Hey everyone! This is the final chapter of this story. I hope you enjoy this last bit, there's a lot of content in it. I hope you all enjoyed reading this book. Please take care.

...

Epilogue: Defense of the Ancients

Months passed…might as well have been years, heck…maybe it HAS been a few years since I ended up in Hoodwink's world…who knows?

I continued to live my life in Tomo'kan, this world of fantasy alongside my partner, Hoodwink. In that time, since the Primal Beast's banishment, we were largely successful in making the forest safer from monsters like the Durana. People, big and small, occasionally passed through (willingly or unwillingly of course) and we helped some. Others…well…they weren't so keen on making friends. Those people we dealt with if they proved to be a threat to the forest. Hoodwink sometimes couldn't help to rob some people despite my protests, but I guess it's better than downright killing them, yeh?

We also traded with some bandits and other inhabitants of the Mistwoods…somehow that made me think of the mysterious Shopkeeper whom I met all those months ago. Where could they have gone, did they even exist in the first place? Of course they did, Caleb…and I have a feeling we'll meet them again someday…I just have a feeling…

It's something I can't explain, but I feel like another great adventure is just around the corner for Hoodwink and me…

It's springtime and now the forest is much greener and livelier than it was just a few weeks prior. The squirrel and I were enjoying time around a waterfall (a familiar spot that I remember from a long time ago.)

We chased each other on all fours like a pack of dogs passing the time. Sometimes Hoodwink would try and Bushwhack me when chasing me down the small lake. It's funny, because despite how crazy and over-the-top that gesture is from her toward me, for her people (squirrel-kind)…chasing each other was the most intimate display of affection.

Sure enough, we both became exhausted…especially me when the rodent finally entrapped me in her acorn net. The Red squirrel approached as I broke free from her trap, eviscerating the rope holding me before she helped me up.

"Ya never stood a chance, fox!" HoodWink said in a sing-song manner...borderline flirtatious on her part.

"Hmph!" I shake the sand off myself before looking toward her, throwing my arms out, "oh what a disaster I am!" I suddenly said in a jest, "I am such a Greek Tragedy…I'm getting misty!" I jokingly said before I felt something hit my head hard…an acorn…of course. She giggled, holding her arms behind her to hide the evidence.

I gave her the side eye before we began chase again, but soon enough she stopped and noticed something half-buried in the ground nearby. I stopped beside her, crouching down to see what she had picked up. The squirrel was sniffing it, but she already knew what it was: it's my old baseball cap! It's faded and obviously messy from being exposed to the elements.

"I do believe this is yours" she handed it to me and decided to take the decayed hat with some trepidation. I thought about it, and I chuckled, looking up above to see the water falling from the cliffs above, "I still remember the day we fell from there…running from the Primal Beast."

"Personally, I jumped." Hood chimed before I rolled my eyes. Without thinking of it much, I discarded the hat as if it served no use to me anymore (not because it was worn out and past the point of usage but because it's a part of my life that is no longer with me.) Hoodwink certainly had a barely noticeable look of confusion on her face as the hat sank below the waters to its final tomb…maybe never to be retrieved again.

"Lunch?" I said nonchalantly with a slight smile before she smiled back and nodded, "you bet!"

Not too long afterward, Hoodwink and I went hunting. We passed by certain woodland animals like small chipmunks (the feral kind) and cottontail rabbits…the latter's the one we were shooting for (no pun intended.)

We passed by some trees with bracket fungi and knotholes that may shelter some animals, but today's luck is probably the worst we've seen in a while.

As we slowly traverse the woodland (Hoodwink being armed with her crossbow to kill her game) I turn toward the Red-furred rodent and smirk a bit, "I'm so hungry, I could settle for a Hell Bear or a WildWing Ripper for once."

She scoffed at my comment, soon focusing on the trail ahead, "Hell Bears ain't worth the satisfaction, they taste grimy."

"Oh really?" I raised an eyebrow before I chuckled…stopping her in her tracks, "what about squirrels?"

