Act 1 - Welcome To Bugaria

Episode 1a - Anne Or Beast?


Author Note: This is a new project I started for a few reasons. I really needed a way to fill the void during the hiatus after Amphibia's Season 2 finale, and I wanted a reason to write a Bug Fables fic cause I love that game so much! So, here's a fic combining the two series into one! While this will novelize a lot of stuff from both series, there's going to be enough twists and turns and new surprises to keep things pretty entertaining!

Discord Invite: nRZutkacQP


Ahh… the vast, wondrous land of Bugaria. This is but a peaceful and prosperous place where many adventurous bugs gather. Although… it wasn't always that way.

Lured by the promise of riches and lush fields, a young Queen visited these lands many moons ago. Together with her daughters and fellow ant servants, she established Bugaria's modest first settlement. Her people were happy, the Ant Kingdom flourished…

And yet, the Queen's dream had still not been fulfilled. For she had heard of an ancient people, who safeguarded a treasure of unbelievable power. It was none other than…

The Everlasting Sapling! A plant which would grant unending youth and strength to any who ate even one of its leaves!

She searched, and searched…and searched… and despite all her efforts, along with the hardships of losing what was most valuable to her… alas, she never found it. She entrusted all her dreams to the princess, before falling into a hard-earned sleep.

Determined to succeed where her mother did not, the new Queen rallied the people together under her cause. Opening the doors of the kingdom to bugs of all shapes and kinds, she attracted ambitious and skilled adventurers!

Her decree was loud and clear: "Find me the Everlasting Sapling, and you shall know wealth like no other bug ever has!" With this, The Explorers' Association was founded, with its many members searching across the kingdom for clues and treasure.

Even though to this day, the sapling has not been found. But every bug dreams of one day claiming it for themselves…

"…Or at least, those were the stories I was told in my land."

After finishing his decently long explanation, Kabbu took a deep breath. He might've missed one or two details, but he was confident that it was sufficient.

Kabbu, the 22-year-old rainbow scarab beetle stood in the Explorer's Association, located in the outskirts of Bugaria. It wasn't too terribly big, though the building was enough to serve its purpose. He wasn't planning on staying in this place or anything, but the space under the leafy stairs to the upper level would be enough if someone needed to sleep there for the night.

Kabbu's appearance was primarily emerald green, with a gray torso and large, dark green wings that he used mainly as a sort of cape. On his shoulders were a pair of white pincers, and atop his head was a large green horn. …He was eternally thankful that it'd never broken off.

"And despite many unfortunate incidents, tales of your people helped me keep my adventuring spirit alive." Kabbu added. It… was an understatement, to say the least.

He'd been talking to Maki, a mantis that was a bit taller than him. Maki had quite the ability with the blade, having been knighted by Queen Elizant II as her royal blade in the past. Maki's torso, arms, and legs were brown, and his eyes and wings, the latter of which he used as a cape, were red. He wore silver armor and wielded his signature teal sword, which was almost as tall as Kabbu himself.

"Rest assured, Kabbu. They are not mere legends, but real history." Maki clarified. "This Explorers' Association, and all the explorers who risk their wings for glory, are proof of that."

"Then, Sir Maki, would you consider my earlier offer?" Kabbu asked. He briefly saw a bee briskly walk past him behind Maki, but he didn't pay too much mind, focusing himself on the more important matter at hand.

Maki let out a small sigh before giving his answer. "Kabbu, I respect your passion. But I take missions of the highest danger. An unproven warrior is not fit to accompany my team."

"Unproven!?" Kabbu questioned, as if Maki's answer was a small stab in the gut. "Maki, I've bested many hardships in the north!" If he had to, he'd explain all of it to Maki… even if he might rather not to.

"Or so you say." Maki responded. "I understand, Kabbu. Your passion of our culture, and your passion for exploring are as true as my blade's edge." Maki then shook his head. "But, I would ask you to not press the issue - this is not the place to cause a scene."

"Ngh…" As much as Kabbu wanted to try and change Maki's mind, he knew his place and respected the mantis's wishes. There goes his plans… hm… now what should he do? He could always go back to Defiant Root and-

"WHAT? Care to say that AGAIN!?" Someone screeched from the other side of the room. It momentarily startled him, but not too badly.

