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A Curious Coin Conundrum 
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Post A Curious Coin Conundrum
Hey all! As I'm still new to this forum, I was a bit apprehensive to share this here just yet (I've posted it elsewhere on FA), but I thought you lot might enjoy it! I've got at least a few more parts planned out, but after that I'll go where these characters take me!
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A Curious Coin Conundrum
Setting: Right outside Babylon Gardens, near the end of the Temple Crashers 2 Arc(s).

It hadn’t been a particularly good day.


Lockely trudged down the sidewalk, pulling his jacket tight against the breeze as the wind tousled his dark blonde hair. He’d gone for a walk near the forest as he had many times prior. It always helped clear his head, especially when he was feeling down. And buddy, was he feeling down. He’d been having issues with his creative endeavors lately. He was completely unhappy with his art, he felt his writing was amateur hour fanfic, and it didn’t help that what little energy he had to improve it was being drained by a tedious day job. Truth be told, he was just being hard on himself. Things weren’t so bad, but they were bad enough that it warranted a walk. And so, he walked.

The walk from his apartment in River Ridge down to the forest was a bit of a hike, but it did take him by his favorite coffee shop. He had a religious fanaticism with the place, stopping in nearly every time he was anywhere nearby. Today was no exception, as he sipped a peppermint mocha to warm his soul. Overall, it was a good route, a little out of the way but it did bring him near his buddy Jack’s place in Babylon Gardens. He took another sip of his mocha as a weird sense of unease prompted him to pause. It was quiet. Like, super quiet. Lockely glanced from his spot on the sidewalk, looking for signs of life, but he found none. No birds chirping, no woodland critters trudging through the underbrush, nothing.

“That’s really weird…” he thought, “I don’t like that. I’ve heard that animals clear out or hunker down right before natural disasters, maybe I should head b--?”

His thoughts were interrupted by a loud rumble coming from within the forest as the ground slightly shook. “That’s… not good.” The rumble intensified before a distant crash could be heard echoing off the trees, only to be responded to with that same uneasy silence. A sharp wind caught him by surprise, tearing his scarf off and tangling it within some nearby trees. He turned to go gather it when something coursing through the air glimmered in the sunlight.

*Tink, clink... tink*

His attention was drawn down to the ground. A small golden coin had landed onto the sidewalk and bounced, resting near his feet. He raised a brow and knelt down to get a closer look, reaching out with his free hand to gather it off the concrete. Pinching it between his index finger and thumb, the man shined brought it up to look at it closer, shifting it in the light to better make out the various details. It was interesting. Old. Definitely not current mint.

“I should show this t-”

The world suddenly shifted, his perspective shifted, and Lockely found himself floating in the air momentarily before gravity reasserted dominance. His hands suddenly empty as both his coffee and the coin crashed to the ground. A moment later, he followed, landing roughly on his behind, and more importantly, the fluffy new appendage that made its home there. “Ow! Dangit!”

Hold on, that’s not right.

He scrambled to his feet, suddenly able to feel the grit of the sidewalk under his toes. What had happened to his shoes? He looked down. No-- instead of his favorite chucks, he was greeted with... paws? He had paws! They were covered in a dark espresso colored fur with three digits each. He stumbled backwards before catching himself. Was he hallucinating? This couldn’t be real. He shook his head and went to rub his eyes, nearly knocking his glasses off his face when another intrusion made itself known. A muzzle, a perfectly boopable snoot, was suddenly perfectly in his view.

As were his not quite hands.

Shaking, he glanced back down at his new hand paws, he’d lost a digit on each, and now aside from being covered in fur like the rest of him, were tipped with small retractable claws. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, counting down from ten. Nine. Eight. Seven...

On Six he screamed bloody murder.

“What the ahhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-!

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

“S-sorry!!!” He called back.

“Okay. Don’t scream. Don’t panic. There’s a perfectly rational explanation for this.”

Lockely ran his hands through his hair, suddenly discovering his brand new tall, pointed ears. They’d been moving on their own, catching different sounds. The wind blew once more, and a chill ran through his fur. He instinctively went to pull his jacket tight, finally discovering that his clothing had all but disappeared, the lone exception being his glasses. His eyes darted around, catching a glance that his scarf still there, stuck in the tree. Was it higher than it was before…? God, had he shrunk? What even was he? He patted himself down, taking stock of his now russet and dark brown fur. A quick look behind at his fluffy, yellow tipped, still sore tail solved the mystery.


A fox.


He was a fox.


Why was he a fox?


What had he done to cause him to turn into a… the coin!

