It had been nearly a week since the letter arrived. Barton couldn't hardly believe it himself, yet, there he was. Standing in the middle of his home, he looked upon the suitcases he had packed. Where he was going, he knew there was no real way of travelling between home and the destination as a regular commute-of-sorts. If he was going, and he was, he would be staying on sight. The badger knew he would, eventually, return to Badgerton at times. But, today, something about the occasion felt very much like a 'point of no return'.
Would he return the same badger as he was today? Or older, wiser, more experienced?. The thoughts swirled around Barton's head as he looked over to the sofaside table, where left resting beneath the rail tickets, was the fated letter he recieved.
It has come to our attention that you have displayed an amount of skill that has caught our attention. We operate a world-class academy that specialises in the top class of academic and magic education. As such, we would like to extend out an invitation for you to join our esteemed faculty.
We understand this may come as surprising news. But rest assured, we always undertake proper research of potential candidates. Our faculty is carefully selected from each community in the wide world, ensuring a wide array and display of skill and ability. One of our referall team has made us aware of your skill and ability and has taken the time to let us know about how you would be a perfect fit for the academy.
Rest assured, we take great pride in our students and always ensure that the best are highly recognised, while taking special care of those who may need that bit more help.
Should you be interested, please contact our office on 555-0140 and we will be happy to discuss details about your employment here.
We look forward to hearing back from you
(The tickets obscure the signature and name of the sender)
The thing that drew Barton's eyes the most was the stamp on the letter itself. The stamp signifying where the letter came from.
He had barely heard anything about the big city, or even such a location. It wasn't much a huge discussion point among the badgers of Badgerton. And of the few times a badger had been to the Lunar City, they didn't speak much about it, mainly due to the fact that it more or less sounded like a busy place. Nothing too special.
The wonder of exploring a new place filled Barton with a sort of glee. Not the same excitement he would go through whenever the fair arrived in town each year, but a curious, interested sort of emotion. Curious emotions, surely.
His mind wandered back to when he told his mother, Melissa, about the news and how she reacted...
"Barton, I am so proud of you. These folk must've been looking for the best kind of people and for them to pick you, you must've left a very good impression..."
Then his brow furrowed as words of his father, Edward, flooded in next.
"My boy, you should be careful. These city folk aren't as caring or careful as you, I or any of us badgers here. I'm not saying that there's trouble out there, but do take care out there. And remember, always watch out for yourself"
A small sigh escaped the badger's muzzle as he picked up the tickets and letter. The last time he saw his parents was yesterday, as they were throwing a 'good luck' party in the Willow Inn. Memories of jokes, laughs, songs and that ever-so-delicous cake Alexander made flowed through his mind. They wished the badger well, and wanted him to write back often, telling them about how his days at the Lunar Academy went.
How he would miss them so much...
With a steady reseolve and a confident nod, the badger stood his portly body to attention, grabbed his suitcases, and headed outwards, locking his door for what may be the last time for a long while.
The walk to the station was farily un-eventful. Barton plodded along the cobbles of the street, waving to the passers-by as he looked around. Several badgers were on their way as well, to other activities. A drink at the pub, seeing a movie at the Regal, going down to the park, nothing as big as Barton was about to do.
A voice pulled him away from his own thoughts as he turned towards the source of the voice. Outside a small bakery, a badger in baker's garbs waved over, attracting Barton's attention. Familiarity sparkled in Barton's eyes, the badger smiling as he headed over, greeting the baker with "Alexander! How grand to see you again!"
The baker responded with "An' here I be thinking you'd be off an' away already, laddie. You never stopped yapping about that school place last night". Alex chuckled some as he handed Barton over a box. "Guess that's for th' best there, lest you be missing your choccie cake"
Barton slightly blushed, even though Alex wasn't far off the mark. He accepted the gift, saying "Well, you know what they say. The first step of the journey is always the hardest. I've been living here so long, moving to the big city is going to be a huge change for me. I just hope I make a good first impression"
Alex nodded, giving his fellow badger a friendly pat on the shoulder. "Well, take it from Alexander here, they canne have picked a better badger than you, Barton" he said, a smile on his muzzle. His ear suddenly shot up, as a thought suddenly came to his mind. "Ah crumbs, just thought. I've been seeing a fair few Mr Badgers around town. They're getting ready for the play soon. I think yer pap said he may be taking a chance this year. Where is here anyway, and yer mam too?"
The red-shirted badger rubbed the back of his neck, saying "Mom had to go help out at the library. A whole load of new books came in and they needed extra paws. As for pa, he's probably talking with all the other Mr Badgers at the Willow Inn, so I'd best not interrupt him". Barton nodded as he looked towards Alex, who crossed his arms and sighed some
"Ah, a shame really. A lad's family canne see their son off on the day. Least, though, the party last night was canny"
Barton nodded and smiled at Alex's words. "Indeed. A great time, one I will be well remembering" he said. Taking the moment to pack the cake away, Barton set off once more, waving to the baker and saying "Farewell Alexander. May we meet again in the future".
