Zeelo has gone missing for over a week. And faeries are involved. With the help of Calex, Lockely heads into the enchanted woods to try and find Zeelo.
Faerie Kitten Mischief
“Huh…” Lockely was sitting at his computer, the orange fox with black speckles was dressed in a hoodie, jeans, his tailband and glasses. It suddenly occurred to him that it was very quiet. In theory, that should be normal. He in theory lived alone. But it was very seldom that his home was not occupied by a certain small kitten who liked to get involved in big mischief. But he realized he hadn’t seen the little brown furball known as Zeelo in awhile now.
This wasn’t completely unheard of. Zeelo tended to get into a number of situations that might make him disappear for a given period of time. Lockely had been dragged through some of them, and somehow despite all odds they had always come back alive. Things tended to have a way of working out. Granted, often said way involved the other werekitten. The orange one, Calex, who was capable of feats Lockely tried not to think about too much because it challenged his understanding of just about every single law of physics.
Still, something felt off. His shoulder was actually kind of cold since there was no kitten perched upon it, looking over his shoulder as he worked on his laptop. But… Zeelo always came back and was alright. So there probably weren’t any problems. Right?
Lockely stood up and stretched. He felt restless for some reason, and while this was not abnormal, he was unable to shake the feeling. He needed to move around a bit to feel less antsy. He walked through the kitchen, where there was a crayon written note hung on the fridge Zeelo had put up on a previous visit. The handwriting was kind of a mess and so Lockely had never actually read the entire note. It strained his eyes to do so. But, as he had not seen any sign of Zeelo for awhile now, he snatched the note off the fridge and attempted to squint and make out the letters. After a few minutes he was able to decipher the entire message.
‘Hey Lockely, I’ve been spending a lot of time with the faeries in the forest in the backyard. Well it’s not in the backyard but there’s like a place where you crossover and suddenly you’re in the magical forest instead of the normal one. It’s weird but easy to find once you know what you’re looking for. I usually have fun with the faeries, and this is pretty routine. But if for some reason I don’t come back after a full week I may need someone to come get me.’
Lockely stared long and hard at the message. And then he spoke an inappropriate word he would not have used had any kittens been around.
Lockely swung open the cabinets of his kitchen cabinets and dug through them before pulling out a pot.
“Faeries… Why does it have to be faeries?” Lockely was not born in this world. He had once been a human in another and then come here. A lot had been new to him and he had gone through a bit of a learning period. One that often resulted in winding up a different species for a couple of days until he found a way to get that fixed. At this point, he was no longer a stranger in a strange land. He had adapted, learned about the world, and was just as capable as any other person from it.
And that was why he knew faeries were bad news. Why was Zeelo off playing with faeries!? Well because he was Zeelo and that was the type of thing he did. Lockely would swear that neither of the werekittens he knew had any self-preservation instincts. Granted, he also wasn’t sure if they actually could die, so that might not be the reason. Lockely himself was very much mortal, and he knew from folklore that he’d be safer walking into a lion’s den than a forest full of faeries. At least, for some reason, a Google search taught him a few basic steps to protect himself. WikiHow really did have everything. A piece of iron for protection was apparently a must, so hopefully he could threaten them with the pan if they tried anything.
But was that really enough? No, absolutely not. He needed backup. Someone who had experience with faeries. The perfect candidate that came to mind was the other werekitten Calex. But… It wasn’t that Lockely disliked Calex. He was quite fond of both of his werekitten friends. It was just, Calex brought a storm of chaos wherever he went. Chaos that often was responsible for the incidents where Lockely was a different species and stuck in another timeline or world for a week or two. The kitten loved his adventures and managed to find them wherever they went, no matter what they were doing. He had discovered a portal to a demon dimension on the dairy section of the supermarket. Apparently Lockely was now some kind of Grand Vizier now? He had decided not to ask Calex what that meant and just shop at a different supermarket from now on.
Still, there was no one else better suited for the job. He was going to have to go fetch him. How was he supposed to do that? He in theory knew where Calex lived… but well, Calex was Calex. He might be living at his house, or he might be living in a terrarium somewhere right now. It was the whole chaos thing. It was a shame neither of the kittens wore clothes so they could carry cell phones in their pockets to get a hold of them. Well, he supposed he’d try the house first. Lockely grabbed his scarf and threw it around his neck, headed for the front door and-
Found Calex sitting there in his feral kitten form, waiting, looking straight up at Lockely.
