Following the Fox IV
You ponder your choices for a beat, but, ultimately, you kind of feel the answer is obvious to you – you’re a griffin, you have wings now, so why not use them? You give your wings a brief flutter to stretch them, since they’ve been mostly unused for a good while now (or it feels like a good while… you don’t know how long it’s really been).
Then, when you feel satisfied, you set your sights on the path Archimedes pointed you on, and you take off from the ground with a short jump – you beat your wings, moving them up and down, and thanks to their size and the strength they possess, you’re able to pick yourself up easily as you begin to ascend. You don’t ascend too high up, given how you still don’t trust your lack of complete visibility thanks to the fog, however.
Once you’re airborne, you begin to glide forward at a steady pace, a few feet above the ground directly over the center of the path before you. It feels amazing to be in the air like this, either way, and you embrace the feeling of freedom being in the air brings you.
As you glide, you concentrate mostly on maintaining your exact position and the altitude at which you’re airborne, as it feels like it’s not too low, nor too high for you to be flying around at. And, your mind wanders amid your smooth gliding, if only just a bit, as well.
So Archimedes and Rosha… they were normal animals, you think to yourself. It’s really cool to think, and fascinating all the same, but, it still leaves me wondering how this place came to be. I wonder if it’s some kind of aliens. I mean, it would make sense if this whole place and these costumes were part of a technology way beyond what we have.
You doubt you’ll ever find out the truth, of course, because surely if the talking owl didn’t know despite being here (you wonder how long he’s been here for, in fact, because you forgot to ask him), then you figure someone like you, who’s entirely new, won’t learn.
You end up shrugging this off, since it doesn’t seem like it’s a huge thing to think over, but you do enjoy letting your imagination take over. It would be neat to learn that it’s an advanced species of aliens that are running things, or perhaps some mystical species that you’ve never heard of before that doesn’t have a name… there’s a lot of options, you reckon, even if they’re all beyond what you feel you’d normally imagine.
For now, you focus on your gliding down the path.
The atmosphere around you feels no different from the thick fog you came from, although the air is a little clearer for you to see and smell through – it’s still cooler, and the fog still permeates throughout with every second that passes. That said, you keep your gaze on further off ahead of you, because as the seconds go by, you notice the faint illumination of sunlight is indeed growing larger and more obvious to you.
Good, you think. That means Archimedes was likely telling me the truth…
Thanks to the fact you’re gliding rather than walking, crossing the distance from where you spoke to the talking owl to the direction where the sunlight appears to be takes much, much less time overall for you – you manage to cover that gap within minutes, and you aren’t even flying at full speed or strength, you’re just taking your sweet time.
Eventually, the fog gradually grows weaker, and the air begins to feel warmer – and like Archimedes said to you, the sun becomes stronger, until, after a long few minutes of gliding about through the fog, the path you chose opens up and the fog dissipates fully.
You end up coming to a stop in the air as you find yourself now about to fly into a large, lush woodland landscape. You stop and look around in awe at the sheer beauty of the verdant trees and the dark, grass-covered ground that stretches on in almost every direction save for what’s directly behind you – there are countless trees scattered about, the sun is bright and warm in the sky above with a smattering number of clouds to cast some shade, and while the wind is still present, it’s not as chilly as it was in the fog.
Whoa, you think. That’s pretty damn cool.
You take a moment to glance over your shoulder, and you find that you can hardly see much of what’s behind you because the blanket of fog has seemingly become thick as it was when you first entered the domain – you wonder if it became easier to see because you wanted it to or not, but either way, you’re glad to be out of the fog for the time being.
You set your sights ahead once more and scan the surrounding area to study it all.
Despite the heavy amount of trees decorating all over the landscape, they don’t tower so high up that you can’t see beyond them – the whole area is quite beautiful, especially with the sun casting its glow across the scenery, keeping it nice and bright and warm.
You can hear and see birds in the distance, some singing or chirping about, others zipping through the air, alongside several butterflies fluttering around and other small insects like bees and dragonflies, which also confirms that Archimedes wasn’t lying when he mentioned how regular creatures do exist in this strange world. The woodland stretches on for quite a while, too, so far that you can’t see what lies on the horizon.
Impressive, you think. You then look around to see if you can spot the large vixen.
Scouring the landscape for something that big isn’t too difficult, but even so, you don’t see any sign of a giant, wolf-sized fox prowling about, even from your high vantage.
I wonder if there’s actually even a point to me following after her like this, you think with an honest pause, or if I’m just doing it for the sake of doing something while I’m here.
Ultimately, you begin to fly once more, and you maintain the same altitude and the same casual pace with your wing beats. You see no reason to worry over being too fast since there’s no rush in this for you, and it gives you the chance to explore and admire the terrain a bit, because it’s much lighter and easier on the eye than the foggy domain.
Plus, thanks to the even enough spacing between the clusters of thick trees, you can actually retain navigating through the air without the need to fly higher or to land yet – you use this to your advantage by flying among and through the woodland, scanning the area while you go for any sign of the large vixen or anything else that catches your eye.
I wonder how large this whole place really is, you think. Is it the size of a country? A continent? Or does it go on even more? If this whole place is, I don’t know, magical, then I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a literal world hidden away within the real world…
Amid your flight, you notice something in the distance to your right – movement.
You slow your flying pace and pause to hover in mid-air, using your wings to keep your body firmly in place as you peer to the right. You narrow your eyes a tad and find that you can see quite far, and without losing the clarity of details, either – in fact, you realize as you focus that your vision seemingly zooms in, almost like your eyes turn into binoculars, which allows you to see a good few yards ahead where that movement was.
Then, after a moment, you see the source of the movement: a figure appears from a thick row of bushes, and for once, they don’t look like an animal, either normal-sized or the larger ones such as the vixen or Archimedes the owl; instead, this figure seems to be almost… humanlike in their features, despite also being animalistic in appearance.
Wait a minute…
You blink once, then focus, and, you soon take in the features of this figure: it appears to be a large, human-rabbit hybrid! They have a feminine shape to them, and they pause to look around them, their large ears flicking to and fro. Either way, it’s clear to you that this is an actual person that put on a costume the same way you did, and this excites you. However, you don’t automatically zoom down after them, not right away.
I’m a griffin, after all, you think. More than that, they might suspect I’m going to hurt them if I just bolt that way. You frown as you hover in place. Do I want to approach them somehow and chance them fleeing? Or do I leave them be and keep looking around?
You ponder this.
Written by Hollowpage on 26 June 2021