Diane was a young woman living alone in a cottage overlooking the big Masora Forest, known for many legends.
One of them is that, every few hundred years, there's a healer living nearby, destined to become privy to many secrets the forest keeps well hidden.
Of course, Diane was already aware of this fact. That's precisely why she chose this particular cottage—apart from it being cozy and homey, it was also close to the forest, which was exactly what she needed!
So many unknown herbs are waiting to be discovered and used properly! Diane learned what she could from her grandmother, who was a famous healer. Diane watched her at work when she was a little girl, memorising every technique and every ingredient.
Diane decided right then, when she was just 10 years old, to one day become a healer like her grandma. Twenty years later, her hard work paid off, yet there's still so much left for her to learn.
Not that Diane's complaining; she loved learning! She was curious by nature, which more often than not led her into some crazy situations.
Diane's reminiscing was cut off by the pounding on the door.
'My first patient, and I hadn't even had the time to prepare! Should I call the people who come to see me patients? I'm not a doctor per se...' Diane didn't have the time to think too much about it, because the person threatening to break down the door opened it without waiting for Diane to answer.
A giant stepped inside Diane's cottage, looking around before spotting Diane standing near the table. Diane noticed him limping and wincing at every step he took.
"There you are, lass! Help this big guy, would ya? A bloody snake bit my leg! " The man said it as he sat in front of Diane's table, cursing silently.
"Of course, sir! Let me see the bite, please. I need to check if it's venomous or not." Diane spoke gently, going straight into healer mode. She helped the man raise his leg on a stool, which made him yelp in slight pain.
"Blasted lizard..." The giant cursed silently. Diane cast a quick spell, her hands glowing with a green light. If the light stays green, then it's just a simple snake bite she can heal with magic. If it's venomous, it'll turn dark purple, meaning she'll have to prepare a remedy.
A minute passed and the light stayed green. Good. The only thing left to do now is heal it.
"It should only take a minute. You're lucky the snake wasn't dangerous." Diane addressed the man.
"Thank you, lass. Who knows what might've happened if I hadn't gotten here in time. " The giant expressed his gratitude that his life wasn't in danger.
"Oh, you needn't thank me, sir. I'm happy to help! It's why I became a healer in the first place." Diane blushed a bit at the giant's gratitude. She has been doing this for so long, and yet she still gets embarrassed when people thank her.
"The name's Gord. No need for that "sir" nonsense. What's your name? Can't call you lass all the time, can I?" Gord asked with a grin. His black eyes twinkled with mischief. Despite his height, he seemed like a nice and friendly person. Diane liked him already.
"I'm Diane, and well, you know what I do. Nice to meet you, Gord. You're my first customer, actually! It'd be weird to call you a patient, since I'm not a doctor."
Gord laughed heartily, his laughter booming through the cottage. Combing through his snowy beard, he said, "Nah, you're much nicer than our doctor. He's a good chap, I'll admit, but grumpy. Impatient as well."
Diane didn't say anything about that. She hasn't met the doctor yet, so she can't be a judge of his character. She stood up, going back to the counter.
"Well, Gord, I'm so glad your injury wasn't that serious as it looked. Do you need anything else? I wouldn't want to keep you from whatever you were doing before." Gord just shrugged Diane's concern off.
He pulled something out of his bag before putting it down on the table.
"I was hunting before the accident, so here's my thanks and a sort of welcome gift to the new healer. There are many herbs in the forest that you can use. Lots of fruits too. Just be careful around the foxes; they can be tricky little buggers."
Gord warned Diane before waving her goodbye.
The quiet settled inside the cottage again. Diane sighed before smiling to herself.
'Gord is so nice! I hope I'll see him again, but under less daunting circumstances.' Diane looked at the package Gord left for her, deciding to see what it was. She went to the table and, unwrapping it, saw a rabbit inside. He couldn't have known she hadn't eaten anything yet, could he? What a thoughtful man he was.
"This rabbit is too much to eat at once, so I'll just leave half of it for dinner..." Diane whispered before moving to the kitchen.
The rest of the day was uneventful; no giants appeared, just a cute little family of a cat and her two kittens asking for food and shelter. Their mews were so heartbreaking to listen to, so Diane decided to take them in. They would have a warm home and food, and Diane would have some company.
