby boulder. With a deep breath, Wilson began hacking at the large rock. The boy spent several minutes swinging until the boulder finally broke apart to reveal more rocks and flint. Wilson then grabbed all of the spoils before deciding to swing at another smaller boulder. The boulder took fewer swings to destroy than the previous one, and when it crumbled, something shiny fell to the ground along with the flint and rocks. The shiny object caught Wilson’s attention.“Was that…?” The boy fished out a shiny yellow chunk. “It… it’s gold!” A laugh escaped Wilson’s throat. “I can’t believe it!” The boy then thought of something. “But the science machine won’t be able to move once I make it…” Wilson’s gaze turned to the sky, the sun approaching the horizon. “A base… Yeah, that sounds like a plan. I’ll just follow the path a little longer and see if I can find a good area.”Wilson returned to the path and followed it deeper into the rocky terrain. However, the boy ran into a fork in the road as sunset covered the area in the setting sun’s light. One split in the path headed north while the other split headed to the east. Wilson glanced in each direction before heading towards the center of the crossroads. Wilson slid the backpack off onto the rocky ground near where the northern and eastern paths met. The boy pulled out the logs and began arranging a few into another campfire, but a rock slid out of his pocket and landed on the ground with a thud.Wilson grabbed the rock and almost put it back into the pocket until an idea struck him. The boy emptied his pockets of all the rocks, twigs, grass, and flint. Wilson began arranging the stones into a circular pattern around the logs. Once the circle of rocks was finished, Wilson grabbed two pieces of flint and began scraping them together. The resulting sparks eventually lit the logs on fire just a few moments before total darkness surrounded the rest of the area.Wilson sighed after seeing the roaring fire. “Made it just in time…” With another sigh, the boy pulled out the berries he picked during the daytime. “I better start cooking these. Then I’ll make my science machine.”The boy slipped all the berries onto a couple of twigs. After glancing around, the boy stuck the twigs into a crack in the ground close to the fire. Wilson then turned his attention to the spare logs and rocks on the ground. Wilson pulled out the gold nugget before he looked around the area. The boy tossed a few twigs onto the fire, the light illuminating more of the area. With the additional light, Wilson spotted a flat region then nodded. The boy picked up the logs and rocks and carried them over to the level area. Wilson then began to combine the three types of items in a series of swift movements. A few of the logs soon became a wooden stool with three legs. A structure made of rock, a small slit adorning one side, then came to rest on top of the stool. The boy soon constructed a wooden lever on one side of the machine, and two wood gears connected by a tread formed on another side of the machine. A wooden funnel formed on and decorated the top of the machine before Wilson backed away. “It’s done…” A small tear formed in the corner of the boy’s eye, but he quickly wiped it away. “You’re even more beautiful than you were before, my science machine.” Wilson then gained a smile. “And now, it’s time to put you to the test.” The boy fished a rock out of his pocket and tossed it into the funnel on top of the contraption. Wilson then grabbed the lever. “For science!”Wilson pulled the lever down then backed away. The gears and tread on the machine started turning slowly before speeding up. Clunking sounds emanated from the center of the machine. Soon the whole machine began hopping up and down as the clunking noises grew louder and more prominent. However, the machine settled down a few moments later, a puff of smoke escaping through the funnel as a dinging noise resounded through the area. A few chiming noises then sounded as a small strip of paper with writing covering it slid out of the small slit on the machine. A panel opened on the last side of the machine, the rock falling out of it and landing on the ground with a thud.“Alright, let’s see…” Wilson walked around the machine and pulled out the strip of paper. The boy walked closer to the fire and read all the text on the paper. “Hunh… It’s quite rich in a variety of minerals. And sturdy, too…” The boy glanced at the rock, a small black scorch mark in one spot. “My science machine usually can’t put back together what it breaks apart.”A bright light then interrupted the scene. Wilson covered his eyes for a moment before they adjusted to the sun’s rays. With a sigh, the boy walked over to what remained of the fire and removed the berries from their skewers. Wilson pulled out some of the older berries and ate them before placing the fresher berries in the backpack. The boy then gathered all of the materials strewn about before realizing something.“I’m going to need more wood…” The boy looked around the area before spotting a few tall trees to the south. “I’ll explore over that way and cut down some trees while I do so.” With a nod, Wilson began trekking towards the trees.

Edited by the1SAR
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the1SAR    13

Um, you can keep your soul, but thanks for the offer. I assume that means you liked this? And indeed, it is everyone's favorite gentleman scientist.

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Um, you can keep your soul, but thanks for the offer. I assume that means you liked this? And indeed, it is everyone's favorite gentleman scientist.

Oh no, I love the fanfic. But how can a grown man be a boy?

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the1SAR    13

This story is an alternate universe fanfic. Wilson is in his late teens in this (though I don't actually know how old he is canonically...).

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the1SAR    13

This chapter was originally going to be longer, but... I hope you enjoy this next chapter.LAST UPDATE: 4/11/13Don’t Starve: Chronicles of SurvivalChapter 2The LocalsPeople said curiosity kills cats, but Wilson’s scientific curiosity differed from that of felines. That curiosity often helped the boy come up with new tools or objects. That curiosity led him to learn new things. However, now that same curiosity proved lethal in this strange land. Wilson learned this the hard way. The boy stumbled upon a sticky white blob while cutting down a few trees. When walking closer to investigate, Wilson tripped and fell onto a sticky mesh covering the ground. The curious Wilson, after rising to his feet, poked the hissing white blob with his pickaxe. Unfortunately, the act angered the residents lurking within the white blob, two black residents emerging as a result. The boy stumbled off of the sticky mesh in time to avoid a biting attack. Wilson then ran away from the two arachnids, their speed unhampered by the sticky mesh on the ground.“Why are there giant spiders?! I hate spiders!” Wilson glanced back to see the two spiders skittering behind.“Bwaah!” One of the spiders started gaining on the boy.Wilson turned around and took notice of the quick arachnid. The boy mumbled under his breath before turning to face forward again. However, Wilson spotted a wooden structure past a few trees. The boy slowed down once he passed the trees to better examine the house. Despite the house’s height, its length and width made it resemble a shack, puzzling Wilson.“I kill now!”Wilson turned around upon hearing the gruff voice to see something surprising. A bipedal pig with pale pink skin began running towards the spider closest to the boy. Once close to the black arachnid, the pig’s arm smacked the spider to the ground. The spider’s friend then attacked the pig, but it ran a short distance away before trying to attack again.“What the…? It’s… a talking anthropomorphic pig? …In a grass skirt?” Wilson watched as the two spiders ganged up on the bipedal mammal. “I… I can’t let those spiders kill it. That pig man did keep them from attacking me.” Wilson readied the pickaxe. “I just hope I don’t regret this…”With a yell, the boy charged towards the spiders. One of the black arachnids turned around in time to see the boy’s pickaxe racing closer. The blow knocked the spider a few feet to the side, the spider remaining still for a short minute before rising to its legs. When the other arachnid attempted to exact its revenge on Wilson, the pig man’s fist slammed down on the arachnid. As the pig punched the one black spider, the other one advanced towards Wilson. The boy readied his fighting stance, grip tightening on the pickaxe. The spider scurried closer before opening its fang-filled mouth. The spider attempted to bite Wilson, but he sidestepped the attack and slashed at the foe in response. The black arachnid, after recovering from the attack, tried biting the boy again, only to find itself suffer the same fate as before. Before the spider recovered this time, however, Wilson dealt the final blow. The lifeless spider tumbled onto its back, legs pointing straight up.To the boy’s surprise, the dead arachnid’s body changed into a dark mist that faded within a few seconds. “What?! …This place officially makes no sense.” Wilson then noticed a chunk of hairy purple meat lying where the spider died. “I might as well take that… monster’s meat and examine it later.” As the boy placed the meat and his pickaxe in his backpack, a squeal sounded from behind. Wilson turned around to spot the pig picking up and eating another hairy chunk of purple meat. The boy decided to approach the pig man. Upon noticing Wilson, the pig spoke in its gruff voice. “You no pig.”“Erm… No, I’m not.” The boy cleared his throat. “My name is Wilson P. Higgsbury, good sir.”The pig chuckled and snorted before speaking again. “Ugly monkey man!”Wilson sighed before speaking to himself, a hand pinching his forehead as he talked. “It seems as if it lacks the level of intelligence humans have. Things could be worse, though… It doesn’t appear to be aggressive towards me. I wonder if there are more of these pig men around…? If so, are they all this… brainless?” The boy looked up to see the pig wandering away. With a sigh, Wilson decided to trek back the way he came. The boy eventually came across the white blob from before. “So that must be some sort of… giant spider den or spider egg, I assume?” The boy then gained a devilish grin. “I do hate spiders. And that casing may prove useful for something in the future…” Wilson pulled out his hatchet out of his backpack and approached the spider’s den. The boy managed to tiptoe on the sticky white mesh surrounding the egg. The boy raised the axe when he stood next to the white blob, light glimmering off of the weapon’s edge. One slash later, a lone black spider exited the den. The spider attempted to attack the boy only for him to lean to the side to dodge then swing the axe at the spider. Wilson then slashed at the spider as it recovered from the first blow. When the arachnid tried biting Wilson again, he evaded again and delivered the final blow.The boy took in deep breaths as the spider’s body dissipated into black mist, another hairy chunk of meat resting in its place. Once Wilson caught his breath, the boy slashed the spider egg. The boy continued the assault on the egg sac when no spiders emerged. Several attacks later, strands of spider silk lay where the den once stood. The sticky white mesh covering the ground slowly dissipated as the boy picked up the silk.“Whew… I’m not used to all this fighting. I’ll probably be sore later…” Wilson put his hatchet and the silk in his backpack. “At least I might be able to come up with some good uses for this silk. I better head back for now, though…” The boy looked up to the sky. “Yeah, it is starting to get late. I should get ready for the night.”The boy began trekking northwards after picking up the purple meat. The boy passed several trees and tree stumps in the sparse forest before reaching the rocky terrain. Wilson spotted his science machine and fire pit and walked towards the site. The boy reached his campsite as the sky started gaining a red tint. Wilson tossed the backpack onto the ground before pulling out a couple of logs and adding them to the fire pit. The boy then grabbed two pieces of flint lying on the ground and scraped them together until one of the sparks landed on and ignited the wood. The boy looked up at the sky and noticed a small crescent moon in the darkening sky. “Well, at least this place has a moon. There still aren’t any visible stars, though.” Wilson then remembered the chunks of purple meat in the backpack. “I might as well see what the science machine can make of this strange meat. I doubt it’s safe to eat…”Wilson grabbed one of the pieces of meat and approached the contraption. The boy tossed the meat into the funnel before he grasped and pulled the lever. The machine hopped up and down while making clunking noises. Within a minute, the contraption settled down. A slip of paper came out of the slit on the machine, and the boy quickly grabbed it and approached the fire as total darkness surrounded the terrain. “Alright, let’s see what my science machine found…” The boy began reading the findings on the paper. “It’s high in carbohydrates but full of toxic compounds… Nothing deadly, though. …Oh?” The boy squinted his eyes and read one section of the paper. “It also appears to have some strength-enhancing chemicals as well. Still, it’s probably best not to eat it unless there’s no other choice. Though researching it further couldn’t hurt…” Wilson then thought of something. “But carrying it in my backpack would mean I’d be wasting space I could use for other materials. I need someplace I can put it… and any other items I won’t need immediately.”While thinking, the boy pulled out a few carrot slices and began munching on them. The boy’s gaze soon turned to the backpack, a few logs sticking out of it. An idea then struck. The boy pulled out all of the logs and examined them. Wilson nodded upon seeing the plentiful number of logs. The boy then grabbed a piece of flint and began carving the wood. The flint transformed the logs into wooden boards after several quick movements. The process repeated several times until only half of the logs remained.Wilson then took the new boards and examined them. With a curt nod, the boy grabbed his axe and cut several of the boards in half. Wilson then began forming a new structure with the boards. Several of the cut boards formed the four sides while a few of the longer boards created the base. The remaining long boards soon became the top of the wooden construct. With a few more quick movements, a hatch appeared and connected the top to one of the sides.Wilson wiped a bit of sweat off of his brow. “Perfect. A chest is just what I needed. Now then…” The boy then spotted the remaining boards on the ground. Another idea then struck Wilson. The boy grabbed a piece of flint and opened the chest. Wilson then began making modifications to the inside of the wooden structure. Once finished with the inside of the chest, the boy picked up the boards and stuck them inside. Wilson altered the chest a bit more before he finished implementing his newest idea.“It’s not the most spacious chest, but at least my items won’t mix with each other.” The boy gazed at the nine-chambered chest for a few seconds before he reached over to his backpack. “I better store some stuff in here while I have nothing better to do.” Wilson then grabbed the purple meat and placed it in the middle chamber. The boy then grabbed the spider’s silk. “And I can put this away, too… Well, most of it. I might as well see what my science machine makes of it.”The boy placed most of the silk in the chamber above the meat before rising to his feet. After tossing another log on the fire, Wilson walked over to the machine and tossed in a small strand of silk. The contraption hopped up and down once the boy pulled the lever. A minute passed before the machine slowed to a stop and produced a paper about the silk. The boy took the slip of paper and began reading it while approaching the fire.The boy sat down by the fire as he read. “Thin but strong… Decomposes rather slowly, too, from the looks of it. This silk may prove to be quite useful… or rather, more useful than I originally thought. And it’ll stick around until I need it.” Wilson then turned towards his backpack. “I might as well move some of my excess items to the chest.” The boy began placing a few logs into the chest. “I want to be able to carry anything interesting I find while looking around tomorrow. But I might find more aggressive creatures in the process…”The boy pulled out the twigs and grass in his pocket and gazed at them for a few seconds. The boy slowly nodded to himself as he formulated an idea. Wilson grabbed a handful of grass and began twisting it together. A few minutes passed before the grass transformed into a piece of rope. Wilson then pulled out the pieces of flint in his pocket and examined them. Upon finding the largest chunk of flint, the boy pushed the other pieces to the side and grabbed a few long twigs. Wilson twisted the twigs together similar to how he made the rope, and he then tied the flint to the top of the twigs as the sun’s ray lit up the area.“This spear should be a better weapon than my axe or pickaxe.” Wilson placed the leftover grass, twigs, and flint into his pocket. The boy then rose to his feet and grabbed the backpack. After slinging it onto his back, the boy turned his gaze to the north. “I might as well see what’s to the north now.”The boy trekked to the north, but he quickly found another small house on the edge of a forest. The boy looked around until he spotted a dark-skinned pig man wandering about to the east. After a moment of thought, Wilson nodded to himself before approaching the bipedal pig. The pig sensed the approach of the boy and turned to face him.Wilson cleared his throat before speaking. “Hello, good sir.”“Who are you?”The boy gained a small smile before replying. “My name is Wilson P. Higgsbury.”“Wil… son?” The boy perked up and smiled upon hearing the pig speak. “Wilson!”“Yes, my name is Wilson. Do you have a name?”The pig stared at Wilson for a moment before answering. “Kiwi.”“Kiwi? Well met, my friend.”The pig sniffed the air for a moment. “Food!” The pig turned to the side and ran towards a bird. After the bird flew away, the pig man picked up seeds from where the bird had dropped them and ate them.“So these pig men have quite the appetite, eh…? I’ll have to remember that.” Wilson turned to start walking into the forest, but he stopped and turned around to face the direction of Kiwi. “I’ll see you later, Kiwi.”The boy walked into the forest, the pig man watching for a moment before wandering away. Wilson roamed the forest for some time, cutting down the occasional tree along the way. However, a squeal startled the boy as he cut down a tree, the axe’s blade breaking at the same time. Wilson looked around and then sneaked closer to the source. The boy soon spotted another house resting near a sliver of muddy ground. In the small marsh, the boy watched as a pig dissipated into black mist as something slid underground. Wilson took notice of a chunk of meat lying where the pig man died.“What killed that pig man exactly…?” The boy’s gaze turned to the meat. “Meat… I better be careful if I want that.”The boy crept closer the marsh. Once close to the piece of meat, Wilson snatched it then retreated back a few feet. The boy watched as a violet bulge with yellow spots surfaced for a moment before retreating back underground. Wilson stared at the location where the bulge appeared before coming up with an idea. After digging in his pocket for a moment, the boy pulled out a small rock. Wilson tossed the stone at the spot where he saw the bulge. Wilson jumped back out of fright upon seeing a large violet tentacle covered in spots rise up and thrash around, the spikes near the tip leaving gashes on the ground and nearby trees. The tentacle, fortunately, soon retreated back underground.The boy remained tense for another minute before taking a deep breath and exhaling. “That creature… It appears to be a high-class predator. I’d do best to avoid it and flee from any more I find.” The boy looked up at the sky before deciding on his next course of action. “I still have plenty of daylight… I’ll explore a bit more then head back to my campsite.”Wilson walked away from the swampy patch of land near the house. The boy noticed a lone berry bush up near the coast, and he approached the bush and picked the berries. However, as Wilson turned south, he spotted a gravestone surrounded by an eerie mist. The curious boy wandered closer to the grave. When Wilson reached the front of the grave, he made a startling discovery.“Hey, that’s my name!” Feeling unnerved, the boy began backing away. The boy’s foot collided with something, however, and again made him curious. The boy quickly identified the shiny yellow object buried mostly below the dirt. “More gold?!” Wilson grasped the chunk of gold and tried to pull it out of the ground only to fail. “It’s stuck… I need to figure out a way to unearth it.”The boy looked around before spotting what looked like a hole in the ground to the southwest. Wilson walked over to and investigated the hole to find it about half full of water. Beaming at the find, the boy quickly pulled out a few logs. Wilson examined all of the logs until he found three large ones. After pulling out a piece of flint, the boy transformed the three logs into wooden cylindrical containers, the leftover wood forming corks. Wilson then leaned down, stretched out the hand holding a wooden cylinder, and scooped up some water with one of the containers. The boy repeated the process with the other two containers and filled them with water. Wilson gazed at the clear water in the cylindrical container he held. “I am quite thirsty… but I should check to see if the water’s safe to drink first. My science machine can take care of that quickly enough, though.” After sticking the corks on top of the wooden containers, the boy turned and headed south. Wilson reached the campsite in a couple of minutes and placed one of the containers of water into the science machine. The boy pulled the lever and watched the machine hop up and down, clunking the whole time. The contraption soon settled down and produced a slip of paper. Wilson grabbed the paper and read it.“Hmm… The wood is a natural bug and fungus repellant… Handy, but not what I’m looking for.” The boy’s eyes scanned the paper for what he sought. “Ah, here we go! Let’s see…” Wilson gained a smile. “Good, good… Has a few minerals but nothing harmful or poisonous. It’s completely safe to drink.” The boy uncorked one of the containers and drank the water within it. “Ah… I needed that. I’ll keep the other one here and go refill this one.” Wilson then remembered the piece of gold stuck in the ground. “And try to dig…”The boy thought of an idea before finishing his statement. After placing the water-filled cylinder near the chest, Wilson pulled out a few twigs and pieces of flint. The boy soon spotted a curved piece of flint. With an idea in his head, Wilson began transforming the twigs and curved flint into a new tool. The boy soon finished the shovel and examined his handiwork.Wilson smiled before placing the spare twigs and flint back in his pocket. “This should dig up that gold with no problem…” The boy then took notice of the sun high in the sky. “And I still have a bit of daylight left, too, so I’ll be able to explore more as well.”The boy walked up north until he came across the spring again. After refilling the container, Wilson looked around until he spotted the strange mist. The boy walked towards the mist and quickly spotted the tombstone and gold chunk. Wilson took a deep breath before using the shovel to start digging up the area around the gold. The boy soon removed enough of the dirt around the gold, the shiny metal sliding down into one of the ditches. However, a glimmer of red caught the boy’s eye.“Wait…” Wilson grasped the golden object and pulled it out. To his surprise, the boy pulled out a golden amulet with a faded red gem in the middle. “Who would bury an amulet here? If it were buried with…” Wilson glanced up at the grave but averted his gaze upon seeing his name. “With… whoever was buried here, it wouldn’t have been that close to the surface.”As the boy tilted and examined the amulet, a strange shadow swirled within the red gemstone. “There’s something… off about it. But… Maybe it’s my imagination. I might as well wear it until I need its gold for something.” The boy slipped the golden chain around his neck, the centerpiece resting over the boy’s chest. A strange shiver then ran down Wilson’s spine, but he shook it off. “Come on now, Wilson, you’re just being paranoid. Just forget about this creepy grave and move on. It was… probably put there just to freak me out.”Wilson looked around the area before heading north. However, the boy soon reached the coast. Wilson decided to head east from there, and he soon spotted another pig. This pale-skinned pig stood near a bush bearing no berries. When the pig man moved, though, the boy saw a stinky brown pile in the pig’s place. Wilson approached the area after a short time.“…Poop, huh?” The boy turned his gaze to the berry bush. With a brief moment of thought, an idea formed in his head. “Aha!”~The boy patted the manure around the berry bush as the sunset turned the area red. “There… Now I’ve got a berry bush close to my site. I was right to check the soil quality.” Wilson pulled out a slip of paper and examined it. “It’s… well it’s almost miraculous. And with that fertilizer, I bet the bush will bear more berries soon.” Wilson stuck the shovel into a crack on the ground near the dirt patch bearing the bush. The boy headed towards the fire pit, grabbed and tossed a few logs into the fire pit and, using two pieces of flint, lit the logs on fire. The boy then pulled out a few twigs and began shaping them into something new. Within minutes, Wilson set up a spit around the fire. The boy then stuck the meat and berries gathered earlier onto the spit and began cooking them as all the light besides the fire’s disappeared.Wilson’s stomach then grumbled. “I’m so hungry…” The boy dug into the backpack’s pockets and pull out a couple of cooked berries and a few carrot slices. “This is all the cooked food I have, and it isn’t that much… I’ll need to find more food tomorrow if I don’t want to starve out here.” The boy gobbled up the carrots and berries. After twisting the spit, Wilson emptied his pockets and took stock of what he had. “I could also do with gathering some more grass and twigs. Maybe a couple more pieces of flint, too…” Wilson nodded to himself and began putting the materials back into his pocket. “Then tomorrow I’ll go gather resources. That area I awoke in had plenty I didn’t harvest… I’ll head back there when morning comes. …Assuming none of the locals, giant spiders or pig men or… otherwise, cause any problems.”

