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Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Black 
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Post Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Black
This is a link to the fan fiction story I wrote. I first posted it on FanFiction.net and then Deviant Art but never really got feedback so I don’t really know what people really think. So I posted the entire thing here. If I’m going to be a best selling writer one day I need real feedback from people who know the subject

The summary is “The characters from the Housepets! Comics meet two of their biggest fans when Rowan Gains and Lisa Smith find themselves transported into their world. When they are hired to work for Keene over the summer, adventures and mayhem begin to surround them. Their friendship is tested as they grow closer to the pets and they begin to disrupt the pets lives. When Lisa and Rowan discover a sinister plot that puts the fate of the worlds in the balance, they all have to work together to stop this evil from being unleashed.”

I set it in present day 2018, summer. I tried to keep it as true to the comics as possible for authenticity.
It is a romance and adventure story.
The story mainly revolves around two characters Lisa and Rowan who interact and become friends with the Housepets.

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Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:09 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:57 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
I read it all on Fanfiction the other day. I usually only post reviews if the author explicitly asks for feedback.

I liked it. Lisa & Rowan have a lot of the same questions I've had since reading, and while I don't own the books I have read the entire run more than once. I love the bits of them fanning out at the beginning.

The ending went in a direction I did not expect. I caught the King imagery pretty quick, but Rowan going that dark, that fast, took me off guard. Not that that's a bad thing.

The only specific point I can bring up is how when Rowan made Peanut cry by casually stating that he usually skips the spot comics on re-reads, it's never brought up again. I know Peanut specifically tends to bounce back pretty quick with most things, it just seemed like something specific to mention just for a passing bit.

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Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:05 am
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
This is the prologue. This was the first thing I wrote before deciding to continue the story.

Prologue: Encounters of the Fan Kind

There was a loud knocking on the door, King looked up from what he was doing and walked over. He gripped the knob but hesitated as if something horrible was on the other side. In his experience, if someone came knocking on Lindberg in was never good. He took his chance and opened it anyway.

King was greeted by a high piece screaming that pierced through his sensitive ears. "Oh my, God. It's him! It's really him." Standing on the doorstep were two humans. They looked like they were in their early twenties. One was a boy wearing a t-shirt that said, "I'm Not Anti-Social, I Just Don't Like You." The other was a girl with blonde hair tied in a ponytail. She wore a long light blue skirt and a matching blouse. They each had nametags around their necks. The boy's said, "Rowan Gains." The girl's, "Lisa Smith." Beneath the names was a picture of some type of animal with the letters AC written in large bold letters.

King gaped at them, waiting for his ears to stop ringing. "We are such big fans of yours. We love you so much," Lisa said.

"Do you prefer that we call you King or can we call you Joel. I always liked Joel better than King. I don't know why he changed it. I mean I know but still," Rowan waved his hands in the air as if to emphasize what he was talking about.

"Can I get your picture," Lisa said and held up her phone. With a single click, she captured King with a dumbfounded look on his face.

"Oh, man. I have so many questions," Lisa began but was interrupted by Rowan.

"We have so many questions. Like what it is like being married? Wait no that was not it. What was it like when you beat Pete at his own game?

Lisa interjected and asked, "Can we see your puppies?" She immediately stuck her head in the house and shouted. "Bailey, are you there? Ace, Olive, Rook?"

Rowan pulled her back and said, "Don't be rude." Then to King, we said, "You really are just as short as they say. Can I pet your head? When did your collar buckle change to a square from a circle? Hey, how does it feel when people treat you like a dog even though you were once human? Do any humans even know about that? Does Bill know that you're the same guy who kidnapped his dog nine years ago?"

With that last question, King slammed the door in their faces and turned away. A loud yelling erupted from the other side, "OH MY GOD; he slammed the door in our faces just like he did to Tarot!" That was followed by another round of incoherent squealing.

Rowan and Lisa walked away from the Lindburg house with their phones out. "Got any signal?" Lisa asked.

"No, not surprising though. I don't think they have the same cellphone carries here," Rowan answered. "Where to next?"

"Well, I don't think Fox was home so let's go find him next," Lisa said and took off running down the street.

"Hang on," Rowan shouted after her. Lisa slowed to a stop and turned to him. He caught up to her and pointed at another house. "Isn't that the Wolf house?"

He gave her a wicked grin and asked, "You know what's there, don't you?"

Lisa's eyes widen, and she let out high piece shrill. They both jogged over the Wolf's front door and banged on the wood with rash excitement. "Come on. Come on."

The door opened and "FOUR FINGER DISCOUNT" Jack stood on the threshold. "Can I help you with something?"

"No, that's not what you say," Lisa said stomping her foot on the ground. "You're supposed to say, and I quote "Who ordered the well-marbled guy?" She burst out laughing while Rowan rolled his eyes.

"Ignore her, Jack," he said. "Um, we're new to the neighborhood and wanted to meet you guys. We heard so much about you that we had to see it for ourselves."

"Whatever. Come on it," Jack said stepping aside. Lisa recomposed herself and walked into the house, and Rowan followed. He leaned forward and whispered in Lisa's ear, "I brought a Taser in case something goes wrong."

"Why would you bring a Taser? We didn't even know we would be here when we left for the convention."

"I brought it because of the convention."

They smiled at the group of wolves staring at them. Rowan and Lisa recognized each one of them instantly. "It's so great to meet you all," Lisa said way too loudly.

Miles walked over with his arms spread out and a wolfish smile on his face. "It's so good to meet new people. A lot of folks tend to avoid us for some reason. Well, let me introduce you to everyone," he said. He turned to the others but before he could get another word in Lisa piped up.

"Oh, we know everyone already," She pointed at the wolves and listed off their names. "Daryl, Other Daryl, Lucretia, Elaine, Four Finger Discount Jack, Poncho. Say, where are the cubs, Rockstar Hawk, North Star, and Darth Vader?"

"Um," Miles said.

"Oh well, let's get a picture of us all together," Lisa said before running up beside Miles. Rowan ran to the other side.

He pulled out a long stick from the bag hanging from his shoulder. "Good thing I brought my selfie stick." He held it up, so the entire room was in the shot. Miles raised his finger like his was about to say something but before he could, Rowan clicked the button ten or twelve times.

"That's so great," Rowan said looking at the pictures. Lisa moved over and examined them as well.

"By the way, can you show us to King's room. There's something there that we need to see."

"You both should leave…" Miles said slowly. He pointed at the door. Jack was already there standing beside the open threshold.

Knowing that they were not wanted, Lisa and Rowan bid the Wolf family farewell. As soon as they were outside, Jack slammed the door behind them. They were sure they heard the sound of a lock clicking.

"Well, so much for the statue. Where to next?" Rowan asked putting his selfie stick back in the bag.

"I still want to find Fox next. Ooh, Ooh, do you think Spring and Summer will be with him?"

Rowan shook his head, "I doubt it. They probably all went back to heaven after the temple incident."

"Too bad. I wanted to meet them," Lisa said. She pulled out her phone and checked the time. "How much time do you think we have?

"Can't be sure. I mean we're the ones with the thing. It's not like he can do much even if he did know it was missing."

An hour later they found Fox interviewing a human. He had a notebook and pen in each paw. He had on his K9PD vest. The human was telling him about an accident that occurred a little before. As Fox jotted down notes, Lisa and Rowan rushed over and wrapped their arms around his neck. He dropped the notepad and pen on the ground. Rowan held up the selfie stick and said, "Smile." He pressed the button, and there was a soft click. While the two of them look happy, Fox looked like someone just tased him.

Lisa and Rowan stepped back from him. "Sorry, but we did not want to interrupt your police work," Lisa said. She reached out and felt Fox's arms. "Wow, you have gotten more muscular after joining the academy."

With that, they both took off down the street leaving Fox in a state of utter confusion and loss.

"Where to next?" Rowan asked. He began counting on his fingers. "We still need to see Keene, Peanut, and Grape, Fido if we can, and Tarot and Sabrina. And you know what I always wanted to punch Bino. It looked like so much fun."

"You can't go around, punching random animals. That's animal abuse," Lisa said. "But to be honest, I thought the same thing about Duchess."

At the Milton Manor, Keene was walking down the hallway talking to someone on his phone. "I don't care what it takes just clean it up. I never want to see that place again." There was a slight buzzing, and Keene looked at the screen. "Hang on," he said. "I have another call." With a few clicks, he said, "What do you want?"

"Boss, I thought you should know that two humans broke into the manor and were last seen heading your way."

"What, how did that happen?" Keene shouted into the phone. "What do I pay you for?"

Before waiting for a response, Keene ended the call. With an angry sigh, he kept walking. Two humans, he thought to himself. "Why would anyone come in here?" He stopped dead. His eyes widen with fear. "They here to rob the place," he said aloud.

Keene took off running. He came to the corner, but before he could get any farther, Lisa and Rowan stepped in front him. Keene ran directly into their legs and fell on his tail. He looked up to see them both grinning madly at him.

"I warn you I'm dangerous…" Keene stuttered, but before he could get another word out, he was lifted in the air.

"He is so cute," Lisa shouted and squeezed Keene's furry body in her arms. "Can you believe that he's the one who unleashed unspeakable evil on this world."

"What?" Keene screamed as he struggled to break out of her grasp.

Rowan bent down so that he was face to face with the ferret. "You know when you went to Pandemonium and brought back that little demon. You didn't think that would not come back to bite you. That would be poor storytelling."

"Security!" Keene screamed. "Anybody, help me!"

"Since you have a second, can we ask you a few questions?" Lisa asked but before Keene could answer she let lose a barrage of inquiries. "Are you good or evil because it's tough to tell? Are you ever going to give up on the human/animal equality thing because you know it was just a lie Pete made up? Were you always such a mama's boy?"

"AHHHHH!" Keene broke free and landed on all fours on the floor. He stood up and turned to them. He pointed with his paw and shouted, "I want you out of here. Get lost before I have you thrown out."

"Before we go, I have some questions too," Rowan said. "First, where's Breel?"

"Security!" Keene shouted with is paws cupped around his mouth.

"Let's go," Lisa said to Rowan when they heard the sound of heavy footsteps.

They turned to leave, but before they disappeared around the corner, Rowan leaned down and snapped a picture of him and Keene with his selfie stick.

Later, they came to a blue door. Before they could knock, it opened and standing there was Tarot with a sour look on her face. Lisa leaned over to Rowan and whispered, "Wow, she really does look like that."

"What was that?" Tarot said glaring at the two of them.

"Oh, I was just saying, um, how good you look," Lisa said laughing nervously. "Like you do all the time." She shrugged at Rowan. He rolled his eyes and smiled at Tarot who was giving them both dirty looks.

"What's going on here? I have been watching you both all day. You have done nothing but cause havoc and interrupted everyone's lives. Now, you're here to do the same thing to us."

"That's not true," Rowan said avoiding eye contact. "Okay, it is a little, but we are just such huge fans of you guys."

"How do even know about us?" Tarot said with his arms in the air.

Rowan turned to Lisa, and they exchanged nervous glances. "Should we tell her? That's not like breaking any laws or anything, is it?

"To be honest," Lisa began. "I don't care anymore. We've been to so many places today, but I have not gotten a single autograph. Maybe if we explain what's going on than we can get the ball rolling."

"Can we sit down?" Rowan asked turning his attention back to Tarot.

Rowan and Lisa took their seats on the floor. Across from them was Tarot, Sabrina, and Peanut. Apparently, both Sabrina and Peanut were in another part of the house but became curious when they heard Tarot talking to someone.

"Explain what you both are doing here," Tarot said. In front of her was her CrystalTab9000. "Where did you even come from?"

"I guess the best way to explain it would be to say we came from another dimension. One similar to the Gallifrax dimension but less fun if you can imagine it," Rowan told them.

"I thought the Galllifrax dimension was entertaining," Peanut said.

"Hush," Tarot to him.

"Anyway, we're big fans of the comics that feature you guys," Lisa said. Rowan reached into his bag and pulled out a thin book. He handed to Tarot who stared at it like it would explode in her face at any second.

"Wait, is that me?" Peanut asked leaning over to get a better look. The cover had an image of him and Grape wearing bath towels. "Where did they get that picture?"

"This is just the first issue," Rowan said trying to sound helpful.

"How many issues are there?" Tarot asked crushing the issue in her paws. Rowan let out a small squeal and clamped his hands over his mouth in horror at what she was doing to his comic book.

"Eight at the moment," Lisa informed her.

"At the moment?" Tarot asked. Rowan lunged and ripped the book from her paws. Tarot either did not notice or just did not care.

"Well, there's a new one every November. I expect issue 9 will be out later this year," Lisa said while she watched Rowan try to smooth the dents from the comic book.

"I can't believe this. Someone is profiting from our lives?" Sabrina spoke up for the first time since Lisa and Rowan got there.

"The author is Rick Griffin. We've never met him. Honestly, we don't know what he looks like."

"You see that is how this all started," Rowan said after putting the comic back in his bag. "We heard that he would be at a convention that was in town. Since we are such big fans of the comics, we wanted to get him to sign some of the issues."

"Not to mention we have a bunch of questions that need to be answered. I mean after ten years I feel like we have a right to know some things." Lisa crossed her arms over her chest.

"Yeah, like how old is King anyway?" Rowan asked with a shrug of his shoulders. "I mean he must be over thirty by now. He was in his twenties when he was changed, and that was over eight years ago."

"We would have asked him ourselves when we were over there. But he slammed the door in our faces," Lisa told them.

"He does tend to do that," Tarot informed them.

"Parenthood has not mellowed him out at all."

"We noticed," Rowan and Lisa said in unison.

"And I really wanted him to sign the third issue." Rowan pulled out another book from his bag and showed it to them. Sabrina placed her paws over her mouth to keep from laughing. Tarot, on the other hand, looked scandalized.

"Let me see," Peanut said and took the book from Rowan's hand. He walked away from the others as he flipped through the pages.

"Well anyway, like we were saying." Lisa held her out hand in the air. "We were all ready to meet Rick."

"It was the only reason we even went the convention," Rowan interrupted and held out the nametag around his neck for the others to see.

Lisa shot him "shut up and let me finish" look. "We get to the booth, and there's no one there. I mean no one. No one was watching over the issues of the comic that were waiting to be sold or anything. Then Rowan here gets the crazy idea of 'Let's look the dude's stuff."

"Oh, no you don't," Rowan shouted and turned towards her. "That was your idea. You wanted to see his stuff. What was it you said, oh yeah, 'I wonder if he has any unprinted strips in his bag.' You told me to be the lookout while you rummaged through his bag."

"The details are not important," Lisa said holding up her hand to Rowan's face.

"I find this strange ring in the bag. Show them, Rowan." As Rowan searched through his bag, Lisa kept talking. "We were really wanted just to ask him some stuff. Then we found this thing." She pointed at the artifact in Rowan's grip.

It was a large ring of gold about the size of a doughnut. Engraved on it were a bunch strange symbols and images. "The only one we could recognize was the infinity symbol."

"Let me see that," Tarot said holding her paw out. Rowan reluctantly gave it to her. She brought it up to her eyes and examined each symbol. She would occasionally stop and tap on her tablet.

"Well, at first we did not know what it was. Rowan walked over and asked to see it, so I handed it to him. After a few seconds, he has the crazy smile on his face."

"Hey, it was not a crazy smile, it was an excited smile."

"Whatever," Lisa held up her hands like she was surrendering. "He says 'Lisa, maybe this is one of those magic dodads that Tarot uses.'"

"I did not say dodads," Rowan interrupted again.

"Will you just let me finish the story."

"I wish you would," Sabrina said sounding irritated.

"I grab hold of it, but Rowan doesn't let go. Then he says 'Maybe it responds to a voice command. Hey, doodad, show us Peanut.'"

Rowan rolled his eyes as Lisa continued. "Then the center of the ring changes. Suddenly we can see Peanut Irritating Grape at their house."

"Hey, I don't irritate her," Peanut shouted from where he was sitting across the room.

"Yeah, you do," The four of them said together. Peanut ignored them and went back to reading.

"Okay, so we're both freaking out. This was a genuine magic artifact like for real. Then Rowan says, "What else can it do?" I respond by saying, "Who knows really. We should it put it back before something happens.'"

Rowan made a noise that sounded like a laugh crossed with bark. "That's not true. You wanted to steal it."

"Don't tell them that." Lisa slapped his leg.

"I'll tell you the rest. She wanted to steal it, but I was curious about what else it could do. So I say kind of causally, 'take us to Peanut' like a question. The next thing we know there's this bright light, and we're suddenly standing in front of Peanut's house."

"We panicked at first as you could imagine," Lisa said. "This place is so vastly different from where we are from. After we calmed down, we knew that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. So we went back to Peanut's house, but he must have had already left. We looked through the window and saw Grape sleeping on the couch. After a few selfies, we went on our way."

They smiled at Tarot and Sabrina with innocent looking expressions. "That's how we got here."

"To be honest, I do not see this artifact anywhere on the Magic Web. I cannot find any record of it either. I don't know how this Rick Griffin person got his hands on it, but it is seriously powerful." Tarot handed it back to Rowan who replaced it back in his bag.

Suddenly there was a horrified scream that sounded like someone was being stabbed with a rusty butter knife. Peanut rushed over to them and held out the comic. "He…He…stole Spot from me," Peanut stammered.

"Oh yeah, I almost forgot about that." Rowan shrugged. "We normally skip over those parts anyway."

Peanut looked at him with a devastated expression. Tears formed in his eyes and he ran upstairs. They waited until there was a loud slam of a door being shut violently.

Tarot glared at Rowan and Lisa. It was a look that said, 'If I were still superpowered I would make you both regret that.'

"Maybe you should leave. Not just from my house but go back to your world," Tarot told them.

"I think that's a great idea," came a voice from behind Rowan and Lisa. They turned to see who spoke. They both gasped uncontrollably as they stared at the figure looming over them.

"It's him," Lisa screeched. She grabbed Rowan's shoulder and began rocking him violently. Rowan was too engrossed to notice or care.

"Great Kitsune," Rowan uttered with a weak voice.

"I see I have some fan too," Kitsune said with a sly smile. His red eyes glowed with delight. He wore his purple jacket and black shirt. All nine tails were out and waved around.

Lisa jumped up and almost tackled him. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. Rowan followed suit. He rummaged through his bag like he was trying to find a pen.

"We are your biggest fans. I love you more than anything else," Lisa told him. Tears were pouring from her eyes. "Rowan even has a huge man crush on you."

Rowan gaped at her like he had just been slapped. "Don't. Don't tell him that."

"Can you help us? There are so many more pets we want to meet. Not to mention we haven't gotten a single autograph. We still haven't met Maxwell, Fido, Res. Speaking of which is he back in Canada yet?"

"Don't forget Karishad," Rowan informed her.

"Oh, yeah him. What's his deal anyway? I know he's the weird supernatural cartoony character that everybody needs but still."

"Can you do something about them," Tarot said coming over to join the group. "They have been pestering everyone in the neighborhood all afternoon."

"Pester is a strong word," Rowan said.

"It sounds like the word I would use," Kitsune said holding his hand out to silence Rowan. "You both really should leave before you do any more damage to this dimension. Keene has sent the wolves out to find you both. Not to mention the K9PD is looking for you."

"Why would they be looking for us?" Rowan asked.

"Something about assaulting an officer on duty," Kitsune informed him. He raised one eyebrow for emphasis.

"Fine," Lisa said looking sullen. "But before go," she looked at him with a puppy dog face. "Can you do the smile. The one with the teeth. Show him, Rowan." She elbowed his side.

"This one," Rowan said holding out another issue. The most of pages were marked with colored flags. "I made sure to mark all the important places to have a better understanding of that game Pete and Dragon played. To be honest, I still did not get it."

"Not surprising you don't understand it. Half of the important details are not even listed here." Kitsune peered at the pages while rubbing his chin. "I know what you're talking about."

He gave him the smile they asked for, and they both grabbed hold of each other and began to jump up and down like someone had set their shoes on fire.

"My heart melts every time," Lisa said.

His smile faded away and he looked serious all of a sudden. "You both need to remember that your actions have consequences. In this world or your own. That is part of life. People and pets don't usually being attacked by rabid fans."

"What do you mean?" Lisa asked sounding concerned.

He winked at her. "I'm glad I could make your dreams come true. But now it's time to wake up."

Rowan laughed. "You really don't think that will work on us do you?"

The next thing they knew they were both sitting at a table in the food court of the convention center. They looked around and saw everyday people enjoying the convention. There was no sign of any of the characters they met.

"Was that real or not?" Rowan asked sounding groggy.

Lisa looked at him wildly. "Check for something kind of relic that proves that it was real. Like the statue or the feather." She stood up and pulled out all her pockets. She dumped the contents of her purse on the table and sorted through them.

Rowan did the same. He emptied his pockets and put each item on the table searching for something that seemed out of place. "Anything?" he asked when he came up empty-handed.

"Nothing, there's nothing," she shouted so loudly that a few conventions goes turned to look at her. She glanced at Rowan's bag. "The bag. Check the bag."

Rowan did as he was told. He dumped the contents on the table. Several issues of the comics fell on the floor, but they did not care. They shuffled through the belongings, but nothing came up.

Lisa gasped and looked at Rowan with a horrified expression. "It's gone. The ring. It's gone."

"I know I put it back. Do you think Kitsune took it? He may have given it back to Rick."

Lisa sat down looking completely defeated. Maybe it really was a dream. "I mean we have been obsessing about the comic and this day for the last few weeks. Maybe all that stress finally got to us." She placed her elbows on the table and rested her head in her hands.

Rowan began cleaning up when he stopped suddenly. He turned to her and smiled. "The phones. The pictures we took."

Lisa did not need to be told twice. She grabbed her phone and opened the photos app. Rowan did the same. Their excitement soon faded as they realized that the pictures they took were not what they took.

"What's this crap?" Lisa screamed. On her phone were pictures of various scenes from the comics. She would recognize them anywhere. Some were even several years old. It was barely enough evidence to prove that anything really happened and definitely not enough proof to show that they were there. She banged her head on the table.

Rowan put the last of his belongings in his bag. "Maybe we should just go home."

Lisa looked up at him and sighed. "We might as well go back to the booth and see if Rick is there. We can at least get his autograph."

"Yeah, I guess…" Rowan's voice trailed off. He reached into his bag and began rummaging around wildly.

"What is it," Lisa asked looking worried.

Rowan looked like he'd seen a ghost. "The third book. It's not here."

"Do you think someone took it while we were out?" Lisa asked unconcernedly. "You can buy another at the booth."

"That's not it," Rowan said as he slammed his hands on the table startling her. "Don't you remember who had it last."

"This sucks," she said.

Meanwhile

King walked to the door of the wolf house. He paused when he heard laughing coming from inside. He opened the door and stepped inside. He saw the entire family gathered around the sofa. Even Peanut was there. Miles had something in his paws that he was showing everyone. It was some kind of book.

"What's going on?" King asked.

Miles and the rest looked up at him. One by one they each burst into hysterical laughter.

Daryl was the first to stop laughing. He plucked the book from Mile's paws and lifted it up for King to see. King's eyes widen to the size of dinner plates as he stared at the cover. It was him dancing with his collar in his paws.

"King, you didn't tell us you were…" Four Finger Discount Jack began," such a ladykiller."

At that, all the wolves began laughing and howling. King had only two options. Faint or retreat. He chose the latter. But not before he ran over to Jack, who was rolling on the floor, and snatched the book from his paws. King was out the door in a flash. He ran over to the Lindburg's house and shut the door behind him.

Bailey walked in from the other room and gave him a worried look. "King, what's wrong." When she noticed the book in King's grasp, she asked, "What's that?"

"It's nothing," King said way too quickly. He was breathing heavily as he moved into the kitchen. He flipped through the pages, trying to keep his composure. When he realized what was in the book, he unceremoniously through it in the garbage. With a feral look on his face, he moved over to where Bailey was.

Later That Night

A tall figure opened the garbage lid and reached down to pull the bag from the container. He paused when he saw something haft buried under a pile of half-eaten food. The figure reached in and pulled out a thin book. After brushing the bits of food from the cover, he saw who was on it. He immediately flipped through the pages and as he did his anxiety rose. Then on page 50, he came to a dead stop. His grip tightened on the book so hard he almost punctured holes in the paper.

"King!" Bill screamed.

King woke from a dead sleep, his heart beating rapidly in his chest. He could hear heavy footsteps coming up to his room. The bedroom door flew open, and light from the hallway drenched the room.

Bailey woke up. Rubbing her eyes, she asked, "Daddy, what's wrong."

Bill stared at King with pure anger. He slowly raised the book up. It was open to a particular page. Once King saw it he knew he was in trouble. He laughed nervously and said to Bill, "I can explain?"

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:58 am
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Hooray for me. Despite the fact I said I was not going to I decided to get a early start on Book Two of my Fan Fiction.

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Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:14 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 1: Magical Apology Tour
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from The Great Kitsune

Hey, there avid readers and fans of the Housepets! Series, it's me the Great Kitsune. Lovable god and protector of you mortals from the forces of evil and jerkiness. And no I'm not a Pokémon nor am I the nine-tail fox from Naruto, so please stop getting us confused. You are about to read Chapter 1 of a story about the characters of the Housepets series. For those of you who are not familiar with the ten-year-old comic series here's a quick summery from yours truly: The series takes place in Babylon Gardens, a middle-class neighborhood built by the late Henry Milton. The main story revolves around the dog Peanut Butter and the cat Grape Jelly. There are plenty of other characters, but you'll see them later. All you need to know that this is a slice-of-life comic about anthropomorphic pets and their various misadventures. Of course, you also have the Milton ferrets who are billionaires. There's also King Milton formally known as Joel Robinson who was turned into a corgi by Pete the Griffin as part of a table-top game that pitted mortals against each other for the sake of the fragile egos of Pete and the Spirit Dragon. Luckily, you have me to thank for setting things right. Oh, and King might have helped just a little. What’s important for this story is that King married Bailey, the Husky and when given a choice decided to stay a dog. They had three puppies who will play a big role later. To the story at hand, previously two humans named Rowan and Lisa were transported to the world of the Housepets from their world. In their world, Housepets is a comic series that they were big fans of. Given a chance to meet their favorite characters caused them to make some poor decisions that eventually that led to them being kicked out. Unfortunately, they left behind a comic that fell into the wrong hands. That is where this story begins…

King sat on the front step of the Wolf house with his head in his paws. It had been over a week since his biggest secret was revealed to his wife's owner, Bill. Thanks to a comic detailing his miserable experience when he was first changed into dog. Since Bill was a police officer and the same officer who arrested King, back when he was still known as Joel Robinson. Back when Joel was part of a plot to kidnap Bill's dog, Fox. Bill never forgave Joel/King for almost killing Fox and then escaping the courthouse the day of the trial. King tried to explain what happened but Bill was beside himself. He kicked King out of the house and forbid him from seeing Bailey or his kids again.
“It could be worse,” Fox said. He was wearing his K9PD uniform which meant he was about to go on duty with Bill. He put his arm around King’s shoulder. “I mean at least you’re still breathing. Could you imagine what Dad would do if he found out all those years ago?”
King groaned. Despite the kidnapping, Fox and King had become best friends. They knew that Bill also forbid Fox from seeing King but that was hard since they lived in the same neighborhood.
"You’re not helping me feel better," King said. He tried so hard to be a better person. He had changed so much over the last eight years. Not only had he excepted the fact he was a dog but he was happy with his new life. But now he was back to where he started. All he had to be thankful for was that Pete was not around to enjoy his misery.
"Dad will come around eventually. I forgave you, didn't I. I was upset at first, but I think I handled it well."
King looked at him and narrowed his eyes. “You punched me in the face.”
He held up a finger. “Yes, but if you remember I was willing to do a lot worse before that.”
King leaned back and looked up at the bright spring sky. Typically on a day like today, he would be playing outside with Bailey and his kids. Instead, they were practically prisoners of Bill's just to ensure they had no contact with King. Tears began to form in his eyes, but he quickly wiped them away before Fox saw. He had gotten enough pity from everyone else.
"I just wish I could get my hand on those two who caused this entire mess." He melded his fingers together in a strangling motion. "This is all their fault. Them and their stupid comic book. Whatever happened to them anyway?"
"I heard from Peanut that Kitsune sent them back to their world," Fox said. He remembered his own run-in with the overly excited humans. They ran up to him and started taking pictures of him with their phones while he was on the job. He was so startled at the time he never stopped to ask how they knew his name or even who he was. Like a tornado, they came made a mess of everything and disappeared.
“Good because if I ever saw them again.” He made a fist and slammed into his paw. “I would make them pay.”
Fox looked away trying to hide the grin rapidly spreading across his face. “Yeah, keep telling yourself that.”
“What was that?” King asked turning to him.
“Oh, nothing,” Fox said trying to look innocent. He ruffled King’s head with his paw. King swiped him away with a flurry of paws. “I need to get back home before Dad wonders why I’ve been gone for so long. Not to mention its almost time for me to go to work.” He stood up and looked down at King’s pitiful expression. “It’ll work itself out. I promise you.”
King watched his friend leave and suddenly felt very alone. Lost in regret, King wandered down the streets trying to find some comfort in the terrible situation he found himself in. He wondered if he should try talking to Kitsune and seeing if he could help. King immediately tossed the idea out of his head. He had enough problems without bringing the supernatural into it. As his thoughts swirled in his head one questions kept popping up. What did ever happen to those humans?

Meanwhile
Lisa Smith was lying under her favorite oak tree in the quad of the campus. By her side, as always was her best friend and guy permanently in the friend zone, Rowan Gains. Her ears were plugged by her headphones as Journey was pumped out from her phone. She hummed along to “Don’t Stop Believin’” as she flipped through her book. But no amount of music and reading could distract her from the problem that had been plaguing her since that day over a week ago.
She tilted her head back to see Rowan leaning against the trunk of the large tree. Other students were either coming or going to their classes as the school years wound down. Since both Lisa and Rowan were seniors, there were only a few weeks until they graduated. The prospect of leaving the security of the university and being thrown on her butt into the real world terrified her.
Lisa pulled her headphones out of her ears. She opened her mouth to tell Rowan about what was on her mind when she noticed what he was looking at. Her eyes widen as she saw the colorful animals and the bold lettering that had haunted her dreams for the last week. She bolted straight up and gaped at Rowan.
“How can you still read that?” she asked. “After everything that happened.”
Rowan turned the page. "It's funny, and I like it. Plus, you don't even believe that it even happened. If I recall correctly, your exact words were, ‘Let's never speak of this again. It never happened so stop pestering me about, Rowan. I mean it. Stop shoving that book in my face before I ram it up your—'then you followed that up with a creative choice of profanity."
"I know what I said," Lisa said before laying back down on the grass. She avoided her Housepets! Comics like they were rabid animals or a test she forgot to study for. After everything that happened who could blame her.
Rowan closed the book and laid in his lap. “What are you reading anyway?” He pointed at the thick book lying beside her. Without looking she lifted it up and displayed the cover to Rowan’s face.
"Manga. I didn't even know you liked manga," Rowan sounded surprised, but Lisa did not know why. Was it that unusual for her to read manga? "I thought you were strictly into comic books. Don't you have an extensive collection of mint comics in your dorm?"
"Yes but that does not mean I have to only read comics. I can branch out. Expand my horizon and explore other cultures." She waved her hand through the air like she was wiping something off the sky.
"I'm glad. Considering how long I've tried to get you to watch anime with me," Rowan said raising an eyebrow.
Lisa propped herself up on her arm. She scowled at Rowan and said, "I hate having to read subtitles when I watch TV. Why do you think I dropped the French film class?"
“What about the dubbed version?”
“The dialogue is not nearly as good.”
“How would you know if you never watched the subtitles?” Rowan shouted.
“Can we not get into this now?” Lisa asked turning on her sweet voice. That did the trick because Rowan instantly relaxed. She smiled to herself. Did she know how to work him or what.
“What are you going to do after graduation?” Lisa asked. She finally got around to asking what was bothering her. As bad as it was to think, she hoped that Rowan was stressing about life after college as much as she was. At least then, she would not be alone.
“I’m going to apply to a few comic book companies and get my foot in the door.” It was no secret that Rowan always to make comics. His dream was to create the next big superhero series. The only problem with that was he could not draw a stick figure more or less an actual comic book hero. His only saving grace was that he was a decent writer and had an encyclopedic knowledge of comics. It was that shared love of comics that brought them together freshman year.
"What about if you don't get anywhere? What if every company rejects you and find yourself living back home with your overbearing mother? What if…"
Rowan interrupted her tailspin but saying, "First, whoa. You know the rules, no bringing up your mother. Second, even if it doesn't work out as planned, I can always start making my own comic and posting online. I mean exhibit A." He held up the Housepets comic to her face. It took every bit of strength not to rip it apart in front of him.
"You can't draw or have you forgotten your first attempt at creating a webcomic?" Lisa reminded him. Freshman year he tried to draw a superhero called Tycoon which was really just a rip off of Iron Man. He was mocked so badly that he almost dropped out. Who said college students were more mature than high schoolers?
“I’ll hire someone off the internet to get the job done,” he said point blank.
“Yeah, what could go wrong with that?”
“Okay then, what are your plans then if you are so smart.” Rowan sneered at her.
Lisa did not want to admit that she had no idea what her plans were. That’s why she was asking. She secretly hated that he was so confident about his future. How could he have so much confidence in himself?
"I don't yet," she said calmly. Her heart raced rapidly, and she hoped that Rowan would not notice that she was starting to sweat. "But I will. Soon," she added.
Rowan chuckled to himself as he tilted his head back.
“What’s so funny?” Lisa asked feeling nervous. Could he tell she was dying inside?
"I just thought what the Great Kitsune would say in a situation like this,” Rowan said.
Lisa felt her blood boil as her temperature rose in anger. The Kitsune’s voice still rang in her ear before he sent them away, “You both need to remember that your actions have consequences. In this world or your own. That is part of life. People and pets don't usually like being attacked by rabid fans.”
Hearing that brought up something unpleasant that Lisa tried so hard to bury inside her. "Don’t you know how your actions affect me?”
In her anger and self-loathing, Lisa snatched the comic from Rowan’s hand. “Hey, what are you doing.”
"This is not real," Lisa said emphasizing each syllable. "There is no Great Kitsune or anyone else. It's a comic created by some random guy named Rick Griffin." She began shaking it as violently as she could. The pages flapped from the force. It almost looked like the picture of Tarot and King on the cover, was going to be seasick. Her frustration kept growing as did her voice. "It's not real. It was never real. Get that through your head! And even if it were real, it would not matter because there is no way to get back there.”
That moment something slipped out from between the pages and landed on the grass between them. It was a pink envelope sealed with a heart. They recognized it instantly. But it could not be the same one.
“Is that what I think it is?” Lisa asked leaning away from the envelope like it might start howling at them.
Rowan was braver and picked it up. He lifted the flap and pulled out a hand-written letter. As he read it, his brow furrowed and his eyes narrowed. “Um, it’s not what you think it is but you need to read it anyway.”
He handed the letter to her. Lisa took it begrudgingly. She began reading: Lisa and Rowan. Meet me at Midnight on April 19 in the alley by Flint's Hardwood. I know you'll find this letter before then, so you have no excuse not to be there. I can tell you the truth about the other worlds. Everything you saw was real.

Later That Night
Despite the warm weather they had been experiencing lately, it felt awfully cold as Lisa and Rowan wondered down the darkened alley. Lisa kept pulling out her phone every ten seconds to check the time. 11:58 p.m. She already had both the nine and the one dialed in case anything went wrong.
“Why am I doing this with you?” Lisa asked looking around for any potential mugger or serial killer. There was barely any light as the only street light in the area was across the street from them. The moon provided the only other light source for them to see with. She swallowed her fear and tried to keep from running away while screaming her head off.
“Because you’re as curious as I am about the letter. Plus, you still believe that what happened to us last weekend was real and you know it.”
Lisa cursed silently to herself. Rowan knew her too well. Despite every attempt to categorize the events of going to another world and meeting characters from a comic as a taco supreme induced dream or hallucination she could not forget it or deny that it was all real. She hated the idea that she made an absolute fool of herself in front of all those pets. Not the mention having the police hunt her and Rowan down for assault and trespassing.
“Still this is incredibly risking,” Lisa said. “I mean a dark alley. Mystery letter. I’m starting to think we were sent to a horror movie instead of back home when he left the other world.”
“Don’t worry,” Rowan said patting his bag. “I brought my Taser.”
"My hero," Lisa said with dry enthusiasm. She rolled her eyes and rechecked her phone. 11:59 p.m.
They both stood there in the darkened alley for what seemed like hours. Lisa kept checking her phone, finally giving up and just watching the second hand move around the clock icon. Ten seconds. Five seconds. Midnight.
“I knew you would come.”
There was a high pitch scream, and no one was sure if it came from Lisa or Rowan. A cloaked figure appeared before them like he just emerged from the shadows themselves. Even in the minimal light, they could see his entire was entirely hidden by clothes. He wore a large overcoat and hood. His face was hidden by a pair of sunglasses and a piece of cloth. Not a single piece of exposed flesh could be found.
“You scared us to death,” Lisa yelled at the stranger. The urge to call the police came back with full force. She remained still as her curiosity overpowered her heart crushing fear.
"I must apologize for that. I do have a flair for the dramatic." The figure reached into his cloak pocket with a gloved hand. "I have something for you both."
Lisa began breathing rapidly. Her heart pounded against her chest. This was it; they were going to die. She blamed Rowan. If he somehow survived this and she didn't, she was so haunting him until he died. Then she would stalk him in the afterlife.
The figure pulled out something shiny that glistened in the pale light, but it was not a weapon. He held it out for Rowan and Lisa to see. It was a golden bracelet, a large one at that. The golden ring was engraved with various symbols, but the largest and most obvious one was an infinity symbol. Lisa remembered seeing similar if not the same symbols on Rick's ring that they "borrowed" to get to the pet's world. This one was an actual piece of jewelry and much more fashionable.
“Take it,” the figure whispered.
Lisa was not sure they should. She read enough to know to avoid touching strange objects given for free by cloaked figures in a dark alley. Rowan, on the other hand, had no problems with curses. He reached out and picked up the bracelet. Lisa held her breath, waiting for her best friend to burst into flames or change into a dog like King. Nothing happened as Rowan turned the bracelet over in his hands.
“What’s the catch?” Lisa asked. She was not convinced that this was just a free handout of jewelry. She wanted to ask what she suspected it really was but something held her back.
"There is no catch. This world is connected. That is thanks to you." Lisa swore he was smiling under that mask. But it was not a pleasant, friendly smile.
“You mean this can really take us back,” Rowan asked getting excited. Lisa knew how much it hurt when they were sent back without so much as an autograph or any real proof that it was even real. She felt a pang of pity for him. There was no way this was that easy.
“There are more things in heaven and earth than you can ever comprehend. The worlds are changing, and I thought you should be a part of that."
“Who do you work for?” Lisa asked growing more suspicious with each passing second. “Rick Griffin? He had a ring like this. Did he put you up to this?”
“Rick is simply another player. The one I serve could not be here tonight. But you will meet him. One day.”
The way he said that was all the proof Lisa needed to know that whatever was happening here was not a good thing. She faced Rowan who was still mesmerized by the bracelet. He looked like he was just given a winning lottery ticket. "Rowan, I don't trust him. Give him back the bracelet…"
The strange figure, whoever he was, vanished.

That Next Day
Lisa walked up to Rowan's dorm room and knocked on the tacky blue painted wood door. She hated that this building had color-coded doors for the girls and boys. She waited, and as she did, sounds of crashing and banging came through the door. Rolling her eyes, Lisa walked in.
Rowan was scurrying around the room like a mouse who was caught sneaking away with a piece of cheese. He was on all fours looking under every piece of furniture he had. The rest of the room was completely wrecked. Books were laying on the floor, clothes were dumped out of the closet, and worse of all was the pile of dirty laundry that was keeping the door from opening all the way.
“What are you doing?” Lisa asked shaking her head in shame at what she was seeing.
“I can’t find it. The bracelet we got last night. I don’t know where it is. It’s gone. I can’t believe this is happening again,” he yelled.
Lisa shut the door before someone got curious about why Rowan was having a meltdown. This close to exams it was not an uncommon occurrence, but that did not mean it should be advertised.
“I got it,” she told him. She held out her arm and there it was around her left wrist. “You gave it to me to keep safe because you were afraid you would lose it.”
“Oh, right.” Rowan turned a bright shade of red. Lisa could not help but smile. He looked so cute when he was embarrassed. “So have you tried it out yet?”
"No, we promised we would do it together." She looked at the bracelet and wondered if it would work. Rowan approached her and stared at the piece of jewelry.
“Is that safe putting in on your wrist? What if you can’t take it off?”
“Oh now you care about whether or not this thing is dangerous,” she thought but held her tongue. She pulled it off her wrist and waved it in front of Rowan’s face. She slipped it back on her wrist. In all honesty, she was surprised how easily it came off. She could feel it tightly snug against her skin. This thing was not coming off unless she wanted it too.
"Okay, then let's go," Rowan said and already had his messenger bag over his shoulder. Lisa shook her head; how did he do that so fast? His bag was not even around here a second ago. He touched the bracelet and looked at her. His eyes gleamed excitedly. Lisa prayed for his sake that this worked. It would break his heart it this was fake.
“Um, take us to…” she thought about a good location. “I don’t know, Babylon Gardens.”
The bracelet glowed with a harsh golden light that blinded them both. When Lisa opened her eyes again, she was no longer standing in Rowan’s dorm. They were standing on a suburban street that could have been anywhere in North America. The only difference was the fact that Lisa could see Bino and Duchess walking down the sidewalk. Bino was telling Duchess something, but she was apparently ignoring him.
“We’re back,” Lisa whispered. Then yelled, “We’re back!” She raised her arms in the air like she was punching the sky.
“Now we can finally get those autographs,” Rowan said pulling out one of his comics. Lisa slapped the back of his head.
"Put that back before anyone sees," Lisa told him. "Look, it's only been a week. We could still be wanted fugitives. Even if they have forgotten about us, you start waving those books around they are sure to remember us."
“Good point,” Rowan said. He slipped the comic back into his bag and resealed it. “What do we do then. We came all the way here. What was the point if no one wants us around?”
Lisa could not think of a response right away. She thought about what she would do if she ever came back every night since they first came here. What Kitsune said stayed with her. Her first instinct was to ask him for guidance, despite how unhelpful it usually was. She knew where the Wolf house was. But considering how their first encounter went, it was not a good idea to return there. So, if they could not ask Kitsune, then they would have to ask the second best thing.
One quick walk later and they found themselves in front of a blue door. Lisa was about to knock when it flew open. Standing there with a paw on her hip was Tarot. She did not look happy to see them again.
“Go away. Both of you.”
“How did you know it was us?” Lisa asked.
“Um, psychic remember,” Tarot informed her.
“Wait, did you look through the window again?” Rowan asked. He stared at her suspiciously.
Tarot looked uncomfortable for a moment but gathered her composure. “I won’t say it again. Leave. Now.”
"Please, Tarot. We're sorry for before. We didn't mean to cause so much damage. That is why we've come back. To apologize." Lisa hoped that was the right thing to say because she was floundering there.
Tarot examined her as if trying to read Lisa’s mind or at least her body language. She sighed. “I’m not the one you should be apologizing too. You both cause a big problem around here. A huge problem."
“What kind of problem?”
"It is not my place to tell you. If you want to know and you want to apologize, then talk to Fox. He'll be the easiest one to start with." At that final thought, she shut the door in their faces. Lisa heard a lock click into place. For good measure, Lisa thought.
"Well, that was fun," Rowan said. He looked hurt at how they were treated. But Lisa could not blame Tarot for reacting like that.
“Let’s go find Fox and figure out what is going on,” Lisa said and took off down the street without another word.
The Lindberg house was the same as they remembered it. Lisa knocked on the door and waited. The door opened, and Fox stuck his head out. When he saw them, his eyes widen, and his ears fell back against his head. He glared at them. Slowly, he stepped outside of the house, closing the door behind him.
Lisa opened her mouth to speak, but before she could get a single word out, Fox exploded. "What do think you are doing here? Do you have any idea how much trouble you've caused?"
No, but I’m starting to get an idea, Lisa thought.
Fox continued yelling at them, “You ruined King’s life! You both and that stupid book you left behind. You…you…” He could not get the words out so instead his bared his teeth and growled at them.
“What happened to King?” Rowan asked.
Fox looked away. Lisa could see the sadness in his eyes. Her heart dropped when she knew what was about to happen. Their worst fears were about to be realized.
"Dad found out who King was before," Fox sighed. "He kicked King out of the house and won't let him see Bailey or the puppies anymore. I haven't told King yet, but I heard Dad talking to Keene about trying to end their marriage. Even getting King removed from the neighborhood.”
Lisa could not feel the ground beneath her feet. Every word Fox said was like a gunshot in her head. She took a step back and almost lost her balance. Her body felt completely numb. This was her fault. It was always her fault.
“This is all your fault.”
Lisa stood still as her mother scolded her. Her stomach still felt queasy. She wanted to lay down, but her mother would not allow it.
“Don’t you know how your actions affect me?” her mother asked. Lisa tried to keep the tears from flowing from her eyes. That would just make things worse than they already were. “I mean that was so embarrassing what you did back there. I can never show my face to the other women of this neighborhood. Congratulations, Lisa, you’ve ruined me.”
Lisa could not hold back the tears anymore. She stood there and let them flow freely from her face. Her mother saw her and threw her hands in the air. She pressed her fingers to her temples before waving her hand in Lisa's direction. "Just go to your room."
“Lisa. Lisa” Lisa snapped back to reality. Rowan and Fox were staring her with concern and fear. “Are you alright?” Rowan asked. He wrapped his arm around her body. She needed that.
“How could we let this happen?” Lisa said, her voice no more than a faint breath.
“I don’t know,” Rowan said. “But we’ll find a way to fix this.”
"I would like to see that," Fox said crossing his arms and leaning back against the door. "You're lucky I'm a pretty forgiving dog, or I would have called my Dad by now after what you did."
“Sorry about ambushing you.”
Fox shook his head, “Don’t worry about me. Focus on King. He’s the one who’s in trouble. He’s over at the wolf house if you want to talk to him.” He pointed his thumb down the road.
"We can't," Lisa said regaining her posture. "Not yet. This is our fault, and we will find a way to fix it. But first, we have to make amends to everyone else."
Making amends was easier said than done. Even though they only met a few animals during their first visit, each house they visited ended up with a door slammed in their faces before they could get a word in. The last one was the worse. They stood in front of the wolf house too scared to get any closer.
“What do we do?” Rowan asked Lisa. “Everyone we visited hates us. The wolves are going to be the worse. After what we did to King. I would not be surprised if we walk away missing an arm.”
“I can’t do this,” Lisa murmured. Kitsune’s words echoed in her head like they were playing on repeat. “This was a mistake.”
"Lisa!" Rowan called after her, but she was long gone. She turned down one of the other streets and was out of sight. Rowan stood there in the middle of the road completely stunned and confused. After taking one last look at the Wolf house, he made his way back to Fox's.
"How did it go?" Fox asked, but by the tone of his voice, he knew exactly how it went and expected as much.
"I need your help. Lisa ran off somewhere, and we can't get anyone to listen to us. How are we supposed to apologize and make things right for King if we constantly have doors slammed in our faces.”
“Better than being punched in the face,” Fox said.
"Ha, Ha, just like Joel. Very amusing,” he said with as much sarcasm as he could muster. “Yeah, I got it. But really, I have an idea, but I need your help to pull it off. And the help of someone else."
"What did you have in mind." Fox's interest was piqued. Rowan knew that he would do anything to help King. That is precisely what he needed.
"While I walked over here, I remembered something. It was just a random thought, but it gave me an idea." Rowan pulled out another comic book from his bag and flipped through the pages. When he found what he was looking for he held it up for Fox to see it.
“You cannot be serious.” He pushed the book away.
"I'm not saying we do exactly this, but it may be the only way to get everyone to listen to me." He held out his hand. "Will you help me?"
Fox shifted his gaze from Rowan to the comic clutched in his other hand. “Fine, you have a deal.”
They shook hands or at least shook whatever they had attached to their arms.
“Good boy,” Rowan said.
“Don’t push it.”

Meanwhile
Lisa found a welcoming tree to hide under so she was in the shade. She was not sure where she was but all she did know that she was alone. That was all that mattered. She leaned against the bark and pressed her legs against her chest. That day with her mother was one of the worse of her life. It was not long after her father ran out on them. Something in her mother changed. She became distant and more self-absorbed. Over the years, she only got worse. The day Lisa left for college was the happiest she had been in a long time. Now she was about to graduate and had no options. There were not many choices for an English major. Why did she keep messing up?
"Is this pity party invitation-only event or can anyone attend?"
Lisa looked up and saw a tall furry figure standing beside her. His golden fur glowed in the morning sun. Eyes shone with a red color like freshly picked apples on a warm autumn. He smiled at her in a way that made her heart melt.
“Kitsune, you’re here. Why?”
“The better question is why are you here?” he echoed to her.
"I don't know anymore. I tried to forget about coming here before, but I couldn't do it. I lied to myself and Rowan about how this was all just a dream. This world is real, and I'll never be a part of it."
Kitsune gave her a look of genuine pity. He sat down beside her. One of his nines tails brushed against her face. He smelled like cedar and firewood. Just like her father used to.
“Before you ask, I smell different to each individual. My scent is determined by what you long for the most.”
That explains it, Lisa thought.
“Besides to talk about my wonderful charms, I came here to ask you why are you here?”
“I told you…”
Kitsune shook his head, “I mean why are you here under this tree feeling sorry for yourself when Rowan is working so hard gathering the pets of the neighborhood together at the Good Ol’ Dogs Club.”
“He’s doing what?” That got Lisa’s attention.
“Well, him, Fox and Sasha. Rowan is setting up while Fox and Sasha convince the pets to go there. All the pets. Cats, dogs, and even the wolves.”
“I can’t believe he’s doing all that. He really does love you all,” Lisa said.
“What about you?”
“Oh,” she said beginning to blush. “I love you all…too” The way she said it sounded more like a question than an answer.
Kitsune smiled at her again and narrowed his eyes. She could feel her heart beating faster in her chest. Was she sweating?
“Who do you want to be?”
Lisa stared at him slack-jawed. What kind of question was that?
“Rowan knows what he wants. He wants to be the one who helps people. He wants to make people laugh and smile. That’s what makes him such a good writer.”
“I know that,” Lisa began but stopped. “How do you know that?”
“God remember,” he said pointing at himself. “Your world is connected to this one. That means it falls under my jurisdiction now.”
Lisa remembered the cloaked figure saying that. “This world is connected.”
“Let me ask you again. Who do you want to be?”
“I don’t know. But I do know what I want to be right now.” She stood up and ran back to the neighborhood. There was someone she had to talk to right away.


Meanwhile, again.
Rowan peeked from behind the curtain. The clubhouse for the Good Ol' Dogs Club was already packed. Cats, dogs from all over the neighborhood showed up. There were several faces that he did not recognize. The Wolf family walked in and was met with equal parts excited howls and angry hisses.
“Are you ready for this?” Fox asked walking up behind him.
“Yeah, will you introduce me?”
Fox nodded. "Of course. I have just as much as stake in this as you do." He started walking on stage but stopped and looked back at Rowan. "Maybe when this is over we can get to know each for real. I mean start over."
“I would like that.”
Fox walked forward and was greeted by a thunderous amount of cheers and applause. He stood in front of the podium and raised his paws for quiet. "Thank you all for meeting me here today. I know it's almost lunchtime and we're all hungry." That comment was met with another round of howls and yells.
“But before we all eat. There is someone here that has something to say to all of you.”
Fox turned to Rowan and waved his paw. Rowan started forward and stepped out onto the stage. He received a less enthusiastic greeting. Mostly murmurs, pointing, and whispering.
“YOU!” Rowan looked down and saw King standing up in the front row. Rowan’s legs almost buckled under him. He had never seen King so angry in his life. None of the depictions in the comics could capture the rage that was on King’s face that very moment. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!”
“Now, King just relax,” Fox said stepping forward in case things turned violent. “He’s here to apologize.”
“Wait, is he the human you were telling us about,” Fido stood up that time. “He should not be here. He should be locked up.”
"Look, just everybody relax." Fox moved forward holding his paws up in a calming motion. "I'm not pressing charges, and technically he and his friend did nothing illegal."
"Didn't they break into the Milton's house?" Mungo spoke up that time.
“Well, yes that’s true but—“
"Fox, stop," Rowan said. He faced King and the rest of the animals. "I'm sorry. I came here to apologize to each and every one of you for everything I did before. Even the ones I never met. I was overly excited to meet you all, and it clouded my judgment."
“Who are you?” One dog from the back shouted at him.
“My name is Rowan Gains. My friend, who is not here right now, but did come with me last time and this time. Her name is Lisa Smith. Anyway, she’s sorry too.”
“Not sorry enough to show up,” Bino whispered. Fox shot him a look that shut him up immediately.
“She’s dealing with something right now— ”
"And I'm done with it," Lisa said from the entrance of the building. It looked like something out a movie. Lisa was standing there with the sun shining behind her. She stepped forward ignoring the growls and stares she was getting from the rest of the pets. Peanut jumped up and began clapping for her. Grape pulled him back down by his collar.
Lisa stepped up on the stage and faced the crowd. "My name is Lisa Smith, and I am a terrible person."
“Hey, Lisa.”
“Guys, this is not that kind of meeting,” Rowan told them.
"I want to say that I am sorry to all of you. I truly am, but that is not why I really came here. Empty apologies and ‘sorrys' are not going to repair the damage that Rowan and I have caused." She faced King who was still standing in his chair, fuming. "King, can you come up here?"
King looked at her like she just asked him to stick his head in a blender. Fox nodded and waved him up. Begrudgingly, King came up to the stage. He stood off to the side with his arms cross. There was such a deep scowl on his face that Lisa was surprised his face did not break.
“King, after what we’ve done to personally, there is no way to apologize for that. Not just how we geeked out when we saw you.” She turned to the audience. “I’m sure you all know by now, who and what King really is. But I’m going to tell you anyway. It was secrets that caused this mess so the truth can fix it.” She looked at Rowan like she had no idea she was saying and knew it.
“He was not always a dog. He was once and still kind is, Joel Robinson. The man who helped with Fox’s kidnapping years back and attempted murder." The room erupted in yells and shouts that told Lisa that maybe not everyone did know. Oops. King hid his face in his paws as if trying to disappear. Luckily he did not run away like Lisa thought he would.
“Everyone, please listen.” Lisa tried to get the crowd to listen. “EVERYBODY SHUT UP!”
That did the trick. The room became deathly still and even quieter. “I know that this may be a lot to take in. The truth always is. He was changed into a dog by a Griffin named Pete. If you have any questions about that I direct your attention to Tarot.” She pointed at the Pomeranian who was not expecting that. “He chose to stay a dog to be with Bailey. He’s made up for his mistakes and deserves forgiveness.”
The crowd erupted again. Fox stepped forward and said, "I forgave him once I found out. I beat him up first but then forgave him. He's a good dog and a good person. I trust him just like I trust the rest of you."
“Just because you forgive him does not mean that we all should,” Bino said. “He could still be dangerous.”
“Bino, please—“ Lisa said but was interrupted again.
“We can’t trust someone who has been lying to us for years. He could easily resort back to his old kidnapping ways.
“Bino,” Lisa said with fake politeness. “If you interrupt again. I will personally rip your ears off and shove them down your throat. Okay.”
Bino opened his mouth to respond but decided to take the threat seriously.
“Anyone else have any problems?” Lisa asked. The entire crowd simultaneously shook their heads. “Do we all forgive, King for his past?” They all simultaneously nodded. “Good. Now there is one more person who needs to say something.”
Lisa gestured towards the door, and a two hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle walked in. Bill walked up the stage. Lisa could actually smell the fear radiating from King at that moment. Bill took his place on the opposite side of the stage from King.
Rowan leaned over and whispered in Lisa’s ear, “How did you convince him to come?”
"Let's say I found a reason to be the savior of the day."
The entire crowd was on the edge of their seats. They could smell blood. Lisa’s heart beat rapidly in her chest. It all came down to this. She prayed to Kitsune and all the other gods in heaven for this not to end in a total train wreck.
“King, do you want to say something to Mr. Lindburg?”
King slowly stepped forward, his ears pressed back against so far they were practically melted into his skull. His twiddled his fingers together as he looked at Bill’s shoes. Lisa should see him shaking like a scared puppy. Given the situation that was not a stretch.
“Bill, I mean, Mr. Lindburg I want to say—“
“Look me in the eye when you talk to me, Joel.”
King physically winced at hearing his human name being spoken by the man who arrested him. Lisa realized she had stopped breathing and apparently so did everyone else in the room.
King looked up at the towering figure. “I’m sorry for what I did to Fox and to you. It was stupid. I regretted the instant I did it and every day since. I was so caught up in trying to be an activist and making up for my own personal issues. I never thought about how Fox would feel or you. I’m sorry for lying to you since then. But given what happened you can see—“
Bill cleared his throat and King decided to end the thought. “Please, I can’t lose everything again. I need Bailey and my kids. I understand if you don’t ever let me set foot in your home. But please don’t punish Bailey or my kids anymore. I love her and them.”
Bill looked down at him and spoke only one word, “Beg.”
“What?!” Lisa, Rowan, Fox, and King said in unison.
“That was not what we agreed on,” Lisa said but was instantly silenced by one look from Bill’s scowling face.
“You heard me, Joel. If you want me to forgive you then beg at my feet like the dog, you are and always were.”
King got on his knees and front of everyone and lowered his head so that his snout was touching the floor. “Please, forgive me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything.” King started physically crying.
Lisa looked away unable to bear to watch this continue. King continued to plead with Bill, but nothing happened. Finally, she could not take any more. She turned around and marched to where King was.
"Enough of this," Lisa said. Bill and looked at her, but that did not phase her. The memory of her mother came back to her. She would not let that happen again. "He apologized to you. He means it. I don't care if you are a police officer or if it was your dog that King helped kidnap. That was a long time ago, and he has done more than enough to make up for it. If you won't forgive him, that's too bad. But that does not give you the right to stand there and watch him suffer. He may be a dog, but you're worse, you're just a monster." King stood up and wiped his eyes and nose. Lisa bent down and pulled out a tissue. She helped clean him up.
Thunderous laughter exploded through the room. Bill was laughing so hard that the entire stage began to shake. "I have to admit it for a second I didn't think you had it in you, young lady."
"What?" Lisa turned to the others, but they looked as confused as she was.
"Look, I may never really forgive Joel. I'm sure not calling him King, now. I mean what kind of name is that? I don't know what crazy magic voodoo changed him into a dog in the first place and honestly, I don't care. But I will be willing to let him back into my home and back into Bailey's and Fox's lives."
“Why would you make him do that?” Lisa said standing inches in front of his massive frame.
“When you came to my house and told me everything, I was not sure what to do. True was furious with Joel for lying to me for so long. But seeing how passionate you were about the entire thing made me realize how much you cared about him. So I wanted to test to see just how far that passion would go.” He turned to the door and whistled. “Come on in.”
Bailey walked in with Rook, Olive, and Ace in tow. Seeing them, made King jump from the stage and ran into Bailey’s arms. Everyone made a loud “aweing” sound.
“I’ll leave you all to it then.”
Bill began to walk away when Lisa called after him. “Bill, wait.” He turned to her. “Thank you.”
After Bill left, the entire building exploded in cheers, howls, applause, and so much deafening noise that Lisa was sure that the whole building would collapse this time. She walked over to Rowan who had the widest grin on his face.
“We did it,” he said to her.
“Yeah, we really did.”
Lisa was ready to bask in the accomplishment that they achieved, but Fox came over and informed them that it was not quite over.
“What do you mean it’s not over?” Lisa asked.
Fox shifted on his feet uncomfortably. He pulled his arms behind his back and avoided eye contact. “Well, there is still one more person you need to apologize too.”
"Who?" Lisa asked, but the answer hit her over the head like an out of control Frisbee.

Later at Milton Manor
“And so we just wanted to apologize for attacking you. Hugging you.”
“Calling you a mama’s boy, breaking and entering.”
Lisa and Rowan were sitting in Keene's office staring at the backside of a leather chair. Keene spun around and glared at him. They tried to give him their most innocent smiles, but it did nothing.
“You expect me to just forgive you because you say you’re sorry.” Keene leaned forward and folded his paws together on the desk.
“Um, yes. That’s how this works.”
“I could have you both thrown in jail,” Keene threatened. Lisa’s hand reflexively went to the bracelet in case they needed to make a quick getaway. “But I’m a business ferret. So I’ll make you a deal. I’ll drop the charges and forgive you if you do me a little favor.”
Judging from the look on the ferret's face it was not going to be pleasant. It was the same look he had when he was planning something truly evil. There was a time when Lisa thought it was funny but seeing it for real made her want to find a hole and hide.

The Next Day
“You do realize that he is just holding this over us to get free labor,” Rowan said.
They had spent the entire mourning helping clean up the pieces of Pete's temple. Keene explained that if they helped the Wolves get rid of all evidence that it was ever there, then he would let them off the hook.
"Yep," Lisa responded. She picked up an unusually large piece and walked it over the wheelbarrow.
“I don’t think he even cares about what we did. I mean he’s loaded. What does it matter if we attacked him?”
“Honestly, it does not matter.” Lisa sat on a pile of rubble and wiped the sweat from her brow. “Just a few more days of this and we can come and go from here as much as we want without fear of repercussion.”
“Let’s get this over with then. I made plans to play cards with Fox and the others.” Rowan tossed another slab onto the wheelbarrow.
"Do you know how to play any card game?"
“Solitaire. But don’t worry, they said they were going to teach me.”
Lisa was about to explain to him why that was not a good thing but decided against it. She leaned back, supporting herself with her arms behind her. The sky was the same as the one back home. Kitsune’s words still bothered her. What did he mean when he said that their world was connected? Connected to what?
A piece of stone slipped from under her. Luckily she kept herself from falling backward. She turned her head to see what it was that moved. One of the stones had carvings on them. She bent down and picked it up.
“Rowan, you need to see this.” The stone had the same symbols on it as the bracelet.

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:52 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 2: Graduation Day
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Lisa

So Kitsune asked me to do the opening message this time. I'm not sure why. But anyway, last time Rowan and I were still recovering from our adventure to Babylon Gardens where we met the characters from the Housepets! Comics. We made fools of ourselves, and it brought back some bad memories. After we left, Bill discovered that King was really Joel Robinson (the man who kidnapped Fox) and kicked him out of the house. While this was happening, we got a letter asking Rowan and me to meet a stranger in a dark alley (seriously how did we not die). There we got a bracelet that has the same power to transport us to the other world. There we found out what had happened to King and we did our part to fix it. Actually, Rowan did most of the work. He gathered everyone together and apologized for what we did. I showed up and convinced Bill to forgive King. Unfortunately, Bill decided to humiliate King but I was not having that. I stood up to Bill, and it turned out that it was a trick. Bill played us to see if I would defend King. After that everyone forgave us and we all became friends of sorts. I mean we have a long way to go to be accepted by everyone, but I am confident we can do it. But in the meantime, Rowan and I have to get ready for our graduation. After that, I don't know…

Lisa examined her dorm room. Boxes were stacked practically to the ceiling, each with their label describing the contents of each one. Her TV was unplugged and sitting on the burrow. On the bed was a suitcase with all the things she would need before was able to unpack her belongs once she was home. The thought of going home again made her shudder. She checked her phone. There was still an hour before the ceremony. She turned to her closet where her cap and gown were still hanging, wrapped in plastic and waiting for her. Why did she have to graduate? What was waiting for her outside the sanctuary of the college?
She picked up an open box on the floor. It was overflowing with random junk she tossed inside. She needed to really go through these when she got home. She carried the box to the desk so she could seal it. Something fell from the top and clanged on the floor. Lisa placed the box down and looked to see what fell. It was a toy tiara. She bent down and picked it up. It was made of plastic with a large pick gem stone embedded in the front. Seeing it brought back memories of her father. He gave it to her during her eight birthday. She told him that she wanted to be a princess so they had an extravagant party. For the next few weeks she constantly wore the tiara whenever she had the chance.
Lisa tossed it in her suitcase that was laying on her bed. It was silly keeping such a silly toy but it was one of the last things she ever received from her father before he left. Every time she saw it, she remembered what it was like when her family was whole.
Lisa reached over to the table by her bed where an open envelope waited for her. She pulled out the letter inside and unfolded it. She must have read it twenty times in the last few weeks. When she and Rowan finished helping Keene Milton clean up the remains of the temple back in Babylon Gardens, his butler Jeeves gave them each a letter.

Dear Lisa and Rowan,
As you are aware, I am currently facing quite a predicament with the Equal Change Program and my quest for animal rights. I have been informed that you both are graduating soon and therefore will be looking for work. I would like to extend my services and offer you each a position, at least for the summer. If you are interested, then come by the manor and speak to me. There we can work out the minor details and get the process moving along. You have until May 6 to tell me your decision. If you don’t respond, then I will assume that you do not care about us and therefore have no business returning to Babylon Gardens anymore.
Signed,
Keene Milton, Multi-Billion Ferret

A few weeks ago, Lisa would have jumped at the opportunity to go stay in Babylon Gardens and hang out with her favorite comic book pets. Lately, something had been holding her back. At first, she thought it was the fact that she embarrassed herself, ruined King's life, and then had to make up for it all with hard labor. Why was she hesitating? What was the alternative? Going home and spending the next few months with her mother breathing down her neck. The thought made her shudder. She could not handle that.
A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts. She placed the letter beside her and got up to answer it. Standing in the hall was Rowan, already dressed in his cap and gown. His wide grin faded as he noticed that she was still not ready to go.
"What are you doing? We have to get down to the courtyard. Everyone is already getting there." He sounded panicked. Lisa noticed he was rubbing his left arm. It was something he only did when he was really nervous or anxious.
"Don't worry; it's going to take like a minute to put on the gown." Lisa walked to the closet and pulled the gown off the hanger. She unwrapped it while Rowan walked into the room. He examined all the packed boxes before noticing the note on the bed. He picked it up and read it.
“You haven’t replied to him yet?”
Lisa looked over at him. “No, I haven’t. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
"What's to know. It's a chance of a lifetime. We haven't had much time to get over there with the year wrapping up and the exams. But after today, nothing is keeping us here."
“Is that what you want?” Lisa asked rubbing her fingers on the black gown. “I mean don’t you think it would be weird. Spending the entire summer in another world. A world that a few weeks ago we just thought were just a bunch of comics. Now we know all of that is real and we are a part of it. Visiting is one thing but actually living there full time.”
Rowan put the paper back down. "Look, I know it's strange. Especially after everything that's happened. Keene asked us, and I can't turn him down. You have to admit it would be much more exciting than going home. You know I saw a dog the other day and got so excited before I remembered it was just a normal non-talking dog. I miss them. I think me and Fox hit it off."
Lisa thought back. The husky looked like he was ready to kill them when he explained what happened to King. Even when they fixed everything and got King back with Bailey, Fox was still hesitant to be around them. The only ones they seemed to get along with were the wolves since they all pitched it to clean up the temple.
That was the other thing that was plaguing her thoughts. The symbols on the walls of the temple were like the ones on the bracelet. What did that mean? The temple belonged to Pete the Griffin, the same demigod who turned Joel into a dog and tried to use him in a cosmic tabletop game. It was only thanks to Joel/King’s love for Bailey and the help of the Great Kitsune that Pete was able to be defeated. She did not trust anything that might have anything to do with Pete or any other celestial deity.
Except that wasn’t true. There was one reason she would drop everything to go back to the other world. Kitsune was the one who convinced her to go to Bill and help King. Her heart beat faster every time she thought about his warm eyes and golden fur. The way he smiled at her.
“Lisa, are you listening?” Rowan waved his hand in front of her face which snapped her out of her daydream.
“Oh, right. What we’re talking about?” Lisa was sure she was blushing.
“We were talking about why you don’t want to go with me back to Babylon Gardens.”
Lisa laid the gown on the bed and set down next to it. “It’s not that I don’t ever want to go back. I just don’t know if I want to move there and plant roots.”
“Who says anything about moving there permanently. Keene said it was only for the summer.” He could tell she was still unsure. “Let me put it to you this way. Would you rather go to a magical fantasy world for the summer or go home to your mother?”
Lisa shot him a disgusted look. He crossed his eyes and smiled his most smug grin. He played the mother card. That meant he was desperate for her to go with him. He knew they had a rule that her mother was never to be spoken of.
“I’ll think about it and will give you an answer before the deadline,” said Lisa, her green eyes bright and hard.
“The deadline that is in two days.” He checked his watch. “Speaking of deadlines, we need to go. Like now.”
“Let me finish getting ready,” her tone was casual but stern.

The graduation ceremony was held on the Kearn Lawn of campus. Since it was such a small college, there was not a real need to use the gym or stadium for the ceremony. At last count, there were less than 200 graduates that year. The school staff had spent the past few days setting up chairs and the stage. The ceremony was to begin at 9:00 that morning but each of the graduates was supposed to meet in the courtyard at 8:00 for preparations.
Lisa stood in line between two other Smiths. She kept moving her head trying to spot Rowan. Since his last name was Gains, he was farther away from her than she would have liked. She tried to listen to the instructor explain what was going to happen, but her mind kept wandering away. The conversation she had with Rowan was playing in her head on a loop. She needed to talk to him again after the ceremony.
“To repeat, you’ll walk single file and fill each seat. There you will find a program with the information about the ceremony written in it. The president will give a speech as well as a few other faculty members. Then your entire row will rise, and you will walk to the stage. One the president calls your name, that is when you walk on the stage, shake his hand, and receive your diploma holder. The actual diploma will be mailed to you at a later date."
“I can’t believe we aren’t getting the actual diploma. This is a such a rip,” Lisa heard one student complain behind her.
"I know this is so stupid. I didn't want to walk, but my parents are making me," another one said.
Lisa tried to ignore them. She had enough to worry about without them ruining this day. She needed to stay relaxed and calm. No one could know she was secretly dying inside. This was her day. She worked her butt off to be here.
“When the second last person is called, that is when the next row rises to moves to the stage. The process continues until we are all finished. After all the graduates have walked and the ceremony ends. Each row rises and walks down the aisle the same way you came. The first person leads and walks back here. Then you can find your family and do whatever you want after that.” He hesitated before asking, “Any questions?” There were none. “Then let’s get ready.”
At fifteen till they were all led to the chairs set for the lawn where they took their seats. Lisa picked up the paper and read through the list of speeches and members of the factuality that were present. She looked up and tried to spot Rowan in one of the rows in front of her. There was no way of telling who was behind the sea of black hats. Her stomach was twisted in knots. She needed a friend right then.
“Please rise,” the president of the university said taking his place at the podium waiting on the stage.
Lisa sat there bored to tears listening all the speeches and empty words of encouragement. Talks about their bright futures just felt like false promises to her. Sunlight speared around them as the ceremony progressed. Soon, Lisa was beginning to sweat underneath her gown. Several other students had started fanning themselves with the programs. Lisa felt a flash of reassurance that she was not the only one suffering that day.
Finally, the time came for the graduates to receive their prizes. An older woman took her place at the front of the stage. Lisa should have known who she was but simply did not care enough to check. She was just another faculty member and after this was over none of them would matter. 
 "At this time, we ask our graduates to rise and make their way to the stage." On cue, the front row stood up and was led to the stage. Lisa checked each one for Rowan. She was sure that he most likely on the second row but wanted to make sure. "Alexander Appron." A tall, pale guy walked on the stage where he was given his diploma case, shook the president's hand, and had his picture taken by the photographer crouched in front of the stage.
“Ben Estale.” The second row rose and made their way to the stage. Lisa crained her neck to see if Rowan was there. She scanned each of the faces looking for one that was familiar. For a moment, she thought he was not there. But she spotted him near the end of the line. He turned as if he could sense her watching him. Their eyes locked and he gave her an encouraging smile which she returned.
Lisa watched each student walk up onto the stage until it was finally Rowan’s turn. “Rowan Gains,” the lady called. Rowan walked onto the stage and shook the president’s hand. Lisa felt a flutter in her chest. She was so glad he was there. Seeing him somehow made her feel better about her own doubts.
There were two more rows of students before it was Lisa’s rows turn. When someone named “Cory Riley” was called, Lisa stood up with the rest of her row. She followed the boy in front of her out of the chairs and lined up near the stage. She turned and looked for Rowan. When she spotted him, he gave her a thumbs up. One by one the students were called until finally, it was her turn.
“Lisa Smith.” Lisa stepped up on the stage and walked to the president. She extended her hand and grasped his. The president’s hand was ice cold.
“Congratulations,” he said.
Lisa turned to the camera and smiled. Her eyes moved to scan the crowd of onlookers behind the students watching the ceremony. Somehow her eyes found her mother sitting among the smiling parents and friends. Lisa knew her mother would come despite how much Lisa would have been better off without her. Unfortunately, she needed her mother to help empty her dorm and take stuff home.
Her mother had on an oversized hat that was roughly the size of an umbrella sitting on her head. Her face was hidden in the shadows, but she still wore sunglasses. Her head was bent; Lisa would see that she was looking at something in her hand. Most likely her phone. Lisa could tell it was not because her mother had already taken her picture or anything. She could feel her heart break. Her mother could not even be bothered to watch her only daughter graduate. Lisa kept on smiling but inside her emotions were welling up like they were about to explode out of her eyes. There was an empty chair next to her mother. A spot reserved for the one person that Lisa wanted to see more than anything. She could feel her eyes begin to water.
Lisa shifted her attention to the seat on the other side. Sitting there was a young man with bright blonde hair. Lisa had never seen him before, but he seemed so familiar. He wore a black jacket and purple shirt underneath. Around his neck was a Yin Yang necklace. His legs were crossed so Lisa could see he was wearing jeans. Who comes to a graduation ceremony dressed like that, Lisa wondered. The stranger smiled as he looked directly at her. His pulled down the sunglasses he was wearing, and Lisa's breath caught in her throat. His eyes were bright red. Even from where she was standing she could see them piercing into her. He smiled wider exposing his gleaming white teeth and winked at her.
When Lisa walked off the stage, it was like she was in a trance. Somehow she found her seat again and set down. As the rest of the students walked across the stage, she sat there lost in her own mind. What was he doing there?
“Kistune,” she whispered under her breath.
When the ceremony was finished, all the graduates walked off the lawn and made their way to the courtyard. Lisa kept urging them to walk faster as they moved. She had to see him. He was there. If he left, before she had a chance to talk to him, then she would never forgive herself or anyone else.
Finally, they were free. Lisa ran around looking for Rowan. She spotted him talking to one of the other students. One she recognized but could not place the name. If he were busy, then she would have to find him later. Many of the other students were already heading to meet their families. Lisa followed them, swerving between them as she rushed to the front of the Kearns building. She had to hurry.
The front of the building was already swarming with people. Parents milled around waiting for their kids to show up so they could congratulate them and tell them how proud they were. Lisa kept turning around looking for him. She knew that he would stay. It was his style. Lisa looked around until she spotted something in the distance. A young blonde man was standing under one of the oak trees away from the crowds. Lisa ran over there as fast as she could, constantly cursing her heels the entire time. When she reached the tree, she looked him straight in the face.
He reached up and took the sunglasses off. His red eyes shined in the morning sun. They were unmistakable.
“Congratulations. I’m glad you found me here. I was not sure where to go so we could talk in private,” his voice was smooth and calm. It was definitely his voice.
Lisa threw her arms around his neck and pulled him tightly against her body. She had never been so relieved to see him before in her life. She was overcome with several emotions that she did not know how to deal with. Lisa realized what she was doing and let him go. She turned away, thoroughly embarrassed. Why did she do that?
"I'm happy to see you too. That is not the usual reaction I get, but it is the one I expect to get."
Lisa regained her composure and turned to him. “What are you doing here?” she asked. Her voice sounded rough like her throat was made of sandpaper.
“I came to see you both graduate. It’s not every day that my favorite mortals overcome such an important milestone in their lives.” His eyes were gentle. Lisa began to relax. 
 She gave him a skeptical look. “We’re your favorite mortals?”
“Well, you’re my favorite in this world. I have favorites in all the worlds I watch over.”
“Who are they in the other world? King?”
Kitsune shrugged. "I like him, but I would not call him my favorite.” He narrowed his eyes. “But I’m not telling you. I know how you both are with secrets.”
Lisa's face grew hot. She looked him up and down. The last time she saw him, she was crying under a tree. Back then he was his usual self, a naked fox with nine long tails. Somehow he looked even more handsome in a human appearance. His hair was the same color as his fur, and he still had a few features that gave him a foxy appearance. He was wearing the usual outfit that he had whenever he did wear clothes.
“Why do you look like that? Not that I’m complaining but I just never seen you like this?”
"I'm glad you like it. Pete's not the only one who can pass for human. I could have shown up looking like my usual handsome self, but considering how this world works, I thought this form would be better."
Lisa thought about what would happen in his showed up in his kitsune form. There would be mass hysteria. He made the right call.
"I have to say though this is an interesting place. It is very different from some of the other worlds I've been too."
That confused her. “Have you never been to this world before today?”
Kitsune shrugged. “Remember this world was separate from the others until you two connected them with your little excursion. Once it was connected, I’m allowed to come and go as much as I wish.”
His smiled faded slightly. “This world has strange laws. I can tell that my powers are limited when I’m here.”
“What do you mean limited? How so?”
"I can't go into my full power here," Lisa remembered in the comic when Kitsune went into his true form and offered Joel the choice to stay a dog or go back to being human. If he could not do that here, then what made this world so special. "I vision is limited too. This world is something. Speaking of which, have you decided about Keene's offer?
Lisa was not surprised that he knew about the letter. "I haven't yet. I want to, but at the same time, I'm still not comfortable being there. When I first got there that day, it was so surreal. It felt like nothing mattered because it was not real. Then after everything that happened afterward taught me that it was real. Too real."
There was a silence. Lisa did not know what else to say or even how to explain her feelings. She was jealous of Rowan who always seemed to know what he wanted. That is why she was so glad to Kitsune. He would know what to say.
"I don't know what to say," he told her. So much for that. "It's your decision. I can't interfere in the fates of mortals, and I definitely can't interfere in yours.
“Mine. What’s special about mine?”
“It’s like this world. You exist in a different set of rules from say the pets back home. Your destiny is more complex and volatile so to say.” Seeing Lisa’s confused face, Kitsune changed his explanation. “Think of it this way. It’s like comparing a board game with a video game. Same but completely different at the same time with different rules and play styles. You can play one like you the other.”
"I guess that makes sense," Lisa said. Not really, she thought. "Let me ask you this. If you had the choice to stay or go, what would you do?"
“Go,” he said without hesitation.
“That’s it. Just go without a second thought.
He nodded. "I like the mortals over there and I know you do too. That is why you are struggling so much. You still feel guilty about what happened. Your scared that you don't belong there."
“How do I stop feeling like that?” she asked looking down at her feet.
“That I cannot tell you because I have never felt that way. I always belong everywhere I go. I’m just lovable that way.”
Lisa chuckled. “You sure are.”
Kitsune coked his head to the side. “Hm. Look, I can’t tell you things will be easy or go smoothly if you choose to go there. I can't see your fate. That is one of the drawbacks of you belonging to this world. But, I can tell you that if you don't go, then you will regret not taking this chance.”
Lisa heard a voice calling her name. She turned to see Rowan running up to her. When he stopped, he was already out of breath.
“Where were you, I’ve been looking all over for you. You just ran off after the ceremony.” He took another deep breath. A scared expression passed over his face. “I hate to tell you this, but your mother is looking for you.”
Lisa winced like she was physically punched in the gut. "Fine.” She took a deep breath then sighed. “I guess I'll go see her. I doubt she wants to congratulate me or anything." She stepped forward but remembered what she was doing before he showed up. "Rowan look who it is." She turned to show Rowan that Kitsune had come to see them, but there was no one there.
“Who am I looking for?” Rowan asked.
“He was right there. It was Kitsune. He came to watch the ceremony.”
"Kistune came here." Rowan was stunned.
“He was here. Why would he leave?” He said he came to see both of us.”
"I guess he really just want to see you then," Rowan said. There was an underlying pain in his voice. "Right, my parents want to see you too. I told them about the job this summer, and they were so excited. Speaking of which, have you decided what you're going to do?"
Lisa did not speak. She kept staring at the space where Kitsune was just standing. The conversation they had was all she needed to decide her answer. She was tired of running away from her problems. "Yes, I'm going. Now let's go tell my mother that I'm not going home with her."

A few days later…
Lisa and Rowan were sitting in front a large desk. They were looking at the backside of a large chair. No one spoke for the longest time. Finally, the chair turned with a loud squeaking sound. Keene looked at them with his face covered with his usual pair of sunglasses even though they were inside and the blinds were closed.
“I’m glad you both accepted my job offer. Things have not been going well since the incident with the temple. But now that you are both here, my plans for equal animal rights can move forwards,” he said. He leaned forward and placed his elbows on the desk. Keene rested his head on his paws and looked at them.
“I have a few questions before we start anything,” Lisa informed him. She had dressed up for this meeting like she would for any other interview. She wore her best and most profession dress. She crossed her legs in front of her and looked deadly serious.
“First, I thought you retired from your mission. You gave it over to Lana.”
“That is true. But I am still apart of the project in an advisory role. As such, I am trying to come up with more creative ways to make people see we deserve equal rights while Lana deals with the more technical and legal aspects.”
“So you gave her the grunt work while you get to brainstorm ridiculous ideas like the temple expedition,” Rowan said.
Keene turned to him, “That is not true. Not entirely. This idea I have for the two of you is not ridiculous. It is quite brilliant if I do say so myself.”
“What is this idea? We still don’t know what we’re signing up for,” Lisa informed the ferret.
"You both have extensive knowledge of the pets and animals living in Babylon Gardens. I am aware of the details of your comic book about our lives." Lisa could not help but glance at the bag next to Rowan's chair. She knew he kept all his issues in there. "That is important for what I have planned. I want to show the humans that we are just like them. But not in a comic format. I want to create a television show."
"A TV show? That's your big idea." Lisa was beginning to regret her decision to come here. "That last few times your family tried to do something like this or anything involving TV it ends up as a disaster."
“That’s not entirely true. Rock’s commercial was a success,” Rowan pointed out. “I think that time they built Jessica’s house worked out.”
“Tiger blew up the station,” Lisa told him bluntly.
“I am well, aware we have had difficulties over the past years,” Keene said interrupting Lisa’s and Rowan’s conversation. He gestured toward the two of them. “The fact you know this is again why you two are perfect for this. You know the pets and animals well. You know their lives, and they know you. They trust you."
“Ehh,” Lisa and Rowan said in unison.
"Either way, here is the deal. I have made a deal with Animal Planet for a documentary series. You two will work together and interview different pets and ferals to show the views that they are not any more different from the humans. In exchange, you both will stay here in the mansion as my personal staff."
“Staff?”
Keene went on, "You will be paid for your work of course. Meals are included, but Jeeves is off limits. The show itself is a ten-episode series at the moment. Depending on how it goes, will determine if it is renewed for a longer run. That is the goal. So it has to be perfect.” Keene slammed his paw on the desk.
"No offense but you've tried this before. King's wedding, and Sasha's wedding. Your schemes tend to fail."
"That is again why you are doing it. Normally, I would not rely on humans to do something like this, but you two are special. Your knowledge and expertise are essential to the success of this plan."
Lisa and Rowan exchanged looks. Neither one really trusted Keene, but this opportunity was hard to pass up. Lisa personally needed the journalism experience. It would be nice to spend more time with the pets. Time not spent trying to make up for past mistakes and instead of getting to know them for real.
Lisa spoke first. She did not trust Keene but she remembered Kistune telling her to take the chance. “Okay, we agree to be a part of this scheme. We care about the pets just as much as you do. Probably more.”
Keene smiled. "Marvelous. I will get the paperwork and contracts ready to be signed. Rock and Daryl will, of course, be helping you and filming the interviews."
“Of course they are,” Rowan said with a sly grin.
“Where do we start?” Lisa asked.
Keene paused what he was doing and pulled off his sunglasses. "I figured that was obvious. What better pet to use to convince people we are just like humans than the one who was once human himself."
Lisa's eyes were wide and white with fear. They had not seen King since the incident with Bill. She was not sure he would want to see them and was sure he wasn't going to be thrilled to be a part of another one of Keene's' schemes.
Rowan, on the other hand, was not concerned at all. He stood up and said, "Well, let's get started then."