It’s golden glimmer shimmered from the sidewalk, as if taunting him. Maybe if he picked it back up he might--- nope, not turning back.

“Okay. Okay. O-kay… Not okay, nope. Not okay at all.”

The new fox breathed in deep once more, successfully attempting the counting exercise a second time. He had to get his priorities in order. “Ooookay. First things first. If I’m not going insane, I’m having the weirdest day ever. A piece of currency has turned me into a woodland creature, all my belongings are gone, and I’m on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.” He unsuccessfully attempted to place his hands into pockets that no longer existed several times before it stuck, and he groaned in frustration.

He turned to the tree, determined to at least gather what little he had left. The wind had carried the scarf a good six feet off the ground. Ten minutes ago, he’d have been able to jump and retrieve it, but now it looked like he was climbing. Unsurprisingly, his new claws made short work of the tree, and soon the fox wrapped his scarf around his neck and headed for the long trek home. Longer, because his legs were much shorter. The universe, however, was in a ‘kicking him while he’s down’ mood today, and he got not two steps forward before a police car rolled up the road. To make matters worse, the officer rolled down the window and began to look towards his direction. Panicking, he dove into the underbrush near the sidewalk, watching as the man surveyed the sidewalk.

“Great, just great. What does he want, he can’t be looking for me, right?” he muttered quietly. “There’s no way I’m getting back home like this.” He glanced down at his paws, flexing his new claws in and out of their sheaths. “A dog or a cat, maybe, but a fox?” He turned and looked deeper into the forest, pondering his options.

“What am I going to do now? Honestly, who’s going to believe me that I’m… me? If my phone hadn’t vanished, I could call an Uber and attempt to convince them to take me home, but noooo.” Subconsciously, he kept an ear pointed towards the police car listening for any activity. Satisfied he’d chased the wildlife off the street, the officer switched back into gear and drove off. Lockely sighed and flopped to the ground, sitting cross-legged whilst rubbing his temple.

“Okay, so, what are my options?” He ran his other paw through his head fur, “One: I can try to make it home through the city, though that would be a one way trip to the zoo if I got caught. Two: I can live here in the forest and eat pine cones or something. Or Three: I can go find a puddle to bury my face in and drown.”

Lockely huffed and crossed his arms, his tail flomping behind him angrily, “This all sucks.”

The wind picked up once more, carrying a branch from the underbrush he was currently hiding in directly into his face.


*THWACK*
The universe wasn’t dealing with pouty foxes today.
“Ow!” He rubbed his face in defiance where he’d been hit, before arguing with seemingly no one but Mother Nature herself, “No. I’m going to sit here and just die. That seems like the best option.”

*THWACK*
The wind carried the branch into him again, from the opposite side.
“How dare you.” He smugly closed his eyes and looked away from it. A ornery branch was not going to beat him.

*TH- THWACK*
He was hit from both sides now.
“Fine! Fine! I’ll go somewhere else. Keep your stupid bush! Ugh!”

He pushed himself up and crawled out, directly in front of the sign for Babylon Gardens. An idea immediately formulated in his head. “I wonder if Jack is home... I bet he and I can research this coin thing together.” The fox smiled as he started to cut down back through the woods towards the neighborhood, “If anyone would believe me, it’s him.” Once more, he looked at the coin in his palm, “I just have to make sure he keeps his hands off of this thing! Unless...” His new tail began to swish mischievously as other thoughts popped into his mind.

“A mystery is more fun when we both have a stake in it…”



Back in the forest, a pair of red eyes blinked into existence and watched the vulpine depart through the forest. Something hummed a little tune, and then the eyes vanished once more.


To Be Continued...

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Fri May 17, 2019 12:35 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Oooo, more coin shenanigans! I'm excited to see where this goes!

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Fri May 17, 2019 1:49 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
That coin does circulate … this story should be intriguing.


Fri May 17, 2019 9:01 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Well, we did in fact see a whole pile of coins, so this isn't Steward's, it's implied to be another thrown from the pile when the temple imploded.

I'm excited to post more soon, just giving the next chapter another pass or two!

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Fri May 17, 2019 3:03 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I really do like this story so far! Just a shame you aren't normally a fox. You are quite cute as a fox. XD

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Fri May 17, 2019 4:44 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Lockely Wrote:
Well, we did in fact see a whole pile of coins, so this isn't Steward's, it's implied to be another thrown from the pile when the temple imploded.

I'm excited to post more soon, just giving the next chapter another pass or two!


Then we must wonder how many others are in circulation. Bet the li'l dino-demon has something to do with these dangerous dinari…. !


