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HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread 
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Oh you know how to distract me from my own writing...

Adorable.


Mon May 16, 2011 3:33 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Well done, well done indead. I think that I will keep this smile on my face for the rest of the night. If you ever planing to write a book, do please tell for if it is as good as this it would be worth the money it cost

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Mon May 16, 2011 3:42 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
awesome to the degree of awesome

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so pie is free but cake is not?


Mon May 16, 2011 4:52 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
4.
The knife, its handle squeezed by two paws – a brown-colored one and a lavender-colored one – gently sank into the huge pie of meat and potatoes topped with a figurine that faithfully reproduced the newlyweds, a brown dog and a lavender female cat.
The cork left the bottle of champagne with a cheerful *pop*, followed by the inevitable stream of foam. More applause filled the lunchroom.
Grape put the first slice of pie in the dish, and went to give it to Awesome, standing in the front row at the buffet table.
“Thanks, Aunt Grape” said the puppy dog, with a big smile, before going to sit and eat.
Peanut served the second slice to the Milton female wolf cub. “And this is for you. You two were great today.”
She almost wasn’t paying attention to him, completely focused on her ‘prey’ as soon as she got the dish, she opened wide her jaws to eat it, when she heard the soft growl coming from her mother, Lucretia. The cub folded her ears and said meekly, “Thank you, Uncle Peanut.”
The dog in his black wedding collar ruffled her head. “You’re welcome. And don’t worry, we are all very hungry, I guess.” He motioned to the other guests waiting with their plates. “Come on, folks, there’s plenty for everyoACK!”
It was like giving the green light to a swarm of locusts! Antares and Aldebaran barely had time to pull away their stepsiblings, before the table became a battlefield!
The amused humans watched the scene from their table.
“I guess some things never change,” said Reuben Sandwich to his brother, then took another sip of his champagne. Like Earl, he felt ridiculous dressed in a tux, the last time he had worn it was at his brother’s marriage, and had just hoped to avoid repeating the experience... But today it was worth it, both to attend that strange but very original marriage and enjoy such an exquisite champagne! “What did you call this nectar, Martin?”
Martin Foster was filling yet another cup with the care of a real sommelier. “Veuve Clicquot Reserve 1780.”
The Sandwich brothers stared incredulous. “Seriously?” said Reuben. “In which cellar would alcohol age so darn well?”
“In the sea, mon vieux. There were boxes of this stuff in a vessel sunk before the French Revolution. The one I bought myself from Sothesby’s cost two million dollars. Well spent, I daresay. The next time I open the rest of the bottles will be at the wedding of my Mizar and Alcor.”
“You city folk are strange people, but you got taste, I’ll concede to that.”

The Foster dog and cat were hugging their stepsiblings tight.
“We’re so proud of you,” said Mizar to Grape, wiping her tears again.
“You said you want to be next, right?” Grape said to her friends.
Mizar and Alcor nodded.
“Would you like it if we were your best pets?”
“Honey,” Alcor said, “we’d order you to be. And you, boy, where are you going to celebrate the occasion with your lady?”
Peanut blushed slightly. “Ah, the wolves are preparing a camp out, and have invited us. It will be fun, I’ve never been with a real pack of wolves in the wild!”
“Maybe you could join us,” Miles said, arriving at that moment. The packleader had filled his plate with a huge slice of meat pie, topped with enough sandwiches and snacks to create a pyramid. He took three pretzels and stuffed them in his mouth. “We like a large pack. It’s a wolf thing.”
“Ah, thank you but no,” said the cat, wrapping Mizar’s waist.
The female white German Shepherd nodded. “We’ve had our share of adventures in our lives already. We aspire to a quiet and lazy life.”
“CAN WE JOIN?” asked Antares and Aldebaran behind Miles, startling him. “We’re good,” continued Antares. “We know everything about camping, and can cover long distances on foot!”
“And we will give a piggyback ride to anyone needing one,” added Aldebaran.
Miles nodded. “Sure!”

The six Milton ferrets were known to put their money to use as often as possible.
Pit and Rock were the most incurable spendthrifts and lovers of luxury, if that was possible.
Luckily, their former owner and Babylon Gardens founder, Henry Milton, had left them enough money to spend at their own leisure without endangering the estate’s capital.
If Pit and Rock were human beings, they’d have lived in the shops. Fortunately, there was the Internet, and plenty of time to hunt for something new, preferably large and shiny.
Even small but glittering trinkets suited them just fine.
Like a couple of zircon necklaces and bracelets if well-made.
Wore by the most beautiful ferret ladies that the two ferret boys had ever seen.
“Ummagumba,” Pit and Rock, were totally dazed. And with good reason.
The two females approaching them were really fine specimen: In addition to wearing shiny things, one’s fur was a delicate pink with a brown strip on her back, the other was a bright gray. Both had two big green eyes like jewels . Shiny.
“Hola, chicos hermosos!” said the pink female. She stretched out her paw to give Rock’s a firm shake.
“They speak Spanish,” said an entranced Rock.
“We love Spanish,” said Pit, bowing like a perfect gentleman to kiss the paw of the gray female. “¿Y como se llama, maravillosas criaturas?
“My name is Carmen Milton,” said the gray one.
“Dolores Milton,” chuckled the pink one.
The males exchanged a puzzled look. “Are we related?” They asked, not remembering them since had been living with Dad.
“More or less. We are the ferrets of Celia and Thomas, they adopted us during the shelter’s inauguration party.”
Pit and Rock let out an admiring whistle. Them humans had taste. “In this case, why not enjoy our hospitality?” Pit asked, raising his eyebrows repeatedly and sporting his best ladykiller smile. “We have a beautiful collection of large, very large shiny things! And I have a jacket made entirely of diamonds.”
Dolores and Carmen looked at each other: a hand in every pie, just as Dad and Mom had expected! “You are really nice, you know? We so look forward to it.”
Rock bowed. “Your wish is our command, hermosas!” Then he turned his head. “Jeeves!”
The Milton family’s trusty butler appeared behind the ferrets. “You called, Suh?”
“Please escort the ladies to our Rolls Royce while I sign a multimillion dollar check for this shelter. Perhaps Mr. Foster will decorate it with some tasty art.”
Dolores giggled. “A multimillion dollar check? You are quite the generous mustelid, señor.”
Pit said, “Believe me, querida: had we known such angels were detained in the old structure, we would’ve tore it down and rebuilt it even grander than this, just to rescue you.”

“Hi, Malika!”
On hearing her name, the female golden retriever pricked up her ears and turned. “Hey, Foxie! It’s always a pleasure...” Then her eyes went to King and her expression became pure worship. “Ooo, this is the friend you speak so highly of? Dear, you’re so holy-delectable!” She leaned in to kiss King on his forehead. “I hope I can get to know you better, honey. You know, it’s a real crime that a pretty little creature like you is still–”
“It’s been a pleasure,” he interrupted her, shaking her paw. Then he went off very quickly.
“That was the last one, in case you didn’t know yet,” Fox sighed, running to his friend. For a little guy, he knew how to run fast with those legs. “I get the impression that you weren’t interested in my help from the very beginning, King.”
The corgi climbed up a stool next to a table, and helped himself with a choice of sweets. He dared not to meet Fox’s stern gaze.
“King...”
King’s shoulder sagged, as he shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry. I saw you so enthusiastic with this idea and I didn’t have the guts to say ‘no’ flat out... But I just can’t open myself up. They are all beautiful girls, but...” But how can I explain to you that I want to stay with you, not seek someone else’s company? And that, by the way, his human part wasn’t that attracted to dogs.
Fox took a babà* from King’s plate and ate it. “Good.” He licked his lips, then patted the back of his friend. “Don’t worry too much. And yes, you’re right, I came up with this idea taking your positive reaction for granted... However, let me tell you, you’ve already made great progress today, by joining the party. Heh, I still remember the first time: I had to drag you into Dad’s house, and you spent almost all the time huddled in a ball. You looked like a puppy surrounded by wolves.”
King growled softly. “Yes, yes, keep turning the knife, Iago... Hm?”
“What?”
The corgi was looking in the direction of a young canine female, no a pup. She sat all alone on a bench. At a guess, she must be between five and six months. Her ears were still folded forward. Her fur was still thick and woolly, white with a round gold spot on the back. A tuft of hair formed a short comma against her forehead. She wore a silver-and-white collar with the Lucky Charm Grove’s square tag.
The young creature would stare at the humans in silence, her face impassive, but with an unmistakable longing in her eyes.
“King?” asked Fox, shaking him.
“Uh? Sorry. Look, let’s just try to forget this dating thing, okay? Please tell your friends I’m sorry and stuff.”
And before Fox could answer, he went to the puppy.
“Sure,” Fox muttered, then smiled softly to his friend before walking away. King knew how to use his tongue better than a scalpel when he wanted, that is close to always, but Fox knew that in that little chest beat a heart as big as the world...
He’d never pressure King about that subject, but he really wanted to know why the poor guy acted as if he was always guilty for something and ready to be put on trial…

King reached the bench. “Hi there,” he said. “You free?”
The puppy smiled at him and shrugged. Then with her head she pointed to the empty space.
The corgi sat at her side. He held out his paw and said, “I’m King. What’s your name?”
In response, the creature leaned toward the other dog, and pointed with her finger at the words written on her collar.
“Tomi. Heh, nice name. Original, at least.”
The dog wagged her curly tail. This time, her smile was a bit more pronounced. But again, she didn’t say a word.
“Not the talkative kind of girl, eh? But that’s okay. It seems that all the girls in this place love to babble like Sasha...” Only then, King realized that the pup had brought her gaze back to the ground, and her eyes were shiny and so sad... King put his paw on her back. “Hey, what’s up? Is it something I said? Sorry, I didn’t wan—” Then he saw better the area of her neck under her collar.
The fur hadn’t completely grown back yet, and the scar was visible.
A familiar, hot blaze of pure hatred burned in the Corgi’s mind and heart. He remembered what kind of atrocities he had witnessed during his life with ASPCA and PETA. When it came to ripping apart the lives of a pet for their selfish purposes, human beings were capable of things that even the so-called ‘wild beasts’ would never consider.
Yes, it took a sick mind to cut out the vocal chords of an animal. If you don’t like a talking pet, get a robot, right!?
King drew a deep breath and tried to regain control. He stroked Tomi’s head delicately, as if afraid of breaking it. “I’m so sorry, girl.” The poor thing must have been taken to the shelter after someone finally reported the abuse. She looked very healthy, maybe Martin had made it in time to take her under his wing. “You’re waiting for a new family, right?”
Tomi nodded. She looked at the people as if she could influence their thoughts through sheer force of will. King had seen that look many times, and it still tore his heart. Tell me, dear boy, how many good dogs you have contributed to separating from their families because you wanted your petty vengeance on your former pets?
King tried not to swallow nervously. Yes, he was guilty for so many bad things, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t make up for them! “Hey, pup, everything will be alright, you’ll see. My br– Uncle Martin is very good at finding families. I believe he could convince anyone to adopt a velociraptor, he’s so good.” He laughed, but Tomi gave him only a very curious look.
King sighed. He must also remember that he had been to high school, unlike any pet he knew of (with the exception of the ones hosted at this shelter). For this he was a winner, at Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. At the Club, the others didn’t get many of his jokes, save the nerds like Joey, and that had given him the reputation of snob. And it didn’t help breaking the ice… “Hey, Tomi, can you read?”
She nodded vigorously.
“Great!” The corgi got off the bench, went up to her and turned, showing her his back. Then he gave himself a pat on his shoulder. “Come on, jump up! This place has a library, I’m sure there are some illustrated books on dinosaurs that will suit us—”
“Hey, King!” A familiar voice called to him. “What are you doing?”
“Mizar! Hi!” said the Corgi, turning to the female. Staying where he was, he added, “I was going to give Tomi here a piggy-back ride to the library and show her some cool stuff about dinosaurs… Hey, what’s wrong?”
“Tomi, you said?” Mizar seemed divided between surprise, curiosity and sadness. “How do you know her?”
King gave her one of his tested scowls. “Like, I showed up – without offering my butt to sniff – and then she showed me the name on her collar? You know, problems with speech and...” As he spoke, he had turned.
The bench was empty.
Mizar was looking down, shaking her head slowly.
King knew what had just happened. He had enough experience... But he still listened to every word spoken by Mizar. “Tomi was a guest of the old shelter. She was always lively, cheerful, unable to shut up for a minute. It was the first time that a puppy had brought so much joy among us... And not even two weeks later, they took out her voice. Because they wanted silence. Rule number one of that horrible place: no noise. Mac took advantage of an sick leave of Dr. Stanwick to have Tomi operated by some charlatan. And with the hygienic conditions the way they were, the real miracle was that she was able to live for almost ten days before succumbing to infection.”
“Mizar...” King felt a terrible knot in his throat, he was barely able to speak. She raised her paw to interrupt him. He saw that she was trying hard to keep her composure, teeth bared in a ferocious grin.
“I don’t know how you know of her,” she said in a trembling voice, “since I didn’t even talk about her with Dad nor with Alcor, and I don’t want to know how you know, just… don’t mention her anymore, shorty, am I clear? Or I’ll rip you apart.”
King saw her leave with wide strides. He hoped Martin wouldn’t get mad at him, but he felt even more sorry for hurting a good dog like Mizar.
King sighed deeply, and turned back to the bench. And there it was.
Tomi’s collar.
The object was there, exactly as he had seen it around her neck, with TOMI engraved in metal, and the shelter’s tag.
Looking at it, King wondered how come the ghost was wearing this shelter’s collar, when she had… passed at the old shelter.
King took the object. Undoubtedly solid. He sniffed the inside of the collar, picking up a delicate perfume of shampoo for puppies and fur. He felt a new wave of sadness filling his thoughts. How could someone… do that to such a sweet creature, who had a whole life ahead of her. And only because she liked… to talk.
“I’m sorry, Tomi.” If only he had a chance to do something for her…
When King turned his head, Tomi was there. Sitting on the bench, smiling happily, stretching out a paw as if telling him to help her get down.
King wiped his tears with his arm. “You wanted me to keep you company, did you?”
The little ghost nodded.
King held out his paw to meet hers. When the flesh met the ethereal manifestation, King felt a warm breeze travel up his arm. Tomi’s paw passed through King’s, as she noiselessly floated to the ground. Then the odd couple walked in the direction of the library. “Well, I hope I can convince you to show yourself to Mizar. I don’t want her to think I was making fun of her.”
Tomi stuck out her tongue.
King shook his head. “Ghosts!”

SEASON I
EPISODE 18
FIN

*Typical neapolitan sponge pastry, more or less rum-flavored, sometimes filled with cream and topped with a cherry.

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Last edited by valerio on Thu May 19, 2011 2:22 am, edited 3 times in total.



Tue May 17, 2011 9:07 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES
SEASON I
Episode 19 – Imaginat3, or
心の偉大な戦い
Written by VALERIO (Later revised by OBBL)

1.
Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens. The wedding day. Midnight.