“Calex!?” Lockely was a bit surprised to say the least. But at least he had lucked out on finding him. “What are you doing here?” He realized immediately the answer was likely looking for Zeelo.
“I dunno.” Calex shrugged as he stood up on two legs, assuming a humanoid form like Lockely. Of course, he was only six years old and two feet tall so quite a bit smaller than Lockely. “I just felt like I was supposed to come here.”
“You just… felt?” Lockely tilted his head.
“Uh huh.” Calex nodded. “Sometimes I just feel these little tugs. I don’t know why, but I know I need to follow them. And every time I do I find a friend who needs my help.”
“That’s… A strangely useful skill. Why am I just learning about this now? Question for later.” Lockely rubbed the back of his head. Well, that would explain how the kitten seemed to always show up out of nowhere no matter where they were at the time.
“So… Nothing seems to be on fire.” Calex craned his neck to look past Lockely. “And I’m not seeing any interdimensional overlords.” He tapped a paw against the ground. “What exactly do you need help with?”
“This.” Lockely chose to just ignore most of what Calex said and get him on track with the current problem. He held out the crayon written note from Zeelo.
“So Zeelo’s been hanging out in an enchanted forest with faeries.” Calex mused. “That explains a few things.”
“You… Read that awfully fast.” Lockely looked at the note again, even knowing what it said now it was hard to figure out specific letters without squinting.
“I mean yeah, it’s in English. That’s my first language.” Calex paused. “I think.”
“That the note is in English or that-“ Lockely shook his head. Now was not the time to get distracted. Plus the answer would probably just make things more confusing. “So I need to go find him, but-“
“But you don’t know how to deal with faeries.” Calex nodded. “Alright, I can figure out the rest on my own from here. Let’s get going.”
“I know how to deal with faeries a little bit…” Lockely protested. “I know not to give them my name, and I brought an iron pot.”
“Hmmm?” Calex looked at Lockely and then the pot. For some reason the kitten just seemed really confused. “I guess that’s helpful? But if Zeelo has been missing for over a week we should get going.” Calex started to walk around Lockely’s house heading for the backyard.
“How do you know which direction to go?” Lockely quickly caught up with the kitten.
“I just told ya silly.” Calex looked up at Lockely and grinned. “I know your memory isn’t that short. I just feel a tug anytime a friend needs me.”
“So there’s just some invisible force that’s going to guide you to where Zeelo is located?” Lockely asked.
“Pretty much.” Calex nodded.
“Uh huh…” If it had been anyone else Lockely might have pressed for more information. Instead, he chose sanity. “Lead on.”
The two headed through the backyard and into the forest that bordered it. Once inside, Calex dropped down onto all fours, and moved with a determined march as he followed whatever invisible force there was that led him.
There was a small problem. The kitten seemed to be taking the most direct route possible. Which often involved going through bushes, or ditches that were easy for a small kitten to squirm and climb though. Not so much for an adult fox.
“H-hey slow down!” Lockely’s scarf was caught on a branch as he tried to move through a bush. He tugged it loose and tried to catch up with Calex. Luckily, the werekitten had actually stopped moving and allowed him to catch up. “Thanks for waiting.”
“Waiting?” Calex seemed confused. “Um sure. Sorry, I’m just… Having trouble. We definitely crossed over from the normal forest to the enchanted forest…”
“Everything still looks the same though…” Lockely looked around. Was it the same? Something was slightly off. Were those the same trees they had just passed? It took a minute, but Lockely slowly realized that the entire forest had somehow reorganized itself. It was still the same type of vegetation, making it hard to spot the differences, but things had definitely been shuffled around. Or at least the bush that Lockely’s scarf had been caught on was a tree now. So something was going on.
“The entire area is constantly changing.” Calex frowned. “I can’t tell if it’s trying to keep us out or lead us further in… But I keep feeling like I should be walking in a different direction every five seconds.” He paused. “Quantum trees.”
“Quantum trees?” Lockely echoed in confusion.
“The forest is changing, but did you actually see it change at any point?” Calex asked smugly.
“No… I didn’t even notice it was different till you said we were in the enchanted forest.” Lockely was starting to suspect he knew where Calex was going.
