StarFox Fan Fiction ❯ The End of Cerinia ❯ Chapter 4 ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

The End of Cerinia
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Fox, never have never will. All publicly recognizable characters belong to Nintendo. The character known as Halath is of my own creation.
Author Notes:
-- This will be used for scene breaks and for when the story switches to another character, but it does not mean that a new section of the story has started.
xXx This will identify where each paragraph breaks.
`Character Thought'
Beta Reader: Catsithx
Chapter 4:
As the days passed, more signs of luck had been spotted through out the jungle. A fresh new untouched berry patch had been found; the song birds were showing up in numbers, a fresh collection of roots had been gathered without even the slightest signs of impurities, and so much more. With so many signs of good fortune, it looked like this year would be the greatest year for the Jungle Tribes.
As the sun once again began its journey across the sky, the tribe was quick to begin their daily activities. Pre-selected groups chosen from the day before started to get ready for their hunts while others prepared to gather water and still others prepared to gather herbs and roots. As usual, Halath lead the group to gather herbs, which consisted mostly of the young ones with a few teens to watch over them. Krystal had also been selected the night before to assist them. Joining them was Luna and Silver.
While everyone had their walking staves and herb pouches, Halath, Krystal, and Luna also carried bows while Silver had a set of gemmed gloves just in case. With the sun just rising, now was the best time to go gather herbs. Many of the birds who feed and pollinated the plants would still be sleeping. Many of the reptilian predators would also still be asleep and waiting for the sun to warm them.
Walking along path into the forest, everyone was sticking close to each other. While the sun may have risen, it was still a bit dark beneath the jungle canopy. As Luna and Silver talked with each other up front leading the group, Halath and Krystal were in the rear keeping an eye on the group of fourteen young ones, nearly half of the total children of the tribe.
Krystal yawn a bit as she walked.
“Still a bit tired?” Halath asked as he looked around.
“Just a bit. I was up helping my mother skinning those tigers that we caught yesterday along with the other hunting party.” Krystal explained.
“Alright.” Halath replied.
“Say, I've got a question.” Krystal turned to look at Halath.
“And what would that be?” Halath asked.
“Is it just me, or has your father been requesting that we get paired up for the same job more often lately.” Krystal asked. Halath just smiled a bit. “You know something don't you.”
“My father and mother have been on me about looking for a mate for the last few weeks. I guess they are trying to set me up with either you or Luna.” Halath quietly informed Krystal not wanting to let the others over him. “You know that he is getting a bit old and by tradition, will surrender the rights of chief to me in the next few years.”
“Wait, why would they be trying to set you up? Every female in our tribe respects you and many would fight just to have a chance at you.” Krystal was a bit confused.
“Well, let's take another look at that picture. Many of females want me as a mate because of all the special treatment that they would get. What they don't know is just how much responsibility that involves. Then there are a few who just want me because they hope that they'll be able to change a few things for their favor.” Halath quietly explained. “Lastly, there is the fact that I haven't been looking for a mate.”
“What?” Krystal was caught off guard by his statement.
“I really just don't care for it right now. If I am going to choose a mate, it's going to be when I'm ready, not because my parents keep telling that I should be looking for one just because I'll become the chief in a few years.” Halath said as the group came upon the gathering grounds.
“Remember, don't stray too far. Try to keep in sight of me and the others.” Luna shouted as they reached the area. A number of various plants were all around. Plenty of trees and bushes would provide a mass amount of roots and flowers, berries and leaves. All of them would serve a different purpose from being ground into a fine powder for pigments and salves while others would be stored and dried for other purposes.
Carefully using their claws, Halath and Krystal cut throw some of the thicker vines bearing large flowers and leaves, but did not give them up easily.
“So tell me, if you had to choose a mate, who would you pick?” Krystal asked as quietly wanting to keep this conversation to the two of them.
“I guess it would have to be you or Luna. Out of everyone in the tribe, you are the only two in our generation that I would trust to be my mate.” Halath replied.
“Really, why is that?” Krystal slowly and carefully placed the handful of flowers and leaves she had gathered into her pouch. “It wouldn't have anything to do with your parents trying to set you up would it?”
“Actually, I think my parents are trying to set me up with one of you two because we get along so well.” Halath said. “Out of all the females in the tribe, there are only four that I truly get along with as friends. There's Joanna and Velvet, but they're both adults. That just leaves you and Luna.”
“What's that about me?” Luna asked as she walked up behind them.
“It's nothing.” Krystal replied unsure if Halath wanted Luna to know about it.
“I'm not so sure.” Luna said taking a quick look around to make sure that everyone was accounted for.
“I get the feeling that my parents are trying to set me up because I haven't been looking for a mate myself.” Halath informed her.
“Oh really. So, they're trying to set you up with Krystal?” Luan asked.
“I'm not alone on that matter.” Krystal said.
