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A Curious Coin Conundrum 
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Smiley McSmiles
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Your friend did a really good job emulating the Housepets! style. It looks nice! Glad to get a good look at the two :D

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Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:22 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
Awwwww. Lockely lost his clothes? Oh well. Is that coin around his neck the one that changed them?

Oh! No, that's the custom tag Nicole made for him, it's supposed to look like a compass (so he can find his way). In terms of clothes, I followed the same thing that happened with Steward and Thomas. Lockely kept his scarf, but it's not depicted here so we can see the collar/tag.

Obbl Wrote:
Your friend did a really good job emulating the Housepets! style. It looks nice! Glad to get a good look at the two :D


I'm glad you like it! I was shocked at how well he managed to style mimic the comic, but he's got really strong art skills. I'm happy to finally see them outside my mind's eye as well.

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Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:01 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Handsome work. Your chum's got the knack - great, energetic depiction.


Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:27 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
So the other pictures of him in clothes on your FA profile aren't meant to be a part of this story?

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Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:15 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
So the other pictures of him in clothes on your FA profile aren't meant to be a part of this story?


Not for this story, no, gonna follow the rules and customs of this universe.

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Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:15 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Wow jeez, it's been a hot minute since my last entry. Apologies, work and life have been exceptionally busy, and combined with a rather annoying case of writer's block in the moments I've had to work on this, it's been a task. Regardless, though I powered through it and I present to you all part 5. Enjoy!

******************

“Okay, so you head one way down the street, and I’ll head the other, then we meet up back here and discuss our findings.” Jack passed a small spiral bound notebook and a clicky mechanical pencil over to Lockely. “Write down who you talk to and what they know and hopefully we can finally get a lead on this.” He glanced towards the forest, “Have you heard anything from that mysterious other fox you ran into?”

Lockely flipped open the notebook and shook his head, “No, not a thing, it’s weird. I’m pretty sure they’re keyed into what happened but… well, they vanished.”

Jack scratched under his chin and made a note in the book, before fixing his gaze back towards the forest. “Do you think they’re responsible for the coin?”

The fox shifted his weight from one paw to another and shook his head, “No, weirdly enough, but I do get the feeling they have to be connected.” His tail swished impatiently, “But we’re not gonna find out more unless we ask around. Let’s see what we can find.”

They both nodded to each other and split off in separate directions. Jack was going to canvas the outer edges of the neighborhood and Lockely was going right into the heart of it. It was a long shot, but long shots were basically all they had to work with.

*****
Several hours later.
*****

A flustered fox rubbed his temple as he approached a pair of near identical looking Siamese cats. His notebook page mostly contained names and scribbled doodles rather than any real information. He gave them a three fingered wave and an exhausted, but warm, smile and recited his prepared intro: “Hey there, name’s Lockely, I’m a bit new to the neighborhood but I wanted to meet some folks and, well, ask if you all have seen anything… gosh this is going to sound dumb… but anything weird around here?”

Both cats glanced at each other, smiled, and then back at him. The one on the left spoke first. “Weird? In Babylon Gardens? You really must be new.” The one on the right then replied, “Well allow us to welcome you, I’m Mr. Bigglesworth.”

Lockely had gotten answers similar to this all day. Weird was the normal here, but like, not magic weird, at least not usually? He was getting a lot of conflicting info. He made a note of the first one’s name, then replied, “Nice to meet you, Mr. Bigglesworth.”

“You as well, and this is my housemate, Mr. Bigglesworth.” The one on the right motioned to the one on the left.

“Wait… Hold up, I thought you were Mr. Bigglesworth.” Lockely raised a brow and glanced off as if he was trying to side-eye the camera in a mockumentary.

Mr. Bigglesworth replied, “I am.”

The fox tilted his head to the side. “But… you said they’re Mr. Bigglesworth.”

Mr. Bigglesworth, the other one, replied, “Yes. I am.”

“I… okay. Right. Hm.” Lockely was acutely aware of his tongue as he chewed on a bit of his own cheek. There was a moment of silence between the three. And then another. “Right. Well, good to meet you, Misters Bigglesworth. I had one more question, to expand upon what I asked earlier…”

Both of them replied at the same time, like the creepy twin children from that one movie whose title escapes the author at this moment and time, “Shoot.”

“What about…” He hesitated for a moment, “Magic? Like magic golden coins, have you heard anything about anything like that? Any rumors or stories or drunk guy ramblings?”

The two cats shared a glance at each other, then back to him, then back to each other. Lockely looked on with bated breath. Mr.(s) Bigglesworth rolled their eyes, then laughed. The one on the left spoke first, “I bet that other weird fox put him up to this?”

“You mean Karishard?” replied the one on the right.

“Wait, who’s Karishard?” asked Lockely.

The two cats looked at each other for a split-second and then laughed, turning their backs on him and walking away down the street.