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Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:55 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 3: A Game of Chance
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Rowan

Hey, it's my turn to do the opening. So, Lisa and I found ourselves transported to an alternate dimension that where the stories and characters from the Housepets! Comics come from. Kitsune explained that all the worlds are part of the Infinite…something or other. It’s some kind of multiverse. Our Earth was connected to the Housepets world when Lisa and I went there the first time. So a lot happened. We may or may not have gotten King into huge trouble with Bill Lindberg. It worked out thanks to Lisa and me coming to the rescue. Then something amazing happened. Keene Milton, the ferret, offered me and Lisa a summer job working for him. We get to live in the mansion and spend more time with everyone! Lisa was not sure if she wanted to go or not. When it was time for our graduation ceremony, she was super freaked out. Luckily, Kitsune came and talked to her. I never saw him, but I believe he was there because she did agree to work for Keene. The job is hosting a docu-series about the animals of Babylon Gardens as part of Keene's plan for equality. Now we are off for our first assignment.

Lisa and Rowan stood outside the Lindberg house waiting for someone to answer the door. They were both dressed to impress. Lisa was wearing one of her favorite shirts and skirt while Rowan was wearing his sports coat and khakis. Keene explained that they were supposed to do an in-depth interview with King and Bailey for the first episode of Keene's docu-series. Lisa did not know the details, but she knew that Keene had to threaten King to get him to agree to the interview. He was still sore about what happened the other week. In the end, Keene held their allowance hostage until King agreed. But even then he would only do it if Fox would join them. Keene was all more open to having him there as well. The more, the merrier, he said.
Lisa turned to Rowan and asked, “You have your questions ready?”
Rowan looked confused. “We were supposed to have questions?”
Lisa's jaw dropped. There was serious. It was her first chance at a real journalism job. She had to make sure this went well so for her own sake. Lisa exhaled, trying to gather her patience. "Yes, I told you repeatedly to have questions ready to ask. This is supposed to be an hour-long interview. How do you expect to interview anyone without questions?"
Rowan put his hands on the back of his hand and said, "I'll wing it. It's what I've done for the last four years, and it worked out pretty well."
“How did you even graduate?”
“Ahem.” Lisa and Rowan turned around to see Rock, Rockstar Hawk, and other Daryl standing behind them. Rock had his arms crossed, and Daryl was holding the camera over his shoulder. Rockstar was busy fiddling with his camera. None of them looked happy or enthusiastic about the interview. Daryl just looked hungry. "If you two are done with your lover's spat, maybe try knocking again. We are on a schedule."
“Like you have somewhere to be,” Lisa snapped.
“I rather not waste my time standing on someone’s doorstep all day. I am a professional.”
“Professional pain in the tail,” Lisa muttered under her breath.’
“What was that?” Rock shouted.
"You heard me!" Lisa shouted back. She moved closer, so she was towering over the ferret. "You have been nothing but a pest since your brother hired us."
It was right after Rowan and Lisa signed their contracts that Rock burst into Keene's office and began shouting orders. Between rehearsing their interview voices to and a seemingly endless stream of PowerPoint presentations, Rock had been working them ragged for the last two days.
It was the day before when Rock found them by the pool and started explaining the protocol for the first interview. He had a tablet in his paws which he was waving at them. "We've been tossing names around for a few weeks now. First, we were going to call the show, "The Real Pets of Babylon Gardens."
“Please tell me that’s a joke,” Lisa said looking up from her book. She was in her bathing suit laying in one of the lounge chairs. She and Rowan were on their “break” or what they were calling their break. “That is the stupidest name I have ever heard.”
"That's what Keene said. Excuse me for trying to voice my creative talents," Rock said. "So after a little trial and error, we finally decided to simply call the show "Pets!" with an explanation point." He turned the screen to her and right there was the logo. It was exactly like the Housepets! Title on the books.
“You mean like the comics?” Rowan asked. He just got out of the pool as Rock came outside. He had a towel wrapped around his neck and was dripping water everywhere. “He walked over and sat in one of the chairs near Lisa.
“It may or may not have been taken from your comics. I mean since they are based on us I don’t see why we can’t use that to our advantage.”
“Whatever you want is fine. This is your show we’re just hosting,” Lisa said.
"That reminds me. You both need to come up with an extensive list of questions. It's an hour-long interview. The actual show will be cut down so not all the questions will be aired. We still need enough material to work with. As the director, I expect nothing but the best."
“You do realize that you have not told us much about how the interview is supposed to be conducted, Mr. Director,” Lisa said. “What kind of questions do you want us to ask.”
“It’s easy. You just ask questions about what it’s like being pets and how humans treat them. I can’t focus on the trivial details. That is your job.” Rock looked down at the tablet and started tapping the screen. “I’ll leave you both too it than. But I need you both back inside in ten minutes to pick out outfits for tomorrow.”
Lisa jolted up. “Wait, what? I was never told about that. I already have an outfit picked out.” Rock had already walked off, ignoring her completely.
“How bad could it be?” Rowan asked.
It was bad like really bad. Since Rock did not wear clothes, he had no reference or knowledge of fashion. When he showed Lisa what she was supposed to wear for the interview, it turned into a shouting match. It got so bad that Rowan had to keep Lisa was mauling the ferret forcibly.
“That little weasel,” Lisa said still fuming. She and Rowan went to her room to cool off while Rock discussed the issue with Keene. “Can you believe that outfit? It’s so horrible I can’t even describe it.”
“It was pretty bad,” Rowan agreed. “But did you have to go off the handle like that. I mean you are like ten times his size. You could have killed him.”
“I wanted to,” she said.
“Remember, he is still pretty much our boss. He’s the director and Keene’s brother. I don’t want this job to end before it begins.”
Lisa said on the bed next to Rowan. She could tell that he was scared about what Keene and Rock were talking about. They could be fired. “Can I ask you something? Would you have taken this job without me?”
He blinked at her in surprise. "Of course, I wouldn't have. We're a team." He reflexively began rubbing his arm. He was nervous, Lisa thought. "I mean I would still want to, but I would never have without you. It would not be the same without you. I mean…"
“I get it,” Lisa said shaking her head. “I’m glad you feel that way. It’s good to know you have my back.”
He placed his hand on her knee. “I would do anything for you.”
Lisa was not listening. Her mind was somewhere else, barely noticing that he was touching her.
Back in the present, the front door finally opened. King stood their glaring at his unwanted guests. Lisa smiled trying to ease what already an awkward moment. She glanced at Rowan who was waiting patiently for someone to say something.
“Well, come on in, I guess,” King said with as little enthusiasm as possible.
He stepped aside for the group to enter. Lisa could see Fox and Bailey already waiting for them. The huskies were sitting on the couch watching as Lisa and Rowan approached. Bailey looked eager to start, but Fox seemed unsure about the entire thing. Rowan and Lisa moved toward the living room and sat down in two chairs that were placed opposite of the couch. Rowan put his bag beside the chair. Lisa reached over and pulled out her papers where she typed up the questions she planned to ask. She glanced at Rowan and wondered if she should give some questions to him. She decided against it, thinking to herself that if he were going to be irresponsible, then he would have to pay for it.
Rock and Daryl stood off to the side, camera pointed at the couch. Rockstar moved across the room, so his camera was on Lisa and Rowan. King walked to the couch and took the spot beside Bailey. His eyes darkened as he looked at Rowan and Lisa. He placed his hand on the armrest and leaned back against the cushion.
“Let’s get this over with,” King said.
“King, please. Can’t you try to show a little enthusiasm?” Bailey asked. “It’s not every day we get the chance to be on TV.”
"I've been on TV before. The ten ‘o'clock news." The raised his paw in the air and moved it through the air like he was wiping a piece of glass only he could see. ‘PETA attempts to kidnap policeman's dog. Two men arrested.' It was not fun then, and it's not fun now."
"I remember that," Fox said. "They wanted to interview me, but Dad didn't allow it."
“Let’s not bring that up during the interview,” Rock said. “Okay, if everyone is ready we can get started. Three, Two One.”
“Hey there, welcome to the show. I’m Lisa Smith and this is Rowan Gains. Today we are interview three very special guests,” Lisa said using her ‘TV’ voice as Rock put it. “Can you three state your names for the viewers at home?”
“King Milton.”
“Bailey Lindberg.”
“Fox Lindberg.”
“That was good. But can you do it again King, but this time say both of your names?" Lisa instructed.
"What?" King's body tensed. It was subtle, but Lisa noticed it. "What do you mean?"
“You know. Say ‘King Milton slash Joel Robinson.’ That way the viewers know who you are.”
King gave her a dubious look. "I don't think that's a good idea," he said sternly. His paw gripped the armrest so hard that his claws were digging into the fabric. Bailey and Fox exchanged nervous looks.
"You might be right." Lisa looked thoughtful for a moment. "You are still a wanted fugitive, and I don't know what the statute of limitations is for this state are. To be honest, I don't know even what state this is." She looked over at Rowan who shrugged. She made a mental note to ask later.
“Let’s move along,” Fox said trying to distract from the awkwardness that was forming. “What do you want to ask us?”
"I'll ask a question," Rowan said. "Fox you are a police dog, taking after your owner, Lieutenant Bill Lindberg. What inspired you to take on such an important role in our turbulent culture? What is it like working as a police dog?"
Lisa was taken aback. Rowan asked an excellent question off the top of his head. She looked at him and felt a pang of jealousy in her stomach. Everything always seemed to come so naturally to him. For as long as she's known him, he's always been on top of things. Always certain of himself.
“That’s it,” Fox said.
Lisa was ejected from her thoughts. She silently scolded herself for zoning out during Fox’s answer.
"I have a series of questions for King." Lisa's tone was casual. She needed to stay focused. "How old are you? What were your parent's like? Before joining PETA, you've said you've been to prison, what were the charges? Seriously how old are you?”
Everyone in the room looked stunned. "Lisa, can I see those questions?" Rowan snatched the papers from her hands before she could respond. He scanned the list. When he was done, he held them up and said, "These are the list of questions you said you wanted to ask Rick Griffin if we ever got the chance."
“Well, it’s not like we can talk to him. Plus, this is better.” She gestured towards King. “What better way to get the answers we want than to get them directly from the source.”
“Can I interject…” King said but was interrupted by Rowan.
“I thought you wanted this to be a serious interview?”
“I do, but there will be time for serious questions after this. Besides, I think it’s important to get the facts straight for the viewers. They’re going to have questions once they find out that King used to be human.”
“Whoa, whoa, everybody stop talking,” King said. “Who said anything about telling anyone about that?”
Rowan and Lisa exchanged puzzled glances. “We thought it would be important for the interview. You know have someone who has walked in both worlds describe what it’s like to be a pet/animal,” Lisa said.
“This is a show that is supposed to prove that animals deserve the same equality and rights as humans. You were going to be the poster boy, to put in bluntly.”
“Did either of you stop to think about how I would feel about this. What about what I want,” King said hitting his paw against this chest.
“I guess we’ll skip that then.”
“Can I say something?” Bailey asked. Lisa nodded. “Is it a good idea to expose King as a former human to the world? I don’t think that would be a good idea. It’s one thing for the neighborhood to know about King but exposing his secret could have consequences for all of us.”
“Look how Dad reacted,” Fox said. “Imagine how other people would feel if they found out that magic and gods were real. They would go into hysterics.”
Lisa was growing frustrated. She wanted this show to be successful so she could get journalism experience. What better way to get the rating and the publicity than to have a major story like King's. A human turned into a dog by a demigod would be huge. She frowned at them. "Fine. We'll come back to that. Let me ask you a different question, King."
“Go ahead.”
“Tell me, King. Where did you go to college?”
King closed his eyes and began saying, “Well, I went to…” His voice trailed off as he realized what she just asked. “How did you know I went to college?”
Seeing the suspicious look on his face made Lisa hesitate. After what happened before she was unsure about revealing too much information about the comics. Not that it was a big secret or anything. Her eyes moved the camera facing her. The comics were not something that the world needed to know about. Demigods were one thing, but the comics might be a step too far.
Rowan though was not so hesitant and piped up saying, “It’s mentioned in book 2.”
He rummaged through his bag and pulled out the issue unaware of the horrified look Lisa was giving him. The cover had a picture of Zach and two wolves seasoning him. All she could think was, “Oh not again.”
Rowan opened it up and flipped through the pages, stopping roughly halfway through. He pointed at the page with a goofy grin on his face like he was amused by the comic in question.
"Here it is. Page 35." He cleared his throat or at least made the sound that people make when they pretend to clear their throats. "And I quote, ‘Really?'" he said in a voice that was supposed to sound like King's. "' I used to play that in coll—‘ then you give some lame save. But we all knew."
“Let me see that,” King demanded and snatched the book from Rowan. King sat on the couch and flipped through the comic, all the while his eyes grew wider and wider. His jaw continually dropped until it was practically touching the cushion.
Lisa tried to remember what was in that issue. Since it was book 2, then it had the earlier stories, and that meant… Her heart began to race faster and faster. He was going see it. She cringed at what was about to happen.
King stopped partway through. His face turned a violent shade of red as his fingers gripped the paper with surprising force for someone so small. He clenched his jaw and lowered his lip exposing the hidden jowls. One eye began to twitch while his entire body shook with rage.
Lisa waited for the fireworks, but nothing happened. King rapidly continued flipping through the rest of the book. He was still angry, Lisa could tell, but was keeping it surprisingly in check. Most likely because he was in public and Bailey was right beside him. He'd come to the end of the book when he stopped once again. He performed a double take as if he could not believe what he was now seeing. He stuck the book up to his nose and began reading. After a minute of awkward silence, he glanced up from the book and narrowed his eyes. "What now?" Lisa asked herself.
King flipped the book around so they could see what he was gawking at. The pages were mostly covered with text except for haft of the left page which had a picture of King sitting with the title “All the King’s Men.” “What the…” King paused glancing at Bailey before deciding what to say next. Lisa knew that King had a bit of a streak of ‘UN-PG’ language
“What is this supposed to be?” He shook the book in their faces.
It took Lisa a minute, but then she remembered what it was. "That's that story from the contest." She glanced over at Rowan. "Remember that. You wanted to enter, but your story was so bad that you chickened out."
Rowan crossed his arms over his chest and turned away from her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But by the tone of his voice, he certainly did.
“It was a contest Rick had once. It’s fan-fiction,” Lisa told King.
“Saucy Fan-fiction,” Rowan said.
"Nice." She held up her hand, and Rowan gave her a high-five.
King, on the other hand, was not amused. He drew it back and returned to reading the story. Only stopping to say things like, "This never happened," or "This is a complete lie."
“What, are you saying you don’t have an Aunt Clarabelle?” Rowan asked.
King hesitated. “Well, yes I do. But that’s not the point. How does he know I used to play my Sega Genesis with my dogs?”
Hearing the question out loud made Lisa pause for a moment. How did he know that? Given King's approximate age that would have happened long before the first comic was even made. Could Rick have been watching him for that long? No, she thought. No way was true. King must have mentioned it once but it just never made it into the comic. But even as she told herself that, she knew it was not true.
When King was done railing against the story, he threw the book on the ground and proceeded to stomp on it. Rowan watched his beloved issue be somewhat beaten by King’s small body. He held his hands over his face to hide his horror.
When King’s tantrum was done, he shouted, “That’s it! Interview over.” He stormed out of the room. They waited until they heard the slamming of a door somewhere in the house. For a moment, no one said anything. It was like they were waiting for him to come back which they knew was not going to happen.
“Why would you do that?” Lisa snapped at Rowan. She then picked up the comic off the floor and beat him over the shoulder with it.
“What did I do?”
“Do you not remember what happened only a few weeks ago? You showed people the third issue and King got kicked out of this house. I had to beg Bill to forgive him. Beg.”
Rowan sighed and grabbed the comic from Lisa’s hand before any more harm came to it. He gently placed it back in his bag before turning back to Lisa who was still glaring at him. Finally, she placed her face in her hands and groaned loudly.
“Do you remember what happened to King in that issue? And I’m not talking about the fan-fiction.”
Rowan pursed his lips for a moment. Lisa knew that he had read those issues front to back more times than he was willing to admit. His eyes widened as the realization of what he had just done reached his brain.
“Oops,” he said.
Lisa was livid. "Oops! That's all you can say? You might as well have driven a knife into his chest." Bailey gasped, and Lisa turned to her and apologized for the poor choice of metaphor.
“I don’t know why you are getting mad at me. You were the one who was just saying ‘King, let’s tell everyone that you used to be human. Wouldn’t that be great for the ratings,’” he said using an annoyingly high pitched voice.
Lisa blushed. “Yes, but that’s not the point. I know where to draw the line.”
“By bringing up the demigods.” He gestured the camera still pointed at them. “Why don’t you tell everyone that all dogs do go to heaven while you’re at it.”
“You were fine last night when we talked about it.” Lisa’s voice was rising. “Why did you agree with me if you thought it was a terrible idea?”
A vague expression passed over Rowan’s face. “I didn’t want to argue with you.”
“Well guess what we’re arguing now,” she pointed out.
"Should I go talk to him?" Bailey asked pointing down the hall where King disappeared too. She looked like she was ready to get away from what was an awkward spat between two humans. Nothing that she needed or wanted to be a part of.
Lisa smiled at her, giving the dog her best, ‘no need to worry’ face. Anyone who knew Lisa well knew that was the face she gave when there was an immediate need to worry. “You know what, I’ll go talk to him. It’s my fault this happened.” She gave once last lingering glare at Rowan who avoided direct eye contact
Lisa stood up and walked down the same hall she saw King flee to. The walls were lined with identical beige doors. Each one was firmly shut so there was no way of knowing which one was King's. She paused for a moment, trying to decide on the first one to try when she heard a low whimpering sound. Bingo. She walked to the door where the noise was coming from and grabbed the knob. For a moment, she wondered if she should knock. Then just opened it up and walked right in.
King was laying on the bed, curled up in a ball. His ears were pressed against the back of his head, and his entire body was shaking. He was either too busy feeling sorry for himself to realize, Lisa was standing there or just did not care.
“King,” Lisa asked. “Are you alright?” She was so not good in situations like this. Whenever Rowan got upset about something, she would pretend to listen to him or dump him on someone else. And she wondered why she had so few friends.
“GO AWAY!” King shouted without moving an inch from his spot on the bed. “I don’t want to see or hear from you or Rowan ever again. Haven’t you ruined my life enough? Honestly, you’re as bad as Pete.”
“First of all, whoa,” Lisa said. Again, she was not good at situations like this. She placed one hand on her hip and waved the other in the air. “No one is as bad as Pete. Second, it was an accident. Rowan was not thinking about how seeing that would affect you. Third, why are you so upset. I mean after eight and a half years you should be used to this. Why would seeing that upset you so much.”
King sat up and looked at her. “Seeing it just reminded me of how hard it was. Reading that story was yet another reminder.”
“You said the story was not true.”
"It's not. But things like that have happened to me. Especially after I was first changed." He placed his paws between his legs and stared at the wall. "I hated being a dog. I hated Pete. It took so long to adjust finally and honestly, and I don't think I ever really would have if I didn't have Bailey. Seeing that reminded me of how much I lost."
"You were in jail for six months," Lisa said with a smirk. "You were about to go on trial. I hate to admit it, but Pete did you a favor."
King gave her the dirtiest look he could muster, and she had it to admit it was all the more effective coming from a body it did not belong.
"What I mean is," she said taking a seat next to him on the bed. King rubbed his nose with his arm but refused to look at her. "What Pete did sucks. We know that. Everyone knows that. But look what you got from it. You got Bailey and your kids. You have two homes to choose from. You don't have to worry about finding a job." Hearing the last sentence escape from her mouth reminded Lisa of the struggle she was in. It also became more critical that she convince King to go back and finish the interview. If not she could kiss her comfy summer job good-bye and be on a one-way trip back home to face her mother.
“What I’m saying is…”
“You don’t know what you’re saying,” King said. He turned to her and gave her a bewildered look.
“I don’t.” She sighed.
“Then tell me, how would feel if someone captured the most horrible thing that ever happened to you in glossy print?”
Lisa thought about that. She remembered that night when she came home to her mother lying face down on the floor with an empty bottle next to her. Frantically dialing 9-1-1. Her finger hesitating over the SEND button.
“That would not be fun.” That was all Lisa could say on the matter.
“You see,” King said throwing his arms in the air. He laid down on the bed and stared at the ceiling.
“Then you need you say that,” Lisa said carefully. “You need to tell your story. Get out in the open.”
“You will not give up, will you? What part of I don’t want anyone to know about what happened to me do you not understand?”
Lisa tried to conceal her disappointment. This was not going well. She needed to at least convince him to go back to the interview. "How about this then? Come back and finish the interview. No more questions about your human life. As far as we are concerned, you are strictly King and Joel Robinson never existed."
“Fine.” King sighed and sat up. “Just promise me you won’t bring up anything supernatural either.”
He jumped off the bed and headed towards the door. Before he could leave Lisa called to him. “Can I ask you something though? Off the record.”
“Is it about my age?” King asked not turning around.
Lisa deserved that. One day she was going to find out, she was sure of that. “Do you miss being human at all?”
King was expressionless. “It’s complicated.” He walked out of the room and out of sight.
Lisa hurried after him. They walked down the hall and back into the living room. “Let’s get this interview going again,” she said cheerfully. There was no one there. She and King walked in and saw Rowan, Fox, Baily, Rock, Rockstar Hawk, and even Daryl huddled around the couch.
They were all looking at something in Rowan’s hands. Lisa’s heart dropped into her stomach when she saw what it was. It was the second issue, the one that set King off. They were reading it and burst out laughing.
“Look at Peanut,” Fox said pointing at the page. “He looks ridiculous with that cape.”
“Grape looks like she’s ready to kill him,” Bailey said moving her face closer.
“She really was,” Rowan said. He looked up and saw King and Lisa standing there watching them.
Fox was the first to say something. Unfortunately, it was not the best thing to say. “King, how can be so upset about that story. It was hilarious. The part about me dragging you out of the laundry room and you with the sock.” He started laughing at the thought. “I was rolling on the floor.”
King's face turned red, but Fox kept talking. "You need to lighten up."
"That's it!" King shouted. He charged at them with his arms raised like he was going to strangle every one of them. "Give that dog-forsaken book!"
He tried to grab the book from Rowan's hands. Luckily, Rowan was tall, and King was short. But that did not deter him from jumping on Rowan's lap and practically began climbing up his body to get to the book.
"King, what are you doing?" Bailey asked scandalized by her husband's behavior.
"I'm putting an end to this right now." He reached up with this stubby arm toward the book, but it was still out of reach. His furry chest was pressed against Rowan's face-obscuring it completely. Rowan tried to say something, but it was muffled and unintelligible.
“King, enough of this. Stop acting like a child,” Lisa ordered. She moved towards them and tried to pull King off of Rowan.
King twisted around and grabbed her arm shouting, “Stay out of this!” His paw rubbed against the bracelet on her arm. Suddenly the bracelet began sparking. Blue sparks and flashes erupted from the bracelet. Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch the light show. The bracelet started humming as the sparks grew bigger and bigger.
Lisa felt the world spin around her. It was like being on a carnival ride. Gravity overcame her, and she collapsed on the floor. Rowan jumped off the couch and rushed to her side. His face was blurry. She could faintly hear him say something, but it sounded like it was miles away. Darkness overcame her.
There was nothing but darkness. Lisa looked around, and slowly thousands of stars appeared in the distance. She felt like she was floating in space and walking on solid ground at the same time. She stepped forward trying to find a clue about where she was. She could see something small in the distance. A little awkwardly, she began running towards whatever it was. When she finally reached her destination, she was shocked by what she was seeing.
It was Spirit Dragon, Pete, and Kitsune sitting around a table. Laid out on the table was their board game ‘Universes and Unrealities.' In the comics they were giants, but now they were the same size as she was. She moved along the table waiting to see if they would notice her. Nobody moved or spoke. It was like they were frozen. Lisa stood beside Kitsune and tapped on his shoulder. Instantly, Kitsune's entire body dissolved into sand. Lisa screamed and jumped back. At the same time, the other two dissolved as well leaving no trace that they were ever there.
Panic and worry rolled off Lisa in waves. She needed to get out of wherever she was. She looked around, but there was only empty space as far as she could see. Lisa began moving again, not sure where she was going but sure it didn't matter. It was only a few more minutes before she spotted something else in the distance. She was skeptical at first but decided to take the chance.
As she moved closer, she realized what she was looking at. It was a giant chess board. The pieces were twice her size. She stopped at the edge of the board and hesitated. The size of the board was roughly the same size as the campus courtyard. All around her were black pieces in the shapes of different animals. Each piece was in their proper place like the game had not started yet. There was only one empty space. Lisa stepped onto the square and looked up at the piece beside her. It was a dog of some kind with a crown atop his head. The king, she thought.
“If that’s the king,” she said looking down at the square beneath her feet. “Then this is the spot for the queen.” Lisa tried to play chess in high school. She was never any good at it. She grew quickly frustrated with what she called the ridiculous rules about how you are supposed to win the game. She still remembered how all the pieces were arranged and how they moved.
“My queen,” a voice thundered in the distance.
Like someone flipped a switch, the world around her changed. The sky turned a blood-red color mixed with streaks of orange and yellow. The ground shifted to a dark black and gray mix that stretched for what seemed like forever. Lisa felt sick all of a sudden. It was like being dropped out of an airplane and then landing on the ground face first.
Lisa stepped away from the chess board and moved towards whoever spoke. In front of her, a shadowy silhouette appeared. Lisa could not tell how far away it was, but she did know that it was gigantic. She squinted her eyes and tried to focus. The silhouette became slightly clearer. She could see a pointed head with long antlers adorned on the top. Whatever it was, Lisa thought, it looked like a giant deer.
“Who are you?” Lisa asked. She was unsure if whoever it was could hear her from that distance.
"I am the master of this realm," it said. It did not have a problem hearing her.
“What are you?” Lisa asked.
“I am the god of fate,” it said with the wicked tone in its voice.
Lisa was sure that whoever it was had to be a male from the sound of his voice. "Where am I? How did I get here?"
“You mortals sure like to ask the most mundane questions. You should not expect every question to be answered for you. Some things you have to figure out for yourself.”
Definitely a god, Lisa thought. He reminded her of Pete only she could not shake the feeling that whoever this was much worse than the Griffin.
“Can you at least tell me what I’m doing here?”
“You are here because of that which you wear on your wrist.”
Lisa held up her arm and studied the bracelet. The symbols were glowing with a pale light. They were reacting to something, she thought.
“You do not know the power within that relic.”
“I guess you are not going to explain it to me either,” Lisa said. She dropped her arm and stared up at the god. “If you aren’t going to explain anything to me then send me home. If you’re a god, then do the whole ‘wake up’ thing and let’s move this along.”
The god erupted in thunderous laughter. It was not pleasant like Kitsune's. In fact, in made Lisa's blood go cold. It was full of malice and hatred.
“You believe me to be like the fools you have grown so fond of. You think that I will just snap my fingers and make everything better for you.”
“No, I don’t think that. I just want to go home.”
“We can’t always have what we want, Lisa. Sometimes we have to work for what we desire,” he said harshly. “Life is only but a game of chance.”
Lisa’s eyes widened. “How do you know my name?”
“I too like to play games. That chess board you see behind you is my game. I’ve been playing long before your people walked the earth. I know how to turn a game of chance and fate into exactly what I desire.”
Hearing the words ‘game’ and ‘fate’ reminded Lisa of something. The gods she saw on the way here. She thought back to the comics and how King pointed out that Dragon and Pete were playing a game of chess with him.
“Dragon said that their game was so much more complicated than a simple game of chess,” Lisa pointed out.
The god's voice grew thick and louder. "That fool has no clue what a true game is. Their idiotic game meant nothing which is why they both got what they deserved." He paused and even though Lisa could not see his face she was sure he was smiling, "They served their purpose though."
Lisa turned as one of the pieces rose from the board. It was a white pawn. As Lisa looked closer, she realized that it was in the shape of Pete himself. It crumbled to dust. A few other pieces crumbled as well. One of which that looked like Dragon.
"You said this was a game. What kind of game are you playing? What do Pete and Dragon have to do with it?"
“There you go again asking more mundane questions,” he said. “This time I will humor you and explain since you are a vital piece.”
“What,” she murmured under her breath. She did not want to be a part of any kind of game.
“I am Drasil. I told you that life is a game of chance well I have taken it upon myself to ensure that fate works in my favor. I have used both god’s and mortal’s actions to ensure my victory at the ultimate game. Therefore, I will get my ultimate prize.”
“What is the prize?” Lisa asked. “I hope it’s better than what Pete and Dragon were playing for.”
"You will find out soon enough. I will tell you this; once I have it, no one will be able to stop me from taking my rightful place as ruler of the gods."
Lisa stared. She did not like the sound of that. Drasil suddenly became much clearer like someone focused a pair of binoculars. His head was like a deer's with long jagged antlers that glowed like stars. His dark brown fur was missing in some places. He only wore a long loincloth that fell on the floor. He was kneeling with his arms hung in the air. Lisa could not stop staring at his eyes. They were completely black except for two red pupils in the center, and they were staring directly at her. His hooves were like lethal claws, pointed and ragged. There were long scars that ran up and down his bare chest. The most obvious thing she noticed was not his body but was surrounding it. Wrapped around his body were hundreds of small golden wires. Each one dug into his flesh as they hummed with godly power.
“Now my queen, be gone,” he boomed.
The ground beneath her opened up, and she fell straight through.
Lisa's eyes shot open as she let out an ear-piercing scream. She bolted upright and looked around. She was back in the Lindberg house. She felt a hand grip her shoulder and turned to see Rowan next to her, his face full of worry and panic.
“Lisa, are you alright?” he asked. “You passed out for a few seconds.”
She looked at him then at the other who were all looking at her with fear in their eyes. Even King looked concerned for her well-being. Fox had his phone out like he was about to call an ambulance.
“What…what happened?” Lisa asked trying to catch her breath.
"After the bracelet began sparking you swoon and fell on the floor. Your eyes rolled in the back of your head, and you started thrashing around. We thought you had a seizure or something," Rowan told her.
Lisa pressed her hand against her head. She could still hear Drasil’s voice in her head. His words banged around like gunshots. She had never felt anything so horrible in her life.
For a brief moment, no one spoke. They all looked at her and then at each other like they were trying to decide if she needed to go to the hospital or not.
Rockstar Hawk was the first to speak, “What do we do now?”
"I need to talk to someone," Lisa said standing up. Rowan grabbed her arm, but she jerked it away without a word. She moved to the door and threw it open. No one followed her which was a relief. She did not want to talk about what happened until she had a better understanding herself.
Lisa rushed down the street and five minutes later found herself standing in front of the wolf house. She turned the knob and let herself in. The thing about a family of wolves. There was no need to lock the door because no one was dumb enough to break in. She walked pass Miles who was in his chair reading the newspaper. He looked up as she walked by but she ignored his call. She walked into King's room, and he was already waiting for her.
Kitsune patted the spot on the bed beside him. Lisa took the invitation and sat down. He did not even need to ask what happened before Lisa began telling him the whole story. How King brushed against the bracelet. Her waking up in the space. Finding the chess board. Talking to Drasil. Then she told him everything Drasil said to her. His eyes darkened, and she noticed his mouth twitch, but he said nothing.
"I'm honestly scared out of my mind. I don't know what any of that meant, but I know it can't be good. The way he spoke about Pete and Dragon made me really think he was much more powerful than them. What do I do about this?"
Kitsune said nothing for a moment. His hand gripped his knees and Lisa could see his tails twitch. All nine of them.
Finally, he said, “Nothing. There is nothing you can do.”
"What? That's all you say." She was freaking out, and he had no words of comfort or support at all. That was so un-Kitsune of him.
“I mean that this is not your problem. Let me handle this. This is a matter of heaven.”
“You know who he is don’t you,” Lisa asked.
Kitsune’s mouth tightened. “Yes, but that is not important. What is important is what you are doing to King.”
“King? What about him?”
“You’re forcing him to admit something about himself that he is not ready to admit just yet.”
“The interview,” she said blankly.
"Exposing King to the pets in the neighborhood was one thing. They know him, and even then it was a surprise." He looked thoughtful for a second then asked, "Do you know why Pete kept King from using his real name when he was first transformed?"
“To torture him,” she said.
"Yes, but also to keep him from exposing himself. Pete could have easily have called him Joel. But instead, he changed it to King to hide what he did. Not just from Dragon and me but from everyone. Pete was and is many things, but one thing he is not is someone who is willing to expose divinity to mortals. There are rules about these kind of things."
“Really, from what I know about it you guys expose magic and divinity to whoever you please.”
“It may seem like that. But in actually how many people or pets really knew about us?” he asked.
Lisa started counting in her head. “Fourteen or fifteen, I think.”
“More now since you and Rowan blabbed to everyone in the neighborhood but yes before you both arrived there were only a select few. Even then they did not know everything.”
"That's right; Fox did not remember anything about what happened in heaven."
Kitsune nodded. "Even when I gave King the ability to say his name, I did so with the knowledge that he could not use it for his own safety. To this day, he really uses it and so do those around him."
"He didn't tell anyone what happened to him because he was scared of what would happen?" Lisa said realizing something deep down she already knew. "If they did somehow believe him, who knows what would happen?"
"I know because, you know, omnipotence and all. I can tell you it would not have ended well. Just mentioning King's real name set Fox off that one time."
Lisa knew he was referring to the watch. Fox was super freaked out about the fact that Joel was there even though technically he was there the entire time. The others would most likely do the same. She was reminded of her own words she said less than an hour ago, “You are still a wanted fugitive.”
"I'm doing it again," she said solemnly. "I'm treating this world like it isn't real. I keep thinking that there are no real consequences to my actions. King was right. I am worse than Pete." If it was possible for her to feel worse than she already did, that was it.
“I wouldn’t go that far. You haven’t adjusted yet. You spent your entire life believing one thing when in fact is so much more. You think King was as collected when he was first changed as he seemed in the comic.”
“He was not that chill,” Lisa pointed out. She thought about the first few panels and how determined he was to make it seem that Pete was not getting to him.
"What you don't see is the harsh truth about what he was like." Kitsune had a wide grin on his face like he was enjoying the thought. "He gave Pete a rough time those first few days. He bit him once."
“What!” Lisa could not help but laugh. “He did. Good for him.”
Kitsune turned serious again. “Pete was determined. He was patient and let King adjust to his new reality. That's what you need to do. Adjust. Also, understand. King and the others have real feelings and real problems. Sometimes you have to put the needs of others over your own desires."
“Thanks for the advice however cliché it was,” Lisa told him.
He shrugged. “Clichés work.”
“So I just go back over there and finish the interview without exposing King or anything magical. I have to do this right,” she said mostly to herself.
“That’s right. Go and give an awesome interview. Make this count,” he said giving her his famous toothy smile.
Lisa leaned over and kissed him on the cheek catching him completely off guard. His eyes widen as she moved away. “Thanks, you always know what I need.”
She stood up and walked out of the room. Kitsune sat there frozen. Slowly he raised his paw and rested it on the spot where she kissed him. He could feel his tails bush up as his fur stood on end.
When Lisa returned to the Lindberg house, she was determined to follow Kitsune's advice and do this right. She walked in and sat back down in her chair acting as if nothing happened. The others were still standing around like they were not sure what do next."
Rowan was surprised by Lisa’s calm attitude. “Are you alright? You left in a hurry just now.”
"I'm fine now. I had to work something out.” She paused, “I want to apologize to you all…again." She took a deep breath then continued. "I know I have not been professional during this interview, but that is changing now. I have to consider your feelings and focus on the show. So do you want to give this another chance." Quickly, she added, "A third try."
The others exchanged glances. “We haven’t gotten any real footage yet besides from Fox. Remember that you agreed to do this if you want your money,” Rock told them.
“Yeah, let’s get this started,” Rowan said taking his seat beside Lisa.
The others took their places either on the couch or in the corners of the room. The cameras were pointed at them, and Rock gave the cue to begin.
“Why don’t you start us off, Rowan?” Lisa asked. “You have a better understanding of how to do this than I do.”
“Okay, how about we ask Bailey a question since she is the only one we haven’t asked.”
“Go ahead,” Bailey said without hesitation.
“You have done something truly astonishing being a part of one of the few pet marriages in this state. How does it feel being married? What is it like being married to King here?”
“Hey,” King said but Bailey placed her paw on his leg.
“Well, it’s like this…”

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:58 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 4: Let’s Imaginate Anime! Part 1
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from King

So apparently it's my turn to do the introduction or whatever. Ugh, let's get this over with. Previously two humans named Rowan and Lisa were transported from another world to mine. They leave behind a comic book that details the fact that I was once a human named Joel Robinson who was part of a plot to kidnap Fox, the Husky. Who should find it but Bill Lindberg, the officer who arrested me. He kicks me out of the house and forbids me from seeing my wife or my kids. Those two show back up and somehow fix everything. They graduate from college, good for them and are offered a job working for Keene Milton over the summer. Apparently, the ferret wants to use their invasive knowledge of us as part of a docu-series about the pets and animals living in Babylon Gardens. That would be great if he didn't decide to blackmail Bailey and me into being the first ones they film. Rowan and Lisa show up at my house, and we get started. Then Lisa starts asking me all these personal questions like how old I am. That is none of your censored business. Rowan pulled out another one of those forsaken comic book and this one has a fan fiction story in the back. I get upset and leave and who should come and get me but Lisa. Somehow I let her talk me into going back to finish the show. Except we get into it and she passes out. When she comes to she runs off to speak with Kitsune. I don't know what he told her but whatever sage wisdom he had worked. When she came back, she was like a different person. But there was one thing I noticed. She was quiet and distracted during the interview. I don't know what happened, but it messed her up.

The park was bustling with joggers, picnic goers, families, and pets enjoying the summer weather. The sky was clear and blue. There was even a subtle breeze blowing around to keep the temperature down. It was a perfect day to be outside, Lisa thought. She examined one man throwing a Frisbee while his dog ran off to fetch it. The dog was running on all fours. Why did that bother her? The wind changed. Lisa caught the scent of cedar and firewood. She turned to see Kitsune was sitting across from her. He was wearing his usual purple plaid jacket and a black t-shirt. He had on a yin-yang necklace around his neck. He smiled showing off his perfectly white teeth.
“Are you going to make a move? It’s your turn,” he said to her.
Lisa wondered what he was talking about then looked down at the table between them. There was a chessboard laying out with all the pieces in place and ready to be moved. He had already moved his pawn forward. Lisa reached out to move her pawn but hesitated. Something wasn’t right.
She looked up at Kitsune who was studying the board with an intense expression his face. All nine tails were waving in the breeze. A male jogger moved pass them and gave them a sideways glance. Lisa watched him jog away and wondered why he did not say anything.
“Kitsune, should you look like that here? What if someone notices you?”
"Why would they do that?" he asked. He rested his head on his paws and looked at her with a curious expression. "There's no one here but us."
Lisa looked around again, but this time the park was completely deserted. She twisted her body around but no matter where she looked there was not another soul. The breeze stopped blowing. The park was eerily silent.
“It’s still your move.”
Lisa heard the voice, but it was not Kitsune's. She whipped around and saw her father sitting across from her. His elbow on the table and his hand were pressed against his cheek. He smiled at her.
“Daddy?” Lisa could feel tears form in her eyes. She had not laid eyes on her father since he left her and her mother when she was eight. Thirteen years later, here he was. “I don’t understand. Why are you here?”
He still looked the same as the day he left. He was still wearing the same clothes he had on when he walked out the door and out of her life. A cloud moved in front of the sun casting a shadow over them. Her brain was screaming at her, telling her something was wrong.
“It’s your move,” he told her. “Listen to me, Lisa. You need to be careful with whatever move you make."
"What do you mean?" Lisa asked and looked down at the board. All the pieces were rearranged. It now looked like they had been playing for a while. Several of her pieces were missing, but there were even more of the white pieces missing.
“Protect the king.”
Lisa looked up, but her father was gone. There was no one sitting across from her. She began to panic. She stood up from her seat and spun around. The sky was no longer blue but turned a dark red color. The grass and trees had turned brown and withered. She was struggling to breathe.
“It’s your move, my queen,” a deep dread voice spoke behind her.
Slowly, Lisa turned around and saw a horrible monster sitting across from her. Drasil’s head was like a deer with long jagged antlers that glowed like stars. His dark brown fur was missing in some places. The eyes were completely black except for two red pupils in the center, and they were staring directly at her. His hooves were like lethal claws, pointed and ragged. There were long scars that ran up and down his bare chest.
Drasil picked up one of his pieces and moved it across the board all while not taking his eyes off her. "It's your move." He moved another one of his pieces. "Make your move." He smiled, and she could see long jagged fangs in his mouth each one stained red. Another piece moved. They were slowly coming closer to her pieces.
Lisa stepped back. She had to get away. Why wasn't she running away from him?
Drasil stood up. With one massive swipe of his arm, he knocked the remaining pieces on the ground. Only one was left. The white king piece. He picked it up and held it out for her to see. Before she could react, he jumped over the table and tackled her to the ground. He had one of the clawed hooves wrapped around her throat crushing her windpipe. The other still held the chess piece. He leaned in and whispered in her ear, “It’s your move.”
Lisa jerked awake. She was drenched in sweat as she threw the sheets off her body. The room was completely dark. The only light was from the moon shining through the window. She could see her few belongings she brought from her world. Drasil’s breath still felt warm in her ears. She drew her legs closer to her and closed her eyes. Suddenly, something hard and smooth touched her leg. She opened her eyes and felt around. Her hand wrapped around something hard. Holding it up to her face, she could see it was a chess piece. The king. Her eyes widened as she could hear a voice whisper to her. “It’s your move.”
Lisa screamed and threw the chess piece across the room. It thudded against the wall and rolled out of sight. Seconds later, the door to her room burst open and light poured in. Standing in the doorway was Rowan wearing a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. His hair was a full mess. He scanned the room until his eyes fell on her. He flipped on the overhead light.
“Lisa,” he said not bothering to hide the panic in his voice. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
With a shaking finger, she pointed at the wall where she threw the chess piece. "The king. It's there."
Rowan did not ask any questions. He got on his hands and knees and examined the area Lisa was pointing at. Less than a minute later, he stood up and shook his head. “There’s nothing here.”
“I threw it against the wall. It was real.” Her voice was cracking as she spoke. She felt completely cold and vulnerable.
Rowan walked over and sat beside her on the bed. Lisa leaned over and rested her body against his. Finally, she could no longer hold it together. She cried into his shirt while he held her in his arms.
Meanwhile in Heaven
Cerberus was making her rounds when she heard a hissing noise. She looked around and saw someone gesturing to her from the shadows of one of the ice cream parlors. She recognized the silhouette instantly and rolled all six of her eyes. She walked over and towered over Kitsune was still watching the citizens of heaven go about their business.
“What are you doing?” Cerberus asked.
“I need you to do me a favor,” Kitsune said to her. He was still watching the crowds like he was afraid one of them would suddenly question why two immortal beings would be having a chat behind an ice cream shop.
"Oh no," Cerberus said crossing her arms. "I'm tired of doing you favors and getting nothing in return. First, it was let Joel keep his watch for a little while longer. Then there was that time you wanted me too…"
Kitsune interrupted her before she could go on. "I know I'm asking a lot, but this is serious."
Cerberus's middle head narrowed her eyes. Kitsune was only serious when something significant was going on. Usually, he was the most free-spirited demigod in heaven. She knew something must have happened while he was on Earth. She had a good idea what it was.
All the heads grinned wickedly. “This has nothing to do with that mortal girl does it.”
“Whaaat?” Kitsune said and placed his hands behind his head. He would not look her in any of her eyes. “This has nothing to do with Lisa. Well, okay it kind of does but not for the reasons you think.”
Cerberus raised three eyebrows. "Uh-uh."
“Just listen to me. I need you to go to Tartarus,” Kitsune said.
No. Nope. No way.” Cerberus’s heads said simultaneously. “I’m done with the underworld. You know that. I’m promoted. I don’t have to deal with that place ever again.”
Cerberus started walking away. Kitsune pretended not to hear her refusal and kept talking. “I need you to check on…him.”
Cerberus stopped dead in her tracks. One head turned to him and asked “Why do you want to check on him? After all this time.”
“I think the seal is beginning to weaken,” he said sternly.
“Why do you think that?”
"Lisa had a vision the other day. She met him. He spoke to her. She was shaken up pretty badly by the time I got to her. I was able to calm her down and get her mind off of it, but I'm worried about what he may have done to her. You remember how he was."
“You really care about her don’t you?” Cerberus’s eyes were full of pity.
“Yeah. I mean no more than everyone else.” He smiled nervously. “I care about all the mortal equally.”
“Hmmhmm. Let’s pretend that is not a lie and move on. If you are sure that the seal may be weakening, I’ll check it out. It’ll take a few days though. What are you going to do in the meantime?”
He flashed a toothy grin and said, “I have an idea.”

Two Days Later
Lisa was in a foul mood. Rowan dragged her away from the luxury of Milton Manor to go the Good Ole Dogs clubhouse for some special event they were having. She was exhausted after not having slept well for the last few days. She kept seeing Drasil in her dreams taunting her. Neither her or Rowan spoke of the night he came into her room, and she cried into his shoulder.
“This is it,” Rowan said pointing at the sign on the stage.
Lisa squinted her eyes and could barely make out the words, “PB&J Theater present ‘Naruto: The Final Battle.’”
"No. Just no. Rowan, I am not sitting through one of the plays." Lisa stomped her foot. "I never like the ‘Imaginate' chapters of the comics, and I definitely don't want to watch it live."
“Well, it’s a good thing that you won’t be watching it.” Peanut appeared on the stage with a wide grin spread across his face. “You both are going to be in it.”
“What?” Lisa asked dryly.
"Surprise," Rowan said throwing his arms in the air. "Peanut wanted to do a play in honor of us joining the neighborhood. I suggested Naruto since I know how much you love it."
“I haven’t watched that in years.”
“Anyway this is so exciting. We are finally apart of something.” Rowan was not bothering to hide his enthusiasm.
“When do you have time to come up with this?” Lisa asked.
“It was right after we interviewed Peanut and Jelly the other day. It was after you left. Peanut told me about this. Since then we’ve been working together to put this together. All of the usual pets are going to be a part of it.”
Lisa looked around the room at all the empty chairs. “There’s no audience.”
“We have something better than a live audience.” Lisa twinged at the voice that just spoke. Standing in the doorway was Rock followed by Daryl and North Star both with a camera in their paws. She was used to Mile’s cubs trading off on camera duty. “We are going to film the entire performance as an episode of the show.”
“Seriously. You have seen these performances before right?” Lisa turned to Rowan to show that she had not forgotten his part in this. “They use paper bags and paper crafts for all their performances.”
"Yes, I know that, but that is what makes it great," Rock gestured to the stage. "Animal's ingenuity. It shows the audience that we are creative enough to get by with limited supplies plus adds a pity factor when they see just how awful the props are."
“You know you could buy them real props,” Rowan suggested. But Rock had already begun shouting orders at Daryl and North Star to get in position. Rowan sighed and turned to Lisa, “I guess we should go backstage and join up with everyone. We need to get our costumes.”
“Rowan, I don’t know how I can make this any clearer. I do not want to do this. I’m tired. I have slept in days. The last thing I want to do is play pretend. Which begs the question why do you want to? In case you forgot, you are in your twenties.”
"At our age, it is not called ‘pretend.' It's called LARP."
“That makes me feel so much better,” she said shaking her head in disbelief.
“Besides, if this is part of the show I don’t think you have much of a choice since you are the co-host. What if Keene finds out you skipped work?”
Lisa's eyes bored into Rowan like she was trying to pierce a hole in his chest with her mind. Finally, she gave in and walked backstage with Rowan following her with a skip in his step.
The backstage was already full of pets moving around, stepping on each other’s paws and tails as they tried to put together makeshift costumes that were supposed to resemble the outfits worn by the anime characters. The air was full of shouting and screaming mixed with a bit of complaining.
“Who is Madara?” Bino asked shoving a sheet of paper into Rowan’s face.
“He’s the villain,” Rowan said with forced patience/
“I thought I was playing the villain,” Fido protested coming up to join them.
"You are. Sort of. You both are the villains, but Obito is not a real villain as much as a troubled soul who eventually helps the heroes stop Madara."
“This is way too much work,” Bino said stomping off.
“Who am I playing?” Spo asked from the top of Fido’s skull.
“Um…you can just be one of the random ninjas in the Allied Shinobi Alliance.” Rowan walked off before being bombarded by Spo’s steam of foul language and complaining.
Rowan and Lisa walked into a more secluded area of the stage, and he handed her a character sheet. "You'll be playing Sakura."
Lisa took the sheet and examined it. In the corner, there was a picture of Sakura taken from the show. The rest of the page was filled with different fact, skills, abilities, and common phrases used by the character.
“Wait, there’s no script. I thought we were acting out the final battle. Shouldn’t we have some kind of script?”
"Peanut and I talked about that. He did not want to limit the imagination of the others. Honestly, I did not want to have to go through the work of writing down each line from the show. Not to mention, barely anyone knows what we're even doing. At this point I rather they just do what they want and let the people who watched the show lead. That's why you're playing Sakura.
“Who are you playing?”
Rowan gave her an evil grin and said, “Sasuke.”
Lisa raised her eyebrows. “Really, I thought you would be playing Naruto.”
Rowan shook his head, "No, Peanut is playing Naruto. Don't worry once everyone gets together and figures out what they are doing we'll do a roll call before we start."
“Who is this Kakashi person again?” One of the pets was calling from the across the stage.
Rowan sighed and walked away leaving Lisa alone. Or at least she would have been if she did not spot a small fuzzy shape sitting in one of the chairs over in the corner. A jolt went up her spine.
Lisa walked over, and King looked up from his character sheet. "Mind if I sit here?" she asked gesturing to the empty seat beside King.
King shrugged and went back to looking at the paper. Lisa set down and watched the commotion coming from a few feet away. Peanut was busy passing out paper bags with the names of the characters on them while Rowan was being harassed by angry pets who still had no idea who or what they were playing.
“I’m kind of surprised you’d want to be a part of this? These plays always seemed silly to me.”
"Bailey was the one who first convinced me to play along. She wanted to do more activities with everyone. So when she heard about Peanut's theater troop, she was curious. I was dragged along."
“I guess that’s why you had like one line in the ‘And then there were none’ play.”
“Hmm.”
“Speaking of which, where is Bailey?” Lisa asked looking around. The dark gray husky was nowhere to be seen on or off the stage.
“She’s home with the pups.”
“You came by yourself. I’m impressed.”
King nodded. "Bailey thought it would be good if we did more things with the neighborhood pets. How did she put it, ‘I don't want to be like one of those couples.’ Whatever that means."
“I think she means that she doesn’t want to be that old married couple who never go out and have their world revolve around their kids. They have no real social life.”
“My parents were like that,” King said.
Lisa ran her fingers through her hair. Now that she thought about it. This was the first time she had been alone with King since she ran him off, screaming into his bedroom and she went to get him. They had a pretty uncomfortable conversation then too. Since they met, she'd only made their relationship more awkward than she thought was possible. But here he was talking to her like nothing happened.
“If you don’t like these plays then why are you here?” King said rolling up the character sheet and clutching it in his paws. He looked up at her with his blue eyes and raised an eyebrow.
“Rowan dragged me into it. Trust me I don’t want to be here.”
"Maybe it would help if you told me what was bothering you," King said eyeing her carefully.
Lisa looked away trying to avoid his gaze. “What makes you think something is bothering me? I am perfectly alright. Everything is normal.”
“When someone says ‘everything is normal’ that is a red flag that it’s not,” King said.
“Yeah, I knew that was a mistake the minute it came out of my mouth. Why do you care?”
King sighed. "I've come to except that every time you come into my life, you tend to make me miserable despite your genuine intentions."
"That's not true…" Lisa said, but King interrupted her.
He pointed at finger at her and scrunched up his face. "It is. First, it was the comic book. Luckily, you were able to fix that. Then it was the interview where you embarrassed me in front of my wife and best friend and on video. But somehow you were able to turn it around. You even seemed better behaved after you came back from your little outing."
Lisa said nothing, so King continued talking.
"I know what it's like.” King said relaxing his body. “I can recognize someone who is drowning in fear and anxiety. Trust me I've been there. I went to prison twice and was Pete's prisoner for six months. I can tell that something is eating away at you from the inside and if you don't tell someone, then you'll end up bitter and rotten."
Lisa was not sure if she wanted to open up about her problems to King. After everything they had been through together King was the last person/dog she felt comfortable spilling her soul to. But at the same time, he was the only one who she could relate to at the moment.
"Something happened when you touched the bracelet, and I passed out. I saw some things. Not unlike when you met Dragon and Kitsune for the first time. It was horrible. I saw someone, and I still don't know anything about him. Since then he's been stalking my dreams and my nightmares.” She crumpled the paper in her fingers as the thought of Drasil’s voice rang in her mind. She wondered if King could smell the fear coming off her. She hoped he couldn’t. “Can I ask you something?”
King narrowed his eyes. “It’s not about my age is it?”
"No.” Lisa swallowed. “How did you adjust to everything that happened to you? Kitsune told me that you gave Pete a hard time in the beginning but from what I've seen you handled yourself fairly well. No offense, but that is kind of surprising considering you tend to overreact and get emotional. How you survived going to prison is a mystery to me."
King opened his mouth to say something but closed it again with what looked like a great effort. He swallowed whatever he was about to say and then said, "Kitsune really needs to keep his trap shut. Secondly, the only reason I was even close to okay was because I denied most of it was happening in the beginning. It was hard, and I won't lie. I protected myself the way I always have. Bitter sarcasm, lying, and anger. It was the anger that kept me from going insane from fear. I was angry at Pete, and I was angry at myself for getting myself into the situation in the first place.”
"To answer your question, I dealt with it by deciding to try to live with it the best I could. That's all we can do. I decided that if Pete was going to make me miserable, I was not going to give him the satisfaction that he was getting to me. Then after I moved into the wolves' house things got a little easier. I still had Fox to hang out with. In my mind, I kept telling myself this was only temporary. Honestly, I had to remind myself every day that Kitsune promised me some kind of reward when the stupid game was over. Even when the watch thing happened, I kept moving forward despite how much it sucked."
"You're a better man than me.” She paused. “I realize that sounded wrong for two reasons. I'm not strong like you. I don't think I ever was. My dad left my mom and me when I was eight. After that, she changed. She became to quote your words "A mean ol' sourpuss" and made me miserable, but I could never do anything about it except run away. I ran away to this world to get away from her. I think I ran away from reality in general." She sighed. "That's why I've given you such a hard time because I'm still in denial that any of this is real. I don't want to believe that it is real because if it is then everything I know is a lie, then I think my head will explode. Kitsune said I have to adjust, but it's hard. Then I find out that some interdimensional demon god is using me for some evil plot. That makes everything worse."
King nodded. “Been there. It sucks. A lot.”
"The worst part is I don't feel safe anymore." She looked over at Rowan who was still fending off ten different pets asking him twenty different questions. "Don't tell Rowan but I honestly have thought about leaving and going back home. I hate my mother, but at least she's human."
“Take it from someone who has spent his entire life running away from things. It never works. Your problems always seem to find you eventually,” he said with disgust.
Lisa thought about the chess piece she found in her bed and realized he was right. Drasil would find her eventually. That really did suck.
“By the way who are you playing?” she asked.
King unrolled the paper and read the name in the top left corner. “Shikamaru. Like I’m supposed to know who that is.”
“I take it you’ve never been a big fan of anime. Anyway, Shikamaru is a genius and a strategist. Basically, all you have to do is stand back and give orders.
King smiled half-heartedly. “I think I can do that.”
“Thanks, King. This really helped. It’s kind of nice that we can talk like this without someone getting upset.”
“From the looks of the other we have plenty of upset pets already,” King said gesturing to the angry mob forming around Rowan and Peanut.
Let them figure it out, Lisa thought. She was enjoying herself for the first time in days.
“Lisa! Lisa help!” Rowan shouted.
She could see him waving at her to come save him. She rolled her eyes and turned to King.
"I better go rescue him, or I'll be without a co-host for the rest of the documentary." Without a second thought, she leaned in and hugged King's tiny body. "Thanks," she whispered. "It's nice to have someone who understands."
King returned the hug, wrapping his arms around her back. They were too short to make it all the way, but it was still nice.
“Aww, it’s so nice to see you getting along.”
King and Lisa broke apart to see Kitsune standing in front of them like he appeared there out of thin air. Knowing Kitsune that was probably what happened.
Lisa jumped out of her chair like she was embarrassed being caught hugging King. She cast a sideways glance at King who was looking the other way, staring at the wall, pretending no one was there.
“What are you doing here? Don’t tell me you’ve come to watch what is bound to be the greatest insult to anime in the history of the world.”
Kitsune smiled at her. “No, I haven’t come to watch. I’ve come to join you guys.”
Lisa struggled to understand what Kitsune was saying to her. He wanted to be a part of this. Did he suffer a recent head injury or did he merely fall out of heaven and bumped his head? He was a god, and he wanted to be a part of this? No matter how many times she asked that question the answer always came out huh.
"What's the matter? You don't think I'm a good enough actor?" Kitsune said placing his paw against the chest and making his voice sound overly dramatic. His eyes glowed warmly which made Lisa's legs weak. She hated how she felt around him. Like every time she was with him, she would just dissolve into pudding in his paws.
“It’s not that you are not good enough,” Lisa said after getting her emotions back under control. “I just can’t think of a reason why you would want to. I mean have you see the ‘costumes?’” She made air quotes with her fingers.
"Don't worry I have something in mind that will make this much more exciting," he said and gave her a full toothy grin while holding his arms behind his back.
Lisa didn’t have high hopes for what came next.
Finally, everyone was settled and had on their “costumes.” Rowan had everyone line up shoulder to shoulder on the stage. Lisa was at the farthest end. She lost sight of Kitsune during the shuffle, but her internal radar was telling her that he was still nearby. In her hand was a paper bag with the word "Sakura" written in black marker as well as the symbol worn on the headbands of the Allied Shinobi Forces. Some of the other pets already put on their bags while others were holding theirs with apprehension.
Rowan walked up and down the stage like a drill sergeant inspecting the troops. Lisa glanced at the seat and saw Rock sitting on the front row looking very impatient. He had his legs and arms crossed. Both North Star and Daryl were looking pretty bored. Lisa couldn’t blame them. Getting the pets organized was a much greater challenge than anyone could have predicted. Lisa rolled her eyes and thought, this is what you get for trying to do something this big without a script or even rehearsal.
Rowan stopped at the center of the stage and turned to face everyone. His arms were folded behind his back, and Lisa could vaguely see a paper bag in his hand. He looked more serious than any other time Lisa could think of. Rowan stared coldly at everyone.
"Okay, we're going to do this quick, and we're going to do this right. I'm going to point to you, and you'll say your name and what character you are playing. I don't want anyone confused about who is who when we start. I'll go first, Rowan Gains playing Sasuke."
He pointed at Peanut who was at the other end of the line from Lisa.
“Peanut playing Naruto.”
“Grape playing Ino.”
“Fox playing Kakashi.”
“Max playing Minato.”
“Tiger playing Akamaru. Which if I could say something…” Rowan already moved on before Tiger could finish.
"Marvin playing Kiba."
“Joey playing Sai.”
“Lester playing Rock Lee. Begrudgingly.”
“Dallas playing Gaara.”
"Sabrina playing Hinata against her better judgment."
"Tarot playing Tsunade also against her better judgment."
“Bino playing Madara. So watch out losers.”
“Fido playing Obito.”
“Mungo playing Guy.”
"King playing Shikamaru."
“Lisa Smith playing Sakura.”
Rowan walked back to the center of the stage and beamed at everyone. “Now we have all gone over your characters. You all should know who you’re playing and how to do it. I’ll go over the rules one last time for those of you who still don’t understand.”
He cleared his throat then continued. "We are reenacting the final battle of Naruto Shippuden or not really the battle because that was with Kagura but that's not the point. Peanut suggested that we do this more openly as in we the Allied Shinobi Forces will fight Obito and Madara and even though we win in the show if Obito or Madara somehow pull off a miracle they can win. Since we are freestyling you can do whatever attacks or jutsu you want within reason and within the confines of your character. I have asked Kitsune to serve as referee."
Right on cue. Kitsune walked pass Lisa from behind the stage and joined Rowan. He was in his ‘fox’ form which meant only one tail. Lisa could hear King groan and begin to mutter to himself next to her but did not take her eyes off the fox.
“Does everyone sort of almost understand what we’re doing?” Rowan asked.
There was a collective assortment of "Yeas," "Maybes," and "Hang on." Lisa swore she could hear someone ask, "What are we doing again?"
"Good now let's get started. Everyone get into your places. Allied Shinobi Forces on the right side of the stage. Fido and Bino on the left." Rowan pointed to both sides at the same time as the others moved to their collective spots. One everyone got into their places Rowan walked over to join the allies.
“That is my cue,” Kitsune said and snapped his fingers.
There was a flash of light so bright that Lisa had to close her eyes. When she opened them again, she thought she was the one who hit her head. All around her was a barren wasteland of gray stone and broken rocks. The sky was a swirling black sea of clouds. She looked around and gasped.
The others were there with her, but they were dressed completely different. They looked the same, but they were all wearing the same clothes from the characters in the show. Some even had more distinguishing features like different color hair raised in spikes on the top of their heads. Dallas had Gaara‘s infamous tattoo on his head only it was the same color as one of his spots. The most interesting change of all was Tiger.
“What am I going on the ground?!” Tiger shouted lifting one paw after another to examine them.
He was on all fours and looked like a regular dog. Unlike the others he still the same other than being a quadruped. Marven stood next to him trying to contain his laughter. His had Kiba's markings below his eyes.
"You said you wish more people treated you like a dog," Marvin said trying not to smile too widely.
“This is not what I meant,” Tiger shouted.
Lisa wondered what she looked like. She pulled out a kunai from the bag strapped to her waist and held it up. She could barely make out her reflection in the blade. One thing she could see was her hair looked the same except it was bubblegum pink.
“This is so cool,” Joey said unrolling Sai’s giant scroll on the ground. He began drawing something and when he was finished a life-sized replica of himself jumped off the page and ran off into the distance.
“This holodeck stuff is so high-tech,” Lester said to Dallas. The Dalmatian was busy controlling the sand making it fly through the air and crash on the ground.
Everybody else was busy playing with their new toys to really notice what was going on. Lisa looked into the distance trying to spot Bino and Fido. If they were on the other side of the stage then I would mean they would be on the other side of the battlefield, she thought.
“Everyone. Can I have your attention.” It was Peanut who spoke this time. He was dressed in Naruto’s orange jacket and had yellow spikes protruding from his skull. Around his forehead was the headband with the symbol for the Hidden Leaf Village. “We are about to start. I know this is exciting and incompletely not what I had in mind but either way this in no way should change the battle scenario.”
“Hey, there girl. I’ve missed you. How about we go out sometime after this is over?”
Lisa turned to see who spoke. Behind her was Rowan dressed as Sasuke. His hair was a jet black, and he had on Sasuke's lavender jacket one. Sticking out from behind his back was the sword Sasuke used.
“You know he would never say that to anyone. I thought we were supposed to stay in character.”
"Yeah, but you know, Sakura and Sasuke end up together, so I thought why not get the jump on it."
Lisa was not the mood for his games. It was one thing to play pretend with paper bags and paper machete, but this was taking it too far. "Where's Kitsune? I want to give him a piece of my mind."
“Did I hear my name?”
Lisa turned and saw a massive orange leg staring her in the face. She tilted her head back until she was looking at Kitsune’s smiling face staring down at her.
“You’re playing Kurama?!” Lisa shouted. Kistune towered over everyone standing around the area. Luckily he was off to the side so not too accidentally crush anyone. His entire body was orange, but his face was still the same as were his eyes.
“You know I kind of like this fur color. Orange is the new black.”
“Ha Ha. I thought you were playing the referee or being the referee. Why on earth would you be Kurama?”
“Um hello. He’s a nine tail fox. I’m a nine tail fox. We’re both Kitsune this the most obvious role I could play.”
Lisa was not impressed by his sound logic. “Even if you wanted to play Kurama shouldn’t you be inside Peanut right now, giving him your powers.”
"Don't worry," Kitsune said waving his paw in the air. Lisa could see the lethal claws on the end of each finger. "I am still giving him my power, but in this version of the battle, I'm on the outside helping out. It's like Rowan said this is a free for all. Anything could happen."
As if he intentionally planned it and knowing Kitsune that would not be that big of a stretch, the ground began shaking violently. Less than half a mile away a giant statue rose of out the ground. It was the most hideous thing Lisa had ever seen. She had seen the Guedo statue in the anime but seeing it live and in person was an entirely different experience.
Standing atop of the statue was Bino and Fido dressed to the part of Obito and Madara. Bino waved his arm down, and the statue opened its mouth. Suddenly a massive ball of chakra formed from it. Within seconds, it was shot out and sailed directly towards Lisa and the others.
The battle had officially begun.

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:59 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 5: Let’s Imaginate Anime! Part 2
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Lisa

Have you ever woken up one day and thought to yourself "I wish my life were more exciting?" Well, news flash that isn't always a good thing. There was time two months ago that I thought I had life figured out. Fantasy and reality were two different things. That my biggest problem would be finding a job after graduating college. Then everything changed when the fire nation attacked. Sorry, I just always wanted to say that. No, everything changed when I discovered that a comic book series that I liked was an alternate reality and the characters were real living beings. I tried to ignore the fact that my world perspective changed in one afternoon. But then things kept changing. I got a magical bracelet from a guy in an alley. I got a "good" or "okay" friend kicked out of his home. I met a demigod that I have a sort of crush on. I graduated college. Okay, that is normal, but the fact that the aforementioned demigod came to the ceremony made it weird (not that I'm complaining about that). Then I got offered a summer job working on a documentary series about the animals, which I will remind you, I thought were fictional two months ago. After that things settled down or I thought they did until the first filming. That “friend” I told you about, well we got into it a bit. When it was over, I realized that I was not really handling this new version of reality all too well. To make all that worse, I met some kind of demon or god figure who told me that he’s trying to escape from his prison and destroy the world. That’ll brighten up your day. Since then I’ve basically been torn apart by fear and paranoia as my life has become a living nightmare. I’m no hero. I don’t know who or what I am.
Oh, Rowan and Peanut decided to put on a production of "Naruto," and Kitsune used his powers to make it real. So now we're about to be blown away by a massive chakra bomb.

“Everyone get back,” Peanut shouted. His body glowed, and his outfit changed. He took on Naruto’s Jinchūriki form powers and all. Nine tails formed from his back and grew into a massive size. Long claws erupted out of the light and together formed a giant wall in front of everyone. The chakra bomb hit the wall of nine-tails energy, and for a second neither one budged.
All Lisa could think was "what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object" followed by "this was fast."
The chakra bomb began pushing against Peanut's defense, and the poor dog was being propelled backward. Lisa stood there like a statue. She had seen the show hundreds of times and even read the manga. But she had no idea of what she should do to help. The force of the bomb was causing the ground beneath them to crack under strain.
Thankfully, Rowan was there. “Kitsune!” he shouted up at the giant fox. “Can’t you do something?”
Kitsune shrugged. "I can't do anything that wasn't done in the show. This is your adventure. I can give Peanut my power and serve as a mount, but that's about it. This is all on you guys."
“Well, give him more of your power then,” Rowan yelled angrily.
“He’s already using the maximum amount at this point.”
What did that mean? Lisa thought.
Rowan was furious. He stomped around before turning his attention back to the problem at hand. Lisa could feel the air around them begin to heat up from the friction. “Lisa,” Rowan shouted over to her. “Help me support him.”
Rowan had already run over to Peanut before Lisa could get a word in. She had never seen him so assertive or take-charge before. She was kind of impressed. She ran after him but not before taking a glance over at the others. They were standing around completely stunned by what they were seeing. Even the dork squad was completely immobile. Joey still had his scroll on the ground and his brush in hand, but all he was doing was dripping ink on the paper. They needed to do something but what?
Rowan reached Peanut and pour his weight into the dog's back. Rowan closed his eyes and tried to focus. After a few seconds, his body was consumed by a purple aura. Susanoo began to form giving Peanut the extra support he needed. Seeing them gave Lisa an idea. She placed her hands against both Peanut and Rowan and concentrated. Her hands glowed with a faint green light. She started pouring her own energy into their bodies. In her mind, it was something like Sakura's healing jutsu but slightly varied. It began to take effect as Peanut was able to take a step forward and push the bomb back.
Even all their strength together was not good enough. How much power did Bino and Fido put in this thing, she thought? They were never going to be able to push it back, so they had to get rid of it another way. She thought back to the show which was not easy while simultaneously focusing on distributing chakra. One time they used a barrier but another it was transported.
That was it. She turned to the others and scanned each one. She tried to remember who it was. Then her eyes fell on Max. “Max, listen to me,” she cried. “You have the transportation jutsu that the Forth Hokage used to get rid of the bomb in the anime. You have to do that now!”
Max nodded in understanding, but he looked unsure of himself. He jumped over them and landed on the bomb. In less than a second both Max and the bomb were gone. In the distance, there was a massive blinding explosion. Max reappeared, but he looked worn out. He was burned in certain places. He collapsed on the ground and tried to catch his breath.
Grape ran over and kneeled down beside him. “Maxie are you alright?”
“Yeah, but that was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” he said.
Peanut retracted his tails and glared into the distance at the Gedo Statue. His powers were still active, but he lowered the level.
"Here's the plan," Peanut began, but Rowan burst past him.
"Dallas, give me a lift with your sand," he ordered. Dallas was completely caught off guard. He quickly focused and made a sand raft in the air and shot it towards Rowan. As it flew by Rowan jumped on. "I'm going ahead to take head-on. I need the rest of you to follow Peanut and back him up. Fox, I need you to come with me."
“Why me?” Fox asked.
"You're playing Kakashi. Therefore, you are friends with Obito, and you have a connection. Plus, I need your help to take them on."
“Thinking about it now, I would have made since to let Bino be Obito instead of Fido since he and Fox are closer friends,” Joey pointed out.
“I thought about that. But in all honesty, Bino makes a better villain.”
“You got me there,” Joey said nodding his head.
“Okay, I’m coming.” Fox jumped on the sand behind Rowan and placed his paws on Rowan’s shoulders.
“Sharingan activates," Rowan said and narrowed his eyes. Nothing happened. "Um, Sharingan activate." Again nothing happened. "What's going on? Why won't my powers activate."
"I have decided that visual powers were too dangerous for this," Kitsune said waving a finger in the air in a no-no motion. "So no one gets them."
"How is that fair," Rowan said. Once he realized who he was talking too, he turned his attention back to the enemies. "Whatever, let's get going." With that, they took off.
“Wait, you can’t go by yourselves!” Peanut shouted holding his paws to his mouth to further the sound of his voice.
“I’m playing Sasuke, this is what he does,” Rowan called before his voice faded in the wind.
“He got you there,” Lisa said. Peanut did not look so sure about it.
“What are we supposed to do now?” Grape said helping Max to his feet.
Lisa turned to Peanut who was thinking about it. She remembered in the show that Madara split away from Obito eventually, but she doubted that would happen anytime soon. Even if it did, they would have to force them.
"We have to move in," King said stepping forward to everyone's surprise. "This is a classic battle scenario. We have the numbers, but they have a monster on their side. If we can separate them from one another and that thing they're standing on then we have a chance. One thing for certain is that we cannot let them use that attack again.”
Everyone stared at King with dumbfounded expressions.
"He's right," Lester said stepping forward. "If this were D&D we would have sent a forward attack force while the remaining members supplied support. In this case, we need to separate them from the power supply."
“How do we do that?” Tarot asked.
“We do it like a team,” Peanut said slamming a fist onto his paw. “Dallas I want you to make more of those sand things to carry us.” He pointed at Joey, “I want you to draw a few birds to carry a few of our members. That way we can attack from both the air and the land. Top to bottom. Above and below.”
“We get it,” Grape said raising her paws up in frustration. “But how, if I may ask, do we decide who does what.”
“I think I can help with that,” Lisa said. “I probably know more about this other than Rowan. Here’s what I’m thinking. Peanut is right. We attack from above and below.”
“Um that may be a bit of a problem,” Sabrina said pointing to the statue.
Everyone looked at what she was pointing at. Rowan and Fox were still flying towards Bino and Fido, but the statue was going through a transformation. Long grayish brown tails erupted from the rear of the statue as it grew in size. A giant eye emerged from the center of the head while its body fell forward. When it was done, it looked like a cone with spikes protruding from the sides with long arms holding it off the ground.
“It seems they are not wasting any time,” Kitsune said sounding awfully impressed despite the fact they were serious trouble.
“What are they doing?” Lester asked gesturing frantically at the giant staring at them with one massive Sharingan. “This transformation should have taken much longer than that. They’re cheating.”
“Why does it have the Sharingan,” Joey asked. He turned and looked up at Kitsune. “I thought you said that wasn’t allowed. “
Kitsune shrugged. “I said and what I meant is this. The ten-tails can have it because it doesn’t really use it. It’s mostly just for show.”
"Either way, they are moving forward faster than we are," Lisa told them. "That doesn't change the plan. Now we have a bigger target. Joey, Tarot, Lester, and King. Fly above the ten-tails and drop on its head. King, I need you to use the shadow paralysis on both Bino and Fido. Try to hold them still. Lester, can you show him how to do the pose? The others hit the head as hard as you can. Now, Mungo, I want you to do the same but from the bottom of the head.
“Yes mam,” he said getting pumped.
“Sabrina, Dallas, Max, Grape, Tiger, and Marvin. You'll each take a leg. Try to knock it off balance. Do whatever you have to ensure too that it can't attack."
“I’ll ride Kitsune over there along with Peanut to aid Rowan and Fox. Does everyone understand?” When she was finished everyone exchanged glances.
"Shouldn't Peanut be the one giving the orders?" Joey asked, but one look from Lisa shut him up.
“Let’s go.”
Everyone did as they were told. Joey painted enough birds to carry his team in through the air while Dallas worked on getting his sand ready for the ground team. Kitsune knelt down so Lisa and Peanut could get on his back. When they were secure and had a firm grip on his fur, they took off like a rocket.
From what Lisa could see, Rowan and Fox had already engaged with Bino and Fido. She could see several different jutsu being used at once. Kitsune charged forward, and they reached the ten-tails in no time. Unfortunately, the ten-tails was not about to let them get close. Several tails came crashing around them. Kitsune dodged and maneuvered around them. Every time one struck the ground, Lisa could feel her teeth rattle. If they got hit by one of those it was over for them.
"Get ready," Kitsune said. "I'm going to jump up, and that is when you are going to have to get off."
“What are you going to do after that?” Peanut asked.
“I’m going to supply support and watch over everyone to make sure they’re following the rules.”
“So basically, nothing,” Lisa said.
Kitsune turned his head and smiled at her. He jumped up, and Lisa thought she was going to be blown away by the force of the air hitting her face. Somehow she hung long enough for Kitsune to begin descending to the ground. She spotted Rowan fighting Fido while Fox was attacking Bino. Rowan was using his sword, and Fido was using his own sword which was cheating. So we can use whatever weapons we want, Lisa asked herself.
Together, she and Peanut jumped off and landed softly on the head of the ten-tails. They’re arrival temporarily distracted the others causing them to stop fighting long enough to watch reinforcements arrive. As they planned, everyone attacked at once.
As soon as King landed, he knelt down and placed his paws together like Shikamaru. His shadow moved towards Bino and Fido who were being distracted by Tarot and Lester slamming into the ten-tails like a furry asteroid. The monster screamed in agony as the blows came. It shook violently, trying to everyone off but they stayed firm. The others arrived and began assaulting the legs. The ten-tails tried to knock them away, but luckily everyone jumped just before it swept its arm across the battlefield. Dust and rocks flew everywhere temporarily blinding the pets.
The shaking broke King's concentration, and the shadow paralysis broke. With Fido and Bino free, they began a newly invigorated assault on the pets attacking the head. Bino charged at Tarot and with one flying kick sent her flying off the ten-tails.
“Tarot!” Peanut screamed. He summoned one of his chakra tails and caught her before she could get too far away.
Bino took his opportunity to attack. “Firebird Jutsu,” he cried. A giant bird made entirely of fire erupted from his mouth and flew directly at Peanut.
“Oh no you don’t,” Joey said and drew his own bird to intercept it. The two bird collided in mid-air creating a massive explosion.
Lisa charged at Bino and tried to get one solid punch in. Unfortunately, Bino was prepared. His raised his weapon and held it in front of him just as Lisa sent her fist flying at his chest. It struck the hard steel sending shock waves up her arm. She reeled back, and Bino swung it directly at her. It hit her chest and picked her up sending her flying through the air. Lisa came down hard near the edge of the ten-tails head. She rolled three times then became still. Her entire body hurt.
She cracked open her eyes just enough to see Rowan staring at her with wide eyes. Something flashed in his eyes. He turned towards Bino and summoned part of Susanoo. The rib cage and arm appeared out of the purple fire that surrounded him. Susanoo’s hand grabbed Bino before the dog could react. Bino bellowed in pain as the hand’s grip crushed his body. Rowan’s face was twisted with rage and anger.
Lisa struggled to stand. Her body was already beginning to dull the pain. Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch Rowan attack Bino. King took a step back from the spectacle and was joined by Joey who abandoned his scroll. Their faces were ones of pure terror.
Bino struggled and tried to break the death grip that held his body captive. Even Fido staggered away. The fighting came to a complete stop.
“Rowan,” Lisa said softly as she stepped towards Rowan. “Rowan put him down. Rowan, you’re killing him.”
Tears were pouring down Bino’s face. He was struggling to the breath. Lisa could almost see his chest being crushed in the Susanoo’s grip. No one else moved. They were all terrified. This wasn’t a game anymore.
“Rowan stop. You’re killing him!” Lisa screamed. She was not sure what would happen if someone were too actually die in the holodeck but she did not want to take the chance. Where was Kitsune?”
Rowan turned to her. Lisa gasped when she saw his face. It was no longer the face of the boy she known for four years. His pupils were so large that his eyes were almost completely black. His face was so distorted that he did not even look the same.
Power coursed through Lisa's arms and legs. She charged at Rowan with all the speed she could muster. With one decisive blow, she punched him in the face. The impact sent him spiraling away. The Susanoo faded away, and Bino fell onto the ten-tails. He clenched his throat and took several deep breaths. Fido ran over to check on his brother. The others were still too stunned to move.
Lisa moved towards Rowan who was picking himself up. He looked at her and to her relief his was back to normal. "Rowan, are you alright? What was that?"
"I don't know. I saw you get hurt then something snapped. I just wanted to hurt Bino. It was all I could think about. It was like I was consumed by bloodlust."
“Maybe we should stop playing,” Lisa said.
“No.” Lisa and Rowan turned around to see Bino standing up with Fido supporting part of his weight. “This is not over yet,” Bino snarled at them.
Bino slammed his paws on the ten-tails and began absorbing the monstrosity. “Bino what are you doing? I’m supposed to do that.”
“Too bad. We’re speeding up this story. We'll see who the real strongest one is around here. I am the alpha, and its time everyone respects me."
In a matter of seconds, the ten-tails became absorbed by Bino. Everyone jumped off the ten-tails just in time before it disappeared entirely. Like with the show, Bino changed. His fur turned white as feather-like spikes appeared around his collar. Five black spheres appeared around him and hovered behind his back. He floated off the ground and smiled at them all.
"He can't do that!" Rowan shouted. "He's skipping a critical segment of the show. The part where Obito's consciousness is being consumed by the ten-tails, but he overcomes it."
“What are you talking about?” Fido asked. Lisa had to admit she was not sure what Rowan was getting out and she saw the show.
The rest of the pets joined them, waiting for their next instructions. Everyone was curious about what was going on.
Rowan began gesturing frantically. "It was the most important moment of the show and one of the greatest pieces of writing in anime. Obito was being consumed the ten-tails, and as he was, he saw the picture of him, Rin, Kakashi, and Minato. The picture began to be torn apart, but as it got to Rin, he stopped it." He turned to Lisa. "He could never forget about her. He loved her too much. That is what saved him."
“Is it really that important?” Peanut asked.
"It was my favorite part of the entire series, and he ruined it."
“He’s about to ruin more than that,” Tarot said and pointed at Bino.
Bino formed his black staff and waved it through the air. All at once the remaining black spheres sailed towards them. Everyone jumped out of the way as the spheres struck the ground creating giant craters where they landed.
“What’s the plan? Please tell me someone has some idea of what to do about this?” Grape asked frantically.
“Fido, what are you doing?” Bino asked looked down at his brother. “We’re still on the same team. Fight them. Throw a punch. Do something.”
With that final word, Bino turned one of the spheres into a large saucer and sent it flying at the group. It was a close call as several pets were almost sliced in half by the attack.
“He’s right. I have to do something,” Fido said sadly. He turned on the others and swung his sword with lightning speed.
"What do we do?" Lisa asked. Bino had the power of the sage of six paths, and Fido was still a force to be reckoned with. She turned to Rowan hoping he could get them the plan they needed for victory.
“Five-man formation,” Rowan said. “Kitsune we need you.”
Kitsune appeared out of nowhere right next to where Rowan and Lisa were standing. “What do you need?”
“We need you to grab Bino and take him to the other side of the field. If Bino is going to switch the roles, then we are still are going to play by the script. Mungo, Fox, Peanut we need you.
 “What’s your plan?” Lisa asked as the others came over as they were called.
"We are going to take Bino on ourselves while the others deal with Fido. In the show, it was slightly different, but it was us that fought Madara to a certain extent."
"I hope there's more to this plan than just fighting. I've never seen the show, so I have no idea what's going on," Fox pointed out.
“Mungo, since you’re playing Guy you have the most important role.”
Mungo gasped. “Really, I have the most important role. What is it?” Mungo asked eagerly.
“You are going to have to open all eight gates and attack Bino with all your strength. That should weaken him enough for the rest of us to get in position.”
"Open all the gates," Lisa said. There was a tinge of fear in her voice. "If he does that he'll die. True Guy didn't die in the show, but that was only because Naruto saved him."
“This world is rewarded by imagination. I think he can do it without dying." He turned back to Mungo. "You'll be out for the rest of the game, but we need you."
“Sir!” Mungo said standing up straight with his arms placed to his side.
"I don't know what you're planning, but I won't let you get a single attack in," Fido shouted.
“Kitsune now!” Rowan screamed. They all jumped on Kitsune’s back as he charged towards Bino. Kitsune opened his massive jaw and clamped it down right on Bino’s torso. With that, Kitsune took off running away to the other side of the battlefield. Bino was so shocked by what happened he forgot to use any of his attacks. As they flew across the field, Rowan explained to Mungo what he needed to do.
“Got it?”
"Yeah, I don't know what to do. You can count on me," Mungo said.
“Good because we’re here.”
Kistune stopped and opened his mouth. Bino flew out and landed roughly on the ground. He skidded for several feet before finally coming to a halt with his face in the dirt.
“You’ll all pay for that,” Bino said picking himself up.
Mungo jumped down from Kitsune’s back and charged at Bino. All at once, he opened the first seven gates. Blue aura engulfed him as he began the first assault.
"Evening Elephant!" Mungo shouted. Bino was repeatedly struck with the attack while the others looked on.
“I hope you have another step after this,” Lisa said.
"We have to end this in one blow. Fox and Peanut. I want you to both attack Bino with everything you got. I didn't tell Mungo about the final stage of Guy's attack. Lisa's right, we can't risk anyone else getting hurt. Once Bino is down, do whatever you have to get too him to stay down just long enough for our move."
“Right.”
“You got it.”
They took off after Mungo. Leaving Rowan alone with Lisa. “Lisa, thank you for saving me before.”
Lisa smiled halfheartedly. She placed her hand on his shoulder and whispered, “I would never let anything happen to you.”
“Are you ready for our part?”
Lisa looked unsure. “Before I answer what is our part?”
“We’re both going to do a Rasen Shuriken. Both of us at once. They’re stronger together. We’re stronger together.”
At first, Lisa thought he was joking, but he was dead serious. "Are you crazy? We can't do that. It's Naruto's move. Why not have Peanut do it?"
“Peanut doesn’t know what it is or how to perform it. We do. We’ve seen the show enough to know how to do it. Trust me.” He held out his hand for her to take.
“I trust you,” she muttered. She placed her hand in his.
"Kistune, can we get a lift?" Lisa asked looking up at the giant fox. Kitsune looked confused. When he awoke from his stupor, he looked down at them with intense curiosity.
“Sure, let’s get going,” he said. He crouched down to get in position.
While they were getting ready, Lisa could see that Mungo was finishing his assault on Bino just as Fox and Peanut charged in for the second wave.
“Go!” Rowan and Lisa shouted at once.
Kitsune took off again heading directly toward Bino who was struggling to counter the repeated blows by Fox and Peanut. Lisa turned to Rowan and saw the seriousness in his eyes.
“Stronger together,” she whispered. Maybe she could do it.
"Ready?" Rowan asked still staring ahead. He held his hand to the sky and prepared the Jutsu.
“Ready!” Lisa said and did the same.
Swirling wind and lights gathered in the palms of their hands. A massive black Shuriken made of chakra and air appeared in Rowan's palm. A massive white Shuriken appeared in Lisa's palm. They brought the two together, and they merged into one gigantic twisting and spiraling black and white Shuriken. It was so powerful the air around them began to hum.
“Now, let’s end this,” they said simultaneously.
Together they jumped off Kitsune’s back and pointed their shuriken at Bino who was caught off guard by Peanut's attacks. Fox who was lying on the ground a few feet away was the first to see the jutsu that was coming towards him. His jaw fell open, and he began to move back. Peanut was the second followed by Bino. When Bino saw the attack, he screamed and struggled to get away, but it was too large to escape from.
As Lisa and Rowan continued moving towards Bino, the Shuriken began to morph and change. The power and size grew to extraordinary levels. Space began to wrap and tear around them. This alarmed Kitsune who watched the events unfold. His eyes became wide as fear crept into his chest.
"No…," he said.
“Rasen Shuriken,” Lisa and Rowan shouted just as they about to make contact with Bino’s screaming face.
“STOP!” Kitsune shouted and snapped his fingers.
All at once, the battlefield was replaced by the stage and the Good Ol’ Dog’s club. Lisa and Rowan fell down right on top of Bino. Thankfully, Bino’s furry body cushioned their fall.
The three groaned as they stood up and brushed themselves off. Everyone stood around looking confused by what happened. Several still had paper swords, and weapons pointed at Fido who had his paws up in surrender.
“Kitsune, what gives?” Rowan asked.
Kitsune stared at him with a stern expression. Lisa had never seen that face before. It was not like Kitsune's usually happy, carefree look. This one was dead serious and deeply concerned.
“That was exciting!” Kitsune clapped his paws together and smiled at everyone. “That was a specular performance by everyone. I hope we all enjoyed ourselves.”
 Lisa could tell that Kitsune was worried about something and was not hiding it very well. She just stared at him like she was trying to read his mind.
With those final words, everyone broke up. The room was filled with chattering and voices. Lisa watched Kitsune walk out of the clubhouse without another word. She followed him, determined to find out what was going on. When she stepped outside, she was immediately blinded by the harsh sunlight. The battlefield was so dark that she was not used to light anymore.
"Kitsune." She called him, and he stopped to face her. "What was that about? Why did you end the game like that?"
"That attack you and Rowan used. Do you know what that was?" Lisa did not, but the way Kitsune asked her made her think that he did.
She shook her head. Kitsune sighed. “It was so strong that it was actually warping the imagination space. I could not risk you hitting Bino with it. Normally, the damage caused would not matter once we got back to reality but that could have had serious consequences.”
“How is that even possible?”
Kitsune hesitated then said, “I don’t know.”
Lisa could tell he was lying to her. Without another word he walked away leaving her standing there more confused than ever.
Kitsune walked through the neighborhood until he found what he was looking for. Cerberus was leaning against one of the large trees that filled the area. She looked up at him with all six eyes. Each of her three faces had the same expression. Worry.
“What did you find out?” Kitsune asked getting straight to the point.
“It is as you feared. Drasil’s seal is weakening. It seems to have been for some time.”
Kitsune shook his head. He was right, but he did not want to be. Drasil escaping was the worst thing that could happen.
“We need to tell everyone. We have to reseal him.”
"You know that's impossible. If we tell everyone, then heaven will be thrown into chaos. As long as the seal holds, he can't escape. I would reseal him myself but to do that…"
“You would have to break the seal yourself.”
Kitsune closed his eyes. “I can’t beat him by myself. My powers are weakened there.”
“How did you seal him the first time?” Cerberus asked.
Kitsune sighed. “I had Dragon and Pete to help me. You know that they’re the only ones who could control the stags.”
Cerberus nodded. Kitsune continued, “Of all the times for them to be gone.” Kitsune cursed which stunned Cerberus. “This is their fault for their idiotic bet. Mine too for leading them to this point.”
“Do you think Drasil waited for the moment that they would be gone before making his move?”
“What do you think?” Kitsune yelled. His eyes narrowed. “You know how he was. This is exactly what he wanted. The moment they were gone he would try to escape.”
“How long do we have?” Cerberus asked.
“The seal will not break but continue to weaken. All we can do is hope that he does not do too much damage before Dragon and Pete get back.”
“That’s a big risk,” Cerberus told him. “Are you should you would risk the safety of the others.”
"I'll keep them safe. This is my fault. I will take responsibility for them."
“Speaking of which, how did your plan go?”
Kitsune smiled and looked back towards the clubhouse. "I think it did the trick. Lisa should have her confidence back." He paused. "I discovered something else today. At first glance, you would think that Lisa and Rowan would be different from what they really are. There is a great darkness underneath Rowan’s happy exterior. The opposite is true for Lisa. There is so much light within her. I don’t know how I never saw that before.”
Cerberus nodded in understanding.
Kitsune spoke softly. “I’m afraid I may know why Drasil is so interested in those two. They may be the keys to his freedom.”

