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The Last Sabers


Chiyanna
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Fang spotted something in the grasses on the port just before he jumped to the next rock. Small piecies of rock slid off into the ocean as the rock settled underneath his weight. He was only a couple rocks away now from land, but he was unnerved now. He sniffed the air, trying to discern what animal was in the grasses. After a minute he recognized the scent, smilodon; one of my own kind. 

This was most likely bad. Smilodons weren't exactly friendly to those in other packs. But Fang only smelled females. A dispersal pack? Is that even a thing? Still, they could just be a pack where all the males had died off, or they could be a scouting party. Worse yet, they could be guarding the port. But no matter what, there was no going back, many of the rocks had been destroyed, and they were too hungry to go back out into the unknown and maybe endless sea, where there would most likely be nothing to hunt.

Fang heard a faint sound, of snoring? Well, if they were sleeping, there was one way to avoid trouble. The rock beneath him was shifting again, he couldn't stay on this one stone for much longer. 

Fang turned around, "Be quiet," he said to Stalker.

The teenage cub nodded his head. Fang could see he was uneasy, and there were cracks developing in the stone he was standing on. Fang heard a cracking noise, quiet now, but not for long. He jumped to the next stone, and then the next in rapid succession. Finally, he gathered himself to land quietly in the grass, and jumped for the port. 

Only a small thud occured, flawless. But just then, a thundering crack and lots of splashes. Fang whirled around, ready to dive in if needed. But Stalker was fine, smiling nervously and landed on the next rock.

Then, Fang heard a scream behind him, "THE ICE FLOW IS CRACKING!"

Fang whirled around to see a wide-eyed beige female, panting heavily. She darted up, bracing to run.

"You're not on an ice flow," said Fang sympathatically, forgetting his own fear for a moment, "you're safe, on dry land." He himself had had a tramatic experiance with the ice flows.

"No, we're all in danger!" the female shouted, running into the grass. Then she paused and turned around, "I...guess you're right. I remember now."

"What's wrong, Run?" asked a reddish female who had been roused from sleep by the screaming.

"No, you don't have to run. There's no danger," said a confused Fang.

"My name is Run," the beige female explained.

"Who's he?" asked the reddish female.

"Someone who comforted me, I don't know him, though," replied Run.

"If you don't know him you shouldn't trust him," said a new voice. 

A small thud behind Fang announced the presence of Stalker, "Is it safe, dad?"

"I...think so," said Fang, scanning the two visible females with his eyes.

Another female popped her head out of a patch of grass, she was pink, of all colors, "You have a cub?" she was the new voice.

"Yes, this is my son, Stalker. If we're in your territory, we can move someplace else."

"No, not at all!" said Run, "I'd like to have some more company."

"It's not up to you," said the reddish female, she turned to the pink female, "what do you think?" 

"Well...he does have a cub. And he reminds me of Stranger," she looked down, "but we have to be careful!"

"Does the cub have a mother?" asked the reddish female.

Fang grew suddenly sad, but remembering that sadness was a sign of weakness, he tried to let no emotion enter his voice as he said, "My mate is dead. It's just me and my cub."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said the reddish female, "all of us here have lost at least part of our families..."

"But we don't need to think about that now," said the pink female, "I'm Strawberry, and this is Mimime, my sister," she pointed to the reddish female, "you can stay with us for now."

"Thank you," said Fang, surprised and relieved all at once, "do you know of any good hunting spots around here?"

"We only just got here ourselves a couple days ago," said the pink female, "but we're lucky enough to have caught a rabbit and to have some food stored up," she turned around and when she turned back had chunk of meat in her mouth.

She dropped it, "let the cub eat first."

"Of course," said Fang, stepping aside for Stalker to get to the chunk easier.

As he hungrily ate, the beige female disapeared into the grass for a moment, and then came back with a meat chunk for Fang too. She held it out to him, and he took it in his mouth, devouring it quickly. "You must be starving," she said.