Plus, the kittens were so adorable, their fur shiny and soft to the touch. Their mother gave Diane permission to pet them; at least, that's what it seemed like to her. Her cottage feels less lonely now that her little friends are here.
The next day, Diane took a trip to the town. She needed fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, and some tuna for her cats. The town wasn't far—a nice 20-minute walk from her cottage. The day was sunny and warm, pleasantly so. It would've been a pity to spend it cooped up inside.
The town of Asmer was a small town, surrounded by tall trees. It's so well hidden that you could easily miss it unless you know the right path. Its architecture was reminiscent of that of the olden days but well maintained. Cobblestone pavement gave Asmer a certain aesthetic.
A local market was located in the city center. Diane was in awe; she didn't know where to go first! She took out her shopping list, checking to see what she wrote on it. She'll buy some tomatoes first. She'll need parsley, pepper, salt, and cinnamon for the cookies she intends to bake, along with flour and some other stuff.
Diane's got a long day ahead of her. That's fine, though; this is a perfect opportunity to see some of the shops she might visit in the future. Before that, she'd like to visit the library. She's in dire need of new reading material.
Once Diane finished at the market, she looked around for a place to rest a bit. Her feet were killing her! Diane quickly spotted a quaint café a few minutes away from where she's at right now. Groaning, she dragged her feet towards it, trying not to crash into someone.
Diane stood in front of a café. It looked old on the outside, with its glass windows. A sign hanging above said "Zozo's." The bell chimed when Diane entered, signalling her arrival.
Diane took in the plush chairs, the wooden tables, and a bar in the center. They were selling delicious-looking cakes too.
Diane's stomach growled. She could use a bite of that chocolate cake she spied.
Diane took a seat in the corner, near a window. She was just putting down her bags when a chirpy voice could be heard above her head.
"Hi, welcome to Zozo's! Would you like to order?" A red-haired girl asked Diane with a friendly smile on her face, carrying a menu with her. It wasn't forced or fake. The girl appeared to be enjoying doing her job. Diane felt at ease immediately.
"Hi, I'm new here, so I haven't decided anything yet. Apart from that chocolate cake I saw. Do you have any recommendations?"
The waitress grinned, happy that someone asked for her opinion.
"You made a right choice with that one! A nice, hot cup of coffee would go splendidly with chocolate cake. " Diane nodded at that. It was what she would order as well.
"You can't go wrong with a chocolate-coffee combo! Okay, I'll take a slice of chocolate cake and a cup of coffee, please."
"Great! I'll be right back with your order!" The waitress spoke before going to the back of the cafe. Diane smiled. This girl is certainly an interesting one.
Diane observed the other patrons in the café.
There were humans and magic folk coexisting peacefully. Since Diane had magic of her own, she could detect those who had it as well. There were mixed groups sitting together, chatting and having fun.
They all had their differences. Nothing is perfect, but as long as no one causes harm to another, it's fine. Diane was happy to be able to mingle with both magic and non-magic people. She was brought out of her thoughts by something spilling on her table.
The waitress was wiping up the mess quickly. She was on the verge of tears.
"I'm sorry! I'm naturally clumsy, so I tripped on thin air and spilled your coffee! I'll bring you another one right away. It's on the house! Oh God, the boss is going to kill me... " Diane waved her hand, wanishing the spilled coffee and refilling her cup.
The waitress gaped at Diane, who only smiled and winked.
"There, all taken care of. Nothing happened." The waitress bowed down, thanking Diane profusely. Diane waved it off.
"I'm Diane, the new healer. What's your name? " Diane asked.
"Oh, how rude of me! I wanted to offer my name when I brought you coffee. My name's Ashley. It's nice to meet you. Gord has told us about you. He said you were really nice, and you healed his snake bite. " Ashley said, offering her hand to the healer, who shook it. Diane blushed at the praise.
"Oh, has he? It was nothing serious, honestly. And it's nice to meet you too, Ash! You don't mind if I give you a nickname, do you? I'm sorry if I offended you in any way! " Diane panicked. She meant no harm and hoped that Ashley knew that.