He looked over to the other side of the room where the quest board was, and saw Eetl, a blue rugose stag beetle that worked in the Explorer's Association having to deal with a very feisty western honey bee.

"As I said, we cannot allow children to explore!" Eetl attempted to explain. "Much less Snakemouth Den!"

"I'M NOT A KID!" The bee yelled back, clearly not listening to what he was saying before they began arguing once more.

Maki audibly groaned. "…So much for that." Oh, the irony. "Would you accompany me, Kabbu? It is my duty to investigate."

"Hm? Well, if you insist." Kabbu said before walking over to the other side of the room with Maki. Apparently this quest wasn't dangerous enough for him to join, despite how loud the bee's screeches could get.

The arguing between the two bugs didn't look like it'd end anytime soon. Maki cleared his throat to try and get their attention, but it didn't work; they just kept arguing. Kabbu gulped… this wasn't gonna be pretty.

"Eetl, bee, lower your voices!" Maki yelled, finally shutting them up. "Now, what is the matter?"

The bee angrily turned to Maki, flailing her arms. "This guy's calling me a kid, says I can't explore!" She yelled, her frustration clearly visible.

"Shouting isn't going to change the rules, you child!" Eetl scolded, trying to explain for what probably was the thousandth time.

"Shut it. It's not about age, it's about skill!" The bee yelled back, not about to give up anytime soon. "I'm Vi, the best explorer the Hive has ever seen! I'm not just some random bee!"

"An explorer bee?" Kabbu asked, his curiosity piqued. Admittedly, he was a bit surprised at the notion.

"Yeah." Vi answered, crossing her arms in frustration. "Got a problem? Saying bees can't explore? Expected honey and paint?"

"Er, I didn't say that, but…" Kabbu slowly stopped talking, unsure of how to answer the multiple questions Vi suddenly proposed to him. This… wasn't really a good first impression for either of them, to be honest.

"Silence, please." Maki then cut in, stopping any more potential arguments. "This guild of ours is no place for petty squabbles."

Now that things were… more calm than before, Eetl let out a sigh. "Look." He said, addressing Vi. "I can't just give a permit to some bee. Much less without a partner. Teams should be at least a duo of explorers, you know?"

"I'm worth like four bees, okay!?" Vi yelled, once again getting angry.

Wait a minute… after Eetl finished speaking, a small idea popped into Kabbu's head. A team should be a duo of explorers, huh? He might regret this later, but… "…Hey. Vi." Kabbu spoke up.

"What do you want?" Vi asked with a huff, still annoyed.

From the few minutes that he'd spent with her, Kabbu could already tell how loud, boastful, and arrogant Vi was. Her appearance was like that of most bees, her body primarily yellow with black stripes. Around her neck was a fluffy, cream-colored collar and on the end of her abdomen was a black stinger. There were also a pair of translucent wings on her back, though he wasn't sure how much she was able to fly with them. Hm… Kabbu was already this far, there was no backing out now.

"Why don't we join forces?" Kabbu asked. "We both wish for a permit, yet lack a companion." As he said that, Maki's eyes lit up a little.

A frown formed on Vi's face. "What, do I look that desperate? I don't even know you!" She did have a point there, but…

"I have a promise I must keep, and for that I must explore." Kabbu explained, trying to get his point across. "How bad could it be?" Even if she didn't accept, Kabbu would be… fine. As long as he'd eventually get a partner to explore with, then he'd be able to keep that promise.

"Well…" Vi looked away, trying to ponder her decision. A smile popped onto her face. "It can't be worse than having to stay put. Deal."

Kabbu's racing heart slowed back to normal pace at hearing those words. …Well then, that just saved him a bit of trouble.

"Wait, you two are crazy!" Eetl tried to warn. "You won't last a second at Snakemouth!"

"I'll prove you wrong!" Vi yelled. Here we go again… But before Vi could start another argument, someone else spoke up.

"No." Maki said, getting everyone else's attention. Vi loudly sighed as Maki began talking once more. "You are both, most likely, mere novices, ruled by your strong emotions… I have no doubt that if you left today, you would return inside a bag."