“That's right. My parents seem to either want me to pick you or Krystal as my mate.” Halath explained as he moved away from the bush he was working on to a tree.
“Oh really?” Luna asked.
Luna just looked at Krystal and smiled. `Ya know, we could really have some fun with this.' Luna informed Krystal through her telepathic abilities. Krystal had a bit small look of surprise on her face before she smiled as well. With his backed turned however, Halath failed to notice this.
“Hey Halath?” Luna asked taking a spot on his left while Krystal took the space on his right.
“Yea?” Halath looked up as he pulled a small root from the tree.
“If you had to choose right now, this very second, who would pick?” Luna asked.
“Huh? What do you mean?” Halath was just a bit confused.
“If you had to pick you mate right now, then who it be?” Krystal restated Luna's question.
“What?” Halath was shocked. “How should I know?”
A sudden crash was heard a ways off from the startled everyone. Silver quickly joined with Halath, Luna, and Krystal.
“Luna, Silver, get the young ones back to the village. Krystal and I will check it out.” Halath shouted as the young ones quickly gathered by their sides. Removing his herb pouch, Halath made looked in the general direction of the crash. Krystal copied his actions and handed both pouches to Luna. “Tell my father to send out a hunting party just in case.”
“I'll be sure to do that.” Silver replied.
“Let's get going.” Luna shouted to alert the young ones that it was time to leave.
Halath and Krystal slowly made there toward where they believed the crash had from. As they reached a small clearing, all they found was a large fallen tree. Rather then most fallen trees, this one had easily noticeable scorch marks around where the tree had broken from it's base.
There lying at the base of the tree in the small crater was a large black sphere, smoke still slowly rising up from it.
“What is that?” Halath asked looking at the sphere that was just about as tall as he was. “I have never seen anything like this.”
“It's huge.” Krystal stated walking up to it slowly.
Deciding to see if he could figure out what it was, Halath took his staff and tapped it. This quickly informed that the sphere was made of some sort of metal by sound that was made. Now knowing that it was made of metal, Halath carefully stepped forward and scraped a claw against it to see how strong it was. After a few attempts of scratching the sphere, Halath had failed to make a mark of any kind.
“Whatever it is, it's strong.” Halath said taking a step back.
“What could it be?” Krystal asked.
“I don't know. I can't even recall anything like this from any of the stories.” Halath replied. “I think it will be best to tell my father and the elders.”
“Yea, let's get going.” Krystal agreed turning back towards the path that they had used to get to the herb patch from the village.
A few hours passed before Halath and Krystal returned back to the site of sphere with Chief Varwas and another of the village elders. When they arrived at the site however, the sphere was gone. The crater from where it had set down was still there, but the sphere itself was gone.
“Halath, are you sure there was a giant black sphere here?” Varwas asked.
“I'm telling you we heard a loud crash and came to investigate. We found this massive metal sphere and then when back to fetch you.” Halath told his story again which Krystal quickly seconded. “Whatever it was, it was here.” Halath stated quiet firmly.
“I don't doubt that there was something that happened here, but for something like what you described to suddenly vanish.” Varwas countered. He looked around, but there were no signs that anything had moved the sphere. Surely an object of the size that Halath and Krystal claimed to have seen would have left a easily followed path. Its weight alone would have left noticeable tracks in the ground for who ever would make an attempt to carry it off.
After arguing the point with his father for short while, Halath just gave up not wishing to continue the argument. “I've noticed that we've been getting low on fish as of late. I'll head down to the river and spend the night there, then set up the nets in the morning. Could I request some help join me around midday to assist me in carrying the fish back up to the village?” Halath asked his father.
“Very well. Perhaps a night by yourself will give you some time to think and cool down. You have seemed stressed a bit for past few days.” Varwas stated.
“Thank you.” Halath replied. As he started off towards the river campsite where all the fishing gear was kept for the Jungle Rise tribe, Krystal moved to follow him.
“I think it would be best to work as a team and not by yourself Halath.” Krystal informed him as she caught up to him. With their staves and bows with them, they would be safe from most predators. The two of them moved into the forest once again. With Halath's tense mood around and Krystal feeling just how worried he was, she was a bit hesitant to say anything not knowing the right words to use. She could tell that he was thinking things over in his mind, and while she couldn't tell exactly what those thoughts were about, she had a good idea that it must have been something concerning that metal orb in some way.
“What do you think that thing was?” Halath asked finally breaking the silence after walking for several minutes.
“Whatever it was, it's gone now. I don't see a point in worrying about it.” Krystal replied.
“Still, I can't shake this feeling that something is going to happen.” Halath countered. “I don't know why, but that thing we saw makes me nervous.”
“Halath, you're probably just worried about everything that's going on right now. If you ask me, you're worried about becoming chief again.” Krystal stated.
“That could be true and if it was anything else, I would agree with you. That thing though, I have never seen anything like it, or even heard about anything remotely close to this. It just wasn't natural. It almost felt like someone was watching us.” Halath explained as they reached the river and started headed downstream to the fishing huts.
