The Hunted

Hannah gazed down imperiously as Miko ran beneath her. The genuinely irritating dog was doing her job, alright. It no longer was effortless to infiltrate and the flight from Miko’s nose was becoming more difficult with each attempt. Eventually, Miko would catch her. The only truth that put Hannah at ease was that this chase would soon no longer be needed and Hannah would be far beyond Miko’s reach.

In a way, Hannah was distantly grateful that Miko was highlighting a weakness in her transformation. When Hannah became something new, yet could not disguise all of the original smells that gave her disguise away. Miko could detect her, the real her, no matter which shape she took and this frightened Hannah deeply. She would have to counter this advantage…

The most recent shape she took, the black cat, was now ruined. Miko would likely accost the real one should she ever return on the train but Hannah doubted it would cause much chaos. Miko would smell the unique scents of the real black cat and then be able to tell tanuki from the genuine article in an instant.

Oooh, you make this so much harder than it has to be, you old mismatched sock… And why do you get closer each time? Is all the exercise I’m giving you finally working those donuts off of your thighs?

Hannah looked down with loathing at Miko as she transformed back into her beautiful self. The strands of the cat’s raven black hair were slowly brightening back to that perfect platinum blonde Hannah had come to love. Hannah will miss the height and musculature of the cat’s form, though. Her small body was fast but having real strength made life, and escape, so much easier.

On top of all these inconveniences, it was becoming harder for Hannah to return home after a trip to town. Miko was now ever-more attuned to her scent and closed a little further into the Forest of Illusion each time. If this continued, Miko would soon discover her residence before the appointed time, and that was completely unacceptable. There were too many memories there that Hannah refused to abandon.

Hannah tried to calm herself as Miko circled below. Apparently the canine was growing frustrated because she’d finally lost the scent. Hannah had to zigzag through the forest instead of taking a direct path home. And finally, the shielding mist and deep earthy aroma of the woods confused Miko’s nose to the point of frustration. To Hannah’s surprise, Miko barked aloud this time.

Rrrrr. C’mon! Where did you go … Ugh! The scent’s already gone. It was already thin in the café. Out here it just blows away too fast. And why are we even here? It doesn’t have to be like this… Everyone who’s ever come to Fable has made a living. It’s a wonderful place to live! And she just keeps trying to mess it all up! If she gave up and came back, we- We… Ugh, I dunno what would happen. But I’ll never get to be a real cop if I keep having to come back empty handed, either. I’ll get you… Someday.

Hannah twisted around the trunk of the tree to allow Miko to go back the way she came. Only after the little dot of white was completely out of sight did Hannah risk coming down out of the tree. She began the walk back to her home, staring forward intently. Her mind was still spinning after almost being captured by Miko again. She’d forgotten what it felt like to have this much adrenaline and it all came out as a rant.

Pathetic. In the end, it’s only about what we want. I’m sorry you cannot see that. The spider does not ask the fly if it wishes to be eaten. It is a question only of ability. Just as you wish to capture me only to fulfill your career goals, I took your money to live. And I will take your train to get what I want. It is insulting that she believes surrender and cooperation is even an option, as if I did not consider such a thing. But why risk it? With the train in my possession, I will have an uninterrupted time to search. Miko is growing too close to my domicile. I will have to accelerate my timetable for this trip. And the villager’s gold will pay my way through any world I choose. The obese rabbit will return tonight. And when she does… I will have my first train to catch! Ooh ho ho ho ho!