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Housepets. Living with change PG-13 
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Location: England, maidenhead, in my house drinking tea.
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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.”
“Yes Sammy?”
“Can you shed any light on how Kitsune found us?”
“He told me he heard you two call for help.”
“But we didn’t.”
“Subconsciously?”
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.


?

‘Again.’
Sigh ‘Fine. That one.’
‘And the next.’
‘That one.’
‘And the last?’
‘That one.’
‘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.’
‘…what?’
‘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.’
‘Shut up.’
‘Make me.’



“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.”
“Realm?”
“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.”
“Eh.”
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.
“What?”
“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.
“NO!”
“Not a tiny little smidgen?”
“NO! NO MISUSE! NO DEATH! NO CARNAGE! NO!”
“Ca-”
“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.


HQ.

“Well?”
“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.
“Yup?”
“Pull up the vid screen please.”
“Will do!”
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.


Babylon gardens.

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.’


Home.

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.’


Fox’s house.

“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.”
“Humor me.”
“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?”

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Tue May 06, 2014 9:42 am
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Smiley McSmiles
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Post Re: Housepets. Living with change PG-13
Your story is far too long to read in one sitting, so why did I just stay up so late reading it?
Because it is AWESOME!!! :D

So many interesting plot lines going on. So many interesting characters. I am loving this! I am eagerly awaiting more (though I've seen the gap between your updates, which leads me to believe I may be waiting a wile :evil: )
Still. I shall remain patient. :ugeek:

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Wed May 07, 2014 3:45 am
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Post Re: Housepets. Living with change PG-13
Aww thank you so much.
For the long gap I lay the blame on university. Most days are spent researching something or drafting up another bit of work. In two or three weeks time though the last piece will be handed in so I can freely allocate my time to more fun stuff. I'm therefore hoping for quicker update speeds after that time period.

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Sat May 10, 2014 7:16 pm
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Post Re: Housepets. Living with change PG-13
**** son, this is a really brilliant story!!!

And the interaction displayed between Kura and Sammy is pure gold and I love how Pete is slapped down XD
All I can say is keep up the good work :D


Mod Edit: Don't evade the filter.

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Tue May 27, 2014 5:56 am
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Post Re: Housepets. Living with change PG-13
Yes, I personally have liked this story, though I'm still surprised on how well the two protagonists are adapting, magic or no magic.

......
Well, alright, I guess the magic really helps a whole lot.

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20th century fox? Given that this is the year 2014, that fox must be dead by now. Sadface! : (

I'm telling you, hyenas ARE canines too! Many biologists died to bring us this information! Why won't you honor their deaths?! What I did to their families?!


Tue May 27, 2014 12:37 pm
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Post Re: Housepets. Living with change PG-13
Housepets: Living with change.

Chapter 18. Tricking gods and a brief clarification.




Heaven training room. (Most commonly referred to as the ‘other’ training room.)


Utilising all of her varied experience as a game player, Dragon was teaching Kura and Sammy some basic principles for how to position the body when in a fight. Initially she had thought this part wasn’t needed. And had gone straight to seeing how hard they could punch. ‘Scarily hard for kids with these bodies’ She had thought to herself, trying to not sub-consciously rub the parts that had started to hurt. However hard they could actually punch though there was not enough flow in the way they fought. Especially with Kura who, it seemed, couldn’t even position herself properly.
“No Kura, shift your leg back a bit. Then it is harder for you to fall over backwards. It gives you a lot more advantages than standing with both legs together.”
“I’m trying my best okay! I don’t do this sort of thing.”
“Your hands are fine where they are. So leave them there. Now again, shift your leg bac- NO don’t turn to the side. Just shift your leg. Keep your tail away from your legs or you may trip over it. And keep it far behind you so your opponent can’t grab it.”
Kura stared at her blankly.
“What don’t you understand now? Shift your leg and move your tail.”
“I can’t.”
“It isn’t difficult. Now shift your leg and move your tail.”
Kura shifted her leg back, mirroring Sammy, but like him did not move her tail.
“You too Sammy, move your tails out of the way the pair of you.”
“Dragon I can’t.” Sammy replied.
“Why not? It is the same as moving your arm. Same for you Kura. Just move it like any other appendage."
“We just told you we can’t. Which part don’t YOU understand?” Kura said, visibly annoyed.
“That part where you find it so difficult. I’m not asking you to move a mountain, just a part of your body. I don’t see what the problem is.”
Sammy let out a growl (to which he would later admit was unintentional). “We can’t. The problem is we physically can’t. What you think we are being difficult? That we are trying to annoy you? Normally…yes. However right now what I say is the truth and what I say is…WE CAN’T. You think it is easy? Oh just move a part of your body? We’ve never had tails before. I already tried moving it before and I can’t. So you can take your attitude and stuff it because you aren’t helping.”
“You’re serious? Kura?”
She held out her hands, exasperatedly. “I moved it once. But it took a LOT of concentration and effort, and even then it was little more than a twitch. Enough to poke Sammy but I haven’t been able to move it since. So calm down.”
“Oh jeez.” Dragon rubbed her temple. “Okay that’s a problem. You had better watch you don’t trip over them then. Worst part is your tails look quite a bit bigger than what they should be. Your own design I presume?”
She was met with two of the biggest grins she had ever seen.
“Great. Your own desire to have the fluffiest butts in existence makes all of this that much harder.”
“Worth it.”
“Agreed.”
Dragon rolled her eyes. “Right I’m done for now. We are leaving. I’ll send you all the specifics on your improvements later. Just don’t expect to see much at all. Those bodies are still adjusting to being real. You might need Kitsune to tell you what it all means though.”
“Aww you’re tired of us already?”
“Kura, one can deal with you two for only a short amount of time a day it seems.”
“Well darn. We aren’t trying hard enough then. The goal is to make people completely unable to deal with us for any length of time.”
“…oh you two are going to be such a joy when the game gets restarted.”


Home.