"HA, HA, HA!" She retorted, pushing me away before her ears twitched and she turned in a certain direction, "I think I got something, stick here real quick…I'll get our lunch." She exclaimed, scurrying off before I waved goodbye, "okay, I'll see if I can get us some berries or something."

"Make sure they're not poisonous, bro!" She finished before I nodded, "I learned my lesson the first time!" I returned.

Hoodwink, the Guardian of Tomo'kan, went through the forest…hearing the sound of movement in the distance…enticing her to follow through with her plan.

Jeepers, I hope it's a big one! She thought, settling in some bushes nearby for now…trying to scan the area to find her prey.

Then, the most unexpected thing happened…

Hoodwink's ear twitched more: her senses told her that these weren't normal noises that animals make as they walk by but rather…footsteps. There's a person here? Sure enough, their scent caught her pink nose, and she realized it wasn't human either…or anything she's familiar with.

Her curiosity drew her to move the leaves to actually see what she was dealing with. As soon as she did, her jaw dropped a bit.

Walking down the trail is a strange blue-purple humanoid…of the like she had never seen before. It's as if it's somebody from a different world, like Caleb or the Primal Beast. It's almost as if they were made of pure electricity or something, but they were also wearing attire (such as a cape and some spiky armor.) It's probably the oddest introduction to a person Hood had seen since meeting Caleb.

What were they doing stumbling into Tomo'kan for? Are they just asking for trouble? No matter who or what they are, Hoodwink is already up to no good. She just couldn't help herself; this presented a perfect opportunity: this person seemed distracted, looking down at some pink contraption.

As she silently followed her prey, the anthro squirrel thought about that strange device, I wonder what it is, meh…probably some junk I can sell in some town later. She pulled out an oak acorn and tossed it up and down playfully, deciding to use it first.

Let's have some fun, shall we Hoodwink?

The mysterious being made a turn into another trail, seemingly following a path to somewhere, but before they could continue…they heard a voice…Hoodwink's Voice:

"Oy, space face!"

A sharp twang in the bushes nearby could be heard…then her voice again:

"Crack one!"

Suddenly, her acorn raced toward the intruder, striking them in the head as the squirrel jumped in and took their item…scurrying away soon afterward. She taunted them of course, as she always did with her mischievous run-ins.

"Catch 'ya never, dingleberry!" She looked back with a smug, carrying the stolen goods with one paw. Hoodwink thought she would soon lose them, for she is way too quick; however, she didn't realize that (like her) this person had abilities.

With a disgruntled grunt, the "man" summoned all their energy to suddenly split themselves to create a copy of themselves (one that had bright red eyes instead of the original.) They quickly go separate ways to apprehend the rodent. Soon, however, the visitor found what they had been looking for and decided to use their copy to dispose of the squirrel that had attacked them.

Speaking of Hoodwink, she made it to a small clearing: figuring she had lost the man. Not long after getting on two legs to inspect the strange spherical object she heard an ethereal voice.

Futile creature…

She looked up, ears pointing to the sky like magnets…tail flicking in response to the unearthly tone. On top of a rocky hill was the "man" she had stolen from, but this one was different…their eyes were different. Without much time to ponder, they unleashed some kind of energy bolt at the animal, but she sidestepped in time. Using a tree to jump off from Hoodwink took out her acorn bolas and began spinning them.

Someone's going to be sorry for that! Hoodwink thought with inner smugness. She threw her device as it ensnared the mysterious being against a tree.

Feeling satisfied, Hood landed on her feet and decided to give a reply to the man in a comical fashion, "munted…"

Feeling as if it's safe to do so, she began inspecting the orb…sniffing at it to get a sense of what exactly it was and why it was so important to this man. She found a specific smell on it that gave her a hint to touch…as if it were a button that needed to be pressed or something. Her instincts proved correct as always because as soon as she laid a clawed finger on it…the device came to life! Hoodwink gave a look of astonishment at the bright pink color that shone on her face…

W-what is it…

It doesn't take long to figure out:

Why, it's a compass! B-but for what exactly, hmm?