Ashley looked at Diane in wonder before bursting into laughter. Her laughter attracted the attention of other patrons. It was contagious too, so Diane couldn't help but laugh along.
"Wow, I spilled your coffee, and you think I'd get mad over a nickname? You're so cute. I like you already! And don't worry, I don't mind the nickname. Can I call you Di in return? " Ashley asked, happy to be able to make another friend. She just knew Diane and she were going to be best friends.
Diane nodded, "Sure, I don't mind. Well, Ash, I hope we'll get along! "
"Trust me, we will. I have a good feeling about you. And my instincts have never proved me wrong before. Oh, shoot, I need to get back to work! Thank you for the, you know, and if you need anything, don't hesitate to call me. See you! " Ashley said in one breath before running off to another table. Diane shook her head and smiled.
Diane thought this day wasn't a complete disaster. She made a new friend and got to eat a tasty cake, which she'll be doing right now.
After paying for the cake (she went back and forth with Ashley about it for five minutes), Diane left the café, promising to return tomorrow. Ashley said she'd come and visit Diane on her day off.
The next few days found Diane slowly settling into her new life. She got more customers thanks to Gord and Ashley, which she's grateful for.
Diane started exploring Masora Forest, taking short walks and enjoying the peace and quiet it offered.
Nature is truly a blessing; the thick green treetops create cover from the sun as the birds sing their afternoon song. The scent of flowers permeates the air around the forest, a scent so potent Diane wished to trap it in a bottle to use as perfume.
There was a river streaming through, its surface glittering like tiny crystals in the afternoon sun. It truly was a place out of a fairytale. Diane fell in love with it.
There were animals that carried some form of magic within them. They kept the forest safe—another special trait of Masora Forest. If you don't mean harm, the animals won't bother you. Otherwise, expect to be chased out by a pack of wolves that do live here. Many people thought wolves were extinct in these parts. They couldn't be more wrong.
Despite being aware of the dangers this enchanted forest hid deep within, Diane felt as safe as if she were in her own home. The forest's magic called out to her own, embracing her like she was its child. She didn't need to be afraid.
Diane carried a small journal with her where she drew flowers she came across. She made notes of their size, color, and pattern.
The flowers didn't have any particular names, but Diane didn't worry about it. She was curious about how they could be used in her ointments, remedies, and cremes.
Diane sat under a big tree, gazing at the river. She felt content just sitting in silence, taking in the fresh air and listening to the river. Diane leaned more comfortably against the tree, closing her eyes. She could feel the breeze tickling her face and playing with her hair.
"It's time you hurry up home, little healer." Diane was awakened by a voice from somewhere in the forest. She opened her eyes, trying to locate the source. There was no one to be found.
Thunder can be heard in the distance. The forest became dark, transforming into a completely different place. The atmosphere was eerie and gloomy, and the threat of rain loomed.
Diane hurried along. The warning she got from the mysterious voice proved to be just in time. She ran, trying to make it back to the cottage before the storm it was shaping up to be.
As she ran through the forest, Diane could have sworn she saw the shape of something unidentified following her.
Diane didn't have time to wonder about it before she felt the first few drops of rain on her face. That motivated her to run faster, lest she end up soaked to the bone.
The lightning zapped through the dark sky, making everything around her appear more terrifying than it was just a few hours ago. The sound of thunder added to the scary atmosphere. The wind started to pick up.
Diane made it home in the nick of time, just when the sky opened its floodgates. She had trouble closing the door because of how strongly the wind was blowing. She leaned back against the door, catching her breath. Diane has never run this fast in her entire life!
Diane looked at herself. Her clothes did end up wet in the end. She needs to change out of them or else she'll catch a cold. A nice, warm bath and some hot cocoa sound good right now.
What Diane failed to notice, as she went to her room, was a dark shadow in front of her window. When lightning struck, it was gone.
The next morning, pounding on the door was what woke Diane up. She groaned, mourning those extra few minutes of sleep.
Groggy from sleep, she trudged to the door.
She opened the door, squinting in the bright sunlight. A tall man stood in front of her, his expression way too sour this early in the morning.