“All in all,” said Martin Foster, yawning, “I’d say it was a very exciting day, huh?” The man finished editing the Word files for the Lucky Charm Grove’s journal. Peanut and Grape, in their wedding attire, looked simply beautiful. The real hard work had been choosing the images for the article.
The white cat sitting on the chair by the desk nodded silently.
“Heh, a wedding. I always thought that those two star-crossed pets would do it. I’m happy they did it on my watch.” He rubbed his temples, and yawned again. Although he had passed the management to the capable hands of Evelyn Sunman, he still had much to do as owner. Also for this reason he had decided to stay home, to give his pets as much time as possible, not scraps of it. “Listen up,” he said to the cat, “Don’t you think I should organize something, you know, a nice picnic for our honeymooners? Maybe Grape doesn’t really feel like going camping with the Milton wolves...”
“Dad?” said a voice behind him. “Who are you talking with?”
Martin turned the chair on which he sat. “Hello, bright star,” he said to the huge black dog standing in the doorway of the study. The orange-star shaped tag identified him as Aldebaran. The man pointed to the chair to his right. “It seems obvious, no?”
All Aldebaran saw was an empty chair.
Martin smiled at the female white cat that only he saw. “She came back to see me after so long.” He stroked her head tenderly.
Aldebaran knew only that the human that was a father to him had a strange look, as if he was possessed. His smile was almost that of a madman.
“You know, I promised her that this time will not abandon her, no... I won’t leave her behind as I did the first time. Neither she nor the others.” Martin gave a loving look to the two greyhounds sitting on the couch near the window.
“Dad...” Aldebaran swallowed, seeing the empty piece of furniture. “You’re scaring me. There is nobody here besides you and me. Who are you talking to?”
Martin saw the three animals throwing a grim look at the dog. He resumed stroking the cat. “Now, Helias, don’t do that. I have never spoken about you to them, it’s normal that they don’t know.” Then he turned again to Aldebaran with that blank gaze, as if he weren’t really seeing him. His voice was calm, but at the same time happy to be able to remove that weight from his chest. “You see, love, Daddy wasn’t a good person, when he was younger. Daddy did a bad thing, and the innocents he was supposed to take care of died. I thought there were angry with me, and yet here they are ready to forgive me if I keep them here.” He touched his chest. “They want to stay with me, but they already know that they have a special place in my heart, isn’t that true, Honcho? Ringo?”
Aldebaran didn’t know what to do. No military training had prepared him for such a thing.
No training had prepared him to see his Dad completely losing his mind.
Who were these Helias, Honcho, and Ringo people he was talking about? What ‘bad thing’ had he done!? “Dad...” He took another step towards the human.
Martin was now embracing the imaginary entity. “It’s okay. It’s okay, I promise. Always… together.”
And at that point, Martin Foster closed his eyes and slumped forward, falling on the pavement.
“DAD!” Growled the dog, reaching for him.

An unearthly roar filled the studio, along with an eruption of sparks and emerald light!
A moment later, like a weightless doll, Aldebaran was thrown out of the room. The sliding door closed with violence!
“Brother!” Antares joined him as the poor twin, barely conscious, was trying to stand. He was trembling, he felt so weak... His body was sprayed with some white substance...
Antares leaned on his brother. “Wait, let me help you… what is this?” He ran a paw over the substance, reducing it into thin slivers. “...Ice?”
Aldebaran’s breath was coming out in thick clouds. “Dad… Something is happening to Dad... There are things in there.”
Antares saw the intense light filtering through the space between the door and the floor, through the cracks, as if a huge strobe had been turned on in the study.
But the dog didn’t care! If their Dad was in danger, there was only one thing he would do, and now!
Withall his might, he jumped against the door, sure of being able to easily break through.
“NO!” cried his brother. Too late.
Antares struck the wooden panels... and whined for the horrible pain, when a powerful electric shock shot through his body! The poor creature was pushed backwards, landing next to his brother. Even his body now was sprinkled with slivers of ice.
Both dogs lost consciousness.
---
Mizar and Alcor were engaged in… sweeter activities. Or, rather, they had just finished, and now they were lying in bed, exploring each other, leaning their foreheads against each other’s, the collars open and resting on the night stands.
Mizar, the white German shepherd, led the white-furred paw of her feline companion to her belly. “Alcor..?”
The cat purred. He had never felt so close to his beloved canine mate. “Hmm?” Said the cat, tracing a finger on her nose.
“I want to have a puppy.”
Alcor’s eyes widened. He thought he had been happy, a moment ago. Now he felt as if his very soul was ready to burst with overwhelming joy. “Are you serious?” He whispered, not daring to believe what he just heard.
Cubs or kittens weren’t the easiest subject of discussion, for a pet. Purebreds were allowed, but just on the market needs of their owners. They couldn’t speak of ‘love life’, they had only a duty to perform.
As for the other pets in the Gardens, there were no special prohibitions or restrictions... But they surely weren’t encouraged. Their owners could rarely afford an unplanned increase of mouths to feed.
This, of course, meant that it was really rare that a litter could grow with their biological parents. Often, it was the pets themselves who didn’t want to start a family of their own, only to lose it a few months later.
That’s why humans didn’t discourage interspecies relationships, since those bore happiness for the couples and no litter.
And they did not understand that those relationships served only to underline how hard was to have a mate and no offspring! Sometimes the best family in the world couldn’t compensate this… need.
Martin was one of those lucky owners who could afford to keep at least one entire litter.
Mizar nodded. “One, two... How many do you think you can manage, you rascal?” She gave him a tender kiss on his lips.
“All that you want, my love,” he said, with misty eyes. “I’m so happy that you finally decided.” He stroked her belly. “Of course, this means that if you want to feel them grow inside you...”
Mizar nodded, and sadness washed over her. That was the true limit of their relationship. If she did give birth to their offspring, it wouldn’t be ‘theirs’. They would be a living reminder of the species barrier... Not to mention the worst case: that Mizar could fall in love with the father.
Adopting from the shelter seemed like a reasonable solution, but it was time-consuming. They would have to make many trips, pick up choices as if in a supermarket, and just that thought gave the two pets nausea. Also, if they stalled, it meant they had to wait for someone to abandon an innocent. They had to build the most important moment of their life out of a tragedy, although, alas, it wasn’t an uncommon event…
Alcor kept stroking Mizar’s belly. He had never forgotten how she had helped him when they were both at the old shelter, as she restored his hope, gave him love... Without her, he’d simply have let himself wither in that stinking place…
He owed her his full trust. She wanted those pups for them, not to… satisfy a biological need. They would be their children, the bridge over the species barrier, not a sign of failure! “I want to see them be born, if you want to,” he whispered in her ear. “And I don’t care if they don’t look like me,” he added, chuckling.
Mizar nipped his eartip. “You’re so silly... But thank you. I knew you would understand.” Then she nuzzled her head against his throat, enjoying his quiet purr.
“But before they’re born, however, we have to be married, don’t forget it.”
“Oh, how could I? I can’t wait to wear something really nice, just for you.”
His tail wrapped against her leg. “Then I get to choose the song.”
“As long as it’s not metal. I know you, you can’t resist those behemoths’ Bambi eyes—”
At that moment, they heard one of the twins screaming, “DAD!” With all his might, so loud as to rattle the windows!
The reaction of the two animals was immediate! Alcor was the first to get out of bed. He was about to put his paw on the handle when he felt Mizar pulling him by his tail – painfully! The cat hissed. “Mizar! What the fur are you doing?!”
The female was carefully sniffing the air. “Don’t touch it! Can’t you smell it too?”
Alcor was divided between the terror for his Dad, urging him to run downstairs, and the sudden act of prudence by his mate. Then he decided to listen to reason, and sniffed the air in turn. His eyes widened. “Ozone...” He shifted his gaze to the handle.
And he saw the thin voltaic arcs running along the metal with a quiet buzz/crackle. “What in the..?”
Mizar looked at the window. The handle of their secondary escape route was electrified too.
Cat and dog put on their collars. “What do we do?” asked Mizar.
Alcor looked at the lamps on the night stands. “Current...” he muttered, then took one and pulled, pulling the plug without touching the cable – better not to run unnecessary risks. Then he wrapped the wire around the second lamp’s wire. “Mizar, step back and close your eyes. And let’s hope that this works.” He took off the lampshade, exposing the bulb. Fortunately, for those little things Dad liked the ‘historic flavor’, and used traditional light bulbs…
Alcor threw the lamp against the handle, and closed his eyes.
When the light bulb broke against the metal, there was like an explosion of light, followed by the roar of some monstrous animal!
When it was over, the wires of the lamps were reduced to two strands of molten plastic and copper, while the objects themselves were now pieces of charred wood. Alcor saw that the outlet was in turn completely fused, surrounded by a tarnished halo.
Alcor pressed on the handle. The metal was hot, but at least it was safe to touch briefly. “Come on, let’s go!”

They were almost at the end of the stairs when they heard the terrible howl of pain emitted by one of the twins!
When they came to the study, they found Antares and Aldebaran still on the ground, in pain, and their fur wet all over. It was unnaturally cold!
“Dad...” Antares said, through clenched teeth. Every muscle ached for the shock that would have killed an animal less strong than him. “He’s in there...”
Alcor and Mizar looked toward the door, from which lights and a chorus of whispers and murmurs came.
The cat was a fan of the supernatural. Among the many details that he had eagerly devoured, there was one concerning the relationship between ghost activity and their ‘energy income’ at the expense of environmental heat. If it was so cold, it meant that the activity behind that door must be at a peak rarely described. He didn’t remember reading about anything so intense.
Alcor didn’t even ask how he could so easily accept this absurd situation. For now, he only knew that Dad was in danger, and he had to find a way to discharge the current from the handle—
It was then that they heard a tremendous long sucking sound! The phenomenon lasted only a few seconds, then the lights behind the door of the studio went out, and silence took over.
“Dad...” This time, it was Mizar who jumped to the door, before the others could stop her. And she opened it without being struck. “NO!” She cried, before falling to her knees.
The study was a mess, the furniture overturned like toys, every electronic device had melted like ice cream under the sun, the monitor had exploded. Sheets of paper covered the floor together with fragments of plastic and glass.
Of Martin Foster, there wasn’t the slightest trace.

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Last edited by valerio on Thu May 19, 2011 2:58 am, edited 2 times in total.



Tue May 17, 2011 3:41 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Amazing. :shock:


Tue May 17, 2011 11:18 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Don't leave us hanging there man!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
2.
Sandwich House

<Peanut!>
The dog’s floppy ears shook, yet Peanut Butter’s sleep wasn’t disturbed by the voice that echoed in his head.
<Grape!>
The cat didn’t react any differently. In fact, years of living with an adorable but noisy creature had taught her to keep her brain well closed to any external stimuli, unless very noisy.
<Nevermore!>
The crow, however, was wide awake and standing on a perch near the window. Earl had bought the perch at the shelter, since Peanut wanted to share his room with his ‘guardian angel’… Well, not that Grape was happy with that, since that was, technically, their room, and it was supposed to be their romantic corner, but Nevermore had promised to leave and stay out whenever she wanted, and he was used to living by his own.
And as long as he could sleep there, with the window open to cool off the room, he could also eat all the insects that came into the room. He was getting fat, actually.
At that moment, however, Nevermore had no appetite. And he wasn’t awake because of insomnia.
He was too busy watching the grim procession that took place on the street. It was as if someone had opened the gates of Hades, and the wandering spirits walking along the street looked anything but benevolent... if you had the courage to look at them. If those appearances reflected the state in which they had died, they did have every good reason to be furious!
“Whoever it is, I hear you,” said the crow.
<Nevermore this is Tarot. Please wake up Peanut and Grape immediately. Then tell them to come immediately to my place with you. Please don’t waste time, trust me.>
“You don’t need to repeat it, sweetheart,” said the crow. He flew to the pets’ common bed, and perched on the edge, eyeing the two embracing creatures. For a moment, he felt almost guilty for what he was going to do. Almost...
Then, just like a woodpecker he hammered repeatedly and in turn the heads of Peanut and Grape! “Wake up, sleeping beauties! You are needed!”
“ACK!” Dog and cat jumped up like springs. Grape grabbed Never by his neck, enclosing it in a viselike grip.
Rubbing the point where she had been hit, with Peanut doing the same, Grape growled, “Now give me a valid reason not to eat you! I get hungry when someone wakes me up at this ungodly hour!”
“*Kaff!* Tarot,” he managed to say. “Tarot... she asked me to…”
“Tarot?” said Peanut; he yawned, then looked around. “Where is she?”
“...Home...”

Two minutes and a brief explanation later, the pets’ door opened.
The house was quiet. The humans were sleeping deeply, it had been an exciting and tiring day for everyone.
Grape came out first, followed by Peanut, with Nevermore perched on his shoulder. “Shouldn’t we leave them a note? They’ll get worried,” he whispered.
Grape turned her head toward the dog. “Tarot said to hurry,” she whispered back. “We’ll call them from her place.” She couldn’t believe she was going along with this. She hated supernatural stuff, and was quite happy to stay away from it when she could…
But Tarot was a psychic, and, admittedly, Grape owned her big time for helping the couple to get together. That they were married, now, was also thanks to Tarot.
Married. Grape felt a warm sensation rising from her belly. She was married to Peanut. The playmate, the incredibly hyperactive merry pup who was so good at grating on her nerves had grown to be her lifemate. She felt so safe with him at her side…
“It’s cold,” Peanut said, with that curious ability to know when to interrupt her happy thoughts.
But he was right. Grape noticed only then that the temperature had lowered enough to condense their breath in visible clouds. “Conditioning must be broken.” Yet she didn’t think it could reach this subpolar temperature... “Peanut, what?”
The poor dog had stopped. If a canine could’ve gone pale, Peanut’s fur would’ve lost all trace of color. His eyes were open wide, his ears flattened, his tail firmly tucked between his legs. His breath came in short, ragged intervals. His body screamed ‘terror’.
“Oh dear...” Never said, staring at the stairs.
Grape turned her gaze and saw. And an equal panic assaulted her mind and soul.
It couldn’t be, it simply couldn’t be!
Yet there she was.
The assassin dog. The huge Rottweiler mix who almost took away the lives of Peanut and Grape. The dog that was supposed to be dead with her skull smashed by their Mom. The dog that was now coming up the stairs, stalking on all fours, just like that day! Her eyes too were lit by that same, hungry joy that reflected in her grin.
“I promised that I would get you, little Sandwiches,” said the monstrous female with that horrible, guttural happy voice. “This time you can’t run away.” She proceeded with soundless steps, despite her size. In a dread moment of clarity, Grape realized the monster hadn’t smashed through the door, and her red eyes were… glowing of their own light.
Of course! This is what ghosts do, right?
“It ‘s just a dream, a dream, just a dream...” Peanut crouched in a corner. He was tired, had been taken by surprise, and trauma had gotten the best of him. He closed his eyes and he repeated those words as a mantra. He didn’t want to be hurt, not again!
“M... M...” Grape couldn’t even speak. When she had attacked the monster, she had done it in a moment of pure anger, without even realizing what she was doing, conscious only of having to defend her parents and her beloved Peanut in a frenzied moment.
Now she knew what she faced, and she felt so small and helpless, so frightened that she couldn’t even call for her parents. “Mo-Mom…” came in a croaked whisper
The monstrous dog reached the end of the stairs. “This time I’m gonna eat your arm, witch.”
Grape crouched next to Peanut, wrapping her arms around him. A desperate attempt to protect him from the inevitable. Grape closed her eyes and waited.

“Peanut.”
Peanut opened his eyes… and he wasn’t in his room anymore.
He was still huddling, but his figure was floating in the vastness of space. “Where am I? Where is Grape?”
And he saw her. She was a lone figure, huddling like he was, her eyes closed, trying not to cry, trying to be brave. At the same time Peanut knew she was with him, and yet he couldn’t reach her. “Grape!” he called out.
“She can’t hear you,” said someone behind him.
The dog turned. “Uh? Who said th… wow!”
For a moment, he forgot what was happening – after all, he still had yet to meet a dragon.
To call the creature huge was a severe understatement. The serpentine thing, covered in emerald scales, must span the whole of Babylon Gardens, at least. Yet, watching it, Peanut knew it wouldn’t harm him. The dragon was friendly, he just knew that. “Who are you, Mr. Dragon?” he asked, wagging.
“Call me Spirit Dragon, if you wish.” The creature’s voice was feminine, calm, full of wisdom. “Peanut, listen to me very well, for time is of the essence. As we are talking, your lives are in great danger. You have only one way to help yourself, and all those you hold dear.”
Peanut turned his gaze to poor Grape. All of a sudden, his mind focused on her. He knew the creature was right: this was not the time for questions! “Tell me what to do.”
The dragon nodded. “Tarot told you once that these evil ghosts are longing for your imagination, to use it to feed their pretense to be alive.”
“Uh-huh.” She had told him when he was in that coma.
“Now it’s time you use that imagination. Focus all your will, like you have never done before, to help Grape and all of your friends. Imagine this is one of your play-pretend sessions. Imagine, Peanut, you have the strength to make the difference. Now it depends on you…”
But at that point, Peanut was no longer listening. Once, Grape had told Mom she had risked her life to save Peanut and only him, because he was the most important thing in her life.
Peanut felt exactly the same. He’d do everything for her cat. He’d leave her, die for her.
Fight for her.
And if Peanut Butter Sandwich had not the strength, he knew someone who did!