It takes a few seconds but the pink arrow on the compass points to the right of her…telling the squirrel to head in that direction. Heck, it doesn't take a genius to figure out. Even Caleb can figure this stuff out, Hoodwink quipped.

She looks in that direction, but confusion soon strikes her. Another person is here, they look exactly like the one she just bushwhacked! Are there more of them in Tomo'kan!? Whatever they are, they are standing in front of some kind of altar of sorts…one in particular she had seen countless times in her life living in this forest. But, for the first time it began to glow…bright pink…like the compass she is now holding. Before Hood realized it, the sky got dark really fast as the mysterious intruder threw their arms out and laughed like some evil wizard. Before she could do anything, a bright light enveloped Hoodwink and she was thrown back. The force was so great that once she hit the ground…she lost consciousness.

I had been following the trail of a cottontail for a few minutes now…I was going to use one of Hoodwink's traps to get it. As I waited in the shadows, trying to stay invisible as best as I could, I thought to myself.

Where exactly had Hood gone? She must have given chase or something…maybe we'll be eating like kings tonight!

Suddenly, I heard a snap, and my ears perked up. I automatically know what it is. I slowly get out of my hiding spot to see the dead rabbit who had been caught in the trap. I grab it and stash it away before grabbing the trap.

"Okay, well…I ought to go find where Hoodwink ran off to…" I said to myself. I guess I didn't need to wonder where she went because I could still catch a glimpse of her scent nearby. And so, I start making my way down a forest trail…letting my small black nose guide me the whole way.

Halfway there, I gave a look of confusion…seeing the sky turn dark all of a sudden.

W-what the…

It got pitch black, as if by magic and my heart stopped for a second…what is going on!? I didn't have time to ponder for too long, for I soon heard a massive explosion going on that rocks the landscape around me.

What in the seven hells!? Hoodwink!

My ears had risen all the way up as my eyes widened, she might be in trouble…gotta go! I started running, hoping that nothing grave happened to the squirrel and that she somehow wasn't part of that explosion!

Speaking of Hoodwink, she had regained consciousness a solid minute after the blast. She slowly opened her weary eyes to see (lying in front of her) a strange yellow stone. The squirrel saw some beautiful flowers growing rapidly from the ground close to it as if it were magic. This miraculous sight was a prime reason she had regained enough energy to grab the object. She pulled herself into a crouched position, bringing the stone to her furry face…watching the colors change to pink.

W-what is this, she thought. It looked similar to her, something she couldn't forget seeing since that day: the day she met Caleb…

She reminisces, thinking all those months prior…when she was watching him from a tall tree…curious as to who he was and what he was doing in Tomo'kan. She saw the stone fall from the sky…hitting the ground close to the human…and he picked it up. Then, something extraordinary happened…it glowed and it *changed* him…gave him powers.

Well, sure enough…not even a few seconds after grabbing the stone and inspecting it…the same thing ultimately happened to Hoodwink.

Her paw twitched…as if feeling static or a tingling sensation that was quickly traveling up her right arm. Her long ears twitched and the ends of her fur began rising.

N-no way…this can't be…is it? The same kind'a stone that bloody drongo grabbed? It must be…I'm feeling something!

It all happened so fast: every part of her body felt a sensation that was rapidly getting stronger and harder to ignore. It soon became apparent that the rodent was glowing brightly all over. And, for a brief moment…her eyes changed, and she became hyper-aware of her surroundings (well, even more so that is…) Hoodwink started to get excited, feeling rejuvenated and like she could accomplish even the most impossible feats!

W-wow! Bloody terrific, this is something! Ohh, does this mean I'm stronger like Caleb or something?

Fortunately (and unfortunately) for the squirrel, the effects dwindled (but more like they settled.) One last shock ended her euphoria and reality inevitably came back to her. Her eyes turned back to normal blue and the glow she had all over her body from earlier…vanished completely. Hood's ears drooped, feeling disappointed that it had all ended, but simultaneously: she heard noises behind her…and she realized something important.