Fri May 17, 2019 7:24 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Since we already got branches blowing in your face, now we need a pie blown in your face. XD

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Fri May 17, 2019 10:28 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
I really do like this story so far! Just a shame you aren't normally a fox. You are quite cute as a fox. XD


I usually don't start out a fox in most places, but the universe has ways to correct that :3

Anyway! Thanks for the support so far. Chapter 2 is ready, just waiting on the okay to post from a friend since one of his characters are in it! Hope to have it up by the end of the weekend!

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Fri May 17, 2019 10:57 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
We'll wait!!


Sat May 18, 2019 8:45 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I hope that it is posted soon! I am very much liking this!

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Sat May 18, 2019 1:55 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
“Ugh, could you-- to the left. No, your other left! Yes! There! No! Could you please stand still!” shouted a brown rabbit standing on the shoulders of a red fox. They were desperately attempting to pry open a window belonging to a small, nondescript townhouse on the outskirts of Babylon Gardens.

“I'm trying! It's not my fault that I'm unsteady on these paws.” The fox replied.

“No, but it is your fault we're locked out of my house, now stop moving!” The rabbit pushed up on his toes and gave the bottom of the window another shove, sending the fox off balance and both of them tumbling to the ground.

The fox laughed as he rolled himself upright. “True, but how was I supposed to know your door automatically locked behind you?”

“Well, Lockely, it wouldn't be a problem if you warned me not to touch that coin, instead of, I don't know, putting it directly in my hand!” The rabbit sat up and glared daggers at the fox.

Lockely shrugged, “I meeeean probably? But you gotta admit, Jack, you do make a pretty cute rabbit.”

Jack rolled his eyes and let out a sound of disgust before staring back at his friend, “I swear to God! Shut up and help me back up there.” He pointed back to the window, now partially cracked open. He angrily got up and stood impatiently under the window, waiting for his companion to give him a boost.

“Fiiine, fine fine.” Lockely pushed himself up and headed over, cupping his paws to give Jack a space to step on and raise up. The rabbit stepped up, then onto his shoulders, making it a point to accidentally dig his new claws in as he went. He gave the now free window another push and it slid clean open, then he used the fox’s head as a stepladder to clamber himself onto the windowsill.

He looked down at his companion, “Thanks, this is where I get off,” before turning and slipping inside, leaving Lockely to stand mouth agape as his friend vanished from sight.

“Um, Jack, aren’t you forgetting someone?” asked the fox, staring up at the open window. His question was met with silence. “Jack? You’re not going to leave me out here, are you?” Only the wind answered his query. “Dude, I can see your ears sticking up behind the open window! C’mon.” One of the ears twitched, but still no answer. The fox began to sound more desperate, “Bro you can’t leave me out here! I don’t have any ID, I’ll never survive in the Zoo I’m too soft and pasty, they’ll eat me alive.”

The reply back was short and curt. “The forest is across the street.”

“I-- yes, but I’m a city boy. I don’t even know a thing about wilderness survival. C’mon man, I’m begging you, lemme in,” and begging he was. It was almost pitiful, and most might take pity on him, but Jack had plenty of reason not to seeing as this situation was purely Lockely’s fault.

The rabbit turned to face his friend, glaring down at him from his suburban castle upon high. “It’s over Lockely, I have the high ground.”


**Swish-Kathunk**
The window slid closed.


Lockely stared up at the closed portal to salvation with a mixture of something akin to betrayal and abject terror. He held his gaze for a few moments, praying his lapine friend would return. "A joke, that was a joke, right? Ha ha funny movie quote... right?" But after more than a few uncomfortable moments, it became clear that it wasn’t. His head dropped towards his chest, and he sulked, moving to find a place to sit. He slumped against the corner of the whirring HVAC and the house, out of sight of the road and any prying eyes for the time being. Small droplets of tears began to stain the fur on his chest.

”This is all my fault. Dumb. Dumb. Stupid. Now my best friend hates me. What was I even thinking?”

He undid a bit of folding in his scarf and slid the coin out, looking at his reflection in its impossibly shiny surface. Burying it before it could hurt anyone else seemed like a good idea right now, but his thoughts were interrupted by someone clearing their throat. He glanced up, seeing Jack now standing over top of him, holding a set of keys.

“Jack I’m so sor--”

“Save it.” He crossed his arms and rolled his eyes, “Come inside loser, I ordered pizza.”

Lockely rubbed under his eyes, “You’re not mad?”

“Oh no, I am, but that’s not going to fix anything. What’s done is done. And you’re right. I do make a cute rabbit, butIfyoutellanyoneIsaidthat... I’ll kill you, bee tee dubs.” He offered the fox a hand, and pulled him up. “But as you’re aware, we’ve got bigger problems. So, inside, now.”