"It's nothing," said Fang, "but thank you anyways."

The beige female grinned at him as the reddish female rolled her eyes. The pink female said, "Now, let's get moving. I hope you can pull your weight by hunting."

"I hope to prove that I can," said Fang.

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Also, how much food would a nicheling be worth? Cause when I find a wanderer I roll to see if they're a saber, and if not they're not the same species and are liable to be hunted. So I need to know and I don't know what number would make sense

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31 minutes ago, Chiyanna said:

Also, how much food would a nicheling be worth? Cause when I find a wanderer I roll to see if they're a saber, and if not they're not the same species and are liable to be hunted. So I need to know and I don't know what number would make sense

maybe give yourself as much food as the nicheling still has on their lifespan?

The only rule that wouldn't apply to that would be for children and teens. Then add how many days they've been alive worth of food.

For example. If a nicheling lives 100 days (3 baby, 4 child, 13 teen, 80 adult) and you hunt them;

- when they're 42 days old; since they can defend themselves and run away as an adult, you'd add 58 food for their remaining lifespan.

- when they're 12 days old; they're still a child and can't properly fight back or run, you'd add 12 food for how long they've already been alive. This could lead to nichelings waiting until a child turns 20 days old to hunt them, which could start attachments for potential plot points wink wink.

If that makes sense

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37 minutes ago, Chiyanna said:

Also, how much food would a nicheling be worth? Cause when I find a wanderer I roll to see if they're a saber, and if not they're not the same species and are liable to be hunted. So I need to know and I don't know what number would make sense

2-5 for child and baby

5-10 for teen

10-15 for adult

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Thank you for your suggestions!

56 minutes ago, Nightfire said:

maybe give yourself as much food as the nicheling still has on their lifespan?

The only rule that wouldn't apply to that would be for children and teens. Then add how many days they've been alive worth of food.

For example. If a nicheling lives 100 days (3 baby, 4 child, 13 teen, 80 adult) and you hunt them;

- when they're 42 days old; since they can defend themselves and run away as an adult, you'd add 58 food for their remaining lifespan.

- when they're 12 days old; they're still a child and can't properly fight back or run, you'd add 12 food for how long they've already been alive. This could lead to nichelings waiting until a child turns 20 days old to hunt them, which could start attachments for potential plot points wink wink.

If that makes sense

I feel like this might be a bit OP...but I need to know more about what certain creatures give. What do balance bears and walrus deer give?

55 minutes ago, MODTRESS said:

2-5 for child and baby

5-10 for teen

10-15 for adult

This seems pretty fair, will probably go for the higher end of that if I do take this suggestion

 

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Good news, I have screenshots of each of the starters' genes so I can recreate them. Also, does anyone know another frost lands/mountain I could start on that would be easier for this challenge? Berries don't matter since we're carnivores. Do the easier mountains have more animals to hunt too? Which island would you reccomend and why?

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And also, is there any way to make it so the damage you apply to other creatures through the attack interaction goes by the damage multipliers? When I would attack, it didn't multiply it by 2 or 3, but when I used commands to apply the damage it did. Is there any other way to get around that?

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4 hours ago, Chiyanna said:

Good news, I have screenshots of each of the starters' genes so I can recreate them. Also, does anyone know another frost lands/mountain I could start on that would be easier for this challenge? Berries don't matter since we're carnivores. Do the easier mountains have more animals to hunt too? Which island would you reccomend and why?

Long Winter. Not as hard as Frost Lands; rarer predator spawns, more sources of food, and generally easy to survive on if you have the right genes and abilities. When played well, this island is super fun and not too challenging

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4 hours ago, Chiyanna said:

And also, is there any way to make it so the damage you apply to other creatures through the attack interaction goes by the damage multipliers? When I would attack, it didn't multiply it by 2 or 3, but when I used commands to apply the damage it did. Is there any other way to get around that?

Damage multipliers only apply to nichelings. Balance bears and ramfoxes shouldn't be affected by multipliers.