Ah, bugger…that's right! There's someone here!

Remembering the explosion that had rendered her unconscious and the mysterious spaceman that caused it, she looked over to see the trouble that had been brewing all this time. As if curious (and wanting to cause more mischief) she went in to investigate…running down on all fours to check (still holding the stone in her paw.)

Hoodwink saw lights coming out of the crater that was in front of her…no doubt it was caused by the meteorite that fell from the sky. The lights were moving back and forth and had shapes like tentacles looking for prey. All over the floor there were similar colorful rocks scattered around…

Using her survival instincts, Hood hid behind a boulder…looking back and forth to make sure she wasn't being flanked and whatnot…before she continued. Reaching the summit, she stood on two legs…preparing for the inevitable confrontation with whatever lay ahead of her…as she always did…since the age of nine. Ever since the day her normal life was taken away from her: her family torn apart…her tribe dismembered beyond recognition…their subsequent enslavement and genocide.

She wasn't usually afraid, she hadn't been afraid of many things since her teenage years (the exception being her usual run-ins with the Primal Beast)…but this felt different. For some reason, the squirrel felt uneasy…not knowing if what she was facing was beyond her or what. Still, she soldiered on, and upon meeting the culprit she froze in place (likely a result of an unexpected fight or flight response.)

Down below…at the center of the crater…was the man…hands firmly placed against a much…MUCH…larger stone. Lights were dancing off its surface like the Borealis.

"Whoa…" she quietly muttered…

She didn't have much time to react at the initial encounter, for the being turned around and sensed her presence. They did something unexpected: they rose from the ground and levitated several feet…and that's truly when Hoodwink felt a sense of dread…

That is when the warrior of Tomo'kan realized…she had NO IDEA what she was dealing with. She might as well have just been facing a God of some sort. Then again, she thought maybe the stones influenced the intruder (and they, in fact, did.)

With a dark laugh that is accompanied by an ever-imposing sight, the "man" unfurled his arms to reveal his newly acquired powers to the rodent…intentions abundantly clear.

"Rack off…" she growled under her breath, her bushy red tail flicking nervously. Where in the seven hells was Caleb anyway!?

Hoodwink stood there in shock initially…still holding the stone she found…not realizing it started *waking up* again. Unlike the time before with Caleb…the stone probably didn't vanish because other stones were nearby…or it was more potent than Caleb's. No matter the reason, it began affecting her again.

Feeling the same sensations overtake her, the squirrel looked down at the stone that was now glowing brightly again in her paw. In a fraction of a second (a moment that slowed down and seemed like a thousand years to Hoodwink) confidence overwhelmed her.

It didn't matter who this person was, where they came from, or what they wanted to do…Hoodwink is going to end their run…right here, right now!

Looking back up at the intruder, a wicked smile formed on her maw and soon Hood gave a quick grunt: jumping backward and spinning in the air. The other stones on the ground near her began to react. In a move that could have been missed in the blink of an eye, Hoodwink was already on the top of the boulder she hid behind and had her signature crossbow out. She pointed her weapon at her levitating foe as numerous colorful meteorites floated around her.

Now certain that she was on equal footing with them (let's face it, she thought that throughout all this) the anthropomorphic beast grinned and said, "now this I'm into!" As soon as she said that she fired at the man and jumped toward them…starting their battle. The sky above them rained colorful meteorites that all came from the broken moon above…

I ran on all fours…never stopping for breath. My heart was racing, I feared for the worst. I turned to find myself face to face with a corpse hanging from a tree. I stood up on two legs and walked closer to investigate: it's a strange creature (humanoid in appearance) and I don't even have to guess how they ended up this way.

Suddenly, I heard another explosion and my ears twitched. I snapped my head in that direction to see bright lights and a crater that had been made. This is the moment I saw the stones falling from the sky…from the moon…all around. The forest is being bombarded with them, but that was the least of my worries: for I saw a familiar creature fighting for her life on top of the crater…

"Hoodwink!" I shouted, making my way there…all the while dodging fireballs that were crashing down all around me. Once I made it to the top, I didn't have any time to react, for an energy blast had been sent in my direction.

