Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:21 pm
Location: England, maidenhead, in my house drinking tea.
Re: Housepets. Living with change PG-13
Housepets: Living with change.
Chapter 17. Questions and plans.
“Okay ladies and gentlemen if you’ll please keep your arms and legs on the dragon at all times. Remain seated throughout the ride and remember to have fun.”
“Wait hold onto what? Dragon, what do you mean? Sammy she has no handholds!”
“Dragon what do we hold on to? There is nothing to hoAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Before Sammy could relay his sister’s question across to Dragon, she had taken flight. The speed was phenomenal. Absolutely on par with some of the fastest theme park rides they had ever been on. Though a lot scarier given the complete lack of safety features. However no matter what manoeuvres Dragon used or what speed she went at, they never felt as if they were slipping. At the end of the ride Dragon looked back and laughed at their expressions.
“HAHAHA! Oh dear, did I scare you two?”
“Ho…how did we stay on?” Kura asked, clutching her chest with one hand while the other held onto Dragon with a death grip.
“Oh come on. You know it is really hard to fall off a dragon. Even when they aren’t paying attention. It is just extremely uncommon. And besides I was paying attention. Do you really think I would have let you two fall off?”
“You could have told us before you took off. I was scared on the first loop but I thought I was going to die when you started corkscrewing.” Sammy folded his arms. “Bit hard to enjoy it when you are expecting to fall to your death.”
Dragon considered it. “Nope. Way more fun my way. Glad to see you two didn’t throw up though. Kitsune tells me you do so whenever you make an astral jump.”
“Hey c’mon be reasonable,” Kura interjected. “We’ve been on loads of roller coasters but that? The weird place you go through is…well it is just weird okay. Going through it just doesn’t feel right.”
“Well that’s because mortals aren’t meant to travel through them. There are several safer versions…I believe Tarot and Sabrina have lots at their house but they take a lot of energy to build.”
“How are they safer?”
Dragon mulled the question over. “It’s more of a planned journey. Like the difference between getting outside by walking through a door compared to jumping through a window…complete with glass.”
“Well technically jumping through a window could still be a planned journey but I think I get the gist of it. Definitely the whole danger comparison bit. But honestly I get the feeling that Kitsune’s jumping is actually more dangerous than it seems. Care to enlighten us on what you lot actually do to do it? I mean apart from ripping a hole in the universe and casually strolling through.”
Dragon faltered at Sammy’s question. “Well…uhh…that is…with…and…well let’s just say that anything is dangerous if you don’t handle it correctly.”
“Did she just not say what I think she didn’t say?” Kura asked.
“I think she did not say exactly what you think she didn’t say!” Sammy exclaimed. “It is stupidly dangerous isn’t it? What is wrong with you people? What happens if this thing goes wrong and you melt half the planet or something?”
“Okay before you start accusing us of anything just think it through. Your methods of transport have the same chance of failure. If someone who didn’t know how to fly a plane flew a plane what would happen? Do you really think Kitsune would willingly risk your lives if he was not sure you would be fine?”
Kura frowned. “Did he not just blast us a few minutes ago?”
Once again Dragon faltered. “Oh yeah. Forget that. He’s too fond of mortals to put them in harms way. If he or even you couldn’t handle the jump he wouldn’t take you. End of story.”
Kura scoffed at Dragon’s response. “How are we supposed to ignore that? If that’s the sort of-”
“Listen kid.” Dragon interrupted. "Lets just call Kitsune an idiot and leave it be okay? He won’t intentionally hurt you or your brother…but he is too much of an idiot to think things through properly. Now is there anything else before we get going?”
“There is one thing I can think of Dragon.”
“Can you shed any light on how Kitsune found us?”
“He told me he heard you two call for help.”
“But we didn’t.”
Sammy thought for a second. “Mmm, nope.”
“Well I can say he unmistakably heard you. We don’t get confused by that sort of thing. When he looked he used an energy sense. And you absolutely cannot get an energy confused with someone else.”
“How could he hear us if he was looking for energy in the first place?”
“Look there’s a massive library that I can take you to later okay? I’m not going to give you a lesson on how we work. Now do you want to go check this place out or what?”
“Okay Ms Dragon don’t get your tail in a knot. We’ll behave. However Kura and I are willing negotiate our good behaviour for a scenic route on the way…so we can properly enjoy the ride.”
“Sounds reasonable I suppose. How come you kids get your way a lot with immortals?”
“By asking generally fair and reasonable things…which are determined by the situation they are asked under.”
“And does Kitsune usually let you have what you want?”
Sammy scowled. “No he wants us to work for our stuff. Which would be fine if it was brand new but he is holding some of our old stuff. Why should I have to work to get my own things back?” He curled his paw into a fist. “I paid for most of it in the first place. That stupid, useless sack of -”
“How about you save that anger for the training room?” Dragon suggested before Sammy could get too angry.
He unclenched his fist. “Yeah I guess you’re right…sorry.”
Kura patted him on the back.. “You’ll feel better once you thump something for a while.”
“Maybe. That or Ninetails himself. Hey Dragon can you amplify music?”