"Do you usually keep people waiting outside? That's bad practice and unprofessional. Now, are you going to let me in? " A cold voice asked, making Diane's head throb. She had a feeling this visit was going to leave her more exhausted than she already felt.
"And you are, if I may ask?" Diane asked as she motioned for him to come in. She stiffled a yawn, assuming it wouldn't be received well by the grumpy looking man.
"Forgive my manners. I'm Dr. Nickels, a local doctor. Perhaps you have heard of me. You are friends with Gord and that pixie girl from the café, right?" The doctor asked, observing the healer from behind his glasses.
Diane could feel his steely gaze piercing through her very being.
"Oh, I believe Gord mentioned you once! It's nice to meet you! How may I help you? " Diane went into her work mode immediately, trying to make this visit as painless as possible.
"You don't need to help me, per se, but one of my patients. They're in need of a soothing salve of some kind, and, while I know my way around them, the ingredients are often hard to find. " Diane could tell that it was physically difficult for the doctor to utter those words, but she kept quiet about it.
"Of course, I understand. I think I have some around here. Please wait a moment; I'll be right back. " Diane turned around without waiting for a reply.
"Don't take too long, though. I have other patients to attend to. Time is a precious commodity. " Dr. Nickels' words made Diane roll her eyes, thankful that he couldn't see her.
'He'd probably think I'm disrespectful, apart from being unprofessional. Does he have a good opinion of anyone, or is it just me he dislikes for some reason? ' Diane wondered as she searched for her camfor and orange oil salve. She located it on the shelf, hidden behind a few other bigger jars.
Diane did a quick check, making sure the ingredients were fresh, before returning to her guest, a term she used loosely when it came to Dr. Nickels.
When she came back to the counter, the doctor was where she left him.
"Here is the salve. It should be applied evenly to the affected area, but I can write down the instructions, if you want. " Diane offered, hoping her head wouldn't get bitten off for her suggestion.
The doctor was quiet for a moment before replying, "Yes, that would be wise."
Diane took a piece of paper and started jotting down simple instructions, all the while trying to do it as fast as she could.
Surprisingly, it was the doctor who broke the silence first, "I heard from Gord that you healed his wound. Not a single scar was left. Some of my other patients spoke fondly of you, as well. "
Diane was caught by surprise. She may not have known the doctor well, but she figured he wasn't one to be swayed by the opinions of other people.
"I do try, you know. I've been doing this for as long as I can remember. There's still so much left for me to learn about healing, but I'm in no rush. I like helping people, and I take my job very seriously. Just like you do. " Diane handed Dr. Nickels the paper, noticing he was caught off guard by what she said.
She was beginning to get fed up with his snotty attitude towards her anyway. She had managed to be polite so far, but he was testing her patience.
"Will that be all, doctor?" Diane asked the doctor. He shook himself out of his thoughts, replying, "No thank you, that would be all. For the time being, at least. It still remains to be seen just how seriously you do take your job, Miss Diane. "
With that, Dr. Nickels headed straight to the door.
"I'll see myself out. Have a nice day." Dr. Nickels nodded his head before leaving.
Diane waited for a few moments to make sure he left, before mumbling under her breath, "Asshole."
Two hours after Dr. Nickels' visit, Diane could be found at Zozo's, eating her favorite chocolate cake. Usually, she orders one piece of the cake.
That's usually when she's not eating her stress and annoyance away. She ordered three pieces now.
When she gave her order to Ashley, the waitress gaped at her for three seconds before telling Diane her cake would be ready soon. The black cloud over the healer's head was telling. It was rare to see Diane in such a mood; she's cheerful and friendly most of the time.
"So, mind telling me what happened that made you attack that poor cake?" Ashley wondered if she was the only one crazy enough to approach someone who gave off such angry vibes. And Ashley was good at sensing them.
Diane gave herself a moment to calm down. She sighed deeply before explaining what was bothering her.
"Sorry for that. That's how I get when I stress eat. And my magic gets out of control when I'm angry. " Diane said, taking a sip of her coffee. Her magic settled, not sending sparks all over the place.
Ashley felt it, too. She sighed in relief. One magic accident is avoided successfully.
"Yeah, I can sense that, literally. What I want to know is why. Did something happen? Are the kittens okay? " Ashley fell in love with Diane's kittens when she visited Diane for the first time.
