It was the middle of the afternoon. Despite it being spring, there was still a very noticeable chill in the air. Many dead leaves litter the ground of a forest, but some trees had already started growing new ones. The only sounds that could be heard in this forest were the chirps of birds and insects, and the crunching of leaves under footsteps.
The one making these footsteps was a young man just seemingly out on a stroll. He loved these woods. Ever since he was a child, he would love to play out here. Sometimes, his sister would follow him, but right now he’s alone and enjoying the quite solitude. Or was he alone…?
“My, my, what do we have here?” a feminine voice asks from behind the young man. He turns around and sees a bestial-looking woman with cat-like ears, bat-like wings, and a tail with some kind of bulb looking thing on the end covered in spines.
He knew instantly that he was looking at a Manticore. She had the common trait of hair that was a shade of pink and paw looking hands and feet. She was wearing regular jeans and a dark-red coat for the season, but they definitely hugged her in way that showed off her features.
“And what bring you out here all by your lonesome?” the Manticore asks taking a few steps towards the young man, swaying her hips with each step.
The young man took a cautionary step back, mentally trying to figure out how she snuck up on him. He figured she must have flown to keep from stepping on the fallen leaves.
“I was just enjoying the solitude, figured it was a nice day to be out,” the young man answered, putting on his best smile.
“It is, isn’t it? But you know you really shouldn’t be out in the woods by yourself. You just might run into someone, or something dangerous,” the Manticore says, a wicked grin spreading across her face. Her tail was lifted up and the spines seem to point themselves out more.
The young man knew what this meant; he turned around and took off. Right where he was standing, some of the Manticore’s spines had hit and stuck to the ground. The Manticore gave a small chuckle walking and slowing picking up the pace behind the young man.
The young man bobbed and weaved through the trees, trying to lose the Manticore. Sadly, with all the dead leaves on the ground and the Manticore keeping a good pace, the young man wasn’t really accomplishing anything.
“What’s wrong, dear? I promise not to rough you up too badly~” the Manticore teased, sending another barrage of spines at the young man. At the last minute, he was able to circle around a tree causing the spines to imbed themselves into it.
A little more quietly this time, the young man bent down without being too noticeable and crawled under some bushes that were around. The Manticore walked up to the spot and looked around, seemingly not able to find the young man.
“Come out, come out wherever you are~” the Manticore called out. “I know you’re here somewhere~”
The young man didn’t move. He was slowly regaining his breath while keeping it as quietly as possible. That’s when he noticed that everything seemed a little too quiet. He slowly picked himself up to look around and couldn’t see the Manticore anywhere.
Considering this to be his best moment, he got up slowly and started to head back the way he came. He took slow and meticulous steps to keep his footsteps from being too loud in case the Manticore was still nearby enough to hear him.
Eventually, after gaining some distance from where he hid, the young man broke out into a sprint. That’s when the young man heard some sort of ‘swoosh’ sound coming from above him. Before he realized it, the Manticore had landed in front of him from the air, and the young man ran straight into her bosom.
“Hello there,” the Manticore said with a sharp-tooth grin on her face. The young man tried to run away, but he was caught and pushed the ground on his back, the Manticore on top.
The Manticore brings her claw up ready to strike and the young man flinches, ready to feel the blow. After a few seemingly long seconds, nothing happens. Instead, the young man hears a soft chuckle. Opening his eyes, he sees the Manticore on top of him looking like she’s trying to hold back a laugh.
“April Fools,” the Manticore says getting up off of the young man. She then bursts out laughing, sitting on the ground next to the young man.
“You should have seen the look on your face! I haven’t seen that much fear in a long time,” the Manticore continued laughing.
The young man then looks away from the Manticore and she leans in closer.
“Aw, did I make you piss your pants? I’m sorry; it’s just one of those things…” The Manticore was cut off when seeing the young man’s shoulders shuddering. She was wondering if she really did make him cry, but then the young man turns his head back around with a smile on his face.
“April Fools,” the young man chuckles. The Manticore just stares at the young man with a blank expression.
“Sorry, but while your effort was good, I’m afraid I’ve seen worse,” the young man explains, sitting up and causing the Manticore to move back a bit.
“Oh no no no, you cannot just pull that! Are you trying to say you weren’t scared at all?” the Manticore asks, her face slowly shifting from surprise to irritation. The young man just merely shrugs.
“Sorry, but it’s true. I knew you weren’t actually going to harm me or anything.”
Not believing him for a minute, the Manticore suddenly brings her tail up and swings it across to hit him on the side of the head. She doesn’t bring her tail all the way through and having it stop a mere inch from the young man’s face. He doesn’t even flinch.
“But…but how?” the Manticore asks, desperately trying to find the logic in all of this.
“Well, when you grow up with a mom and sister Hellhound, you really learn what ‘scary’ is. Mom had the patented ‘Mom Stare’ down and turns it up to eleven,” the young man explains with a shrug.
“But the running, a-and the dodging…”
“I know what Manticore spines do to someone, so I definitely didn’t want to get hit. Though I did notice you arching your tail swing pretty wide, so I had a pretty good idea when to dodge.”
The Manticore just looks down, tightening her fists and scraping up dirt with her claws. The young man started to get worried. He figured she was going to be upset, but he didn’t want to upset her too much. He was about to lean in to apologize when the Manticore suddenly catches him by the shoulders and push him to the ground.
“If that’s how you want to play then so be it! You better believe I’m going to scare you so bad you’ll have night-terrors for weeks!” the Manticore proclaims breathing heavy and looking down at the young man. He is surprised by this sudden declaration, but he sees the determination in her eyes and smiles.
“Alright, but no simple jump scares or startles. It’s got to be a real scare,” the young man says sitting up and the Manticore nods.
“And if I succeed then…then you have to agree to marry me,” the Manticore says, putting her paw-like hand up to the young man and blushing slightly. He looks down at it and then looks up and smiles.
“Deal.” The two shake, with a strong grip on the Manticore’s part, and she gets up and takes off to the sky with strong flaps of her wings.
Seeing her fly through the trees, he suddenly realizes that he never got her name nor did he give his. He sighs and turns around to head back home, knowing that if she wanted to find him again he was sure she would be able to.