“Well…yes I suppose. Not sure why this is relevant at all but I can increase its volume if I have access to the source.”
Sammy pulled out an old MP3 from his pouch. And handed it to dragon. “Here. Careful you don’t crush it with your huge draconian hands.”
After a few seconds she handed it back. “Don’t play anything rude.”
“Are you kidding me?” He responded. “I’m riding a blooming dragon! Only thing I’m going to play is…this.”
Kura burst out laughing as one of the themes from the Never-ending story came blasting out of the device. “Is this the part where the kid is riding the dragon?”
“Yep. Now we just need to raise an arm mid flight and shout YEEEEEAAAAAH!”
“Oh this is the most awesome moment in history. All that jealousy from watching that kid and now we get to…almost…re-enact it. Great choice Sammy. Bloody amazing choice.”
He grinned. “Okay Dragon. The awesome stage has been set! ONWARD! WHOOOOOO!”
Dragon shook her head. “Kids.” She said with a grin before setting off.
Sigh ‘Fine. That one.’
‘And the next.’
‘And the last?’
‘Well done. So you can recognize these three energy signatures. But can you recognize them without seeing the individual? And can you find them from a considerable distance?’
‘If I study them enough then sure…I suppose. But why? I don’t know what the point is. A griffin, a dragon and a multi-tailed fox. Seeing as mythological creatures don’t exist I don’t see why you are making me recognise energy signatures. Which, I may add, you haven’t explained anything about either. Ooh individuals have different energy patterns. Big whoop. What energy?’
‘…I have never had so much trouble with an apprentice.’
‘I’ve never had such a terrible teacher.’
A silence followed that lasted almost a minute.
‘Obviously you aren’t as smart as you initially made out to be. These mythological creatures DO exist. You are recognizing their energy levels so you can learn to find them.’
‘I’m too used to you to be shocked to be honest. Okay then but why?’
‘Because they and all those like them oppose us. Their kind and a handful of mortals are all that stand in our way.’
‘So find, eliminate, win and then enjoy the perks of winning right?’
‘That’s the gist of it. But there is something you should know about the fox. He has acquired himself two mortal apprentices of his own. You will oppose them, as they are the greatest threat to our cause.’
‘What? Two mortals are a worse threat than a bunch of apparent immortals? What kind of wuss are you?’
‘I believe my old methods may prove ineffective against them. Why this is so I must labor to discover. And if I am right there is also a higher power at work in their favor. If this is so then I cannot directly show my hand until the two of them are out of the way. Or I can come up with something smart. Do this for me. With my training you shall easily triumph.’
‘I doubt you could think of anything smart so I guess it is up to me.’
‘You test my patience. Now come, I believe I fancy finding some more…unwilling participants to my plans.’
‘Oh come on I don’t want to watch that again. What is wrong with you?’
‘Who is the wuss now? Sigh Okay fine I’ll make it worth your while.’
‘Ppph what do you think you are capable of offering me?’
‘Oh I don’t know…how about a form that will allow you to mingle with your targets if you so chose?’
‘Who says I want to lose my form?’
‘You can’t keep it. It wasn’t created by me so lacks the full potential that your opponents can have.’
‘Oh for the love of…you can’t store the energy required to blow stuff up. You need a new body made by my energy for that. And if you go as you are there could be people who recognise you. You want to avoid this.’
‘Okay then don’t get stroppy. Geez Mr anger issues keep a lid on it.’
“Here we are!” Dragon said as she landed. It seemed as though they had arrived in some sort of city. Albeit one that stretched for longer than the pair could be bothered to guess. Everything was clean too. Unnaturally so. No graffiti on the buildings, no litter on the pavement…no people on the pavement for that matter.
Kura and Sammy looked around as they jumped off of Dragon. “Where exactly are we?” She asked.
“Well this is the only training room you are allowed in. The others are too deep into the city for you to be allowed.”
“City? What city?”
“THE city Kura. Where we all live.”
“Wait you actually have houses and stuff? What city is this? What planet are we on?”
“No planet. This is more of a realm than a planet.”
“Yes. But it is difficult to explain because you don’t have access to our information banks. Best not to try and think about it really, you are smart kids but your minds literally cannot handle a fraction of what you need to know to understand all of this.”
Kura gave a snort of derision. “Fine.”
Sammy frowned. “Can you at least tell us this, what’s the deal between the different places? Obviously Kitsune took us to a place that isn’t in the same universe as our home but…you know being told there is more than one universe isn’t exactly everyday conversation.”
“Oh that is easy. Simply said there is more than just one single universe. All of them vary by different degrees of course. None of them are exactly the same as another one. But that is it for the most part. And of course every one of these universes is linked via both this realm you see now,” she said sweeping her arm around, gesturing to where they stood. “and a sort of tunnel network which links every place and time zone together. Which is where we travel through whenever we make an astral jump.”
“But how and when were they all created?”
Dragon shrugged. “Not sure, it happened too long ago. I was too young to remember. Tarot was looking into it at one point but one day she just up and stopped. Never went back either. Won’t tell me why but I assume she found something she didn’t like. Don’t ask her about it. She won’t answer.”