The monstrous specter leapt at her prey!
And a white-furred paw grabbed her by the neck! The dog let out a chocking sound. “…Impossible.” She croaked. She was a ghost, she couldn’t be grabbed!
“I have done even greater things.” said the red-caped, enormous, muscled white dog that was holding her like she was a puppy. “If you were a fan, you’d know it.”
Never said, “I don’t know how you did it, boy, but I won’t complain!”
Grape stood up, looking incredulous at the last canine she expected to see – but if this was to be a night of magic, was it really a wonder, this appearance of… “Spot?!”
Spot The Superdog, in the flesh, had taken the place of Peanut. His stern blue eyes were fixed on the choking specter. “And you know what else I can do?” he asked, baring his teeth.
The ghost whimpered, seeing her adversary lifting his fist.
PAUNCH!
The ghost was projected like a bullet toward the opposite wall. When it hit it, she disappeared in a puff of ethereal smoke.
Grape looked amazed at the dramatic-posing figure. Last time she had seen Peanut’s imagination taking form – and what a form! – she had yelled at him for spoiling their Pridelands session with the invincible canine hero. They had had a fight, but it had ended with her apologizing for being such a stubborn, close-minded fan. In her excitement, she had all but forgotten about her fiancée…
“I didn’t know you could do that,” she said, caressing a muscly arm. In this state, he’d easily put Antares and Aldebaran to shame.
Peanut/Spot himself looked at himself with an incredulous expression. “Well… neither did I. I only knew I had to save you, and only Spot had the power to do it—”
“Inexperienced, eh? That’s good to hear,” said a malevolent voice behind them, making them turn.
Spot gasped. “You are..!”
A black-furred paw held out a shiny, round object in its claws. “As you can see, you’re not the only one who can play this game. Now, begone!

If someone had walked by Sandwich House, he would have seen a bright flash of light filling Peanut and Grape’s window, followed by that familiar sucking sound.

When the quiet returned, thin flakes of ice were lazily drifting in the air.
And the humans continued sleeping…
---
Welshman House

King felt sick, as he looked out the window.
The show in the street was blood-chilling, in more than one way: The restless spirits of Whiteman House had left their old territory, to claim the rest of Babylon Gardens. Ice flakes accompanied their presence, adding even more to the surreality of the situation.
And they were all heading toward his place.
To him, he was sure of it.
“They want you,” said the voice of Pete, behind him. King almost had a heart attack. *Eep!*
King turned. “For once, bird brain, I’d be happy if you avoided talking in riddles! It doesn’t take a genius to know that this is royal meEEEK!”
The gryphon, large as a horse, was looking through the window. “Tarot is helping the other players. My sleep spell will keep the humans blissfully unaware during this crisis… But know one thing, Joel Zechariah Robinson: you are a most hankered for prey, for in your veins run the same blood as your brother.”
But King’s attention had been drawn by three words the gryphon had just pronounced. “What did you call me?!”
Pete turned to the living room. “I called you for who you are, for your real self is the one who can make a difference in this struggle. Now follow me, we have no time to lose. If you want answers, you’re going to have them. “
King didn’t know what to think. Part of him was happy: it was about darn time he learned why has his old life been taken away like that, as if he had been just a toy! Another part told him that perhaps there could be better moments to learn the truth…
The Corgi crossed the threshold after Pete.
And the world went mad.
Or rather, not just the world. “Where the –censorship– are we now?”
Pertinent question, considering he had just stepped into space!
“Welcome to the game table, King,” said a voice behind him, a voice both gentle and as vast as the cosmos itself.
Instinctively, he looked down and around himself. His mind didn’t even have time to wonder: it was all... too sudden, too unexpected and familiar at the same time.
He wasn’t floating in space. He was standing on a table big like a small city!
Before him lay a huge map that bore the inscription ‘Babylon Gardens’. And there were sheets of paper large as rooftops: each one showed a name familiar to him, including ‘Tarot’ and ‘King’, listed as ‘avatars’. And there were dice of various shapes, each big as a boulder. And cans of soda tall as 20-story buildings.
King blinked. “I ended up in a session of D&D?”
Universes & Unrealities, to be precise,” said Pete... Only now the gryphon was big enough to swallow the Titanic like a Slim Jim.
That was the last straw, and King wet himself, although he didn’t notice it for the moment. “Hello, Petey,” he said in a mousey voice. “And hello to you too, big immense nine-tailed foxy,” he said to the… kitsune, since no other word could describe the species, sitting at the extremity of the table. The kitsune was of creamy-white fur and ruby-red eyes. The paraphernalia in front of his position suggested he was the game Master.
The creature looked at him with a solemn look. “We are sorry to have you involved at this stage of the game, the events in your universe have forced our hands.”
“Um, what ‘game’ are we talking about? Title aside?”
It was Pete who answered. “How do you see yourself, right in this moment?”
King didn’t even need to think about it. “Like a pawn. Or an ‘avatar’ as you politically correctly put it in your characters sheets.”
“A pawn has no decisional part in the Game, King,” said the Great Kitsune. “As an avatar, you are free to live your life as the rules of your canine existence dictate. The outcome of the Game depends on the ways your existence affects the other avatars’. Your free will was never taken away.”
The Corgi crossed his arms. “Aside from my consent? That big parrot said he’d been observing me for a long time, before he decided to turn me into his doll! He never asked me to become one, and you must know that! I only knew that I was a dog before I could say to be turned, and even then I didn’t mean it! Plus, I can’t even speak my own real name! You’re either some porridge hallucination or a true cosmic being, so try read my mind if you think I’m lying!”
Those ruby-red eyes gleamed with a grave expression, when they moved to Pete. “Yes, I’ve been just made aware of that. Believe it or not, King, I trust my players. And it looks like I committed a severe mistake…”
Forgetting everything else, the Corgi yapped with almost a shrill voice, “You mean I could become human?!”
Kitsune shook his head and it was like a cold shower on King’s hopes. “As game Master, I am bound to the rules as well. But what I can do is rule you out of the Game as Pete’s avatar. You can become an active player with all its benefits.”
“Hey!” Pete exclaimed. But the GM had been crystal clear on that: he’d keep Pete as a player, provided he found himself a new avatar, and that was as far as he’d go in the name of their old friendship. Pete had severely bent the rules, he needed that bit of lesson. And Pete, already overruled in favor of the Dragon, hadn’t dared to raise his voice. “We hadn’t talked about him being a third player *eep!*” he shut up at the raising fur on the Game Master’s neck and the first glint of fangs.
King pouted again. “Yes, and the catch is..?”
“You must do everything you can to save your brother from his current predicament.”
King raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
The GM explained him, sending cold shivers down the dog’s back and soul. “You could be asked to make many sacrifices to achieve this goal, King. You could lose everything, and your life as well. And I can’t guarantee your success, unless you decide to completely trust your allies. What is your answer, now?”
The dog nodded. If Fox had seen him right now, he’d have felt proud to see such determination in his friend’s eyes, hearing it in his voice as he answered, “I’m in. I don’t –censored– care about the price! It’s my brother you’re talking about, you cosmic nerd! It’s my dearest friend’s life that is endangered, together with the best bunch of animals I’ve ever met! If those… things out there think they can steal everything from me because they can’t play dead, then I’ll teach them that trick! Now send me wherever you must. I’m gonna kick some ectoplasmic butt!”
The Great Kitsune nodded. “You are a brave soul. Despite his methods, Pete chose you well.” He started raising his arm, his fingers ready to snap.
King just had the time to turn to the glaring gryphon and throw him a Japanese raspberry. “Too bad I’m no longer your pet, eh, birdie-boy? Au revoir!”
The Game Master snapped his fingers, and King was gone.

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Last edited by valerio on Thu May 19, 2011 5:21 am, edited 2 times in total.



Wed May 18, 2011 7:42 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
3.
The first thing he felt, opening his eyes, was nausea. Like he had rollercoastered on Jupiter’s gravitational sling.
Astral jump. How I hate him! Pete had said he would get used to it... Too bad this was only the second time he tried it.
Grunting, he got himself on his knees, shaking his head.
And the first thing he saw was animals.
Two white-furred creatures, no doubt about their gender. He was a lion, blue eyes with black ear tips and tail tuft. She was a lycaon with eyes red like fire. Both wore a sort of white kilt, and she also wore a bikini that left little to the imagination. As one would expect from two creatures of the wilds, they were as tall as him, and looked strong enough, even without their weapons, to seriously harm him if—
As tall as him?
It took that consideration a while to reach his conscious mind.
King stood up and looked at his paws.
Clawless limbs no longer covered with brown and white fur.
Human hands.
He touched his face, his body and legs. He was no longer naked, and wore his old green shirt, red tie and blue jeans.
The wild dog was carrying a metal shield. He grabbed it by its edges, and under the astonished gaze of the two animals he studied the face that he never thought he’d see again.
“...I’m human,” said Joel Robinson. Not King, the Corgi. Joel Robinson. “I’m human!” His face widened into the broadest smile it could produce, and finally Joel burst into epic laughter. “I’m human! Ahahahaha! I’m human! Enough with canned food, enough with kibble, enough with using a tree as a toilet! I AM HUMAN!” He grabbed the wild dog by her shoulders and gave her a big kiss on the cheek! He would have gladly done the same with the lion, but a warning growl convinced him otherwise.
Only then, Joel decided to look around.
So he was no longer in Babylon Gardens, of this he could be reasonably sure.
Wherever his gaze went, he saw only an endless expanse of grass under a blazing sun, an expanse interrupted by some mangroves not far away. “The savannah..?”
“Welcome to the Pridelands, Uncle Joel,” said the lion.
The man looked at him very puzzled. “Uh... Unless Biology 101 was subverted overnight, why did you call me that?”
“Don’t you recognize us?” asked the wild dog.
Joel remembered what the Great Kitsune had told him: Although this was part of the spirit dimensions, whatever that meant, Peanut and Grape’s mind had modeled it into a familiar scenario, still not exempt from dangers, but a place one could walk in without getting lost. The spirits, Kitsune had explained, were trying to use Peanut’s imagination and their own energies to simulate the lives they had lost. Somehow, Peanut had played a trick against them, giving life to his favorite books, it seemed…
Tarot had summoned other players to this weird ‘quest’, the goal being the salvation of Martin Foster’s soul and preserving the lives of the residents of Babylon Gardens. And those players had taken the shape of characters from the blockbuster series, to better fit in this environment. Kitsune had told him to focus, to recognize them.
And so Joel did focus, squeezing his mind to see beyond the appearances, but of course he hadn’t been given an instruction manual—
Then he saw them! It was as if there were two figures overlapping. The characters, and their players imposed over them like a projection. “Alcor? Mizar?”
Both went on their knee before him, placing their fists against their chests in salute. “Kuragen and Nagara the Renegades at your service,” they said together.
Joel sighed. “At least I don’t see Johnny Depp anywhere ready to crack the egg&brain joke.” He looked at his hands. “Not that I’m complaining, but why am I my human self? Shouldn’t I have a character as well?”
“If you want an answer, turn around,” said a voice behind him.
Joel turned to meet the figure of an elderly Fennec. His golden fur was sprinkled with white on the nose and around the eyes. Hi clothing consisted of a cape completely covering his figure. Although holding a knotty stick in his paw, he didn’t look like he needed it to walk. In fact, the old geezer was moving with a certain ease. “Welcome to Fantasyland, Joel Robinson.”
“Who are you?” asked Joel.
A crow, white plumage, glossy and veined with fine gold motifs painted on his wings and chest, landed on the Fennec’s shoulder. “His name is Savian, former Counselor of the Three Orders... before they became one, to be honest. And I’m Raytan, the messenger of the Gods. Or so they say, though I won’t spoil it for my devoted fans.”
Joel shook his head. “I’d recognize your chatter everywhere, Nevermore... But I don’t recognize you, little buddy. Yet.” Again he concentrated, and this time he saw an Australian shepherd dog, blue speckled fur, brown and white on the muzzle. “And no, I still don’t know you.”
“It would be difficult, as you’ve never been to Reuben’s farm,” said Raytan. “His name’s Rufus, and in life he was a good friend of Peanut and Grape. It seems that he’s so attached to those two that he wants to stay with them even on this occasion.” The raven snorted. “Apparently, ol’ beanbag here doesn’t trust me to watch over our newlyweds.”
“So you’re a ghost...” asked Joel, feeling uneasy. After all, wasn’t he supposed to help Martin and the others against a horde of ghosts?
“He’s one of the good guys, Kingy-boy, I told you.”
Joel felt himself blush. “So you know who I am?”
Savian indicated his eye, then said, “Try looking at yourself in the mirror again, Neo.”
Joel did so.
And after a minute King’s image appeared superimposed on his body. Joel sighed. “I figured it was too good to be true... But I don’t understand: Why do I appear human at all?”
Savian nodded. “Your past traumas destroyed your sense of wonder, your innocence, as you would call it, Joel. You couldn’t have a character in a scenario you don’t believe in. Part of you still wanted to be a human again, and it was decided you could work better in this condition than as a small dog.”
Joel rubbed his chin. “I see. Well, as I said, I won’t be complaining, for once. So, what do we do now?”
Savian shrugged. “We hurry up. In that direction, my friend.” He pointed with his stick. “Three heroes are waiting for our rescue. Once they’re freed, the game will see us as victors. Easy as that, if you’re willing to risk your life…”
Joel saw the sky quickly darkening with rain-heavy clouds. The first lightning tore the air, and the wind began to rise in that slice of sky that was still blue and sunny. “Spare me the drill, animal. I’ve been instructed on the basics of the game. And, as I said to a very big guy already, let’s go kick some ectoplasmic butt.”
The group marched toward the storm.

