I left my village in the middle of the night. I didn't tell them what I was doing, that their champion was running away because she lost a fight. My parents said they were proud of me for standing my ground against Silver Fang. My friend Aishe said I was amazing. I knew the truth, that I lost that fight the moment it begun.

I looked at my goal, Mount Pazon. I thought that I could make myself stronger by making it to the top, that it would make the sting of the lost stop. I took a deep breath, and started running. I ran through the forest quickly as I could, but I couldn't help remembering my childhood. It was so simple back then, learn martial arts, play with Aishe and the others, and eat. hear began to flutter as I thought about her. She grew up to be beautiful, Short black hair that matched her naga tail, a cute face with little splotches of freckles, and the most beautiful green eyes.

I smiled, remembering the party we threw for her because she got into a collage in Xien. The way she smiled that day made my heart flutter harder than ever... I-I should've told her about what I was doing. But, I needed to this, for myself. I just hope I could get back in time to see her off.

It took me a day to reach the mountain, and three days to climb it. The Mountain was cold and by the time I climbed to the top, the jagged rocks left my hands bleeding and bruised. My clothes were torn, and I was just so tried I collapsed when I reached the top. Thankfully the top was completely flat, making it easy to pick myself up. I stared at the sun setting in the horizon, clouds all over the mountain covering the forest below. I could see for miles, it was as beautiful, so beautiful that I don't think any artiest could capture it's beauty.

But despite this, I felt... hallow. I Climbed a mountain, and for what? I wasn't the first to do it, and I nearly died to get there. started crying, I knew that even after all of that it wasn't enough to beat Silver Fang. I prayed to whatever gods were listening to help me.

"Sona, get up. This is no way for a champion to present herself." "Huh?" Lifting my head towards to sound, a handsome dragonian man, with grey scales and hair, but with the face of a young man. "H-how did-who are-?" "I am Icarin, god of the sky." I blinked. "Oh gods i'm going crazy." He chuckled. "No, your fine. I'm as real as you are. Shinzu wainted to come to you first, but i wainted to give you something to help you with your story."

"My story?" he nodded. "Shinzu has a plan for you. She knows your heart is in the right place, but you need discipline. That's why you lost." I sighed. "I know sir." He shook his head and chuckled disaprovingly. "No, you don't. But you're on your way." A cloud materialized next to him, a nice big ball of fluff. "This is the nimbus, it will awnser only to your call and can take you across the world. Consider it a gift."

He turned and started to fade away. "Wait where are you going?" "Listen to Shinzu, Miss Wukong. You may not like what she asks of you, but if do as she says, you'll be unstoppable." He was gone, but the cloud was still there. I touched it experimentaly, it was the softest thing I had ever touched, like the world's fluffest pillow. I was tempted to just lay my head on it and sleep.

"Ah, miss Wukong, I see you like your gift." Something in my blood told me who it was. Primal urges just popped into my head like i was a little kid again. I turned and bowed as automaticly as I could breathe. "Shinzu." The goddess looked like a wolf beastwoman, but bright white hair. She smiled at me and patted my head. "Yes," She rasied my head, and i nearly thought I was staring at the sun. "Icarun told you why you lost, but you still need to redeem yourself."  I nodded. "I know, I know.  May you please show me how?"

"Oh of course, but it would be better if you learn through experience." "Experience?" I didn't like the sound of that. "Humility, is a virtue that is forged. It's what you need if your going to be a hero." "Huh, a hero?" I asked. "Ya mean like Black Mask ? She nodded. "I want you to be my champion, to represent all the good I stand for." "Wow! T-thank you." "Tsk Tsk. Miss Wukong, you still need to gain humility."

"Alright then!" I declared. "What do I need to do?" "First, tell me; do you know what kind of animal you share a tail with?' I looked at my tail waving lazily in the breeze. "A monkey, why?" "Close, it's a snow macaque, a type of monkey that lives on mountains like these." She waved her hand and a bo-staff appeared in her hand. it was a long red pole ornatly decorated with gold trim. "Right now, it's just a simple staff. I'll give it magical power if you go to the troop just a few miles down and live with them for a year.

