Chapter 1: Kahari
Kahari, a realm discovered only semi-recently. Many adventurers come to these lands, seeking another badge to add to their collection. But for Baal, his priority was research. With his enhanced intelligence and comprehension, there was little he didn’t know. But now, as the purple portal clicks shut behind him, he is surrounded by the unknown. He clicks a pen and activates his broach, causing it to glow. His olive-green eyes scan the space, taking in his surroundings. The ground beneath his feet seems to be made of rock as dark as the night sky currently above him. In the distance, he sees a grove of arch-shaped purple trees. Making a mental note to venture over there later, he wanders forward, following the sound of water. After quite a bit of walking, he stops dead at the edge of the water, his breath taken, his eyes wide and his ears perked up.
Despite the sound of flowing that had brought him here, the water was perfectly still. The stars from above reflected onto the water, creating a literal sea of stars. It stretched for as far as he could see, though reaching down to check the depth of the water revealed that it couldn’t have been any more than two inches deep, perhaps even less. He could feel his tail gently sway back and forth, and while he’d normally be embarrassed by this unconscious movement, seeing as he was alone he allowed the movement to continue. He gently touches the surface of the water, sending ripples across its surface, yet the images of the stars remain and do not falter. His ear twitches and a gentle rumble escapes his throat before he can stop it. After a brief moment when his ears flattened, his eyes frantically double-checking that he was alone, he visibly relaxed again. He sat down near the water’s edge, looking out at the wonder in front of him, the moments stretching into who knows how long. His eyes sparkle with the reflections of the stars on the water, though after a while he blinks, seemingly having broken out of his trance. His tail stops swaying and he takes a deep breath, his expression returning to normal. He shuffles through the black bag he’d taken with him, bringing out a small pad of paper. He jots down some notes, describing the landscape upon his arrival and, of course, the sea of stars whose edge he’s currently sitting on. A small smile creeps onto his lips as his gaze returns to the water, another soft rumble escaping his throat. No place in the Underworld nor his former kingdom came close to the beauty of the sea of stars. And it was new. This… this was something he’d only ever read about in fiction. Often he had imagined a place like this existing, somewhere. And seeing it now… it sent shivers up his spine. The time flew by as he wrote, studying his surroundings and writing as far as his eye could see. As far as he could hear. All the magic he could feel. Hours went by, only evident by the movement of the moon. Baal eventually closed the journal, tucking it back into his bag. Casting one last glance at the sea of stars, Baal walks away from the water’s edge, returning to where he had originally entered the dimension. He turns his head towards the horizon, back to the arched purple trees he’d seen in the beginning. He reaches into his bag and pulls out a pocket watch to check the time. His tail swishes. I have time to go over there, he realizes. He returns his pocket watch to his bag before beginning the long trek to the grove of strange trees. Unfortunately, when Baal would arrive, the purple foliage would prove to be fairly… ordinary. He sighs. Perhaps my first impressions have caused my expectations to be too high, he thinks, right before he notices something stuck to the sleeve of his coat. What originally was assumed to be stray fluff rolls over to reveal its large compound eyes. Baal’s own eyes widen, a startled noise coming out of him before he quickly removes the puffball-shaped creature from his jacket, taking it into his hand to get a closer look at it. It doesn’t appear to be toxic… it’s a bit sticky. Probably how it got stuck onto me in the first place. He checks the part of his jacket where the creature had been stuck. It didn’t damage my clothes… is this one of the… Eeps I’ve heard so much about? Baal looks at the small creature with a mixture of annoyance and fascination before releasing it to travel on the wind. As he reaches into his bag to grab his journal he, ironically enough, makes a small “eep!” sound. Another Eep has attached itself to his bag, and he spots another one on his elbow. He gently removes the one on his elbow, but he leaves the one on his bag attached so he could get a sketch of the creature in his journal. Admittedly, while art is not his strong suit, he’s able to get a decent sketch of the simple creature before once again releasing it to the wind. The realization dawns on him soon, though, and he slides off his jacket to reveal exactly what he’d expected, but was hoping not to see- the back of his jacket, entirely covered with a thick layer of fluff. He sighs again, his ears pressed flat.
“Oh, for the love of-”
One by one, he removes the Eeps that have attached themselves to his jacket. Unfortunately, this would take quite some time due to the sheer amount of Eeps, and by the time he’d removed all of them, he heard the portal click open behind him. He sighs and turns to face the portal. Of course the last thing I do here isn’t recording some marvelous thing, it’s removing a common pest from my jacket. He grumbles to himself. Seems he’ll have to cool off with some fish and gravy back home. Or at least, his home away from home. He steps back through the portal, silently hoping his next adventure is just as… magical as this one felt. Though hopefully with less Eeps.