"Look out!" I heard, being pushed out of the way. I quickly recover to see my hero: Hoodwink…standing over me…glowing all over like a Christmas tree. Then, I saw them: a strange being that was floating in the air (very similar in appearance to the one I saw bushwhacked to the tree earlier.) They also appeared to be glowing, albeit more brightly than my squirrel friend.

"W-what the hell is going on!?" I shouted but the rodent across from me shushed me, "just grab one and help!" She said, dodging an attack from our foe. It didn't take long for me to realize what she meant: I looked down and saw the stones. I knew they were the same ones that gave me my powers back in the day, so I quickly picked one up.

Our opponent attempted to stop me but Hoodwink threw shot an acorn at them to distract them. It only takes a few seconds for me to undergo the same process as my partner. And just like her…I felt myself stronger than before!

I quickly look over to see our adversary using an electrical attack on Hood and it strikes…a swirling field of energy engulfs her form, and she struggles to counterattack…it's as if she had been slowed by it! I've got to help her, and quick! I jumped in the air, shield in hand and fist outward as I attempted to retaliate. It saw me coming and suddenly it made some kind of dark shield around it, forcing me to stop. In response, they send down a hail of energy bolts at the both of us. I am forced to retreat, especially when I see Hoodwink still affected by the creature. I jumped in, all the while dodging the attacks, and I grabbed her and jumped away to take cover behind another boulder.

Just as I did, Hood panted…coming out of her status effect finally, "damn him…" she didn't have time to say anything else, for the rock we are hiding behind suddenly explodes…throwing us back…down the bottom of the crater.

The menace hovered above, as stones continued falling from the sky behind him. We looked at one another…standing across from each other. An idea presented itself to us and we decided to take it, "split up!" We both said, moving the opposite way from each other. Unknown to us, the "space' man suddenly created a near-perfect version of themselves: a darker version with bright red eyes in its place. As Hoodwink and I evaded attacks from both, she squeaked in shock…realizing what had happened earlier. The squirrel figured they needed to get to the "original" to end this fight.

The copy had its attention on me as I jumped in the air…they used an attack to slow me down, but I used my shield to deflect it. "Caleb!" I heard the arboreal creature across from me. I managed to catch her bolas mid-air and redirected them toward the original: binding them! Quickly, she charged her strongest bolt, "you're going to regret this, Spaceman!" Not long after, she fired her signature attack. We expected the battle to end, but instead…we saw the copy move right in front: using themselves as a human shield for the original. Thus, they were spared and soon they broke free of Hood's bushwhack…unleashing a powerful bolt at her in the process, which sends her back.

I look behind me, eyes full of shock and dread, "no!"

I move in, trying to finish this once and for all; however, the man gives a sinister laugh: throwing his arms out to summon some sort of apparition. They had a ghostly look to them…with long arms and claws for hands. Before I could even react…they rushed at me at the speed of light…running into me. I grunt loudly, feeling the wind knocked out of me and what I didn't realize is that I was (and still am) hurt by it.

I collapsed onto the ground, clutching my chest…I felt every part of my body in extreme pain, but I was in so much of a shock that I didn't do anything. The man stood across from me, finally landing on the ground…laughing at my pathetic form. My eyes turned red, and I felt the world around me blur again. Suddenly, a bolt wisped past me and struck our foe…hitting them…causing the strange man to collapse. They fell to the ground, electricity surging throughout their convulsions. Hoodwink was seriously injured but had managed to finish the fight and she dropped her crossbow to attend me. The sky continued to fall all around us…the end of all hope for us.

"C-Caleb…" the squirrel panted…not able to make it to me on time and she too collapsed not too far from me.

I wanted to stand up, go, and help Hoodwink out of this mess. There HAD to be something we could do! It can't end like this…it can't! We've come this far, and our lives must end this way…why!?

