Sue's voice came from where the small squirrel was half-buried in their straw nest, high up in an old pine tree.
"Yes, Sue?" Samantha mumbled in reply, squeezing her eyes tight, as if she could will herself to sleep before her little sister could find a new way to bug her.
"Tell me a story."
Sam sighed and gave up the fight. "Hmm," she said, thinking. "Have I ever told you about the Beastrider?"
"No." Sue squeaked, shifting in the straw.
Samantha sat up, suddenly awake as her imagination started to run. "Shi's a frightening hyena. If you ever see hir, you better hope shi's not looking for you. And if shi is, then you better run as fast as you can."
"Why?" Sue said, sitting up too, hugging her red and gray tail to her chest, watching her sister with large blue eyes.
Sam cackled with laughter at her sister's innocence. "Shi's one of the most notorious mercenaries you'll ever hear of!" Sweeping her arm out at the blinking lights of the city, she continued, "Shi can find anyone, anywhere. Not only is shi fearless, but shi's tamed a chimera."
Art by BloodhoundOmega
"What?!" Sue gasped. Sam guessed that Sue barely knew what the word meant, but didn't slow the story down with an explanation.
"No joke! A real live chimera. And it can track down any scent." Sam quieted down, speaking reverently, "Shi rides the thing without a saddle."
"Wow!" Sam said, leaning back into the edge of the nest, her eyes trained on the branches swaying above them. "A mercenary, huh?"
"Shi'll travel anywhere to get hir mark. Deserts, swamps, underwater... you name it, shi'll find you. And when shi does, you'd better hope shi needs to take you somewhere, or else..."
Art by AlectorFencer
Sue turned back to her sister, staring wide-eyed. "Or else...?"
"Or else--" Samantha leaped forward and pounced on Sue, squealing "Shi'll feed you to the chimera!"
Sue giggled wildly as Sam snapped at her sister, clashing her teeth together. "Eep, heehee, stoppit!"
The forest grew quiet again as the girls returned to their spots, snuggling back down into the hay.
Sue yawned noisily, then asked, "How do you know about the Beastrider, Sam?"
Samantha laughed, saying softly, "Because once, I escaped from hir!"