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:00 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 6: More Real Stories From the K9PD
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Kitsune

Oh, hey there. I'm busy right now, so I'll have to make this introduction quick. Lisa and Rowan went to a convention and found a magic ring that took them to an alternate universe where characters from a webcomic they liked actually existed. Things happened, lives were ruined, they fixed their mistakes, and everyone learned a valuable lesson. On the day of their college graduation, Lisa had to decide if she wanted to take a summer job working on a documentary series being created by Keene Milton. She said yes, but during the first interview, she tried to push King to reveal to the public that he was once human. They got into a fight, and she was temporarily sent to another dimension where she met the evil god Drasil. After that, she was pretty shaken by the experience to the point she planned to leave this world to return to her own. In an attempt to help her, Rowan and Peanut got the pets to put on a production of "Naruto Shippuden." Thanks to me, it turned into a full-on power match. Something went wrong when Rowan and Lisa combined their powers and distorted the illusion. I had to end it pretty quickly. Afterward, I heard from Cerberus that Drasil’s seal is weakening and the only ones who can help me fix it were Dragon and Pete who are currently AWOL.

Lisa walked down the hall with no destination in mind. The mansion was so big that she still felt like there were places she had not seen despite her many trips wandering around during her free time. For the past week, all she had was free time. Since the disastrous "play" that Rock wanted to record turned out to be nothing but static, he had locked himself away.
That day had been on her mind lately. Kitsune’s reaction when it was over still played in her mind on an endless loop. She had never known him to be so scared. No that was not the word. More like anxious. Of course, the reason was apparent. Drasil. He had been acting funny since she told him about her encounter with the god. He told her not to worry about it, but now she wished he would take his own advice.
Soft music entered her ears. She looked around for the source. She was standing by the entrance to the patio and the pool. The door was cracked open just slightly. A slight breeze blew by bringing with it the warm smell of the June evening. She peered through the window and could see the scenery or at least the landscaping at surrounded the mansion. The sound was definitely coming from the pool. She opened the door and stepped out. The atmosphere was beautiful like the sky was made of stain glass.
Was someone singing and playing a guitar? Sitting in one of the pool chairs with his back turned to her was Rowan.

"Oh, all these years will wash away, and we'll be claimed, but we'll have nothing more,Well, I can't say there'll come another day where money and time will fall,
And on our hands, our wrinkles understand we never really wanted more.

I heard your heart say love, love, love
I heard your heart say love, love, love
I heard your heart say love, love, love
I heard your heart say love, love, love

And all the life about to go is in my mind,
'Cause all the loudest voices in the world whenever I

I heard your heart say love, love, love
I heard your heart say love, love, love
I heard your heart say love, love, love
I heard your heart say love, love, love

Wo-oh-oah, love, love, love
Wo-oh-oah, love, love, love
Wo-oh-oah, love, love, love."

When he finished playing, he laid the guitar in his lap and smiled at her. She applauded the performance and sat in the chair next to him.
“Do you take requests?” she asked.
“Sure, what do you want to hear?” He picked up the guitar and placed his fingers on the fingerboard.
“I didn’t know you could play the guitar,” she said sounding impressed.
“I actually don’t. I know how to play a few chords, but that's it. I tried to learn, but I never could get the knack for it." He strummed the strings, and the let the sound linger in the air between them.
“Where did you get the guitar then?”
Rowan leaned back in his chair and looked off into the distance. The sky had turned a crimson shade as the sun faded into the horizon. "I found it in the mansion. Honestly, I don't know why a bunch of ferrets own a guitar. I'm just going to assume it belonged to Henry Milton."
“Do you think it was smart to just take it without asking?” she asked checking the door in case one of the Milton’s just happen to walk out to see what they were up too.
“It’s not like I’m taking it on tour or anything. I just wanted to play it. Not like we much else to do right now,” he said.
“True,” she told him. “I’ve spent most of the past week watching TV.” She turned away from him and stared at one of the tacky ferret statues that lined the pool. What people spent their money never ceased to amaze her.
“Anything good on?” Rowan asked why strumming the guitar a few more times.
“Not really. It’s strange though. Because of how this world is all the shows are vastly different from what I’m used to. Like it’s the same show but completely different. For example, I found “Frasier” on the ORC channel.”
“ORC?” Rowan asked.
"I think it stands for Outstanding Rerun Channel. Anyway, it was the same show, but since animals can talk and act like humans, it was so weird seeing Eddie moving around the apartment annoying Frasier in completely different ways than what I'm used to seeing."
“Follow up question. Why were you watching ‘Fraiser?’” Rowan asked, looking at her with curiosity in his eyes.
Lisa rolled her eyes and said, “I like that show. My mother had the complete series on DVD.”
She fixed her attention on Rowan’s fingers. They were sliding up and down the fingerboard like they were trying to find the right spot for his next song. He said nothing.
"It's not just the TV shows," Lisa said trying to keep the conversation going. "You know ‘Cats' the Broadway show. Actually performed by real cats. They sing and dance and everything. And it's still a huge success." She tried to keep her emotion out of her voice. Rowan knew how she hated that play. She made it very clear every time someone brought it up. "Despite how long we've been here I still can't seem to wrap my head around how different it all is."
“We’ve only been here for a month and a half. It’s not surprising that you would have a hard time adjusting,” he said calmly.
Lisa sat up and looked at him. There was a fire in her eyes. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“I mean that you are the kind of person that has her routine. You don’t like to branch out or try new things,” said Rowan.
“I try new things all the time,” Lisa said sounding offending.
“Really,” Rowan said turning to her. He raised an eyebrow. “Would you have taken this job if I wasn’t with you?”
Lisa opened her mouth to respond but couldn't say anything. He was right, and she knew it. If not for him, she definitely would not have come. He was the main reason that she did accept Keene's offer.
“How about you just play another song,” Lisa said.
Something in his eyes flashed. “What do you want to hear me play?”
“I don’t know just pick something?” She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes.
With a wide grin on his face, he began strumming the guitar.
“I'ma tell 'em all
I'ma tell 'em all that you could either hate me or love me
But that's just the way I am
I'ma tell 'em all
I'ma tell 'em all that you could either hate me or love me
But that's just the way I am
That's just the way I am, that's just the way I amThat's just the way I am, that's just the way I am."
“Charlie Puth. Nice choice,” she said. His voice was really smooth and lyrical. She had no idea he could sing so well. “Why haven’t you ever sung like this before. You have a really nice voice.”
“Don’t laugh but I used to be a part of Glee club in high school,” he said blinking in the sunlight that was peeking at them from the trees. He reached over and started rubbing his left arm again. A sure sign he was uncomfortable admitting that.
“No,” she said unable to hide her amusement. “Oh my God, that is too funny.”
"It was only for two years. It never came to anything. But I always wanted to sing in public, but I never had the courage. Now I just sing in the shower or when I'm alone."
“You sang in front of me,” Lisa pointed out. She straightened up. She reached over and pulled the guitar from his hands. She placed her fingers on the strings and began strumming herself. It sounded like she was playing the washboard in a country hick band.
“Okay, so I definitely can’t play,” she said and handed it back.
Rowan nodded and strummed it again. “Are you ready for tomorrow?”
Lisa thought about that. The next day was when they finally had their new assignment. Rock emerged from his room early that morning and told them that he made a deal with the police department. Apparently, they were going to shadow two of the dogs in the K9PD as an episode of the show. Another ploy to prove that animals are just like humans because they have real jobs.
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” she said. Do you know which ones we are supposed to shadow?”
Rowan shook his head. Lisa knew who he wanted to work with. He and Fox had grown closer and closer recently. Whenever Fox was off duty, Rowan would go over to his house and hang out. They were getting along pretty well from what he told her. She thought about joining him but going there would mean seeing King. Despite the fact that he forgave her for…well everything it was still awkward being in the same room together. After she poured her soul to him before the play last week, she felt even more awkward around him.
Rowan stared off into the distant woods just beyond the Milton's lawn, silent. She wondered what was on his mind. Should she ask him, she wondered? No, if he wanted to talk, then he would. Right now he just looked like he wanted some space.
“I’m going to head back in,” she said abruptly.
He nodded but said nothing.
Lisa sighed and walked around the pool back to the mansion. The wind picked up to bring more scents from the forest. She could smell cedar and pine mixed in with the smell of chlorine from the pool. The first few stars were beginning to appear in the sky as the sun continued to sink behind the tree line. She stepped inside and closed the door behind her. Before the door closed all the way, she could hear him sing, "Love, love, Love."

The Next Day
"This is so exciting," Rowan whispered to Lisa. "I watched a bunch of detective dramas, so I'm fully prepared for anything that happens."
Lisa rolled her eyes. "Rowan this is a documentary, not Law and Order: K9 edition. We are not going to solve crimes or murders. All we do is talk to the camera and describe what is going on with the police dogs." She started talking slowly, "We provide commentary."
“Whatever. It’s still exciting. A real ride along.”
Lisa looked around the office. The only furniture was a desk and two chairs that she and Rowan were sitting in. Staring at her was a nameplate with the name "SGT RALPH" When they arrived earlier they were directed to go into Ralph's office and wait for him. He was taking the lead for the assignment. The only problem was that they still had not seen him.
“Where is he?” Lisa asked. So far they had gotten practically zero information about what they were supposed to be doing. She was dressed in long pants and a blouse that was buttoned up to her neck. Her hair was pulled back and tied in a ponytail. Rowan was dressed in a sports jacket and khakis. It was the one thing Rock told them about the assignment. Dress professionally.
"He'll get here when he gets here," Rowan said rubbing his arm. "In the meantime, there is something I wanted to ask you. It's kind of important and I'm a bit nervous about it."
"This is taking too long," Lisa said softly like she had not heard Rowan speak. She pulled out her phone and checked the time.
“I’m just going to ask.” Rowan looked at her directly in the face. “Lisa, will you…”
But before he could finish his question the office door flew open. Ralph walked in with a stack of papers in his arms and a disgruntled look on his face. Despite the fact they were inside he still had his sunglasses on his face. He crossed the room to the window and opened the blind allowing the sunlight to pour in. Lisa and Rowan cringed as the light blinded them.
“I hope you both haven’t been waiting long,” Ralph said but sounded like he did not care either way. “I had to get the remaining forms run off for you both to sign.”
He handed them both a stack of papers. He bent down and opened one of the draws of his desk. He pulled out two pens and gave one to each of them. "These are your standard waivers and official forms. I'm not going to waste time going over them because you both are adults and therefore can read them yourselves."
Lisa glanced at Rowan and then down at the forms. She signed each one and dated in the appropriate places. She felt like she was signing her soul away. What could happen on a ride along with the K-9 unit?
When they were finished they each handed the forms back to Ralph who placed them on the edge of his desk. “Here’s the deal.” Ralph pressed his paws together and bent forward. “You are going to follow the orders of both the K-9’s and the leading officer.”
“Leading officer?” Lisa asked. This was the first time she heard about this.
“Yes, what did you expect that we send our dogs out into the field without an accompanying officer.”
Lisa said nothing but the truth was that she never thought about it. As far she knew the K-9 unit usually did everything by themselves. From the gold incident to Fox’s spree. The humans had little role in each case.
“His name is Officer Chance. You’ll meet him outside. He’s currently being briefed as we speak.”
“Who are the dogs we are following. We still don’t know who we are supposed to be working with?” Rowan asked.
“You are being assigned to Fox and Fido. They both volunteered plus they have the most experience with you two.”
Lisa did not like the way he said ‘you two' like he had some kind of grudge against them. What did they ever do to him that would get him so distant. She shook her head to get the thoughts out of her head. Ralph was not the problem. She needed to focus on the assignment.
“You both can come in,” Ralph shouted at the door.
The office door swung open, and both Fox and Fido walked in. Lisa looked at Fido's scalp and noticed Spo sitting atop his head again. Fox stood next to Rowan and gave him a sideways smile. Fido stood next to Lisa and did not bother looking at her once. He was standing completely still and stiff with his arms pressed against his sides. Spo bent over Fido’s head and gave her a wink.
"Now that you'll are here. I'm going to explain what is going to happen. Mr. Milton has generously provided a police van for you to use. Since there are going to be seven of you in all, one police car would not be enough. Two would be impractical according to the ferret. So it will be Officer Chance, you two, Officers Fox and Fido, the ferret and his camera person.”
“What are we actually doing as far as an assignment?” Rowan asked. “Is there something we are supposed to be looking for.”
“Basically, you all are going to be doing a simple patrol. Nothing fancy just drive around and look for trouble,” Ralph said bluntly.
Rowan could not hide the disappointment on his face. He glanced away from Ralph and stared at the corner of the room. Lisa felt bad for him. She knew that Rowan briefly considered going into criminal psychology during their time in college. The subject fascinated him. On the other hand, she understood that a ride-along could be dangerous. She looked at the stack of forms on the desk.
"Sir, if may ask," Fido spoke up. "What are we supposed to do if something comes over the com. Are we supposed to ignore crime in progress if one should come up?"
"That is Officer Chance's call. If he deems that the call is necessary or if that it is not too dangerous than he can make the decision. He is the, and you will follow his orders.
“Yes, sir.”
“That is all I have to tell you. You are dismissed.
The stood up, and each exited the office. Fido and Fox lead them outside where the first thing they noticed was the large white van parked outside the station. The words "K-9 Patrol" was painted in large blue letters on the side. The back doors were open. Lisa could see two sets of feet, one large and the other very small.
One of the doors was slammed shut revealing Rock and North Star. "There you are, Rock said. "I've been waiting for over an hour. The van is ready to go. We have all the equipment we need set up. So what's the holdup."
“We’re waiting for Officer Chance,” Fox told him.
"Well, where is he?" Rock asked sounding more impatient than usual.
"Since we have some time," Rowan said. "Lisa about what I was about to ask before."
He was cut off again by an officer exiting the building and walking over to him. He was a tall skinny man. His cap covered his jet black hair. He wore the standard uniform worn by each of the other officers Lisa had seen during their time in the station. For the most part, he looked utterly unremarkable. If Lisa saw him walking down the street, she would guess he worked in an office building somewhere but definitely not as a police officer. He had a cup in his hand. Even in the heat of the morning, she could see steam rising up. He took a sip and dumped the rest on the ground. The smell of the coffee was overpowering. It was so strong Lisa felt like she was about to start gagging.
“My name is Officer Chance,” he said with little emotion in his voice. “I want to make it clear that this was not my idea. I had no desire to accompanying this crusade. I have never worked with dogs before and after today I will still have no desire to.”
Isn’t he full of sunshine and rainbows, Lisa thought. Judging from the looking Fox and Fido were giving him they felt the same.
“Let’s get moving,” Chance said and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a set of keys and clicked one of the buttons on the remote. There was a small clicking sound from the van telling them that it was unlocked.
"Where should we sit?" Lisa asked walking around to the back. She peered into the van. It was utterly dull and metallic. There were two benches on each side. Several pieces of recording equipment were already set up as Rock said.
“Just sit anywhere near the front. You both are providing the commentary. All you have to do is describe what is going on at any given time,” Rock explained. “If the dogs do something exciting them report it. You see a jaywalker point it out. To be honest, I don’t know what the K-9 unit really does so this will be informative for everyone.”
“We provide assistance to the officers,” Fox said. “You know sniffing out clues, finding criminals, attacking when ordered.”
"Yeah, that's great. But that is not what we are looking for," Rock told him. "We need some excitement. That ‘dog' stuff is cute, and all but this is serious. We need you to prove that you are just as valuable as any human on the force.”
“That’s not how it’s works—“ Fox began but was cut off by the back door of the van closing. Everyone was seated and ready to go. North Star raised his camera and gave the thumbs up that they were recording.
“Okay, let’s get going,” Rock said and pointed toward the front.
Lisa felt the van lurch under her which meant they were on the move. Fido sat down next to her but still acted like she was not even there. Fox set next to Rowan, and they immediately started talking in hushed voices. She wished she could hear what they were saying but the sounds of the van driving down the road created a lot of white noise that made it impossible to hear. She felt like she should do something or say something. It was her job after all. She glanced over at Rock for some kind of cue. The ferret was too busy staring at his phone to pay the rest of them any attention.
Lisa looked directly at the camera and started talking. Saying anything that came to mind. She rubbed the back of her neck as if she had no idea what she was doing.
***
“I just can’t seem to do it,” Rowan told Fox. He kept stealing glances over at Lisa who was starting to give the commentary about the trip. He could only hear a few words over the noise of the van. Things like, “police,” and “K-9.”
“It’s not hard. You just ask her. Tell her how you feel. Take it from me you don’t want to wait until it’s too late.”
Rowan knew he was talking about his feelings for Sasha. “The problem is I’ve waited four years. I’ve wanted to ask her out hundreds of times. But she was either dating someone else or busy with something. There never seemed like a good opportunity.”
“Listen to me,” Fox said. He made a face. "The longer you wait for the right opportunity, the less likely it will ever happen. But I have to admit asking her while out on a job seems like a pretty bad time."
“I know,” Rowan said placing his head in his hands. “I wanted to do it last night. It was twilight, and the sun was setting. We were by the pool, and I was singing to her. But I froze up. I was so nervous I could barely look at her."
“You have to get over this nervousness.
Rowan grimaced. “Easy for you to say. If Sasha was single right now would you go straight to her and ask her out?”
"Yes, I would," Fox said, but Rowan heard hear the uncertainty in his voice.
"I just need to find the right opportunity. And if one presents itself while we are out on this assignment, then I'll make my move."
“That’s a good boy.”
“Dude, don’t,” Rowan said.
Fox chuckled and tried to hide a growing smile on his face.
***
Lisa finally ran out of things to say to the camera. Her eyes flicked over to Rowan who was glancing around the interior of the van like he was chasing something that only he could see. Fox was looking away from him, but she could see that he was trying to hide something funny. He looked like he was desperately trying not to laugh about something. He turned back to Rowan and said something that seemed to make Rowan upset. He began to gesture with his hands finally ending by rubbing his left arm again.
“So what’s your story, hmm?” Someone asked next to her.
Lisa turned to Fido, thinking for a second that he was the one who spoke but quickly realized it was Spo. The mouse was staring up at her from the top of Fido’s head.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Lisa told him.
“Oh come on. You must have some reason for being here. Why would a young lady like yourself throw yourself into a situation like this?”
“Excuse me,” Lisa said candidly. She leaned back against the wall of the van and could feel each bump and rattle as they moved along.
"It's not like it's some big secret that you and lover boy over there are from a different world. So why would you choose to stay in this world compared to your own?”
“Spo, stop asking her questions like that. You’re making her uncomfortable,” Fido told Spo.
“I’m just making conversation. You could try it sometime. You’ve barely spoken all day.”
“It’s okay,” Lisa said. She wondered what Spo meant about the ‘lover boy' comment but decided to chalk it up to Spo being Spo. “The truth is that I did not want to go home to my mother this summer.”
“Ooh, mommy issues. Nice,” Spo said grinning.
“Spo, stop it. That is not okay. Apologize.”
"Sorry," the mouse said but apparently did not mean it.
Fido looked away from Lisa and watched Rock and North Star mess with the equipment near the back of the van. Lisa knew she was not crazy; Fido was ignoring her.
"Fido, did I do something to you? You've been giving me the cold shoulder all day. Fox and Rowan are over there talking and laughing, but you've barely said two words to me." She looked worriedly at him. His ears flicked.
Fido sighed and turned to her. “I know if I can trust you,” he admitted, looking ashamed. “You are not from around here and after what happened with King—“ he said, but Lisa cut him off before he could continue.
“This is about King? Are you serious?’
“Well, you stood up to Bill in front of everyone including the K-9PD and defended him even after what he did to Fox.”
It suddenly dawned on her what he was getting at. “You don’t trust King. This isn’t about me,” she said with wide-eyed astonishment. “You still haven’t forgiven him.”
“Fox is my best friend,” Fido said.
“Hey!”
“One of my best friends,” Fido added looking up at Spo who was giving the dirtiest look possible. "It was my fault that Fox was kidnapped in the first place. I should have seen it, but I didn't. We were lucky that Bill found him before they could get too far. Since then Fox has stood by me despite…everything that's happened these past few years."
“Sabrina,” Lisa said knowing that he would not say it himself.
“Exactly. When I found out that King was really Joel. Something inside me hated it. Then you defend him and get him back in everyone’s good graces. I don’t know if I can trust you or Rowan for that.”
“If Fox could forgive him why can’t you?”
“I can’t forgive him or myself,” Fido said. “When Fox decided to join the academy was I so happy. Excited that we were following the same path. I feel like we’ve grown apart since I joined the force. But now,”
“You get your friend back,” Lisa said.
Suddenly the was a loud static sound coming from the front of the van. Everyone turned towards the source. The police radio went off, and a woman's voice started speaking. "Attention all officers. We have a 10-91V on the corner of Blackthorn and Maple. In front of the Harrison General Store. One man has been attacked. Witnesses report one suspect. Ambulances are heading to the scene.”
Chance picked up the mic and spoke, “This is Officer Chance. Heading to the scene now.” He placed the mic back on his hook and turned on the lights but not the siren. “Hang on everyone we have a job.”
“Finally, we see some action,” Rock said looking up from his phone. “Okay, you two. You’re on.”
“Wait, what do we say?” Rowan said holding on to his seat as the van sped up. “What’s a Code 10-91V?
Fox and Fido exchanged nervous looks. “Animal attack.”
Later at the Harrison General Store
The van slowed to a stop, and North Star opened the back doors of the van. He and Rock were the first to step out followed by Lisa and Rowan. They all stood to the side as Fido and Fox moved to the scene. They were standing on an ordinary looking street with very little people. There were a few bystanders. One man had his phone out and was filming the incident. Everyone gave them a few glances but went on with business. Apparently, someone being attacked by a vicious animal was not that interesting. She looked around for the ambulance, but they seemed to have arrived first.
She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to see Rowan was pointing at the camera. Rock was waving frantically for them to start talking.
“We are here are the Harrison General Store where we have received a report of a man who was attacked by an animal. We do not have all the facts yet but the K-9 unit in on the scene to investigate.”
Lisa and Rowan walked over to where Fido, Fox, and Chance were standing. Laying on the ground clutching his leg was a man in his late twenties. He a t-shirt with an image of a dragon on the front and plain blue shorts. His face partly covered by a scruffy beard and his hair was cut almost to the scalp.
"Can you tell me what happened, sir?" Chance said bending down.
The man shook his head. He looked like he was in a lot of pain. , but Lisa could see that they were soaked with blood. She hated to see how bad it was.
“I can tell you what happened.” Everyone looked up at the woman standing behind the man on the ground. Lisa did not even notice her at first. She was the definition of a wallflower. There was nothing remarkable about her at all. In her twenties with short brown hair. She wore a plaid dress that went almost to the ground. Even her voice was dull and without emotion.
"My name is Mary. This is Greg. We were walking down the street when all of sudden this dog came out of nowhere and attacked us. Greg stood in front of me and tried to scare it off. But it grabbed his leg and sunk his teeth into it." Lisa had to hand it to her. She was awfully calm after what just happened. "He would not let go. He kept biting over and over as Greg screamed. I tried hitting it with my purse, but it wasn't until one of the store workers came out that it ran off."
“Where did the dog go?” Fido asked.
Mary pointed down the street. "It ran that way, but that's all I know. I was too busy focusing on Greg."
Lisa looked back down at Greg. His face was scrunched up like he was in a lot of pain. He kept rocking back and forth not saying anything. She could see tears running down his face. The pain must have been terrible.
"Don't worry," Chance said offering her a calm and reassuring tone. He sounded like a completely different person from before at the station. His voice was soft and comforting. So much so that even Lisa felt reassured. "There is an ambulance on the way. Now can you describe the dog for us? What breed was it? What color? Anything you can tell us will help us track it down."
Chance looked over at the dogs and told them, “Start sniffing around and see if you can pick up a scent. You might need to track the scent of this man’s blood. If the injury is this serious than the dog most likely is covered in it.”
Lisa shuddered at the idea of tracking someone from the scent of their blood. From the looks Fido and Fox were giving Chance they agreed with her. Despite that, they followed his orders and started sniffing around the area.
“Should we get an interview with the victim?” Rowan asked looking from Lisa to Rock.
"That would be in bad taste," Rock said. He narrowed his eyes like he was upset about something. "This is not the kind of assignment we wanted. Dogs hunting other dogs. Dogs attacking humans. We can't use this footage. It sends the wrong message."
“The dog was a golden retriever, I think,” Mary told Chance. “Yellow gold color. It had a strange looking collar,” she said gesturing at her neck.
“What did the collar look like?”
“It was black with silver spikes. I remember that it looked odd on a dog like that. There was a tag too. It was in the shape of a deer’s head.”
Deer’s head? Lisa thought. That was odd.
“Most likely a hunting dog. That would explain the violent attack. Someone must have lost control during training or something,” Chance said. He turned to the dogs who were still sniffing around the scene. “Find anything you two?”
"I think I got something. I can't be sure though," Fox said and pointed in the direction that Mary said the dog escaped. "But it is leading that way, so it is our best lead."
“I want you both to go and track the dog down. I’ll stay here until the ambulance arrives which should be any minute now.” Chance turned to Lisa and the others. “I don’t know what you want to do.”
“We should go with Fox and Fido,” Rowan said. “We are supposed to be following them.”
Chance nodded. "Go ahead then but stick with them. No one separates from their officer. Let them do the work. If you see something, do not engage," Chance said sternly, so they get the message.
Something did not seem right about this. She moved closer to Greg. Golden Retrievers were not violent. They were one of the friendliest and loyal breeds. If this dog has a collar and a tag, then it belongs to someone. So why would it attack some random person out of the blue and so violently?
"It could be rabid," Rowan said walking over to her, so they were practically shoulder to shoulder. It was like he could read her mind.
“They would have said something. This isn’t right,” Lisa said, clearly worried.
“We need to get going,” Fox told them. Fido was already moving down the street. He was bent over sniffing the ground. Lisa and the others rushed behind him. Fox followed Fido’s lead and bent over to get a good whiff of the ground. “I can smell traces of blood. It definitely came this way.”
Together they walked down the street, passing different stores and people. Some pets walked by giving the odd group curious looks. Lisa had to admit they must look odd. Two police dogs, two humans, a ferret, and a wolf holding a camera. Lisa moved back, so she was next to Rock.
"Whatever happened to Cameron?" she asked. "I don't think he ever has been a part of this show once."
“Well, we have a small budget and when you both started working that meant we had to find some way to pay you. We had to cut some expenses out.”
“You fired Cameron just to pay us,” Lisa said horrified. She felt guilty all of a sudden.
“Not fired. Just put on leave. The wolves don’t have to get paid as much as humans. So they are cheaper to work with.”
“Wait, what. We don’t get the same wages as the others?” North Star asked. He glared at Rock and bent his lips back revealing his rows of long razor sharp teeth.
"You don't get paid as much, but we still pay you guys more than other's would. Remember that no one would hire you guys but us," Rock said calmly.
North Star was not impressed by that reasoning but held his tongue. He knew that Rock could easily fire him then and there.
Lisa moved away from Rock, disgusted with the ferret’s attitude. That was how he always was. The point of the documentary was to show that animals deserved the same rights as humans and yet they were not paying their animal workers the same wages as humans. It was so hypocritical that her stomach was tied to knots.
“Guys, we have a problem,” Fox said. He and Fido stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. They were both looking around confused by something. The others rushed to their sides.
“We lost the scent around here,” Fido said pointing at the spot they were standing. “It just disappears that the dog vanished into thin air.
Rowan frowned. “How does that happen?”
"The scent would have to be washed away by something, but there is no indication that something like that happened."
“You think someone could have picked the dog up in a car?” Lisa looked down the road in both directions. A few cars passed by but nothing stood out.
“It’s possible but unlikely. We would have seen a car parked here,” Fox said. Lisa was not so sure. They were both looking at the ground the entire time. Rowan and herself were busy with other things to bother paying attention to their surroundings.
“What do we do then?” Rowan asked them.
“We have to find this dog. It could be a danger to more humans and itself,” Fido said. He gestured at the end of the sidewalk where the road separated them from the other side. “We need to split up.”
“Chance said not to do that,” Rowan pointed out.
“As long as you are with one of us it will be fine,” Fido said. “I will go with Lisa, Rock and North Star and head straight. Fox, you and Rowan turn right and see if you can pick up the scent that way.”
“Right,” he turned to Rowan. “You ready.”
Rowan nodded not bothering to hide his excitement. “Let’s go.” They took off. They both jogged down to the corner, turned right, and disappeared out of sight.
"I forgot to remind him to call if he found anything," Fido said sounding disgusted with himself. Lisa remembered that Fox had a habit of doing things solo. With Rowan along then, the chance of Fox doing something reckless was multiplied. They both were like little kids playing "Cops and Robbers."
“We should get going. Stay close to me. If you see something, say something.”
They took off until they reached the road. The crossing light changed allowing them to cross. Lisa kept close to Fido, trying to be a part of this as much as possible. She hated to admit how excited she was. She smiled unrepentantly as the back of Fido’s head. In the back of her mind, she wanted to prove to him that he could trust her and Rowan. This was her best chance.
Stores and buildings passed them by as they moved along. Lisa had no idea that the city was so full of variety and life. The farther they went, the more people she noticed in the stores and shops. Young children out of school laughed and cried as their parents shopped. Part of her wanted to stop and do a little exploring of her own. She had been there for over a month and honestly had seen very little of the city. It was not like she had a car or a legal license. She made a mental note to come back later, maybe with Rowan and do some investigating.
The group ran by an alley. In the corner of her eye, Lisa thought she saw something golden at the end. She stopped and backtracked. She peered down the alley and saw that there was someone standing at the other end. It was open at both ends with bright sunlight casting shadows around the narrow passage. As her eyes adjusted, she realized that what she was looking at was a golden retriever. She stepped forward to get a better look. The dog had its back to her. She could see that it was shaking like it was scared or nervous. Around its neck was a black collar with silver spikes.
Lisa turned back to the road to call the others, but they were too far. She hesitated, not sure what to do. She did not want to lose the dog, but she needed the others. She pulled out her phone and started texting the others in a group message. Slowly, she moved forward towards the dog trying to act as least threatening as possible. In the back of her mind, she knew that she was taking a risk. This dog already attacked a fully grown man, and she was already small for her age. Fear clawed at her chest, but that did not stop her. Something was compelling her to move forward.
“Hello,” she said slowly and calmly. “My name is Lisa Smith. I’m here to help you. I won’t hurt you.”
The dog shuddered at the sound of her voice but did not move. She could see its tail begin to wag slightly.
“What’s your name?” she asked moving closer. Step by step. She held her hands out to show that she was unarmed and meant no harm. “Are you alright?”
She was practically less than a yard away from the dog. She stopped, and for a moment no one moved. Something felt wrong. Lisa was beginning to sweat but not because of the June heat. This situation was not right. A voice in the back of her mind was telling her to run, but her body would not listen.
“I’m fine now,” the dog said with a masculine voice. He turned around to face her. “Now that you are here, my queen.”
Lisa paled and sucked in such a deep breath that she felt that her lungs would burst. Her eyes widen with fear. A fear she had not felt in several days. The dog's eyes were entirely back with glowing red pupils.
“Drasil!” she shouted, her voice rising with fear.
The dog raised his paw, and it felt like Lisa was hit by a bulldozer. She flew through the air and slammed against the brick wall of the building next to them. She was held there like invisible cables were suspending her. Her arms and legs were painfully pinned to the wall. She could feel the rough surface of the brick scrap against her skin.
“It’s good to see you again,” Drasil said stepping closer to her. His paw was still extended in front of him holding her in place. “I missed our talks.”
“Please, don’t,” Lisa pleaded.
“No,” Drasil interrupted. “I won’t hurt you. Well, not too much.”
He bent his fingers, and it felt like her throat was being crushed. She thrashed, but nothing she did could break his grip on her. Tears streamed down her face as the oxygen was beginning to be cut off from her lungs. Blackness started to appear in the corners of her eyes.
“I see something down here,” someone shouted from the end of the alley.
“What is that?” someone asked. Lisa recognized the voice as Fido.
“What the…Lisa!” Rowan shouted.
Lisa turned her head slightly to see Rowan running over to them. She tried to warn him, but the only thing that came out of her mouth was a ragged whisper.
“Let her go!” Rowan shouted and tried to tackle Drasil, but with one wave of his hand, he sent Rowan flying. He landed on the concrete and skidded back to Fox and Fido.
“The loyal knight coming to defend his queen. Such a touching sentiment.”
“Who is that?” Fox asked. “How is he doing that to Lisa?”
Rowan sat up and stared at Drasil with pure hatred. "It's you, isn’t it. Drasil.”
There was an overwhelming silence. Drasil tiled his head and smiled. “Correct you are. Congratulations, you are not as dense as you appear.
“Shoot him!” Rowan shouted. “He’s killing her. Shoot him. Do something.”
“We’re dogs. We don’t carry weapons,” Fox informed him.
"We use our teeth, but I don't think that's possible in this situation," Fido said panicking. This was definitely something he was not used to even if he did date, Sabrina.
Lisa closed her eyes. Her body felt so numb that she could not fight anymore. She was going to die. There was only one thing on her mind. “Kitsune,” she managed to say.
As soon as the word was out of her mouth, the entire alley shook. Light poured in from the other side of the alley from where Rowan and the others were standing. As the light died, a figure stepped forward. All nine tails were extended and three times their standard size. Lisa opened her eyes slightly to get a glance at him. Kitsune’s mouth was pulled back in a snarl. She had never seen him so angry. His claws were longer than usual, and his eyes were burning with rage. He wore a blood red t-shirt, dark brown pants, and his typical purple jacket.
“Drasil!" he shouted in his godly voice. It was so intimidating Rowan, and the others took a step back.
“You arrived. I’m so glad to see you, Kistune,” Drasil said. His voice was drenched in confidence like he was the one in charge.
“Let. Her. Go.” Kitsune moved towards Drasil and pointed one long claw directly at the dogs face.
"You must care deeply for this mortal. For you to come running when she calls like a common pet." He said ‘pet' like it was the dirtiest word in the English language. "I won't kill her, but I will see just how much damage I can do."
Drasil’s grip tightened causing Lisa to gasp harder than before. She could feel her consciousness slip away. There was nothing left.
“Drasil!” Kitsune screamed again. His body began to glow with a golden light. His eyes burned dark with hatred.
“Fine,” Drasil said and dropped his arm. Lisa fell to the ground and laid there like a rag doll. She did not move a muscle. As far as anyone could tell, she was already dead. "Do you like my new avatar. The gryphon and dragon aren't the only ones who can convince the foolish mortals to take the power they're offered."
“This is going to stop now, Drasil,” Kistune said.
Drasil moved between Lisa and Kitsune. "You have a choice. You can chase after me or see the girl. If she does not get medical attention soon, she will either die or suffer permeant damage.” He smiled, the side of his mouth was twitching like he was excited by this. “What will you do?”
Kistune charged at him, but Drasil jumped out of the way and ran by him in the opposite direction. When he reached her, Kistune bent down and began examining her. The others rushed over and knelt beside her. Rowan pressed his fingers to her neck and felt a for a pulse. There was one, but it was faint. He relayed this to Kitsune.
“Hang on, Lisa. Stay with us,” Kistune said. He tilted her chin up and felt around her neck. He ripped over her blouse exposing her neck and the upper portion of her chest. With no other options, Kitsune began pressing his paws against her chest. “Breathe. Breathe.”
After a long second, Lisa’s eyes burst open and she took a massive gulp of air. She felt around with her hands until finally touching Rowans. Her fingers wrapped around his as she began to breathe rapidly.
“Take slow deep breaths,” Kitsune informed her.
She did as she was told. One breath after the other as they all watched her. Her body was shaking uncontrollably as tears ran down her face like a waterfall. Rowan rubbed her arm as his grip tightened around her fingers. Kitsune took her other hand in his and held it tightly.
“We need to her somewhere relaxing and calm,” Fido said. “Some water might help.”
“There’s the doughnut place not too far from here,” Fox added. “Food might be good for the nerves.”
“Lisa, can you stand up?” Rowan asked. Lisa nodded. Together, Rowan and Kistune pulled her to her feet. She wrapped her arms around their necks as they slowly walked out of the alley.

At the Doughnut Shop
Lisa, Rowan, and Kistune sat at a table near the window of the shop while the others had their own table a few feet away. Fox and Fido kept stealing glances at Lisa to make sure she was still alright. In front of Rowan was a box with slightly less than a dozen doughnuts. So far they had each had one apiece.
“I’m sorry, but Doughnut unto Others is a terrible doughnut shop. These are worse than Dunkin Doughnuts. They taste like frosted Styrofoam,” Rowan said before picking up a strawberry jelly and biting into it. Jelly poured down his chin and into his lap.
“If they’re so bad, then why do you keep eating them?” Kistune asked with a sly grin on his face.
"It's been a very stressful day," Rowan said spreading his arms out. His mouth was still full of the doughnut as he spoke.
“Why didn’t he kill me?” Lisa asked. Her voice was small and thin. The others looked at her with worry. This was the first time she spoke since Drasil let her go.
Kistune hesitated then said, "That's his style. He enjoys tormenting others instead of outright killing them. He's worse than Pete in that regard." He shook his head. His tail shifted to the side. Before they entered the shop, Kitsune changed into his "normal fox" form so not to attract too much attention. "He likes the suffering of others. He’s always been like that.”
"What I want to know is, what is his deal?" Rowan asked placing his palm on the table. "This is the second time he's come after Lisa. You told her that you would take care of it, but now he’s more dangerous than ever. What if he and his avatar break into her room in the middle of the night?”
“That’s not his style,” Kitsune said.
“How do you know that for sure,” Rowan said, his voice was rising with anger. He began rubbing his arm more harshly than usual.
Kitsune sighed and picked up another doughnut from the box. The once soft eyes and playful smile was gone. They were replaced by a stranger’s. Someone that Lisa did not recognize. Right now, Kitsune did not look like a god. He just looked scared and tried.
"You both have a right to know the truth. How much do you both know about the world tree, Yggdrasil?
“The tree from Norse mythology. I read about it the Magnus Chase books. The branches and roots are said to connect the nine realms,” Rowan said.
"Humans have always taken the truth and twisted it for their own purpose and understanding. There is a tree called Yggdrasil, but it is not what the myth implies. It is the largest tree in heaven or what you would call Asgard.”
“The realm of the gods,” Rowan spoke softly.
"The idea of nine worlds being connected by a tree is about a different tree. Three trees in fact. But they are somewhere else in the Infinite Worlds. This realm is connected to several others. There were once nine, but over time more worlds became connected until there are now fourteen. This includes your world.”
Seeing the looks of confusion on their faces, Kitsune explained, “That bracelet is a tool used to travel between the realms. Each symbol represents one of the words. When you first came here, you created something like a trail. A path that leads from this world back to your own therefore connecting it to all the others."
Lisa remembered the man in the alley. It felt like a lifetime ago. “This world is connected.”
“What does Drasil have to do with this?” Lisa asked.
“Tell me do you know about the animals that watch over Yggdrasil in the myths?”
Rowan thought about it for a second before saying, “There was Nidhogg the dragon which is said to devour the roots of Yggdrasil. The hawk Veðrfölnir and the unnamed eagle which sits atop the highest branches."
"Except that is where the myth is wrong. The eagle was not with a hawk. It was a different animal, and they both were one in the same," Kitsune said holding a finger in the air.
He waited for them to understand where he was going. Something inside Lisa’s mind clicked. “Pete,” she whispered.
“Pete,” Rowan said completely stunned. “Pete is Veðrfölnir. That would mean Nidhogg is…” his voice trailed off as he began to understand what Kitsune was telling them.
“The Spirit Dragon.” Lisa finished the sentence for him.
“Exactly, but they were not alone.”
Rowan piped up. “Yeah, there was a squirrel and four stags. Four stags. Four stags.” He repeated himself like the truth was too much for him to take. “Drasil.”
“He was not always known as Drasil. There was a time that he was simply called Duneyr, the second oldest of the four stags.”
“What happened?”
Kitusne folded his paws together and placed them on the table in front of him. “Duneyr was always a rebel. He is smart, clever, and crafty. He and his brothers lived to protect the tree and the worlds. But that was not good enough for him. Duneyr did not want to protect the mortals as much as ruling them. So he killed his brothers. One by one."
Rowan and Lisa exchanged horrified looks.
"He stole their power. The youngest first. The eldest last. When he was done, he had the power of four gods. He was ready to unleash that power onto the worlds. So he had to be stopped. Pete and Dragon have a unique connection. Their powers combined were created to balance the four stags. It's a type of check and balance system among the gods. When Drasil turned against heaven, it might have been the only time they worked together instead of against each other. They recruited me to help seal him away. It was an epic battle that almost left the worlds in shambles. Finally, we were able to subdue him. I used my power to seal Drasil away in Tartarus.”
“Wait, hold up,” Rowan said interrupting Kitsune’s story. “Tartarus exists too. How does that work?”
"Like I said mortals twist facts into fiction. Tartarus is the deepest darkest prison in Pandemonium. We trapped him there for eternity. But lately, the seals that kept him bound there are weakening. I had Cerberus check it for me, and she confirmed my suspicions. That is how he has been able to communicate with you in your dreams, Lisa."
Lisa leaned back and wrapped her arms around herself like she was cold. She looked like she had been violated.
“But to have an avatar like that means that the seals are weakening faster than I anticipated.”
"What does that mean?" Rowan said slamming his fist on the table. Everyone in the shop turned to look at him clearly surprised by the outburst, but he ignored them. "Is Drasil going to escape?”
"He can't. They can weaken by never break. Unfortunately, if they weaken enough, he can do unspeakable damage from his prison. As we saw today, he is not without power."
“Can you reseal him?” Lisa asked. Her eyes were pleading with Kitsune.
Kitsune looked away like he was ashamed. "I can't. My powers are weakened there, and even then I would need Pete and Dragon to assist me. With them gone, there is no chance of resealing Drasil until they return.”
“That’s not for sixty years. We can’t wait that long,” Rowan told him.
Kitsune looked him straight in the eyes and said, "We might not have a choice." He reached over and grabbed another doughnut and ate it in silence.

That Night at the Milton Manor
Rowan walked pass the pool and stopped only once to stare at the setting sun. The sky had turned a bright red with orange streaks crossing through like someone spilled paint over heaven itself. Finding his chair, he sat down and held the guitar in his lap. With a few strums of the strings, he closed his eyes and fingered the top as if trying to find the perfect position. He strummed the strings and moved his fingers up and down the board. When he was ready, he began to sing.
“We're a thousand miles from comfort, we have traveled land and sea
But as long as you are with me, there's no place I'd rather be”

Lisa heard a knock on her door. Part of her wanted to ignore it and continue lying in bed. She was still wearing the same clothes as earlier. She thought about taking a shower and changing but could not gather the energy. Her throat was still sore. When she closed her eyes, it was like she could still feel someone gripping it. The knocking came again. With a grunt, she stood up and walked to the door. It had to be Rowan, who else would come to see her?
When she opened the door, it was not Rowan standing on the other side but Kitsune. He smiled at her, the way he knew she loved the most. His eyes were glowing red, but they were soft and light. The image of apples popped into her head again.
“What are you doing here?” she asked not hiding her surprise.
"I wanted to see if you were okay. After what happened today, I figured that you would not want to be alone." He sounded different, Lisa noticed. He was not his usual confident self. His swagger and serenity were gone, and instead, he looked like a nervous teenager. "Can I come in?"
Lisa smiled. Her heart raced in her chest as her breathing intensified. “Yeah, come in. Make yourself comfortable.”
He walked by her, and one of his tails brushed under her chin. She had to bite her tongue to keep from giggling like a school girl. He set down on the bed and looked at her with those deep eyes. She closed the door.

Rowan kept singing, and there was only one thing on his mind.
“I would wait forever, exalted in the scene
As long as I am with you, my heart continues to beat
With every step, we take, Kyoto to The Bay
Strolling so casually
We're different, and the same gave you another name
Switch up the batteries
If you gave me a chance, I would take itIt's a shot in the dark, but I'll make it
Know with all of your heart, you can't shame me
When I am with you, there's no place I'd rather be”

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:01 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 7: Independence Day
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Fox

I was told it was my turn to do the opening so I'll do my best. Rowan explained it to me how I'm just supposed to summarize everything that's happened up to this point. So a few months ago these two humans, Rowan and Lisa, showed up in the neighborhood and started getting excited about meeting all the pets. It turns out that they were from another dimension (I don't think I'll ever understand that). When they left, one of them left behind a comic book that my dad found. He discovered that King was once Joel Robinson, the man who kidnapped me years back. Dad kicked King out of our house and banned him from seeing Bailey. A little while later the humans came back and were somehow able to fix everything with my help. Afterward, Keene Milton offered them a job over the summer to work on his new TV show. They both accepted the offer and the day came for when they showed up at my door for an interview. It was going well at first then Lisa started pressuring King to reveal that he was once human. King got upset and ran off with Lisa in pursuit. I stayed out of it because it was not my place. They came back but soon after Lisa was knocked unconscious. I thought that was the end of the interview, but she was able to pull herself together to finish it. Later we all got together to put on a strange play about some anime show. I still don't understand it. Yesterday was the real problem. Lisa and Rowan tagged along with Fido and me on patrol as part of the show. A dog attacked a human and when we finally tracked the suspect down it turned out he was really a super-powered celestial deity or at least that is what I was told. All I know is that Lisa was being strangled in mid-air and then Kitsune showed up and scared the suspect off. As I said, I do not understand any of this cosmic magic heaven stuff.

The park was bustling with activity. Dogs of all breeds, shapes, and colors were running around the open grass as the summer sun shone down on them. From where Lisa was sitting, she could see Fido chasing a Frisbee, Fox reading a book, and even King and Bailey playing with their kids under the shade of a large tree. Several other dogs that she did not know the names of where running around with either their owners or friends. She grinned to herself, unable to help it, feeling a sense of bliss that had eluded her for so long. A cool breeze wafted around her blowing her hair over her eyes. She leaned back against the bench she was sitting on and closed her eyes to let her other senses take over.
“Beautiful isn’t it,” someone spoke next to her.
Lisa felt a presence sit down next to her. The voice was male and very familiar. When she opened her eyes, she already knew who it was. Her father sat next to her with only a small space keeping their legs from touching on the small bench. He did not look at her but stared straight ahead at King and Bailey who were both laughing as they watched their kids play in the grass.
"I remember the first time I took you to the park. You were two years old. All you wanted to do was play on the swings, but you were too small," Lisa's father snorted. "Oh, how you screamed and yelled. I finally had to take you home. The looks we got from the other parents."
Lisa did not remember that specific day, but she remembered one of the other times she was on the swings in that park. How her father would stand behind her and push her higher and higher. It was one of her favorite memories of him. She looked away from him so he could not see the tear rolling down her face.
“Why are you here?”
Her father glanced around, head tilted back, and said, “I just wanted to see you again, princess.”
“If you wanted to see me then you should have come home,” Lisa said accusingly. She turned to face him. “Where are you? Why didn’t you ever come home? Do you know what you did to us when you left? What you did to mom, did to me?”
“Lisa,” he said, his voice low. “I would have given anything to come home to you. But I couldn’t. I still can’t.”
“Why not?” Lisa demanded. She made a face. “I want to know. I deserve to know.”
A dark cloud appeared in the sky hovering near the sun. It cast a shadow over them obscuring her father's face. He looked down at the grass beneath them. "You'll find out one day. When you do, I hope you can forgive me for leaving you."
“I doubt that,” she said fighting back the tears. She would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry over him again.
“This is not about me or you, Lisa. You are in more danger than you realize.”
“I think I know just how much danger I’m in. It’s nothing I could ever forget no matter how much I try.” She stood up and moved away from him. She had his back turned to him when she spoke. “I miss you.”
He shook his head, “Only you can protect the king.”
"What is this king you keep talking about?" She turned back to him, but there was no one there. The bench was empty. She turned around, but there was no one else around. She was completely alone. Sitting back down, she cradled her head in her hands and started crying. She remembered the last time she saw her father. Smiling as he kissed her head one early morning. She woke up hearing his footsteps softly moving towards her while she slept. She asked him where he was going. He could never give her a real answer. His bright blue eyes shimmered in the pale light streaming through the cracks in the curtains over her window.
Lisa lifted her head up and noticed that she was no longer sitting on the bench. She was now sitting on a hard cement stool in front of a table with a chess board spread out on it. Across from her was the last person she wanted to see. A golden retriever with black eyes each with one red pupil that made her think of a feral animal filled with bloodlust. Around his neck was a black color embedded with lethal-looking spikes that look less like a fashion statement and more like an instrument of torture. Lisa knew that this was only his avatar. His true form still haunted her thoughts. A giant deer bound in golden wires with antlers that were long enough to tear a hole in the sky. Brown fur the color of tree bark with long jagged scars covering his body from where his brothers tried fending him off before he killed them one after the other.
“Drasil,” she sneered. She had met him twice before and each time was worse than the last.
"My queen, I do hope you were doing well after our confrontation yesterday. You do seem to be in good health. I’m elated that you did not suffer any permanent damage. Or at least any physical damage.”
His voice was rough and ragged like someone was chewing broken pieces of glass and spitting blood as they spoke. It gave her goosebumps listening to it. She looked around and saw they were in a different park than the one before. The last time she was here the grass had died and wilted into a brown sea of decay. But this time it was green and lush as it should be.
“What do you want? You already tried to kill me before. You here for round two?”
Drasil stared at the board in front of them. The pieces were scattered around like they had been playing for a long time. Several pieces were missing. As Lisa examined the board, she noticed that a few pieces were in different places from the last time she saw it. This time there was a chess timer next to the board which was not there the last time. Drasil picked up one piece only to immediately place it back down like a bored child who was waiting his turn.
“Always with the questions. I will never quite understand why you mortals feel the need to ask questions almost immediately. And it’s always the same ones. Why are you here? What do you want? Who are you?” He shook his head in disgust but did not look up from the board. “You just need to trust that I know what’s best for you.”
“I’m not in the mood to deal with you,” Lisa said. She thought about making a run for it but knew that Drasil would never let her leave. She tried to keep her fear bottled up, but it was steadily rising in her chest. Her heart was beating faster and faster. The longer she was with him, the more terrified she felt.
"Come now, after everything we have been through I thought we would be passed this."
“You tried to kill me.”
“If I wanted to kill you, then you would not be talking to me right now. I need you at the present moment. You are my queen.”
“I’m not your queen,” she snarled at him. Fear started to turn to rage. She would have loved nothing more than to take the collar and turn it inside out, so the spikes were facing inward. Unfortunately, that would hurt the body of whatever dog he was inhabiting and not the god himself.
He smiled as if her anger amused him. It would not surprise her one bit if he enjoyed watching her get angry and upset. He was just that sadistic. “Technically, you are my opponent’s queen.”
“Your opponent? Who’s your opponent?”
“You should know that,” he said dryly. “You should know many things about this game by now. After all, I have never lied to you. I find lying unbecoming of a god. Trickery and deceit maybe, but never lies.”
“How noble,” she said. “I don’t know what you’re playing at. Kitsune explained to me that you couldn't escape. Those chains that bind you will never break. So you can take you stupid chess metaphor and shove it up…"
“My dear child, you have no idea how wrong you are. Chess is one of the most common metaphors ever conceived. It represents so much about nature and the powers of strategy. Good versus evil, a battle of wits, a battle of wills, and how one single move can mean victory or defeat. When this game is over, I will be free.”
He looked up at her. His black eyes were staring directly into her hers. She felt a chill run up her spine. She could practically see her reflection staring back at her from the dark pits. "It's your move. Tell your boyfriend that time's almost up."
“Rowan is not my boyfriend,” she said defensively.
Drasil laughed. It was without humor or feeling. It made Lisa physically sick to hear. “I was not referring to the knight. Although I do find the unrequited love between you amusing.”
Lisa blinked, momentarily caught off guard. “What are you talking about?”
“How much do you know about him. I realize that you are oblivious to everything around you even what’s in front of your face. Even a blind puppy could see what you cannot." He leaned forward. His golden fur shimmered in the bright noon sun, but it did not seem natural more like pyrite. "Have you ever noticed the marks on his left arm?"
Lisa thought back. How many times did she watch him rub his arm when he was nervous? Never once would she have guessed there was something there. Could he be lying? He just told her that he didn't lie, but that could also be a lie.
"You don't do you. You are blind to the truth, and that is what will lead to your downfall."
“I don’t care what you say about Rowan or me.” Lisa was furious. “I want to know what you want from me.”
“Nothing that I haven’t already gotten.” He reached over to the timer and laid his paw on the button and pressed it. “Time’s up.”

***

Lisa opened her eyes. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the morning sunlight pouring through the thin curtains that hung up in her room. The Milton's furniture came into view as well as her belongings that she brought with her from her own Earth. She felt the soft cushion of the mattress beneath her. The dream still had a grip on her, so it was hard to recognize what was going on or where she was. Memories came rushing back. She was in her bedroom in the Milton Manor. She was in her bed lying on her side. Everything was where it was supposed to be.
A long arm moved along her body. She did not recognize the sensation. Lisa closed her eyes and thought to herself, okay what did I do? How many times did she bring some guy to her dorm room during college? She always kicked them out before things got serious. She was always too timid but still always felt guilty. A few seconds, later she realized that she was no longer in college so who was beside her?
Slowly Lisa turned her body so not to disturb her guest. There next to her was a long golden muzzle. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked into his closed eyes. His soft breath was blowing gently against her skin. Lisa's eyes moved down the furry body to see his arm was wrapped around her while he slept. His tails flicked back in forth making her wonder what he was dreaming about. She had never seen someone sleep so peacefully like he did not have a care in the world. Knowing Kitsune that was probably true.
Lisa laid there frozen. How did this happen, she wondered? They were in bed together. Sort of. They were lying on top of the covers each still wearing their same clothes from the day before. Lisa thought back to the previous night. Kitsune showed up at her door, and she let him in. They both sat down and talked for a while. She laid on the bed, and he laid down beside her. They must have drifted off. After the day they had, that did not surprise her.
Part of her wanted to go back to sleep with him beside her. His body was so warm like a fuzzy heater. The scent of cider calmed her nerves and relaxed her muscles. She was sure that if she really wanted to do that she could just roll back over and go back to sleep. A feeling of guilt spread through her body. She wanted to lay their forever but knew that was impossible. This was wrong.
“Kitsune,” she whispered. Reaching out with her left hand, she gently shook his body. He grunted slightly but remained sleeping. How much pressure was he under, she thought? Drasil was his responsibility from what he told her yesterday. He was carrying the weight of the rouge god’s reimprisonment solely on his shoulders. Even Kitsune was a god, that was a lot of responsibility for one person to bear.
She shook him again, harder this time. “Kistune, wake up,” she said more harshly.
Kitusne cracked open one eye and looked at her. She gave him a “what do you think you’re doing” look. Both of his eyes burst open. His red eyes were paler than usual like the red had been diluted. He sat up and looked around. His fur was sticking up in several different directions. Lisa assumed this was the animal version of bed-head.
“Did we do what I think we did?” he asked unsure of what was going on.
“That depends,” she said getting out of bed. “If you mean, did we fall asleep lying next to each other on top of my bed, then yes we did.”
He rubbed his eyes and pressed his fur back down with his paws. Just like magic, it stayed down. He turned to her and smiled showing off his pearly white teeth. Lisa turned away so he could not see her blush. Was he proud of himself, she asked herself?
“Where do we go from here?” Lisa asked.
“Well, that depends on your feelings on breakfast.” His voice was layered with amusement.
“I’m serious. We just slept together, sort of. Does that mean something?”
He relaxed his face and looked at her with nothing but concern. "That depends on if you want it to mean anything."
"I just don't understand how this happened. Do demigods even need to sleep?"
His eyes narrowed. "We don't have to sleep but we can if we choose to. We sleep and dream as mortals do. Sometimes it's pleasant to simply let go of everything and take a break for a few hours or days. Omnipotence can be a burden if you let it."
“I just don’t know how I feel about this.”
“Are you upset that we fell asleep in the same bed?” he asked.
"Yes and no. I'm not sure how I feel. Usually, when I wake up with someone in my bed, I feel disgusted. I mean, it's not like we did anything but sleep but still. But with you, it felt different. More natural."
"There you go then. If that is how you feel then you should embrace those feelings," he told her.
“But I can’t. You’re not even human or even mortal. You’re a god.”
“What I am or even what you are should have nothing to do with your feelings. You need to be honest with yourself.”
Lisa was about to respond when there came a knocking on the door. “What now?” Lisa asked growing increasingly frustrated. She walked to the door and was about to open it when she felt Kitsune’s eyes staring at her from behind. “Who is it?” she asked through the door.
"Lisa, guess what. I got the Milton's Netflix password from Duke. Get dressed so we can watch the second season of ‘Thirteen Reasons Why.' It's already been out for weeks now, so I really want to know what's been going on."
Lisa remembered how they binged the entire first season together one day back in her dorm. It was part of a tradition they created where they would watch whole series side by side. Drinks, snacks, and him and her lying side by side on her bed.
She turned back to Kitsune who was watching her with intense interest. She did not want anyone to know that he was with her or that he spent the night with her. Especially not Rowan.
"Okay, that sounds good. I'll meet you on the rooftop deck. Tell Jeeves to make us some breakfast, and I'll see you there in a few minutes."
For a moment, Rowan didn’t speak. “Fine, I’ll see you up there.”
Lisa pressed her ear to the door and listened to the footsteps disappear down the hall. She breathed a sigh of relief. She turned around and saw Kitsune was standing next to the bed looking at her with a troubled expression.
“Why didn’t you tell him about us?”
“Because I don’t know if there is an ‘us.’ I don’t know what happened last night or what it means.”
“What do you want it to mean?” he asked bluntly.
"I want it to mean something, but I don't know if I'm ready."
He smiled gently at her and walked over to where she was standing. He pressed his paw on her shoulder and tilted his head slightly, so he was looking down at her. His eyes glowed red with warmth like a fire burning on a snowy night. "When you've decided what you want to let me know and I'll be waiting no matter what the answer may be."
He reached for the knob and turned it. Lisa stepped back as he walked out the door, closing it behind him. Before it shut all the way, Lisa cried out, "Kitsune wait." She grabbed the door and threw it open. She peered down the hallway, but it was too late. He was already gone.

Later on the 4th of July
“I’m still surprised that Rock isn’t having us cover this for the show,” Lisa said to Rowan as they walked down the road.
They were both woken early that morning by the sounds of dozens of workers setting up what appeared to be a lavish party out on the Milton’s property. Everything from giant grills, barbecues, tables, tiki torches, and a giant stage was being set up. After a quick investigation, meaning Lisa barged into Keene’s office and demanded to know what was happening. He explained that the ferrets were throwing a 4th of July party for the entire neighborhood. He explained that it was useful for the pets and humans to relax and have a good time. Lisa and Rowan interrupted that as bribing everyone with a party so they will be less resistant to having to be a part of the documentary. With the prospect of sleep taken away, Lisa and Rowan snuck away and decided to hang out at the dog park until noon when the party would officially start.
"I'm still kind of surprised that he's doing this," Rowan said. "I mean a huge party for the neighborhood just to make everyone forget that the ferrets are exploiting them."
“I would not say exploited. This isn’t King’s wedding. I do feel like there are better ways to make people okay with us filming them.”
“Money,” Rowan suggested.
“Exactly.”
They continued up the street towards the mansion. As they got closer, the sound of music blaring from the speakers on the stage made their ears ring. The entire yard was full of people and pets. The house itself was wrapped in red, white, and blue banners and streamers. Several pets were wearing festive hats and/or glass. The smell of cooking meats was so overpowering that Lisa could feel her mouth water.
“They did all this in the time we were gone?” Rowan asked avoiding being run over by one of Rodney’s cubs.
“Apparently,” she said trying to take it all in.
There were several tables and booths set up. People in uniform were serving drinks, snacks, hot dogs, and hamburgers. It reminded her of the time Keene hosted the State Fair only smaller and more patriotic. They continued moving towards the house avoiding being trampled by large dogs rushing to get their jaws on the fresh batch of hot dogs being put out. Lisa saw that several picnic tables were set up. She noticed that the entire K-9 unit was sitting at one. Their mouths were full of food as they howled and cheered over the blaring sound of 5 Seconds of Summer playing over the speakers.
Finally, they reached the safety of the house. Lisa closed the door behind them, and the effect was instant. The sounds from outside were muffled to nothing more than a soft scream like someone was yelling into a pillow. A sound echoed through the foyer. Someone talking very loud and fast was approaching.
“No, how many times do I have to tell you that the barbecue is supposed to be served tonight.” Keene stepped out from one of the halls, a phone to his ear. “Lunch is hamburgers and hot dogs. Supper is barbecue. Yes, leave the meat in the cooker, so they finish. I don't care what Duke told you, I'm telling you to leave it be, and I'm the one who signs your paycheck."
He hung up and looked up at the strange looks Rowan and Lisa were giving him. “What are you both doing here?” he asked, head cocked. “It’s a party going on outside. Go enjoy yourselves.”
“How did you pull this all off in the few hours we were gone?” Lisa asked him.
"Money can buy many things including the best professionals in town. Plus, I promised the wolves they can eat as much as they want if they worked overtime for free." He tapped on his phone, the bright screen making his face more sinister than usual. "Anyway, the main party is out front, but the pool is open for everyone if you feel like swimming. We have games set up, and some you can win prizes. Karishad insisted we have corn hole.” He walked past them and out the door. The music poured through for only a second before the door shut again.
“What do you want to do?” Rowan asked facing Lisa.
That was a loaded question. Right then, she did not feel like socializing with anyone. It had been two weeks since her encounter with Drasil, and the awkward morning she woke up in bed with Kitsune. The latter had been on her mind a lot recently. He asked her what she wanted, and she thought about it always. Part of her knew exactly what she wanted but the other, more logical, part of her knew that she could never have it so why try.
“Lisa, are you there. Earth to Lisa, can you hear me?” Rowan waved his hand in her face which snapped her out of the trance.
She shook her head, snapped back to her senses. “I just was thinking about something. I mean what do you want to do?”
“Right now, I want to go swimming,” he said gesturing in the direction of the pool. “I’m going to go change into my swim trunks and head out there. You want to come?”
“I’ll catch up with you later. I think I’m going to hang out in the front. Check on everyone.”
“Oh, okay,” he said sounding disappointed. He knew that she was not a big swimmer. Lisa knew how to swim but never really had a chance to use it. Growing up her mother never took her to places like the beach or the local public pool. In fact, Lisa only owned one bathing suit. “I’ll see you later then.”
Lisa watched him walk off. She bit her lower lip before pulling out her phone. That morning two weeks ago she discovered a new contact. She pressed it and held the phone up to her ear. The dial tone rang over and over as she walked out the door. The music stopped momentarily which was nice. The other line kept ringing over and over again.
"Hello there," someone said. Lisa recognized the voice instantly. Something was wrong. It was not coming from the phone but from next to her. Lisa turned to Kitsune leaning against one of the pillars. He was wearing a very festive outfit. A blue jack, red t-shirt, and white shorts. He was in his fox form which meant only one tail, but the rest of him looked the same. "I knew you would call eventually."
“You know me pretty well then,” she said unable to hide the amusement in her voice. She walked over to him trying to take in all of him at once. If she had any chance of making this work, then she would have to try her hardest and not run away again.

***

The pool water was freezing cold when Rowan jumped in. Several other pets and a few younger kids were already swimming. The sounds of splashing and screaming filled the air. A few pool floats were being pushed back and forth on the surface of the water. Rowan swam out of the middle of the pool and laid there on his back staring up at the clear blue sky.
“What’s up with you?”
Rowan turned his head and moved his body upright. Fox joined him in the water. The husky was supporting himself on a lime green pool noodle. His arms were laid on the pool toy while his legs moved under the water. His collar was gone, but he still wore his dog tags.
“What are you talking about?” Rowan stared at him coldly. He did not like the fact that Lisa brushed him off and now others were started to take notice.
“I can tell you are upset about something. So what is it? Talk to me.”
“It’s Lisa. She’s been distant lately like something is on her mind.”
Fox frowned. “She was almost killed two weeks ago. That tends to linger with some people.”
"I don't think that's it though," Rowan said. "I feel like she's distracted by something else." He paused for a moment trying to get his thoughts together. Lisa had been on his mind a lot lately. Since he confessed to Fox that he desperately wanted to ask her out but never could, he never felt more like a coward. "I want to understand what goes on in her head."
"Does this have anything to do with what we talked about before?" Fox asked with a raised eyebrow. Since the disastrous ride-along, Rowan had been brainstorming with Fox how to ask Lisa out on a date. They'd been texting, calling, and on several occasions, Rowan would go over to Fox's house. Of course, they talked about other things too, but the topic of failed romance seemed to keep rearing its ugly head. Rowan with Lisa. Fox with, well every girl he ever liked.
“Of course it does. I wanted her to come swimming with me, which I know was a long shot but still. Instead, she wanted to hang out in the front yard the complete opposite of here. I feel like she’s avoiding me. It’s like she knows I want to ask her and now she’s just avoiding me.”
"You do realize how crazy you sound right now right? She's not avoiding you. So she does not like to swim what's the big deal. I know lots of dogs who don't like water," Fox said moving closer to Rowan. He slid farther down the noodle giving Rowan space to latch on. He was relieved to have something keeping him from sinking to the bottom of the giant pool.
“Let’s forget about Lisa for a second. Why are you here and not with the K-9’s?” Rowan asked.
Fox sighed. “After what happened before I just felt like being away from the police dogs.”
“Did something happen?”
"They've been giving me a hard time about what happened during the ride-along. They blame you and Lisa for what happened. Every time I try to explain to them what was going on, Fido tells me to stay quiet. I don't blame him. We're the only ones who really know about all that mystical, magical junk. How am I supposed to explain everything about heaven and magic to them?"
“What about Mungo?” Rowan suggested. “He knows about the magic and the gods. He went with you to the temple. Plus, isn’t he like Satau’s reincarnation or something?”
“Who is this Satau, everyone keeps mentioning?" Fox asked sounding annoyed.
"Whatever, yeah he kind of knows but he's Mungo. You know how he is. He's too good nature to let anything phase him. He's not one of the ones who has been saying things."
“Do you want to borrow my books?”
“Oh dog, no. Never again do I want anything to do with those things.” He snapped. Fox shuddered as if the thought of the comic books was more than he could handle.
They floated there in silence as a dozen or so pets continued to swim around them. More than once was Rowan splashed in the face with cold water. He watched as two of Mile’s cubs began fighting with two of the pool noodles like they were swords. One sprang at the other noodle raised high and brought it down on the other’s head. Rowan squinted and guessed that was North Star. The other swung his noodle to the side, so it smacked his opponents face. That must have been Darth Vader. If they were both here, then where was Rockstar Hawk, Rowan wondered? He knew the third wolf loved swimming.
"Cannonball!" Rowan looked up as the answer to his question came hurtling down like a loose boulder in Willie Coyote cartoon. Rockstar hit the water with a giant blast.
A colossal wave rose and consumed anyone unlucky enough to be in its path of destruction. That included Rowan and Fox. Rowan was knocked off the noodle and sank below the water. When he broke the surface, his mouth was full of chlorine and dog hair. He spat repeatedly, but nothing he did could alleviate the sensation that he just ate a whole squirrel. Fox joined him soon after. His tongue hung loosely from his mouth as he brushed his wet fur from out of his eyes.
In the distance, Rowan could hear Rockstar join his brothers. The other wolves clapped and cheered for their brother’s accomplishment. Several of the other pets were giving them dirty looks and whispering what Rowan could guess was not praise. Despite what just happened, Rowan felt a genuine smile creep onto his face. It was hard to stay mad at the wolves. Despite their appearance and actions, they were quite lovable.
“Do you want to get out of here?” Fox asked pointed at the edge of the pool.
“Yeah, let’s get out of here.” They both swam to the edge of the pool. Rowan could not help but notice that Fox was doing the freestyle stroke instead of the doggy paddle. They climbed out of the pool and grabbed one of the monogrammed towels that were laid out for them. Rowan tried to hand one to Fox, but as he turned around, he was sprayed with water as Fox shook himself dry. Feeling disgusted, Rowan wrapped his towel around his head and shuddered violently.
“Sorry about that,” Fox said.
“Just…take this, please,” Rowan said holding out the other towel for Fox to take. Fox complied and used it to finish drying himself off.
“I need to head to my room and put my clothes back on,” Rowan told him. “Do you want to come with or do something else?”
Fox shrugged. "I guess I'll come with. I haven't been inside the mansion since the ferrets took us on that two years back. I'm curious to see how much it's changed."
“Trust me,” Rowan said heading towards the door. “Nothing has changed one bit around here.”

***

The party was in full swing as Lisa and Kitsune navigated their way through the booths and tables. Smells of cooking meat made Lisa's mouth water. She had barely eaten anything that morning. Something was holding her back from charging up to the nearest table and grab a thick burger and start dropping topping on it like they would be wiped out any minute. She glanced at Kitsune who was observing everyone. Did she not want him to see her eat? Why would she even care about that?
"So, what do you want to do?" Lisa asked. "We can play a game. There's a rock climbing tower over there." She pointed at the tall gray pillar. It was currently occupied by Mile's cubs and one small human child who looked uncomfortable. Lisa wondered if it was the climb or the wolves. "We can get something to eat if you want."
“If you’re hungry, then just say so,” Kistune said with a slight smile on his face. He looked at her eyes narrowed like he could see right through her.
Lisa blushed and looked away. “Do you even eat?”
"I can eat, but I don't have too if that's what you're asking. Eating to a demigod is like sleeping. We do it because we want not to have to."
“Well, since I’m human I do need to eat.” She grabbed his paw and pulled him to the hamburger table that had been calling her name for the last five minutes. The line was already long. Lisa pulled out her phone and checked the time. It was noon. Everyone was getting hungry. As she stood there, she could not help but notice the sensation that she was being watched. She slowly turned her head and scanned the crowd. Several of the other guests were looking at her. Some were pointing at her while others gave her suspicious glances. Kitsune started whistling beside her, and the answer became obvious.
“Maybe you should change into your human form,” Lisa suggested.
"Why would I do that? I know you prefer this form more," he said with a broad smile on his face.
Lisa blushed harder that time. The way he said it made her sound like some perve. The worst part was he was right. She did find his human form hot, but there was something about his natural form that made her heart flutter in her chest in a way she never felt before. "I am just saying people are staring. You look like a feral even with that outfit on."
He chuckled. "Do you want me to get undressed? I could, you know, and no one would care."
"NO!" she shouted and got even more looks. She assumed her face was redder than a tomato as she stood there. She placed her face in her hands to hide how embarrassed she was. There was hand on her shoulder. She looked up to see Kitsune was looking down at her. His eyes were warm and gentle. There was a powerful feeling in her blood, the urge to wrap her arms around him and dig her fingers into his fur. Let him hold her in his arms and let the world watch as if to say "he's mine, back off." She didn't understand where these feelings were coming from. She never felt this way about any of her previous boyfriends, she didn't know why she felt this way, and that terrified her.
She moved away from him, gently breaking his hold on her shoulder. The line moved forward, and so did she. She prayed that Kitsune could not sense what she was feeling. Could fox's smell hormones? Was that what this was? Hormones. For some reason, she thought back to the comics. She remembered when King first met Bailey and how he had to reassure himself that what he was feeling was just because he was a dog and nothing more. She knew how well that worked out. She was human, and Kitsune was a god, so what did that tell her?
Lisa was so caught up in her own thoughts she did not realize they had reached the table until Kitsune tapped on her shoulder again. She fumbled with the plates, trying to separate one Styrofoam plate from the other. Finally, Kitsune took them from her and did it himself. He handed one to her and kept the other for himself. She mumbled her thanks and moved along. Soon their plates were full of food. One hamburger, and a wide assortment of sides and snacks.
They found an empty picnic table and sat down across from each other. Lisa stared at the food unsure what to do next. Kitsune did not waste any time before taking a massive bite from his burger. Ketchup and mustard smeared all over his muzzle. Lisa could not help but crack a smile.
“What is it?” Kitsune asked. “Do I have something on my face?” Like he did not know already.
“Yeah, you have a little something here,” Lisa told him. She pointed at her face to show him where it was. Kitsune picked up a napkin and wiped some of it off.
“Did I get it?”
"No, you still have some more," Lisa said. He was like a child she thought. He tried again, but there was still a large smear on his chin. "Let me do it."
She picked up her napkin and reached across the table. Kitsune leaned in to let her clean his face. As she wiped the rest of the mess off, she was struck with a sudden realization as she looked into his eyes. They were full of amusement, the same look he had when he just made a fool of someone.
“You did that on purpose,” she said.
He folded his paws together on the table and rolled his eyes trying to look innocent. “Maybe.”
“You jerk. Shame on you,” she said to him. She gently slapped his paws and started laughing.
He reached for fry and stuck in his mouth not taking his eyes off her. Lisa could still feel a hundred eyes on her, but she did not care. In her mind, there was no one else but her and Kitsune, and she would not want it any other way.
As they ate the rest of their food, they began asking each other questions. Lisa asked about his life and heaven to which he replied with vague, unhelpful questions that just made her roll her eyes and shake her head.
“My turn,” he said. “What was your life like back on your Earth?”
"You really want to know?" She asked with a raised eyebrow. He nodded. "Let's see. My mother was a horrible parent. I tried to stay out of the house as much as possible. I spent most of my time at school or one of my friends' houses. We were well off, so she never had to work. She came from money, and my Dad left us a decent amount." Saying the words stung but she kept going. "She dated a lot. Some of the guys she brought home were good. Others were bad. She was never serious about any of them."
Kitsune watched her as she spoke, his face unreadable. Finally, he said, “Now tell me about you.” He pressed his index fingers to his mouth.
“What do you mean?”
“Whenever you are uncomfortable or want to avoid talking about something unpleasant you talk about your mother. I want to know about you.” He pointed at her as he spoke.
She took a sip of her drink. "I like reading manga and comics. I like eating Chinese food but not Japanese. I grew up in a small town in Virginia called Pipersville. I went to college at Alexander College, and during my first semester, I was undecided. I finally just chose English as my major so I could…"
“What?”
"I don't know," she said sadly. "I didn't want that, but I chose it anyway. It was later I realized that I should have gone into journalism. By that point, it was too late."
"It's never too late to do something that you're passionate about. Look at what you're doing now. You're interviewing animals and coming up with stories."
"And that has been going so well. Of all the interviews and segments we've gotten so far barely any of them are usable. In case you forgot, the first one I made King cry. Then there was the play Rowan, and Peanut put on. Thanks for that by the way. Then when we followed the K9PD, I was attacked by Drasil.”
They were quiet for a moment. Bring up Drasil killed what little mood that was left. The warm air blew around them. “I’m sorry about that. I did not know he would go so far,” he said finally.
“It’s not your fault.”
“It kind of is,” he said. “I was the one who sealed him away. It’s my fault that he’s coming after you now. I sent Dragon and Pete away. The only two who could stop him if his power ever returned.”
Lisa was glad they finished eating because she suddenly lost her appetite. “Let’s do something else,” she said standing up. She picked up her plate and walked over to one of the large garbage cans. Kitsune joined her and dumped his trash. Lisa looked around. Keene went all out with activities. From what she knew he was planning this party to last into the night. She grabbed Kitsune’s arm and pulled him over to the rock climbing tower. “Let’s go climb that thing. It’ll be fun.”
When they got to the tower, there was only one open slot. Kitsune insisted that Lisa go on ahead of him. When Lisa got strapped up, she began her climb. Every muscle in her body ached after the first minute. Hand over hand, foot over foot, and she was halfway up. She never did anything like this before. Why did she choose this instead of something easy like corn hole? When she made it three-fourths of the way up, she was confident she could reach the top. Hurt bloomed in her arm she reached for one of the plastic holds. Despite that, she tried to pull her body up. Slowly, her foot came up trying to find something to rest it on. There was nothing there. She swung her leg trying to find a foot hole but there nothing but empty air. Her strength was leaving her. Her hand slipped from the rock that she was gripping and the sensation of falling overtook her.
"AHH!" she screamed as she fell. In the back of her mind, she knew that the cable would stop her from hitting the ground, but every instinct in her body was telling her that she was going to die. Closing her eyes, Lisa waiting for either the ground or the cord to stop her fall. Something soft and sturdy struck her back. Slowly, she opened her eyes and stared directly into Kitsune’s concerned face. Lisa looked around and realized that she was in his arms. He caught her.
“Are you alright,” Kitsune asked. Lisa could not respond. Her mind was exploding with hundreds of different sensations as adrenaline flooded through her system.
“Hey, girl,” one of the workers said coming over to check on her. “Are you okay?”
She looked from him back to Kitsune and said, “I think I am.”