"Sir Maki. Although you outrank me in spades, you shouldn't underestimate me." Kabbu said. "I…went through quite a bit to get here." For now, he tried to swallow down the memory of that day and focus on the present.

"Yeah. Bugs like you that look down on others are really annoying!" Vi agreed.

"Hmm." Maki said, coming to a decision. "Very well. I shall-" But before Maki could ever finish his explanation… the following events would prove to change Kabbu's life forever.

Without warning, two other bugs ran into the Association. Kabbu recognized them; he'd seen them and talked with them a little earlier. The first of the two was Cricketly, a tall female cricket. She… appeared to be a bit exhausted. Standing next to her was her husband, who looked scared out of his mind, about ready to fall over. He was Huscada, a cicada that was much shorter than his wife.

"H-Hey! Someone! There's an emergency!" Huscada yelled, immediately alerting everyone in the building. In a second, Maki's attention was refocused as he briskly walked over to the couple. This was urgent, that's for sure.

"A-An emergency!?" Eetl yelled, almost freaking out. He ran over too, Kabbu and Vi following behind him shortly. As Kabbu got to the front of the building, every other bug in the small building had already beat him there.

First there were Gen and Eri. Those two were ant twins that were nearly identical in appearance, the only distinguishable difference between them being their scarves; Gen's was blue while Eri's was green. They had joined the Explorer's Association, forming Team Ant.

Then there was Zasp, who was one of the few wasps to be accepted into the Ant Kingdom as an explorer. Though his exploration partner wasn't here right now, he indeed is part of an exploration team. Finally, there was Artis, an Orchid Mantis who worked at the Association, having the job of an accountant.

All these bugs were crowded around the door after hearing the loud proclamation. Whatever was going on… Kabbu did not have a good feeling about it.

"Hey, what's going on? Why are these two freaking out?" Vi asked, perhaps the most confused out of them all.

"You two." Zasp called out to Huscada and Cricketly. "Try to calm down and then explain what's going on."

Though Cricketly was starting to regain her breath, Huscada's eyes darted around as if he was about to bolt right back out of the building, unable to form words. Just what was he so afraid of?

"I'll… explain." Cricketly began. Everyone stared in anticipation as she began to tell her story. "So… a few minutes ago, Huscada was getting a bit tired while we were running the caravan, so we left it to Fuzzo for a little bit while we got some fresh air, so we went a bit further into the outskirts and-"

"There was a BEAST!" Huscada screamed.

"Wh-What?" Kabbu said in surprise, freezing for a moment. No, there's no way… That's impossible… "A beast?"

"What did it look like?" Artis asked, trying to glean as much info out as possible. "Did you get a good look at it?"

"I-I-I…" Huscada stuttered over his words, at this unable to form coherent sentences. Tears began to fall out of his eyes, and in an instant Cricketly scooped him up into a hug, keeping him close to her while comforting him.

"I wasn't able to see it for too long, as after Huscada saw it, he grabbed my arm and ran." Cricketly began to explain, lightly patting Huscada's head. "But from what I saw, it was this… gangly creature with incredibly thin limbs, but it didn't look any taller than any of us."

"It yelled something at us, that's how I was able to see it…" Huscada continued, shaking as he held onto Cricketly for dear life. "It sounded really angry, and then it began running toward us… I thought it was going to try and eat us, so I had to grab Cricketly and run!"

"And that's why we're here." Cricketly finished, pausing so everyone could take in the information.

"It's a good thing you did run!" Gen said. "Who knows what that beast might've done to you!? It could've even tried to eat you like you said!"

"Though it might not've been smart for it to try and eat you, especially if it was around the same size you were…" Eri pointed out.

As more and more info came out, Kabbu was put… a bit more at ease. His worst-case scenario had absolutely zero chance of being true, so…

"Everyone!" Kabbu called out to the others. "We must go out and stop this beast at once! Who knows what kinds of havoc it could be causing right now!?"

"W-Wait a second!" Vi said, sounding a bit terrified. "I'm not about to go on some wild goose chase after a freaky beast!"

"Hmph. If you're going to crumble at the first sign of adversity, then you clearly aren't cut out for exploring after all." Zasp commented.