“Right. Quantum trees. The vegetation and trees we can see and observe don’t change. But the ones that we can’t see… They’re like in a state of flux, and don’t actually take a definite shape and location until we look at them.”
“I actually understand what you mean. It’s like those stone angels… but less terrifying? Or potentially more… Nevermind.” Lockely tried to figure out if this meant Calex was getting better at communication or if he himself was starting to go a little mad from these adventures. But, science was something he understood. Real science, not… whatever Claex thought science was. He was familiar with the idea in quantum physics that you could change the outcome by observing it. This was the first time he had seen it apply to a forest.
“I have an idea.” Calex grinned. “Okay, I’m going to go in the direction I feel the tug in right now. I need you to stay put, and watch me go, and then none of the trees or bushes around me should change while you’re observing them. I’ll signal you to catch up with me once we’ve made it a decent distance, and we’ll repeat the process till we make it through.”
“Okay, so I just have to watch you. I think I can handle that.” Lockely looked down at the kitten.
“Right.” Calex nodded. “Also, this entire forest is filled with magic so… Don’t touch anything, or get distracted by anything. If you do well, I have no idea what will happen, but I’ll probably lose my direct route back to you which would be a problem.”
“I understand. I’m capable of keeping watch.” Lockely gave Calex a pat. “Just go do your thing and find Zeelo.”
“Right then!” With that Calex began to move further into the forest. Lockely carefully kept his eyes trained on the kitten, and as far as he could tell he didn’t see any trees vanishing or changing locations as he watched the kitten go.
“What are you staring so intently at?” A voice giggled above Lockely.
“You’re gonna strain your eyes if you keep doing that.” A second voice giggled.
“Not now, I’m busy… wait, who?” Lockely looked up, and small winged creatures hovering above him, glowing with a warm light and leaving a trail of sparking dust wherever they moved. Faeries. “Um Calex!” Lockely called and looked back at the kitten. Except he wasn’t there. In the two seconds Lockely had looked up at the faeries the forest had changed, and now he was cut off from the person that he was hoping could keep him out of trouble with the faeries.
“You seem a little lost.” One faerie laughed.
“And a bit out of sorts.” The other grinned wickedly.
“Look, I’m just trying to find a friend.” Lockely took a step back. “But I’m not giving you his name or mine, so don’t bother asking. And…” He remembered the pot he was holding and held it up. “And I’ve brought iron so you know, stay back!” He was feeling quite proud about having the foresight to bring something made of iron with him.
“Um…” One of the faeries spoke up, seeming confused. She had the same exact confused tone Calex had when Lockely had shown him the pan. “So… Where’s the iron?”
“Yeah… I’m not… Seeing anything made of iron.” The other faerie added.
“Really?” Lockely looked doubtful. “So… Can faeries not see iron or something?” He paused. Calex had acted confused. Did that make Calex some kind of faerie? It would certainly explain a lot. And Calex did know Lockely’s name. Was that why insane things were always happening when he was around! “It’s right here! This pot! So stay back!”
“First off, we can see things made of iron fine, second off, that’s not iron.” The first faerie crossed her arms.
“It’s clearly stainless steel.” The second faerie added.
“But steel has iron in it.” Lockely spoke hopefully.
“It hardly counts if it’s an alloy. I mean…” The first faerie flew up and poked the pot Lockely was holding. Suddenly, he was holding a bouquet of wildflowers. “Otherwise I couldn’t do that.”
“GAH!” Lockely dropped the flowers and looked between the faeries.
“You really do seem like you’re confused.” The first faerie spoke.
“Maybe we can help you.” The second.
“Nah I’m good, thank you.” Lockely shook his head. “I have no gift to offer in return.” He hoped that would be enough to dissuade them. “I just need to get through the forest.”
“Ah, a mortal who respects the ancient laws of hospitality.” The first faerie gave a wistful sigh. “So many seem to forget. Still, this leaves us a problem… We would be a terrible host if we left you with nothing. But we can’t simply give you something for nothing. It’ll never work.”
“What if we just made it easier for him to be in the forest?” The second faerie suggested. “We’re not actually giving him anything, but we’ll still have shown our graciousness as host.”
“Wonderful idea!” The first faerie squealed. “I mean he really does seem to be completely lost. Hopefully, he’ll find it a bit easier to get around now…” Both faeries flew over Lockely showering him with dust.
