Late at night, all tribesmen of Spiritual Civilization had gone home to rest. Leftovers and rubbish strewed on the ground. A black figure in the bushes glanced left and right, and ran out of the grass after she had confirmed there was no one around. She ran and danced around excitedly, like what the tribesmen had just done.
It was the celebration day of the tribe to express their gratitude to the Creators. Everyone enjoyed themselves in the celebration, except Basti, who was rejected. ‘Black cats bring misfortune.’ Just because of this superstition, Basti had been abandoned and disliked by her parents and the tribesmen.
In the dead of night, Basti would come out to find clothes to wear in rubbish, and food to eat in leftovers... Though her life was difficult, Basti still felt grateful for she was still alive. She believed this was an ordeal given by the Creators.
On that day, all tribesmen brought their children to the priest...
Priest: I will soon return to Tefnut.
Priest: I must find a new priest before that...
Priest: The priest, must be someone chosen by Tefnut.
It was a great honour to be the priest of the Creators in the tribe. The tribesmen hoped that their own children could be chosen to serve the Creators. Basti peeked in the bushes beside. She wanted to become the servant of the Creators, so that she could express her gratitude for them. However, she thought she was not qualified to take the test in front, as she knew so well about who she was - an ominous existence, an unaccepted life.
Then, Basti heard a voice ringing in her heart...
???: ‘Be brave. Go ahead.’
???: ‘Everyone is equal.’
From her back, Basti could feel a force gently pushing her out of the bushes. The sudden strange noise drove everyone’s eyes on Basti. When they saw her, they started whispering to each other...
Surprised Tribesman: Look... it’s the black cat...
Another Tribesman: She must have been peeking from the side!
Superstitious Tribesman: Leave! You ominous creature!
Echoing Tribesman: Go away! Nobody welcomes you here!
Everyone was making a commotion and berating Basti. When Basti was about to return to the bushes, the priest walked to her, grabbed her arm and said to her gently...
Priest: It is destiny that draws you here.
Priest: You are qualified to take the test. It all depends on whether you have the determination.
Basti looked at the priest and nodded her head resolutely...
Priest: Very well. Follow me.
The priest brought the children to the forest and instructed them about what they had to do next...
Priest: You need to find the precious stone hidden in the forest and bring it back.
Chosen children: That’s all?
Not saying another word, the priest just nodded gently. All children then ran into the forest excitedly, except Basti who walked slowly and smiled to the priest before entering the forest....
Withered Melog: Thank you.
Basti: ‘Precious stone... where are you?’
???: ‘Don’t panic. Just feel it with your heart, then you can find where it is.’
???: ‘I’ll be with you and guide you.’
Basti: ‘It’s the voice again... Who are you...?’
Basti: Is this the...?
In front of Basti was a circular precious stone in dark purple colour. She looked at it in surprise, yet she dared not to take it. In her heart, she could not free herself from the assumption that she was an ominous creature. She still thought she was not qualified enough...
???: ‘Why are you hesitating?’
Basti: Am I really qualified to pick up this precious stone and become the priest?
???: ‘Why do you say so?’
Basti: Because I’m the ominous black cat...
Basti: I was an unaccepted being. Everybody dislikes me...
???: ‘Haven’t I told you before? All lives are equal.’
???: ‘You have found the precious stone. That means you are the one chosen by the Creators.’
Basti: Really...? I can serve my ancestor...?
???: ‘Come on. Take it.’
Encouraged by the voice, Basti picked up the precious stone warily. The precious stone then emitted a dazzling beam of purple light and transformed into a scepter. At the same time, the owner of the voice revealed her true self with moisture...
Basti: My, my ancestor!
Though in great surprise, Basti still remembered to be polite and respectful. She immediately dropped down on her knees in worship, but her face can’t help showing great excitement.
Tefnut the Decent God of Drizzles: I have been observing you, watching over your growth.
Tefnut the Decent God of Drizzles: Although abandoned, you have never given up yourself.
Tefnut the Decent God of Drizzles: Although being badly treated, you have never nursed a grievance.
Tefnut the Decent God of Drizzles: I have chosen you because of your determination and breadth of mind.
Tefnut the Decent God of Drizzles: Stick your chest out and go outside! My spokesperson!