Kitsune glanced at the clock and clicked his tongue. ‘They are already late. Trust Dragon to not keep by a time limit…well saying that the blame could equally belong to those two. And honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.’ It hadn’t taken long to cook breakfast. In fact most of the time Kitsune had spent wandering around the house changing bits and pieces to more suit the new owners needs. This had been a necessity dictated by the fact that…well put simply the house was made for human occupants. In his new form Kitsune couldn’t even see the hobs of the cooker let alone be able to use them. And he had to stand on the tips of his toes to open some of the cupboards. Now everything in the house was at a level more fit for the kids and his size. Not for his benefit of course as he could change whenever he wanted. But if the kids couldn’t physically reach anything then he would have to do everything for them. This made refurbishing the toilet a one hundred percent top priority. He was positive he would get nightmares over what he had imagined.
He’d even gone ahead and filled the cupboards and the fridge while he had worked, adding a few things around the house to make it more inviting too. It was a totally new experience for him. Though to be honest it is no grand accomplishment nor is it really a worthy task for individuals like him. He chuckled to himself at that thought. ‘Imagine that. A powerful entity going from managing a cosmic game that held the fate of an entire planet, to walking around that very same planet brushing up on my home improvement skills. The past couple of days have been VERY strange indeed.’ He would have enjoyed the thought more, but he knew he was in for a rough day. There was a topic he HAD to bring up with the kids. And there was NO way in heaven they would react with anything but open (and probably extremely rude) conflict. He sighed and settled into a chair. ‘Well suffice to say I am incredibly bored. What to do what to do what to do?’ He looked down at himself. ‘Hrm. The kids do seem pretty uncomfortable that I am bare. I mean I DO have my own clothes but every animal they will see won’t be covered up. So they will have to learn to stop being embarrassed about it.’ He knew it wasn’t easy for them, humans weren’t exactly used to seeing that sort of thing. ‘Maybe putting some clothes on would make it easier.’ He thought back to when Kura said she was going to give him fashion advice. He physically shivered. ‘NOPE! NOPENOPENOPE! I am going to go home quickly, get some of my own clothes and wear them. I may not be mortal but I am still a boy. A girl giving fashion advice and deciding what we should wear is the second biggest fear for us…the first being what that advice could lead up to. The girl deciding we need clothes and taking us shopping.’ His eyes widened with fear at the thought, his mind traversing back uncountable millennia when he was young enough to still be forced to go clothes shopping. Fear clutched his heart as he made ready his departure. Hopefully if he was quick enough he would be there and back in time for when they arrived


“Kitsune, we’re back! I know I’m a bit late, sorry if that ruined any plans of yours! Kitsune?” Dragon frowned. “Doesn’t sound like he’s in. On no wait a sec…no, yep he’s coming now.”
Three seconds after her prediction a gateway appeared and Kitsune stepped through.
“You are late.” He stated with a look of mild annoyance.
“Yeah I’m sorry we were just…” Dragon frowned. “Why are you so small all of a sudden?”
“Just some aesthetic changes if I’m going to be spending some time on this plane of existence. I want to blend in you see.”
“Coooool!” Kura said, examining the Fox. “You are our size now, only you are what…a head and a bit taller than Sammy? Oooh and you are wearing proper clothes now! Not that cringe worthy stuff from earlier. You look like a normal person would and…HEY! What happened to your tails?!”
“Oh they are still there.” He flicked his tail, for a brief moment separating them out, before reforming them to one. “But I can’t really go out with more than one so this will do.”
“Awww.” Sammy exclaimed. “But I liked that. I thought it was cool…and adorable.”
“DON’T call me adorable. It’s demeaning for beings like Dragon and I. Now hurry up, I’ve made an amazing meal and want it eaten before it goes cold. You can tell me all about your day while we eat.”
It was not a boast. Surprisingly it seemed that Kitsune was in fact one amazing chef. The question of exactly why a so called demi-god would even need cooking skills was not asked. It definitely crossed Kura’s mind but she was hesitant to ask, partly because she was sure the answer would be some variation of ‘why not’ and partly because she didn’t want to complement Kitsune on his cooking skills. Call it a hierarchy chain. He needed to learn what he was getting into. She didn’t dislike him, but she and her brother both didn’t like how his kind messed around with people, and they both felt he still sort of owed them…big time.
Kitsune seemed pleased with their efforts in the training room, and a little too eager with starting up his and Dragon’s sparring idea. He spoke about a lot of stuff that wouldn’t come into play until they officially became a part f the game, but that their base parameters would give them an idea on their statistics and what sort of character growth they could expect. Needless to say that not a single part of that was understood, which Kitsune promised to explain later. He also brought up an interesting idea. Quite rightfully neither of them could tell anyone the exact specifics of how they got here and how they lived beforehand. So Kitsune suggested to play on partial amnesia. Obviously they would say things about their old lives so when questioned all they had to do is simply pretend to not remember and start to get teary and sad if the issue was pressed. (And to say they hurt their heads really bad in the crash if they said anything really stupid, like being human.) It was an interesting idea, and one that could work, even if a lot of people wouldn’t be happy about it if they found out.
It wasn’t long before all of them had finished their meal (Even Dragon didn’t compliment it. It seems even demi-gods didn’t like letting others gain points over them.)
“Now you have finished your meal, I have a little something I need to bring up.”
Kura and Sammy both glanced at each other. Something about Kitsune’s tone told them they wouldn’t like this. Especially if it was that thing he had kept on about all this time.
“Now as you both have realized by now, and you would be more than a little dense to of not, you are both pets. The bodily configuration is a bit different from your own world but you are what you are regardless. Now clothes-”
“These aren’t coming off.” Kura responded, immediately. “I don’t care what you say or what you threaten me with. I am not stripping and skipping down the street showing off…well me. And anyone with other plans can actually take a one way trip hell. To which I will gladly be the one to personally send them there.” Without looking at each other, the kids raised a paw each and high fived.
“If you would let me finish.” Kitsune said. “Now clothes are a bit unnatural. Pets do wear some items, more in winter times. But not full fledged like you two. But it is fine, I don’t care, others may care but the law wont care… they will raise an eyebrow, they will question, but they cannot legally stop you.” He paused as he considered his next words. “However there is…one…regulation that all pets must abide by if they are owned…it allows them to visit places as it distinguishes them from ferals. If you want to go out and go to places…you must…*cough* umm…you have to wear collars.”
“No.” Kura said. “No. No. No. Oh and NO!”
“You have to. It is part of the law.”
“The law can stick it. I am not wearing a collar. I have clothes and manners, that distinguishes me from ferals.”
“However the law states-”
“The law can bite me.”
“Your wishes cannot circumnavigate the requirements of the legal system.”
“The legal system can suck it. I will not-”
“Kura, a word?” Sammy asked, standing from his chair.
“What?”
“Listen I can see this is a difficult topic, and I can see both arguments are in the right, so Kitsune can you give us a minute? Can I take Kura up to my room for a few minutes or so? We will have to discuss this quite a bit before we can really answer. I promise we will be done before Fox and King arrive.”
“Well…alright. But they will be here any minute now so hurry up.”
“Sammy what are you talking about? I refuse t-”
“Save it.” He instructed his sister. He took her paw and pulled her out of the chair. “We got things to talk about.” He led her upstairs.
Kitsune waited until he heard Sammy’s door shut before turning to Dragon. “Annoying as it is for them, the law IS the law. I mean, the Miltons, and by extent the wolves, can get around it but everyone else has to abide by it.”
“And what about you?”
“Me?”
“Yes. Without your tails you can pass for an average fox. Well for the five seconds before you ruin it by blowing your cover. But even so wont you have to abide by the law too? Or is that too degrading for you?”
“Normally yes. However if they have to endure it then I shall endure with them. I won’t make them suffer any internal embarrassment alone. But they can talk all they want up there. It will have to happen regardless of their decision.”
Dragon’s eyes flicked towards the window as she watched two individuals scurry down (what she presumed was) a pipe attached to the wall outside, one after the other from the upper floor. “Uh-huh. Yeah well…I can tell they are probably going to have one heck of a conversation up there. Might take them a while to sort it out between them. We should probably just sit here and give them some time, let them come down when they are ready. We don’t want to intrude you know!”
“A good idea. It may have to happen but I can tell it is a difficult decision. I’ll go get them once Fox and King arrive though. Regardless of if they have done or not.”
Dragon had a hard time keeping a straight face. “I just hope this difficult conversation of theirs doesn’t put a damper on their moods. They are supposed to enjoy today after all.”