Vi narrowed her eyes. "Hey, SHUT UP! Who asked for YOUR opinion!? I just wanted to go on an adventure, okay?"

"Vi, you have to be prepared for these kinds of adversity if we're going to be a team!" Kabbu reminded her. "You can't simply run away from all your problems!" While she didn't directly respond to him, she huffed and turned away. Did he strike a nerve?

"Though I'm but an accountant, I will do my best to help out." Artis said, striking a fighting position. "We all still greatly outnumber this beast, so as long as it doesn't have any allies or any other surprises, then this will be easy."

"It's in the western part of the outskirts, correct?" Eetl asked for confirmation, getting a nod from Cricketly in response. "Then it's settled! We all must hunt down this beast and capture it before anything worse happens!"

By now, nearly everyone in the Association was prepared to go after this fabled "beast". It was better to be safe than sorry when it came to this stuff, after all… But before anyone could go charging outside, someone who hadn't spoken up in a while stopped them in their tracks.

"Hold on, before any of you go running outside." Maki said. "As the Ant Queen's Royal Blade, I have come to an executive decision. I will be finding this beast myself."

"Wait, you don't mean all by yourself, right?" Gen asked, a bit worried.

"No, I will not be going alone." Maki clarified. He turned. "Kabbu. Vi. Only you two will be coming with me. Nobody else." Huh…?

"Wait, HUH?" Vi asked, an incredibly surprised expression on her face. She didn't think she could somehow get out of this, did she…?

"Really?" Kabbu asked, a bit surprised himself. "Er, I am a bit confused, though. A bit earlier you told me I couldn't join you on a potentially dangerous mission, so… why the change of heart?"

"We're on an unknown time limit, so I'll explain quickly." Maki said. "Initially, I planned on fighting you two myself to test you, to see if you were truly ready to earn your Explorer's Permit. However, the circumstances have changed, and your new test will be to take down this beast."

"Maki, are you sure?" Kabbu asked. He wanted to jump at the opportunity, but… it was hard to explain, this all felt a bit too sudden.

"Yes." Maki nodded. "This is the perfect chance to test how you'd fare in a real situation where you'd have to hunt a beast down. However, if things get too hairy…" Maki picked up his sword, holding it tightly in a battling position. "Then I will step in."

"Fine." Vi abruptly huffed. "Let's just go and get this over with already." Kabbu then nodded, also ready to take down whatever beast may be lurking about.

"Very well. Time is of a necessity, so we leave now." Maki said, before turning his attention to everyone else. "All of you, continue going about your business. I am sure that we will be fine, but if we are not back by sundown then inform the Ant Queen immediately." He turned back to Kabbu and Vi. "Let's go. Now."

Kabbu nodded before walking after him, Vi following closely by. They walked behind Maki, whom had a brisk pace as he walked down the large, flowery steps to the grass outside.

"…So uh. Hey." Vi said, trying to make conversation as they walked. "I never really 'properly' introduced myself, so… I'm Vi, I guess. From the Hive near the big tree."

"Oh! I am Kabbu. I moved in just one moon ago, from the north." Kabbu explained, also introducing himself.

"Cool."

"Indeed." Kabbu paused, not really sure of what to say next. "Eetl did keep calling you a kid earlier. How… old are you, exactly?"

"I'm 16, okay?" Vi answered, becoming increasingly annoyed with these types of questions as evident in her tone. "I just look like a kid cause I'm a little short."

"Ah. I see." Kabbu replied. The two were quiet, the uncomfortable silence slowly making things awkward.

The three of them walked to the west on the path that Cricketly and Huscada took. They were cautious, trying to look out for even the smallest thing that was out of place, but so far… nothing. But still, there was a… certain air about this place that didn't seem quite right. There had to be something lurking around here, it was just a matter of time until they found it or it found them.

Soon, they reached a giant rock to the side of them. It wasn't obstructing them or anything; it was just a big rock. The three were walking past it nonchalantly, when out of the blue, Maki raised his sword so quickly Kabbu almost couldn't see it.

In not even a second, Maki used his sword to block something that Kabbu nor Vi saw coming. It made a small noise as it collided with Maki's sword, sending the object flying in a different direction away from them.