Alexander gave Barton a fond farewell. He was going to miss that badger, he just knew it. And with that, he turned to his shop.
"Och, that be typical"
And with a sigh, he stepped back in, starting work on changing up the window display.
'THE NEXT TRAIN AT PLATFORM 4 IS THE 11:40 SERVICE TO LUNAR CITY. CALLING AT.....'
The announcments rang out over the hall as Barton sat at the platform, waiting for the train. The Badgerton train station was quite the quaint number. A large arch covered over the station platforms, where many trains bustled in and out. Mainly steam engines that ferried passengers to other nearby communities and the like.
The only train that stood out was the Lunar City service. Instead of being a quaint steam engine and carrige number, this train was a thoroughly modern diesel engine-powered machine, so shiny and slick it stood out from the victorian-era decor of the station. The train only ran twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. The only curiosity is that the morning train will always be quite busy, but the evening train is sometimes less so, or even empty. While many didn't think much of it, a fair few found it fairly suspicious.
The badger twiddled his thumbs as he sat by his luggage, looking around. Across the platform, he could see a fair few badgers. Many seemd to be having quite the normal day, some were quite excited at the prospect of the big city. The last few, often mixed with the non-badgers, however, show apprehension, or even fear. A quite curious mix.
His ears flicked a small bit as he caught snatches of speech here and there.
".....I've never been to the big city...."
"....Probably best if we stick together...."
"....Stay with the group, we don't want anyone getting lost again..."
Randon bits of dialouge streamed through as Barton looked up, watching the station clock as it ticked away.
"....Barton, is that you?"
Until one grabbed his attention. Sitting up, he saw a very familiar badger, wearing a unbuttoned blue shirt with a grey undershirt. It took barley a moment for Barton to realise who was speaking to him.
"Barton! Good thing I caught up with you" the badger said, joining Barton on the bench. "I heard that you're heading to the Lunar Academy, correct"
Barton nodded. "That would be correct, yep. And if I'm not mistaken, you dropped out the party last night. What happened?"
Roy chuckled, following with "Was at a magic show earlier in the day, accidently challenged the magician's skill. Before I knew it, was send plunging into a pool of water that popped out of nowhere"
Barton blinked, trying to hold back an amused chuckled "Well, next time, probably best not to question The Magnificent Magician". He coughed into his paw, then looked to Roy. "Thanks for showing up today, though".
Roy nodded. "T'was the least I could do, especially after leaving the party last night, before it was done. Must've been far more tired than I'd expected" he said, giving a light chuckle before-
-"BaDgER CooKIeS Don'T tALk, TheY Just TasTE Good"-
A shiver flooded through Roy's fur as a particularly unpleasent memory shot right through him. "Listen, Barton.... I know you've been looking forward to this since you got the letter..."
Barton nodded and said "Yeah... It's a bit exciting, a bit mysterious, but will probably be fun too", a smile in his muzzle and a nod of certanty.
Roy nodded once more. "True, but..."-
-"You DoN'T NeEd To thINk, stAtuES nEveR ThinK!"-
"Barton, listen" Roy said, trying to find the words. The badger in questioned turned to face Roy as he waited for what he had to say.
Eventually, he found the words. "The world can be a scary place, sometimes. But remember, you'll always have home to come to.... Just...take care out there".
Barton took the words in, nodding, before giving a smile and a tender hug to Roy. "I will, Roy. I will...". As he released from the hug, a single tear ran down the badger's cheek, prompting Roy to rub it off for Barton.
Barton chuckled some, before hearing a horn as the train pulled in. Both badgers turned to face the arriving train, a very sleek and modern model pulling in.
Except for Roy, who turned away when Barton wasn't paying attention to him, trying not to look at that train.
-"When I'm done with you, you'll never need to go home again"-
-"Roy? What kind of name is that? I think I'll call you pudge. How does that sound, pudge?"-
-"Just a few more minutes, then you'll be mine forever"-
"no...no, i'm not going back...I'm never going back" Roy muttered quietly to himself, refusing to look at the train. Those poor passengers, all proceeding to their doom.
If only he could just try and convince Barton not to get on.
"Oh, what was that?" Barton asked, turning around to see Roy, missing the badger regaining his composure and looking normal, as normal can be.
"Ah, nothing Barton" Roy said, chuckling briefly.
Barton shrugged, then turned to the train, seeing the doors open. "Well, guess this is it. Tell everyone I'll miss them and I'll try and visit home when I can" he said, getting up and grabbing his luggage, heading towards the train.
Roy nodded, his calm visage breaking into one of panic once Barton turned away from him. He was seeing his friend boarding what may as well be a one-way train.
Roy had visited the Lunar City once before. Every step, every turn, every minute, he was hunted down, under threat of either being eaten, transformed, petrified or being stripped of his free will. And only last night did he find out the specifics on where Barton was going. Roy knew that many who visited the Lunar City don't make it back.