Edited by the1SAR

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Hello again! Here's the next chapter of the fanfic, though before you start reading it... This is an AU fanfic. Why'd I say that again? ...Read and find out.LAST UPDATED: 4/15/13Don’t Starve: Chronicles of SurvivalChapter 3The Friend and the Flames“Why?! Why did you try to investigate that noise? You should’ve learned your lesson yesterday, Wilson.”“Quwaaaawk!” The boy, the start of a black beard decorating his face, glanced back to see a towering black bird on stilt-like legs closing in. When the bird closed in, its single eye turned red as it attempted to peck at Wilson. The boy dodged the attack barely then pulled out his spear and slashed at the black avian’s side. The bird recoiled after the attack, tiny wings flapping as it recovered, but its glare returned within a moment’s notice. After recovering fully, the avian, eye turned red, attempted to peck Wilson again. The bird’s beak grazed the boy’s left arm, tearing through the white shirt’s sleeve and earning a grunt of pain. Wilson responded with two quick strikes. The black avian squawked upon receiving the boy’s attacks then attempted to peck him again. After Wilson sidestepped the bird’s attack, he struck the bird a couple more times and killed it, the bird falling to the side. Wilson caught his breath as the black avian transformed into a black mist that quickly faded. The boy winched in pain and grasped his injured arm. However, the boy recoiled at the touch and looked at his hand to find blood. “That was… a tall bird. A tall and powerful bird… I need to take care of this injury right away.” The boy pulled out a large handful of grass from his pocket. Wilson then twisted the grass together to form a strip. The boy gazed at the band, and he pulled out more grass and repeated the process with several strands of grass. However, Wilson put some grass aside and used it to bind together the several bands. The boy wrapped the makeshift bandage around the wound before he finished binding the grass strips together.“This isn’t the best bandage, but it’ll have to do. Hopefully it won’t get infected…” The boy then took notice of two chunks of meat lying on the ground. “Did that… ‘Tallbird’ drop this? If so, at least I got something out of this whole fiasco.” Wilson picked up and placed the meat in his backpack, a small jolt of pain shooting through his injured arm in the process. “Ah… I’ll have to take it a bit easier with my arm for now, I suppose.”The boy then looked around the area. “Now, where was that road again…?” However, as Wilson glanced at the rocky terrain, he spotted a blue object. “What’s this…?” The boy walked over and examined the blue object on a pile of grass, the boy quickly identifying the scene. “No wonder that creature was so territorial… It was guarding its egg. And now that it’s dead…” Wilson thought for a moment before picking up the blue egg with white spots. “I hope the chick isn’t as aggressive as its parent. If worse comes to worse, I could kill it for food.”The boy then looked around the general area. However, a white pillar caught Wilson’s eye. Curious, the boy wandered over to and noticed several other marble pillars. The boy soon spotted a wooden platform resting on a small patch of grass and moved closer to the platform, footsteps audible on the black and white stone tiles but silenced on the wool rugs. The boy passed by and examined strange rectangular, circular, and triangular stone trees before reaching and examining the platform itself. Red runic symbols decorated the top of each of the eight segments of the platform, a small hole resting in the middle. The site confused Wilson. “What is this? Some sort of… ritual site? At least it appears as if there were no live sacrifices made here…” Wilson took notice of strange dark-colored flowers littering the ground in the area. “Though this place is still… unnerving.” The boy walked over to one of the pillars. “From the looks of it, this might’ve been a building sometime in the distant past… But what was this place? And where did the people go that made all of this?”The boy pondered the purpose of the platform, his chin resting on his right hand. “…Oh, my beard’s returned. And I don’t have my razor on me. Lovely.” Wilson then remembered his original plan for the day. “Ah, I need to gather more materials and food before night!” Wilson looked up at the sky, the sun halfway up. “I still have a lot of time, fortunately… I better not waste anymore, though.”After looking around, the bearded boy spotted the road past a series of boulders to the north. Wilson followed the path west for a few minutes, thoughts on the strange platform. The boy barely heard someone call his name. “Wilson?”“Hm?” Upon looking towards the source of the voice, Wilson spotted and recognized the approaching pig. “Oh, hey, Kiwi… How are you?”“Wilson hurt?”The boy glanced at the makeshift bandage and spotted a few patches stained red. Wilson then turned to face the pig man and responded. “Thank you for your concern, though you don’t need to worry. I’ll be fine as long as I don’t pick anymore fights.” The boy’s stomach then grumbled, earning a snort from the pig. “Wilson hungry!”“Yeah…” The boy released a nervous chuckle. “At least I have some food on me…” The pig man watched as Wilson dropped his backpack on the ground then sat down. After slipping the blue egg into the backpack, the boy pulled out a slab of cooked meat and a few roasted berries. “Hopefully this’ll fill me up.” The boy then began munching on the meat.“You has meat?”Wilson swallowed the mouthful and nodded before thinking of something. “Do you want some?” The boy dug through his backpack until he pulled out a chunk of meat. “I did pick up some meat earlier. Do you prefer it cooked or raw? I can cook it, if you want.”Kiwi stared at the outstretched meat before walking over and taking it. The pig man began eating the meat after staring at Wilson, who paid no mind and continued eating the cooked meat, for a brief moment. The duo finished eating at around the same time. Wilson, after gazing at the berries for a short time, placed the cooked fruit back into his backpack before slinging the backpack over his shoulder.“Well, I better be on my way.” Wilson rose to his feet. “It was, I have to admit, rather nice running into you again, Kiwi.” The boy began walking down the road, but as his campsite came into view, a squeal sounded from behind. Wilson turned to find Kiwi a few feet away. Upon seeing the boy’s confused expression, the pig spoke. “I follow!”“Really? You… want to follow me?” Kiwi grunted before speaking. “I follow!”Wilson nodded before responding. “Ok then… I’m not going to do anything exciting, though.” Wilson looked around the area. “I suppose I’ll just follow the coast north… That should lead back to that grassland.”With the pig man following behind, the bearded boy began following the northern shore into a forest. However, Wilson realized something upon spotting a tall tree. “I need a new axe. I’ll probably be camping away from my fire pit tonight…” The boy pulled out a piece of flint and a twig. The two objects morphed into an axe several movements later. “There! I better get some logs before I forget.” Wilson began chopping down a nearby tree.“Punch tree!” The pig sprinted over to and began punching a large evergreen.After the boy chopped down the tree and earned a couple of logs, he turned to spot the pig man still punching a tree. “Kiwi… You can’t just punch down a-” To Wilson’s surprise, the tree then fell to the ground as the trunk snapped. “…I stand corrected.” The boy then chopped the fallen tree into a few logs. “Thank you for the help.” However, pain shot through the boy’s wounded arm, a grunt sounding as he grasped the arm.“Wilson hurt!” Kiwi ran towards Wilson.“I… I’ll be fine…” Wilson, instead of pushing the subject further, returned to following the coast north. The pig man kept up with the boy as he trekked northwards out of the forest. Once in the grassland, Wilson began picking the tufts of grass and harvesting twigs from saplings. The boy made sure to harvest the resources with only his right hand. The pig also attempted to harvest some grass and twigs, but having hooves for hands hindered the act of helping, the pig only getting minimal grass and twigs. The boy gladly accepted any grass or twigs the pig man offered.However, the sky turned red as Wilson harvested grass near a bush. The boy noticed Kiwi panicking. “I better set up a campfire…” The bearded boy arranged some logs a few feet away from the bush and placed some grass on top. After pulling out two pieces of flint, Wilson scraped the flint together until some sparks landed on and ignited the wood.The pig man wandered over to the fire. “Charlie stay away?”“Charlie?” Wilson turned to face the pig. “Who… or what is Charlie? I haven’t run into anything at night, if that’s what you mean.”“Charlie mean. Hides in dark. Kills pigs.”Wilson nodded in response. “I see. But this Charlie doesn’t like light, such as what my fire provides?”“Wilson smart!” The pig danced for a short time, arms waving back and forth. “Fire is good. I love friend!”Kiwi’s statement caught Wilson off-guard. “W-what?” The boy’s face turned red. “I, uh…” Wilson managed to clear his throat, face returning to its normal color in the process, before speaking to the pig man. “Well, I do have to admit I’m glad we met, Kiwi. You’re… probably the best friend I’ve ever had.”“You friend!” The pig danced as night arrived. With a snort, however, Kiwi curled up on the ground. “Sleepy…”Wilson watched the sleeping form of the snoring pig for a short time. However, the boy soon turned his attention to his injured arm. Wilson undid the makeshift bandage, several spots stained with blood, to see the wound. The boy tossed the grass band into the fire, and as a result, the flames released a few thick puffs of smoke. The boy then pulled out several bunches of grass and began forming a new bandage. Wilson placed the band around the injury and applied pressure. Ignoring the pain, the boy finished the bandage, pulling it tight with his teeth and right hand.“There we go. It’s a bit itchy… but it’s better than nothing.” Wilson pulled a log out of his backpack and tossed it onto the small fire. Afterwards, the boy dug into his backpack and found the egg. Wilson noticed it shivering. “Cold, eh? Here you go.” Wilson placed the egg near the fire, the light illuminating the blue egg and revealing a few cracks. “…Does that mean it’s going to hatch soon?” The boy watched the egg for a short time before digging into the backpack again. Wilson found and ate the last of the cooked berries before finding the uncooked meat. After finding the meat, Wilson held the uncooked item above the fire with his right hand, twisting it every now and then. The boy’s eyes eventually fell onto Kiwi. “I wonder if Kiwi would want to come with me if… no, when I find a way to return home.” The boy’s gaze turned to the dark sky then behind him, the half moon approaching the western horizon. “I wonder if anyone’s noticed I’m gone… I doubt they have.” Wilson then examined the meat. “Alright, it’s done…” The sun’s rays covered the land in light. “And just in time, too.”The boy slipped the meat and then the egg into his backpack as Kiwi began stirring. The pig man yawned before rising to his feet and spotting the boy. “Wilson well?”“Yeah, I’m doing better today.” The boy tugged on the grass band. “Though I still should keep use of my left arm to a minimum… I don’t want to aggravate it anymore than I already have.”After a short dance, Kiwi perked up. “Home time!” The pig dashed a short distance away before turning to face Wilson. “See Wilson later?”“Yeah…” Wilson waved goodbye. The pig mimicked the boy before running to the south and out of sight. With a sigh, the boy continued to the north. “I suppose I should’ve expected that… Kiwi probably had other plans that didn’t involve following me.” The boy pulled out the wooden cylinder and, after uncorking it, drank its contents. “Hmm… Maybe I should try making one out of stone when I get back? At the least it would grant me another container to hold water…”Wilson headed north into the plains. As the bearded boy wandered northwards, he harvested any flint, grass, twigs, carrots, and berries he spotted. Wilson followed the coast north until it turned towards the west. Following the coast west led the boy to more materials. However, upon looking up at the sky to find the sun almost directly above, Wilson began heading south. “I’ve already seen the western coast… I have plenty of time left before night, so I’ll check out what’s beyond that road I found in the forest.” The boy wandered into the forest. Within minutes, Wilson stumbled upon the cobblestone path he followed before. The boy ignored the road and walked to the southeast. However, after passing a thick grove of trees, Wilson stumbled into view of stone walls and pillars. The boy dashed over to see several strange flowers surrounding the outside and inside of the structure on the rocky ground. In the middle of the stone walls and pillars rested a wooden box with a lever-like structure on the side and a fallen garden gnome. The cautious boy walked towards the strange box. “What is this…” Wilson picked up the box, metallic clinking sounding as the box moved. “This… box thing? Why is it here?” The boy turned over the box and noticed a strange red rune on the bottom. “This rune… It’s like what I saw on that platform before. Are they connected somehow?”The setting sun bathed the land in red light, startling Wilson out of his thoughts, the boy running to the northeast soon after. The road soon came into sight, and Wilson followed the path through the forest and towards the rocky terrain. The boy’s campsite soon came into view. Wilson, upon nearing the fire pit, released a sigh of relief and placed the backpack and strange box on the ground. The bearded boy pulled a few logs out of his backpack and tossed them into the fire pit. With the two pieces of flint, Wilson lit the logs on fire.With a sigh, the boy plopped down next to the fire. “Whew… I feel exhausted… Well, more exhausted than usual.” Wilson turned his gaze to the sky and stared at the half moon. “It’s been about six days since I woke up here… Why’d that Maxwell bring me here, anyways?”Wilson paused his train of thought. The boy pulled out the blue egg and placed it near the fire. Wilson then fished out the carrots and berries he harvested, sliced the carrots, and placed the cut carrots and berries on the spit. Wilson twisted the spit to fully cook the food. After several minutes, the boy removed the cooked carrots and berries from the spit and ate a few.However, as Wilson turned to place the roasted food in the backpack, he spotted something out of the corner of his eye. The boy gasped upon turning around fully. A distant bright light shone to the southwest, smoke billowing up from the light source. Wilson gazed at the sight for a brief second before an idea formed in his head.“If I want to check out what’s happening, I’ll need a torch to fend off the darkness on the way.”The boy pulled some twigs and grass out of his pocket. Wilson twisted the twigs together and stuck grass on top of the twigs. With the basic torch completed, the boy equipped his backpack. Wilson stretched out the torch towards the camp’s fire, and as soon as the torch caught fire, he ran off towards the light.The boy followed the southern coast into the grassland, the torch’s light covering a small area. However, Wilson saw the cause of the light from where the southern shore turned west and into the forest. “A forest fire… I wonder what caused it, though?” The bearded boy, after following the coast a bit longer, noticed a strip of land connecting the forest he traveled in to the forest on fire. The boy crossed the isthmus and ran south to soon find himself standing several feet away from the raging fire. Screeches of pain caused Wilson to turn and see several burning black spiders fleeing from the forest. The boy also saw a couple of yellow spiders, also on fire, running to and fro. Eventually, all the spiders burned to death.The boy, upon turning his gaze back to the fire, spotted something in the fire. Wilson stepped closer to the fire and tried to identify the figure standing among the flames. However, a part of the fire leapt towards the boy, startling him into falling onto the ground, but the flames quickly died away. Wilson, after recovering from the shock, recognized the figure standing in the fire with a gasp. The black-haired girl released a gasp of her own upon seeing Wilson.

Edited by the1SAR

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Just a quick notice... I'll be altering chapter 3 sometime after the new update. It won't be a major change... If you've read the chapter already, you'll know why.

