Chapter 87:

We Have a Mole in Our Midst

Mad God


It was an early night as Niji, Kang, Pongo, and Mili were waiting at the northern gate of Thunder Valley, ready to welcome the soon-arriving owls and moles. The first to come were the moles, with a group only consisting of three members. The leader of their delegation was also the tribe leader. He was an old, wrinkled man with completely white eyes. His messy, graying, long hair draped down on his skinny body as he leaned on a walking stick, holding its shaft with his long, boney fingers. Behind him stood two other males looking a bit thin and with white eyes, but their hair was a healthier shade of brown. All of them wore coarse, rough, fur-like clothing, but their feet were left free as they constantly dug into the soil, even when standing still, scraping at it with their toes. It seemed that this subconscious motion calmed their nerves as they were visibly on edge by only the fact they were up on the surface.

"Welcome to Thunder Valley. My name is Niji, and I am the elected mayor. These are my council members Kang, the leader of the gorillas; Pongo, the leader of the orangutans and Mili, the leader of the fairies."

"Greetings, I am Garganel, leader of my tribe; these two are my bodyguards, Rext and Nays. Thank you for receiving us." the oldest of the three replied, his voice weak and shaky.

"Please, I am happy you chose to meet with us!" Niji smiled as Kang's ears twitched, but if it had been a surprise attack, it would already be late to react.

With absolute silence, two owls floated down from the air, taking a human form in mid-air before landing graciously. While the moles' height was around 150 and 160 centimeters, the owls' height only reached up to 120, dwarfed by Kang and the rest. Yet their auras were proud, fearless, and carried a tint of a regal feeling. Turning, their outward appearance carried the same as a human would, only with eyes twice as big. Their feathers, which were grayish for one and brownish for the other, also served as their clothes. Clearly, both of them were female, having short hair matching their feathers' colors, and their eyes carried a piercing look, almost glowing in a yellow light, blinking so rarely it seemed like they never did.

"I am Uhure." the one with the brownish feathers covering her petite body spoke up.

"I am Ohore, " the second commented calmly, turning her head 180 degrees backward, looking at the moles, not saying much before turning back towards Niji.

"Welcome, let me introduce ourselves!" He smiled in response, repeating the same introduction from before, asking them to come in.

He first took them on a tour of Thunder Valley, showing off their achievements in building a city that truly resembled modernity compared to how most tribes lived. The roads were made from cobblestone, the houses from polished, painted wood. The important buildings that served the community were made from bricks with roofs covered with orange tiles. Even though the population had hardly reached over 400, it was clear they were already preparing a city that could accommodate at least 1000 souls and easily expand outwards, building up a second circle and a new wall if necessary.

When a human arrived here and took a walk in this new city, he may have felt a bit weird as some houses were designed to be oversized, to fit the giant, 3 and 4 meters tall apes, while others were so small, they couldn't be comfortable for even a human child. They were specially made for the fairies. This mismatch of sizes gave a fairytale-like appearance to the city, but for the demons, this was completely normal and not weird at all.

After the tour, Niji led them to the city hall. It was a giant building made from brick and stone. The front door was also made so that it could fit Kang through easily, who was the biggest in size. Yet on it, it also had multiple other door handles so it could be opened in sections if a smaller individual arrived, just like Mili. Going up to the second floor, they sat at an oval table where the council would meet, and Niji served them a glass of wine before sitting down at the head position.

"I hope you enjoyed the little tour. As you can see, we have ample room to expand, and if you wish to join us, we would be eager to discuss the details with you. There are still a lot of empty houses, and if you have a tribesman who wants to have a store or a workplace, we can give you the perfect place. Our members liked the idea, and we already have a few workshops and stores serving the city." He explained happily.

"About that." Uhure spoke, "My tribe is not used to taking human forms for long. We like to keep our original appearance. Just like you apes."

"Weeeelll" Pongo said with a smile. "We are the clooooosest to humans. We can't even taaaake that foooorm you knooooow~" She giggled, lighting her pipe up.

"What she tried to say is; We have no problem with that." Niji looked at her before smiling at Uhure.

"Good, we will need trees." the owl nodded, "We don't like to live on the ground where vermin scurry around constantly," Ohore added, which prompted Garganel to tremble.

"Are you referring to us?" He asked with a shaky, dry voice.

"Yes." both girls answered at the same time. "You are a tier above rats, but that does not say much."

"You!" Rext flared up, but Garganel raised his hand to not cause trouble.

"Don't fall for their provocation," Nays whispered while he stood back behind his leader's chair again.

"Please." Niji sighed. "We are a cooperative group here. This kind of attitude won't do if you really wish to integrate into our city!"

"No fights inside," Kang spoke up, and his deep voice filled the room. "We are one, together strong. If not, go home, and be alone. Nobody asks you again." He looked at the five newcomers, his animalistic aura kept in the bay yet still shaking them.

"What are the rules? What do we need to give up to be part of this city?" Garganel asked, and his question drew both owls' attention towards Niji again.