"What the heck was that?" Vi asked to no one in particular. She and Kabbu looked around, trying to find the small object while Maki kept his guard up. Kabbu found something small jutting out of the ground, and Vi walked up to him to see what it was.

Kabbu squinted his eyes to try and see what it was. "Wait… is that-"

"A pebble." Vi finished for him. She couldn't be any more deadpan even if she tried. "Someone threw a pebble at us."

"Well, it must've been that beast!" Kabbu yelled, getting pumped as he got into a fighting stance. Vi looked at bit surprised at his assertiveness, but he kept going before anyone else could speak up. "BEAST! Show yourself! You won't be able to hide from us forever!"

The three of them looked around for any sign of movement, and when they heard shuffling behind a rock, all their eyes locked on it. They watched as a figure obscured by a shadow slowly began to try and climb on top of the large rock. The three bugs stepped back a bit, so that the beast couldn't suddenly jump on them so easily.

Just like Huscada and Cricketly had described, the figure was gangly, having thin limbs, and their shape was unlike that of any bug he'd seen before. Standing on the rock made them look taller from perspective, which was probably what they were going for. They appeared to be holding a large, long wooden stick with a pointed end that they might've carved themselves.

Kabbu prepared himself for anything, if the beast would try and jump them, attack them, or who knows what else, but… there was just laughter.

The laughter that came from the beast was harsh, not indicating any joyfulness whatsoever. It was feminine, too. Only moments after she began, she stopped.

"Thought you could get the best of ol' Anne, eh?" The beast asked, slightly waving her pointed stick around. "Well you di-" She slipped. "Whoa!"

In a turn of events neither he nor any of the others saw coming, Kabbu stood there as the beast somehow lost footing off the rock, screaming as she fell to the ground several feet away from them. Well then… this would make her a bit easier to deal with.

The beast groaned as she managed to stand back up, shaking herself off a bit as she re-grabbed her large stick. "That could've gone better." She said to herself. Now that she wasn't obscured in a shadow anymore, it was much easier to see what she actually looked like.

The beast was about as tall as him, including his horn. She had a slender build, her skin light brown with a lot of messy auburn hair on her head. Strangely, there were a few leaves and a small stick poking out of her hair. Her clothing was what looking to be a uniform, mostly gray with a multi-colored logo in the middle. The skirt and collar of the uniform were both purple, though. Oddly enough, while she was wearing socks, her right shoe was missing. She wore a pink backpack, which appeared to have a lot inside of it, judging by its size.

She appeared to be worn out already, which was a good sign. The beast glared at all three of them as if she was about to strike… but she didn't move or anything. Kabbu wondered if it would be wise to strike first, or-

"You aren't going to eat us, you beast!" Vi suddenly screamed at the top of her lungs. "I know what you tried to do earlier! Well you aren't going to do it again!"

The beast's face scrunched up in disgust at the mere thought what Vi just said. "Ew, I am not going to eat any of you. Bugs are gross." She set the base of her long stick on the ground as she continued to hold onto it.

"Even if you don't plan on attempt to eat us, we cannot allow you to wreak any more havoc upon us!" Kabbu proclaimed. "You scared poor Huscada right out of his mind!"

"I was trying to ask 'Huscada' for help!" The beast tried to explain, using air quotes as she said the cicada's name. "He ran off screaming the second he saw me!" Kabbu didn't believe her explanation one bit. She obviously was trying to lie to save herself.

"And you," She continued, pointing at Kabbu. "Could you PLEASE stop yelling? There's no reason! I'm only standing like, several feet away from you!" Okay, that was a fair point.

"All of you, cease this at once." Maki said, his voice stern. He pointed his sword directly at the beast, and even though the weapon wasn't anywhere near her she backed away a bit, clutching her pointed stick in both hands.

"There will be no lollygagging or trying to explain your way out of this." Maki continued. "You will tell us who you are and why you are here, or else there will be consequences." He narrowed his eyes before shifting them briefly to Kabbu and Vi. They both knew what they'd have to do, though Vi was still a bit hesitant.

