Following the Fox III
After you mull over your choices and how you feel, you figure out your decision.
Something tells you that the tree isn’t the den the vixen was referring to – your gut and mind tell you this in unison, and even though it’s warmer and easier to see because of all the lit torches, you don’t want to end up getting caught up in trouble you weren’t prepared for. To be safe, you opt to turn around and keep searching for the vixen’s abode, so you swiftly make for the opening to the tree’s interior, and then you exit it.
When you leave the strange, giant tree chamber, you take a few steps from the hole and pause for a beat to consider checking the tunnel out, since underground feels more ‘fitting’ for a vixen’s den when you think of what you can imagine a fox living inside.
However, you don’t, because that, too, doesn’t feel like it’s the right choice to make.
Bigger than the average fox or not, when you envision a den where she would live, realistically, you imagine it being in a cave or a hole somewhere that’s more fertile and less… gloomy and chilly and foggy – this misty environment is cold and difficult to see through, but then again, you consider that perhaps she WOULD live here just because.
Even so, you don’t believe in your gut that you’re in the right area. She might have said she lived in here, but since you don’t know how large this whole biome is, you suppose that she could be somewhere further in, or she could even be behind where you are.
I guess that means I should keep looking around, you think. Or, well, trying to.
With a sigh, you begin moving once more, going left so that you can wrap around the large tree in order to continue forward – you note you could perhaps fly, but you hesitate to do this given the heavy fog blanket, and you don’t know if there are any large branches you could crash into or if there are trees nearby you’d miss completely.
Figures I’d end up going somewhere that basically clips my wings, you think.
And yet, you persist, and several minutes of gradual walking later, you finally make it around the tree so that you can actually progress forward rather than just sideways.
Once you do, you continue as you had previously, by going forward – you notice that the fog doesn’t seem to be changing, however, you feel as though the ground is a little firmer than it was leading up to the massive tree, and you swear that the tree clusters are somewhat more dispersed, meaning you have less chance to run into one. And as the seconds tick by, you feel a sense of… confidence, you guess, building within you. This spurs you into picking up your pace a tad, from cautious and slow to a little brisker.
I wonder how long this fog lasts for, you think. And I wonder if anything lives here?
You admittedly consider that perhaps you should’ve explored the inside of the tree more, to see what was actually in there, if anything at all – but you push this aside, and ever so slowly, you feel inside that you are going the correct way – what adds to this sense in your mind is that you begin to feel that the fog is starting to lazily weaken.
In fact, within minutes, you notice you can see clearer and further than previously. The fog remains a constant presence, of course, but, you soon manage to see more than just the vague shapes of trees in this proverbial forest – you can see the trees, you can see stumps and bushes scattered about, and you even see that an eventual there’s an eventual path of some sort… but you almost stop when you see this out of confusion.
“What in the world is that?” you mutter to yourself.
You keep on toward this apparent path, and it soon grows to be clearer – it’s not one path, but rather, it’s a fork in the road type path between several trees that serve as a landmark of a sort, as if the trees are there to say ‘this is an important place,’ or something. Regardless, it’s a fork that seems to split into two different routes, and both routes are teeming with more trees amid the constant fog. However, as you get closer, you find that the two paths are a little different depending on what direction you go.
The right hand path’s trees seem to lose their leaves the further you see, until they seem to be plainly dead, devoid of any green whatsoever – it’s just trees with empty branches, although you swear that the air coming from that direction is colder. It sends a genuine chill rushing up your spine, despite the fact your body is covered in fur.
It looks… kind of creepy down that way, honestly, you think.
Then, you look left.
The left hand path retains the full trees without any loss in foliage – but that’s the only thing you can tell from a glance, as there doesn’t appear to be any other differences in terms of the landscape, unless the difference lies too far ahead for you to see. In fact, you take a moment to move toward this path to see if you can get a better glimpse…
“Wait…” you say under your breath, and you squint. Am I seeing things or…
It may be your eyes playing tricks on you or just wishful thinking, but, you swear that there’s… sunlight? It appears to be a faint flicker, but, you think it looks like sunlight.
You pause to rub the back of your neck. What about forward, though?
You can’t tell what lies due ahead of you, in part thanks to the trees in front of where you stand – they are quite thick and tall, not as massive as the one you went by, but, they block you from being able to see what’s immediately straight onward. You assume it’s probably just more thick trees and more fog, yet your attention is soon snagged.
On the trees, you spot a small sign just sitting there, and it has something written on it – it’s difficult to make the words out at first, but when you walk up to it, you find you can read what’s written: ‘If you are lost, feel free to knock, and you’ll receive some help.’
You’re a bit confused at this, but, you also feel intrigued. That means you have several options at your disposal once again, depending on what you want to do: you can go left, you can go right, you can perhaps go forward directly, and while you can go backwards, you push that aside and instead consider knocking to see what that might do for you.
So what do you want to do next?
Written by Hollowpage on 16 June 2021