The days passed by as slowly as the lazy clouds in the sleeping skies. The Cedar Woods had never been so dull and boring as this day. The fruits Rei liked best were now out of season, as was easy game for him to eat. The town of McNeil had suffered many times from his thief raids upon them, and had learned from their mistakes. Locks had been upgraded to the state where they could easily snap Rei's lock- pick set. Rei had spent the last two seasons working on his tree house away from the town that outcast him, and he had almost finished. Though some rooms were missing floors, walls, and ceilings, Rei could walk around without anything falling out of place. Even the old grouch Bunyan could look at his work and marvel, for it was a miraculous effort that allowed the young boy to complete this tree house by himself.
Rei let himself lie down and enjoy the sun's warm kiss. His fur became warm at the touch of the sun, and his tail moved from left to right to left again. A smile began to emerge on his expressionless face. He placed his furry hands behind his head and yawned. As he did, the birds and bugs on his roof could see his large fangs glinting in the light. Rei kept his eyes closed as his yawn died down. Being of a feline tribe, he let out a quiet purr. Suddenly, he sat up, scaring the birds and bugs above.
"Gah!" He yelled. "Come on, Rei! Is that any way to be manly!?"
At his own words, Rei began to laugh. Work had always made him feel a bit nervous and giddy, but talking to himself had never happened before. Being the boy that he is, he would always try to impress girls in the town of McNeil, and being manly had become a necessity. Even if it was a mockery to his masculinity, he was still a member of a cat tribe. A tribe he had never seen before.
Rei was an orphan, and a troubled child at that, making it impossible to be adopted. Rei was placed into the care of an old woman in a small town, but when she died of a heart attack, Rei ran away from home, thinking it to be his fault. He now thought about it and then thought that the mind of a child can work in mysterious ways. Everything always centres around the owner of that particular mind. Rei lay down again, swinging his feet of a balcony he had made on his house. He began to whistle to keep himself from purring again.
Thinking of the old lady who had mothered him for all of two weeks, Rei stood up. It had been a while since he had thought about her, and he had never once seen where she now slept.
That very night, Rei packed his bag full of some bread and biscuits. Dry food that might suit for a long walk he was preparing to take. Rei picked up two identical knives and looked at them in the candlelight of the hut. Still as sharp as the last day he had used them. He hadn't had much practice lately with them, so he thought he might have some on his trek. Rei left late at night without telling a soul. He was sure nobody was about to worry for him.
Walking in the moonlight, which was splintered by the trees of the Cedar Woods, Rei thought about everything his life had built up to. Ever since birth, Rei had been alone. Thinking about the dead old woman, his walking pace soon became that of a run, which became that of a sprint, and soon he found that he was running on all fours through the forest. He bypassed the goblins and the goos and dashed out of the woods that had become his home.
He wandered until morning, then afternoon, then night again. Past the towering and intimidating Mount Myrneg, where he almost broke his left leg climbing. Onto the Eygnock road, which was his destination. By now it was almost midnight on the second night. He saw a lone house on the long, stretching road, and walked up to the gate. The name on the mailbox had changed. A light was still on despite the late hour, and Rei saw two silhouettes inside.
Rei slowly and quietly walked towards the back yard of the house. There, underneath the large tree where he used to play, he saw a cross made of stone protruding from the grass. Rei wondered how one could live with a grave outside their house. Rei jumped over the picket fence in his way and slowly crept towards the grave. The light from the house let Rei see the name in the stone, and the portrait, two very familiar things to him. At the sight of these, he began to cry, but tried hard to fight away the tears. The door of the house opened, and Rei again saw two silhouettes.
"Who are you!?" Yelled the voice of an old man. "Get off my property!"
"I'm sorry...I..." Rei stuttered. The old man held up a rifle and aimed at Rei. Rei hurriedly ran and jumped over the fence once again, making a dash across Eygnock Road. His chance to pray for his foster parent was rudely taken from him. This fact almost made Rei cry.
Rei ran the whole way home thinking of her. Down Mount Myrneg he let himself slide down the rocks. When he made it back to the entrance of the Cedar Woods it was almost morning. On the way home, Rei saw something strange. A young, blue-haired boy was lying unconscious, being attacked by some wolves. Acting heroic, Rei threw one of his daggers and it struck a tree nearby, startling the wolves. Rei rushed forward and rammed the wolves with his own body, chasing them away.
Rei yanked his knife from the wood which held it, then put it away. He knelt down and looked at the boy. His thoughts were still in a rush from the fight. Rei had always hated what people call responsibility. But, taking pity on what could also be an orphan, Rei picked the boy up on his back and carried him back to the tree house.
The boy was still asleep for hours, and Rei often checked his pulse to make sure he was still alive. Soon afterwards, the boy began to cough and awaken. Rei helped him to the table and they both sat down.
"What happened?" The boy asked.
"I found you lying in the woods, kid." Rei said. "You were about to be killed!"
"Oh. Thank you for helping me." The boy said shyly.
"Do you have a family?" Rei asked him. The boy shook his head glumly.
"Only people who deserve one have families." The boy whispered.
"Do you want to come and stay with me, then?" Rei asked, not thinking about what he was saying.
"Okay." The boy replied without much hesitation.
"My name's Rei." Rei said, folding his arms proudly. "What's yours?"
"My name...?" The boy asked. "It's Teepo."