Uncomfortable in the Comfort Zone

by Stealthcat

Early Summer 707

The birds abandoned their bug hunt on the surface of the water when a creature suddenly emerged from the deep with a gasp. Stealth doggy-paddled to the river bank to rest his tired legs and he vainly attempted to un-block his ears. He dimly noticed the cream coloured paw on his soaked shoulder.

“Are you okay?” The beaver asked.

The cheetah nodded, “I don’t know how you talked me into this.”

Michael drifted with very little effort to the feline’s side, “Actually this was your idea, remember?” The beaver began nosing about at the tree roots on the bank, looking for something to wear his teeth on.

“Yeah, to use your full form. Like me.”

The beaver laughed, “I don’t really fancy running around in animal form, so we BOTH had to try something different.”

Stealth shook his head free of water, “It’s not like we’re in Euper... but what do you think? How do you feel now?”

The beaver grinned and fluidly preformed a back flip before answering, “Great! I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner, I never got around to it.”

“And full form? How’s that working out?” Stealth asked.

Michael shrugged, “It’s alright. It’s an experience but...” He shrugged again, “I can swim just fine like I am now.” He saw Stealth feign a smile and continued, “What’s wrong, Stealthy? Don’t like a good dip? I still can’t believe I haven’t done this before!”

“Heh, s-sorry, the water is a tad cold... and, well, wet.”

“No problem, you’re only a cat.” He winked and grinned.

“...There’s something I need to tell you, Mike.” Stealth said softly.

“That is?” He asked, still idly looking for a good root to chew on.

“Beavers have a great pelt.” The cat said and lunged.

Michael deftly evaded the feline, almost as if the water didn’t even exist. In a moment he was out in the middle of the river and called out, “I know there’s something you like about the water, wait there!” And with that he dived down, his large, yellow tail disappearing below the surface.

Stealth did his best to look down below the surface but the water was too murky. He anxiously warded his legs, fearing some odd attack.

The feline was startled to find the beaver resurface right next to him with a large, live fish in his muzzle.

Somewhere after diving down Michael shifted to his full beaver form as now a plaid animal regarded the feline morph. Stealth carefully removed the squirming fish from the beaver’s mouth after which point Michael scurried out and onto the bank where he reverted back to the form of a well built morph.

“Thanks.” The cat said, slightly bewildered.

Mike laughed, “Just get Olaf to cook it for you, better make it quick though, we get back to work in... two/five minutes or so.” He said and rose to his feet.

“Okay.” The cat said and then gasped, suddenly finding himself being pulled out of the river by the muscular rodent.

Stealth found a cougar by a small campfire, spilling out the water from a tea kettle. Like all the loggers the big cat’s large axe never left his side even on a lunch break. “Olaf!” When he saw he got the lumberjack’s attention he tossed the fish which was successfully caught in the empty tea kettle, “Do me a favour, cook that fast!”

Stealth turned back to the beaver and found him donning his clothes and chainmail again. “Well, it’s been nice meeting you, Michael, I need to get back to the keep with those papers.”

The beaver nodded as the cheetah replaced his own pantaloons. “Chief Tathom should have your quote ready now, just make sure he’s finished his lunch.” He warned.

“He could have done that before he started eating...” The cat mumbled.

“I guess, but then you wouldn’t have got me to shift and it’s only been five minutes.”

“And I would still be dry... but the smell of that fish frying is beginning to convince me it was worth it. You catch many fish?”

He shook his head as he hefted his axe, the other labourers beginning to stir. “With a rod, aye, this is the first time I’ve done... what I just did.” He opened his large jaws wide, exposing his massive and powerful incisors. “Heh, beavers don’t even eat fish anyway, I’m a herbivore. Then again I can still eat some meat, there’s enough human left in me for it.” He shrugged.

Stealth smiled, the scent of the cooking fish warming his body and his mood, “I’ll see you around some time, just don’t ask for an arm wrestle or another swimming session!”

Michael chuckled, “No, and don’t you ask for a race! But I will be getting back into the water again some time soon. Perhaps I’ll catch up with you; we can just have a nice game of chess.”

“Or checkers!” The feline joked and then waved goodbye, heading in the direction of the Chief and a nice, grilled fish.