“If this place is a sort of mental projection, does that mean that anyone could toy with it as he or she pleases?”
Savian shook his head. “No. I mean, in theory, yes, but you see, Peanut’s imagination is just… stronger. Take it from a resident…” again, like an aura, Rufus appeared right beyond the fennec. His eyes were glowing with a warm emerald light. “The otherworld is a place of memories. Sometimes, they interact to form new and wonderful worlds, but nothing is really created, here. Only…” he shrugged “…recycled. Furthermore, this region is even poorer in imagination, since it belongs to those in limbo, not really departed. They want Peanut for his talent of creating worlds. That is why they will not harm him. Not yet. Kind of like the monkeys in The Jungle Book – the original, not that musical rip-off! They want the fire of creation, and they need their source of that fire alive.”
That ‘not yet’ was pretty upsetting to Joel. “And… how does Martin’s presence fit in this plan? My brother has never shown this creative gift. In fact, our father taught us both a lot about being realistic. He loves animals, how—” And then it dawned over him. And he went pale – at last he could, now! “These things… They mean to..?”
Savian nodded. This time, his expression was sad. “The final step in the imitation of life they seek: a Dad. They’ll feel complete only when they are part of a family, like they were before death. They need someone to love them, and Martin is like a beacon, to them. He brought them joy when he came to live over the ruins of Whiteman House. They never hated him, they… just wanted him for themselves.” He sighed. “The undeparted can be so jealous…”
Joel didn’t want to speculate on what could happen to his own brother, should he be confined in this godforsaken ‘place’. He had seen way too many horror movies on the subject!
“May ask you something, guys?” Joel asked to the white-furred warriors. He was getting rapidly dehydrated. Stupid canon-fan, couldn’t he have, at least, created a place with more oases available?
Before feline and canine could answer, he said, “Don’t you two hate me? I mean, I helped PETA kidnap Fox, I vented my frustration onto innocent pets, I was a total loser…” he’d have ranted on, but he needed to save strength. He normally hated walking in the rain, but oh boy! He hoped those clouds would drench him.
“We never hated you, because Dad rarely spoke of you. We found a picture of you, once, and when we asked him about the human in it… well, he just said he was your brother and that he loved you a lot. He never even told us about Helias and the others. We always thought you were a really special person, until Tarot told us all the rest. Uncle Joel?”
“Yes?”
Kuragen/Alcor caressed his arm. “You are a better person than you described. You are proving it, and Dad was right about you.”
“Keep guilt and pain out of your heart, son,” said Savian. “No offense, but your brother is doing a fine enough job giving these entities strength with his own sense of guilt. He never stopped believing he deserves nothing less than ultimate punishment for abandoning Helias, Honcho and Ringo. Now his dark dream has coming to fruition. It’s up to us to wake him up before he become one with this plane.
“So, apart from Martin, who else must we set free—”
Savian shook his head. “No, Martin is not one of them. He is being held elsewhere, in an even safer place to avoid any contact with anyone who wants him free. First we have to set the three heroes free. Only they can set in motion the mechanism that will free the restless spirits of Whiteman House.”
Now, Joel was just confused. “And who would these three heroes be..?” he asked, before realizing. “Peanut and Grape, whoever they are playing. And the third..?”
---
The Tower Arcana, Morodia

It rose like the arm of a colossus, to challenge the sky, its top surrounded by snow-white clouds. The citadel built around it looked like a blend of children’s toys.
The walls of the octagonal tower were white, shining like mirrors. Whether the sun or the moon illuminated it, the Tower Arcana was a beacon that drew and called to it all those who sought a new life in the Land of Exile.
But let not its beauty and majesty fool you: the Tower Arcana was a place of trial just as it was of welcome. Here, those who came with hostile intentions, the enemies of peace and the heretics were locked up for the rest of their days.
Since the Dragon Council didn’t permit violence as a means to execute its prisoners, nor made them suffer with starvation, the prisoners were left with the right to commit suicide. The trials were thorough and fair, and if convicted the sentence was life imprisonment. The only way out was suicide by one’s own hands, and the Counselors were ready to offer the sweetest poison for that purpose. If a disease claimed the prisoners, no doctor would come and heal them, and nature would make the final ruling.
There were no guards at the doors because there were no doors. The prisoners were alone with their thoughts in a cell illuminated by swarms of fireflies that glowed with a soft blue light. The only exit was in the ceiling far above from which the prisoners were dropped, then a stone slab covered back the manhole. The walls were smooth, one could not climb them, they could only stare at that unreachable way of escape, and the desperation crept into their thoughts until the prisoners themselves claimed the poison to end their agony…
“Hey! Can you hear me?” The lioness pressed her ear to the wall in a vain attempt to capture a sound, anything that would suggest that the person on the other side of the wall was alive.
Stop thinking about those things, Illaya! Of course he was alive. How could it be otherwise? He and Parnok were still alive! She knew them, they wouldn’t give up. Both would walk straight into the mouth of Orguna the Forsaken himself if it served to save her...
But she didn’t even know if they were alive. And Prince Yesu was in the hands of the Council, to be corrupted. As allied sovereigns, Illaya and Parnok had failed. Their champion had been caught off-guard by vile magic. Their allies were far away, and an entire city was ready to fight anyone who tried to free the prisoners. Morodia was populated with fanatics ready to die many times over for the Council, no one would collaborate with strangers.
Yes, she had definitely seen better days…

In the next Pit, the creature called Spot, the Superdog, laid resting his back against the wall, as helpless as any other prisoner.
He could easily get out of that hole, and save his friends. He had the body and the strength of Atlas. He could fly faster than light, punch his way through walls, spit fire and much more.
But he also had a weakness: orphanite. The only mineral that could reduce the level of his powers to that of any dog, that is, making him totally vulnerable.
And in the pit there was a piece of orphanite big enough to shine as a light source. Large enough to make Spot weak as a puppy.
And no matter how much he worked his brilliant brain: Spot, for once, was in a predicament he couldn’t get out of.
And worse still, his friends were the ones who would pay the price for his inability...

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Thu May 19, 2011 2:36 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
4.
The Deredes Territories

“Are we there yet?” asked Joel.
It was raining. Not, ‘raining’ as would be expected during a common summer rain.
It was raining as if the sky had decided to create a replica of the Great Flood. The good news was that Joel Robinson no longer felt the grip of the terrible heat of the Pridelands.
The bad news was that he was feeling the first symptoms of a nice pleurisy, his clothes had doubled their weight, his socks were two soaked sponges making disgusting sloshing sounds in his sneakers.
All in all, he had to admit that in such weather, being a dog had its advantages. He could shake himself dry, and walking was more comfortable with paw pads.
The animals around him walked on as if the flood were a spring rain. He didn’t know whether to hate them or envy them.
“Oh, we’re almost there,” said Savian. The golden, grey-sprinkled Fennec was still walking with an elastic gait and without a drop of water troubling him, thanks to a kind of invisible barrier erected on his head, like an umbrella.
Joel moved his wet hair from his brow for the umpteenth time. “How do you do that trick?”
“The barrier? Oh, to think that until recently I was like those two and didn’t need it in the slightest.”
“Really?” said Raytan, the white raven, perched on his shoulders. “And when was that? Kuragen and Nagara’s ancestors were still to be born, if I remember correctly – Ouch!” He massaged his head, after Savian’s stick hit it.
“Ah, youth, what a wonderful time of our existence. However, it’s a very simple spell.”
“Could you do it for me too, by any chance?”
“Yes.”
Joel looked ready to explode, just like when Bino pranked him with that catnip bomb. “And why didn’t you do it?”
The Fennec shrugged. “Well, you never asked me. You needed water. And you needed to take a bath; you stank.” Kuragen and Nagara giggled through clenched teeth.

Joel’s answer shook the air as if it were the most powerful thunder.

The Renegades were stunned. They were staring at the human with something halfway between respect and fear.
Raytan said, “I know sailors from Terran who’d promote you Captain just from hearing you say such words!”
“Well?” said a voice from nowhere. “Is that the way to behave, you bunch of yokels?” The voice was harsh and loud, but at the same time merry, as if its owner was just pretending to scold the group.
Joel turned. He was about to tell the owner of that voice what he or she could do with etiquette, when he felt Kuragen’s paw on his shoulder.
“Jeijan, it’s us,” said the white lion. “Open the doors, come on.”
“Forget it, kitty! Every time you come here, troubles follow! And is that a human being?” she asked with wide eyes.
“Oh, come on,” said Raytan, waving a wing. “For ol’ times’ sake, little gem of my nest, you can’t refuse me a favor.”
The invisible voice fell silent for a moment, then, “Get in, before I change my mind. But this is the last time, dumb bird!”
Raytan puffed out his chest like a rooster. “Get this, big heroes!”
The group set out to walk... to nowhere. “Excuse me, but where the heck are we going?” whispered Joel to Nagara. “To Kandor?” and looked down just to make sure he wasn’t treading on some city in a bottle.
A few steps later, they found themselves in a town! The air seemed to explode with sounds, noises, the smells and the sight of dozens of busy furs! Where nothing stood just moment before, now there rose tall stone walls surrounding brick houses painted in warm and bright colors.
Joel rubbed his eyes, gave himself a few slaps to his cheeks, but the vision remained where it was. He gasped, unable to adequately comment on that development. He came to as Kuragen’s paw gave him a pat on the back that almost threw him to the ground.
“Welcome to Mezzaia! Not bad, eh?”
Joel kept looking at the motley crowd engaged in their activities. “An invisible city,” he said. “Best place to conveniently forget to send a postcard from.” Only then, he also realized that it had stopped raining the moment they had entered. He looked up and saw why. “Wow.”
The sky was a huge and beautiful crystal dome, on which the rain was pattering, its sound lost in the city’s background noise.
“It’s a mandatory condition,” said Jeijan, who turned out to be a brightly-colored hornbill, landing on the shoulder of the human. “The invisibility, that is. Ours is a border town, between the Deredes and Morodia, and we’ll trade with any kind of person, without distinction. The important thing is that they pay well. At the same time, we accumulate vast amounts of information from all over the world, as do other cities like ours. The Dragon Council will respect our neutrality in exchange of some of that information.”
It’s a small world, after all, Joel thought. “So, are you going to sell information about us as well?” He asked in a low voice.
Jeijan shrugged. “You are not traders, you don’t carry information, we have nothing to say. Is there anything you need to tell me, perhaps?”
Wisely, Joel didn’t speak.
“You are going to find yourself a bed and sleep, and then get a good meal,” said Savian, “In your condition, you’d be a dead weight for yourself.”
“Just make sure it’s an overnight stay, you folks” said Jeijan. “There is a hefty bounty on you two, Renegades. Half of the local Guilds could close and live on the annuity if they got you.”
Joel didn’t understand the hurry. After all, this scenario was part of that funny dog’s fantasy. He wasn’t controlling the spirits, only channeling their energies, so this place should be… safe?
For a brief moment, Joel Robinson cursed his improving ability of seeing through the deceit.
He had moved his gaze on the crowd, focusing as he had before… “Impossible,” he whispered, shivering.
All these people… they were not constructs. They were players! Dozens and dozens of animals, most of them cats and dogs, with some raccoons and rabbits thrown in the bunch, pups and adults.
And their eyes were glowing like the eyes of Rufus.
Ghosts.
“Savian,” he whispered to the fennec, fearing to be heard. “Aren’t the natives supposed to be… hostile?”
The fennec nodded, as he whispered back, “Not these ghosts. And that is the reason for which they are not reacting to your presence.”
“Care to explain, riddler?”
“You were there, when the new Shelter was inaugurated, right?” he winked.
---
Lucky Charm Grove for the Abandoned and the Ferals, Babylon Gardens

Tarot sat in the lotus position, in front of the Madonna statue that symbolized the prayer for the peace of the souls that had died, year after year, at the old shelter.
Her small, honey-furred figure was surrounded by the glow of the ethereal energies, as countless spirits whispered to her, chanted with her, followed her new prayer to help the man that had given them peace.
Their joy was a soothing balsam for her, after listening too long to the malevolent voices from Whiteman House.
“Thank you, children,” said Tarot.
---
One by one, while the characters did their daily chores, the actors turned their heads and smiled at the human and his company, nodding their heads in acknowledgment.
Joel couldn’t hear their voices, but he felt their gratitude, their encouragement. It gave him a new strength, a new resolution…
Then the man turned his head, to see who was playing Jeijan… and saw a familiar golden-furred puppy with a white spot on her back. “Hello to you, child. And thank you.” He ran a finger under the bird’s throat. Tomi responded lifting her head and wagging.
The man closed his eyes, and forced himself back to this bizarre tableau. He rubbed his eyes with his fingers. Heh, it was the first time he cried since he was back in the furless flesh. “So,” he said in a normal tone, “How come they can’t just help us in the quest? I mean, we’re all the good guys, right?”
Savian shook his head. “This scenario, this… diversion that can allow us to set your brother free, is good as long as the rules are respected. Whatever we do reflects on Peanut’s ability to keep it coherent. If we start to act as if he had no control, we’d be at the mercy of the hostile spirits’. We’d have no chance to survive.”
Joel nodded. “I see and I hate it, but I’ll be a good boy.” He yawned. Physically true or not, this exciting day and the fatigue were taking their toll. “Fine. I’m gonna hit the first sack I see. Any suggestion, before I find myself in the wrong bed? I’d hate to deal with an angry local husband.”
Raytan pointed at a building. “That will be your nest, precious. JJ and Nagara will watch over you, while Savian and Kuragen will search for some extra help. We’ll be needing it. I’ll go fetch a ride.”
The human chuckled. “So it’s true, ravens are smart.”
The bird crossed his wings, indignant. “And you doubted it? Men! Anyway, don’t worry about angry husbands, mister. With a skinny boy such as you, even a local girl could easily put you into the trash bin.”
Joel didn’t want to test the truth of that. “Look, I had almost forgotten to ask you folks for a big favor. It’s really important.” Note to self: Next time, bring a couple of notepads and pens! “When we’re back home, please, nobody utter a word to Fox, about… me. Okay?”
Raytan shook his head sadly, but it was evident he was being facetious. “Ooh, poor human is afraid of losing his best pal? You didn’t seem so sad to be back to your genetic origins, before. Boy, was I wrong.”
Joel clenched his teeth. “This doesn’t have to do with me, bird brain! He’s still my best friend ever, and I won’t see him hurt, got it?!” he growled.
But the bird brain was right. He had dreamed, he had longed for the moment he’d be freed of his canine appearance, and now he could even be a hero, as a human, after a life of being a sour loser, now he would give anything to go back, go back to being reunited with that husky that King had accepted as a friend.
I love you, Martin, my brother, but it’s Fox that I miss. Was it wrong, that feeling? Or rather was it the proof that he was really starting to accept his new life? After all, like everyone else, he aspired to happiness, and Fox made him happy. He was really good with him, and didn’t want him to suffer. Knowing the truth would be devastating, for both of them…
“Don’t worry,” said Raytan, this time without the slightest tease in his voice.
“No one will say anything,” said Nagara. “We know what you mean, and we shall protect your secret.”
“Thanks,” said Joel. His thoughts went back to Martin, and the people who were supposed to save him. When Savian had told him that it was Peanut, Grape and Maxwell, he had no idea how those three could somehow be helpful. He just didn’t see them as big time heroes... And Peanut! Sure, under extreme circumstances he showed grit, but it had been once. That puppy was an inveterate pacifist. His greatest ambition was to live with his beloved cat, play Nintendo and draw his comics...
---
The Tower Arcana, Morodia

They were called ‘The Pits’. Because such were the cells for the enemies of the State.
Smooth walls. No windows. No lights, except those given out by swarms of firefly-like insects. The only exit was a manhole, covered by a slab of granite and out of reach even for the mightiest warrior. The prisoners could count on good meals and fresh water, so that they’d live with full awareness of their captivity until they died of illness, old age... Or suicide.
Spot (Superdog) also had something else to keep him company: a large piece of orphanite, the only mineral that could reduce him to impotence.
What else could he do?
“Is anyone listening?” He said, without taking his eyes from the orphanite. The mineral’s gray light sent ghostly reflections on his white fur. Spot wrapped himself in his scarlet cloak, his only piece of clothing together with the collar of the same color with a pentagonal tag. “If someone is listening to me, I want to end it. Now.” His voice was calm, detached. The voice of those who had lost all hope, all illusions. And if he couldn’t make it, more so his beloved Princess Illaya, and her faithful lancer, Lord Parnok, were completely impotent, doomed to the same fate.
There were no guards for the Pits, they weren’t needed… but all the same those walls had ears…
Soon after he had spoken, the granite slab at the center of the ceiling turned away – a few inches, just enough to drop a stuffed, small black velvet bag at the feet of the Superdog..
The plate closed.
Spot reached out and took the bag. Inside, wrapped by some layers of cotton, was a small vial of black glass with a cork.
Poison. The Inquisitors were very precise in describing its effects: the distilled essence of the rare Acanta flower killed instantly the moment a single drop touched the tongue. The Inquisitors had also assured that the poison was very sweet. No one had ever suffered any pain with the ‘sweet death’.
Spot put himself under the granite slab. He uncorked the vial.
Forgive me for making you suffer, my friends, he thought, and lifted the vial to his lips. My Princess, I wanted to be a better champion for you. And with this last thought in mind, the Spot the Superdog drank the Acanto’s sweet death.
And, as the Inquisitors had promised, the poison killed him just as the first drop fell on his tongue.
Spot fell to the ground. The empty vial rolled from his open paw

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Last edited by valerio on Thu May 19, 2011 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu May 19, 2011 3:33 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
:shock: Thats it... You can't end the chapter there that's just evil... Somehow I doubt it but I wonder if it's like a dream and he will wake up when he die's. But c'mon it was the most evil cliffhanger ever! How am I suppose to sleep tonight now?