“Now we know he’s pulling our tail,” said the one on the left.

“Why are foxes so weird?” asked the one on the right.

Lockely dejectedly sighed as they walked away. “Are… are you serious?” He called out to them. They kept on, not giving him another thought.

His ears perked to the soft padding of footsteps behind him, stopping instead of walking past him on the sidewalk. He huffed and turned, addressing the only person it could obviously be. “Jack, I hope you’re having better luc--” It wasn’t Jack. Heck, it wasn’t even someone he knew, but it was someone he knew... of. He took in the glare of his own reflection from a pair of dark, oversized wraparound sunglasses worn by a ferret.

“Mr. Milton. Sorry, am I in your way?” The fox casually stepped to the side into the grass to allow Keene free passage. It felt like his very soul was being examined by this pint sized polecat.

Keene pulled his glasses down just enough to peer over the frame, “Magical golden coins, huh? I think we need to have a talk.”

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Last edited by Lockely on Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:18 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I wonder if Keene had been following Lockely all day in the shadows because he had gotten a feeling he was another transformed human? Either way, this chapter came out awesome! Hope to read more from you!

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Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:38 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
I wonder if Keene had been following Lockely all day in the shadows because he had gotten a feeling he was another transformed human? Either way, this chapter came out awesome! Hope to read more from you!



If he's been asking around the neighborhood all day, then word likely would have gotten back to Keene. Especially since this story takes place right after the temple fell.

Another good part. I was getting nervous that you'd dropped the story. Keep it up!

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Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:38 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
You weren't the only one! I look forward to reading more of this.

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Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:17 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I appreciate your patience, thank you! I don't plan to abandon this story until it's come to a conclusion, so don't you worry. I just haven't had time that I did during the earlier chapters to actually write.

I'm very happy you all seem to enjoy it and missed it. Thank you!

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Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:32 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Hey, it's great to see some more of this! Good luck, Lockely! Write on!

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Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:11 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I'm hoping that we get the next part of the story soon!

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Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:43 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Working on it! This is the busiest time of year for my work, we're working under mandatory overtime so I'm pulling 60 hour weeks right now. I'll do my best to get at least one chapter out before it calms down in the fall.

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Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:19 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Well we will all be waiting for you so I hope that you remember that we are here and don't forget about the story or the forum!

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Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:05 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
As usual, work has been an absolute drag on my creative process and free time, but I finally managed to sit down and hammer this one out. Hope you all enjoy!

--------------------------------------------

Lockely had never seen Babylon Gardens like this. This, specifically being through the tinted windows of an SUV that likely cost more money than he’d ever earned cumulatively in his life. The houses and people looked different, somehow, less intimidating. Across from him sat the ferret, a big red bar hanging from his collar, just staring daggers. Lockely had assumed they were going to speak in the car, but Keene quieted him with a single finger and said they’d go over everything ‘at the house’.

The house was, of course, the Milton mansion. Lockely had seen it before, of course, who in the neighborhood hadn’t? But he’d never considered going into it, or even walking up the driveway that the SUV now found itself pulling into. His tail involuntarily thrummed against the seat, drawing an annoyed look from the ferret. The fox put a hand on it and stopped it from audibly flicking, giving an apologetic smile before asking, “So this is your place, huh?”

“Not exactly, but you could say that.” Keene flicked on his sunglasses as his driver opened the door. “We’re here, let’s go to my office, shall we?”

Lockely unbuckled his seat belt and slipped out of the car, hopping down from its height. He still wasn’t used to being so much shorter than he had been. “Okay, yeah, whatever works for you…” He didn’t know what the Milton heir wanted with him, but it probably wasn’t good. He followed Keene into the mansion in silence, down its massive halls to a room with an oversized desk.

“Come, sit. As I said, we need to talk.” He glanced to the driver who must have been working security as well, judging by their attire and the whole ‘following them through the house’ thing, “We’re going to need some privacy, please make sure no one bothers us.” The driver merely nodded and closed the door behind them.

Lockely had never felt more out of his element than he did at that moment, and that was saying something considering he’d been a different species a month ago. He did as he was told and climbed onto the chair opposite the desk, threading his tail through the hole in the back as he sat with his fingers interlaced on his lap. He waited for Keene to break the silence.

The Milton ferret didn’t waste any time doing so after climbing into his own chair behind the desk and pulling out a stack of files, flicking a few of them open. His sunglasses had seemingly vanished, but he made no mention as he went to business. “So, you’re Lockely, right? Don’t answer that I already know all about you.” Keene flipped around a few of the files and pushed them towards the other side of the desk where the fox could see. “Just moved into the neighborhood a month ago? Strangely domestic fox that I just couldn’t seem to find any record of a G.O.E. certificate on… why would that be, Mr. Lockely?”