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At last, I have completed the next chapter. It's quite long, but I do hope it'll tide you over until the next chapter. It'll probably be awhile before chapter five comes out. Anyways, I hope you enjoy.LAST UPDATE: 4/16/13Don’t Starve: Chronicles of SurvivalChapter 4Barking and BuzzingThe fire crackled as the blacked-haired girl and bearded boy stared at each other. After a minute of silence, Wilson returned to his senses and rose to his feet in a panic. “Are… are you hurt, ma’am?! I’ll see if I can get you out-”“I… I’m fine.” The black-haired teen walked through some flames and out of the fire. To the boy’s surprise, the girl’s clothes and skin bore no burns. Wilson also took note of the light brown teddy bear the black-haired girl held in her left hand. “See?”The boy remained speechless for a moment, taking his time to examine the female. “But… but how?! You were right in the middle of the fire.” Wilson managed to regain his composure after a moment, clearing his throat in the process. “Well, I… I’m glad you’re not injured. My name is Wilson P. Higgsbury. Might I ask for your name, ma’am?”“I’m Willow.” The light from the forest fire decreased, both people noticing and turning to face the dying flames. “Aaw, it’s already over…”Wilson thought about what the girl said before replying. “So you started that fire?”“By accident, yes… This giant yellow and black spider lunged at-” All the light in the area vanished before Willow could finish. The two humans remained silent for a moment. Wilson felt something breathe down the back of his neck as a low snarl resounded through the darkness. “What was that?!”Fortunately, a small flame illuminated the area. The humans took notice of how the darkness appeared to back away, some of the shadows taking on the appearance of claws for a short time. Wilson inhaled then exhaled to calm his nerves. However, the boy soon spotted the flame hovering over the palm of Willow’s hand. Curiosity replaced fear as Wilson stared at and examined the fire.“How are…? It… doesn’t burn you?”Willow shook her head as her eyes followed the bearded boy. “No, it doesn’t hurt. I’ve always liked fire, and… Well, I can control small ones. I just think about it…” The fire danced above the girl’s hand, twirling through the air as Wilson watched from a distance. “…and it does what I want it to. I’ve tried controlling larger fires, though it doesn’t work as well, if at all. I also start fires by accident if I get spooked or startled…”“I see… I’d read papers detailing how a person could control parts of the natural world with their minds, but I’d written it off as an impossibility. Presented with this evidence, though…” The sun began rising above the horizon, light covering the burnt forest. The duo turned to see the remains of the forest, the flame in Willow’s hand disappearing in the process. “That fire was… destructive.”“But it was pretty. I wish it’d lasted longer…” The black-haired teen looked around the area before turning and speaking to Wilson. “I… don’t suppose you know where we are?”The boy shook his head. “I’ve surveyed a good portion of the land, yet nowhere I’ve been, seen, or heard about before matches the geography of this place.” Wilson turned his gaze towards the cloudy sky. “I… We’re probably in another world entirely.”Willow’s eyes followed the bearded boy as he walked over to a burnt tree. “…What? You can’t be serious. Assuming you’re right, how could that stupid Maxwell…” Wilson momentarily froze upon hearing the name and then turned to face the girl as she continued speaking. “…guy bring me here?”“Maxwell?! Tall fellow, black hair, fancy suit, English accent?”“Wait, you know him?”Wilson nodded. “He brought me here against my will as well. I don’t know why, though…” The boy then turned his gaze to the burnt tree and examined it. “I wonder…”Wilson grasped the handle of his axe and pulled it out of his backpack. The black-haired girl watched as the bearded boy swung the axe at the blackened tree. With one swing, the tree broke apart and crumbled until only a black pile remained. Wilson nudged the charred remains with his axe then examined the axe to find it stained black.“Charcoal.” Willow walked over to a picked up the black lump. “This’ll burn nicely.”“But there might be other uses for it, too…” Wilson pulled out some twigs and flint. After molding the two items into one, the boy offered the hatchet to the girl. “We could get more charcoal if we… worked together. What do you say?” Willow stared at the axe before looking up at the bearded boy. With a face tinted red, the girl accepted the hatchet. “Sure… You seem nice enough. But how are we going to carry all the charcoal?”“I can make another backpack. I should have enough materials…” The boy pulled out a handful of grass and twigs. With several swift movements, Wilson formed a backpack.Willow gasped before commenting on the boy’s handiwork. “Wow… You made that with some grass and twigs?! That’s amazing!”Wilson gained a faint blush upon hearing the girl’s praise. “Ah, thank you…” The two humans then began chopping down the charred trees. All the charcoal the duo gathered began filling up the new backpack. As Wilson chopped one tree down, he noticed a pine cone lying on the ground. The boy gazed at the pine cone then looked up at the burnt forest. Wilson dug a small hole near his feet and buried the pine cone. However, to the boy’s surprise, a small evergreen popped up only seconds after the dirt covered the pine cone. Wilson released a yelp as he fell backwards.“Wilson! What-?” The teen took notice of the small tree. “Where’d that tree come from?”The bearded boy regained his composure and responded to the question, rising to his feet in the process. “After examining the soil here, I described it as ‘almost miraculous.’ …I’d like to remove the ‘almost’ part of that statement now.” Wilson then glanced at the backpack and took notice of its contents. “I think we’ve gathered enough charcoal for now. If we need more in the future, we can always come back.”“Or I could burn another forest.” After noticing Wilson’s gaze, the girl changed the subject. “So… where are we taking the charcoal?”~“This is your ‘campsite’?” Willow looked around the rocky terrain, taking note of the structures and items present.Wilson responded without turning around to face the black-haired girl. “I know it’s not much, but feel free to make yourself comfortable. The wooden cylindrical flask near the chest has some water, if you’re thirsty.” The black-haired girl walked towards the wooden cylinder and picked it up after placing the teddy bear next to the strange box-like contraption. In the meantime, the bearded boy placed the black-stained backpack on the ground between the fire pit and machine and fished out a small piece of charcoal. “Now then… I might as well see what my science machine makes of this charcoal.”Willow, after drinking some of the wooden container’s contents, turned to face Wilson. “Science machine?” The boy dropped the charcoal down the wooden funnel on the contraption. The bearded boy pulled the lever soon afterwards. The black-haired teen watched as the machine began stirring, clanking and clunking noises coming from the contraption. The machine hopped up and down a few times before a ding resounded through the area. Willow watched as Wilson then walked over to one side of the machine and fetched a piece of paper.“Let’s see…” The boy scanned the page for information. “It’s highly flammable, and the chemicals in it would make a flame that isn’t too hot but would last a long time…”Willow spoke up after hearing Wilson speak to himself. “Well, I’d consider that a good thing. That… science machine of yours figured out all that?”“Yes. It breaks down objects into their scientific components. I came up with it and made the first version when I was… nine? I can’t remember how old I was exactly…”“Seriously?! I’m not the biggest science geek- Uh, no offense…”Wilson just shrugged it off. “None taken.”“But wouldn’t something like that make you famous?”“Probably would… My science machine, however, suffers from some serious flaws.” The boy’s gaze turned towards the contraption in question. “It usually ends up destroying whatever I put in. Very rarely can it put an item back together after breaking it apart. I at least want to fix that problem before even thinking about showing it to the world.” Wilson focused his attention on the black and tan backpack and began fishing out some charcoal.Willow nodded before changing the subject. “So, what’s this egg here? A phoenix?”“Hm?” The boy turned to face Willow, the girl picking up the egg. “Ah, that? I found it after I killed its… rather territorial parent. I hadn’t known the bird was guarding an egg when I came across it.”“And you decided to give the egg a chance?” Wilson nodded. “Hopefully it’ll hatch soon.” Willow then noticed the boy pulling out some stones and twigs. “…What’re you doing now?”The bearded boy replied without turning around. “I think I can make something that can more efficiently cook any food we find…” Wilson gained a small scowl after examining the rocks. “…but I need more rocks first.”The boy rose to his feet and pulled out his pickaxe. After glancing around the terrain, Wilson spotted and moved towards a cluster of boulders. Willow watched as the boy smashed all the boulders with the pickaxe, rocks, flint, and a couple gold nuggets falling to the ground. However, Wilson’s pickaxe broke before he could destroy all of the boulders. The boy simply gathered all of the rocks, gold, and flint from the smashed stones and returned to the campsite, a few yellow chunks remaining.Willow then watched as the boy, after placing the rocks on the ground, used a piece of flint and began smoothing the stones. However, a distant barking and growling sounded throughout the area. “Wilson…?”“I hear it.” The boy rose to his feet. After depositing the excess flint and gold into the chest, Wilson pulled out his spear. The barking and growling grew louder. “I get the feeling we’re probably going to have to fight whatever’s making that ruckus. Do you need a weapon, Willow?”The black-haired girl shook her head and, after placing the egg near the fire pit, held up the axe. “I think I’ll be fine. If anything gets too close, I’ll toast it.”“Very well. Just… please be careful not to catch anything else on fire.” The growling and barking became even louder. “Sounds like it’ll be here soon…”With a raucous growl and bark, silence reigned over the area. However, Wilson soon spotted a black blur racing towards the duo. The bearded boy readied his spear as the black creature stopped near and barked at the humans before moving closer. When the creature closed in, the hound, mouth opened wide, lunged at Wilson. The boy slashed the creature to the side, the spear leaving a gash in the feral dog’s flank. The hound quickly recovered from the attack and charged at Wilson again, who prepared to counterattack.Willow, however, spotted another feral hound racing closer. While the black dog approached, the teen made a small flame appear in her free hand. The hound’s face soon met with a fireball, but it continued charging at Willow as if it felt nothing. When the feral dog came too close, Willow slashed at it with the axe two times. The girl fell backwards, however, while dodging the hound’s jaws. The black-haired girl launched another fireball at the hound’s face, this time the fireball causing the creature to stagger backwards with a whimpering yelp. Wilson then slashed the feral dog and killed it, a forked tongue sticking out of its mouth as it head hit the ground. The feral dog’s body transformed into a fine black mist that dissipated in a few seconds, a small fang and a chunk of purple meat remaining in its place. “What just…? It just disappeared?!”“That is one piece of evidence that helps me believe we’re in another world.” Wilson offered a hand to the fallen girl, who accepted the offer. “You aren’t hurt, are you? A lady shouldn’t have to deal with such beasts.”“No, I’m fine…” Willow, however, noticed the boy wince in pain after pulling up the girl. “Are you?”Wilson attempted to hide the pain with a smile. “Yeah, I’m fine. My arm’s just a bit sore is all…” The boy then picked up the nearby tooth and meat before walking over to and picking up another chunk of purple meat.“If you say so…” The sky turned red as the sun set, the land now covered in twilight. “It’s that late already?”“It appears so. I’ll put some charcoal in the fire pit.” After slipping the meat into his backpack and the tooth into his pocket, the boy walked over to the blackened backpack, pulled out a couple pieces of charcoal, and tossed them into the fire pit. After watching Willow light the charcoal ablaze, the bearded boy turned to look at the pile of rocks. “And now I can resume smoothing these rocks…”The black-haired girl watched as Wilson used a piece of flint to carve the rocks. The boy continued until he formed a small stack of stone cubes and slabs. With the smoothed stones, the boy began combining the stones together faster than Willow’s eyes could follow. The black-haired girl gasped in surprise when she spotted a large stone pot with three rings on its side, a curved stone lid with a handle on top, and a solid stone tray with two handles on either side lying where Wilson worked. The bearded boy then walked over to the chest, opened it, and pulled out three logs. After Wilson used his axe to make the logs the same length, he stuck the logs into the rings, propping the pot up a few feet above the ground. “Whew… The hard parts are done.” The boy placed the tray in the pot then covered it with the lid. Darkness then covered most of the land, the fire keeping a large area around the fire pit bright. “I better bring it closer to the fire before I add the final touches, though…” After dragging the construct closer to the fire pit, Wilson grasped his injured arm as pain shot through it. “Wilson!” Willow ran closer to the boy and spotted a couple of small red stains on the grass band around his left arm, the girl identifying the problem. “You’re hurt…”“I was just a bit careless while fighting that bird before.” The boy glanced at the makeshift bandage before moving a hand towards the band and undoing the binding. Both of the humans grimaced upon spotting the red wound underneath. “This isn’t good… It’s barely healed at all.” Wilson tossed the makeshift bandage into the fire. “At least it doesn’t appear to be infected…”To the duo’s surprise, a low grumble sounded throughout the area. Willow’s face turned red before she responded. “Ah, sorry… I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve eaten something.”“Ah, where are my manners? I should’ve realized you’d be hungry…” The boy slipped his backpack off, being careful to not bump his injured arm, and pulled out the cooked meat. “Will this suffice? I also have a few toasted berries and carrot slices if you want some.”Willow accepted the meat before replying. “Thanks. I’ll pass on the carrots though…” The girl began munching on the meat as Wilson pulled out some roasted berries and carrot slices. Willow watched the boy eat the small berries and carrot slices before turning her gaze back to the chunk of meat. Upon thinking of the events of the day, the girl tore a small piece off and offered it to Wilson. The bearded boy gazed at the meat confused before looking up at the black-haired girl. “You’ve… really helped me out today. I’m not an outdoors person, so…” Willow’s face turned red. “Just… take it, ok?! I’m not that good at this kind of stuff.”“…Thank you.” Wilson accepted the chunk of meat before offering some berries to the girl. “Do you want some? They’re quite sweet.”Willow waited a moment before taking the berries. “Alright, I guess I’ll try some.” The black-haired girl tasted some of the berries as Wilson munched on the meat. “Hey, you’re right… These are pretty good!”“They’re even better when used to make pies. The café in my hometown makes especially good ones…”The black-haired teen gained a faint smile before responding. “I guess I’ll have to try one whenever we get back.” Willow paused before saying, “Hey… What was it like for you back there? In your hometown?”Wilson perked up after hearing the question. “Ah, well…” A ghost of a smile appeared on the boy’s face as he gazed up at the gibbous moon in the dark sky. “It’s a little town up on the mountainside. Everyone pretty much knows everyone else there, and news travels quickly, too. My house is on the outskirts of town and isn’t the easiest place to find, I’ll admit… What about you, Willow?”“I live in the big city. My dad works in a factory most of the day while my mom either stays at home or helps out at a clothing store. My dad’s super strict, which usually leads to me getting grounded all the time.” A short awkward silence followed. “So… What’s your family like?”The bearded boy failed to respond right away. “My mom worked at the café I mentioned earlier. And my dad… He was a great scientist. He worked at an isolated lab near the base of the mountain and would sometimes stay there for a couple of days. When he was home, though, he’d play with me and share his scientific knowledge with me.”Willow noticed how the boy spoke. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” Wilson raised a hand, the act silencing the girl.“I know you didn’t mean any harm, and I’ve come to terms with it.” Willow remained silent for a moment. “May I ask… what happened to them?”Wilson nodded before answering. “My mom had gone to deliver lunch to all the scientists at the lab my dad worked at one day. But… there was a chemical fire while she was there. The lab was burnt completely to the ground. The firemen didn’t find anyone’s remains… Just proves that science can be as destructive as it is helpful, though that could be said about anything.”“I know…” Willow created a small fireball and tossed it into the fire pit, the flames becoming larger for a short moment. “Fire’s destructive at times, sure, but… The fire’s light is keeping that… whatever snarled at us away. It’s… also the only friend I have.”“What do you mean exactly? I… If you don’t want to talk about it, though…”The black-haired girl turned her gaze away from Wilson. “Well, everyone at school thinks I’m a freak. Some of the other girls even pick on me and blame me for things they do…”“And nobody believes you when you say you’re the victim or that you’re innocent.”Willow gazed at the boy a brief moment before continuing. “People think you’re weird for turning to something for comfort.” The girl gazed at the palm of her hand as a small fire appeared and hovered above it. “Like fire…”“Or science.” Wilson’s gaze focused on his science machine.“So you… went through that too? Or at least something similar?”Wilson replied to the black-haired girl’s question with a nod. “Yes, after my parents died. I lived with my aunt in a nearby city… Those were the worst years of my life. I can’t even remember how many times I got yelled at or punished for something I didn’t do within the first year.” The boy looked at Willow before speaking again. “For what it matters, I don’t think you’re a freak.”“Hunh?!” Willow’s face gained a faint blush. “Thanks… You’re rather cool yourself, you know.” Neither human spoke for a brief moment. “I guess that makes us friends then?”“…Yeah.” A smile formed on the bearded boy’s face as the sun began rising, light covering the rocky terrain. “Daytime…” Wilson rose to his feet and offered a hand to Willow. “I think our first order of business is to get more food. We can also head back and explore that forest, too.” Willow accepted the boy’s hand, the girl soon finding herself on her feet. “Sounds like a plan.” The black-haired girl noticed the egg sweating and, after a moment of thought, moved it away from the fire. When the egg stopped sweating, Willow walked over to and equipped the backpack while Wilson placed the purple meat and sharp fang in the chest. “Let’s go!”The duo followed the path to the southwest. However, Wilson diverted from the path upon seeing the grassland resting on the coast. Willow followed as the boy found and pulled up a carrot near the base of a pine tree. The black-haired girl spotted a nearby berry bush and, after a moment of thought, walked over to and plucked all the berries off and placed them in one of the backpack’s side pockets. The boy gathered a bit of grass and another carrot while the girl wandered over to and picked another bush clean of berries. Willow noticed a strange rabbit after picking another bush.“Uh, Wilson?” Upon hearing the girl, Wilson began walking towards his friend, the girl pointing at the rabbit. “Why does that rabbit have horns?”The boy gazed at the grazing brown rabbit, curly black horns adorning its head. “That, if I had to guess, is… a jackalope or related creature.”“A jackalope? As in a rabbit with antlers? I thought those were just a myth!” The girl cast her gaze back at the rabbit. “Though I guess I was wrong…”“They may prove to be a valuable food source if we can find a way to trap some.” Wilson pondered the situation before an idea struck. “I think I have an idea…” The boy pulled out some twigs and grass and took stock of the two materials. “Yeah… This should be enough to make two and still have some leftover.”The boy sat down and grabbed a couple handfuls of grass and some twigs. Willow copied the boy’s acts, the boy too busy thinking to notice. When Wilson began weaving the grass and twigs into a rectangular shape, Willow attempted to follow the boy’s example and failed. The teen let off an aggravated sigh, and the bearded boy then spotted the girl and her attempt at making a trap. The black-haired girl spoke after seeing Wilson looking up at her.“I thought I’d be able to help you make one, but…”Wilson examined his friend’s handiwork. “You’re doing a good job… The strands of grass you’re using are just a bit shorter than the ones I am. It’ll just need to be a bit smaller, and I don’t think it being a tad smaller will matter in the long run.”“Really? Ok…” Willow altered the placement of the grass and twigs. “Like this?”The bearded boy nodded. “Exactly. And now…” Wilson continued forming the trap by adding a roof to the rectangular grass box. Following the boy’s example, Willow crafted the roof of the trap with ease, the boy examining both traps in the process. “They both look good to me. Now we just need a long twig for each one…”“Like these?” Willow showed the boy two long twigs.Wilson grabbed one of the twigs before responding. “Yes, these will do. And for bait…” The boy pulled out the carrot and a piece of flint. Within a couple of seconds, the boy sliced the carrot up, Willow receiving half of the carrot slices. “Now then…” Wilson walked to the south and placed the trap on the ground. The bearded boy then lifted up part of the trap and used the long twig to prop it open. After scattering the carrot slices under the trap but close to the twig, Wilson nodded to himself before backing away. “Now we only need to find a suitable place for the second one… There’s probably going to be another jackalope along the way.”Willow rose to her feet. “Then let’s get going.”The two humans avoided the first trap and headed to the southwest. However, the duo soon spotted two more horned rabbits. Willow, without prompting from her friend, placed the trap down, set it up, and baited it with the carrot slices. The bearded boy smiled as the black-haired girl prepared the trap then backed away. The twosome then continued on their way.As the two humans traveled, something caught their attention. “Wilson, what’s that over there…?” Willow pointed over to the area in question.“What are you…?” Wilson quickly saw what the black-haired girl meant. “I was over there just yesterday. I… I’m not sure what it was supposed to be.” The duo walked closer to the structure, and the boy took notice of and approached the fallen gnome. “Hm? I missed this object… It looks like some sort of religious artifact.”“Well, can we go now? Something about this place… is creeping me out.”Wilson, after picking up the gnome, spotted a nearby mutant flower before answering. “Yes, let’s go…”The humans wandered away from the stone structure and onto the isthmus connecting the two forests. The two humans wandered into burnt forest and looked around the area. Willow took to chopping down a couple of charred trees and gathering the resulting charcoal. However, Wilson wandered further into the burnt forest and soon came to its end, a lush field lying beyond. The boy spotted a few strands of spider silk lying on the ground and gathered all of them. A buzzing sound attracted Wilson’s attention and led his focus onto a yellow and black insect buzzing around a flower.“Bees…” Wilson stepped closer to the insect fluttering to and fro. “There must be a hive nearby. And that means…” The boy began glancing around the plains until his gaze fell upon a yellow mound in the distance.Willow dashed over and noticed the focus of her friend’s gaze. “A beehive? …You’re already thinking of what you can do with it.”“Exactly.” Wilson began thinking out loud. “I’d need to catch some bees and harvest a honeycomb, not to mention the wood that would be needed… If I’m right, however, this would be a good source of food.” The boy’s train of thought led to a realization. “But I can’t just catch the bees with my bare hands. Getting stung is not pleasant, not to mention it would kill the bee…”The black-haired girl then offered an idea. “Isn’t there some way you can… I don’t know… Make a bug net?”“A bug net!” Wilson began fishing some twigs out of his pocket. “Thanks, Willow, you’re a genius. The obvious often eludes me…” The boy began twisting and transforming a few of the twigs into the framework of a net. Afterwards, Wilson used the silk he picked up earlier to form the netting. The boy frowned upon examining the resulting bug net. “Hm… It doesn’t look perfect, but it’ll have to do.”“So let’s catch some bees for… whatever you’re plotting.”Wilson nodded before scanning the grassland for the small insects. The bearded boy soon spotted one lying on the ground resting. Wilson approached the sleeping bee with cautious steps, inching closer and closer. Once within range, Wilson used the net and captured the bee. The yellow insect struggled but failed to escape the sticky netting. Unfortunately, three other yellow bees in the area began charging towards Wilson as four red bees flew out of the hive.Willow’s worry grew upon seeing the angry red insects. “Uh, Wilson…?”“Don’t worry.” Wilson captured the three yellow bees, failing to notice the approaching red bees in the process. “I got all of them.”“Not those ones!” Willow grabbed the boy’s hand and pulled him away from the approaching red bees, the boy taking notice of the aggressive insects while fleeing.“…Oh. Those bees… They look a lot like killer bees I’ve read about. Uh, thanks, Willow…”Willow responded with agitation. “Just keep running! When I can, I’ll burn all of those stupid bugs.” The duo kept running for a short time before Willow spotted an opening. The teen skidded to a stop and turned to face the angry red bees. Wilson stopped just past his friend, turning around and beginning to pull out his spear in the process. When the bees closed in, Willow blasted the bugs with a small fireball. The red bees panicked and flew around the area. Most of the bees died within a minute, only ashes remaining, but one survived the flames and charged at the black-haired girl. Fortunately, a slash from Wilson’s spear finished off the insect, it disappearing into black mist and leaving behind a black stinger to fall to the ground.Willow turned to face the bearded boy and noticed his pained expression. “You ok?”“Besides my arm, yes…” The boy glanced at the injury before turning his gaze in the direction of the distant beehive. “Let’s get that honeycomb now, shall we? Ah, but before that…”Wilson picked up the stinger from the killed bee. The two humans then began trekking back the way they came as Wilson pondered one of the stingers. The beehive came into view a minute later. The bearded boy approached the hive and used his spear to cut the hive in half. Wilson then fished out of the destroyed hive some blobs of honey and a honeycomb. The boy placed the honey in one of his backpack’s side pockets while the honeycomb found its place next to a few logs. Unfortunately, the duo soon saw a large swarm of red bees emerge from the wrecked hive.“I believe now would be a good time for… a tactical retreat.”The black-haired girl nodded. “I agree. Run!” The duo fled from the swarm of killer bees.~“Whew… I think… they lost interest…” Wilson glanced back to find nothing but the forest and the isthmus behind him. The panting boy then turned to check on his friend. “Are you… ok, Willow?”Willow nodded before responding. “That was crazy… Let’s… not do that again.” The girl then recognized their location. “We’re back in that field… Do you think… our traps caught some of those jackalope… rabbit things?”Wilson took a deep breath and exhaled before responding. “We could at least check on our way back to camp.” The bearded boy looked around the area. “This way will lead to the traps.”The duo walked to the north a short distance and quickly spotted the smaller trap lying on the ground shaking. “Hey, it caught something!” The two humans ran over to the trap. “So… how are we going to get it out?”“When I give the word, lift up the trap just a bit.” Wilson knelt down onto the ground, his hands approaching the trap. “I’ll reach in and try to grab it.”“You sure…?” The boy nodded. “Ok then…” Willow grasped the trap. “Go for it.” The black-haired girl lifted the trap up an inch.Wilson’s hands shot into the trap. A few seconds passed before a screech erupted from under the trap. The boy then gained a smile. “Aha! I got it.” Willow lifted up the trap and saw the boy hold up a furry brown rabbit by the scruff of its neck. “Hello there… Do you like science?” The girl, after placing the trap back on the ground, reached a hand towards and felt the one of the rabbit’s horn. “It feels… fuzzy.”“It must be covered in velvet…” Wilson felt the rabbit’s other horn with his free hand. “A deer’s antlers are covered in the same ‘fuzz’ until they scrap it off for mating season. They shed the old antlers and grow new ones between seasons. Definitely antlers, not horns, if that’s the case.”“Hunh…” The girl then changed the subject. “We better bind this rabbit… jackalope thing and check the other trap.”Wilson nodded before holding the shivering rabbit towards his friend. “I’ll make some rope if you hold the jackalope for a moment.”Willow nodded before grasping the rabbit like the bearded boy had. Wilson spotted a few tufts of grass nearby and walked towards them. The boy then wove the grass together to create a length of rope. While the black-haired girl held the rabbit, Wilson tied the creature’s limbs to its body.“That should do it. Let’s check the other trap…” The two humans moved to the northeast and quickly spotted the other trap, the trap lying on the ground moving slightly. “It looks like we’re having jackalope tonight.” Wilson created another length of rope while walking towards the trap. “Let’s do this.”The duo repeated the process done with the previous trap, earning another bound rabbit. “I wonder what jackalope tastes like?” However, a drop of water fell on the girl as she put the trap on the ground and turned her gaze upwards. “Was that…?” Rain began falling a brief moment later. “Rain!”“Ugh! I hate rain!” The duo began rushing back towards the camp. Fortunately, the shower faded away by the time the campsite came into view. “Brr… That was an unpleasant surprise…”The girl wrung out her hair of the excess water, the ends becoming black curls once dry. “I’ll say. I hope it doesn’t rain tonight…”“That… would be frightening. The fire’s light is keeping us from becoming a meal.” Wilson looked up at the cloudy sky. “And it’s hard to tell if these are storm clouds or not…”Willow, however, saw something in the distance after placing the rabbits on the ground near the fire pit. “Wilson… I think rain should be the least of our concerns right now. There’s something coming this way.”The bearded boy turned to face the direction his friend pointed. To Wilson’s surprise, he recognized the creature that approached. “…Kiwi?!”“Wait, you know that…” The girl recognized the creature. “Pig?”Wilson nodded before speaking. “Kiwi is one of a number of… pig men living here. Overall, they aren’t as intelligent as humans, but they don’t seem to mind my presence and haven’t tried to attack me.” Wilson watched the pig man sprint ever closer. “Kiwi is the friendliest out of the two I’ve interacted with. But I wonder what brings him here…?”Kiwi, hands behind his back, ran up to Wilson, but the pig man quickly spotted Willow. “Who are you?”“Um, hi… I’m Willow.”“Wil… low!” The pig looked at Wilson. “Willow friend?”Wilson nodded. “Yes, she is. I ran into her after we parted ways. Anyways, what brings you here, Kiwi?”“Gift for friend!” The pig man moves his hands forward, a strange tan paper covered in a yellow substance resting on the hooves.The bearded boy grasped the object and examined it. “This is… some form of poultice.”“Um… In English, Wilson?”“It’s a bandage.” Wilson looked up at Kiwi. “Where… did you get this?”“Kiwi show friends.” The sky then turned varying shades of red. “Friends follow later?”Wilson and Willow looked at each other. The boy responded after the black-haired girl shrugged. “Sure. We’ll follow you tomorrow.”“You is good!” Kiwi danced for a short time before running off to the northeast.Willow gained a small smile. “Well, at least not everything here is out to kill us.”“I agree with that.” Wilson applied the bandage to his injury, a wince of pain crossing his features while applying the poultice. However, the pain faded away once the bandage covered the entire wound. “This is much better than that crude grass bandage…” The boy shed his backpack and pulled out the bug net, honeycomb, and a few logs. “Hmm… Even with the logs in the chest, I’ll need more if I want to make that bee box.”“It’s already getting late, Wilson…”The boy rose to his feet and equipped the backpack. “Then I’ll just have to hurry. If we can get the bee box set up before we leave tomorrow, there may be honey when we get back.”“Well… just be quick, ok? I’ll get the fire started and the food cooking.”Wilson nodded and handed the carrots to Willow before running to the west. With a sigh, the black-haired teen removed her backpack and opened it up. The girl tossed a few pieces of charcoal into the fire pit before turning to face the bound rabbits. Willow picked up one of the rabbits by the scruff of its neck and undid the binding. As the rope fell to the ground, the teen fetched the axe out of the blackened backpack.“Sorry, but… you’re at the bottom of the food chain right now.”With a screech, the jackalope fell to the rocky ground dead. The rabbit’s body transformed into a fine black mist that dissipated in a few seconds, but a small mound of meat rested in the mist’s place. Willow then turned her attention to the other jackalope. That rabbit soon found its life cut short, another small chunk of meat remaining afterwards.Willow caught her breath afterwards. “Well, now that that’s over…” The girl picked up the two small pieces of meat. “It’s time to cook these little morsels of meat and see how good they are. And those berries and carrots we picked up, too…”After finding the berries in the backpack’s side pocket, Willow placed the food onto the spit then lit the fire. The girl noticed the blue egg and moved it closer to the fire before turning the spit. A few moments later, a familiar voice spoke. “Well, I think I’ve got enough logs for now.”Willow turned to see Wilson placing the logs down near the bug net and pull out a piece of flint from his pocket. “That’s good. It’ll probably get dark soon.” As if on cue, all light besides the fire’s disappeared. “…I didn’t think it’d get dark right here and now.”Wilson turned to face the girl and nodded in response. “Neither did I…” The boy noticed his friend suppress a yawn. “Tired?”“A little… Being chased by killer bees would probably make anyone tired.”“I apologize for that… Let me see if I can make a makeshift bed. Just hold on a moment.” Wilson pulled out the grass and thought for a moment. The boy used some of the grass to weave a rope. Wilson then formed the grass and rope into a large mat and held it up for the girl to see. “This should help you get some sleep…”Willow watched as the boy brought the mat closer to the fire and laid it down. “What about you, though? Aren’t you tired?”Wilson shook his head. “I’ve got the bee box to build as well as adding the finishing touches to the crock pot I made last night.”“Well…” While thinking about the boy’s words, the girl removed the food from the spit after examining it. “Thanks, Wilson. Where should I put the food?”Wilson thought for a moment before slipping his backpack off. “Just put it in the side pockets for now.”“Alright…” After slipping the food into the backpack, Willow grabbed the teddy bear near the chest and then walked over to and lied down on the grass mat. “Good night, Wilson.”“Good night.” Willow fell asleep within minutes, leaving Wilson to gaze at the logs and honeycomb. “Now then…”The boy sat down near and began transforming the logs into flattened boards. Within minutes, the bearded boy stopped and counted the number of boards he made. Wilson nodded before he began assembling the boards into a new structure on the other side of the cobblestone path. Once the boy finished the wooden construct, the boy pulled out one section and placed the honeycomb on it. Wilson then grabbed the net and noticed the sleeping bees stuck in it as well as something unexpected. “…Oh?” The boy examined the winged insect. “That butterfly must’ve gotten trapped while we were fleeing from the killer bees. I’ll free it after I place the bees in their new home.” Wilson removed the sleeping bees from the net and placed them on the honeycomb carefully. The boy then pushed the shelf back into the bee box. “Now then…”Wilson then grasped the netting around the motionless butterfly and helped untangle the small insect. The boy picked up the motionless insect and placed it down near the bee box. However, the butterfly began glowing after touching the ground. To Wilson’s surprise, the butterfly morphed into a small patch of flowers.“…What?! In what world does-?” With an aggravated sigh, the boy grabbed the bug net and excess logs then headed back towards the fire pit, looking over his shoulder at the flower patch, half expecting it to move or blink at him. “I’ll just… ignore it for now. I still have the crock pot to work on.” The boy glanced down at the bug net. “And I could probably fine tune this net, too… Making more flasks to hold water would also be a good idea. There’s still a lot to do before morning comes.” The boy walked over to and pulled out a few pieces of charcoal from the blackened backpack and placed them near the fire pit. “One thing at a time, though…” The boy pulled some twigs out of his pocket. “Starting with the crock pot.”

Edited by the1SAR

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the1SAR    13

I'm almost done with the next chapter, but in the meantime, I've updated the first two chapters. Also... If anyone's even reading this story, what do you think? Is it good or not?

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the1SAR    13

I've completed chapter five and tried uploading it yesterday, but unfortunately, I'm having problems uploading. In the meantime, I've updated chapters three and four.