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2 minutes ago, Nightfire said:

Long Winter. Not as hard as Frost Lands; rarer predator spawns, more sources of food, and generally easy to survive on if you have the right genes and abilities. When played well, this island is super fun and not too challenging

Thanks for the tip! I think I'll use this island for the redo

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1 minute ago, Nightfire said:

Damage multipliers only apply to nichelings. Balance bears and ramfoxes shouldn't be affected by multipliers.

Should I use commands to attack, then? Or would that be cheating/too easy?

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5 minutes ago, Chiyanna said:

Should I use commands to attack, then? Or would that be cheating/too easy?

If you think it would be necessary, yes, go for it. I give myself a grace time of 5-20 days where I kill off all attackers and then use no commands after that point, maybe it would be good for this playthrough while the tribe is still settling in.

Maybe just use commands in life-or-death. Tribe is on the brink of death? use commands. Tribe is about to starve? use commands. etc.

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9 minutes ago, Nightfire said:

If you think it would be necessary, yes, go for it. I give myself a grace time of 5-20 days where I kill off all attackers and then use no commands after that point, maybe it would be good for this playthrough while the tribe is still settling in.

Maybe just use commands in life-or-death. Tribe is on the brink of death? use commands. Tribe is about to starve? use commands. etc.

I don't want to cheat too much...but maybe for the first 20 days I will give each nicheling one command attack seperate from their regular moves. After that we'll see if it's still needed. I will also use commands to let adults carry one-gemmed cubs, but only one at a time. And a mother has to give birth to her full litter before she can move from the nest, or she will take damage and the next cub will either take damage or die. Also I will use commands to make a female pregnant again if her mate dies and she still has more cubs in the litter to be born (I will be rolling for # in litter).

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Days 1 and 2 The First Chill (picture first, then applicable text)

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Run grabbed a blade of the large grass patch she was sitting in and pulled it. It came up rather easily, but so did a root strand. This meant it was not regrowable, once you picked it all it would be gone forever, only short grass would remain. Oh well, she thought pulling out another strand, there's plenty of grass in the world, and-

"NO! Run, stop that!" said Mimime.

Run stopped mid-pull, "Why?"

"There's no other grass on this island as far as I can see, that's why. Once it's gone it's gone."

"And why should that matter?" asked Run, confused.

"Grass is good for hunting prey, and hiding from danger. It's great camoflauge," interjected Fang.

"Oh..." said Run, embarrassed I must look like such an idiot to him...

"Don't feel bad," he said, "you didn't know."

I sure didn't...what am I thinking? An experianced hunter like him fall for a klutz know-nothing like me? Never.

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"Let's get hunting," said Strawberry, "we may have alot of food now, but it won't last long."

"Agreed," said Fang.

Run nodded and ran off the port. Her paws hit cold stone, which was just as much of a shock now as the first time they had ventured off the port. She shivered, though the air wasn't even cold the stone chilled her.

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"What's that?" Fang heard Run say as he stepped off the port. The hard stone felt odd beneath his paws, but his curiosity propelled him forward.

He saw Run, but saw nothing unusual around...except she was next to something. She poked it with her paw, and he had to keep himself from laughing, "It's a bush."

"You've seen a few bushes before, Run," said Mimime, "remember?"

"It doesn't look like a bush!" she defiantly answered, "It looks like some shriveled up grass coated with dirt and stone. With snow on top."

"It isn't a very healthy bush," Fang admitted.

"A dead bush," said Stalker confidently.

"Well, it must be alive, or it wouldn't have grown these white things," observed Mimime.

"Snow Flowers," said Run.

"Huh?" Mimime said.

"I call them Snow Flowers," Run grabbed one with her good paw, "and they're soft too! This is the best nesting material ever. I love these things, even if they do come from a dead grass plant."

"I think it looks like a ton of twigs on the ground," said Stalker.

"Then we call it Dead Twigs," decided Run.

