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A soft playlist in the background and a good book in her hand had become Kiri’s new daily life. Not that she was complaining, it was the most wonderful way to spend her time, and there wasn’t really anything else she wished to be doing.

Since she’d moved to the Valley, almost every day had been filled with hard work and long days, but after almost a year, her farm was practically running itself. Every day, she’d check on the crops, harvest the ones that needed harvesting, and afterwards she’d make sure that her animals were all warm and cosy in their barns and coops. It usually didn’t take any longer than a couple of hours, and then she could do whatever she pleased for the rest of the day.

It was unlike her life back when she lived in the city, and the change had been very noticeable during the first few days. After only a week, she’d gotten used to wear whatever she wanted, do whatever she wanted, and, most importantly, do everything on her own time. With the horrid office job she’d had before, there had been a big timetable in the front of the room, which was supposed to tell you what to do and when to do it. Her everyday life now was very different, and it had certainly changed for the better.

She’d seen things she’d only dared to dream of, and found things that her grandfather had told her stories about. The first thing that came to mind was the small apple-like creatures that was living in the community center. She’d met them during the first time in the valley, and it had come as quite a shock when she saw a small figure moving around in the abandoned house. Meeting the wizard, and being told that she hadn’t gone insane, had been almost as exciting as moving to the valley in the first place.

Now, she had a chest in front of her house filled with things that she needed to get to the community centre. Eggs, fish, metal bars, and a whole lot of crops, just waiting for her to deliver them to the junimos. The wizard had told her about the gifts that would be given to her if she helped the junimos, but whether that was the truth or not was still unknown to her. Even if she wouldn’t get any presents, helping the small creatures made her happy, and whenever she put something in the community centre, they would shyly pop out from the shadows and crevices where they hid, and she really wanted to make them happy.

The playlist, that had been playing in the background suddenly ended, in the middle of a song, and she looked up, having been lost in thought for some time now. By the speakers in the side of the room stood Shane, although she didn’t know why he was there. They usually went for a walk together on tuesdays, and on fridays they would play videogames in his room until it was already morning again. But today was thursday, and so, they didn’t have anything planned for the day.

“Hello Shane,” Her relaxed state was evident in her voice, but she quickly changed tone when she saw the look on his face. “Is something the matter? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

He looked up at her, and his face was indeed paler than she’d ever seen it, and his eyes had a sense of fright in them. The valley seemed to be a safe place, but of course she could be wrong, since she hadn’t lived there for too long yet.

“I think you need to see this for yourself.” was the only thing he said, and after that statement, he walked back towards the door, and stood by it, waiting for her to follow.

She closed the book in her hand, and put it on the small coffee table by the couch, next to her forgotten cup of tea, and then she made her way to the door.

She didn’t really expect to see anything when she opened the door, Shane and Jas sometimes joked around with her, and this might just have been another prank, but when she opened it she saw a bunch of chickens on her front porch.

They were blue.

Turning around and facing Shane, she saw a huge grin on his face.

“You finally did it!” She exclaimed. “I can’t believe this!”

Kiri knew that Shane wasn’t big on hugs, but if anything deserved a hug, it must surely be this. She buried her face in his jacket, and spun around with him. They were both laughing when they pulled apart, and the smile was still on his face.

“Bet you thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, huh?” He said, panting slightly from the laughter. “Well, looks like I proved you wrong once more.”

“I just can’t believe that these are actual blue chickens.” She laughed, and turned around once more to look at said chickens, only to notice that they had ran away.

Shane noticed it as well. “Shit! I knew I should’ve kept them indoors.”

“That’s okay, they couldn’t have gotten far. We’ll find them in no time.” The farmer wasn’t exactly known for her positive outlook on things, but then again, neither were Shane, and they both nodded and started looking for the runaway chickens.

--------

A couple of hours later, and still no sign of the chickens. Shane was starting to get really upset, and even Kiri couldn’t help but thinking the worst.

“If the chickens went into the forest..” Shane started.

“Even if they went all the way to the beach, we’ll still find them. It’s a small town, and blue chickens aren’t the most common thing, so I’m sure people would notice them.”