“Okay fine. I’ll have a sift around if I am ever free.” He pointed to Kura. “You’re lucky she only has three brain cells. If she could actually comprehend what you were saying about universes she would explode.”
“While I respect your views in all their forms, know that I hate your very existence.” Kura replied.
Sammy chuckled at that. “You love me really.”
Dragon rolled her eyes but couldn’t quite keep a grin from appearing. “Ah don’t worry kid, it will be fine. You’ll have enough on your plate to deal with without having to worry about all this background information. Now come on, through the door. This is your first steps to helping the world.”
“If the council approve.” Kura said with a snort.
“Well then let’s show them you can do it shall we?”
Sammy scoffed. “I still don’t see why they would care. Obviously they have given Mr white fox permission to let us go this far. But why? Why us? Surely they should have the power to deal with all this. And if they don’t and we…somehow do then HOW is it their right to decide how well prepared we are to deal with it?”
Dragon gave him an expressionless stare.
“Simply because it is the council’s job to maintain some level of stability in the universes. If they allowed any old insane person to wield any sort of power it would be the stupidest thing ever. Basically they want to evaluate you to see how homicidal you are and, if you aren’t, judge how well you will be able to handle their gifts. Just because you have strong spirits doesn’t mean having our power wont burn you up from inside. Remember that.”
“Well darn. And here I was so hoping I could finally exercise my psychopathic needs.”
“Don’t even joke Sammy. The council don’t have a great sense of humor.”
“Can I plead innocence if I came up with a reeeeally convincing excuse for it?”
Dragon turned to Kura. “Is he for real?”
Kura raised an eyebrow. “Giving us powers and not allowing us to bring ruin and desolation to the world? Sorry Dragon but I’m going to go with Sammy on this.”
“NO UNTOLD DESTRUCTION!”
“Not even a little?” Sammy asked.
“Not a tiny little smidgen?”
“NO! NO MISUSE! NO DEATH! NO CARNAGE! NO!”
Sammy rolled his eyes. “You mythical beings are so lame. Okay fine. No death or destruction…unless it is for the,” he gave a mock shudder “greater good.”
“Good. Now stick with that.”
“Or unless I see someone who really deserves it. The kind of person that lives just to ruin others lives.” He added.
“No taking the law into your own hand…unless the council says so.”
“They can do that!?” He asked, suddenly hopeful.
Dragon walked forwards, stopping in the doorway. “Your penchant for this sort of thing worries me. Yes if they feel an individual or plural is beyond the ability of the local police force or even, worst case, military and that a significant threat is posed to the stability of the planet or heaven forbid that ever becomes plural then they do hire our own members or gifted individuals bound to our laws to deal with the issue. Now come on.” She went inside, vainly hoping she could eventually get those sorts of ideas out of their heads.
Kura glanced at Sammy and smiled. She knew he wasn’t really bothered about causing wholesale destruction…it just felt fun to wind up these ‘immortals beings’. Or whatever they were.
Sammy returned the grin, knowing exactly what his sister was thinking, and followed Dragon in.
“No. Nothing. Not a single one is working.”
A collective sigh came from the insertion team. They were the ones who had invaded the house. Their job was to set up surveillance equipment of all types. Try and make spying on the targets easier.
“Did you get anything?” The commander asked.
“Sort of.” The leading tech, a Dalmatian, replied.
“Straight answer please!”
“Alex!” The Dalmatian yelled at the orange tabby on the other side of the room.
“Pull up the vid screen please.”
The Dalmatian filled the commander in as the screen lowered. “The team went in, masked and everything b-”
“Masked?” The commander asked.
“Oh well…uhh…sort of a psychic field designed to cloak someone. Like an invisible blanket.”
He frowned. “Uh-huh. This is why I leave all the mystical magical crap to everyone else. It all sounds like some childish fantasy to me. I have a hard enough time believing in it in the first place.”
“Well it isn’t as if we could use it if we hadn’t discovered thos-”
“Yeah yeah skip the history lesson.” He responded.
“Suit yourself. Anyway they went in, planted everything in hidden locations and left. No trace of being there at all. But if you watch the vid screen sir you will see what happened.”
The screen changed from black to a view of the interior of a house.
“That is the house then?” He asked
“Yep. Living room I believe.” She fast-forwarded the footage. A man entered the room. He turned and looked straight at the camera, waved with a smile and then the footage cut out.
“Who was that?”
“One of the three targets. We believe he is the one who made the jumps. The other two are just kids sir. Dog and a cat.”
“What happened here then?”
“This took place a little while after they were taken by the police. Records show they were released not long after so the timing matches. He just seemed to know where the camera was. Where everything was. He disabled all of them at the same time when he waved at the camera…I don’t know how. Worst part is we found everything in their trash can last night. We had teams spending hours working on those things trying to get them cloaked. If that didn’t work then I don’t know what will.” Her ears flattened and she looked down.
‘Magic.’ The commander mused. Evidently it did exist but how and why only certain individuals could use it was still unknown. 'Might actually have to have a talk with my son. He loves all this fantasy and magic nonsense. Be interesting to work out how to bring that sort of thing up.’ If rumors were true then something else was being held by the higher ups other than information on magic. The most prominent ones featured some variation of the universe being destroyed in some way or another. He rolled his eyes. “Okay that is it. Somebody get a report written up and send it to the higher ups. They won’t be happy but that isn’t our fault. When that is done we are going to go and get drunk down in the mess hall. I don’t care how early it is, it’s my treat. At least we tried.”