The fox sat in silence and shock, this was it, he was getting ratted out to the police or something. They’d drop him off at the zoo or in the middle of the woods three states over or worse. Probably. He didn’t know how any of this worked. “I--I’m working on it. I’ve been studying, from your book even! Please, I’m trying my best…” His voice lowered to a whisper.

“Your best? Does your best include stealing gold from a family treasury?” The light from the window seemed to illuminate him in shadow almost as if the ferret had a ‘dramatic effect’ button he’d just pressed. “Isn’t it also true you used to be a human, Mr. Lockely? Or did you just assume someone else’s identity when you got your just deserts from my father’s treasure?” Keene flipped open a few new files, showing him photos of himself as a human from his Facebook page, rental records for when he moved out of his apartment, pictures of his old ID.

“How did you even get…?”

“You think I can’t afford a private eye to follow the trail of the sloppiest thief in Babylon Gardens?”

He started to shake, putting his hands onto the photos, “No I didn’t mean... Listen. I’m not a thief, I swear to you. I found the coin on the sidewalk… I-I didn’t even know what it was!”

Keene propped his head up with three fingers and stared blankly at the panicking canine across the desk. “A likely story. You wouldn’t even be the first thief we’ve had to deal with this year. How’d you get back into the Temple? Who was working with you? Was it Steward who put you up to this?”

Lockely just continued to look at the receipts of his old life, his voice as small as he felt. “No… I don’t even know what you’re talking about. There was an earthquake and then… it just fell to the ground in front of me. I swear to you, I’m telling the truth. I just wanna be normal again...” Tears had begun to fall on the notes, and Keene pulled them back from under Lockely’s paws and flipped them closed. Couldn’t have his evidence getting wet. Lockely begged, “Please, I’ll do anything to prove it to you. I-I accidentally did this to my best friend too. We-we-we buried the coin in a coffee can in the yard so no one else could get affected.”

Keene sighed, hopping off the desk, “Okay, let’s say I take your story as true.” He continued as he walked around it towards Lockely, still in the chair, mid-apologetic panic attack, “And let’s say I might even have a way to help you, what are you willing to do to prove your sincerity?”

Still in the chair, Lockely took off his glasses and wiped away at his eyes, “You can have it back I don’t care, I just… I’ll do anything, okay! I’ll take the G.O.E.s like I was planning to. I’ll keep quiet about your secret magic coins. I’ll even show you where and how it happened. I just… I just…” He felt a click behind his neck, and before he could react, Keene had taken his collar and was holding it up. “Let’s start small. You need to earn this, and since you were a human, you should be able to pass those exams with ease-” Keene snapped his fingers, and the security escort came into the room, taking the collar away with a nod, “I’ll have him hold onto that for safe keeping. For now, I have a little test of my own I would like you to do.”

The fox weakly reached a paw out as he watched his one piece of freedom get carried away again. “S-sure. Yeah. Whatever you want…”

As he looked back to the ferret, Keene was standing in front of him, sunglasses once again on his face, holding a clipboard with a legal contract on it and a space for Lockely’s name at the bottom. “Sign here please, and we can get started.”

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Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:21 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Good job! Hope everything turns out well for Lockley!

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Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:13 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Wonder if it's a Bitcoin?
Don't sign without a lawyer reading first, Lock … and NOT Mr. London!


Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:22 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Really great job with this chapter! I was worried that you had abandoned this because you don't have anymore free time.

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Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:10 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
NHWestoN Wrote:
Wonder if it's a Bitcoin?
Don't sign without a lawyer reading first, Lock … and NOT Mr. London!


GMTA West, I was thinking the same thing about a lawyer, and a competent one at that. I wonder what Keene has in mind.

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Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:20 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
NHWestoN Wrote:
Wonder if it's a Bitcoin?
Don't sign without a lawyer reading first, Lock … and NOT Mr. London!


Heck, don't sign that without himself reading it first! Keene hasn't even told him what it is he's signing. Could be a contract to be a zoo exhibit or become the property of the Keene estate for all he knows.

Another good part. I'm glad that you're staying on top of this!

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Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:46 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I think even if Lockely asks Keene for a lawyer, he'll get one of theirs instead of one he can choose himself that has his best interests at heart and the Milton lawyer will trick him into thinking its an OK deal.

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Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:46 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
It's honestly a lot of fun to see you all speculate what's going on! :D I've got a few ideas popping around in my head for the next bit, I'm going to get at least an outline down for it my next off day and then we'll see how it goes from there. Oh, and Amazee, I'm definitely not abandoning it. I have an end for this whole bit planned out, and I plan to get there at the very least!

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Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:21 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
No urgency - good stuff's worth the wait... ;)


Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:59 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
As long as you aren't stopping the writing of the story, I know I can wait as long as you need me to.

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Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:39 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
“Keene, is this really what you’re going to have me doing for ten weeks?” Lockely asked, stapling another packet of blank papers together and dropping them into the bin on the desk.

