OCTOBER 26, 2146 NWE


Anne is currently in the middle of the forest, wearing her trusty blue jacket, a red mini-skirt, and tall boots. As her footsteps crunch in the snow, she brushes some snowflakes off her coat as she goes.

ANNE: Hmm... I never thought being alone for so long inside this forest could be this lonely...

She continues walking, her breath is visible as mist in the cold temperature.

ANNE: (looking up at the sky) But it's worth a walk. With these bright skies? Today is a good day.


The sun shines brightly overhead, casting a warm glow on the landscape. She raises her right hand, palm up, as if reaching out to the skies, and covers the sun with her hand.

ANNE: (squinting at the sun) Snowfall stopped this week. So that means I can relax moving on foot to get down the mountain and reach the town safely.


My name is Anne Xyzah. And today, I am officially a Handler. Yup, it's quite the opposite of what I've chosen last night. Though being a student is not a bad choice either.

In fact, that's the safest option to pick from for those who wanted an easy quality of life for their future. It's because the government will provide guaranteed jobs to all successful graduates.

But the thing is... being a student doesn't really suit me. No, I wasn't getting bullied there. This is not like those common tropes that we usually watch in animes. But there are just some horrible memories that I need to forget to avoid triggering my own trauma, the reason why I was diagnosed with depression years ago.

And that's what exactly happened yesterday. Though everything is a bit hazy to me, Mom said that I was hallucinating, believing that I had frostbite that evening. She told me I may have been pressuring myself in becoming a student again.

But I swear what I felt that time was real. I even heard a voice talking to me. I'm not sure what's happening, but I guess this is all related to my dream. Mom was right, my health has been stable for years. So this is not about my trauma, this is something else.


Anne, startled by the rustling of leaves behind her, quickly turns around to take a glimpse of what's causing the noise.


ANNE: (in her thoughts) [ Are you serious?]

She reaches for one of her Anirangs and firmly grasps it, ready to defend herself if necessary.

ANNE: You've gotta be kidding me…

As the tension rises, a snow leopard emerges from the bushes, its sleek and powerful form moving gracefully in the snowy terrain.

ANNE: (anxious) [ But I don't want to battle yet. Don't tell me this is already my game over.]

Anne's mind races, contemplating her next move. She weighs the options, her instincts telling her to be cautious but also aware of the potential consequences. The snow leopard stands before her, its eyes locked with hers.

Anne takes a deep breath, her determination shining through her worried expression. She carefully lowers her Anirang, keeping it at her side, indicating her intent to peacefully coexist with the majestic creature.

The snow leopard continues its slow approach toward Anne, who stands there silently, her nervousness palpable. She gulps, feeling her own heartbeat racing in her chest.

ANNE: [ Stay calm, Anne. Stay calm. ]

She consciously avoids making eye contact with the snow leopard, remembering her mother's advice about these majestic cats.

ANNE: [ I'm guessing it's a snow leopard. Mom told me to avoid making eye contact with these big cats; they might see it as a challenge. ]

Anne remains still, not daring to move an inch. She stays quiet as the snow leopard sniffs at her legs, its whiskers brushing against her skin. She fights the urge to look into its eyes.

ANNE: [ Don't stare at me, please. Just go away. I'm not tasty at all. Or are you taunting me to look back at you?! ]

Anne's mind races with conflicting thoughts and emotions. She's both fearful and intrigued by the close encounter with the wild animal. She understands the importance of respecting its territory and wishes silently for the snow leopard to move on.

The snow leopard takes a final sniff, seemingly satisfied with its investigation. It looks at Anne one more time before slowly turning away, disappearing into the snowy landscape.

Anne lets out a breath she didn't realize she was holding. Relief washes over her as she watches the snow leopard retreat, maintaining a respectful distance. Feeling the tension slowly dissipate as the snow leopard disappears from her sight. Her knees give way, and she kneels down on the snowy ground, her body still trembling with the remnants of fear. She places both of her hands on the ground, seeking stability and grounding in the aftermath of the intense encounter.

ANNE: (muttering) That was close... I can't believe I was almost a goner.


ANNE: (whispers) Thanks for keeping me safe, goddess of the snow forest.

Her gaze shifts to the anirang she's been holding tightly. Realizing its significance, she remembers its purpose—to protect her.

ANNE: (softly) I do need an aniture to protect me after all.

Anne presses the button in the middle of the disk, and a bright light radiates, casting a warm glow in the surrounding snowy landscape. As the light subsides, a beautiful creature materializes before her—Artiny, her loyal Arctic fox companion.

Anne wears a high-tech visor, known as an Anivice, with an attached earpiece. She taps a button on the visor, activating the communication feature.

ANNE: (shaky voice) Artiny…

Artiny, the arctic fox, turns its head towards Anne and responds with a hint of sarcasm.

ARTINY: You look terrible, Anne.

Anne, still shaken from her recent encounter, cries out in frantic distress.

ANNE: (teary-eyed) Waaah! I just escaped from a grim reaper!

Artiny, though unimpressed, replies with a playful exasperation.

ARTINY: Geez... crybaby. (she then looks at Anne with concern) I don't know what kind of danger you walked into again, Anne... But I've told you already, you should have taken me with you since you're all alone.

Anne, wiping away her tears, responds with a mix of guilt and appreciation.

ANNE: (sniffles) I know, Artiny... I know. It's just that I didn't want to use up all your energy at the very beginning of our journey.

ARTINY: (confidently) I may be small, but I can sense danger better than you. So, let's go.

Anne, slightly surprised by Artiny's assertion, takes a moment to process it.

