Art: SpaceSmilodon (http://www.furaffinity.net/user/spacesmilodon/) and Vexxblack (http://vexxblack.deviantart.com/)
Characters (c) of Space and Vexx
Story: BRNQuil (https://brnquil.sofurry.com/) and myself. (https://arcane-reno.sofurry.com/)
Make sure to check out other work done by Space and Vexx, at http://pmdbtad.deviantart.com/
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Chapter Notes:
The sweet smell of baking filling the hut didn’t whet Dusty’s appetite nearly as much as it should have. He eyed the griddle Angie was currently keeping heated with a steady flame, the flat poffin cakes sizzling and popping on the hot metal. His nostrils quivered. It should have been a delicious scent. Angie’s baking was always delicious! Yet, the thought of food made his stomach turn uneasily. Maybe it was his fault -he’d messed up in helping her somehow.
“Smells great, Angie!” He forced a grin. He was fine, just fine! “Can’t wait to try these.”
She returned his smile with one of her own, pausing the stream of crackling flames momentarily. “Yup! Almost done.”
“And just in time,” Stuart said, strolling in through the flaps of their hut. “Hope you made some extra, Angie, we have a guest.”
“A guest? A client? Where? What is it? Who is it?” Excitement prickled in Dusty’s chest. A mission! They couldn’t keep him cooped up in here now! His legs were feeling jittery with the need to run and stretch. He started to stand, but Angie immediately shot him a withering look that dropped him back down with a huff. What was the big fuss? It was just a little fever.
“Whoa, slow down,” Stuart said, nodding behind him. “Might be a client, but he wanted to meet everyone first.”
Thomas slunk inside, stretching out in his lazy feline way, cracking a yawn. Dusty stared. “Thomas? You’re hiring us?”
“What?” Both Stuart and Thomas turned to look at Dusty, the leafeon with an expression of confusion, the persian with one of disdain.
“But, you said…” Dusty shook his head. The room spun, tilted, the ground seeming to shift beneath him. Woah. That was not a good idea. His head felt filled with wool, too heavy for his neck to support. He blinked, refocusing on Stuart. “I thought you were talking about-”
“About me, young one.”
The entry flaps were pushed aside by a pair of large tusks, a hefty, shaggy-furred frame shortly behind, filling the door with its bulk. Gentle brown eyes regarded Dusty from beneath a thick fringe of hair over a wide snout. Dusty goggled, open-mouthed, at the huge ‘guest’ paying them a visit. He’d never seen a mamoswine up close before. Wow! He knew it was rude to stare, but he couldn’t help it. “I think we’ll need a lot more cakes, Angie.”
“Angie, Dusty, meet Boris,” Stuart said, nodding at each of them in turn, then back to the mamoswine. “He is one of the herd elders, Dmitri’s father.”
“How do you do, sir?” Angie said, while expertly flipping the poffins off the griddle and into an awaiting basket. “You’re welcome to have some of these, once they cool.”
“Hmmm, thank you, Angie. That is very kind,” the elder replied, his voice a deep rumble that reminded Dusty of the pounding of his own hooves on the run. He turned back to Dusty, his half-hidden eyes studying. What was he looking for? “And you, young Dusty. How are you feeling? If I may say, your, hmmmmm... colour is a bit off.”
Dusty’s tail swished as he looked down at his flank. His colour was off? How so? “I’m fine, sir! Never been better.” Before Angie could scold him for it, he pushed himself up onto his hooves, his legs prickling from the extended time lying down. “I-”
The room spun harder than before, the walls and the ceiling trading places and warping back again in a stomach twisting display. His balance teetered, and he barely heard Angie’s concerned shout as he crashed back down on his side, tiny flashes of light going off behind his eyes. At least he was in his bed still, it was soft enough. He hadn’t really wanted to stand up anyway.
A warm paw pushed his head up, Angie appearing in front of him with an open canteen of water, pushing it to his lips. He drank dutifully, forcing the liquid down to his churning belly. He nearly spat it right out. Yuck. It was far too sweet. What had Angie done to that water? By some miracle, it stayed down there, and after a moment, the spinning slowed, leaving him breathing hard. For now, he’d just lie here, nice and easy. Angie wouldn’t let him get up anyway, so why fight it?
“Hmmmmm, it is as I feared,” Boris was saying. “Your teammate has contacted the sickness. I fear there is no choice in the matter now. You have a, hmmmmmm… investment in the issue. You must go to Frostbite.”
Frostbite? That sounded fun. He’d go too! Couldn’t he? Surely they’d let him: they needed him! He was fine!