"Dead Twig Bush," corrected Mimime.

Run looked like she was about to object, so Fang said, "I like that name."

Run looked mad and embarrassed all at once, and maybe even sad.

I shouldn'tve done that to her, poor thing. So Fang picked another Snow Flower and handed it to her, "For you."

Run lit up all the sudden, "Why...t-thank you. Fang." She blushed as she said his name.

Fang smilled for a moment, then shrunk back, a terrible image flashing through his head. And a vow to himself, Never again. I will never have to go through this again, no matter what.

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"Come on," said Strawberry, she didn't want to break up all the fun, though it seemed silly to debate over a dead bush, it was just that they had to get finding some prey before they ran out of food.

Mimime went one direction, and Fang went the other. Strawberry opted to stay near her sister, as she tried to catch up, Mimime excitedly whirled around and said, "I found a rabbit burrow!"

"Good job!" said Strawberry. Now they just had to hang around the thing and hope an unlucky rabbit would surface.

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That night, a cold wind blew through. Stalker tried his best to cuddle up to Run, but he longed to have his father next to him. Where did he go, anyways? His teeth began to chatter, and so did Run's.

"I'm cold," he complained as the sun rose.

"Me too," said Run, "we need to be near other members of the pack to stay warm. Three is usually enough; let's find your father."

So the two set out in search of Fang, and they didn't need to travel very far. They found him, shivering himself, near a an odd looking pool of water. He was staring at it uneasily.

"Hey," said Run, "what's that?"

"I'm un-sure, but it rad-ia-ates warmth...and I-I'm so cold..." he stuttered.

"Let's huddle together," said Run, "believe me, it makes you warmer."

"Sure," he said, "co-me o-veer here."

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"Does it feel cold to you?" asked Mimime.

"No, just a slight bit chilly I guess, but if you feel it the others probably do too," answered Strawberry.

"Yeah," said Mimime, "you're bigger and have a thicker coat than me, but the others have coats like mine."

"I'll go check on them," said Strawberry, and she ran back the way they had came.

Mimime shivered, she didn't like being cold, and she liked being alone even less. But she felt some warmth...somewhere...

She saw a strange pool nearby. She stepped closer to it, yep, the warmth came from here.

It's just water...warm water...strange, but in a good way. So she jumped in, and immediately felt much warmer. The water bubbled around her, and she relaxed. She could get used to this.

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Days 3 and 4 Plan B

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"Keep up!" Fang called to his son.

Stalker was behind, but sped up in order to catch up to the others. Once he did, however, he was exaughsted. "Can we rest here?"

"Yes, of course," said Strawberry, "we are now nearby the rabbit burrow, and all we have to do is wait."

So they waited. A few days passed, it felt like forever. Stalker was so bored, he regretted ever asking to rest. "Can we go someplace else now?" he asked.

"We must wait a while longer, it takes patience to catch a rabbit fresh out of the burrow," replied Strawberry.

He looked at his dad, "Can't we go look for rabbits instead of waiting for them to come to us?"

"Do you hear or smell any? It seems they haven't come out yet," said Fang, "but if by tomorrow none have come up, we'll have to change our strategy."

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Run saw Mimime coming back toward the group, and asked hopefully, "Did you find anything?"

"A couple rabbit burrows up this way," she said, pointing and shivering. 

Maybe I should offer for her to huddle with us...but I don't want to upset Fang... "She looks cold," Run told Fang.

"I can see that," said an annoyed Fang, then he turned to Mimime, "you can huddle with us if you want."

"You don't have to ask me twice," Mimime said, squeezing between the two of them, "though I found an even better way to stay warm. There's warm pools all around the place; you're standing right next to one, Run."

"Yes, we noticed them too, but they look kinda suspicious to us," Run replied.

"It did seem strange at first to me too, but they're safe and soooo warm! Only problem is they're so small that only one saber could fit in them at a time," Mimime explained.

"So they're good if you travel alone," noted Fang.