***

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:46 am, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:07 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Rowan stepped out of the shower and grabbed one of the monogrammed towels from the rack. When he was thoroughly dry, he grabbed the clothes he had on that morning and put them on before stepping into his bedroom. One of the perks of living with the Milton's was that he had his own personal bathroom attached to his room. Fox was lying on the bed, his face stuck in Rowan's iPad.
“You have a lot of games on this thing,” Fox said as his fingers continually pressed the screen.
Ignoring the fact that Fox was using his tablet without his permission, Rowan asked, “Do you want to take a shower. I can’t imagine chlorine and fur are a good mix.”
Fox shrugged. “I can wait until I get home to wash off.” He placed the tablet on the bed beside him and sat up. “What do you want to do now?”
“I don’t know,” Rowan said. “I still can’t help thinking about Lisa. The idea of asking her out is all I can think about.”
“Just ask her out then. You don’t have to make a blockbuster production out of it.”
Rowan stared at him. “You say that a lot. You ever realize that?”
Fox rubbed the back of his neck. “People have pointed that out before.”
“Blockbuster or not this is serious. We’ve known each other for years. She’s my best friend. I can’t just go up to her and ask, ‘Hey Lisa, you want to go out sometime?”
“Why not,” Fox asked.
“Because it would be weird,” Rowan said gesturing frantically. "Honestly, I haven't dated anyone since high school. All through college, I avoided asking any girl out because I wanted to be with Lisa. If I dated anyone else, it would be wrong because my heart wouldn't be in it."
“All I know is that you ask her out. It’s one question. Not that hard.” He shook his head before continuing. “You’re not asking her to marry you. Why do humans have to make everything so difficult?” He slid off the bed.
"It's a talent of ours," Rowan said, his voice low and stern. "I mean have you met King? Literally, everything he does is overly complicated."
Fox shrugged but did not say anything.
Once they were back outside, they both had trouble deciding what to do. Neither one was hungry yet plus the line for the food tables was ridiculously long. Rowan noticed that the food had attracted several feral animals. He noticed Zach and Jessica were standing in one line. Falstaff and Truck in another. Thankfully there was no sign of Cory.
“Hey, look who it is,” Fox said pointing over to the dunk tank.
Rowan looked at what Fox was pointing at. At first, he expected to see Bino in the tank again, but to his disappointment, it was only a human playing the role of victim. Someone threw a ball but missed the mark by a wide margin. Rowan saw who threw it and realized that was who Fox was referring too.
“Hey, King!” Fox shouted and waved his paw in the air. King raised his arm, ready to throw his last ball when he turned to see who was calling him. His eyes lit up as he saw Fox. That light faded instantly when he saw Rowan. He scowled as Fox and Rowan walked over to him.
“What are you doing here?” Fox asked. He looked around. “Where’s Bailey?”
King sighed. "She's at the vet. Olive has a fever, so Bailey took her and the others there to get them checked out."
Rowan was surprised. “Why aren’t you with them? This sounds serious.”
"I would be, but Bailey insisted that I come here instead." He threw the last ball which missed again. "She said that she could handle it herself and that I should enjoy myself. Her exact words were, ‘You tend to overreact. I don't need you panicking and making everything worse. Go have fun and let me take care of the kids.' Can you believe she said that?"
Rowan was about to speak when Fox clamped his paw over his mouth keeping him from putting his foot in his mouth.
“No, I can’t,” Fox said unconvincingly.
"So, now I'm here worrying about them. I told her to text me with any updates, but she still hasn't. How am I supposed to enjoy myself here?"
Rowan wanted to ask if he ever had fun before in his life but decided against it. He looked around for some suggestion. His eyes fell on a giant inflatable in the distance. It was like a bounce house only larger and more complex. An inflatable obstacle course, Rowan realized. The school had one for their "Spirit Day" a few months back.
"Let's do that," Rowan said pointing at the inflatable. "It's fun. I did it before. You'll love it." Without waiting for a response, Rowan grabbed both King's and Fox's arms and dragged them over to the inflatable.
Fox was unsure about it when they arrived. There were two entrances for two people to race each other which Rowan was all for. “I’ve done stuff this at the academy. It would be unfair for me to do it.”
“Oh come on Fox. Don’t be a stick in the mud,” Rowan told him. He took off his shoes and placed them to the side.
“I have to admit this does look like fun. I’ve never done anything like this before.”
Fox thought about it for a second then said, “How about this. I’ll race whichever of you two wins a race with each other. How’s that?”
Rowan and King exchanged looks. “Are you up for that? It seems kind of unfair.”
King scowled at him. Rowan forced himself not to burst out laughing. It was the same look he had seen hundreds of times reading the comics. It was ten times funnier in real life. “What is that supposed to mean?” King asked crossing his arms.
“I mean I have the obvious advantage. You with your stubby legs and small body.”
“I’m a dog, we are built for stuff like this,” King responded.
“Sure, but there’s also the age difference. I’m much younger than you are and therefore in better condition.”
King’s jaw dropped. Rowan continued. “I mean, I’m twenty-one and your like thirty-five.”
King looked like he was ready to throttle Rowan. “Is that what you think?”
"Yeah, I do. You want exactly young when you were turned into a dog, and that was eight years ago. Almost nine."
“It freaks me out when you know things like that,” King griped.
“Okay then, how old are you?” Rowan asked throwing his hands in the air.
“I’m not telling you because it’s none of your business.”
Fox groaned. “Are we going to do this or what? There are other things I want to do like go the shooting gallery and hit the trampolines.”
Rowan was struck with inspiration. He smiled devilishly at King. "I'll make you deal. You win, and I'll never bring up your age again. But I win, and you tell me how old you really are."
King shook his head. “No deal. I said it’s none of your business. Ask all you want, but I’m not telling.”
"Fine, I win, and I'll have Fox pull your birth certificate from the national database."
King’s eyes widen in horror. He took a step back like he was pushed. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Oh, I would.” Rowan folded his arms behind his back and leaned forward. “I can’t imagine that there were that many Joel Zechariah Robinsons’ born within the last four decades.”
King turned to Fox, “You wouldn’t do that would you?”
Fox looked away, “I’m not getting the middle of this. But I would say that I could have my Dad pull some strings.” He smiled at King and narrowed his eyes obviously enjoying this.
“Fine,” King shouted to the sky. He pointed at Rowan. “You’re on.”
They lined up in front of the holes that served as the entrance. King down on all fours while Rowan bent forward slightly trying to get into the best position. Fox stood off the side and raised his arm. “Ready. Set. Go!”
Rowan sprinted to the entrance and dived in head first. He landed on the air filled cushion face first but immediately pushed himself up. He charged forward. He reached a slight slant with small foot holes made of cloth. He climbed up only to slide down the other side quickly. In front of him were a formation of inflated columns designed to slow him down. But that did not stop him from pushing through. It was like fighting a bobo doll. Every time he pushed one out the way it came back and struck him. After that, he dived headfirst again through a set of rolling bars. Then came the hardest part, he climbed larger incline covered in a rope net. His foot got stuck only once before he reached the top. Without wasting any time, he slid down the slide and belly flopped onto the grass.
"I win," Rowan said standing up. Three seconds later, King came sliding down only he landed much more elegantly. Seeing Rowan waiting for him, made King groaned loudly. He placed his hand in his paws. His voice was muffled, but Rowan could make out a few select curse words.
“Deals a deal,” Fox said walking over. “Okay, now it’s my turn.”

One Race Later
“I can’t believe I lost,” Rowan complained. He reached out and grabbed a handful of plain chips from the bowl before dropping them on his plate.
"You've complained for the last twenty minutes," King said. "Can you drop it already? Fox won, and you lost. Are you that surprised by that?"
“But by a whole minute.” Turning to Fox Rowan asked, “What kind of training do you do at the academy?”
Fox closed his eyes and said, “That’s a secret. I can’t tell you.”
Food in hand, the three made their way to the picnic tables to find somewhere to sit. All the tables were filled with the last of the stragglers, who like them, waited to get lunch after the majority of the guests had eaten. Then there those who just wanted seconds or thirds.
Rowan checked each other tables, but there was only one that had enough room for them to sit at. "We can sit over there with Tiger and Marvin," Rowan said pointing at the table.
Fox and King exchanged uncomfortable glances. “What’s wrong?” Rowan asked.
“Nothing, it’s just… Tiger is kind of weird. I have nothing against Marvin per say but Tiger…” Fox said shifted from foot to foot.
"Tiger is pretty strange even for a dog," King said as if forgetting that he was a dog too.
“Oh come on, they’re harmless,” Rowan said. He moved towards the table despite the grumbling coming from the others. “Even Tiger, so long as you forget about the death threats, violent outbursts, the time he blew up the television studio, and the time he started a massive food fight.”
They reached the table, and Rowan noticed just how much food Tiger had on his plate. From what Rowan could tell, he had at least three hamburgers, four hot dogs, an entire bowl of coleslaw, two ears of corn, three separate types of chips, two kinds of dip, and a funnel cake which Rowan did not even know they were serving.
"Can we sit with you guys?" Rowan asked.
Marvin looked up at him while Tiger just gave a suspicious look as he took another giant bite of his burger. "Sure, go ahead," Marvin said moving over for them to sit. Rowan set down next to Marvin and Fox beside him. King crossed to the other side where Tiger was, but the orange dog was not moving.
“Tiger,” Marvin hissed.
With a slow eye roll, Tiger picked up his food and moved slightly to the left. With no other choice, King set down. Luckily he was small, Rowan thought.
“Are you two enjoying the party?” Rowan asked trying to be polite. He was always a fan of Marvin and Tiger’s brief moments in the comics. The only time they had any real interaction was during the play.
Marvin nodded, reaching for a napkin to wipe his paws. "It's been alright. We've mostly been stopping at the food stands. I wanted to do something else, but every time I suggest something Tiger starts to whine.”
“That is not true,” Tiger said spitting chunks of meat in Rowan’s direction. Tiger swallowed and continued, “We’ve done plenty of things you wanted to do.”
“When?” Marven demanded.
“There was the time we—“ Tiger started to say but stopped. He bit his lower lip and stuff a paw full of chips into his mouth.
Rowan started eating his own food. The music was getting loud again. They had been there for so long that he almost forgot about it all together. He looked up at the stage and could see Pit DJ’ing. He had on his usual pink unitard and star-shaped sunglasses only this time they were patriotic colors. The stage was empty which begged the question why it was there if no one was going to perform.
An idea hit him like a lightning bolt. He knew exactly how to ask Lisa out on a date. “Guys, I got the best idea ever. I’m going to ask Lisa out through song.”
There were groans.
"Rowan, you can't be serious," Fox said. He gave him a sympathetic look like Rowan just lost mind. "This isn't some TV show or musical comedy. That idea sounds ridiculous. You think she would go for that?"
“Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s the best idea I got. She just said not long ago that she liked to hear me sing. I sing a song and then ask her out on stage. It’s perfect. But I’m going to need your guy’s help.”
“I don’t know.”
“I really don’t want too.”
“Why do you need us?”
“Who’s Lisa?”
"Come on guys," Rowan said. He glanced at the four of them. He sighed. "I'll give you each fifty bucks."
“Alright!” They all said in unison.

***

Kitsune walked over to Lisa with a giant blob of cotton candy in his paw. Lisa took the confection gratefully and pulled a piece off. She stuck in her mouth and let the sugar dissolve spreading through her body. Kitsune took a bit and ate it.
“I have to admit. You mortals sure know how to invent some interesting things. Food is probably the best thing you mortals create.”
“Just don’t ask me to cook anything for you,” Lisa said before taking another bite.
“I’m sure you are a wonderful cook.”
Lisa laughed out loud. “Yeah, right. My mother never cooked. She didn’t even watch cooking shows like most women her age. I got through college either eating out or in the campus dining hall. When Uber Eats came out was like a dream come true.”
Kitsune looked around trying to decide on their next activity. They both agreed that they would take turns deciding on what they should do. Lisa looked at her phone. It was 4:30. The day was slipping away fast. She could not help but wonder what tomorrow would be like. Would Kitsune hang around or go back to wherever he went when he disappeared?
“How about we try…hmm,” he said.
“Hmm. What?” Lisa asked. She eyed him suspiciously wondering what he was cooking in that head of his.
“Why don’t we just get away from everyone and just relax.”
“Where would we do that?”
“There’s a spot near the edge of the forest. We can go there so we’ll be alone.”
Lisa thought about it for a second and agreed. They set off around the house. She vaguely knew what he was referring too. Part of her knew that he was planning something but was unsure of what it was. They passed by several booths when something caught her eye. She turned and saw Rowan, Fox, King, Tiger, and Marvin. She looked closer and realized they were…dancing?
They were too far away to hear what they were saying, but Rowan was definitely yelling at them. He moved around waving his arms and legs like he was showing them choreography. Lisa wanted to go over and see what they were doing, but Kitsune tugged at her shirt. Ignoring them, she continued their walk by the tree line.
Soon they were far away from the others. The sounds of the party were nothing more than a whisper carried by the wind. Depending on the direction, Lisa could hear it and sometimes it was like she and Kitsune were the only ones left in the entire world. He led her through the trees like he had been there dozens of times before.
“There it is.” He turned to her. “What do you think?”
Lisa saw what he was referring too. She gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. Her eyes watered at the sight. It was a small circular wooden swing hanging from one of the larger branches of the tree. It swayed back and forth as if beckoning her to get on.
"How did you know?" It was just like the swing she had in her backyard back home. Her father would push her back and forth on occasion. Other times she would swing by herself. After he left, she would quietly sit on it for hours and gaze out longingly. Years later the rope rotted, and it was thrown away. That day it felt like a piece of her childhood was tossed in the garbage with it.
“Never underestimate the power of a demigod,” Kitsune said. He walked over and grabbed the rope. He gestured for her to join him. She sat on the swing and wrapped her legs around the rope. He gently pushed her, so she swung back and forth.
Lisa felt like a little girl again. The fresh air blew against her face, blowing her hair in different directions. She closed her eyes and let the movement of the swing overtake her body. It was like she was flying or soaring across the sky. Nothing mattered anymore. Thoughts about Drasil or even her father vanished. There were only her and the freedom of the sky. She was swept into a dream.
After a while, Lisa stopped and got off the swing. Kitsune stood there confused. Lisa pointed at the swing and said, “Your turn.”
“My turn,” Kitsune said pressing his paw against his chest. “Really?”
“Yes, really get on.”
Kitsune did as he was told. Lisa pressed her hands against his back and pushed with all her might. He was heavier than she thought he would be. It took several tries before she finally got him moving. She stepped back as Kitsune swung back and forth. His expression was strange. He looked like he never been on a swing before. Lisa wondered if that was true. Did gods do normal mundane things? She assumed they didn’t because there was never a reason too.
Together they switched back and forth for what seemed like hours. They talked and laughed as they moved along. Finally, Kitsune and Lisa tried to swing at the same time. Lisa sat in his lap as he pushed off the ground. She gripped the rope trying to fall. Kitsune had one paw on the rope and the other around her chest. Lisa leaned back and rested his chest. She could feel his firm muscles underneath the shirt and fur. She closed her eyes and let the momentum take her away.
“It’s getting late. Do you want to go back and get supper?” Kitsune asked as he stopped swinging.
Lisa opened her eyes unaware of how long they were swinging together. She pushed herself away from him, trying to push down the overwhelming feeling of embarrassment. What was wrong with her? This could not keep happening.
“Um, sure let’s get back up there. Maybe we can beat the lines.”
They made their way back through the trees. As they got closer to the Milton's lawn the louder the music was becoming. Something was about to happen, Lisa thought. Climbing up to the lawn, Lisa glanced at the pool and saw that there were very few people swimming. Everyone must have been gathering on the front lawn. Lisa's curiosity was peaked. She wanted to see what was happening. Before long, they reached the front lawn and saw the sea of people looking towards the stage. The air was filled with voices of people talking like they were preparing for something. Lisa was grateful that the lines to get barbecue were practically empty. Workers were already setting up for the supper rush.
“This is dedicated to Lisa,” someone said.
Lisa looked around to see who called her name, but no one was looking at her. Kitsune’s eyes were sparkling as he looked at her. He smiled and held out his paw as the music started.
“Do you want to dance?” he asked.
“Yes, I do,” Lisa said cheerfully. She placed her hand in his and moved closer.
***

“This is your Party Boy, DJ Pit! I am coming to you with all the best tracks because my brother put me in charge. Just a reminder that I’m rich and you’re not. We have a very special performance for you all. I was just handed fifty bucks by one of the humans my brother hired. He wants to sing a special song for a very special someone. So give him and his friends a big round of applause.”
Rowan stepped up on the stage followed by King, Fox, Tiger, and Rowan. They each got into position as they practiced. He stared at the crowd. Everyone was looking at him. He scanned the people looking for Lisa. He could not see her anywhere. That was not going to discourage him, he thought. He held the mic to his mouth and took a deep breath.
"Thank you for that blunt but honest introduction Pit. I want to sing a song for a special person in my life. Someone I care deeply about and that I would do anything for. This is dedicated to Lisa." He pointed at Pit to start the song.
“This is ‘2002’ by Anne-Marie.” The music started playing over the speakers. “Feel free to dance along.” Rowan tapped his foot and nodded his head. He opened his mouth and sang.
I will always remember the day you kissed my lips
Light as a feather
And it went just like this
No, it's never been better
Than the summer of 2002
We were only eleven
But acting like grownups
Like we are in the present, drinking from plastic cups
Singing, "love is forever and ever"
Well, I guess that was true
Dancing on the hood in the middle of the woods
Of an old Mustang, where we sang
Songs with all our childhood friends
And it went like this, yeah
Oops I got ninety-nine problems singing bye, bye, bye
Hold up, if you wanna go and take a ride with me
Better hit me, baby, one more time
Paint a picture for you and me
Of the days when we were young
Singing at the top of both our lungs
Now we're under the covers
Fast forward to eighteen
We are more than lovers
Yeah, we are all we need
When we're holding each other
I'm taken back to 2002
Dancing on the hood in the middle of the woods
Of an old Mustang, where we sang
Songs with all our childhood friends
And it went like this, yeah
Oops I got ninety-nine problems singing bye, bye, bye
Hold up, if you wanna go and take a ride with me
Better hit me, baby, one more time
Paint a picture for you and me
Of the days when we were young
Singing at the top of both our lungs
On the day we fell in love
On the day we fell in love
Dancing on the hood in the middle of the woods
Of an old Mustang, where we sang
Songs with all our childhood friends
Oh, now
Oops I got ninety-nine problems singing bye, bye, bye
Hold up, if you wanna go and take a ride with me
Better hit me, baby, one more time
Paint a picture for you and me
Of the days when we were young
Singing at the top of both our lungs
On the day we fell in love
On the day we fell in love
On the day we fell in love
On the day we fell in love
On the day we fell in love, love, love
As Rowan sang, he and the other performed the choreography he created and taught the others that afternoon. To his surprise they remembered all the steps. He watched the crowd join him and dance along. Some danced together as a pair while others just moved their bodies like fish out of water. He was full of adrenaline as he sang. This was the first time he sang to a crowd since high school. To his surprise, he was not as nervous as he thought he would. This was what he was supposed to do. Everything was perfect.
When the song finished, Rowan felt his heart race faster and faster as he scanned the audience and shouted, "Lisa, will you go out with…" His voice caught in his throat as his eyes fell on her. His arm dropped, and with it, the mic fell from his hand landing on the stage. He did not realize that his mouth hung open as he stared at her. Everyone in the audience turned to where he was looking. Inside his chest, Rowan could feel his heart crack. Lisa was standing with Kitsune. They had their arms wrapped around each other. Both of their bodies mingled as one. Their faces pressed together as they kissed.
When they separated, Lisa realized that everyone was staring at them. Rowan watched confusion spread across her face as she wondered what was going on. Her head tilted upward so that their eyes met. Tears rolled down Rowan’s face as she realized what happened. Betrayal was plastered over his face, so it was apparent to everyone. He barged past Tiger and Marvin to get to the edge of the stage. He ran down the steps and out of sight.

***

Lisa chased after Rowan, trying to think of something she could say that would spare his feelings. She knew nothing she said could explain what she just did or why. Honestly, she did not know what she was feeling either. Her body just reacted to the moment.
“Rowan, please wait. I want to talk to you,” she shouted.
Rowan stopped dead and turned to face her. His face was stone, unreadable. Tears kept coming from the corners of his eyes.
“You want to talk then fine, let’s talk. What the hell was that? Kissing Kitsune. What is your problem, Lisa?”
Lisa was taken aback. “My problem! I kiss Kitsune, and you run off like a scared little boy. What is so wrong with me liking Kitsune or kissing him? Why do you even care?”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth, it was like the world slowed down. It was like waking from a long dream; her mind was clearer than ever before. Seeing his expression was the all the answer she needed.
“I love you, Lisa!” he screamed. “I have always loved you since the day we met. I waited for years to ask you out but I never could. But I stayed by your side even after you paraded your boyfriends around. I stood by you after each break-up with a box of chocolate and tissues. I waited for you to realize how I felt but…you never did.”
"Rowan, I…" she started to say, but there was nothing she could say. He raised his left arm and started rubbing violently. Lisa was surprised it did not burst into flames with all that friction.
“You what, Lisa. How could you pick him over me? He’s a fox. He’s not even human. He’s a god, for heaven’s sake.” He lowered his arm. “Do you even know what a kitsune is? They’re tricksters. They are known for playing tricks on people. Look what he did to Pete and Dragon. Do you remember that?”
“That’s not fair, Rowan. You have no idea what he is really like outside those comics that you love so much.”
“I know that this is not real, Lisa.” He relaxed and looked her dead in the eyes. “Do you want to know what your problem is? You’re scared. You’ve always been scared of letting anyone get close to you. Ever since your father left you.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Lisa asked. Her anger was beginning to boil over.
"I'll tell you. You won't let anyone get close because you're scared they'll leave you like him. That's why despite how many guys you've brought to your dorm you were never intimate with any of them."
Lisa looked like he just slapped her. “That’s right. I know about the guy’s you brought into your room. I’m not an idiot, Lisa. That's why you've never noticed me or my feelings for you. I'm your only friend, and if we were more than that, then you would just be scared off. But despite that, I stayed by your side. I stayed, waiting, hoping for the day you would finally realize that I was there for you. I’m was not going to leave you.” He paused, glaring at her. In a low, intent voice he said, “I would do anything for you. I will always protect you. You know deep down that your relationship won’t last which is why you want to be with him. What you feel for Kitsune is not real. But I’m real. My love is real.”
“I don’t feel the same way.”
That was it. Her words lingered in the air between them. She remembered Drasil telling her about the unrequited love between them, but she never took it seriously. The more she thought about it, the more signs and clues she found. Memories where he practically was confessing his feelings for her flooded back. How could she never have known?
She looked at him. His face was impossible to ignore or misinterpret. It was the face of someone who just had his heart broken into a thousand pieces.
He raised his arm showing the bracelet wrapped around his wrist. Lisa could see it in the twilight, but that was not what drew her attention. Her eyes widened at what she was seeing. How could she have never noticed? His arm was covered in faded lines. Some were crossed over the other. There were faded marks and others that looked almost new.
“Rowan, what did you do?” she asked. Her voice nothing more than a whisper.
He looked at her, his eyes empty and void of feeling. “Goodbye, Lisa.” The bracelet shone brightly forcing her to close her eyes so not to blind her temporarily. When she opened her eyes again, Rowan was gone.

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:08 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
This is Chapter 8 and is the questionable one. Warning to any reader that it will get very dark and violent. There is nothing graphic, I made sure to avoid that in my attempts to imitate Ricks style. If you do have concerns let me know.

Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 8: Family Portrait
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Rowan

Usually, this is when you would get a recap of everything that has happened up to this point. This time is going to be different. All you need to know is what happened the other day, July 4, 2018. Keene throws a massive Independence Day party for the neighborhood. Lisa spends the day with Kitsune while I spend the day with Fox and King. I plan a scheme to ask Lisa out on a real date which involved me singing a song in front of everyone. When the song was finished, what do I see? Lisa and Kitsune were kissing! I run off stage and Lisa follows me in an attempt to explain her actions, but I was not having it. I confess my true feelings to her, but she does not feel the same. Devastated I leave. I leave Babylon Gardens and return to my own world.
This is my story. What you are about to read may not be suitable for younger audiences. Things have happened in my life that I have never recovered from and have haunted me every day since then. Things happened during my past that directly affected my actions in the present and set the stage for what happens in the future. To understand what I'm talking about you need to go back. Twelve years ago during the spring of 2006, my life was changed forever…

March 16, 2006
New Bern, NC

Rowan was not sure what he was supposed to do. His fingers shifted and moved like they had a mind of their own. Nothing he did was working. Rage was building in his chest as his frustration grew. He was completely overwhelmed. Blow after blow he was helpless as the monsters grew closer. Dark features with dead yellow eyes moving towards him. No matter how much he struggled and screamed he was completely overwhelmed.
“Ahh!” Rowan screamed throwing down the controller. It landed with a thud and bounced towards the entertainment center. The TV was black except for a floating figure and the words "Continue" and "Load Game." He knitted his fingers through his hair and tried to relax. That was the third time he died in the same part of that same stage. He glanced at the PlayStation sitting across from him. He wanted to turn it off and walk away, but his pride would not let him. He was going to beat this game if it was the last thing he did. He knew he was so close. Why was hard mode so hard?
"Rowan put down the game and get your brother. Supper is ready," his mother called from the kitchen. Rowan turned his head and peered into the doorway that led into the kitchen. The smells of baked chicken and vegetables wafted through the air making his stomach growl. He could hear his mother moving around, the banging of pots against metal, and the sound of silverware being pulled out of the draw.
Rowan turned his attention back to the TV. Angrily, he walked over to the system and pressed the power button. The TV went dark. He would deal with it later. Spring break was around the corner after all. An entire week off from school. The mere thought of it made excited him. He needed a break from the constant harassment from his teachers about the state testing and the school's performance.
As he moved towards the stairs leading to the second floor of his house, a sound echoed from his father’s office. The rustling of papers followed by an uproar of shouting. “Get out of here!” The door cracked open and out came Baxter, the family dog. It was a medium size dog with white fur and stubby tail. Rowan often wondered what kind of dog it was, but to his disappointment his parents did not know. Baxter was a Grade A mutt. So many different breeds made up his genetic makeup it was impossible to tell just what he actually was. The dog blew by Rowan's leg and skirted into the kitchen following the smell of what he hoped would be his next meal.
He reached out and grabbed the railing slowly making his way up the stairs. He never understood why he was the one who had to get his brother out of his room to come down to supper. Rowan reached the top and blew past his own bedroom to the one right beside it. The name “Dakota” was etched on a nameplate that hung squarely on the door. Rowan knew that if Dakota had his way, his meals would be brought directly to his room. Probably by a dumbwaiter if he could swing it.
Knock. Knock. Rowan banged on the door before gripping the knob and opening it without waiting for a response. He learned a long time ago that Dakota lived in his own world. Even though they were only two years apart, Rowan was always surprised by how different they were. The bedroom itself was the same size as Rowans, but you would not be able to tell when you walked in. While Rowan's room was neat and organized with furniture in specific places, Dakota's looked more like a toy store having a clearance sale. The room was covered by action figures, stuff animals, toy cars and trains, even the occasional trading card. There were only three actual pieces of furniture in the entire room. Dakota’s bed, dresser, and a bookcase that was crammed with books ranging from picture books to short novels to magazines like “National Geographic Kids.” The walls were covered with pictures cut out of magazines, drawings, a single calendar, and a few framed paintings that technically belonged to their parents. In one corner was a plastic tub full of stuff animals, the other had a small blue plastic table with an orange digital clock. A large wooden toy chest filled with toys stood against the wall.
They treated Dakota like he was special. He was immature for his age and struggled with everyday activities and interactions with other people. While his parents tried to shelter the boy, Rowan wanted to protect him by forcing him to step out of his comfort zone while also defending him against those who would dare offend him.
“Dakota, mama told me to tell you to come down to eat supper,” Rowan said looking straight at the back of his brother’s head. Dakota was currently sitting on his train rug as part of a circle of stuffed animals.
"No, you're not supposed to do that," Dakota said in a low voice. He reached over and grabbed a stuffed tiger and placed it on his lap. He petted it like it was a real living creature. "You can't say those things about Bernard. You need to apologize."
Rowan bit his tongue to prevent him from saying something he would regret and/or upset his brother. Dakota was lost in his fantasy world again. Talking to his toys like they were alive. It was one thing to have a big imagination, but Dakota always seemed to take it too far. Rowan took a deep breath and stepped towards him.
"Dakota, are you listening to me. Supper is ready. Come downstairs," he said bending over his brother.
Dakota turned towards him and gave Rowan a look like he was either surprised to find him there or to question why he was telling him that. "I need to deal with Cloud," he said squeezing the toy.
“I don’t care. You can deal with him later. Now come on. I’m starving and honestly not in a good mood.”
“You lost your game again,” Dakota said in a serious tone. Dakota had a strange way of understanding and reading people despite rarely interacting with them. It was like he could peer into your mind and pick up on your darkest secrets. “I could hear you yelling from downstairs.”
"Yes, I lost again. That is none of your business. Come one and get up," Rowan said gesturing towards the door.
Dakota reluctantly stood up and dropped the tiger on the floor. He turned towards the other toys and said, “Behave because I’ll know if you don’t.”
He moved towards the door, but Rowan stopped him by grabbing his arm. "Dakota wait a minute." Bending his knees slightly, Rowan looked his brother in the eye. "Listen to me when I say that I love you. But you have to grow up. You are going into the third grade next year, and I'll be in middle school. I won't be around to protect you. You are going to have to stop pretending that your toys are talking to you and stop acting like this." Rowan gestured to all of Dakota's body. "The third grade is when things get serious. Kids your age don't usually play with toys like this. They are into other toys and video games. I want you to have someone you can relate too."
Dakota stared at him with a blank expression like everything Rowan just said was in Spanish. Rowan sighed and stood up. “Just go,” he said. Without a word, Dakota walked out of the room leaving Rowan alone questioning why he even bothered anymore. It was not the first time he gave one of those types of speeches. Dakota was one step away from being held back another year or put in special education classes. The worse part was that Dakota was incredibly smart and insightful, but there was something wrong in his head that no one could quite understand.
As Rowan moved to the door, something moved in the corner of his eye. He turned to see that Dakota's closet door was slightly ajar. It was like a thousand eyes were on him as Rowan moved towards the door. Dakota never left his closet open like this. It was the one rule Dakota had for anyone who came into his room. Never go into the closet. For the last couple of years, Rowan wondered what he was hiding in there. Typically, he would not invade his brother's privacy like this, but there was something in the back of his mind that told him to open the door and peer inside. The curiosity grew as he reached out and wrapped his fingers around the wood. He slowly pulled it open just less than an inch when something came tumbling out. Rowan jumped back in surprise. A toy lion had fallen between the gap of the closet door. Rowan could only see its head and one paw while the rest of hidden by the shadows. Quickly backing away, Rowan raced to the exit. If Dakota knew that Rowan was snooping, he would pitch a fit. It was rarely seen, but Dakota had a nasty temper.
Rowan closed the bedroom door behind him and raced downstairs. When he arrived in the kitchen, his parents and Dakota were already seated at the table waiting for him. Rowan set down at his place and tried to ignore the accusing glare he was getting from his brother.

July 5, 2018 (Present Day)
Eastern Regional Psychiatric Hospital


There was a pain in his chest as Rowan stared across the sterile common room. His brother was sitting alone as usual at a round plastic table in the middle of the room. Other patients wandered by, lost in their fictional worlds. Rowan took a deep breath and walked to his brother. Dakota was staring at a blank piece of paper laid out in front of him. Next to it was a box of 8 different color pencils. Rowan assumed that he was supposed to be drawing something, but Dakota was never very artistic.
As Rowan stepped to the table, Dakota looked up from his paper and gave Rowan a blank stare almost like he did not recognize his own brother. Rowan gave a friendly smile that was returned with an empty glare.
“Hey there,” Rowan said. He tried to hide the fact he was nervous. He had not seen his brother since Christmas. Then there was the real reason he was there which would make anyone nervous.
“What do you want?” Dakota said. His voice was dry.
There was a pain in Rowan’s chest. Dakota’s words struck his already injured heart. “That’s all you can say to me?” Rowan asked. He pulled out one of the chairs and sat down across from Dakota. “I haven’t seen you in months. I thought you would be more enthusiastic that I came to visit.”
"You only come to visit when Mom and Dad bring you, or you want something from me."
Rowan winced. “That’s not true. I care about you. That’s why I’m here.” He reached down and pulled out a comic from his bag. He laid in on the table and slid it over to Dakota. “Housepets! Book 8 Let Instincts Do Their Thing.”
“I wanted to show you this. I know how much you like these. This is the most recent issue. I can show you the others too if you want. Year 9 is on my tablet and Year 10.”
Dakota reached over and picked up the book. He flipped through the pages. He was apparently not reading the dialogue but only examining the pictures. Rowan could see some of the light return in his brother's eyes as he stared at the colorful images. When he was finished, Dakota placed the book back on the table face down. The reason being that the staff knew that Dakota was not supposed to be reading those kinds of books. Anything with animals was off limits, but that did not stop Rowan was exposing his brother to the comics.
“Dakota, I need to tell you something,” Rowan whispered. He checked the room for any staff member who might be watching them or any other patient who might be eavesdropping. “What if I told you that this…” Rowan pointed at the book. “Was real. Like really real. Like I’ve been there. I’ve been living there for the last two months.”
"What are you talking about?" Dakota asked. Rowan could not tell if he believed him or not, but it did not matter.
"I'm telling you that everything in this comic is real. The characters and magic everything is real." Rowan was getting excited. He leaned closer, moving his chair, so he was right next to Dakota. "I can take you there."
“Rowan?” he whispered.
“Dakota, please,” Rowan said. His voice was weak and desperate. “I promised you that I would take care of you. This is my chance to get you out of here. This place is not helping you.”
"It is helping me. I have my medication. I have my routine. I feel better than I have in a long time," he spoke softly like a preprogrammed robot. It hurt Rowan to hear him talk like that.
"Dakota, look me in the eyes and tell me that if you had the chance, you would not leave this place. Look around they aren't going to make you better. The best they can do is keep you tamed and sedated. This…" he tapped the book again. "This can help you. Let me help you."
“If it is real,” Dakota started. “How do we even get there?”
"With this." Rowan showed him the glistening bracelet on his wrist. “It’s magic. Real magic. Dakota, please trust me.”
“I trusted you once.”
Rowan felt those words pierce through his chest, but he did not let them slow him down. "I can do this for you. If you let me. I can save you."
Dakota said nothing for what seemed like hours. They both set there in silence. The noises of the other patients echoed around them. Rowan could hear random mumbling and the occasional crying out. He ducked low as one of the nurses walked pass, but she did not notice him. Rowan technically did not have a visitor pass, and no one knew he was there. He grabbed the comic and was about to put it in his bag when Dakota suddenly grabbed his wrist. He looked at Rowan with glassy eyes.
“I’ll go with you. I want to be free.”
His grip tightened around Rowan's wrist, but it did not hurt. Rowan could see just how weak his brother was. His arms were nothing more than boney twigs. He seemed to be worse off than he was at Christmas.
“Let’s go then.”

July 5, 2018 (Present Day)
Babylon Gardens

"I'm losing my mind sitting here," Lisa said. She was not really sitting. Instead, she was wandering around the Sandwich's living room. Peanut, Grape, Tarot, and Sabrina were all sitting on the couch watching her. It was like they had never seen a human have a nervous breakdown. "I have no idea where he is or what he could be doing. He could be dead in a ditch somewhere."
“Worrying is not going to help him,” Tarot said calmly.
Lisa shot her a dirty look. When she woke up that morning, she immediately went to Rowan's room, but it was apparent that no one had been there since the day before. She tried his cell phone, but there was no answer. Afterward, she called Tarot to try to see if she could find him but that was a dead end. All Tarot could suggest was that they gather at the Sandwich house to come up with a plan. Unfortunately, the idea was not to find Rowan but to keep Lisa was losing her mind completely.
“This is all my fault,” Lisa said. She knitted her fingers together and shook her hands violently. No matter what she did, she could not stop fidgeting.
“It’s not your fault. Rowan is just being a drama queen. So you kissed Kitsune, and his feelings were hurt. That’s not your fault,” Sabrina said.
“You didn’t see his face. He was devastated. I’ve never seen him so crushed before. The way he looked at me, you would think I just killed his mother or something.”
“But you didn’t. You made your choice. Whatever happens now is up to him,” Tarot said.
“If anything happens to him it will be my fault. I should have said something. Something else than what I did say.”
"What did you say to him?" Grape asked looking bored. Her paws were laying on her chest, and she looked like she could fall asleep at any time.
“He told me he loved me and I said I don’t feel the same way.”
Grape winced. It was quick, but Lisa still noticed. "It could have been worse. Of all the things you could have said that was fairly harmless."
“What did Kitsune say when you talked to him?” Tarot asked changing the subject.
"He said that there was nothing he could do. Rowan left, probably to go back to our world. He said that Rowan would return when he was ready, and I had to be patient." She placed her hand against her head like she was getting a headache. "I don't want to be patient. I want to find him and bring him back. Force him to listen to me. Make him understand."
“You can’t make someone understand that you don’t feel the same way as they do,” Peanut spoke up for the first time. “They have to accept it on their own.”
"Personal experience," Lisa said and smiled at him. It was not a friendly smile.
The others looked at him with curious looks. They all knew what he was talking about. He avoided eye contact with Grape who was suddenly interested in the TV remote.
Lisa walked over and sat down in the brown chair. She relaxed her body and stared up at the ceiling. The memory of the day before had been playing in her head over and over again. Each time, it seemed to get worse instead of better. It started out so great. She was getting close to Kitsune they were connecting, then they actually connected with their lips. She turned to see Rowan on stage, the mic slipped from his hands, and it felt like it fell for an eternity. In her mind, it was just the two of them staring at each other from an infinite distance. He ran off the stage, and she chased after him. He accused her of being an idiot, and she broke his heart.
“Ugh. Erm.” Tarot began to groan. She clutched her head and squeezed her eyes shut.
“What’s wrong?” Sabrina asked looking at the Pomeranian with worry. “Is something happening?”
“There is a disturbance in the universe.”
“Ugh, really.” Grape shook her head.
"This is serious," Tarot said giving her an angry glance. "I sense something wrong. Like great darkness is approaching us."
Lisa felt her breath catch in her throat. For a second she could not breathe. The world began spinning around her. “Is it Drasil?”
"No, it's nothing celestial. But it's still dangerous." Tarot groaned again. She sucked in a deep breath, and her eyes glowed with an emerald green color.
“What’s happening?” Grape asked edging away.
“She’s having a vision,” Sabrina whispered. Her face was transfixed on Tarot. Everyone watched as Tarot’s body began to hum. “This hasn’t happened since Dragon left us. Whatever is happening is serious for that power to reactivate.”
Tarot opened her mouth and spoke in a deep voice laced with power that was clearly supernatural. “Darkness will emerge from depths of the soul. A broken promise will take its toll. Tears shed will be washed away by the rising moon. A lost child will be taken too soon. The rook will take the king. Unaware of the calamity it will bring. Chains of light broken as the deeds of the past awake. Memories of the time forgotten lead to the path to take. Secrets and deceit will consume the heart. The ties of love be torn apart."
As the light faded, Tarot collapsed on the couch. She rubbed her forehead with her paw while everyone stared at her with confusion and fear.
“Is anyone going to ask…” Lisa said.
“It was a prophecy,” Sabrina said sternly. She examined her master, checking to see if there was any problems or damage from the surge of power.
“That wasn’t like the prophecy she told us before,” Peanut said. “This one rhymed.”
"Prophecies take on different forms," Tarot said with a ragged breath. "The ones that rhyme is the most specific and the most accurate. They will always come true just not in the ways you may think."
“From the sounds of that one I don’t think we want it to come true. I didn’t even understand half of it.” Lisa was worried about the parts she did understand. Tarot mentioned a king, a calamity, and broken chains of light. That could only mean one thing. She did not want to think about it.
DING-DONG
“I’ll get it,” Peanut said excitedly. He jumped off the couch and ran to the door.
Lisa glanced at the others and asked, “Are you expecting anyone?”
Grape rolled her eyes and sighed. “It’s probably Max wondering why we’re hanging out without him. I thought about inviting him over but—“ she pointed at Sabrina.
“Ugh, Lisa. I think it’s for you,” Peanut called from the door.
Lisa's heart began racing in her chest. Could it be? And if it was then, he was going to get the beating of his life. Lisa moved to the door as Peanut stepped out of the way. He looked nervous for some reason. Standing in the doorway was Rowan. He grinned at her, a calm look, but there was something hidden behind it. Guilt.
"Rowan, it's you." Feelings of anger and fear forgotten, Lisa threw her arms around his neck and pulled him towards her. She waited for him to embrace her back but his arms remained by his side. His fists clenched.
“What’s going on?” She asked moving away from him. He avoided making eye contact which told her something was clearly wrong. “Where did you go?”
He coughed, the words stuck in his throat. “There was something or really someone I had to get.”
Get? What did that mean, she wondered?
Rowan turned, and for the first time, Lisa noticed that he was not alone. As she saw the skinny boy standing behind Rowan, her eyes widened in fear and shock. She had only seen this boy in pictures and only on infrequent occasions when Rowan was most vulnerable. His name only whispered in fleeting moments. It was something that only Lisa knew, and his family knew about.
Lisa slowly turned to face Rowan. Her body was tense like she was ready to either spring at him in anger or move away from him in fear. “Rowan, what have you done?”

May 4, 2018 (Graduation Day)
Alexander University


Diploma in hand, Rowan found his parents waiting for him in front of the Kearn building. He moved through the mobs of graduates and their proud parents. He had not seen his parents in months. He was so excited to see them again. As he got closer, they smiled at him. The breeze blew around him seemingly pushing him away from them.
“Congratulations,” his mother said reaching out to embrace him. She wrapped her arms around him and held him tightly. He returned the hug, feeling the warmth that came from a mother’s love.
When they separated, Rowan's father stepped forward and gave him a manly one-armed hug. Feeling slightly embarrassed, Rowan tried to move away. When was finally able to get away, he glanced around looking for the other person he expected to be there. No matter where he looked there was no sign of him.
“Where’s Dakota?” Rowan said whirling to face them. “You said you were going to pick him up so he could be here.”
They exchanged guilty looks. Rowan recognized those looks he'd seen them hundreds of times before. Deep down he knew he should not have gotten his hopes up. This exact thing happened at his high school graduation. Four years later, nothing changed.
“Your brother had some issues. The doctors said he had a bad episode and they were keeping him under surveillance for forty-eight hours. It’s procedure.”
Rowan did not want to ask when this "episode" occurred because he was afraid of the answer. In the back of his mind, he knew that it had not just happened the night before. Most likely those forty-eight hours ended a while ago. After all these years, they did not trust him to be out in public. Part of him wanted to be mad at them, but the logical part of him knew that they had a reason to be worried.
"I understand," Rowan whispered. The joy and excitement of his graduation burst like a balloon. Now he was filled with nothing but stale, empty air.
"I know you wanted him here," his father began, but Rowan stopped him. He heard this same speech plenty of times before. He had it memorized.
“You don’t need to say it. I know you have your reasons.” Rowan’s voice was tense. Guilt clawed at his heart like an angry beast.
His mother opened her mouth, then closed it again. There was nothing that could be said.
“Where’s Lisa?” his father asked looking around playfully. “We wanted to congratulate her too. We just saw her mother. She said that she had not seen Lisa yet either.”
“I’ll go find her.” He shoved his diploma in his father’s hand and left without waiting for a response. There was nothing else to be said.

July 5, 2018 (Present Day)
Babylon Gardens

The first thing Rowan thought when Lisa walked him and Dakota into the living room was the saying about being able to cut the tension in the air with a knife. Right then the tension in the Sandwich was so thick that Rowan thought Grape could carve her name in it with her claws. The pets set on the couch speechless as Lisa crossed over to the other side of the room. She turned to stare at Rowan with her arms crossed. In the four years, Rowan had known her he had only seen the look she was giving him to one other person, her mother. It was a mixture of hatred and accusing.
Rowan faced the pets who were looking increasingly uncomfortable. “Everyone, this is my brother Dakota.” He gestured to his brother.
Dakota was the tensest out of the group. He was physically shaking as he stood by Rowan. His eyes kept shifting from each of the pets as if trying to determine if this was real or some elaborate joke. His face was unreadable. Rowan could only guess what was going through his mind. Even though he had some reference to the pets from the times, Rowan brought him the comics, seeing them in real life was a completely different experience.
Peanut opened his mouth to say something, but Lisa got the first bite.
"What were you thinking to bring him here?" she demanded. "Seriously, are you insane. No offense," she added. Dakota either did not register the comment or did not care. He was shifting back and forth on his feet. Anyone would think he was about to make a break for it and head out the door.
“I had to bring him…” Rowan said but was interrupted by Lisa.
“No, Rowan. This… What you did.” She struggled with her words. There was nothing she could think of that would truly express what she was feeling. She took a deep breath and shifted her attention to the pets. “Let’s take this somewhere else. Just the two of us.”
She walked past Rowan and made her way down the hallway. Rowan turned to Dakota and said, "Stay here. Do you want anything to drink or eat? Just stay." He pointed at the ground for emphasis. He hated treating his brother like a dog, but this situation was already messed up enough. He followed Lisa who entered Peanut's and Grape's room.
Lisa shut the door, and her hazel eye’s bored into him. “I’m going to try to stay calm. No. You know what. I’m not going to be calm. I’m furious. There are no words to describe how furious I am with you.”
“This has nothing to do with you Lisa,” Rowan said.
"Yes, it does. This involves all of us. You broke your brother out of a mental hospital, Rowan." She waved her hands in the air. Her voice began to rise. "What were you thinking?"
She paused as if waiting for a response. When Rowan did not give her one she started again. “You broke the law. You realize that right? Worse you brought him here.”
"There's no rule that said I couldn't bring anyone with me when I cross between worlds," Rowan said calmly.
"There shouldn't be one. It should be obvious. Of all the people, your brother. I know you cared about him but was this really the best option for him."
“You don’t understand,” Rowan said.
“Enlighten me. Tell me this elaborate plan of yours that involves breaking your brother out of a hospital and bringing him to another world.”
"That hospital was not helping him," Rowan said. His conviction for what he did was stronger than ever. He knew he did the right thing or at least that is what he kept telling himself. He felt tired, but he explained himself. "Dakota has been in and out of hospitals, therapists, psychologists, and counselors his entire life. He is still no better off than he was before the last. I thought that maybe if I brought him here, he could have a fresh start. This world can change people. It makes them better. I would sell my soul to help my brother.” He sounded desperate. He was sure if he was desperate for Lisa to understand his actions or was trying to convince himself.
“That was not your call. That is up for your parents, the doctors, or even the police to decide. Someone with some higher authority.”
“My parents don’t understand him. They gave up on him a long time ago,” he said. The bitterness in his voice was unmistakable.
“Rowan, I know what I did to you was painful. I know I hurt you yesterday but to do this is crazy. This is not just an overreaction but puts not only your brother in danger but everyone around him.”
Rowan cringed. Memories of the past surfaced in his mind. Dark memories that he spent years pushing down and locking away so they could never see the light of day again. He blocked the thoughts and focused on Lisa. She could never understand what was going through his mind when he saw her kissing Kitsune. How much it hurt when she told him that she did not love him. How much he needed to save his brother. How it was his fault that he was locked away in the first place.
"This has nothing to do with you," Rowan lied. "I need to do this for Dakota. I don't care if you agree with my actions or not. He's here, and he's staying for the time being. How long, I don't know yet."
Lisa's expression was genuinely concerned. "Rowan, this is serious. You told me that your brother is not well."
"That is all the more reason he needs to be here. He has gotten better, but he will never truly be able to recover if he is locked in that hospital for the rest of his life."
He opened the door and barged through. Lisa called after him, but he ignored her. He knew what he was doing. Dakota was standing in the same place where Rowan left him. He looked more uncomfortable than before. There were a time and place for him to meet the pets and be introduced to this world properly. The pets were still staring awkwardly at Dakota like he was some strange unearthly creature.
“Dakota, come on. We’re leaving.” Rowan grabbed Dakota’s arm and pulled him to the door. Lisa appeared in the living room and looked at him with concern.
“Rowan where are you going?”
"I'm going to take Dakota to the mall to get some supplies. If he is going to stay here for a while, he's going to need some new clothes." Rowan opened the door and dragged Dakota behind him. Before the door shut, Lisa saw something flash in Rowan's brother's eyes. Something dark and ominous. She could not be sure, but she thought he was looking directly at Peanut.

April 3, 2006
New Bern, NC

The phone rang, but Rowan was too busy to pick it up. He was in the middle of a primary boss fight. He pressed the buttons on his controller with more speed than he ever thought possible. His focus was entirely on the television. He was bent forward on the couch, body tense and stiff. He was about to do it.
"Rowan, pick up the phone." A voice came on the answering machine. It was his mother. She did not sound happy. "I know you're there. Put the game down and answer the phone."
Rowan groaned and complied. His paused his game and walked to the landline sitting on the small table next to his father recliner. Picking up the handheld, he pushed the “TALK” button.
"Yes, what can I do for you," he sounded polite, but his voice was dripping with annoyance and sarcasm. He kept looking at the TV screen. His character was frozen in mid-air with the word "pause" written in bold red and yellow letters.
“I want to tell you that, your father and I are going to be late getting home. You and Dakota are on your own for lunch and dinner. I know this is asking a lot of you but keep an eye on your brother and keep him out of trouble.”
What kind of trouble could he get into, Rowan thought to himself?
"There are frozen dinners in the freezer. If you don't want those, then you can cook yourself a can of soup. There are some Campbell's in the pantry."
Soup and frozen food, this was turning into a party. Rowan rolled his eyes and willed his mother to hurry up.
"If you need anything," her tone changed becoming more serious. "Call your father or me. We'll have our phones on the entire time. We're only two hours away. Try not to hurt yourselves in the time we’re gone. We are trusting you to keep yourself and Dakota safe.”
“I’m almost eleven. I can take care of myself,” Rowan told her.
"You think that, but I know that you are not ready." He heard her talk to his father who was driving the car. "Your father trusts you and thinks you are ready. Just be careful."
“I will.”
“I love you and tell your brother that I love him too.”
“Yeah, love. We love you too. Bye.”
He hung up the phone before waiting for a response. He was capable of taking care of his brother. There was no reason for her to worry. He moved back to the couch and started the game again.
It was over an hour later before Rowan got fed up with his game and decided to take a break. It was the first day of his spring break, so there was plenty of time to play. He beat the boss he was fighting when his mother called, but the next boss was much more difficult. There was a rumble in his stomach. Rowan checked the clock on the VCR. 12:49 p.m. It was way past lunchtime so no wonder he was hungry. The idea of frozen corn dogs suddenly seemed appealing to him. He wondered if Dakota would want one. Knowing him, he would want something else just to be difficult.
A thought ran through Rowan's head. He had not seen or heard from his brother all morning. That was not unusual since Dakota rarely left his room, but it was deafly quiet. There was not even a creak or squeak coming from upstairs. What was he doing, Rowan asked himself?
Heading upstairs, Rowan knew he had to check on his brother. He was responsible for him. If something happened while he was in charge, his parents would never forgive him. He would never forgive himself either. The door was shut which again was not usual. Rowan knocked on the door and waited. He pressed his ear to the wood and listened. There was no sound coming from inside. No talking or movement.
“Dakota, are you in there? It's almost one. What do you want for lunch?" Rowan knocked again waiting for some type reply. "I'm going to have a corn dog. Do you want that or something else? Mamma and Daddy won't be back until late, so we're both on our own for the day." Still no response.
Rowan turned the knob and cracked the door. The room was still as messy as ever, but there was no sound or movement as far as he could tell. Rowan opened the door wide enough to stick his head in. The room was empty. His heart began to beat faster in his chest, banging against his rib cage. Where was he? Dakota never left his room.
Flinging the door wide open, Rowan stepped into his brother's room. He had to be somewhere. Panic began to take over, but he quickly pressed it back down. Dakota was not one to play games, but that did not mean that this was not something to mess with him. With their parents gone, Dakota might take the opportunity to play some kind of joke.
Rowan scanned the room until his eyes fell on the closet door. It was cracked open slightly. “Dakota, are you in the closet?”
He knew the rules about Dakota's closet, but this was serious. If he were hiding in the closet to play some kind of joke on him, then he would have a reason to check. Even if Dakota did get upset, Rowan would be just as angry. He walked over to the door and slowly pulled it open. It was dark, and the light was off. There was a good chance that Dakota would not be in there in there, hiding in the dark.
"Dakota, if you plan on scaring me then so help me…" Rowan was scared. He was scared that his brother would be in the closet waiting to surprise him. He was more afraid that his brother was not in the closet which meant that he had no idea where his brother was.
As he opened the door, something came tumbling out. It landed on the floor with the soft thud. Rowan bent down to examine it. It was the same lion toy he found the other week. The same blank dark eyes stared at him like it was trying to tell him a secret. Reaching down, Rowan picked up the toy. As he lifted it up, white stuffing rained down on his feet. His eyes widen in shock and fear as he saw why.
The toy was torn in half. In his hands, there was only the head and part of the torso with the left paw dangling lifelessly to the side. What happened? Could Baxter have gotten hold of it? No, Baxter knew better than that. Plus, Dakota left his door shut almost constantly so Baxter could never get through it and the closet door just to tear apart a toy. Rowan held the lion to his face to get a closer look. He had to pick up Baxter's toys for years. He knew the signs of a dog's handiwork. There were no bite marks or saliva. Whatever did this was no animal despite appearances.
Rowan reached into the closet feeling for the light switch. He needed to put the lion back where he found it so Dakota would not notice his presence. His fingers touched the switch. He flicked it on, and the closet was filled with light.
Rowan screamed. He jumped back almost tripping over one of the other toys littering the floor. He stared in horror at the slight in front of him. The closet was filled with what could only be described as a toy graveyard. His breathing intensified as he examined the remains. Stuffed animals laid in pieces in piles on the floor. Some were sitting on the shelf. He dropped the lion on the floor as his brain struggled to process what he was seeing. Eyes stared at him with horror as mouths hung loosely as if trapped in a silent scream.
Animals ranging from small to large were torn apart. Stuffing lined the floor like a white ocean of fluff. Paws, arms, tails, and heads were scattered around. Rowan stepped forward and began sifting through the remains. Some animals were missing eyes or limbs. Some only had large gash marks in their soft polyester flesh. Others looked like there were torn apart by a savage beast. They were all animals.
As he shifted through the animals, Rowan’s eyes fell on one in particular. It was Bernard, the stuffed bear that Rowan saw Dakota playing with just the other day. He picked it up and held it gently in his hands. The bear’s chest was cut wide open. White stuffing stuck out from the wound. Rowan examined the body like a scientist on TV. He knew deep down that this was done by hand. Someone grabbed the bear and pulled it apart opening the chest and tearing through the fabric.
Dropping the bear, Rowan stepped out of the closet and turned off the light as if trying to erase the crime from existence. His brother mutilated his own toys and hid the remains in the closet. Why? Closing the door behind him, his mind was burning with fear and anxiety. One question burned harder than any other. Where was his brother now?

July 5, 2018 (Present Day)
Babylon Gardens

Rowan wanted to change clothes as soon as he got back to the Milton Manor. He was still wearing the same clothes from the day before. He had not showered since he got out of the pool and after all the dance rehearsal he had sweated through his clothes which now reeked of a dumper filled with roadkill. Despite the lack of sleep, he was not as tired as he thought he would be. He opened his bedroom door and stepped through. His hands were full of bags from various stores that they stopped at during their excursion to the mall.
Dakota followed him. He had not spoken much during their trip. He picked out several outfits, but beyond that, he was quiet and withdrawn. As they shopped, his gaze kept following each of the animals that seemed to pass by them. Rowan tried to explain the new reality and ease his brother into this new world. Finally, he gave up and tried to get Dakota to focus on anything else.
“This is my room. The bathroom is over there,” Rowan said pointing at the bathroom door that was left ajar from yesterday. “Do you need to get freshened up? I know you do, but do you mind if I go first. You can get settled in.”
Rowan walked to the closet and flung the doors open. He had not used it much other than for storage. His suitcases were sitting on the floor, but the shelves and racks were practically bare.
"Bring your clothes over here. You can use the closest for the time being. I'm going to try to convince the ferrets to give you your own room. But it could take a while. Keene doesn't live here at the moment, but I don't know if that would make things easier or harder. Simon is a pest. Pit is not much better. Rock could probably care less. Lana and Duke wouldn't mind."
Dakota put his bags on the bed and set down beside them. He examined the room. "Where is Keene? I remember him from the comics."
“He is currently living with Breel in a house in the neighborhood. It’s a long story.”
“I don’t know who Breel is,” Dakota said. His hands were twitching as he spoke. Rowan needed to get his brother to relax as soon as possible to make this smoother for the both of them.
"I'll show you the comics that you haven't seen yet. They're on my tablet. Or if you want we can see them. I've been to their house once before."
“The tablet is fine,” Dakota said.
“Okay, then.” Rowan waited before asking, “Can you bring those bags over here so we can get your stuff in the closet?”
Dakota stared at him blankly. After almost a minute of awkward silence, Dakota stood up and gathered the bags. He pulled them across the bed, so they were close enough for Rowan to grab them from where he was standing. "I think I'll go wash myself off."
Without waiting for a response, Dakota walked into the bathroom and closed the door behind him. Rowan sighed and began sorting through the clothes. Once they were neatly placed in the closet, he disposed of the bags. He could hear the shower running which was a good sign. He had to keep reminding himself that his brother was not helpless. He spent the last few years in a hospital, but that did not mean he could not take care of himself. Somehow despite how many times he told himself that, he could not wholly convince himself of it.
That night, Rowan got out the air mattress he bought earlier that day and filled it up. He placed it at the foot of his bed and was able to get some spare blankets and sheets from Jeeves. Thankfully, the butler did not ask why he wanted them. Living with the ferrets for so long must have taught him not to ask questions. Once the mattress was ready, Dakota laid down on it to check its comfort.
“What do you think?” Rowan asked.
"It's fine. I've slept on worse." He rolled over, so his back was facing Rowan.
He checked the clock. It was only 11:38 p.m. Rowan was tired, but it was too early for him to sleep. He thought about checking on Lisa. She must have been in her room by now. He doubted she would want to talk to him after their conversation earlier. He would see her tomorrow.
“Do you want to talk or I can show you those other comics. It might help you if you know everything that’s happened around her over the last two years,” Rowan said helpfully.
Dakota did not move but responded with, “I’m not interested at the moment. I just want to sleep.”
Rowan gave his brother a puzzled look. “Do you want to change into your pajama’s at least?” Dakota was still wearing the new outfit that they bought. The one he changed into after his shower.
“I just want to sleep.” The discussion was over.
Rowan sighed. He looked at his brother with pity. He knew how much his brother must have suffered living in the hospital for so long. It would just take time for him to get over it. All the more reason that he needed to be there with Rowan than on his own.
Unlike his brother, Rowan decided to change into his pajamas and crawled into bed. The clock read 11:58 p.m. Almost midnight, he thought. He paused and listened. Dakota was breathing softly. He must have been asleep which was good. Tomorrow would be better. Rowan laid down and thought about what he needed to do to make sure that Dakota adjusted to living there. The best option would be to reintroduce him to Grape and Peanut. They were the pets he was most familiar with from reading the comics. Plus, Peanut would be the easier to get to know. Rowan's thoughts continued to swirl in his head as dreams consumed him.
Rowan stood in front of his family’s barn. The door was swinging on its rusty hinges. The creaking sound echoed around the large empty yard. The paint was peeling. It looked like no one had used it for years. Rowan stepped up to the door and slowly opened it up enough for him to enter. Light shone through the clouded windows creating so it was just enough to see. As Rowan moved forward, he stepped on something. In the fading light, he could barely see what it was. For a moment, Rowan thought about turning around and leaving. There was nothing good in this barn. But despite his urge, he bent down and picked up the small item at his feet. Holding it up, Rowan realized it was Peanut’s collar. He turned it over in his hands and realized it was broken. It was like someone tore it off of the poor dog. There were red spots on the white bone tag. Rowan dropped the tag on the ground and moved forward. The barn was cold despite the warm summer day. A shape moved in the distance. It was too big to be animal but smaller than an adult human. A child maybe? Rowan wanted to call out to whoever it was but something held him back. A noise rang throughout the barn. The sound of a creaking door. Rowan turned around and was immediately blinded by the sunlight pouring through the open door. As his eyes adjusted, Rowan saw Lisa standing in the doorway. Her face was twisted in a tortured expression. Tears ran down her face as she glared at Rowan. Her mouth opened but no sound came out. She kept repeating herself and as she did her voice got louder and louder. Soon she was screaming at Rowan, “Look at what you’ve done!” She pointed at the shape behind him. Rowan turned around but wished he hadn’t. It was like he was a child again. Helpless to stop or prevent the horror that transpired there. The shape stood up as if noticing Rowan’s presence for the first time. In the bright light he was unmistakable. Dakota faced Rowan and held out his hands. They were dripping wet. Red pools formed beneath Dakota’s feet as Rowan was helpless to only watch.
Rowan rolled over and blinked. The light of morning was shining through his window. The images of his dream danced in thoughts as they were mocking him. He glanced at the clock. 9:34 a.m. He yawned and stretched his tired muscles. His face felt wet. He touched his cheeks and felt water. Had he been crying? Wiping his face on his sleeve, he tried to ignore the remnants of the dream. But no matter how hard he tried, he could hear Lisa screaming in his ear. "Look at what you've done!"
“Dakota, are you awake?” There was no response. “Dakota?”
Rowan threw the sheets off his body and crawled to the edge of the bed. He peered down at the air mattress and saw it was empty. His brother was gone. Rowan paused and gathered his thoughts, trying to hold down his fear.
He jumped out of bed and checked the bathroom. The door was open, and lights were off. No sign of Dakota. The bedroom door was shut, but that did not mean anything. "No, no, no. Please, Dakota. Please."
Rowan ran out of his room and began a mad search throughout the mansion. He avoided being seen by the ferrets or any of the wolves who were on their shifts. He checked the kitchen, several rooms, and even the pool. There was no sign of his brother.
With no other option, he had to ask Miles. The bulky wolf was busy talking to Daryl. They both wore the usual green vest. When Rowan came over, Miles smiled his wolfish grin and waved at him.
“Morning, Rowan. How are you doing today?” Miles asked friendly as ever.
“I’m good,” Rowan said trying not to sound nervous or guilty. “I just wanted to check if you’ve seen anyone wandering around the mansion last night or this morning. Someone you may not recognize but smells like me.”
Miles look thoughtful for a moment. He stared at Rowan as if trying to read his expression. He held his paw to his chin. "No, I can't say I have. Daryl, have you seen anyone today?"
“Nope, can’t say I have either.”
"What's this about?" Miles asked turning his attention back to Rowan. Even though Rowan towered over the wolf, he still felt tiny compared to him. "I brought my brother here last night. He slept in my room, but now I can't find him."
"Your brother?" Miles looked uncomfortable. He looked at Rowan like a disappointed parent. "Did you tell the Milton's about this?"
Rowan knew that Miles already knew the answer. "No, I was going to ease them into the idea. I just wanted to get my brother comfortable first. He's weak and skinny.”
“We’ll try to find him. I doubt he’s left the mansion.”
"I hope not," Rowan whispered. He did not want to think about what might happen if Dakota did run away during the middle of the night. There would be no way to find him. Someone or something could hurt him or worse. "Please, don't tell the ferrets okay. Jeeves can know but not the ferrets."
“You know we have to tell them what’s going on. They’re our bosses. This is their mansion,” Miles said sternly.
Rowan grimaced. "Alright, tell Lana first. She's in charge, and she'll be more understanding."
“Right, we will do that.”
Rowan watched as Miles and Daryl left him standing there helpless and alone. There was only one more person he had to tell. The last person he wanted to know that he messed up. He made his way back through the mansion and stopped in front of Lisa's door. The door was shut which meant that she was still inside.
Rowan knocked only once before Lisa opened the door. She stood there with her hands on her hips, mad as a hornet. "You lost him didn't you."
Rowan nodded glumly. Lisa closed her eyes and shook her head in shame. Rowan was getting tired of everyone acting like his parents.
“How long?”
"I fell asleep around midnight, and he was lying on the mattress in my room. I woke up around 9:30 this morning, and he was gone. I slept all night so he could have left anytime during that time span."
"Nine hours." She looked thoughtful for a second. Rowan assumed she was either trying to decide if she wanted to help him or slug him for being such an idiot. "Who knows?"
"I told Miles and Daryl. They're going to tell Lana and probably Jeeves. They had not seen him, and I looked all over the mansion. I don't think he's here anymore."
"There may be security footage. We should check that." She looked him up and down. "Get dressed because we have work to do."
Later they all gathered in the security room. Rowan and Lisa did not even though this room existed. Rock played back the images from the security cameras that were placed at all the entrances and exits for the mansion. Miles, Daryl, Rowan, Lisa, and Lana stood behind watching the footage as it was fast forwarded. So far there was no sign of Dakota.
“We’ve looked all over the mansion but there no sign of him anywhere,” Miles said. “I have to assume he’s left.”
Rowan swallowed the lump that was forming in his throat. He could feel Lisa’s glare boring two holes into his face.
"I think I found something," Rock said. He played the footage of the camera that was watching the back exit to the pool. The glass door slid open, and a lone figure slipped through. Like a ninja, he jumped down the stairs and ran out of sight. Whoever it was, he was skinny and human.
“What time was this?” Rowan asked.
Rock paused the footage. “Sometime around four in the morning,” Rock said leaning back in the chair.
“He’s been gone for six hours now.” Rowan knotted his fingers together. “He could be anywhere by now.”
“We have to find him,” Lana said. “He could be in danger. Miles, Daryl and you head into the woods and start searching for him. Try to find his scent.”
“Yes, mam.” The wolves left followed by Lana.
Rock watched them leave, and a devious look spread across his face. "This could be excellent footage for the show. Wolves being used to locate a missing human." He turned to Lisa and Rowan. "You two standby. You may be called to work this."
Rock left leaving Lisa alone with Rowan. He walked to the screen and pressed his hand over the image of Dakota. If anything happened, it would be his fault. What has he done?
“What do you have to say for yourself?” Lisa asked.
“This is my fault. I’ll fix it.”
“Good luck with that,” she said sounding exasperated. “You should have never have taken him out of the hospital. He was put there for a reason.” She paused and noticed the fear on Rowan’s face. There was no hiding it anymore. He had every right to be scared.
“Rowan, what are you not telling me?” She glanced critically up and down his shaking body. Rowan was forcing back the urge to break down and crawl under the desk. Suddenly it struck her like a sledgehammer. She sucked in a deep breath as her eyes widened. “Rowan, what was your brother put away for? You always said he was sick. What’s wrong with him?” Her voice was hard and firm.
Rowan turned to her. He was defeated like all the life was beaten out of him. “Schizophrenia.”
"What?" She rubbed her face. "You took your brother out of the hospital even though he has schizophrenia. Rowan, this is worse than it could be."
"No, it's worse than that." He closed his eyes. A tear ran down his cheek as the memories from twelve years ago could no longer be contained. Like a tidal wave, they swept him up and took him back to the darkness of that day. “There is something I need to tell you about my brother.”

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:12 pm
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Location: Place of Evil
Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
April 3, 2006
New Bern, NC

Rowan ran outside after searching all over the house for his brother. He checked closets, bathrooms, cubbies and anything space where his brother could be lurking. He knew that Dakota would occasionally go outside for whatever reason, but they both had strict orders not to leave the house. He spun around scanning the open yard. The house they lived in was on what once a farm. Most of the land had been sold, but they kept a good chunk of it. The highway stood in front of the house and behind them was an old barn left by the previous owner.
“Dakota, where are you?” Rowan screamed. The spring air was thick with pollen and the scent of newly blooming flowers. There were barely any clouds in the sky. It would be a perfect day to spend outside.
Running his fingers through his hair, Rowan made his way to the barn. It was the only place he could think that Rowan would be. The door was slightly ajar which was nothing new. The only things they used it for was storage of useless junk and leftover supplies that came from the farm. The paint was peeling, pale from the constant exposure to the sun. How many times did his father say he was going to tear it down? But they never did because it would be a waste of storage space and too much work.
The rusty hinges made horrid creaking sounds as the breeze pushed the door. It sounded like someone was screaming. Rowan paused when he reached the door. He gripped the edge and slowly pulled it open just enough for him to slip through. The floor was made of dirt and dust. He looked down and saw footprints. Small shoes had walked here recently. Next to them were several sets of paw prints. One was a dog's. Baxter? Rowan thought about it, but he had not seen his dog all day. Usually, the dog would be bored and come bothering him if he was the only one in the house. He craved attention and knew that he would not get it from Dakota. The other thing that bothered him was the fact that Baxter rarely left the house. His parents would not have let him leave the house if they were going to be gone all day.
“Dakota? Are you here?” Rowan called into the darkness. The only light came from the opened door and the sun that came through the clouded windows. Rowan moved forward. The barn was large and long. The wood was a dark gray color with several holes and cracks. Chains hung down from the rafters that swayed in the breeze that was coming in.
"Dakota, where are you?" Rowan saw something at the end of the barn. A small shape was kneeling over something that he could not see. Rowan narrowed his eyes trying to get a better look. His eyes were beginning to adjust, but it was not enough. Fed up with this game, he moved back to the barn door and pushed it open all the way. He picked up a heavy rock and placed it in in front of the entrance to keep it from shutting again.
This time he could see his brother crouched at the end of the of the barn. Dakota's back was turned to him. "Dakota. I know you can hear me." Rowan was annoyed and frustrated. If their parents knew that they were both outside and in the barn while they were gone, they would never trust him to stay on his own.
Rowan walked towards his brother when he stepped on something lying in the dirt. He looked down and moved his foot. It was a dog collar. Picking it up, he examined it. It was Baxter’s. The name tag glistened in the light. “Dakota, what’s going on? Where’s Baxter?”
He held up the collar, but Dakota did not turn around. Rowan moved closer to his brother. As he did, his face was struck with a horrible rotting smell. It was the worst thing he had ever smell in his life. He felt psychically sick. “Oh, god. What the hell?” Rowan began gagging and dry heaving.
“Dakota. What’s is that?”
“Rowan,” Dakota said still facing away from him. “I couldn’t stop it.”
“Stop what?” Bracing himself, Rowan moved closer to his brother. Dakota was shaking like he was freezing cold despite the warmth of the afternoon. “Dakota, what’s going on?”
Slowly Dakota stood up and faced him. His hands were held out. They were covered in some red substance. Several drops fell on the ground beneath Dakota's feet. Rowan stared in horror as his brother moved closer to him. The younger boy's face was one of terror and shame.
Every instinct in Rowan’s body wanted to rush over to his brother and protect him from whatever happened to him. He stepped forward. Dakota walked past him without a glance. Rowan watched him exit the barn leaving a trail the entire way.
Where Dakota stood was a dirty blanket. Underneath it was a large shape. Rowan carefully picked up the edge of the blanket and uncovered whatever it was hiding. He immediately wished he hadn’t. He screamed. He screamed louder and longer than he ever had before. His brain could not process what he was seeing. He looked away only to find more and more horrible things. Creatures of nightmares stared back at him from the shadows of the barn. Unable to take any more, Rowan ran out of the barn like he was being chased. He threw the rock out of the way and slammed the door shut. The things he saw were burned into his brain.
Dakota stood off to the side. His eyes were glassy and empty as he looked at his hands. Seeing him now, Rowan saw that it was not only his hands that were covered. His clothes were spotted with red and dirt. He was sweaty and wet. He looked up at Rowan. At that moment, Rowan’s heart ached for his brother and the torture he was feeling at that moment. What he saw, he could not explain it but seeing his brother now. He knew that Dakota needed him.
“Dakota, what have you’ve done?” Rowan said stepping closer to his brother. He started screaming. “What have you done?”
The collar in his hand felt heavy. He dropped it on the ground. Tears ran down his face. He was unable to stop it. Dakota opened his mouth like he was about to say something but all that came out were ragged gasps for air. It was like he was drowning.
“I…I couldn’t…stop it.” Dakota’s voice was hollow. “They talked to me. They told me things. I had to stop them. I couldn’t stop the feelings I felt. I tried…I tried…”
Rowan was appalled. He tried to come up with a solution or a way to hide the evidence from his parents. They had the time. They could pull this off.
“Please, don’t tell them about this. Please, Rowan,” Dakota pleaded. He seemed so helpless.
Rowan turned his head slowly back to the barn. The door was shut, but he could see what lurked there like it was plain as day. There was no way to forget what he saw. He knew that if anyone found out, they would take Dakota away. He had seen it enough on TV.
Rowan edged closer to his brother and knelt down. He placed his hand on Dakota's shoulder and pulled him into his chest. He rested his hand on his brother’s back to shield him from what he’d done. "I'll take care of this. I will protect you. I will always protect you. I promise you."
“You promise?” Dakota asked.
“I promise.” At the time, he truly meant it.
What Rowan did not know at the time was just how hard it would be to keep that promise after all.

July 6, 2018 (Present Day)
Babylon Gardens


Lisa slapped Rowan hard across the face. It struck with so much force that Rowan was knocked off his feet. He fell to the floor, reaching out for the desk chair to catch his fall. He hit his head on the desk. Blinding pain spread through his skull. Lisa stood over him, fists clenched, so it looked like she was about to beat Rowan mercilessly.
“Why?” she asked. “Why would you do something so stupid.” Her voice was low but trembled in rage.
“I had to save him,” he whimpered.
"Don't give me that!" she screamed. "He's dangerous and a killer. You brought him here. He's out there right now, and every second he's loose another life is in danger. What if he goes after one of the pets or one of the ferals?"
“Lisa. Please.” He squeezed his eyes shut as if the look she was giving him was more painful than the aching in his head.
“No, Rowan. That’s enough.” She paused. “We’re done. Just leave. Go home. I’m going to find your brother and send him back there myself.”
She turned on her heel and marched to the door. She slammed it behind her leaving Rowan alone in the darkness. He pressed his hand to his forehead and cried. He did not care about anything else anymore. Nothing mattered.

***

The first thing Lisa thought to do to find Dakota was go door to door asking anyone and everyone if they had seen him. Something in the back of her mind told her to go to the Sandwich house first. Maybe it was because it was the only place Rowan took Dakota yesterday or the way he looked at Peanut when he left. She should have known. Why didn’t she do something? There was one person she needed right then. She pulled out her phone and scrolled through the contacts. When the name “Kitsune” came up, she pressed it and held the phone to her ear. The dial tone kept ringing until it was disconnected. No response. Anger rose in her chest. Was there anyone she could count on anymore?
The Sandwich house came into view, and Lisa broke into a sprint up to the front door. She rapped with her knuckles and waited patiently for a response. The entire time, she kept willing them to be alright. Seconds felt like hours. Finally, the door opened, and Peanut stood there with a wide grin on his face. Lisa breathed a sigh of relief. She had never been so happy to see that dog before in her life.
“Peanut, thank god. Where’s Grape? Is she here?” Lisa looked passed Peanut into the house.
“Yeah, she’s asleep on the couch. Do you want me to go wake her up?” The way he asked made Lisa think that he would have enjoyed waking Grape despite the consequences.
"No, that's alright. I just needed to make sure you and she are safe."
“Why wouldn’t we be?” Peanut asked narrowing his eyes. “Is something happening?”
Lisa bit her lower lip. She did not want to tell him that a schizophrenic madman was loose in the neighborhood. That would only send him into a frenzy. She had seen enough cop shows with Rowan to know that the fewer people knew about this situation, the better. "It's nothing. Dakota is missing. He left this morning and were looking for him. He's new to the area, as you know so that he could be in trouble." She hated lying especially to Peanut.
“Oh, Dakota was here about an hour ago.”
Lisa did a double take. She rocked backward, trying to stay calm. He was there. Alone with Peanut and Grape. She did not want to think about what could have happened. Despite that, her mind was already showing her the worst case scenario.
Calmly she asked, “Do you know where he went? Did he say anything to you?”
Peanut looked thoughtfully for a moment. He crossed his arms and closed his eyes as he tried to remember. "He was anxious about something. He showed up at the door and asked if he could come in. I didn't think much of it. Mom and Dad are gone, and Grape was still asleep, so I thought it would be fun to have someone to hang out with. He just sat in the chair and stared at me. I asked him questions, and he gave vague answers. His hands kept rubbing his pants. Then he just stood up and thanked me before bolting out the door. He didn't say where he was going."
Lisa grimaced reflexively. She was thankful that Peanut was safe, but she was no closer to finding Dakota. From the way Peanut described him, Dakota was already losing what little grip on reality he had. It was only a matter of time before he strikes some innocent victim.
“I need you do something for me. If you see Dakota or hear anything about him. Call me immediately. Anything at all, you call me. I know you have my cell number right?” Peanut nodded. “Stay inside. Just stay. Tell Grape the same.”
Lisa turned around to leave when Peanut asked, “What’s going on? What does this have to do with Dakota?”
She couldn’t bear to look him in the eyes and lie to his face again. “It’s nothing that you need to worry about.” She ran before he could inquire anything else about the situation. Despite his appearance Peanut was smart. He knew something was up and that it had something to do with Dakota. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the neighborhood figured that out too. When that happened, it would be a mass panic.

***

Rowan was defeated. He ruined everything. Lisa would probably never speak to him again. His brother was a wanted fugitive in an alternate world. He was alone. He checked the clock by his bed. It was ten past noon. After leaving the security room, he strolled around the empty mansion. All the ferrets were currently orchestrating a mass manhunt with the wolves. Even Duke and Jeeves were with them.
He listened for any sound of life, but the mansion was dead quiet. He shivered and wrapped his arms around his body. Lisa was right. If anything happened to Dakota or if Dakota hurt anyone, that blood would be on his hands.
Standing up, he moved over to the closet and opened it. Dakota's clothes still hung neatly where he placed them less than a day before. The tags were still on them. Rowan wanted nothing more than to help his brother. His intentions were noble, his heart was in the right place, so how did everything go so wrong.
Closing the door, Rowan knew that having a pity party would not help the situation. Lisa wanted him to leave and go back home, but that was the last thing he was going to do. His brother needed him. He did not care if she wanted him there or not. Dakota needed him.
A clanging echoed from down the hall. Rowan froze and listened. He could faintly hear the tapping of footsteps. It couldn’t be the ferrets; their paws would not sound like that. That meant it was a human. He started to sweat nervously. Swallowing his fear, he sprang out the door and looked down the hallway from where he heard the noise. Moving quickly, he meandered through the mansion. His ears perked to pick up any sound of an intruder. A small sound like clanging metal reached him. Breaking into a run, Rowan sped towards the sound.
“Dakota, please let that be you,” he said as he reached the end of the hall. The door was left open slightly. He knew exactly what room this was. It was where Keene kept artifacts and relics from the temple. Things his father left back when was still alive. Why would anyone other than Keene go in there?
He peered into the vast space. Boxes and crates were piled to the ceiling. He felt around for a light switch until he finally found one. Flicking it on, Rowan waited for a sound or indication that someone was in there still. Carefully, he crept inside. The fluorescent lights hung overhead casting shadows all around him. Perfect for someone to hide in.
“Hello, is someone in here?” Rowan called out. “Dakota, is that you?”
There was no response which did not surprise him. He crouched low to avoid being seen if there was someone other than his brother lurking. With the Milton's away, it would be the perfect time for robbers to steal from the mansion. It would not be the first time. There was still no sound or sign of another person. Rowan reached the far end of the room. He looked around, and his eyes fell on a pile of cages. He instantly recognized them as the same cages Keene used to capture the gargoyles and the same kind that Zach and Jessica were trapped by.
Rowan was about to leave when he saw something in the corner of his eye. Just below the cages was a muddy footprint. Not a paw print but a shoe that only a human would wear. Bending down, he examined it. There was no doubt. It was Dakota’s. He was there. Rowan cursed. He must have just missed him. Spinning around, Rowan examined the entire room. There was no indication that his brother was still there. Why would he take a cage?
“Oh, god…,” he breathed.
Rowan ran back to his room like his pants were on fire. He grabbed his messenger bag and dumped the contents on his bed. The comics were laid out in front of him. He shifted through the books. If it wasn't apparent before then, it was now. Book seven was missing. Rowan screamed and knocked the comics off the bed. They spread out on the floor. Laying down on his bed, he banged his fist on the mattress like a child throwing a tantrum. It was worse than he could have imagined.
He straightened himself up. He had to stop Dakota no matter what. Slowly he moved to the bedside table and pulled the draw out. He picked up the small metal device and stuck it in his pocket. There was only one person who could help him stop his brother. He once said he would sell his soul to save his brother. Now it was time to prove it.

***

The sun was already beginning to dip below the trees. The sky was turning a dark shade of red that resembled the color of blood. It seemed fitting considering what was happening. Rowan set perfectly still on the park bench. Several humans were walking with their pets. One saw Rowan and whimpered as if it could sense his desperation. He glanced at his phone. It was already after seven. He had not eaten all day. His stomach ached so badly he felt like he was about to be physically ill. Or maybe it was because of who he was about to see.
A golden retriever strolled over to Rowan. He stood up and moved to meet the dog. For a moment, they both looked at each other. Anyone who watched them would most likely think they were having a standoff. In a way that was true.
The dog’s mouth twerked upwards. Rowan could see the pearly white fangs underneath the golden lips. His eyes moved upwards and rested on the dog’s eyes. They were black with red pupils.
“Drasil,” Rowan said. He could already feel his blood boil. The memory of what this dog did to Lisa only a few weeks ago still haunted him. He was helpless to save her from the evil god. If she knew what he was doing, she truly would never speak to him again.
"I'm surprised you wanted to meet, young knight," Drasil said calmly. He sounded proper like he was greeting a member of royalty or someone of a higher class.
“Cut the crap,” Rowan snapped. “I want to make a deal. I’m sure you know that my brother is missing. I’m also sure you know exactly where he is and what’s he’s doing. Someone like him would appear on your radar like a fireworks display.”
“Yes, I know of poor Dakota. Poor child has had a rough life. I can see why you would go to the ends of the earth and beyond to help him.”
"What do you want from me? I have to find him. I have to save him from himself and the others. Lisa knows what he's capable of. I'm sure by now so does everyone else."
"You are right again," Drasil kicked a mound of grass leaving a small hole in the ground. "Not long ago, they gathered a large search party to find him. The police dogs were even called in." He chuckled. It was exactly like Lisa described. It made Rowan's ears hurt like they were bleeding. "You sure messed up this time didn't you."
"I didn't call you for your option about my life choices," Rowan said. He tried to remain calm, but the dog was making it more and more difficult. Drasil was trying to shake him up. Get him angry, but Rowan could not let him. His brother depended on it.
“Straight to business. I like that.”
“What do you want?”
Drasil tiled his head to the side. His eyes widened to the size of tennis balls. Staring at them make Rowan think of something his father once told him, "If you stare into the abyss long enough the abyss stares back." Right now, he was about to dive headfirst into that abyss.
"This game is about to reach its end. When that happens, I want you to ensure that Lisa is not around to see it."
“What!” Rowan screamed. He balled his fist, ready to strike the dog straight in the muzzle. “I’m not going to hurt her.”
"I'm not asking you too." His grin grew wider. So much so that Rowan could see every fang in his mouth. "I only need her to be out of the way. How you do that is up to you. Promise me that, and I'll tell you where you can find your brother."
Rage settled over Rowan. He knew that making a deal with Drasil was a bad idea. Was he that desperate? Yes, he was. He felt cold and fragile.
“Tick. Tock.” Drasil waved his finger around like a metronome or a pendulum of a clock. “Make your choice. If you don’t decide soon, then the consequences will be unforgiving.”
“Fine. I agree to your demands,” Rowan said.
“Emm, actually there is one more thing I want you to do more me.” Seeing the enraged look on Rowan’s face, Drasil explained himself. “It’s nothing big. After you find your brother, there is a chance that you will want to contact me again. If you do want to make another deal¬—" he snapped his fingers, and a small black device appeared in his paws. It looked like a garage door opener. There was only one button on it. "Press this. Do you agree with the terms?"
"Yes. I agree to your terms."
Drasil’s eyes glowed with an evil light. Rowan recognized it as the same thing that happened when Keene made that deal with the little demon in Pandemonium. Rowan could not worry about the consequences.
“The contract is sealed,” Drasil said. He handed Rowan the remote. “I can understand why you would do this for your brother. You care so deeply about him.”
“Whatever. Where is he?”
"The forests near the area where the gryphon's temple stood. You may want to hurry though. It's going to get dark soon. Just follow the screaming."
Rowan turned away from Drasil and was about to leave with the god called out to him, "Be careful, young knight. Loyalty is a dangerous thing when you believe you are doing the right thing. Your loyalty to your brother is bound to get you killed one day. Although, I realize you don't care about that. You remain loyal to those you care about the most just like King and Fox."
Rowan paused.
“You bond with them because you understand them.” Rowan turned his head. Drasil narrowed his eyes. “You understand what it’s like. Which is why you would protect them just as much as your brother.”
Rowan stepped towards him, and for a moment he thought about launching himself at the dog and tearing his throat out. The way Drasil looked told Rowan that he knew exactly what he was talking about. "How do you know about that?" Rowan whispered. "I never told anyone. Not even Lisa."
"There is nothing you can hide from me. There is such great darkness in your soul surrounded by scars. Tell me, do you still hear them screaming when you shut your eyes?”
“SHUT UP!” Rowan screamed at the top of his lungs. His eyes began to water. The damp darkness spread around him. He could almost feel his brother clutched in his arms. The both of them shivering from the cold and the fear. The cries of the other children coming through the walls. He gripped his chest, right over his heart. For a moment, it was like he couldn’t breathe.
Drasil walked away, his mission accomplished. Rowan stood there drowning in his memories. Surrounded by nothing but misery.