Full on laughter would easily have been heard from within the house. So as hard as it was to contain it, Sammy and Kura both knew they needed to. It still didn’t stop them from collapsing into a sniggering heap as they dived into a nearby bush. It took a minute or two before Kura regained enough composure to begin forming words.
“That was FANTASTIC!”
“I know right! Don’t think old foxy boy will be pleased when he finds out though.”
“Well let’s just hope we are far enough away by the time he DOES find out. And that by the time he finds us his anger will have subsided…a bit.”
“Well we can always hope. Still, worth it.”
“Oh absolutely. I don’t care what he or the law says. I may look like an animal but I am NOT someone’s pet. I have rights.”
“No you don’t. You scum.”
“Oh yeah right. I forgot about that. Forgive me for scumming up your sight oh pleasant one.”
Sammy snorted with mirth. “In any case the hospital dogs will be arriving soon. We need to lay low until they do. Lest Kitsune finds us…should he figure out what we have done.”
“And make sure they don’t ring the door when they do arrive. That means a good view of the house, but away from windows or anything.”
“But not near the house either. Kitsune will probably start looking close by first. I’m thinking that side.” He pointed to the opposite side of the house. “He is probably still at the table…and the window for that is on this side. So if we make a decision fast, then make a quick run for the cover…well it will help.”
“Well there is a great big tree there. Climb it? Good view, hidden…and it means we might spot Fox and King easier.” She sniffed with displeasure. “Bit tall that tree, compared to us, so it will be a bit of effort. But the table was a lot bigger anyway. And we managed it.”
“True. If we can do that then there is no way I will let some tree show me up. Wanna make the run?”
“Stopping to check the way is clear?”
“No. We are going to run out without checking, stopping only to do a merry dance in the middle of the road with our eyes closed.”
“Wow! You always know what I want to do!”
“Shut up or I will shove you into traffic.”
“Oh wow that has always been my one greatest desire in life.”
“I said shut up.”


“Right, King and Fox should be arriving any minute now.” Kitsune said, standing from the table. “I’ll go get these two, make them upset with me for the better part of the day and then we will all make up by night time. Come on, I’ll probably need backup.”
“Yeah sure. As if I could convince them to do anything they don’t want to do either though.” Dragon said, still maintaining a neutral expression. ‘Come on. Run far. Run fast and far.’ She thought to herself as they ascended the stairs. Kitsune stopped at a door. ‘This must be Sammy’s room then.’ Dragon thought to herself, holding her breath as he knocked.
They waited.
And waited.
Kitsune knocked again…and waited.
“Come on you two, I know you aren’t too happy about the idea but please you have to do it. It is for your own safety!”
After another brief wait Kitsune huffed in annoyance. “Right, I see how this will play out.” Dragon winced as Kitsune opened the door and stepped inside. “Listen you two I c-…”
“What’s wrong?” She asked innocently.
“They are gone.” He replied.
“What do you mean gone?”
“Look. Gone as in…gone.”
Dragon stepped inside. She had to admit she had been expecting something…more to the room. It had a few items in it, bed, chair, desk. And for some reason a couple of bags in the corner…thinking about it though Dragon just assumed that may be the stuff Kitsune promised to give back to them. Of course there was no sign of the kids. (As she knew there wouldn’t be.) “Well where are they then?”
“I would know this how?”
“Okay so we search the room. All the possible hiding spots, and then we search the rest of the house. Wherever they are hiding they won’t stay that way.” ‘Well they will until they decide to come back home that is.’
“Good idea. I can sense King and Fox approaching so we need to find them fast. We only have a couple of minutes tops.” He started searching, all the while muttering under his breath. It wasn’t every day a tricky guy like Kitsune got himself tricked by a couple of kids. So naturally he wasn’t best pleased.



