Part 1 - The Lost Saga
It was just another glorious day at the Beach House, the traditional summer retreat of the City's EroFighters. Winston was humming to himself as he washed the dishes that piled up during breakfast.
He usually let Mariya or the members of staff handle it, but being in a good mood, he decided to give everyone a day off and let them enjoy the sun and sand, which unlike most places, was not coarse and rough and irritating and stayed exactly where it was supposed to.
A radio was playing Japanese city pop, and Winston swayed to its beat as he went about, proceeding to perform the other chores that were needed to keep the Beach House clean.
Wobbles, the sleepy Great Pyrenees, merely looked on curiously, wondering when her hooman was going to turn around and touch her on the head, the signal that they were going for walkies.
Suddenly, Wobbles saw a flash of orange-blonde fur was seen streaking through the living room as Winston was vacuuming the carpet, singing obliviously along with the song despite the monstrous roar of the Noise Machine™️.
Wobbles barked, an alarmed gunshot of a sound. Immediately Winston froze, turned, and executed a flawless aikido throw in the split-second the orange blur soared through the air to tackle him.
Foxy lay flat on the floor, out cold. Wobbles got up, padding away before coming back with a wizard's staff in her mouth, presenting it to Winston as if it was all an elaborate game of fetch.
Taking the staff into his hand, he gave it an almost sarcastic wave.
A flash of light, and Foxy was immediately revived, rubbing his eyes. Spotting Winston, he threw up his arms in greeting.
"Hello Foxy," Winston settled into an easy smile, before returning to his vacuuming.
It wasn't long before he was interrupted again, with Foxy tugging at the hem of his pants.
"I see," Winston said as he leaned back in his seat and watched Foxy tuck into a fresh bowl of Tresor.
"So she still hasn't sent any reply?"
Foxy shook his head glumly, spoon still in his mouth. Even when sad, nothing could come between a fox and his chocolatey cereal.
"Hmm." Winston took a sip of his iced latte, a frown forming on his face. It had certainly been quite a long time — perhaps too long.
"It's not like I can do anything...she can only reply and we can only wait..."
Nodding sadly, Foxy pushed his half-eaten bowl of Tresor away. Wobbles immediately stood on her hind legs, forelegs out in a pleading gesture. Winston wagged a finger at her half-heartedly, which caused her to sink back on her haunches and whimper pitifully.
Winston drained the last of his latte. Long faces all around and nobody and nothing to...lift them? Shorten them? What exactly did you do to un-longen a face? Hmm.
Sighing, he got to his feet. Both fox and dog looked up at him.
"I'll go and find her..." Winston said distractedly, as if in a dream, his mind making his decision for him before he could even grasp the very idea of such an endeavour.
Foxy's eyes widened, his tail swishing agitatedly this way and that.
"You can...find her?"
Winston blinked, perhaps not quite understanding the question, or perhaps unsure of what to say.
"I'll need some time."
It took twilight to bloom before Winston emerged again from his spacious suite underneath the Beach House. He was as he had always have been, a slender creature that, depending on who and how you asked, always seems to be a little absent-minded, or often lost in thought.
As he slinked around the Beach House's common room and dining areas, avoiding company, his circuitous attempted exfiltration through the back of the Beach House was calmly interrupted by the presence of Wobbles, who was waiting for him at the door, leash and collar in her mouth.
Winston pressed a finger to his lips, and shook his head, and Wobbles whimpered mournfully before shuffling aside, getting on her hind legs and nibbling Winston's palm affectionately before watching him out the door.
Three steps out of the Beach House, and two flashes of light in quick succession lit him up. Blinking to clear his eyes, he saw the bright red finish of his car, Christine. He did not remember parking the car here.
Looking at it for a moment, Winston shook his head again.
Where we're going, we don't need roads.
As Winston kept on walking, Christine gave her grudging consent, and powered down.
It was getting dark as Winston steadily left the warm embrace of the Beach House and approached the dark abode of the nearby forest. To him, it seemed to grow in strength and age, becoming more and more foreboding.
To be concluded...