"Exactly," said Mimime. Why did he lock in on that? Doesn't he plan to always have a pack? Or is he going to leave us at some point? The thought filled Run with anxiety.

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"This isn't working," Fang told Strawberry, "no rabbits have come out of this burrow yet, and we're running out of food."

"That is a problem," agreed Strawberry, beggining to worry herself.

"We should head back to the grassy port, some prey may be hiding there," Fang suggested.

"But what about the burrows I found?" Mimime butted in, "Somebody has to check them."

"I'll go do that," said Strawberry, "I'm a good enough hunter to catch rabbits on my own, and I won't get cold as easily. You all head to the grassy port, and huddle to keep warm."

"I should come with you," protested Mimime. No, it's my job to keep you safe, not the other way around. Though I will be sad to be apart from you, it won't be for long.

"You stay with the others and make sure everything goes smoothly. Check out the grasses, and if you find nothing head back this way," Strawberry replied.

"Alright," said a saddened Mimime, "the burrows are that way," she pointed up the mountain.

"Love you, see you again soon," said Strawberry.

"Love you too," said Mimime, and then Strawberry turned and headed the direction Mimime had pointed.

 

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1 hour ago, MOD PUMPION said:

Rabbils don't spawn in Long Winter until after the first snowfall

(yeah I figured that out....the screenshots are still behind. Do they spawn after it stops snowing? How long after?)

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Just now, Chiyanna said:

(yeah I figured that out....the screenshots are still behind. Do they spawn after it stops snowing? How long after?)

After it stops snowing, not sure how long

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Days 5-6 When Plans Fail

Stalker nearly ran into the grasses, but Fang cautioned him, "Don't scare away the prey."

Stalker nodded and slowed until he was creeping through the grasses. Each step he looked around. He saw nothing except grass. He sniffed the air, grass, ocean, and far away scents. He heard a rustling of grass, and perked up his ears, standing still, but after hearing nothing else he took another step. There it is again! Wait...it's just me. Stalker deflated.

"Anything?" whisper-yelled Mimime.

"Nothing," Stalker reported, walking out of the grasses.

"I don't smell or hear anything," agreed Fang.

"Let's head back," said Mimime.

"Yeah," said a quiet and sad Run. 

Then white flakes began falling from the sky, and when they touched Stalker, he found they were cold, is that...

"Snow!" said Run, delighted, catching them in her mouth. Mimime rolled her eyes, and Fang cocked his head.

"Let's get going," Fang said after a few minutes, "we're going to get cold quickly, so stay close to stay warm."

Mimime's teeth were chattering as she took a step away from the group, then began to run. Stalker was quite confused, before he ran after her and saw she had found a warm pool. Stalker didn't quite trust the pools, but it was her life.

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Strawberry had reached the burrows Mimime had found. She watched them for a long while, hoping that a rabbit would show, but no success. Both were eerily still. She had eaten her last meat chunk on the way up here, and now she had nothing to eat. She hoped the others had more success than her. The situation was desperate now.

She saw a nearby stump, and climbed atop it, hoping to spot far away prey. But there was nothing. The others need to hurry up. How can I get them here fast?

She remembered Stranger had once told them about calling from a stump, it amplifies your sound, and may attract other sabers. Not a smart thing to do unless looking for a mate.

Maybe the others will come quicker if they hear me, and so she let out a shout, "Hurry up!" That was it, short and sweet. Her stomach growled as she got down from the log, waiting for the rest of the pack to arrive.

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Days 6-9 The Famine

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Fang was so confusing to Run. When she tried to cuddle with him in the night he pushed her away, hitting her. When it came time to eat, he had given her his portion. He had tried to explain it away by saying he could live with less food, that he had done it before. 

"Dad, why is there no prey around?" the question cut through Run's thoughts.

"I don't know why we haven't seen anything, but maybe Strawberry did and that's why she called to us," Fang replied.

"Yeah," said Run, "hopefully."