The fox nodded and followed behind, slipping into the house that was both familiar and alien to him at the same time. Everything was so much bigger now, it honestly felt a bit like Alice must have felt in Wonderland. After going to take his shoes off and remembering he didn’t have those now, he wiped his paws off and pulled himself up onto the now massive couch. He crossed his paws and stared at the ceiling. He sighed before speaking to his friend. “Seriously though, I’m sorry. I got so caught up in the thought that this would be more fun if both of us were like this that I didn’t even ask you.” Sliding himself backwards and upright, he scanned the room and looked to his friend, finally taking stock of the changes that had befallen him.

Jack was definitely shorter than he was, and while this was true when they were human, it was even more pronounced now. The top of his head was only up to Lockely’s chest, though his tall rabbit ears more than made up for the difference. His fur was a tawny brown, giving way to a cream color on his chest and underbelly, and an interesting almost shooting-star shaped fur pattern across his chest. His face, of course, had a lapine muzzle with a pink nose that begged to be booped and on top of his head, his fur had almost grown out to look like his old hair. Across his body, the two fur colors alternated, with his paws ending once again in the cream color. He’d hopped up onto the recliner across the room from the couch and was struggling with operating the remote in his new hands. It was obvious by his sitting position that though he did have a tail, he wasn’t having to adjust for it like the fox was. He’d also noticed, curiously, that rabbits didn’t have paw pads. Huh.

Jack turned on the TV and scrolled through some channels before settling on “It’s Always Cloudy in Pittville” and looked back to the fox, sighing and rubbing his head. “Lockely, bud, what you did was awful, and I’m not sure an apology is going to make up for it. But… I forgive you.” His eyes refocused out the window, “I did have a fleeting thought about what other friends to drag into this, but we really should lock that coin away for now. We need to get some of our priorities straight.”

Lockely nodded, “It’s crazy, right? Too much power in that thing. What did you have in mind?” He shuffled again in his seat, trying to get comfortable with his tail, sitting forward once more. “I know I’m pretty much screwed, but you could pass as a pet, just need to get you a collar.”

Jack was scratching under his chin, “That’s along the lines of what I was thinking, but we can do the same for you. Actu--”


*Ding-Dong*


“Ah, she’s here. While I was ordering the pizza, I called Nicole. Well, it’s her or the pizza guy.” He scooted himself to the edge of the human sized recliner and hopping down, “Either way, keep quiet, the less attention you draw the better.” The fox gave him a thumbs up in response.

Jack unlocked the door and peeked out, then pulled it open enough to greet the person on the other side. The voice was sweet and kind, “Well hey there little guy, is Jack home? I didn’t realize he’d gotten a rabbit.” He nodded and motioned for her to step in, opening the door wide enough to see Lockely lounging on the couch. “Or a… fox?” She closed the door behind her and locked it as she kicked off her shoes and made her way into the living room, exchanging glances with the two animals. “Jack? Are you home? Where’s Jack?” She peeked into the kitchen momentarily, before looking back at the rabbit expectantly.

“Nicole, I think you better sit down.” Jack broke his silence and motioned to the empty space on the couch near the fox. Nicole’s face went terse, and she raised a brow as she stared at the bun who clearly just spoke with the voice of her good friend. “Please, Nic, it’s a lot to take in, and more than a little unbelievable but, just... trust me.”

“O… kay.” She continued staring at the rabbit incredulously, making her way to the couch and sitting on it’s edge, clearly on edge herself.

The rabbit continued, motioning towards the fox. “Our friend here has a lot to explain, and for our safety, I need you to promise me you’re not going to tell anyone about this. Please?”

She nodded, “Yeah, of course!” She looked with obvious concern at both of them, before her focus returned back to the rabbit.

He sighed, rolling his eyes. “Why don’t you take it from the top, Lockely.”

Her head snapped towards the fox, slack jawed. “LOCKELY?!”


-------------------------
One explanation later, with pizza
-------------------------


“So you’re telling me one little coin did this. Can I see it?” Nicole asked, munching down on a hot slice of pepperoni and mushroom.

“NO”
Both the fox and the rabbit shouted in unison.
“NO”

“If you touch the coin, you end up like us, and if you end up like us, then we’re all screwed.” Jack explained, enjoying a slice that was clearly too big for his much smaller hands, “Nic, I called you here because not only do I trust you, but we need your help.”

“Okay, but what can I do, obviously I don’t have any way to turn you back,” she replied.