“Isn’t that them Sammy? Over there in the distance on that corner.”
“Yeah looks like it. We have to get their attention and get to them without anyone inside seeing us.”
“That should be easy enough. You going to say hi to them now or are you going to give them the silent treatment again?”
“I was thinking silent treatment. Coupled with frowns and raised eyebrows if they try to talk directly to me.” He replied, the last part a joke.
“You know you will have to say something eventually.”
“Oh so I’m not allowed to be a shut in loner now am I? Maybe I’ll talk when I need to, or if I decide I like them then yeah sure. Until then? No.”
“Suit yourself. I thought you’d be overjoyed with talking to these sorts of pets. You’ve always banged on about wanting to know how they think and interact.”
“Doesn’t mean I’ll like talking to all of them. As I said, I’ll talk if I like them. I just prefer being quiet most of the time.”
“Yet you are lippy with Ninetails most of the time.”
Sammy shrugged. “What can I say. I’m a very defensive person.”
“I’m not complaining. But I still think you should try. These aren’t even people AND I’m sure most people might be different in this world. But fine I’ll do the talking until you decide. C’mon let’s drop down, they are close enough now.”
The duo were close enough now to be heard.
“No it doesn’t work like that King.”
“Why not?”
“Because regardless of the level of ease to which the final battle could have been won, the entire point of the interaction is to cast a good light on him. By keeping his word and not forcing them to remain and fight for him he proves he is worthy enough to be crowned.”
“Well yeah I get that, but I mean it caused a heck of a lot of needless deaths within his army. I mean it would have taken, what, all of about ten seconds to win if he had kept them? And then a lot of famil-…umm why are you two climbing out of a tree?”
“Oh.” Kura said to King as they crossed the road to them. “Because we were hiding.”
“From your owner?”
“Yep.”
“Okay.”
“Yup.”
“Hey hey hey now.” Fox said. “Why would you be hiding from him? Did he do something? And umm…forgive me for asking but…what’s with the clothes?”
“He did …but it’s a more personal reason rather than him being a bad person. So it’s fine, nothing we can’t handle. And what do you mean? You are wearing a bandanna.”
“Some pets will wear a bit of clothes, more so when winter rolls around but…well you two are dressed fully, like a human would.”
“So? It is pretty normal where we came from.” Kura replied, thinking up the lie on the spot.
“Where was that then?” Fox asked, his curiosity spiked.
“Britain. The accent gives it away.”
“Well yes I guessed that part. But where?”
‘Okay Kitsune let’s try out your idea.’ “Not sure. Trying to remember makes our heads hurt. A lot of things before the crash are gone or incredibly blurry.”
‘Interesting.’ Fox thought. ‘Dad complained that they were not co-operative…if I told him they might have amnesia then maybe it would mean the police would lessen their suspicions.’ Fox smiled warmly at the pair. “Hey it’s okay. You know you have our support, so if you need an- hey umm…are you two…shorter than you were in the hospital?”
‘Fudge’ Or a word of relatively similar sounding crossed Kura and Sammy’s thoughts. “Not that I am aware of.” She responded. “Unless some really crazy stuff happened in the night. Maybe you were just tired. Our owner said you must have walked a long way.”
“Maybe but…I could have sworn you both were taller. You sound younger too…and you both even look a bit younger than you did. ” He looked at Sammy. “Cool glasses by the way, I like the style.”
“Nah I can promise you, we haven’t shrunk. Or you know…de-aged or however you could say it.”
Fox may have been confused but King wasn’t fooled in the slightest. There was no doubt they were smaller than they were the previous time they met. For him it was a believable option because…well their owner seemed to be Kitsune. The giant white fox that lorded over Pete and that Dragon looking thing’s game. But of course he couldn’t call them out on it even if he wanted to, which he didn’t. If they knew anything about him…and let it slip to Fox… ‘Darn you Pete. I need to get to know them even if I don’t want to. Simply because I need to be on their good side. I refuse to participate in this silly game though.’ To make sure they didn’t accidentally let slip something incriminating, King decided it would be best if they hurried on and got distracted by the sights. “Hey Fox shall we get a move on? There is a lot to go see. Couple of young kids like these will want to get to playing around as soon as they can. Better not keep them for too long!”
“Oh yeah sure. We’ll head on out in a sec. Before I forget though, did you two get a letter this morning?”
“Nope, we were out this morning. Only got back a little bit ago.”
“Oh really? Only been here for a night and already going out! Sounds like you two are real go-getters. Go anywhere nice?”
“Gym, with a friend of Kitsune’s.”
Sammy flashed his sister a piercing warning glance, but relented after she shrugged. Why should she care what this Husky thought? He already disliked cats, and it’s not as if she’ll say anything too incriminating. If he wanted to make a big deal of it she was sure Kitsune would find a way to…correct the little problem he would be having.
“You…went to…the Gym? At your age?”
“We like to stay fit and healthy. And I’m a little older than I look thank you.”
“With a friend of a Kitsune? Isn’t that a name for a mythical fox creature?”
“Yep. It's the name of the uhh Fox who lives with us. He's our new owners pet, he is going to take care of us while the owner is away on business. He said his parents were real big on mythology or something. Oh and yes before you asked we have teased him RELENTLESS for it during our brief time here.”
“Are you hiding from him instead then?”
“Sort of. Lets just say there’s a limit to how much of a terrible person you can be before you need to run away.”
“That doesn’t sound right.” Fox said with a frown. “Are you sure you are safe with him?”
“Oh totally. It’s all in good fun you see.”
“Well okay.” He started to lead them off. “But back to the letter, one of the neighborhoods pets, sweet dog called Sasha, wants to throw you a welcome to the neighborhood party. It’s funded by the local club so normally it’s dogs only, but it invites you both so that doesn’t matter.”
“A party?”
“Uh-huh. Everyone saw the news when you two were recovered from that accident. Sasha thought you might need a little something to cheer you up. Be a load of introductions, free food, that sort of thing. I’ll show you two where it is then if you want we can come pick you up and take you there tomorrow.”
Kura glanced quizzically at Sammy. He shrugged and waved a paw dismissively.
“That’s a yes.”
“Oh great. Look I can see your brother doesn’t like talking to people but…well just let me know if he tells you that he feels uncomfortable at any point tomorrow. There’s going to be a lot of pets…it might be a bit daunting at first.”
“Oh don’t worry, he’s more than capable of walking away if he hates where he is.” She grinned. “Thanks for looking out for us though.”
“My pleasure. I like to keep a watch out for new people here. Hey King, tell them what happened to you at your first party!”
“No.”
“Come on! You can tell them what I did after it too! It’ll at least give them an idea who and what to look out for!”
King grumbled, not happy for more people to know about the catnip bomb…however warning them of Bino would probably be an extraordinary good deed on his part. “All right fine…but don’t laugh or I will withdraw any and all support in future endeavors against my perpetrator.”
“We promise!”