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Thu May 19, 2011 3:48 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Killing you softly with killing cliffhangers, that's me :mrgreen:

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Thu May 19, 2011 3:57 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Revius wrote:
:shock: Thats it... You can't end the chapter there that's just evil... Somehow I doubt it but I wonder if it's like a dream and he will wake up when he die's. But c'mon it was the most evil cliffhanger ever! How am I suppose to sleep tonight now?


I'm with him! I wasn't expecting a mid-day update, nor a cliffhanger of that magnitude! D:


Thu May 19, 2011 4:10 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Dude this is getting like uber intense! SPot can't be dead, I don't know how but he aint dead and I'm stickin by that! I'm loving the whole imagination thing though it's pretty epic! You're awesome Valerio!

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Fri May 20, 2011 12:59 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
hehe, do more popcorn CJ: this episode is far from over ;)

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
5.
Mezzaia, on the Deredes/Morodia border

“Nagara! Ah, my dear!” The innkeeper, according to the standards of all tales, was the true picture of the jovial, talkative, strong master of the inn, including a large greasy apron. Leaving aside the fact that he was a warthog, who spoke with a very different accent from those used by the other inhabitants of Mezzania, this was the right creature for the place.
Let ‘s see who this new friend is... Joel focused, stared at the animal, and found that it wasn’t a ghost.
It was Rex, the bulldog of Bino’s gang. Joel remembered hearing him say he was a Pridelands fan... Oh, yes, and that he really liked to cook.
“Young man,” the innkeeper said, shaking his hand and the rest of the body. “Welcome to the best tavern across the border! Be it a bed or food, I have only the best!”
The human had the clear impression that after that handshake his blood had turned into butter. “Ah, thanks, chief.”
The warthog hugged the life out of the lycaon. “You get prettier every time I see you, honey! Now tell me, what can I do for you and your friends? “
“Jeijan, our guest and I will have a nap,” she said while testing her ribcage, “Kuragen and Savian are looking for some workforce. Do you have someone handy?”
The warthog rubbed his paws. “My dear, for the three of you I have the usual room down the corridor, upstairs. Your favorite.” He put his paw under his apron and pulled out a rough brass key. “Go and sin, my children,” he said, handing it to the female.
Nagara grabbed the key “You think about not poisoning my friends, all right? They’re not regulars.”
The innkeeper pouted. “Just because I gave you two a little something to cheer you up, that one time…”
She shook her head and went up the stairs, dragging a very curious Joel by the wrist.
“I’m gonna find me some friends, before this becomes really embarrassing,” sayd Raytan, flying out the door.
The innkeeper shrugged and turned to the others. “Well, you can sit at the table in the corner. I’ll get you enough food to double your weight. And if you want to hire someone, don’t worry: soon, the scum of society will walk through that door. You’ll recognize them immediately, you’ll see. Do you already have in mind the fees that you’ll pay them? They don’t come cheap.”
“How much?” Savian asked.
“A prince’s ransom.”
The Fennec winked. “Then a prince is what they’ll get. Tell them, my friend.”
Kuragen and Savian went to sit at the table indicated. The location was good. No window that could expose them to an attack, their corner was covered and they could see the door and any suspicious movements by other customers. Prudence was never enough…
Two robust jackals wearing aprons placed on the table a huge wooden bowl filled with couscous, another with the sauce and the meat, provided with a spoon, and two smaller empty bowls. The white lion’s stomach growled – that’s what he had really missed about this place: its cuisine.
“We should not be wasting time here,” said Kuragen, filling his bowl. “I hope Raytan doesn’t fail us now.”
“Patience, my friend. Rushing into enemy territory without a plan won’t be of much help to our allies.”
“Neither will waiting until they’re dead,” insisted Kuragen.

The room down the corridor was the best choice, strategically speaking, no wonder the Renegades favored it. Any enemy, no matter how stealthy, would inevitably make the floor boards creak.
Of course, the holidays meant that you didn’t sleep much...
The trio entered the room. “See that panel?” said the wild dog to Joel, pointing to the ceiling above the bed.
“I see it. So what? “
“If things go wrong, grab the ring and pull. It opens a secret staircase leading up to the roof. Here the houses are packed so densely that it will be like walking down the street from one end of town to the other... except for some occasional short jumps between roofs.”
“Then, we should assume that these Counselors or their pals will violate the truce?”
“They might be sending the Wandering Shadows, well paid warriors to dispense justice efficiently and quickly. Whether they succeed or fail, the Dragon Council will say that they were Renegades like us then execute them to show that justice was done for the violation of the truce.”
Joel sat on the bed. “So you were framed as well, I take it.”
“Yes. We had been ordered to kill a spy, and that spy revealed herself to be the Queen’s sister. We were accused of conspiring against the royal family, and since then we’ve been on the run. And we became lifemates as well. The Prince Cheetah, instead, was brought to the Morodian capital to be trained without his life being put at risk.”
“Who is this ‘Prince Cheetah’?”
“Prince Yesu, the one who’ll reunify the Councils into one as it was before the separation. His power as King Cheetah will bring forth peace in the prides… or will destroy them and Orguna the Forsaken shall prevail.”
Joel furrowed. “You are not mentioning this guy for the sake of the game, right?” He felt a familiar shiver running down his spine. “Is there something I should know?”
Nagara shook her head. “Nothing that you can know right now. You are a player, now. You shall know what to do when the time comes.”
The man sighed. “Story of my life. Well, at least this time it won’t be about kidnapping innocent animals.”
Nagara ran a paw along his neck. “Don’t let your mistakes corrupt your soul, please. We told you already, we know you have a good heart. Cling to that notion, not to what you can’t undo.”
It was then that Joel did something quite surprising. He leaned forward to kiss her on the cheek.
“Joel, what..?” She stammered.
He pulled back, cheeks slightly flushed. “You know, thank you?”
The warrior didn’t know what to say. She was still too surprised to find the right words.
Joel sighed and laid down, his head on the pillow and his arms folded behind his head. “I’m sorry if I offended you.”
Nagara smiled. “Oh, no, you didn’t. You just took me by surprise. And you’re welcome.”
Joel looked toward the window. He wondered why he had chosen that way to express his gratitude, instead of something less… personal, such as squeezing her shoulder or… something else.
Because I know it’s Mizar under that appearance, and she’s my brother’s pet, and she’s a fine canine. I like her, so what? It’s not like I tried to propose to her!
Then why had he been so embarrassed, thinking of that innocuous peck?
Because it’s been a lifetime, since I could find comfort with a pet. He thought of Helias, poor girl, all the times he consoled her after a beating, often taking the blame just to help her… And the way she purred to him to ease his pain, while Honcho and Ringo huddled against them, to form a furry pile that made him feel safe.
And that sweet memory brought bitterness. Why did they betray me? He had done all he could, given his age and means, and they had turned against him as if he was the one responsible—
The paw that shut his mouth all of a sudden made him startle! Lost in those gloomy considerations, Joel revived those terrible moments on the street. He felt himself panicking!
Instead, the wild dog pulled him away just before the trapdoor opened. Two shadows fell in quick succession. Black panthers! The first, alone, destroyed the bed with one blow! The second bounced over the bed’s remains and threw herself against the warrior!
Nagara lifted the shield in time to intercept the attack, but all the same she was pushed against the door, smashing it together with her adversary!
The impact made them fly through the corridor. The obsidian-furred female stretched out a lethal clawed paw. Nagara turned her head just in time to avoid the blow. The boards exploded in a geyser of debris.
With all her strength, the wild dog pushed her triangular shield forward against the cat’s chin. The panther was stunned that split second enough to allow Nagara to use her feet to kick her in the abdomen and push the female away.
Now the wild dog rolled back and stood up. Quickly she drew her sword. “Garot,” she said between clenched teeth. “Long time no see. I see you learned to fight back, at school.”
The Black Panther grinned. Her voice was distilled malevolence. “Spit your words out while you can, Renegade. You’re just a bonus, and once we’re done with your ‘protected one’, we’ll add your head to our gifts for the Council.”

A man can be killed because of the company he kept! Joel thought, at the sight of the male black panther that looked like something straight out of a nightmare. The beast was an elegant and lethal muscle mass armed with claws and fangs like absurdly large daggers. For an absurd moment, the human thought that short skirt he was wearing was ridiculous on a creature so powerful...
A strange thought his mind tried to cling to, since he saw well who he was facing. And although at the time he wasn’t involved with PETA, he knew what they had done, to allow the existence of this creature. And Joel, former PETA member, thought that karma just sucked!
Because, if the ghost of a farm dog could play the role of wise counselor, why couldn’t the specter of one of the last killers of Whiteman House play this black hunter?
“So, you recognize me,” said the beast, advancing slowly, savoring the moment. “Good. I want you to know who’s going kill you, brother of Martin Foster,” and he stepped forward, his claws ready to slice open their prey!
---
The Tower Arcana, Morodia

“Open,” said the hyena wearing the blood-red clothing of the Inquisitors of the Dragon Council.
The hyena soldier standing next to the wheel grabbed two spokes and started to turn it. With a rattle of chains, the double granite slab that covered the only way in and out of the pit opened.
The Inquisitor had no reason to doubt the efficacy of the Sweet Death of the Acanta flower. According to legend, that poison was determinant in the extermination of the Great Dragons… Although, legend or not, there was no mortal being who could survive a single drop of the sweet and deadly elixir. Eventually, many were the prisoners who preferred a quick and painless death to dying of old age without seeing the sunlight ever again. La Sweet Death was an act of mercy, the last vestige of honor awarded to enemies of the State.
Of course, someone tried to fake their death from time to time. That is why there were the fireflies of life, which gave off light in response to the body heat of those they touched or brushed, and now their light was out. That was the ultimate proof that the stranger was dead. Now, as tradition mandated, this… Spot would receive forgiveness and proper burial. His spirit would be reunited with the others in the nest of the great Orguna.
And the game would be over. Indeed, the soul of this creature was very strong, to keep up the illusion even after the body’s death.
At a signal from the Inquisitor, two soldiers each clung to a chain and descended into the pit.
“Your heretic friend has made his choice,” the Inquisitor said calmly. “He showed courage to face the inevitable, and he chose the honorable path instead of a long and useless existence in suffering. Let his end be an example to you.” And, perhaps, seeing you two dead as well will undermine your determination once and for all, dog.

In her cell, Princess Illaya heard those words and felt her heart sinking together with every hope – the Inquisitors had never lied, and they wouldn’t torture their prisoners with lies.
The lioness rested her forehead against the wall and fell to her knees.
It couldn’t be.
The shock was too great. She couldn’t bear it.
It couldn’t be.
Spot, her hero. Peanut, her sweet Peanut was..? She couldn’t even finish the sentence.
She heard the muffled sound of the chains, this time slower. As if they were lifting something heavy...
Nononononono! “Spot... Peanut.” Illaya began to scratch the wall. Now the tears began to flow freely even if she kept her eyes shut. “We just got married. You can’t be... God, no, please, no...”

Lord Parnok knew it was over. If the only person who could get them out of there was dead, it was over.
What could they do now?
“Grape, I’m so sorry...” Parnok/Maxwell murmured. He caressed the wall. “Girl, how I wish I were with you.” Peanut was such a good dog, and that poor cat had given him all of herself, only to lose him forever? And now she had to stay there, alone in a cell, in the company of her pain. How could there be a punishment more cruel than that?

Spot’s body emerged from the cell, bound by a series of straps around his chest. As soon as he was completely out, the body was moved to the ground, where four robust soldiers were waiting to carry the dead away.
The Inquisitor beckoned the soldiers to free the body from the bonds. When they had obeyed, two soldiers lifted him by his arms so that the others could wrap Spot in his cape. It was custom to bury the prisoner preserving his appearance in death.
When one of the soldiers moved the scarlet cape, a firefly hidden in the fabric came to rest on the stranger’s nose. The soldier was about to drive away the insect, since no living creatures must share the grave of the dead...
The insect’s light turned on.
The word ‘surprised’ didn’t fully describe the look on the hyenas’ faces from the event they had just witnessed!
Yet the bug was there, standing on the nose of a dead dog, shining like… as if it had just come in touch with a living...
Spot smiled.
And he opened his eyes.
“Outwitted.”
His first two punches struck the chins of the soldiers who were trying to lift him dead-on! The unfortunate hyenas stuck head-first into the roof, from which they then dangled like clappers. They also made a nice bell sound.
The insect flew away while Spot stood up.
The Inquisitor tried to step back, not knowing what to do. It had to be a ghost, there was no other explanation! Or a hallucination, yes, a magic trick that he had not thought of..!
“I am Spot, the Superdog,” said the white-furred animal, approaching the hyena. He grabbed the Inquisitor by the throat and slammed against the wall.
The other soldiers tried to stop him by throwing every weapon they had, but the iron blades broke and twisted against the hero’s body, who acknowledged the attempt by scratching at his back.
To his enemy, he said, “And I’m invincible, by the way. Except when there’s orphanite near me, as you know already. The only way to get away from that cell was dying, so I decided to take the risk. And as soon as I was far enough from that mineral, I was invincible again...” To prove his words, he reached for the familiar black bag the Inquisitor carried at his waist, and took it. He tore it open with his teeth, revealing two other black vials. “These were for my friends, right?” And before the terrified eyes of the hyena, he stuffed them in his mouth as if they were candies!
The soldiers watched flabbergasted as Spot chewed the vials with a sound of crunching glass. Then the Superdog swallowed and licked his lips. “Hmm, strawberry-flavored. Good.”
The poor Inquisitor thought he was in troubles, but when he saw the grimace of anger on Spot’s face, he realized that their troubles had not yet begun.
Then he saw the flames begin to lick the Superdog’s fangs like the flames of the inferno. “There is another thing, by the way...”

“YOU REALLY MADE ME MAD!!” And with those words, a terrible blaze, worthy of a volcano, erupted from the wall, then drew a line across almost half of the outer perimeter. A shower of fiery debris fell to the village, sparking panic.

Spot threw away the unconscious hyena, his robe reduced to a charred cloth. Then he turned to the soldiers who had fallen to the ground, covering their heads with their arms, staring desperately at the powerful being, mutely begging for mercy.
“And what are you doing still here?” He growled. “Shove off! Barkbarkbarkbark!”
The hyenas took to their heels, mewling like terrified kittens.
“That’ll teach you,” said Spot, slapping hands, puffing out his chest.
“I’m sure it was a beautiful show,” said the voice of Illaya – a voice inaudible to anyone who didn’t possess Spot’s superhearing – through the floor. “Would you please get us out of here, now, super-ego?”
“Sorry.” Spot went to the wheel that opened that particular pit, and with one flick of the wrist he opened it. He dived into the cell and re-emerged a second later, holding his beloved Princess, sharing with her a long passionate kiss.
“Hmm,” said the lioness, when they had finished. She was sporting Nala’s ‘The Look’. “We must plan another game session, big boy.”
Spot blushed to from head to toe, and giggled like a puppy. Then he moved his gaze away. “Ah, sorry for worrying you, but—” He was silenced by a finger on his lips.
“No. No guilt, Peanut: you are Spot, the most intelligent dog in the world, you had a plan and it worked. In fact, you were incredibly brave to put up such a stunt.” She kissed the tip of his nose. “Just try to warn me beforehand, next time: I can act too, you know.”
“Listen, not to be the complainer, but I’m still trapped here,” said the poor Parnok from his pit.
“I’ll get you, Milord!” Spot let go of Illaya… meaning he literally dropped her to go to the wheel. “Sorry, Princess.”