“We need you to adopt us,” came a voice from her right. Lockely was laying on his back, his whole body supine on the couch. He’d had his fill of pizza. “Jack will be easy, but I need you to arrange for me to take the G.O.E.’s. We can live here for the time being while we figure this out.”

“I’m not going to adopt my two friends. And what about your jobs? Lockely, what about your apartment? Your families?” She set her remaining pizza on the coffee table and crossed her arms, “Two people, both friends, disappearing on the same day is going to be conspicuous isn’t it?”

Lockely rolled over onto his front, propping his head up with his elbows and kicking his feet into the air like a teen girl on a TV show writing about her plans for world domination if she didn’t get asked out on Prom Night. “Well, I don’t speak to my family very often, and when I do it’s over the phone, so I can keep that appearance up. Jack's got plenty of space, so we can move my stuff here and it’s not like I need a whole bed anymore. As for my job? Screw it. I hated that job. Honestly, I needed a change of pace anyway.”

Jack gave an affirmative sound, “Mhm, and I can take a sabbatical off of work, at least for a short while. If you move in with us, you won’t have to worry about rent either. Just cover utilities and we’ll be set. I know it’s a big ask, but until we can turn back to normal, we’re kinda at your mercy.”

She closed her eyes and leaned back into the couch, sinking into it fully. Both of her friends stared at her, waiting for a response. After a few quiet moments, she sighed and threw her hands up. “Okay. I guess that makes sense. What about this? We’ll say that I’m pet sitting for you until you get back, that way we don’t have a big mess once you do get fixed. So in essence, you’ll have adopted yourself. How about names, aren’t people going to think it’s weird that you share the names you had as humans?”

Jack shrugged, “For me, just put a 'JR' on the tag, people don’t really pay that much attention. Lockely already sounds like a pet name, and we’re basically his only non-online friends.”

“Hey!” The fox, he doth protest.

“What? It does, and we are. Can it before we call you something dumb.” Jack made his way over to her and scampered up onto the couch to her left, outstretching his paw for a shake. “So, it's settled then. Temp roommates?”

She nodded and clasped his hand back. “Temp roommates.” She was unable to get a single shake off before both were tackled by a ball of orange fur from their right.

“Yeah! Roomies!” Shouted Lockely, crashing on top of them in a fit of laughter.

Jack sighed, one ear poking up from under the mass of human and fox that were currently weighing him down. “Ugh, don't tell me you’re starting to enjoy this.”

Before he could even respond, the weight on top of them shot off like a rocket and bounded down the hall, a patter of paws as the fox rounded the kitchen and darted into the living room, bouncing off the couch and then back towards the hall.

“Lockely, what in the world’s got into you?” Asked Jack, as he righted himself next to Nicole, both staring wide eyed at the orange blur as it dashed back out of sight.

"I don’t -- What? I can't hear you over my own heartbeat!" He called back.

Zoomies, not even once.

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Sat May 18, 2019 9:36 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
This is very well written. I love the characters.

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Sun May 19, 2019 7:36 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
trekkie Wrote:
This is very well written. I love the characters.


Thank you a ton! I'm having a blast writing them!

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Sun May 19, 2019 4:34 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I'm having a blast predicting what the next type of slapstick will be incorporated. XD

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Sun May 19, 2019 5:35 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
i have to say i absolutely adore the combination of eloquent prose and terms like "perfectly boopable snoot." this sounds like jerky sarcasm but i can't stress how much it is not, i genuinely love this writing. ALSO: i was going to come up with a pun on your/your protagonists name as an adjective relating to 15th century philosopher john locke but i couldnt think of anything sorry

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Sun May 19, 2019 10:54 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
I'm having a blast predicting what the next type of slapstick will be incorporated. XD


Not all of them will feature slapstick or physical comedy, but I'm going to try and keep an overall comic-like tone with some humor even in the sad bits. This next chapter is a bit melancholic, but it builds character.

biddyfox Wrote:
i have to say i absolutely adore the combination of eloquent prose and terms like "perfectly boopable snoot." this sounds like jerky sarcasm but i can't stress how much it is not, i genuinely love this writing. ALSO: i was going to come up with a pun on your/your protagonists name as an adjective relating to 15th century philosopher john locke but i couldnt think of anything sorry


Thanks! My favorite author is Douglas Adams, and I like to think I try and channel his ghost when I'm putting words to a page. And yeah, I stole his last name for a character once and it spiraled out of control until I had one called Lockely.

