• Published 27th Jul 2021
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BuggyCYOA - Krivvy



It was just another routine trip deep within the Everfree Forest when you stumbled upon a most unlikely companion...

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Gerson The Griffon | Parts 115 - 122A

In the aftermath of breakfast, you begin to think of something important regarding Notaulix's griffon disguise...

"Hey, Notaulix?" You say to the changeling, who promptly focuses his attention on you.

"Yes, Anon?" He asks.

"Back when you were training to go to that griffon town, did you have a name to go along with your transformation?" You ask him.

"Of course. I was to go by the name of Gerson. Why do you ask, Anon?" Notaulix asks in return while slightly tilting his head in curiosity.

"I'm not planning on it happening today, but if we do run into a pony, either going to or returning from the forest, we need a name for you, along with a story." You respond.

"A story? What do you mean?" Notaulix questions.

"The reason why you're here, and presumably staying with me. Griffons are an uncommon sight around here, so any pony who may see you around is bound to be curious." You answer.

"Oh, that's right... Do you have any ideas, Anon? And... Does my name sound okay to you?" Notaulix asks.

"That name sounds fine to me, though I'm not exactly knowledgeable on griffon names... As for why you would be here, that's... Well... Hm." You begin to answer as you pause for a moment to think.

Meanwhile, Notaulix patiently sits in comfort on the sofa as he waits for you to continue.

In your mind, you run through multiple scenarios until you settle on one that feels plausible enough to be believable. Or, at the very least, believable in this fantastical, magical world.

"...How about something like this: You were a bit of a loner who didn't quite fit in where you came from, so you decided to get out and see some of the world." You continue.
"You ended up wandering into the Everfree Forest unprepared, and subsequently got yourself ensnared in some Tanglehoof, where you began to starve." You elaborate.
"Thankfully, I happened to nearby during one of my trips and heard your cries for help, and was able to rescue you and bring you back here, where I took care of you. How's that sound? Mixes some truth in." You conclude.

"Yes, that would work!" Notaulix enthusiastically agrees.

"Good. I'm glad you think so too. Although..." You trail off as your brow furrows in thought.

"Is something wrong, Anon?" Notaulix questions.

"Well... Not really, it's just that I can think of a few ponies who might question why I didn't bring you to the Ponyville Hospital, or mention anything to anyone else." You explain.
"Although, I think that would be a problem no matter what story we might come up with. Ponies are normally quick to spread news of new arrivals and friends." You add.

"O-Oh... Will this really be okay, Anon?" Notaulix asks, sounding slightly worried.

"Sure, I think so. If we do meet someone, just act naturally, don't get all nervous." You respond.

"Okay Anon, I trust you." Notaulix says with a smile.

"I appreciate that." You smile in return. "As for why you're staying with me, we could say something along the lines that you were interested in my profession, and wanted to repay me saving you by helping as an apprentice." You say.

"I think that's also a good explanation!" Notaulix says.

"It'll do for now, at least. We can always consider it more another time. Instead, how about we get ready to head out?" You suggest.

"Yes! Let's do so!" Notaulix eagerly responds while jumping off the sofa. "What do you want me to do, Anon?" He adds.

"Go head into the bathroom and do your transformation there. Once I get my stuff ready, we'll get your saddlebag on." You say to him.

"The bathroom? Why do you want me to transform there, Anon?" Notaulix asks.

"Because that transformation process of yours puts out a lot of light. It occurred to me yesterday that if we're not careful, it could be seen by someone." You explain.

"I didn't think of that... The bathroom would make a safe place to transform then." Notaulix agrees as he begins to walk away.

"Just make sure to cover that one window." You call out to Notaulix.

"Okay." He responds.

Satisfied with that matter being taken care of, you rise up and begin getting prepared yourself.

The first thing you do is put on and lace up your boots, briefly pausing while doing so as you reflect on the fact that this may be one of the last times you wear these old boots.
While the boots themselves were not particularly special, they are one of the few keepsakes that you have from your home world.
When you have the time, you plan on making full use of the special grease that Sturdy Stitch provided you, in order to try and preserve them for a long time to come.

Putting those thoughts aside, you continue with your preparation as you walk down the hallway, into your room, and over to the closet.
Besides your backpack, there are a few other pieces of gear that are brought with you into the Everfree, which you usually keep within your bedroom closet.
Onto your belt, you place a knife, a small first aid pouch, another small pouch for storing things, and a larger third pouch meant to contain a few magical fire starters with a container of sticky tree sap mixed with other ingredients.

The fire starters were a solution made by Twilight Sparkle to tackle one of the Everfree Forest's most common dangers: Timberwolves.
While usually not overly aggressive, they are an ever-present danger in all regions of the forest; one that you needed a plan to handle on your own.
Lacking the luxuries of flight or magic, you instead took advantage of the fact that Timberwolves have an aversion to fire, being easily combustible themselves.
With the help of Twilight Sparkle, and several humorous tests that may or may not have been gossiped about throughout Ponyville for months to come, you were able to come up with the system that you use now.