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the1SAR    13

I finally got chapter five up. I hope anyone who reads this enjoys it!Don’t Starve: Chronicles of SurvivalChapter 5The CurseWillow groaned as light covered her face. “Stupid sun, let me sleep in…” A snort sounded in response. “…Hunh?” The black-haired teen opened her eyes and sat up. The girl quickly spotted the pig man standing a few feet away. “Kiwi?”“Where Wilson?”“What are you…?” Willow got up and, while holding onto her teddy bear, looked around the camp, seeing no sign of the boy but taking notice of the crock pot and distant bee box. “I don’t know where he’s gone to. It looks like he did a lot during the night, though…” As Willow looked around the area, a familiar voice spoke. “Ah, good morning to you two.” The duo turned to see Wilson, a stone cylinder in one hand and the blue egg in the other. “I apologize for my disappearance, but I figured it would be wise to get some water for the trip.” The boy, his beard bigger than before, then turned to speak to Kiwi. “I believe we’re ready to depart now. Lead the way, Kiwi.”“Friends follow Kiwi!” The pig dashed a short distance away then stopped and turned to face the humans.Willow, still grasping the brown teddy bear, grabbed the blackened backpack before joining her friend in following the pig down the road, the pig sprinting ahead then stopping to wait for the humans to catch up. Wilson offered a stone container to the girl as they walked. “I made two of these and filled both of them with water. Take it.”“Thanks…” The black-haired girl accepted the stone flask, uncorked it, and drank some water. “Where do you think Kiwi is taking us?”Wilson shrugged before answering. “If I had to guess, I’d say he’s leading us towards some form of ruins.” The group continued down the road, but the boy’s gaze turned to the south, marble pillars and stone trees visible. “It’s obvious there were people here. That site to the south appears to have been a building sometime in the past. It gave off the same… eerie feeling as the area we saw yesterday, though.”“If there were other humans here, though, what exactly made them disappear?” “That is the question.” The two humans followed Kiwi until a long chirp caught the group’s attention. Everyone turned and saw a tall black bird to the far south and an empty nest. “Interesting… I suppose that bird must’ve come and taken over the territory of the one I killed.”Willow stared at the avian before turning and speaking to Wilson. “You fought and killed that?! One of those…”“Y-yes. These… ‘Tallbirds’ are quite territorial, so I suggest we keep our distance. I’m not keen on fighting another one,” he said, glancing at his injured arm as he spoke.The trio continued following the path east. However, the group soon came to another crossroads, one path leading to the southeast while the other path turned north. Kiwi followed the northern path, and the two humans followed the pig man. The path led the group out of the rocky terrain and onto a grassy plain covered in a white fog. As the group continued onwards, a couple of tombstones and piles of dirt to the east caught the attention of the humans.“This is… a graveyard.”Willow wandered over towards one of the tombstones. “So there were enough people to-” The girl read the inscription on the grave. Upon reading the inscription again, the girl struggled to hold back laughter. “What in the world?! Wilson, you gotta read this.”“Willow?” The bearded boy approached the tombstone. “Now what is so funny?” Willow pointed to the inscription on the grave. “Alright then…” The boy examined the text on the grave before holding back a laugh of his own. “W-what?! Who would…? This is completely illogical.”The black-haired teen nodded. “Who would put their grocery list on a grave?!”“Friends follow Kiwi! Place not far.”The humans turned to spot Kiwi further along the path. “Ah, sorry, Kiwi… We got a bit distracted.” Wilson began following the pig again, Willow following the pig soon after. The group continued up the path until the fog dissipated. Wilson spoke upon seeing what lay beyond the fog. “It’s… a whole village of pigs.”Kiwi dashed ahead of the humans into the village. “Friends follow Kiwi!”The duo looked at each other before stepping foot into the village. The two humans followed Kiwi past several pig houses and pig men wandering about. Wilson took note of the diamond-shaped patches of grass, carrots, berry bushes, and flowers scattered about. Willow, on the other hand, spotted two smaller pigs wrestling on the ground. However, the two small pig men soon stopped wrestling and wandered over to a berry bush on the edge of the village. Willow then noticed some of the pigs staring at the two humans.“This place is rather big… How many pig men are there here?”Kiwi answered the boy’s question as the girl’s focus returned to her friends. “Many pigs. Some move away. Not enough space.”“I see…” Wilson then spotted wooden walls a short distance away. “What’s that?” The boy began wandering towards the walls. “Wilson follow Kiwi!” Kiwi ran after the bearded boy.Willow followed the pig man without question. Wilson, in the meantime, wandered over to the edge of the walls, a gap in the wall not far away. Looking past the walls, the boy spotted several wooden totems, fires lighting the top of each one, lined up diagonally in an “X” shape. Within the walls, several brown pigs wearing grass headbands wandered about. However, one of the fires on the odd torches decreased to a tiny flame.One of the pigs quickly noticed the totem. “More fuel!”“Now what is this…?” Wilson watched as the pig men ran over and added a couple bunches of grass to the totem, the fire reaching the intensity of the others. “What is this all for?”A brown pig spotted Wilson gazing at the totems and charged at him. “You go away!” The boy only noticed the enraged pig man as it raised its hand to strike.“No hurt Wilson!” When the brown pig attempted to swing at Wilson, Kiwi knocked Wilson out of the way and onto the ground. Several pigs in the area turned to watch the unfolding scene. The pig man then attempted to meet the attack with his own hoof. The two hooves collided, but the brown pig’s power proved too much for the other. Kiwi found himself stumbling backwards before falling to the ground. Willow gasped at the scene as the bearded boy recovered from his fall and saw his fallen friend.“Kiwi!” Wilson dashed over to the pig man. “I’m sorry…”The brown pig stomped over to Kiwi and Wilson, nearby pig men backing away from the scene, and spoke to them. “King decide fate. You and humans. See His Plumpness. Now!”The sulking pig man rose to his feet. “Friends follow…” Kiwi began trudging in to the northeast.The humans noticed the brown pig’s glare and looked at each other before following Kiwi. The group headed to the northeast before strange black obelisks came into view. Curious, the bearded boy wandered ahead of the others, Kiwi and Willow following behind. The sight of what the humans found surprised them. Within the center of four black obelisks rested a large dark-skinned pig sitting on wooden flooring. A crown made of grass adorned the pig’s head as well as large horns decorated with golden rings, the left horn bearing more due to its larger size. Like the other pig men, the giant pig wore a grass skirt. The giant pig turned its head down to look at the humans as Kiwi approached.“Humans…? It has been many moon cycles since I last saw any.”“Your Plumpness.” The smaller pig man ran up to the start of the wooden flooring the giant pig rested and bowed down. “Kiwi begs forgiveness!”The giant pig raised a hoofed hand towards the smaller pig. “You need not apologize. You have not done wrong by bringing them here.” The large pig then spoke to the humans. “Welcome to our village and our world. I am the Pig King of these lands. The demon called Maxwell brought you here, am I correct?” Both humans nodded. “So it has begun again… What are your names?”“I’m Willow…”“And my name is Wilson P. Higgsbury.” The bearded boy looked up at the Pig King. “If I may ask… You mentioned there were other humans here before us?”The giant pig started his reply with a slow nod. “That demon brings humans to our world for some unknown purpose. The last humans I saw said they made a camp north of here.”“Really?” Wilson turned towards Kiwi. “Is that where you were trying to take us, Kiwi?”The pig man turned to face the boy before speaking. “Show friends camp. Camp help friends!”The Pig King took notice of Wilson’s bandaged arm. “I see you’ve already faced some of the dangers this world holds. Take what you need from the camp. Its creators likely perished at the hands of this world’s dangers, and their supplies may prove useful in your endeavors.”“Ritual ready!” The brown pig wearing a headband dashed over to the area. However, the pig man noticed Wilson and Willow. “You leave now!” The brown pig roared at the humans, both of them backing away in response.“Enough!” The Pig King’s exclamation silenced the brown pig. “Guardian, know your place! You are to guard the ritual site and the village from those that would destroy us. These humans are no threat to either one.” When the guardian pig tried to speak, the Pig King raised a hand, silencing the brown pig. “Or myself. Now go and start the ritual.”The brown pig shot a glare at the humans before responding. “For the king!” The guardian pig ran back the way he came.“Please forgive him.” The two humans turned their gaze towards the giant pig. “Most of the guardians are… overprotective. And in the past, one human attempted to trespass on our ritual grounds, leaving a bad impression on them all.”Wilson nodded. “I see. That would explain their aggression when I approached what I assume to be the ritual site…” The boy then asked a question. “If I may ask, what is the purpose of the ritual he mentioned? I know it must be important if it needs guarding, so if you do not feel like sharing, I understand.”“The demon placed a curse on our kind long before I became king. The ritual keeps many pigs from falling to the curse’s power and dying.” The Pig King stared at Wilson and Willow. “Tonight, stay at the human’s camp. Do not wander away after dusk for any reason, lest harm befall you. And Kiwi…” The pig man perked up upon hearing his name. “Once you show Wilson and Willow the camp, come back and see me. You’re free to go.”Kiwi turned to face the two humans. “Friends follow Kiwi. Camp close!” The pig man dashed to the north, the humans following behind. The grassland faded away several minutes later, a small forest taking its place. However, the boy spotted a fire pit, several crude wooden boxes, and a wood table after stepping into the forest. Wilson sprinted over to, kneeled before, and examined a wooden box before removing its lid. Inside the box, the boy spotted several sheets of paper and a couple of small books. One leather-bound notebook caught the boy’s attention, his hand reaching in and grabbing it.A strange silver emblem emblazoned the front cover. “This… I-it can’t be…” The bearded boy opened the book and flipped through a few pages of notes. However, the boy soon came to a picture. “Oh?”“Whatcha find, Wilson?” Willow peeked over the boy’s shoulder and spotted the drawing. “I guess whoever camped here decided to keep a record of what they’d have to deal with.”“Seems that way…” The boy examined the picture of the horned rabbit before flipping to another page with three drawings. “There are three types of mushrooms here, it appears… More mushrooms appear after it rains, according to their notes.”“Are they even safe to eat, though?”Wilson read the notes before responding. “The red and green ones are poisonous, but the blue ones seem to have healing properties, though it apparently numbs the body and senses for a short time. That’s only when eaten raw, though… The notes say red mushrooms are common during the day, green ones pop up at dusk, and blue ones only show up at night.”“So the most useful type is the hardest to find…” The black-haired girl watched the boy flip to the next page. The duo recognized the creature depicted. “They even documented spiders?”Wilson read over the page. “Yes… Their notes say that their glands have minor healing properties. Also, there are yellow and black ‘warrior’ spiders that come from large spider dens.”Sunset descended on the land. “That late already? It hasn’t felt like it’s been that long…”“Let’s see if there’s anything we can use for fuel here.” Wilson placed the notebook in his back pocket glancing around the area. “It’d be better for us to save our charcoal for our own fire pit.” Willow nodded before the duo headed for different boxes. Willow found one box and removed its cover to find assorted rust-colored gears. After searching through the box to find nothing else, the girl moved towards another nearby box. Wilson, in the meantime, rummaged through a box full of wood and rocks. The bearded boy removed some of the logs and tucked a couple into his backpack.“Yuck!” The exclamation startled Wilson, who dropped the logs he held. The boy turned to find Willow carrying a wooden box and placing it in the fire pit. Upon seeing the boy’s confused face, the teen spoke. “I think I found their box of food… Or rather, what WAS their box of food.” Willow lit the box on fire, it and its contents creating a large fire.The stomachs of the two humans growled a minute later. “Speaking of food, I suppose now would be a good time to eat.” The boy moved towards the fire pit and placed his backpack on the ground. Wilson then fished out two stone bowls with covers hiding their contents. “I made these by putting our food in the crock pot.” Wilson pushed one dish towards the approaching girl. “Try it.”Willow sat down near the stone dish and uncovered the food. Inside, she found several small nuggets of meat arranged around a central container of yellow sauce, a crude stone fork resting nearby. “This looks good! What’d you make for yourself, though?”“Well, using the carrots and berries…” The boy uncovered the other dish. Slices of carrot and a few berries covered in a red sauce resided within, another stone fork lying within. “It’s not exactly a ratatouille, but it’s less of a mouthful than carrot slices coated with berry juice.”The black-haired girl giggled after hearing her friend. “I’ve never heard of that dish before… Is that going to be enough food for you?”“It’s a dish consisting of vegetables and herbs… under normal circumstances, at least.” The bearded boy glanced up at Willow before answering her question. “And don’t worry about me. There’s still a few leftover berries and a glob of honey either of us can eat if these don’t fill us up.”“But still…” After a moment of thought, Willow then said, “How about this… I’ll try some of that rattytu… Er, whatever you called it. Since we are stuck here, I can’t be that picky… You can have a couple of these nuggets in return. You did make them, so it’s only fair you try some of it.”Wilson stared at the girl for a short time. “…Really? Are… are you sure? You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”Willow nodded. “Of course I’m sure. Now let’s do this before I change my mind.”The bearded boy suppressed a chuckle, gaining a smile in the process, and grabbed the stone fork near his food. The girl moved her fork towards the ratatouille as the boy’s fork traveled towards a nugget of meat. Willow scooped up some of the carrots and berries. Wilson stabbed a nugget and dipped the meat into the sauce. The duo then tasted their friend’s food, the girl hesitating only a moment. Wilson gained a small smile while munching on the meat, but Willow only shrugged after eating the carrots and berries.“I’ve never really liked carrots before, but… These are alright.” Willow gained a small smile. “If there were nothing else, I wouldn’t mind eating this that much. You’re a pretty good cook, Wilson.”A faint blush decorated the boy’s face. “Thanks…” The two humans began eating their own dishes. Willow gained a smile upon tasting a nugget dipped in the yellow sauce. “Mmmh! These are really good! What do you call this?”“Ah… I call those ‘honey nuggets.’”“Honey nuggets, hunh? I like ‘em!” The duo continued eating in silence. Once the humans finished eating, Willow asked another question. “So how’d you become such a good cook?”“Well…” The boy turned his gaze to the full moon. “After finishing high school, I… left my aunt’s house and returned back home. I had to teach myself how to cook decent meals at the least…”Willow listened to the boy and waited a short moment before responding. “Didn’t your aunt try to stop you?”“Well… It took a bit to convince her to let me go. Basically… how do I put this nicely…? She… told me she’d wait for me to come crawling back. I don’t want to ever go back there. Though honestly speaking, it’d probably be better there than here…”“I can understand that…” Willow paused as Wilson pulled out the blue egg and placed it near the fire pit. “Even though people there think of us as freaks, at least there we wouldn’t have to worry about giant spiders or crazy hounds or… whatever else lives here. Then again, we wouldn’t have met otherwise…” “True, and I am glad we met and became friends.” The boy then rose to his feet. “I bet there’s some items here we could use back at our campsite. We should take a good look around and see what we find before it gets too dark.”After nodding, Willow headed over to and removed the lid from a nearby box as Wilson browsed the rest of that box’s contents. The black-haired girl found a familiar item. “Hey, I found more of those poultice things in here!” Willow browsed through the rest of the box’s contents. “There’s also some weird squishy pink things and a few needles, including one filled with some sort of… blackish ooze.” The girl pulled out the syringe with the black liquid as Wilson walked over.“Can I see it?” Willow handed the needle to the bearded boy, who quickly spotted a label. “Hmm… ‘Experimental strength enhancer’? I wonder if it works… I might have to find something to try it out on later, see if it does.” The boy then peeked into the box. “Those pink objects look like the drawing of the spider glands. Depending on what we find in the other boxes, we may have to make multiple trips… But we should definitely take these poultices with us and keep a few on us at all times for emergencies. Maybe the glands, too… I might find a way to strengthen their healing effects in the future.”Darkness covered the landscape. “Let’s head back to the fire for now. The fire’s light probably won’t cover the boxes for too long.” The duo then headed back to and sat near the fire, the bearded boy pulling out the notebook along the way. Wilson opened the book back to the page with the spiders. “Let’s see what else they found…” The boy turned the page and read the title of the creature depicted. “‘Clockwork Knight’?”“Knight?” Willow peeked over and saw the horse-shaped creature. “That’s a horse!”“I think they mean a knight as in the piece in chess. It does bear a striking resemblance, now that I think about it…” The boy read the notes under the picture. “They attack with a spring-loaded headbutt and then hop away while they prepare to strike again. They…” The boy paused upon reading a certain section. “They found four of them near that platform. The one I mentioned finding on the way here?” The black-haired girl nodded before Wilson continued. “They defeated all of them somehow and were looking into possible uses for the gears they dropped.”“Oh yeah, I found some gears in one of the boxes I searched. There were quite a few…” The boy turned the page a moment later. However, instead of finding another detailed picture, the duo found instead found a black outline of a bipedal creature with antlers. “What’s with this one?”Wilson read the information on the page. “They heard about this monster from the Pig King. They probably never saw it… Or at least, didn’t escape to record what it looked like.” The boy looked over the notes. “It mentions the Pig King and pigs call this giant creature ‘The Destroyer’, as it can demolish a pig house with one swing of its claws. It’s described as having thin limbs, large antlers, and a single eye on its face. The notes also say…” The boy’s face paled for a brief moment before he continued reading. “The notes say it appears during the coldest of days.”“T-that… I hope we don’t ever meet it.”Wilson nodded before turning the page to find another black outline bearing resemblance to a tree, notes underneath the drawing. “This page details a creature the pigs call ‘Leif.’ It apparently hides among the trees and sleeps until someone angers it. The notes say the Pig King described it as a ‘slow and forgetful guardian of the forest.’ I wonder what that means…?”“Um, Wilson? D-do you… think we’d survive if we r-ran into those… things?”Wilson turned to face his friend. Fear decorated the girl’s features as she hugged her teddy bear. “I don’t plan on letting Maxwell get away with this. For as long as I breathe, I’ll make sure we survive, and I’ll do my best to find a way for us to escape. I can promise you that, Willow.”“…T-thanks, Wilson.” Willow gained a small smile, the boy gaining a smile of his own soon after. The girl turned her gaze towards the fire, but something else caught her attention. “Oh? It looks like that bird fell asleep.”“Hm?” The boy peeked around the fire to spot a sleeping bird bearing red plumage. “You know, I could test out that strength enhancer on it…” Wilson rose to his feet and snuck closer to the sleeping avian while twisting some grass into rope. The boy tied up the bird before it woke up, chirping upon finding itself bound. “Now, to test this serum…” Wilson pulled the syringe out of his pocket and flicked the glass a couple of times. The bearded boy then injected a small portion of the serum into the frightened bird.Willow watched the whole scene in silence. “Poor bird…”“Well, if this serum doesn’t work, at least its negative side effects won’t harm either of us. It’s better to test things like this out on animals first rather than people.” Wilson carried the silent redbird closer to the fire. When close to Willow, Wilson sat down and placed the bird near his backpack. “If there are any serious side effects, they’ll occur within a day’s worth of time. If not, I’ll release it then.” The boy then thought of something. “But maybe we could make traps that would capture birds… That could be another source of food. Of course, we’d have to make these traps differently than the traps for the jackalopes.”“Do you always think of what you could make?”Wilson thought for a moment before answering. “Yes. Well, unless I’ve lost my inspiration…”Willow looked up at the sky and noticed the full moon approaching the horizon. “Well, at least the night’s almost over…” A loud howl sounded throughout the area. “That… sounded really close, Wilson.”“It didn’t sound like one of those hounds, but we better get ready.” Wilson rose to his feet. “Whatever that is may attack us before morning comes.” The bearded boy walked over to his backpack and pulled out his spear. However, as the boy pulled his spear out, the girl spotted something racing closer. “Something’s coming at us… fast!”Wilson turned to face the direction of the approaching creature. “It looks like it wants a fight. Get ready!”The monster ran into the range of the fire’s light. With a howl, the shaggy brown beast, hoofed hands raised above its head, dashed towards Willow. The black-haired girl launched a fireball at the monster, and it recoiled back as the flames blasted its body. Wilson then slashed at the beast, earning howls of pain. However, the furry brown monster recovered fast enough to swipe at Willow. The hooves tore through the skin on the girl’s right arm. With a shriek, Willow backed away before firing off another stream of flames. While the beast burned, Wilson dealt a powerful blow, the brown creature falling to the ground unconscious, and turned to face his friend.“Willow, are you ok?!”“It really hurts…” Willow’s eyes started watering as she held her injured lower arm.The bearded boy dashed to the box full of poultices, the box barely in the fire’s light. Upon finding some of the poultices, Wilson pulled some out and rushed to the girl’s side, the boy’s spear falling nearby. “I can bandage it, but I need you to move your hand.”“O-ok…” Willow slowly lifted her hand off of the injury on her right arm. The boy then began wrapping the wound with the poultice, a groan of pain escaping the girl’s mouth. “I… I must apologize. If I’d tried striking it earlier-”“Don’t blame yourself… I was way too close to it.” The girl took notice of the creature’s figure lying on the ground. “Let’s kill it before it wakes up…”Wilson nodded before speaking. “I’m just about done wrapping it up… Try to keep use of your arm to a minimum for now, alright?” The boy finished bandaging the injury as Willow nodded, the boy hanging onto a few extra bandages. “There… I’ll take care of that beast now.” The bearded boy grabbed his spear off the ground and approached the unconscious beast. As Wilson raised his spear, the sun’s rays spread light across the land. The duo quickly noticed something happening to the monster. The beast’s shaggy brown fur receded to reveal dark pink skin and a grass skirt. The boy’s spear fell to the ground as he recognized the sleeping pig.“Kiwi!?”Willow stuttered for a bit before responding. “Why was…? Was he…? How…?”“I… I don’t know.” Wilson’s mind traveled back to the words of the Pig King. “Maybe… it has to do with that curse the Pig King mentioned? We definitely need to talk to him about this.” The boy used some of the spare poultices to start wrapping up the pig man’s injured side.However, Kiwi began stirring during the process. The pig man soon spotted the girl’s injured arm. “Kiwi hurt friends!” The pig got up and dashed a short distance away, the bandages only covering half of his injuries.“Kiwi, hold on!” Wilson started to creep closer to the frightened Kiwi. “You didn’t mean to attack us… am I right?”Kiwi’s gaze focused on the ground as he bowed down. “Kiwi begs forgiveness…”“Well…” Willow stepped closer to the pig. “Seeing the way you’re acting, I can tell you didn’t mean to hurt me. So… don’t worry about it.”Kiwi perked up. “You is good!” The pig man began dancing.“Can I finish binding your injuries now, Kiwi?” The pig glanced down at the poultice wrapped around his body before raising his arms. Wilson approached his friend and finished bandaging the wounds in a matter of minutes. “I have questions that need answers… and I think the Pig King can answer them.”~“Yes… What you witnessed last night was the curse I mentioned.” The Pig King released a grunt-like sigh. “On nights of full moon, or after eating too much of the cursed purple meat, my subjects become feral beasts. The ritual keeps those inside their houses under a deep sleep until morning.” The giant pig’s gaze then turned to the boy. “Tell me, Wilson… You are a scientist, are you not?”A nod preceded the boy’s verbal response. “Y… yes, I am. Why do you ask?”The pig inhaled before replying. “Those of the camp to the north… The males of that group called themselves scientists. I am going to give you the same warning as I did them. The secrets of these lands are deadly to your kind. Some humans, after learning a couple of the secrets, were devoured by the strange Shadow Beasts. The soulless one they carried, when fueled by one such secret, killed many others. Do not seek this world’s secrets out, no matter the temptation, for they will try to destroy you and anyone you come close to. Understand?”“Y-yes, I believe so… I’ll do my best to resist.”The Pig King nodded. “If there is anything else you wish to know, I would be more than happy to answer your questions. I would… also be willing to trade for anything you don’t need. The trinkets you humans have created are quite interesting, I must admit…”“Really…? I’ll have to keep that in mind.” Wilson turned to the north while keeping his gaze on the giant pig. “I do have more questions, but… For now, though, I better head back to the camp and check on Willow. We’ll probably stop by before we head back to our campsite, though…”Wilson then walked to the north, the Pig King keeping his gaze on the bearded boy. The boy soon reached the edge of the forest and continued onwards to the camp. However, the giant pig’s words echoed through Wilson’s head. The boy came to a stop and pulled out the syringe filled mostly with the black liquid. “It’s probably not worth the risk, even if that redbird doesn’t show any symptoms. Though I could examine it in my science machine when we get back, see what they used to make it…” The boy continued walking into the campsite. Once there, Wilson spotted Willow putting some of the poultices into the blackened backpack. The bearded boy spotted his backpack, the redbird’s head sticking out of one of the pockets, near another box and approached it. The boy slipped the needle into the backpack’s spare side pocket before equipping the backpack. Wilson then walked over to and looked in the box the girl pulled the poultices from.“Oh, welcome back, Wilson!” The black-haired girl rose to her feet. “What’d the Pig King say? Was Kiwi…?”Wilson nodded while looking into the bare box, a few spider glands and empty syringes lying within. “The pigs turn into… what I can only describe as ‘Werepigs’ during the full moon or, according to the Pig King, after eating too much of the purple meat.”“I guess it’s a good thing we haven’t eaten any of that weird meat then…” Willow rose to her feet. “Well, I managed to pack up all of those bandages. What should we do with those spider glands? My backpack’s already full…” “Hmm…” The boy thought about the question for a short time. “Let’s take a quick glance at the other boxes’ contents. There may be other important items we should take back first. And the spider glands don’t appear to have degraded at all, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to leave them a bit longer.”Willow nodded before rising to her feet. “I’ll check the boxes over here if you’ll check the boxes on the other side.”“Very well. If you find anything interesting, let me know.”Wilson headed to a small group of boxes on the other side of the fire pit. The boy looked into one box to find logs and rocks. Upon looking into the box further, Wilson also found a few clumps of grass, some small twigs, and a couple pieces of flint. The bearded boy, after putting some grass and twigs in his pocket, moved to and opened up another wooden box. Wilson found only a few items resting within the opened box, but all of them caught his attention.Wilson pulled out a strange black ring split into several segments. The boy tilted the ring and examined it. “What is this…? Is it… connected to that box thing and wood platform?”After placing the ring down on the grass, the boy pulled out a glass bottle filled with a strange black substance. The boy noticed how the substance, a few air pockets appearing and disappearing, swirled within the bottle even when held steady. Wilson stared at the black ooze for a short time before tearing his gaze away and placing the bottle near the ring. The bearded boy then pulled out a large sheet of folded paper.“And what is this?” The boy unfolded the paper and released a gasp upon spotting the paper’s contents. “T-this is…”Willow walked over to her friend’s location. “What’d ya find, Wilson?” The girl spotted the blueprint’s contents. “What is that supposed to be?! It… looks like a person…”Wilson read the detailed notes on the blueprint. “Apparently, the people here were working on an automaton that got dragged here with them. From the looks of it, they actually got it to work with the resources they found here. Some of the gears they got from those clockwork knights were likely used on it…”“So… would this have made the people that were here scientists?”Wilson nodded before speaking, placing the blueprint on the ground and moving towards the last nearby box in the process. “Actually, the Pig King said that the men here were scientists. Their automation, from the looks of it, would’ve been the creation of the century… if they ever escaped this place.” Wilson found a few strands of silk, a couple of white fangs, and a couple of pink hides in the box. The boy recognized the pink hides and the curly tail adorning each one. “These look like pig skins…”“They probably had to kill some of them that turned into… what Kiwi did.” Willow noticed the bearded boy grab the hides and stick them in his backpack. “I only found a few weird… things, including another one of those religious artifacts.” The black-haired girl showed the boy a bag of melted marbles and a small garden gnome. “I also found and picked a couple of carrots and berries growing near the campsite. We should probably start heading back to our camp. Maybe… we could stop to ask the Pig King a few quick questions on the way?”Wilson nodded again before placing the golden ring, glass bottle, and odd blueprint in his backpack. The boy then grabbed the silk out of the box and stuck it in his pocket. “I agree. I don’t think he’d mind us asking about the ‘locals.’ He also mentioned trading when I saw him earlier. Perhaps he’d like to trade for those items.” After rising to his feet, the boy turned to face Willow. “Let’s go.”The duo headed out of the forest and back into the pig village. The two humans soon reached the Pig King. “Hello again, Wilson and Willow. Have you come to ask questions? Or… have you found something you wish to trade?” Wilson took a step forward. “A bit of both, actually… We found notes of some creatures left in the camp, like ‘The Destroyer’ and ‘Leif.’ We were wondering if you could tell us about some of the other creatures we might come across. We also found a couple of items that I doubt we’d be able to use.”“…Very well. I shall provide you with what I know of the dangerous creatures of these lands.” The Pig King looked down at the humans. “Spiders, Shadow Beasts, The White Ones, Hounds, Merms, The Herd, Swamp Monster… Tell me which creature you would like to hear about.”Wilson and Willow looked at each other before the girl shrugged. The bearded boy then spoke. “You mentioned the ‘Shadow Beasts’ when I was here earlier…”“The Shadow Beasts are… secretive beings resembling twisted shadows. I have seen only three kinds, two of which attack humans. I do not know much about them myself, but they seem to only attack humans that appear unwell.” The giant pig paused for a moment. “What else do you wish to know about?”“Well… What about that ‘Herd’ you mentioned? A-are they…?”The Pig King’s gaze turned towards Willow. “The Herd are peaceful giants all but during their mating season, living a simple life on open savannahs. If you provoke one, however, the rest will come to its aid. ”“Friends!” The humans turned to face the approaching Kiwi. “Sun go soon. You go home?”The humans looked at each other before turning to see the sun beginning to descend towards the horizon. “We should head out…” Wilson then nudged the black-haired girl. After a moment, Willow pulled out the melted marbles and the gnome. “Thank you for providing us with this information. Hopefully these items will be to your liking?” Willow walked closer and offered the items to the giant pig. The Pig King accepted the items with a small squeal. The two humans then turned to start walking away. However, the giant pig stopped them with a question. “Will you not accept what I offer in return?”“What do you-?” Wilson stopped his inquiry upon spotting several gold nuggets lying on the ground. “Gold!?”Willow stared at the shiny metal before speaking. “You’re… you’re really giving this to us?!”“Besides making the rings that mark me as King, it serves us no purpose. We have plenty to trade with.” The Pig King watched Wilson gather the gold and place it in his pocket. “The humans before you showed quite the fondness for it…”“It’s quite valuable in our world,” Wilson said in response. “It’s not worth as much here, but…” The bearded boy held up the last gold nugget, light reflecting off of it. “I think I can make something with this that might help us survive.”A small shower decided to interrupt the moment. “Ugh! Why does it have to rain?! I hate rain!”“Same here, Willow…” The boy spoke to the Pig King. “Thank you again for everything. Until we meet again.” The two humans then dashed away from the Pig King.“Home time!” Kiwi started following the duo. The group ran out of the village and started following the path south. The trio ran into the thick white mist. The mist impeded the group’s vision. However, the group soon emerged from the mist, the downpour growing stronger and continuing to soak them. The trio also found themselves a fair distance from the path, a thick forest and a couple of spider dens resting to the east. The spider eggs, however, bore strange bulges on top.“Are these the larger spider dens mentioned in the notebook? Regardless, we should return to the path for now…” Wilson looked around the area until he spotted the path leading back into the rocky terrain. “Let’s go.”The group quickly returned to the path and followed it. When the trio reached the crossroads, they followed the path to the west. However, as the group walked along, most of the light covering the area vanished. The pig man began panicking as the sky grew darker and darker.“Home home!” Kiwi ran to the northwest.“We’re so close, but… It looks like we’ll have to camp here.” The boy slipped his backpack off. “With all this rain, it’ll soon get too dark to see anything.” Wilson then pulled out the logs and blue egg in his backpack. “At least I thought to grab some logs from that campsite…”Willow’s gaze turned to the dark sky as Wilson fetched some grass out of his pocket and began setting up a campfire, the egg resting nearby. “But… will it keep us through the night?”“We’ll probably have to use more fuel to keep it going…” The bearded boy then used a couple pieces of flint to light the campfire. However, the resulting flame’s size shrunk within moments. “Some charcoal please, Willow?”Willow nodded before pulling out some black chunks from her blackened backpack. The girl added the charcoal to the campfire, the flames growing bigger. The rain continued pelting the two humans sitting near the fire, a few rumbles sounding in the distance. Wilson took notice of the shivering girl before thinking of an idea. Willow, after adding another piece of charcoal to the small fire, watched as the boy pulled out some twigs, the pig skins, and the silk. Wilson transformed the twigs into a basic frame before adding the pig hide and silk to the frame. Willow watched as the boy finished crafting the object, most of it covered by the pig skin. “…Ok, I give up. What’s that supposed to be?” Instead of a verbal reply, the boy pushed two twigs on the side up. The pink covering shot up, the girl recognizing the item immediately afterwards. “An umbrella?! Wilson, you’re a genius!”“Thanks…” Wilson then offered the umbrella to the black-haired girl. “A lady shouldn’t suffer in the rain if it can be helped, and it looks like it won’t be letting up anytime soon.”“Wilson, I…” Willow accepted the umbrella and began positioning it above her. However, a chirp interrupted the moment. The bearded boy quickly identified the source. “The egg’s hatching!”“Really?!” Willow moved closer to seeing the egg gain several more cracks. Unfortunately, a familiar howl echoed throughout the area. “Oh no… A fight is the last thing we need.”Wilson reached for his backpack and pulled his spear out. “If it comes too close, I might have to kill it. And if it’s Kiwi again…”Another howl sounded before the duo heard grunting noises. The boy rose to his feet as something moved closer. The shaggy brown beast, bandages covering its chest and side, ran up to and attempted to swipe at Wilson. The boy managed to evade the attack by leaning to the side, and he responded with a slashing attack via his spear. A small snarl formed on the bearded boy’s face as the werepig stumbled back, another louder rumble resounding through the area.“I guess Kiwi couldn’t quite get home in time. I don’t want to hurt him, but…”Willow launched a small fireball at the monstrous pig’s feet. “We could try knocking him out again.”Wilson nodded in response after dodging another of the beast’s assaults. “That’s probably our best option. If I get a good whack against his head-”Unfortunately for the humans, the monstrous pig lunged at and pinned Wilson to the ground. The boy’s spear kept the beast’s hooves and fang-filled mouth at bay, though its weight and power impeded any efforts to escape. Willow pulled out her axe and swung it at the pig’s side, but pain in her right arm soon ended her failed attempts to help, the beast ignoring the attacks. However, the black-haired girl spotted the dwindling fire and quickly put some charcoal onto it, the flames growing a tiny bit bigger.Two loud chirps sounded. Willow turned and spotted a small black chick, a single eye adorning its large head, hopping towards the werepig, tiny black wings flapping up and down with each hop. With its small lavender beak, the small bird pecked at the pig’s leg twice in succession. The attack forced the beast onto one knee, and Wilson took the opportunity to knock the shaggy beast away with a strike from the spear. The bearded boy looked down at the tiny chick and, after seeing its gaze, gained a small smile.The monstrous pig rose to its feet slowly and released a howl. The storm then decided to act on the situation. A bolt of lightning struck the shaggy pig, the electricity earning a howl of pain as its fur caught on fire. Wilson and Willow watched as the burning beast ran throughout the area. The pig slowed its pace, collapsed onto the ground, and began dissipating into black mist. Willow watched the black mist evaporate, leaving behind two chunks of meat and a pink hide. Thinking of Wilson, the black-haired girl turned to face her friend. “Wilson…?”“I guess it… was just Kiwi’s time to go.” The bearded boy, head tilted down and hiding his expression, sat down near the small fire. A small chirp sounded from the small bird, Wilson turning his head in time to see the black chick hop onto his lap. The little bird then curled up and fell asleep. “At least you’re cute…”The black-haired girl watched the boy shiver under the downpour, another rumble sounding in the distance. Willow pulled out a few pieces of charcoal and tossed them onto the campfire, the flames growing larger. The girl then chose to sit next to Wilson, and Willow held the umbrella over both of them. The boy only noticed the umbrella after failing to feel the rain pelt his skin, him turning to spot Willow nearby.“Why…?”Willow’s face gained a small blush before she responded. “W-well… After everything you’ve done for me, this is the least I can do in return. Besides, there’s plenty of room under the umbrella for the both of us and… You don’t deserve to freeze in the rain any more than I do.”“…Thank you.” Wilson, a small smile adoring his saddened face, looked up at the black-haired girl. “That… It means a lot to me. Thank you…” However, the boy’s face turned red after gazing at Willow for a short time. Wilson turned his gaze away from the girl and began thinking to himself. “Ah, what’s wrong with me…? Why is my face so hot all of a sudden?”Willow interrupted the boy’s thoughts. “So, what are you going to call this little black chick? It’s no phoenix, but, like you said, it is cute.”“Hm?” Wilson looked at the girl before gazing down at the sleeping bird. “I haven’t really thought of that…” The bearded boy paused to think. “How about, um… Edison? I’ve never been great at naming things…”Willow shrugged in response. “You’re naming it after the guy that invented the, um… light bulb, right? Sorry if I’m wrong… Science and history aren’t my best subjects.”“You’re right.” Wilson began stroking the small chick’s head. However, the sky became brighter and covered the rocky terrain in a weak light, the storm’s ferocity fading away until the rain stopped. Both humans turned to look up at the sky, Willow tilting the umbrella back a bit in the process. “Finally, the storm’s over… And just in time for a new day, too.”Willow released a sigh of relief as the bearded boy rose to his feet. Wilson, after spotting the small bird in his arms beginning to awaken, knelt back down to place Edison on the ground. The chick hopped out of the boy’s arms and onto the ground before staring up at him. Wilson then reached into his backpack’s side pocket, pulled out some berries, and offered them to Edison. The small bird hopped closer and ate a few of the berries before backing away.In the meantime, Willow walked over to and picked up the meat and pig skin lying on the ground. However, upon looking up, the girl spotted something unusual. “Wilson, look…” The black-haired teen pointed to a small pillar of smoke.“What…? It’s too small to have been a forest fire. And…” Wilson then thought of a possible conclusion. “It’s coming from our campsite.”The duo, after ensuring they grabbed all their belongings, ran towards the source of the smoke. Edison hopped behind the humans, tiny wings flapping up and down with each hop. The path helped carry the group to their destination faster. Soon, the campsite came into view. The humans quickly spotted the remaining embers of a recent fire within the fire pit. However, the young blonde girl sleeping on the grass mat caught the duo’s attention and held it for much longer.