The ferret sat arms crossed in an oversized chair watching from behind his black glasses. “Not just this, no. But you’re my guinea pig---fox.”

“What for? What’s your plan here?” He stopped stapling and crossed his arms, staring at Keene. His tail swished back and forth in annoyance.

Keene snapped his fingers and a man wearing a bespoke suit standing behind him, who Lockely sure as heck didn’t see enter, began speaking to him. “Well, Mr. Lockely, I will remind you that one of the papers you signed was a legally binding Non Disclosure Agreement. Therefore, if you speak about anything you see or hear on these premises while under contract, you’ll find yourself so deep in legal trouble that you’ll wish you’d just chosen a life at the Zoo. Do I make myself clear?”

Lockely rolled his eyes, “Yes, Mr. Lawyer Sir, for the tenth time today, sir. Seriously, where do you even keep coming from?”

“That’s under an NDA as well…” He looked to the ferret in the chair, “Mr. Milton?”

Keene leaned forward with his head propped up in his hands, “Lockely, you are here to help me build a program for the ECP.” He stared at the fox, waiting for a response. After a moment not receiving one, he leaned back into the chair and flourished a hand as he spoke, “Yes, yes, I know I stepped down and put my sister in charge, buuuuut… well, I’m going a bit stir-crazy without something to keep me busy. So, you’re going to test it.”

Lockely tapped his paw impatiently, “What is ‘it’ though, what crazy scheme did you rush me through signing up after you took away my freedom.”

His lawyer interjected, “Mr. Lockely, may I remind you that you were free to leave the premises at any time and you signed an affidavit stating that you were not under duress when volunteering to be part of Mr. Milton’s program?”

He pinched the bridge of his muzzle and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. “You realize how suspicious it is that I even had to sign that thing? Like, who is even going to believe me anyway? I’m a wild animal.”

Keene jumped out of the chair, “Exactly! And that’s why you’ll have the chance to join the ECP after helping me with this! You’re training for life in the Real World after the ECP helps you get on your feet! We’re frankly doing you a favor to help you with finding a job and other things once you’ve passed your GOEs.” He paced around the annoyed vulpine.

Lockely threw up his arms again, “Fine. Fine… But this,” he waved back at the table filled with blank packets and a stapler, “This is ridiculous. Have you ever worked a day in your life?” He flailed his arm at it, never breaking eye contact with the ferret, “Do I have to teach you how this works?”

Keene was now holding out yet another contact, “Well it took you long enough to offer.”

**********
Several Weeks Later...
**********

Lockely looked over a clipboard with a pen hanging out of the corner of his muzzle. He stood at the end of a long table now filled with a row of computers on each side. Through a glass wall at the end of the room, a small classroom could be seen with a projector set up. At the other end of the room, counters with a series of stoves and ovens were being installed. He gathered the pen up and began to walk around, taking stock of everything and checking things off. He nearly tripped over a pair of rabbit ears that were sticking out from under the table as he brushed them with his paw.

“Hey, fox boy! Look where you’re goin’, eh?” The head attached to the ears poked out from underneath the table. Unsurprisingly, it was Jack’s. “Remind me again why I’m the one connecting cables and you’re holding the clipboard? Didn’t you get a degree in this?”

“Certification, and my tail kept getting tangled up in all of the cables. Seriously, take your eye off it for one second and it’s all wrapped up like a christmas tree.” He snickered and checked another box off. “Once you’re done down there we can test the connections an-”

“Hey, I’m not paying you to stand around a chat!” The doors swung open and in walked Keene.

Lockely shot the ferret a glare over the brim of his glasses, “You’re not paying me at all.”

“Details. How’s it coming? We ready to test?”

He shook his head, “Not yet, but I think I got a curriculum ready.” He motioned to the different parts of the room with his pen as he spoke. “We’ll teach folks basic math, how to handle their taxes, and reading slash writing over in the classroom. Here at the computer lab, we’ll give them an introduction to the internet, how to build a resume, and for those interested, how to apply for further education so they can get a good job. And finally, over in the kitchen, we’ll go over some basic recipes and how to cook.”

“And you’re sure this will be worthwhile?” Keene asked, hopping up onto a computer chair and swiveling around once before facing Lockely.

“Way better than stapling papers and taking out trash bags, though Lockely needed some practice with the latter one,” came a comment from under the table.

“Hey!”

“It’s the truth, roomie.”

The fox growled in annoyance but rolled his eyes, “Anyway… all we need is a few teachers and you should be set to take on your first clients, whomever they are. I assume you’ve reached out to some of the feral folks?”

Keene crossed his arms, “No, not yet. My first clients are already here. You designed it, you test it. If I’m satisfied, you’ll have fulfilled your contract and we can talk about where to go from there.”

