*Melvin follows in halting steps* Over the valley?
Neverlor…how…how big is… *He trails off at the swirling colors upon the hill, a sight unlike anything he had come across. Tendrils of something, magic perhaps, ghost over his coat causing him to shiver. The mule quickens his pace once more, not wanting to be left behind in such a place; a place clearly not meant for the likes of himself. Then, with a blink he found the opening yawning before him and he stopped in his tracks. Rumbling, the rumbling, echos from the darkness. *
*Darkness…Equines do not prance willingly into dark holes filled with the unknown, they often avoid puddles, actually, all in the name of safety. Instincts, you see. The powerful instincts of a prey animal. Melvin considered informing his small friend of this but the reminder of his promise stopped him. He had promised, and he knew the results of breaking a promise. He was not his master, and he would be true to his word. *
I did, didn’t I? *He sighed and straightened up, joining Neverlor and pressing his muzzle to the young one’s side as a guide in the dark. Fearless, he was not, but brave he could be.* Lead on, then! *Melvin followed his companion into the unknown.*
*The little spirit nods, stepping into the cave - which, probably to Melvin’s surprise, turns out to be lined with truffula fluff and old “loraxian” fur all over. And the second after it, the walls of the Truffulair - for this is how the guardians’ home was called - start to glow weakly, lighting the path for the two.
Paw on Melvin’s neck, Neverlor can feel the mule tremble a bit - sure, guesting at a half-underground lair is not easy if you’ve always been living on the ground. How strange, he himself was never afraid of anything in the valley - let alone darkness. Why even be afraid of it if it has soft paws and a silver mustache…
They walk by the seed storage, where seeds of all kinds rest in the light of purple moss; by what seems to be an underwater lake with either sparkles or stray fireflies flickering above it; by several more rooms, some of which are empty and others are curtained with moss, until…
…Until Neverlor stops once again - this time at the hugest room with the thickest fluff lining - and the sight that lays before his and Melvin’s eyes would seem anyone to be a dream if it hadn’t been for the loud, absolutely real, rumbling.
In the nest of truffula fuzz, half curled up, lay two spirits - Neverlor’s parents, just as stocky and catlike as him. The robust, enormous - even now, two times smaller than usual - male with a flaming red coat and a mustache so bushy and long it swirls around all over the nest, and his wife - pink-furred, fragile, with a gorgeous silver collar; not taller than a regular human, but so tiny at her husband’s side. Eldlor and Raxeine. The Father of Trees and the Flower Mother.
Before Melvin says something, the little guardian rubs his muzzle with both paws and walks up to the sleeping parents, giving his mom a nuzzle, and licking his dad in the nose. The mustached giant doesn’t wake up, nor stops purring - only licks Neverlor back, accidentally tipping him over and sending right into the shock of the silver mustache. Neverlor giggles to himself, crawling out of the nest and back up to Melvin.*
See, they’ll remember your smell now and will know you’re a friend. :) Hy-ber-nating they may be, but they feel almost all that’s going on around!
*Inside was surprising pleasant. The dim light let him see a little and kept him from bolting. The footing was soft, and cozy, and smelled almost sweet. Relaxing a little he matched Neverlor’s even pace and decided this wasn’t so scary at all. …until they reached the main cavern…*
*His nostrils are flared, breathing heavy and rumbling, tail tucked to his rump, and body quivering. No one, not anyone ever, had warned him that spirits grew so large. Perhaps they didn’t know themselves? Eldlor he could only describe as ‘great’. Great in size, great in power, and a great amount of fur and mustache. Raxeine, while she carried great power as well, he thought of her as ‘lovely’. Her build was graceful and her coloring soft. He couldn’t help nickering quietly at them; a friendly, deep, rumbling greeting, his head lowered submissively. In his mind they were sort of the Lead Mare and Alpha Stallion of the valley, and maybe beyond.*
*At Neverlor’s return he sniffs him all over; better catching the older Loraxes’ sents.*
T-they are…not what I expected, exactly…Everyone of your kind I have met is…smaller, like you. Will you grow? Very, very big like that, I mean…
*Melvin sighs and nuzzles his little friend’s head. He draws comfort from the Lorax’s aura, trying to remind himself to be calm, be brave, as promised. He tries to remember what it was like before…when he a prancing colt, not a ragged stray afraid of being thrown out of his host’s home for being dirty. I carry some of my master’s filth, his crimes…or…
He shakes his mane and stands a little taller. The grey clouds of shame that had crept back in when he entered the lair flee and his eyes grow bright again.*
Your family seems kind, gentle. You look like them, well ,except you’ve a painted coat, of course.