Edited by the1SAR

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the1SAR    13

I finally completed the next chapter... For anyone reading this, I hope you enjoy this chapter, and I'd like to hear what you thought of it (when you're done, of course).

Don’t Starve: Chronicles of Survival

Chapter 6

Horror and Terror

“Why would Maxwell bring a little girl here?” Willow noticed the boy’s hands tighten into fists. “It makes me hate him even more.” To calm himself, Wilson took a deep breath and exhaled. “But anger isn’t going to help anyone right now. Willow, can you hand me the food you found yesterday and check to make sure the girl isn’t hurt? She’ll probably be hungry when she wakes up…”

Willow nodded before handing Wilson the food she gathered. However, the black-haired teen paused after pulling out the two chunks of meat. “I also picked up meat from, um…”

“That meat should help fill us up.” Wilson, after averting his gaze from his friend, grabbed the meat. “I’ll make another ratatouille while I try to think of what to make with the meat.”

As the bearded boy moved towards the crock pot, Edison hopping behind, Willow walked over to and knelt next to the blonde. The older girl examined the shivering blonde child to find her hair and skin soaked with water. However, a few cuts near the girl’s wrists caught Willow’s attention. The older female slipped her backpack off, opened it up, and pulled out a couple of poultices.

“I wonder how she got those cuts…? Either way, I better wrap them up.” Willow gently lifted the girl’s left arm and began bandaging the wound.

However, the bandaging of the child’s left arm caused her to start stirring. “Mmh…” The blonde girl opened her eyes and spotted Willow.

Willow soon spotted the younger girl’s gaze. “H-hello… How are you feeling?”

The blonde girl, to Willow’s relief, responded to the question in a cheery tone. “I’m doing fine.” The child then sat up and looked at the black-haired girl. “Is this your camp?”

“It’s our camp, yes.” The two females turned to see Wilson approaching. The bearded boy knelt down near the younger girl. “I’m Wilson P. Higgsbury and these…” Wilson motioned towards Willow then the black chick. “…are my friends Willow and Edison. Can you tell us your name, ma’am?”

The blonde girl giggled after listening to and staring at the boy. “You’re too formal! And your beard looks funny.” Wilson’s face turned red upon hearing the child. “My name’s Wendy.”

“I’m glad to meet you, Wendy.” Wilson extended a hand towards the blonde girl, and she stretched out her own hand, the duo shaking hands a moment later.

Willow then spoke to the young girl. “Can I finish wrapping up your injuries?”

“Hm?” The blonde followed Willow’s gaze to spot the cuts in question. Wendy then shrugged before moving the limbs towards the older girl.

Willow quickly bandaged the child’s injuries. “There… How’s that feel?”

“It didn’t hurt to start with…”

“Well, the bandages will help the healing process.” Wilson then rose to his feet, the blonde girl watching in silence, and walked over to the crock pot. The boy examined the pot’s contents. “I think it’s almost done… Are you hungry, Wendy?”

The blonde girl nodded. “Yes, I do feel a bit… empty.”

A confused expression crossed Willow’s face for a brief second before she responded. “Well, you’re in luck. Wilson’s a pretty good cook.”

“You… flatter me too much, Willow.” With a nod, Wilson removed the stone tray from the crock pot, steaming carrots covered in berry juice resting on top. The boy carried the stone tray over to the blonde girl. “Here you go, Wendy… Help yourself, but mind the tray.”

Wilson then handed the child a stone fork. Wendy situated herself before the stone tray before poking a sliced carrot. The blonde then stabbed a couple of the carrots and moved them towards her mouth. After exhaling on the steaming carrots some, the girl finally stuck the vegetable in her mouth. Wendy munched on the carrot slices for a short time before releasing a hum of approval. Upon swallowing the food, the child stabbed a couple more carrots slices and repeated the process.

Wilson gained a smile upon seeing the young girl eating and enjoying the food. The boy then rose to his feet and headed over to the wooden chest. After slipping his backpack off and placing it near the chest, the bearded boy opened his backpack and the chest. Wilson noticed the limited space of the chest and, after pulling out the logs in the two containers, began making wooden boards. Within minutes, the boy created another chest identical to the first.

“Are you a carpenter?”

The question startled Wilson, and he turned to spot Wendy, holding the small bird, peeking over his shoulder. “Ah, no… I’m a scientist.”

“He thought of and made everything here,” Willow said while walking closer.

“Reeeally?” Wendy waited until the boy nodded to continue. “You must be smart. Really, really smart.”

Wilson gained a faint blush before changing the subject. “It’d be more efficient if we had each chest store certain items, such as one chest for the items the… ‘locals’ drop.”

“I can understand that. I mean, who knows what else we’ll find here?” Willow watched the boy move the logs, flint, and gold in the old chest into the newer one.

Wilson thought of something after placing some of his twigs and grass into the new chest. “We could probably do with gathering more materials before it gets too late… I’ll save further sorting for later.” The bearded boy rose to his feet.

“But what about Wendy? We can’t leave her here by herself…”

“Well, I was thinking she’d come with us…” Wilson glanced back in the direction of the child, but he failed to spot her, instead seeing only the black chick.

A giggle sounded from the opposite direction, the boy turning to see Wendy rocking back and forth, her hands behind her back. “So… Where we going?”

Wilson spoke as the trio began walking to the northwest. “A grassy field with plenty of resources…”

The trio continued onward in silence, the group entering the forest within a couple of minutes. Upon reaching the coast, the humans followed it north. Soon, the group reached a large field. Wendy spotted a horned rabbit, however, and began chasing it. After laughing at the scene, Wilson and Willow looked at each other before moving to pick some grass, twigs, and berries. The group spent a lot of time in the grassland, moving from one section to another after gathering all the resources in the area.

“Look, Wilson!” Wilson looked up upon hearing the voice to see the young blonde holding a rabbit. “I caught him! He was completely oblivious to his fate…”

A chuckle escaped the boy’s mouth before it turned into a smile. “That’s great. What are you going to do with him?”

“Hmm…” Wendy thought for a moment, staring into the eyes of the captured rabbit, before responding. “I don’t know. I would at least like to show Abigal I caught one…”

“Abigal?”

“She’s my twin sister!” The blonde girl looked around the area. “I wonder where she is? I haven’t seen her since last night…”

Wilson perked up upon hearing the statement. “Your sister’s here as well?!”

“Yep! Abigal protected me from this big meanie that snarled at us when it got dark.” Wendy released a depressing sigh. “It’d been awhile since we’d last seen each other. She said she’d try to see me again tonight, but…”

“I don’t suppose you know where she went?”

The blonde girl shook her head. “She left after I fell asleep…”

Wilson sighed and looked up at the sky, sun starting to approach the horizon, before speaking to Wendy. “If she doesn’t show up tonight, we’ll head out and look for her, ok?”

“…Ok.” Wendy gained a small smile. “Thank you, Mister Wilson.”

The child’s words caught Wilson off-guard, his face gaining a small hint of red. “Y-you can just call me Wilson.”

Wendy giggled after hearing the bearded boy. “Then why are you so formal?”

“It… was just the way I was raised.”

“Well, I like it.” The duo turned to look up at Willow. “I think we should head back for now.”

“I agree…” Wilson rose to his feet. “Let’s go.” The trio began walking back towards the campsite, the black chick following after eating some seeds. However, Wilson spoke to the black-haired teen as the trek led them through the forest. “According to Wendy, her twin sister Abigal is also here.”

The statement sunk in before Willow replied. “What?! So Maxwell brought two little kids here?!”

“Apparently he knows no boundaries…” A scowl appeared on the boy’s face for a brief moment before fading away. “From what Wendy told me, Abigal said she’d show up tonight. If she doesn’t, though…”

Willow nodded before answering. “You can count on me to help. In fact… Lighting the fire early might also help her find her way back.”

“Ah, that’s true. The smoke would serve as a beacon in the sun’s fading light…”

The group soon saw the campsite come into view. Willow moved towards the fire pit, tossed in a few pieces of charcoal, and lit the charcoal on fire. In the meantime, Wilson headed towards the chests and, after opening the newer one, slipped his backpack off and began transferring some of the twigs and grass from the backpack to the chest. Afterwards, the bearded boy then headed towards the crock pot but stopped upon seeing the stone tray lying near the fire pit. After grabbing the tray and placing it in the crock pot, the boy pulled out the meat and some berries and placed them on the tray. Wilson used a piece of flint to cut up the meat. The bearded boy then formed several balls of meat and covered them in berry juice before using two pieces of flint to light the charcoal under the pot.

Wilson released a sigh after placing the lid back on the crock pot. “Hopefully they’ll like meatballs…” The boy then felt his beard. “But my beard… I think I better shave before it gets itchy. It’s already larger than I like.”

The boy wandered over to his backpack and pulled out a spare piece of flint and a twig. After a moment of thought, Wilson’s hands began crafting something new with the two items. The bearded boy released a sigh after creating the makeshift razor before glancing back at the fire pit. Willow helped Wendy make a crude wooden cage for the caught rabbit, unaware of the boy who watched them for a short time before wandering to the north of the campsite. While walking, Wilson used a piece of flint to transform some stone into a cylinder.

“I might as well get some water for Wendy while I’m out, make myself useful…” The boy soon reached the spring, and he filled the new flask with the spring’s water. The boy then fashioned a quick cork out of a small log and sealed the container. “There we go… Now it’s time to shave.” Wilson pulled out the simple razor and gazed at it a short time before sighing. “How hygienic. Oh well…”

Wilson began to shave. The makeshift blade easily cut through the black hairs attached to the boy’s cheeks and chin. Clumps of black hair fell to the ground every few swipes of the razor. When the boy finished shaving one side of his face, he moved to repeat the process to the other side. However, the blade nicked the skin on the boy’s cheek in the final stages of shaving. Wilson gasped then felt the small cut with a finger. The boy then sighed before gathering up the beard shavings.

“I might think of a use for them in the future… At the least, they could serve as an emergency fuel for the fire pit.” As Wilson stuck the beard shavings into the backpack’s pocket, the boy felt something odd. “Hm?” The boy pulled out a red feather from the pocket. “…I suppose any part of me that wanted to try that serum out is now gone. I better have my science machine examine it when I get back, if for no other reason than to destroy it.” Wilson turned to start heading back to the campsite after placing the feather back into the backpack.

Willow, however, stood along the boy’s path, the boy standing still upon seeing the girl. “You could’ve told us you were going out for a bit, y’know.”

“Ah, Willow, you’re…” The boy turned his gaze to the side. “You’re right. I should’ve told you. I apologize…”

The black-haired teen noticed how Wilson kept his gaze on the ground. “Just… tell us next time, ok?”

The boy nodded before the duo began walking to the south. Within a couple of minutes, the duo found their way back to the campsite, Wendy chasing the small black chick around the fire pit. Wilson released a chuckle before moving towards the blonde child. The small bird noticed the boy approaching first and hopped over to him, Wendy spotting the boy soon after and running closer.

“Oh, there you are! We were wondering where you went.” The young girl noticed the boy’s shaved face, the girl giggling before speaking. “You look better without the beard!”

“T-thanks…” Wilson moved towards the chests. “To be honest, I prefer not having one.” After placing the feather and beard hair in the older chest, Wilson removed the syringe and bottle from the backpack. “And now… My science machine gets to examine a couple new items.”

The boy walked up to the science machine. Wilson placed the syringe in the funnel before reaching for the lever. The machine hopped into action, the three humans all watching. Whirring and clanking sounded from the contraption. The black chick, startled by the machine, hopped away with a few chirps and sat near the fire pit. After a minute, the machine settled down and produced a slip of paper. Wilson fetched the paper before reading its contents as the sky turned red.

“Hmm? Hold on…” The boy reached into his back pocket and pulled out his journal, a few slips of paper sticking out. Wilson flipped through the small slips until he found a certain one, pulling it out and examining the notes. “…No wonder it didn’t work! Whoever made that serum made it from monster meat and didn’t neutralize all the toxins.” The two females watched the boy put the slips of paper into the small notebook then put it back into his back pocket. “And now I’ll examine that bottle’s contents. The bottle itself may prove useful, so…”

Wilson moved to pick up the glass bottle, the black substance inside still swirling about. The boy struggled to uncork the bottle for a short time before the cork gave way. Upon the cork being removed, the black ooze stopped swirling around. Oblivious to the substance’s behavior, Wilson turned the bottle upside-down. The black ooze slid out of the bottle and onto the boy’s right hand. After placing the bottle back on the ground, the boy used both hands to holding the black ooze, throbbing up and down in irregular intervals.

“I wonder what makes it pulsate like this. It’s almost like…” With no warning, however, intense burning pain shot through Wilson’s left hand. “Aaaargh!”

Willow and Wendy became worried upon seeing the boy jerk his left hand away from the black substance. The black ooze then slipped off of the boy’s right hand, but instead of hitting the ground, it began hovering above the ground. The substance then twirled and danced in the air, its air pockets resembling a face. Wendy and Willow stood still in shock and only watched the blob.

“I-it’s alive!?” Willow focused her attention to Wilson when he released a grunt. The black-haired teen watched the boy pull off his left glove to reveal a reddened hand and a small scar on the palm of his hand. “Wilson, are you ok?!”