***

“I can’t believe they got rid of all the pieces,” Craig said. He kicked a pinecone and watched it sail into the trees.
Draig ran up beside him and gave a supportive look. “I’m more surprised it took them that long. It’s been over a year.”
“We should have checked sooner.”
Draig sighed like she had this conversation many times before. "We've checked repeatedly. There was nothing left. The ferret took anything of value, and everything else disappeared with the mana."
Craig cursed in an ancient language. “He was smarter than I ever gave him credit for.”
“They all were. Mortals deserve more credit than we give them credit for. Look at what King did to you.”
“Don’t remind me,” Craig muttered under his breath.
He stepped forward, and there was a loud clicking sound. Suddenly, black walls sprang up around them. Within seconds, the foxes were trapped by thin metal bars.
Craig gripped the wall of the cage and shook it violently. “What is this contraption?”
Draig examined the lock. “It’s a trap. One that humans use to capture feral animals to relocate them.”
“That’s just great. How are we supposed to get out of here?” Craig asked. He snapped his fingers out of habit. Nothing happened. He kicked the cage in frustration and walked away with an aching foot. “This can’t get any worse.”
A figure stepped out of the shadows. The foxes looked up and realized that they were being watched the entire time. It was a tall, thin human. Maybe male, but then again humans all looked the same. Something glinted in the moonlight. He was holding a long tool with a metal end.
"Hey, you. Human. Let us out of here." Craig shook the bars of the cage again. He stared at the human's face, but the shadows partly hid it.
“Craig,” Draig said tapping her brother’s shoulder. “There’s something wrong here.”
Craig turned to her and gave her an angry look. “What are you talking about?”
“It’s isn’t real.” They both turned to the human. He was whispering under his breath.
He stepped forward so that his entire body was bathed in moonlight. He was covered in dirt and leaves. His clothes that were once brand new looked like that had been dragged through the mud several times over. There were several scratches and cuts on his flesh. His eyes were wide and glassy.
“There’s something wrong with him,” Draig whimpered. Never before had she felt such fear. In all the years she spent with humans she’d never seen someone like this. He was not just dangerous but beyond reason.
The human raised the tool so they could get a better look at it. Even Craig stepped away from it. It was a long wooden stick with a curved metal blade. A scythe a farmer would use to cut crops. “It is not real. You are not real. I have to make the voices stop.”
The human sounded desperate. His expression was dazed like he was fighting his illusion.
“What is he talking about?” Craig whispered. There was an unmistakable terror in his voice. He grabbed Draig's arm and pulled her close to him. She was supposed to protect him, or he protected her.
Calmly the human spoke, “Rowan, forgive me. I have to make them stop.” He raised the scythe above his head, ready to strike. The foxes screamed.

***

Screaming tore through the night. Lisa held up her flashlight and shone it through the trees. She was sure that it came from over there. Even in the night, she recognized the direction as the way to where the temple was. She was not the only one who heard. The animals' ears perked up. The dogs began sniffing the air. Fido shouted orders and gestured towards the direction of the screaming. The rest followed leaving Lisa standing there frozen. Her worse fears were about to be realized.
Clouds were gathering covering the moon. The forest was pitch black other than the glows of the search party's flashlights. Lisa forced her body to move despite its resistance. She could hear the voices of the dogs and the crashing through the underbrush. The wind blew her hair around her face. It was cold almost like an omen of what was to come.
She caught up with the dogs who were sniffing around. The sounds of the dogs and animals made it hard to hear anything else. Approaching silently did not seem like an option anymore, Lisa though. If Dakota was near them, he was sure to hear them moving around. Did no one understand how stealth works?
The wind blew again this time from a different direction. Fox was the one to pick up the scent this time. “That way. I can smell a human and two animals. They’re drenched in fear scent.”
Lisa did not hesitate this time. She took off in the direction Fox pointed. Trading stealth for speed, she flew through the trees. Before too long, she found him. The light shone on a tall figure holding a weapon of some kind. Next to him was a large cage and in it were two young foxes. Lisa had never seen them before, but they seemed familiar to her for some reason.
Dakota froze with the scythe in mid-air. He looked honestly surprised that he was found. Lisa quickly examined the situation. Two foxes trapped in a cage and Dakota armed and dangerous. From the look in his eyes, he was beyond reason. His delusion had taken over. Luckily the foxes seemed to be unharmed at the moment.
No one moved. Lisa heard the other dogs coming towards them. If Dakota was outnumbered, he might attack. With a weapon like that he could do some severe damage. It was not just the foxes he would go after.
"Dakota, it's me. Lisa." She spoke calmly, trying to seem like she was no threat to him. He was more like an animal than the ferals in the cage. "Dakota, you are not well. Put the weapon down, and we can talk."
His arm shook, and for a second, Lisa was sure he was going to strike. But he didn't. He kept it in the same place. He looked from the foxes to Lisa then back to the foxes. It was like he was uncertain of what he should do. Sympathy ached inside her. This boy was so damaged.
“I want them to stop,” he murmured.
“Dakota, listen to me. You are not in any danger. Let them go. I can take you home. I can take you to Rowan. He’s looking for you too.”
“This isn’t real. They told me that I see things that aren’t real. I hear things that aren’t real. I’m still in the hospital. I have to wake up.”
Lisa began to panic. It was worse than she realized. She was unarmed except for the flashlight with was like fighting someone with a baseball bat with the toothpick. "This is real, Dakota. This is all real," she said moving closer to him. He tensed up, so Lisa had to stop.
"I struggled with the truth at the beginning too. I know it's hard to realize that everything you know is only a fragment of what is real. This world, those foxes, and myself; we are real, and I want to help you."
He lowered the scythe. Tears welled up in his eyes. Shaking his head, “I want to go home.”
“I know, Dakota. I know.” She held out her hand. “Let me take you there.”
He glanced from Lisa’s face back to her outstretched hand. Slowly, he raised his free hand and brought it up towards her. They were inches from each other when the dogs came rushing over barking and yelling.
Dakota jerked his hand back. His face grew wild and untamed like a cornered animal. His eyes moved from each of the new animals with their flashlights shining in his eyes. Their voices were screaming in his ears. He backed away from Lisa. He raised the scythe over the foxes who started screaming again.
“Dakota! Stop!” Lisa screamed as she tried to get to him before he could strike.
A sound of a bolt of lightning erupted. Dakota jerked violently on his feet. The scythe slipped from his fingers and landed harmlessly on the ground. His eyes rolled in the back of his head, and he fell forward collapsing on the soft underbrush. Standing over him was Rowan with his arm extended. In his hand was a small metal device with two metal prongs. Lisa recognized it instantly as his Taser. He used it against his own brother.
Lisa was stunned. Rowan stared at his unconscious brother lying face down in the dirt. She ran over to him just as he fell to his knees. She bent sat down beside him and wrapped her arms around his torso. Rowan began sobbing on her shoulder. Lisa rocked back and forth not taking her eyes off Dakota's body. She laid her head on his and closed her eyes. The rest of the group began working to free the foxes. Within minutes the cage was open, without a word they both ran off into the trees.

June 12, 2006
New Bern, NC


Rowan stood in the living room, still as a statue. His parents were talking in the kitchen. They were planning their yearly vacation. Where they were going, Rowan did not know but right then none of that mattered. He felt a pang of sadness well in his chest as he struggled with his decision.
He kept looking at the same picture sitting on the mantle. It was a portrait of the four of them taken a few years back. They all seemed so happy smiling at the camera. Dakota and Rowan dressed in their best outfits. Hair neatly combed. Faces full of life and hope for the future. Those days were long gone.
That morning he looked out his window and saw Dakota heading into the barn. Even from his room, Rowan could see the red spots covering his brother's white shirt. He was not trying to hide it anymore. How much longer could he last? How much worse would it get?
Knowing what he had to do Rowan moved into the kitchen. He stood their silently a few feet from his parents. They stopped talking and looked at him. He couldn’t even look them in the eyes.
“Rowan, what’s wrong?” his mother asked. Her voice was full of concern.
There was no holding back anymore. Tears rolled freely down Rowan's face. He silently begged Dakota to forgive him. "There's something I have to tell you."
Rowan opened the barn door and placed the rock in front of it. Dakota was visible at the far end of the barn. His back turned to Rowan again. They only had seconds before the end came.
“Dakota, I need you to come here,” Rowan said, trying to sound calm and ordinary. He was just a brother wanted to talk.
Dakota turned to him and stood up. Slowly he moved to Rowan. His shirt was covered in red spots; some were still wet. He looked surprised as if he never expected to see Rowan coming back to the barn.
Another tear ran down Rowan’s cheek. “Rowan, what’s going on?”
"I'm sorry, Dakota. I had too." Rowan said. He stepped to the side, and his parents appeared out of thin air. They took one look at Dakota and were dumbstruck. The color drained from their faces leaving them pale as sheets. Rowan looked away unable to witness what happened next.
Within minutes, Dakota was forcibly dragged away by their parents. Rowan could hear his shoes digging into the dirt as he tried to break out of his parent's grip. It was useless. He screamed and struggled like a caged animal.
“Rowan, you promised!” Dakota screamed. “You promise!”

July 6, 2018 (Present Day)
Eastern Regional Psychiatric Hospital


The hospital room where Dakota stayed was like any other you would see. A small white room with connecting bathroom. A single window that never opened with a view of the street below. A twin size bed with white paper thin sheets. A single cushioned chair with a large tear in the backrest. The only personal items in the room were few and small. They had to be approved by the hospital staff before they were allowed to be put in his room. Nothing that could be treated as a weapon or trigger a negative response.
Rowan flipped through his tablet as he waited for his brother to awaken. Periodically, he would glance up only to see that his brother was still lying on the bed where he placed him. Just the occasional twitch and the slow rise and fall of his chest told Rowan that his brother was still alive.
The room was dark. Rowan decided to keep the lights off when he arrived. The only light came from the streetlights below and the glow of his tablet. He did not know if the staff noticed that Dakota had been missing for almost two days, and decided not to alert them to his return.
He checked the clock. 11:49 p.m.
Dakota stirred. He slowly opened his eyes and glanced around the room. Noticing his brother's presence, he turned his head towards Rowan. He opened his mouth to say something, but it was dry and unintelligible. Rowan turned his tablet off and reached over the table beside the bed. He picked up a glass of water and handed it to Dakota who drank it greedily.
Rowan sat back down and looked at his brother with pity. Everything that happened was his fault. Despite his intentions and motives, things could have gone very badly. He arrived literally in the nick of time to stop his brother from killing those foxes. Thankfully, Lisa had been there to keep Dakota preoccupied.
“What happened?” Dakota asked. His voice was hoarse.
“I brought you back to the hospital.” Rowan took a deep breath. “I should have never have taken you over to the other world. I just wanted to help you. It’s my fault you’re here in the first place.”
Rowan waited for a response but did not get one. He knew he wasn't going to get any forgiveness for his actions all those years ago. He wasn't going to get any for his efforts that night. He was okay with that.
"What happens now?" Dakota asked simply. He turned his head, so he was looking directly at the ceiling.
"I stayed to make sure you were alright. But now I have to get back to Babylon Gardens." Rowan stood up and leaned over his brother. "I promised you that I would always protect you. I meant it then, and I mean it now. Telling Mom and Dad about what you were doing was me protecting you. I don't care if you see it that way or not. Bringing you back here is protecting you." Rowan paused then asked the question that had been inching in the back of his mind all day. “Why did you run away?”
“The deer-man told me to,” he said. His voice cracked as he spoke.
“What deer-man?” Rowan asked. But he already knew the answer.
“He came to me a while back. He spoke to me but no one else could see him. He told me that I had to run. That they were going to take me away. They would punish me. I had to get away from them.”
Rowan clinched his teeth in frustration. “Drasil,” he said.
Dakota said nothing. He stared at the ceiling without blinking.
“I promised you that will protect you no matter what the cost.” Rowan held up the tablet and turned it back on. The screen turned on so Dakota could see what was on it. “I know how to save you from this place. One day I will return with exactly what you need.”
Rowan exhaled softly and said, “Magic.”

July 6, 2018 (Present Day)
Babylon Gardens


“I’m surprised that you wanted to help with the search party, King,” Lisa said. She was walking down the street with Fox and King on either side of her.
King placed his hands on the back of his head. "Well, lately I figured it would be good to be more involved with the neighborhood pets and their activities. Participating is good for the soul," he said with a smug look on his face.
Fox leaned over to Lisa and whispered in her ear. "He just wanted to get out of the house and away from his kids. They're getting pretty active and rambunctious."
“I heard that,” King shouted.
Fox chuckled and looked away trying to feign innocence. Lisa had to bite her tongue to keep from bursting into laughter.
They arrived at the Lindberg’s house and stepped inside. Bailey was reading on the couch. She looked up from her book as the three walked into the sitting room. Placing the book down beside her, she asked, “How did it go? Did you find him?
"Yeah, we did. It was close, but everyone made it out safely," Fox told her.
Bailey breathed a sigh of relief. King sat down beside her on the couch and sank into the cushion. “Where are the kids?”
“They’re sleeping in the other room.” She checked the clock resting on the wall. “It’s almost midnight. I should probably check on them before heading to bed.”
"I'll do it," Lisa volunteered. "You two relax. You should too, Fox. It's been a long night."
“Are you sure?” Bailey asked starting to get up from the couch.
“Yeah, just rest.” Lisa disappeared down the hall only to return a minute later. She glanced nervously from each of the dogs. “Um, I can’t find Rook.”
“What!” They all shouted simultaneously.
Bailey and King jumped from the couch and sprinted past Lisa down the hallway. Fox and Lisa were right on their heels. They threw open the door and turned on the lights. Olive and Ace were sleeping soundly on the bed, but there was no sign of their brother.
“I’ll check the rest of the house,” Fox said and disappeared.
Bailey and King became searching the room top to bottom. Lisa wanted to help but felt like she would be in the way. They were panicking, and that was not good. A cool breeze blew against her face. Lisa turned and realized the window was wide open. Slowly, she moved closer and stuck her head out through the opening.
"Um, guys…," she started, but her eyes fell on something sitting on the borough. She felt her breath catch in her throat. Carefully, she moved towards the burrow. She picked up the small white figure. Bailey and King looked at her their eyes were full and worried.
In Lisa's hand was a small chess piece. A rook. She rolled it in her fingers and noticed that something felt wrong. She twisted the top, and it began to unscrew. The head fell to the floor, and she tipped it over, so a small piece of paper fell into her hand.
Bailey and King walked over to her. Lisa’s fear was overwhelming like she was looking the gates of hell itself. She held up the paper so they could see the one word written on it.
“Checkmate.”

July 7, 2018 (Present Day)
The Forest Outside Babylon Gardens



Craig and Draig wandered through the trees. They were obviously lost, but neither wanted to admit it. When they escaped the cage and the psychopath that tried to kill them, they ran blindly into the forest. Now every tree and bush looked exactly like the last. The darkness of the moonless night made everything worse.
“Did you hear that?” Draig asked. She was still on edge. Every crack and rustle made her jump out of her fur.
“It’s nothing,” Craig told her but did not sound that convinced himself.
The sound came again. Louder this time. Whatever was coming for them was getting closer. The foxes huddled closer together. Their first instinct was to find a place to hide but where could that find a place where they knew they would be safe.
A human appeared in front of them. His face illuminated by the light of his phone. Craig and Draig breathed a sigh of relief. It was the same human who helped save them from the crazy man.
"You scared us," Craig said clutching his chest. "You humans need to stop sneaking up on us."
Rowan said nothing. The corners of his mouth twitched. Burning anger bubbled in his stomach as he looked into Craig's eyes. His body tensed as he balled his hands into fists. He would give anything to save his brother. He had to remember that for what he was about to do next.
"Craig, we should go," Draig said not taking her eyes off Rowan. She tried to grab her brother's arm, but Rowan was faster.
He rushed over and sent his foot directly into Craig's stomach. With one well-placed kick, he sent the young fox flying into a nearby tree. "That's for King," Rowan said.
Draig screamed and attempted to bolt. Quick as a snake, Rowan grabbed her by the neck and slammed her against the nearest tree. He squeezed his fingers around her furry neck. She struggled and thrashed. She clawed at him, but Rowan was at a point where he could no longer feel pain or anything else for that matter.
“Tell me, where is your temple?” Rowan hissed. He got right into her face. His right eye glowed with purple fire that illuminated the darkness.
“What are you talking about?” She asked looking away from him. Fear radiated from her in waves that washed over his skin. He knew she was lying. He knew everything.
“Don’t lie to me, Dragon.” He let out the last word slowly so it would have the maximum effect.
Draig’s face turned from fear to shock. She stopped moving and hung limply in his grasp. “How…how do you know that?”
Craig was beginning to rise. He clutched his stomach like his was about to vomit. He looked at Rowan with nothing but pure hatred and rage. Rowan glanced over at him, returning the look with even more power. Seeing the eye caused Craig to sink into the ground like he was trying to disappear.
"I know everything. Your secrets are less secret than you would want to think they are." She glanced at Craig as if willing him to run. "Don't worry about the sociopath. I know who you both are thanks to a little something called the internet." Rowan smiled wildly. Part of him knew he was losing his mind, but the dominant part wanted to give in to what he was feeling. Power radiated from inside him. A power that he only felt during moments like this. It was his curse.
“Who¬—“ Craig began coughing violently. “Who are you? What are you?”
"Tell me where your temple is. I know it's in Egypt, but I don't know where." He tightened his grip on Draig's throat. "Remember you are mortal now. I won't kill you. That would defeat the purpose of what Kitsune did. But I can ensure you that the next sixty years of your lives are living hell."
Draig squeezed her eyes shut. She bit her lip. “Fine, I’ll you.”
Rowan leaned in, and she whispered the location in his ear. When she finished, he dropped her on the ground. She laid there limply. Craig rushed over and bent over her weakened body.
“You could have killed her!” he shouted up at Rowan.
"You're lucky I don't do that same to you, Pete." Hearing that name made the fox cringe. "After what you did to King." Rowan bent down, so they were eye level. His voice was deep, almost demonic. "If you do anything to King ever again, I swear I will make you pay." His eye glowed brighter as he stared at the fox. He wanted to see the fear in Craig's (Pete's) eyes. It filled him with a feeling of euphoria.
“How did you even find us?” Craig whimpered. There was a hardness in his voice.
“Let’s just say I would do anything for my brother.” He stood up. “Even make a deal with the devil.”
Out of the shadows, a new figure emerged. The clouds parted allowing the moonlight to pour down on them. The golden retriever stared at the two foxes with a look of pure malice. His black eyes glowed in the darkness.
“You did well, my knight. I can take it from here.” Drasil glanced at Rowan who was staring at him with disgust. “I take it you got what you were looking for.”
“I did. I’ll keep my end of the deal. But that does not mean we are allies. I will see that you are defeated. After what you did to Lisa and my brother. I will make you pay.”
“We’ll see about that. We’ve reached the end of the game.”
Rowan walked away. He stopped when he was sure he was out of sight and hid so he could hear the other talk.
“How long I’ve waited for this moment,” Drasil said.
“No, it can’t be. It’s not possible,” Draig said.
“Drasil,” Craig screamed.
"I'll be free soon. This time there is nothing the two of you can do to stop me. When I am free, the first thing I'm going to do is come for the both of you. Then this world will finally belong to me."

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:12 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 9: King and Queen
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Rowan

A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither. If only sons could see the paradox, they would understand the dilemma.
– Marlene Dietrich

Two introductions in a row, how unusual. Well, considering how the last one went it is not surprising that I would get a redo. That and the fact everyone else is busy at the moment. If you’ve been reading each of the chapters up to this point, then you already know how this is going to go. If this is the first one you are reading, what is wrong with you? It’s Chapter 9. Don’t you know how books work? Lisa and I went to convention to meet the author of the Housepets! Comics and found a mysterious ring that actually took us to the universe where the stories took place. There we met all the characters and messed up their lives. Later we went back and fixed everything and in return we were hired by Keene Milton. We graduated from college, began the interviews for the documentary series Keene created, put on an anime production, worked with the police for a day, celebrated the fourth of July. Sounds nice right? Well, let me tell you something. All those cute activities and adventures were not so great. Lisa and I have found ourselves part of a sinister game being played by a malevolent god named Drasil in an attempt to free himself from his eternal prison. If that was not bad enough, Kitsune and Lisa hooked up despite my attempt to confess my love for her. She rejected me which sent me into a desperate quest to save my brother’s sanity. You see, he has schizophrenia which causes him to believe that animals are talking to him and telling him to do terrible things. When we were children he did some pretty gruesome things and I tried to protect him. When things got out of hand I had to tell our parents and betray his trust. So to make amends, I took him from the hospital he was currently staying at and brought him back to the Housepet's world. He escaped and tried to kill two ferals in the woods. To stop him I had to make a deal with Drasil. I made it in the nick of time to stop my brother and took him back to the hospital. There he told me that it was Drasil all along who convinced him to run away. Meanwhile, Lisa discovers that Drasil kidnapped King's son Rook. While this was happening I discovered something interesting. Pete and Dragon were the ferals my brother tried to kill. I'm not proud of what happened next. There are things that have happened in my life that have forced me to become someone I never wanted to be. I tracked them down and forced Dragon to tell me the location of her temple in Egypt. One day I am going there, find the mana kept within it, and use that power to heal my brother's mind.

“Come on. Come on. Pick up the phone,” Lisa said. “Where are you when we need you the most?”
Lisa removed the phone from her ear and stared at the screen. An image of Kitsune stared back at her. He had the same smile that once brought her to her knees but right now all it did was make her angry. She paced around in circles in the middle of the Lindberg's living room. King and Bailey were hunched together on the couch pretending not to watch her. Anxiety rolled off of them in waves. Why shouldn't they be worried? Their only son was kidnapped there was nothing was anyone could do about it. Lisa slammed her thump on Kitsune's number again and pressed the phone to her ear. How many times had she done that in the last hour? She lost count. She had tried everything she could think of to get his attention. Technically, Kitsune was not her official boyfriend, but she wanted to think of him like one. That is unless he was too busy to call her back when she was desperate and needed his help.
"It's no use. He's not answering," Lisa said. She put her phone back in her pocket and faced King and Bailey. "I'm out of ideas."
“What about calling Rowan?” Bailey suggested. “Maybe he’s back from taking his brother back home.”
The thought had passed through Lisa's brain several times. In fact, she had already called him, twice already. Both calls got nothing but a voice telling her that the number was not in service. Translation, Rowan was off world. It was probably for the best. After the stunt, he pulled by bringing his mentally unstable brother to Babylon Gardens and then that brother going on an attempted killing spree. She shook her head. Rowan was doing what he thought was best. He did stop Dakota and had enough sense to take him back to the hospital. That was hours ago. Knowing him, he would want to spend some time with Dakota before coming back but still. She really needed some help.
Fox walked into the living room. King and Bailey set up straight. All eyes were on the gray husky. He shook his head in disappointment. "I called Dad, but he told me what I already knew. There is nothing he can do since Rook is technically not human. Also, he's only been missing for a few hours that means there is nothing Dad can do."
“Great,” Lisa said throwing her hands in the air. “Was there any helpful information he could give. Rook is not lost; he was stolen from Bill’s house. Did that not faze him at all? Someone broke into his house and took a dog.”
“I told him that but’s he’s busy at the moment. Unless we have undeniable proof that Rook was taken and didn’t simply escape on his own.”
"What is Bill's problem?" King shouted. He jumped down from the couch. "This is our son we're talking about. What does he expect us to do? Put up lost dog posters around the neighborhood? Missing, Rook Lindberg Milton, small husky corgi breed puppy. Taken by an evil underworld god. If seen, please contact Officer Lindberg."
"I know your upset, King. I am too but yelling is not going to help us find him," Bailey said calmly. Lisa had to hand it to her. Bailey was acting fairly rationally. Lisa assumed it was only because the full reality of the situation had not hit her yet.
“Acting irrationally and panicking are the only tools at my disposal. We can’t count on divine intervention. We can’t rely on the police. Who can we get to help us?” He clutched his head. This was taking the biggest toll on him. Rook was his only son which made everything worse. “I’m going to lie down.”
King walked pass Fox and disappeared down the hallway. No one tried to stop him. They were all thinking the same thing; King was too emotional at the moment to think or act rationally. Right now, they needed to remain calm and come up with a solution. The problem with that was, they were all tired. They spent the entire day searching for Dakota. No one had gotten any sleep, so everyone was tired and irritable. Now they had a new problem that was overwhelming them.
“Does Bill have any coffee?” Lisa asked.
Fox nodded. “He keeps some in the top cupboard in the kitchen.”
"Thanks," Lisa headed into the kitchen but had no desire to make any coffee. She needed to be alone. She envied King for being able to leave and lie down. She could not imagine what was going through his head at the moment. When her father left she felt abandoned but how would it feel to be on the other side. Lisa tapped her fingers restlessly on the counter. She stopped and slammed her fist down on the surface. The last thing that Bailey and the others needed was for her to break down but it was getting harder. One question buzzed around her head like an angry bee. Would any of this happen if she and Rowan never came there in the first place?
A knocking came from the other room. Lisa's heart soared. Someone was here. Someone that could help them. Right now she would take anyone. Rushing into the living room, she practically ran Fox over to get to the door. She flung it open to see Rowan standing on the doorstep fist raised like he was about to knock again.
"Hey, I saw the lights on, so I came to see what was going on," he said.
Lisa nodded. She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned into his chest. A pressure that had been building in her chest for the last few hours was suddenly lifted. Despite everything that they had been through the previous two days, there was no one she wanted to see more.
"Oh, god. Where have you been?" Lisa asked accusingly. She stepped away from Rowan to give him a chance to recover from her assault. "We needed you. I tried calling, but you were still back home."
Rowan hesitated. For a moment he looked away from her like he was ashamed of something. “I had my phone off. I guess I should turn it back on now.” He pulled his phone from his pocket and pressed the power button. Lisa watched his shaking hand as he held it. Rowan was nervous about something, Lisa thought. He wants to rub his arm like he always does but he’s fighting the urge.
“What’s going on?” Rowan asked. “It’s like 2 a.m.”
“You better sit down for this,” Lisa said.
Rowan followed her to the couch. Fox and Bailey were sitting, watching them as they came over. Neither one spoke. They were like spectators of a reality TV show. Lisa could not blame them for staring. The last time she saw Rowan was only a few hours ago after he tased his brother. Before that, they had been at odds with each other. Personal relationship aside, they had to work together.
“Drasil took Rook,” Lisa said plainly. She told him everything that had happened since he left to take Dakota back to the hospital.
Rowan tensed. Lisa watched as his face changed from one of surprise to anger and finally guilt.
“I should have been here. Drasil set us up. He planned this. All of it.”
“What do you mean?” Bailey asked. “Why would he want Rook?”
That was the million-dollar question, and if they were going to figure it out, they needed to know what Rowan knew.
“When Dakota woke up, he told me that he ran away because a “deer-man” told him too,” Rowan said.
“I can’t believe it.” Lisa was generally surprised although she figured she shouldn’t have been by this point. “He would go through any means. Having your brother was just the thing he needed.”
Rowan nodded. “He knew things about me. Things about my past and what I did to Dakota. He used it against me. Drasil knew that I would do anything for him.”
“Rowan,” Lisa said gently. “Maybe it’s time you tell us the entire story about you and Dakota.”
Rowan moved over to the chair in the corner of the room and sat down. He bent forward and placed his head in his hands. "When I was ten, I found out that Dakota had been killing animals. That much you know. What I did not tell you was that I was the one who told our parents. That was after I promised Dakota that nothing would happen to him. Two months later I broke that promise. I watched as they dragged him out of the barn screaming at the top of his lungs. Screaming at me. After that, he was in and out of hospitals, psychiatrists, and had more medications than a CVS. Schizophrenia does not usually develop until your twenties. In rare cases, it can manifest in children and teenagers."
“What was wrong with him?” Fox asked. “Why would he do that?”
“He thought the animals were talking to him. He heard voices and imagined things. We never could get a straight answer. That is what Drasil used to manipulate him. He appeared to Dakota in the one form that he would be most susceptible to.”
"This still seems pretty extravagant even for Drasil," Lisa said as she began pacing around the room again. "I mean to use Dakota as a distraction just to steal Rook. There has to be more to it."
Rowan looked away as if he suddenly had an intense fascination with the wall. Lisa could tell he was holding back something but did not want to press. He had been through an emotional ordeal and had to process it on his own terms.
He turned back to the others and said, “What I’m more curious about is why is it always King?”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Bailey asked.
"Think about it. Why King? Why King's son? It's something I've been thinking a lot about since we first found out that the stories in the comics were real." Rowan stood up and headed into the kitchen. When he returned, he had a large dry erase board and a black marker. He erased what Lisa assumed was Bill's shopping list from the board.
“What are you doing? Lisa asked slowly. She was growing more worried about Rowan’s behavior.
Rowan wrote something on the board before turning it so the others could see what he wrote down. “Joel Zechariah Robinson.”
“King’s name. What’s that have to do with anything?”
“Why Joel? What do we know about him? He was arrested for kidnapping Fox.”
“Please, don’t remind me,” Fox said.
"He already had a criminal record. He had issues with animals. He was young, in his twenties at the time. Remember what he said when he escaped from Bill? Right before Keven tackled him."
Lisa thought back to the comic. That was year one. “Sorry, some of us down have each of the issues memorized,” Lisa said with a touch of humor in her voice.
“He said and I quote, “I don’t have anywhere else to go, except back to prison.”
Lisa thought about that. “He did not have a support system. We know that his mother’s dead.” She turned to Fox and Bailey. “I always assumed his father was dead too. Does he ever talk about his parents?”
“No, never.”
"It's not surprising," Fox said. "Pets are usually taken away from our parents once we are old enough to survive with a mother's milk. We get adopted and live with humans. At most, we might stay a few years, but that's it."
"Since King was human, he would have spent a longer time with his parents," Bailey said. She sounded like she just realized this. Lisa guessed that Bailey still had trouble thinking about King as a human changed into a dog. To her, he's always been King the corgi.
Lisa turned back to Rowan who was writing all these details on the board. “Okay, this is fun, but what does this have to do with finding Rook?”
“I don’t know yet. From what you guys told me, it sounds like there is not much we can do at the moment. But I think this is important.”
“Why?” Lisa was feeling tense again. Her skin itched and felt tight around her body. A sense of dread was overwhelming her. It was like she was missing something obvious but could not quite figure it out. Her brain was telling her the answer, but it was coming in as static.
“Why would Pete choose Joel?” Rowan asked. “Joel was ideal. No support system so no one would miss him if he vanished. Young and willing to break the law. Anger problems and unresolved childhood issues. But there are hundreds if not thousands of people just like that in the jail system or just on the street.”
“He had a relationship with Fox,” Lisa pointed out. “Pete wanted to make King as miserable as possible. That is the perfect psychological torture to have King be in the same neighborhood as his victim.”
"Not really," Rowan said. He wrote it on the board anyway. "Most criminals will return to the scene of their crime. King obviously is not the type that would but still. Plus, he and Fox became friends. Even if that was Pete's intention, it didn't work. I think he wanted someone who had a relationship with Babylon Gardens. Pete's temple and Dragon's avatar both were here. That's why he had the house."
Lisa looked at him skeptically. “Have you been watching Criminal Minds again?” She pointed at the board. “This feels like a profile. Are you profiling King?”
“Yes,” Rowan said bluntly. “Hear me out. This is what has been bothering me.” He pointed at each of the notes on the board. “For all purposes, Joel was the perfect candidate to be Pete’s avatar if he wanted a dark paladin. He did not choose some random psychopath or someone with a history of violence. He chose Joel because he met all the requirements of someone who could pull it off and still be easily controlled.”
"Controlled?" Fox said. "I mean King was a handful, but he was still pretty independent."
"King feared Pete. It wasn't until a few months had passed that King started to build up his confidence. If Kitsune had not intervened, Pete would have done something terrible to King to reassert his dominance. He locked him in a crate to keep him from going to the 4th of July party.”
“Yeah, you have definitely been watching too much “’Criminal Minds,’” Lisa told him. “But we already know that Pete was a sociopath. He tortured King for six months…”
“Seven actually,” Rowan told her.
"Seven. But King fought back. He was the reason that Pete and Dragon lost the game. Kitsune helped, but King was the real reason that everything worked out. Now they’re gone so what does it matter?”
Rowan shifted on his feet like he was uncomfortable. He rubbed his arm and gave a nervous smile. “Ye-ah, about that.”
“What?” Lisa asked. “Is there something you need to tell us.”
“Well, as it turns out. Pete and Dragon are back.”
Lisa looked puzzled. That did not last long. She became furious. “What do you mean there back? They were sent to the mortal world. They lost their memory.”
"That's what I thought too." Rowan shrugged. "When I was at the hospital I checked on the comics we missed since we've been here. One of them showed Pete and Dragon as fox kits." He paused like he was sure if he wanted to continue. "The same ones that Dakota tried to kill tonight."
Lisa blinked, taken off guard. “They were Pete and Dragon. Are you sure?”
Rowan nodded. Lisa was not sure how he knew for sure other than the comics, but she had no reason to doubt him or Rick. She glanced at Fox and Bailey. Fox was unreadable, but Bailey was obviously scared. Lisa was not surprised. Bailey was Pete's avatar and fought for over six months to protect King.
“What else do you need to tell us?”
“They’re powerless right now. But they are trying to regain their immortal forms and powers.”
"No!" Lisa shouted. "They lost the game; they knew the rules. If they regain their god powers, who knows what they'll do to King, Bailey, and the others. They could wipe Babylon Gardens off the map."
“With Pete’s temple destroyed, they discussed Dragon’s which is still in Egypt. If they get to the mana, then I don’t know what they’ll do.”
“First Drasil, now Pete and Dragon. What next, an alien invasion? Why not? I think I’m free next Tuesday.” Lisa kept ranting until her mouth dried out.
"One problem at a time," Fox said. Having a voice of reason in the room was nice. "Let's get back to King."
“Right. How did Pete choose King? This is the same demigod who thought that putting his temple in a desert was a good idea. He was stuck there for 7000 years. Does that sound like someone who would create a list like this to find the perfect human to be his avatar?”
“He had a long time to prepare,” Fox said. “All that time could have been spent planning this.”
“I don’t think so. Pete was desperate. He found Joel almost immediately after being let loose. How could he find Joel and not realize that he would become his downfall?”
“He couldn’t have anticipated everything that happened,” Lisa spoke up. “There was no way he would have known about Bailey. Even when he did, he knew that she would give herself for him. His plan changed.”
"That means he is either very smart or really lucky." Rowan turned his attention to the board. "This was too perfect. Much too perfect for Pete to come up with. He was reckless and made so many mistakes. Picking Joel even though he would be his undoing. Not anticipating Kitsune's involvement. Pete should have known that Kitsune would know what he did. Stealing Joel's fate. Who does that?"

“Can we get to the point?” Bailey cried out. She was becoming upset. Lisa was overcome with guilt. She did not think about how this must have been effecting Bailey. They were talking about her husband like he was just a piece of meat to be dissected. “What does this have to do with anything?”
"I think Pete was being manipulated," Rowan said. The entire room went quiet. No one moved. Rowan's words hung in the air like an ominous cloud that would burst open any second. "I didn't think about it until tonight. When I heard Dakota say that Drasil used him it got me thinking. How do we know that any of this started when Lisa and I showed up? Drasil could have been planning this for years. Even longer than Pete's plan."
No one said anything.
“What if Drasil used Pete to get to King? Drasil would know about Joel’s kidnapping when he was young. His abandonment issues, his anger issues, his personality flaws. It was all so perfect. And it all led to this moment.”
Lisa tried to ignore this. The revelation that Drasil could have been manipulating everything that happened over the last ten years was a terrifying thought. One that she did not want to except. Despite her efforts, Lisa kept thinking about King and what Rowan said.
“His personality. His parents. His kidnapping.” Lisa repeated Rowan’s words, trying to make sense of them. They were puzzle pieces slowly forming a picture that was just barely visible. “Human’s spent more time with their kids. We want to be better than our parents.”
Lisa's mind wandered back to her own mother. How she swore, she would not turn out like her. She would be better. King would be better. King would do anything for his kids. He would do the one thing his parents never did for him. Save him if he went missing.
“That’s it!” Lisa screamed. Everyone jumped out of their seats. She began breathing faster and faster. Everything was finally making sense. “Protect the king.”
“What?” Rowan asked. He moved over to her, ready to stop her if she did something reckless.
“He kept telling me to protect the king.” She was not making sense to anyone. “I thought it was just another stupid chess metaphor. But what if it was literal. A literal king. He did not really mean to protect a king. He meant to protect King. King was the target all along.”
“If King was the target, then that means—“ Fox began but before he finished Lisa and Rowan took off down the hall.
They threw open doors checking each room in the house for him. Bailey and Fox were right behind them. They looked under beds and in closets. Anywhere King could have snuck off too. There was no sign of him.
“Where would he go?” Bailey asked. “Why would he leave at a time like this.”
"He went after Drasil to get Rook back," Lisa said. She kicked the wall out of anger, but all that did was hurt her foot. "Drasil knew about Joel's kidnapping."
“King understood what it would be like to be taken. That would motivate him even more to save Rook. Pete kept him captive. It all makes sense. People with similar experiences are more likely to act irrationally when the situation appears again. They’re the first to volunteer for a rescue.”
“Why take Rook if King was the target? Drasil could have taken King whenever he wanted.”
“Unless he needed something from him. Something that would take a trade. Rook for King’s corroboration,” Rowan muttered.
Lisa reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. They had been talking for almost two hours. She opened up her contacts and pressed Kitsune's number. If there were anyone in this or any other universe who knew why Drasil would want King, Kitsune would know."
“Hel-lo,” someone said on the other end. Relief washed over Lisa like a cooling wave. For a moment she was weightless. Hearing his voice lifted her off her feet. She gripped the phone tighter in her hand. She tried to the feelings of longing she felt inside her chest. Romance would have to wait.
“Kitsune, where are you? I’ve been calling all night. King and Rook are missing. Drasil took them. Get your tails over here,” she screamed into the phone.
A finger tapped her shoulder. Lisa turned to see Kitsune's face. For a second, it was all she could see. Everything faded except for the both of them. She shook her head, and everything came back into focus.
“Kitsune, finally,” Rowan said stepping forward. “Where have you been?”
"I had to take care of some things in heaven. What's this about Rook and King being taken?" He sounded generally concerned. Lisa was just not sure if it was because they might be in danger or that Drasil was getting bolder. She knew about Kitsune's history with Drasil. The mere mention of his name made the fur on the back of Kitsune's neck stand on end.
“Drasil planned everything. He used Pete to get to King. We don’t know why.”
“That’s not possible. Sure Pete’s jerk but…” His voice trailed off as his brain processed what he was saying. He bit his lower lip and narrowed his eyes.
Lisa’s hands twitched nervously. She could tell Kitsune was getting nervous which was not good. If he was scared, then they all had right to be. Every instinct in her body wanted her to ask Kitsune what he was thinking but kept the urge at bay. This was something he had to figure out for himself.
"This is bad," Kitsune said slowly. "This is the end of the world, and we are all going to die painfully kind of bad."
“Not my favorite kind of bad but go on,” Rowan said with a sarcastic shrug.
"If Drasil did manipulate King, and I'm starting to think so. That means there is only one reason for it." Kitsune leaned against the wall, supporting himself with both arms. His tails flicked back and forth. "When I sealed Drasil away, the properties of that seal were that only I, Dragon, and Pete working together could break it or one who is both but neither."
Kitsune hesitated before explaining himself. "When Pete transformed Joel into King, you all know that something went wrong. His soul was both human and dog. At the time it was more human, but the more he lived as a dog and eventually chose to remain a dog, the scales reversed."
Lisa could see where this was going. She bit down an angry outburst so to let Kitsune finish.
“Even know King’s soul remains part human. I would say somewhere between 15% and 25%.” Kitsune bolted upright and turned to them. His face was a mix of anger and fear. “How could I not see it before? I should have known. I had to have realized it but never acted upon it.”
“Kitsune, you’re not making sense. Slow down and try to explain what you’re talking about,” Lisa told him.
“King is the only one in all the worlds who could break Drasil’s seal.”

***

“Hello?!" King slowly walked forward trying to avoid looking at the infinite nothingness that surrounded him. Swirling blood-red clouds and yellow streaks covered the floor and sky making it look like a 60's dance party gone wrong. King had no idea where he was going. All the dog said was to keep moving forward until he heard a voice. He thought the golden retriever would be coming with him, but even Drasil's avatar did not want to face the malevolent demigod. "I want my son. Give Rook back to me!"
“Straight to the point,” a thunderous voice boomed from only a few yards from where King was standing. “That is what I always liked about you, Joel.”
Out of nowhere, a monstrous form materialized. His head was like a deer's with long jagged antlers that glowed like stars. His dark brown fur was missing in some places. He only wore a long loincloth that fell on the floor. He was kneeling with his arms hung in the air. His eyes were completely black except for two red pupils in the center, and they were staring directly at him with a crooked smile on his face. His hooves were like lethal claws, pointed and ragged. There were long scars that ran up and down his bare chest. Wrapped around his body were hundreds of small golden wires. Each one dug into his flesh as they hummed with godly power.
He was just as Lisa described him. Seeing him now, King could feel his legs shake like they would buckle under him. He had never felt so afraid. This god was not like Pete or Dragon. He radiated malice and terror. He was evil incarnate.
“I want…my son. Where’s Rook?” King asked trying to keep his voice calm. Spending so many years as a dog, he trained himself not to show fear. Unfortunately, he was not very good at it even in a normal situation.
Drasil exhaled. He tiled his head giving King a look of something that was almost pity. "Your son is safe, so you do not need to fear. However, how long he stays that way will depend on you. Your willingness to assist me will determine whether or not you leave here with your son or not at all.” As he spoke, his eyes glowed more harshly.
“I am so tired of you gods playing games with me. I thought I was past all this. But, no. I still get wrapped up in celestials pulling us mortals along like puppets for your own personal vendetta’s.” He pointed at Drasil. “You take my son, bring me all the way here, and now you want me to do whatever you ask. Forget it.”
Drasil started laughing. It was so awful that King had to cover his ears with his paws. Drasil's body glowed slightly. One second he was twenty feet tall the next he was roughly six feet tall. The golden chains fell to the floor, but they still kept him tied down. He calmly moved toward King. The air was suddenly filled with an astringent odor like sulfuric acid poured into a dumpster of roadkill on a warm summer day. King tried to hold his breath, but it was no use. His nose was burning so severely he swore it was screaming.
Drasil spoke. His voice changed becoming more normal and mild. “So much anger. Tell me, Joel. Does all that hate come from how you were treated by the god’s or by the mortals?”
"Don't call me Joel," King spat. "I only let a few people call me that mostly because I know, they wouldn't stop even if I told them too."
“I’ve known you as Joel Robinson much longer than King Milton. After all, I created you.”
King crossed his arms over his chest. "I think my mother would disagree with you. Unless this is one of those "I am your father" moments."
“I was the one who made you what you are. I made you into my king." He moved closer to King and leaned down, so he was eye level. Looking into his eyes was like staring into the event horizon of a black hole, King realized. Infinitely dark and inescapable. He tried to turn his head or look away, but his body was frozen. Drasil continued talking, "You once referred to the Spirit Dragon's and the Cosmic Gryphon's game as chess. You have no idea how right you were." Drasil snapped his hooves together.
The ground shuddered. All around King large black and white statues rose from the floor. Soon he was surrounded by oddly shaped figures that looked vaguely familiar. Beneath his feet, a checker pattern appeared. King realized he was standing on a giant chess board. But most of the pieces were missing. The black side still had more than the white but only by a few.
King walked around the pieces until he stood in the center of the board with Drasil. He spun around trying to take in the strange vision. He stopped when Drasil patted his shoulder. Feeling the demigod's touch was like sticking your hand into a spool of barbed wire. King jumped away so to put as much distance between each other as possible but still keeping the other in their sight.
“This is the real game.” Drasil spread his arms wide. He was clearly proud of it. “I have waited millennia for this moment. In the course of one night, I will have my freedom and vengeance on my foes.”
“Your foes?” King asked.
Drasil scowled. “Those who imprisoned me. The Spirit Dragon and Cosmic Gryphon. Along with that fallacious Great Kitsune.”
“Wait, Dragon, Pete, and Kitsune were the ones who locked you away?”
“We have much in common. We were both scorned by the gods. Imprisoned and tormented. Put in unpleasant situations while being robbed of everything.”
King felt drained. He spent so many years trying to move past what happened to him as part of Pete's game. Hearing Drasil now was tearing open those old wounds. "Sorry, but we are not the same. I like my life now. Sure it's not perfect, but life is not supposed to be. I have a family that I love. How can you say we are the same when you took my son away? He's innocent in all of this."
“No one is innocent,” Drasil said firmly. He smiled as his eyes glowed brighter. “I told you that I was the one who created you. I created you for this moment. The endgame. I will finally win and take my place atop heaven.”
"I have a better place you can go," King said. He needed to find Rook, but this god was chattier than Kitsune.
The amusement died on Drasil’s face. He snapped his fingers, and the chessboard vanished. “Do you know why you were chosen, Joel? You spent so many hours asking yourself the same question.” He stepped closer. “Why me? Why does this happen to me? Why did this happen to me? Why? Why? Why?”
“No,” King said.
"Because I chose you," Drasil said his voice came out thick and demonic.
“You chose me? What is that supposed to mean?” King was not sure he wanted the answer, but the truth was too tempting.
"Did you think that fool, Pete, could be so clever as to create a strategy as complex as the one he used to utilize you as his avatar? No, I was the one who whispered into his ear about the dark paladin. How it would be so much better if he chose a human to be his avatar.”
King’s eyes widen. “Why…why should I believe you?”
“I don’t lie. I find it unbecoming of a demigod.” He glared at King. “I told Pete everything he wanted to hear. Everything he needed to hear.”
“How could you possibly plan all of this?” King asked.
"I had a long time. My powers allow me to see into people's hearts and minds as well as their souls." He pointed at his antlers. King looked up. Within the glowing horns, three spots glowed brighter and hotter than all the others. They looked like miniature stars. "I knew exactly what I needed to win this game. I needed someone like you. Betrayal and neglect scarred your heart. Your mind damaged from what Pete did to you. Your soul transfigured to suit my needs. All of that was according to my plan. Each piece on the chess board moved exactly as I desire."
“You’re the one who convinced Pete to turn me into a dog. To hold me captive and…” his voice trailed off.
"I did so much more than that. I was the one who convinced Bailey's owners to move so they would have to send her straight to your arms. I watched as you heroically saved her from the game. It was so enjoyable seeing the looks on Dragon's and Pete's faces when they both lost because of you. That was also part of my plan. I needed them out of the way. I knew despite the scars and pain your heart is pure and light. Why else would you cross heaven and Earth for those you love?"
“Stop it,” King whispered.
“Who do you think it was who convinced Orwell Johnson to go to Babylon Gardens and kidnap one of the pets. He was the easiest to manipulate. After that, I had to ensure that you were arrested. But you took care of that on your own. From there it was a simple matter of pointing Pete in your direction. He did the rest for me.” He laughed. "I even gave him the idea for your name. How do you think he came with the name "King."
King's world was shattering around him. Every horrible thing that happened to him over the last ten years was all a part of a scheme more sinister than he could imagine. Everything good that happened was part of it as well. Everything led him here, and he blindly followed it like a trail of breadcrumbs.
“I’ve watched you since the day you were born.” He paused as if he was debating to go on. Seeing King falling apart was convincing enough. “The moment I’m proudest of was when I convinced your own pets to run away from their abusive owners. I came to them in their dreams promising them freedom. All they had to do was leave. And take you with them as leverage.”
The floor fell away. King felt himself falling backward. He never felt his body hit the ground. It was like he was floating in mid-air. Weightless and formless. Nothing mattered. He could feel something inside him break. All this time, everything that happened, and his fate was tied to Drasil. Even before he knew about the Gods, before he met Pete, before he had to deal with celestials and magic, it was all a game.
King opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. The words were stuck in his throat. A coolness spread throughout his body like he was sinking into a frozen pool. He had nothing left.
"Do not feel too bad. You are the king. Only one piece of the game. Your friends, Rowan and Lisa. Now they were something special. Even I did not see them coming. When they appeared, I knew instantly they were exactly what I needed to finish this game. Lisa, the queen, trying so hard to protect you, the king. Even now they are searching for you. Rowan, the queen's loyal knight. That is a boy you can relate too. He has suffered even more than you. They were the perfect pieces to finish the game and ensure my victory."
King screamed. He let out fury and anger that he had bottled up for so many years. It was a primal force that caused the floor to shake. Tears poured from his eyes. He gripped his head with his paws, willing himself to wake up from this nightmare.
“I can make the pain go away,” Drasil whispered.
King could barely hear him. His mind was in a place no one could reach. Only darkness surrounded him. Even the color of the sky and floor darkened to match his mood.
“All you have to do is break these chains. Once you do, all the pain and anger will go away. You can have a new life. You’ll have your family back. Your son returned. Everything you wanted.”
He picked up a golden cord from the ground and held it up to King’s face. King stared at it with a blank look. His eyes were empty. Slowly, he reached out and took the cord from Drasil. King cradled the delicate cord in his paws. He had no idea how something that seemed so fragile could contain a power like Drasil.
Drasil bent down and whispered in King's ear. "All you have to do is break it. Break the chains that bind you. Bite it. Bite it, and you'll be free."
King opened his mouth.

***

Lisa stared at her reflection in the mirror of her bedroom. She was wearing a purple tank top with a pair of shorts and running shoes. She looked like she was about to go out for a jog. Instead, she was about to journey into the deepest pits of hell to rescue a kind of sort of friend. She glanced around her dresser at all the assortment of items and utensils trying to decide what she should use. How did one prepare for a rescue mission like this? They were about to face one of the evilest beings ever to exist. Not exactly what she had planned for a leisurely Saturday morning.
“Are we ready for this?” Lisa asked. “I don’t feel ready. I know we have to do this for King and Rook. I wish we had more time.”
She turned to Kitsune who was sitting on the bed watching her get ready. He was wearing his usual purple plaid jacket and shirt. Nothing else. He opened his mouth to say something but paused. The first ray of sun peeked through the window casting a yellow light on his fur giving it a more golden color than usual. Lisa would think he was an angel if she didn't know any better.
“I know this is quite the ordeal. I reassure you that we are going in fully prepared. I gave Fox the list of supplies and notes to give to the other pets. I am fully confident that we are going to save King and Rook.”
“But there is still a chance that we might fail,” she said moving over beside him. She hovered next to the bed uncertainly. She trusted Kitsune more than anything but there was a part of her, deep down where her darkest thoughts lurked, that asked her if she trusted him because he was worthy of her trust or because of her feelings for him. “What happens if Drasil escapes?”
“He won’t escape,” Kitsune said with complete confidence. “I will make sure of that.”
"I can't help but thinking this is our fault. Mine and Rowan's. If we never came would any of this have happened."
Kitsune grabbed her arm and pulled her on the bed. He pulled her closer, so she was leaning on his body. "It's no one's fault but my own. I've known Drasil forever. With or without you or Rowan he would have found a way to escape while Dragon and Pete were absent. I should have seen this coming.”
“So much for your omnipotence,” Lisa told him mockingly.
“Being omniscient is not perfect. There are many things that I cannot see as even my powers have limits. There’s quite a few things that I cannot change; it’s beyond my, paygrade as it were.”
Lisa sat up and looked at him. “You said that to Res. Back in the temple.”
He smiled at her showing off his teeth just like she liked. “I’m glad you remembered. Here I thought it was only Rowan who could do that.”
"Well, he's not only one who's read the comics more than a few times." Lisa thought about Rowan. He was in his room down the hall getting ready for them to leave. When he was ready they were all going to meet the others are the designated location Kitsune told them about. She felt guilty sitting here so close to Kitsune, of how Rowan would react he if were to walk into the room right then and there.
“The problem is that I cannot see into Pandemonium or Tartarus. That is what makes it distinctive from the other planes of reality. I cannot see into Drasil’s thoughts or intentions. Even before now that power was beyond me.”
“Is that why you could not see why King was taken or that he would go there?” Lisa asked softly.
Kitsune spoke carefully. "That is part of the reason." He stood up and walked to the door. With his back turned to her he spoke again. "Drasil refereed to you as his queen. But if he believes that he is playing against me, that would mean that you are my queen. The queen is the strongest piece in the game as she can move anywhere on the board just like you. The queen's main role in chess is to protect the king. Unfortunately, I was not the one who could protect him. I made one of the worse mistakes one could make in chess. I chose to protect you, the queen, instead.”
"This isn't a game though. This is real. Drasil played us all." Lisa said. In her mind, she said, even though everyone was screaming at me to protect King.
"No it's not, but Drasil still knew how to use each of us. Including you and me." He sighed. "My feelings for you clouded my judgment and interfered with my omnipotence. I cannot let that happen again."
Lisa was floored. “Are…are we breaking up? I mean I know that we weren’t technically dating but it sounds like we’re breaking up.”
Kitsune turned to her and shook his head. His face was sad like he was hurting inside. “We are not breaking up but we—I need to decide what we are. What do you want?”
"I want. I want us to be together." When Lisa said it, for the first time she was sure she truly meant it. She would take the consequences as they came. This is what she wanted no matter what the cost. "I know that is asking a lot of you, but that is how I feel."
He smiled at her. His eyes glowed warmly. "How about this then? When this is over, how about you and I go on a real date? Just the two of us?"
“I would like that,” she said. “When we win.”
“We will win, but I don't know what that victory will look like. If we cannot reseal Drasil, then he will have to be destroyed."
Lisa felt a chill pass over her. The way he said it made it sound so ominous and final. He was so sure of himself. “How do you kill a god?” Lisa asked afraid of the answer.
“The only way to kill a god is by another god sacrificing him or herself to do it.”
Lisa was silent for a long time. For a moment, she was sure that she did not hear him correctly. He couldn’t have meant that. He couldn’t be thinking of giving his own life for them. There was no way.
Kitsune could tell what she was thinking because he said, “I vowed to protect this and the other worlds from beings like Drasil, Dragon, and Pete. The mortals should not suffer because of our arrogance.”
"It won't come to that," Lisa said. "We will fight against the forces of evil together. All of us."
He said nothing, only grabbed the doorknob and turned. He looked back at her only once and smiled. He disappeared down the hall. Seconds later, Rowan appeared and knocked on the already open door.
“Are you ready?” he asked coming in without waiting for an invitation.
"Almost," Lisa said. She moved back the mirror and examined her reflection again. "Kitsune has gone ahead, so we need to get going."
She walked to her closet and opened the door. "Do you think it will be cold in Tarturus. I read once that hell is cold. What do you wear to fight someone like Drasil?"
“I’m wearing this?” Rowan said.
Lisa turned and looked at him. He was wearing a pair of cargo shorts, tennis shoes, and a t-shirt with a picture of a sun and moon on it.
“Well, I don’t know.” She faced her closest again.
“Lisa, you’re over thinking this.”
“How can I not?” she asked. She turned back to him. He looked at her with pity and concern. “What do you take to a place like that?”
In Rowan's hand, there was a small black box, one that Lisa recognized instantly. "Seriously, Rowan. The Taser. You plan to fight Drasil with a Taser."
He shrugged. “Why not?”
Lisa felt relief spread through her. Despite the stressful situation, they found themselves in she could always count on Rowan to make her feel better. Just like back at school or whenever she was upset with her mother. Rowan was always there to put on a smile on her face.
“Rowan.”
“Lisa.” They called to each other at the same time. There was a pause. Rowan was the first to speak. “You go first.”
"Alright. I want to say that I'm sorry. I mean it this time. I know these last few days have been hard for you. I have not been a perfect friend." She giggled. "Do you ever think about how different our lives were three months ago? We were deciding whether or not we were going to go to that convention. Now here we are. It's hard to imagine how much we've changed. All the things we've been through since coming here. It's all lead to this. There is no one else I would rather go through hell with than you." She restlessly rearranged her belongings like she was looking for something but did not know what it was she was supposed to find.
Rowan moved noiselessly towards her. “Lisa. I apologize for this.”
She turned to him and asked, “For what?”
Rowan jabbed the Taser directly into her stomach. Electricity surged through her body. Every hair on her body stood upright as her vein burned like fire. Right before the darkness overtook her, she could see his face. It was full of sadness and grief. Lisa hit the floor and splayed out her arms and legs.
Gently, Rowan picked her up and laid her in the closet. He shut the door leaving her alone in the cramped small. With a mighty kick, he broke the handle off the door and watched as it clattered on the floor. His chest ached with misery as he headed to the hallway. The deal he made with Drasil was fulfilled. He only hoped that he did not doom them all to do it.

***

Rowan was the last to show up at the meeting place. Everyone had gathered at the spot where Pete’s temple once stood. According to Kitsune since the portal was once opened there, it would be the weakest point for a new one to be opened. Kitsune was watching each of the pets with curiosity and pride. As Rowan approached, he scanned the pets to see who was willing to go on a suicide mission to save King. Peanut, Grape, Fox, Tarot, Sabrina, Lester, Joey with Squeak, Mungo, and Fido were there. To Rowan’s surprise, he saw Bino standing off to the side. He walked over to the angry looking dog.
“What are you doing here, Bino?” Rowan asked giving him a quizzical look.
“What I can’t participate in a rescue mission. I care about the short stack just as much as everyone else.”
“No you don’t,” Rowan told him. He narrowed his eyes trying to see through Bino’s deception.
"He's only here because he thinks that if everyone thinks he's a hero, it will increase his status in the Good Ol' Dog's club," Fido said joining them.
"That's not it!" Bino shouted, but he was clearly lying.
Rowan rolled his eyes and joined the rest of the pets. “Is this everyone?”
Fox was disappointed. "This is all I could get. I thought the wolves might come, but they're all passed out from the search and rescue last night. Apparently they through a big celebration party. They're all hung over."
“Great,” Rowan said.
Kitsune walked over and tapped Rowan on the shoulder. “Where’s Lisa?”
“I don’t know,” Rowan lied. “I thought she was behind me. She could have gotten lost.”
Kitsune scowled. Either he knew Rowan was lying or was upset with Lisa. “We can’t wait for her. Every second spent here is another chance for Drasil to escape.”
He moved to face everyone. Rowan watched as Kitsune’s body seemed to radiate divine energy, just enough to get everyone’s attention.
“Everyone, listen to me. I need to explain what is about to happen. We are about to enter a place where reality and insanity meet. Peanut can you go ahead and pass out the paper bags and markers?”
"Right away," Peanut called. He moved to each pet and handed them a paper bag and black marker. Rowan took his bag and stared at it curiously. This was their best plan? Only Tarot, Sabrina, and Mungo did not receive a bag. They had on their headgear from the last trip to the temple.
“Tartarus’s power works almost like the temples. Only there the magic is more arcane and powerful. That is why it was the perfect prison. The magic is what keeps Drasil contained. It will also weaken him if freed. That is why I need you to come up with your own class and title. It can be anything. The only limit is your imagination so pick something powerful because we are going to need it.”
Rowan held up his bag and thought about a class. Several of the other pets were already writing theirs down on the bags. Lester murmured to Squeak and Joey. Fido and Bino joined the conservation, and from Bino's expression, he was not thrilled with what he was hearing. Turning his attention back to the bag, Rowan thought about the one thing he was sure would be most powerful and also the easiest for him to use. He wrote down "Anime Hero" on the bag.
After a few minutes, everyone was finished. They each placed the bag on their heads and waited. Kitsune faced the empty lot and focused his powers. Each tail stood straight out as they glowed with a heavenly light. The space in front of him shifted and almost looked like it was melting. Rowan could feel the air around them heat up. This was it. A large circular portal appeared. Peering through it, Rowan could see an infinite space of swirling reds and oranges surrounded by blackness.
“Everyone,” Kitsune cried out. “If something should happen and you cannot continue run back to the portal. It will remain open for as long as possible. Now let’s go rescue King!”
Kitsune lead them through the portal. Rowan watched them all go one after the other until he was all that was left. He stepped to the portal but paused. Turning back to the trees, he thought about Lisa. Deep down he knew that it was for the best, but that did not stop the guilt clawing at his heart.
Rowan straightened his back trying to portray confidence. He marched through the portal into the endgame.

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:14 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil
Chapter 10: Who I Want to Be
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Lisa

“The Role of the Queen is to protect the King.”

This is my story. My name is Lisa Smith. Once upon a time, my best friend Rowan Gains and I went to a convention to meet the author of the Housepets! Comics. When he was not at his table we decided to snoop through his belongings. We found a strange ring that transported us to the actual reality of the characters from the comics. We learned that our world was part of a much larger multiverse. We were so excited that we acted irrationally. The Great Kitsune had to send us back home but not before we left one of the books behind. Bill Lindberg found it and by doing so discovered that King Milton was actually Joel Robinson, the man who helped kidnap Bill's dog, Fox a few years ago. In his anger, Bill kicked King out of the house and forbid him from seeing his wife and kids. Later, Rowan and I met a stranger in the alley who gave us a bracelet that had the power to take us to other worlds. We went back to Babylon Gardens and realized what we did. To make it up to everyone we got Bill to forgive King and let him back into his home. We thought that was it until Keene Milton offered us a job working on his new pet documentary show. I was not sure until the day of our graduation from college. Kitsune came and convinced me to go. One the first day we interviewed King, Bailey, and Fox. I tried to force King to reveal that he was once human. King got upset so I had to convince him to continue. Then the bracelet reacted to his touch and I was knocked unconscious. I woke up in a strange dark realm where I met the evil demigod Drasil. A monster deer like creature who turned out to be one of the four stags of Yggdrasil. He told me that we were all a part of a chess game he was playing. I was his queen. I told Kitsune about it but he was no help. In the weeks that followed I was plagued by nightmares. It was so bad that I thought about leaving and going back home. Rowan and Peanut decided to put on a production of an anime battle to ease my mind. I won't go into details. Afterwards, I was more confident. Then came the day that Rowan and I tagged along with the K9PD to investigate an animal attack. We split up and I found the suspect but it turned out to be Drasil's avatar. He used his powers to try to kill me but luckily Kitsune intervened. We slept together that night. Just sleeping. He asked me what I wanted from us, but I was not sure until Independence Day. We spent the day together at the neighborhood party the Milton's threw together. What I did not know was that Rowan was planning an elaborate show to ask me out on a date. I mean a crazy plan that involved paying King, Fox, Tiger, and Marvin to dance while he sang a song in front of the entire party. When he finally got to asking I was busy kissing Kitsune. Heartbroken, Rowan storm off. He confessed his feelings for me but I rejected him. In an act of desperation, he went back to our Earth and took his schizophrenic brother, Dakota, out of the hospital and brought him back to Babylon Gardens. Dakota escaped and Rowan revealed that his brother had a history of hurting animals. I was furious with him. We gathered a search party to find him. Rowan meanwhile made a deal with Drasil to find Dakota before he hurt someone. He almost did. Dakota trapped two fox kits, who we later discovered were Pete and Dragon, and was about to kill them when Rowan showed up to stop him. Rowan took Dakota back home. While he was gone, the rest of us discovered that King’s son, Rook, was taken by Drasil. Rowan showed up and told us about his theory that Drasil was behind most of the events that had plagued King’s life. We told Kitsune about this and he tells us that King is the only one who can free Drasil from his eternal hell prison. We plan a rescue. But before we can Rowan tases me and locks me in the closet. He, Kitsune, and some of the other pets leave for Tartarus to save King and Rook. But like I said, this is my story.

It was a cold and sunny day, but Lisa didn’t feel the chill. She was too excited by the multitude of colors and balloons that decorated her backyard. She sat restlessly in her chair as her mother brought out the double layered cake to her. Two candles set atop it, so it read 08. Her father stood off the side to take pictures of her smiling with mouth wide open, so you could see how many teeth were missing. It was her eighth birthday. It was just the three of them since they had only recently moved into a new house and a new city. This party was a way of making up for everything she lost even though Lisa did not know it at the time.
Once the cake was eaten came Lisa’s favorite part. It was time for presents. The stack set off to the side but beckoned her constantly. Periodically, Lisa would glance over to examine each one and try to figure out what the contents could be.
“Okay, Lisa. You know what time it is?” her father said. He reached over to the pile of gifts while Lisa watched with unbridled anticipation. “It’s time for the birthday princess to receive her royal gifts.”
“I wish you wouldn’t call her that,” Lisa’s mother said holding the camera. “You’ll give her a big head and a sense of unearned stature.” Even as she said it, she was only half serious. The mood of the party was contagious. She smiled at her daughter as she took several more pictures.
“Don’t listen to your mother. You are royalty to us.” Her father said. He bent over the stack and pulled out a small item. “What kind of princess doesn’t have a crown?”
Lisa squealed in her seat as her father walked over to her with the tiara in his hand. It was silver with a large pink stone in the middle that sparkled in the sunlight. Before he placed it on her head, he leaned down and whispered in her ear, "Who do you want to be, Lisa?"
It was an odd question to ask an eight-year-old. “I want to be a princess,” she said like it was the most obvious answer.
His eyes glistened with amusement. “What kind of princess? Someone who helps her subjects or rules over them?”
Lisa thought about it. “I want to help people unless they’re mean. Then they go to the dungeon.” She snapped her fingers to prove how serious she was. He laughed and placed the tiara on her head. He pulled out the chair next to her and set down.
“Who do you want to be, Daddy?” Lisa asked straightening the plastic toy.
“That’s a good question.” He looked off into the distance like there was something out there only he could see. “I want to help people who can’t help themselves. I want to be the one who saves them because no one else can or will.”
"That sounds awesome," Lisa said with a bright smile on her face.
Her father raised his eyebrows and looked at her. “You think so. Maybe one day you can follow in your father’s footsteps.” His face dropped going from cheerful to mournful. “You know what you have to do, don’t you?”
Lisa sat there, but she was no longer the eight-year-old girl oblivious to the fact that her father would disappear within the next month. She was twenty-one-year-old Lisa. She nodded in understanding. This was only a memory, a shadow of a life that disappeared a long time ago.
“I know what I have to do,” Lisa said numbly.
Her father leaned in and kissed on her head. “I love you, Lisa. No matter what happens know that I am so proud of who you’ve become. I will be you with until the end.”
Lisa couldn’t bear to look at her father. This sweet memory was tainted with a bitter tone. The pictures taken would be locked in a box in the closet to collect dust and fade. The gifts would be used and tossed away as she grew up. Lisa touched the tiara on her head. She held on to it because it was the only thing she could not part with. "I miss you."
“I know. I’m sorry, Lisa. For everything.”
Lisa woke to a burning pain in her stomach. Her entire was stiff and hurt. She looked around to see her clothes hanging above her. For a second, she was not sure where she was. Then the memories came flooding back. Rook and King disappearing, Kitsune asking her on a date, the rescue mission into Tartarus, Drasil, and Rowan stabbing her with the Taser. Anger filled her body as she struggled to stand. Thankfully the closet was big enough for her to stand up in without hitting her head on something. She tried the handle but the door would not open. What was going on? She tried repeatedly with the same results. The closet was locked and she was trapped while her friends were risking their lives. Of all the things Lisa got from her mother, her stubbornness was the one thing she was grateful for. That and the disregard for others belongings.
Lisa picked up her larger suitcase and placed it under her arm. Like a battering ram, she charged at the door. The impact knocked her on her backside, but the door held. She stood up and tried to ignore the pain she was experiencing from the stunt. But she would not give up. Picking up the suitcase, she worked again. Three times. Four times. She bent over and clutched her knees. She was sore and exhausted. Only the thought of her friends kept her from crawling in the corner and laying in the fetal position.
One more try. She charged at the door with more power than she thought she had in her. The frame snapped and Lisa tumbled out. She fell the floor as her suitcase flew from her hands. It landed a few feet away and tore open. The contents spread out littering the floor. Lisa did not waste any time. She stood up, brushed herself off, and moved to the door. Something caught her eye as she walked past. The plastic tiara. She forgotten that she brought it with her when she moved into Milton Manor. Suddenly she understood what she had to do. Lisa bent down and picked up the tiara. Her reflection shown back at her in the pink plastic stone. It was the image of a scared girl on a mission. No matter what happened next this is what she was meant to do. Tiara in hand, Lisa ran towards her destiny.

