Sukepugoto looked around in confusion. Where am I now? She asked herself with trepidation. She recognised nothing, there was a forest on her left and on the right there was a river flowing through some fields. A group of animals had just reached the water and looked like they were preparing to cross.
"Excuse me!" She called out to them, "Can anyone please tell me which way to the Sacred Mountain?"
All the animals ignored her except for a smoky grey cat. He turned back from the river and headed towards her. "The Sacred Mountain? Why do you need to go there?" He studied her carefully. "You're pretty young to be off on your own, what's a kirin like you doing around here anyway."
"Well you see, I get lost easily. My family and I were going to pray at the mountain for prosperity in the coming year. Only I lagged behind them and now I can't find them." Suke frowned slightly. "What were you going to do in that river? I thought cats hated water."
Puffing out his fur in annoyance the cat tilted his head to the side and explained. "It's the Emperor's birthday but the bridge is out. We had just decided to cross anyway when you turned up. I don't want to be late to the party. However I can hardly leave you here lost. Come on I'll take you to the crossroads, I can point out the way from there." He sauntered off down the road with Suke following behind.
"How far is it?" Suke asked him.
"Not far, it's easy to get to the Sacred Mountain once you're at the crossroads."
They continued along the path as it snaked out before them and in a short span reached the fork in the road.
"That way," he pointed with an unsheathed claw, "takes you to the Sacred Mountain. You can't miss it, the road goes all the way to the shrine. Stick to the path and you'll be there in two hours time."
Suke looked at him and smiled gratefully. "Thank you so much. Might I know your name? I will pray for you."
He grinned toothily at her. "I am The Cat. Now if you don't mind I shall hurry off to the party." Turning back the other direction he raced off along the path.
What a nice cat, I hope he reaches the party in time.
creditsSukepugoto is an approximation in Japanese romaji of the English word "Scapegoat".
Kirin or Qilen are mythical beasts in Eastern Cultures, roughly analogous to the Western Unicorn.
Our friend The Cat was the last animal to arrive at the Jade Emperor's party and because of this he did not get a year of the Zodiac named after him. If this is Sukepugoto's fault it's really rather hard to tell.
Story inspired by the Fruits Basket manga by Natsuki Takaya.
Sukupugoto artwork by Kaylene.
Profile by Boogleloo.
World of Warcraft (c) Blizzard Entertainment.