When the superdog carried out the lion, Parnok said, “We can’t leave without our weapons! Does anyone know where they are?”
Spot looked down. His eyes lit up like two silver suns. “In the treasure room, together with a veritable dragon’s hoard. And there are also a lot of guards watching them.”
“We need them, if we want to help you free Yesu,” said Illaya. “We let ourselves get captured for that purpose!”
“And don’t forget Saso!” Spot added. “He too is prisoner here.”
Parnok facepawlmed. “I really can’t understand what use he could be, but if it will convince you to hurry up, then free him.” The lion shook his head. “Heroes!”
Illaya put a paw over Parnok’s shoulder. “My good friend, we need all the help we can get.” She nodded to Spot, grinning like a happy demon. “Go get him, champ, then it’s punching time!”

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
6.
Mezzaia, The Deredes/Morodia border

Joel Robinson knew he was dead. It was only the one last glimmer of awareness he was allowed, in that fraction of a second after which his body would be torn open like a sack from the claws of a black panther come there with the sole purpose of killing him. A glimmer during which Joel saw with absolute clarity the sharp fangs, yellow eyes like stars against the face’s black coat, light reflecting against the glossy fur rippled by powerful muscles…
But the mortal blow didn’t come! Instead, an intense burst of light hit the feline body! The panther roared his pain, and was thrown against the wall!
Joel didn’t even ask who was responsible for that miracle. Very wisely, he decided to storm out of the room, hoping that Nagara was done with her opponent...

Unfortunately, it wasn’t so, although the situation had changed, now.
Nagara was still there. The female wild dog held her sword tightly and parried with a triangular iron shield. And her pupils had shrunk in surprise.
The female panther facing her was no less surprised, if her lowered ears and tail tucked between her legs were a clue.
But, they should both have expected the presence of magic artifact users.
Like this male gray wolf, dressed in a green robe with the symbol of a stylized snarling wolf on the chest. He was holding out a metal-gloved paw. The scarlet metal was encrusted with tiny sparkling gems.
“You vermin!” snarled Garot, leaping at the intruder who had dared to interrupt her hunt!
“Wrong guess,” the creature said, wagging his tail.
From his glove, a second beam of light, no less powerful than the first, hit the cat with full force and threw her back into the room from which she had come. This time, she didn’t stand up.
The wolf grinned. “The Sun Claw, last legacy of the Helian Hunters. Never leave home without it. Oh, sorry, I forgot to introduce myself: I am Spacelaser, of the Dire Pack. You want to be dead?”
Joel squinted his eyes, to recognize… a wolf cub with green eyes. One of the Milton wolves’ cubs! And if he was here, it was a good bet that the others weren’t far away...
“A good trick,” said a deep voice behind Joel, from the room. A new voice! And if that homicidal panther had sounded malevolent, this voice was even worse!
Then, the floor began to shake rhythmically, as if an earthquake were walking towards them.
Joel, Nagara and Spacelaser were simply baffled by the sheer size of the newcomer:
coat black as night,
red eyes like two cold rubies,
dressed in armor of metal scales
armed with a huge Ono ax and a black metallic shield.
He was a lion, no, the father of all lions. He was tall enough to reach the ceiling. His figure filled the corridor.
“Dyrus,” whispered Nagara, awestruck and scared.
Joel saw the pack leader of the Whitemans’ killer dogs, the giant that Martin had defeated almost at the cost of his own life.
“I think I need a bigger glove,” whined the wolf.
Joel had stepped back until he was standing behind the two warriors... But it was like watching two wee puppies growling at a tyrannosaurus. “Let me guess.” Joel swallowed. “That was the meanest in your class, right?”
“Dyrus the Immortal. The first Renegade,” nodded Nagara. “He was the strongest, the most honorable warrior. Our enemies spoke his name with pure terror. No task was too great, too difficult, for him. The Councils had in him the true paladin of justice.
“But when the feud erupted inside the Orders, a feud that would later lead to the creation of the One Dhier Order, Dyrus’s family, his school... all that he had ever loved, all that he had fought for, was destroyed. He became a Renegade, the creature you see now: the death-stalker, whose existence is fueled by his own hatred. He will not die until that black feeling burns in his heart.”
“I understand,” said Joel. “Strategic retreat?”
“Dyrus, this isn’t your battle, and you’re not serving anyone,” said Nagara, ignoring the human. “Why are you here?”
The black lion smiled. His voice was like the rumble of the storm. “I’m here to kill you. Do you need to know more?”
“Actually, no!” And with those words, a rotating object darted toward the black lion!
Dyrus lifted the shield. The sound of the impact shook the air and produced a short-lived light eruption.
The lion was intrigued by that unexpected development: his invincible shield, instead of deflecting the weapon, had allowed it to embed itself into the gleaming metal. “Remarkable.”
“If you liked that, I have another,” said a second wolf, yellow-eyed, dressed with a light chainmail armor. In his left paw he was holding a double-headed ax equal to the one he had just used. “Deathaxe is always at the service of those who want to die quickly!”
Dyrus showed a half-smile. “Heh.” He grabbed the handle of the ax. Immediately, voltaic arcs ran up his arm, making the fur stand on end, but the lion didn’t even seem to notice. Instead he gave a tug and un-stuck the weapon from his shield.
“I think this is yours,” he said, throwing it hard!
Spacelaser, Nagara and Joel jumped to the ground to avoid being beheaded. Deathaxe managed to grab his weapon in mid-course, but he was almost thrown off his feet. The wolf clenched his teeth, but didn’t show any fear. “Not bad.”
“Same here. You’re good, but…” Dyrus lifted his weapon. The Black Blade glowed with arcane energies. “Now watch how a real ax is used!”
His weapon came down in a single blow.

The building that housed the tavern and hostel ‘The Gate of Mezzaia’ was torn by a blade of light that ran from side to side! Fragments of brick and mortar flew off like splashes of water from a pond. The people ran away, screaming in panic.
When it was over, the building was divided exactly in half by a single tear, like a ship broken by a titanic force. The powder formed a kind of fog around it.

Coughing, Joel opened his eyes.
He was still alive. He was sure that that was really the end, but he was still alive… “Oh.”
Dyrus’s blow had broken against an energy barrier! It had been the dissipation of the energies from the ax that tore the structure around them.
“As you can see,” said the voice of Savian, his paws still glowing with arcane energies, “I don’t use this trick only to protect my old bones.” A trickle of blood was coming out from one of the fennec’s nostrils. “But I don’t think I can hold back another. So boys, if you’d be so kind and get out of here now...”
No one needed to have it repeated.
Dyrus raised his ax again, focused only on destroying them all without distinction. The old dog was weak, this next blow’s shockwave would reach the doors of Mezzaia themselves...
He was about to strike, when a circle of light formed at his feet! Dyrus showed a comic expression of surprise when the floor collapsed under his feet…

The surprise was short lived. The black lion landed on his feet in the cellar, while the debris bounced off his body. “Whoever you are, bring it on, you coward!” He snarled.
And from the shadows, his new rival walked into the light beam produced by the gash above: it was a gray wolf, a blue-eyed female, wearing a tight green two-pieces costume, muscular arms crossed at her chest. “Coward is the one who fights against those who can’t defend themselves, murderer. I am Lightsaber, and I’m ready to fight to your death.”
Dyrus clenched his ax. “So I like puppies. Let’s see what you can do. “
The wolf went off like a lightning bolt at him, charging head down.
---
The Tower Arcana, Morodia

The granite slab moved away.
Spot leaned into the pit. “Saso! Are you there?!” His black tail wagging crazy.
A string of unrepeatable expletives and curses came as answer. The canine hero pulled his head up fast as if he had just realized he had stepped into a bear trap. Lord Parnok was genuinely intrigued: never in his life had he heard such language, not even from Bino when he was in a real sour mood!
“And who else would be closed in this stinking place, you canine*beep*! Get me out of here!
Spot went into the well and emerged with his load soon after. “I’m happy that you are fine!” He let him go.
The hyena brushed himself off repeatedly. “Define ‘fine’. Ugh! All those stupid fireflies couldn’t wait to walk all over me. And I think there were cockroaches too! Oh, by the way...” He shot a glare at Spot. “If it wasn’t going to break my paws, I’d give you one right on your kisser! Did you have to bring me to Morodia, of all places?! Might as well hang a nice sign on my neck saying ‘arrest me’!”
“But you know there was nowhere else to go,” said Spot. “It was Morodia or die in the Deredes!”
Illaya put herself between the two. “OK, end of the exchange of affection and testosterone, kids. We have a lot of work ahead of us, we’ll discuss your feelings later, okay?”
Only then, Saso realized there were two lions. He let out a terrified squeak and slipped under Spot’s cape, shaking like a puppy and clinging to the Superdog’s back. “Help me please! They’ll kill me!”
Spot pulled his cloak out of Saso’s paws and showed him a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, they’re our friends!” He grabbed him as if the hyena were a big plushie. Then wagging and grinning happily, Spot said, “Say ‘hello’ to our friends!”
Saso attempted an imitation of a smile, only managing to look even more terrified, and waved his fingers. “Ehhh, hello?”
“Relax,” said Illaya. “He’s telling the truth. As long as you act decently, you foul-mouthed warmonger, you’ll live. Don’t make us change our mind, hm?”
Saso swallowed hard and nodded frantically. “So, what’s the plan?”
Spot put down the hyena. “It’s easy: I’m going to grab your arms, then we all go to free Prince Yesu.”
Saso rolled his eyes. “Yup, leave it to Mr. ‘Look Ma, no Hands!’ What good could your weapons do to set Martin Foster free?”
The others stared at him as if he had come from another planet. “And how do you know about that?” asked Illaya. She couldn’t think anyone who’d play a minor villain character who, for some reason, Peanut loved to the point of wanting him alive in this fantasy.
Saso gave an exasperated sigh. “If we had time, I’d explain, as it is you must concede some trust, okay? So where are these weapons?”
Spot snapped his fingers. “Ah, yes! Sorry, I’ll take a minute! And yes, I need my hands for this.” He kneeled down to give a punch to the floor... And almost broke his knuckles! Spot yowlped loudly.
“Ow,” he said, blowing on his throbbing hand. “I don’t understand, I suddenly feel so weak...”, then sneezed violently!
“Ain’t it a bit too hot to catch a cold?” Saso asked.
Spot blew his nose in his mantle. “No. *Sniff* It’s that I’m allergic to orphanite... But I can’t see any, here, and it needs to be close to me to affect my powers.”
“Or, you can breathe it,” said a second Inquisitor, entering the room... followed by a large group of soldiers armed to the teeth. “We pulverized a large fragment of orphanite and placed it in the air ducts. And now that you’re vulnerable again, you can choose: to go back in the pits or force us to shed your blood.” The hyena grinned wickedly, showing which solution he’d prefer…

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Last edited by valerio on Mon May 23, 2011 6:48 am, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
The milton cubs! Unique touch there, having their names be their weapons. And I figure I know who Saso might be...


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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
7.
Mezzaia, Deredes/Morodia border

Suicide.
That was what it looked like, inside the cellar-pantry of what was left of the inn, ‘Mezzaia’s Gate’.
A beam of light, made even more dazzling by the contrast of the surrounding darkness, divided like some boundary line the two contenders who stared at each other – one with hatred, the other with attention, both waiting for any hesitation, any falter.
To the left, the titanic black lion Dyrus the Immortal, the first of the Wandering Warriors of the Dragon Council. A being who had devoted his existence to sow chaos and death for centuries.
On the right, the she-wolf Lightsaber of the Dire Pack, the legendary mercenaries from the far northern lands.
Dyrus, defended by a his indestructible shield. Armed with an ax capable of splitting the mountains.
Lightsaber, armed with her twin chrome katana sheathed behind her back. Toys would have appeared more threatening.
Suicide.
The wolf smiled – she didn’t like things too easy, but to defend old Savian and his affiliates, she’d make an exception. It would be fun!
The wolf had thrown down the gauntlet, claiming to be ready to fight to the death. The black lion had gladly accepted.
Now, everything depended on being faster, knowing that Dyrus tended to be overconfident with those he considered inferior.
Lightsaber jumped ahead! Head down, arms outstretched behind her like the wings of a bird of prey swooping.
Dyrus got in position, ready to properly welcome his opponent. In defense or attack, he was fully protected, no trick could take him by surprise...
Except for a beam of light!
The moment the she-wolf had unsheathed her blades, the light from the ceiling reflected on them, turning them into shards of light. That was why she was known as Lightsaber!
And that light, although briefly, blinded Dyrus!
The black lion roared, furious, and struck a blow with his ax.
When he opened his eyes, he found the wolf squatting right on the huge blade.
A second later, she struck! Two slashes crossed Dyrus’ face.
A first red streak went from the lion’s nose to above his left eye.
The second appeared on his right ear... just before it fell to the ground, neatly cut.
Dyrus grimaced... and a moment later his expression turned into a smile. “Good move. You are good as they say.”
She had expected him to lose his cool completely to inflict a second, deadly blow. That reaction, instead, surprised her... long enough for the shield of Dyrus to hit her like a wall, slamming her backwards. Lightsaber crashed into the bottles, soaking in wine, and cutting herself with the shards of glass.
“Physical pain was the first weakness I learned to tame, since I was a puppy,” said the black lion, advancing toward her, his steps making the ground tremble, making dust fall from the ceiling. “The mystics of the Guild severed off whole parts of my body and made them grow back, slowly. Your attacks couldn’t even compare to insect bites. You should have gone for a mortal blow when you could.” He outstretched a clawed paw toward her head. “I won’t make that mistake—”
“NEITHER WILL I!” roared another leonine voice, at the same moment a mace hit Dyrus straight on his snout!
The lion grabbed it and threw it against its owner. Now his nose was scarred by the marks of the weapon as well as the gashes left by the sword. “Kuragen, Nagara, stop playing! I hate to be interrupted!”
The white lion grabbed the mace in mid-flight. Kuragen and female wild dog emerged from the shadows like two white ghosts. The sun glared against the mace and Nagara’s shield.
“If you can move, get away,” said Kuragen to Lightsaber, without turning his gaze. “This is our battle.”
The wolf gathered her swords. “No way. No member of the Dire Pack retreats from a battle.” So saying, she shook herself clean of the glasses and wine, then got into position, swords crossed in front of her. Her outfit had protected her from the worst of the glass shards. And, like Dyrus, she could ignore pain.
“They said it for your own good,” said Dyrus, grinning. His ax began to shine. The energies bubbled around the blade. “I heard that you two are invincible, together. Let’s see if it’s true.”

