Holly on the Old Oak - The Antelope and the Lion

quadraptor's picture

Holly on the Old Oak
Story 1

The Antelope and the Lion

Quad was returning from his journey to visit Qana in the Arctic Circle. He had to make it to a certain place before he would reappear in the Endless Forest, but little did he know that there was one last thing he had to do in this frozen wilderness before he could return. As he was trying to go south to the warmer climates of Canada, a sound startled him. He heard a loud crack, and in the distance he saw a figure on the horizon. The hunter was firing on him, and when he heard the second gunshot pierce the snow close to him, he darted in the other direction. The antelope was still terribly unfit to the climate, so he kept slipping in the snow, his legs shivering both in fright and in cold. He was afraid to look back, he didn’t want to stop for a single second. He had been shot before, and never wanted to feel the awful pain again.

Once he rounded a hill and was out of the hunter’s sight, he slid down the snow on the other side, going farther away from his route as he had planned. Once the snow settled, he stumbled to his hooves, shaken and now shivering from the cold. He stopped a moment, looking around to try to get a bearing, when he noticed something hanging off of a tree limb. It was odd but there were a few berries growing from one of the trees. Quad’s grumbling stomach betrayed him when he saw the bright red berries in the tree, and the antelope could not resist approaching them, reaching up on his hind legs to grip the berries in his teeth. His first reaction was how cold they were, and how hard they had become, but he pulled them down and tried to eat them.

He had just gotten the berries down, and was so distracted that he did not hear someone approaching him. Slowly the predator had snuck up on the antelope, and was oddly out of place here just as he was. The African lion had hidden himself behind the trees, and once Quad was starting to lower onto his hind legs, the big cat ran at him, pouncing and slamming into the antelope. Quad nearly choked on the berries, and was lucky they were spit out the moment he hit the snow, but before he could react, his head and body were pinned by the lion’s great paws. The golden-maned creature stared down at him, surprised to find an African food source in the Arctic Circle, but it didn’t matter, he was so hungry and had only found rabbits out here that he didn’t care why the antelope was here. “Miserable fool, I do not know why you are out here, but your pathetic life will end this moment!”, the hungry lion roared before he opened his maw and reached down to grip Quad’s neck.

There was a loud sound, the same one Quad heard before. The hunter had made it to where they were, and the first shot fired struck the lion in the shoulder. He roared in pain and stumbled back, knocked clean off of Quad by the shot. The antelope immediately gasped for air and tried to sit up, now seeing the wounded lion trying to clamor to his paws. The antelope had a split second to make a decision – either run, or try to help the predator. His decision was not based on thought but on instinct. Four white wings burst from his back, and he immediately fired a beam of light at the hill, blinding the hunter and making him fall into the snow. The antelope immediately ran and grabbed the lion, being able to lift him from the ground using the newfound strength given to the Grand Talux from the Trial of the Battleborn. The flying antelope carried the predator a few feet off the ground, looking for somewhere to take him to safety. Almost on cue, a snow storm began, buffeting the antelope. With the visibility now diminishing, he relied on his hearing to find somewhere safe. There was an odd, deep howling sound, not like an animal but more like a wind chamber. The antelope went that way, carrying the lion until he had found a small cavern where the wind was making the sound. The Grand Talux flew in and dropped the lion, then landing on his hooves and taking a moment to catch his breath. The wings vanished into his back, and after a moment to rest, he looked to the lion, checking on him. He had passed out, but the bullet went clean through his back and missed both bones and vital organs. Quad was better at burning off infection with his powers, but he had weak healing abilities, and using his light, he would be able to mend the wound.

Once that was done, he was about to leave the lion there, but the snow storm had picked up and was howling much more outside. The antelope was trapped in the cavern with the lion until the storm passed.

He sat and waited, watching the lion as he rested. Quad was shivering here, not only from the cold but also his heightened adrenaline as well as nervousness of his situation. Before he could gather his thoughts, the lion groaned and tried to sit up. His legs were weak and unable to support him, he plopped into the hard cavern floor, breathing heavy and staring with blurred vision at the antelope.

“You…you rescued…me?”, the lion finally spoke. Quad nodded slowly. “Wh-why? I…I tried to…”, the lion began, when Quad spoke a reply, “You would have died out there if I didn’t.”

The lion sat up now, trembling but able to support himself better. He was dizzy but was trying to recall what just happened. There was something about it that didn’t make sense…he was trying to figure out what he had seen. Wings…light…it happened so fast that he couldn’t make heads or tails of how the antelope rescued him.

Then the lion asked, “You’re…you’re the…the Grand Talux?”

Quad nodded again, ”Yes.”, he spoke.

The lion shut his eyes for a moment, before standing, taking a few steps toward the antelope. Quad did not expect what was to happen next – the lion bowed his head, taking a groveling stance before the antelope, and speaking, “My liege, I am so sorry that I tried to kill you. I did not know, and I said awful things to you...”

Quad blinked a few times, this never happening before. He chuckled and replied, ”Please, sir…you’re the king, not me. I only did what I thought was right. I don’t judge you for trying to eat, and even if you had killed me, I would have come back to life. I don’t fear death any longer, but you were trying to survive.”, the antelope shifted a bit, ”It didn’t matter who you were, we were in the same situation, and we both have the right to live. So that was why I saved you.”

There was a moment of silence, the lion sat up, trembling as his body continued to recover. He didn’t say another word, but adjusted and settled, resting on the cold ground. The storm was still raging and the bitter wind was howling outside, and as Quad’s patience wore out, he moved over and sat next to the lion, hoping the antelope’s body heat would make the lion a little more comfortable. The predator let out a sigh, and then said, “Thank you…”

Quad rested his head, and replied, ”Of course.”

The storm had passed, and when the lion sat up, Quad was long gone. The antelope barely remembered this event as he had been transported back to the Endless Forest. The lion, however, remained in the arctic, still as misplaced as Quad was. But there was something different about him. The second chance at life gave the lion newfound courage, and now with a sense of direction, he somehow found the energy to run south. He would survive the arctic and find more sources of food the farther south he went, but he had learned a lesson from the event, and saw the prey animals as his equals now than inferior to him. The lion had learned compassion and humility thanks to Quad.

The End

quadraptor's picture

First story is up. Enjoy

First story is up. Enjoy
BluedeerLegend18's picture

Ooh, I love this! You're a

Ooh, I love this! You're a good writer, Quad!
I have a Master's degree in Wumbology.
quadraptor's picture

XD it was a lot of fun to

XD it was a lot of fun to write too