> Try to talk to them
“Alright, let’s try a peaceful approach.” You finally decide. “If this is just a village, there’s no need to come in ready to fight.”
“Alright, sounds good.” Marcus nods. “With luck, we might even be able to find somewhere for the other passengers to rest.”
“Yeah though…” You look over at Faera. “If they’re all mice, they might be a bit nervous about me. Maybe you should be the one to talk to them first. Me and Marcus could hide out until we’re certain that they’re friendly.”
“Ah? Me?” The deergirl seems hesitant. “That is… I suppose I understand where you are coming from but…”
“Myla’s right about this though.” Marcus offers. “She can be a bit… intimidating, which might be bad for a first impression. And with how the Empire is generally nervous around humans, it would be best for me to join her. Don’t worry, we’ll be right behind you.”
“Very well.” The deergirl nods. With that decided, the three of you head towards the larger structure. You and Marcus wait outside, just next to the door as the deergirl enters. “Ah… Hello? Is there anyone here..?”
As she calls out, two mouseboys suddenly approach, though they seem hesitant. “Wh-what? An intruder?! A-ah, the guards are still inside?!” They move closer, unarmed, but obviously on guard. “Wait, one of the Masked? We were not told that one would be coming today.”
“Masked..?” Faera tilts her head, confused by what they mean. “I am sorry, I do not… Um… I am looking for a friend.”
“Wait, this is not one of the Masked!” The other mouse speaks up. “I do not recognize her! Who are you? Why are you here?”
“A-ah, as I said, I am looking for a friend!” Faera quickly replies. “We believe she may have been brought here. She is a rabbit beastkin with brown hair and goes by the name of Floria. I only ask to know if she is here. If not, then I will leave you be.”
“Floria..?” One of the mouseboys looks to the other one. “And rabbit…” They quietly whisper something to each other. “How do you know of this Floria?” They finally ask.
“Ah? Well she is…” Faera explains. “She is a friend of mine. We were riding an airship when it crashed not too far from here. I am worried that she may have been injured. Is she here somewhere?”
“What is this ‘airship’ you speak of?” One of the mice asks, but stops. “Wait… Nevermind that. We must get the elder! You, wait here and keep an eye on them!” He speaks to the other mouse, who looks a bit startled.
“A-ah? Wait here?! With the outsider?” The other mouse looks concerned. “You cannot leave me here with her!”
“I will be back soon! Just keep her here!” The first mouse replies back to him before quickly heading further into the building.
“E-eep…” The mouseboy left with the deergirl looks quite nervous. “U-um… Please do not do anything!”
“Um… Do not worry.” Faera tries to reassure him. “Though… if we are to settle this peacefully, perhaps I should tell you that I am not alone. I have two others with me, though we did not wish to startle you by approaching all at once.”
“O-others..?” The mouseboy asks worriedly. Deciding that since Faera has revealed your presence, it would be best for you to come out of hiding. Both you and Marcus carefully come out of hiding in the least threatening way you can. “E-eep…”
“Relax.” Marcus speaks up. “We’re only here for our friend. The other mouse went to go get an elder, correct? We would like to speak to him regardless.”
“Y-yes… O-oh… Hurry up and come back…” The mouseboy seems very nervous, and seems to be most concerned about you, as he hasn’t taken his eyes off of you since you revealed yourself. “U-um… P-please do not eat me, miss wolf.”
“Er…” You scratch your head at his unexpected pleading. “I mean… I wasn’t really planning to?”
You stand there awkwardly for what feels like a few minutes before the other mouse comes back. He’s startled by you and Marcus, but after a quick explanation, he calms down somewhat. “O-okay um… The elder said that we are to bring you inside. H-he wishes to speak to the outsiders.”
“Well, this is probably our best option for now.” Marcus turns to you. “Let’s go see this elder.”
“Indeed.” Faera nods, turning to the mice. “Please, lead the way.”
“Y-yes. Okay.” The mice nervously nod. With that, they lead your further into the building.
As you walk, you see small rooms off to the side. Some seem to be storage, while others look like small workshops. Though at the end of the hall, you reach some stone stairs leading downwards. Following the mice down, the structure changes from primitive wood construction, to much more solid stone. After a very short time though, you start to realize where you are as the dim blue light illuminates the passage.
“This is an Ancient ruin, isn’t it?” Marcus comments. “I’ve heard of some villages built around and inside ruins, but never seen it myself.”
“It does seem to be more common here in the Empire.” Faera nods. “My own home village is like this.”
“That doesn’t really make me feel too much better.” You shake your head, looking around. “These places still give me the creeps.”
At last, you finally approach a more open room. Stepping inside, you see several more mouseboys. However, that isn’t what catches your attention. Instead, you see Floria on some sort of bed being treated and bandaged by the mice.
“Floria?” You start to step forward, but a few mice quickly stand between you and her. “Wha-? Hey, move out of the way!”
“N-no! Stay back from Sky Queen!” The mice quickly reply, blocking you from Floria.
“H-huh..?” Floria looks to you with a look of surprise. “M-Myla?” She starts to try and get up, but groans in pain and lays back down. “U-urgh… S-sorry. I’m a bit…”
“S-Sky Queen, please don’t move!” The mouse treating her quickly tries to gently keep her down. “You are too injured. Please stay still.”
“What is going on here?” Marcus speaks up. “What’s this Sky Queen you keep speaking of?”
“I… I think these mice may believe that Floria is this Sky Queen..?” Faera offers. “I do not understand why though…”
“Perhaps I can help you understand then.” You hear an older voice come from another room. Looking over, you see an older mouseman step into the room. He has a gentle expression. “Ah, I was told there was only a Cervidae come to visit us. But I see you have friends as well. I am sure you have questions. Please, allow me to answer them, friends of our Sky Queen.”
It would seem that Floria has found herself in an interesting situation. Luckily, the mice do indeed seem to be peaceful. You consider how to continue this…
[WAITING FOR INPUT…]