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It took a couple days traveling. Mimime's stomach pain had turned from an aching pain to a sharp one, my body is complaining! Well, it's not my fault, do you think I like to starve? 

She pushed through the snow now half her height, teeth chattering, bones aching. "Do you see my sister?" she yelled to Fang and Stalker who were ahead of her.

"Not yet," said Fang.

Then Stalker said, "Wait-"

"I see you guys!" Mimime heard Strawberry's voice.

"Where are you?" called Mimime.

"Atop a stump," said Strawberry.

"A stump?" yelled Mimime, confused.

"Yes, remember Stranger told us about them?" Mimime tried to remember, she did remember Stranger, a large, scarred, tough, yet old male saber who had taught them nearly everything they knew.

"Ah yes," remarked Mimime suddenly, "I remember now! They make you louder when you stand on them."

"Exactly," said Strawberry, "and you can see further too!"

"Did you catch anything?" said Fang, pushing through the snow.

Strawberry's tone changed all the sudden, "No, nothing. Let's move on from this area, maybe we'll find some prey someplace else."

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Fang bounded through a meadow, laughing. A reddish brown female ran along-side him. They talked as they walked, but everything was muted, Fang was talking but heard not even his own voice. Yet he was happy, and continued to chatter on. They hunted together. It was exciting and fun, all was well. Until the deer hit the ground, and changed. It was a strange animal with fluff like a Snow Flower, and though Fang and the female ate happily, there was a sudden feeling of dread in the air.

Then Fang was in a den, there were cubs here and he was joyful for a minute, but something wasn't right. He ran out of the den. He ran faster and faster, and then came the cries for help. He knew he wouldn't get there in time, but he had to try. He saw a group of strange creaures as he arrived at the scene, stranger than the one they had hunted. And as they cleared away, he saw the female. Completely still, drenched in blood. 

And he was surrounded, sorrounded by the Snow Flower covered creatures bleating, laughing at him. In a rage he attacked one, but it was a mistake. The stranger creatures came again, and tied him up so he couldn't fight them. One by one his cubs died before him, one they killed. Another to a bear, another to a fox, another to other smilodons. Each one reminded him of the reddish female. One more dropped into the icy depths of the ocean. He thrashed about, trying to free himself.

Then Stalker sat before him, the last one. He was reminded of the reddish female every time he looked at him. Fang had to burry it deep inside, and protect the last cub with his life. The strange creatures were gone now, so were the ropes. Never again. Never again will I love so much, it would kill me to do so. Fang felt the cold wind all the sudden, and the ground beneath him was cold. A female was next to him, Run. But behind him was Stalker, caught by the strange creatures. They threw a stick into the ocean. They had a sharp object on Stalker's ropes. 

Fang knew what he had to do. He plunged into the ocean, and Stalker was freed. But the bleats of the Snow Flower creatures ran in his ears as he began to freeze to death, and then the strange creatures swarmed him, stabbing him. The Snow Flower animals still bleating. And someone was crying, and someone calling for help.

Fang sat up, breathing heavily. Run was indeed next to him, and he made up his mind to move. I had a nightmare, it's been a while since I last had one. 

Run awoke, her own eyes wide as she sat up and looked around, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," grumbled Fang, "nothing at all."

She looked hurt and confused, but he couldn't help her. She'd have to get over her own feelings somehow. Fang's were tormenting him, being pulled every which way. But he had good self-control and a realistic sense about the world. He would not put Stalker in danger by not focusing on him, and he would not put himself in danger of loosing a mate again.

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The group had been pushing their way through the snow when Run shouted, "Ouch!"

Strawberry whirled around, worried, "What happened?"

"It's nothing," said Run, "I just bumped into this large chunk of ice and rock."

Then came the sound of something cracking, Mimime jumped, "What was that?"

"It's coming from this thing," said Run, backing up, bumping right into Strawberry.

"I smell something good," said Strawberry, "where's it coming from?"