She even gave them names—Coco and Whiskers. So it's understandable she gets worried about them.
Diane smiled at her friend softly and said, "No, the kittens are fine, Ash. Don't worry. I got a visit this morning from Dr. Nickels. "
Apparently, that was enough for Ashley. She gave Diane a look of sympathy.
"You finally met our local ray of sunshine of a doctor, huh? He elicits that kind of reaction from most people. What did he say to you? " Ashley got a hunch that more had happened than what Diane had offered so far.
"First, he woke me up. That's not a crime itself, but he pounded on the door like a brute! Then he said that I was unprofessional because I kept him waiting outside; please excuse my lateness; I just woke up! Then, throughout the whole visit, he gave me that holier-than-thou attitude. His time is precious, his patients are waiting, and so on. And lastly, he had the nerve to imply that I don't take my job seriously and that it remains to be seen if I'm that serious about it as I said I was! In short, he's downright rude and arrogant! " Diane finished her tirade, feeling better for sharing this with someone.
A snort and stiffled laughter was all she got out of Ashley, who was trying hard not to laugh. It got to be too much for her, so she started to laugh loudly.
Diane stared at her in shock, then gave her an unimpressed look. She took an angry bite out of her cake while waiting for her friend to calm down.
Ashley wiped her tears away after laughing so hard. She calmed down a bit before she said anything.
"Wow, that was intense! You actually talked back to him? And you managed not to strangle him while at it? Di, you're a saint, honestly! " Before Diane could argue that, Ashley continued.
"I'm being serious. He might be a great doctor, but he raises the blood pressure of the people he treats. He's like that with everyone, so don't take it personally. Don't let him get to you; it's not worth it. You're just as good as anyone else at what you do! Who is he to judge? " Now Ashley starts to get angry on her friend's behalf.
"He never saw how you treat people with kindness, how caring you are, how you explain what each herb is used for. My grandmother sings you praise every morning she wakes up without breathing heavily. The tea you gave her for her lungs helped her so much, so he's talking nonsense! He should really get off his high horse! " Ashley shouted the last part, drawing curious gazes towards Diane's table.
None of the girls paid them any attention. Diane was moved by her friend's passionate speech; her eyes stung a little, but she pushed the tears away.
"He did mention Gord and you. He knows I'm friends with you guys, and he said that he saw no scar where Gord was bitten. He did give me a backhanded compliment, I suppose. You're right, though. He has no right to judge my work ethic when he hasn't seen me actually working! " Diane said, making her the one to calm Ashley down now.
"Exactly, so don't let him get to you. You do your work, he does his, and everyone is happy! Now, finish your cake, and we'll go to my place. You're staying for lunch. Nana would be thrilled to have you over. " Ashley stood up, stretching her back. She needed to go back to work.
Luckily, her shift is going to be over soon. Before leaving, Ashley said, "And I won't take no for an answer. Wait for me to finish my shift and we'll go together.
Diane simply nodded, knowing that there was no use in arguing with Ashley once she had made up her mind about something.
It was decided that Diane would stay over at Ashley's for a sleepover. They could bake cookies, drink hot chocolate, and just talk about nothing and everything.
Ashley's grandmother was happy to have the healer over. In a way, she took Diane under her wing.
Nana frequently sent Diane food, knowing that given her occupation, she wouldn't eat unless forced to. Now that Diane's staying for the night, she can put some actual food into her.
Needless to say, Diane had a fun afternoon and evening with her friend and her grandmother. Both had a wicked sense of humor, something Diane appreciated greatly. Rude doctors were forgotten for the time being.
"Miss healer, miss healer, where are you? We need your help. Hurry! " It was what Diane came home to, or rather, what she found outside her door when she got back from Ashley's place.
Two white rabbits were waiting for her, looking frantic.
"What's wrong, little ones?" Diane asked them.
"One of the foxes was injured when a hunter shot it. Don't worry, it wasn't your friend the giant that did it. Please help the fox! They may not be the most pleasant animals to be around, but they contribute to the safety of our forest in their own way. " One of the rabbits explained.
"Let me just get my things. Wait here! " Diane said as she unlocked the door, gathering what she might need from the shelf. She put it all in her bag before hurrying out.