"What?!" Honestly?! Live with monkeys for a year?! "Uh, Shinzu? Not that I didn't want to spend a year with animals, but my family is already worried sick about me and, my friend is leaving in a few months to collage and I, uh, wanted to tell her something before I-" She raised her head to stop me. "I know that you want to tell your friend your feelings for her, but you need to learn humility, and more importantly if you are to be my champion you need to understand your beastial half better."

"What do you mean?" she sighed. "So many beastmen nowadays try to deny their insticts, Even the people of Karmen mask try to surpress it, even though it no longer a curse. They could be so much closer to nature... closer to me." "Oh, y-you want worshipers?" She nodded. "I want to make you  into an example for beastmen to follow. please just live with the troop, I-iif you don't like it in month, i'll send you home, you can even keep the nimbus if you want."

"Just a month?" She nodded. I gulped. "Well, okay then. I'll try it." "Thank you." she smiled. "I'll try to make sure your family and friends are know about it." I picked myself up and bowed as if she was my old marial arts teacher. "Tell them i'm sorry about running away, and tell Aishe that I-I already miss her."

And with that I boarded the nimbus, and flew down to the were the monkey troop was. Thanks to Shinzu's influence the monkeys treated me as if i was one of their own kind. At first it was hell. I was still recovering from the mountain climbing, but these guys didn't seem to care. They shared food with me, which was fine if it was friut, but when they offered me bugs, i didn't want to eat it. They also had an obsession with grooming my hair, just to look for more bugs. Even they way they moved was difficult to get used to,  they were so fast that i was always the one in the back.

Soon, they grew on me. My insticts helped alot, but it was motly pure reeducation they gave me. By the time one month had passed, i had already grew to love the grooming, even helping the others with their's. Shinzu visted me in the middle of a grooming session. "So, how do you like it so far Sona?" I swallowed a tick. "Ist ffun!" "It uh, seems your ability to speak has suffured... Uh, so anyways do you want to go home?" I focused on the monkey, who i called Cina, I was grooming, "I miss them, but you said it had to be a year." "I know." She smiled. "Your doing fine, I'm so proud of you." I found another tick on Cina's back and procededed to eat it. "I'll leave you to enjoy your grooming." she faded away.

I know the eating bugs thing seems gross, but that's cause you never tried it. Seriousloy, they're like tiny protean candies! The more intergrated I was with the troop, the more "normal" things like clothes and regular baths seemed werid, we only went into the hotsprings when it got cold, and by month 6 or 7 (lost count) I was as nude as the day i was born. I learned there grunts and coo's, quicker than talking if ya ask me. Soon I was just a bigger Monkey, except I had an 11th grade education. the children of the troop loved me, we played there little games, they liked rolling snowballs around, occasionally throwing them at each other. It was like I was a kid again, just fun games, eating, and friends.

One year later, Shinzu came back. "Ahh!" I howled. "You know you can speak in Common now right?" I nodded. "It's quick." I shrugged. "Well before we go, your gonna need a new set of clothes." "Yeah,"  I laughed. "I wonder what my mother would say." Blushing I added. "I wonder what Aishe would say." Shinzu snaped her fingers and a red martial art gi apeared on me. "And finally, your staff." It reappeared in her hands. "This staff will extend as far as you can imagine, I like to call it The eternal staff. I bowed, "Thank you Shinzu." I turned to the troop, who gathered around us. "Argh!" i howeled, which ment goodbye. "Don't worry, you'll be able to see them any time with the nimbus. Speaking of which, call it down." "Nimbus!" the cloud flew down from the sky and landed next to me. "Alright then, see ya soon!"

End of the Issue

An: If you liked the story, please say so in the comments. I may write more issues if enough people think it's good

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