Sandwich house.

“Hey Peanut, what are you up to?”
“Oh hey Grape. Just trying to sort something out. Oh yeah actually now that you are here, I don’t suppose you’ve seen where I left most of my YU-GI-OH cards. I will probably need to go through all of them.”
“Umm…yeah actually I think so. Now I am not sure but using my amazing psychic powers I shall determine that they are…on top of your Wii box.” She said pointing to the location right next to Peanut’s face.
“Oops. How could I of missed that! Thanks Grape!”
“My pleasure.” She sat down next to him. “Is this one of the things you want to get ready for those new friends of yours?”
He nodded. “They said they liked the game. I haven’t done anything with it for a while now but it should be fun nonetheless.”
“They come across as good? Or did they boast?”
“Well all I know is the boy is better than the girl. She says she has a few better cards but he can trounce her at every corner. Either way it should be fun!”
“Interesting. And they are coming here to do it?”
“Yep! We haven’t worked out a day yet. Which is all right. Gives me time to get these sorted. And if that strange letter we got today is correct, they will be in the park tomorrow.”
“Do you mind if I have a go? We can do a little two versus two right? I’ve still got my cards and I know I’ve never put much effort into the game but…I have a feeling these two could be interesting. Be nice to see how they, not only think, but work together. Plus no one can beat us in a game together! We are the unstoppable sandwich duo!”
Peanut smiled. “You would join in? Oh yes please, that would be awesome! See if you can find yours, then we’ll sit down with the rules, read through them, then sort out our cards while stratergizing!”
“That sounds good but what if they are pretty good? I mean getting yourself destroyed won’t be much fun.”
“Actually we got that established. See this was the eldest one’s idea right. He has got all the original decks right, and he thought it would be fairer if we all used one of them for our first few games. Balance it out and rely solely on drawing luck and our own ability to formulate a strategy. But he only thought of the idea after we had all separated. So he told his carer his plan sometime last night, who told Tarot through his mind talking ability, who told me through her mind talking ability. Which works because he says the better ones are more two people orientated, but he does have the original four which are quite balanced between them. I think he wanted a four versus at some point anyway.”
“…wait what? Mind talking what now? Tarot can talk with her mind?”
“Well yeah of course. Oh come on you are surprised? Her mind is a holo-deck after all. What can’t she do with it?”
“Well yeah okay but who is their carer then? They mind talk too?”
“Of course. And Tarot says he is muuuuuuuch stronger than she is. Do you remember that dream you said you had of the giant blue Griffin?”
“Yeah, Pete. That was very weird.”
“Well Tarot says Pete is playing some game involving her. Like dungeons and dragons but soooo much bigger and awesome! Well the original is awesome anyway but this one is AWESOMER! And Dragon is against him, and Tarot works for Dragon…or something.”
“Peanut…Pete was a dream. And dragons don’t exist. You can’t make up fantasy creatures to justify your dreams and your girlfriends strange pheneomenons.”
“What’s a phenome-…pheno…the thing?”
“It’s an occurrence. So if I play along with you I am supposed to believe my Griffin and your Dragon are either one of those two kids carers?”
“Noooooo Graaaaaapppppe! Haven’t you ever played dungeons and dragons before? There is ALWAYS an extra person besides the players!”
“So who is this mystical fantasy person?”
“He’s the game master!
“Soooo…the game master is their owner?”
“That’s what I got from Tarot, yes.”
Grape was silent for a few moments. Of course she didn’t believe him, dragons didn’t exist. Tarot was not supernatural, even if she was about a hundred steps outside the realm of normal. And that dream was just that. A dream.
“Okay so let me get this straight…you want to become friends with a couple of kids who are affiliated with some beings of supernatural orientations?”
“Yep! They like video games too!”
“Okay fine…I’ll pretend your friends have magical powers, it should be interesting to see if they are like Tarot anyway.”
“Oh well…Tarot says they are special, so they might be like her…but she didn’t know what they could do. But who cares what they can do! They were both really nice…well the dog seemed more terrified but he was still nice! And to me, that’s all that matters, not how many fireballs they can throw around or whatever! Oh my GOODNESS! GRAPE THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!”
“Oww my ears! What’s with the sudden outburst and why the need to thank me?”
“Because you gave me a wonderful idea by mentioning Tarot. Now this may work, but only if you apologise to her from last time and promise you wont interfere with the set, run wild with ideas or bug her to do it again for anything else. But if it all goes well we MIGHT be able to get her to holo deck our duel!”
“Peanut…that sounds incredible! Okay yeah fine deal. I’ll promise all of it and say sorry and everything. Hmm she was kind of ticked off last time…okay you tell her using her supposed mind talking powers and I’ll go write an essay length apology and draw up a contract saying I wont muck it up.”
Peanut gave her a hug. “YAAAAAY! Oooh I can’t wait! I’d better start thinking about what kind of outfit I’ll be wearing!”


Babylon Gardens town centre.