“I-- but it’s a ten week program! I’ve already been doing this for seven!” He heard someone’s throat clear from the other side of the room. The lawyer was there again. Seriously how did this man teleport? What other secrets did he hold? “Yeah, yeah, I know, contracts, NDA, blah blah.”

Jack’s head popped out from under, “I don’t have to do it, right?”

“Nope.”

“Sweet.” His head went back under.

Lockely felt his soul attempting to escape through the pads on his feet. A deal with the devil felt as if it would have been more fair at this point. He tapped his pen back onto the clipboard, ’Ten weeks. I can do ten weeks. Easy.’ He sighed and went back to checking things off, ‘Besides, it makes sense I’m the first through. Gotta make sure it’s right! Ten weeks. Ten. More. Weeks.’

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Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:33 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Working for Keene would make anyone weary. Hang in there, Lockley! Keep up the good work on this .

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Last edited by trekkie on Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:36 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Still very much enjoying this fanfiction! Please keep on writing!

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Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:24 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
Still very much enjoying this fanfiction! Please keep on writing!


Thank you!! I appreciate all the support you've all given. I enjoy writing it. Great news on that front as well, I've planned out the rest of this particular arc and know the rest of the story beats. In super excited to write them and then see where we'll go with these characters afterwards!

trekkie Wrote:
Working for Keene would make anyone weary. Hang in there, Lockley! Keep up the good work on this .


I feel like Keene is probably both the best and worst boss. He's rich and also a ferret so you can get away with a lot of stuff, but he's probably also incredibly in your business about it all. Just the vibe I get.

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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
The ten week trial period for the newly branded ‘Fresh Start Education Initiative’ went faster than Lockely expected. He hadn’t foreseen a ton of issues so going through let him focus more on fixing what was wrong than actually participating. All the material covered (except for the cooking lessons, which helped immensely once they got the smell of singed fur out of the room) were things he knew. He had just finished turning in his final exam and leaned back in his chair, putting his paws up on the table and basking in the glory of oncoming freedom.

The time had helped in other ways too. He’d spent so much time focusing on getting all of this right that he didn’t notice the changes in the way he carried himself. He stopped worrying about catching his tail in doors or adjusting it for sitting down. He no longer noticed the feeling of his ears every time they swiveled to pick up noise. And he even looked forward to the feeling of the breeze bristling through his fur. It just all felt natural to him. He did still miss shoes, but paws made them rather uncomfortable to wear. ’What if-- Pet shoes?’ Maybe he could invent those next! That was a thought. ’Man, I’m on a roll. He grinned to himself.

The doors swung open and he pulled himself upright, awaiting his results. Keene and Mr. Lawyer, whose name he still couldn’t figure out, had entered. Without delay or even basic formalities, they marched across the room with a collection of papers in hand, placing the graded packet in front of him.

“A ‘C’? How in the world did I get a ‘C?’ I built this!” Lockely looked back at the two incredulously. “I’m a human, how did I not ace it?”

“Hey, you’re the one who has to live with that question, not me.” Keene shrugged, “Anyway, you technically passed so a deal’s a deal. Besides, if it gave you trouble, that must mean it’s good. So...” He called out to the hallway behind him. “Breel, dear, could you bring the stuff in?”

The head of a brown pine marten peaked around the door, followed by his long thin body. He was carrying a black box with a white ribbon wrapped neatly around it. It looks positively fancy. He happily bounded over and offered the box to Keene, who took it with a nod (and a small peck on his cheek), and then held it out to Lockely. He tried to grab it and then the ferret pulled it back out of his grasp, holding up one finger.

“This here is yours as long as you do one last thing for me.”

Lockely cocked his head to the side and raised a bow, “And what would that be?” He thought he was finally done, but there was always *something* more with this ferret.

“I need the coin back. It does belong to my family, and I would like it back. Call your friend and tell him a car will be waiting outside to pick him up.” Keene gave a smirk.

The fox crossed his arms and deflated like bicycle tire after running over a tack. “Sure. Okay. But, it’s going to be a little while. We, um, well, we stuffed it into a coffee can and buried it in the yard. I didn’t want anyone else to get changed.”

Keene let out an annoyed sound, “Yes, yes, you’re so responsible. Remind me, your friend, was he always a rabbit?” The Milton heir snickered and clapped his paws together, “Well, chop chop, and tell him to hop to it. It’s not going to dig itself up.”

“Okay, okay, alright gimme a minute.” Lockely grumbled and went to give Jack a call.

----------

It was a few hours before Jack arrived. The rabbit marched in with heavy footfalls, bits of dirt still caked in his fur. “Hey dummy, catch.” The coffee can went soaring through the air to Lockely who immediately fumbled it in his clumsy paws, sending it clattering to the ground. Stale coffee beans scattered across the floor as the cheap plastic lid popped open on impact. A single golden coin rolled out, coming to rest in front of Keene’s paws. He simply knelt down, gathered it, and held it up to the light admiring his own reflection back from it.