"There are rules, yes. But I don't know about… giving up." Niji shook his head. "This city is governed by all of us. Every tribe can keep its structure and hierarchy. Nobody would go against that. Only you can't force your views upon the other tribes. If someone from your flock acts against others, we are here to collectively punish him or her. It doesn't matter which tribe you are from. If you act against one of us, you will be punished by our laws!" he explained calmly. "We are especially serious about infightings. It can lead to one or the other tribe being expelled. We won't take those who can't adapt." he looked at the owls as he spoke, "We welcome others but only if they are willing to adapt to our ways. If not, we are better off if we stay as neighbors only."

"We agree," Garganel said immediately as Niji held a small break in his speech.

"The city's future is decided by the council leading it." Niji continued after a short pause, "Every council member is the leader of the tribes living here. I say I am the mayor, but it is just a title in a name. Every decision we make, we do as a collective."

"We saw a lot of humans here," Uhure added in a questioning tone.

"Of course." Niji smiled. "We have healthy cooperation with them and exchange many goods! The buildings you see here were built with their help. Also, the one who made this possible is a human."

"..." the owls furrowed their brows without saying anything, but it seemed they really disliked the notion of Niji's words.

"If you hate humans, that is one thing, we won't condemn you for that… but then it's best if we say goodbye now because we won't be able to work together in the future." He looked into their eyes without any fear.

"Humans can't be trusted," Ohore added.

"Yes, some." Niji nodded. "Just like some demons."

"She can be. We trust her." Kang crossed his arms, clearly insulted on Ren's behalf. "She saves us. Other humans can do bad, but she good. You like not? Fuck off." He scoffed, speaking some words he had learned from Ren.

"We have no problem with any of this." Garganel said, "We are willing to join and follow your rules. Our place is always at the mercy of stronger tribes. We just want a safe place to live in!"

"No problem. We will protect you if you join and contribute to the city." Niji smiled at him.

"What… contribution?" He asked back with a bit of fear in his voice.

"Nothing major, don't worry. We are planning to build downwards. Underground. First, we want a sewer system and underground shelters. We are still in the planning phase only. Your tribe would be welcome to help build it alongside your preferred homes!"

"Of course! We are experts in that!" Garganel agreed happily and immediately, already relaxed.

"How biiiiig is yoooooour tribe?" Pongo asked.

"We only have 33 members." He answered honestly, looking at the smoking orangutan.

"I see. That is not too much. We expected more, ahaha!" Niji laughed. "Sure, you can move in anytime you want. What about you?" he turned towards the owls.

"12."

"Just… 12?" Mili gawked, yelping a little and hiding close to Kang when the owls looked at her, unblinking.

"We are a solitary kind." Ohore explained calmly, "Our tribe already counts as overpopulated."

"We are seen as an odd group." Uhure nodded. "We are willing to try. I can't say more yet."

"I understand. Well, we are fine with trying. We do not have that many demons here anyway. Hopefully, we can get along, and you will stay."

"Um…" Mili raised her hand, sitting on a stack of books on her chair, to reach the table's height. "Do… Do you eat… butterflies?" she asked with a pale face that turned her greenish skin to almost white, looking at the owls but still forcing her biggest fear out of herself.

Uhure and Ohore just looked at each other, tilting their heads sideways before answering simultaneously.

"No, we don't. We hunt bigger prey."

Their response made Mili relax, letting out a breath of relief, almost slanting down from the books under the table, making Pongo chuckle a little.

"I think we can work together. Please rest for now, and you can explore the city more tomorrow before returning." Niji stood up, making small talk before leading them to their resting place.

When everything was said and done, and he readied himself to go home, Pongo came to visit.

"What is it?" Niji asked, surprised by the unexpected visitor

"We haaaaad a premonition yesterdaaaaaay." She said calmly, extinguishing her pipe.

"Oh?" He turned serious immediately. "What was it about?"

“The moleeeeees are mooooooles.”

"What?"

"They areeeee here as moooooooles."

"I don't- wait…." He blinked his eyes rapidly as Pongo just smiled.

“Now youuuuuu get iiiiiit.”

"Matu?" He crossed his arms before his chest.

"Yeeeeees. We saw his figuuuuuure in our visiooooooon. They killed Kaaaaang in a surprise attaaaaaack."

"Fuck…" He cursed, almost biting his tongue.

"Don't woooooorry. We know nooooooow, it won't happeeeeeen."

"Mmm… no, it won't. We won't let them. After they return to gather the rest, we will hold a meeting. I'll send messengers out. Ren's two underlings are out in the forest scouting. They are going to be a great help."

"Gooooooooood."

"Thanks, Pongo."

"Nooooo." She shook her head. "This is a muuuuuust. We liiiiiike this. We are paaaaaart of this. We proteeeeeeect this." She patted his shoulder before leaving.

Niji took a deep, calming breath before looking out the window toward the full moons.

"Finally, we are on track… I won't let some idiot ruin it! Let us see who comes up top, you little pipsqueak… Your plan will fail, and you won't even know why!" He smiled faintly and with confidence in his eyes.