Someone was dancing beside a lake in the forest. The precious stone at the tip of her scepter was glowing with a gleam of gentle purple light. She waved the scepter in her hand as she turned. The scepter would leave sparkle of starlight wherever it passed. She raised up and put down the scepter as dancing moves. Then she threw the scepter to the sky; but when she was about to catch it, she missed. The scepter dropped onto the ground, and the light faded away...
Tender Basti: Oh! Gosh!
Basti hurried to check the scepter. She wiped away the dirt on the precious stone, and felt relieved only after confirming that the precious stone was intact.
Tender Basti: So lucky that I didn’t break it... or else I wouldn’t be able to face my ancestor anymore...
Carrying the scepter, Basti stood up again. She looked at the scepter, puzzled. She wanted to perform the best dance to worship the Creators, but she always failed in the same spot when practising. She was perplexed about this. She shook her head and braced up. Waving the scepter, she once again started the dance she had been practising for the whole night.
Then, the silence in the lakeside was broken by the noises of fierce fighting from the forest. It was rare, as the tribesmen had always been living in peace with each other. Even when there was a conflict, the chief or Basti would come to mediate. And the tribesmen should have been asleep at that time... No matter what, Basti thought she was responsible to resolve every conflict, so she ran towards the direction of the coming noises.
Angry Baddy: Quick! Catch that brute! He scratched me!
???: No! It’s not my fault! It’s because you’re too slow!
Tender Basti: What’s going on?
???: It’s obvious! Someone’s after me! Do you really have to ask?
Tender Basti: So... do you need my help?
???: Can’t you tell?
Angry Baddy: Humph! It’s useless no matter how many of your mates are coming!
Fierce Looking Baddy: You cat thief! Hand over the thing you’ve stolen, then I may consider letting you off.
???: Why should I listen to you?
???: Instead, you should run away as fast as possible, or else I’m afraid you’ll be beaten to tears.
Fierce Looking Baddy: You conceited cat thief!
Tender Basti: You really don’t want to hand it over? It seems that you’re doing something wrong...
???: Hey Miss, are you trying to help? Or you’re mad?
Tender Basti: How am I mad? Don’t talk nonsense!
???: I’ve told you to run away but you didn’t listen... so now you’re suffering!
Tender Basti: Let’s run away when they can’t move right now...
The white cat followed Basti to the lakeside. They were both panting, but the white cat was at the same time laughing excitedly.
Tender Basti: I can’t understand why you’re laughing as we’ve just been being hunted down...
???: I’m laughing for they’re stupid! And don’t you think it’s very exciting?
In fact, Basti did feel a sense of excitement which she never had before, but she denied it strongly, as she thought fighting and stealing were improper behaviour, which she should not feel joyful for.
Tender Basti: No!
Tender Basti: You look like a stranger to me... You’re not one of our tribesmen?
???: No I’m not! I’m just a passer-by.
Felix: Oh! I nearly forget to introduce myself. Here’s Felix.
The white cat spoke frankly. Basti was inwardly shocked by his frankness, as she had not expected that the white cat in front would be so unguarded to a new acquaintance like her. She always believed that everything in the world was simple, but it was the first time for her to meet someone who could be so unreserved and honest...
After staring at him blankly for seconds, Basti finally responded Felix with an embarrassed smile...
Tender Basti: My name is Basti, the priest of the tribe.
Felix: You’re the priest?
Basti gently nodded. Felix showed a face as if he had realized something. Looking at Felix, Basti suddenly thought that she should let him stay in the tribe for some time, as nobody knew whether those hunting him were still lingering in places nearby...
Tender Basti: Felix, why don’t you stay here for some time?
Tender Basti: Those people may still be hunting you down nearby.
Felix: I’m not afraid! They’re no match for me...
Felix: I don’t think your tribe will let an outsider like me to stay here?
Tender Basti: Why not? Mufasa is kind and comradely!
Tender Basti: And you have great skills, maybe he’ll ask you to join him.
Basti took his hand and ran, bringing him back to the tribe. Vacantly looking at the hand held by Basti, Felix had a special feeling...
The children in the tribe were finding Felix in the crowd. It was the day for them to express gratitude to the Creators. The tribesmen were busying themselves with the preparation, including Felix, who had already stayed there for some time. He was helping in building the stage for the rites.
Actually, the preparation work for the rites was almost finished. That was why the children dared to run around. Hearing the children’s calling, Felix immediately jumped down from the tree and landed in front of the children...