“Yep, this is definitely one of them.” He pocketed the coin, somehow (Lockely stopped asking how these things happened), and offered the black box to Lockely. “Alright then, this is yours.” Jack continued to look annoyed at even having been called here, but he stepped around the mess over to his friend, still brushing dirt out of his fur.

The fox carefully handled the box like one might a ticking time bomb. He unwrapped it with careful precision. There was no knowing what was inside, no way to predict wh-- Ohhey it’s his collar! He quickly shucked off the top of the box into the mess of beans and snatched it out! He’d never been happier to see a piece of glorified neck jewelry in his life, a thought which briefly concerned him at how comfortable he was getting with this whole situation.

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” He jumped in place, nearly spilling the remaining contents of the box on the floor.

“Don’t thank me just yet, you might want to check the rest of it.” The light caught Keene’s sunglasses in that weird anime-esque way again.

Lockely stopped and set the box down for a moment, taking a second to fasten the collar around his neck, before rustling through it. There were two envelopes, one addressed to him, and one to Jack. After passing Jack his, he traced a claw across the top, slicing it open and extracting the letter.

Quote:
‘ Mr. Lockely,

For your honest and earnest contributions towards improving the lives of your fellow animals everywhere, the Milton family offers you a position within the Equal Chance Program. Additionally, we wish to retain your consultation services for the Fresh Start Education Initiative.

- Lana Milton

-PS you still need to do the GOE, sorry it’s like, a legal thing.
-PPS Jack is welcome in the ECP too. ‘


Lockely stared at it at a loss for words. He hadn’t noticed the wet drops staining the letter until Jack gave him a pat on the back. “Hey, you okay?”

“Y-yeah man, I think I’m gonna be okay.” He wiped his eyes and snout before addressing Keene, “So, this is it right? This isn’t a joke, or some prank, and your lawyer isn’t going to teleport in and tell me I’m actually getting sued, right?”

“You’re not being sued, Mr. Lockely.”

Lockely jumped in his skin as the lawyer spoke from directly behind them. He gripped his chest as his fur poofed out on end.

“Don’t DO THAT!”

“You’ve actually turned out to be a valuable asset, and it’s the least we can do. Don’t think it’ll get any easier to work with me, though.” Keene mentioned.

Jack piped up, one of his paws thumped against the floor, “So like, that’s it? All this for a consulting gig and both of us get into your family’s program?” He crossed his arms, “You’re not hiding a way for us to turn back if we do some secret quest for you or something? I am going to need to actually go into my own office eventually and…” he motions to his body, “This is going to be hard to explain.”

“No, we--” “-Actually, we might be able to do something.”

Keene snapped around to see his sister, Lana, joining them. “Hi. Hello. Lana Milton, heir to the Milton fortune and administrator of the Equal Chance Program.” She was carrying a clipboard and tapping on it, “So, formalities out of the way. After hearing about what happened to you two, I got to thinking. Our dad might have planned for something like this, right? So I did some digging and found some notes, which led me to other notes, which led me to a safe deposit box.”

She held up the note from the board, showing a map of the house and a few arrows pointing down into the sub levels. “Dad had kept a few countercurse scrolls under lock and key, just in case someone accidently tried to spend the gold.”

Lockely was bouncing in place again, but Jack spoke up first, “Go on! Where are they?”

With that she grimaced a bit, holding back her words, “Weeellllllll---- I went to retrieve them, but….”

“...but?”

“....but the safe was empty, aside from, you guessed it, another note. Here, you best read it for yourself.” She held it out and the three crowded around it.

Quote:
‘Greetings potential former human! I don’t know how these got here, but I’ll be taking them back for safe keeping. Henry knows how to find me if he needs them.

- Pete’


Lockely stared at it for longer than the two before he broke the silence.

“... who’s Pete?”

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Last edited by Lockely on Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:55 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Who indeed? Guess you're 'bout to learn...... ;)


Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:58 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I like where this has been going. Seems like we are entering a new chapter of this saga.

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Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:01 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Poor Lockely. One step forward and two or three steps back. I sure do hope he doesn't have a nervous breakdown.

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Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:42 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Okay, I’m legitimately nervous for Lockley now. Keep up the good work!

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Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:12 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
NHWestoN Wrote:
Who indeed? Guess you're 'bout to learn...... ;)

;)

Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
Poor Lockely. One step forward and two or three steps back. I sure do hope he doesn't have a nervous breakdown.

Eh, he's okay! He got put through the ringer but he's out on the other side better off than he started, and now there's a new mystery to solve with maybe a fix at the end!

dr_eirik Wrote:
I like where this has been going. Seems like we are entering a new chapter of this saga.

trekkie Wrote:
Okay, I’m legitimately nervous for Lockley now. Keep up the good work!