And then Lockely felt himself falling to the ground. He landed on his hands and knees, and he wasn’t able to get up. As he tried, something about his legs felt weird. His movement shifted, and suddenly instead of being on his knees he was on his feet. Then looking down at his hands, they looked completely paw shaped instead of like normal hands. He tried to stand up, but felt awkward on two legs and tumbled over, tangled up in his own clothing.
“There!” The first faerie replied. “Now you’re a proper fox, just like the ones that live in the forest! You should have no trouble getting around now. You’re a natural fit.”
“And thus, we have fulfilled our duties as hosts.” The second faerie gave a hearty laugh. “Have fun.” With that they both began to fly off.
“YIP! YAP!” Lockely tried to call after them, but he couldn’t even manage words now. What was he supposed to do? He had lost Calex. And now he was no different than a normal fox. Except for being tangled up in a mass of clothing that almost made it impossible to move.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the forest.
“Huh… Why are there two tugs suddenly?” Calex stopped walking. “One’s coming back in the direction of Lockely and-“ He turned around seeing no sign of Lockely, and that the trees and shrubs behind him had been moved around. “Dang it Lockely, you had one job. Now I need to find two people… And I can’t see all around me at once so I can’t stop the forest from shifting around to mix me up.” Calex paused and considered. “Or… maybe I can?” He closed his eyes, and tuned out all noises. He tried to leave himself as blind and deaf as possible.
And he could feel the two tugs. Like they were pulling on his heart. He started walking in the direction of one of them. And promptly walked into some kind of branch or something. It scratched him right on the nose! That hurt! But he kept his eyes closed. The forest was in a constant state of changing, taking definite form only when it was being observed. So the parts of the forest Calex and Lockely had been able to see would stay the same, while the forest behind them, and further ahead beyond where they could see had been changing while the area directly before them remained stable. If Calex kept his eyes closed, then the forest wasn’t observed at all. There was nothing to make it take a defined form. It almost might as well not exist at all. Calex continued following the tug, it seemed to be consistently staying in one direction. Though he walked face first into a log. That one stun. Okay, maybe the forest didn’t completely not exist when unseen.
He was pretty sure he had whatever enchantment was on this forest beat. It was designed to get people lost by deceiving their senses and constantly shuffling around. But Calex had shut out all his senses. Whatever that little tug was, it couldn’t be fooled. And so the forest had nothing to work its magic on, nothing to observe it and give it form, and thus nothing it could deceive or bewilder. The direction of the tugs continued to remain consistent. This was actually working. He was going to have a ton of scratches all over his face from walking into things. Well, he would have them if he didn’t heal instantly… But it was the point. This was less than ideal but he had to work with what he had. He didn’t stop moving until he suddenly walked into something that was soft and fuzzy. Then he opened his eyes.
“Yap?” The feralized Lockely looked at Calex. He hadn’t seen the kitten approach at all till he was crashed into.
“Lockely?” Calex looked the fox over. “Since when can you change forms like us?”
“Yap.” Lockely gave Calex a deadpan look.
“Ah, you didn’t do this by choice.” Calex looked over Lockely. “Makes sense, if you were a proper shapeshifter, I doubt you’d still wear those silly clothes.”
“Yip!” Lockely objected. He liked his clothes.
“You’re all tangled up and can’t move because of them aren’t you?” Calex grinned.
“… Yip.” Lockely didn’t feel the need to dignify that remark with a proper response. Not that he could give one if he wanted.
“Let me help you…” Calex began to paw at Lockely’s clothing, helping to pull it off the fox. Lockely was surprised the kitten actually showed some restraint and didn’t just rip his clothes off. Apparently, while Calex didn’t understand the purpose of clothing, he understood it was important to others so was careful to avoid damaging any of Lockely’s clothes as he removed them. After a few minutes, Lockely was down to just wearing his scarf, glasses and tailband. And with just those he could move freely.
“Yip…” He wagged his tail, a little happy to be free. But still rather upset with the two faeries. He thought he had played all the cards right and still wound up enchanted.