“This is the most popular part of the town.” Fox said as they came to a square. “Not only is it because there are more shops altogether here than there is anywhere else, but because a lot of these aren’t just your bog-standard grocery shops. At any time you can guarantee that there is a shop here that has something for you. It really is incredible.”
Kura looked around. “That sounds pretty cool actually. I’ll have to remember where this is, I bet we can find some great stuff here.”
“Do you want to have a quick look before we head off?”
“Nah, we don’t have any money. We’ll come back when we do.”
“Okay onwards it is. Soon we’ll get to my absolute favourite place. Somewhere I think more people should go. Yes even you King.”
“Hey!” King replied, as they started heading off. “I know what you are talking about mister!”
“Sammy you coming? Sammy?” Kura turned to her brother.
He didn’t move. He had been frowning intently at one little shop all this time. It was a little dingy but there was something…strange about it. It didn’t feel right and yet it felt…strangely alluring.
Kura poked his arm. “Hellooooo? What’s up? What are you looki-” She followed his gaze to the shop and stopped mid-sentence. It wasn’t very glamorous, and that was being extremely kind. But she felt as if she had to go in there. It was strange, definitely not normal…and yet very compelling.
“Hey what’s up you two?”
“I’m not sure.” Kura responded.
Fox followed their gaze. “That shop catch your eye?”
“Something like that I guess.”
“Do you want to go in?”
“Well I don’t-”
‘Yes.’ Kura and Sammy jumped slightly. They looked at each other. Kura chewed her lip as Sammy shrugged. They had both heard it…but judging by the looks they were getting neither Fox nor King did.
“Heheh one sec.” Kura pulled Sammy to the side and whispered. “Now I know you heard that too. I can see it in your face.”
“Well they didn’t. So what, another all powerful being wanting to mess with us?”
“Kitsune?”
“No if he knew where we were he would have killed us by now.”
“Good point. Want to go find out?”
Sammy let out a sigh. “No. I’d rather be at home playing a game.”
“Same, but circumstances say otherwise.”
“I hate the current circumstances.”
“Well when we are nice and alone we can have a great little crying session about how unfair it all is. I can tell you want that as much as I do right now.”
“Hmm, yeah that would be nice actually. We can do it at the gym maybe? I feel like punching something some more.”
“Yeah I could go with that too.” Kura replied and then raised her voice. “Hey Fox, King? Would you mind terribly if we could stop off at that shop first before we leave?”
“Oh not at all. We can spend as much time in there as you need.”
“Thank you. Let’s go.” She said to Sammy.
King watched them go. He hated every last second of this. He promised himself he wouldn’t get into anything relating to that detestable Griffin. But he would be lying to himself if he were not immensely curious of those two and what that white fox had planned for them. Even if it was just from all the worry that something bad might occur from all of it.
“Let’s go see what all the fuss is about shall we? Might be some cool stuff in there to see.” Fox said, starting towards the shop. He stopped and glanced at the sign. “Time’s Crossroads.” He read out loud. “The only place where not even time or space can get in the way of what you want.” He barked out a laugh. “That’s a pretty tall claim isn’t it? All right I’ll admit I’m curious.”
King grimaced. This place had weird celestial entity written all over it, but Fox had already gone through the door so there was nothing he could do but follow him in.


Time’s crossroads, shop interior.