Thanks! I've got this week off for vacation so I'm actually working on the next part now. We're coming up on the end of this particular arc, and then I'm gonna take a break and see where all this stuff with Marion and Lois goes before diving back into these characters' adventures.

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Last edited by Lockely on Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:44 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Is it possible that you are gonna add them into the story as well?

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Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:44 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Not yet at least, but I'd like to know what's going on with them as a few of my future plot ideas hinge on lore yet unwritten. I also feel like with the time skips I'm getting awfully close to the time of the current arc, so I want to reasonably resolve at least the current stuff before I push it forward any further. I'm super happy with the plot beats I have planned out to finish this arc though. Expect the next part this week!

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Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:00 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I will be on the lookout then for the next part of this and await it with bated breath!

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Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:39 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
King was having a good day. He and Bailey had taken the pups out to the park, they’d had lunch at his favorite place, and they’d settled down for a cute movie night on the couch after they tucked the pups in for bed. Popcorn ready, movie queued up and --

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

Three sharp, small raps came from the door. King groaned. It was after 8PM. Bailey moved to get up but he put a paw out to stop her. “Not tonight. It’s our night. Ignore them and they-”

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

King sighed and sunk into the couch, he could hear mumbling on the other side of the door. “See, they’re probably talking about le-”

*BAM BAM BAM*

A much bigger, meatier fist knocked now, shaking the wall the door was attached to. There was crying upstairs and Bailey shot King a glance and hopped off the couch to settle the pups. King dragged his paws down his face and grimaced, marching over to the door. He swung it open, saw Keene standing there with what looked like a discount Karishard, and a beefy chaufer man, then immediately closed it in their faces. Nope. Not dealing with the Miltons today.
He turned and headed back towards the steps, intending to offer Bailey help with the pups when the phone rang. He rolled his eyes back and rubbed his temple, taking a moment to let it ring a few times before begrudgingly picking it up.

“What. <...> You’re kidding me. <…> How do you even know he’s not lying? <…> Okay hold on.”

King moved to the door and swung it back open, Lockely was now standing on the other side looking down at him with trepidation.

“You the one Keene’s talking about?”

Lockely nodded, “Mhm.”

“I need you to do something for me. Point to your ears.”

Lockely looked at him with a bit of confusion before bringing his hands up directly to the sides of his head… it took him a moment, feeling nothing but fur, before he realized what he’d done wrong. King sighed and hung up the phone, waving him and Keene in.

“Alright, you pass the test. C’mon in. How did this happen anyway?”

Lockely stepped through the threshold into the house, followed by the Milton ferret. “Oh, it’s a long story, we should probably sit down.”

**********
One Long Story Later
**********

“So what you’re saying is that if you find Pete, you’ll find the scrolls, and if you find the scrolls, you’ll be able to turn back to human?” King chewed on that for a moment, “Sounds like a great deal, but I should warn you that anything involving that griffin is anything but.” He uncrossed his legs and pushed himself up from the couch, turning towards the stairs, “But I have someone who I can ask, lemme just pop upst--”

“No need, I’m right here King.”

The heads of everyone immediately turned to face the sudden new voice that was clearly not in the room just a moment prior. Leaning up against the wall with one paw up was a golden fox in a plaid shirt.

“You!” Shouted Lockely, pointing at him as if no one else could possibly be staring in the same direction.

“Yes, me. Hello again Lockely. Having fun in this little adventure?”

King crossed his arms and his eyes darted between the two, “Okay, so I guess you already know each--”

“Yes I do! This is all his fault! I ran into him where I found the coin and he taunted me about it, then upped and vanished!” Lockely looked incredulous. His tail was swishing so hard it could serve as a wonderful powered duster, not that the King household needed it.

“Oh come now, I merely popped in to check on you and give you a sense of *mystery*. It was a stroke of pure chance that the treasure that Pete cursed found its way into your… paws.” He smirked.

King looked tersely over his snout at both of them, this was supposed to be a relaxing night in with the wife and suddenly he was getting pulled into cosmic nonsense again. “And where is Pete? I’d like to get back to my date night.”

“Oh, Pete’s a bit… indisposed at this time.” The kitsune looked almost amused with himself, or at least at the predicament his two immature cohorts found themselves in. Maybe Craig and Draig would enjoy a visit later.

“No. I refuse to accept that answer. How do I know you didn’t just throw that coin onto the sidewalk in front of me? How do I know you haven’t been involved this whole time? Huh?”

Tsk-tsk-tsk-tsk-tsk. I might come off as a trickster, but I do like you mortals. Right King?” Kitsune sounded almost hurt, or at least pretended to. “Besides, if I wanted to make your life hell, I surely wouldn’t have turned you into something as mundane as a fox. I’m quite fond of them myself, and there’s a whole universe of things far worse.”

The corgi across the room gave an agreeable nod, “Honestly, it’s probably somehow Pete’s fault. It’s always Pete’s fault.”