“Watching us, through a giant metal sphere?” Krystal asked confused.
“I don't know, I just can't explain it. It's sort of like that feeling I got a few years ago. Just a few days before that rouge southern swamp chief tried to take over our village.” Halath explained. “I don't know what is going to happen, but something is coming and I can't help to but to fear it.”
“Halath, nothing is going to happen.” Krystal stated trying to calm Halath down. “I don't see any reason that we are in danger, okay.”
“You're probably right, but this feeling still makes me uneasy.” Halath replied. At last, the river began to open up and the fishing huts came into view. It would still be a long walk over to them from where they were, but they were now over half the way there.
“Look, let's just forgot about that thing for now.” Krystal stated. “It's gone, so theirs not much we can do about it. I think your father was right. A night to cool down and relax would do you good.”
“I can't argue that.” Halath stated.
“Say, it is getting a bit late and I missed lunch. Think we can find some berries or something to go with the fish tonight for dinner?” Krystal asked.
“We can look. I think there are a few melon patches around here, but they always take forever to produce fruit of any notable size. And even then, if we pick them too early, they are extremely sour.” Halath pointed just a small creek that was feeding into the river just a short distance from where they were. “I think they're down that path a short ways, but I'm not sure. Gare told be about that he found them last time he was up here, but they were just starting to bloom then, so what do we do?”
“That was almost three months ago, they should have some good melons by now.” Krystal stated as they reached the small creek.
“Shall we take a look then?” Halath started down the small path beside the creek.
“Yea, that sounds good.” Krystal followed behind him.
It didn't take too long before they found the melon patch. While most of the vines only carried a number of small fist sized melons, Halath and Krystal got lucky finding a pair of full sized ones roughly the same size as their heads. Halath tied his staff to his back and passed his bow over to Krystal before taking the two melons in his grip, one under each arm. Now on their way back to the river, Halath was forced to go a bit slower though to keep from dropping the fruit.
It took a little while longer once reaching the river before they reached the fishing huts. The fishing huts were used by three of the four jungle tribes and because of this, all three of the tribes helped to take care of them. The five small huts were all made of thick leathers held up by a frame of thick branches and metal bars. The first two of the five huts were made for sleeping, each having a thin leather floor and pair of cots to sleep upon. Although it was rare, sometimes more then one tribe had come down to fish at the same time and thus, the second sleeping hut had been built to help solve that issue. Both of these huts rested a fair deal back from the river on the sides of a much larger hut. This larger hut was mostly for storing the nets, the spears, the rods, the fishing line, and the four canoes used by the jungle tribes. It also held a small fire pit for those who had spent the night to get an early catch.
As for the other two huts that were resting very close to the river, they were used to store the fish until a group had come to collect it. Each one had a large pit dug into it and a small a number of very small pipes connecting that pit to the river large enough to keep plenty of water in the pits, but small enough that only the youngest of fish could hope to get out of them. To accompany the huts, a small dock had been built on the river as well, it's large wooden frame resting a good few feet off the river's surface so that even during the rainy season, it still stood above the water.
“Alright, well let me see. I guess I'll go cast a net to try and get us some fish while you go get us some fire wood so that we can cook what I catch.” Halath suggested.
“That sounds fair.” Krystal agreed setting down the gear she carried in one of the two sleeping tents.
Halath set the two melons he had with him down by the fire pit before going to collect one of the nets from the main hut. As Krystal vanished into the forest to gather some firewood, Halath moved to the river. After looking at the river for a minute judging it, Halath moved to the end of the dock preparing the net. With the river as clean as it was, Halath could already see several fish swimming around the top of the water's surface he could see several more down towards the river's bottom.
Halath cast the net over the side of the dock and let is sit for few before he quickly pulled it back it. Although his catch was smaller then he had hoped for given the number of fish he had seen swimming so close to the surface, he still had four good sized fish in the net. Deciding that four may not be enough, he carried the net over to one of them storage huts for the fish and deposited his catch before going to make another cast. Like before, Halath judged the river and then made his cast. This time, he was reward with twice as many fish as he had caught the first time and know would also have some fish for breakfast in the morning. Halath had just finished storing away the second catch of fish, a light sound in the distance caught his ear.
Looking far off into the distance across the river, Halath tried to trace the source of the sound. It was very far off, but still almost sounded like a explosion. The sound of a cracking twig turned him around to see Krystal carrying her staff in one hand and a small collection of tree branches under her other arm.
“What's up?” Krystal asked sensing his confusion.
“Did you hear something just now, like a blast or something over in that direction?” Halath asked pointing across the river.
“No and I don't see any smoke.” Krystal replied. “Are you sure you're okay.”
“I really must be losing it.” Halath sighed. “Come on, I'll get supper going on we have a fire started.”