The cheering made him smile. His team’s happiness was all that mattered to him. He’d take full responsibility for the failure if he had to.
With everyone scurrying around, Alex pulled out a phone and called Daisy.
Ring ring “Hey there Alex.” Daisy said with a warm smile on her face. “How’d the infiltration go?”
“Not good.” Alex replied. “Now we know for a fact the biggest one of the three is definitely not what he seems. Oh and he trashed all the equipment we put in his house too.
“Oh…really? Crap. Higher ups won’t be happy then.”
“Not at all. Though saying that where are you now?”
“Me? Well I was just about to start on my way home. I couldn’t see any of the targets through the windows so I was going to go have some breakfast. Why? Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, the commander just offered to pay for tabs for all of us to go and get completely hammered in the mess hall. So we can try and cheer up.”
“Party in the mess hall? Oh hell yes I am in. Just give me a second to…” She stopped speaking.
“Daisy? Are you okay?”
She threw herself behind a neighboring fence. “You’ll never guess what I see! One of the targets, the human one who makes the crazy energy readouts. He just came out from where their back door is and is talking to someone else. Some older man.”
“I thought you said they weren’t at home?”
“They weren’t. No movement at all. I even scaled the house and looked through the top windows. Very nice place but no one was in.”
“There was an energy spike at stupid o’clock in the morning.”
“Probably them leaving. Did you detect any other ones?”
“No we didn’t. So how they got back in is beyond me.”
“I’m going to get a closer look.” She said, edging along the fence.
“How close are you?”
“On the opposite side of the fence to them. Moving closer.” She whispered.
“Okay just don’t get caught. And leave the phone on. I’ll set up a recording on my end just in case yours doesn’t work.”
Daisy rolled her eyes. As if she could get caught. As she got closer she began to pick up their conversation. What didn’t help was the lack of speaker confirmation but that could be sorted out at a later date. She pulled a device out of her collar and held it as close to the voices as she could. She clicked the record button and settled down as comfortably as possible.
“Well to be fair it was funny.”
“It most certainly was not.”
“Mmm yes it was.”
“No it was not. It was incredibly rude. Anyone else saying that to me would have found themselves vaporized…or they would have had me make their lives a living hell. Or both.”
“Oh quit your whining Pete. You are just angry because a kid gave you lip.”
“You need to work on their attitude. If I were any less of a respectable individual I would have crushed them! On that note if they won’t show respect to their elders then the council wont take too kindly to them.”
“Bahamut likes a little fire in people. You know that. Besides you tried to undermine me in front of them…and while they act like they hate me half the time they probably like you even less. Especially after that.”
“What! Are you actually trying to say that that boy’s attitude was my fault?”
“Yes Pete it was your fault. They are having the time of their lives right now with Dragon. Because she was nice to them and didn’t come off as an arrogant twit. She likes them. All you want them for is to get your precious game restarted.”
“We have been playing this little side quest for so many years now. I want to get this over and done with so the real quest can restart.”
Daisy frowned. It sounded like they were talking about…dungeons and dragons. Dragon and Bahamut, both mythical creatures. Side quests and games. ‘Crud. What a giant waste of time. But why would someone who can cause energy surges be playing D&D…or whatever it is they are playing?’ Realizing she was missing the conversation, she pushed all her thoughts away so she could continue to pay attention.
“Because we are tasked with doing it that is why. Don’t complain, Pete. It has to have something to do with us.”
“And after it all gets sorted out?”
“Well then your game can continue. I’m not a horrible game master…I just want to do what is right.”
“And what about your new…pets?”
“Oh they will help me moderate the game. Keep the pair of you in line so you play fairly without breaking any more rules.”
“WHAT?! I thought you were joking!”
“Not in the slightest. And I will give them governing authority over you. So you can’t pull a fast one on them. Heck they would probably punish you for trying it.”
“You have got to be kidding me. I’m not allowing myself to be bossed around by…by a couple of kids.”
“You’ll do it Pete…or you forfeit and Dragon wins by default. Don’t pull that face at me! If you weren’t at fault in all of this then you would have no reason to complain about this addition.”
“This isn’t over.”
“Pete don’t just…and he is gone. Great. What a crybaby.”
Daisy turned off the device and tucked it away. It didn’t seem as though she was going to find anything else out…though what she did learn was…confusing to say the least. She shrugged and crept away from her hiding spot.
She reached the end of the fence and froze. Standing right next to her was the target, his arms folded and an eyebrow raised. They stared at each other for a few seconds.
“Hi, I’m Daisy.” She stuck out her paw.
He took it and shook. “Uh huh. And what can I do for you Ms Daisy?”
“Hi, I’m Daisy.”
“And what, may I ask, are you doing here?”
“Hi, I’m Daisy.”