The fire starters themselves are magically infused crystals, each about the size of a chicken egg, which respond to a sharp impact by breaking apart and burning up.
During the time that the crystal is burning, you hope to find a suitable stick to pick up and coat with the tree sap mixture, making a makeshift torch that will hopefully burn long enough to get you out of danger.
You can count on one hand the amount of times you have had to do this, but it worked perfectly each time.

The only downside to these fire starters is that it requires caution while you carry them with you, as a hard enough impact, either by bumping into something or falling on them, could set them off.
For this reason, you keep the actual fire starters safely outside of your home, and the pouch they travel in fits loosely on your belt, allowing you to easily toss the pouch away if they did go off.

With everything on your belt in place, you grab a few small woven baskets before leaving the closet behind and exiting your room, where you find Notaulix in his griffon form waiting in the hallway.

"Are you ready to go now, Anon?" Notaulix asks you, clearly excited and eager to depart.

"Almost, just need a couple more things." You say as you walk past him and grab your backpack, which you stuff the baskets into.

Notaulix follows behind as you walk towards the kitchen with backpack in hand, where you proceed to fill up a canteen of sorts of water.
It occurs to you, however, that there's no such water container for Notaulix. You make a mental note to buy one for him, and to try and make this trip a bit short.

"Let's get your saddlebag on." You say to Notaulix after placing the canteen in your backpack.

"Okay!" Notaulix says as he follows you over to where you left the saddlebag last night.

Placing the saddlebag onto Notaulix's back and securing it into place takes only a few seconds, being a relatively easy task for you.
Finally, you grab your coat and put it on, before placing your backpack onto your body.

"Alrighty then. Are you ready for your big outing?" You ask Notaulix with a smile.

"Yes! Let's go to the Everfree Forest!" He responds.

With that, you walk over to the side door by the fireplace and unlock it before opening it, feeling the cold morning air rush into the house as you do so.

"Wait here for a moment." You say to Notaulix as you step outside to check if anyone else may be nearby.

Satisfied that you're clear to go, you return to the side door where you gesture Notaulix to come on out.
Notaulix does just so, until he reaches the threshold of the door, where he suddenly stops.

"What's wrong?" You ask him.

"I... I'm a little nervous... Is it really safe to leave?" Notaulix admits as he pokes his head outside to look around.

"As safe as it'll ever be. It'll be fine." You say in an effort to encourage him.

"O-Okay..." Notaulix says as he finally steps outside onto the porch. You close the door after him and lock it, before turning around and beginning your journey with your changeling companion following at your side.

You walk past the woodshed at a brisk pace until you soon arrive at a patch of small trees and shrubbery. Nestled among the bushes is a small wooden box, which you kneel down at.

"What are those, Anon?" Notaulix asks as he watches you carefully place a few small crystals of assorted color into one of the pouches on your belt.

"I'll explain on our way over. Let's keep moving." You say in response while you rise back up onto your feet.

You explain the fire starters and their purpose to Notaulix as you continue on your way towards the Everfree Forest, making use of small stands of trees and underbrush to stay concealed.
After several minutes of walking, you reach a point where the surrounding vegetation begins to change, marking the edge of the Everfree Forest.
You press onward for a short distance, until you come to a stop well within the Everfree Forest.

"Here we are! This should be good enough..." You pause as you look around and listen carefully to determine if anyone happened to follow you.

Satisfied that nobody else is there, you turn your attention to Notaulix, who is looking up at you expectantly.

"You can go ahead and transform back to your normal self now. It should be fine." You say to Notaulix.

"Okay Anon." Notaulix says before moving away from you in preparation to transform.

However, you watch in confusion as the transformation never occurs. Instead, Notaulix begins to look slightly troubled as he raises a talon to his beak in thought.

"What's wrong?" You ask Notaulix.

"Anon..." Notaulix begins to respond as he looks up at you. "What if it isn't a good idea for me to return to my normal self?" He says to you.

"What do you mean? Is there a problem?" You ask him.

"W-Well, no... It's just... I didn't think about it yesterday, but if I return to my natural form, and you tighten the saddlebag to fit me, I won't be able to transform quickly if we encounter someone." Notaulix explains.

"I could only transform into a small griffon, which might look strange to someone who has seen a griffon before." He continues.

"Hmm. That's a good point." You admit. "I understand the concern, though besides the occasional visit with Zecora, I have never seen anyone else out here." You say to Notaulix.

"Zecora? Who is that?" Notaulix asks.

"She's a zebra who lives by herself in the eastern part of the forest. She's a sort of shaman who's very knowledgeable in making use of the things that grow here in the Everfree. I've learned a lot from her." You answer him.

