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Jaffah
Jaffah's Gallery (24)

Lore of Nature

Buxom Birthday
lore_of_nature.txt
Keywords feline 114663, tiger 32123, multiple characters 7893, adventure 4330, supernatural 563
Lore of Nature

An intermission involving monsters.

"God this is crap!"

The man cursed and grumbled as he carefully plucked a dart from his tail before settling back against the tunnel wall in the dark. He fumbled for a slim vial in his bag and gave it a hefty shake until a bioluminescent glow expanded from the mixture within to light up the surrounding area.

An angry feline face appeared due to the illumination and it took a moment for his yellow eyes to adjust to the light. With a grunt of annoyance he fished out a small roll of gauze from the satchel he carried on his side and tore off a strip. He then examined the spot on his tail where he pulled the dart from before wrapping and tying the gauze around, he could feel the specially treated material soothe the throbbing as it went about neutralising any possible poisons that may have been applied to the dart.

The man scooped up the light vial and stood up slowly, dusting down his dark trousers and blue shirt as he rose. A white skull motif that adorned his shirt looking faded over time. His name was Shaw and he considered himself a Treasure Hunter by trade although there were some who had other, more harsh names for him.

Running a red furred hand through his matching hair the feline moved carefully to where the trap was situated and looked it over. It was a simple well designed dart trap that to a seasoned professional such as himself, would stick out like a sore thumb...or tail in this case. He looked back up the passageway from where he came. The pit trap he nearly fell into was just as similar, as was the log trap he narrowly avoided and yet he had tripped them all.

Dropping to his haunches he looked for the trigger and found it easily, he also saw that his footsteps in the long undisturbed dust were no where near it so he couldn't help thinking.

"Someone else knows I am here." He spoke softly even though there was no one other than him present.

Taking a scroll from his bag Shaw unfurled it and read over the text.

"Simple item," he muttered. "Not really well known with simple traps and no mention of a guardian."

Looking down into the dark of the tunnel ahead the red feline had to wonder. He was employed to retrieve an artefact hidden deep within the earth and after his encounters with the triggered traps he was ninety percent sure his employer knew something he did not. In fact she always knew something more than she let on.

"Well I have come this far." Shaw said knowing that a mystery was afoot and a hidden enemy awaited. "Can't disappoint them now can I?"

With a cocky grin he headed off deeper into the passage ahead.

The shadows receded reluctantly as the treasure hunter moved carefully down the tunnel until it opened up into a natural cavern. Thanks to the illumination, Shaw could see there were grotesque looking images and idols carved into the walls confirming that this was the place he was seeking. The place where the artefact he was paid to get was hidden.

Stepping into the open area Shaw could sense something was amiss, his eyes taking in more detail of the cave to see several long rocks were set up like pews where followers of some long forgotten cult would come and sit as they attended some horrific ritual.

It was when the feline reached the closet rock pew that he heard the sound of a woman humming. With a frown he scanned the area just beyond the radius of the light source he held but saw nothing.

"Hello?" Shaw spoke as a way of a challenge."Look if you are here for the same thing as me then I am sure we can work something out."

Remembering the traps earlier the treasure hunter set the glow vial down and pulled out a second, shaking it quickly to light it up and advance. If someone was hiding in the dark he was going to make sure they lost what ever cover they were using. A few more steps forward he could make out a rough looking altar where, according to his source of information, the prize he sought sat, but he also made out a figure sitting casually on the side of the altar. The source of the humming.

A tall slim tigress with fur redder than his and stripes of black slowly kicked her feet back and forth as though she was perched on the side of a pool wetting her legs. Her long white hair hung down over her face and shoulders and she wore a leather jacket with no sleeves and tight black pants. The woman made no effort to conceal herself as the light revealed her, she kept humming a soft tune that made Shaw feel a little less wary.

"Did the goat send you? Cause I am pretty sure this job isn't as hard as she made out." Shaw continued to talk as he advanced. He could now see a stone carved dagger with a red gem placed on a stand sitting in the middle of the altar. If the woman really was after it then she would've already run off with it. Shaw slipped a hand into his satchel.