And the Lunar Academy....Oh...god, the Lunar Academy... He heard stories about how the teachers treat their students... The nightmarish dean...
The fact that Barton was picked for such a place scared Roy. He closed his eyes, images of a nightmarish Barton running amok in Badgerton, consuming all in his path, taking all the power, becoming the most powerful monster of the communitiy. He...He could destroy Badgerton..... Or worse.
Roy had to hold himself from shivering as he imagined Barton sliding down the throat of one of the teachers, or being stripped of his power entirely. Of both scenarios, losing Barton entirley frightend him the most. Almost like a lighting bolt had struck and without thinking, Roy bolted up, dashing to Barton as he boarded the train. He didn't care about what he was doing. All he knew is that if he leaves on that train, he's never coming back.
Roy slammed his paw on the 'door open' button on the train, opening his mouth and about to scream "DON'T GET IN, BARTON!"... Instead, the moment his paw touched the train, his mind suddenly snapped 'into place', as if all the stress and fear vanished in a heartbeat. Roy never screamed the words as he stood there, wondering why he was standing near the train in the first place, or why his paw was on the 'door open' button in the first place.
He wasn't getting on the train anyway.
Barton turned around, seeing Roy and giving a little chuckle. "Ah, heh, guess you wanted to say goodbye again, then, heh...". He saw the other badger nod and sheepisly wave, wishing him a good journey.
With that, Roy stood back, seeing the doors on the train close. He was still curious on what he was doing that moment as he watched the train leave the station. Why was he so worried? Why wa..why was....
Oh GOD WHAT HAPPENED?
Roy's panic was restored as he saw that train leave the station. Everything came flooding back in at once. The fear, the worry, the.....
"...no, nonono, stop..stop..sto-sto-STOP THAT TRAIN" he yelled out as he ran after the Lunar City train, seeing it flee the platform. This was, more or less, an awful consolation as Roy watched the last of the train pull away, taking the passengers to the Lunar City.
Roy stood there, watching the train, before collapsing on the floor, sobbing into his paws. He had failed. Barton was going to the Lunar Academy.
And he may never see him again.
Unable to do anything else, the badger got up, despondedly waddling down the platform with his face buried in his paws, not looking at anyone, or allowing anyone to look at his sadness.
Until a voice from behind cut him off. Roy stopped, raising his face from his paws and turning around, seeing a white tiger with black stripes here and there. Both of them stared at each other, Roy not certain what to say.
The tiger, still looking at Roy, pointed at the track the Lunar City train was on. "The train, right?"
Roy nodded, hiccuping as he tried to speak. "I..I tried...I...I...I could-"
A loud slap echoed throug the station.
The tiger bought his hand down as he looked at Roy, seeing the badger's somewhat shocked expression. "Are you done?" he asked, in the same polite, mild-mannered tone of voice he was using beforehand, despide his body language suggestiong otherwise.
Roy nodded silently.
With that, the tiger sighed. "I won't pry, or pretend to know what you were trying to do. I can only assume someone you know was on that train and you're worried they won't come back, right?"
The badger nodded, about to break down again, only held back by the tiger placing his hand on his shoulder. "Sometimes, things don't turn out the way we expect. And, well, I would suggest not wasting all your sadness here".
Before the badger could interrupt, the tiger continued "I have heard of things happening in the Lunar City. Things that mean change is coming. And it's not bad by any means. In fact, there's two others I know in the Lunar City. Those two, they're fighting to save the city, to save the people. And trust me. One day, you'll be on this platform, seeing your frend stepping off this train and you'll be crying tears of joy".
Roy listened as he heard the tiger talk to him. All these words, the meanings, they felt like beams of light. He almost shirked back a bit, frightend of hoping, before looking down at the tiger. "You...... you sure?"
The tiger looked down. "I can't make any guarantees. But the two, they won't let that city down. That I can bet on".
Roy smiled, rubbing his eyes. "Thank you....thank you....". He reached down, wanting to shake the tiger's paw. Only to see the tiger looking at it, before speaking up with "...Listen, you won't...well....tell anyone what happened here, right? I have an image to maintain and all, don't quite want to ruin it and come off as soft".
The badger tilted his head and nodded. "Ah....Well, an odd request.... But I'll accept... What is your name anyway?"
The tiger nodded and shook the badger's paw. "Fenrir. And what is your name?"
As stated in my recent journal, I have recently started doing up stories, some of them one-shots. These accompany a character that I have appear in the works of lionkinglover12/Whitestripe on FA, known as the Lunar Academy series. This is the first one I've ever done, to give an idea on what I do.
For more of them, feel free to check out my FA, where I'm more active: https://www.furaffinity.net/user/womblesfan/
And for stuff regarding the Lunar Academy, check out lionkinglover12 on FA: https://www.furaffinity.net/user/lionkinglover12