***

The pace they were moving at was slow. Slower than Rowan would have liked. He was wearing a long red cloak decorated with black flames that more resembled clouds. Around his head was a headband similar to one that they wore during the anime production. His shoes were still the same which surprised him but he was sure his pants were different. They were itchier than he would have liked. He chose his title as “Anime Hero” so that is what he got. Around his wrist, the golden bracelet shone brighter than usual.
Everyone else looked different as well. Since they were in Tartarus, the paper bags had changed into their “powers” or classes they were supposed to use to fight Drasil. Peanut changed into his comic book character, Spot. A large muscular white dog with a flowing red cape. Grape was what Rowan assumed was a character from “Pridelands” or at least one Grape created in her fan fiction. She was tall tan with a large bow strapped to her back. Mungo, Sabrina, and Tarot looked the same as they did during the trip into Pete’s temple a year ago. Lester was some kind of bulking behemoth with a wide grin that told Rowan that he was thirsty for blood. Bino looked like a werewolf which told Rowan that he most likely chose his form out of vanity instead of practicality. Speaking of vanity, Max was a were-tiger ninja cross. Most likely to appeal to Grape. His black stripes were barely visible against his black fur. Joey was a type of sorcerer that had a Dr. Strange vide to it. Squeak was sitting on his head with her princess tiara which meant she was back to being the healer for the party. Fox wore a long black cloak with two swords strapped to his back and his bandana covering his face. Fido was the strangest. He looked like the Terminator’s dog. Part of his body was metal while the other was furry. His head was part metal with a glowing red eye. He was armed to the teeth with guns, blasters, and possibly a sword strapped to his back. Kitsune was the only one who was still the same. He was already a demigod so there was no improving that. He had his purple shirt and plaid jacket with no pants.
Rowan walked beside Kitsune to try to get a feel for how the fox was feeling. Rowan knew that Kistune and Drasil had a history. What kind, he never told them. The fur on his neck was standing straight up. Rowan wondered if it was because of where they were or what they were about to do. Suddenly, he regretted knocking Lisa out. If she were here, Kitsune would be in lighter spirits. He kept telling himself that he had to do it so to complete his side of the deal he made with Drasil. Hopefully, Lisa would forgive him if they succeeded and made it home safely.
“Why…why should I believe you?”
Everyone stopped. Rowan looked around. That voice sounded like King but faded and far away. More like an echo than the real thing. They were surrounded by nothing but darkness and swirling red clouds above and below them.
"What was that?" Bino asked. He was scared like he heard the voice of a ghost.
“You chose me? What is that supposed to mean?”
There it was again. Rowan was sure it was King talking but not talking at the same time. He looked at Kitsune hoping for an answer. The fox stared straight ahead, peering into the darkness. “Let’s keep going. We’re getting close.”
“What’s going on?” Rowan asked.
“I said that this place wraps and distorts reality. What we’re hearing are voices of the past. Most likely the recent past. Echoes that are traveling down the path set before us.”
"These are all things King's said," Rowan spoke calmly, but inside he was freaking out. Could King be dead already? Did they do all of this for nothing?
The farther the party moved through Tartarus, the louder and longer the voices became. Before too long they could hear entire conversations between King and Drasil. They were broken and nonsensical, but everyone got the gist of what was going on.
"Did you think that fool, Pete, could be so clever as to create a strategy as complex as the one he used to utilize you as his avatar? No, I was the one who whispered into his ear about the dark paladin. How it would be so much better if he chose a human to be his avatar.”
Rowan gasped. He could hardly breathe. He was right about Drasil using Pete. That did not make him feel good about himself.
“You’re the one who convinced Pete to turn me into a dog. To hold me captive and…”
Rowan cringed. It was hard to hear. King's voice was broken and devastated. Drasil was messing with him, and King was letting him. Rowan turned to the others to see how they were dealing with the news. Sabrina and Tarot were whispering frantically to each other. Tarot kept shaking her head while Sabrina protested. Bino and Fido exchanged uncomfortable looks.
“Who do you think it was who convinced Orwell Johnson to go to Babylon Gardens and kidnap one of the pets. He was the easiest to manipulate. After that, I had to ensure that you were arrested. But you took care of that on your own. From there it was a simple matter of pointing Pete in your direction. He did the rest for me.” Drasil laughed. "I even gave him the idea for your name. How do you think he came with the name "King?”
Fox closed his eyes like he was trying to hold back tears. He held his paws over his ears to try to block the noise. It was useless. The closer they got the louder they became.
Drasil continued, “the moment I’m proudest of was when I convinced your own pets to run away from their abusive owners. I came to them in their dreams promising them freedom. All they had to do was leave. And take you with them as leverage.”
Rowan froze in his tracks. The others stopped as well. Anyone who knew King knew that it was when he was kidnapped that set him on the path that eventually led to his arrest. He still called it the most horrific experience in his life. Kitsune snarled, his anger growing. Rowan wanted to say something, but his mouth would not open.
“Did you ever ask yourself how hard would it have been to find a little boy and his three pets? A cat, two dogs, and a little boy on the streets. Surely someone would have seen you. Someone would have been looking for you. Yet it took an entire week. Did your parents even bother looking for you?
Rowan’s heart was breaking like shards of glass each tearing him apart from the inside. He could not imagine what King was going through right now.
"Do not feel too bad. You are the king. Only one piece of the game. Your friends, Rowan and Lisa. Now they were something special.”
Rowan suddenly felt dozens of eyes looking at him. He felt sick. There was a part of him that knew all along that he and Lisa were a part of this. Drasil made that clear several times. Hearing it now, it just made his head hurt.
“Even I did not see them coming. When they appeared, I knew instantly they were exactly what I needed to finish this game. Lisa, the queen, trying so hard to protect you, the king. Even now they are searching for you. Rowan, the queen's loyal knight. That is a boy you can relate too. He has suffered even more than you. They were the perfect pieces to finish the game and ensure my victory."
Rowan's mouth quivered. He was on the verge of tears. Drasil talked about him like he was trash. That everything that happened to him was necessary for this moment. The darkness and pain he experienced as a child that haunted his footsteps. The screams of the other children, the ones that were lost. They were nothing. Rowan's entire body shook with rage. A warm hand fell on his shoulder. Kitsune looked at him with pure sympathy. His eyes questioned Rowan and what Drasil meant, but Rowan gave nothing away. It was his secret.
“We have to hurry. We don’t have any time left,” Kitsune called out. He took off sprinting away with the rest following behind.
Rowan ran like his entire body was lighter than he ever thought possible. His legs were machines that could cross mountains and outrun storms. The more he moved, the more power he felt coursing through his veins. Electricity burned inside him making him feel invincible. Did the others feel this way, Rowan wondered?
As they moved the brighter the area became. The darkness turned to light as the reds became lighter. Soon the entire place glowed with a variety of yellows, whites, grays, and reds. In the far distance, they could see three points of light shining brighter than anything else. Beneath them stood a creature that reminded Rowan of the forest god from "Princess Mononoke."
Rowan saw something small and fuzzy lying at Drasil's feet. He pointed at it and shouted, "There he is!" Rowan waved his hands in the air crying, "King. King. We've come to save you."
King turned to them. They moved closer, and Rowan could see that King was not well. His eyes were glassy and void of feeling. He recognized that look instantly. It was the sign that you had suffered a great deal and that deep inside you were broken. The other called to him as they lined up a few feet from where he was standing. Rowan glanced at Drasil and was horrified at what he saw. The nine golden chains were gone except for one. There was only one small chain that kept Drasil imprisoned.
Kitsune noticed this too. He scowled and stepped toward Drasil. Never before had Rowan seen Kitsune have an expression of pure hatred as he did right then. Drasil, on the other hand, looked amused at the attention he was getting.
King looked at everyone. He opened his mouth and spoke in a voice that was barely a whisper. “You came. For me?” It sounded like a question. Rowan’s heart broke to hear him sound like that. To feel like you are so alone that no one would save you.
"We came, King. You are our friend," Rowan told him. He gestured to the others who were nodding their heads. Except for Bino who simply shrugged. "Friends stick together no matter what. After everything we've been through together, there is nothing that can stop us."
It was a cheesy speech but it was the best Rowan could come up with at that moment.
Someone started clapping. Everyone turned their attention to Drasil who was watching them with amusement and cruelty. He clapped his hooves together over and over. "How sweet. I expected some of you to make a last-ditch effort to save Joel. Even I did not expect there to be so many of you. And so powerful looking as well. I see we are in for quite the show.
“It’s over, Drasil,” Kitsune said. “We’re taking King back and leaving you here to rot. Even that last bond will hold you long enough for Dragon and Pete to regain their immortal powers so we can seal you again.”
"Dragon and Pete," Dragil spat. "Are you friends now," Drasil said friends like it was poison in his mouth. "We were friends once. Did you forget about all the fun we had?"
The pets broke into murmuring. They were questioning Kitsune’s integrity. Kitsune held Drasil’s glare. His face was stone, unreadable. He was not about to let Drasil get to him.
Carefully Kitsune spoke, “That was a long time ago.” He turned his head slightly. His attention was mainly on Rowan who was still by his side. “It is true that I was not always the kindest or most benevolent god. Like my namesake will tell you, I was a trickster. Along with Drasil, back when he was still Duneyr, we played tricks and pranks on mortals as well as the other gods. We were the scourge of heaven and Earth.” He turned his attention back to Drasil. “You took it too far. You were not satisfied with playing with the mortals or having them worship or and your brothers. The power was too great. The mortals needed to worship you, not as a god, but as their overlord. You wanted to rule them yourself.”
"And what was wrong with that? They were weak. They still are," he said gesturing at the pets. "Heaven's laws are flawed. There is an infinite number of worlds. What did it matter if I took control of one?"
“You would never be satisfied with one. You would want to take all the worlds within Yggdrasil. You craved power which is why I rejected you.” Kitsune’s voice saddened. Rowan had a feeling that they were more than just friends. “In doing so, you killed your brothers in retaliation."
"That was always your problem, Kitsune," Drasil said. He narrowed his eyes. "You could never see the big picture. You were always the creative one." He took a step forward not taking his eyes off Kitsune and the others. "I was the tactical one in our relationship. Always two steps ahead of you until it was finally—" Drasil lunged, and before anyone could react he grabbed King. He held King to his neck and forced him to open his mouth.
“Stop him!”
“NO!”
"Checkmate!" Drasil screamed and forcibly closed King's mouth, so his teeth cut right through the last chain around Drasil's neck.
The entire place was filled with a light as bright as the sun. When the light faded, Drasil stood over all of them. Twenty feet tall not counting his antlers. He stared down at them, his black eye glowing with the single red pupil in each one.
The giant deer did not scare Rowan. He expected something this to happen. What did scare him was what happened next to King. Drasil tossed the unconscious dog through the air like he was a toy he outgrew. "Catch him!" Rowan shouted.
Fox moved faster than the rest. He jumped with incredible speed and grace. He caught King in mid-air and landed without any problem. He checked King's pulse and gave the rest of them a thumbs up.
"To show I'm a god of my word. You can have this back." Drasil snapped his hooves. Out of thin air, a small furry shape appeared. It fell to the floor, but this time Fido was prepared. He launched himself up and caught Rook. He landed but not with the same elegance Fox did. He too checked Rook's pulse.
“He’s breathing. Just knocked out,” Fido informed them.
Rowan nodded “Get them both out of here.”
"Bino!" Fox shouted. Bino was currently crouching behind Mungo. He was scared out of his mind. Rowan figured that he did not know what he was signing up for. Fox ran over to him and handed over King's limp body. "Take him back to the portal," Fox instructed.
Bino looked like he was about to protest. He detested King, and now he had to carry him to safety. Taking on look at Drasil, Bino nodded and cradled King in his arms.
“Fido, go with him. Take Rook and make sure they both get there safely,” Rowan told the other dog. Fido nodded and took off after his brother who was already sprinting away from them.
“Now it’s our turn,” Kitsune said. He grew gigantic too. His paws held him up as he sat on his haunches. All nine tails spread out as they glowed with a heavenly light. Different colored flames appeared over each tail. Rowan recognized this as Kitsune’s true form. He had only seen it once when he gave Joel the option to remain a human or a dog. There was one difference between that time and this one. Kitsune’s eyes were glowing completely red as his full power was unleashed.
"You think you can reseal me that easily. Even with my powers diminished, I am still stronger than you. Remember that I am more than a god. I have the power of four gods," Drasil howled. To prove his point his entire body glowed and resembled the night sky. His chest looked like it had a small galaxy in it. The antlers grew more prolonged and more lethal.
“It’s up to you know,” Kitsune said. “It is going to take time to complete the ritual. Even longer with my powers diminished by Tartarus.”
"We're on it," Rowan said. He began shouting out commands. "Mungo, Tarot, and Sabrina. You three protect Kitsune and make sure nothing gets to him. The rest of us will attack him head-on."
Drasil laughed louder and more horribly than ever before. “A few mortals think they can take down a god. An immortal being of divine power. Even with the power of magic within you, there is nothing that weaklings like you can do.”
“Let me tell you something about anime,” Rowan said. He held out his hand and summoned a giant sword that was twice his size. The blade was wide with a crimson sheen. Near the hilt was a symbol of a fiery dragon. “Despite the odds, no matter the opponent, the heroes always win!” He faced the others. “We need some epic fighting music.”
“I’m on it,” Joey said. He snapped his fingers. Out of nowhere music started playing. It was light and peppy. A young girl’s voice started singing. “We were dancing, dancing like we’re made of starlight.”
“Wait,” Rowan said with a confused look. “Is this… is this Taylor Swift?”
Joey shrugged. “I like Taylor Swift.”
The rest of them rolled their eyes and there a few facepalms.
“Whatever. It’s good enough.”
Rowan charged toward Drasil and jumped. Even with the giant sword in his hands, he flew through the air like he was flying. He swung the sword behind his head before bringing it forward again. He cried out, "Blue Fire!" The entire sword was engulfed in the blue fire that erupted from the blade like a tidal wave. It consumed Drasil's body.
While the god was distracted by Rowan's attack, the rest got into position. Following the order, Mungo, Tarot, and Sabrina stood in front of Kitsune. Mungo summoned a large shield of light energy. Tarot grew into a massive size as well as summoning twin balls of energy in her paws. Sabrina's wand began to glow as she prepared for anything that may come their way.
Drasil brushed the fire off of his body like it was nothing. Rowan landed on the ground and charged forward again. This time with the rest of the pets on his heels. They launched simultaneous attacks. The larger pets attacked the legs and feet while the rest attacked the chest and head. It was just like during the fight with ten-tails, Rowan thought. He doubted Kitsune could have known this would happen but at this point, he would not put anything past the fox.
"Blue Fire Double Cross," Rowan screamed. He slashed with his sword at Drasil's face. This time the god stumbled backward like he was hurt. He tried to swipe Rowan away like a fly, but Rowan's magically enhanced reflexes were ready. As the arm came by, he landed on it and let it carry him away so he could get another shot.
Blow after blow they were hurting him, and Drasil knew it. "Enough of these games. I have already one." He raised a hoof in the air and cried, "Two-star formation: Eclipse."
Two balls of light appeared in the air over his hoof. With a wave, they flew down towards the pets. Each one impacted against the ground with a massive explosion. Rowan was now scared. Drasil had this kind of power. Only a few pets were injured, and none of those injuries were severe.
Fear turned to anger. Rowan charged again this time spinning his entire body and sword like a windmill. "Flame Cyclone." A twister of blue fire spread out from Rowan and moved towards Drasil.
He was ready. He summoned a blade of starlight and sliced through the cyclone. Unfortunately for him, that was not the only attack being launched at him at that moment. Fox was directly above his head. He raised his swords which had been enhanced by one of Joey's spells. Now they were radiating with electricity. With one swipe, he landed two direct blows to Drasil. In his defense, the god did try to block it, but Fox was much faster than him. Whatever class he was had the most speed of all of them.
"Three-star formation: Satellite." This time three stars appeared each one bigger than the last. They spun around in a circle as they moved towards them. They tried to avoid the attack, but it had some type of homing ability. It targeted Fox directly. The husky attempted to block it with his swords. He raised them in a cross in front of his chest but as the attack struck he was pushed back. Within seconds, the blades were useless. Rowan watched his friend become consumed by the light.
“Fox!” Rowan screamed. He watched Fox’s body flew backward until he skidded on the ground. He laid perfectly still, his swords by his side. Rowan turned to Joey and Squeak. “Squeak, do something.”
"We're on it," Joey said. His amulet glowed, and he was instantly teleported over to Fox. Rowan turned his attention back to Drasil who was looking especially smug.
“Once I take care of each and every one of you nuisances, your next,” he said pointing to Kitsune.
“You’ll have to get through us,” Mungo said punching his fist into his palm.
“My pleasure,” Drasil said. “He held his hooves together so that there was only a little space between them. “Four-star formation: Tempest.”
Four balls of light appeared between his hooves. One by one they started sparking and frizzing until they looked like lethal cotton balls. He pushed out his arms and directed the attack toward Mungo and the others. A blast of lighting and energy exploded towards them. Mungo was ready. He jumped in front of the others and raised his shield. The attack struck and sent him flying over Kitsune and out of sight.
"I would not be so cocky," Rowan said as he jumped up from behind Drasil's head. He hated using Mungo as a distraction, but it gave him the chance to get behind the god. Before Drasil had the chance to turn his head, Rowan cried out, "Burning Howler."
Drasil’s head was consumed by the pillar of fire that launched from Rowan’s sword. It was so powerful that the attack sailed over Kitsune and the others until it disappeared into the darkness. Rowan did not have time to let up.
"Grand Slash," Rowan said and swung his sword as it began to glow. Before it could make contact with Drasil's neck like he intentionally planned an invisible force stopped it.
“Uh, uh. That won’t work.” Drasil said in a mocking tone. With a flick of his hooves, Drasil sent Rowan soaring away.
Thankfully, he was able to straighten himself up before hitting the ground. Rowan jammed the blade into the floor so to slow his momentum. By the time he finally stopped, he was so far away from the others that Drasil looked like a candle in the distance. Rowan sprinted back to them.
As he got closer, he twisted the sword in his hands and said, “Crimson Mode.” The fire that surrounded the sword turned from blue to a dark red.
“Joey looked at him curiously, “Is that better than before?”
"We're about to find out," Rowan said as he pushed past him. "Crimson Dragon Fire."
The flame burst from the sword towards Drasil. As it moved, it took on the shape of a furious dragon. It even roared as it flew through the air ready to annihilate its enemies.
Drasil waved his hooves in front of him. “Seven-star formation: Nova.”
Seven balls of light merged into one superstar that was sent directly at the dragon. The two collide creating a massive explosion. Everyone was thrown backward from the force of the impact. The next thing, Rowan knew he was lying on his side. He cracked his eyes open just enough to see the others were also on the ground. Turning his head, he saw Kitsune struggling to maintain the magic. Seven of the nine flames were glowing brighter than before. They were so close. Just a little longer.
Rowan struggled to stand. He used the sword to hold himself up as he moved back towards Drasil. He raised the blade, but it felt like it weighed two-hundred pounds. The fire burst back to life. Rowan had to focus on this next attack. Some of the others were beginning to stir, but they were exhausted. Squeak was busy tending to the wounded, but it was not enough. They could not keep this up.
"You…you won't win," Rowan said. It was just a struggle to speak. They had to win. Everyone was counting on them. King, Bailey, the rest of the pets, Karishad and the ferals, the unnamed human characters that appear periodically. They were all in danger. Would Drasil stop with just the pet's Earth? Rowan's and Lisa's was in danger as well. His mother and father. Dakota. Lisa.“I said I would make you pay for what you did to Lisa and my brother.”
Rowan’s face twisted in a terrible rage. “Crimson Onslaught!” The sword spun faster and faster in his hands until it was a giant ring of fire. Charging forward, he jumped up and slammed the attacked directly into Drasil’s chest before he could even react.
Drasil screamed in pain for the first time during that entire battle. The force of the impact threatened to blow Rowan, but he pushed forward. The visions of his friends and family gave him power. He was beginning to black out. The attack was draining him faster than he anticipated. His eyelids grew heavy. His senses faded and darkness took over.
“Is that all you got?” Someone asked from behind him.
Rowan turned around and saw Lisa staring at him. She was younger than he last saw her. This was Lisa during their freshman year. Her hair was shorter, and she wore a pink tank-top and blue jeans. She was sitting underneath the tree in the courtyard. Their tree where they read together under the shade.
"I would like to see you do better," Rowan told her. He just tossed a Frisbee to his friend, Jackson. Only it missed him entirely and sailed into the bushed near the Arts building. Lisa shook her head in disappointment. A small played on her lips.
“Hey, let’s take a break,” Jackson said. He returned with the Frisbee in hand. He tossed it upwards and caught it as it fell back down.
“No, I can do it,” Rowan whined.
"I would not like to have to explain it to the teachers of why a Frisbee crashed through their office window," Jackson said. He gave Rowan a humorous look that dared him to defy him.
“Fine.” Rowan sat down beside Lisa and Jackson on the other side of her.
“Are you guys done, already,” Ashley said and came over. She was Jackson’s boyfriend and Lisa’s roommate. She had long braided hair that went down to her shoulders.
“What was that about?” Lisa asked referring to the phone call Ashely got a minute ago.
"It's nothing," she said and looked away. Rowan could tell that it was not anything but something pretty serious.
"How about we take a picture of the four of us?" Ashely asked holding out her phone out in front of them. "You better take it, Lisa, since you're in the center."
“I don’t know,” Rowan said and tried to move away. Lisa grabbed his shirt and forced him to stay with a single look.
"One, two, three, everyone smile," Lisa said. Ashely took the picture. They all leaned over to get a look at it. It was a beautiful shot of the four of them. Each smiling like lunatics at the camera.
"You have to send me a copy of that," Lisa told Ashley. She handed the other girl's phone back.
"I'll send everyone one," Ashley said. With a few taps, it was done.
Rowan’s phone buzzed in his pocket. His pulled it out and saw he had a new message from Ashley. He opened it up and stared at the phone. He pinched the screen so that Lisa’s face took up the entire screen. 
 “What are you doing?”
Rowan jumped out of his skin as Lisa tried to glimpse his phone. “Nothing, I’m doing nothing.” He pressed the home button and cleared the evidence.
"Oh come on. Let me see." Lisa said and tried to grab the phone from his hand. She fell on top of him, and they both started laughing.
“You two make such a cute couple,” Ashley said giving them both sinister looks like she was secretly going to set them up on a date with each other.
“No, we’re just friends,” Lisa told her as she stood up.
Rowan laid there and watched Lisa as she moved back next to Ashley. Just friends, he thought. He pulled out his phone again and opened the photo. He closed up on Lisa and stared at it while trying to ignore the ache in his heart.
"Rowan, can you hear us?"
“He looks bad.”
"Is he alright? Rowan, can you hear us?"
“Squeak do something!”
Rowan cracked up his eyes to see several furry faces staring at him. His body ached, but it was a strange pain. Distant and far away. He wanted to sleep. Why wouldn't they let him sleep? Lisa, where was Lisa?
“Sweet Princess Blessings Upon You.”
Rowan opened his eyes all the way and bolted upright. Everyone jumped back to give him some air. Joey, Mungo, Fox, Grape, and Peanut were all looking at him with worry. They were badly hurt even with Squeak’s healing power. He turned his head. Everyone else was barely hanging on. Tarot and Sabrina abandoned Kitsune and were trying to fight Drasil themselves. They were losing.
“It seems you are awake,” Drasil called.
Rowan looked up to see the god staring down at him with a look of pure venom. On his chest was a giant burn mark that was still smoldering from where Rowan struck with his attack. Yet Rowan felt like he was made of ashes at the moment. Despite the healing spell, he had no energy. He tried to stand, but his legs had the strength of gelatin.
Drasil stepped forward. The other pets rallied to protect Rowan, but they were just as worn out. "I have to say I'm impressed, mortal. That attack will most likely leave a scar. Only my elder brother was able to leave a scar on my flesh. But I wonder how much it cost you in the process?”
Rowan scowled. Despite his exhaustion, he stood. In his hand, his sword appeared again. He used it to keep himself upright. There was no way he could cast another attack or even swipe with his sword. He was beaten. The others looked at him desperately as if he had the answers to their victory. He had nothing. Drasil kicked out with his foot and sent both Sabrina and Tarot flying backward to where the rest of them were.
“It is time we finish this,” Drasil said simply. Anger and joy left his face. He was all business now. “Kitsune, so close but not close enough. Points for effort.”
Rowan glanced over at Kitsune. He had never seen the fox so worried. Eight of the nine flames were glowing like miniature suns, but it was not enough. They ran out of time.
Drasil held his arms in the air. “Nine-Star Formation: Judgement.”
Directly above them, a large hole in space-time opened. Rowan could see the boundaries of the cosmos in all its glory. Stars, planets, distant galaxies all swirling together in a melodious sympathy of infinite power. From the portal, someone grew closer. As it did, Rowan could feel his heart stop. It was a giant meteor. One large enough to not only kill them but to wipe out an entire civilization should it decide too.
"With this, your fate is sealed. When this strikes, there will be nothing left of you. Not even dust. Your soul will be broken in shards as countless as all the sand on the face of the earth."
Rowan instinctively looked at Tarot who was suspiciously looking at her feet at the moment. The air around them grew heavy and warm. They had less than a minute before impact. For some reason, the only thing Rowan could think about was "Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask." Where were four giants when you needed them?
A shadow appeared above them. Rowan and the rest looked up just in time to see Kitsune flying toward the meteor. Once he was close enough, he spread out his paws and tails. His entire body shone with a brilliant light. For a heartbeat, Rowan was blinded by the light. An ear-shattering explosion followed that. Shards of rock and light rained down on them.
“Kitsune!” Rowan screamed.
Kitsune's body crashed onto the floor. Rowan did not know what Tartarus was made of, but it was strong because it did not even crack where Kitsune landed. Rowan ran over despite his exhaustion. The others hesitated like they were unsure of what just happened. Kitsune's fur was burned and charred in places. He had several black spots all over his body. He opened one eye part way and looked at Rowan as he approached.
Rowan staggered forward like he had been punched in the gut. He knelt down beside Kitsune. His eyes felt moist, but he would not cry. Kitsune was immortal so that he couldn't die. But the rest of them. That was another story. They lost their only chance. The flames around Kitsune's tails were gone. The ritual was ruined.
"It's not over yet," Kitsune whispered. He tried to stand, but his limbs were weak and shaky. "I anticipated something like this. I need you and the others to get to the portal. Leave and go home. I'm not leaving, and neither is Drasil."
“What are you saying?”
"Only a god and destroy another god by sacrificing themselves," Kitsune said with the utmost certainty.
"No…you can't." Rowan could barely get the words out. "There has to be another way. We need a miracle. In moments like this someone always comes to save the day. If that has to be it then so."
Kitsune looked at him sadly. He knew that Rowan was too weak to fight. Rowan lifted his sword and turned to Drasil who was studying him intently. His face was blank like he had no idea how he should feel seeing Rowan facing him even though there was no chance. The others joined beside Rowan. They were tired, injured, but they were not about to lose just yet.
“I hope I’m not late to the party.”
Rowan turned toward the voice that just spoke. He felt his heart flutter in his chest. Lisa walked towards them head held high. She was still wearing the same outfit from before. Her face was calm, but it was her eyes that gave Rowan paused. They were deadly serious.
“My queen has joined us at last,” Drasil mused.

***

Lisa stopped beside Kitsune. She did not look at him or the others. Her gaze was directed at Drasil. “Ugh, who picked the music. Taylor Swift, really.”
“Hey,” Joey said.
Lisa snapped her fingers, and the song changed. Piano music started playing all around them. "Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world. She took the midnight train going anywhere.”
“That’s better,” she said. “A little Journey seemed appropriate for this moment.”
“Lisa, what are you doing here,” Rowan asked her. He glanced at her hand. In her was a strange silver object.
“I understand why you did what you did. But it’s okay, Rowan.” She clenched her fist. “I know what I have to do.”
She turned to Kitsune who was still trying to push himself off the ground. Lisa smiled at him and walked over to his giant furry head. She kissed him on his cheek.
“I love you,” she told him. She turned back to Rowan. She smiled sadly. “Both of you.”
Lisa moved forward, so she was between Drasil and the rest of them. She turned to Rowan and Kitsune. "I know who I want to be." From her hands, she placed the object on top of her head. It was only a plastic tiara with a pink stone in the middle. But something was written on it. Rowan recognized it as Japanese characters. He could not tell what it meant.
“Goddess,” Kitsune whispered. His eyes widen in horror. “Lisa, you can’t. Don’t do this. Lisa, please stop!”
“Thank you. All of you,” Lisa said weakly.
The gem burst into light. Rowan and the others shielded their faces with his arms and paws. When the light faded, Lisa was no longer there. Instead, she was hovering in the air. Her entire body changed. Her skin was a metallic gold as well as her hair which now draped behind her like a curtain of silk. Her clothes turned into a long dress of sunlight that flowed like water around her. The tiara was no longer a mere toy but a crown that would put the crown jewels to shame.
"Do you believe that you have the power to defeat me?!" Drasil shouted. There was uncertainty in his voice. "I have lived for millennia back before your kind existed. I am immortal. I have the power of four gods flowing through me. You are nothing compared to me other than my plaything to be used as I see."
Lisa smiled sweetly. Her eyes glowed with mercy and inner peace as she excepted her fate.
“I will not lose to you!” Drasil screamed and charged at her.
“Behold, Celestial Radiance,” she said calmly.
"Everyone turn away!" Kitsune commanded. The pets did as they were told and looked away. Some covered their heads in anticipation for what was about to happen.
Rowan ignored Kitsune's order and moved toward Lisa. He knew what she was doing. Kitsune just told him. She couldn't do it. She couldn't leave him. He reached out to her. "Lisa!"
Lisa’s body exploded with the power of a supernova. In an instant she was gone. Drasil was caught in the blast. He screamed as his form was turned to dust and blown away by the explosion. Rowan’s entire body felt it was being scorched away piece by piece. He could see her still. A shadow in the middle of the light. She faced him and held out her hand for him to take. He reached for her. Tears escaped his eyes only to evaporate instantly. The light grew more intense. Rowan felt his left eye burn like someone pressed molten metal to it. He reflexively clasped his hand over it. He was blown backward and vanished out of sight. Lisa watched him disappear. Then she was gone.

***

The blue sky shown above them as each of the pets woke up in the middle of the street. Fox was the first to wake up. He saw his house a little distance away. He glanced around him. The asphalt was littered with paper bags and the sleeping bodies of his friends.
“Fox!” someone called.
Fox turned to who called his name. Fido, Bino, Bailey, King, and the pups ran over to him. Bailey threw her arms around his neck and began sobbing into his bandana. King walked past but did not say anything. There was nothing to be said.
The rest of the pets woke up. They rose one by one with quizzical looks. “How did we get here?” Joey asked.
“I don’t know,” Tarot said looking around. Her eyes fell on Kitsune who was struggling to stand himself. He was back to wearing his purple clothes. His brushed the dirt off his fur but otherwise looked alright.
“Lisa, gave her life to save us,” he said bitterly. “She saved everyone. She knew the cost and took it anyway.”
Everyone exchanged glum looks. The mood changed from one of victory to grief. King looked away so no one could see him cry. Everyone bowed their heads in remembrance of what she did.
Kitsune looked over to the sidewalk. Kneeling there was a human shape. Rowan, he thought. The others looked at what Kitsune was staring at. They whispered about who should talk to him. Fox was the only one brave enough. King walked along with him. Kitsune followed not far behind.
"Rowan, are you alright?" Fox asked. He reached out, but before he could even touch him, Rowan knocked the hand away.
Rowan stood up with his back turned to the pets. “Tell me,” he said calmly. “Tell me why I shouldn’t kill each and every one of you right now.”
He turned his head partway. The others gasped. Fox and King stepped backward. Rowan's left eye was completely black except for a golden ring that shimmered around the edge of the eyeball. The flesh near the eye was burned black and spread to his ear. He faced them. The rest of his body looked the same. Anger and hatred came off of him in waves. Clenching his fist, Rowan raised his left arm, and the bracelet glowed with searing light. At that moment, Rowan vanished.

End Book 1

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:53 am, edited 3 times in total.



Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:17 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Here it is. Chapter 1 of Book 2 of my fan fiction series. I was not planning on uploading it this soon but I'm going to anyway. There will most likely be more edits down the line. Warning spoilers for those who have not read book 1. Please read book 1 if you have the chance. I welcome feedback and thoughts.  




Housepets! Always Save the Day
Chapter 1: Empty Space
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.
-Norman Cousins



A Message from The Great Kitsune

Welcome back. For those of you who don’t know me, I am the Great Kitsune. Demigod and celestial being from the Housepets! Comics. I pride myself on my supreme benevolence and whimsical nature. However, recently things have changed. Several months ago, our world was visited by two humans named Lisa Smith and Rowan Gains. They come from a world similar to yours. A world where the antics and adventures of the pets Babylon Gardens are recorded as comics by one Mr. Rick Griffin. Of course, we get nothing from it except fan art and creepy fan fiction. Rowan and Lisa had a rough start when they first came here. Secrets were exposed, and lives were almost ruined. Luckily they fixed their mistakes and earned the friendship of the pets they had adored for so long. In an ideal world or story that would have been the end of it. If you read “Housepets! Fight Against the Forces of Evil," then you would know things did not go smoothly. I don’t want to give too much away for those of you who decided to skip book 1 and go straight to Book 2 but there are things you do need to know or if you need a refresher. Lisa and Rowan were hired by Keene Milton to work on a documentary series about the pets in Babylon gardens as part of his ever-evolving scheme to obtains equal rights for animals. Lisa and I, as you mortals say, hooked up. Rowan loved Lisa for years and when he found out began to become unhinged. Due to his own troubled past, plotted to fill the void in his heart by attempting to heal his younger brother's mental health. Meanwhile, Lisa had been plagued by visions of her missing father and by a malevolent entity known as Drasil the Stag. Drasil plotted to escape the prison I trapped him in millennia ago by using King Milton (formally Joel Robinson) to break the seal. He almost succeeded except I led a small team of Pets along with Rowan to face him in Tartarus. Rowan personally unleashed a powerful assault against Drasil, but it was not enough. Lisa showed up at the last moment and turned herself into a goddess to face Drasil on her own. She sacrificed herself to destroy Drasil once and for all. When it was all over, Rowan disappeared after threatening all the pets. I can only assume that he was affected by the battle in ways that have yet to be revealed fully.

Somewhere in Southern California

Rowan stepped forward toward the glittering pool of creamy white water. Of course, it was not water but pure Mana or magic. The most powerful substance in the world or any world. The pool was so large that it filled the room of the temple. Rowan silently noted how this temple was far different from Pete the Gryphons temple. Of course, he had only seen the interior of it from the pages of comics online. By the time he arrived, the temple was in pieces after the mana was drained.
Step by step, Rowan defended the stairs never taking his eyes off the sight in front of him. He knew that if looked away he might decide against what he was about to do. Part of him knew what he was doing was wrong. Unfortunately, That part of him was being crushed by an overwhelming urge and desire for power to reclaim but was taken from him.
He reached up and pressed his had against the left side of his face. The pain faded away months ago, but the scar remained. A significant black scorch mark that surrounded his eye and spread to his ear. For weeks he wore a long cloak and hood to hide his appearance from those who would never understand what he was now. Even he was not entirely sure what he was. He was still human on the outside, but there was something inside him that was clearly not. His eye was proof of that. It was entirely black except for a golden ring like an iris that shined with an unearthly glow. A sign that he was no longer the same person who like reading comics, watching anime, and was secretly in love with his best friend.
Finally, Rowan stepped off the stone staircase and tilted his head up toward the giant stone face glaring at him. On the far wall across the mana pool was the last thing Rowan ever wanted to see again. The head of a deer with long jagged antlers each with a glowing stone embedded in them, so there was three total. The eyes were the most unsettling. Two red jewels glimmered in the fading light of the room. It had the appearance that they were looking right at him, edging Rowan forward. Of course, Drasil’s image was all over the temple. When Rowan first arrived he was greeted by two giant stone monuments of the god. Drasil’s temple. Rowan did not know what was completing him forward. All he knew was that he needed to fill the empty void in his chest where his heart once was.
He tried to steady his breathing.
Rowan stood on the edge of the pool. One more step would be all it took. The mana could almost sense his presence. It glowed brighter filling the room with white light. The stone walls responded by humming as the energy surged around the room. The air was filled with a sound that reminded Rowan of Drasil’s laughter as if it was mocking him. Rowan the mortal who faced the immortal Drasil along with a ragtag group of pets only to fail to defeat him.
The memory of Drasil’s final attack, a giant meteor, coming straight towards them from a hole in space/time. Kitsune using his power to save them but had to lose their opportunity to reseal him. Kitsune planned to sacrifice himself to stop the deer god, but Lisa intervened. Rowan closed his eyes and could still her voice as she said how she loved both him and Kitsune. Then She did the unthinkable by changing into a goddess and destroying Drasil with all her heavenly power. Rowan tried to reach out to her. His hand so close to hers only to be pulled away. She was gone. She left him forever. What was left of him? Just a ghost of what he used to be.
“Lisa. Forgive me,” Rowan whispered.
He stepped into the mana. Instantly his body was consumed by the power. It felt like thousands of nuclear explosions were going off in his veins. His blood boiled and yet felt like it was freezing at the same time. Each hair on his body stood up on end ready to shoot off his skin at a moments notice. All these sensations were barely recognizable to Rowan. It was like his brain could not comprehend what was happening to him.
Rowan moved to the center of the pool. The more he walked, the stronger the sensations were becoming. He up looked at Drasil’s stone expression and swore it was smiling at him. It told him to give in and accept the power he left behind.
The walls glowed with thousands of tiny lights like stars in the night sky. Constellations appeared overhead. The universe was watching him. Waiting to see what he would become. None of that mattered to Rowan. Lisa was gone. Gone forever. All he wanted was for those responsible to pay for what they had done. Heaven would fall, and Rowan would make sure of it.
Closing his eyes, Rowan leaned backward and fell into the pool. His body sunk into the magical liquid until his entire body was submerged. The last part to disappear was his right arm. He held it out like he was still waiting for someone to take it. No one did. Within seconds, his fingers disappeared under the surface.

***

There was a loud knocking on the door, King looked up from what he was doing and walked over. The Wolves were gone for the day, so King had the house to himself. He learned long ago not to ask too many questions about what they did besides go to work at their various jobs. Bailey was with the puppies on a playdate. Once again King learned not to ask questions about what Bailey did when he was not around. It was something he learned from his parents. Couples sometimes need space. The problem was that space seemed to be all they had lately. King had become overly protective of his kids since the "incident" two months before. Bailey had to put her foot down and forcibly separate him from his kids so that they could be kids.
He gripped the knob but hesitated as a memory that he tried so hard to forget resurfaced. His heart beat faster in his chest as the thought that just maybe they were there raced through his mind. Their smiling faces and overactive personalities beaming at him as they pummeled him with ridiculous questions about his age. That time he hated the thought of being around them, but now he would give anything to see them again.
King opened the door and standing there on the doorstep was his best friend, Fox. The grey husky smiled at King who did not return it. Fox was wearing his police uniform. He spent most of his time working for the K9PD, so that meant
"Do you want to go for a walk with me?" Fox was wearing his police uniform. He spent most of his time working for the K9PD, so that meant he was usually too busy for things like leisurely walks. King gave him a skeptical look. He trusted Fox more than any other dog. Fox was there for King when no one else was despite their sorted history. Like the time King kidnapped Fox back when he was still human and working for PETA.
“I guess,” King said.
Closing the door behind him, King and Fox walked down the street. Babylon Gardens was deserted which was not surprising considering it was the middle of the afternoon. Everyone was either at work or sleeping their lives away. Typically, King would either be reading or be playing with his kids. Neither one of those things seemed possible at the moment.
For five minutes, Fox and King walked around the neighborhood. Neither one spoke. King thought about asking where they were going but decided against it. It was just nice to be outside and feeling the crisp autumn breeze against his fur.
Fox stopped walking abruptly. Finally, he broke the silence, “How are you doing?”
King cringed. Of course, he would ask that, King thought. Who hadn't asked if he was all right over the last few months? They were always the same. Someone would come up to him with this look of absolute pity on their faces. They treated him like a puppy who stumped his toe. He was a grown man in a grown dog's body. He was fine. Sure he was lured into the pits of Tartarus by a malevolent entity and forced to free him from his eternal underworld prison. He discovered that his entire life was all a part of a scheme to conquer the world, but who doesn't have days like that. His only son was taken from him, but he got him back without too much trauma. Nothing a few years of professional therapy won't fix.
“I’m fine. I wish everyone would stop asking me,” King said throwing his arms in the air. “It’s been two months. I’m over it. Rook doesn’t even remember anything about it. Everything is sunshine and rainbows.”
Fox looked down at him. There it was. The same look of pity he always got. Thinking about it now, King had gotten that look for years. People always assumed he would fall apart at the slightest inconvenience. He never could fight his own battles because someone else would always step in for him without waiting to see if he even needed it.
“You are a terrible liar. Have I ever told you that?” Fox asked.
“Just all the time.”
Fox started walking again. “Bailey told me that you’ve still been having nightmares.”
King rolled his eyes. Of course, she did. They were nightmares as much as unpleasant dreams in which he would thrash around the bed and sometimes howl in his sleep. Nothing he hadn't dealt with since his childhood. However, that was the problem. Since finding out that his childhood kidnapping was an elaborate plot, the nightmares started coming back. It was like he was a little kid again sleeping on the streets as his pet dogs watched him to make sure he didn't run away.
“There just dreams,” King said solemnly. “I’ve learned to deal with them.”
“It’s not just the nightmares that she’s concerned about. It’s about them.” Fox’s voice trailed off.
“Yeah, how are you doing since they left? I know you and Rowan got pretty close.”
The memory of Rowan’s final words hung in the air between them. The look of pure hatred on his face. The black scar around his eye. King could smell the fear coming from the other pets as Rowan told them that he was going to destroy them all before disappearing in a flash of light.
Fox said nothing in response to King’s question. There was nothing to be said.
"Are you going to the Milton's tonight for the preparation?" Fox asked.
King thought back to the e-mail he got a few days before. The Milton ferrets were hosting a party for the neighborhood pets as a show of thanks for their “help” on the documentary series that was airing that evening. “Pets” as it was called. The last thing King wanted to do was go see another attempt at the Milton’s grand plan for animal and human equality. To make matters worse, that night’s episode was about King.
A few months before Lisa and Rowan showed up at the Lindberg house for an interview with Fox, King, and Bailey. Needless to say, it did not go to well. Lisa kept asking King to tell the world that he was Joel Robinson and that a supernatural superbeing turned him into a corgi. That led to King storming out only to be followed by Lisa who was more than apologetic. Afterward, things got weird. It was a miracle that they were even able to finish the interview at all considering everything that happened.
"I don't know. I want to, but I really don't want to at the same time. It's confusing," King said.
“I think you should go. It would be good for you to see everyone,” Fox told him.
“I see everyone almost every day. You act like I haven’t left my house in weeks,” King said sounding offended.
"I don't mean anything by it. I think that you should be more active. You have to admit that you’ve been avoiding the pets.”
King shook his head. "I haven't been avoiding anyone. I'm just tired of everyone asking if I'm all right or how I'm doing. They treat me like I'm about to break down at any moment."
“Would that be a bad thing?” Fox asked.
Naturally, King overreacted. "What is that supposed to mean!?"
Fox stopped and set down on the sidewalk. He crossed his arms over his knees and stared out into the woods across the road. "Have you ever grieved about Lisa's death?"
King opened his mouth to give Fox a piece of his mind but stopped himself. It was no secret that Lisa had to sacrifice her life to destroy Drasil. It was one of the reasons Rowan reacted the way he did. No one talked about it. Lisa was suddenly a taboo around the neighborhood. It was like everyone pretended that they never existed. Two months and not a word.
King swallowed visibly. "No, I haven't." He set down next to Fox. "I don't want to admit that they're gone." The words stung in his throat as he spoke them. It was like admitting he was giving up on ever seeing them again. Admitting that despite the trouble they caused he had grown to care about the two. That was something he could not do.
Fox took a deep breath. “Come to the party. The episode airs on Discovery at 9:00 and the party starts at 7:00 according to the invitation.”
He stood up and glanced one last time at King. King looked away not wanting to make eye contact. His chest was burning, but he was not sure if it was because of anger or sadness. Fox turned and walked down the road leaving King alone again. Suddenly he felt very cold.
Later that night, King and Bailey took the puppies to Milton Manor. By the time they got there, it was after 7:00. All the lights were on as they walked up to the front door. Before they could knock the door flew open and standing in the threshold was the Milton's butler, Jeeves.
He stood there wearing his usual uniform and an expression that always made King think about the butler from Clue. He secretly wondered how long it would be before someone found the ferret’s bodies floating in a river somewhere.
“Mr. King and Mrs. Bailey,” Jeeves said. “We’ve been expecting you.”
"Well, we would have been here sooner, but you know how it is with kids," Bailey said. As she spoke, Olive squirmed and wiggled in her arms, trying to get loose to unleash mayhem inside the mansion.
“Yes, I am… quite aware,” Jeeves said. King could not help notice how the butler’s body tensed up as he spoke.
“Jeeves!” someone yelled from inside the mansion. One the of the ferrets, King thought only he was not sure which one. “I need some help here. Duke ate some of the fake fruit again!”
“Right away, suh," Jeeves muttered under his breath. To King and Bailey, he said, "Everyone has gathered in the dining hall for dinner then will move to the theater for the showing."
Jeeves gestured them inside before disappearing to handle whatever mess Duke made. King had been inside the mansion enough times to know his way around. He led his family down the various halls until finally entering the dining room. The table was covered with plates of food. They had everything from movie-themed snacks like popcorn and caramel candies to things like smoked salmon and caviar.
King dropped Rook on the floor, and he took off like a rocket. His siblings followed right behind as not to lose to him. It was hard for King not to immediately run after them and scold them for running in the house. His parents would have read him the riot act for doing something like that at the parties they took him too.
Scanning the room, King counted off all the pets that showed up. Peanut and Grape were talking to Tarot and Sabrina. Peanut was struggling with a mouth full of actual peanut butter while Grape pretended not to notice Max was in the corner chatting with Kevin. Fido was with Bino and Joey. Bino was gesturing wilding while his brothers looked on with a mix of concern and embarrassment. Spo and Squeak were both watching with amusement on their faces. Several other pets mingled around, deep in conversations about whatever it was that talked about. Despite King's nine years as a dog he never quite grasped dog conversations. He did not know if it was a generational thing or a species barrier he never could cross.
"There you are," Fox called. He walked over and hugged Bailey before turning his attention to King. "I thought you weren't showing up. I figured I would have to come to drag you here myself."
“There’s no need for that. We were running a little late,” King told him.
“Do you both want some food?” Fox asked pointed at the table. “They have burgers, hot dogs, even some strange stuff called Plumpples.”
“Plumpples?” King asked.
“I don’t know if it’s like a drink or smoothie.” Fox shuddered. “No one has been brave enough to try it yet.”
“I think I’ll just have some water,” Bailey said before walking to the table.
“Got any orange soda?” King asked. Despite the fact he could never get through an entire can without taking off his collar and making a fool of himself, he decided he was going to need a drink to get through the night.
“Sure, they’re this way.”
Drink and food in hand, King, and Fox started to mingle with the other pets. Their first stop was with Peanut's group.
“This is so exciting,” Peanut said. “I can’t wait until it’s our turn. I’ve never been on TV before.”
“I don’t want to see it. If you ask me that interview was more trouble than it was worth,” Grape said with her arms crossed.
“Oh come on, it wasn’t that bad,” Peanut said trying to reassure her.
 "Yeah, it was. Don't you remember how they kept asking me about my relationship with Res? I mean that was my personal business." Grape began blushing.
“Isn’t the last Pridelands due out soon?” Sabrina asked.
"Yeah, it is. I can't wait for it. However, have you guys read that other series?" Peanut asked getting excited. "I mean Pridelands is awesome and everything, but it's only about cats."
“What’s wrong with that?” Grape said as her eyes narrowed threateningly.
“Nothing,” Peanut said carefully. He took a slight step to the right. “I mean it could be a little more universal.”
“What’s this other series?” King asked trying to stave off any violence that was about to unfold.
 “The White Fox series,” Peanut told him getting excited.
“I heard about that,” Fox said. “It's supposed to be the next big series. I've heard some of the other dogs talking about it, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet."
"It's so awesome. It's about this mysterious fox wander who ventures into this kingdom where all the animals are enslaved, and he uses imagination to inspire them to rise against the humans."
“I hope there’s more to it than that,” King said feeling uncomfortable.
"I mean it's not like all the humans are bad. He works with this one human named Eliana to stop a conspiracy lurking within the ranks of the royal army. Then there are all these other things in the story like dragons and magic and mystical creatures."
 “How is that any different from our own lives?” Sabrina asked. “That sounds like exactly the kinds of things we deal with all time.”
"I guess I never thought about it like that," Peanut said softly. "I mean there this other thing. I didn't want to spoil it for you guys. It turns out that the fox, Todd, was a human \ who changes into a fox whenever he travels there from another world..."
Everyone looked uncomfortable. King raised his soda to his lips and sucked greedily from the opening. Anything to wash away the awkwardness that was spiraling around him.
“Oh, I forgot,” Peanut said.
“Let’s go see what Maxie is up too,” Grape said. She grabbed Peanut’s arm and pulled him away from the group. Sabrina and Tarot excused themselves leaving Fox and King by themselves.
King examined the empty soda can in his paw. He could feel the buzz growing in his head, but it was not enough to wipe away the memories or the feelings of dread that was clawing at his stomach. "You want to get some food," he asked Fox.
“Yes, more than anything.”
They both walked back to the table and mounds of different snacks on their plates. They both stopped at the section with the sign that read "Plumpples.” There were dozens of tall glasses filled with a fizzy substance that reminded King of a strawberry smoothie only it was a mixture of purple and hot pink with crushed berries floating around as if they were trying to escape the drink.
A smile was spreading across Fox's face. He opened his mouth like he was about to dare King to drink one. "Nope," King said and moved away before Fox had the chance to speak.
They moved to the far wall of the room and slumped against the hard surface. King picked up a large piece of peanut brittle and chewed it slowly. It was good but he was never a fan of peanut brittle so why did he get it.
“Mungo?” Fox asked suddenly.
King looked up to see a large, very muscular dog heading towards them. He had a wide grin on his face like he just heard the best joke in the world. He waved at Fox as he moved to them.
 “What are you doing here?” Fox asked. “Not that I’m not happy to see you. I didn’t know you were interviewed for the show.”
“Oh, I wasn’t. I just came because it’s your big night. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.” Mungo turned his attention to King. At once his face changed from excitement to pity. “How are you doing?”
King could see Fox gesturing for Mungo to stop from the corner of his eye but said nothing. Steeling himself, King said, "I'm doing fine. I'm excited about the premiere."
“That’s good to here,” Mungo said. King could hear the sympathy in his voice which made his skin crawl. “You know if you need anything I am a certified therapy dog.”
“Mungo!” Fox said abruptly. “Can you do me a big favor and go get me one of those Plummples from the table. I’ve been eyeing them all night.”
“Sure,” he said. His tail began wagging wildly. He glanced once last time at King before taking off.
King looked at the plate of food in his hands. Suddenly he did not have much of an appetite.
"I'm sorry about that," Fox whispered dryly. "He means well, but he has problems understanding personal space and self-control."
“I knew I was not going to get through the night without at least one pet asking me how I’m doing.” He gripped the plate tighter in his hands like he was trying to break it. Giving up, King walked away from Fox before Mungo returned with the drink. He dumped his food in the garbage and decided to find Bailey. She was busy talking with the wolves. He thought about going over to see what they were talking about but decided against it. Bailey looked like she was deep in conversation and King’s presence would only interrupt her.
The rest of the evening was spent trying to avoid any pet who seemed like a threat to King's delicate piece of mind. More than once a pet caught his eye and started moving towards him with that same look of pity. Moving fast, King dodged and hid out of sight, thankful for his small size. The puppies were busy playing with Duke who seemed to get along better with them than the full-grown pets.
Finally, it was time to move into the theater. Everyone took their seats, snacks, and drinks in hand. There were even specially reserved seats for the ferrets along with Breel, King, Bailey, and Fox. The guests of honor, King assumed. He set down followed by Bailey and Fox on both sides of him. The rest of the pets filed in taking up almost all the spaces in the theater. King did not realize just how many pets were invited to the party. "The Great Gatsby" which he had to read in high school sprung in his mind, and he wondered how many were actually invited and how many just showed up out of nowhere.
Rock stepped in front of the screen. He wore his usual director’s hat and even had on a suit and tie for the occasion. He cleared his throat and spoke, “Ladies and Gentleman. On behalf of myself, my siblings, and everyone who has been a part of the Equal Chance Program I would like to thank you for joining us for this special event. This is only another step forward for animal rights. Now in just a few minutes the first episode of our miniseries, “Pets!” will air on the Discovery Channel. Before that happens, I want to be the first to tell you that the show has been picked up for a second season.”
The room was filled with applause. It was not wild applause like the show was nominated for an Oscar or anything, but it was something. King clapped along halfheartedly with the others.
“Now before we begin, does anyone have any questions?”
“I have one,” someone shouted from the back. “How is it a miniseries if it has a second season?”
"It's a mini-series in the sense that it is only six episodes per season. Technically it is a documentary series. I don't know who started calling it a mini-series. Now if there are no more questions…"
Rock was interrupted by another voice asking, “Who’s goin’ to be in the next season?
“We don’t know yet. All I know is that we will start filming soon–“
Another voice, female this time asked, “Can there be an episode of the upcoming dog pageant. That is sure to get high ratings.”
King recognized the voice as Duchess and slumped in his chair. Rock was starting to get irritated. “I do not know what the next season will entail. Now we are out of time so NO MORE QUESTIONS!”
The lights dimmed as the screen turned on. The room was filled with excited whispering. King was sure that several of the pets assumed that they would appear at least once during the episode. He remembered seeing Rock with his camera crew filming the neighborhood during random times months before.
A voice came over the speakers. “Next up on Discovery Channel. The premiere of “Pets!” brought to you by Plummples by the makers of Strawpearies. You didn't ask us, but we made it anyway. There was a collective “OHHH,” from behind King.
The screen changed this time showing the "Pets!" logo. King recognized the style of that of the title of the comics that Rowan would show everyone every chance he got. It was no secret that Rock stole the design as some type of residual for the comics taking their stories without their consent or permission. The theme song began playing. On the screen, they appeared.
The room became dead silent except for the music. No one moved or spoke as Lisa and Rowan's images appeared over and over on the screen along with their names. They smiled at the camera like they were looking right at the pets. Images of other pets and scenes from the neighborhood flashed across the screen, but the damage was done.
“Episode 1,” the narrator said.
“Hey there, welcome to the show. I'm Lisa Smith, and this is Rowan Gains. Today we are interview three extraordinary guests," Lisa said. It was just like King remembered. “I want to say before we begin how honored we are to be speaking to you. We have been big fans of yours for years. To be here right now with you…is just the best thing ever.”
King felt movement next to him. He tore his eyes away from the screen to look at Bailey. She was wiping her nose with a napkin as tears rolled down her face. She was visibly shaking although she was trying to hide it. Fox was not doing much better. King noticed he was looking away from the screen entirely. His jaw was tight as he gripped with armrests. His claws were digging into the soft fabric.
Behind King other pets were trying to hold back their emotions as the show continued. He could see Grape crying into Peanuts shoulder as he comforted her. He looked like he was holding back tears too. Tarot and Sabrina were whispering to each other, both looking distressed. Max just looked angry, but at what King was not sure. Even Bino looked upset at what he was seeing. Turning his attention to the ferrets, King could see they were upset too. Lana was wiping her eyes. Duke was on the verge of falling to pieces while Keene was fighting being comforted by Breel. Rock looked uncomfortable like he suddenly regretted inviting all the pets to the premiere.
“I have a question for King,” Lisa asked on the screen. King turned his attention back to the show. Lisa’s eyes sparkled with amusement and warmth. “How is it being married to Bailey? You are the first pets in this state to be legally married. Tell us about that.”
That was it. King slid off his chair and ran out of the room ignoring the puzzled look of the pets as he ran by. Energy raced through his body as he flew down the halls. He did not have a destination in mind, but he couldn't stay there any longer. A door came into view, and King ran into it without a second thought. He was suddenly standing in a bathroom. Marble sinks with golden faucets lined the wall. A sizeable shining mirror hung over them. Hanging on the other wall was an assortment of hand towels embroiled with M.
Tears poured from his eyes as King ran over to the sinks. He turned on the cold knob and begun splashing water in his face. Gripping the sink, he stared at his reflection in the mirror. He got over his aversion to mirrors years ago but seeing himself right then he felt more vulnerable than he had in a long time. It was like looking at a stranger. The tension drained out of his body as he sank to the floor. He drew his knees under his chin and began sobbing right there.
He could hear their voices echoing in his head, “Oh my, God. It’s him! It’s really him. We are such big fans of yours. We love you so much,” Lisa squealed.
“Do you prefer that we call you King or can we call you Joel. I always liked Joel better than King. I don’t know why he changed it. I mean I know but still,” Rowan waved his hands in the air as if to emphasize what he was talking about.
"Can I get your picture," Lisa said. “Oh, man. I have so many questions,” Lisa began but was interrupted by Rowan.
“We have so many questions. Like what it is like being married? Wait no that was not it. What was it like when you beat Pete at his own game?
Lisa interjected and asked, “Can we see your puppies?” She shouted. “Bailey, are you there? Ace, Olive, Rook?”
Rowan pulled her back and said, "Don't be rude." Then to King, we said, "You really are just as short as they say. Can I pet your head? When did your collar buckle change to a square from a circle? Hey, how does it feel when people treat you like a dog even though you were once human? Do any humans even know about that? Does Bill know that you’re the same guy who kidnapped his dog nine years ago?”
"OH MY GOD; he slammed the door in our faces just like he did to Tarot!" Followed by another round of incoherent squealing.
King’s memories were interrupted by the sound of the door creaking open. He looked up to see Fox standing there. With a sad smile on his face, he walked over and sat down next to King on the floor.
"I tried. I wanted to." King said softly. "I wanted to hate them. After everything they did but how could I. I don't want to miss them, but I do."
King leaned over and rested his head on Fox’s shoulder. He cried for what seemed like hours. Fox slid his hands down King’s back, trying to consul him. King could not stop shaking or crying. He hated himself for missing them. He hated them for leaving. He had lost so much in his life and losing Rowan and Lisa was just another thing to add to an ever-growing list.
After a few minutes, Bailey walked in and saw them both together. She moved over and sat on the other side of King. She slumped against his shoulder as she relaxed. Wrapping her arms around King, she said, "It's okay. I miss them too. We all miss them."
Her face was close to his. King could see the dim glow of her eyes and the plaster fur on her face from her tears. She was warm against his body which helped him feel better. She squeezed tighter as she reached out and took Fox’s paws in hers.
"It's not right that no one talks about it," King told them. "Everyone acts like they never existed, but they did. They don't deserve to be forgotten."
“Dogs don’t grieve the same way humans do,” Fox said solemnly. “We bounce back. We move on. Humans come and go.” Even as he said it, he did not believe what he was saying.
“It’s not right. I don’t want to be a dog if it means we forget about the people we care about,” King said bitterly.
 “We don’t forget them. They will always have a place in our hearts and our memories,” Bailey told him. She tilted her head and kissed King’s scalp. King closed his eyes and prayed no one else came in and saw them like that. It was already humiliating enough as is without twenty pets putting this up online.
Once they broke apart, they each laid against the tacky wallpaper covered walls without speaking. King checked the time on his phone. 9:49 p.m. The show was almost over. They had missed the entire premiere of the episode that was about them. He didn’t care about that. King did not want to be a part of it anyway. Keene threatened him to get his participation.
“Have you heard from the Kitsune?” Fox asked Bailey.
She shook her head, "The statue is still there, but he won't talk to us. I don't know where he is or what's he's been doing over the last few months. Lisa was his girlfriend, so I don't want to imagine what he's been through."
“Knowing him, nothing good,” King muttered.

***

The stars shined brightly as Kitsune walked down the long velvet lined hallway towards the Bahamut. The hall changed depending on the atmosphere of Earth. Sometimes it was bright and sunny with a view of the gardens while others times it was dark and ominous. This time it was somewhere in between. The tall white columns were still the same.
"Do you think this is a good idea?" Cerberus asked.
Kitsune stopped. His nine tails flicked in frustration. “I don’t know what else to do. I can’t find her anywhere. She’s not here or on Earth. I can’t go on not knowing. If she’s in Pandemonium then…”
"I can talk with my contacts in Pandemonium again, but I doubt they would know anything different. Charon and Thanatos both say they did not see her after the battle with Drasil.”
“He is the only one left who may know,” Kitsune said. “If there is a small chance that she’s out there. Then I owe it to her to find her and bring her home.” He balled his fingers into a fist and shook his arm in frustration.
The last two months (mortal time) had been hard for him. Rowan disappeared to another dimension and Lisa was dead. At first, he thought that Lisa ended up in heaven since she was still mortal even after dawning the tiara and gaining celestial power. Or at least that is what he thought. When she was not there in heaven, he figured the worse had happened. He asked Cerberus to talk to her friends Charon and Thanatos to see if they picked up Lisa’s soul. They both said that they did not see her. He even went back to Tartarus himself to find out if she was still there. Nothing. Not even the lingering remains of her essence. Drasil’s remnants were still there, and they would remain there for eternity. No force of heaven or otherwise could resurrect a fallen god. Bahamut was his only option left. Even though Kitsune was omniscient, his power had limits. Bahamut did not have those same limits. His sight went beyond those of the other celestials. Kitsune had avoided speaking to Bahamut since he avoided telling him about Drasil in the first place. The fact that Drasil came so close to breaking free was his fault. Lisa’s death was his fault.
Kitsune raised his paw to his cheek. He could still feel the place where she kissed him. She told him that she loved him. Then she proved it by giving her life to defeat Drasil so he wouldn’t have to himself. She saved his life and the lives of countless others.
He could still see the look on her face when he smiled at her. The way her cheeks turned red as she tried to hide her feelings from him. He never told her how he felt about her, not really. She was different from other mortals he met. He knew that the instant he saw her.
"It's him," Lisa screeched. She grabbed Rowan's shoulder and began rocking him violently. Rowan was too engrossed to notice or care.
"I see I have some fans too," Kitsune said with a sly smile. His red eyes glowed with delight. He wore his purple jacket and black shirt. All nine tails were out and waved around.
Lisa jumped up and almost tackled him. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. Rowan followed suit. He rummaged through his bag like he was trying to find a pen.
"We are your biggest fans. I love you more than anything else," Lisa told him. Tears were pouring from her eyes. "Rowan even has a huge man crush on you."
Rowan gaped at her as if he had just been slapped. "Don't. Don't tell him that."
"Can you help us? There are so many more pets we want to meet. Not to mention we haven't gotten a single autograph. We still haven't met Maxwell, Fido, Res. Speaking of which, is he back in Canada yet?"
"Fine," Lisa said looking sullen. "But before go," she looked at him with a puppy dog face. "Can you do the smile. The one with the teeth. Show him, Rowan." She elbowed his side.
“My heart melts every time,” Lisa said after he smiled at her.
“Kitsune, are you okay?" Cerberus asked. All three heads were full of concern as she waved her paw in front of his face.
“I have to do this. No matter what he says. I owe it to her,” Kitsune said with resolve.
He walked toward the glowing white door that seemed to lead nowhere. On the other side, everything was different. The sky was filled with swirling galaxies and the essence of the cosmos itself. For a mortal, this would have been overwhelming, but for Kitsune it was just another day in heaven. He walked up the long purple staircase that led to the landing. Hovering at the far end was the Bahamut. An enormous blue whale that legends say hold up the world itself. As usual, Bahamut had a wide grin spread on his face as he watched Kitsune walk over.
“Beloved Kitsune,” Bahamut bellowed. “What can I do for you this day?”
"You know exactly what I want. You're omniscient just like the rest of us so why ask?" Kitsune crossed his arms clearly not in the mood for these games.
Bahamut blinked slowly as his smiled faded. “You are not your usual whimsical and free-spirited self. That is your greatest quality. You must not forget who you are in times of crisis.”
"Sorry, but my whimsy and free spirit died along with my girlfriend," Kitsune snapped.
“You care so deeply for the mortal. More than you have for anyone else. Was she truly that special that you would come here and face me knowing the mistakes you have made?”
"I don't care about what happens to me. I want her back. You know the rules. She deserves a second chance after what she did. She saved us all from Drasil. You must have the power to return her to the mortal world.”
“And yet I cannot,” Bahamut murmured. “She knew the costs of her actions, noble as they were. She ascended to divinity and gave herself to ensure Drasil’s end. You must deal with the consequences as much as she.”
"That's not right, and you know it. She was not a real goddess. The power she obtained was that of Tartarus. Even if it was enough to destroy Drasil that does not mean that she should lose her life as well. Her soul was still mortal. She would have ascended into heaven,” Kitsune shouted angrily.
“I cannot help you, beloved.” Bahamut moved closer to Kitsune. So close Kitsune could see his reflection staring back at him from the whale’s eye. “Lisa simply does not exist.”
“What?” Kitsune asked. He took a step backward. "What does that mean? She exists. She was real, and her actions were real and significant."
“She existed, correct,” Bahamut said moving away again. He blinked at Kitsune. “She does not exist anymore. She is beyond even my sight. If you truly believe that she is out there somewhere then only you can find her.”
Kitsune shook in rage. He did not have high hopes for Bahamut’s assistance but to tell him that Lisa does not exist was beyond infuriating. "I know she is out there. Our feelings are connected. I will find her."
Kitsune turned around and headed toward the stairs. Before he reached the staircase thought, Bahamut called out to him. “If you truly believe in your feelings for her then heed this advice at least.”
Kitsune paused and faced Bahamut. “There is more power in the lives and imagination of mortals than all of heaven. A mortal’s heart is the most powerful of all."
Kitsune gave him a skeptical look like he was not sure what Bahamut was trying to tell him. “What are you saying?”
“Omniscience does have its limits. A great threat is awakening on Earth as we speak. I can sense it coming. You will be tested unlike ever before as both heaven and Earth are placed in his path of destruction.”
“His?” Kitsune asked looking at him worriedly. His eyes widened as realization dawned on him. “You don’t mean…”
“The only way to prevent the oncoming chaos is to find her. She is the only one who can save him and the world. She is the light of his darkness.”

***

There was nothing. Emptiness and vastness as far as she could see. Lisa stood in the middle of nowhere. Only she was not sure if she was standing. There was no surface under her feet as she could tell. She stepped forward and found herself walking on something hard. If she looked down, she would see nothing but empty space below her. The same above her.
How long had she been there? Days, months, years, an eternity. That is what it felt like. There were times when she struggled to remember who she was. What was she doing there? What had happened to her?
Lisa spun around in a circle. There was so much nothing that it was hard to process. How could there be nothing but white space around her? Was this oblivion? What was oblivion?
Tears rolled from her eyes as she wrapped her arms around her chest. She collapsed to the ground and sat there on her knees. Her long blonde hair fell in her face. It was good to see something in her line of vision. Anything was better than nothing.
“Kitsune,” Lisa whispered. “Rowan.”
“Kitsune,” Lisa said louder. “Rowan. Where are you?”
“Kitsune!” Lisa screamed at the top of her lungs.
She closed her eyes and cried out letting the tears flow freely down her face. “ROWAN!”
She looked around again. This time there was something. A small black speck in the distance. It was so far that it was impossible to tell who or what it was. She stared at it like it might just be a trick of her mind.
“HELP ME!” She took a deep breath and screamed again. “ROWAN!”

***

Nick woke up from the nightmare just like he always did. His entire body felt hot and burned like someone had just set his fur on fire. He blinked the sleep away as his eyes adjusted to the darkness of his bedroom. The clock beside his bed read 5:30 a.m. It was too early to get up, but part of him knew that he was not going back to sleep after that.
Running a claw through his long thick black fur, he thought about the dream. It was the same one he had for the last two months. Was this a new part of the curse? He was already a wolf what more could the universe do to him.
The other nights, Nick would just go the bathroom while trying to avoid waking Cody who was sound asleep on the couch in his living room. Then he would crawl back into bed and go back to sleep. Why was this night different? That was easy. This was the first time Nick saw the girl up close. He had never seen her before in his life so why was he dreaming about her? She was crying and calling for help.
“Who the howl is Rowan? And what’s a Kitsune?" Nick asked out loud. He waited for a response from the universe, but as usual, none came.

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Last edited by fenrirblack on Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:02 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Always Save the Day
Chapter 2: The Writer
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Nick Powell

Growing up I was an avid reader. I read books about far off places and stories about heroes overcoming great odds. They always saved the day, and I longed to be one of them. All I ever wanted was to be an author and share my stories with the world. Over a year ago that dream came true. I wrote a book called "White Fox," and it became a huge hit. That was no small part to my fiancé, Rebecca Goulding, who also happens to be a literary agent. I gave her my book, and she loved it. Two years later it was published and was an overnight bestseller. You might think to yourself, "Wow this guy sure has it made." Sure my life may seem great on paper, but that is because you don't know the real me. The real me is actually a five-foot-tall wolf with thick dark gray fur and has to live in his parent's cabin in the woods along with a cougar who won't leave. My life isn't so great after all. Let me explain my situation. I was not always a wolf. Four years ago I was human. I just got engaged to Becky and was hiking in the forest. I came across this spring in the middle of winter. Only there was no snow anywhere, and it was unseasonably warm. A normal person would question why something like this existed because it did not seem possible. Not me. I wanted to get a closer look. As I moved towards the water, this goat-man (satyr I think they're called) appeared on the shore. He warned me that no human can touch the water for it was sacred or something. "Hmph," I said. No one told Nick Powell what to do especially not figments of my imagination. Long story short I was changed into a wolf as punishment. After that I lived in my parent's cabin, too scared to show my face among people again. Becky stood by my side despite my appearance and in my free time (I had a lot of it now) I wrote the first book of the series. But that is enough about my backstory at the moment. Lately, I've been having these dreams. I don't know what they mean, but they are getting more and more vivid. Imagine nothing. Nothing but an empty white void. There in the distance is a girl. She can't be more than eighteen or nineteen. She keeps screaming for someone to help her. I want to do something but every time I try to get close I wake up. I can still hear her calling for someone named Rowan to save her. Whoever that guy was?

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Nick groaned and reached out towards the alarm clock that was blaring in his ear. It took several swipes with his massive paw, but he finally was able to hit the snooze button. Without wasting a moment, he covered his head with the sheets and tried to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, a stinging sensation in his bladder made sleep an impossibility at the moment. He tossed the sheets and blankets off his body and slowly rolled to the edge of the bed. His head hurt again. That was normal for him. When you were constantly plagued by nightmares for the past two months, headaches were your consolation prize. As he stretched his large hairy limbs, Nick’s ears perked up. He could hear Cody moving around the kitchen. He was up early, Nick thought.
He shifted his gaze to the clock on the other side of the bed. 8:01 a.m. How he hated having to set his alarm clock. It was not like he had a job or anywhere to be. Experience had taught him that if he did not force himself to get up and get moving each day, then he would never get anything done. Not like he was getting much done anyway.
Nick scanned the bedroom. The first rays of the sun streamed through the window despite the blackout curtains he bought online. The room was the same one he slept in when he came there with his parents growing up. Since he moved in fulltime, he had to change some things to give it a more grown-up professional appearance. There was large five-shelve bookcase stuffed with books on writing, editing, literature, and even a few leftover textbooks from his college days. A dresser stood across from the bed. On it was pictures of him, Becky, and his parents. All of them were several years old. Since the curse, he avoided cameras at all costs. The bed looked like it was something out of an issue of "Cabins Monthly" with a wooden frame designed to resemble cut tree limbs as if someone made it with their own two hands. The comforter was a quilted pattern with images of animals on it from moose to wolves. As a boy, Nick loved it. Now it was more like a sick joke. The rest of the room was bare except for the bedside table and a closet full of clothes that couldn’t fit over Nick’s hairy body.
Nick wandered into the only bathroom in the cabin and shut the door behind him. For some reason, Cody was fascinated by the hygiene habits of humans. The idea of "brushing" one's teeth was a foreign otherworldly concept to ferals. Nick had, and things live cavities to him. Despite many attempts, Cody still did not understand.
Nick stood in front of the mirror and examined his appearance. He was naked except for the long black sleep pants he wore. Although you couldn't tell since they blended with his fur so well. Clothes were one thing he could not let go of. Cody told him he was ridiculous, but Nick did not care. He would wear pants until he died.
His dark green eyes were the same as they were when he was human. He read that the eyes were the sign of a person’s humanity and when it came to things like magical transformation, it was the eyes that were the most important thing. If they changed then a part of you was lost forever. Other's disagreed with that idea, but as far as Nick was concerned, his eyes were all that remained of the man he was.
He opened and closed his jaw examining each of his razor-sharp fangs. Once he tried hunting and found he was really good at it. Animal instincts took over, and before he knew it, he was tearing the entrails out of a fawn with his claws. His teeth dripped with blood as he stared in horror at what he had become. Needless to say, that was the first and last time he did any kind of hunting. He would stick to getting food from the grocery store like everyone else.
Nick glanced down at his chest. The only perks of being a wolf were the abs and muscles that came with the body. His entire life he had been a bit overweight but one magical change made him, for lack of a better word, hot. That was what Becky told him when she first saw him after the curse. Of course, she had to get over the initial shock. Then she said to him that he looked “hot” like the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast.” Nick told her that she missed the point of that movie but went with it. That was one of the things he loved about her. She could always just roll with whatever life threw at her. It was what made her so good at her job.
Grabbing his toothbrush Nick got to business. Five minutes later he walked out with the toilet still running behind him. He stepped into the den and saw the TV on with Cody laying on the couch with a bowl of cereal on his lap. He lifted the remote and flipped through the channels like his life depended on finding something to watch that very minute.
Without looking at him, Cody said, “We’re out of milk.” He finally stopped on the ORC channel and started watching reruns of “Frasier.”
"We just got some the other day," Nick protested as he moved to the fridge. He opened the door, and sure enough, it was utterly void of milk. He slammed it shut and moved away from the counter. The box of Honey Hives was still sitting there wide open from when Cody helped himself.
"You mean I got some the other day. I do all the grocery shopping around here," he said with a mouthful of cereal. Nick watched as drops of milk, saliva, and chewed up bits of cereal rained down on the coffee table.
"You also do most of the eating around here," Nick responded. He couldn't be mad. Well, he could, but the cougar had a point.
Nick met Cody only a few months after living in the cabin full time. Cody accused Nick of hunting in his territory even though Nick was just out on a nature walk. After a long awkward conversation full of arguing and threats of violence, Nick invited Cody back to the cabin to prove that one, he was not a threat, and two he was not even a real wolf. For the next few years, Cody would come and go from the cabin claiming to be wild and therefore did not need such lavish human amenities. A little over a year ago, Cody moved in and began sleeping in the master bedroom. At first, Nick was uncomfortable having a wild animal living with him but being alone in the woods got lonely. His parents lived in Chicago where he grew up. He rarely saw them after graduating college and after the curse never saw them. Most he got was a phone call or a Christmas card and birthday card. Becky was busy with work and only stopped by when he was free. It was a three-hour drive from the cabin to Chicago so…
Cody did have his uses. Nick grew up hearing stories about how dangerous feral wolves were. If anyone saw him, even with clothes, they would only go screaming into their houses while animal control would track him down. The last thing he wanted was to be transported to Yellowstone or something. That would be a fun phone call to his parents. So Cody would go into town and buy anything that couldn't be ordered online. The closest town was called Swallow Falls. The bird kind not the "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" kind. Never mention that book or movie while in town. Living so close to nature for so long, the townsfolk learned to deal with ferals that would come in. All Cody would have to do was put on a collar and go to the store. There was a convenience store in town run by an elderly man named Mr. Grant. The store was well known in these parts because of the policy Mr. Grant had and was displayed on more than one sign throughout the store. It read "It does not matter who or what you are. Why you are there. What you look like or what you believe in. I will take your money." Not the most poetic phrase but worked for the business. As long as you had money to spend you were welcome in Mr. Grant's store. Ferals included.
Everyone in town knew who Cody was and even grew to love him. For some reason, they had issues with wolves though. Add that to the list of cosmic irony that plagued Nick’s existence. He had to be turned into the one animal that couldn’t show his face in town.
"You know you have to go get some more," Nick said. He moved closer to the couch to make sure Cody couldn't ignore him. "How did we even run out so fast. It was a full gallon, and I only have some for breakfast." Nick walked around the couch, so he now stood between Cody and the television.
Cody tilted his head to look at him. He was a regular cougar with tan fur, long tail, and a cat. "I'm a cat," he said placing his paw on his chest. "We like drinking milk. Don't you ever watch cartoons."
"That's a cliché and not even accurate. Studies have proven that milk is bad for cats. Plus, you didn't even know what a cartoon was until you met me," Nick said exasperatedly.
“Well, this cat likes milk and cartoons.” He held up his paws in surrender. “If it makes you feel better then I’ll go get some more. Now in the meantime can you explain what a by-cycle is and why this man is repeating using it to attack that tree?”
Nick set down on the couch and tried to explain the principles of “Frasier” to a wild animal.
Once the episode ended, Cody had no choice but to head into town to get groceries. Nick decided not to tell him that he could easily order more cereal online and have it arrive in two days. This was a lesson that Cody needed to learn. At times like these, Nick wondered if Cody was more of a pet than a roommate.
With the cabin empty for at least an hour, Nick begrudgingly wandered over to his laptop still sitting on his desk where he left it the night before. He opened the lid, and the screen lit up revealing the thing Nick dreaded seeing. His word document for the second "White Fox" book. Since he started working on it, over six months ago, he had successfully written 109 pages of carp (Cody had been teaching Nick how ferals curse). He hated everything he had written so far. Since the last book ended the main character was supposed to help his partner uncover the secret of a mysterious figure that had been causing trouble in the kingdom. So far the publisher was happy with his work, but he wasn't. Part of Nick wanted to toss the entire story and start over again with a new plot, but he knew that was impossible at this point. He had to salvage what was written already and venture ahead.
After a few taps on the keys with his claws, a sound tore through the silence of the cabin. Nick recognized it as "A New Day Has Come" by Celine Dion aka Becky's favorite song and her ringtone. Without taking his eyes off the screen, he picked up the phone and pushed the answer button. Taking a deep breath, he braced himself for what was about to happen.
“Hello,” Nick said trying to keep calm.
“Hey there. I’m calling to see how you are doing as a loving and caring fiancé,” Becky said in her sweetened voice.
Nick began to relax a little. “Aw, that’s nice.”
Becky spoke again before Nick could continue. “And as your agent, I’m calling to see where the heck are those chapters. You know the ones that were due TWO WEEKS AGO!”
Nick had to pull the phone away from his ear. One thing he hated about being a wolf was the enhanced sense of hearing. Stuff like alarms, music, and general loud noises made his ears feel like they are being split in two. Becky was no exception. She sounded like a banshee when she yelled in his ear. He knew better than to tell her that.
Tensing himself, Nick brought the phone back to his ear while Becky continued to scream at him on the other end. “I’ve made up every possible excuse I can to get them off my and your back. But they are getting impatient. They need this book, Nick.”
Nick knew she was right. The publishing company Nick signed too was called Milton Books, a subsidiary of Milton Industries, and was a tiny publishing company. Nick was so excited that someone signed him that he did not bother to do any research into them at the time. Later he would discover that the entire company is run by ferrets or some other kind of weasel. That and they had never had a bestseller in the four years they had been business before Nick came along. Nick was the reason the company was still running at this point. In all honesty, they needed him more than he needed them. Unfortunately, the contract he signed was iron clad until he finished the third book, so they were stuck together for better or worse.
"I know, but I'm doing my best," Nick lied. "I'm almost done with the last chapter. Once I'm finished, I'll e-mail it to you so you can have something to show the editor. That way they'll be satisfied for the moment and leave you and respectively me alone." In his head, he said, until they read it and discover that its garbage.
Becky sighed on the other end. "Nick, don't lie to me." Nick cringed. "I know that you've been having writers block these past few months. Remember I've been doing this long before we've been dating. I know that writing is hard because of the…you know what." Becky always tried to avoid mentioning the curse. It was one of several different coping methods she had used over the years in an attempt to fool herself into thinking that their relationship was normal. "As your girlfriend, I want to be supportive and tell you that you'll get it done when you're ready. But as your agent, I want to be supportive but tell you that you have to finish it immediately."
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” Nick finally confessed. He noted that Becky called herself his girlfriend and not fiancé. She only did that when she was really angry with him. “The plot is nothing but a jumble of loose ends and clichés. The characters are going nowhere as far as development.” Nick placed his elbows on the desk and cradled his head in his paw while the other held the phone to his ear.
“Now you call and remind me that the agency is on my tail waiting for the next set of chapters. I can’t work under this pressure.”
"Nick, please understand that this is not unusual. Authors go through this kind of thing all the time. I've seen hundreds of times. You have to keep working on it. Even if you have to pull out a notebook and start jotting notes down only to ball it up immediately and tossed it in the trash. If that is what you have to do, then do it. Have you checked the fan sites looking for inspiration? I've heard that works."
Nick rolled his eyes. He pointedly avoided the fan sites ever since the first book got popular. The last thing he needed in his life was a bunch of tiresome geeks telling him how he should write and what his stories are missing. Not to mention the ones who start asking questions that Nick either will answer or choose not to respond to because it was not important. The agency keeps telling him to create a twitter page for the public, but he refused to do so. It would just be another thing to deal with.
“I’ll take your silence as a resounding no,” Becky said. Nick could hear a tinge of frustration in her voice. “Nick, you have to meet me halfway. I have to give these people something. What have you written so far?”
Nick scrolled up. Since the last section of the book he submitted he had written a grand total of eighteen pages. None of which do anything to serve the plot or move the story along. He knew that he had to move the plot along soon.
"Thirty-eight," Nick lied again. He hated lying to her, but like any good relationship, there had to be lies for it to work.
“Well, I guess that’s better than nothing. Keep working on it.”
Nick breathed a sigh of relief. She at least bought that lie. He was in the clear for the moment.
“But that does not mean you can goof off with Cody and do whatever it is that you two do when I’m not around.”
“You make it sound like we have naked pillow fights or something,” Nick said with a touch of accusation in his voice.
"I mean it, Nick, I want you to sit at that desk and not get up until you have the next chapter finished. I don't even want you to get up to use the bathroom. Hold it, and it will be good motivation."
“Alright,” Nick told her. With an extra touch of mush, he said, “I love you.”
"I love you too, but that can change if you don't get me those chapters." With that last threat, she hung up.
Nick placed the phone besides the computer and stared at the screen again. After a few minutes, the words and letters began dancing in front of his eyes. The longer he stared, the more elaborate they became. His eyelids began to droop. The screen became a blur, and before he knew it, he was face down on the keyboard.
Nick walked down a long dark hallway. His nose burned with the smell of ash and burning wood. Was there a fire? He could smell smoke in the air, but there was none to be seen. He needed to get out of there. The only question was where he was? The walls were blank gray wood with no sign of life anywhere around him. He kept moving forward hoping to find an exit.
Suddenly a door seemed to spring into existence at the end of the hall. As Nick steady moved towards it, the door opened on its own allowed a small ray of light to pour from the crack. Nick pushed the door open and stepped inside the room. It was like a nursery with colorful pictures and childish paintings on the wall. There was no furniture except for a single rocking chair in the middle of the room. Back and forth it rocked. Someone was sitting in it, and they were humming a sad tune.
Nick walked over and discovered that the person rocking was Becky. In her arms was a small body wrapped head to toe in a baby blue blanket. Even in the grayness of the room, the blue shone brightly. Becky did not acknowledge Nick's presence as he stood there staring at her, eyes full of worry.
"Becky, are you alright? Please say something," Nick said as he bent down, so he was eye level with her. He reached out and pulled the blanket back from whatever she was holding. Nick's eyes widened as he saw that she was holding not a child but a stuffed bear. Only this bear was burned so severely that it was hardly recognizable.
“It’s all gone…” Becky whispered. Nick looked up at her and noticed that her gaze was fixed on the far wall. Nick turned to see that she was staring out the only window in the room.
Carefully he moved toward it and looked out. The world was gone. It was like something out of a teen dystopia or a disaster movie. Fires blazed for miles over the remains of houses as crows picked at the remaining bits of whatever they could find. The sky was tainted with dark clouds the color of ash. In the distance, Nick could barely make out the outline of what once could have been skyscrapers. Deep down he knew he was looking at what remained of Chicago.
“It’s all gone,” Becky whispered.
Nick turned back to her. He had to do something. He didn’t know he could do. He walked over to her but stopped halfway. Looking down he saw something silver attached to her leg. It was a chain stuck to the floor keeping her from moving more than three feet from the chair.
Nick took a step back. “Becky, who—“
She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, they were no longer hers. They glowed with a bright blue light similar to the color of the blank in her arms. She opened her mouth and spoke with a ragged voice like someone who breathed in a ton of smoke.
"Light the way to lover's arms. From the shadows of forgiveness, there will be no harm. Feelings born from across the reaches of time and space will guide the way through the empty place. Scorn comes from the words left unsaid. The dreams and truths emerge from the queen’s head. The heir will speak to the father's pride. The Atlas of the stars will then be your guide. Four havens of stone, fire, ice, and wind. The magic lost will be the final end. Heart in hand she will illuminate a past hidden. Only to discover the secret of darkness kept forbidden. One becomes two, two becomes one. Only the knight can finish what has begun. The wolf will howl with his last breath. A hero’s sacrifice will spare the heavens’ death.”
Nick waited, but Becky seemed to be finished. She continued to stare out the window at the bleak dystopian world as if waiting for someone to come rescue her. Desperate to help her, Nick reached down and grabbed the chain around her leg with his massive paws. He pulled and tugged, but not even the half-charred wood would break. He could not stand seeing her like this. Even though he did not know what was happening, he cared about her too much to see her suffer in this madness they found themselves in.
"Becky," Nick said kneeling down again. He looked her right in the eye, but it was like she was looking right through him. He grabbed her wrists that were still clutching the stuffed bear like it was her lifeline. "Listen to me. You have to get up. Let me get you out of here. Or at least tell me what's going on."
The floor creaked. Nick's ears turned to the sound. It was faint but growing closer. His enhanced hearing allowed him to hear things, sometimes a blessing or, in the case of Cody's nightly baths, a curse. Whatever was coming sounded big and dangerous. The sounds of low growling entered Nick's ears. His heart began to thump faster in his chest. He sniffed the air. The smell of smoke and burning wood was still pungent, but there were more smells now. The first one he noticed was the fear scent that was pouring from Becky as her entire body tensed. The second was the smell of decaying flesh like someone just ate a rotting corpse on the side of the road.
“Becky, what is that?” Nick stood up and glanced at the door. Whatever was coming was coming through there.
“He’s coming,” Becky whimpered. She clutched the toy tighter to her chest. Nick was not sure if she was talking to him or the bear. He saw that she was on the verge of tears.
The footsteps grew closer. They were right outside the door. Nick had a feeling that whoever or whatever was on the other side did not care about knocking. Scanning the room, Nick saw another door that he swore was not there a moment ago. It looked like a closet door or at least he hoped it was. He ran to it and flung it open revealing a small empty space no bigger than the closet at the cabin. Slipping inside, he closed the door all but a crack to continue to watch over Becky. He hated hiding like a coward while she was in so much distress but until he knew what was happening there was nothing he could do at the moment.
The door to the hallway opened as a large hairy figure entered the room. It walked over to Becky, but it was too dark for Nick to make out the finer details. All he knew was that it was not human or like any animal he had ever seen. It looked like a wolfman from a B-list horror movie. It leaned over Becky, who was literally shaking with fear and whispered something in her ear. Nick's ears perked up to try to catch what was being said.
“Please, don’t do this…” Becky pleaded.
The monster responded, “I love you too much to let you go.” It proceeded to grab her wrist so tightly that Becky cried out in pain. “You are mine. You promised yourself to me. I take what is mine. Always.”
Nick couldn't stand back any longer. Whether it was the wolf part of him that responded to his mate being threatened or the human part of him that loved Becky or both it did not matter. He jumped out of the closet and charged at the creature.
He only made it three steps before coming to a screeching halt when he saw that the monster was not a monster at all. It turned to face Nick and smiled showing off rows of teeth that seemed to extend past the confounds of its mouth. It was the eyes that stopped Nick. They were his eyes. Dark green only these were filled with anger and vengeance. The monster opened his mouth and spoke, “She belongs to me. Always.”
His feet moved before his brain could tell him to run. The presence of the monster and the way it looked at him was enough to send Nick flying through the window if the monster was not standing directly between them. Instead, Nick chose the only other option. The door. He flew to the door as fast as he could without a second thought. He could feel the monster’s eyes piercing his back as he ran. Nick grabbed the door and charged over the threshold.
He found himself standing in the middle of an empty white void. He turned around, but the door he came through was gone. Nothing but empty space as far as he could see. What was that he wondered to himself?
“Rowan!”
Nick turned around. He recognized the voice instantly. The same one that had been haunting him for the last several weeks. In the distance, a figure could just be made out. He frowned. She was so far away from him how could he reach her.
“Hey!” Nick called and waved his paw in the air to get her attention. “Over here!”
The girl turned or at least it looked like she did from where he was standing. Without missing a moment, Nick charged towards her. A new desperation filled his chest and brain. Becky and the monster were forgotten as the thought of this girl consumed him. He had to meet her and finally understand why she came appearing to him.
The gap between them began to close. When it did Nick finally got a good look at the girl. Better than all the other times. She looked like she was in her early twenties or late teens. She had blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail and wore a pink tank-top. She could have been just a regular girl out for an early morning jog so why was she in a place like this.
Suddenly the girl stopped several feet from where Nick was standing as if something was keeping her from moving any closer. Nick smelled fear coming off of her as well as uncertainty. She questioned who he was and why he was there, Nick thought.
“Who are you?” Nick asked before she could.
“Help me,” she said. “Find them.”
“Find who?” Nick asked although he already knew the answer.
“Kistune. Rowan. Find them.”
Nick hesitated. He did not want to promise her anything just yet. He needed more information if he was going to help her. Like who those people were and were they even people? Instead, he asked the third question racing across his mind, "Where are they?"
She opened her mouth to answer, but she was cut off but a horrible sound.
“NICK, I’m back with food. No need to applaud but I went the extra mile. They were having a sale.”
Nick's eyes burst open as he lifted his head off the keyboard. He glanced at the screen and saw that several pages of the document were now filled with a jumble of letters ending in an infinite row of FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF…
The images from the dream swam around his head, but there was one part that stood out more than the others. He could see the strange lines of rhyme that Becky spoke shining in his brain in bright golden letters. They were burned into his corneas. Ignoring the F’s for the moment, Nick typed the entirety of the verse. Once he was finished the words slowly disappeared from his mind, their mission complete. Nick stared at the lines on his computer trying to comprehend what they meant.
"Becky is going to kill you if she knows that you aren't working on that book." He pulled out a box of cereal and placed it on the counter of the kitchen. "You know she actually called me while I was at the store to tell me that I was supposed to make sure that you were working." He waved his paw. "Do I look like your owner? That's her job. I'm a roommate, not a supervisor."
"Becky—" Nick said as the rest of the dream burst in his head like an oversized pimple. The image of the room with Becky rocking the stuffed bear. The monster that looked eerily like him. Becky was crying out as he ran out of the room leaving her at its mercy.
"I need to call her," Nick said. He fumbled around his desk looking for his phone. Cody looked on curiously his paws slowly opening up a box of Sour Patch Kits. Grabbing the phone with two hands, Nick hit Becky's name under the Recent Caller list. He held it to his ear and waited. One ring. Two rings. He forced himself to calm down.
Finally, she answered, "Well, I hope you're calling me to tell me that you finished in the chapters over the last hour since we spoke. If not then…"
Nick cut her off. “Do you want to come over this weekend?” He tried to ask her as calmly as possible, but the words came out like a massive hurl. He cringed as he waited for a response.
It must have caught her off guard because she did not respond right away. "I don't know Nick. I'm busy with clients and I really, really need you to finish. I want too, but I just don't think this weekend is good for me."
Fear washed over him. Was she purposely avoiding him? She usually came over once a month and this weekend was not time but still why not? The idea of losing her was worse than the dream of him holding her captive. She was his only tie to the world he left behind. Without her, he would have probably gone mad or at least hurt Cody.
"Please," Nick said keeping his voice calm and collected. "I know it's not our weekend, but I figured with the chapters not getting finished, I could use the motivation."
He could see her rolling her eyes in his head "You really think that me being there will help you write? If that was true then why didn't any of the other times help you then? Oh, that's right because we spent the entire time—"
“Oh, let’s not go there right now,” Nick said.
“Yes, please. It’s bad enough hearing you two through the walls. I don’t need a reminder, 
Cody called from the kitchen.
Nick turned to face him, giving him a look of pure poison. He gestured towards Cody's room with a wave of his paw. Cody threw his arms in the air and walked away. When he was out of sight, Nick turned his attention back to Becky.
“How about this for a deal. I finish the chapters in the next two days. Then you come by Friday and stay the weekend as a reward for all my hard work.”
Becky sighed. “You are such a child, Nick.” He could tell she was smiling on the other end. “Alright, if it means you actually finish I guess I can spend the weekend with you. But I'm telling you this now, it will not be all fun and games. I have work to do, and so do you. Just because you finish these chapters does not mean you are off the hook. You still have an entire book to finish. The rate you're going everyone is going to forget about the first "White Fox" book in exchange for the next bestseller animal adventure series."
"Don't worry when I'm done with this book, it'll be so great that no one will remember Pridelands," Nick lied. Pridelands was and still is one of his favorite series. He glanced at the bookcase beside the next. All seven books sat neatly in a row, all first editions. A few signed by Miss Auburn herself. His mind drifted to years back when he was waiting in line, and a strange purple cat erupted out the crowd. He watched as security had to drag her out of the store.
"Alright then. You have two days. If I do not have those chapters by Thursday evening, then no deal. You can spend this weekend curled up on the couch with Cody," she threatened. Nick clenched his teeth. The one time she came over unannounced and caught them both passed out on the couch. She never let him forget it and never missed a moment to show the picture she took on her phone. He swore that she had it framed on her desk, but she denied it with a mischievous glint in her eye.
“Before you hang up,” Nick said. He paused not sure how to ask what was on his mind. “Are you happy? I mean with us?”
“Of course I am,” she said with no hesitation. “I mean it’s not ideal. I wish you would just come live with me sometimes. I understand why you stay there in the cabin. I just…”
“I know. I wish too,” Nick told her. He hung up before she could say anything else. He placed the phone back on the desk and stared at his paws. The image of the monster standing over Becky still replayed over and over again. Was that what he was? A monster was keeping her prisoner. Was he keeping her from moving on with her life and meeting someone else? For what? Because he was afraid of being alone? His only friend a cougar who only stayed because of free food and shelter. What did that leave him?
He banged his fist on the keyboard in frustration. He couldn’t worry about that now. He had a story to write and no idea what he was doing. He needed to get started.
Cody walked back into the den holding an empty box of candy to find Nick with his head on the desk and his fist repeatedly banging against the keyboard. In the past few hours, Nick successfully wrote a page and a half, and most of it was nothing but information about the town the characters were arriving at. Not precisely the fast-paced action that flowed through the first novel.
“I take it is not going well.” Cody smiled at Nick was given an angry scowl in response.
“What does it look like?”
"It looks like you are fighting your computer and losing," Cody told him. He tossed the box in the trash and walked over to the desk.
“You’re not wrong. I’m definitely losing.” Nick set up. “I’m losing my girlfriend. I’m on the verge of losing my writing career before it even starts. I think I'm losing my mind." Nick told Cody about the dream but left out the part about the girl in the white space. The last thing he wanted was that information getting back to Becky.
"You're under a lot of pressure. You need to relax. Come over and watch TV with me. It'll take your mind off thing. Maybe you'll be inspired."
“I mean look at this,” Nick told him. “This is the best I’ve got after working on it all day.” He gestured at the text on the screen.
Cody withdrew by saying, “You know writing is your thing. I can’t help you.”
Nick shot him a skeptical look. “Have you even read my first book?”
"I read part of it," Cody said slowly. He gave a weak smile. Nick was not impressed.
“I’m not surprised. I’m more surprised that you can read at all.”
“Hey, mean,” Cody snapped. “Just because you’re frustrated doesn’t mean you get to insult my intelligence.”
“Sorry,” Nick said without clearly meaning it. Cody took it anyway.
“Come over here and watch TV,” Cody told him. He sat on the couch and wrapped his tail around his leg. He reached out and picked up the remote off the table. “I recorded this show that I’ve been wanting to watch. I think it’s one of those funniest pet shows. It sounded promising.”
Nick took one last look at the computer. The words were not coming to him. Giving up, Nick walked to the couch and set beside Cody. If Becky did leave him, at least he would have him as long as there was television. He watched as Cody flipped through the DVR until he came to a show called “Pets!”
“Pets! That is what the show is called?” Nick asked.
“Apparently.”
"I'm getting something to drink," Nick said and stood up while Cody fast forwarded through the commercials. He wandered to the fridge and opened it up. True to his word, Cody refilled it will enough meat and treats to satisfy them both for the next week at most. He scanned the contents and realized that although Cody got more milk, there was little else to drink.
“Did you remember to get more water?” Nick asked even though he knew the answer already.
"Um, no" Cody called. "I'll never understand you humans and your need to drink water that comes from a bottle. I've drunk from rivers, springs, and puddles my whole life and I'm perfectly fine."
Nick bit his tongue to stop himself from replying with a snarky comment. With no other option, he pulled a glass from the cabinet and filled it with water from the kitchen faucet. One of these days he needed to get a filter or something. That’s what he kept telling himself.
The show had begun as Nick made his way back to the couch. The TV was showing a montage of different pets, and people who Nick assumed were owners. "Hey there, welcome to the show. I'm Lisa Smith, and this is Rowan Gains. Today we are interview three extraordinary guests.”
Nick did a spit take. An actual spit take and tried to cough up the water that was trapped in his throat. All while not taking his eyes off the TV. Cody, seeing Nick's distress, paused the show and rushed to him. He rubbed Nick's back trying to massage the water down his esophagus.
When Nick could finally speak again, he asked, “Who is that?” and pointed at the TV.
“I think that’s one of the hosts or at least that’s what she said,” Cody said. “Are you alright?”
Nick raised a shaky finger and pointed at the frozen image of Lisa. "Tha…that's her," he said. "That's the girl from my dream. The one I keep seeing. The one that was calling for help." He could see her clearly in his mind screaming. "Rowan! Kitsune! Help me!”
“I have to find her,” Nick muttered and ran over to his computer.
“What?!” Cody exclaimed. “Dude, you have a girlfriend. What would Becky say if she heard you?
 “It doesn’t matter. I’m not in love with this girl. I just know that she needs help and I’m the only one who can do it.” He opened the browser and typed in “Pets!” in the search engine.
"Nick, you know I don't like being the voice of reason, but this is ridiculous. I know you've been having strange dreams lately. For some reason, you insist on telling me about them. You've been under a lot of pressure to write your book. This girl is nothing but a TV character."
“How do you explain how I’ve never seen her before now yet I’ve been dreaming about her for weeks?” He found a page on the show and click it. He needed a location. Where was it?
“I don’t know. Maybe you saw her on the street or in a magazine. That’s how I found out about the show. It was in a copy of Pet Fancy.”
Nick turned around with a concerned look. “When were you reading Pet Fancy?
 Cody's ears blushed. "I may have read it in the store while waiting in line to buy your groceries.”
"My groceries that you eat too," Nick said. He turned back around. He could not get into another argument about who ate what around here. The website Nick was on had a list of characters and names, but none of them mattered. He knew that her name was Lisa. The idea of googling her crossed his mind, but he immediately rejected it. Finally, he scrolled down and found what he was looking for. "It says here that the show was filmed almost entirely in a place called Babylon Gardens."
“I’ve never heard of it? Is it like a town?” Cody asked leaning over to get a look at the screen.
“It doesn’t say much. But according to this Babylon Gardens is a neighborhood?” Nick opened a new window and searched “Babylon Gardens.” A new page came up, and Nick read it aloud, "Babylon Gardens is a subdivision built in 1987 by the Milton Development Company. The former owner, Henry Milton, built his mansion known as the Milton Manor in 1955. It is the home of the Milton Ferrets; whose net worth is equal to the GNP of three small countries or one medium size country."
Nick thought about for a moment before realization hit him on the head like a sledgehammer. “Milton is the owner of the publishing company that does my books!”
“What a coincidence,” Cody said losing interest. “Can I go back to my show?”
Nick ignored him in favor of a new strategy. He searched for the Milton Manor and got an address. Quickly opening Google Maps, he typed in the address and searched for directions. “According to this. It would take roughly five hours to get there from here.”
Cody laid back down on the couch and unpaused the TV. "You aren't serious about going there, are you? How are you supposed to get there anyway? You can't drive anymore unless you stopped by the DMV without telling me. If you did, I would be agitated that I have to walk myself to town every day."
“You’re right,” Nick said glumly. “I can’t drive five hours there. I can’t get a cab or take a bus either.” He silently cursed his wolf body. Another thing to add to the list of why the universe sucked. “I have to ask Becky to take me.”
That got Cody's attention because he paused the show again and faced him. He placed both paws on the back of the couch and hoisted himself up. "You can't be serious. Nick, be reasonable. What are you going to tell her? You've been dreaming about a girl from TV? She's barely over anymore. Tell her that, and she will dump your tail."
So Cody was picking up on it too, Nick made a mental note and filed it away for later. "I have no choice. I don't have a car or legal license. I can't even step outside the cabin without risking getting shot. I can't call my parents and have them come all the way from Chicago to take me. So unless you know a magical Pegasus that lives in the woods which will be willing to take me, then I'm out of options."
“I’m just saying. Becky is a catch. You don’t want to lose her over this.”
Nick knew Cody was right. He knew he was acting crazy. Lack of sleep and stress from his novel were driving him crazy. But there was a part of him, some primal part that he did not understand that knew that Lisa needed him. The fear and distress on her face were real and no dream. The way she called for Rowan to help her. Maybe if he could find Rowan Gains, then he could save her. Nick glanced at the phone. He reached out for it feeling Cody's stare watching his every move like a predator stalking his prey. He unlocked it and called Becky again.
Two Days Later
“Tell me again why I’m doing this?” Becky asked from the driver’s seat.
They were both currently sitting in her car driving down I-55 in what Nick could only describe as the longest and most awkward road trip he had ever been on. He had no idea how he managed to convince her to take this little getaway. He successfully finished the chapters in record time. By that point Becky was so thrilled she would have most likely said yes to just about anything. He got reservations at a Milton Inn located not far from Babylon Gardens. It was one of the few hotel chains that allowed pets for free. He still had not told Becky the entirety of his plans. Mostly because he was not sure of them himself.
“I thought it would be good for us to get away for a little while. The cabin has been feeling a little crowded with Cody listening in on us.”
"Don't remind me," she said as her body shook at the unclean thought. "But this is an odd choice. We could have gotten a spot by Lake Michigan. Or have gone literally anywhere else. What's the name of the town we're going to again?"
“I don’t remember,” Nick told her as he stared out the window.
He got several odd looks from the passengers in the other cars they passed. Fortunately, no one called the police on them yet. Tricking passing cars was one thing. The real challenge would arise when they arrived at the hotel. Nick checked the clock on the dashboard. 4:09 p.m. Their room should be ready by now. He got double beds just in case Becky would not be in the mood to cuddle once she found out why he chose a town in the middle of nowhere to spend their weekend alone together.
Convincing her to take him to see the Milton's would be another hurdle he would have to cross. He researched the show and found out that the producer was Rock Milton, one of the ferrets he read about. He currently lived in the Milton Manor with the rest of them. The only edge Nick had was that he was the author of the Milton's publishing company's only bestseller. He hoped that would be enough to get a foot in the door.
Becky pulled off the interstate and drove down a string of backroads and small highways until they reached their destination. She parked the car in front of the hotel and turned to Nick. This was the part they had both been dreading. Showtime. Nick bent down and picked up a collar and leash from the floor. He wrapped it around his neck and handed the leash to Becky who gave him an encouraging look. They stepped out and so far there was no screaming. They gathered their bags and went in.
Becky walked to the desk with Nick keeping a reasonable distance behind her. The front desk lady, Brittany, gave them both skeptical looks. "Hey there," Becky said. "I'm checking in. The reservation should be under Strauss.”
Brittany had to tear her eyes away from Nick to check the computer. Nick was not surprised. He kept most of his height after his transformation, so he was roughly 5'4'' by his last measurement. Shorter than he was as a human but taller than your average wolf. He wore a jacket but no pants because he was acting the part of a dog. A wolfish dog but a dog none the less. The collar had a tag with his name on it, but it might not be enough to convince anyone who really got a good look at him. He turned away from Brittany's gaze and looked as innocent as possible. He was just a pet with his owner for a stay for the weekend.
“Rebecca Strauss?” Brittany asked reading the name off the computer.
"That's me," Becky said with an over-enthusiastic tone in her voice.
“You are here for two nights with your…dog.” It wasn’t a question but the way she said it made it sound like one.
"That is correct. This is my dog, Nick." Becky raised the leash to illustrate further the parts they were playing.
Brittany glanced at Nick again who gave a small wave. He tried to be inconspicuous. The less attention he received, the better the odds they had for this to work.
“He sure is a big one,” Brittany said as she prepared the key card.
“He sure is,” Becky responded. “Can we get two cards.”
Brittany looked unsure like Becky asked for her first born instead of a second key. Begrudgingly, she did two cards and put them in the envelope before writing down their room number.
"You are in Room 213. We serve breakfast until 10:00 a.m. Pets are allowed in the dining area, but they have to be leashed at all times."
"Thanks," Becky said and took the keys. "Come on Nick. Grab the bags and let's move."
Nick did what he was told. He picked up the bags and followed Becky to the elevator down the hall. He could feel Brittany's gaze the entire time until they turned the corner. He let out a sigh of relief. Thankfully, people had a tendency to believe what they wanted to believe other than what their eyes told them. No one would suspect a guest to bring in a wolf into a hotel so of course, he had to be an oversized dog. Maybe some wolf blood in there somewhere but a dog none the less.
They reached their rooms without indecent. No one was wandering down the halls as they found their room. Becky unlocked the door and strolled through with Nick on her heels. He dropped the bags at each of their respective beds. Becky flopped down on one and turned her head towards him. She patted the area beside her in a gesture of "Come here."
Nick smiled a wolfish grin. The Milton's, Lisa, Rowan, and all that could wait. For the first time in years, he was alone with his fiancé in a hotel room. He took off his jacket and walked to her. He started to take the collar off, but Becky grabbed his arm. She shook her head. "Keep it on," she told him. Once again Nick did as he was told.
The Next Day
Nick woke up early. He rolled over and cracked open an eye. Becky was asleep in the other bed. After last night's fun, she decided that she would sleep better with him in the additional bed. Something about needing space. Nick partly agreed with her. He rose as quietly as possible and got dressed. He opened the door but looked back at Becky one last time. He felt like he was betraying her trust but leaving her like this. He felt dirty and not because he was too tired to shower the night before. He pushed the thought out of his head. There was something he needed to do, and Becky would only try to stop him if she knew. He exited the room and closed the door behind him.
One of the reasons he chose that hotel was because it allowed pets but mostly because it was in walking distance from Babylon Gardens. He strolled down the street with his leash in hand. No one was around this early in the morning. Sleeping in on a Saturday he assumed. He pulled out his phone and checked the GPS app. He had to turn on the next road. Following the instructions on the screen, he found himself standing in front of a large stone sign with the words “Babylon Gardens” etched on it.
Houses of different shapes, colors, and sizes lined the roads as Nick made his way down the sidewalk. He saw more than one dog and cat running around, playing in the morning sun. He remembered that he was an overly pet-friendly neighborhood. One dog paused to stare at him. Nick gave a small nod and wave. The dog tilted his head before waving back before returning to his game. Nick watched him go. He always wanted a pet growing up. But his parents never allowed it. They gave the usual excuses about money and responsibility. Nick always figured it was because they disliked animals. Jokes on them now since he was an animal now too.
A purple cat caught his eye. Nick stopped walking and turned to the cat who was walking beside another cat, this one black with a bell on his collar, on the other side of the road. They were deep in conversation. Nick's ears picked up on their conversation. Usually, Nick would not eavesdrop on other people's conversations especially pets, but that cat looked very familiar. It couldn't be. Could it?
“I just don’t understand why we have to go,” the black cat whined.
“I know Maxie, but this is important. Kitsune says he has an idea or something and needs our help.”
The black cat, Maxie, sighed and crossed his arms. "Does it have to be so early? I had the "Bino gets kicked out of the house" dream again."
“You have that dream at least once a week,” the purple cat reminded him. “This is about finding Rowan and maybe Lisa.”
That got Nick’s attention. Rowan, Lisa, and Kitsune. It was like the winning the name dropping lottery. He could feel his fur stand up in anticipation. Could it be this easy? He was about to find out. Nick crossed the street and followed the two cats to a fairly unremarkable house. They walked up the front door and knocked. Keeping his distance, Nick watched what happened next. The door opened and a small yellow dog, a Pomeranian maybe, gestured them inside.
Once they disappeared and Nick was sure he was alone, he moved to the door. It was a solid wooden door, but like most middle-income houses it was thin and flimsy. Made with more Styrofoam than anything else most likely. He pressed his ear to the door and listened. If anyone walked pass at the moment, he was good as captured.
"This is everyone. I've spoken with everyone I can think of in heaven, but no one has any ideas about where Lisa or Rowan is. All I know is that it is important for all our sakes that we find them as soon as possible." The voice was male. Nick could feel his fur stand up listening to it. It was laced with power that he did not understand. An instinctual part of him wanted him to run away as fast as possible screaming DANGER DANGER.
"You said you had a plan of sorts," another voice asked, this one female.
"I have sort of a plan. But for this to work, I'm going to need help." His voice tinged with bitterness.
Nick took this as an invitation. With a savage twist, he turned the knob and threw the door wide open. He stepped inside the house and was met with the confused stares of several different animals. Quickly Nick registered each one. There were three cats include the two he followed along with another black cat. Two dogs, the Pomeranian, and a brown dog who looked way more excited than he should be considering Nick just barged in. Two weasels set side by side in a large Laz-I-Boy recliner. One looked confused while the other looked like he was ready to call the SWAT team. The final character the oddest of the bunch. At first, Nick was not sure what he was seeing. It was a blonde fox with nine tails waving around his back. His mouth was open like Nick interrupted him mid-sentence.
“My name is Nick Powell,” Nick said even though no one said anything or asked. “I think I can help you find your friend.”