The humming stopped and the tigress looked up at Shaw and his glowing vial. He was half expecting to see some monstrous look upon her face but instead saw the attractive face of a teenager. Her golden eyes reflecting the light.

"Hey there." The red male gave a friendly smile while he ran a finger over the labels of the vials in his bag. "You know we could work together, share the reward." His eyes narrowed as the young lady smiled slyly and eased off the altar. "Or at least we could if you were here for that, but something tells me you're not."

The striped feline snarled softly and Shaw could see the sound didn't come from the mouth own her face but one that had opened across the girls stomach.

"That's different." He cursed and pulled a vial from his satchel to toss towards his antagonist. "Sorry lady but I got a job to do here."

The tooth filled maw on the femmes stomach closed and a look of surprise came over her face as the vial fell short of her, shattering and releasing a dark liquid that splashed onto her foot. It bubbled for a moment before reacting to the air and "exploding" into  foam that expanded to capture and encase the screeching creature in tigress form.

"Don't make treasure guardians like they use to." Shaw quipped with a half smug smile as his foam covered the woman and hardened, leaving an outstretched arm free. Her hand flexing as if trying to grab or claw at him. The man strolled over to the altar to inspect the artefacts resting place for signs of more traps when he heard a strange noise. Almost like someone drinking through a straw. A bad feeling dawned on him and he looked to the mass of black surrounding the woman to see it quiver violently.

The large blob containing the tigress was shrinking, the woman head appeared and she looked to be concentrating and it occurred to Shaw that her second mouth was consuming his rubbery foam.

"Crap." The treasure hunter hissed and snatched up the dagger, none too concerned with the sudden rumbling as the monstrous tiger girl reduced her prison enough to start pulling herself free. With the artefact in hand Shaw bolted for the cavern exit and managed to dive through just as a large stone block slid down from the ceiling to seal the altar room off. The mans heart thundered in his chest as he coughed through a cloud of flying dust and tried to regain his breath, the sounds of angry hammering coming from the other side of the block.

"Like I said sweetheart, I got a job to do." Shaw carefully tucked the dagger into his satchel and began to walk back up the tunnel when he heard a low chuckle from behind him. The feline slowly looked over his shoulder to see an evil, tooth filled grin at waist high barely visible in the dim light.

"...caaaalled...meeeeee...sweeeeheeaaaaart..." Came a low guttural voice, the tigress had somehow escaped the altar room. It struck Shaw suddenly that this creature must live within the shadows and could somehow use them to do things, and move between places. That would explain how he missed the simple traps in the dark.

Instinct kicked in and Shaw threw down the glow-vial he carried, smashing the glass and spilling the contents onto the ground. Like the black liquid earlier this mixture also had a volatile reaction and as the air hit it an explosion of light flared up encompassing everything around it. The treasure hunter didn't stay to see the outcome, sprinting up the passageway towards the entrance.

A loud howl of anger confirmed his suspicions that the tigress was at home in the dark and Shaw surmised that if he could reach daylight then he might stand a real chance of fighting back against what ever the woman was. With adrenaline flowing in his veins the feline paid less attention to the sounds of pursuit and more to the path ahead. It may have been a dark and winding tunnel but from his experience in adventuring the slope of the ground along with the feel of fresh air told him he was closing in on freedom fast.

Sure enough the light of the outside world appeared and putting on a final burst of speed the man narrowly avoided a wild swipe from behind as he leaped through the opening and into bright light of day. The feline rolling several times over the ground until he came to a stop face down in the dirt. Coughing out a mouthful of dirt Shaw looked up to see the red tigress had stopped short of the daylight and was glaring at him from the shadows with angry golden eyes.

"Never been so glad at being right." He said with a sly smile and slowly getting to his feet. Making sure the woman wasn't going to spring out after he started to turn away. "Some tigers are nothing but trouble."

"I agree." A man's deep voice agreed with him and Shaw started at the sight of another tiger.

This one was seated on a rock near where Shaw ended up and like the woman in the cave this one had deep red fur with black stripes. He wore a long-coat over clack trousers with no shirt and wore a pair of thin-rimmed glasses on his nose. Unlike the tigress the new felines' hair was black.