The beast groaned in exasperation, tired of all the constant questions and accusations thrown at her. "My name's Anne, okay?" She spat out. Anne… huh, Kabbu babysat a young ant in the Ant Kingdom named Ann on more than one occasion. Weird.

"And I don't know why I'm even here!" Anne yelled. "I've been stranded here for what, three or four days, I don't even know anymore cause I've lost count trying to survive out here! Do you know how many times I've been attacked these weird little brown guys with green leaf hair? Too many!" Her eyes narrowed as she whispered her next words. "Some of them were even able to fly."

A twinge of guilt rose as Kabbu listened to more and more of Anne's rant, as it sounded less like a foul creature trying to corner them, and more like… someone who alone, scared, feeling trapped… But he needed to remain focused on the mission at hand. There might be more to her than he knew… maybe even something dangerous.

Anne shook her head as she continued to talk, spilling out all of her pent-up frustrations. "And not only are they attacking me every which way I go, but now there are these giant, talking bugs trying to attack me! So there!" She breathed heavily, glaring daggers at the three of them.

"You know…" Vi spoke up, breaking the silence. A frown was on her face. "I think it might be possible that… I don't believe you!"

"Oh come on!" Anne snappily replied.

"Even if your claims are true, a… strange creature like you cannot be roaming the lands of Bugaria freely." Maki said. "Until we can figure out what to do with you, Anne, you will be coming back with us to the Association."

Anne merely scoffed at Maki, waving him off. "Yeeeaaaahhhhh no, I'm gonna pass. If I'm being perfectly honest, I'd rather take my chances out here. I complained a lot about it, but I'm starting to get used to it by now. I could always try and hide out in that cave…"

"I think you misunderstood me." Maki said, about to rectify his previous statement. "You will come with us, if by choice…" He spun his sword a few times, re-adjusting it. "Or by force."

Anne grew much more worried, gulping a bit. By now, she could tell just how much of a threat Maki was. Kabbu didn't look away for a second as Anne slowly backed away, stopping when her back hit the large rock and she had nowhere else to go. She glanced at the rock before glancing back at the three bugs, her eyes shifting down for a moment as if she was weighing all her option.

And then… her mood shifted. Her eyes narrowed, as if she became unnaturally angry. "No. You are going to listen to me. I said I am not going with you, and that's it." She gripped the pointed stick as tightly as she could. "End. Of. Discussion." She glared at them, and they didn't move.

Kabbu and Vi both looked at Maki, and the mantis silently nodded before the both of them both turned back to Anne. "I'm sorry, Anne." Kabbu spoke up first, noticing Vi was shaking a little. "If you won't listen to reason, then we have no other choice!"

Anne's face softened a bit, but he couldn't tell if she did it because she regretted what she said or some other reason. Nevertheless… it was time to take action! Without hesitation, Kabbu charged at her, aiming only to pin her so she couldn't escape.

"Oh shoot!" Anne said in surprise, clumsily dodging to her left before hastily backing away a few steps. Kabbu skidded to a stop before he would collide with the rock, turning himself to face Anne. She repositioned her stick so that the pointed end was facing away from her before attempting to jab Kabbu with it. He dodged once before rolling to the side under another jab, easily evading them.

Once he got onto his feet, Kabbu charged at Anne once more, and she let out a short scream as she repositioned the large stick so that both ends were near her. Kabbu reached her in a matter of seconds, but before he could tackle her down, she thrusted the large stick out toward him, forcing him to grab it and push back against her.

Though he was pushing with all his might, Anne still wouldn't go down. Her feet were planted firmly against the ground, her teeth gritted… she would not be giving up anytime soon. But despite that, Kabbu was confident in himself, he knew he could do this!

"You're putting up a good fight, but you're no match for me!" Kabbu said, hoping Vi would pull through with… something. Hopefully, he'd be able to count on her as his teammate for at least their first battle…

Kabbu perhaps might've made a mistake in saying that, as after he did, Anne's eyes widened for a brief moment before narrowing in frustration. She let out what sounded like a roar, and for just a split second, Kabbu swore he saw her eyes flash blue briefly as she somehow managed to get the strength to push him away, thrusting the stick onto him.