***

Lisa walked continuously without a thought or a destination in sight. The whiteness was blinding even without what she could consider light. Whatever laws of physics this place worked on it was completely different from her own world. Despite the seamlessly endless time she had spent there, she did not feel tired, hungry, or even the urge to go to the bathroom. The more she thought about it, she knew she was dead. That is why she stopped thinking at all.
Mindlessly she moved. Her feet were there beneath her, she assumed. Should she look down and check? Did it matter? Was she even moving at all? With nothing around to help judge distance, she could not tell. Standing still did nothing. Moving did nothing.
"Rowan." Her breath was less than a whisper. She repeated that name. She could see him in her mind. Or at least what she felt like he looked like. His image was fading. Fear gripped her heart. Would she forget him if she stopped saying his name? Where was he? Why wasn't he here? He was always by her side. Lisa closed her eyes and stopped walking.
What was his name again?
The tightening in her body grew stronger. She looked down at her chest. There was nothing there besides her clothes. Time meant nothing, so they looked as fresh and clean as when she first put them on. When was that again? Images of animals popped into her mind, but before she could get a good look at them, they vanished as if someone popped the bubble. They looked funny or at least what she could see of them. It was like looking through a foggy window. She could see outlines and colors but no details. Were they standing upright? That wasn't right. Animals did not walk around on two legs. She pressed her hands over her face trying to clear her mind.
What was his name again?
The images appeared faster and faster, but as they appeared, they were immediately replaced. There was one image that didn't disappear. It was him. No not him. Someone else. This image was stranger than all the others. It was an animal, but it had nine tails. A fox? Kitsune.
She lowered her hands from her face. Kitsune. The name triggered something. In the distance, she could almost see him standing there. Golden fur blowing without wind. He raised a paw for her to take. Lisa reached out to take it but as soon as she lifted her arm the image was gone. It was replaced by someone else.
It was him.
The one she could not remember. He stood there a great distance away but at the same time close enough to touch. She reached out to him. He was yelling something. His voice was silent, but his face was screaming her name. He wanted her to take his hand. The memory of pain. His pain. Her pain. She was so close. Her fingers were less than an inch from his. Before she could take it, he vanished. She was alone.
Rowan. That was his name. How many times had she forgotten it only to be reminded? She lost count.
Rowan and Kitsune. She needed them. Where were they?
After the fantasy was gone, Lisa moved forward. Her legs moved without her command. This was cycle she found herself in. Forgetting then remembering then forgetting again. She whispered their names until only Rowan’s remained. Then his was forgotten.
Her head hurt, her body ached, and her heart hurt. It made no sense why she felt this way. Why was she suffering in a place where there was nothing that could hurt her? She forced her feet forward. Something appeared in the distance. Another fantasy? No this was different.
It was not a person but a door. She raced towards it believing it could be the answer to escaping this place. As she neared it, her memories cleared. She could see her friends clearly now. They were waiting for her back in Babylon Gardens. The door was right before her. The handle glistened in a golden hue. It was so familiar. The door was one she had opened so many times before until finally, she could never bring herself to open it again. After that it stayed closed, its contents lost and forgotten.
Lisa turned the handle and walked through. She found herself in a study. Bookcases lined the left wall. Books on literature, history, and psychology. The opposite walled had a collection of pictures hanging on it with a table resting under them. Her own childhood memories were staring back at her frozen in time. In front of her was a large desk. Carvings covered the edges as it sparkled like it was freshly polished. On it was a computer, papers, phone, and a book open to the first page.
Lisa's eyes were drawn to the figure standing with his back turned to her. He looked out the window behind the desk even though there was nothing to see but whiteness. He turned around and looked at her. Lisa felt her chest ache with longing as tears formed in her eyes. He looked the same as in her dreams.
He smiled. “Lisa.”
“Daddy.”

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:27 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Always Save the Day
Chapter 3: Connected Feelings
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

“There will always be detours in the fascinating game called life. Find the path to your heart’s desires, and stay on course.”
― Elizabeth Parker

A Message from Tarot

I foresaw this moment. You have come again to continue the story. Let me tell you what has occurred before now. The battle with the fallen god Drasil left many scars as Lisa sacrificed herself to ensure his defeat. The pets felt a heavy blow as she vanished but no one suffered as much as Rowan. Devastated by the loss, he succumbed to dark powers and is currently drawing mana energy to unleash against those he blames for Lisa’s death. The pets got together for the premiere of the documentary series that Lisa and Rowan worked on during their stay at Babylon Gardens. Seeing them again caused mixed feelings. King was the hardest hit. A new stranger has appeared in the neighborhood. His name is Nick Powell. A human turned into a wolf by a mystic spring. He is also the author of the popular book “White Fox” which Peanut has talked non-stop about for several weeks. Nick has been having visions of Lisa, who is not dead but is trapped in an empty void. Unsure of what to do, Nick has come to Babylon Gardens with his fiancé Becky Strauss. Now he is standing in Keene’s home with a message for those of us Kitsune gathered to plan a strategy to find Lisa. He says he can save her but the question remains of how?

When Lisa turned nine years old, her mother refused to throw her a birthday party. Instead, Lisa was given a dozen cupcakes along with the few presents her mother bought her. Lisa sat alone at the dining room table and watched her mother walk away without so much as a care about her daughter's special day. With no other choice, she fished out a used birthday candle and placed it in one of the cupcakes. Along with the candle was a book of matches which was used to light the candle. Lisa stared at the small flame and closed her eyes. Before blowing out the candles, she made a wish. The same wish she made the next year and the year after that. Finally, when she turned eighteen, she stopped wishing altogether. But before that she wished, for one thing, to see her father again.
“Daddy.”
Lisa’s father looked exactly the same as he did the day he left her. His brown jacket and khaki pants with the ragged pair of tennis shoes that her mother begged him to throw out. His black hair combed to the side along with the few streaks of gray that he liked to blame her for. He stood there in front of her. This was his office, Lisa realized. How many times had she found him at that desk, working on whatever project took up his time at the moment?
Her father walked around the desk not taking his eyes off of her. Lisa threw herself at him. Wrapping her arms around him as if he would disappear again if she let go. Tears soaked into his jacket as she cried into his chest. She felt warm arms wrap themselves around her back as he hugged her back.
“Oh, Lisa. I’ve missed you so much.”
Lisa mumbled something back, but her voice was lost in his clothes. She pulled herself away and wiped her face. Taking a step back she tried to understand why he was there. She had dreamt about him a lot since coming to Babylon Gardens. He was there to guide her when she worked to stop Drasil. This did not feel like a dream.
“Are you real?” she asked despite her fear of what the answer might be.
“Yes and no,” he said. His face dropped slightly. He was holding something back, she could tell.
“What do you mean? Where have you been all these years? Mother was never the same after you left. She was horrible. I needed you. She needed you.” The tears began flowing again as her voice was cut off by sobs of grief.
He was expressionless. He let her yell, cry, and accuse him without a word. The more she yelled, the angrier she became. He would not respond to her. Her voice finally gave out, and she was overcome with exhaustion.
The room spun around as her legs gave out from under her. Before she hit the ground, two arms reached out and caught her. Her father dragged her limb body over to the desk and placed her in the chair. Lisa leaned back and let herself become lost in the soft cushion that cradled her back.
“I know you’re angry and you have every right to be. But you have to under what is happening,” he told her.
Lisa straightened up and stared at him. She waited for an explanation.
"This place we are in is neither reality or fantasy. It does not have a name. To be honest, I am not sure where it is other than somewhere between space and time. Maybe even somewhere beyond." He took a breath. "I have been here for a long time. Ever since I left you that morning. This place," he gestured around the office. "It is my prison."
“Prison?” Lisa asked. Her mind flashed back to Tartarus and the golden chains that entrapped Drasil. “Who would want to capture you?”
“I am not sure. But I can sense a powerful presence out there in the void. It is keeping me here.”
“What about my dreams of you?”
"I have only been able to communicate with you in your dreams because you too were beyond time and space but I couldn't until you were in a world of magic. That magic allowed me to connect with you."
Every answer he gave her raised a hundred more questions until Lisa’s head was buzzing with them. One thing she knew for sure, was that her father was alive and he was connecting to her without her fully realizing it. Scrunching up her eyebrows, she looked at in his eyes. The same eyes that looked at her with so much love. She knew another thing for sure, she was going to get him out of here.
Standing up she said, "Let's get out of here." She moved past him and grabbed his arm. She pulled him to the door, but he would not budge from the spot. "Daddy, come on. We have to go. I don't how, but we'll get back home. I'll take you there myself."
He smiled at her. It was the same look a parent gives a child when they gush over something mundane but think it is the most exciting thing in the world. He knew something that she didn't.
“I can’t go, Lisa. I told you that this is my prison. The only reason you found me is because it wanted you too.”
Lisa shook her head refusing to believe that. This was fate. She was supposed to find him so she could bring him home. All she wanted for so long was for him to return to her. Now he was telling her that after all this time, it was for nothing.
“I can’t leave you. I won’t,” she said sternly.
“I am so proud of you,” he said and walked towards her. He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. The same way he did the day he left.
“Daddy, please.” Her heart felt like it was being ripped in two. She wanted to say more but was interrupted by violent shaking. Everything in the office shook. Books fell off the shelves and landed on the floor. The pictures danced on the wall but thankfully stayed. The window sounded like it could break at any moment.
“What’s going on?” Lisa asked.
Lisa’s father looked at the door like he was seeing it for the first time. He grabbed her shoulders and pushed her towards it. As they neared, it opened on its own. “Listen to me. There will be a time when you will be able to find me again. But now is not the time. It is coming. I want you to run and don’t look back.”
"Daddy," Lisa cried and planted her feet, but it was like she weighed nothing. She could not stop herself from being shoved out of the room.
Her legs were out the door when he bent down and whispered, "I love you, Lisa. Be safe." With one final push, Lisa was ejected from the office. Her shoulder hit the ground with a heavy thud. She propped herself up just in time to see the door close. Jumping up, she rushed to the door and banged on it as hard as she could. She screamed and yelled, but there was no response. The doorknob would no longer turn.
"Daddy!" she cried as she banged on the wood. Her legs gave out beneath her, and she slumped down. She leaned against the door and closed her eyes. A second later she felt herself fall backward. Thankfully, she caught herself before hitting the ground, but the door was gone. It was like it was never there. Looking around, Lisa saw the endless nothingness around her. Once again she was alone.

***

Nick stood there awkwardly feeling the eyes of the animals watching his every movement. Even though he was the primary predator among them, he felt a lot like prey. Maybe this was a mistake, he thought. He just barged into a stranger's house because he had a dream about a girl. They were talking about her sure, but he probably should have knocked at least.
His mind was whirling with thoughts of how he was going to get out of this. The door was still open and less than three steps behind him. He could quickly turn around and walk away. This could be chalked up to an embarrassing incident that would be forgotten about by the end of the weekend. Why was he such an idiot?
Nick shifted his leg slightly, and one of the weasels stood up in the recliner. He was a thin thing with brown fur from the neck down and white fur covering his head except for a single brown stripe across his eyes. A red collar was around his neck. The look he was giving gave Nick the sense that this weasel was in charge. He the radiated confidence of someone who was usually the boss and liked ordering people around. Nick had worked enough part-time jobs to recognize the type.
"Who are you and what are you doing in my house?" he asked. He jumped down from the chair ignoring the worried look the other weasel was giving him.
His house? Nick looked around the room. It looked like any other living room one would see in a middle-income house. How could a weasel own his own home?
Then it clicked. Nick remembered what he read about the Milton's or more specifically the Milton ferrets. This was one of them. The ferret strolled over until he was only a few feet from Nick. He looked up at the wolf without a single ounce of fear on his face. Nick was impressed. Usually, when small animals saw him, they ran for their lives. Money really did change people.
“Well, I’m waiting,” he said tapping one foot.
“Um…” Nick started to say.
“Wait.” One of the dogs spoke. The brownish one stood up on the couch. “You said your name was Nick Powell. Like the author of “White Fox.” That Nick Powell?”
"Yeah, that's me," Nick said. "I wrote the book."
The dog howled excitedly. He jumped over the couch and ran over to Nick nearly knocking the ferret over. He stopped only when he was so close that Nick could smell what the dog had for dinner the night before. Usually, that would not be a big deal for Nick's nose, but it was very strong.
"This is so great." The dog bounced up and down excitedly. His tail was wagging so hard that Nick was afraid it would fly off. "I have so many questions like who is the mysterious Malcolm Farefold? What was the significance of Mark of the Seven Suns? What is Todd’s home life like because we never see him on Earth really?”
The dog probably could have kept going, but he was stopped by the purple cat that Nick followed in. She moved over to the dog and pulled him away. She shot Nick a skeptical look. The rest of the animals moved closer to get a better look. All except the fox and the other weasel who was watching from a distance, their faces unreadable.
The purple cat spoke first, “There is no way you’re really the author of “White Fox.” Nick Powell is human.”
“That doesn’t mean anything,” the black cat with the bell said. “Res wrote Pridelands even though he let his owner take the credit.”
“Wait, what?”
“That’s different,” the purple cat said. “Different for reasons I will come up with later.”
“I don’t care who wrote what,” the ferret shouted. “I want you out of my house. I did not move out of my mansion for strange wolves to barge in whenever they want. If I wanted that I would have stayed with the others.”
Nick’s head began to hurt. None of these animals were making any sense. “Will you all shut up!” he shouted. A vicious growl erupted from his throat as his lips bent back revealing his teeth. They all took several steps back.
"Sorry, but I can't deal with all of you at once. Yes, I am the author of "White Fox," but that's not why I'm here."
“You said you can help us,” the fox spoke this time. Nick recognized the voice from the one he heard through the door. “Do you know where Lisa is?”
Nick could hear the skepticism in the fox's voice, but there was something else. Desperation. This fox was desperate to find her. His eyes flashed a brilliant red. The fox moved closer and studied Nick. He could feel the fox's eyes take in every part of him. It was like he was looking into Nick's soul. He felt very naked even with the jacket and collar.
"You are not a real wolf," the fox said, but it was not a question rather a statement of fact. How did he know, Nick wondered? "I can sense the power of nature magic around you. Pan's if I'm not mistaken."
“Wait.” The Pomeranian moved next to the fox. “This wolf was once human like King.”
“I believe so.” The fox did not take his eyes off Nick. “His fate has been distorted by the magic. Pan is a tricky one as usual.”
“Back up a minute,” Nick said raising his paws. “Who is Pan?”
“Pan is a nature god. Lord of the wild. A satyr. Part goat and part man.”
Nick remembered the spring. The strange creature was sitting on the rocks. He had hooves and horns. Could that have been Pan? "There was someone like that at the spring."
“Did he have a set of pipes around his neck.”
Nick remember something hanging from the satyr’s neck. They could be considered pipes although how anyone would play them was beyond him. “Yes, he did.”
The fox smiled showing off all his teeth. Nick felt uncomfortable seeing that. “That was Pan alright.” He laughed. “You said spring right. I know what happened. You must have stumbled on one of his sacred springs. No humans allowed. Let me guess, you drank the water despite the warnings not too?”
Nick felt very warm. His was sure he was blushing. “Yes,” he muttered and looked away. The thought of turning tail and leaving was looking better. Maybe if he hurried, he could get back to the hotel before Becky woke up.
“Excuse me, but I think we got off topic here,” the other black cat spoke. “Kitsune, you were telling us that you had a plan to find Lisa.”
“Actually, I was saying I did not have a plan and that we would come up with one. But I believe that will no longer be necessary. Our new friend here is just what we need to find her.”
“I find that hard to believe,” the Pomeranian said.
“Why is that, Tarot?” the brown dog asked.
“Because Peanut, how is this wolf supposed to help us,” Tarot said. “Even if he was human once that does not give him special powers. Nothing I found on the astral web said anything about where Lisa could be or even if she is still alive.”
“We know she’s alive. Kitsune told us that Cerberus spoke with the others and no one saw Lisa cross over into the afterlife. She has to be out there somewhere,” the female black cat said.
“I believe that she is still alive,” the purple cat said. “Someone like her doesn’t just die that easily.
“That’s the spirit, Grape,” Peanut exclaimed.
“This is all touching but can we move this along?” the ferret said again looking more irritated by the second. “Breel and I have plans for this morning. I allowed this meeting because I want to find Lisa as much as the rest of you. But unless we have a solid plan or lead, I don't know what we're doing here."
“Keene does have a point,” the female black cat said. She looked up at Nick. “How do you know where Lisa is?”
Nick was suddenly exhausted. After so many years with only Becky and Cody to talk to, he was not used to being around so many different conflicting ideas. “Let’s sit down.”
“Good idea,” Kitsune said and rubbed his paws together. With a snap of his fingers, several folding chairs appeared in the room. The front door closed behind Nick cutting off his escape. The animals set back down where they were before while Nick and Kitsune sat in the folding chairs. Nick wanted to ask how he did that but considering everything else that was happening, he figured it was not important.
"Here is what I know," Nick began. He told them about the dreams of Lisa and the white void she found herself in. He said to them that he had been having them for a few weeks now. They were getting more vivid, and she was beginning to talk to him. When he finished, they all looked at him with intense interest.
Kitsune shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He was scowling at the floor lost in thought.
Tarot was the first to speak after Nick finished, “Kitsune, you know something, don't you? Are you going to tell the rest of us?"
Kitsune grimaced. He eyed Nick for a moment before turning his attention to the rest of them. “She’s in the Void.”
Everyone one in the room gasped at once except Nick. “What’s that?”
"I don't know, but it sounds dangerous," Peanut said.
“It is very dangerous. The Void is an infinite space of nothing. The Gods will occasionally go there and have special pockets within the space that we created to be alone.”
“I know about this,” the black cat with the bell said suddenly.
“How do you know that Max?” the purple cat said.
“Remember when we went to Gallifrax and Dragon got upset. I found myself in this white space, and there was a door that led me into her bedroom."
“Was that before or after you started crying and yelling about your feelings?” the purple cat said with a small grin on her face.
Max was not amused. "Oh haha, Grape. I know what it sounds like, but it's true."
“Max is right about Dragon, but that is not important," Kitsune said. “As I said the Void is infinite. We can navigate it up to a point by leaving anchors in space/time. That is how we know where we are and where anything we leave behind is. Getting in and out is not the problem but finding something or someone will be.
“It’s a lead at least. We know more now than we did five minutes ago,” Tarot said. “We have to go there and get her out.”
“How do we do that?” Peanut said. “Do you or Sabrina have any ideas?
 Nick assumed the other black cat was Sabrina. He was finally able to put names to faces. Everyone exchanged glances with each other until they were all staring back at him. He shifted in his chair. He did not like being the center of attention. Here he was being watched like an animal in the zoo.
"The answer lies with him," Kitsune said. “You are connected to Lisa. I don’t know how but if we are going to find her then we have to go to the Void ourselves.”
He stood up and snapped his fingers. The front door opened up, but instead of revealing the neighborhood all that was outside was an infinite expanse of nothingness. Everyone looked on in stunned silence. Nick felt instantly uncomfortable like he stepped foot in a foot of sharks wearing nothing but a necklace of bloody sausages around his neck. He cast his eyes over the others and wondered how he got himself into this. He wanted to help Lisa, but this was far beyond what he was expecting. He stared at Kitsune who was eyeing the doorway with such intensity that Nick was not sure whether or not Kitsune would wait before charging head first into the void. At least no one was expecting him to go save her himself. He told them where she was so that must be good enough.
Kitsune clapped his paws together and gave Nick a toothy grin. “Ready to go?”
Nick's jaw dropped. He looked at the doorway then over at Kitsune then back again. He could not be serious. From the look Kitsune was giving him, Nick was not sure if the fox was serious about anything. There was a playful glint in his eyes of someone who found amusement in the most unlikely places.
“You want me to go in there,” Nick said pointing into the void.
“You are the only one who has had contact with Lisa in over two months. Plus, you’ve been there before.”
“Yeah, in my dreams,” Nick said. He wanted to say “and in yours if you think I’m stepping one foot in there,” but thought better of it.
Kitsune ignored him. He turned to the others and started barking out orders. "This is a rescue mission, everyone. I need a group of capable animals coming with us. Peanut, Sabrina, and Max."
“Wait, why me?” Max asked. He shifted uncomfortably on the couch. “I am the last one you want to go with you.”
“That is an odd selection Kitsune,” Tarot told him. “You already said that there is nothing in the void so why do you need our help?”
"The void is infinite, and I cannot locate Lisa even with my powers. I will need several pairs of eyes. I need you to stay here and keep watch over the doorway. Make sure it does not close."
“Why what happens if it closes?” Max asked.
“I’ll have to open a new one,” Kitsune said.
Everyone in the room collectively rolled their eyes at once including Nick. Kitsune continued, "But in case something happens to me, and I cannot open another then we will need this one."
Nick did not like the sound of that. He studied Kitsune for a heartbeat. He knew the fox was hiding something. He could just tell. Turning to face the doorway, Nick could almost sense that this mission would not be as easy as he hoped. The infinite whiteness was so surreal like looking into two mirrors reflecting each other. It was disorienting, but you could not look away.
A paw grasped his shoulder. Kitsune stepped beside him. Nick could feel an unnatural warmth radiating from Kitsune’s body. It was not unpleasant more like Nick was laying in the sun on the beach. “Are you ready to do this?”
“I guess I have no choice,” Nick said. Kitsune walked ahead of him with Nick right behind.
“Wait a minute,” Tarot shouted. “Are you just going in there with no plan or preparation?”
"The longer we wait, the more the void could irritably harm Lisa. Mortals aren't meant to spend a prolonged time in the void. She's been there for two months. Mortals have been driven mad by the void and staring at nothing but nothing for prolonged periods of time."
Nick remembered reading a story by Stephen King once about a situation just like this. A machine had the power to teleport people, but you had to be asleep for it to work. If you weren't then you would spend an eternity staring at endless nothingness. One boy did just that, and when he came out the other side, he was driven so mad that he clawed out his eyes. Nick shook his head trying to dislodge the feeling of dread bubbling in his stomach. That was the last thing he needed to think about right now.
Kitsune stepped through the doorway. Nick was right behind him. When he first stepped on the other side, he was amazed to find that it was solid even though it did not look like there was a floor or "ground." Sabrina and Peanut were right behind them. Max hesitated at the doorway. He stuck his head out and looked around. He waved his paw in the air before slowly inching across the threshold. When they were all successfully in the void, they began walking.
It was an hour before someone asked the obvious question. “How are we supposed to find her? You haven’t told us that part, Kitsune,” Sabrina said.
“That is a good question,” Kitsune said with a shrug. He turned to Nick. “Well, how do we find her?”
Nick clutched his paws together fighting the urge to strangle the fox. How was he supposed to know that? He was following him thinking that the all-knowing Kitsune had the answers. Mainly since he was the one who recklessly charged in without stopping to come up with a strategy.
"You expect me to know," Nick said. "I have no idea where she is. In my dreams, I always popped up near her. She could be anywhere.”
“You mean we have no idea where we’re going,” Max said. He slumped to the ground and wrapped his tail around his legs. He placed his head in his paws and tried to control his breathing.
Sabrina looked like she wanted to say something comforting but held herself back. Peanut turned around in a circle with his hand over his eyes. His tail wagged excitedly like he was having a blast exploring nothing.
“You must have some kind of idea. What about these dreams? Dreams have been known to be powerful messages of foreshadowing. There may be a clue somewhere that you haven’t noticed.”
Nick did not want to think about the dreams. Whenever he did, he could see Becky locked in that room with the monster guarding her. The idea that might be foreshadowing some horrible future made his knees weak. Then something in his head clicked.
"There was one thing. Before I saw Lisa, I had a different dream." Nick told the others about the dream but left out most of the details. "Then she started speaking in this deep throaty voice. She said…she said…hang on I wrote it down."
Nick pulled out his phone and opened the notes app. Luckily he put the verse in the notes app on his computer, so it synced to his phone. "Here it is. It was strange. It's all in rhyme like a poem."
“What!?” The others shouted at once. Nick took a step back pressing the phone to his chest.
“Yeah, it rhymes. So what?”
"It could be a prophecy," Sabrina said. "Tarot gave a prophecy a few months ago. Not long before Lisa vanished. This could be exactly what we need to find her."
“What does it say?” Kitsune asked.
Nick read the prophecy out loud. "Light the way to lover's arms. From the shadows of forgiveness, there will be no harm. Feelings born from across the reaches of time and space will guide the way through the empty place. Scorn comes from the words left unsaid. The dreams and truths emerge from the queen's head. The heir will speak to the father's pride. The Atlas of the stars will then be your guide. Four havens of stone, fire, ice, and wind. The magic lost will be the final end. Heart in hand she will illuminate a past hidden. Only to discover the secret of darkness kept forbidden. One becomes two, two becomes one. Only the knight can finish what has begun. The wolf will howl with his last breath. A hero's sacrifice will spare the heavens' death."
He waited for a response but got none. The others mouthed the words of the prophecy except for Max who was busy examining his claws. He acted like he did not hear it at all. Or at least did not care in the least.
“Heavens’ death,” Kitsune whispered. Nodding, he looked up at Nick and spoke, “Light the way to lover’s arms. I think that is what is important for right now. The rest can wait.”
"How is that supposed to help us?" Sabrina asked. "I know you two were a "couple," she said it in a way that made Nick think there was more to the story than he knew, "but lovers is a stretch."
“It does not have to be perfect. Prophecies rarely are. I have faith that this is what we are supposed to do.”
“That’s great and all but again how is any of this supposed to help us?” Max asked. “Look around. Everything is white. Light is everywhere.”
“Not really,” Peanut said. “There does not seem to be light as much as we just see everything without really seeing it.”
“How does that make sense?” Max shouted.
Nick was about to ask that too. He was growing increasingly frustrated with every passing second. He could be home in his cozy cabin watching TV or back in the hotel with Becky. Instead, he was in a realm of nothingness with a bunch of annoying loudmouth pets. His wolf instinct wanted to crush their bones in his jaws. He forced down the urge and tried to relax. Control was what he needed, but it was something that was hard to obtain. His biggest fear was that one day he would get upset and attack someone. If that happened, then everything he worked so hard to keep hold of would vanish instantly.
Kitsune’s eyes flashed a brilliant red. "This is not a riddle." He turned to Nick. "You received the prophecy, so this is up to you. You have to be the light that guides us to her."
Nick relaxed his features, trying to keep his growing urges down and chained up inside him. He crossed his arms and gave the fox a skeptical look. “How do you suggest I do that?”
Sabrina was the one to answer. “I guess all you have to is cast it.”
Nick threw his arms in the air. “Is that all?” He held out his paw and said with the most sarcasm he could muster, “That sounds so easy. Okay, so all I have to do is go like this and cast light.”
If he was going to continue his rant, he never got the chance. As soon as he said the words his paw glowed with a brilliant burst of light. It started low but grew brighter and brighter until a beam shot from his paw and sailed off into the distance. He moved his arm, but the ray of light kept pointing in the same direction. His mind was a storm of questions and flashes of consciousness. Kitsune nodded with a look of pure amusement on his face most likely trying to hide his laughter that was threatening to burst out from seeing the stunned look on Nick’s face. The others were so sincere. Sabrina chuckled with her paws over her face while Peanut had a goofy grin on his face. Max was the only one who was not impressed by Nick’s magic trick.
Kitsune pointed into the distance where the light was aiming. “Let’s go everyone.”
They wasted no time racing to the end of the light beam. It was surprising far, Nick realized as his arm grew tired from holding it out in front of him. He had no idea how long they had been running. Kitsune seemed to have limitless energy. The others not so much. Max had fallen far behind them, and Sabrina was not too far from collapsing. Peanut looked to be keeping up, but Nick could hear the dog breathing heavily.
Luckily for them, something appeared in the distance. In the infinite nothingness, it was hard to tell just how far away it was but it was easily spotted. The light faded as they neared whatever it was. Soon it had vanished, and Nick let his arm drop. It hung limply from his shoulder.
“Lisa!” Kitsune shouted. The figure came into view. It was definitely the girl from Nick’s dream. Everything was still the same as when he last saw her a few nights before. The blonde hair tied in a ponytail, the pink tank top, and shorts. But there was something off about her. She stood slowly and squinted at them like she was not sure what she was seeing. As Kitsune rushed towards her, she tensed like he was a threat. Kitsune slowed down apparently sensing her uncertainty.
"Lisa, it's me. It's us. We're here to take you home," he said. He smiled at her showing off all his teeth. It still creeped Nick out, but it had the opposite effect on Lisa. Her eyes widened, and after a moment of hesitation, she rushed towards him.
Lisa threw herself at him and wrapped her arms around his neck. Kitsune embraced her tightly as she dug her face into his fur. Nick could not help but smile at the heartfelt reunion. Seeing them together suddenly made the entire ordeal worthwhile. He turned as the others walked over to them. Peanut’s tail was wagging enthusiastically. He was obviously holding himself back from charging in and joining the hug. Sabrina and Max had smiles plastered on their faces as well but were containing their happiness better than Peanut.
Nick sniffed the air. There was a strange odor all of a sudden. He faced Kitsune and Lisa. There was something wrong. It smelled like decay and ash. They were the same scents from his dream. Lisa lifted her face from Kitsune’s fur and turned to the others. She yelped and moved to them. Nick stepped aside as she brushed by him. She embraced Peanut first followed by Sabrina and Max. They exchanged greetings of “Oh my god, it is so good to see you again,” and “I missed you so much.”
When they were done, she turned to Nick. She gave him a questionable look before recognition appeared on her face. "It's you. I thought you were just a figment of my imagination. You actually brought them here."
Nick nodded. “My name’s Nick Powell.”
“Thank you,” she said. Her eyes dimmed. There was a flicker of movement on her face like she was struck by something from behind. She fell forward but before she hit the ground Kitsune ran over and caught her.
“Lisa!” They all said at once. “What’s wrong? Look at me.” Kitsune examined her but could not find any source of why she suddenly collapsed.
Nick leaned over and tried to help. From all appearances, she was completely healthy despite two months of no food or water. There was something off though. Something you wouldn't notice unless you looked at her carefully. Her skin had a latex appearance and was very pale. Her hair was brittle and dry. Nick touched her arm but instantly drew back. She was so cold like a corpse.
“What’s wrong with her?” Sabrina asked.
Nick knew the answer. "She's dying." The others looked at him, startled. "Can't you smell it?" Their expressions gave told him that they couldn't. Made sense. He had a better sense of smell than all of them including Peanut.
“We need to get her out of here,” Kitsune said. He picked her up and cradled her in his arms. She did not move or even twitch as she was lifted up. “She’s been in here too long. Seeing us must have drained what little energy she had left."
“Well, just snap your fingers and open another door,” Max told him.
Kitsune raised his paw and snapped his fingers. Everyone waited for something to happen, but nothing appeared. No door or portal or anything kind of exit. Nick glanced around expecting something to appear, but there was nothing.
“Should something be happening?” Nick asked.
“That’s not good,” Kitsune said.
"You can say that again," Sabrina said. She pointed at something in the distance and screamed. "What's that?"
Nick turned and saw what she was pointing at. He instantly wished he hadn’t. Coming towards them was a black cloud of smoke or dust. Nick had seen sandstorms on National Geographic. This was similar but more malevolent. It almost seemed alive like it knew they were there and was going after them.
“Run. Now!” Kitsune screamed. He ran off without waiting for the others. They did not waste any time before sprinting back the way they came.
Nick did the worst thing possible and looked behind them. The black cloud was getting closer. They could not outrun it. It was going to swallow them, and Nick did not want to think what would happen if it did.
"You're a god!" Max shouted between breaths. "You're all-powerful can't you do something."
Nick drew his brows together. Was Kitsune a god? He stored that bit of information away for a time when they were not about to die.
"The void is interfering with my powers. It does not want to let Lisa or the rest of us leave."
The way he talked about the void made it sound like it was alive. Nick looked behind him again. The black cloud looked more like a tsunami speeding towards them Any second it would crash on top of them, and they would drown in the darkness. Thinking about it made Nick think it really was alive. Kitsune left out that bit of information.
“I think I have an idea.” Kitsune snapped his fingers. They disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Nick opened his eyes and looked around. They were away from the smoke cloud but still in the void. He pricked his ears and listened for anything that could be a threat. All he could hear was the sound of heavy breathing coming from the animals. Lisa's breath was fading. She did not have much time. The excitement was killing her faster now. Kitsune could sense it too. He held her tighter against his chest.
“Are we safe,” Peanut asked.
The fur on the back of Nick’s neck stood up. He turned and could see the cloud of smoke moving towards them. It was coming from a different direction than before. Worse was it was coming from multiple directions at once like it was trying to trap them.
“Run. Run!” Nick screamed and took off. Kitsune and the others were not far behind him. He had never run so fast or so much in his life. If he were still human, he would have collapsed from exhaustion long before now. This was one of the few moments he was thankful to be a wolf. His endurance was much greater than humans.
“Look for the doorway,” Kitsune shouted.
Nick did as he was told. He looked around for the glowing portal, but there was nothing around except whiteness and the ever-encroaching black cloud. He tried to listen for the voices of the animals back in the house hoping that they were loud enough to hear from here. But that too was useless. Never in his life had he been so scared.
“There it is! I see it!” Max shouted. He pointed at a small speck of light in the distance. Nick could have hugged the cat. They all turned and moved towards the speck.
As they grew closer, the speck grew into a spark and then into a doorway small enough for a mouse. The black cloud could apparently see it too because it was moving towards it as well. With a jolt, Nick realized that cloud was going to try to cut them off from the doorway. If that happened, they were dead. They put on a burst of speed feet stomping on the ground as they flew. Nick pushed ahead of the rest of them. His long legs made it easier for them. He was so close. His pulse started to beat harder inside his neck. With a quick look, he checked on the others progress. They were not going to make it. The cloud was gaining on Max and Sabrina. They were smaller than the others, and Max especially was not in the best shape.
Cursing himself, Nick slowed down just enough so he was running beside Max and Sabrina. With two swoops of his arms, he grabbed them both and tucked them under his arms before sprinting back towards the gateway. Kitsune was the first to cross the threshold. Peanut was not far behind him. The dog dived bombed into the living room. The cloud was so close that Nick could feel it's presence nipping his tail. Max screamed that they were not going to make it. Nick was not about to die like this. His mind flashed to Becky probably waking up at that moment wondering where he was. She needed him, and he needed her. He loved her too much to die like this.
Nick twisted his body and threw the cats through the doorway. Sabrina landed elegantly on four feet while Max face planted into the carpet. When Nick was only a few feet away, he slid towards the door like a baseball player sliding towards home plate. He crossed back into reality and with one swift kick slammed the door shut seconds before the smoke reached them.
He collapsed on the floor, panting heavily. The adrenaline was wearing off, and he felt like he could sleep for a month. He tilted his head backward and watched as Kitsune laid Lisa on the couch. He barked orders at the rest of the pets to get her some food and water. They did not waste time before moving to the kitchen. The rest stood around Lisa gaping like she was some rare treasure.
Kitsune looked away from Lisa and smiled at Nick. “Thank you.”
Nick raised his shaking arm and gave a thumbs up before passing out.
When Nick woke up, the first thing he noticed was that he was laying in something very soft. He felt around his body and could feel a leather cushion supporting his entire body. His eyes opened slowly and as they adjusted to the glaring overhead light. The rest of the animals were huddled around Lisa who was sitting up and talking. She had a blanket wrapped around her and a bottle of water in her hand. No one paid any attention to him which was just fine. He did what he set out to do. His body ached all over, but he was happy. Nick closed his eyes and listened to the conversation between Lisa and the others.
“I can tell that you all are hiding something from me,” Lisa said. “Where’s Rowan?”
Even without seeing it, Nick could feel the tension in the room spike. He could imagine the faces and awkward glances they were exchanging with one another. Rowan was the guy she kept calling for, Nick thought. What is going on?
"Lisa, when you disappeared," Tarot said. "Something happened. It affected us all, but Rowan was hit the hardest."
“What do you mean? Did he go back home?” Lisa asked. Nick could hear the sadness creep into her voice.
“We don’t know. After we came back from Tartarus Rowan was changed. We don’t know how or what it means. He just vanished.”
“What do you mean changed?”
They told her what he said and what he looked like. Lisa gasped and whimpered. Nick opened his eyes again and saw her heartbroken expression. Tears rolled down her cheeks as everything she once knew was gone.

***

Nick stood outside the house while everyone continued to watch over Lisa. He figured it would be better if she were allowed to rest in private, but the rest did not think the same. It did not matter to him. His mind was on something else. There was something he had not stopped thinking about since he got out of the void. A buzzing sound came from his pocket. He reached down and pulled out his phone. "Becky" flashed on the screen as her ringtone rang out disrupting the tranquility of the neighborhood.
Nick knew this was coming. He pressed the answer button and raised the phone to his ear. “Hello there.”
"Where are you?" Becky shouted. "I woke up, and your bed was empty. You know you're not supposed to wander off without me. What if animal control caught you?" Nick listened and waited until she was finished scolding him.
“Some things have happened. It’s hard to explain. I need a favor. I’m going to stay here in Babylon Gardens for a while.”
“What?”
Nick thought of a way to explain the situation without getting her hopes up. "Yeah, I talked it over with Keene Milton. He agreed to let me stay in his mansion as long I work on the novel. Apparently, they really are desperate to have it completed. I told them I would have the entire thing finished and ready for publishing by the end of the year."
“Nick that’s only three and a half months. It took you longer than that to write the last few chapters,” she reminded him.
"I know I can do this." He looked back at the door behind him. On the other side as the one person who could help him. At this point, he would do or promise anything if it meant getting what he wanted. "Do you trust me?"
Nick heard her draw a deep breath. “I do trust you. I just hope you know what you are doing.”
He paused before saying, “I love you, Becky. You know I would do anything for you. For us.”
“I know Nick.” She lowered her voice, “I love you too.” With that, she hung up on him. Nick slid his phone back in the pocket. The way she said it made Nick think she was lying. It didn't matter. If his plan worked, then she would definitely love him again.

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Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:43 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Working on Chapter 4 of Book 2 and got halfway through it but I've hit a snag. It's just not turning out the way I want it too.

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Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:15 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Maybe take a step back and look at the overall picture. It's not unheard of for some idea to need tweaking when writing something out.

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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Always Save the Day
Chapter 4: Everything is Normal?
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Lisa

What is normal? There was a time I thought I knew the answer. That was before I came to live in a world that I once believed was just a webcomic. Before a malevolent god tried to use my friends and me as part of his scheme to escape his eternal prison. A time before I became a celestial goddess and sacrificed myself to stop him. There was a time when I was not trapped in an infinite realm of nothingness and my friends had to come to save me. So many things have happened to me. Right now, I'm back to living in the Milton Manor, home of the billionaire ferrets. Staying with me is a bestselling author who is also a wolf who was once human. Things change, and this is the new normal. There is one thing that I cannot accept as normal. Rowan is gone. When I disappeared after the battle with Drasil, he changed and then vanished. No one has seen him for two months. I can't help but fear that whatever happened to him is going to affect us all.

The lights cast an eerie glow on the dance floor. Crowds of teenagers moved back and forth in perfect choreographed movements. Lisa looked around for something familiar. Where was she? She looked down and realized she was wearing a sparkling blue dress. Her prom dress? This wasn't her prom, but it did seem so familiar to her. The DJ stopped the music and as if on cue, everyone on the dance floor stopped. They looked at him as he tapped on his computer. The music began again, but this time it was slower, sadder.
I am not the only traveler
Who has not repaid his debt
I've been searching for a trail to follow again
Take me back to the night we met
And then I can tell myself
What the hell I'm supposed to do
And then I can tell myself
Not to ride along with you

 “Can I have this dance?”
Lisa turned around to see who spoke. Standing behind her wearing a crisp tuxedo was Rowan. His ordinarily messy hair was brushed as it glinted I the fluorescent lights of the gym. He held out his hand waiting for her to take it.
Lisa felt like her heart was about to explode. Since she returned from the void, everyone had try to hide the fact that Rowan was gone. Kitsune told her about what he said before he left. She knew that there was a darkness within him. But the Rowan standing before her now had none of that darkness. All she could see was light. This was her Rowan. The best friend who stood by her side during even the worse days of her life.
“Rowan, I…” She didn’t finish the thought. Her hand intertwined with his and they slowly moved to the center of the dance floor. The crowds parted to let them through. No one watched them as they moved in perfect rhythm to the music. That was fine with her. She did not want an audience for this.
I had all and then most of you
Some and now none of you
Take me back to the night we met
I don't know what I'm supposed to do
Haunted by the ghost of you
Oh, take me back to the night we met

 "I've missed you," Rowan said softly. His voice barely audible over the sound of a hit song. Lisa wondered if she was even supposed to hear it.
"Rowan, I don't understand. Where did you go? The others…they told me." Lisa tried to speak, but the words would not come out. It was like they were trapped in her throat. Did she not want to know the answer?
Rowan pulled her closer to his chest. Despite all the years they’ve known each other, they never had a moment like this. Lisa thought back to when she met him. He was just a kid in her eyes. An eighteen-year-old kid being picked on by some bullies. She felt the immediate urge to protect him like he was some abandoned puppy. Looking at him now, that kid was now a man. She looked at his eyes as they glowed in the pale blue light reflected off her dress.
“Do you recognize this?” he asked her.
Lisa turned her head and looked around. It was so familiar. A high school dance but it was not her high school. That song…
When the night was full of terror
And your eyes were filled with tears
When you had not touched me yet
Oh, take me back to the night we met

 “Is this the dance from “Thirteen Reasons Why?” Lisa asked. “Why are we here?”
Rowan's smiled faded. He pushed her away from his body. Lisa tumbled slightly before regaining her balance in her high heels. The other people were gone. The music still played but the tone changed becoming sharper like nails on a chalkboard. A shadow passed over Rowan's face. Lisa looked up to see that the lights were going out one by one.
“Why?” Rowan asked. “Why did you leave?”
That was a question that Lisa wanted to ask him. "I had to do it. I did it to save you. To save everyone." She clenched her fist. "Where did you go, Rowan? I should be asking you where you went." In her head, she asked, "Why weren't you there to save me?"
"I'm sorry," Rowan whispered. Lisa could not see his face anymore. Shadows were obscuring his entire head. "This is the only way."
“The only way to do what?” Lisa shouted. “Rowan, talk to me. Tell me what’s going on.” She gestured around the gym with a wave of her arm. “Why are we here?”
The music grew louder.
I had all then most of you
Some and now none of you
Take me back to the night we met
I don't know what I'm supposed to do
Haunted by the ghost of you
Take me back to the night we met

"Rowan, please. Talk to me!" Lisa screamed, but her voice was drowned out by the song. She covered her ears to block it out, but it was like it was being played directly into her brain. The lights came back on all at once. It was so bright that she had to squeeze her eyes shut to avoid being blinded.
“You want to know why,” Rowan said.
The music suddenly stopped. Lisa wanted to open her eyes, but something held her back like she was too afraid of what she might see. Slowly, she removed her hands from her ears. Footsteps moved closer to her.
“You are the reason why. That is the one and only reason. I did this because it seemed the most fitting. I wanted to show what happens to those you leave behind.”
“Rowan,” she said and opened her eyes. He was standing directly in front of her. “I don’t understand.”
She looked at his face, and a scream got caught in her throat. His face was the same, but part of his face was completely black like it had been burned. Scorch marks surrounded his left eye and stretched to his ear. The eye was the worse. The pupil had grown gigantic, taking up most of the eyeball and surrounding it was a glowing ring of gold. It emitted an unnatural glow that reeked of malice and hatred.
He grabbed her shoulders, his iron-tight grip digging into her flesh. She wanted to move away and escape, but she was frozen. When he spoke, his voice was like ice. Harsh, deep, and so cold. "You left me."

***

Lisa woke up and glanced around the room. The lamp next to her bed was on the lowest setting casting a pale light around her room. Everything was the same as the day she left for Tartarus. The Milton’s had not touched a thing despite not knowing if she was ever coming back. Not even a speck of dust settled while she was gone.
Her body felt so cold despite the warmth of the thick covers surrounding her body. It was one of the things she requested when she returned to the mansion. That and a light that she could keep on all night without being too bright. She could not sleep in total darkness. After spending two months in a realm of nothing, she had to be able to see everything.
Her arms automatically moved to her shoulders. Lisa could still feel where Rowan gripped her. It was like his hands were still there. Only they weren't his hands because that was not Rowan. She did not know who or what that was, but it was not the boy she spent the last four years with.
She checked her phone. 3:33 a.m. Her head was aching as she slid out of bed. There was something she needed to see. She opened her bedroom door and slowly moved down the hall. The bedroom beside her was closed. There was a light coming from beneath it which told her that the occupant was awake despite the late hour.
Knocking on the door, Lisa waited. She could hear someone moving towards her on the other side. Her heart began beating in anticipation. Was it all a dream?
The door opened and stood there with a confused look on his face was a large dark grey wolf.
“Lisa? What is it? You know it’s the middle of the night, right?” Nick asked.
Lisa tried to hide her disappointment. Of course, it was Nick. The Milton's agreed to let him stay in the mansion while he worked on his novel. They gave him Rowan's room since he was no longer there to occupy it.
She looked at him, trying to think of an excuse for why she disturbed him. Even though he led the mission to save her from the void, she knew nothing about him other than what the others told her. He was wearing a t-shirt and pajama pants. It took her a second to remember that Nick was not a real wolf. The god Pan turned him into a wolf after Nick drank from his spring. He had lived in the woods with a cougar for the past four years while he wrote his first best-selling novel.
“I was hoping I could see Rowan’s things,” Lisa requested.
Nick gave her a skeptical look. “Now?” Without waiting for a real answer, Lisa barged past him. “Sure come on in,” he said not bothering to hide the annoyance in his voice.
Lisa scanned the room. Nick’s computer was open on the desk in the corner. A word document was still up. She walked over to it and read a few sentences. “You’re working on your book in the middle of the night?”
Nick walked over and slammed the lid shut. "I have to finish it by the end of the year. No better time to start than right now. It still needs some work before I can call it finished."
Lisa glanced at the dresser. A few shirts were sticking out of the top drawer. On top of the dresser was a framed picture of a happy couple. At first glance, someone might think it was the picture that came with the frame. However, Lisa knew better. She picked it up and held it out for Nick to see. "Is this you and Becky?"
Lisa knew that Nick was engaged to his publishing agent, Rebecca Goulding. They were supposed to be married, but when Nick was turned into a wolf, the wedding was put on hold. Nick nodded and tried to stop himself from knocking the picture out of her hand. She placed it back down on the dresser. The rest of the room was pretty boring. A suitcase stood in the corner, but nothing else in the room seemed to belong to him.
“What did you do with Rowan’s belongings?” Lisa thought back to when they first moved in. Rowan made no attempts to hide her personal touches to the room. He made it his own.
“If you mean the stuff that was already here when I got here, I put it all in the closet.” He pointed to the closet door on the other side of the room.
Lisa walked past him and moved toward the closet. Her hand hesitated over the handle. Steeling herself, she opened it up. Like Nick said all of Rowan's things were neatly stacked on top of each other. The entire closet was filled with a menagerie of Rowan's personal belongings. From his suitcases, clothes, and even his computer and tablet. The last remnants of him, unceremoniously hidden away. Lisa's heart hurt to look at it.
A small picture stuck out of the suitcase. She reached down and pulled it out. Seeing it almost made her collapse right there on the floor. It was the same picture she took with him and their college friends, Ashley and Jackson. Their smiling faces stared back at her.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” Nick said padding closer to her. “What was your deal with Rowan?”
Lisa stuck the picture in her pocket and turned to him. "What are you talking about? We didn't have a deal."
Nick raised an eyebrow at her. “Really?”
“He was my best friend for four years. I miss him, that’s all.” Even as she said it she didn’t believe herself and could tell Nick did not believe her.
Nick flashed a smile. "I don't have many friends who come barging into another person's room in the middle of the night to look at someone's stuff. Cody's my best friend, but I wouldn't go into his room even if you paid me."
Lisa quickly thought back. Cody was the cougar that was currently living with Nick in his cabin. It was a strange relationship, but everything about Nick's life was strange. Who was she to judge?
"Rowan and I are different. He's missing, and I need to find him," she said.
Nick crossed his arms and set on the bed. He did not take his eyes off her. “You’re dating Kitsune right?”
Lisa opened her mouth to say something but stopped herself. To be honest, she did not know what her and Kitsune's relationship was. He came to rescue her from the void and even before that they were getting close. However, she never called him her boyfriend. Could you also date a celestial fox god?
“I’m going to take your silence as you aren’t sure,” Nick said.
Lisa nodded glumly and set on the bed beside him. She folded her hands in her lap, not sure what else to do with them.
"Becky and I started dating in college. I was so nervous about asking her out. Even after I did, I was not sure where we were on the relationship scale. It wasn't until she called me her boyfriend I knew. That was when I knew I was going to marry her." His voice changed to a growl as he continued, "Before this happened." He held up his claw and examined it in the light.
“I don’t know if Kitsune considers us an item,” Lisa told him.
"I remember him saying you were his girlfriend back before we went into the void. I could be wrong, but that was at least the impression I got."
Lisa was speechless. Did he call her his girlfriend? More importantly, did she feel the same way? "Why are you telling me this?"
Nick sighed. "Because you have feelings for Rowan." Lisa was about to argue, but Nick cut her off. "You come in here to look through his things. Every time someone mentions his name you get this look in your eyes like your about to crawl into a ball and sob. And…" he hesitated. "When you were in the void, I kept dreaming about you. I had these dreams for weeks before coming to Babylon Gardens."
She knew about the dreams. They were the reason that Nick, Kitsune, and the others were able to find her. “I don’t remember much about being the void. It’s just figments and flashes now.” It was true. She was thankful for that. The last thing she wanted was to remember what it was like back there.
"Most of them were the same. You kept screaming for Kitsune and Rowan to come to save you." He turned to her. His dark eyes shone with a hidden secret. "But you always called Rowan the most. His name was the loudest and the strongest. I think deep down you wanted him to save you the most."
Lisa’s jaw dropped. It was like Nick handed her this bomb and told her to take care of it. She did not remember any of that. Her strongest memory was when Kitsune appeared in front of her. She remembered being so happy to see him but thinking about it now, was there a slight disappointment that Rowan was not there.
"I'm just saying." Nick shrugged. "Honestly, I don't know what you are Rowan was like. I just met you a day ago, and I don't know who Rowan is. I'm the last person to give relationship advice." He yawned showing off his massive teeth.
“I’ll leave you alone,” Lisa said standing up. “I need to get back to sleep and so do you.” She moved to the door but stopped. “Thanks. For letting me bother you.”
Lisa went back to her room. Behind her, she could hear Nick's door shut. She laid down on the bed and pulled out the picture from her pocket. Holding it up to the light, she kept staring at Rowan. Nick's words swam around her head like an angry piranha. She knew that he loved her. He told her that back in July. She said to him that she did not feel the same way and broke his heart. Now looking at the photo, she wondered if she had lied to him and herself.

***

Nick's phone rang in the pocket of his jeans. At first, he thought it was Becky checking on the progress of the novel. He had been living in Babylon Gardens for a few days now and made little progress. He still found himself slamming his head on the keyboard instead of typing on it. Thankfully, the ringtone was not Becky's. Unfortunately, it was Cody's. Nick got him one after the night the cougar got lost in town.
“What is it,” Nick said holding the phone to his ear.
“Well, good morning to you too, sunshine. Someone is a grumpy puppy today,” Cody said mockingly.
"What do you want, Cody?" Nick hated when Cody referred to him as some dog or animal. Cody knew how to get under his skin or fur depending on how you looked at it.
Nick walked down the sidewalk, ignoring the strange looks he was getting from the humans and pets he passed. Even after a week, people still looked at him like he was some savage creature. He tugged at the collar around his neck. It was embarrassing for him to have to wear it but as long as people kept thinking he was just a large dog; he was safe from animal control.
“Can’t a friend check in on another friend without some ulterior motive. I’ve missed you. This cabin is pretty lonely without you constantly moping around about your book or the curse.”
Nick rolled his eyes and bit back the urge to crush his phone in his paw. There was a slight sound coming from the background. If Nick did not have wolf’s hearing, then he may not have heard it at all. “Cody, what’s that sound?”
“What sound?” Cody asked too fast.
“That sound in the background.” Nick began to recognize it. He growled into the phone and said, “The one that sounds like a smoke alarm!”
“Oh, yeah. The smoke detector has been doing that for almost haft an hour now. I had to go outside because it was killing my ears. Quick question, how do you turn it off?”
“Did you set something on fire!?” Nick screamed. An elderly woman paused to stare at him from across the street. Nick kept walking, faster now. He was safely out of the neighborhood and on his way into the city.
"…No," Cody told him. "Okay, yes. I tried to reheat a pizza in the oven, and the box caught on fire."
"You tried to cook a pizza while it was still in the box?" Nick asked. He stopped dead in his tracks. His tail flicked back in forth in an angry manner. "You have lived there long enough to know that you don't do that. How could you be so stupid?"
“Hey, feelings,” Cody said pretending to be hurt by the insult. “Besides you never let me use the oven. You were the one who did the cooking that involved heat. The most you let me do was the microwave.”
“I seem to remember that you set a chocolate bar on fire the first time you used it because you did not bother to unwrap it. We had to get a new one.”
“That was on you for not telling me that tin foil catches on fire in the microwave,” Cody told him.
Nick sighed. “I don’t have time for this.” He started walking again. “I’m late for a meeting with Lisa and Kistune.”
“Speaking of those two, how is it leaving in Ferret Manor?”
Nick knew Cody was trying to change the subject from the fact the kitchen was most likely destroyed. "It's fine, I guess. They have a butler that does anything I ask. Of course, the ferrets don't like it when I use him. The pets are nice, a bit strange though. I've been keeping to myself and working on my novel."
“Do I want to know how that has been going?”
"No," Nick snarled. "Lisa is all right. There was a weird moment the other night. I was up late working on the book when she comes into my room. She wanted to look at Rowan personal belongings. You know, that guy I told you about. The one that used to stay in my room. Anyway, she got all weird and emotional about him. I was not sure what I was doing. I think I may have made things awkward between us."
“A late night sleepover,” Cody said in a playful tone. “Should I be worried about you? Does Becky know about the two of you? Maybe I should tell her.”
“One, nothing happened. It was like a ten-minute conversation. Two, Becky is not the jealous type. Three, she has a boyfriend. Kitusne, remember. I told you about him.”
“Yeah, what is he again?”
“A nine-tailed fox, and apparently some kind of god or something. The entire thing is strange. From what I’ve heard the entire neighborhood is full of weirdos and strange occurrences. It’s like being in an episode of ‘Stranger Things.’ I keep excepting some kind of monster to pop up sooner or later and take control of someone.”
"Sounds like fun. Maybe I should come to visit sometime.
"You might as well. There's even an entire family of wolves living in one of the houses. They've lived there for nine years now. Feral wolves. I would not believe it if I did not see it."
"You know I don't like wolves," Cody said. Nick rolled his eyes. "I mean you don't count. You're human as you like to remind everyone."
"And I pay for your food and pay the bills, so you don't have to go back living in the forest," Nick reminded him.
“Hey, I’m doing you a service living with you. You would go crazy living in the cabin by yourself. I can go back to living in the forest any time I want. I can take care of myself.”
Nick smiled. It was devilish grin that he reserved for special moments like this. “Oh really. Okay then, I leave you to figure out how to turn the smoke detector off yourself then.”
"Wait…!" Cody shouted, but it was too late. Nick hit the "End" button and disconnected the call. Just for good measure, he turned the phone off completely.
The mall he was supposed to meet Kitsune and Lisa at was much smaller than Nick was expecting. Growing up near Chicago, he was used to massive structures with gleaming arches and at least three stories. Glittering tiled floors or red carpets with the occasional charging station for people's phones. Stores and fancy food stalls that catered to the elite or the casual foolish tourist who wanted to experience the good life. They got all kinds of country bumkins every weekend.
The Three-Squares Mall Lisa told him to meet her at that morning had none of those things. It was two stories, and the most extravagant thing it had was a small movie theater that was owned by a company Nick had never heard of before. At least this place allowed pets to wander around without their owners as long as they had a leash. Nick pulled is out of his pocket as he neared the doors. He wrapped it around his neck so he would not look too ridiculous. The end dangled down his chest looking more like a strange necklace than a leash.
As he made his way through the mall, Nick could not help notice the looks that everyone was giving him. He had a pretty good idea what they were thinking, and it wasn't that he was good looking. Even half breeds had terrible reputations. Nick felt the slow burn of anger start in his stomach. At least no one was bothering him. In fact, they were all keeping their distances. In the corner of his eye, Nick could see two women whispering to each other as they purposely moved closer to the wall like he was a pesky makeup salesman trying to force them to try a free sample. Stuffing his paws in his pants pockets, he lowered his head and stared at the floor as he walked.
Where was the food court?
A large sign overhead gave him the answer. An arrow pointed down the left hall. As he followed it the smells of fried food hit his nose. His mouth began to water as he moved closer. There was something else in the air too. The acrid smell of coffee. The source of the scent was from a bookstore. Nick was curious. He had not been into an actual bookstore in years. If he needed a book, he would order off Amazon. Several patrons were coming in and out of a store called "Book Barn." Nick had heard of it before but did not realize it was so large. Two stories of bookcases greeted him as he entered. The smell of paper and ink burned his nose but at the same time relaxed his nerves. He felt home surrounded by literature.
The coffee shop drew his attention as he wandered around the store. “A coffee shop inside a bookstore? Whoodathunkit?” Nick read aloud. Rolling his eyes, he responded, “I don’t know Barnes n Noble and Books a Million come to mind.” So far he was not impressed with the Book Barn.
The exit beckoned him. As he made his way out of the store, Nick paused and glanced down at a table with a sign that read “YA Bestsellers.” Sitting in a large stack was his book “White Fox.” Walking over, he stared down at the cover. His character Todd was looking back at him with the smug smile that Nick himself argued for with the publisher. Nick smiled to himself. He had never seen his book in an actual store. It was still surreal seeing it next to books like “Children of the Moon” and “Gods and Beasts.”
He picked up the book and flipped to the back cover. His author’s portrait stared back at him. He felt a sharp pain in his heart. The picture was of his human self. He sighed and closed the book.
"Can I help you with anything?" A voice asked. Nick was so distracted that he did not realize that a young girl had walked up to him. Nick raised his eyes to the tag attached to her chest. "Sally" it read. She had on the green apron of the store employees. At first, Nick thought she was going to accuse him of stealing or ask him to leave, but her face was sincere.
“Umm,” Nick struggled to speak. He had still not gotten used to talking to other humans. Most of his social interactions lately involved pets. “No, I’m just browsing.”
"That's an excellent book," Sally said pointing at "White Fox" still in Nick's paw. "I've read it like twenty times."
A fan, Nick thought to himself. He smiled slightly and asked, “Really, what was your favorite part?”
“I think it was when Geneva found out that Todd was human. Her reaction is priceless."
Nick thought back to that scene. It was one he struggled to write for several days. It was the most crucial scene in his mind. He finally found inspiration by remembering how Becky reacted when she first saw him with fur. Since Geneva was based on Becky, it was a simple process. In the end, Nick practically used Becky's exact words in the scene.
"Yeah, that's a magnificent scene," Nick said.
"I can't wait for the sequel. I keep checking the publisher's website, but there's still no word. Rumor has it that the author is struggling under the pressure of coming off of his first bestseller," Sally said.
Nick’s face darkened. “I’m sure he is,” he said and placed the book back down. Without another word he brushed past Sally and left the store. He didn’t stop until he hit the food court.
Fortunately, Kitsune and Lisa were easy to spot. Kitsune's fur was like a blond beacon that shone throughout the entire area. The fluorescent lights seemed to be shining right on him or what that just Nick's imagination. Lisa saw him walking towards him and waved. Nick pulled out a hard metal chair from the table and set down. Lisa was eating a large plate of Japanese food. Nick was not quite sure what it was. Kitsune was sipping a large Peach Milkshake. Nick could not help but notice that two straws were sticking out.
“What took you so long?” Lisa asked before taking another bite of food. “We were going to wait before we ordered.”
“That’s all right. I’ll get something in a minute.” Nick scanned his options and so far was not impressed. The restaurants were either the usual generic options found in every mall from cheap Asian food to overcooked pizza.
“Have you guys been here long?” Nick asked.
"Not too long. We spent some time walking around and doing some window shopping," Kitsune said. He stuck the straw in his mouth and took an extra-long sip of his milkshake. Was it just Nick's imagination or was the milkshake not getting any smaller? Nick looked at the fox. He was wearing a red plaid jacket and burnt orange shirt underneath. He only had one tail this time, so Nick figured that he was trying to pass for "normal." How normal was a six-foot-tall fox in a mall?
“How do you guys know each other anyway? I mean how did you meet?” Nick asked.
Lisa and Kitsune exchanged an uncomfortable glance. Lisa was the one to speak. “You know that I’m from another world, right?” She lowered her voice as if afraid someone would hear her and locked her away for sounding insane.
Nick nodded. He learned that from the other pets as part of his debriefing.
“Peanut told me about that. He also said something about a comic? What was that about?”
"Where I'm from, the pets are featured in a webcomic series. That is how I know so much about them and the events that have taken place over the last decade. Apparently, the author, Rick, uses a magic ring to watch the pets and then records what happens."
Suddenly the sensation that someone was watching him overwhelmed him. Nick looked around like he would suddenly see a massive eyeball peering down at him from the glass ceiling. And they were okay with that? Nick would be freaking out if he knew that someone was recording his every action then sharing it online.
“Are there other comics like that?” Nick asked.
Lisa opened her mouth to respond, but she was interrupted. "Excuse me."
Nick and the other two looked up to see a tall red merle Australian shepherd wearing glasses standing over them. Like Nick, she had a collar on, but hers had a carrot hanging on it. "Have any of you seen a black rabbit wearing a trench coat and fedora?" she asked.
Before any of them could answer, another dog rushed over. This one was a blue merle Australian shepherd with a Pokeball tag dangling from his collar. “Nicole, I found him,” he said. “But I lost him again. I think he’s somewhere on the second floor.”
“Kade, how could you lose him?” The dog named Nicole pinched her forehead before noticing what the other dog, Kade, had in his paw. “What is that?” she asked pointing at Kade’s paw.
“My phone,” Kade said and tried to hide it but was not fast enough. With blinding speed, Nicole snatched what Nick realized was a phone from Kade’s grip.
She held the phone up to Kade’s face and said, “You were playing Pokémon Go again.” Kade snatched his phone back before Nicole continued. “You were supposed to be looking for Harvey not legendary Pokemon.”
"I had to. There was a raid battle going on," Kade told her, but Nicole did not have it.
She grabbed Kade’s wrist and pulled him away. She turned back to Nick and the others and said, “Sorry for bothering you.”
When they were out of sight, Nick turned back to Lisa and Kitsune and said, “That was…odd.”
"That was," Lisa said. "What were we talking about? Oh yeah, are there other comics like “Housepets!”?” Lisa thought for a moment then said, “I don’t really know. That was always Rowan’s thing. He was way more into comics than me. There was one comic he tried to get me to read. "Savestate," I think it was called. I never did though.”
There was a sense of sadness in her voice that Nick noticed was always there when she or anyone else mentioned Rowan's name. That is what they were there to talk about. How to find him. The problem was, Nick did not know where to begin. He had never even met the guy.
Lisa leaned back in the metal chair and stared blankly at her food. Kitsune opened his mouth like he was going to say something but stopped. Suddenly, a song rang through the air. It was so loud and sudden that Nick pressed his hands over his sensitive ears. Lisa pulled out her cell phone and checked the screen. Her brow furrowed as she answered.
“Fox?” she asked. “What’s going on?”
Nick couldn't hear what was being said, but Lisa's eyes widen as she listened. After less than a minute Lisa hung up and turned to Kitsune with a look of utmost concern on her face.
“We have to go back to Babylon Gardens,” Lisa shuddered. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. “It’s Rowan. He’s back.”

***

It took an instant for Kitsune to transport Lisa and Nick back to the neighborhood. Lisa had experienced the sensation before, but it was still unnerving. Nick, unfortunately, was not prepared. As soon as they popped in the neighborhood, he bent over someone's bush and vomited. Lisa wanted to check on him, but something drew her attention. One of the houses was on fire. It was not just regular fire either. This one was a blackish purple color.
“What’s going on?” Lisa said slowly.
“Lisa! Kitsune!” Fox ran up to them panting heavily. He bent over and tried to catch his breath. His fur was blackened with soot and smoke.
“Fox, what’s going on? What happened here?”
"Rowan, he did this," Fox told her, almost choking on the words like they were refusing to come out. "He's here, but there is something wrong."
Fox pointed down the road where a group of pets was standing. The fire burned nearby but what had their attention was the cloaked figure standing in the middle of the road. Almost mindlessly, Lisa walked toward the figure. As she neared him, Rowan pulled back the hood that obscured his face. Lisa covered her mouth with her hand. His face was just like the others described and as she saw in her dream. His left eye was golden, and part of his face had turned black like he was burned.
“Rowan…”
He looked right at her but said nothing. There was nothing to be said. She recognized his expression. It was the same one he had on the Fourth of July.
“I would do anything for you. I will always protect you. You know deep down that your relationship won’t last which is why you want to be with him. What you feel for Kitsune is not real. But I’m real. My love is real.”
Lisa looked right at him and said, “I don’t feel the same way.”
She broke his heart, and that was something she always regretted. Now he was looking at her the same way. He lifted his arm like he was trying to reach out to her. His lips mouthed the word, "Lisa," like he was not sure what he was seeing.
"Rowan, I'm here. I'm back. Everything is going to be all right."
A tear ran down his cheek from his normal eye. His face suddenly changed becoming dark and hard. The effect was instant. Lisa felt a surge of fear spread throughout her body. An alien sensation overcame her as if some primal instinct was screaming for her to run. This wasn’t Rowan. Lisa felt a presence appear next to her. Kitsune placed his paw on her shoulder but kept his eyes trained on Rowan.
“Rowan is dead,” he said. His voice was wrong. It sounded like two people were talking at the same time. “I am only what remains of him. I am Revenant.”
“Revevant,” Lisa whispered. “Rowan, what are you talking about.”
His golden eye glowed brightly as he raised his hand and pointed it at her. A purple flame appeared and launched itself at her.
Lisa stood there frozen as the fire headed directly towards her. "Get down!" She felt her body violently pulled to the side, and she fell on the asphalt. There was a loud bang followed by the sound of screaming. Lisa looked up to see the pets begin to disperse and take cover. A few peeked out of their hiding places to watch.
“That’s demon fire,” Kitsune said pulling Lisa to her feet. She glanced at his face. Kitsune’s usual carefree demeanor was gone and replaced by an expression of complete focus and fury. “How did he get that power?”
He wrapped his arm around Lisa’s stomach and kept his paw on her shoulder like he was trying to keep her from running to Rowan. Part of her wanted to, but her feet would not listen.
"What did you do to my house?" cried an angry voice.
Everyone’s attention was suddenly on the person who shouted. Bino marched towards Rowan growling and showing his teeth. Lisa had never seen him like this. He usually was too much of a coward. Nick followed behind Bino only to take place beside Kitsune and Lisa. His eyes also were trained on Bino who was almost directly in front of Rowan.
“What is he doing?” Nick asked. “Is he nuts?”
“I don’t know,” Lisa told him. Then she shouted, “Bino, get back. You don’t know what he’s capable of. You’re going to get yourself hurt.”
“The only one getting hurt here is him,” Bino shouted and pointed at Rowan. “I’m going to tear your throat out.” With that last word, Bino jumped at Rowan mouth open and eyes full of madness.
In an instant, Rowan caught Bino by the throat with one hand. Bino struggled and tried to break Rowan's grip, but it was useless. He clawed Rowan's flesh, but there was not even a white mark on his skin. Rowan stared at Bino with little interest. He turned to the others watching in horror.
“Let this be a warning of what is to come.” Red lightning engulfed Rowan’s hand and spread over Bino who howled in pain. No one moved to try to save him. They were frozen in shock. After a few seconds, Rowan released Bino who fell on the road with a heavy thud. His fur stood up on end in large spikes.
Fox was the only one brave enough to step forward. He reached out to Bino, "Are you all right? Bino, say something."
Bino turned around and charged at Fox like a rabid animal. His eyes were glowing red. He tacked Fox to the ground and mercilessly mauled the husky. Fox who was usually stronger than Bino was rendered helpless. A few other pets rushed over to try to pull Bino off of him. When they got close, Bino growled and bark and attacked anything that got to close. Even the larger dogs were entirely taken by surprise by Bino's strength and savagery.
"Rowan!" Lisa screamed as she turned to face him. He was gone. There was nothing left where he was standing a minute ago. She broke free from Kitsune's grasp and ran to where Rowan was standing. Kitsune and Nick followed.
“Where did he go?”
“I don’t know,” Lisa said. She turned back to the brawl behind him. “Nick can you stop Bino. Kitsune can you track him or something?”
Nick did not waste a moment before racing down the street. Kitsune, however, hesitated before shaking his head. "I can't find him. Even without this power he has now, I couldn't find him. You both are still outside my realm of power." He turned to the fire still burning. "I can do something about that." With a snap of his finger, the fire was gone, and the house was back to normal. There was no trace of damage.
"What about Bino?" Lisa asked. Nick had successfully pulled Bino off of Rex and kept him in a tight grip, but that did not stop him from trying to bite and scratch anything close to him.
“I can’t. Whatever power Rowan or Revenant used to corrupt him is beyond me. We will have to wait for it run out on its own.”
Lisa took a sharp intake of breath. “Rowan, what have you done.”