"Why does she live by herself? In this forest of all places?" Notaulix asks with a measure of surprise in his voice.

"That's a bit of a story... To make it short, the ponies in Ponyville were afraid of her for quite some time, making her a bit of an outcast. Because of that, she chose to make a home for herself in the Everfree." You begin to explain.
"The ponies are friendly with her now, though. Regardless of that, she's continued to live where she is. I've asked her why myself, but the best I've gotten are vague, cryptic answers." You continue.
"But that's okay, really. If you spend some time with Zecora, you can clearly tell that she enjoys living here, for one reason or another. It's where she wants to be." You conclude.

"Zecora sounds like an interesting zebra, Anon. How likely are we to encounter her?" Notaulix asks.

"Extremely unlikely, I wouldn't worry about that. She doesn't wander from her area that she's established at in the eastern part of the forest." You answer.
"Something to do with how she's able to ward away most dangerous creatures... I don't understand how she does it, though I've never really asked, either." You add.

"It sounds like it would be dangerous for me to go near there, Anon." Notaulix comments.

"You might be right. No need to worry though, I wasn't planning on going anywhere near Zecora's territory today." You reassure Notaulix.

"I'm glad, Anon." Notaulix says, after which a period of silence creeps back into your conversation once more.
"Still... Wouldn't it be safer for me to remain a griffon, Anon? As long as I'm with you, I can sustain this form. P-Plus, I'm physically stronger like this, too!" Notaulix speaks up while giving you a griffon style smile.

"But what about your magic? Don't you want to be able to make use of it if you need to?" You question him.

"I can still use my magic! It's just... Harder to use it, without transforming into something that normally uses magic." Notaulix answers.

"Like a unicorn?" You ask.

"Yes, like a unicorn." Notaulix says.

"Huh... Well, this is a lot to suddenly think about, now that we're out here." You say.

"I know, and I'm sorry, Anon... Whatever you think is best, I will do that. I trust you." Notaulix says, giving you another smile.

"There's no need to be sorry about anything. Do what you're comfortable with. If you want to stay a griffon on this trip, that's fine with me." You reassure him.

"Really? You don't mind?" Notaulix asks you.

"Not at all. This is just a simple outing to help you get used to my line of work, after all. Besides, getting some time in brushing up on your griffon skills is probably a good thing, for when we have you eventually meet the ponies." You answer.

"Thank you, Anon! For this journey, I will remain in this form." Notaulix says with eyes full of gratitude.

You chuckle as you take a few steps forward and pat the transformed changelings head a few times, taking a moment to ruffle his plumage as you do so.

"Alrighty then, let's continue on and see what all you've picked up from those books of mine." You say as you begin walking deeper into the Everfree Forest.

"Okay!" Notaulix says with enthusiasm as he closely follows at your side.

Not long after you begin walking, Notaulix speaks up. "Anon? If Zecora lives in the eastern part of the Everfree Forest, where are we going?" He asks.

"Right here in this region, the southeastern corner of the forest. For the Everfree, it's pretty tame around here." You answer him.

"Safety is good. Why would you go elsewhere in this forest, Anon?" Notaulix questions you.

"Well... It can be slim pickings around here, especially in the winter. There's a lot of valuable things that simply don't grow here." You respond.

"Oh. That doesn't sound good... I hope we can find something." Notaulix says.

"I'm sure we will. We may be nearing the beginning of winter, but there's still some of that autumn bounty out there. Keep those eyes focused." You encourage Notaulix.

"I will!" Notaulix proudly proclaims.

With that, you and Notaulix begin your first trip into the southeastern corner of the Everfree Forest, carefully searching for valuable goods to harvest and interesting things to observe.

The journey that follows goes smoothly, with nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary occurring.
Not long after you started, Notaulix found and correctly identified his first few beneficial mushrooms, making him feel very proud.
You couldn't help but feel happy for the changeling as well. Despite there not being much to harvest today, you could clearly tell that being out and doing this work was satisfying to Notaulix.
In a way, it was surreal to you; having only a few days ago rescued from this forest a member of a race that you had never met before, and now you here you are, working together.

Even though you are still learning about and growing accustomed to Notaulix, you found yourself surprised by just how much more comfortable you feel wandering the Everfree with a companion.
There's just no substitute for the safety that another pair of eyes and ears brings, especially in a place such as this.
As the day progressed, the grey overcast started to break up, allowing some much appreciated sunlight to filter through the overhead forest canopy.

After a few hours, you decide to call it quits for the day, mainly due to the lack of water for Notaulix.
You grew thirsty yourself, but you chose to not drink from your canteen, out of respect for Notaulix not having one of his own.
During the walk back out towards the Everfree's edge, you calculated in your mind what your meager harvest of mushrooms and herbs may be worth: About 15 bits, you guess.
Nothing spectacular, but still an honest days wage; one similar to what the average pony makes.