I wanted us to survive this, go home, and tell stories of our crazy adventure today…I wanted to see Hoodwink's smile…her contentment…her happiness…our happiness. This time, however, it was different. The world went silent…darkness followed.

I heard the rustling of leaves; I felt the flow of the wind…I listened to a distant voice in the forest. All around the trees were bright yellow as if autumn had returned. Leaves danced around me like they usually did around Hoodwink, but she was nowhere to be found. I am…alive? I am hearing voices…voices that I didn't recognize…except for one.

I turn around to be met with a familiar sight: the Shopkeeper. I look around me again, deathly confused as to what is going on. A second ago the world around us was getting bombarded and now…it's all gone? There's nothing here but a tranquil forest. It's as if it never happened, but wait…why does everything feel lighter…light as a feather in fact…like I'm a ghost? Everything is brighter too; the yellow leaves are giving off ethereal light for some reason.

"W-where's Hoodwink…" I said, growling as I came back to my senses…not even caring for my safety.

"She was slain." He said…in a matter-of-fact tone of voice…

I just stood there, letting it all sink in…the furs on my end rose as my eyes widened a bit at the revelation, "I'm dead too…aren't I?"

He walked forward, placing his big hand on my small furry shoulder, "death is many things to many people. You may kill or murder another…and a part of you dies with them…innocence among many things. When you left your human life, a part of you left, but you were reborn also."

"Please…" I scoffed, looking away, "stop with the bullshit. Just tell me…what happens now?" There was fear in my voice, it was shaken…my mind couldn't fully comprehend what had happened just yet, but the man continued.

"Your path is set, young hero. You are aware of the Radiant." Funny enough, that didn't sound like a question, but it did to me.

"Hood…she…explained it to me…somewhat" I folded my arms before they continued. He held onto his staff (his bird sat idly in its cage above) "You have been chosen by the Radiant to help them…"

I shake my head, confused about all this, "I don't understand…"

"The world needs heroes like you to fight for them. You have proven yourself indispensable."

"B-but…I'm dead?" I laughed a bit at that, but they seemed to have a smile regardless…despite me poking at the absurdity of it all.

"What are you…really? You can't be just some…random Shopkeeper…you play a bigger part in all of this."

They gave a hearty chuckle, holding their belly like some twisted Santa Claus or something as their bird squawked loudly, "Indeed, but that should not be important to you as of now."

I rolled my eyes and then sighed, deciding to just…go with the flow, I guess. What's the point in arguing against him…honestly?

"Okay…so, this isn't the end?"

"No, my dear, furry, friend…this is just the beginning…"

With a smile that he gave, everything around me got bright and I was engulfed by light as I closed my eyes. The next thing I know I am in another place…and I must adjust my vision again before I look around. The Shopkeeper is gone, and I am now next to what appears to be a blue-colored fountain of sorts. There's magic surrounding it because I can FEEL its presence… in fact…I felt as though it was protecting me right now. I look over to see a man, who appears to be a blacksmith or something…not sure. There's other stuff too, but my attention is soon drawn to what is beyond this small area: there is a gigantic structure made of stone, trees, and crystals. A voice in my head told me exactly what it is…it's called an Ancient…it's the Radiant. I knew immediately that it's my mission was to protect it AT ALL COSTS.

There are other buildings scattered about…including some "towers" that offer protection to the "town" that I am in.

Before I can even think to explore, I finally notice something about me that has changed: I am not wearing the tunic that Hoodwink had made for me after I turned into a Fox. I seem to be wearing some kind of green/white armor now…fully metallic and similar in style to the shield that was given to me by the Shopkeeper. I also seem to be wearing a helmet and a satchel along my waist…interesting…

I decided to ignore my new attire for now and check the location I am now in. I step out, inspecting the world around me until I manage to run into somebody finally! Actually, I bumped into them accidentally. They are HUGE…and have red skin and are gigantic. They are wielding a comically large battle-axe and seem to be wearing some armor. They said nothing, simply scoffing before moving away…and they were soon followed behind by strange green creatures wielding swords!