“Well, bad news this happened.” Calex shrugged as he walked in a circle around Lockely. Lockely couldn’t help but feel it was immensely unfair Calex could talk in feral form while he couldn’t. “Good news, I figured out a way to bypass the forest’s defenses. I can lead you to Zeelo. Gonna need you to close your eyes and follow me.” Calex paused. “Can’t really take your hand though… Hmmm, okay. Bite down on my tail. GENTLY. Then close your eyes, and I’ll lead you to Zeelo.” Calex paused. “Also I apologize for the scratches and scrapes we’re about to both get in advance.”
“Yip?” Lockely gave Calex a suspicious stare. Still, if the kitten was sure he could get to Zeelo he was probably right. And sitting around here wasn’t going to do anything. Lockely bent his head down to gently nip the tip of the smaller kitten’s tail and closed his eyes. Calex closed his own eyes, and so blindly the two proceeded through the forest.
“Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.” Calex muttered to himself several times as he walked into far too many objects too count. But once more, the pull seemed to stay consistent, allowing him to follow it in one direction. Right up until he bumped into something fluffy.
“Calex?” A familiar asked. “And… Lockely?”
“Zeelo?” Calex opened his eyes. He was in a small grove in the middle of the forest. Zeelo was there, in his bipedal form. The brown kitten looked perfectly fine. He had just been swinging around a stick in the middle of the clearing when they bumped into him.
“What are you two…” Zeelo paused. “Ahhh, the note. I was practicing for so long I lost track of time.”
“Yap?” Lockely was glad to see Zeelo was safe. But he couldn’t help but feel slightly irritated about the fact that nothing was actually wrong, and so he had gotten stuck in this state for absolutely no reason.
“Why is Lockely a four legger now?” Zeelo looked at him. “Is he a werefox or something now?”
“Nah pretty sure just a normal fox.” Calex crossed his arms. “I did warn him about getting distracted.”
“Yip…” Lockely just gave Calex a deadpan stare.
“So, what exactly have you been out here so long practicing?” Calex asked.
“How to use magical implements.” Zeelo replied. “The faeries here have been teaching me. Butterfly, that’s not her real name, just what I call her apparently noticed that I had magic inside me when we were playing games.”
“Makes sense.” Calex nodded. “Werekittens are inherently magical.”
“Right! But I can’t cast any spells no matter what I tried!” Zeelo threw his paws up. “I tried saying made up magical words, saying things backwards, chanting, staring at a rock really hard hoping it would move but none of it worked.”
“I can understand the frustration.” Calex shrugged. “I can’t work magic either.”
“Yip?” Lockely gave Calex a look that clearly translated to ‘seriously?’ The kitten had made a cardboard box that traveled through time. How could he possibly think he wasn’t using magic?
“Anyway, the faeries here are all super nice and helpful.” Zeelo grinned. “None of the bad kind that play mean tricks. So they helped me figure it out.”
“YAP!” Lockely loudly objected to the idea the faeries didn’t play mean tricks.
“He’s… A lot more excitable like that huh?” Zeelo looked over Calex past Lockely.
“You know how it is, when you can only make one animal sound you just make it a lot. Mew!” Calex demonstrated at the end as he stood up and achieved his bipedal form. “So… What exactly did you learn and why are you swinging around a stick?”
“It’s a magic wand.” Zeelo explained. “Apparently, I can’t use magic but I can bring the magic out in other things.”
“Sorry, didn’t realize, I’m not a big wand expert, so I mistook it for a stick.” Calex rubbed the back of his head.
“Yip…” From where Lockely was standing, it looked like the thing was in fact just a normal stick. And Lockely was technically correct.
Zeelo’s understanding of his magical ability wasn’t quite how it actually worked. He was less bringing out the magic stored in tools and implements, but instead was actually pouring magic into them himself. Zeelo didn’t need to find an item that had power inside of it. He needed to find an item that he believed had power in it. Werekitten magic was a special type of magic, it had an inherently playful nature. For Zeelo, it basically made pretend playtime things real. The stick was just a stick. But since Zeelo was holding it and believed it was a wand, it was a wand. Anyone else who held it would find it to be just a normal stick.
“Anyway, I’m still getting the hang of doing the spells… But I got a couple of things… Watch!” Zeelo held the stick up high and waved it around. “Great Moogley Googely!”
