Chapter 2
Animalos (story) chapter
PlaceRed Valley
Chapter chronology (All)
Chapter 1 ← Chapter 2 → Chapter 3
Ryder’s POV

I panted heavily as I hurried through the large clusters of grass in the quiet prairie. Despite the heat and silence in the area, I knew that there was something wrong and I had to find out what it was. Stopping for a second to catch my breath while grasping my knees by bending over, I continued through the fields straight into the woods ahead.

Right, I should first introduce who I am – my name is Ryder and I’m an Animal Researcher in the Animalos region. Make that a young researcher, in fact, at the moment, I could be called more of a person with a mindset of being both an animal researcher and trainer from my experience. Now what was I doing running out of breath in an open prairie on such a fine day? Good question – I really wasn’t like most researchers who stay low and study animals. In fact, I was doing quite the opposite now; however, the reason for this was more instinctual than on accident.

As long as I could remember, I really wasn’t like most people as I had the unique ability to telepathically hear the voices of others. My telepathic abilities allowed me to hear the most powerful thoughts emitted from people whether it be from anger to fear to even a call for help. This ability has granted me the chance to help others in need and avoid them if need be. A very odd ability, but it has helped me in certain ways, and today it was going to begin my adventure as both a true animal researcher and trainer.

Usually I had no trouble identifying where my telepathic thoughts came from. However, today I had heard the slightest scream of help as well as exclaims given off in a rush of anger. “Snares? Stripewing? What do all these mean in such an event?” I pondered to myself as I finally reached the entrance of the woods. Despite having heard the voice before, I no longer heard it anymore and gave a sigh in disappointment. It had gotten me curious – where did it come from?

I sighed as I laid back against the tree. Was I truly losing it? Ever since I was a kid growing up in Avilik City, I was teased for my “strange” ability and my quietness didn’t help either. Even while training to become a researcher, many had seen me as to being unusual or just not qualified for the job. They’ve put me down multiple times; however, I hadn't given up...I mustn't.

At that moment, I heard distinct howls coming from the near distance. Despite being so exhausted, I recognized them instantly. “Red Wolves! But why were they so near the entrance of the woods?” I thought to myself. “This is not right, they shouldn't be here!”

Getting off the ground, I walked into the forest and it didn’t take long for me to find the source of the sounds. My eyes widened as I came upon both such a terrible and unexpected scene. Right in front of me was a severely injured Nankeen Kestrel that was trying its best to limp away from the scene while two fierce Red Wolves eyed with it hunger. Two shady men stood a distance with smirks on their faces – it was obvious that these were the trainers of the two wolves.

I eyed back at the Kestrel whose wings had been torn and bitten severely and her feathers ruffled from bite marks. I may not stand a chance against two Red Wolves and full-grown men, but this sight was sickening me. “How dare you!” I exclaimed as I charged out from behind the bush and aimed a kick squarely at one of the wolves. The wolf was thrown off guard by the kick and was sent flying a few feet away. The other wolf turned its head immediately gave a fierce snarl while the two men who had been conversing immediately turned their attention to me while cussing out to me in fierce words.

Seizing the opportunity, I scooped up the injured Kestrel and ran as fast as I could towards the trees. Fortunately, the kestrel gave no signs of objections and shivered quietly in my arms; however, the sounds of heavy footsteps made by the wolves and their tamers still followed the two of us. As if by luck, the path ahead of us started to become narrower with the abundance of trees in the area, providing a benefit for my thin frame to squeeze through unlike our enemies who struggled.

I noticed a large burrow under an oak tree quickly slipped into the burrow with the kestrel in my arms. Fortunately, our enemies had not been quick enough to catch up and ran past ahead as I listened to their footsteps disappear. Slipping out of the burrow when the coast was clear, I looked down at the kestrel. From her larger size, I could tell that she was a female and despite her injured state, she looked up at me almost thankfully.

I was no mind reader obviously, only being able to hear a few occasional thoughts from humans alone thanks to my ability. However, the Kestrel looked thankful. “No problem,” I said to her with a smile as I stroked her body while she turned her head curiously at me while giving a giving a silent “ki” sound. Her eyes winced as I moved my hand over some bite marks. “Shoot, we better get you healed up now. You’re in a terrible state, but I know where I can make you get better...please trust me,” I said to her while looking at her eyes as she did not object.

Picking her up, I made my way out of the woods with little trouble and returned to the nearby Avilik City where I allowed the nurses to treat to the Nankeen Kestrel. It would take some time and as I waited I kept thinking back to that voice that had called me. It certainly wasn’t the Kestrel as she was an animal...however, who was it then? I hadn’t heard the voice since the morning. While the kestrel was in bad shape when she first came into the center, the advanced medical care surprised me as the Kestrel was returned to me in a healthy state.

As I headed outside, I decided to let my new friend take her leave back to the woods; however, to my surprise, she didn’t. Instead, she took off into the air and landed back on my head where she nuzzled her beak against my head. “You like being with me, don’t you?” I asked her “well then, I’ll let you be my first animal!” Throwing an aniball into the air, she flew to it and let herself be caught as the ball landed in my hand. I smiled while looking at the ball knowing that my adventure had just begun. “Thank you…Cinnamon,” I said quietly.

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