The rabbits lead the way to the forest. A few minutes later,
Diane could see two sillhouettes.
Those were the foxes, the pair that Gord had warned her about when they first met. They were cunning and maintained order in the forest.
They put anyone they came across on a trial of their own making, especially newcomers like Diane. It's different for everyone; something sly, befitting of the foxes' nature.
It was only a matter of time before Diane ran into them.
Will they put her on trial now that one of them is badly injured? She's going to heed Gord's warning. It's best to be prepared.
When Diane and the rabbits drew near, they saw a fox lying on its stomach. The fox was hissing in pain, the arrow that struck her sticking out of its back.
Diane needed to tread carefully. If she moved too fast, the fox might try to attack her.
"It's alright, little healer. We know why you're here; we called for you, after all. You won't be attacked. " The fox that was sitting spoke.
The voice sounded familiar to Diane, but she didn't have the time for that. She needed to get the arrow out.
The arrow was buried deeper than Diane expected. This is going to be a little tough. The healer took a moment to take in the soft looking reddish-orange fur. Diane started petting the fox gently in comfort.
The fox stopped hissing and settled down. Diane smiled softly before saying, in a quiet voice, "It's going to be okay. The arrow is in a little deeper, so bear with me, alright? I promise to be gentle as much as I can. "
The fox nodded in understanding. Diane grinned, before turning to the other fox and the rabbits.
"Alright then, let's begin! I'll need some fresh water, so could you bring me some, please? It'll move things along faster if we work together. " The rabbits nodded, taking the bowl that Diane handed them. They ran off towards the river that was, thankfully, nearby.
Diane took out a container. There were ice cubes in it. She gently rubbed the area around the wound, making it numb. She also used her magic to ensure it stayed numb.
The other fox observed in silence.
The next challenge is getting the arrow out in one piece. Diane gripped the part sticking out and started to pull it out slowly. She gauged the fox's reaction to make sure it was not in any pain.
"Here's water!" The rabbits put the bowl near Diane's bag, getting a nod of thanks from the healer. They watched as she slowly, but surely, pulled the arrow out.
Diane threw the arrow away, letting out the breath she had been holding. She managed to take the whole arrow out without leaving pieces of wood inside. Diane started cleaning out the wound to stop it from getting infected. She wiped the blood and dirt away gently, doing a thorough job.
Diane preferred dressing these kinds of wounds the old-fashioned way—without magic. One shouldn't rely on magic for something as simple as disinfecting.
"I took the arrow out and now I'm just disinfecting the wound. Do you feel any pain? " Diane asked the injured fox, who only shook its head no. Diane was glad her numbing technique and spell worked.
"That's good. I used some ice and did a numbing spell before doing anything else. I'm not a doctor, but I was taught how to do first aid as well. And I don't like seeing anyone in pain if I can help it. " Diane explained, trying not to give out too much information.
All the while, the other fox sat back and watched it all play out.
"Is Roxy going to be okay now, miss healer?" One of the rabbits asked nervously. Diane could tell they were really worried, which is strange. Don't foxes hunt rabbits? Leaving that thought for later, Diane turned to the rabbit who asked her.
"Yes, Roxy is going to be just fine. All that's left to do is a quick check to see if there's any poison or some other toxin left and to bandage the wound. And then Roxy will need some rest. No strenuous activities until the wound is completely healed! "
With that, Diane put her palm over the wound, checking for any poison or toxin that might've been on that arrow.
Her palm glowed light blue. So there was something on the arrow, but it wasn't that strong. It was probably something to make Roxy sleepy. Whoever shot Roxy didn't mean to kill her.
"What does the blue light mean?" The other fox spoke for the first time since it told Diane not to worry.
"It just means that there is some sort of chemical or medicine that is not meant to harm or kill anyone. I'll get it out fast. There's a small amount of it in there. " Diane said while focusing her magic in that one spot.
When the light finally turned light green, Diane knew she had succeeded in getting the remaining chemicals out.
Diane felt relieved that it was finally over. Now all that she needs to do is to bandage the wound.