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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
----------
Roughly two weeks later.
----------

A large heavy book slammed down onto the kitchen counter with a pair of orange and black ears poking up from behind it. The chair in front swiveled, and the fox pulled himself up to sit. This never stopped feeling ridiculous. It made sense to him now why the Miltons had reportedly used some of their considerable wealth to build a house for some of the pets. He flipped the book over to his bookmark and started reading. His ears twitched and swiveled, catching onto the sound of someone approaching from behind.

“Still reading that thing?” It was Nicole, munching on a pop-tart.

“I have to, if I have any chance of passing these G.O.E.s I need to study up. I just can’t believe this manual is twelve hundred pages. This is supposed to be for ferals, isn’t it?” Lockely flipped a page and continued reading.

“Well, yeah, but honestly I don’t think most can read. They just go through the program?” She leaned on the other side of the counter and read.

“The program?” He stopped reading for a moment and looked at her directly.

“Well… yeah, it’s like a boot camp. I don’t even think there is a written test…”

Lockely placed a finger into the book to hold his spot, then flipped it closed to glance at the front of the book. In bold, friendly letters read the title, ‘The GOE and YOU: A Guide to Success for Living Among Humans’, by Keene Milton. He rolled his eyes and slid the book down the counter. “I paid $150 for that stupid book, and I’m sure there’s enough stray fur stuck between the pages that I’m not going to get a refund.” He slumped his head onto the counter on top of his crossed paws, sighing and closing his eyes. “I miss being able to dramatically lay my face flat on things…”

Nic chuckled before she reached over and pat him on the head. Despite first appearances, and the occasional burst of energy or instinct leaking through, he really hadn’t been taking the change well. Worse than Jack, actually, who had already replaced half of the furniture in his bedroom with pet friendly equivalents. “Hey, don’t worry, we’ll get through this. We’ll figure this out. Have you asked around yet about the coin?”

He opened one eye to look at her, “I haven’t even left the house aside from when we went to go gather my stuff from the apartment, and even that was terrifying.”

“Well, we won’t find answers in here, right? Hey, lift your head up, I have something for you.” She smiled at him warmly.

The other eye popped open and his ears swiveled forward, “What’s up?”

It took her a moment as she sorted through her purse, “I was going to wait for you to finish your GOEs before I gave you this, but honestly, it’s better you have it now.” Out of the purse came a brand new yellow collar, with a shining golden tag that resembled a stylized compass, his name stamped in the metal on the front. She held it out in front of him to take.

His eyes lit up like a christmas tree. “Is that… the Explorer symbol from Influx? Nic, I know they don’t sell these. BCSoft never even sold any merch for that. Did you have this custom-made?”

Nicole nodded, “Sure did! I knew how much that it meant to you, so I thought, if you had to wear something all the time, it might as well reflect something you love. Go ahead, put it on, I’ll probably have to adjust the strap.”

He reached forward and accepted the collar from her. As soon as he held it in his hands, his excitement over the thought she put into the tag was immediately sapped out of him. The weight of his situation fell upon his chest like a pile of bricks, threatening to suffocate him. "So this is it, huh?" His thoughts raced, "This is my life now. I get to wear this and pretend everything’s okay when it’s clearly, obviously not…" He knew this was coming. Sure, the collar would allow him to go around outside with less suspicion, but it felt like a betrayal. It’d only been two weeks since the change, only two weeks since he was human. This felt like it was resigning himself to this fate.

“Fine.”

He sighed, then pulled it on and fumbled with the clip at the back. Nic was quick to step in, giving him the final assist to click it into place. “There we go, now you can go outside. I’m not sure how they determine who’s already completed the GOEs, but I’m pretty sure this holds up under at least the most basic inspection. How’s it feel?”

Lockely tugged on it a bit. He didn’t like the way it compressed the fur around his neck and felt like a constant reminder of a brand-new shackle placed upon his life. “A little looser, please.”

She nodded and adjusted the strap, giving him a tiny bit more breathing room. “Can’t go much looser than that without it sliding all over the place. I know it’s uncomfortable, but you want it snug.” She ran her hand softly through his headfur. “It’s not ideal, but it’s just temporary. We’ll have you out of collars and back to normal in no time!”

His ears involuntarily folded back as she pet his head. Dang it, that felt good, but he wasn’t going to let her know. “Thanks Nic. Really, I appreciate it. It’s just...” He flourished a paw at the air as she scritched behind an ear, causing his whole body to shiver like HeatherFeather was suddenly dropping ‘sksksksks’ in his ear. Finally, he understood why pets enjoyed this so much. He shook his head, causing her to withdraw her hand. “Not right now... please? I… I think I need to go for a walk.”

