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The Arrival

Nighthound smiled as he shivered with delight. The sun’s warmth was pouring down on him, it was a beautiful day. The forest was green, the flowers were blooming, and the sun was shining. He started to run, feeling the spring air ripple through his dark fur. His animal friends came alongside him, and he felt no worries in the world. He took a breath and let the sweet smell of life fill his body. Ahhh, fresh air. But wait, he thought suddenly. Something was not right. He smelled something, something putrid.

He immediately changed forms into an eagle, wincing with pleasure as he felt his senses and body change. But he could not enjoy it. The smell filled his thoughts and suddenly a horrible ripping, destroying sound pierced his ears. He flew up to the tops of the tallest pines and peered at the horizon. He could not believe what he was seeing. Rumbling through the forest, knocking hundreds of trees aside as if they were mere twigs, were several enormous metal monsters that shone evilly in the sun. You cannot imagine the rage Nighthound felt at that moment. He had never experienced such an incredible, ferocious feeling. He vowed to rip apart these monsters, or whatever was controlling them, limb by limb. Though meanwhile his fellow animals were in danger, and many must have already fallen at the feet of the devils.

That night, Nighthound called a Council of All Animals and in the bright moonlight they discussed the problem.

“We should run away,” the Mouse Leader shrieked. “Run away and forget these…things…ever existed!”

“No,” the enormous Grizzly Leader said firmly. “Running away is not the solution; we have to face our enemies head on!”

“Easy for you to say,” mumbled the Mouse.

“We will rip these fiends apart as if they were wet leaves!” a voice screeched.

“And what good will that do, may I ask?” exclaimed a tiny sparrow, “When the same fate falls upon us! Who will that help, the vultures?”

“I’m starting to like this idea,” a vulture said eyeing the animals with a grin scary enough to make all of your fur stand up straight.

The entire meeting broke into chaos filled with squeaks, screeches, growls, guffaws, ca-caws, snorts, and a variety of other strange noises until Nighthound, very annoyed at this point, turned into a lion and roared ferociously; and all attention was drawn to him immediately.

“We will not run away, do nothing, or resort to such stupidities,” he growled, looking at them all. “W-

“Then what will we do?” several animals interrupted, some desperate, others sarcastic.

“We,” repeated Nighthound, ignoring the remarks, “need a plan, and I happen to have one that just might save our furs.” He looked around at the respectful, waiting eyes and went on. “Tomorrow you, Aquila (the important Leader of the Eagles) will take the best wings and eyes of your flock to actually see what we’re facing.” Aquila fluffed up his feathers proudly. Nighthound continued, “If the enemy will be easy to defeat, dive in immediately and we will follow. If they will present a decent or even fight, fly back to us and we will go in together. If we have no chance at all, fly away as fast as you can and we will get the message. We would leave silently, and angrily, but not defeated. But before we do anything, we will need a good night’s rest.” The owls looked at him in protest, but he ignored them and continued as the silver moon dipped into the horizon. “We will have a long day tomorrow, no matter our fate.” Changing back into his normal wolf form, he howled deep and long, an eerie yet majestic sound. The animals then scurried, ran, and flew into the depths of the mighty forest. Nighthound looked around and found himself quite content where he was. He then walked around the spot four times, lay down, and closed his eyes, aware but not afraid of the day to come.

The moment Nighthound woke, he knew something was not right. He felt the sun directly on him and he could smell something strange and different, but he could not smell the forest. For one of the few times in his life, he was truly scared. He opened one eye and he did not like what he saw. He knew he had not moved at all during the night but for some reason there were no longer any trees around him as there had been the night before. He was surrounded by deathly black metal spikes. And looking at him with big eyes was one of the ugliest things he had ever seen. It had a round, peach-colored head, and the only hair it had was on its head. Something colorful was wrapped around it, and its feet and legs were covered also. It stood on two legs at a very strange angle…up. Nighthound looked around and saw more of them, all different sizes with different facial features. Nighthound growled and the smaller ones backed away. He took one last glance around and leaped an enormous leap over the spikes without looking back. There was no time for fear. He looked up at the sky and saw hundreds of birds flying away; further into the depths of the forest and Nighthound knew that life would never be the same again. Humans had arrived on Leilandia.





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