With a hand on his shoulder, and a smile on her face, she managed to get him to see a bit of hope again. But only a tiny but, because as they were walking around her farm they found a couple of blue feathers on the ground.

“They could have been attacked! Shit! It’s all my fault, I should’ve looked better after them, and..” Again, she cut his rambling short, although this time it was with a simple point towards the farmhouse. Close by the farmhouse, she could have sworn that she saw a flash of blue, so she started running towards it.

Judging by the footsteps and the pants behind her, Shane had chosen to follow her.

When they finally got all the way to the house, there was nothing there. No flashes of colour, no blue chickens, no nothing. Well, except for a note laying on the front porch. It was very small, and you’d probably miss it on the first glance, but it was definitely there.

Shane didn’t seem to have noticed it yet, and when she picked it up, he seemed shocked that there was something on the porch.

It was addressed “To the kind farmer” on the front of the envelope, and since it was on her porch, Kiri assumed that it was her.

“What the hell is that.” Shane’s voice broke through the silence, and she turned around to look at him, with the letter in her hand.

“It’s obviously a letter, what did you think it was?”

“No shit it’s a letter, but what does it say on the front?”

Kiri looked down at the letter. “To the kind Farmer”. The letters weren’t small, almost filling the entire envelope, so it was really odd that Shane couldn’t read it. She knew from their many nights spent playing video games that he could, indeed, read, so why he couldn’t read this, was very weird.

“What do you mean, what does it say, it’s very obvious right here.” She shoved the letter in front of his face, so he didn’t have a choice other than to read the text, but he just looked at her with confusion written all over his face.

“This is literally just a bunch of scribbles, Kiri, I don’t know what kind of drugs you’re on but this says absolutely nothing.”

His words made her look at the envelope one extra time, and surely enough, to the kind farmer, was written in clear letters on the front. Not wanting to argue with him any further, she opened the envelope and inside was a small letter.

The paper was green, and the text in the middle was written with a dark blue ink.

We noticed something strange
A chicken with a big change
To help avoid it’s doom
We put it in the big room

How odd, the text was written like a poem. The changed chicken must have been the blue chickens, and somewhere close by, there must be a big room with the chickens in it.

“Isn’t this strange?” She said, and handed the letter to Shane. He looked at it for a couple of second before handing it right back to her.

“Yeah, very strange,” He said, his gruff voice sounding slightly irritated, “Very strange how you keep handing me paper with scribbles on it.”

“What!” She said, the surprise clear in her face. “Are you actually kidding me?”

Then she remembered what the wizard had told her. When he’d showed her the things about the small junimos, he also said something about a language of the forest, or something like that. She’d been too busy focusing on not passing out on the floor to really focus on anything that happened in that minute.

It was really only logical that Shane couldn’t read it, since he probably hadn’t spoken to the wizard about the junimos. When she’d told Mayor Lewis about it, he didn’t seem to know what she was talking about, so maybe it wasn’t a well-known fact that there were magic little creatures running around in the town.

“Um, nevermind. It just says that the chickens are in a safe place, in a big room somewhere.”

“Well, did the letter say where the big room was? ‘Cause I have to get these chickens back home before it gets dark.”

“No, it just said that it was a big room. Maybe we should make some tea and think it over.”

Shane didn’t seem to be too against the idea, so she took the door handle in her hand, and opened the door.

When people talk about chaos, they often think of warzones, ruined buildings, and the like, but no-one ever speaks of a room after three chickens had been flying around in it.

There were blue feathers scattered everywhere in the room, and at least two of her pillows had been ruined due to their claws. It looked like someone dropped a bomb in her living room, and there was no way in hell that she would be able to clean it up before the evening, which was sort of ruining her afternoon plans of watching a ghibli movie.

--------

After about a thousand apologies from Shane, the chickens and him were finally out of her house, and on the way back to the ranch.

It wasn’t how she’d thought the day would have gone, and she definitely hadn’t thought that she would be sweeping blue feathers from the floor in order to walk from her front door to her bed, but things don’t always work out the way you think it will.

One thing she was sure to do was deliver everything the junimos wanted, to the community center.