Wilson glanced up at Willow and noticed the approaching Wendy before nodding then staring at his hand. “Y-yeah, but… My gloves have protected my hands f-from several dangerous chemicals…” The boy watched the strange substance a few feet away, twirling about inches above the ground. “So how did this… this thing cause this reaction?!”

The black ooze then zoomed over to and floated in front of Wilson’s face. The boy gasped before attempting to back away, though the strange substance hovered closer at the same pace. However, the ooze soon changed its tactics. The black substance started circling Wilson’s head. The boy soon found himself trapped in a trance.

Within the trance, dark crimson tendrils encroached on the edge of Wilson’s vision as all other colors turned pale. A strange shadowy creature formed in the distance and started advancing closer, four tiny legs carrying it quickly. The silhouette-like entity, large jaw full of jagged teeth, soon stood before the boy and released a silent roar at him. The shadowy creature then attempted to lash out at Wilson, body detaching from its legs as its jaws came closer.

“Get away from him!”

Wilson found himself torn from the trance. Upon finding himself back at the campsite, the boy gasped then attempted to calm his heavy breathing. Wilson’s head began throbbing a moment later. In response, the boy raised his right hand to his sweaty forehead and pinched it in an attempt to stop the pain. Wilson then looked around until his gaze fell upon the chirping Edison, who nudged the boy’s leg upon seeing him staring, and the boy patted the small bird on the head in response. Wilson then spotted Wendy and Willow, the two females corking up the bottle and trapping the black ooze.

The black-haired teen released a sigh before glancing behind her to see the boy and black chick approaching. “Hey, Wilson, you ok?” Instead of a verbal response, Wilson only nodded. “That’s good. We were worried for a moment.”

“You looked like a zombie.”

Wilson turned his gaze to the blonde child. “Well, it’ll take more than that… t-that blob to best my mind.” A grimace crossed Wilson’s face as pain shot through his trembling left hand. “T-though I will admit, it did catch me off-guard… I better wrap up my hand, though I… I don’t know if that will help at all.”

Willow watched the boy move towards his backpack. “Wilson, are you sure you’re ok? You’re acting a bit… strange.”

“Don’t worry about me. I-I’ll be fine…” Wilson, after reaching his backpack, fished through it until he found the poultices. The boy turned his gaze to his painful left hand only to cringe upon seeing its reddened, swollen state. Wilson spoke to himself while he started slowly wrapping his hand. “That b-blob is not to be messed with. I-I’d hate to see what it would’ve done with… with a more severe injury… Ah!” Wilson flinched when pain shot through his hand again.

“Do you need help?” The boy looked up and to his side to spot a somber Wendy. “Is there anything I can do?” Wilson shook his head before he returned to bandaging his hand. However, the boy’s stomach soon released a grumble. “Heehee… You’re hungry, huh?”

A blush appeared on Wilson’s face before he remembered something. “Ah, I… I had something cooking in the crock pot. I-it’s probably done by-”

Willow interrupted the boy as he rose to his feet. “I’ll check on it, Wilson. You just… take it easy, ok?” After a brief second, Wilson nodded and sat near the fire pit. Willow then moved towards the crock pot and, after noticing the lack of fire under the structure, removed the lid of the pot. “Ooh, meatballs…” The black-haired teen removed the tray and brought it to the fire pit as the boy finished bandaging his hand, fingers left unwrapped. “These look good, Wilson…”

“T-thanks…” Wilson pulled out his stone fork as Willow and Wendy did the same. “I’m sure you two are hungry… H-help yourselves. Ladies first, after all…”

The two females each stabbed a meatball before Wilson did the same. The trio ate their first meatball at the same time. Wendy spoke first about the food. “Mmmh! Thank you for making such good food, Wilson!”

“Yeah… These are really good!”

The boy’s face turned red as he smiled. During the rest of the meal, the group ate in silence. After eating a few meatballs, Wilson moved to grab another one. However, both the boy and Willow moved to claim the same meatball and took notice of each other. Wilson, upon realizing that meatball was the last one, retracted his fork. The black-haired teen noticed her friend’s act before coming up with a plan. Willow cut the meatball in half with her fork before claiming the half closer to her. Wilson watched the older female’s actions before gaining a smile and stabbing the other half of the meatball.

“T-thanks…” The boy then ate the meatball.

Willow gained a smile of her own after swallowing her meatball. “No problem.” The black-haired girl then turned and spotted Wendy yawning. “Tired, hunh?” After the blonde child nodded, Willow yawned herself. “Darn it, it’s contagious…”

“P-perhaps you two should get some sleep tonight. I’ll… I’ll keep watch and make sure there aren’t more… s-surprises.”

Wendy turned her gaze towards Wilson. “Aren’t you tired too?”

The boy shook his head. “T-there’s no need to worry about me. I’m not tired at all… H-honest.”

“Well…” Willow hesitated a moment before conceding. “Ok… Just wake me up if you get tired. I can take over if you need some sleep.”

Wilson watched the two girls head over to and lay down on the grass mat as darkness covered the landscape. With a sigh, the boy moved towards the glass bottle and picked it up as the small bird curled up and fell asleep near the two females. The black ooze, its air pockets resembling a face, swirled within the bottle’s confines. The boy stared at the strange substance for a short time before tearing his gaze away. After spotting the older chest, Wilson moved towards the chest, opened it up, and placed the bottle inside. The boy released a sigh as he closed the chest.

“W-what’s wrong with me?! Why can’t I go more than a couple of sentences without… without stuttering?” Wilson’s head began throbbing in pain again. “Nnh… M-maybe I shouldn’t have volunteered to stay up…” The boy then noticed the sleeping forms of the two females. “B-but they need it more than I do… right?”

Wilson, after his headache got worse, sat down and settled for staring up at the dark sky, only the gibbous moon and several clouds visible. The boy eventually closed his eyes for a brief moment. However, upon opening his eyes, Wilson gasped at what he saw out of the corner of his eye. A bright pair of circular white eyes lurking in the darkness stared back at the boy. Wilson slowly rose to his feet and walked to his backpack. After pulling out the spear, the boy attempted to poke at the creature.

“S-shoo… G-go away.” Wilson prodded the pair of eyes until they faded away. “Whew… That s-settles that pro-” The boy paled upon seeing more pairs of eyes staring at him. “W-what are they?! Why are there so many, and why… w-why are they only… watching me?”

Wilson moved towards the other pairs of eyes and shooed them away one at a time with his spear. However, upon getting close to the last pair of eyes, the boy stretched a hesitant hand out towards the eyes. Wilson felt nothing, even when his hand passed between and through the pair of eyes. The boy sighed before coming to a conclusion.

“…T-that goop must have injected some sort of… of neurotoxin or the like. I’m j-just hallucinating. T-that’s it…”

The boy breathed a sigh of relief and sat down near the fire pit. Wilson then closed his eyes. However, the boy heard a voice whispering. Unable to identify what the whisper said, Wilson opened his eyes, but instead of finding himself at the campsite, the boy found himself in the middle of the only light in the area. A silhouette resembling a panther lurked just outside of the light and stalked the boy, the entity’s white eyes focused on its prey. When the creature raised its snarling head, a serpentine neck and head replaced the feline head. The monster then unfurled a pair of wings that quickly transformed into a pair of claws racing towards Wilson.

“A-aaah!” The boy shot up and pointed his spear towards the fire pit. Wilson quickly took stock of his environment, calming down upon seeing the sleeping form of his friends. “E-easy now, Wilson… It was just a nightmare… J-just a nightmare. I must’ve… must’ve fallen dozed off. Y-yeah, that’ it… I better put my spear away before I… I accidentally hurt someone.”

However, as Wilson walked over to his backpack and put his spear away, the whisper returned. “How does it feel, Wilson?

The boy froze upon hearing the whisper as his head began pounding again. “H-hello? Who… who’s there?!” Wilson waited for a minute before trying to calm himself and pinching his forehead. “I… I must be hallucinating again. Y-yeah, that’s it…”

You aren’t hallucinating.” A shiver ran down Wilson’s back upon hearing the whisper. “This is as real as your name is Wilson… Percival… Higgsbury.

The boy paled and began sweating upon hearing the whisper’s reply. “How do you know my… m-my name?”

We know all about you, Wilson. How your parents disappeared, how your aunt and peers treated you in that city, how you attempted to shut out everyone…” A faint laughter reached Wilson’s ears. “But enough of that… How does it feel?

The boy gulped after hearing the whisper before questioning it. “How does… H-how does what feel?”

Losing your mind, of course.” A raucous laughter then broke out, and Wilson only covered his ears in response.

~

Willow began stirring as sunlight covered the landscape. “Mmh… Aaawn…” The black-haired teen sat up as the blonde child started awakening. “I wish I could sleep in a bit longer…”

Wendy yawned before jumping to her feet, the small bird hopping up at the same time. “Good morning, Willow!” The blonde girl then became a bit depressed. “I hope Abigal’s having a good morning…”

“Well, l-like I said yesterday, we’re… we’re going to find her today.” The two females turned to see Wilson, his backpack already equipped and his bandaged hand still swollen.

Willow turned to face and nodded at Wendy before speaking. “He’s right. We’ll find her, you hear me?”

“…Ok.” The blonde child rose to her feet and smiled at her friends. “Where are we looking first?”

Wilson, right hand tugging his left sleeve down over his arm, looked at the ground while responding. “This place is rather big, so… I-I was thinking we could split up?”

“What?!” Willow then conceded the point. “True, we could cover more ground if we split up… But it’s also risky, Wilson.”

Wilson, after a sharp inhale, nodded before responding. “I… I understand that, but if Abigal is left alone for much longer, s-she might…” Instead of continuing that train of thought, the boy changed the subject. “I was thinking of… of checking out the area to the southwest. C-could you and Wendy check the area to the east?”

“Ok, Wilson…” Willow then added something to her statement. “…but since you’re hurt, we’re ALL coming back here at noon. …Er, when the sun’s highest, since, uh… y’know.”

Wilson waited a moment before nodding. “A-alright… Let’s head out then and… and not waste more time.” The boy, glancing to and fro, then began following the nearby road heading to the southwest and soon disappeared from sight.

“…Wilson was acting kinda funny, wasn’t he, Willow?”

Willow nodded. “I guess… his hand’s still bugging him.” The black-haired teen turned to face the blonde child. “Either way, let’s start looking for your sister.” After Wendy nodded, the duo began following the path eastward, looking around wherever they went. “…By the way, what does your sister look like? Does she wear similar clothes to yours?”

“Well…” Wendy gained a small smile before continuing, the duo passing by the black avian’s nest along the way. “She wears a bow just like mine.” The blonde child pointed to the red flower-like bow in her hair. “And for some reason, she had on this white sheet. I have to wonder why… Was she going to a costume party?” The young girl giggled before she said, “But I don’t care about what she wears. I’m just glad I got to see her again!” The blonde child then became depressed as the duo reached the crossroads and started heading north. “I just hope… we’ll see each other again.”

Willow placed a hand on Wendy’s shoulder before speaking. “Hey, we’ll find her. Then you two can catch up and play together.”

“Yeah!” Wendy smiled for a moment before her expression turned serious. “But, judging from how you and Wilson were talking, it’s dangerous here, right? You two have been really nice to me, so… I want to help any way I can. And be friends!”

As she froze in her tracks, Willow’s expression showed her surprise upon hearing the blonde child. However, the older female gained a smile before responding. “Of course we can be friends…”

Upon hearing Willow’s reply, the younger girl hopped up and down. “Thank you!” Wendy hugged Willow, much to her surprise.

“Wha…?” The black-haired teen’s face turned red. Upon releasing Willow from the hug, Wendy took notice of her friend’s reddened face and giggled. “Um, uh… We should keep looking for Abigal…” The blonde child nodded before the duo continued following the path north.

The duo walked along the path for a short time, searching and calling out for Abigal, before reaching the misty graveyard. The younger girl recognized the scene quickly. “A graveyard?” Wendy walked over to a blank tombstone and examined the area. “How many people are buried here?”

“I… I don’t know.” The black-haired teen walked over to and stood beside her friend. “I just hope we don’t end up buried here as well…” Willow then looked up at the sky to see the sun still low, and she thought of an idea. “There’s a village not far from here. Maybe someone there has seen Abigal?”

Wendy perked up before nodding. “Ok then, let’s go there!” The duo headed north until they spotted the grassy field housing several houses. The younger girl soon spotted the pig men wandering around the village. “Piggies! Are they friendly?”

“Well, most of them shouldn’t mind us being here. Just… stick close, ok?” The blonde child nodded before the duo entered the village.

The two females wandered into the village before moving towards one of the numerous pigs. After learning nothing from that pig man, they moved further into the village before asking another pig about Abigal. The process repeated a couple more times, the same result each time, before the black-haired teen released a sigh. However, upon seeing familiar black obelisks a short distance away, Willow thought of an idea and moved towards the structure, Wendy following behind.

The duo spotted a pig man speaking to the Pig King. “…Very well, Julius. I give you permission, so long as it is indeed abandoned. You may go.” The pig danced for a moment before running past the two humans. However, the giant pig took notice of Willow and Wendy. “Ah, Willow… I see another human has been brought to our world. A young human, at that. What is your name?”

“This is Wendy.” The younger girl bowed before her friend continued. “And, well… Wendy’s sister is here as well, but we haven’t had any luck in finding her. We were hoping she might’ve come this way…”

The Pig King shook his head. “I have not seen any humans since you and Wilson left to return to your camp. If the human appears in the village, however, I can try to direct them to your camp. It is… on the rocky ground while following the fork in the path, correct?”

Willow nodded before responding. “Did… Kiwi tell you that?”

“Yes, he did.”

As the giant pig prepared to continue talking, the obelisks began changing. A black wisp escaped the obelisks as they retreated into the ground. The wisps, however, soon took on a familiar appearance. Willow and Wendy gasped upon recognizing the wisps. The wisps flew into small black protrusions further away from the Pig King, and the protrusions soon rose from the ground to form new obelisks.

The black-haired teen managed to stutter out a response. “W… what j-just…?”

The Pig King turned serious. “You need to find your friends. I have noticed the only times these… cursed obelisks rise is before the Shadow Beasts attack.”

“But… didn’t you say they only attacked someone who wasn’t…?” Willow then connected the dots. “Wilson!”

The older female then began racing back the way she came. “W-Willow, wait for me!” Wendy ran after and managed to catch up with Willow. “What’s wrong?”

“Those Shadow Beasts he mentioned… He said they only attack someone who’s hurt or sick.” After a brief moment of silence while the duo ran, the blonde girl released a gasp upon realizing the reason for the black-haired teen’s worry. “Exactly. We need to find Wilson and make sure he’s ok.”

The two females ran south along the cobblestone trail, passing by the graveyard. The duo followed the fork in the path when they stepped onto the rocky terrain. The road quickly led the females to their campsite, but they failed to find Wilson. Willow turned her gaze to the sky to find the sun just past its highest point. Wendy, in the meantime, checked on the trapped rabbit. However, what the blonde girl found surprised her.

“Willow, the rabbit!” Willow walked over to the pen to find a strange rabbit-like creature within the pen’s confines. The older female stared at the shaggy black beast cowering in the corner. “Its fur looks like Wilson’s beard…”

The black-haired teen gazed at the black rabbit a moment longer before turning her gaze to Wendy. “We’ll have to figure out why it suddenly looks like this later. Wilson isn’t here, and he could be in trouble!”

Wendy nodded before looking to the southwest. “I think Wilson said he was going down there…?”

“Right, so we better head down there and find him.”

The duo followed the path leading southwest, finding their way into the forest within a minute. While following the trail, the duo looked to the south to see a couple more of the shaggy black rabbits roaming around on a grassy field. The two females traveled deeper into the forest before hearing a familiar chirping. Willow and Wendy followed the chirping off of the path to find its source. The black chick nudged the unconscious form of Wilson, sweat trailing down his head and right hand clutching his spear, slumped up against a tree before chirping again.

“Wilson!” Upon rushing to the boy’s side, the duo noticed a bleeding injury on their friend’s right arm. “It… looks like something really big bit him. What could’ve done this, Willow?”

“I… I’m not sure.” Willow slipped off her backpack and fished through it until she found the poultices as the blonde child grabbed and held the troubled small bird. “I better wrap it up. Then we should get him back to the camp before… whatever did this shows up again.”

When the black-haired teen grabbed Wilson’s right hand, he flinched and inhaled sharply. “N-no… Go away… L-leave me alone…”

“Easy, Wilson… It’s just me and Wendy. Let me wrap up that injury of yours, ok?” The half-conscious boy calmed down upon hearing Willow. As the older female bandaged the injury, she thought to herself about Wilson’s condition. “What could’ve done this to him…? Did a Shadow Beast do this?”

Wendy and Edison watched in silence as Willow wrapped up the injury. “Is he going to be ok, Willow?” Wendy’s gaze turned to the ground and, after noticing the blood-stained grass, took notice of a trail of blood coming from further south and ending under the boy’s arm. “It looks like it’s been bleeding for some time…”

“I… I think so. We’ll just have to make sure whatever did this doesn’t take another bite.” The black-haired teen finished the job and placed the spare poultices back into her backpack. “Let’s get him back to camp.”

Willow attempted to sling Wilson’s left arm over her shoulder. However, the older female felt something unusual, and she discovered the problem after lifting the boy’s sleeve up, Wendy speaking about it first. “It’s all swollen up, just like his hand.”

Willow then thought of something, the idea making her frown. “If it got worse, why didn’t he tell us about it?” The older girl shook her head as she repositioned Wilson’s left arm over her shoulder. “Whatever… Let’s just get him out of here. I’ll get answers later.” Willow rose to her feet and began the slow trek back to the campsite, Wendy and Edison following behind.

The group found their way to the path and followed it back towards the campsite. Following the trail quickly led the females and black chick back to familiar territory. Upon reaching the camp, Willow removed Wilson’s backpack, tossing it a short distance away, and laid the boy, right hand still holding onto the spear, down on the grass roll. The black-haired teen then took off her backpack, opened it, fished out some charcoal, and tossed a couple of pieces into the fire pit. The blonde child and small bird, in the meantime, sat near and watched the unconscious boy.

However, after a short time, Wendy heard Wilson release a groan. The blonde girl gained a smile after seeing the boy dig his hands into the grass mat and open his eyes. “He’s waking up!”

“Really?!” Willow dashed over to the boy’s side right before he shot up into a sitting position, his breathing erratic and eyes wide open. “Easy, Wilson, you’re safe…” Wilson, upon realizing his location and seeing his friends, closed his eyes and attempted to calm his breathing. “What attacked you?”

“I… I don’t know…” The boy opened his eyes and glanced at his bandaged right arm, the poultices stained red. “When I t-tried to get rid of it… W-when I attacked it… I didn’t seem to do any damage to it. It just… I-I was lucky I could outrun it.”

Willow took notice of her friend’s constant wide eyes and raspy breathing despite his attempts to calm himself down. “Whatever he ran into must’ve really spooked him…” The older girl placed a hand on Wilson’s shoulder, the boy releasing a gasp and turning to face the girl upon contact. “Hey, you’re safe here… If that thing does show up again, it’ll learn not to play with fire the hard way.”

“Willow…” The boy, after inhaling then exhaling, gained a small smile. “T-thanks.” Wilson then attempted to rise to his feet, but his prior blood loss resulted in a dizzy spell and loss of balance, the boy using his spear as a crutch. “W-whoa…”

“You lost a lot of blood, Wilson…” Wendy gently grabbed the boy’s arm as Edison nudged the boy’s leg. “You need to take it easy for now. Pleeease?”

When Wilson turned to look at the blonde child, he noticed the younger girl’s pleading stare. “…F-fine.” The boy lowered himself to the ground and sat down. The small bird then hopped onto Wilson’s lap and fell asleep. “I… I suppose I’ll just try to find s-something to keep my mind… preoccupied.”

“Well, that shouldn’t be too hard,” Wendy said with a smile. “You could always look at Mr. Beardling.”

“Mr. Beardling? Is that the rabbit’s name now?” Wilson turned to look at the rabbit.

However, the boy gasped upon seeing a shaggy black beast roaming the pen’s confines. “When we came back to camp, well… We don’t know how or why its looks so different. Maybe you can find out?” Wendy skipped over to the pen and stared down at the rabbit-like creature. “Come here, Mr. Beardling!”

The black beast released an echoing shriek when the younger girl attempted to grab it. A sharp pain originating in the boy’s head then shot through his whole body. In response to the pain, Wilson released a sudden gasp and closed his eyes as his left hand shot up and clutched his forehead. Willow took notice of her friend’s acts and released a small gasp.

“Wilson?! Are you ok?”

The boy cracked an eye open. Faint black and crimson tendrils lined the edge of the boy’s vision. “…Y-yeah, I’m fine. That… that screech just-” Wilson closed his eyes, clutched his forehead tighter, and inhaled sharply after hearing another screech from the rabbit-like creature.

Willow gained a frown upon hearing and seeing the boy. “Maybe you should get some sleep…” The black-haired teen looked up at the sky to find the sun approaching the horizon. “It is almost dusk.”

“I-I’ll be fine, Willow…”

“Gotcha!” The younger girl, the black beast in her hands, rose to her feet. Wendy caught sight of a large shadow right in front of her. Startled, the blonde girl fell backwards with a shriek. “Eep!”

“Wendy?!” The two humans and black chick rose to their feet and turned to face the blonde girl. Wilson’s breathing hitched upon seeing the scene before Wendy. Willow, however, failed to notice what the boy saw. “What happened?!”

The blonde child rose to her feet and dashed over to the duo. “T-there was something right in front of…” Wendy trailed off after seeing Wilson’s expression. “Wilson, are you ok? You don’t look so good.”

Instead of responding, the boy started backing away, the two females taking notice of Wilson’s trembling body in the process. The boy then attempted to calm himself down and closed his eyes. Wilson opened his eyes only to find a shadowy entity rising onto its several tiny legs. The transparent creature opened its massive jaws after lifting its head high above Wilson’s, and a raspy laughter filled the air. With a gasp, the boy stumbled backwards as the strange beast lowered its body and head. The shadowy creature then scurried closer to Wilson. In retaliation, the boy swung the spear at the entity. As the spear sliced through the shadowy beast, it broke into three black wisps.

Willow and Wendy both caught sight of the black wisps. “W-what?! Where did those come from?!”

“That looks like what I saw earlier!” The blonde child watched the wisps fly a short distance to the south before merging together, the image of the shadowy beast visible to the two females for a short time. “Did you… see that beast?”

“I-it… it can teleport?!”

Wilson started backing away from the approaching shadowy entity as Edison chirped at the boy’s foe. After closing in on the boy, the strange beast attempted to bite the boy. Fortunately, Wilson dodged the attack and slashed at his attacker with the spear. The shadowy creature split into three black wisps and reformed south of the path. To the boy’s and beast’s surprise, a large fireball struck the beast moments after teleporting.

“That’s what you get for messing with us!”

Willow fired off another fireball as Wilson turned to face the two females. “They… they can see it too…? T-then maybe…” The boy turned his gaze back to the shadowy beast in time to see it vanish as dusk arrived. “It’s… it’s gone.”

The two females approached the boy. “So that was what attacked you?” Wilson only nodded in response, raspy inhales and exhales sounding from him as he nodded. “Well, I doubt it’ll come back anytime soon.” Willow moved towards the boy and propped his left arm over her shoulder.

Wilson gained a confused expression due to the black-haired teen’s actions. “W-what…?”

Willow released a sigh before replying. “Don’t argue.” The trio then walked back towards the fire pit. As the black-haired teen lowered Wilson onto the grass mat, she said, “Now that things are…relatively peaceful, I think we all could use some sleep. Especially you, Wilson.”

The boy remained silent after hearing Willow. Wendy took this opportunity to speak, Edison moving closer to the fire pit and curling up in the process. “I guess I’ll put Mr. Beardling back into the pen for now.” The blonde child skipped over to the pen.

“Hey, um… Wilson?”

Wilson turned his gaze from the ground up to Willow. “Y-yes? What… what is it?”

“Well…” Willow paused for a moment before continuing. “If something’s wrong, you can tell us, y’know?”

“I… I-I know. And I appreciate t-that a lot.” The boy then returned his gaze to the ground before speaking in a low voice, a scowl forming on his face as he spoke. “H-honestly… I-I’m exhausted. Don’t think I… I can stay awake much longer…”

Willow noticed her friend’s tired gaze and heavy breathing. “Go ahead and get some sleep then. I’ll keep watch tonight.”

“Abigal! You’re back!”