"I do too, this rock ice thing smells like food!" Run went back over to it, and began to dig at it.

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Also for some reason I got this message but I don't think anything happened.

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4 minutes ago, MOD PUMPION said:

That's the story mode message, what's it doing in sandbox? Maybe that's why nichelings can't breed, it thinks it's story mode? 

(Yeah maybe, so hopefully inviting in a home island nicheling will fix it

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Days 9-12 Surprises Encased in Ice 

The rock ice thing continued to crack until finally the pieces seperated and fell to the ground. When that happened it revealed a carcass, some sort of elk or deer it appeared. Run was so hungry that she immediately took a bite. She shivered, the meat was cold! But she chewed it none-the-less and swallowed. The second bite was warmer than the first, and soon she was chowing down. Fang who was beside her began tearing off meat chunks and throwing them to the others.

Then, she heard a squeak, she looked up, is there a rabbit or other small animal around? 

"What is it?" asked Mimime.

"I heard something," said Run, "but I don't smell or see anything." She took another bite.

Then, the carcass moved. I must be seeing things. But it moved again. Run backed up quickly, food still in her mouth.

"Momma?" It's talking! How can that be? Maybe the dead animal came back to life and is after me! I was eating it after all.

Then it moved again, and a head popped out from under the carcass. Run screamed.

The head retreated back under the carcass.

"Run! Why did you scare them?" Strawberry asked.

"But-but-scared? I'm the one who's scared!" Run retorted.

"Why? It's just a cub!" Mimime was quite annoyed.

"A cub?" Now that she thought about it, the head did look suspiciously like the head of a cub.

"Yes, a cub!" said Mimime, "Now the poor thing is terrified!"

"What did you do that for?" asked Strawberry.

Run deflated, completely embarressed, what was Fang thinking of her now? She risked a peak over at him.

To her surprise, he defended her, "Don't be so hard on her."

"She terrified a poor cub for no apparent reason," said Mimime.

"She probably thought the animal was coming alive again to haunt her," said Fang. Not only is he defending me, he really understands!

"What kind of weird thought is that?" said Mimime, "And how do you know what she was thinking?"

"Is this true Run?" asked Strawberry.

"Yes," Run said quietly, it sounds so ridiculous.

Mimime began to laugh.

"You don't have to be so mean," retorted Stalker. Run blinked, I didn't expect to have so many defending me. Honestly I don't deserve it.

"I am sorry for scaring the cub." Run said, then she turned to Strawberry, "Do you think you can coax it out?"

"I'll try my best," Strawberry said.

After a few minutes, the cub crawled out again, "Momma?" it asked, more cautious this time.

"Yes," said Strawberry, "I will be your momma. Do you have a name?"

"Taisra," said the cub, "momma said name, Taisra. Before bad things."

Strawberry nodded, "Come on Taisra, welcome to our pack. You don't have to be afraid."

The cub eyed Run nervously, "Sorry little cub, I didn't mean to scare you."

The cub scampered behind Strawberry, growling a little bit.

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It had been a few days since they'd found Taisra, and this morning, Stalker felt cold. His teeth chattered and he felt stiff. 

"Are you c-c-cold?" he asked Mimime.

"No, but I bet you are!" Mimime said.

"I-I'm no-" Stalker decided it was best to be truthful, even as much as Mimime got on his nerves, "How did you know?"

"There's only one saber at your side, and that's me! You need at least one on either side to be able to huddle and stay warm properly. The snow and cold wind on your one side is chilling you," she explained.

Now that he thought about it, he was alot colder on the side opposite Mimime. Even the warm pool on his one side couldn't warm him enough because the other side had no warmth at all. "Humph," he said, not wanting to admit she was right, "well, can I move up to huddle with you and Run?"

"Of course," said Mimime, smirking. Stalker flicked his ears in annoyance as he walked up into the greater throng of bodies. 

"I want to talk to Fang for a minute," said Strawberry.