"I'm starting to think there is a pattern here." Shaw muttered dusting himself down before addressing the man. "Look buddy, if you and your girlfriend were sent here by the goat to watch over me then you've wasted a trip."

"Oh, she isn't my girlfriend. This would be far easier if she were." The male tiger waved a hand in a nonchalant manner and appeared to be looking at something he held. Shaw recognised it as the artefact he had just risked his life for.

"Hey that's..." The adventurer started to say but was cut off.

"Yes interesting object. Old, powerful." The tiger said running a finger a long the daggers length stopping short of touching the gem on the hilt. "Very cursed as well it seems."

"WHAT?" Shaw blurted out in a moment of panic seeing no more than five minutes earlier he had his hands all over the artefact "Look I am going to need that back, like right now."

"Oh I have no intention of keeping such a worthless trinket." The big man said showing a less than friendly smile. It gave Shaw the impression this feline was going to drag things out.

"Alright then." The smaller man took a breathe to calm his thoughts a little and glanced over to the cave to notice the tigress still lurked there. "So what are you and creepy-girl? And what do you want with me?"

The red tiger chuckled.

"Monsters, my good man." An ear flicked as the man stood up and Shaw took a slight step back seeing the red and black feline was taller than the treasure hunter. "Myths and legends speak of us but there is a lot lost in translation. Some of us prefer the dark." He motioned to the female in the tunnel who now sat and looked like a berated child, her tail flicking back and forth in annoyance. "Others the light and some in-between."

The man began to circle round and Shaw kept his distance while keeping an eye on the artefact in the tigers grasp.

"We hide within plain sight feeding off the fragile emotions the living mortal world take for granted. Disappearing afterwards to be forgotten like a bad memory." The man paused and tilted his head. "Well some remember. The knowledgeable and clever." Again he gave Shaw an unsettling smile that seemed more of a compliment.

"So you guys are emotional parasites then?"

Shaw knew many tales of monsters from many different cultures including Cyclops, manticores and sirens. Looking over at the white haired female he remembered her humming when he first encountered her. His attention came back to the big tiger as it made a face.

"Eh I wouldn't say parasites." The red feline took moment to think and as he did Shaw slipped a hand into his satchel and began to feel around. "I mean would you call yourself a parasite for eating food made from another living creature? A hamburger for example."

Shaw thought about it for a moment and figured the man had a point.

"And besides it's not like we kill our prey before we eat."

"Wait, what?"

In the moment of Shaw's confusion the tiger tossed the artefact it had in it's hands towards the treasure hunter, the arc of the daggers flight looking to drop short. The young man panicked as he dove forward to catch it with one hand as his other was still in his satchel.

A sense of relief flooded the adventurer as he hit the ground with a thud holding the artefact firmly in his hand. He then realised he was now wide open to any attack the red tiger would throw at him and yet strangely nothing happened.

Rolling over and sitting up Shaw saw the man calmly walking towards the tunnel where his companion waited, the pair no longer appearing interested in him.

"What just happened?"

The tiger paused in his travel and looked back.

"Dinner time?" He quipped before adjusting his glasses. "You see young Alyce here is new to this sort of thing and I have to teach her the proper way of hunting. In this case the provoking of certain emotional responses."

Shaw looked uncertain at the man as he went on.

"Lust which equates to Desire as in the need to get your little toy back." The tiger explained. "And Fear of falling victim of the curse upon it by touching something you shouldn't. Which I might add was a blatant lie on my part."

"No curse?" Looking down at the artefact Shaw tightened his hand around it in anger.

"Sorry but kids can be picky eaters."

The tiger continued on his way into the cave to follow the young tigress into the darkness.

"You know." Shaw muttered tucking the dagger away in his bag once more. "I don't know who is more annoying. The person who hires me for this crap or the people I meet doing it."

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Shaw (C) Himself; No-one, Alyce (C) Jaffah; Story (C) Jaffah 2016
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by Jaffah
Everyone has to learn something some time.

Shaw © Himself, No-one and Alyce © Jaffah

Keywords
feline 114,663, tiger 32,123, multiple characters 7,893, adventure 4,330, supernatural 563
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 5 years, 8 months ago
Rating: Mature

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