The exclamation caught Wilson and Willow off-guard, the boy’s scowl fading away. The duo turned to see Wendy hugging a floating white sheet with eyes and a red bow on its head. “W-Wendy…? So that’s… that’s your sister?”

“She’s… kinda hovering above the ground…”

Abigal released a few moans. Wendy, however, seemed to understand what the white entity said. “…So you’re a ghost. Well, at least we can still play, right?” The ghost swayed from side to side while releasing another moan, the response exciting the blonde child. “Yay!” The younger female then thought of something. “Oh, I have to introduce you to my friends. I know you get jealous easy, but… Please give them a chance?”

With a moan, Abigal followed Wendy as she moved towards her friends. Willow spoke first when the duo got close. “I’m Willow. So this is your sister Abigal?”

“Yep! Turns out she’s a ghost… but she’s really nice!” Wendy turned to look up and smile at the white ghost for a moment.

The blonde child’s gaze soon fell upon Wilson, who quickly noticed and responded. “A-and my name is… is Wilson P. Higgsbury. It’s… it’s n-nice to meet you.”

“And the little bird is Edison.” The blonde child motioned towards the sleeping black chick. “They’re really nice, Abigal, so I hope we can all become friends.” Wendy, wearing a mischievous smirk, then touched the ghost’s body. “Tag, you’re it!” The blonde child then ran a short distance away. Abigal then began chasing the younger girl.

“D- don’t wander too far…” Wilson, after seeing Wendy wave to reply, lowered his head. The boy’s gaze soon fell upon his bandaged right arm, the poultices soaked in blood. “I s-should probably change them before… before night comes.”

Willow, in the meantime, ignited the charcoal in the fire pit, large flames lighting up the area. When the black-haired teen turned her attention back to Wilson, she found the boy attempting to rise to his feet, his spear serving as a crutch. “And what do you think you’re doing now, Wilson?”

“M-my arm… Change the… the bandages…” Wilson, eyes closed and breathing ragged, swayed from side to side before he started to fall.

Willow managed to catch the boy before he fell to the ground. “Easy, Wilson… I’ll get them for yo-”

Large shadowy fangs tore through Wilson’s chest and Willow’s right leg. The black-haired teen released a cry of pain as she and the boy, eyes wide open for a brief moment, fell chest-first to the ground. Willow glanced down at her right leg to find a large bleeding gash starting below her knee and ending close to her ankle. When the black-haired girl turned and looked behind her, she stared up at horror at the shadowy entity, large open jaw full of jagged teeth, towering above her. A scream died in Willow’s throat as the creature glared down at the humans.

As darkness started to cover the landscape, the shadowy monster scurried backwards, its gaping maw forming a smile. The entity released a silent roar at the humans before it vanished into the darkness of night, Willow just staring in the direction of the creature out of fear. The black chick woke up as the blonde child and her sister ran past and hopped over to Wilson. Wendy and Abigal rushed to Willow’s side and noticed her injury before speaking.

“Willow, your leg! What happened?!”

“I… I don’t know! Some sort of… Another Shadow Beast, I think… It…” The black-haired teen then remembered Wilson. “Wilson!” The two humans focused their attention on the boy. “Wilson…? Are you… ok?”

Willow moved to flip Wilson. Upon flipping the boy onto his back, the small bird jumping back just in time, the group spotted a large pool of blood where the boy’s chest had rested. The group then saw a large dark stain on Wilson’s vest and his pale skin. “He’s dying.”

“W-what?!” Willow stared at the blonde child in shock before gazing at the boy. “No… No, he can’t be…” The older female grasped the boy’s cold arm and began shaking him. “C’mon, Wilson, wake up! You… you can’t die. Y-you can’t…” However, Willow thought of something. “The bandages! M-maybe-”

As Willow spoke and the black chick nudged Wilson’s body, the blonde child placed a couple of her fingers on the boy’s neck. “…It’s too late. He doesn’t have a pulse.” Wendy then made another observation. “And he isn’t breathing.”

“No! He… he can’t be…” Willow broke down into sobbing. The somber Wendy moved towards her crying friend and hugged her. Willow shrugged the blonde child off, but when she tried again, the black-haired teen did nothing. “He… he didn’t… deserve this…”

When the older female glanced over at Wendy, she spotted tears in the blonde child’s eyes. Willow also noticed a depressed Abigal hover closer. The two humans sat by the fire pit and cried for most of the night. However, pain in the black-haired teen’s leg caused the girl to release a groan. Wendy identified the problem, rose to her feet, and grabbed the black backpack. Willow gained a small smile when the younger girl offered the black backpack. As the black-haired teen dug through the backpack, however, Abigal noticed something and moaned to Wendy.

“Hunh? What do you mean, Abigal?” With another moan, Abigal redirected her sister’s attention to Wilson. Wendy noticed the red gem on the boy’s amulet glowing. “Willow, look… What’s going on with Wilson’s necklace?”

Willow, poultices in her hands, turned her teary gaze towards Wilson and noticed the glowing gemstone. “I… I don’t know.” The pain in the black-haired teen’s leg soon focused her attention on bandaging the large gash.

Abigal, upon noticing the moon touching the horizon, moaned at Wendy again. “Hunh? Sunrise is soon?” Wendy then realized what her sister meant. “…Oh, you can’t stay out in the sunlight, can you? Because you’re a ghost…” The ghost nodded. “Well… Promise me you’ll come back and play with me again. I’ll miss you…”

Abigal moaned again as the sun’s first rays broke through the darkness. The ghost vanished as the sun’s rays traveled through her body, Willow watching as she finished binding her wound. However, another light soon caught the attention of the duo. The two humans turned to see the amulet around Wilson’s neck glowing and beginning to levitate. The two stunned females and chirping Edison watched as the amulet lifted itself and the boy into the air. With a burst of light, the group lost consciousness.

- - - Updated - - -

I finally completed the next chapter... For anyone reading this, I hope you enjoy this chapter, and I'd like to hear what you thought of it (when you're done, of course).

Don’t Starve: Chronicles of Survival

Chapter 6

Horror and Terror

“Why would Maxwell bring a little girl here?” Willow noticed the boy’s hands tighten into fists. “It makes me hate him even more.” To calm himself, Wilson took a deep breath and exhaled. “But anger isn’t going to help anyone right now. Willow, can you hand me the food you found yesterday and check to make sure the girl isn’t hurt? She’ll probably be hungry when she wakes up…”

Willow nodded before handing Wilson the food she gathered. However, the black-haired teen paused after pulling out the two chunks of meat. “I also picked up meat from, um…”

“That meat should help fill us up.” Wilson, after averting his gaze from his friend, grabbed the meat. “I’ll make another ratatouille while I try to think of what to make with the meat.”

As the bearded boy moved towards the crock pot, Edison hopping behind, Willow walked over to and knelt next to the blonde. The older girl examined the shivering blonde child to find her hair and skin soaked with water. However, a few cuts near the girl’s wrists caught Willow’s attention. The older female slipped her backpack off, opened it up, and pulled out a couple of poultices.

“I wonder how she got those cuts…? Either way, I better wrap them up.” Willow gently lifted the girl’s left arm and began bandaging the wound.

However, the bandaging of the child’s left arm caused her to start stirring. “Mmh…” The blonde girl opened her eyes and spotted Willow.

Willow soon spotted the younger girl’s gaze. “H-hello… How are you feeling?”

The blonde girl, to Willow’s relief, responded to the question in a cheery tone. “I’m doing fine.” The child then sat up and looked at the black-haired girl. “Is this your camp?”

“It’s our camp, yes.” The two females turned to see Wilson approaching. The bearded boy knelt down near the younger girl. “I’m Wilson P. Higgsbury and these…” Wilson motioned towards Willow then the black chick. “…are my friends Willow and Edison. Can you tell us your name, ma’am?”

The blonde girl giggled after listening to and staring at the boy. “You’re too formal! And your beard looks funny.” Wilson’s face turned red upon hearing the child. “My name’s Wendy.”

“I’m glad to meet you, Wendy.” Wilson extended a hand towards the blonde girl, and she stretched out her own hand, the duo shaking hands a moment later.

Willow then spoke to the young girl. “Can I finish wrapping up your injuries?”

“Hm?” The blonde followed Willow’s gaze to spot the cuts in question. Wendy then shrugged before moving the limbs towards the older girl.

Willow quickly bandaged the child’s injuries. “There… How’s that feel?”

“It didn’t hurt to start with…”

“Well, the bandages will help the healing process.” Wilson then rose to his feet, the blonde girl watching in silence, and walked over to the crock pot. The boy examined the pot’s contents. “I think it’s almost done… Are you hungry, Wendy?”

The blonde girl nodded. “Yes, I do feel a bit… empty.”

A confused expression crossed Willow’s face for a brief second before she responded. “Well, you’re in luck. Wilson’s a pretty good cook.”

“You… flatter me too much, Willow.” With a nod, Wilson removed the stone tray from the crock pot, steaming carrots covered in berry juice resting on top. The boy carried the stone tray over to the blonde girl. “Here you go, Wendy… Help yourself, but mind the tray.”

Wilson then handed the child a stone fork. Wendy situated herself before the stone tray before poking a sliced carrot. The blonde then stabbed a couple of the carrots and moved them towards her mouth. After exhaling on the steaming carrots some, the girl finally stuck the vegetable in her mouth. Wendy munched on the carrot slices for a short time before releasing a hum of approval. Upon swallowing the food, the child stabbed a couple more carrots slices and repeated the process.

Wilson gained a smile upon seeing the young girl eating and enjoying the food. The boy then rose to his feet and headed over to the wooden chest. After slipping his backpack off and placing it near the chest, the bearded boy opened his backpack and the chest. Wilson noticed the limited space of the chest and, after pulling out the logs in the two containers, began making wooden boards. Within minutes, the boy created another chest identical to the first.

“Are you a carpenter?”

The question startled Wilson, and he turned to spot Wendy, holding the small bird, peeking over his shoulder. “Ah, no… I’m a scientist.”

“He thought of and made everything here,” Willow said while walking closer.

“Reeeally?” Wendy waited until the boy nodded to continue. “You must be smart. Really, really smart.”

Wilson gained a faint blush before changing the subject. “It’d be more efficient if we had each chest store certain items, such as one chest for the items the… ‘locals’ drop.”

“I can understand that. I mean, who knows what else we’ll find here?” Willow watched the boy move the logs, flint, and gold in the old chest into the newer one.

Wilson thought of something after placing some of his twigs and grass into the new chest. “We could probably do with gathering more materials before it gets too late… I’ll save further sorting for later.” The bearded boy rose to his feet.

“But what about Wendy? We can’t leave her here by herself…”

“Well, I was thinking she’d come with us…” Wilson glanced back in the direction of the child, but he failed to spot her, instead seeing only the black chick.

A giggle sounded from the opposite direction, the boy turning to see Wendy rocking back and forth, her hands behind her back. “So… Where we going?”

Wilson spoke as the trio began walking to the northwest. “A grassy field with plenty of resources…”

The trio continued onward in silence, the group entering the forest within a couple of minutes. Upon reaching the coast, the humans followed it north. Soon, the group reached a large field. Wendy spotted a horned rabbit, however, and began chasing it. After laughing at the scene, Wilson and Willow looked at each other before moving to pick some grass, twigs, and berries. The group spent a lot of time in the grassland, moving from one section to another after gathering all the resources in the area.

“Look, Wilson!” Wilson looked up upon hearing the voice to see the young blonde holding a rabbit. “I caught him! He was completely oblivious to his fate…”

A chuckle escaped the boy’s mouth before it turned into a smile. “That’s great. What are you going to do with him?”

“Hmm…” Wendy thought for a moment, staring into the eyes of the captured rabbit, before responding. “I don’t know. I would at least like to show Abigal I caught one…”

“Abigal?”

“She’s my twin sister!” The blonde girl looked around the area. “I wonder where she is? I haven’t seen her since last night…”

Wilson perked up upon hearing the statement. “Your sister’s here as well?!”

“Yep! Abigal protected me from this big meanie that snarled at us when it got dark.” Wendy released a depressing sigh. “It’d been awhile since we’d last seen each other. She said she’d try to see me again tonight, but…”

“I don’t suppose you know where she went?”

The blonde girl shook her head. “She left after I fell asleep…”

Wilson sighed and looked up at the sky, sun starting to approach the horizon, before speaking to Wendy. “If she doesn’t show up tonight, we’ll head out and look for her, ok?”

“…Ok.” Wendy gained a small smile. “Thank you, Mister Wilson.”

The child’s words caught Wilson off-guard, his face gaining a small hint of red. “Y-you can just call me Wilson.”

Wendy giggled after hearing the bearded boy. “Then why are you so formal?”

“It… was just the way I was raised.”

“Well, I like it.” The duo turned to look up at Willow. “I think we should head back for now.”

“I agree…” Wilson rose to his feet. “Let’s go.” The trio began walking back towards the campsite, the black chick following after eating some seeds. However, Wilson spoke to the black-haired teen as the trek led them through the forest. “According to Wendy, her twin sister Abigal is also here.”

The statement sunk in before Willow replied. “What?! So Maxwell brought two little kids here?!”

“Apparently he knows no boundaries…” A scowl appeared on the boy’s face for a brief moment before fading away. “From what Wendy told me, Abigal said she’d show up tonight. If she doesn’t, though…”

Willow nodded before answering. “You can count on me to help. In fact… Lighting the fire early might also help her find her way back.”

“Ah, that’s true. The smoke would serve as a beacon in the sun’s fading light…”

The group soon saw the campsite come into view. Willow moved towards the fire pit, tossed in a few pieces of charcoal, and lit the charcoal on fire. In the meantime, Wilson headed towards the chests and, after opening the newer one, slipped his backpack off and began transferring some of the twigs and grass from the backpack to the chest. Afterwards, the bearded boy then headed towards the crock pot but stopped upon seeing the stone tray lying near the fire pit. After grabbing the tray and placing it in the crock pot, the boy pulled out the meat and some berries and placed them on the tray. Wilson used a piece of flint to cut up the meat. The bearded boy then formed several balls of meat and covered them in berry juice before using two pieces of flint to light the charcoal under the pot.

Wilson released a sigh after placing the lid back on the crock pot. “Hopefully they’ll like meatballs…” The boy then felt his beard. “But my beard… I think I better shave before it gets itchy. It’s already larger than I like.”

The boy wandered over to his backpack and pulled out a spare piece of flint and a twig. After a moment of thought, Wilson’s hands began crafting something new with the two items. The bearded boy released a sigh after creating the makeshift razor before glancing back at the fire pit. Willow helped Wendy make a crude wooden cage for the caught rabbit, unaware of the boy who watched them for a short time before wandering to the north of the campsite. While walking, Wilson used a piece of flint to transform some stone into a cylinder.

“I might as well get some water for Wendy while I’m out, make myself useful…” The boy soon reached the spring, and he filled the new flask with the spring’s water. The boy then fashioned a quick cork out of a small log and sealed the container. “There we go… Now it’s time to shave.” Wilson pulled out the simple razor and gazed at it a short time before sighing. “How hygienic. Oh well…”

Wilson began to shave. The makeshift blade easily cut through the black hairs attached to the boy’s cheeks and chin. Clumps of black hair fell to the ground every few swipes of the razor. When the boy finished shaving one side of his face, he moved to repeat the process to the other side. However, the blade nicked the skin on the boy’s cheek in the final stages of shaving. Wilson gasped then felt the small cut with a finger. The boy then sighed before gathering up the beard shavings.

“I might think of a use for them in the future… At the least, they could serve as an emergency fuel for the fire pit.” As Wilson stuck the beard shavings into the backpack’s pocket, the boy felt something odd. “Hm?” The boy pulled out a red feather from the pocket. “…I suppose any part of me that wanted to try that serum out is now gone. I better have my science machine examine it when I get back, if for no other reason than to destroy it.” Wilson turned to start heading back to the campsite after placing the feather back into the backpack.

Willow, however, stood along the boy’s path, the boy standing still upon seeing the girl. “You could’ve told us you were going out for a bit, y’know.”

“Ah, Willow, you’re…” The boy turned his gaze to the side. “You’re right. I should’ve told you. I apologize…”

The black-haired teen noticed how Wilson kept his gaze on the ground. “Just… tell us next time, ok?”

The boy nodded before the duo began walking to the south. Within a couple of minutes, the duo found their way back to the campsite, Wendy chasing the small black chick around the fire pit. Wilson released a chuckle before moving towards the blonde child. The small bird noticed the boy approaching first and hopped over to him, Wendy spotting the boy soon after and running closer.

“Oh, there you are! We were wondering where you went.” The young girl noticed the boy’s shaved face, the girl giggling before speaking. “You look better without the beard!”

“T-thanks…” Wilson moved towards the chests. “To be honest, I prefer not having one.” After placing the feather and beard hair in the older chest, Wilson removed the syringe and bottle from the backpack. “And now… My science machine gets to examine a couple new items.”

The boy walked up to the science machine. Wilson placed the syringe in the funnel before reaching for the lever. The machine hopped into action, the three humans all watching. Whirring and clanking sounded from the contraption. The black chick, startled by the machine, hopped away with a few chirps and sat near the fire pit. After a minute, the machine settled down and produced a slip of paper. Wilson fetched the paper before reading its contents as the sky turned red.

“Hmm? Hold on…” The boy reached into his back pocket and pulled out his journal, a few slips of paper sticking out. Wilson flipped through the small slips until he found a certain one, pulling it out and examining the notes. “…No wonder it didn’t work! Whoever made that serum made it from monster meat and didn’t neutralize all the toxins.” The two females watched the boy put the slips of paper into the small notebook then put it back into his back pocket. “And now I’ll examine that bottle’s contents. The bottle itself may prove useful, so…”

Wilson moved to pick up the glass bottle, the black substance inside still swirling about. The boy struggled to uncork the bottle for a short time before the cork gave way. Upon the cork being removed, the black ooze stopped swirling around. Oblivious to the substance’s behavior, Wilson turned the bottle upside-down. The black ooze slid out of the bottle and onto the boy’s right hand. After placing the bottle back on the ground, the boy used both hands to holding the black ooze, throbbing up and down in irregular intervals.

“I wonder what makes it pulsate like this. It’s almost like…” With no warning, however, intense burning pain shot through Wilson’s left hand. “Aaaargh!”

Willow and Wendy became worried upon seeing the boy jerk his left hand away from the black substance. The black ooze then slipped off of the boy’s right hand, but instead of hitting the ground, it began hovering above the ground. The substance then twirled and danced in the air, its air pockets resembling a face. Wendy and Willow stood still in shock and only watched the blob.

“I-it’s alive!?” Willow focused her attention to Wilson when he released a grunt. The black-haired teen watched the boy pull off his left glove to reveal a reddened hand and a small scar on the palm of his hand. “Wilson, are you ok?!”

Wilson glanced up at Willow and noticed the approaching Wendy before nodding then staring at his hand. “Y-yeah, but… My gloves have protected my hands f-from several dangerous chemicals…” The boy watched the strange substance a few feet away, twirling about inches above the ground. “So how did this… this thing cause this reaction?!”

The black ooze then zoomed over to and floated in front of Wilson’s face. The boy gasped before attempting to back away, though the strange substance hovered closer at the same pace. However, the ooze soon changed its tactics. The black substance started circling Wilson’s head. The boy soon found himself trapped in a trance.

Within the trance, dark crimson tendrils encroached on the edge of Wilson’s vision as all other colors turned pale. A strange shadowy creature formed in the distance and started advancing closer, four tiny legs carrying it quickly. The silhouette-like entity, large jaw full of jagged teeth, soon stood before the boy and released a silent roar at him. The shadowy creature then attempted to lash out at Wilson, body detaching from its legs as its jaws came closer.

“Get away from him!”

Wilson found himself torn from the trance. Upon finding himself back at the campsite, the boy gasped then attempted to calm his heavy breathing. Wilson’s head began throbbing a moment later. In response, the boy raised his right hand to his sweaty forehead and pinched it in an attempt to stop the pain. Wilson then looked around until his gaze fell upon the chirping Edison, who nudged the boy’s leg upon seeing him staring, and the boy patted the small bird on the head in response. Wilson then spotted Wendy and Willow, the two females corking up the bottle and trapping the black ooze.

The black-haired teen released a sigh before glancing behind her to see the boy and black chick approaching. “Hey, Wilson, you ok?” Instead of a verbal response, Wilson only nodded. “That’s good. We were worried for a moment.”

“You looked like a zombie.”

Wilson turned his gaze to the blonde child. “Well, it’ll take more than that… t-that blob to best my mind.” A grimace crossed Wilson’s face as pain shot through his trembling left hand. “T-though I will admit, it did catch me off-guard… I better wrap up my hand, though I… I don’t know if that will help at all.”

Willow watched the boy move towards his backpack. “Wilson, are you sure you’re ok? You’re acting a bit… strange.”

“Don’t worry about me. I-I’ll be fine…” Wilson, after reaching his backpack, fished through it until he found the poultices. The boy turned his gaze to his painful left hand only to cringe upon seeing its reddened, swollen state. Wilson spoke to himself while he started slowly wrapping his hand. “That b-blob is not to be messed with. I-I’d hate to see what it would’ve done with… with a more severe injury… Ah!” Wilson flinched when pain shot through his hand again.

“Do you need help?” The boy looked up and to his side to spot a somber Wendy. “Is there anything I can do?” Wilson shook his head before he returned to bandaging his hand. However, the boy’s stomach soon released a grumble. “Heehee… You’re hungry, huh?”

A blush appeared on Wilson’s face before he remembered something. “Ah, I… I had something cooking in the crock pot. I-it’s probably done by-”

Willow interrupted the boy as he rose to his feet. “I’ll check on it, Wilson. You just… take it easy, ok?” After a brief second, Wilson nodded and sat near the fire pit. Willow then moved towards the crock pot and, after noticing the lack of fire under the structure, removed the lid of the pot. “Ooh, meatballs…” The black-haired teen removed the tray and brought it to the fire pit as the boy finished bandaging his hand, fingers left unwrapped. “These look good, Wilson…”

“T-thanks…” Wilson pulled out his stone fork as Willow and Wendy did the same. “I’m sure you two are hungry… H-help yourselves. Ladies first, after all…”

The two females each stabbed a meatball before Wilson did the same. The trio ate their first meatball at the same time. Wendy spoke first about the food. “Mmmh! Thank you for making such good food, Wilson!”

“Yeah… These are really good!”

The boy’s face turned red as he smiled. During the rest of the meal, the group ate in silence. After eating a few meatballs, Wilson moved to grab another one. However, both the boy and Willow moved to claim the same meatball and took notice of each other. Wilson, upon realizing that meatball was the last one, retracted his fork. The black-haired teen noticed her friend’s act before coming up with a plan. Willow cut the meatball in half with her fork before claiming the half closer to her. Wilson watched the older female’s actions before gaining a smile and stabbing the other half of the meatball.

“T-thanks…” The boy then ate the meatball.

Willow gained a smile of her own after swallowing her meatball. “No problem.” The black-haired girl then turned and spotted Wendy yawning. “Tired, hunh?” After the blonde child nodded, Willow yawned herself. “Darn it, it’s contagious…”

“P-perhaps you two should get some sleep tonight. I’ll… I’ll keep watch and make sure there aren’t more… s-surprises.”

Wendy turned her gaze towards Wilson. “Aren’t you tired too?”

The boy shook his head. “T-there’s no need to worry about me. I’m not tired at all… H-honest.”

“Well…” Willow hesitated a moment before conceding. “Ok… Just wake me up if you get tired. I can take over if you need some sleep.”

Wilson watched the two girls head over to and lay down on the grass mat as darkness covered the landscape. With a sigh, the boy moved towards the glass bottle and picked it up as the small bird curled up and fell asleep near the two females. The black ooze, its air pockets resembling a face, swirled within the bottle’s confines. The boy stared at the strange substance for a short time before tearing his gaze away. After spotting the older chest, Wilson moved towards the chest, opened it up, and placed the bottle inside. The boy released a sigh as he closed the chest.

“W-what’s wrong with me?! Why can’t I go more than a couple of sentences without… without stuttering?” Wilson’s head began throbbing in pain again. “Nnh… M-maybe I shouldn’t have volunteered to stay up…” The boy then noticed the sleeping forms of the two females. “B-but they need it more than I do… right?”