The light seemed to sing, when it erupted from the foundations of the ‘The Gate of Mezzaia’ in a number of beams that erupted through the building!
“Holy steak,” said the wolf Deathaxe. No one in the thick crowd, including his newfound adventure companions, disagreed.
The ‘Gate’ collapsed on itself and into the huge crater Dyrus’ axe had created! Dirt and debris formed a short-lived and thick mushroom cloud.
Spacelaser, the third member of Dire Pack, swallowed. Their sister was in there…
Joel had never witnessed such a demonstration of power. How could anyone survive such a thing!? “Old man, please tell me they can make it,” the human murmured to the fennec beside him.
“I guess we’ll know soon,” said Savian.
Even the city’s guards kept aloof: no one was armed enough to fight against Dyrus...
Joel saw the Dragon Council’s killers, the Panthers Garot and Erebus, watching from the nearby rooftops. There was a good bet that they’d take advantage of the first good chance to finish Dyrus’ job...
After an interminable wait, the debris began to move, as something emerged.
The two wolves readied the weapons that had inspired their noms de guerre.
Then a hand covered in white fur emerged!
The wolves and Joel ran into the ruins. After some effort, they managed to extract the dirty and wounded, but alive figures, of the three warriors. “Are you okay?” asked Joel to Nagara.
Panting, the female nodded. “Bruised, but yes. Let’s hurry, that monster will not stay down there for long.”
Only then, Joel noticed that the arm that held the triangular shield was swollen, and dangerously stretched the straps. “What..!?” Without thinking twice, he forced the lycaon to sit down and unattached the shield. It didn’t take a medical degree to recognize that there was an internal fracture.
“The orichalcum shield held up,” said Nagara, “but my flesh isn’t quite as strong, it seems...” She tried to stand up. “Come on, we must... go...”
Joel would have objected, but Kuragen helped her get up. “Dyrus is immortal, literally,” said the white lion with a grim expression. “We bought some time, but not much. Where are Erebus and Garot?”
“With all the guards around, they won’t dare come forward,” said Deathaxe, while continuing to look around carefully. “Not now. Are you okay, sister?”
“Enough to make mincemeat out of that big fat kitty,” Lightsaber said. “Stop treating me like a damsel in distress, will ya?”
“I need to treat that fracture,” said Savian to Nagara. “But I need time and somewhere quiet to—”
As if the dark gods had heard him, unfortunately, the ground beneath the ruins began to tremble as if shaken by a powerful earthquake!
“Everybody out!” screamed Joel, helping Kuragen to support Nagara. “Go go go!”
The group stumbled away from what remained of the building.
A moment later the ground erupted! From the geyser of dust and debris there emerged a huge black fist that held the all-too-familiar Ono axe. Then came the lion’s head. It was like watching the rise of a red-eyed demon from the netherworld.
“Tell me that we have a plan B!” Joel said to the two fighters, while debris fell all around.
“I have one,” said Deathaxe, preparing to fight with his siblings. “You go ahead, we’ll keep him busy.”
Yeah, cause we could use the extra minute! Joel thought bitterly, watching the monster as it emerged completely.
Spacelaser aimed his glove and used all of its power in a single beam. To his credit, that was a very powerful blow, that could’ve shattered the walls of a fortress!
It had the effect of a water spray against a rock.
Is there anything that can stop him?
“And you would fight against the armies of Morodia?!” growled Dyrus, advancing, his bulk unscathed. “You couldn’t beat their puppies.” He raised his ax. This time, it would be a massacre...
Instead, from the sky two twin emerald flame bursts enveloped the black lion, transforming him into a torch! And for the first time, Dyrus roared in pain!
The group turned to their unexpected saviors... “Wyverns?” said Joel.
The two dragonlike creatures, their bodies glossy with uniformly black scales thick like armor plates, landed between the group and the lion. Although the flames on Dyrus’ body were fading, he was still on his knees, tired, his flesh burned and sizzling.
“Everybody aboard!” Raytan said cheerfully, from the horned head of one of the mighty beasts. “The 2 o’clock Morodia Express is here! Did you miss me, by the way, ol’ fox?” He added, and winked at Savian.
“If I had a beak, I’d kiss you,” said Nagara, trying to ignore the pain in her arm. The two reptiles squatted down to allow the others to mount them.
The Wolves mounted one of the wyverns, the others the second. “Never been so happy to see you,” said Joel, recognizing Antares and Aldebaran under the scaled disguises. The twins wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to help their dad… although they surely had chosen a very original way…
“C’mon, brother,” said one of the wyverns. “Here we go! Hold on, folks!” On that note, reflecting each other’s movements, they spread their wings and took off, leaving a powerful wind current below them.

Dyrus glared at his quarry leaving. The Black Panthers came to him, heedless of the crowd. “Master,” said Erebus. “What do we do now?”
The titanic lion grinned. “We go get them, obviously. Take note of the direction they have taken, they shall soon be ours. “
---
The Tower Arcana, Morodia

“The orphanite dust is hanging in the air of the whole tower. Holding your breath won’t help you.” The red-clothed hyena Inquisitor approached the quartet composed of Spot the Superdog, Princess Illaya, Lord Parnok and the rebel hyena Saso. “You are weak, vulnerable, and we are armed and outnumber you. Surrender, and you will be locked up back in the pits. And this time, albino stranger, we’ll make sure your confinement will be permanent. No more tricks.”
Spot rubbed his chin, as if to think over the offer. The soldiers formed a thick crowd around the heroes. “Hm, a tempting offer,” said the canine hero. “But, sorry, I still believe that you are not considering a few things about me.”
The Inquisitor smiled. “And that would be..?” After all, the canine stranger had already revealed his own weakness…
Spot flexed a biceps like Popeye. “One: orphanite takes my invincibility away, but I still got the body of Atlas (a god, by the way), and that makes me the strongest creature in this room. Two…” He leaned forward to whisper in the ear of the hyena, “I know kung fu!”

A moment later, the Inquisitor flew screaming against a group of soldiers! The hyena bounced off their shields and onto the floor. A moment later, he stood up on his knees, growling. “I’ll have your head mounted in my room for this! Get them!” he commanded… widening his eyes the moment he realized his mistake. “Gak!” he exclaimed as the obedient soldiers trampled him!
Spot took off his cape and threw it against the nearest soldiers, blinding them. “Hya!” He shouted, and counterattacked a powerful flying kick, slamming into the bunch. He grabbed a spear and a sword, and threw them respectively to Parnok and Illaya. “Have fun!”
“Fantastic!” said the lion, grabbing the weapon in mid-flight. “That’s the ticket!”
“Hey, what about me?” said Saso... and the scarlet cape fell into his arms. He examined it, perplexed. “And what am I supposed to do with this?!”
“It’s indestructible,” said Spot, punching a couple of soldiers. “You said that once you held a bunch of these guys at bay with nothing but a shield! The cape is even better!”
The hyena shook his head. Next time he boasted, he must choose his fans better! “Which is the side that touched your butt *eep!*” A soldier lashed at him with his sword.
Saso held up the cape, and the sharp blade didn’t even leave a scratch.
The hyena had an idea. He stood in front of the enemy like a matador, and waved the cape. “C’mon, toro!”
The soldier snorted, and jabbed and slashed repeatedly. Saso parried every attack, each time saying, “Ole!”
Then the rebel leader threw the cape against the soldier, covering him.
The soldier muttered a curse, and lifted the cape.
Saso slapped him! The mantle fell back on the soldier’s face. The warrior swore again, and lifted the cloak. Got slapped again. The third time the soldier lifted the cape, growling horribly, he got a powerful punch on his jaw, and fell down.
Saso picked up the sword and cloak, and turned to two other soldiers. “Your turn, toros!”

Parnok and Illaya were proving themselves more than a match for their adversaries.
The lion was a Royal Lancer, and moved his weapon as an extension of his body. Even without the Sacred Lance, he could easily fend off the attacks to his person. And when three soldiers launched their daggers at him, he rotated his lance, making it an effective shield. The blades bounced off the iron staff with a merry jingle. “Need help there?”
Illaya had been trained with two types of weapons. Bow and arrow, and sword; and the morodian weapon she was holding made for an excellent substitute weapon. The metal sang as it clashed with the other blades, and her grace and speed made her worthy the name of ‘Ghost Warrior’.
The enemies, however, were too numerous. She needed a better position. “Ladder!” she said to her friend of many battles.
Parnok took advantage of the enemy’s hesitation to bend over and offer his lance as if it was a step. Illaya jumped onto the weapon and the lion threw her in the air.
The lioness did a somersault at the height of the jump and landed behind the enemy ranks! She landed on her foot, and with the grace of a deadly ballerina she rotated and with a single slash offed five enemies!
But even if the maneuver had the effect of dividing the enemy front, it also attracted all the attention to her! The soldiers turned as one, eyes glowing a fierce red.
“Oops,” the lioness said.
Roaring, the hyenas charged… and were swept away by two of their own thrown like rockets at them!
Illaya took the opportunity to pick up another sword, and went to get back-to-back with Spot. “Hey, champ!”
“Princess.”
“No need to be formal,” she said continuing to ward off blows. “Look, we must find a way out of here! This is fun, but I’m getting tired.”
Spot was using two shields to parry. “I have a plan. Do you trust me?”
“Always, you know it.”
Spot nodded. Then he grabbed the lioness around her waist, and threw her toward the other end of the room. He saw her landing graciously on her feet, next to Saso.
Then the Superdog grinned and cracked his knuckles. “So, where were we?”
Parnok, Illaya and Saso joined Spot. Even if still outnumbered, the enemy forces in the room had been reduced to a group trying to protect the only exit.
“You’ll need this,” said Saso, throwing the cape to its owner.
Spot grabbed it, and used it as a ram to push the soldiers toward the door, with the help of his friends.
Once the door had been cleared, Parnok closed it and Illaya lowered the heavy wooden bar to lock it.
A moment later, the door began to bend under the blows of the soldiers.
“It won’t hold up for long,” said Saso.
“Approximately 5.2 minutes,” confirmed Spot. “Enough to escape.”
“Escape where?!” snapped Saso. “The only thing that can be opened here is the window... Hey, what are you doing?”
“Now hold on my neck and hold on tight,” said the Superdog, opening the window. A powerful current swept the room.
Saso stepped back, paws outstretched. “Oh, no, no no sir, no way! I appreciate you saved my skin once, but I’d like to stay alive and well!”
Illaya and Parnok approached Spot and clung tightly to his neck. “Just stay here, then” said the lioness. “We’ll send you a postcard.”
The wooden door was creaking dangerously now.
Saso swallowed. “I hate you,” he muttered.
Spot tied the extremities of his cape to his wrists. Then he climbed on the ledge, and leaned toward the abyss. Parnok wished he could share Illaya’s confidence toward the albino champion, because he felt this was a really, really bad idea.
Illaya whispered to Spot, “I trust you.” And kissed his ear.
The door was shattered.
Spot jumped.

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Last edited by valerio on Mon May 23, 2011 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon May 23, 2011 10:09 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Yah another chapter :D I have been bored the nights of this weekend sense there was nearly nothing happening at the forum fan projects part. That and I could find any good fanfic at fanfiction.net

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Mon May 23, 2011 11:32 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
8.
The Tower Arcana, Morodia

Saso was rightly known as one of the most ferocious warmongers of the Pridelands. His was the leadership in the campaign against Illystos, a campaign that had left no survivors, had seen all the buildings destroyed and the lands sowed with salt. Saso the traitor, an enemy common to both the Order of Dhier clans and to the clans of the Marubia Kingdom.
A great nasty son of a hyena, so to speak.
Saso was tough, a rock, he inspired both respect and fear in his subordinates. No one had ever seen him scared.
But there was a first time for everything.
And even Saso had to admit that he had never experienced a free fall from a height of 4000 feet, clinging to the muscled neck of a white-furred dog together with two lions!
“DO SOMETHIIIIINNNNG!” screamed the hyena clinging for dear life to the so-called ‘superdog’, who insisted on doing a performance of the living dropping stone. The air was hissing painfully in Saso’s ears, and friction felt like it was tearing every hair from his body.
And the town built around the tower was getting closer so fast...
Despite the danger, Lord Parnok and Princess Illaya had never felt so excited! This was the adventure of their lives. The danger only added to the fire boiling in their veins.
…closer...
“Here we are!” Spot roared loud enough to be heard by the others. “Now hold on really tight!” And he spread his arms, which had been so far kept at his sides.
The fabric of the cape bound to the Supredog’s wrists and paws opened and stretched into a huge parachute! The rebound jolted Spot’s body, at about six hundred feet above the ground. Saso, even though he had expected it, lost his grip around Spot’s neck.
Saso! *Yipe*” Spot’s fear for his anti-hero turned into a whimper of pain, when he felt the hyena grasping the canine superhero’s tail with all his might.
“I hope your tail is as strong as your biceps, man,” said the hyena, watching the ground approach slowly, but still too fast for his liking... “Ah, I think we’re going to end up in that pig-pen. You better turn.”
“Too late,” said Spot. “Now I can use it only to slow the fall. Hold on!”
As Saso had predicted, the quartet splashed into a huge mud puddle, under the indifferent gaze of the pigs.

“Are you okay?” asked Spot to the lioness he was holding in his arms. He looked like he had had a nice mud-bath. She didn’t even have a drop on her fur.
Illaya gave him a peck on the cheek. “You have been wonderful, my hero.”
Parnok was rising to his feet, making a face from the dirt and the stench that had glued to his figure. “Yuck! And where has Saso gone, now?”
Spot looked around. “Funny, I was sure he was just...” At that moment, he felt someone tapping his bottom.
Still holding Illaya, Spot stood up. And he saw who he had been sitting on for the last minute. “Oops. Sorry?”
Saso was a mess, a mud-golem with glaring eyes. “First one who speaks is dead. Got it?”
“Can we do something for you?” asked a female voice, making them turn.
A voice that belonged to a young lioness, dressed in a green cape and a short gown. In her paws, she was holding a wooden bucket full of water. “You look like you really need a good bath. And a good hideout.”
“Gosh,” said Spot. It was true that with that trick, they had gained precious minutes, but now they really must hurry up.
“Thank you for your offer, my lady,” said Parnok, heading towards the gate.
“No problem. Follow me into the barn. We may be not rich in money, but we got basins and plenty of water.” She walked toward said building. “And our water is cold but refreshing in this heat.”
“Believe me, it would be fine if it came straight from the mountains of Rocca,” said Saso, twisting his nose while mud and other things that it was best not to describe were drying on his yellow robe and fur.
The lioness looked curiously at the hyena. “You look familiar, stranger... Do I know you?”
Saso almost jumped back. “Yes-NO! I mean, of course you don’t know me! I’m just a poor heretic who was convicted of heresy by the heartless Inquisition, just like my friends...” He indicated Spot. “...And this huge, beautiful guy whose only fault is bewitching the maidens’ hearts with his mere presence!” He tapped on Spot’s chest with his knuckles and the flesh sounded like metal.
“Mmmmm!” The lioness almost purred. “I believe you, stranger... Well, now you wait here. My sisters and I will arrange your bath in no time at all.”
When the barn door had closed, Spot sat on a hay bale. “With a little luck, the Inquisitors will believe that we flew away from Morodia.”
Illaya nodded. “Surely they have not thought about your idea of parachuting. Spot, I didn’t imagine that your cape was so versatile.”
The Superdog chuckled. He put his paw to his collar, and pulled out a pair of folded wire-rimmed glasses. He opened them and put them on. Then he tapped his temple with one finger. “I designed it myself. Professor Spot, supergenius, at your service.”
Illaya chuckled a paw over her mouth. “Who would ever recognize you?”
Spot took the dirty cape, and laid it down. The mud (and other unmentionable things) made a dry crisp sound. The white dog shook it, and all traces of dirt came off as if the cloak was made of Teflon! Then, whistling, Spot folded his cloak to the size of a handkerchief, and put it in the collar. “Self-cleaning, for the hero who doesn’t waste time.”
Saso snorted. “Do you also have something useful to sneak back in the Tower, inside that collar of wonders?”
“Actually, yes, but...” At that moment the door opened and a procession of three lionesses entered the barn. Each of them carried three buckets of water, one balanced on their head and one in each paw.
Parnok gasped. “Oy mama!” And Illaya saw that Spot too was... magnetized by that sight.
Males! The Princess thought. What could they see in those… plebeians when she was a blood-born Princess, the finest of her kind!
The three females quickly filled the first of the basins. Then one of them took a brush and soap and leaned them against the first basin. “Be right back. Be good boys *purr*.”
Parnok and Spot, lost in their happy dreams, didn’t take notice of Saso until they heard him splashing into the basin! “Hey!” said the lion.
“Hmm, paradise,” Saso said, rubbing his back. He stuck out his tongue at the other males. “First come, first served, dear. Learn to keep your eyes on the important things, rather... Hey, Professor testosterone, didn’t you say you had a way to reach the Tower?”
At that time, the lionesses came back, bringing water for the second basin. Cavalierly, Spot gave way to Parnok... And covered Illaya’s eyes while he undressed.
“So, what were you talking about?” Parnok asked, getting in the basin, turning his back to the others.
Spot uncovered Illaya’s eyes. “Oh, it’s simple. It’s a teleportation device, or magic box. All that I need to get it to work is a box or a crate big enough for us all. The problem is that it works only once, so we must be really careful with the selected coordinates…”
The lionesses came back with water for the last basin and a pile of fabrics of different colors. Filling the basin, one of the girls said, “We brought towels and clean clothes, including a little something to ensure some ‘discretion’ for your friend,” she said glancing seductively at Spot. “Although it’s such a pity. Anyway, after you’re done, come to our house. You look like you need a good meal.”
After they had gone, Spot took off his collar and sat in the basin, although his size made that simple operation difficult.
“Wait, I’ll help you,” said Illaya, taking the brush and soap. “If you move again, you’ll burst this thing” She soaped his back and began to rub.
“Hehe, tickles.”
Illaya smiled briefly. “Recovering the weapons won’t help us much, if we don’t first remove the orphanite from your bloodstream. How can we do it? Is there an elixir, a potion, a vaccine..?”
Spot sighed, shaking his head. “The only thing I can do is a blood transfusion. I can accept blood from any canine, but there is no other way. And I have the impression that this technique isn’t used much around here.”
“One problem at a time,” said Saso, leaving the basin now filled with very dirty water. He shook himself dry and took a towel. “If even one of us can reach Prince Yesu, and convince him to abandon the Inquisition, half of our problems will be solved. I mean it.”
Parnok also got out of his basin. He shook and took his towel. “How can you be so sure about Yesu? After all, it’s the King Cheetah, the adult, who is so powerful, the gods’ favored. He must still pass many trials before reaching that status.”
Saso nodded. “And what if Prince Yesu already had the power? The power, let’s say… of the Opener of Ways?” he winked.
All three stared at him with eyes wide open. “Opener of..?” murmured Parnok. “It’s the name that those forest animals gave to Zachary! Then you are...”
Saso bowed. “Tiger Arbelt at your service.”
---
In the sky above Morodia’s outer territories