Lockely continued staring angrily at the kitsune, not budging an inch. “Prove it. Go get me one of the scrolls so I can turn Jack and I back.”

Kitsune finally stepped forward from the wall, “Well, that might take some time. I’ll have to talk with Pete and, like I said, he’s a *little* busy right now. But,” he scratched under his chin for a moment before smiling brightly, “Let me prove my sincerity. Lockely, walk with me.” He waved the other fox on and stepped through the door, holding it open on the other side for him.

Lockely looked at both Keene and King, both of them giving him nods of approval. He took a deep breath, focused, and tread outwards after him. It was only once he stepped through the threshold that he realized something was amiss. It was quiet. Deeply quiet. Unsettlingly quiet. He looked around and he was no longer outside King’s house, but standing in the forest. Behind him, the door was gone. As was Kitsune.

“Oh come on now! How is thi--” “SHH!”

Glowing red eyes appeared to his right along with the voice, it spoke in whispers. “Settle down, I don’t really like doing this weird time junk, but I have a feeling it’s the only way you’ll understand.”

Lockely lowered his voice to match, “Weird time junk…?” He could feel himself being compelled to follow instead of simply getting an answer. Outside the crunch of leaves under his paws, he heard almost nothing, other than the slight sound of cars passing in the distance. Wait. He didn’t… Lockely tentatively walked forward towards the break in the tree line. He could see pavement on the other side. A car drove passed. He could hear footsteps approaching and he ducked behind a tree, peeking an eye around to see.

A human man, mid-twenties was walking down the sidewalk. He had a scarf around his neck and he was bundled tightly into a jacket, sipping a way too expensive drink. The slight scent of peppermint hit Lockely’s nose before he realized who he was looking at, or more importantly, when he was looking at them. He covered his muzzle with a paw to keep himself from gasping and drawing his own attention. His past self stopped and he could almost feel the thoughts running through his head again. That it was too quiet. That he should head back home.

The ground shook and a deep crash echoed off the trees. A gust of wind pulled his doppleganger’s scarf, and attention away, but this time, Lockely knew better. He looked up, into the forest, and there he saw it. A coin, golden and glimmering as the rays of light filtering through the trees caught it in their beams, was coursing through the air. It appeared to come from a bit further in the forest, where a large mound of dust had risen. Bouncing off one tree, and then another, and another, it sailed it’s unlikely course right down to his feet. Well, his old feet.

*Tink, clink... tink*

He remembered this part, this is where it all went south. His former self’s attention was drawn to the coin and he raised his brow, he knelt to grab it when suddenly something slammed into him.

Like diving into a pool of water, Lockely could feel the skin of the world split for a moment. Everything felt off, weird, he tumbled to the cold pavement next to the sidewalk as a cup crashed to the ground sending peppermint mocha everywhere. He shook his head and pushed himself up to see if he’d succeeded. He glanced around, his other self was nowhere to be found. He pulled his hands up to his face and felt his cool skin under his fingers--- wait… skin?

He looked down at his hands in shock. They were hands! Not paws! Five fingers each! Skin! No fur! He quickly looked around and saw traffic coming, so he pushed himself up and onto the sidewalk, giving the coin a wide berth. The oncoming car slowed to a stop. Right. The policeman. He rolled down his window and called out.

“Hey, you okay son?”

Lockely smiled brightly, “Yeah just… took a tumble. My poor drink didn’t survive but I think I can manage.”

The officer nodded, “Alright, be safe then,” and rolled up his window, driving back off.

Lockely looked around once more, was he being punked? Did that actually work? He slapped himself across the face. “OW!” Yep, he felt pain. He quickly scooped up his now empty cup and made his way to the underbrush next to the sidewalk. Using the cup as a shovel, he dug a small hole, and then using a nearby stick, he pushed the coin into that hole and buried it.

“There. And now no one has to come across that anymore.” He wiped his hands off onto his jacket and it hit him. He had a second chance. It started out as a chuckle, then a laugh, and before long he was doubled over letting out months of frustration and anxiety.

“Keep it down out there!” came a voice from across the street, rudely interrupting his raucous victory.

“S-Sorry!!” he called back.

“Okay. Let’s go check on Jack and see if this really did work.” He put his hands in his pockets and started to head back down towards the neighborhood. For a moment, he felt as if eyes were upon him, and he stopped to look. He could have sworn he saw two red eyes blink out as he checked. “No, just my imagination.”

He grinned and he departed down the street.

Back in the forest, a pair of red eyes blinked into existence and watched him go. Something snickered, and then they vanished once more.

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Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:25 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I am gonna assume that this is a dream of some sort and he is still a fox right? Nothing is ever that easy.

Unless he can change back and forth without controlling it.

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Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:39 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Yeah, something tells me this won't be so easy. Kitsune is not well known for just fixing things.

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Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:16 pm
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