For Notaulix's sake, you hope to get every one of those bits when you sell your goods. Although, you suspect that he could care less about the bits, and instead is happy just to be out and working.
Regardless of that, you still plan to present him with his share of the bits later.

Leaving the Everfree Forest behind, you retrace your steps until you arrive at the hidden box near your home, where you store the crystal fire starters.
After carefully returning the crystals from your pouch, you pause for a moment as you consider the best way to get Notaulix back inside without being seen.
From your current point of view, you cannot see or hear any ponies nearby, either on the ground or in the sky. However, you know that such observations don't mean much in forested areas such as this.

"Let's go." You say to Notaulix, who follows you wordlessly as you leave the cover of the trees and underbrush behind.

Passing by the woodshed, you find the coast to the be clear when you continue to see anyone around as you approach the side porch.
With the key already in hand as you walk up the steps, you unlock the side door and open it for Notaulix, who quickly moves inside.
You enter your home after him, closing and locking the door behind you as you do so.

Turning around, you watch Notaulix as he breathes a sigh of relief before looking up at you. "We did it, Anon!" He triumphantly says.

"Yep! You did great out there for your first time." You say, giving him a warm smile in response.

Notaulix basks in your praise for a moment, before giving you a sheepish look.

"Anon... Would you mind taking off the saddlebag for me before we do anything else?" Notaulix asks you.

"Oh, uh. Sure." You say before kneeling down next to Notaulix's griffon form, then unfastening the main strap holding the saddlebag to his body.

Grabbing hold of the saddlebag, you take it with you as you rise back to your feet. "There you go." You say to Notaulix.

"Thank you!" Notaulix says before hurrying off and disappearing around a corner into the hallway, where you hear the sound of a door closing.

Curious, you walk over to the hallway and peer around the corner, where you find the bathroom door to be closed.
You can't imagine that Notaulix wanting to go there and transform back so quickly. Though, seeing as how neither of you stopped to relieve yourselves during your trip, you can understand his haste.
Returning to the living room, you walk up to one of the chairs and drape Notaulix's saddlebag over it, which happens to be empty.
Early on, you both decided on just having you carry whatever is found in your backpack, for simplicity's sake. That way, Notaulix could focus more on other things.

Glancing down at the floor, you happen to notice the extra straps that came with the saddlebag. Bending down, you pick them up and take a moment to examine them...
While you still find yourself unable to discern their purpose, you wonder if something here could be beneficial to Notaulix.
Such things can wait for later, though. You decide to place the extra straps on the chair with the saddlebag, just to keep things neat and tidy.

While you wait for Notaulix to reemerge from the bathroom, you walk over to kitchen and fill up a pitcher and two glasses with water.
Not long after finishing your own glass, Notaulix rounds the corner into the kitchen in his natural form.

"I bet you're thirsty. Here." You say to Notaulix while holding out his glass of water, which he quickly grabs hold of with his magic.

"Thank you, Anon!" Notaulix says before quickly downing his glass.

After taking a moment to catch his breath, you take the pitcher and fill up both of your glasses, Notaulix looking up at you with eyes of gratitude as you do so.
Several minutes go by as you both enjoy your hydration, until you set your now empty glass down and speak up.

"As much as I'd like to stay here, I should head over to Ponyville and sell what we harvested today." You say to Notaulix.

"Okay Anon, I don't mind. How long do you think you will be gone this time?" He asks you.

"Ohhhh... Probably around the same amount of time as usual; an hour or so." You respond. "Is there something in particular you would like for dinner?" You quickly add.

"How could I possibly choose? There are so many things to eat that I don't know about. I will be happy with anything that you make, Anon." Notaulix answers.

"I think you're giving me too much credit." You say to him with a smile. "Anyway, if you're all good here, I'm going to leave right away." You continue.

"That's fine. I think I will lay down and read the books on the Everfree Forest some more, and compare what was written in them with the things I experienced for myself." Notaulix says.

"Sounds like a plan. I'll see you again soon." You say to your changeling companion as you walk past him on your way to the front door.

Once there, you stop and grab your bit bag. Checking inside, you find there to still be a decent amount of bits: Approximately 37 left, if your memory serves you right.
Having secured the bit bag to your belt, you proceed through the usual process of unlocking, opening, closing and once more locking the front door behind you.
Such a process would normally be entirely unnecessary, as crimes like theft are incredibly rare here among the ponies. Prior to meeting Notaulix, there have been several times where you left your home unlocked, yet felt at ease.
However, friendly surprise visits are a common thing, prompting you to take these extra steps for Notaulix's protection.

Walking out to the dirt road, you stop at your mailbox and check it, where you find nothing inside.
With that, you set out on your way to Ponyville.