He let go of her paw and frowned. He gently reached out with his thoughts and searched her mind, finding it…empty. Well it had basic thought patterns but empty in terms of a brain’s higher functions. He left her mind and shrugged. “Have a nice day…Daisy.” He said, as he turned and left.
She watched him walk away before proceeding to do the same. She only got round the first street corner before her legs began to give way and she had to sit down.
“Daisy? Are you okay?”
‘The phone! I forgot it was still on.’ “Yeah.” Daisy replied, lifting the phone to her ear. “Yeah I’m…I’m good. Just going to umm sit here for a bit. Let my heart calm down.”
“I told you to be careful!”
“I was thank you very much! I think I handled it very well.”
“Well in any case the recording was a success. Well unless this guy can wirelessly hack your phone somehow.”
“I won’t put it past him. There was just something off about him. It is stupid but it felt like he didn’t belong here.”
“Ooh.” Alex said. Without having to see it Daisy knew he had a big grin across his face. “Now that makes it just that much more interesting. Great, I was getting bored with routine stuff day in and day out.”
“Yeah great.” She replied. “Unless it turns out this guy actually IS dangerous. Because he probably will be keeping a look out for me now.”
“See if I were one of the higher-ups then I’d spout some nonsense about prophecies coming true or the end times are upon us. As it is I’m just thankful there is something to do.”
“If any of the higher-ups heard you say that then you’d probably be treated to a wonderful chat about how important this establishment is. And whatever hocus pocus reasons they have for doing all this.”
“Hey now I can see how important this all is…I just don’t really believe the more…well unbelievable reasons that they have.”
Daisy thought for a few moments. “Did they ever tell you what we were actually monitoring?”
“Umm energy levels…of some sort.”
“Yeah well so the more frequent low level spikes are called jumps right?”
“Yep that is what we were told to call them. Isn’t that just jumps as in really sudden energy spikes? You know as in it jumped from nothing to this level before instantly disappearing?”
“Okay so how is this guy causing these energy spikes and pray tell me how he managed to find all our cameras like that?”
“Maybe he has a nuclear reactor under his house and he has a weird ability to sense electronic objects due to being exposed to radiation and mutating?”
“Really Alex? A nuclear reactor? That isn’t even worth joking about you moron! Listen all I’m saying is all that supposed nonsense the higher-ups have been preaching about all this time…well maybe it is true. It fits doesn’t it?”
“Not really. This guy doesn’t sound like he wants to cause untold destruction or whatnot. Chances are he is gifted with magic like some of our own. The energy signatures are vastly different but it makes sense. ”
Daisy sighed and began her journey back. “Okay look, as soon as this party is over and we’ve recovered enough from the looming imminence of severe intoxication we will go to the main log files and give them a read through. And if you still aren’t satisfied we will ask the higher-ups.”
Alex made a noise that clearly showed his displeasure at the idea. “Oh come on I don’t want to have to actually listen to them. They are just soooooo boring and tedious speakers.”
“Oh deal with it pussycat. I for one am interested in what we are really stalking this guy for.”
“Fine but I warn you nothing shall come of it. Like they would tell any of us the whole truth anyway.”
“Let us deal with that when the time comes.”
Kura frowned. The first room in the building contained nothing more than a small slot in the wall and a door. A door with a really weird…thing around its entire frame. “So what are these for?” She asked, indicating the strange objects.
“Hmm?” Dragon replied. “Oh those. Well that slot there is for entry cards. But it is inoperable. See everyone that lives here uses the main area. This place is like going to your local corner shop rather than your supermarket. Limited equipment and barely any special extras. Unlike the main one. So this one is only used for basic stuff. Seeing as only council approved people can use the main one, and the council give out the entry cards, it was decided to make this one free to use by everyone.”
“And the thing on the door frame?”
“Progression simulator.” Seeing a pair of blank stares, Dragon sighed and explained. “It scans your entire bodily parameters. Really so you can see how much you improve each time.”
“Hold on, what?” Sammy said. “Bodily parameters? So like really how strong or fast you are type thing?”
“Well yes that is all this one measures. But you wait till you see the main area. You can improve everything! Not just strength and how fast you are but so much more. Of course a lot of stuff doesn’t apply to you two yet but when it does you can take part in those training scenarios Kitsune mentioned earlier.”
Sammy thought about it for a moment. “That sounds interesting of course, and I know we will need to be a lot stronger to do…whatever we are supposed to be doing. But I don’t want to change how I look. I would hate to be walking around in a shirt, I don’t know, ten times bigger than this one simply because my arm muscles are stupidly huge. Is there any way we can get this job done without looking like the human embodiment of a tank?”
Dragon grinned. “Well won’t you be happy. The point of us going to this gym is to make you a little stronger. You won’t look like a wall of muscles I promise you. But you need to be stronger and faster than you are now. Just trying to get your bodies more used to being…well used. You’ll gain a small amount of muscle but that is all. You wont look vastly different I promise.”
“Good. While we are on this subject, I clean forgot that I was going to attempt to forc- ah I uh mean politely ask Kitsune to give us our old strength and stamina back.”
“Your old strength?”
“Yeah. I’m a dog now…state the obvious I know but my strength will be ABISMAL compared to what it was as a human. I don’t want to forget and try to pick up something I used to be able to. I could drop it and break it or, if it lands on my foot, break that!”