“Do you want me to come with, just in case?”

He shook his head and slid off the chair, flashing her a smile. It was fake, but hopefully she’d buy it. “If this is supposed to give me some of my independence back, I gotta test out how this works alone, right?”

He opted to leave the scarf hanging on the coat rack, as much as he wanted to wear it and cover up the collar. “Tell Jack I’ll be back in a few hours. If I’m not, well, you probably know what happened.”

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Mon May 20, 2019 9:06 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I do so love how this chapter has come togetehr even if it is a bit sad. Great job!

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Mon May 20, 2019 10:32 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
I do so love how this chapter has come togetehr even if it is a bit sad. Great job!


Thank ya! I hope to have the next one posted by the end of this weekend, but I'm refreshing myself on the comic to make sure I write the canon characters properly when they're involved.

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Wed May 22, 2019 10:49 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I hope that you are able to write them in a satisfying way that you want!

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Thu May 23, 2019 12:11 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Aw, I feel like hugging the poor fox. Good job developing the characters. I could see Keene writing a book like that.

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Fri May 24, 2019 6:14 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I am enjoying this story more than I thought I might. Really a fun read so far, if perhaps a touch ominous in that last couple paragraphs.

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Fri May 24, 2019 10:23 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
A bit of a shorter chapter today but I'm happy with it. I'm glad all of you are enjoying it so far!

----------

A good walk can do wonders to cleanse your mind and calm your soul. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a good walk.

Lockely was on edge. The fox hadn’t realized just how many pets inhabited this neighborhood. Jack had made mention of how it was founded as “pet-friendly” but it didn’t sink in just what that meant until now. Even a feral with a collar seemed to be getting a warm welcome, attention he didn’t want right now. He’d unknowingly brushed off greetings from Peanut, Fido, and an off-duty Fox before he fled the neighborhood back to his normal walking path by the forest.

The whole experience was unnerving. He couldn’t just see or hear them better, he could smell them. His new, enhanced senses assaulted him. Every time the wind blew, he felt it ripple through his fur across his whole body. The ground had different textures he’d never noticed under his previously shod feet. Hiding inside for two weeks left him wholly unprepared for the sensory overload that was the outside world.

And so he found himself where this all began, walking down the sidewalk near the forest near Babylon Gardens. He walked to the very square of concrete where he’d picked up the coin and sighed. The forest was active and alive today. The world felt more connected somehow. He started to continue on when something white caught his eye from under the brush. Kneeling down closer, the mystery object became apparent, his disposable coffee cup from the other day. He reached out and gathered it up in his paws, his sensitive snoot picking up hints of the peppermint syrup still left over in the cup. He gathered himself (and the cup) back up and absentmindedly brushed the dirt off his fur. He may have forgotten his trash earlier, with good cause mind you, but he’d no excuse to leave it now.

“If you’re trying to hashtag-trashtag, you’re gonna need a bag aren’t you?” came a voice from behind.

Lockely nearly jumped out of his skin, he hadn’t heard anyone approach, even with his now oversized ears. He turned on his heels to find him face to face with another fox, this one with golden fur and piercing red eyes. They were dressed comfortably in a flannel button up over a t-shirt.

“Oh, uh, no I’m just cleaning up my mess.” He said to the stranger.

“A good start, but you’ve got a lot of work to do if you plan on doing that.” The golden fox flashed him a smirk.

“You know, that’s kinda rude.” He bit back, before the actual meaning of his statement sunk it, “Wait, what do you--” He stared slack jawed at the other fox. No… he couldn’t… could he?

“And besides, you needed a change of pace didn’t you? A little mystery, a little adventure…” The golden fox turned to leave, calling back over his shoulder with that same grin, “Or would you rather be taking calls in that stuffy office?”

‘Hold up how do you know about that?’ was what Lockely would have asked if the sound of a sudden car horn from the street didn’t drag his attention away. He snapped his attention towards it, ready to dive out of the way, but the street was empty. He immediately turned back towards the golden fox, only catching a glimpse of his spread of tails before he vanished into thin air.

“What?¿?” Lockely.exe has encountered an error.

“Did… he have multiple tails?” He continued to stare for a moment.

“Did that just happen?”

He looked back down at the cup, squeezing it a bit. It felt real enough, this wasn’t a dream, was it? He pinched his ear and yelped, nope, not a dream. “Okay. That was weird. Who was that?”

The fox looked around once more for any trace of the stranger. Finding none, he followed in his path back towards the neighborhood. Something strange was afoot in Babylon Gardens, and he had the nose to sniff it out.