Felix: What’s up that makes you in such a hurry?
Felix said as he patted their heads lovingly. The children shouted at once. Felix needed to calm them down first...
Felix: Hold on. Speak one by one, otherwise I can’t hear anything.
Gluttonous Child: Felix! I want to eat the food you made last time!
Felix: No problem. But you have to name it first.
Gluttonous Child: It is called...
Gluttonous Child: Lollipop! Must be lollipop!
Felix: Good job. I’ll make one for you later when I’m free.
Other Children: I want it too! Me too!
Felix: Alright! I know! One lollipop for each of you, is it OK?
The children laughed cheerfully, together with the adults who had been watching this; only Felix was laughing wryly. Then, a gentle voice spoke from his behind...
???: It’s such a surprise that you’re now more popular among the children than I am!
Everyone uttered sounds of marvelling. Felix turned his head to look at the owner of the voice. When he saw her, he was dumbfounded and did not know how to react... Dressing in the regalia of a priest, Basti appeared to be more elegant than usual with her good figure standing out.
Basti waved at Felix and looked at him doubtfully.
Basti: Felix? Why do you seem dazed?
Felix: N... No... I’m just thinking whether there is anything left I have to prepare.
Basti: Oh really...
Not hearing a compliment from Felix, Basti could not help but be quite disappointed. Looking at her face, Felix managed to say...
Felix: Well... You look great...
Basti: Re... Really?
Felix: End of discussion.
When Felix was about to turn and leave, Basti grabbed hold of him.
Basti: Come. I want to show you something.
Felix: Where are you bringing me? Why do you need to blindfold me?
Basti: Stop complaining! Oh! We’ve arrived...
Basti: Open your eyes and see. So beautiful, isn’t it?
Felix: Yes... But, where are we...?
Basti: This is the shrine. No one can enter here except the priest.
Basti: So, this is a little secret between us.
Felix: Where are so many elves here?
Basti: The elves come to worship my ancestor.
Felix: I think it’s about time to start the sacrificial rites.
Basti: You’re right... Let’s go back.
Basti was dancing on the stage. It was a dance performed by every priest of every generation, in order to express the gratitude to the Creators, as well as to pray for blessing in the coming year. All tribesmen bowed down to receive the blessing from the Creators.
Only Felix secretly opened his eyes. He gazed at Basti for a while, and then turned his head to the approximate direction to the shrine, as if he was having some plans in his mind...
Tribal Chief Mufasa: Yes. If the drought continued, all the tribesmen would not be able to hold on anymore...
Tribal Warrior Odous: So this is the end?
Tribal Sage Iquitos: I'm afraid it’s not so easy to soothe the God’s anger away.
Basti the Solar Deity: We must retrieve the stolen Ancestral Elements.
Basti the Solar Deity: Otherwise the Gods will never forgive us.
Tribal Chief Mufasa: Is this a message from Tefnut?
Basti responded with a gentle nod.
Tribal Warrior Odous: That despicable Felix! He betrayed us!
Pluma the Sky-high Outlaw: He joined our tribe just to steal the Ancestral Elements, from the very beginning.
Pluma the Sky-high Outlaw: It’s no question of betrayal. We were used.
Basti the Solar Deity: Sorry... chief, everybody, I’m so sorry...
Basti the Solar Deity: It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t bring him to the shrine...
Tribal Chief Mufasa: No, Basti, it’s not all your fault.
Basti the Solar Deity: No! It’s all my fault, my responsibility!
Basti the Solar Deity: I take responsibility for retrieving the Ancestral Elements he stole.
Not paying any more attention to the calling of Mufasa and the others, Basti solely walked away from the tribe. Since she was born, she had never left this forest, let alone the tribe. To her, the outer world was full of wonders and strangeness. When she was about to step out of the forest, she stopped in hesitation. Then, someone spoke from her behind...
???: Ahha, are you afraid?
Basti the Solar Deity: Iquitos? You startled me...
Basti the Solar Deity: Anyway, why are you here?
Tribal Sage Iquitos: To begin a new journey.
Basti the Solar Deity: I said it’s my responsibility, I must do it al...
Tribal Sage Iquitos: Did I say I’m here for you? I’m here just for a new journey.
Tribal Sage Iquitos: I don’t need you to follow me.