“Don’t worry about it. With my help in this place you should be able to get to where you were a lot quicker. Not all at once mind you but quicker than by normal means. Just with far less noticeable difference.”
“That is good enough for me.” Sammy replied. “I want to get this silly little thing over and one with but I don’t want to change how I look to do it.” He ran a paw down an arm, shivering at the thought.
“Will we need to be strong to sort out your lot’s problem? And to help us keep you lot in line when it is all over?” Kura asked.
“Definitely.” Dragon said with a chuckle. “Kitsune keeps prattling on about your spiritual strength…if that is true and this problem turns out to be caused by something sentient…well it may not be able to blast you but it could still punch you into next week.”
“Good to know magical abilities can still pale in comparison to a ye olde punch-up.”
“You’d be surprised how many problems are solved that way Sammy. Now go on, you’ve wasted a lot of time already. Go through the scanner and go mad on whatever you want.” Dragon gave a smile as she ushered them into the main room. ‘This should be interesting to watch. I’ve seen mortals in here before but these two are…different. I look forward to witnessing both their progress and what they really are capable of. Might need to give them a hand just this once though. I’m sure they plan on pushing themselves and Kitsune wont be happy if they are too exhausted to go on their little play date or whatever it is he said they were going to do today.’
Kitsune entered the kitchen with a smile. That little encounter had been very entertaining. First some individuals try and enter his house to put down various forms of recording equipment. ‘As if that would ever succeed. I may be young but I’m not stupid.’ And now they have people listening in on his conversations. The sheer degree of failure that they had was what made him truly laugh. They had done well at first, getting him and the kids out of the house. He had to admit that that part had been very well done. But their naivety in thinking they could slip in without him knowing, even with that ‘magic’ user of theirs, was immense. And that last encounter was great too. He knew the very second that dog sat down on the other side of the fence. She had obviously been recording what he had said to Pete. ‘In fact I would be disappointed if she wasn’t. Whoever these people are I want them to know we aren’t afraid of them. We aren’t the bad guys so if they want to interfere then I’m guessing Sammy definitely would look forward to messing their operations up. Especially if they involved Kura.’ Even with that, admittedly great, mind blank manoeuvre the dog pulled her motives were too obvious. He grimaced at how uncomfortable his human form was. Necessary for appearance in this world where outsiders where concerned but, he had no other way of describing it, it was just so aggravatingly uncomfortable.
With a flick of his mind he reverted back to his natural form, making sure his size was proportionate to this world (and more importantly the kitchen). ‘Actually that gives me a great idea! Sammy and Kura don’t want me to act like a dad and, to be brutally honest I’d rather die than have to do that sort of thing. I’m way too young to be thinking about parenthood. So instead of a parent maybe they would be happy with just a friend.’ With another flick of his mind his body once again changed. Though this time less drastically. His size diminished once more until he was just half a head taller than Sammy was. His tails gave a small quiver and pressed together until they merged into one. He glanced at his reflection in the window. ‘Looking good, as usual. Tail change may need getting used to but at least everything else is exactly the same. Should be able to pass in this world…though maybe as a feral. Will have to sort that detail out. Huh might need to have that talk with those kids. I keep putting it off because they are bound to drag me into another argument. Well maybe this new look will put them more at ease with me.’ He started making a list of basic food and drink items that he would need to get for the breakfast. ‘Bit of a stretch I know but stranger things have happened before.’
“Hey look there is envelope on the side. Dad must have picked it up and left it here.” Fox said picking up the envelope. He raised an eyebrow at the design. “Well I will go ahead and guess this isn’t for dad.”
“How can you be sure?” King asked.
“Because I doubt he would be interested in a pink envelope with the words ‘to all pets’ on it. Oh and it has heart shapes literally covering all free space.”
“He might.” King said with a grin.
Fox responded with a snort of laughter. “Yeah that will be the day. Ok so pink envelope and hearts with no sense of formality. Sound like anyone we know?”
King thought briefly but only one answer fit the bill. “Sasha?”
“Yeah that is what I thought.” He opened the envelope and read aloud the letter within. “Dear all you cuties. You have all been invited to go to a welcome party for two special newcomers. It will be in the park and the party starts at about one. Lunch time! There will be food available but you may bring your own if you want. All pets welcome for the awesomness.
Also to everyone I told about it being today, ignore that. Needed to get more stuff ready so it is tomorrow instead.
To you two newcomers. I do not know where you live so if you can read this meet me at the park an hour earlier so we can get to know each other a bit first. I’ll be waiting by the chairs. ” Fox stared at the envelope. “Well that was the strangest thing I have read in a while.”
“I can tell Sasha wrote that. It doesn’t say where in the park. Guess everyone will just wander around until they find it.”
“I would guess it is set up as near to the trees as possible. In case it rains you know.”
King laughed. “Sasha is sweet but she wouldn’t have thought of that by herself.”
“Maybe Bino had a hand in the preparations.”
“Not too much it would seem if all pets are invited. A good thing considering that means it will be a party rather than a lecture.”
