Preying On Predator
You don’t move for a moment, as your mind is still spinning. You aren’t sure how you want to proceed - you have never seen yourself as the type of person to go sprinting into a potentially bad situation, especially when there is an armed weapon involved. Yet, you also admit, you don’t know what else to do, since you’ve not heard or seen anything from Ali and Shira.
‘I know you say they’ll be fine,’ you remark, and you turn to Akam. ‘But, I dunno. I hear a gunshot in the distance, and my instant thought isn’t a positive one…’
Akam nods. “I understand, Master. And I don’t fault you for it. I can sense a great deal more than you, given my nature, so I can feel without even being present that Miss Ali is perfectly fine. Still, were I not here, I do know you would likely feel more inclined to worrying for the safety of your fellow human.”
Obviously, you don’t intend to go charging toward the way you just came, since you’d only end up running into the man with his gun (and make the entire purpose of Ali getting his attention moot). But, you do want to check. It leaves you feeling unsure of how to best proceed.
‘I want to investigate,’ you say. ‘I just want to do it smartly.’
With that, you start to trek toward the direction you came from, fast, but still mindful of your surroundings. The last thing you want is to come bustling through when the man has his gun cocked and loaded. Fortunately for you, you don’t need to go as far this time around, because your ears pick up the sound of swearing coming not far from where you are already.
You halt, then duck over in some nearby bushes. Moments later, the man stumbles into view, his gun still in hand. He’s red in the face and glowering.
“Damn stupid rabbit,” the man says. He kicks at the dirt, and grits his teeth, mumbling some words you don’t fully catch because he’s slurring them a little. You only pick up a bit toward the end of his rant. “…shouldn’t waste bullets on one thing. Buncha bullshit, comin’ here now anyways…”
He continues to mutter to himself while you watch on.
‘Looks like Ali avoided him,’ you think.
Judging by how he’s acting, you figure maybe the gunman was trying and failing to chase after Ali. But, you halt that line of thought and go back to watching as the man starts to slog his way past the spot you’re in - luck is on your side, at least, as the man doesn’t look toward where you are.
“Gonna bag me…” The man halts his words, hiccups, then groans.
‘What is with this guy?’ you wonder. ‘It’s like he came out of some adult cartoon where they had an episode about stereotypical hicks with guns.’
He keeps on moving like he’s about ten seconds away from falling flat on his face - yet the man doesn’t, and, you watch him gradually vanish into the distance. You wait until he’s genuinely well out of sight before you poke your head up, then trot out from the bushes, though you don’t look away from the direction the man went to be safe. You’ve seen enough movies to know that looking away too soon could potentially backfire on you.
Your ears perk when you hear movement from your other side. You glance that way, and seconds later, Ali comes running out of the bushes, still in rabbit form.
‘Oh, hey,’ Ali says. She hops over to you and stops. ‘What are you doing here so close to where we just were? Thought you’d be long gone by now.’
‘I heard the gunshot,’ you reply. ‘Was a bit worried, so I wanted to come and check things out. Just saw that guy stumbling away.’
Ali snickers internally. ‘He chased me for a few minutes, but I swear he had no clue I was a bunny. Once I jumped out of the bushes and he actually REALIZED it, he got pissed off and fired… literally way too far to the side. Like, the guy legit missed in the worst way possible.’
‘Akam mentioned Shira wouldn’t let you get hurt anyways,’ you say.
As if on cue, Shira appears from the air by flying down over to the two of you.
“That is VERY correct,” Shira says. She crosses her arms. “And don’t forget it. I would’ve most definitely jumped in if I felt the need to - but I could feel that lout wasn’t going to succeed in hitting anything but the air, given his state.”
‘I appreciate it, Shira,’ Ali says.
You feel relieved that everything seems fine, although were you in your human state, you probably would be calling the cops or something to let them know there’s some drunk man stumbling around in public with a gun. For now, you push that aside, and you start to consider going back to the vase since that was kind of the main focus until that man decided to show up unannounced.
‘Should we go and see the genie in the vase?’ you ask Ali.
Ali blinks a few times. ‘Oh, yeah. I’d like that. Just lemme change forms, ‘cause while I love bunnies, I can’t stand being one for long. Way too stinking small of a creature for my taste - limits everything but my speed.’
She transforms again, shifting back into a wolf’s body this time around. Watching a rabbit’s body double in size is a somewhat comical sight, especially because the initial process of seeing her go from wolf to rabbit was pretty humorous. Her tail juts out, her ears shrink down, and everything lengthens and extends for a good minute or so, before she’s a wolf again.
‘There,’ Ali says. She shakes her head around. ‘Much better.’
Once she’s finished her transformation, the two of you head right back where you just came from - you do admit internally that you probably could’ve just stayed where you were the whole time, since you running out to check on Ali didn’t amount to much of anything at all. But since she hasn’t brought that up, you shrug it off, because in the end, it isn’t a huge deal, you guess.
When you arrive at the area you stopped at, you find the vase is still there.
Akam, whom you hadn’t seen when you took off, is standing near it, looking relaxed like before. He smiles and nods to you, then to Ali and Shira as they come over to join.
“See, Master,” Akam says. “I told you it wasn’t something to be concerned over. It worked out perfectly fine in the end.”
‘You’re right, you’re right,’ you reply.
“The concern is touching, my dear,” Shira says. She smiles kindly at you. “At least you have a decent heart, unlike this one,” she points at Akam, “I bet you just stood around and waited for everyone to return, didn’t you, Akam?”
Akam gives an innocent shrug, but he doesn’t deny this fact.
‘Do you think that guy will come back?’ you wonder aloud. ‘Will he end up in this area where we area?’
“Doubtful,” Shira says. “But to be safe…”
She leaps into the air and flies up high, stopping well above you for a few minutes to stare in the direction the man went in. She drops back down afterwards and seems content.
“He’s far off in the distance now,” Shira says. “He won’t be an issue.”
‘That’s a relief,’ Ali says. ‘Less gun to deal with is always a good thing.’
‘Agreed,’ you say.
“Now then,” Akam says, and he gestures toward the vase. “The question becomes: would you two like to speak to our companion here? I’m sure Alajeem could use some company, given how long he’s probably been cooped up in his vase.”
“Eh, he can wait for another century,” Shira says, rolling her eyes. “But it depends on what you two want.”
You and Ali glance at one another. Do you still want to proceed?
Written by Hollowpages on 26 December 2020