Wilson, after his headache got worse, sat down and settled for staring up at the dark sky, only the gibbous moon and several clouds visible. The boy eventually closed his eyes for a brief moment. However, upon opening his eyes, Wilson gasped at what he saw out of the corner of his eye. A bright pair of circular white eyes lurking in the darkness stared back at the boy. Wilson slowly rose to his feet and walked to his backpack. After pulling out the spear, the boy attempted to poke at the creature.

“S-shoo… G-go away.” Wilson prodded the pair of eyes until they faded away. “Whew… That s-settles that pro-” The boy paled upon seeing more pairs of eyes staring at him. “W-what are they?! Why are there so many, and why… w-why are they only… watching me?”

Wilson moved towards the other pairs of eyes and shooed them away one at a time with his spear. However, upon getting close to the last pair of eyes, the boy stretched a hesitant hand out towards the eyes. Wilson felt nothing, even when his hand passed between and through the pair of eyes. The boy sighed before coming to a conclusion.

“…T-that goop must have injected some sort of… of neurotoxin or the like. I’m j-just hallucinating. T-that’s it…”

The boy breathed a sigh of relief and sat down near the fire pit. Wilson then closed his eyes. However, the boy heard a voice whispering. Unable to identify what the whisper said, Wilson opened his eyes, but instead of finding himself at the campsite, the boy found himself in the middle of the only light in the area. A silhouette resembling a panther lurked just outside of the light and stalked the boy, the entity’s white eyes focused on its prey. When the creature raised its snarling head, a serpentine neck and head replaced the feline head. The monster then unfurled a pair of wings that quickly transformed into a pair of claws racing towards Wilson.

“A-aaah!” The boy shot up and pointed his spear towards the fire pit. Wilson quickly took stock of his environment, calming down upon seeing the sleeping form of his friends. “E-easy now, Wilson… It was just a nightmare… J-just a nightmare. I must’ve… must’ve fallen dozed off. Y-yeah, that’ it… I better put my spear away before I… I accidentally hurt someone.”

However, as Wilson walked over to his backpack and put his spear away, the whisper returned. “How does it feel, Wilson?

The boy froze upon hearing the whisper as his head began pounding again. “H-hello? Who… who’s there?!” Wilson waited for a minute before trying to calm himself and pinching his forehead. “I… I must be hallucinating again. Y-yeah, that’s it…”

You aren’t hallucinating.” A shiver ran down Wilson’s back upon hearing the whisper. “This is as real as your name is Wilson… Percival… Higgsbury.

The boy paled and began sweating upon hearing the whisper’s reply. “How do you know my… m-my name?”

We know all about you, Wilson. How your parents disappeared, how your aunt and peers treated you in that city, how you attempted to shut out everyone…” A faint laughter reached Wilson’s ears. “But enough of that… How does it feel?

The boy gulped after hearing the whisper before questioning it. “How does… H-how does what feel?”

Losing your mind, of course.” A raucous laughter then broke out, and Wilson only covered his ears in response.

~

Willow began stirring as sunlight covered the landscape. “Mmh… Aaawn…” The black-haired teen sat up as the blonde child started awakening. “I wish I could sleep in a bit longer…”

Wendy yawned before jumping to her feet, the small bird hopping up at the same time. “Good morning, Willow!” The blonde girl then became a bit depressed. “I hope Abigal’s having a good morning…”

“Well, l-like I said yesterday, we’re… we’re going to find her today.” The two females turned to see Wilson, his backpack already equipped and his bandaged hand still swollen.

Willow turned to face and nodded at Wendy before speaking. “He’s right. We’ll find her, you hear me?”

“…Ok.” The blonde child rose to her feet and smiled at her friends. “Where are we looking first?”

Wilson, right hand tugging his left sleeve down over his arm, looked at the ground while responding. “This place is rather big, so… I-I was thinking we could split up?”

“What?!” Willow then conceded the point. “True, we could cover more ground if we split up… But it’s also risky, Wilson.”

Wilson, after a sharp inhale, nodded before responding. “I… I understand that, but if Abigal is left alone for much longer, s-she might…” Instead of continuing that train of thought, the boy changed the subject. “I was thinking of… of checking out the area to the southwest. C-could you and Wendy check the area to the east?”

“Ok, Wilson…” Willow then added something to her statement. “…but since you’re hurt, we’re ALL coming back here at noon. …Er, when the sun’s highest, since, uh… y’know.”

Wilson waited a moment before nodding. “A-alright… Let’s head out then and… and not waste more time.” The boy, glancing to and fro, then began following the nearby road heading to the southwest and soon disappeared from sight.

“…Wilson was acting kinda funny, wasn’t he, Willow?”

Willow nodded. “I guess… his hand’s still bugging him.” The black-haired teen turned to face the blonde child. “Either way, let’s start looking for your sister.” After Wendy nodded, the duo began following the path eastward, looking around wherever they went. “…By the way, what does your sister look like? Does she wear similar clothes to yours?”

“Well…” Wendy gained a small smile before continuing, the duo passing by the black avian’s nest along the way. “She wears a bow just like mine.” The blonde child pointed to the red flower-like bow in her hair. “And for some reason, she had on this white sheet. I have to wonder why… Was she going to a costume party?” The young girl giggled before she said, “But I don’t care about what she wears. I’m just glad I got to see her again!” The blonde child then became depressed as the duo reached the crossroads and started heading north. “I just hope… we’ll see each other again.”

Willow placed a hand on Wendy’s shoulder before speaking. “Hey, we’ll find her. Then you two can catch up and play together.”

“Yeah!” Wendy smiled for a moment before her expression turned serious. “But, judging from how you and Wilson were talking, it’s dangerous here, right? You two have been really nice to me, so… I want to help any way I can. And be friends!”

As she froze in her tracks, Willow’s expression showed her surprise upon hearing the blonde child. However, the older female gained a smile before responding. “Of course we can be friends…”

Upon hearing Willow’s reply, the younger girl hopped up and down. “Thank you!” Wendy hugged Willow, much to her surprise.

“Wha…?” The black-haired teen’s face turned red. Upon releasing Willow from the hug, Wendy took notice of her friend’s reddened face and giggled. “Um, uh… We should keep looking for Abigal…” The blonde child nodded before the duo continued following the path north.

The duo walked along the path for a short time, searching and calling out for Abigal, before reaching the misty graveyard. The younger girl recognized the scene quickly. “A graveyard?” Wendy walked over to a blank tombstone and examined the area. “How many people are buried here?”

“I… I don’t know.” The black-haired teen walked over to and stood beside her friend. “I just hope we don’t end up buried here as well…” Willow then looked up at the sky to see the sun still low, and she thought of an idea. “There’s a village not far from here. Maybe someone there has seen Abigal?”

Wendy perked up before nodding. “Ok then, let’s go there!” The duo headed north until they spotted the grassy field housing several houses. The younger girl soon spotted the pig men wandering around the village. “Piggies! Are they friendly?”

“Well, most of them shouldn’t mind us being here. Just… stick close, ok?” The blonde child nodded before the duo entered the village.

The two females wandered into the village before moving towards one of the numerous pigs. After learning nothing from that pig man, they moved further into the village before asking another pig about Abigal. The process repeated a couple more times, the same result each time, before the black-haired teen released a sigh. However, upon seeing familiar black obelisks a short distance away, Willow thought of an idea and moved towards the structure, Wendy following behind.

The duo spotted a pig man speaking to the Pig King. “…Very well, Julius. I give you permission, so long as it is indeed abandoned. You may go.” The pig danced for a moment before running past the two humans. However, the giant pig took notice of Willow and Wendy. “Ah, Willow… I see another human has been brought to our world. A young human, at that. What is your name?”

“This is Wendy.” The younger girl bowed before her friend continued. “And, well… Wendy’s sister is here as well, but we haven’t had any luck in finding her. We were hoping she might’ve come this way…”

The Pig King shook his head. “I have not seen any humans since you and Wilson left to return to your camp. If the human appears in the village, however, I can try to direct them to your camp. It is… on the rocky ground while following the fork in the path, correct?”

Willow nodded before responding. “Did… Kiwi tell you that?”

“Yes, he did.”

As the giant pig prepared to continue talking, the obelisks began changing. A black wisp escaped the obelisks as they retreated into the ground. The wisps, however, soon took on a familiar appearance. Willow and Wendy gasped upon recognizing the wisps. The wisps flew into small black protrusions further away from the Pig King, and the protrusions soon rose from the ground to form new obelisks.

The black-haired teen managed to stutter out a response. “W… what j-just…?”

The Pig King turned serious. “You need to find your friends. I have noticed the only times these… cursed obelisks rise is before the Shadow Beasts attack.”

“But… didn’t you say they only attacked someone who wasn’t…?” Willow then connected the dots. “Wilson!”

The older female then began racing back the way she came. “W-Willow, wait for me!” Wendy ran after and managed to catch up with Willow. “What’s wrong?”

“Those Shadow Beasts he mentioned… He said they only attack someone who’s hurt or sick.” After a brief moment of silence while the duo ran, the blonde girl released a gasp upon realizing the reason for the black-haired teen’s worry. “Exactly. We need to find Wilson and make sure he’s ok.”

The two females ran south along the cobblestone trail, passing by the graveyard. The duo followed the fork in the path when they stepped onto the rocky terrain. The road quickly led the females to their campsite, but they failed to find Wilson. Willow turned her gaze to the sky to find the sun just past its highest point. Wendy, in the meantime, checked on the trapped rabbit. However, what the blonde girl found surprised her.

“Willow, the rabbit!” Willow walked over to the pen to find a strange rabbit-like creature within the pen’s confines. The older female stared at the shaggy black beast cowering in the corner. “Its fur looks like Wilson’s beard…”

The black-haired teen gazed at the black rabbit a moment longer before turning her gaze to Wendy. “We’ll have to figure out why it suddenly looks like this later. Wilson isn’t here, and he could be in trouble!”

Wendy nodded before looking to the southwest. “I think Wilson said he was going down there…?”

“Right, so we better head down there and find him.”

The duo followed the path leading southwest, finding their way into the forest within a minute. While following the trail, the duo looked to the south to see a couple more of the shaggy black rabbits roaming around on a grassy field. The two females traveled deeper into the forest before hearing a familiar chirping. Willow and Wendy followed the chirping off of the path to find its source. The black chick nudged the unconscious form of Wilson, sweat trailing down his head and right hand clutching his spear, slumped up against a tree before chirping again.

“Wilson!” Upon rushing to the boy’s side, the duo noticed a bleeding injury on their friend’s right arm. “It… looks like something really big bit him. What could’ve done this, Willow?”

“I… I’m not sure.” Willow slipped off her backpack and fished through it until she found the poultices as the blonde child grabbed and held the troubled small bird. “I better wrap it up. Then we should get him back to the camp before… whatever did this shows up again.”

When the black-haired teen grabbed Wilson’s right hand, he flinched and inhaled sharply. “N-no… Go away… L-leave me alone…”

“Easy, Wilson… It’s just me and Wendy. Let me wrap up that injury of yours, ok?” The half-conscious boy calmed down upon hearing Willow. As the older female bandaged the injury, she thought to herself about Wilson’s condition. “What could’ve done this to him…? Did a Shadow Beast do this?”

Wendy and Edison watched in silence as Willow wrapped up the injury. “Is he going to be ok, Willow?” Wendy’s gaze turned to the ground and, after noticing the blood-stained grass, took notice of a trail of blood coming from further south and ending under the boy’s arm. “It looks like it’s been bleeding for some time…”

“I… I think so. We’ll just have to make sure whatever did this doesn’t take another bite.” The black-haired teen finished the job and placed the spare poultices back into her backpack. “Let’s get him back to camp.”

Willow attempted to sling Wilson’s left arm over her shoulder. However, the older female felt something unusual, and she discovered the problem after lifting the boy’s sleeve up, Wendy speaking about it first. “It’s all swollen up, just like his hand.”

Willow then thought of something, the idea making her frown. “If it got worse, why didn’t he tell us about it?” The older girl shook her head as she repositioned Wilson’s left arm over her shoulder. “Whatever… Let’s just get him out of here. I’ll get answers later.” Willow rose to her feet and began the slow trek back to the campsite, Wendy and Edison following behind.

The group found their way to the path and followed it back towards the campsite. Following the trail quickly led the females and black chick back to familiar territory. Upon reaching the camp, Willow removed Wilson’s backpack, tossing it a short distance away, and laid the boy, right hand still holding onto the spear, down on the grass roll. The black-haired teen then took off her backpack, opened it, fished out some charcoal, and tossed a couple of pieces into the fire pit. The blonde child and small bird, in the meantime, sat near and watched the unconscious boy.

However, after a short time, Wendy heard Wilson release a groan. The blonde girl gained a smile after seeing the boy dig his hands into the grass mat and open his eyes. “He’s waking up!”

“Really?!” Willow dashed over to the boy’s side right before he shot up into a sitting position, his breathing erratic and eyes wide open. “Easy, Wilson, you’re safe…” Wilson, upon realizing his location and seeing his friends, closed his eyes and attempted to calm his breathing. “What attacked you?”

“I… I don’t know…” The boy opened his eyes and glanced at his bandaged right arm, the poultices stained red. “When I t-tried to get rid of it… W-when I attacked it… I didn’t seem to do any damage to it. It just… I-I was lucky I could outrun it.”

Willow took notice of her friend’s constant wide eyes and raspy breathing despite his attempts to calm himself down. “Whatever he ran into must’ve really spooked him…” The older girl placed a hand on Wilson’s shoulder, the boy releasing a gasp and turning to face the girl upon contact. “Hey, you’re safe here… If that thing does show up again, it’ll learn not to play with fire the hard way.”

“Willow…” The boy, after inhaling then exhaling, gained a small smile. “T-thanks.” Wilson then attempted to rise to his feet, but his prior blood loss resulted in a dizzy spell and loss of balance, the boy using his spear as a crutch. “W-whoa…”

“You lost a lot of blood, Wilson…” Wendy gently grabbed the boy’s arm as Edison nudged the boy’s leg. “You need to take it easy for now. Pleeease?”

When Wilson turned to look at the blonde child, he noticed the younger girl’s pleading stare. “…F-fine.” The boy lowered himself to the ground and sat down. The small bird then hopped onto Wilson’s lap and fell asleep. “I… I suppose I’ll just try to find s-something to keep my mind… preoccupied.”

“Well, that shouldn’t be too hard,” Wendy said with a smile. “You could always look at Mr. Beardling.”

“Mr. Beardling? Is that the rabbit’s name now?” Wilson turned to look at the rabbit.

However, the boy gasped upon seeing a shaggy black beast roaming the pen’s confines. “When we came back to camp, well… We don’t know how or why its looks so different. Maybe you can find out?” Wendy skipped over to the pen and stared down at the rabbit-like creature. “Come here, Mr. Beardling!”

The black beast released an echoing shriek when the younger girl attempted to grab it. A sharp pain originating in the boy’s head then shot through his whole body. In response to the pain, Wilson released a sudden gasp and closed his eyes as his left hand shot up and clutched his forehead. Willow took notice of her friend’s acts and released a small gasp.

“Wilson?! Are you ok?”

The boy cracked an eye open. Faint black and crimson tendrils lined the edge of the boy’s vision. “…Y-yeah, I’m fine. That… that screech just-” Wilson closed his eyes, clutched his forehead tighter, and inhaled sharply after hearing another screech from the rabbit-like creature.

Willow gained a frown upon hearing and seeing the boy. “Maybe you should get some sleep…” The black-haired teen looked up at the sky to find the sun approaching the horizon. “It is almost dusk.”

“I-I’ll be fine, Willow…”

“Gotcha!” The younger girl, the black beast in her hands, rose to her feet. Wendy caught sight of a large shadow right in front of her. Startled, the blonde girl fell backwards with a shriek. “Eep!”

“Wendy?!” The two humans and black chick rose to their feet and turned to face the blonde girl. Wilson’s breathing hitched upon seeing the scene before Wendy. Willow, however, failed to notice what the boy saw. “What happened?!”

The blonde child rose to her feet and dashed over to the duo. “T-there was something right in front of…” Wendy trailed off after seeing Wilson’s expression. “Wilson, are you ok? You don’t look so good.”

Instead of responding, the boy started backing away, the two females taking notice of Wilson’s trembling body in the process. The boy then attempted to calm himself down and closed his eyes. Wilson opened his eyes only to find a shadowy entity rising onto its several tiny legs. The transparent creature opened its massive jaws after lifting its head high above Wilson’s, and a raspy laughter filled the air. With a gasp, the boy stumbled backwards as the strange beast lowered its body and head. The shadowy creature then scurried closer to Wilson. In retaliation, the boy swung the spear at the entity. As the spear sliced through the shadowy beast, it broke into three black wisps.

Willow and Wendy both caught sight of the black wisps. “W-what?! Where did those come from?!”

“That looks like what I saw earlier!” The blonde child watched the wisps fly a short distance to the south before merging together, the image of the shadowy beast visible to the two females for a short time. “Did you… see that beast?”

“I-it… it can teleport?!”

Wilson started backing away from the approaching shadowy entity as Edison chirped at the boy’s foe. After closing in on the boy, the strange beast attempted to bite the boy. Fortunately, Wilson dodged the attack and slashed at his attacker with the spear. The shadowy creature split into three black wisps and reformed south of the path. To the boy’s and beast’s surprise, a large fireball struck the beast moments after teleporting.

“That’s what you get for messing with us!”

Willow fired off another fireball as Wilson turned to face the two females. “They… they can see it too…? T-then maybe…” The boy turned his gaze back to the shadowy beast in time to see it vanish as dusk arrived. “It’s… it’s gone.”

The two females approached the boy. “So that was what attacked you?” Wilson only nodded in response, raspy inhales and exhales sounding from him as he nodded. “Well, I doubt it’ll come back anytime soon.” Willow moved towards the boy and propped his left arm over her shoulder.

Wilson gained a confused expression due to the black-haired teen’s actions. “W-what…?”

Willow released a sigh before replying. “Don’t argue.” The trio then walked back towards the fire pit. As the black-haired teen lowered Wilson onto the grass mat, she said, “Now that things are…relatively peaceful, I think we all could use some sleep. Especially you, Wilson.”

The boy remained silent after hearing Willow. Wendy took this opportunity to speak, Edison moving closer to the fire pit and curling up in the process. “I guess I’ll put Mr. Beardling back into the pen for now.” The blonde child skipped over to the pen.

“Hey, um… Wilson?”

Wilson turned his gaze from the ground up to Willow. “Y-yes? What… what is it?”

“Well…” Willow paused for a moment before continuing. “If something’s wrong, you can tell us, y’know?”

“I… I-I know. And I appreciate t-that a lot.” The boy then returned his gaze to the ground before speaking in a low voice, a scowl forming on his face as he spoke. “H-honestly… I-I’m exhausted. Don’t think I… I can stay awake much longer…”

Willow noticed her friend’s tired gaze and heavy breathing. “Go ahead and get some sleep then. I’ll keep watch tonight.”

“Abigal! You’re back!”

The exclamation caught Wilson and Willow off-guard, the boy’s scowl fading away. The duo turned to see Wendy hugging a floating white sheet with eyes and a red bow on its head. “W-Wendy…? So that’s… that’s your sister?”

“She’s… kinda hovering above the ground…”

Abigal released a few moans. Wendy, however, seemed to understand what the white entity said. “…So you’re a ghost. Well, at least we can still play, right?” The ghost swayed from side to side while releasing another moan, the response exciting the blonde child. “Yay!” The younger female then thought of something. “Oh, I have to introduce you to my friends. I know you get jealous easy, but… Please give them a chance?”

With a moan, Abigal followed Wendy as she moved towards her friends. Willow spoke first when the duo got close. “I’m Willow. So this is your sister Abigal?”

“Yep! Turns out she’s a ghost… but she’s really nice!” Wendy turned to look up and smile at the white ghost for a moment.

The blonde child’s gaze soon fell upon Wilson, who quickly noticed and responded. “A-and my name is… is Wilson P. Higgsbury. It’s… it’s n-nice to meet you.”

“And the little bird is Edison.” The blonde child motioned towards the sleeping black chick. “They’re really nice, Abigal, so I hope we can all become friends.” Wendy, wearing a mischievous smirk, then touched the ghost’s body. “Tag, you’re it!” The blonde child then ran a short distance away. Abigal then began chasing the younger girl.

“D- don’t wander too far…” Wilson, after seeing Wendy wave to reply, lowered his head. The boy’s gaze soon fell upon his bandaged right arm, the poultices soaked in blood. “I s-should probably change them before… before night comes.”

Willow, in the meantime, ignited the charcoal in the fire pit, large flames lighting up the area. When the black-haired teen turned her attention back to Wilson, she found the boy attempting to rise to his feet, his spear serving as a crutch. “And what do you think you’re doing now, Wilson?”

“M-my arm… Change the… the bandages…” Wilson, eyes closed and breathing ragged, swayed from side to side before he started to fall.

Willow managed to catch the boy before he fell to the ground. “Easy, Wilson… I’ll get them for yo-”

Large shadowy fangs tore through Wilson’s chest and Willow’s right leg. The black-haired teen released a cry of pain as she and the boy, eyes wide open for a brief moment, fell chest-first to the ground. Willow glanced down at her right leg to find a large bleeding gash starting below her knee and ending close to her ankle. When the black-haired girl turned and looked behind her, she stared up at horror at the shadowy entity, large open jaw full of jagged teeth, towering above her. A scream died in Willow’s throat as the creature glared down at the humans.

As darkness started to cover the landscape, the shadowy monster scurried backwards, its gaping maw forming a smile. The entity released a silent roar at the humans before it vanished into the darkness of night, Willow just staring in the direction of the creature out of fear. The black chick woke up as the blonde child and her sister ran past and hopped over to Wilson. Wendy and Abigal rushed to Willow’s side and noticed her injury before speaking.

“Willow, your leg! What happened?!”

“I… I don’t know! Some sort of… Another Shadow Beast, I think… It…” The black-haired teen then remembered Wilson. “Wilson!” The two humans focused their attention on the boy. “Wilson…? Are you… ok?”

Willow moved to flip Wilson. Upon flipping the boy onto his back, the small bird jumping back just in time, the group spotted a large pool of blood where the boy’s chest had rested. The group then saw a large dark stain on Wilson’s vest and his pale skin. “He’s dying.”

“W-what?!” Willow stared at the blonde child in shock before gazing at the boy. “No… No, he can’t be…” The older female grasped the boy’s cold arm and began shaking him. “C’mon, Wilson, wake up! You… you can’t die. Y-you can’t…” However, Willow thought of something. “The bandages! M-maybe-”

As Willow spoke and the black chick nudged Wilson’s body, the blonde child placed a couple of her fingers on the boy’s neck. “…It’s too late. He doesn’t have a pulse.” Wendy then made another observation. “And he isn’t breathing.”

“No! He… he can’t be…” Willow broke down into sobbing. The somber Wendy moved towards her crying friend and hugged her. Willow shrugged the blonde child off, but when she tried again, the black-haired teen did nothing. “He… he didn’t… deserve this…”

When the older female glanced over at Wendy, she spotted tears in the blonde child’s eyes. Willow also noticed a depressed Abigal hover closer. The two humans sat by the fire pit and cried for most of the night. However, pain in the black-haired teen’s leg caused the girl to release a groan. Wendy identified the problem, rose to her feet, and grabbed the black backpack. Willow gained a small smile when the younger girl offered the black backpack. As the black-haired teen dug through the backpack, however, Abigal noticed something and moaned to Wendy.

“Hunh? What do you mean, Abigal?” With another moan, Abigal redirected her sister’s attention to Wilson. Wendy noticed the red gem on the boy’s amulet glowing. “Willow, look… What’s going on with Wilson’s necklace?”

Willow, poultices in her hands, turned her teary gaze towards Wilson and noticed the glowing gemstone. “I… I don’t know.” The pain in the black-haired teen’s leg soon focused her attention on bandaging the large gash.

Abigal, upon noticing the moon touching the horizon, moaned at Wendy again. “Hunh? Sunrise is soon?” Wendy then realized what her sister meant. “…Oh, you can’t stay out in the sunlight, can you? Because you’re a ghost…” The ghost nodded. “Well… Promise me you’ll come back and play with me again. I’ll miss you…”

Abigal moaned again as the sun’s first rays broke through the darkness. The ghost vanished as the sun’s rays traveled through her body, Willow watching as she finished binding her wound. However, another light soon caught the attention of the duo. The two humans turned to see the amulet around Wilson’s neck glowing and beginning to levitate. The two stunned females and chirping Edison watched as the amulet lifted itself and the boy into the air. With a burst of light, the group lost consciousness.

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