Stalker's father looked surprised, "Go ahead."

"No, I mean in private," Strawberry replied. Stalker was quite confused, and a bit worried.

Fang nodded.

Strawberry turned and said to the group, "Keep an eye on Taisra for me," and to Taisra she said, "stay here with aunt Mimime and your friend Stalker."

"And scary?" she asked, peering at Run.

"And Run too," said Strawberry, "she's your sister, remember? She isn't that scary."

Taisra didn't look convinced, but she nodded. As Strawberry and Fang went up the hill, out of sight, she scampered over to Stalker. "Play?"

Stalker began to play tag with the cub, putting away his worry about his father. He can hold his own, right?

 

 

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Day 12 The Argument

"My time is coming soon," said Strawberry, "and I want this pack to be able to go on without me."

"Of course," said Fang, "we will." 

"No," said Strawberry, "you don't understand. I want this pack to continue for generations." We may be the only pack left.

"I'm sure we will," Fang assured, "but what does this have to do with me?"

"Don't play dumb with me," Strawberry said, "I've seen the way Run looks at you. It has everything to do with you."

"I'm not the only male in this pack," spat Fang, getting defensive all the sudden.

"And you think your son is ready?" asked Strawberry.

"No," said Fang at a growl, "but Run is so young and I'm so old. It wouldn't and shouldn't work."

"I feared you would react this way. I wanted to see you two happy together, but you don't allow it. So then, age is the only factor? Would it work with someone older?" Strawberry pushed.

"You mean yourself," Fang jumped on that right away.

"Not neccesarily-" Strawberry was cut off.

"So that's what this is about! You pretend to care about Run's feelings, but really that's a cover so you can ask for cubs yourself," Fang spat in a raised voice.

"How dare you accuse me of such a thing!" yelled Strawberry, "I raised Run ever since her pack perished. She is like a cub of my own. But it's no use letting both of our dreams die just because of your unwillingness to commit!"

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Run heard the yelling, everyone did, are they in danger? She began to run up the hill.

"Stop!" called Mimime, and Run turned around.

"I'll go check on them," Mimime said.

"But why?" Run said, "If they're in danger we should all go."

"If they were in danger, my sister would've called us herself. There's a stump up there," Mimime explained.

"What's the yelling about, then?" Run asked, confused, are they fighting? But why?

"I don't know," said Mimime, "but I will go check. I'm more stealthy than you, and Stalker needs to keep the cub busy."

"Fine," said an annoyed Run, what if Fang is in trouble? I want to be there. But she figured there was no use, she trusted Mimime to come and get them if there was something they could do to help.

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(Sorry this look isn't too in line with the story, but it's the best screenshot of this scene I have. I originally planned a different plot line but I had to improvise when bugs hit)

Mimime snuck behind the stump, around the side. She listened carefully, making no noise.

"But it is not because I am unwilling to commit!" she could tell Fang was struggling to keep his cool, just from his voice.

"I think it is, you are afraid to commit to any sort of romantic relationship! What if it wasn't commital at all?" Strawberry suggested.

"I am not that kind of male! I'm no stud! I was commited to my mate!" Mimime peeked over the stump to see Fang's eyes aflame with rage, and something else, worry? Anxiety? Fear? Dread, dread and fear.

"Then it's not commitment, it's being afraid to loose again. But doesn't Run deserve a chance at what you once felt?" Strawberry pushed.

"Don't pretend this is about Run's feelings," said Fang, "this is still about you. You know I would never go for being with Run, you're still hoping I might chance it with someone I care less about."

"No," said Strawberry, "I want you and Run to be together. So Stalker can see you happy again, and know what a family looks like."

"My son is my first priority! Love will only distract me," Fang's voice raised slightly, but nothing like before.

Then, as Strawberry again opened her mouth, Fang flew at her, claws poised in the air to strike.

Mimime turned around and ran as fast as she could back toward the others. They had to get up here and break this thing up. They just had to.

 

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