Odd, was a good word to use to describe the interior of the building. Not one single part looked as though it fit with anything else in there. The items on the shelves were a mix of normal items and weird items, old items and new items. That was more relative to what they were themselves however than to how old they physically looked. The brand new television set looked just as new and shiny as (what Sammy said he thought might have been) one of the first television sets ever manufactured. Every single part of the building itself, including furniture, looked as though it had been made from different eras. Books ranged from ones they recognised as written uncountable years prior sitting in the same condition next to ones more recently published. Including ones, Sammy was hesitant to admit, that he thought wouldn’t be out for another couple of years. All of them arranged on bookshelves whose style seemed to grow more recent the further along you went, but still all looking brand new.
“Well.” Kura said. “If there was any shop in the world that could lay claim to that sign…I would go ahead and say it would be this one.”
“This place is seriously messed up. Look there is no dust anywhere. There are things here that haven’t been made for god knows how long and…they haven’t aged. Look Kura I was curious too but I’m feeling a bit freaked out right now. I think we should leave. This place isn’t…right.”
“Not all is right or wrong. However, what is wrong can be right, what is one might be both. But what might be either, might be neither.”
They span around at the sound of the voice, recognising it as the one they heard outside. The owner of the voice was definitely an animal, but identifying what species it was, was a completely different matter altogether. It was hard to lock down on one specific detail, the details shifting around in their heads whenever they stopped looking at each part. It was definitely unique, to say the least. Not quite fitting in with how any other animal they knew of looked like (or they guessed would look like in this weird new world), and yet completely indescribable. They both took an immediate dislike to whatever this thing was. Best not to trust the unknown after all.
It must have known how they felt because it started laughing.
“Welcome to my shop! No I hadn’t expected to be greeted with cheery hellos and hugs. Though I can see you remain very curious even under all that distrust and dislike. Exactly how you felt that night your fox friend came to see you. Though I must admit I am happy to see you aren’t prepared to stab me…wish I could have said the same for poor Kitsune that night.”
The pair shared a glance. “You seem very…knowledgeable…on our lives. Should we be backing away and telling Kitsune about you?” Kura asked, with more than a little suspicion.
“Pph! Oh really? And how would you approach him? He still isn’t very happy with you from earlier. And besides, I’m a friend.”
“A friend of?” Sammy asked.
“Why you two of course! Oh come now, don’t give me those faces! I know you aren’t big on friends, especially in such a weird place, surrounded by such weird new people, like me! HA!”
“You seem overly cheerful for no reason. Who or what are you and why did you call us here?”
“Oooh a good question Kura. A good question indeed. Who am I? I go by many names so listing them all would be a waste of time. What am I? Well what am I indeed? Am I one thing, or am I another? But why did I call you here…heheh now THAT’S an easy one to answer! You have questions. So many question but so little time. Information is the key! Knowledge is the answer! I have the information, I contain the knowledge…and you two have the questions. Hahaha! Sounds like fate right?”
“Sounds like someone is going to great lengths to be mysterious. One reason why Sammy and I should trust you. One.”
“Oooh only one? A challenge you set, and a challenge I meet! Well my friends one answer you need and one answer you shall have! An answer for trust so a trustworthy answer must be said. The answer for your trust I therefore speak thusly!” The creature’s smile dropped, as did its ears and tail. “I truly regret having to say this to you two…you’ve been through a lot already…going to go through more too. It is not my wish to add to your worries and your burdens. But I must, for your sake as well as many others. If you continue on as you are now…you…” It grimaced. “…you will die within seven hours.” Even the way the creature spoke changed, shifting to more normal (if somewhat sombre) sentences.
Sammy grabbed two nearby chairs, giving one to his sister, sat down in the other and folded his arms. “I’m listening.”
“You have found from Kitsune’s word of mouth and his stupid little energy blast test that the spiritual power, or what you earth dwellers call ‘magic’, has no effect on you. Yes yes you were thrown across the floor but I can explain that. Why is this so? Why can you two, a mere couple of earthlings defy a power so ancient it’s beginning has all but been forgotten and one so great it can ruin worlds? Why the answer is simple and yet profoundly complex. Your bodies, your very souls have an ability so rare that there is no record of it occurring in all of history. Not that it never happened, just it would have been so long ago all records would have been lost.”
“How can I portray my body language to show that I am bored and want you to get on with it?”
“Now now my little Collie, patience is always rewarding! Both you and your now feline sister here have the incredibly rare ability to…absorb magic. It flows straight into your bodies negating all hehe negative effects that would normally occur including but not limited to various horrific deaths. Isn’t that exciting! Now let us use a terrible example of your ability shall we hmm? Oooh yes yes this one is bad and so will do nicely indeed!” The creature’s mood began to pick up again, as evidenced by its change in speech patterns. “What happens when you spill water on the ground?”
“Is this a trick question?” Kura asked. “Because if not then the floor gets wet.”
“Indeed the floor can actually be damaged. If an immortal uses its power recklessly it could cause major damage. So what happens when a towel is placed either before or after the water is spilled?”
“It absorbs the water…minimising the damage to the floor.”
“EXACTLY! And if the power is used while you are in the vicinity then you will absorb it, minimizing the effect it has on your surroundings. Of course like a towel the absorption is greater if the power is directed at you, decreasing the further away you are from it!”
“You are right. That is a terrible analogy.”
“Heehee! But one that works no?”
“Yeah yeah okay strange creature. Maybe, just maybe I can believe you. It is a bit farfetched that my sister and I can do that BUT I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. So why will we die soon?”
The creature must really of liked them because its demeanor once again changed at the mention of their deaths.
“A towel can’t absorb and does not absorb more water once it reaches its limits. I am sorry to say…you two have no cut off limit. The power will flow and flow and you cannot stop it. Soon your bodies will fail, overwhelmed by the intake and you will both perish. I can give you as many examples as I can to help make you believe. Whenever your nine-tailed friend made an astral jump…you were sick. Too much energy at once, you could not handle it. In fact if your bodies had not reacted that way…well you would have died on the first jump. Kitsune’s blast didn’t hurt you, but was too much too fast so the kinetic energy itself wasn’t absorbed, so you were flung away. You felt a power boost when you climbed the table yes? But after your dragon supplied you with energy for your training you started to feel a bit weak and woozy? Even more so now?”
“Ye…yes.” Kura stuttered, a paw extending out to hold and squeeze her brother’s.
“That magic is strength. In small doses it boosts what you can do, how you feel. But there is a limit and I’m sorry to say you are past it. And your dragon friend is still giving you energy. She forgot to cut it off and does not realize what she is doing wrong. I’ll have to break it to both of them gently. I don’t think the Griffin will care too much. I’ll be sorry to see what will happen to this planet without you two though.”
“Well can’t you do anything?”
“Haven’t I already done enough? You and your brother’s wounds were healed, I did that. Saving your lives when you crashed? That was me. Powering down Kitsune’s blast so you could survive the intake? Well do you know anyone else who could have done it? Heck kid, I was the one who showed you how to speak to Tarot. You couldn’t of mind linked her without me. I’ve already done more than enough for you two. Why should I do anything else?”
Kura was stumped. If this creature was telling the truth…she was about to die. All the promises Kitsune had made, all these experiences had been for nothing. And it was right, if it had already done so much, WHY should it do more? What obligation was it under to help them anyway? She thought the situation was completely lost, until Sammy spoke up.
“Because you say you are our friend. And even though I don’t know what time or place you met us to become our friend I DO know that friends go above and beyond their own abilities to help each other out.”
The creature clapped its paws and let out a cry of joy. “YES! YES! They do. Here give me a second.” It reached behind a nearby desk and, after a few seconds of searching, pulled out a small rucksack. “I have a few very special gifts for the pair of you. Come closer come closer! Appreciate them a lot I guarantee you both will oh yes oh yes!” Its grin grew wider as they both stood up and approached the bag. Placing the bag on the top of the desk, it proceeded to open and pull two items out, the creature keeping its fists closed so the kids could not see what they were.
“Do we answer a riddle or something before we are allowed them?” Sammy asked.
“Nonononono, a few questions is all. Do you, Sammy and you Kura want to do your job?”
“We guess so but I mean we aren’t exactly a hundred percent clear on-”
“Details details details. Details come when more ready you both are. Do you both pledge to do everything within your power to help out anyone and everyone who needs your help?”
“I’m not liking the sound of where this is going. But I promised Fox boy I would help him out...I’m guessing it’s a related issue. This little gesture of help does not extend to everyone mind you. I’m not helping out horrible people”
“Some people cannot be helped. You are to help who you can, not everything is in your powers to do. Remember this, you can’t help those you don’t have the power to.” The fists slowly opened, revealing a necklace in each paw. Each necklace had what appeared to be a crystal attached to the chain. “Magic flows rampant within your bodies, control it, contain it we must. The gods have big plans for you, though they themselves don’t yet know it. A bit of nudging has put them on the right path…and now it is my turn to nudge you onto your paths. Take the crystals, wear them and be safe, for limitless space they hold within, storage of energy and magic are their purpose. Keep you alive from your own abilities they will.”
“Wait!” Kura said as the creature fastened a necklace around each of their necks. The crystals each began to emit a faint glow upon contact. “What are you talking about?!”
“No time no time! Your Husky friend grows suspicious! I’ve kept him and the now Corgi busy long enough. Go! See Bahamut in the court of fate, he will unlock your ability to use the magic you absorb, but do not drain your crystals! You absorb slowly and casting takes it toll! Be wary of overuse and death. Stronger you will become. Take the rucksack, inside are items for you. Discover their use in time you will. Make friends, form bonds but don’t let the past haunt you, no matter how much it tries to. Speak of me to Kitsune when you do tell him…tell him I know who speaks the riddles. If he wants to know more tell him to fill the kettle at seven. Oh and Sammy? Try to work on talking to more than just magically empowered beings. If not to people then to pets, they are mostly nice. Don’t give me that look, you should have guessed by now I know eeeeevvvvrrrything about your lives so far. Come see me when you have the time, we’ll work on confidence boosting that is a bit more permanent than what your psychic Pomeranian friend did.”
A door opened behind them, spinning around they saw Fox and King enter (Strangely from a room and not the outside. Yet they did not walk through more than one door in this shop.)
“Ah there you two are, we’ve been walking around this shop for a while now. It’s like a maze!”
Kura looked back but the creature had disappeared. Frowning she turned back. “Haha, yeah I know, it uhh, it didn’t look this big from the outside right! We thought we’d lost you!”
“What have you been doing all this time?”
“Well, umm, we kind of ran into someone who…we think works here. They were very interesting, let’s put it that way.”
“Yeah same here. King and I were treated to an overwhelming number of riddles and other eccentricities. It was exhausting. I couldn’t exactly figure out what species the thing was but whatever it was kept going on about future trials, perils and opening my mind. King got treated to some special words too. A lot of talk about some game, and he gets to make the choice regardless of who wins.” Fox turned to King. “Baffling right? How someone can say so much and yet end up saying almost nothing at all is beyond me.”
“It certainly was strange. I have absolutely NO idea what game or higher entities it was talking about. And what choice? Can’t think of any choice beyond what to raid from the fridge tonight.”
Two thoughts crossed Kura and Sammy’s minds at King’s words. The first was ‘He’s lying’ as his sudden nervous demeanour while talking about the higher entities was a complete give-away. The second was ‘He knows Pete? Is that our Pete?’ Sammy did vaguely recall talking to Kitsune about the Corgi briefly. But were any of his suspicions about the little dog correct? They both were resolved to ask Kitsune about it later…providing he didn’t kill them first. Kitsune had already mentioned that the Corgi was involved in all this. Most probably with the Griffin if King’s outburst was creditable.
The exact nature of King’s involvement with the trio of demi-gods was of definite interest though. While Kura was happy to ask Kitsune a few things and then forget about it all (she still didn’t care about that job Kitsune brought them here to do) Sammy on the other hand wanted to know exactly how far the trio had meddled into the world. Not to say he gave a flying crap about Kitsune’s plans either. He was just curious as to how far their influence had affected everyone. He wanted to catch King away from Fox so would have to convince his sister to lead Fox astray on this trip. Not an easy task as Kitsune did say Fox wasn’t a cat person to put it mildly. But he was confident she could pull it off…the harder part for him was starting to talk. With both factors of incredible shyness and a (he didn’t like to tell anyone this part) extreme desire to not actually converse with people…well it would be difficult. He was still planning it when he heard the unmistakable voice of the creature that owned the shop.
‘I’ll arrange the separation and the confidence boost. Don’t worry, your sister will be with you. As I said though, talking to the pets is good for you. I know you don’t like people so talk to the pets, not the people. I know you can do that, you’re just being overly stubborn. I’ll talk more when Kitsune decides he wants answers. I have a lot more to tell you!’
Kura noticed her brother wasn’t concentrating and came to the conclusion (on her own of courrse, definitely not because the creature just told her) that someone was speaking to him. So she kept up the conversation until he was ready. “Okay.” She said, “I think it’s time we left this strange almost creepy place. Where are we going next?”
“Oh ho ho!” Fox chuckled.”
“King rolled his eyes and groaned. “I know exactly what you have in mind. Oh the immense definitely non sarcastic joys.”
“You know me well my friend. Kids, I’m about to take you both to my most favorite building in the ENTIRETY of Babylon Gardens. There is not another place around here that even comes close to rivaling my joy at its presence.”
“Your favourite? What’s that then?” Kura asked.
“Spoilers! Just wait and see you two. It’s a place you don’t need a conversation to enjoy.” He aimed the last part at Sammy who (to Fox’s disappointment) responded with the same half-bored expression he had kept throughout nearly every second he had known him for. ‘He’s a tough one, I’ll give him that. The cat has outside cheerfulness but her smiles still don’t reach her eyes. She’s still not happy. The dog though…he still wont even pretend to smile or be enthusiastic. Either he was affected more from that crash or he’s got greater demons because I refuse to believe he’s a bad person. I WILL see them both happy…even the cat. That’s going to be my personal goal.’