I don't even need to guess what is happening here: we're in the middle of a battle…and that's when I noticed: some of the stones from the moon had fallen here as well. Oh boy…if only Hoodwink was-

All of a sudden, a green figure landed in front of me…standing up with her arms out, "I knew I smelled 'ya! Caleb!" It's Hoodwink! "Look at you, mate…what are 'ya even wearing?"

I placed my arms on her shoulders with the most worried expression I could give in my life for her, "are you alright!?"

"Of course…didn't they tell you everything?" She cocked her head to the side in a curious manner, putting her hands on her hips. I let go of the squirrel and scratched the back of my neck nervously, "sorta…"

"Sorta?" She crossed her arms, "well, I've been itching for some excitement…I didn't care much about what was going on…I just wanna shoot knuckleheads…you down?"

I sighed; she seemed to be taking this very well…then again: knowing Hoodwink she'd totally be down for a battle like this.

"Come on, it'll be wicked fun!"

"I guess if we just respawn and stuff, it'll be alright…right?" I gave a sheepish grin as she gave a blank expression on her face…not following what I said, "In other words, I guess so." As soon as I said that the red tree-dweller jumped up and down, "nah yeah! Let's have a go, come on you!" She chittered, leading me towards the edge of "town" and from what I could see in the distance there was a river…with the other side being completely different than our side. I don't even have to guess what it is…it's the enemy "team." My head filled the blanks thanks to an unknown force guiding me: it's the Dire…and they are our SWORN enemies.

I was nervous…I didn't know about all this, but maybe it was meant to be…maybe…this was what I was meant to do. I look over at my best friend…my partner…the person of my life looking at me with an eager expression. She had her signature crossbow out: ready for combat. I looked into her blue eyes and saw so much life in them and I couldn't help but smile. This is what we were born to do.

"So you ready?" Hood asked genuinely.

After a second of hesitation, I grabbed her paw with mine and said, "ready."

"Alright, let's go!" She joyously exclaimed, with both of us jumping to run down the "lane" to meet our foes head-on. As we did, she turned to see what was on my back, "uhh…what is that?"

That's when I finally noticed it, but my mind already knew what it was: it's a jetpack! I somehow knew how to turn it on and once I did…I blasted off the ground! Hoodwink below me yelled with excitement, "okay, now you're just showing off, you drongo!"

I displayed my shield to her and gave a heroic grin, "I could get used to this…"

"Just remember who's the best 'round here" she winked before I chuckled in retaliation.

Suddenly, a purplish humanoid sped past us, wielding a magical bow and she had said coldly in passing, "move aside." They are soon followed by an anthropomorphic creature with a large totem on its back…running on all fours like a primate…joining the lady in combat. Across from them, different heroes of all shapes and sizes were in battle (including the spaceman we had encountered in Tomo'kan…)

Hood grunted, rolling her eyes, "we oughta show 'em who should be in charge around here…"

"Let's not waste any time, the Radiant needs our help" I said, still in the sky, readying myself for what's to come.

With the biggest, toothy, smile I've seen her make so far and a confident nod: she loaded her crossbow and ran in, and I followed closely behind. She and I soon made contact with several red "creeps" and eventually some of the Dire's formidable heroes as well.

And so, this is our story: Hoodwink and I…two young heroes destined to fight in this battle arena for the ultimate conclusion: to decide who wins the battle of all time in this strange world. It was a battle perfectly weaved for all heroes: a seemingly endless battle…the Defense of the Ancients.

It's a new life filled with excitement and danger. The challenge is big and although it seems insurmountable to overcome, we will overcome the challenges. I have Hoodwink by my side after all, and honestly, I never really doubted her in my life.

After all, it's Hoodwink we're talking about…great Warrior of Tomo'kan, and the greatest person I know.

Maybe, we might have a shot at this after all. Maybe I should just follow Hoodwink's great advice: it's always great to make things a little bit more fun and exciting.

Right, Hoodwink?

The End