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Deerly leaves you at some point as you look at each of the portals in turn. The longer you view them, the more you can't help but question how you can even fit into some of the smaller doorways. You can't help but lower yourself to try and get a better look at one that is scarcely larger than your own face. How on earth did Deerly expect you to visit whatever critters lived inside? You shrug to yourself and decide to make some minor effort to humor your host. Maybe it would be good for a laugh, at least.
Without hesitation, you stick our your hand to feel the strange whiteness of the doorway. Instead of feeling any solid, you instead feel as though your hand has been plunged into some sort of frothy liquid. It almost reminds you of warm milk, though you're not sure if that makes things better or worse. You stare at where your hand disappears into the portal for a few dumbfounded seconds before suddenly overcome with the feeling of weightlessness. Your vision whites out and you feel your body being pulled forward by an unseen force. You tumble for a moment, finding yourself unable to help but laugh at the tickling sensation against your suddenly sensitive skin.
Just as abruptly as the entire event began, you find yourself laying on a hard surface. There was no impact, no thud, you are suddenly just...there. You blink while your body tries to process the strangeness of what just happened to it. The first thing you notice is leaves rustling in the wind, then a sea of light and fluffy-looking clouds overhead. You realize you are on the edge of a forested area with a lake off to your left.
You go to get up to better take things in, but freeze when you notice a small creature nearby watching you. It's a unicorn. A small, lavender unicorn. As if guided, you reach out to pet the animal when it tosses its head and promptly runs away. You can't help but feel disappointed.
"That was Molly." You startle at the sound of Deerly's voice from behind you. The otter-looking being hops over to you and helps you up. They are already guiding you toward the water before you can think of anything to say in return. "Sorry about that. She's pretty skittish. Honestly, I'm just glad you got a chance to see her. Not everyone does."
Your host crouches down by the pond's edge before tapping its paw-like fingers against the surface of the water. You are about to ask what they are doing when you see a tiny group--school?--of colorful fish swim up to the shallows to greet you both. Farther out you can see two larger shapes moving about. It's not until one, then the other, breeches the surface of the water that you realize that they're fantastically-colored dolphins. They chatter happily as they leap and dance together.
"These little guys," the furry creature introduces, "Are Blurb, Blub, Glurb, and Glub." Deerly looks at you over their shoulder. "Try to say that five times fast" They then point out toward the dolphins, "Those two are Spirel and Mortina. Believe it or not, this is a saltwater lake." Deerly shrugs. "Since I couldn't bring them all to the ocean, I brought the ocean to them! At least as much as I could."
You watch Deerly play with the miniature school of fish and coo at them for a good minute or so. What finally pulls your attention away from their little splashes and flashing colors is the sound of a loud snap from somewhere nearby. You look back toward the treeline to spy two deer, on an impossibly purple color, calmly grazing under a tree. There is also a pair of squirrels chasing one another up and down that very same tree making a racket that neither ungulate acknowledge.
"Ah!" Deerly says as they stand back up from their time with their fish friends. They put their paws on their hips as they observe the scene. "That there is Nam," Deerly says with a gesture toward the closer of the two deer. "He's kind of shy; I wouldn't expect him to come much closer than that. "Those two crazy nutballs and Chai and Nips. They're not usually so energetic, but it's getting close to mating season, you understand."
You stare at Deerly for a moment before deciding to change the subject and ask about the oddly colored deer. Watching it groom its own foreleg for a moment, there doesn't seem to be anything particularly special about it besides its color. None of the other animals seem bothered by its presence.
"Oh, him? That's Psycatrik. I was actually going to ask him to lead us to some of the other Fifty Penny Pixel cyberpets. He's kind of a social butterfly and knows just about everybody. Ah, here he comes!"
Lo and behold, the purple animal has spotted the two of you and is wandering over. He stops before you and, with an encouraging nod from Deerly, you reach out toward the deer. Psycatrik only flicks an ear and you can't help but smile as you pet his coarse but slick fur down his neck and shoulder. He stares at his owner for a few moments as you pet him and then, as if having received some sort of unspoken instruction, nods his graceful head and starts to walk away from the two of you.
Deerly gives you a nudge before going to follow the animal themself. Not knowing what else to do, you follow along behind.
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☆ - 12 Mar 2022 - ☆