"The bandage would need to be changed every day for at least a week, so I guess you'll be seeing me every day for a week." Diane told the foxes after washing her hands and packing her stuff.
"That's understandable. We have no means of doing it ourselves, so a little extra help is needed. We offer you our gratitude. "
The fox told Diane as both foxes bowed their heads.
"You're welcome. It's my pleasure to help animals too, not just humans. Besides, you have an important role in the forest, don't you? You can't exactly afford to be indisposed. " The foxes seemed impressed by what Diane said.
"You've done your research, I see. That's correct. We do an important job of maintaining order in Masora Forest. Wolves serve as bodyguards while we punish those who disturb our peace. We reward those who contribute to it. That's how things have worked around here for thousands of years. "
Diane nodded in understanding. While their methods might leave much to be desired, if they get the job done, then it's fine.
"And how else would we be able to be our mischievous selves? That's a contract we signed with the higher spirits that protect the forest. We get to be ourselves in exchange for protecting our home. A fair trade off, if you think about it. "
Diane swears she saw the fox grin slyly as it spoke.
Before leaving, the fox said, "You can find us here. Just call out our names. You already know Roxy. My name is Kettu. Until tomorrow, little healer. "
Diane just waved them goodbye and left the forest.
Later that night, as she got ready for bed, Diane remembered where she heard that voice from two nights ago—it was Kettu's voice. Kettu called her "little healer" then, too, when the fox warned her about the storm.
A week later, Roxy's wound healed nicely. Not a single scar remained, which made Diane very proud and happy. The fox actually heeded her advice and rested throughout the whole week.
Diane was happy that all turned out fine in the end, but there's just something strange about this whole situation.
Now, Diane might not be an expert on magical creatures, but she's pretty sure that some animals, particularly the ones in tune with nature, have powerful healing abilities. That includes the ability to heal themselves as well as others.
Diane even went to the library to do some research on animal magic, foxes in particular. What she found confirmed what she already suspected to be true.
"Well, let's see what they have to say about this tomorrow." Diane said as she returned the book.
The next day, when Diane checked on Roxy's wound, she decided to go straight to the point.
"You could've healed yourself from the start, couldn't you? Since you're the protectors of Masora Forest, you must have some kind of ability. And healing abilities are one of them. Am I wrong? " Diane asked the foxes, looking straight at them.
Kettu and Roxy shared a single look before Kettu spoke, "You're right, we are able to heal ourselves just fine. Let's just say we had a valid reason for this little charade. "
"And that reason is?" Diane had her suspicions, but she needed to be sure. You never know with these foxes. But so far, they've been more straightforward than most humans ever are.
"Your cottage is on the border between the human realm and our own magic realm. You have the power to heal. That makes you, in a sense, a part of our world too. We wanted to be sure you'd be able to help us should the occasion present itself. And you proved yourself more than capable. "
Diane glared at Kettu, "And you couldn't have done it in a different way, maybe? Not that I'm surprised. I was warned about you before. You really are little buggers. " Diane said the last part without any heat in her voice. She kind of expected it, so there's no need to get worked up about it.
Kettu and Roxy laughed in their foxy way, already knowing who called them like that.
"Yes, we are sometimes. But it's necessary. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to discern your sincerity and dedication. It all turned out fine in the end, didn't it? You've taken more than good care of me, Diane." Roxy spoke to Diane for the very first time.
Diane stared wide-eyed at Roxy, "I thought you couldn't speak at all! "
"Kettu loves doing all the talking. I'm just a quiet observer most of the time.
Now it was Kettu's turn to glare. "I'm just better at handling such things. If we had had it your way, then everything would've remained a mystery. "
"And what's so bad about a little mystery? They make this whole world that much more special and keep the brain working. " Roxy stated, casually. Diane just sat there and listened to the foxes going back and forth.
'They're like little kids or, more correctly, like cubs. But they're not that bad, I suppose. Better than most, certainly. ' At that, Diane remembered Dr. Nickels.
She had another encounter with him this week, but chose not to take the bait this time. Ignorance can truly be bliss sometimes.
Diane couldn't complain-life can truly be a mystery. After all, there's so much that we haven't uncovered about the world around us and ourselves. The adventure has just begun.
AUTHOR: Emilija Veljković