***

Nick, Lisa, and Kitsune made their way back to the Milton Manor to try to come up with a strategy to deal with Revenant. They successfully locked Bino in the basement of the Wolves’ house with the Wolves keeping watch over him. They were told to call Lisa if there was any change.
“What is the plan?” Nick asked. “I’m assuming we have a plan and we are not simply winging it. I mean you both saw that right? He destroyed an entire house and could shoot fire from his hands.”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” Lisa said coldly. “How could this happen?”
“He’s been corrupted by dark magic,” Kitsune said. They both looked at him. “When you destroyed Drasil, I think some of his power must have entered Rowan’s body. Why that happened, I’m not sure. He would have had to be compatible to take the energy like a vessel.”
There was so much about Rowan, Lisa did not know. He always seemed so happy and carefree. She would never have thought there was so much darkness within him. Was this her fault? "You left me." His words rang in her ears.
When they reached the door of the mansion, it flew open on its own. Standing there was Simon, panting with scorch marks on his fur. “There you are. Where have you been? We got attacked.”
“What?” Lisa asked and rushed past the ferret. The others followed. The entryway seemed fine. There was no damage. “Tell us what happened,” she said to Simon.
"We were watching TV when all of a sudden we heard this booming sound coming from the storage room. We went to check it out, and Rowan blasted us this black fire. Everything was set on fire. We were lucky to escape with only some tinged fur."
They were led down the halls to the storage room. Lisa had only been there once before. It was where Henry Milton and Keene kept all the important ancient papers and artifacts. Most of which regarded Pete’s temple which was now a pile of stones. The smell of smoke hit them like a bulldozer. The walls were black as they moved closer. Lisa pulled her shirt over her nose to help with the smell. Nick did the same and kept both paws over his face. Everything was gone. Nothing remained but piles of ashes and burnt pieces of stone and woods. Twisted metal hung from the ceiling.
“Why would he do this?” Lisa asked. “Did he take anything?”
Simon shook his head looking defeated. “We won’t know until Keene gets here and someone cleans this mess. He would know what is what. Until then I can only assume he was after something left our Dad.”
“Why would you say that?” Nick asked.
"I was the first one here. I saw him sifting through a box of our Dad's. One Keene like to use a lot. He pulled out this leather book like a journal."
“Dad’s notes on the temples and their legends.”
They all turned to see Keene walking towards them. Scowling, he looked at the damaged room. After a few moments, he sighed. “There is nothing left.”
"I can fix this." Kitsune snapped his fingers again, and in a flash, the room was completely restored.
“Handy trick, but can you return what Rowan stole?” Keene asked like he already knew the answer.
“No.”
"I thought so. Whatever Rowan is up to has serious consequences for all of us. I've looked through that journal several times before," Keene said as he began walking away. With no other choice, the others followed. They made it to Keene's former office where he sat behind the desk once again. He folded his paws together and stared at the others. "I've read that journal several times. I can’t pretend to understand half of what my father wrote. He took extensive notes on the temple he brought here as well as mentions of others.”
“Other temples. The only other one we know about is Dragon’s in Egypt,” Lisa said.
"That may be true, but he wrote about more than one. How many I can't be sure."
At that moment, Kitsune’s eyes lit up. “He couldn’t.”
“What is it, Kitsune?” Lisa asked.
“There are other temples beyond Pete’s and Dragon’s. It is the only thing that makes sense for how Rowan got so much power so quickly. He must have found Drasil’s temple.”
“Drasil’s temple!” Lisa shouted much too loudly. “Drasil had a temple all this time. Why didn’t you mention this before?”
“He and his brothers each created temples in this world. This was back before Drasil was Drasil. He and his brothers feared Dragon and Pete. They collected mana from Yggdrasil and stored it in case they would need it to defend themselves.” Seeing the questioning looks on the others faces, he explained. “As you know, Drasil was my friend. He confided with me about his brother’s plan and asked for my assistance. I was the one who told him about this world. I told him that this would be the safest place for their temples. This was before the Game started.”
"If Rowan were corrupted by Drasil, it would only make sense that he would be led to his temple."
“I can only assume he will use whatever information Henry Milton had in that journal to find the locations of the remaining three temples. He must be after the mana that is being kept there.”
“Four havens of stone, fire, ice, and wind. The magic lost will be the final end,” Nick spoke up suddenly.
“What was that?” Lisa asked.
“The prophecy or whatever. That was a line. I think it might be referring to these other temples you are referring too.”
“Right, now Rowan had a finite amount of magic.”
"Like with Res. After he destroyed the Forgotten. All the mana was gone, and so was his power."
"Exactly." Kitsune nodded. "The problem is that if he can collect enough mana at once, then he will able to transcend to divinity."
“What!?” They all shouted in unison.
"He'll become a god but more powerful than the rest of us. We are bound by the laws of the universe and heaven. Since Rowan is human and not even from this realm so such laws will not bind him. He will be able to do whatever he wants without consequence."
“That’s insane,” Nick shouted. “How are we supposed to stop someone like that.”
“Are there any other lines that might be useful from the prophecy?” Lisa asked.
Nick pulled out his phone and reread the prophecy. "Light the way to lover's arms. From the shadows of forgiveness, there will be no harm. Feelings born from across the reaches of time and space will guide the way through the empty place. Scorn comes from the words left unsaid. The dreams and truths emerge from the queen’s head. The heir will speak to the father's pride. The Atlas of the stars will then be your guide. Four havens of stone, fire, ice, and wind. The magic lost will be the final end. Heart in hand she will illuminate a past hidden. Only to discover the secret of darkness kept forbidden. One becomes two, two becomes one. Only the knight can finish what has begun. The wolf will howl with his last breath. A hero’s sacrifice will spare the heavens’ death.”
Lisa thought for a moment replaying the lines over and over in her head. Her eyes fell on Keene who was physically shaking in his chair. He was trying to stay calm but was not succeeding. He was obviously scared.
"The heir will speak…" Lisa whispered. "That's it! We don't have the journal, so we have to go to the source. We have to talk to Henry Milton himself."

***

Lisa opened her eyes. A cool breeze blew around her carrying the scent of flowers and fresh dew. The grass beneath her tickled her skin as she laid in the shadow on a large tree. Tilting her head, she could see a castle in the distance. Why did this seem so familiar to her?
“Do you like it?” someone asked next to her.
Lisa instantly sat up to see Rowan sitting beside her. He turned to her, but his face was normal. There was no trace of the darkness that she saw earlier that day.
“Rowan, what’s going on?”
“You always told me that you loved this scene from the comics. Remember the dream King had before Pete took Bailey away. I thought it seemed fitting for this moment.”
"Rowan, please. Let me help you. You are not evil. Dark magic is corrupting you. The more magic you get, the worse it will become." She grabbed his hand, but he pulled it away.
He smiled at her, but there was no joy there. His face was full of only deep sadness. "I love you, Lisa. Always remember that. I won't be able to talk to you again after this."
“Rowan, please,” she pleaded
A tear rolled down his cheek again. “I always loved you.”
Lisa woke up from the dream. She sat up and looked around the room. It was like it always was. Her chest ached as she felt her heart begin to break inside her.
“I love you too.” She covered her face with her hand and cried.







_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:00 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Always Save the Day
Chapter 5: Heaven Help Us
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from Fox

Things have gotten crazy lately. I mean more insane than usual. We all thought after the incident with Drasil that things would calm down, but instead, they got worse. Ever since Lisa came back from the white space, things have gotten weirder. First, a wolf appears in Babylon Gardens who was apparently a human before and is also an author. He and a few others brought Lisa back from the white space. Then Rowan appeared in the middle of the neighborhood and started destroying everything. We haven't seen him since he disappeared after we all returned from Tartarus. He changed somehow. He used this dark energy to corrupt Bino, who was already messed up and turned him into a feral monster dog. We all know that this is just the beginning. So now Lisa, Kistune, Breel, Keene, and I are heading to heaven to talk to Mr. Milton and find out some answers about what is going on. Honestly, I don't know how much more of this I can take. I somehow keep getting dragged into these messes. I guess I just a good friend.


Lisa thought she was ready to see heaven. She always wondered what it was like after seeing the pictures of it in the comics. She imagined it would be this glorious place that no piece of comic art could ever capture. She was so excited to see it for herself. Then they began to climb the stairs.
No one said anything as they walked, but Lisa found that she was increasingly growing exhausted and wondered if everyone else was feeling like their legs were about to fall off. Step by step the moved through the sky. No matter how long they walked, it felt like it would never end. Occasionally, she would glance at her companions. For this mission, she and Kitsune decided that they would need a small group of "experts." That meant those who had been to heaven before. Fox and Breel were the obvious choices. Of course, they needed Keene since Lisa believed that he was a part of the prophecy.
The prophecy was the reason she was even doing this. To help distract herself from the growing agony coursing through her legs, she kept reciting it in her head. She wished Kitsune was there with them. Since he was a god, there was no need to take the staircase himself. After he summoned it or asked Cerberus to summon it, Lisa was not sure how that worked, she asked him why he couldn't snap his fingers and whisk them up there.
"I can't just send mortals to heaven whenever I want. I'm not one of the Reapers, and that goes against the rules," he told her before disappearing himself.
Rules. One day she wanted to see this list of rules. An all-powerful god limited by rules, it sounded so ridiculous. Of course, that was one of the problems they were facing with Rowan. Lisa's heart ached with the thought of him. Their last meeting was not significant. He destroyed several houses and sent Bino into a maniacal rage. Kitsune told her that he had been corrupted by dark magic, but she felt that there was something more to it than that. She just was not sure what. Now he called himself Revenant and wanted to collect enough mana to become a divine being but one that was not confined by these "rules."
“Ughh!” Lisa groaned loudly. “How much longer is it. I feel like I’m about to collapse right here and now.”
The others looked at her like she was crazy. She was sweating despite the cold air of the upper atmosphere. The others seemed perfectly fine. They looked like they were just taking a leisurely stroll through the park instead climbing a seemingly infinite staircase through the sky.
“How are you guys not tired?” Lisa asked.
"I don't know," Fox said glancing to the other two. "Maybe because we've all been there before, so we're used to it."
“Actually, I know what is going on,” Breel said. “It’s harder for humans to reach heaven than animals.”
Lisa stared at him with her mouth hanging open. “You mean that is literal instead of some kind of moral metaphor about humanity. It is literally physically harder for humans to get there.” Breel nodded. “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
"What is stupid is how long this is taking," Keene said stomping his foot on the golden stair he was standing on. "When I came before it was like I just popped there. Why is this taking so long?"
"You almost drowned before, remember," Breel said lightly nudging Keene's shoulder. The ferret blushed and pretended not to notice.
“Now that you mention it, when King and I came it took a while. He was pretty exhausted to until he changed back into a corgi,” Fox said looking at Lisa. “Maybe you can do that. We should be close enough for you to decide to change your appearance.”
“No thanks. Like King, I like my body to remain consistent,” she said gesturing at her body.
“Enough talking and more walking. I would like to get there before we die and this becomes a one-way trip.”
They continued their way up the staircase with Lisa struggling to keep up. She was still out of shape from being trapped for months in the White Space. She kept telling herself that after this she would start working out. She was sure the ferrets had a gym of some kind in their mansion. It was like a rich person cliché to have a mansion that was never used for its intended purpose.
“There it is,” Breel shouted and pointed at something hovering above them.
Lisa looked up and saw that the stairs ended at a large cloud bank with a golden wall made of pure light rising above it. The Gates of Heaven. She flashed back to the comic. It was true, she realized. There was no way to capture what it honestly looked like in such a simple format. Feeling new energy, Lisa charged ahead of the others. She needed to see it for herself.
Suddenly all the tiredness and exhaustion dissipated as she moved toward the large white doors. Part of her expected Cerberus to be there or someone to be guarding it. She remembered those few times she went to church with her parents that Saint Peter was supposed to be guarding the gates. There was no one here. Lisa reached out and pressed her hand on the gates. They were warm like the sun. She could feel the divine energy humming through them. Holding her breath, she pushed them forward. She tensed as the light of heaven poured over her. At that moment, she remembered the comics again. It was Cerberus said, “The Gates swing outward never, but it’s recommended to stand back on your first arrival!”
"Oops," she thought, but it was too late. She was instantly blinded by the light that exploded from the gates. She screamed and fell backward holding her hands over her eyes. In the comic King and Fox wore sunglasses. Now she realized that was not just for a joke but actually something that would have been helpful right then.
Wandering blindly, Lisa felt herself slip off the bank of clouds. Suddenly there was nothing but empty air beneath her feet. She could feel the air rush past her as her body was once again caught in gravity’s nasty grip.
“Ahh!” Lisa screamed as she started to fall. She was glad she couldn’t see what was happening. If she was going to die, then at least she did not have to watch it happen.
"Gotcha," someone said as a furry hand wrapped around Lisa's wrist. It was so warm and familiar. Lisa was lifted back onto the clouds just as her vision began to reappear. Standing in front of her was a familiar fox. Kitsune smiled at her, his eyes warm like the autumn sun. Lisa's heart began to beat faster the way it always did when he was near her. But there was more to it recently. Guilt clawed at her chest whenever they were together. She never told Kitsune about the dream she had the other night where she saw Rowan, and he said to her that he loved her. How she woke up in tears and confessed that she felt the same way. The truth was that she did have feelings for Rowan that she was unsure of. Losing him was like losing a limb. You never realize what you had until it was gone and then you would give anything to have it back by your side.
“Good thing I was waiting by the gates for you guys,” Kitsune said letting go of Lisa’s arm. She quickly hid her expression of disappointment that he stopped touching her with a look of excitement that he was there with them now. The others appeared from the staircase behind Kitsune. Each one wore a pair of sunglasses. Lisa fought the urge to roll her eyes.
Breel was the first to speak, “You shouldn’t run ahead like that. This area can be dangerous for mortals.
“I realize that now,” Lisa told him.
“Well, we’re all here now. So who wants the grand tour?” Kitsune asked. They all moved towards the Gates again. This time the light was less blinding and almost normal.
They stepped through the gates, and Lisa was floored by the sheer majesty of it all. Everywhere she looked there were humans and animals of all kinds of races and species talking and walking side by side. The strangest part was the overall sense of tranquility that seemed to penetrate everything. It was something she never realized was in the moral world until it wasn't.
"A tour is all good and all, but we do not have time for silly distractions," Keene said crossing his arms against his chest. "We've all been here before except for one," he added noticing Lisa's annoyed expression.
“Keene’s right,” Fox said. “The last time I came it was six months. We don’t have that kind of time if Rowan is out there causing chaos and growing stronger.”
Lisa hated to admit it, but they were right. She looked around at the different buildings and shops. Everyone seemed so happy. It reminded her of the time she went to Disney World for spring break only a hundred times better and less expensive.
“True but there is a small problem,” Kitsune said. “It seems that Henry Milton is quite a busy man right now so we won’t be able to see him right away.”
 “What!?” They all shouted in unison.
“How can he be busy?” Lisa asked not bothering to hide the disgust in her voice. “It’s heaven. There should be no such thing as busy.”
“He can’t be too busy for his son,” Keene added.
Kitsune held his paws up to calm everyone down. "I'm sorry, but it's out of my hands. I cannot decide what anyone does or doesn't do here. This place was designed for perfect freedom and pleasure. As such Mr. Milton has a role here."
“A role? What kind of role?” Fox asked.
"He is in charge of human and animal relations." Kitsune's tone was casual like it was the most normal thing to say.
Lisa opened her mouth to speak but could not think of anything to say that would capture the sheer insanity of what Kitsune just said.
Thankfully Keene did not have such a problem. "What kind of human and animal relationships. This is heaven. Everyone is getting along already. That sounds like some kind of made up job to make someone feel important and boost their self-esteem."
Kitsune's eyes lit up like he was enjoying Keene's reaction. "Things in heaven are not perfect without work. You see there are those who are not thrilled to be in heaven and have to go through an adjustment period." Lisa glanced at Keene who looked suddenly embarrassed. "You see there are those whose life was not great and might not be comfortable around animals. Those who harbor a lot of resentment towards them for example." This time he glanced at Fox who nodded. Lisa knew Kitsune was referring to King. Back when he was still Joel, he loved animals, but they did not share the same feeling. That caused him to make some poor life choices that ended him up in jail more than once. It wasn't until Pete turned him into a dog that he came to have a better understanding.
“There are those who have had an even harder time. What are we to do with anyone who was killed by a wild animal and finds themselves surrounded by the very creatures that cut their life short.”
“I never thought about that before,” Breel said. Keene and the others nodded.
"So now you know why Henry Milton's job is so important. As someone who devoted his life to peace between animals and humans, he is the perfect candidate to handle such a task. And that keeps him busy. But don't worry I set up an appointment so it shouldn't take too long before we see him."
“I guess we’ll take that tour after all,” Lisa said.
Kitsune smiled at her. “Great, there are several places I want to show you. It can be our first…” Suddenly he was cut off by someone screaming his name at the top of their lungs.
“There you are. I have been looking for you everywhere. I am so tired of you running off to do whatever you want. Don’t you realize how much work it is having to clean up after you and your antics.”
A tall woman wearing a long white dress stepped up to Kitsune. She towered over him with a face that reminded Lisa of an angry mother. She had jet black hair tied in in a bun that resembled a knot. Below that she wore silver owl earrings that hung from her ears. As Lisa stared at them, she swore that the owl's eyes were staring back at her.
“Minerva, what can I do for you?” Kitsune asked nervously.
“Wait. Minerva like the goddess of wisdom?” Lisa asked.
Minerva looked down at her, and her gray eyes darkened. "That is correct. I see that you brought your mortal friends here." She pressed her fingers to her temples and rubbed them. "What have I told you about interfering in the lives of mortals?"
“Keep them out of trouble and never interfere with their fates,” Kitsune said calmly.
“That is true but not what I told you. I said that interfering with mortals is unwise and will only cause problems. Look at what happened to Veðrfölnir and Níðhöggr.”
"Pete and Dragon?" Lisa asked. She remembered Kitsune mentioning that they were known as the bird and dragon that sat at the top on Yggdrasil in legends, but she never heard anyone use those names before.
"Yes, those too," Minerva said not bothering to look at Lisa. "That Game of their caused nothing but trouble and who had to clean it up. Me. Who had to deal with the Fates after they were made mortal because of that ridiculous deal they made. Me. Now here are you again causing me nothing by trouble by once again interfering in the lives of mortals. And now I see that you are dating one too."
“Like you don’t occasionally fall for a mortal down on Earth. There are legends and books filled with the stories of your children,” Kitsune said in a harsh voice.
“That is different. You are not human and a different type of god than most. That means that the rules are different for you.”
Kitsune took a deep breath and slowly spoke. “What do you want, Minerva. I can’t imagine you came down from your silver throne to scold me about Pete and Dragon or my love life.”
Minerva's eyes darkened so much that they were almost black. But they instantly changed back to gray as she spoke. "I need you to come with me to the address the nature gods. Demeter is stalling, but the other gods are getting restless. We all can sense the disturbance in the universes. Yggdrasil is starting to be affected by what is happening back on that little world you are so fond of. Not to mention the…" She stopped and looked at Lisa the others who were not bothering to hide the fact they were ease dropping. Minvera started whispering, but it was still loud enough for everyone to hear. "You were the last one to see it, so you have to reassure everyone that it is not a threat.”
Lisa noticed Kitsune's fur starting to stand on end. Whatever this 'it' they were referring to was it was not good.
"Sorry, Lisa but our date will have to wait. This is important. I'll see you guys when it's time to meet Henry Milton."
Date? That is what he was referring too. Lisa blushed and tried to hide it from the others. She could feel their glares piercing her back. They watched at Kitsune walked away with Minerva until they both vanished in the crowds.
“What do we do now?” Fox asked.
"I don't know about you two, but Breel and I have a date with a massage," Keene said talking Breel's hand. Before the marten could respond, he was being dragged off towards one of the more extravagant buildings on the block.
“I guess you probably want to go find Summer and Spring and see what they are up too,” Lisa asked turning towards Fox. He blushed and avoided eye contact.
"Kind of." It was no secret that the only reason that Fox volunteered to join the group was to visit his sort of girlfriends. He had not seen them since the end of his adventure in Pete's Temple. "Oh dog, don't look now."
Lisa looked anyway at what Fox was staring at. Across the street from where they were standing was a small café. It seemed out of place surrounded by so many different types of exotic buildings. It looked like a simple café someone would go to if they were too good for Starbucks. It had peppermint striped owning and two white tables with umbrellas with the same peppermint design. The place seemed deserted except for one middle-aged woman sipping coffee and reading.
“That woman? What’s the big deal?”
Fox looked at her and shook his head. “That’s King’s mom.”
Lisa said nothing. It was like someone had stolen her ability to speak. Only on very rare had King mentioned his mother and the only time anyone had seen her was in the minuscule scene where they talked and even that small moment was full of awkwardness?
“King’s mom. How do you know?” Lisa asked not taking her eyes off the woman.
“Well, I saw them talking when we came here a few years ago. It was not pretty.”
Lisa frowned. "What happened? The comic was not very clear. They only said two things to each other."
“I shouldn’t say. It’s not my place,” he said rubbing the back of his head nervously. “He never talks about his parents and for a good reason.”
Lisa knew what that reason was. Even though it was never spoken of in the comic or by King himself, it was common knowledge that his parents were not the best. There were several opinions of them online and something Rowan liked to talk about sometimes.
"I'm going to go talk to her." Lisa started walking over to Mrs. Robinson who was still reading her book and oblivious to the fact she was being watched.
"What!?" Fox grabbed her arm. "You can't do that. What would be the point? You can't change what happened between them. She's dead, and King has moved on with his life."
“King is not here.” Lisa pulled her arm out of his grip. “This has nothing to do with you either. Go find Spring and Summer. I’m sure they will be thrilled to see you.”
"You don't know the whole story," Fox said. "I don't know it either, but when I saw them together, she ran off crying. I don't know what King told her and he would not tell me. It was not my business. I know it was not good."
"I had no idea," Lisa said shifting her gaze between Fox and Mrs. Robinson. She had already made up her mind, and there was not going back. There was something she wanted to say. "I'm still going. This is just something I have to do."
Fox sighed. “Fine. Do what you want.”
He stormed off leaving Lisa alone. She couldn’t worry about Fox’s feelings right now. Her mind was a storm of emotion and anger that was about to erupt if she did not do something to stop it. Lisa marched over to where Mrs. Robinson was sitting. Not taking her eyes off the woman, Lisa remembered her own mother. How cruel and insensitive she could be.
"Um, excuse me, Mrs. Robinson." The woman looked up from her book and glanced at Lisa. An expression of annoyance passed over her face as she slowly closed her book. Lisa glanced at the cover. It was "Twilight" of all things. She was into those books as well back in high school but grew out of it once she went to college.
"Can I help you," Mrs. Robinson said. Her voice was sharp and cold. It made Lisa think of a storybook stepmother who comes into the child's life only to slowly ruin it.
"I'm a friend of your son's," Lisa said sitting down across the table without waiting for an invitation. "Can we talk?"
Mrs. Robinson’s face hardened making it unreadable. But Lisa could tell mentioning Joel had set something off in the woman.
 "Let me guess. You're here to scold me about how I'm a terrible mother, and everything that happened to Joel was my fault."
Lisa opened her mouth to reply but stopped herself. That was precisely the reason she was there.
“Your face says it all.” A vague expression passed over her face as her voice shifted from cold to sad. “I know what my son must think of me and tells his friends about me. It is no secret of how he feels about me. He told me as much to my face.”
"What did he say to you? I know you too spoke a few years ago, but I don't know what was said," Lisa asked.
Mrs. Robinson said nothing for a minute and only stared at Lisa like she was trying gage her intention from looking in her eyes. "The gist of it was that he didn't need me and that he was able to ‘overcome the crap his father and I put him through.' He told me that he finally had a real family and was happy for the first time in his life."
Lisa could feel the sting in those words even though they had nothing to do with her. She looked at Mrs. Robinson’s eyes and saw they were glistening with tears. She was on the verge of crying.
“What did you say to him?” Lisa asked.
"I told him that I was glad he finally found his place in the world and I was glad that it was not prison again. Not the best response I admit, but I was furious with him. He did not take it well. He can be so much like his father sometimes I swear it's like talking to the same person. He complained and cursed me and told me that it was my fault that he ended up in prison in the first place."
“I have no idea what he did to be arrested the first time,” Lisa admitted.
"It's not my place to say," Mrs. Robinson said. "After that, I was beyond words. I couldn't even look at him. So I left, and that was the last time I saw him."
“I’m sorry.” Never did Lisa think those words would come out of her mouth. “But I have to ask though why weren’t you a better mother to him growing up.”
Mrs. Robinson raised an eyebrow at her. “You don’t have children do you?”
“No, but I do have a terrible mother who I hate so I know where King, I mean, Joel is coming from.”
“Let me ask you this then,” Mrs. Robinson said leaning on her hand. “If your mother is so terrible would you abandon her when she needed you most?”
Hearing those words brought back that day. The argument between her and her mother. The yelling and how Lisa stormed out of the house in tears. Coming back almost at midnight to find the house dark. Lisa standing in the kitchen over her mother’s body collapsed on the floor. The empty bottles lying next to her. Lisa running over to the phone on the wall and dialing 9-1-1. Her finger hovering over the send button.
“I don’t like to think about it,” Lisa said solemnly.
“Being a mother is hard. You need to understand something about Joel. After the incident when he was a child, he was never the same.”
“He said that it was because you mistreated his pets,” Lisa pointed out.
“I never wanted pets. I never really like animals. They were always so much work. It was like having four children instead of one,” Mrs. Robinson said leaning back in her chair.
If you think that is rough imagine having to deal with pets who can’t talk or even open the door by themselves, Lisa thought to herself.
"My husband decided it would be good for Joel to learn some responsibility. He was always pushing him to be better. To be more like him. All the camping trips they dragged me on. All the late nights. It was exhausting. I will admit I struggled to keep up with raising Joel. He was the most important thing to me, so when it came to the pets, well they were less important."
“Why not just give them to another family or something?”
"I wanted to do that many times. But Joel would have had a fit if we got rid of them. My husband would not hear of it. He was and still is such a stubborn man. He was the reason for what happened not me. Joel blames both of us. He told me so himself before I died. I should have stopped it. I should have done more." She sighed. "He was right of course. I should have done something. Anything to stop what happened. Of course, you must know already about that night. They ran away and took Joel with them. He was so young. He didn't know any better. The worse part was that it was not just the animals' fault."
“What happened,” Lisa asked carefully.
"My husband and I were having problems. It was so bad that divorce lawyers were called. I had enough, and I was going to take Joel away from that man. Joel must have sensed it even though we never told him our plans. We both took our frustration out on both Joel and the pets."
Lisa remembered the scene when young Joel was shown comforting his cat. They were both looking at something out of the scene. She now realized what it was.
"After that, they all left. They took Joel and disappeared," Mrs. Robinson said.
“Why did it take a week?” Lisa asked.
Mrs. Robinson placed her elbow on the table and cradled her head in her hand. "It was hard. You have to understand that. We were both so angry at each other that we couldn't decide what to do. I wanted to call the police, but my husband did not want to involve anyone else. He said that the last thing we needed was to end up on the eleven o clock news. If word got out and our skeletons were revealed to the world, then they would take him away from us for good. We would lose custody. How do you imagine it would look if the headline "boy is kidnapped by neglected pet" spread around? We would be mud to everyone. So we tried to find them ourselves. It was useless. The longer we looked, the angrier we became. Finally, we broke down and called the police. Hours later they were found. The animals were taken by animal control, and we had our son back."
“But he wasn’t the same,” Lisa said. Rowan flashed through her mind. Everything he did for Dakota. People did desperate things for their family.
"He never forgave us." She shook her head. "We promised we would be better and we tried. We worked through most of our problems and promised to stay together for as long as Joel needed us. Things didn't help when we had to move. I thought moving away from that city would be better for us all. A fresh start away from those memories. Joel grew sour and cold over the next few years. When he left for college, I hoped he would find himself, but he dropped out. That was it. We had to do something drastic."
 “You kicked him out,” Lisa said remembering the comic Rowan showed her a few months ago.”
"We thought it was for the best. Away from us and our problems, he could find himself. Only he got himself arrested, and after that, my husband cut off all ties with him. I tried to reason with him, but by that point, it was too late. My life was ending, and I died knowing my son and husband would never forgive each other."
“I don’t understand. Why didn’t you explain all this to Joel when he came here? The first thing you said to him was “It looks like your father won that bet after all.”
She sighed. “It was not easy seeing him like that. I know he loved animals but to become a dog.”
“That wasn’t his fault. He was kidnapped by a demigod and forced that way!” Lisa screamed.
"I know. I heard about what happened after he left. But seeing him after all this time and knowing what I did to him and what I couldn't do for him. I didn't know what to say. By the end, he just unloaded years of hate on me. I let him." She gestured to the scenery around them before continuing. "You see; time here allows one to reflect on our lives. I realized that I failed him. It still hurt when he told me that he was happy with his new family but we couldn't give him the family he needed. If I could go back, I would make things different, but we can't turn back time. There is no way to make up for the things I did to him."
“I still think you should try,” Lisa told her.
Amusement flickered across her face. "What about you? You said that your mother was a terrible person but shouldn't you try to make amends." Lisa opened her mouth to respond, but Mrs. Robinson continued. "Take it from someone who had to watch her son grow up feeling like the universe was against him. It's hard being a parent and we make mistakes. But forgiveness works both ways. I would give anything for Joel to forgive me for what I did to him. I sit here every day waiting for him to walk through those gates again just so I can tell me that I'm sorry and I love him."
Lisa thought about her mother but did not know if they could ever get along after so many years of conflict between them.
“He has kids now. Three puppies. Rook, Olive, and Ace,” Lisa said.
"Grand-puppies. Well, it's better than nothing," Mrs. Robinosn said with a sly smile.
“It wasn’t your fault you know. About what happened to him.” Lisa was not sure she should tell this woman the truth about what really happened but hearing her story made Lisa feel sorry for her. “Joel and his pets were being manipulated by a fallen god named Drasil. He was the one who manipulated the pets to kidnap Joel just so he would grow up to become the key he needed to regain his freedom.”
"Was it really just his fault though? If I did more to help, maybe none of this would have happened."
“You can’t think like that. You can’t keep waiting for him to come back. He will get here on his own time but waiting day after day…that isn’t going to help anyone. I think Joel will forgive you one day. But only when he is ready.”
“What about you? When do you think you’ll be ready to forgive your own mother?”
“I don’t know.” Lisa’s face turned somber as she thought about her mother. She had not spoken to her in months. Partly because he was lost in a realm of nothingness and because she simply did not want to. “I don’t know if I can.”
“It looks like your friend is back,” Mrs. Robinson said nodding to something behind Lisa.
Lisa turned around to see Kitsune walking over to them. His bright smile faded as he noticed who Lisa was sitting with. A knot of guilt wound itself up in Lisa’s stomach. She was ashamed to be caught talking to King’s mother especially given her history with her own mother. Kitsune would know what she was doing.
“I better go,” Lisa said not making eye contact with Mrs. Robinson. “I’m sorry to have bothered you.”
“Before you go,” Mrs. Robinson said as she looked at Lisa. Lisa forced herself to look at the woman’s face. Somehow she suddenly looked older, more damaged. “Here’s some advice. If you want to understand someone you need to know where they come from.”
Lisa furrowed her brows. Was she talking about King or herself? Standing up, Lisa rushed to Kitsune before he could reach the café and make things even more uncomfortable.
"What was that about?" Kitsune asked. There was no judgment in his voice, but Lisa could tell he wasn't asking out of pure curiosity.
“Just something I felt like I needed to do.” Lisa quickly tried to change the subject. “How was the meeting with Minerva.”
Kitsune's ears sank. "About as well as I imagined it would be. The other deities are riled up. I don't know what Minerva was expecting me to do. I can barely keep Pete and Dragon in line, and now I'm expected to corral everyone else."
“You sound like you could use a vacation,” Lisa said grabbing his arm. “How about we go on that ‘date.’”
He smiled at her, and she could feel the guilt that was building up inside her melt away. He was like a sun that could wash away all the dark thing that lurked in her mind. As they walked down the road, the conversation with Mrs. Robinson seemed like a bad dream or a distant memory that got locked away with all the others.

***

“How much longer is this going to take,” Lisa asked. She tapped her fingers on her knees impatiently.
Fox, Keene, Breel, and Kitsune were sitting beside her as they waited outside the least heavenly hallway Lisa could imagine. It was like waiting to see the dentist. Hard metal chairs, cold AC blowing down from the vents, and blank walls with paintings that Lisa was sure were designed to provide comfort but instead made her question art in all its forms.
They were still waiting to see Henry Milton. Kitsune got an alert on his ‘phone’ although it looked more like a crystal slab that told him that it was almost time for their meeting with Mr. Milton. The worse part was that it interrupted what could only be described as the best date Lisa had ever had.
After her impromptu conversation with Mrs. Robinson, Lisa and Kitsune did a whirlwind tour of heaven. At one point they were literally riding a whirlwind that was one of the rides in one of the ten thousand amusement parks in that realm of heaven. When Lisa asked Kitsune about the different realms, he brushed away the question by saying that if he tried to explain it, her head would explode. Lisa was sure he was joking but did not want to take the chance. Instead, he took her to ten ice cream parlors, two water parks, five amusement parks, one haunted house because she was curious, and two picnics in the park.
“Why is this taking so long?” Lisa asked again. The others were biting their tongues to keep from snapping at her. They too were having good times before they got called here by Kitsune.
“I don’t know,” Keene said. “Dad is always busy it seems. It shouldn’t take too much longer.”
As if on cue, the door opened, and a female ocelot stepped out. Never before had Lisa seen such a cliché looking secretary in her life. It was like someone took every tv secretary cliché and slapped them on an anthropomorphic ocelot.
“Mr. Milton will see you know,” she purred.
Lisa and the others stood up and followed the cat into the office. It was much different from the room Lisa remembered from the comic when Keene met with Henry Milton. When she asked Kitsune about it, he told her that room was designed specifically for Keene's sake, but this was Mr. Milton's actual office.
“Wait a minute, this looks exactly like the office back at the manor,” Lisa shouted.
It was true. The office had the exact same red walls and carpet. The bookcases were in the exact same places, and there were even the same paintings on the wall. Even the desk was the same.
“Keene, my boy! There you are.” Lisa turned to see who spoke. Sitting in the leather chair on the other side of the large mahogany desk was a small tan ferret wearing glasses. Lisa instantly recognized Mr. Milton from the comic. She had never seen what he looked like as a human which she thought was strange considering she was living in his house.
Mr. Milton jumped from the chair and walked to Keene. They threw their arms around each other. It warmed Lisa's heart to see them like that. It reminded her of her father still trapped somewhere waiting for her to rescue him. She looked away and wiped the tears from her eyes before anyone could see. When she turned around, she noticed Kitsune's left eye was looking at her, but it quickly looked away.
“Breel, good to see you,” Mr. Milton said moving to Breel. They shook hands before embracing in a tight hug. “Taking care of my boy and keeping him out of trouble.”
Breel rubbed the back of his head with his paw. "I'm trying, but you know who he can be."
“Hey, I heard that!” Keene shouted looking embarrassed.
“Don’t I know it,” Mr. Milton said moving away from the Marten.
“Dad! Breel!”
Mr. Milton ignored him and moved to Fox. “Ahh, you must be Bill’s boy. I haven’t seen you since you were a puppy.” He extended his paw and Fox took it.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Fox said.
Mr. Milton passed Kitsune and walked directly in front of Lisa. “Who is thing fine young lady. I do not believe we have met before. Kitsune where have you been hiding this one, you sly fox.”
Lisa bent down, so she was closer to eye level. She suddenly wished Mr. Milton would change to his human self so this would be less uncomfortable. "It's nice to meet you," Lisa said extending her hand. Mr. Milton grasped it in both paws and grinned at her. There was a sparkle in his eye that reminded her of her own father. That kind that said that this man could be trusted. "My name is Lisa. Lisa Smith."
Mr. Milton's smiled faded, and he abruptly let go of Lisa's hand. "Smith. You wouldn't happen to be Adrian Smith's daughter would you?"
Upon hearing her father’s name, Lisa’s blood turned to ice. Her heart pounded in her chest as she stared blankly at the ferret. “How…how do you know my father?”
Mr. Milton stepped back looking scared like he said something that he shouldn’t have. He glanced up at Kitsune looking for help. From the corner of her eye, Lisa could see Kitsune looking equally uncomfortable.
 “What aren’t you telling me?” Lisa demanded. She looked from Kitsune to Mr. Milton. “If you know something then tell me. Where is he?”
Mr. Milton sighed and walked back to his chair. He leaned forward and placed both arms on the desk. "I can't tell you much. I made a promise to your father that I would not divulge his secrets to anyone."
“How do you even know him?” Lisa shouted. “He wasn’t even from this world.”
Mr. Milton shook his head. The charisma was gone. "I can tell you how I know him, but that's it. He once visited me at my manor asking for help with something. He was looking for something. This was several years before I died. He wanted information, not unlike you. I did what I could to help him. He stayed with me for several days before leaving. We actually became pretty good friends." He looked up at Lisa who was visibly shaking. "He gave me something that I think you should see."
He opened the top drawer of the desk and pulled out a small picture not much bigger a wallet size photo. He slid it to the edge of the desk. Lisa walked over and looked down at the image. It was her and her father during her eighth birthday. She was wearing the tiara that he gave her. She remembered having this taken. Suddenly she remembered what happened a few days later. Her father told her that he was going on one of his trips and would be gone for a week. She never told anyone how after he left she cried in her room knowing that her birthday wish did not come true. He left her again.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she stared at the photo. He lied to her. He lied to her for her entire life. This was physical proof of his betrayal.
She could feel someone step up behind her. A warm paw gripped her shoulder as the scent of apples filled her nostrils.
“Lisa, are you alright? You can talk to me,” Kitsune said trying to comfort her.
She did not want to be comforted. She wanted to be alone. Knocking away his paw, Lisa ran out of the room with her hand over her mouth to keep from opening sobbing in front of them. She slammed the door behind her before her cries echoed down the cold hallway.

***

Kitsune stared at the door unable to block out the sound of crying coming from the other side. His jaw was set tight as he turned back to Henry Milton. The ferret squirmed in his chair as he tucked the photo back in the draw. He wanted to blame the ferret for so plainly upsetting Lisa. But he couldn’t have known what a sensitive subject her father was. Henry never had children aside from his pet ferrets. Humans were much more emotional and sensitive.
“Should we do something?” Fox asked gesturing to the door.
Kitsune let out a slow breath. As Lisa's boyfriend, he knew that he should do something. The problem was he did not know what to do. Even with nearly infinite knowledge, there were somethings that one did not know and could only be learned with experience. One of those things was how to react in a situation like this. He was not used to dating mortals or dating at all. Before Lisa dating, anyone seemed like a disturbed fantasy. How many times did he mock Dragon for her occasional crushes? Now he kind of wished there was another woman in the room besides Mr. Milton's secretary who was standing in the corner like a potted plant at the moment.
"I will see if she is alright in a minute. Right now I think she needs space," Kitsune said examining his paw. She already demonstrated that she did not want to be physically comforted, so that meant she needed time. He hoped he was right. "Anyway, we need to get back to the reason we are here."
Mr. Milton nodded. “This Revenant fellow you told me about. Nasty business indeed. I hoped after Drasil was dealt with that things would return to normal for my neighborhood. In these times, normalcy is more of a fantasy than anything else.”
“He already has the power of Drasil’s temple. We believe that he is looking for the other temples the stags left. That means three if he already hasn’t found them,” Kitsune explained.
“He stole one of your journals,” Keene added. “Could the locations be in there?”
Kitsune hoped that the answer would be "No it was just a book full of recipes" instead Mr. Milton nodded and said, "Several notes could reveal the locations of the temples."
He grabbed his laptop and pulled it in front of him. After tapping on the keys, he turned it around to show them what was on the screen. It was a display of different ancient manuscripts, tablets, and writings. "I spent years studying the ancient gods and different forms of mana and magic. It was one of the reasons Adrian came to see me specifically. The journal does not have the exact locations because I couldn't figure them out myself. I do know that the secrets lie in the original legends. One for each direction. North, South, East, and West. I can't help you as much as I would like but thankfully I backed up all my notes and journals." He turned to Keene. "There on my old computer. You still have it don't you."
“Of course, I never could get rid of it.”
Mr. Milton nodded affectionately. "Good boy. Everything you need should be there. This will be your task, Keene. You know more about the gods and temples than even I do. If anyone can figure it out, it will be you. And Kitsune you might have to help. You knew the stags personally. Maybe between you two and the prophecy you told me about, you might be able to find the temples before Revenant."
“If we can find them, then we can drain the mana and destroy any chance for Revenant to ascend to divinity,” Kitsune said.
***
Lisa walked down the hallway of Milton Manor in a daze. Kitsune was by her side which she was thankful for. After her breakdown at Henry Milton's office, she wanted to be alone but not entirely alone. She felt embarrassed for reacting the way she did in front of everyone. Kitsune found her crying in one of the uncomfortable chairs and took her home. Once they arrived at the manor, he explained what was discussed after she left.
“I should have been there. It was my idea,” Lisa said flatly.
“It was not your fault. Your father is a sensitive issue. I promise once we find a way to stop Rowan we can focus on saving him.”
Lisa gave him a slight smile. If anyone could help her save her father, it was him. They passed by Rowan's or Nick's room when the door suddenly flew open.
“There you are!” Nick shouted. “I was starting to get worried you would never get back.”
“What are you talking about?” Lisa asked. “I know we were gone longer than expected but it wasn’t that long.”
The wolf’s jaw dropped as he stared at her like she grew a second head from her neck. “You were gone for over a month.”
That snapped Lisa out of her stupor. “What!?” She turned to Kitsune who quickly looked down at his feet trying to avoid her gaze. She would deal with him later.
“What happened while we were gone?”
"A lot of things for starters," Nick gestured wildly with his paws. "I mean things got weird with the wolf cubs, but I'll tell you about that later. The real thing I wanted to tell you is that I know what Rowan is planning. Or at least I think I do."
He waved them inside the room. Lisa and Kitsune stood in the doorway as Nick walked to the closet. He opened it up and revealed all of Rowan's belongings. Seeing them again caused the familiar sting in Lisa's heart. Her drama with her father and Kitsune almost caused her to forget about Rowan completely. Now that guilt was back like a thorn she couldn't reach.
“I was looking for clues like you suggested when I found this.” Nick pulled out a spiral notebook with poorly drawn doodles on the front. He laid it on the bed for Lisa and Kitsune to see.
They walked over, and Lisa read the title. "Tycoon"
“This is Rowan’s comic idea,” Lisa said opening the notebook to the first page.
The pages were covered with more doodles and notes and storylines. She had not laid eyes on it since freshman year when she first met Rowan. She thought he might have thrown it away after what happened. As she flipped through it, she noticed a change after the tenth page. The notes were more organized, and there were fewer doodles. Most importantly her name was written on almost every page.
"This must have been after we met," she whispered. She never realized how much of effect she had on his work. Just like everything else about him she was clueless.
“That is only the tip of the iceberg,” Nick said flipping towards the middle of the notebook. “This is the big thing you need to see. It’s one of the stories he came up with. According to the notes and synopsis, the hero is supposed to fight a villain named the Queen of Hearts.”
“Rowan was never good at coming up with characters,” Lisa said trying to defend Rowan.
“Names aside, it is what she does. Her master plan was to control the minds of all the animals in the world and turn them against the humans using a magic scepter. He called it “The Heartache but it is basically...”
Lisa's eyes widened, and she finished Nick's sentence. "The corruption. He's going to turn all the animals in this world against the humans." The thought of millions of anthropomorphic animals acting like Bino did make her sick. The humans and animals would fight until there was nothing left.
“He wanted to destroy this world as part of his vengeance for what it did so I think this would be the best way for him to do it,” Nick said.
“If he got the full power of a god, it would be as easy for him,” Kitsune growled between his teeth.
“The question is; how do we stop him?” Nick asked crossing his arms against his chest.
“Keene is looking and deciphering Henry Milton’s notes as we speak,” Kitsune told him. “I hope we still have time.”
“Thankfully there have been no Revenant sightings since you left,” Nick told them.
Lisa stared at the notebook. One question rang in her head. Why? What would cause Rowan to go so far? Kitsune said before that he was corrupted by the dark magic, but he had to be subjectable to it for this kind of effect.
"How do we stop him if we don't know where he is?" Nick asked, there was anger in his voice.
Lisa was only haft listening to the conversation. She was still raw about her father. As she thought about everything she had learned over the last month, something popped into her mind. Mrs. Robinson's final words. "To know someone you need to know where they came from," Lisa said out loud.
“What are talking about?” Nick asked.
"I realize that I don't know as much about Rowan as I would like but that changes now. Two people know more about him than anyone else," Lisa said getting worked up. "We talked to Keene's father and King's mother. Now it's time to pay a visit to Rowan's parents."

_________________
Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:31 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Housepets! Always Save the Day
Chapter 6: Voices of Lost Children
A “Housepets! Comics” Fan Fiction
Based on the characters by Rick Griffin
By: Fenrir Black

A Message from The Great Kitsune

Hello everyone. Things have gotten much stranger and much harder after our recent trip to Heaven to speak with Henry Milton. We don't know where Rowan…Revenant is or how much power he has gained while we were gone. Time is slipping by and generally for a god that is nothing but with a threat such as the one we are faced with I'm starting to understand why you mortals fear the passage of time.
To make matters worse, it seemed that Lisa's father, Adrian Smith, somehow made his way from Lisa's world to the HPU. I believe I know the reason, but I cannot tell Lisa. She was upset when she learned the truth about her father. But that can wait. We learned that Henry Milton may have clues that can lead us to the remaining temples in his old journals and notes from his travels. Keene is working through them as we speak. In the meantime, Lisa and I are heading to her world to find Rowan's parents. Apparently while in Heaven Lisa talked to King's mother and she told her that to understand someone you first need to know where they came from. That is why we are here now. Hopefully, they can shed some light on the situation because no matter how I look at it there should have been no possible method for Rowan to absorb so much mana in his mortal vessel and keep it as he has. Not unless there was always more to him than any one of us realized
.



Oksskolten, Norway


The bitter cold and swirling snow were making it much harder to traverse the mountain than Rowan anticipated. When he discovered that the temple of Dáinn was located here, Rowan believed it would be a simple matter of popping at the temple, making his way through, and reaching the mana that laid in wait. Unfortunately, he was still not powerful enough to break through the magical defenses left by the stag. The closest he could appear was at the base of the mountain. Now he had to climb the steep slopes, rocky passages, and sheer cliffs. A normal human would have died from hypothermia or fallen merely to their death. Rowan was not human. Every obstetrical that crossed his path was either bypass with a simple burst of flight or blast of magic. As he soon found out that would not always work. The closer he got the temple entrance, the less strength he had. Now he was forced to trudge to feet of snow in his tennis shoes. His power kept him from freezing to death, but it did little to warm him as he was pelted by razor-edged wind and ice crystals that seemed to form from nothing. He was starting to believe the mountain itself was trying to prevent him from reaching his destination. It would fail.
Rowan plowed through the snow bank as fast as he could. The cold was starting to make him tired. Clutching his robe, he tried to keep what little heat he had from being stolen by the wind. There were times it felt like he was surrounded by white nothingness. Rocks would appear in his vision on occasion only to be washed out by another flurry of snow. To keep him distracted, he focused on the ball of purple fire in his right hand.
The fire provided little warmth but did help keep the chill away. Rowan stared at it miserably. It was a mark of his curse. A reminder of what he did and how much he gave all those years ago. As he stared at the flame, it was like he could see it all over again.

Many Years Ago
New Bern, NC

Rowan opened his eyes and saw only the faint light of the clock beside his bed. He blinked as his eyes struggled to adjust to the bright glow. Slowly the numbers came into focus. 2:45 a.m.
Rowan rolled over and dug deeper into his mattress. He had school in the morning and only a few hours before the alarm would blare in his ear disrupting what precious little sleep he could get. His head sunk deeper into his pillow but no matter how hard he squeezed his eyes shut, any chance at sleep was gone.
Crash.
There it was again. Rowan sat up in his bed and looked around. His bedroom appeared out the darkness as his eyes began to adjust. In the corner was his collection of games and toys laying in a pile. His blue curtains were drawn shut so little moonlight could peer through the window. The bedroom door was left slightly ajar for easy access to the hall if he had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
What made that sound, he wondered. Everyone was asleep. He focused on the source of the noise and tried to decipher where it came from. Dakota was the most likely culprit. Rowan sighed and rolled his eyes before throwing the covers off of him. One leg at a time, he swung himself off the bed and landed on the soft carpeted floor.
The hallway was eerily quiet that night. He spotted Dakota’s room instantly. The light from Dakota's nightlight could be seen through the crack under the door. Slowly, Rowan stepped down the hall and towards Dakota's room. A shadow moved across the room temporarily blocking the light. It was so fast that Rowan wondered if he only imagined it. But no, he knew he didn't. Dakota was moving around when he was supposed to be asleep.
His younger brother was so strange sometimes and would do the oddest things. Once he took all the silverware out of the draw and tried to line them up like dominos. When Dakota realized that there was no way they were going to stand on their own, he stuck them into the dining room table then got upset when they wouldn’t fall over.
Rowan stood outside his brother's door. Part of him thought of waking his parents and let them deal with their youngest son. It was not his job to take care of Dakota. He would never take a situation like that. But his parents were sound asleep and if woke them up to tattle on Dakota would only make them upset with him. Not to mention what they would do to Dakota. After the silverware incident, Dakota was locked in his room for two weeks. Not much else you could do with a five-year-old.
Begrudgingly, Rowan turned the doorknob and slowly cracked open the door. The room was quiet as Rowan stuck his head in. Carefully, he quickly slipped past the door and shut it behind him. There was no telling what he was going to do to Dakota for waking him up and the last thing he wanted was his parents to hear Dakota scream for them.
“Dakota,” Rowan whispered. His voice seemed distant as he looked around the semi-lit room. Dakota’s collection of stuffed animals was in plain view as usual scattered on the floor. His parents thought his room was messy. He stepped over a large hippo and made his way to Dakota’s bed.
As he stepped closer, Rowan immediately realized something was wrong. Half the sheets and blankets were torn from the bed and falling to the floor. One pillow was missing altogether. A cold breeze blew past him, and Rowan turned to see the window was wide open. From where he was standing, Rowan could see the moonlit yard and a strange vehicle parked in front of the house.
In the corner of his eye, Rowan watched the closet door slowly creep open. Out of the darkness, a tall figure appeared. At first, Rowan thought it was some kind of monster like the ones he used to tease Dakota about. "Beware the monster that lives in your closet. At night, when your asleep, it will come out and sneak up on you." Rowan wondered if it was because of that Dakota would wander around in the middle of the night. As the figure stepped closer to the light, Rowan realized two things. One that it was no monster but a large man. Two that the man's arms were wrapped around Dakota. Even in that dim light, Rowan could see the terror in Dakota's eyes as he stared at him.
Rowan opened his mouth to scream for his parents or simply out of fear. But before even a sound could emerge from his lips, a thickly gloved hand clasped over his mouth silencing him. Rowan did not even notice that there was someone else hiding in the corner when he walked in the room. The man's other arm wrapped tightly around Rowan's torso. Even as the fingers dug into his face, Rowan screamed. A scream that was never heard even as he was slammed against the doorframe and he lost consciousness.


New Bern, NC
Present Day


Lisa stared at the familiar house, tapping her foot on the browning grass. The autumn air smelled sweet that day. She could see the various Halloween decoration the Gain’s had put out. Ceramic jack-o-lanterns guarded the front door while a flatten witch hung on the wood paneling. She bit her lip as her mind raced with thousands of different scenarios of how she was going to talk to Rowan's parents.
"Oh, hello Mr. and Mrs. Gains. Your son is possessed but dark magic and is currently plotting to destroy an alternate universe, but I love those pumpkins you have outside."
So far that was her best option.
“Lisa.” There was a hand on her shoulder, snapping her out of her brainstorming. “Are you with me.”
She turned to Kitsune who watched her with notable concern written on his face. He was currently in his human form. A young blonde man with the usual purple t-shirt and jeans. It was always strange to see him like that. For so long she had only seen him as a drawing in a comic than as an actual living kitsune. Now he was a real human. Someone she could realistically see spending the rest of her life together with. She would never tell him that of course. Just like she would never admit that she was more attracted to his kitsune form than his human form.
Lisa smiled and gently removed his hand from her shoulder. She was glad he was with her for this. Not that he had much choice since she needed him to travel between worlds. Rowan had the bracelet they got from Drasil which was what they used before. Even though it was only a few months ago, it felt like a lifetime had passed since she and Rowan first came to Babylon Gardens.
"I don't know if I'm here or a million miles away," she said turning back to the house. She prayed that neither of Rowan's parents was looking out the window wondering why she was standing there with someone who clearly was not their son. "How are we going to do this? I mean I know we can't tell them the truth but Rowan's gone. How are we supposed to explain the fact that he's not here, but we are?"
Kitsune stared at her. His red eyes always had a way of calming the butterflies in her stomach while his touch seemed only to create new ones. “I thought you would have figured that out before we came here.”
"Thanks for your help," Lisa said. He had a point, and she knew it. It was only yesterday that they returned from their month-long trip to Heaven to speak with Henry Milton. It was her idea to come here. All because despite knowing Rowan for the better part of four years, she knew nothing about him.
Taking a deep breath, Lisa marched to the front door sensing Kitsune a few steps behind her. She shook her body trying to get rid of any nervousness that was still there. She could do this, she told herself. She could totally lie to her best friend's parents faces while secretly extracting information from them.
Oh God, she couldn’t do this. Before she could turn around and make a break for it, Kitsune reached past her and knocked on the door three times as hard as he could. Lisa sucked air into her lungs while simultaneously tried to keep from vomiting.
“Have you been here before?” Kitsune asked retreating from the door.
“Yeah, a few times. I’ve spent the last four Thanksgivings here.”
He shot her a quizzical look. “You didn’t spend them with your mother?”
"Ha!" Lisa laughed louder than she intended. "Yeah right. As soon as my mother found out that I had alternate plans, she booked herself a cruise to the Bahama's for a week. That's her tradition now." She closed her eyes and tried to push the thought of her mother out of her head. There was a small voice deep in the back of her mind that told her that maybe she should check up on her mother. After all, Lisa had not spoken with her since June. She was alright with that. "I spent the entire week off school with Rowan here. He would drive us down, and then I would drive us back. It became our thing."
Kitsune looked thoughtful for a second then leaned in closer. “Maybe we should have a thing,” he told her.
Lisa could not suppress the smile that was gradually spreading across her face. “I figured this was our thing. Traveling to other worlds. Stopping maniacal villains from conquering said worlds.” She blushed as he kissed her cheek. It was strange feeling human lips and knowing that it was Kitsune doing the deed. Dating a demigod would take a lot more getting used to.
Before it got anymore potentially awkward, Lisa scooted away from Kitsune and rang the doorbell. “They have this button for a reason.”
“Did you hear that Miles invited Gale to Thanksgiving at his place this year?” Kitsune asked.
Lisa nodded. She had not met the cougar or her son, Pueblo. From what she heard, they had been living in the neighborhood for months’ even after she and Rowan showed up but their paths never crossed. It was only after she got back from the void that she heard the story of Miles’s camping trip from King.
“I am curious about how that is going to work. From what I heard the wolves and Gale are still not on the best of terms.”
Kitsune grinned and said, “You know it’s not good to gossip.”
"You were the one who started it," Lisa told him. "Honestly, I've never seen this side of you before. Public displays of affection. Gossip. You sure aren't the same Kitsune was all like "I can't help you. It's beyond my pay grade. Go be an awesome were-tiger and fight that giant hell monster yourself." Lisa tried to sound like him but ended up sounding more like a drowning Muppet.
Kitsune shrugged. “What can I say you bring out the worse in me.” He faced the door again and scowled at it. “Maybe they aren’t home.”
Lisa had not thought about what they would do if the Gains were not there. They could be visiting Dakota at the hospital for all they knew. They could always come back the next day, but by then she doubted she would still have the courage to face them.
Luckily they did not have to worry about that because a second later the door opened and Mrs. Gains stood at the threshold. She scanned Kitsune quickly before turning to Lisa. As soon as she saw her, Mrs. Gain’s eyes lit up.
“Lisa!” She let the door go and stepped closer to them. “What are you doing here? It’s so good to see you.”
Before she could stop her, Lisa was enveloped in a hug. “It’s good to see you too, Mrs. Gains.”
"Please, I told you at graduation to call me Laura.” Her face changed from excitement to confusion as she began to realize that Lisa was there but not Rowan.
“There is something we need to tell you,” Lisa said before Laura could ask. “It’s about Rowan. Something’s happened.”
The look of anguish that spread over Laura's face broke Lisa's heart. She already lost one son, and now here she was about to tell this woman that her other one was gone. Lisa opened her mouth to try to say something reassuring but closed it again. There was nothing to say.
“Come in,” Laura said gesturing them inside.
A few minutes later they were all sitting in the living room. Lisa and Rowan on the couch with Laura and her husband Mitch sitting in different chairs on either side of the room. Lisa found it hard to look at either of them. They both seemed just to be staring into space as they waited for the pin to drop.
“Oh, I haven’t introduced you to my friend,” Lisa said quickly trying to put off telling them what happened. “This is…uh.” Lisa had not bothered to think of a human name for Kitsune.
“Pete,” Kitsune said smoothly. “Pete Griffin.”
“Oh, like from “Family Guy?” Mitch asked.
“Yeah, just like that,” Kitsune said with a smile.
He turned to Lisa who mouthed the words “Pete. Griffin.” Kitsune only shrugged.
Laura looked at them, and Lisa could see that she was about to burst out of her skin if she did not get the answers to why they were there and what happened to Rowan.
Lisa’s throat felt dry. “Rowan’s missing.”
Those were the only words she could let herself say. It technically wasn’t a lie. Rowan was still missing only he was out in the world looking for sources of power so he could destroy it. Not exactly something that was easy to say.
"How long has he been missing?" Laura asked. Her voice was ice cold, but Lisa was impressed by how calm she sounded. “Has the police been notified? Where was the last place you saw him? Why weren’t we told earlier?” With each question, her voice rose a decimal.
“Honey,” Mitch said leaning forward. He patted the air like he was trying to reach her across the room. “Let Lisa explain what’s going on before you get hysterical.”
Lisa opened her mouth to try to answer any of the questions that she was bombarded with, but her mind was utterly blank. Any train of thought or possible answer deserted her. She searched her mind for any possible explanation that would not either sound completely crazy or send Rowan's parents to the police.
“We don’t know exactly where he is. All we know was that he sent us all an e-mail and told us that he needed some time off work. That was a month ago,” Kitsune said.
Lisa stared at him. Did he just come up with that right then? He turned slightly and winked.
"So you work for the company that produces the documentary?" Mitch asked. It wasn't an accusation, but Lisa had the feeling that neither one trusted Kitsune just yet.
“Yes, I am one of the supervisors for the show,” Kitsune informed them.
"And you have no idea where he went or why he left?" Laura asked leaning forward. She seemed slightly calmer, or that could just be wishful thinking on Lisa.
"We wrapped up filming, and the show just got renewed for another season when he left. You have to understand that we all love Rowan as the studio," Kitsune said as sincerely as possible. He was such a good actor that even Lisa wanted to believe that Kitsune did work Milton Studios. "But we have to start filming again, but we don't want to do it without Rowan."
“I never learned what this documentary was about,” Mitch said. “All Rowan told us was that he would be out of the country for a few months and would not be able to contact us. That was four months ago.”
Lisa knew that was the lie that they each told their parents. Technically it wasn't a lie since they were out of the country in a way. The less information that got around, the better.
"That's not important," Lisa quickly said before the lie grew any bigger or worse, got out of hand. "He was acting strangely before he left though." Lisa thought back to the fourth of July and the following days. Rowan confessed that he loved her, kidnapped his brother from the mental facility, then fought a fallen god bent on world conquest. It was strange, she had to admit. “Before he left, I noticed his arm.”
It happened quickly. So quickly, in fact, Lisa wasn't sure it even happened, but both of Rowan's parents shot each other looks of absolute horror. They did know, Lisa realized. It was hard not to notice especially with the way he would rub it whenever he got nervous. Of course, she never noticed that until a few months ago.
“How long has he been doing that?” Lisa asked.
Laura closed her eyes like she was trying to hold back tears. Mitch rested his elbow on the armrest then placed his forehead in his palm. "Since Dakota got taken to the hospital." He sighed then continued, "We didn't notice at first. They were small and thin. When we did notice we brushed it off as simply scratches. Then it got worse. After a point, there was no denying what he was doing to himself."
"It was all fault," Laura said, her voice was filled with sadness. "We didn't' notice what was wrong with Dakota until it was too late. Then Rowan. Now, look what's happened. He's runway to God know where and it's all our fault."
“It’s not our fault,” Mitch said calmly.
“Oh, isn’t it.” Lisa had never seen Rowan’s mother look so sad. “We ignored the signs for years. I knew we should have taken him to the doctor after what happened with Dakota. He was ten. He should never have had to do that! What he saw in that barn. What he did to protect him. He was ten.” Laura was practically shouting by the end of her sentence.
Lisa knew what they were talking about because Rowan told her himself three months earlier. He told her how he found Dakota covered in blood after he killed their pet dog, claiming the voices told him to do it. Rowan tried to keep it from his parents until Dakota kept hurting more animals then he had no choice. It broke something inside of him.
Laura shook her head. "No, we should have taken him after what happened to them. I knew followed up with that psychiatrist. The counselor told us this would happen. After what they went through. After what happened to them.”
Lisa felt dizzy all of a sudden. What was she talking about? Them? Did she mean Rowan and Dakota? What happened before the barn?
Rowan's parents must have noticed the confusion on her face because Mitch instantly shut down while Laura rocked back and forth in her chair. Lisa glanced sideways at Kitsune and could tell he was thinking the same thing. They were hiding something.
“You need to tell us what happened,” Lisa said. “What are you talking about? If it has something to do with why Rowan left, then we need to know.”
“It’s not important,” Mitch said avoiding both Lisa’s and Laura’s gaze.
Lisa's eyes flickered between both Rowan's parents. Laura looked like she was silently pleading with her husband while he was ignoring her. Feeling a new conviction stir inside her, Lisa knew that she had to get them to talk. Her eyes bored into Laura like she was trying to mental shuffle through the woman's thoughts for the answer.
"It's time someone knew, Mitch." Laura's voice was barely a whisper. Louder she said, "If anyone should know it's Lisa. She of all people should know the truth. And if it helps to find Rowan, then I think we should do it."
Without looking at any of them, Mitch nodded his head.
Laura turned to Lisa and Kitsune and asked, “Have either of you heard of the Hillside Kidnappings?”

Many Years Ago
New Bern, NC


Rowan was not sure what terrified him the most about where he was. There was the metal collar digging into his neck and the heavy metal chain attached to it that connected to the wall behind him. It was so dark where he was. The only light came from the cracks under the door that led into the long hallway. When he first woke up and realized he had been kidnapped he laid on the floor and tried to peer under the door. He could see the hall outside his room, but there was so little there. Only cold cement, like the floor of the room he was trapped in.
There were also the smells. The was acidic with the odor of fear and human waste. Rowan soon realized that there was no bathroom in the room. Even if there was a toilet or someplace for him to relieve himself, he doubted he could reach it. The chain only allowed him to walked three feet from the wall before holding him back. He could not even reach the door to touch it. Whoever had them was not taking any chances of them escaping or seemed to care about their health.
The worse part was the sounds. Rowan could hear them. The cries of children echoing around the hallway. Screaming, shouting, crying, or merely whispering, Rowan could hear them at all times of the day and night. Only there was no way to tell when it was day or night where he was. The room was like his closet. No windows, small, dark, and the only exit was that door just out of his reach.
How much time had passed, he wondered? He tried to stay strong but how could he? There were several times he too broke down and cried to himself. He had to hide his emotions from Dakota who was trapped in the room with him. Rowan to stay strong for his sake.
Dakota was the worst part, Rowan thought. Since the moment he woke up, he would scream and cry for their parents. No matter how many times he told Dakota to stay quiet or calm down, it only made it worse. His whiny voice stabbed Rowan’s ears as he begged for him to save them. That was why Rowan had to stay strong. He was the older brother. It was his job. His parents told him to take care of Dakota. As much as he hated it, that was what he had to do for both their sakes.
“Rowan, are you there?” Dakota asked. His voice was so low and barely audible.
It was one of those rare moments when silence descended the hall. The other children were either asleep or had given up. Rowan was thankful for the moment of quiet, but somehow it felt worse. Like he was alone now.
“I’m here, what do you want?” Rowan asked. He tucked his knees against his chest to try to stay warm. Why was it so cold, Rowan asked himself? His pajamas provided little warmth or comfort. He wondered that if there was more light then maybe he could see his breath.
“I’m cold,” Dakota said.
Helplessly, Rowan turned to where his brother sat. Dakota was crouched on the floor with his arms and legs clutched together. He was barely visible in the faint light, but Rowan could make out his small features.
"What do you expect me to do about it?" Rowan asked. He was so tired. Part of him screamed for sleep,, but another part warned that if he sleeps, then he would not wake up.
“Can I stay next to you?”
“Fine,” Rowan said.
There was a slight shuffling as Dakota picked himself up from the floor. Rowan could see the faint silhouette of his brother move closer to him from the corner of his eye. Within seconds there was a small body holding onto him like he would drift away if he let go. Dakota rested his head on Rowan's arm, but he did not resist. Rowan allowed his brother to grip his hand and lay beside him.
"I want to go home," Dakota told him. As if on cue, the crying began. At first, Rowan thought it was Dakota crying, but it was coming from one of the other rooms. That triggered more crying and screamed from the other children. Rowan had no idea how many there were or how old or young they all were. "I don't like this place. I want to go home. I want Mommy and Daddy."
Dakota's body started to shake, a precursor to what Rowan assumed was going to be Dakota beginning to cry. He could not let that happen. Gently Rowan wrapped his arm around his brother's body and pushed him closer into his chest. A small part of him wanted to hurt Dakota if he started crying. Just squeeze his arm or fingers until he stopped. Of course, that would only make things worse.
"It will be alright," Rowan said softly. What would his mom say in a situation like this, he wondered? "I'm here, and everything is going to be fine. I'll keep you safe."
Dakota lifted his head and looked at Rowan directly in the eyes. “You promise?”
“I promise.”
The door opened. Light flooded the small room, blinding Rowan. He let go of Dakota to cover his eyes. He could see a shadow approach them through his fingers. His eyes hurt but he tried to focus on the shadow. Soon it became clearer, and the figure of a large man appeared in his vision. Following him was another man. This one was smaller than the first. Were these the two who kidnapped them, Rowan thought?
Rowan looked over at Dakota and gasped. For the first time, he could see how bad his brother looked. His clothes were torn and dirty as was the rest of his body. Dakota’s hair was standing up in every possible direction. But it was the eyes that truly frightened him. His eyes were so dark and red from crying. He almost looked sick. Rowan remembered when Dakota had a fever the year before. This was worse.
"It's your turn," one of the men said. He walked over to where Dakota was and pulled out a small key from his pocket. Rowan watched as the man stuck the key into Dakota's collar and with a slight click it opened up. He removed the collar, and the other man stepped forward.
“What are you doing?” Rowan asked. Dakota’s grip tightened around his arm. It felt like he was trying to snap it off. The men reached down and grabbed Dakota’s arms, pulling him away from Rowan. “No, stop. Don’t take him!”
Rowan screamed and tried to pull Dakota back,, but the men were much stronger than him. Before he knew it, the larger man kicked Rowan in the chest slamming against the wall. Blackness filled his vision as Dakota's cries for help filled his ears.
There was a sharp pain in his stomach as Rowan stood up. He could see the men forcibly dragging Dakota out of the room. Rowan ran to him, but he only made it three steps before the chain held him back with a powerful jerk. He reached out for Dakota. For a moment, Rowan thought he could reach him.
“Rowan, don’t let them take me!” Dakota screamed.
One of the men let him go and gripped the side of the door. Rowan watched in horror as the door shut and the darkness surrounded him. He clawed at the collar around his neck, trying to break it with his bare hands. His eyes were wild with fury and fear. They couldn’t take him, he thought.
"Dakota!" Rowan cried as he still tried to reach to his brother. His fingers were grasping empty air. "Dakota!"
“Rowan.” He could still hear his brother’s cries for another few minutes. Slowly they faded away until he couldn’t hear them anymore.


New Bern, NC
Present Day


“The Hillside Kidnappings?” Lisa repeated. “I’ve never heard of them.”
She tried to think back to when she was younger. The name sounded familiar, but she could not place it. It was like a hazy memory that seemed to drift farther away from the more she tried to reach for it.
“It’s not surprising. It happened a long time ago. You were much too young to know what was going on,” Laura said shaking her head.
"It started off with a single kidnapping," Mitch said. Everyone turned to him. "It was a simple thing that upset a lot of people, but nobody thought much of it. Then there was another and another. Suddenly people were scared. They were all the same. It happened at night in rural areas. No witnesses. No traces."
“You never think it will happen to you,” Laura said. She started sitting up in her chair. She placed her hands in her lap and stared guiltily at Lisa and Kitsune. “You hear about it on the news, you think about how sad the situation is, but you never think that you could be a target. You tell yourself you’ll be safe.” She squeezed her eyes shut before continuing, “But you aren’t safe.”
Lisa knew what was about to happen but couldn’t say anything. Her voice was trapped in her throat.
“It happened one night,” Laura said. Her voice sounded weak and cold. “We all went to bed like we normally did. But the next day…the next day they were both gone.” The memory must have been heartbreaking because Laura burst into tears. She quickly stood up and ran out of the room.
"We went to their rooms, but they were not in them. Rowan's bed was cold, and it looked like he got up in the middle of the night. His door was wide open." He shook his head. " It was Dakota's room that was a real sight. It was completely trashed. The sheets were torn off his bed and toys were scattered all over the floor. Then we saw the window was wide open and we knew. We just knew at that moment what had happened. They were gone."
“There was blood.” Laura suddenly appeared from around the corner. “There was blood on the wall. Our kid’s blood.” She set back down and blew her nose in a tissue she had retrieved from the other room.
“After that, we called the police. Dakota and Rowan were officially the twelfth and thirteenth children taken in as many days around the county,” Mitch told him.
Lisa stared at him in shock. That many? How was that possible.
Mitch continued talking, but his voice sounded miles away. "There was nothing we could do. That was the worst part, the helplessness. The feeling of being able to do nothing when your kids could be dying somewhere or already dead. The first twenty-four hours are the most important they told us. In most child kidnappings, the child is killed after those twenty-four hours. Can you imagine how that felt to be told that and then watch the clock tick by while you could do nothing but sit and watch?"
Lisa shook her head. She couldn’t imagine how that felt. She glanced at Kitsune who set stoic beside her.
“Days passed, then it was a week, then it was close to a month,” Laura spoke up this time. “It was almost a month when we got the phone call. They found them. All the missing children were alive.” She gave a half-hearted smile. “The culprits were part of some cult that worships demons. It was a miracle they were safe, we thought. Our children were home, and they were alright. But they weren’t though. We were the lucky ones, we thought. Some of the children were so dehydrated and weak that they were more like walking skeletons than kids. Rowan and Dakota were not much better when we found them at the hospital.”
“How were they otherwise?” Lisa asked. “I mean how were they emotionally?”
"You know that already," Laura said. Her voice dropped to a whisper. "They weren't the same. How could they be? After that things were different. They were different. Dakota was always a shy boy, but he just shut down after that. Withdrew into himself. Rowan never left his side. For weeks they would sleep in the same bed together. They were practically inseparable. Then there were the nightmares that followed. We woke up so many nights to hear them screaming in their sleep.”
"It was a long time before we had any sense of normalcy in this house," Mitch said. He leaned closer to them. "It took so long before we thought it was over. Rowan was the first to recover. Before too long he was back to his old self. He was still more protective of Dakota and rarely got mad at him, but he seemed so…normal."
“Dakota wasn’t,” Lisa added.
“No, he wasn’t.” Mitch took a deep breath and gradually released it. “He was never the same. You know what happened later. We had no choice. We told ourselves it was for his own good.” He suddenly laughed manically and leaned back in his chair. He tilted his head up and stared up at the ceiling. “That was a lie we told ourselves for years. It was never for his own good. It was for us. We sent him away to protect Rowan.”
“Rowan?” Lisa asked.
"We wanted to protect him from Dakota." He smiled at them, but there was no joy in it. "We wanted things to go back to normal. We wanted to forget about what had happened to them. We lied to ourselves for years."
“Mitch!” Laura cried and stood up. She stared at her husband with a look of poison. “How can you say that?”
"It's true. Dakota was gone. We fooled ourselves for years thinking Rowan wasn't gone too. He was never the same after that. Even before the barn. Ever since he came back home from that forsaken place, he was different. You knew it, and I knew it."
“What are you both talking about?” Lisa turned to see that it was Kitsune who asked. His eyes glanced back from Laura to Mitch and back again. “What happened to him?”
"As we said, he was much more protective of Dakota, but there was more." Mitch walked over to the far wall and placed his arm on it before leaning forward. "It was like darkness had descended around him. It was one thing to lose that childhood innocence, of course, that was gone, but this was different. He just wasn't the same."
"He was depressed a lot," Laura said. She stood up and walked to a framed picture sitting on one of the shelves of a wooden cabinet. "There were other moments when he would lose control and fly into a fit of anger. This was after Dakota was gone. As he got older, it felt like it only got worse. We told ourselves it was just him becoming a teenager. There were times when we could feel this…malice coming from him."
Kitsune's eyes lit up. Lisa did not like that. His expression was one of grave concern. "How could you tell?"
“We don’t know really. All we know is that we had to protect him no matter what.”
Lisa knew what they were really saying. The entire story told her everything she needed to know. Her stomach was twisted in knots. Rowan had been through so much, but his parents didn't help him. They were like her mother in that way. They put themselves first over the well-being of their child. Their guilty expressions told her she was right.
"You knew he needed help," Lisa said standing up as well. Kitsune grabbed her arm, but she quickly pulled it away. "He was hurting himself, but you let it go. You lied to him and to yourselves." She suddenly realized something about the situation. Something in her mind clicked. "You kept him away from Dakota on purpose, didn't you?"
Mitch turned to her and opened his mouth like he was about to argue with her, but no words came. Laura stared at the floor. When she looked up again, tears were flowing down her face. "We did what we thought was best. Keeping Dakota away from Rowan was too help them both. Whenever Rowan was around Dakota, he would change. It was like nothing, or anyone could even be near him. He acted like if he left Dakota alone for even a second, he would disappear."
“We had to protect them both. That’s what a parents’ job is. Protecting their children is their number one concern,” Mitch said.
"So you ignored Rowan when he clearly needed your help," Lisa's voice kept rising as she spoke. "You ignored Dakota when he was dying inside, and even after he was gone, it was easier to forget about him. Rowan was hurting, and he couldn't find anyone to help him." Lisa blood went cold as the words left her lips. She was just as guilty, wasn't she? She ignored him just as much as his parents because it was easier than facing the truth.
"We already lost one child," Laura said defensively. "We couldn't lose another."
Lisa heard enough. She brushed past Laura and headed to the door. Behind her, she could hear Kitsune catching up to her, but she did not turn around. She had to get out of that house. Everything she learned made her sick. Not only the tragedy that Rowan spent his life dealing with but the fact that he couldn't even tell her about it because deep down he knew she wouldn't listen.
Hollow and dry, Lisa flew open the door and hopped down the small set of stairs. The autumn air seemed much colder than when they first arrived. Her body was shaking, but it wasn't because of the cold.
"Lisa, are you alright?" Kitsune asked. He placed his hand on her shoulder and Lisa instantly relaxed. She could feel his gaze on the back of her head, but she refused to look at him. "I know that was a lot to take in, but it does explain a great deal about Rowan's behavior."
“What did we learn?” Lisa asked turning on him. “We learned that he was kidnapped as a child and held prisoner for a month.” Her throat felt tight like a pair of icy hands just grabbed her. The thought of everything he had been through. There was no way she could understand how much pain he felt, but still, he stood with her through all her drama. She felt like she somehow betrayed him.
"I don't know exactly what happened to Rowan during that month, but I have a theory," Kitsune said. "The more I think about it, the more I realize that Rowan could not have absorbed Drasil's power as he did. The way he's been able to absorb the mana stored in the temples is also unnatural."
“What are you talking about? Res absorbed the power to become that giant tiger thing,” Lisa pointed out.
Kitsune nodded, "You saw what it did to him. That explosion of power affected him differently than Rowan. Res's body changed to adapt to the influx of power. Rowan though, he not only was the same physically but he wielded power like a professional. It was like it was made for him."
“What are you saying, Kitsune?” Lisa asked.
He was silent for a moment. "I'm saying that Rowan is not who you think he is. The Rowan you and I know…" his voice trailed off like he was trying to find the right words to say. "He's not the real Rowan. The real Rowan died all those years ago."
Lisa didn’t say anything. She felt like she had been punched in the gut. Her mind flooded with memories of Rowan and her together. Laughing, watching shows online, her crying into his shoulder after a disastrous phone call with her mother, the late nights when they helped each other study. How could that Rowan, the Rowan who shared all those moments with her not be the real one?
She stepped away from him. “You’re wrong. You’re wrong,” she shouted, her voice was tinged with anger. “I don’t care what you say. Rowan is real. My Rowan is real. I will save him from whatever darkness is processing him.”
"Lisa, please listen to me," Kistune said holding his palms up to try to get her to calm down. "What those men did to him. They changed him, I'm sure of it. I've been around since the beginning, and I've seen what humans are capable of. I am more certain they performed some kind of ritual on Rowan so that he was able to absorb massive quantities of magic. That kind of transformation, it alters a human's mind and psyche," he paused. "Whoever you think Rowan is or was. That's not the real one."
Lisa exhaled slowly before looking at Kitsune directly in the eyes. “Take me home.”
“Lisa.”
“Take me home, Kitsune.” Lisa’s eyes burned with a black hatred. “Back to the manor. Then I don’t want to see or hear from you for a while.”
Kitsune opened his mouth but immediately closed it. He looked at her with pity before snapping his fingers. Then they were gone.

Many Years Ago
New Bern, NC


“Dakota,” Rowan whispered. “Look at me. You have to look at me.”
Dakota was not responding to him. No matter what Rowan did, his brother seemed to be asleep. He did not know how much time had passed since the door opened and the two men dumped Dakota’s limp body into the room. Rowan rushed to his brother’s side and lifted his head up. Dakota’s eyes were glazed and distant. His breath was weak and shallow. If there more light, then Rowan would see the burn and scratch marks around his brother’s wrists and ankles.
“Please, you have to stay with me.” Rowan rocked back and forth with Dakota resting in his lap. Every once in a while, Dakota would mumble something inaudible. That meant he was still in there somewhere. “Everything will be okay. I will protect you. I promise I will protect you.”
After what felt like days later, Dakota's condition had not improved much. He was more observant but still did not speak. Finally, he was able to sit up on his own, but it looked like he was unconscious still. The men did not bother to re-chain him to the wall. Why should they, Rowan thought. Dakota was not going to escape or help him escape.
The quiet was worse after Dakota came back. Rowan could hear doors opening and closing up and down the hallway. Children screamed as they were dragged away, but after a while, they stopped screaming and stopping fighting the inevitable. Rowan would whisper to Dakota and tell him stories just to have something to break the crushing silence. He would tell stories that he made up or things he saw on TV. He wanted to believe it was helping his brother but there was no way to tell.
The footsteps came down the hallway again. Rowan held his breath as a shadow stopped in front of the door. “No,” he whispered as he held Dakota’s limp body against his own. “Please, don’t.”
The door was unlocked, and slowly it opened as the light flooded the room once again. The two men entered the room. Rowan got a good look at them. One was a large man that looked like he Rowan's father's age with a scruffy black beard and a long tattoo across the left side of his face. The other was a thin man with long hair pulled back in a pony-tail. There was nothing remarkable about him other than he had a long pointed nose. The large man stepped closer and leaned down. Rowan knew what was about to happen.
“I won’t let you take him.” Rowan’s voice broke. “Can’t you see he’s hurt. Whatever you did to him, it hurt him. He can’t go through that again.”
"I don't think you have much to say about that kid," the man said. IT was the first time Rowan heard his voice. It was deep and rough like someone rub sandpaper against a rock. "Now you either can let him go, or we can force you too. It’s your choice. Honestly, I’m hoping you fight. I do enjoy hearing the sound of bones break in little boy’s arms.”
Rowan felt sick. This man was not just evil, he was plain sick. “What will it be?” the man asked again.
Rowan looked at his brother. For the first time since he returned could Rowan truly see what Dakota looked like? Deep down Rowan knew that if Dakota left again, he would not be coming back. The promise he made replayed in his mind. Rowan knew what he had to do.
Carefully Rowan laid Dakota down on the hard floor. He stood up and faced the men. He looked at the big one directly in the eye and said, “Take me instead.”
"What," the man asked. Clearly, he was not expecting that. "Why would we want to do that?"
"I won't fight you. I won't try to run. I won't resist. I'm yours." Rowan tried to stay calm, but his brain was screaming that this was a mistake. He could die, but he was willing to sacrifice himself for his brother. The same brother who annoyed and harassed him all his life.
"I don't know about this," the other man said. "This one is older than the others. Lazarus said that they had to be young for the ritual to work. The only reason he's even here is that he stumbled on us before."
The large man looked down at Rowan. “You think you are strong, huh.” He smiled a wicked smile revealing yellow teeth. He leaned closer to Rowan. He was so close that Rowan could smell his rancid breath. “You think you are stronger than the others who came before you. Strong enough to give yourself to protect your brother. That is so adorable that you think that you can save him.” He stood back up. “Alright, then. We already tried the others. Maybe older is better.”
Before Rowan could react, the man gripped his arm and reached for his collar. There was a small click, and the collar fell way. Rowan felt the space of his neck where it held him for the last several weeks. The man pulled him toward the door. Rowan glanced at the other one who eyed Rowan skeptically. He shook his head and began to shut the door. Rowan looked back one last time to see Dakota lying on the floor. His eyes were wide open as he watched Rowan leave him behind.
“There’s no going back you know,” the man said as he pulled Rowan down the hallway. “You’ve seen what happened to the others.”
Rowan walked beside him, and true to his word did not try to fight or escape the man's iron grip. "I don't care. I made a promise, and I will keep it."


Oksskolten, Norway

Rowan held up his right hand and let the purple flame illuminate the room he found himself in. The ceiling was covered in deadly looking icicles. One wrong move and they would come crashing down on him, he thought. He turned to examine the rest of the room. The far wall had a similar bust of a large deer. Its eyes glowed with a faint blue light. The floor was covered with ice. Rowan knelt down and stared at it. The surface was so smooth it resembled a mirror.
Rowan's reflection stared back at him. His left eye glowed with a golden light, but his right glowed with the same purple as the fire in his hand. It made him sick to see that. He stood up and walked to the center of the room. The magic was strong there. It permeated through the air.
His next actions were careful, precise, and powerful. He knelt down on the ice and placed his right hand on the surface. With a surge of energy, purple flames erupted around him. They formed a large circle almost the size of the entire chamber. The flames rose higher and higher until they reached the ceiling. The temperature changed in an instant. It went from below freezing to an inferno.
Seconds later, the ice was all but gone. The floor was exposed, and Rowan could see the staircase leading to the pool of bright shining mana. There was no hesitation. He walked down the steps and waded into the magic pool. The magic power flowed through him instantly. The purple flames died as light filled the room and the entire temple. Slowly, Rowan sank before the surface, letting the magic wash away the memories of his past.

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Housepets! Fan Fiction By Fenrir Black
Born from darkness and to chaos I shall return, so call me Fenrir


Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:57 pm
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Post Re: Housepets! Fight Against the Forces Of Evil by Fenrir Bl
Trying to read all of this and still in the middle of it, but great job so far!

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The Winds of Change. A continuing fanfic by me and dryideabat.

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Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:34 pm
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