“Well regardless we should bring this with us when we go to see these two. Just in case they didn’t get a letter.”
“You know I’ll go ahead and just say it but I really don’t think they will appreciate this party.”
“You think so King? Bit strange that. Who can say no to a good party?”
“Well I’d avoid one if I could for starters. But couldn’t you tell? That girl may have been friendly but she still didn’t seem all too comfortable saying hi. Let alone shaking hands…paws. And don’t get me started on that boy. His body language just screamed touch me and die.”
“He did seem to lack…enthusiasm.” Fox said with a grin.
“Enthusiasm? He refused to say a word and I saw that look in his eyes! He was judging us and sizing us up the moment we approached. No if I had any choice in the matter I wouldn’t provoke that kid or push him into something that would make him uncomfortable. And socializing clearly makes him uncomfortable.” King thought for a second. “Though in all fairness he didn’t feel like a bad kid, more defensive and wary if anything. But I could tell he doesn’t care for friendship.”
“I said earlier they are both tiny. I’m sure I can handle him if he turns out to be a bad egg. I’d prefer it didn’t come to that however so we’ll do our best to make sure he is happy.”
‘If Pete was telling me this kid could help me in this game then he must be good at what he does. If my opposition is that dog Tarot and possibly the cat Sabrina AND yet still Pete is putting his money on those kids then…’ King mentally shuddered. ‘I don’t know where that Kitsune individual found that pair but wherever it is I never want to go there.’ “No Fox I’d be careful. He looked at you and his gaze didn’t even falter. He is as confident as they come. Let’s say this. We see if we can properly befriend them and if we can’t…we stay out of their business. Whatever it is, whatever they do let’s just stay out of it.”
“If you’re sure but I am not giving up on them without a really good reason okay? Chances are they are just frightened. We’ll work them through it.”
‘Frightened? Yes probably but being scared doesn’t give you a winning chance against a psychic dog and cat…oh and lets not forget a blooming great big DRAGON and everything else that she can throw at them!’ “Yeah sure Fox. We’ll give them a chance.” He smiled weakly.
“Great. Now stop being such a little scaredy dog. We’ll set out to go see them soon enough.”
“That’s supposed to alleviate my fears how?”
“It isn’t. I’d acquaint it more to a warning of impending doom than anything else.”
“…jeez Fox you really are a great motivational speaker you know.”
Time passed quickly for the trio within the training room. Sustained by small outflows of Dragon’s energy, in order to minimize fatigue, they had not needed to take breaks. While knowingly dangerous to push their new bodies to such efforts so quickly Dragon knew it would be necessary. ‘The more they do now the less they have to do later. And besides, I’m pretty sure they will run into more than one disagreeable person sooner or later. And Kitsune would reign hell on anyone who tries to take advantage of them. Actually what am I saying? Kitsune would probably be far more merciful than these two will!’
“Be honest though. I know it was kind of a bad first impression but what do you honestly feel?”
Sammy sighed and turned to look at Dragon from the treadmill, pressing the off button as he did. “I don’t see why this is so important. You didn’t seem too fond either.”
“What’s to say? He…Pete was it?” Dragon nodded. “Pete clearly is some sort of wannabe troublemaker. I may not care to get to know very many people but I would like a friend or two. But him? No. Kitsune wants to look after us, which means the job of aggravating and undermining him belongs to Kura and myself. Not some giant blue bird. Also for reasons I can’t explain I just don’t like him.”
“Pete?” Dragon asked.
“Yeah. Just a feeling I guess. He just seems like someone I don’t want to spend time with.”
“And how do you feel about Kitsune?”
“Kitsune. Hmm. Well naïve as you wouldn’t believe but still…just for the record you say this to Kitsune and I’m coming for you okay?”
Dragon smirked. Sammy wasn’t threatening her. Not even slightly. He just didn’t want her to snitch on him. And she understood. “You have my word.”
“Good. Anyway Kitsune is still…generally likeable you know. I mean he is a complete fool if he thinks he can in anyway parent us and he still doesn’t know what he is dealing with when it comes to the pair of us but…he is just really nice and…and…so bloody fluffy and soft to hug. Tell him that and I will kill you! Immortal or not! And I can’t explain it but…crap. KURA!”
“WHAT!” She yelled from the other side of the room where she was currently hanging upside down on a set of monkey bars.
“KITSUNE! FEELINGS! EMOTIONS! US! EXPLAIN!”
“HE’S A FOOL IF-”
“DONE THAT PART!”
She dropped down and headed over to them, resting her arms on the front of the treadmill as she searched for the right words. “It feels like he generally cares for us. Even though he just met us. It’s like…it is hard to explain even for me. And unlike you Sammy I actually have emotions. But…he came for us. We needed help and…he came for us. That sort of thing can’t be taken lightly. So we owe him. Big.”
Dragon frowned. “You say you needed help but…didn’t you say earlier that you didn’t call for help?”