The creature watched from the shadows as the group left the shop, only emerging once the door had swung shut. The kids were interesting to say the least…however they were still too young to be of any use. Training would be needed before they could become what they needed to be. ‘And so the clock begins to tick at last. But what lies ahead? Who around them will be brought down before this is all over? The dreams must have already begun, and it is more than obvious they have been found…but does it know exactly who they are? I doubt so…but I had better make sure it does not. The memories! I must check the memories, check the soul! The body is roaming, no doubt gaining followers once more…but the keys may yet all be safe! I have time. Kitsune WILL summon me tonight. I will check the seals…hope for as much time as we can have until they are ready…ready to go back to the beginning of the end. I just hope they don’t get too attached to all their friends…but you can’t change too much or the outcome might not be the same.’
It sighed and closed its eyes. You always wish you had more time. But it would always run out. No matter how much you hope for it to keep on running.
It took a deep breath and opened its eyes, a look of determination etched all over its face. ‘But you can’t not do your best!’

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I WUV MAH KITTIES!


Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:55 am
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Location: Babylon Gardens
Post Re: Housepets. Living with change PG-13
WOW. This is one of the best fic I've seen yet. I cannot WAIT to see what happens next. Oh and Obbl, I read the whole thing in a five hour sitting. :P

My favorite part though:

Quote:
“Great. Your own desire to have the fluffiest butts in existence makes all of this that much harder.”
“Worth it.”
“Agreed.”

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Creator of: Housepets! Home Story: Sparks' Beginning
PART 4 - CH. 2 OUT NOW!
(viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3002&p=622160#p622160)

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Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:36 pm
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Post Re: Housepets. Living with change PG-13
I love how this story is going so far! Keep it up!


Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:47 pm
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