In his moments of confusion, Kabbu held the large stick close to him as he stumbled backward a bit. Anne acted fast, reaching into her backpack to pull out a pink tennis racquet that she used to smack Kabbu in the side of the head, causing him to let go of the large stick and fall to the ground.

"Woo-hoo!" Anne cheered in her victory, putting the tennis racquet back in her backpack. "Take that, bug! This is what happens when you mess with Anne Boonch-" She was too distracted by her gloating to see the large, orange boomerang fly at her, hitting her in the back. Anne let out a grunt of pain as she fell forward onto the grass.

Kabbu got back up as the flying object returned to Vi, a smug look on the bee's face. "Hah! You shouldn't have underestimated me OR my beemerang!" Vi said, laughing.

Anne groaned in pain, but before she could get back up, Kabbu rushed over, planting his foot on her back before she could get back up. He looked down, seeing just how annoyed Anne was. He looked at Vi and Maki, nodding to both of them.

Finally, his first mission, complete!


Kabbu and Vi walked back to the Association, this time with Maki following behind them… though they weren't the only ones going back. Anne struggled in Kabbu and Vi's grip as they had to pretty much drag her back with them, putting up as much of a fight as they could as they held onto her arms tightly.

"Is it really necessary for you to continue struggling like this?" Maki asked, having watched her fruitless attempts for the past few minutes.

Anne stopped struggling, but only to say, "Yes it is!" Before she resumed, kicking against the ground and trying to yank her arms out. "You can't hold me here forever!"

"Ugh, this is sooooo annoying!" Vi groaned in exasperation. "Can you please shut up already?"

"No!" Anne yelled. "You cannot silence me! My voice is my weapon and I will use it to the fullest extent!" They began walking up the flowery steps to the Association. "And if you think you'll be able to lock me in your bug prison, then guess again! No matter how long it takes, I'll escape from even the most secure prison you put me in!"

Kabbu stayed patient with her, she'd… hopefully calm down eventually. Hopefully. He let out a tiny sigh as they finally got back into the Association, Anne pausing her monologue to take a look around.

"Oh, this isn't really that bad." Anne commented, standing up straight while still in Kabbu and Vi's grasp. "Yeah, I can actually kinda get behind this." The place was a bit more sparse compared to earlier, as Huscada and Cricketly were gone, as well as Zasp, Gen, and Eri. "So, where in this place am I staying?"

"There's space under those steps." Maki said, pointing to the area. It was pretty spacious, in all honesty. "That's where we'll keep you for now." Thankfully Anne decided now to not struggle anymore as Kabbu and Vi led her to the area under the steps, but that didn't mean she stopped making weird comments.

"Under the stairs? I thought I was in a world filled with bugs, not the world of Cynthia Coven." Anne said, before looking around and seeing the others were giving her strange looks. "Oh yeah, Cynthia Coven books most likely aren't a thing in this world, are they."

"…What?" Kabbu asked, so baffled he couldn't even come up with a proper response. They reached the area under the steps, Kabbu and Vi letting go of Anne's arms. "Well, here we are." Kabbu said, looking around the place. He didn't know this before, but apparently Maki had to kneel down a bit in order to fit.

"Geez, you guys were grabbing onto me way too tight." Anne commented, trying to lightly massage her arms.

"Well, it was your own fault." Maki pointed out, which prompted Anne to cross her arms before rolling her eyes.

"So… what are we going to do with her?" Vi asked.

"Hm… someone will have to watch over her for the night." Maki said, pointing out the obvious. "It is starting to get late."

"Already?" Kabbu asked. Wow, time seemed to move fast today… "Sir Maki, allow me to handle this. Vi and I were able to best Anne in combat earlier, so I assure you we can handle the task of watching over her."

He waited for Vi to say something, but when she didn't he lightly nudged her. "Oh and uh… yeah, I guess I will too." Vi added.

Maki thought on this for a few moments before eventually coming to his decision. "…Very well. Do not let me down, you two. I have an errand I must run, so I will be back in the morning and we'll see where to go from there." And with that, Maki took his leave and exited the Association, leaving Kabbu and Vi there with Anne.

"So…" Anne begun but was never able to finish.