There was a bright flash of light, and suddenly both kittens began to change. Height wise, they stayed about the same, but their ears became way longer and more rabbit-like. Their tails grew shorter, until they were just small little tufts, and their feet shifted so they had a plantigrade stance. Then, a pair of wings popped out of their back, as well as a pom on an antennae sprung from their head. They retained their original colors, Calex bright orange and Zeelo dark brown. Though the wings and poms were colored differently. Calex’s were both red while Zeelo’s were blue.
“Moogles kupo!” Calex bounced up and down excitedly. Then he flapped his wings hovering in the air. “Wow, so that’s an honest to goodness real magic wand.”
“Yip…” Lockely’s ears folded back slightly. It still looked like a normal stick to him. And the time traveling box had looked like a normal cardboard box to him. While he didn’t have a full understanding of how his magic worked, his was a lost closer to actual reality than Zeelo’s And upon seeing them as moogles he couldn’t help but remember a painted rock that had randomly become magic. Earlier it had just been Calex… Now they were both doing it!
“Can you work any other spells kupo?” Calex asked.
“Well I’m still learning… But since you asked…” Zeelo placed a hand over his mouth to hide his giggle as he pointed the wand at Calex. There was a bright flash of light. Then suddenly the orange moogle began to shrink drastically. He got smaller and smaller, until Zeelo was able to use his free hand to reach out and grab the flying moogle and hold him in his palm.
“H-hey! No fair! I wasn’t ready kupo!” Calex pouted.
“Upset I managed to mischief you first for once kupo?” Zeelo stuck out his tongue at the tiny moogle.
“Nuh uh.” Calex crossed his arms and pouted. “Not bothered at all, this is barely an inconvenience kupo.”
“Well I can always make you smaller kupo!” Zeelo grinned and pointed the wand at the tiny moogle in his palm. Calex looked up at it, saw the light began to flash, then suddenly, flapped his wings and lifted into the air, the beam of light striking directly below him as Zeelo hit his own palm.
“What!?” Zeelo gave a shout as he started to shrink. The stick became too large to wield and landed somewhere in the grass. “Kupooooooooooo!”
“HA!” Calex flapped down and landed on the ground among the giant grass. “Gotcha back kupo!”
“Admitting that just means I got you first kupo!” Zeelo stuck out his tongue.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever…” Calex crossed his arms and grinned smugly. “I still got you back kupo.”
“Yip!” Lockely tried to get the attention of the two young and tiny moogles before they caused any more chaos. If there was no danger, he’d really rather leave the forest before he ran into anymore faeries. He’d also like to be able to talk again, or walk on two legs for that matter.
“You have any idea what that meant kupo?” Zeelo asked.
“I mean I can guess a few things, mostly based off context.” Calex mused. “But it probably would be a lot easier if we could actually understand him. Which means…. We should turn ourselves into foxes kupo!”
“Turn him back kupo!” Zeelo shouted at the same time. “Ohhh, your way sounds fun too kupo.”
“Yap?” Lockely shook his head wildly. He was pretty sure taking away everyone’s ability to speak was not going to actually help anything. His little yaps were just noises. They didn’t translate to anything. Even if he had words he was trying to say, the sounds were meaningless and being a fox wouldn’t allow someone else to magically understand him.
Then again… Given the two he was dealing with he couldn’t 100% be sure it didn’t somehow work that way.
“Huh, he doesn’t seem to like the fox idea kupo.” Zeelo looked up at the giant fox. “Maybe we should turn him into something else kupo?”
“Oh maybe he wants to be a moogle too! He might feel left out being the only non-moogle kupo!” Calex suggested.
“Yaaaaaap!” Lockely started to object then paused. He wanted to stay a fox. He just wanted to go back to being the type of civilized fox that walked on two legs and wore clothes. He wasn’t looking to get turned into a moogle today. However, moogles could talk. If he let them turn him into one then he could explain that both he wanted to be changed back to his original form (well his original fox form, not the human form he had long ceased to identify with) and to leave the forest. “Yiiip.” Lockely gave a nod, giving the two tiny moogles permission to do their thing.
“Great!” Zeelo paused. “Just one problem kupo. The wand is a lot bigger than me now.”
“I can help hold it up!” Calex suggested helpfully. “I’ll grab the back end kupo and you the front. We’ll point it at Lockely and poof! Third moogle kupo.”
“That should work!” Zeelo quickly moved to stand next to the wand and tried to lift the front of it. “Ready when you are kupo.”