“I told you we didn’t call for help.” Sammy said. “He came to us earlier and we turned him down. Rather rudely I hate to admit. But he came back for us afterwards, still without us calling for him.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I uh, I never apologised to him for that actually. And I never properly thanked him…for…for coming back for us. I don’t know how to, you know? In a way I still sort of blame him. Even though I know it wasn’t his fault you just need to throw the blame somewhere in a situation like this. I mean I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the guy.” Sammy winced. “I just need to be angry about it for a while. Which is terrible because I don’t want to push him away after all he has done.”
“Kitsune is incapable of doing the things that require that sort of blame.” Dragon said. “I told you that he does generally care about mortals. He’s about as innocent as they come. What is causing all this is still under investigation. But I see your point. I’ll slyly hint to him that, given time, you two may show your decent side to him more often.”
“But you three probably caused it. Which is why Kitsune is hiring us to fix it. Though why you aren’t giving the job to your almighty council of judgement is still beyond me. And also why are you so interested in training us up? You are our opponent once this has all been sorted aren’t you?”
“Yeah pretty much. While my main goal is to win against Pete, as Kitsune is our resident dungeon master I have no doubt he will set you two up as one of the challenges some day. But seeing as without your help we may actually be banned from playing forever, not to mention cause this world to destabilize further, I am willing to help you out. Even if it makes the future challenge more difficult. And I’ll just stress that we THINK it was our fault. I’ve repeated this so many times now to people, are you sure I haven’t said this to you already?”
“If you did I wouldn’t have told you. I like winding you immortal thingies up.”
“Well aren’t you a lovely child?”
Sammy grinned. “I do my best Ma’am!”
Dragon gave the pair a wicked grin. “Okay so the pair of you like taking advantage of us poor defenseless little immortals correct?”
“Well I wouldn’t use those exact words to describe you lot but yeah it seems pretty fun.”
“And you Kura?”
“Weeeeeell yeah I suppose.”
“Okay then it’s settled. The real challenge starts right now. You’ve been here for nearly the entire time now and have shown some very impressive progress.”
“We’ve been here that long?” Kura frowned at Dragon. “But we haven’t had a break yet! I don’t feel tired yet I’ve probably done more today than I would have in a couple of years.”
“I’ve kept you going. Pretty easy fete to share a small amount of my energy with the pair of you. A heads up though, it is a temporary boost so I promise you wont have any difficulty sleeping tonight!”
“Okay fine you kept us from getting exhausted. And no physical exertion means no sweating. But I’m not any hungrier or thirstier than when I came in. Maybe, just maybe you can use your energy to stop that. But I haven’t needed the toilet in ages. There is no way you are telling me you can stop me needing that. That’s hard to believe.”
Dragon shrugged. “What you want to believe is up to you. I can do as I please. I wouldn’t have done it mind you, I only did it because you need to be fresh for the rest of the day.”
“It can’t do a world of wonders for me can it?”
“It is certainly not ideal so don’t worry I shan’t do it again. It was well worth it though. If you fought someone who had your strength when you entered you would floor them now. Don’t get a swelled head though! Not only do you need to do more to maintain it but you still aren’t exactly the deadly fighters Kitsune envisions you as. But I’m pretty sure you can hold your own against your average pets quite easily now. Just try not to attract too much attention. Your sizes in no way match your strength.”
Kura smiled. “Well thank you for the compliment. I would like very much to be able to properly defend myself should the need arise.”
“Compliments given where due. But as I said this is where it gets hard. You may be starting to pack a punch but you have no style. Sammy I can see you have some sort of fighting skill, I'll want to ask you something about that later if you don't mind, but Kura…you have no style. You were punching that bag earlier and…just no.”
“I brought her up to punch hard for self defence but I never wanted her getting in any fights.” Sammy said. “Otherwise I would have taught her some more.”
“Not good enough. You both need to be better than this. Let’s pretend for a second that what is causing these problems is sentient. It has already shown considerable power so we can tell it won’t be a pushover whatever it is. You have to fight it and it goes down to, as you said Sammy, a ye olde punch-up. Regardless of strength if it is sentient and knows fighting techniques…well it will destroy you. You wont be a match for something like that. So Kitsune proposed we show you how to fight, should you be lacking. At any point you two are bored and not doing anything else we will either set up a challenge for you or spar with you.”
“What! No!” Kura exclaimed. “You’re both giant sized mythical beings! You could probably punch our house down with minimal effort. How will sparring with you two result in anything but a multitude of broken bones?”
“We can change our size you know. Or have you not noticed it happen quite a lot so far? We can adjust our power level too. Decrease it so we are on exactly the same level as you. Then you would have a perfect teacher and sparring partner.”
“Hey Kura.” Sammy sniggered. “Dragon’s power level. Do you think it reaches…over nine thousand?”
Kura gasped. “What! Nine thousand?! No way that’s impossible!”
Dragon watched on, un-amused, as the pair burst out laughing “I get the feeling I am missing something important here.” She said, blandly.
When they finally managed to get the laughter under control they smiled apologetically to Dragon.
“Sorry. Sammy said. “It’s just that was an opportunity not many could ignore.”
“Right so getting back on track, what do you think?”
“I’m up for it. I’m sure Kura will try and wriggle out of doing it most times but I’ll try.”
“Great news!” She gave the pair a wolfish grin. “So who’s up first?”
I WUV MAH KITTIES!