"If you try and attack us again you're gonna get another taste of my beemerang!" Vi interrupted, surprising Anne and even Kabbu a little.

"Seriously?" Anne questioned, getting on the defensive. "I only attacked you because I was defending myself from your attacks!"

Kabbu was ready to argue this, but… no, she was right, wasn't she? She was only carrying that big pointed stick earlier because she was from Seedlings (at least he was pretty sure they were, it was hard to tell from her weird description of them) and she only ran after Huscada because she was trying to ask for help… and the most she did to them before they rushed her was throw a measly pebble.

"Errr… yes. I guess you can say that you were acting in self-defense." Kabbu finally admitted.

Beat.

"So what exactly are you?" Vi asked. If she hadn't asked, Kabbu was probably going to do it himself.

Anne cleared her throat before answering, her mood starting to perk up a bit. "I'm a human being. And I come from…" She waved her arm dramatically. "Another world!" She paused. "Either that or this is a really weird dream."

Human being… he can't say he's heard the term before. "Do you know how you got here?" He asked, curious. By now, he was more than intrigued by the potential stories this… 'human' had to tell.

"Nope." Anne shook her head. "One minute I was in my world, and the next thing I knew I was… here." She gestured to the area around her. A frown appeared on her face as she sighed, sitting down while keeping her knees close to her.

"I don't know how to get home… or if I even can go home." Anne continued. With each word she spoke, Kabbu's heart continued to break into pieces. Despite what he'd gone through in the past, there was no way he'd ever be able to relate to a situation as impossible as hers.

"So yeah, that's my story." Anne said, perking back up a bit. Kabbu had to commend her a bit for how well she was taking her situation… especially with the way he'd treated her earlier. He wasn't sure if even he would be strong enough if something like that happened to him.

Just then, the three of them heard a low grumbling noise. Anne looked down at her chest, and then smiled nervously at the two bugs. "So… got anything to eat?"

"I suppose we could get you something from the caravan outside." Kabbu answered.

"Something that doesn't cost too much, please." Vi huffed. "Also, are we really gonna trust her not to run off?"

"Trust me." Anne said. "If I'm getting food I am not gonna run away from it. Especially if I haven't eaten hardly anything in the past few days." She had a grim look on her face as she said that last sentence. "So yeah. Thanks, uh…"

"Oh, I never introduced myself!" Kabbu realized. "I'm Kabbu, and this bee right here is Vi." He gestured to the black and yellow bee.

"Hey." Vi simply said, still a bit wary of Anne.

"And I'm Anne. Anne Boonchuy." The beast-no, girl from another world introduced. "But just call me Anne." There was a small smile on her face.

Maybe… she'd be able to get used to this place after all.

"Very well, Anne." Kabbu nodded. "Vi and I will be back shortly, so don't go anywhere." He turned around to leave, Vi following after him. She did take one last look at Anne though before exiting the Association. Geez, that bee seriously didn't trust her.

Now that she was alone… Anne waited a few seconds before looking around. Sure, there were a few bugs still in this place, but they weren't paying any attention to her, which means…

She took her backpack off her back, setting it in front of her and unzipping it. She looked around once more to make sure nobody was looking, and pulled out a large object covered in a cloth, setting it in front of her. Taking the cloth off the object, she took a look at the reason she ended up in this crazy world.

It… was a music box. The top part of the chest had three gems embedded in it, partially sticking out. Each of them were a dulled white, and there were seemingly random markings around the gems. There was a crude drawing of an ant there too, their arms positioned as if they were beckoning to the three gems.

The lower part of the box had etched onto it what appeared to be large blades of grass, along with a sort of castle cast in a shadow in the background. It… was eerily similar to the scenery she's seen outside.

Anne took a deep breath as she picked up the box, her hands shaking as she placed one hand on the bottom and the other on top, preparing to open it. She closed her eyes and looked away, bracing herself whatever might happen next. "Come on, come on…" She opened the box…

…Nothing happened.

Opening her eyes, she closed and reopened the box a few more times, just to make sure. Still… nothing. Oh well. …It was worth a try. She set down the music box, sighing loudly in disappointment.

"Looks like I'm gonna be here a while."