ANNE: (nods) Oh... okay. I trust your instincts, Artiny. Lead the way.


 Her name is Artiny, she’s an arctic fox and also my very first aniture.

Anitures are animals tamed by handlers like me. They become our loyal companions during our adventures, and with the available technology right now, we can also communicate with them with ease.

Handlers usually capture animals and register them to become anitures, but it was different between me and Artiny. It's because I met her when she was still a cub, lost, and in need of help.

I found her inside the woods during a winter storm. It was a bitterly cold night, and the snow was falling relentlessly. There she was, all alone, weak, gasping for air, and starving. She was almost on the brink of death



But I couldn't just leave her there. Something inside me urged me to help her. So, I braved the storm and reached out to her.

And you know what? She gave me a welcome bite. It was as if she wanted to test me, to see if I was worthy of her trust. Despite the pain, I couldn't help but feel a connection forming between us.

From that moment on, we became inseparable. I nursed her back to health, and in return, she became my companion, my confidant, and my friend.

We've been through thick and thin together, facing countless adventures and challenges along the way.


Anne reaches for a compact device attached to her belt and opens it. Artiny looks at it curiously.

ARTINY: (curious) What's that, Anne?

ANNE: (excited) Oh, this? We call it Anita. It's a must-have gadget given to us as Handlers. It allows me to scan and record all the animals I've encountered on my journey.

Anne presses a button on Anita and navigates through its features, checking something on the device's screen.

ANNE: Sigh... I was right. It was a snow leopard. Such a rare creature. I should have captured it, Artiny. It would have been an incredible addition to our records.

Artiny's eyes widen in surprise and concern.

ARTINY: (incredulous) What?!! You want me to fight a snow leopard?! Anne, I'm just a fox. Taking on a big cat like that would be dangerous.

ANNE: E-he-he… yup, my bad.


As the sun begins to set, Anne and Artiny are still walking through the snowy forest.

ARTINY: (concerned) Anne, it's getting late. We should pick up the pace so we can reach the town as soon as possible.

ANNE: (nods) You're right, Artiny. We need to move faster now. We don't want to be stuck in the forest after dark.

Artiny glances at Anne, her expression filled with worry.

ARTINY: (worried) Are you sure you'll be okay being alone in the middle of this forest, Anne?

Anne smiles warmly at Artiny.

ANNE: (assured) As long as you're with me, Artiny, I'll be just fine. We make a great team, don't we?

Artiny smiles back, reassured by Anne's words. But then Anne's face lights up with mischievousness.

ANNE: (teasingly) But you know what, Artiny? I have a bright idea! How about you give me a ride on your back so we can travel even faster?

Artiny is taken aback, almost in disbelief.

ARTINY: (surprised) What are you going to do with me?! You’ll ride on my back and I’ll get crushed by your weight?!

Anne giggles, clearly excited about the idea.

ANNE: (playfully) Oh, come on, Artiny! Don't be such a meanie. I'm not that fat and heavy. It'll be fun, trust me!

Artiny lets out a sigh, trying to reason with Anne.

ARTINY: (sighs) You're not getting my point, are you? I’m just a tiny fox compared to you humans.

Anne pulls out a small flashlight device from her pocket.

ANNE: (excited) But I want to try this on you… It's another cool invention provided to us Handlers.

ARTINY: (skeptical) What is it this time? Another weird human invention?

Anne starts explaining enthusiastically, but Artiny quickly gets overwhelmed and frustrated.

ARTINY: (interrupting) Just use it already! I don't understand half of what you're saying with all those technical words.

Anne giggles and nods.

ANNE: HAHA! Alright, here goes nothing!

Anne turns on the flashlight, and a bright beam of light emerges, aiming it at Artiny's body. Artiny closes her eyes, uncertain of what to expect.

ARTINY: (curious) Is it done, Anne?


Anne turns off the flashlight and smiles.

ANNE: Yes, it's all good, Artiny. You can open your eyes now.

Artiny slowly opens her eyes and looks at herself. She realizes that she has grown larger in size.

ARTINY: (astonished) Wow, I've gotten bigger! This is the maximum size an Arctic fox can reach using this flashlight, right?

Anne nods, excited to see Artiny's reaction.

ANNE: That's right! Now you'll be able to handle my weight without any problem. This gadget allows you to temporarily increase your size. It'll make our journey easier and more comfortable.

Artiny smiles, embracing her newfound size.

ARTINY: This is incredible, Anne!


Anne is seated on Artiny's back as they swiftly make their way through the dark forest. Artiny is running as fast as she can, carrying Anne towards the town.

ANNE: (gently tapping Artiny's back) Hey, Artiny... You've been running for almost an hour now.

ARTINY: I don't mind, Anne. I'm still fine.

ANNE: (worried) It's very late. We should rest now, Artiny. Let's continue our journey tomorrow morning. It's not safe to travel in the darkness.

Artiny slows down and comes to a stop, considering Anne's words.

ARTINY: (reluctant) Alright, Anne.

Anne and Artiny search for a suitable spot, eventually finding a pine tree with a dry area beneath it. They settle down, and Anne prepares a quick dinner for both of them. Exhausted, they finally rest for the night.

Anne lies down beside the enlarged Artiny, hugging her closely for warmth. Artiny's fur provides a cozy cover for Anne's entire body.


Anne is sound asleep, curled up beside the slumbering Artiny. In the depths of her dream, a soft voice calls out to her.

"Thank you, Anne. You made the right decision. But remember, this is just the beginning.

Don't worry, I will guide you no matter what... Stay strong."


Chapter 3: A Welcome Bite



Jhamycka Creator

Thanks for reading :D