Basti smiled wryly. With Iquitos, she started the journey to find the Ancestral Elements and Felix. On the way, Basti thought about many things...
Basti the Solar Deity: ‘If we find Felix, what should I do? What should I say?’
Basti the Solar Deity: ‘Have I forgiven him? Do I hate him? Do I really wanna see him?’
Again, Basti fell into perplexity, but her train of thought was soon called back by Iquitos...
Tribal Sage Iquitos: We’ve found them.
Basti the Solar Deity: ‘Wasn’t he the one who was chasing after Felix? Why are they together...?’
Basti the Solar Deity: I want to see Felix. Where is he?
Charon the Soul Carrier: Who are you? We won’t let you see our captain so freely!
Basti the Solar Deity: Captain? Felix is your captain?
Charon the Soul Carrier: Yes! We’re famous mercenaries. We can finish all kinds of missions as long as you’re able to pay!
Basti the Solar Deity: I care nothing about mercenaries. I just want to see Felix, now! Where is he?
Charon the Soul Carrier: As I said, our captain won’t receive any random guys like you!
Felix the Cat Duke: Basti...? Why are you here?
Basti the Solar Deity: This should be the question I’m asking you!
Basti the Solar Deity: Felix, who exactly are you? Hand over the Ancestral Elements!
Felix the Cat Duke: The Ancestral Elements have long since been away.
Basti the Solar Deity: Not in your hands? Where did you bring them to?
Felix the Cat Duke: Who knows?
Basti the Solar Deity: What’s going on?
Basti the Solar Deity: Tell me the whole story! Felix!
Felix the Cat Duke: Someone gave me some money, asking me to steal the Ancestral Elements for him.
Felix the Cat Duke: Then I wormed my way into your tribe. That’s it.
After a long time, Basti finally let out a deep breath, and said...
Basti the Solar Deity: The whole thing was completely a set-up? The people hunting you down are all your confederates?
Felix did not answer.
Basti the Solar Deity: The rapport with everyone in the tribe was also part of the plans?
Felix remained silent.
Basti the Solar Deity: What about your devotion to us? You were just pretending?
Basti the Solar Deity: The smile... was fake?
Felix did not give any response. He just stood silently, with his eyes off Basti. Basti walked towards Felix in small steps.
Basti the Solar Deity: Look at me! What is it? You don’t want to look at me, or you dare not look at me?
Basti the Solar Deity: I said, look at me!
Felix then looked at Basti face-to-face.
Basti the Solar Deity: It doesn’t matter if you’re not answering the questions I’ve just asked...
Basti the Solar Deity: This is the only question I want you to answer me.
Felix and Basti looked at each other in the eyes. The eyes of Basti were luminous and clear as before; but the eyes of Felix were deep as if they were filled with many secrets.
Basti the Solar Deity: All your feelings for me... Are they true or not?
Basti the Solar Deity: Have you ever loved me?
Felix thought for a while. Then suddenly he closed his eyes and responded coldly...
Felix the Cat Duke: You really want me to answer you?
Basti the Solar Deity: Yes!
Felix the Cat Duke: The answer is NO. You can go now!
Sadness and disappointment appeared in the eyes of Basti. Not saying a word, she turned and left with Iquitos.
Charon the Soul Carrier: Captain, it really doesn’t matter? You’re in fact...
Felix the Cat Duke: Shut up! Mind your own business.
On the other hand, Basti and Iquitos were walking quietly in the woods. All of a sudden, Basti stopped. Iquitos turned his head to look at her, puzzled.
Basti the Solar Deity: Iquitos, you go back to the tribe first. I still have something to do.
Tribal Sage Iquitos: Are you going to follow them secretly?
Tribal Sage Iquitos: Everyone says I’m lunatic. But to me, you’re even more of a lunatic.
Basti the Solar Deity: I’ve gone crazy since the moment I fell in love with him.
Basti the Solar Deity: If his affection and feelings for me are all unreal, why is he still retaining his form of a cat?
Basti the Solar Deity: Why didn’t he transform back into a man after finishing the mission?
Basti the Solar Deity: I love him, so I trust him.
Basti the Solar Deity: And, maybe I can track down the stolen Ancestral Elements by following him.
Tribal Sage Iquitos: Love! What a mysterious thing!
Tribal Sage Iquitos: I hope you can find the things you’ve lost in the end of this journey.