I set the Lupe and the fox person down, then I sat back on a comfortable log, slightly out of breath, carrying those two had been pretty tiring, and I relaxed a bit, doubting whoever saw us would chase us this far. I took a bite of some jerky, and drank some water, debating what I should do next, if I should stay down on this level, or head back to my snow hut. At the very least I needed to go back to my treehouse and stay there, it was much safer after all.
I sat there for a bit, then got back to my feet, stretching and cracking my knuckles. I started walking, following the edge of the hole, Lupe started following, as did the fox person. Thankfully they seemed to perk up after getting some jerky. As we walked, I tried various ways to talk to the fox person, getting mixed results. They had a little trouble getting mine and Lupe's name right, the L sound didn't seem like it was used a lot in their language. I learned... their name, I think, as well, Yitta, which is much easier to write than “the fox person”.
We eventually got to the other side of the river, finding it clear of other fox people. We kept walking along the river's edge, eventually spotting the village on the other side, their stuff still wrecked by my log ride. I felt bad, but I wasn't going to stick around to find out if being a “new person” was more curio or curse to them. Thankfully Yitta seemed to want to avoid the village as well, and we ended up walking in some underbrush, staying out of the line of sight. Soon enough we could no longer see it behind us and started walking along the shoreline again, moving much faster.
We had walked another four or five hours when the sun started to set, and I started making a little camp. I cut down a tree, scaring Yitta, and quickly in the span of half an hour made a tiny hut, every time, I seemed to be getting faster at that. As I worked on it, Yitta seemed to get bored and pulled a fishing line and a reel from their small pack, and started hand casting a line, using a little bit of jerky as bait. They seemed pretty good, having caught two fish by the time I was done building our nightly accommodations. We started to roast them on fire, finding them to be exceptionally tasty, the wood smoke intermingling with the fish flavor, reminding me of smoked salmon, as you would but on a bagel. I really wanted bread then, and cream cheese, the nostalgic flavors hitting me like a sledgehammer. As I ate, I cut pieces for Lupe, making sure to remove the bones from them.
Eventually, the night was upon us, and I walked into my hut, laying down on a bed of leaves, offering the other pile to Yitta, who quickly laid down, and fell asleep. I sealed the doorway and put up a wall between Yitta and me, not completely trusting them, but not wanting to ruin this new friendship. I laid back and quickly fell asleep, feeling like a lot of things had happened that day.
The next morning I got up to the sound of birds chirping, and removed the wall, seeing Yitta still sound asleep. Lupe got up as well, and I opened up the door to the outside. The light from the sun making the river shimmer in a nice and relaxing way. I fashioned some spears from some sticks, and with the last of my leather cord, I started trying to spear a fish for breakfast. Eventually, Yitta came out and shook their head at my efforts. They cast a line out as I went back to the fire and started it up, piling the rest of the sticks and smaller branches on, making a nice cheerful fire. After only ten minutes Yitta came back with three fish, smaller than the previous nights, but not by much. We roasted the fish and ate quickly, before starting to walk along the river.
Eventually, we reached a familiar section of land and saw the remains of my workmanship across the river. I had thought about how I would cross this gap on our walk there, and the only thing that came to mind was to either make a bridge from a tree or two or walk another mile up and try to boat across. Either way, I would have to cut down a tree. So I got to cutting down a particularly thick one, and, soon enough, felled it. I got to chopping all the branches off, which took me till evening, and finished my preparation by cutting it in half lengthwise, and started drying it out, that semi-sweet taste filling my mouth as I did so.
All that was left was to try and see how far I could get the tree to go across the river, and if it could make it. I was eyeballing it and felt that it should make it, if only barely. I started turning the log, and with all my strength picked it up and threw its front end. It rushed past me, as the momentum imbued by the Manaphage carried it across the river, firmly planting it in the bank of the river opposite us. I was ecstatic, I didn't have to deal with any more nonsense. I tested the bridge a couple of times finding it to be very secure, but I didn't quite trust it yet. I started to split the other half of the log into poles about 6 inches around, and drove them into the riverbed every few yards, finding that the middle of the river was about three-quarters of the length of the poles. After driving them all in, I fused them with the wood bridge, making it hopefully more secure so I could use it in the future.
Lupe and Yitta crossed when I was done, and both seemed happy with its stability. We walked the rest of the way to my treehouse, finding it still safe and sound, untouched besides what seemed to be a couple of shallow claw marks. I opened the house, up, and brought Yitta in, airing out the stale air. I started a fire after opening the roof up and roasted the fish Yitta had caught while I worked. Finally relaxing in a familiar house I had built, feeling fairly safe and secure. Lupe seemed to be more comfortable as well, and Yitta seemed to already be warming up to our company.
We finished our dinner with warm bellies and happy hearts, Yitta and I getting better at communicating, and I headed upstairs with Lupe, to relax and sleep, feeling comfortable in this strange world. I laid back and decided to meditate, realizing that I hadn't done so in a while, and felt like it would be best to catch up on it.