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Fri May 24, 2019 12:05 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Part of me wonders which of the current cast reeks the most so that poor Lockely can stay away from them. XD

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Fri May 24, 2019 12:54 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Pretty fun read so far! I wonder how long it's going to take before all these "animals" form a support group. Seems like Lockely could use one.

Douglas Adams is maybe second only to Terry Pratchett in my list of favorite authors. Have you been tempted to add footnotes? xD


Sat May 25, 2019 12:24 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Golden, hm? I always thought of GKitsune as more cream-colored. Oh, well, have an appointment with the optometrist next week anyways. Keep up the adventure, Lockley!!


Sun May 26, 2019 1:40 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
This is an interesting story but I have to ask did I miss something? In the first chapter it ends with him thinking about how it'll be more interesting if his friend is dragged into it to, then at the start of the next chapter his buddy is already a rabbit and they are breaking into his house. Did I miss a scene where he turned him?


Sun May 26, 2019 10:47 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
so i see kitsune has taken it upon himself to complicate the Coinundrum further by confusing our protagonist...

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Sun May 26, 2019 10:51 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I think Kitsune should take a class on how to work a computer since Lockely.exe crashed. XD

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Sun May 26, 2019 11:16 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
I'm glad folks are enjoying it! Got a busy week coming up here, but after that I should have time to write more. I wouldn't expect any more chapters until next week at the earliest, but who knows, sometimes inspiration strikes at the weirdest times and you find yourself awake at 5am writing fanfic.

NHWestoN Wrote:
Golden, hm? I always thought of GKitsune as more cream-colored. Oh, well, have an appointment with the optometrist next week anyways. Keep up the adventure, Lockley!!

Considering he hangs out as a golden statue, I always saw his fur as a lighter shade of that. I don't think we have a canon answer one way or another.

Elwood Blutarsky Wrote:
This is an interesting story but I have to ask did I miss something? In the first chapter it ends with him thinking about how it'll be more interesting if his friend is dragged into it to, then at the start of the next chapter his buddy is already a rabbit and they are breaking into his house. Did I miss a scene where he turned him?


That chapter starts using a narrative device called "in media res", or translated: "into the middle of things." So the event takes place off screen, and then the actions and conversations of the characters are meant to inform the reader what happened beforehand. I thought I did a pretty good job doing that, but I'll have to make a better effort next time I use it.

Buster Wrote:
so i see kitsune has taken it upon himself to complicate the Coinundrum further by confusing our protagonist...


Sometimes you need a cosmic kick in the pants!

Coatl_Ruu Wrote:
Douglas Adams is maybe second only to Terry Pratchett in my list of favorite authors. Have you been tempted to add footnotes? xD


You have no idea. If this wasn't a forum post and instead being read along on actual pages/ebook format, I wouldn't be able to stop myself. Unfortunately, in this format they're way too distracting and force you to scroll down and up over and over, which isn't a great reading experience!

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Mon May 27, 2019 12:23 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
This is very good, I like how you describe Lockely’s experiences with his heightened senses.

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Mon May 27, 2019 9:04 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
You still need to figure out which pet reeks the most so Lockeley can get a whiff of them and then gag. XD

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Tue May 28, 2019 3:39 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
You still need to figure out which pet reeks the most so Lockeley can get a whiff of them and then gag. XD


If we're gonna be canonical, it would be Cilantro (Cory), but why be bound by convention, eh?


Thu May 30, 2019 9:04 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Notice that I said PETS so just limited to the neighborhood. :mrgreen:

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Thu May 30, 2019 11:41 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Lockely Wrote:
That chapter starts using a narrative device called "in media res", or translated: "into the middle of things." So the event takes place off screen, and then the actions and conversations of the characters are meant to inform the reader what happened beforehand. I thought I did a pretty good job doing that, but I'll have to make a better effort next time I use it.


Ah, okay. I'm familiar with that. I thought I just missed something. That effect still works well, it's pretty easy here to tell exactly what happened off screen between chapters.


Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:27 am
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Sigh... Can't wait `til this tooth quits hurting and I can munch on a poptart. Me and Craig, I guess.


Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:59 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
In my experience, tooth aches usually take a week to subside. My last one which I think was because of my gum erupting lasted 5 days.

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Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:10 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Still working on the next part, as my free writing time has been taken over by adulting this week, but I do have a small thing to share...

My friend drew Lockely and Jack!

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(Artist is Aelith Earfalas/P-Aei)

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Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:47 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Nice!

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Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:39 pm
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Post Re: A Curious Coin Conundrum
Awwwww. Lockely lost his clothes? Oh well. Is that coin around his neck the one that changed them?

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