“Ready.” Calex lifted the back of the wand with ease. “Just do your spell thing kupo.”
“Okay! I’m definitely gonna do it! Or try! Something will happen kupo!” Zeelo grinned as he tried to point the wand tip at Lockely.
“Yip?” Lockely took a step back, suddenly wondering if this was a really bad idea.
“Not that I’m one to get to talk in these types of situations, but what do you mean something kupo?” Calex asked.
“Well…” Zeelo kicked at the dirt. “I had just started learning how to use the wand with one hand. This is my first time having to use a magic wand bigger than me kupo! So I’m just hoping I can cast the right spell.”
“So we need to be quiet and not let you get distracted while you try to focus on the spell kupo?” Calex asked.
“That might help! Maybe! Kupo!” Zeelo sounded less than sure.
“Alright, shutting up kupo.” Calex fell silent.
“Yip…” Lockely whined quietly, but did his best to stand his ground, hoping the transformation would go as planned.
“Alright here goes nothing kupo!” Zeelo focused on the stick, once more believing it to be a magic wand. He focused on forming a spell aimed at Lockely. There was nothing to distract him.
At least not until a small butterfly flew down from the sky and landed on Lockely’s nose.
“Achoo!” The fox sneezed, scaring the butterfly away.
And the spell went off, or at least a spell went off. The sudden arrival of the butterfly had reminded Zeelo of someone he often played with, and as a result his mind had started to wonder as he cast the spell. Instead of releasing a single blast of magic at Lockely, he created an explosion of energy that covered the entire grove.
Suddenly, Lockely felt himself getting smaller. Was he going to shrink as small as the moogles? This was not a step in the right direction! Except… He wasn’t getting that small… But there were other changes. His tail wasn’t quite as bushy, his body was shorter in comparison to what it had been. It took him a moment to catch on, but he had been like this before. It wasn’t hard to figure out. He was a fox kit! They had made him younger!
“Yip!” Lockely expressed his displeasure as he tried to look for the tiny moogles in the grass to inform them they had screwed up. He froze when he saw them.
“Kupo?” Zeelo asked, looking at him. He didn’t manage any words.
“Kupo!” Calex threw up his arms energetically, also incapable of words.
Both of the moogles had been caught in the age reduction spell as well. But considering they were already only six years old, they didn’t have a lot of room to regress. Both of them had been reduced to infants. Tiny mouse sized baby moogles. And that meant…
That meant that there was probably no way Zeelo could safely use the wand right now. They were probably stuck like this. The only hope in getting back to normal now was to get out of the forest and get help elsewhere.
“Kupoooo.” Calex fluttered into the air, somewhat awkwardly. He could fly, but he was so young his muscles weren’t fully developed. He flapped through the air for a few seconds before falling. Lockely quickly dove beneath the orange moogle to catch him rather than let him fall to the ground. “Kupo!” Calex gave a satisfied squeak upon landing on Lockely’s fluffy back.
“Kupo! Kupo! Kupo!” Upon seeing this, Zeel wanted up. He crawled over to Lockey’s leg and pawed at it. After a few seconds, Lockely gave a sigh, and bent down so his nose was level with the ground. Zeelo climbed up Lockely’s muzzle onto the top of his head. A few moments later, Calex took flight and joined Zeelo atop the fox kit’s head.
“Kupo!” Calex shouted and pointed. Lockely didn’t anything to translate Calex’s babbling to actual words. It was clear he saw adventure was afoot.
Lockely on the other hand, saw nothing but trouble. Right now, he was the oldest of the three despite being just a normal fox kit. The two moogles were infants and mouse sized. It was doubtful they would get much done on their own. And they couldn’t easily communicate anything to Lockely.
Lockely was going to have to figure out how to get out of the enchanted forest on his own, while also making sure that neither of the moogles fell off and got lost. Considering how things changed around if he lost one of them in the grass he might never find them again. He was going to have to be careful.
“Kupo!” Zeelo joined in on Calex’s call to adventure.
Well, the two never did seem to understand the concept of danger. The faeries had already turned Lockely into a feral, and Zeelo had made him a fox kit. What else could happen?
Actually, that wasn’t a question he didn’t want the answer to. But, it was up to him to find the way out. And so he started into the forest again. It was going to be a very long adventure before any of them managed to get back to the normal world. They’d be like this for some time.