For once, since he started participating in that weird adventure, Joel had something to appreciate... Okay, more than one: first, it was the first time he had flown on the back of a legendary beast, and it was a heady feeling to say the least. Second, the view was fantastic! He could clearly distinguish their destination: a huge tower, all white and glistening in the daylight. It seemed incredible that a pre-industrial civilization could build such an immense artifact... At a rough guess, that thing must be at least tall as the Burj Khalifa!
Joel’s mood became gloomy again. If his brother Martin was locked in there, it would take days just searching for him!
The wyverns carrying the group involved in the quest for Martin Foster moved their gaze to the oasis below. “I would say that this place is good, brother,” said one of the legendary monsters to his black twin.
“Simply perfect,” nodded the other. “Passengers hold on tight, we’re gonna land! Destination: Verdana Oasis!”
The wyverns ended their flight gliding in a circle down to the green area in the middle of the savannah. The landing was surprisingly soft, considering their size. As usual, their wings produced a small storm of sand, making their passengers cough.
Joel went down first, and helped Kuragen to ease down Nagara. Savian dismounted with the agility of a puppy. The white raven, Raytan, went to perch on his shoulder. “Ready to do your dirty work?”
The Fennec bent over Nagara. The broken arm was even more swollen. The wild dog had lost consciousness and was feverish. “Joel, rip your sleeves. No questions, just do it.”
Joel nodded and with two sharp pulls he turned the green shirt into a vest.
“Excellent, now give them to Kuragen. Oh, and take off your tie, it will serve later as a sling.” Savian then turned to the white lion. “What are you waiting for? Take the sleeves and drench them, we need cold packs now, come on! We need to lower her fever. And fill the canteens, all of us must drink a lot, especially her. As I said, it will take me some time. Whatever happens, I must not be interrupted.”
“For one who can raise bomb-proof shields, you really are making a fuss,” said Joel, feeling so helpless. If something happened to Naga— Mizar, Martin would fall more and more under the influence of whatever malevolent force was controlling the restless ghosts of Whiteman House..
“Erecting a barrier is easy,” said Savian, moving his paws on the wound. Tiny sparks began to spread on the white fur. Nagara groaned. Kuragen arrived at that moment, carrying the cold packs. He immediately put one on Nagara’s brow. Then he took the canteen he carried at his waist, lifted up her head and helped her to drink.
“Tissues are more complicated. A mistake, and cancer will take hold,” said the fennec. “Now leave me alone, human, I’m busy.”
Joel left and walked to the lake of the oasis. There he found the three wolves of the Dire Pack, the males taking care of their sister, Lightsaber, licking her back clean of the wounds. “Need help there?” To be honest, he felt a bit embarrassed. For how much it could be natural for many animals to tend their wounds that way, he felt… out of place.
Deathaxe stopped licking. He took a sip of water, rinsed his mouth and spat. “No thanks. Get some sleep, instead. The trip will be even more exciting. We’ll stand guard.”
Joel went to lie down under a palm tree. He looked up, hoping that there were some dates… Yes. Later, he’d ask one of the wyverns to get some.
His stomach growled. Actually, he hadn’t eaten anything, and it was getting dark. It would get really cold too. “Anybody got some munchies?” he asked to no one in particular. And no one answered him.
Karma bites back, as usual! When he was King, he had a lot of potential friends, and had made his best to keep them at bay, and now he had to beg for a chat.
He sighed. Fox, I wish you were here! He turned his head, almost expecting to see him there, sitting against the trunk, all focused on a new book. The husky always found the right words to calm him or distract him...
Joel felt a surge of tenderness, and almost reached for that figment of imagination...
“Here,” said the figment, without turning… with a feminine voice. Joel almost had a heart attack!
“Didn’t you ask for something to eat?” said Spacelaser, handing him dried meat bars. “Dried salted meat. Good to nourish and replenish your salts. Drink after eating.” The wolf furrowed in a worried expression. “You all right?”
Joel turned to look toward his imaginary pet friend. He shook his head and took the food and the canteen. “Thanks,” he said. “Yeah, I’m fine. I was thinking of someone.” He ate the first bar, suddenly quite hungrier than he thought. He devoured it in two bites, did the same with the second, and washed it all down with all the water in the canteen. “Hmm, really good.” He gave back the empty canteen. He couldn’t help but notice that if these wolves were what the Milton cubs thought they’d become as grown-ups, their parents would be really proud of them…
“You’re welcome. If you need more, just ask.”
Joel nodded. Then he shuddered. He looked at the sky and saw that now the sun had almost disappeared. And he was dressed for the warm days of American suburbia, not for the cold nights of the savannah...
Suddenly, a kind of skin tent fell on him, wrapping him in a warm protective bubble.
“I think you’ll need it,” said one of the wyverns.
How can they move so silently? Joel wondered, but he said only, “Thank you... ah?”
“Tacitus,” replied the creature. Then, with his head he pointed to the brother who stood guard nearby. “He is Tiberius.”
“Funny names for a native of these territories.”
“Oh, but we are not Pridelands natives. The wyverns have their nests in the northern lands. Some of us, after migrating here, decide to stay, like my brother and I.”
“Obviously.” A moment later, without even realizing it, he fell asleep.

He didn’t know how much time had passed, before something in his subconscious began to stir. His childhood was marred by the repeated violence by the hand of his father. Joel always boasted that after a while he and Martin had learnt to sleep like dolphins, with half a brain off while the other half was alert.
That alert half was telling him something was wrong.
He was in danger!
Joel opened his eyes.
For a moment, he believed he was having a nightmare: In the moonlit oasis, bathed in the silvery light, there moved, silent as shadows, black spectral figures. Their snouts protruded out from the large hoods of their shadowy robes, and Joel wasn’t sure he wanted to find out who it was under those clothes.
The figures were moving silently, paying grim attention to the sleeping travelers. “Tacitus,” whispered Joel. “Tacitus, wake up, we have visitors.”
The wyvern stood motionless, asleep, as if he were in a coma...
The ghostly figures turned towards him.
“****.” Joel crawled from under the wing.
The figures came towards him, in that terrible silence, floating.
By luck or fate, Joel had already had contact with the supernatural. He might be scared, but he refused to cave in. “Folks, a little help would be appreciated,” he shouted, though without much conviction.
In fact, no one answered.
Now the black-robed specters had surrounded him. Joel was able to observe every detail of their ragged clothes, their paws partially stripped of fur and flesh, revealing tissues and bones, and those fiery, angry red eyes...
Joel clenched his fists. He wasn’t sure that a fight would be a good idea... But why did those things just stand there looking at him? What did they want from him, if it didn’t involve tearing him apart, eating him or whatever zombie-ghosts did?
Then, one of the creatures stretched a paw towards him. Three of the fingers without any flesh, the bones glistened in the moonlight.
Joel almost jumped back... Then he saw that again the creature had stopped, and waited.
The human was panting like a bellows. He felt his mouth dry and his heart in his throat. He was really tempted to shout at them, demand what they wanted from him... But the more the minutes passed, the less horrible their appearances seemed... In fact, he could not help but wonder if these were manifestations of the ghosts of Whiteman House...
Then there was one thing they wanted from him. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?
Joel drew a deep breath, and held out his hand towards that specter.
And he saw everything! His mind was filled with memories of that creature as if they were his own! He saw himself caught, scared, begging them to set him free to return to his family, asking why until his voice ran out, in vain, and then the beatings and the cage stinking of the urine and faeces of the many who came before him, and then thrown into the jaws of a horrible monster that had long since ceased to be a pet, and his bones shattering and Mom, Dad, help me please!!
Joel Robinson screamed and screamed and screamed until he couldn’t even breathe. He tried to breathe and instead coughed repeatedly. Uttering inarticulate sounds, he fell against the specter and embraced him with all his might. “Oh God oh God oh God oh God I’m sorry! I’m so SORRY! What have they done to you...” His legs failed him, and Joel fell to his knees, still clutching the edges of the black robe, pressing his face against the fabric.
PETA, with which Joel had a short-lived involvement, believed that pets should be released from their state of ‘slavery’, convinced for some twisted reason that they must fulfill their existence as ferals.
Joel was an active participant only to the failed ‘liberation’ of Fox, but as driver he had delivered many animals released into their ‘new and wonderful’ life.
How many of them had ended up as victims of Whiteman House? Even if those events had occurred before he was born, the mere fact that he was an accomplice of PETA also stained his hands with their blood. And how many he had condemned to end up like them?
Was this how Martin felt? How did it feel, to live such with guilt every day of every month of every year, feeling incapable of any redemption? And his brother had just committed a single mistake. Joel had deliberately vented his anger on the innocents...
Trembling and pale, his eyes red from crying so much, the human had to literally climb the sinister shape. He didn’t know how he could stand in the midst of those spirits, but he did. “...I guess that no words, however sincere, can make a difference, right?”
Silence.
“I can’t be forgiven, I know. And I won’t offend you asking for your mercy.” He felt calmer now, more serene in the face of his responsibilities. A part of him, until then, had been trying to deny responsibility, claiming excuses... But now, at last, bizarre circumstances or not, he was really ready to get to the end of this. “Accepting your judgment, your revenge, would be the right and noble thing, wouldn’t it?”
Silence.
Joel shook his head. “No, that’d be just another easy way out for me. You wouldn’t be free from this place, my brother wouldn’t be released, and my friends would still be in danger.”
The eyes of the creatures glowed more intensely.
Joel held their gaze. “So I will ask for your forgiveness, because if you don’t leave us in peace, I will fight. I will pass over any one of you, just to free you all from this prison.”
All specters flung open their mouths and roared at the same time, in a chorus that promised endless suffering!
Joel hit the one in front of him with a good uppercut, sending the undead one against the others. “Ugly you may be, but you’re solid. Tough luck!” He assumed the stance of a boxer. “C’mon, I too have a lot of love for ya!”
They were on him as one… But their attack was without coordination. They acted out of pure instinct, and for a while, Joel had an easy time dealing with them with punches and kicks. These zombies weren’t any worse than the gangs he had to deal with all his life. For once, he was glad he had spent so much time like a stray himself!
There was a problem, though: for how much they acted like living targets, unlike him they didn’t suffer, and were tireless. It didn’t take long before Joel started to feel the fatigue. He was covered with scratches and bruises, and although they weren’t serious by themselves, together they added to the pain that was tiring him…
And the creatures were still standing, ready for yet another assault.
“You can’t scare me,” said the man. Cold sweat formed a patina on his face and arms, he was panting, but his gaze remained firm. “You gotta do your worst to keep this dog down, you rotting animal carcasses!”
In came the final wave. Joel didn’t close his eyes: Granted, he’d do his best to be an indigestible morsel. His only regret was that he wouldn’t know if his efforts would’ve been of help for his friends.
Friends. Heh, first time he’d thought of them that way. Made him feel good. For once, his life had been not a total waste… Take care of Martin, fleabags—
Something hit the specter closest to Joel – an arrow, in fact. Joel had just enough time to see a silver tip protruding from the thing’s heart (if it had one), before the monster dissolved in an emerald flame, crying in agony.
It had happened in a moment, but it was enough to stop the attack of the other specters. Hissing like snakes, they all turned toward the direction from which the arrow had come.
“Pick up the arrow!” howled a voice from the edge of the oasis. “Hurry up!” Joel saw that the voice belonged to yet another lycaon, who was ready to shoot another arrow.
The human didn’t have to be told twice: he bent quickly and picked up the object just in time. The specters turned toward him, and he struck with the arrow as if it were a dagger, plunging it into the stomach of the nearest one. And again the creature wailed and disappeared in a burst of emerald flames.
A second arrow hit a third member of the monstrous pack. Joel picked it up and now was able to drastically improve his defenses. “Come on! Come on, you’re not so tough when your prey shows some teeth, eh?”
The remaining spirits issued a final, mournful moan, then sank into the ground and disappeared completely.
The wild dog ran towards Joel. “Are you okay?”
Joel leaned against the nearest tree trunk. Adrenaline was starting to wear out. “I guess so. Crickey.”
The warrior ran toward the group, which, ironically, had formed a circle to better defend themselves. He took a leather satchel hanging from his waist. Running around the sleeping heroes, he poured a silvery dust, using it to draw a circle around the heroes. As the dust fell to the ground, it released a powerful light, like the magnesium of the old cameras. When he was done, he nodded satisfied. “Here. This will ward off the specters.”
“That was really awesome, man.” Joel held out his hand. “Including saving my hide. What’s your name?”
“I am Zifedha,” said the wild dog, shaking his hand in a firm grip. “I live in this region to protect the unwary travelers from the dangers of this oasis.”
Joel looked at his knuckles with a disgusted grimace. “I punched zombies. Ew.” He headed for the water to wash his hands, but was held back by the arm.
The animal shook his head. “It’s there they’re waiting for you, now. We just have to be patient and wait until dawn. With the sun, this place will once again be... safe.”
Joel nodded, and sat down, leaning against a palm tree. The night was chill, but he didn’t feel the cold. “Really a nice tourist trap. I take it many fell for it.”
“More than you could imagine.” The wild dog sat down beside the human. “See those rocks?” With an arrow he pointed to a series of irregular time-eroded stones.
“Yes.”
“They are what remains of a sacrificial temple. Here was an ancient dark cult, which they say was born and extinguished before the rise of the Three Orders, and these were only the Lands of Exile, before Morodia was built. Those who were sent here inevitably ended up in this region. They would come here in search of food and comfort, for their travel finding instead a gruesome end. The specters you have faced are the tormented echoes of those unfortunate ones.
“Fortunately, the curse works only with the sunset. The travelers fall into a deep slumber and their vital essence is… drained by the spirits that now crave the light of the living. But yours is one of those strong souls that could resist the spell, while I need my ol’ faithful silver to ward off the baddies.” He touched a plate of his light armor.
Joel looked intrigued at the wild dog. Since he literally owed this canine his life, the least he could do was to properly thank him. Just a peek…
He focused.
And turned pale. For the first time that night, he was scared like never before since that fateful christmas…
Because even if he was ready to fight bare-handed against the hordes of the netherworld, he wasn’t ready to deal with what he feared most: the truth he had tried to keep hidden from his first and best friend...
“Fox.”

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Last edited by valerio on Tue May 24, 2011 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon May 23, 2011 5:15 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Amazing cliffhanger :o I want moreeeee.


Tue May 24, 2011 12:06 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
What the fudge on a cupcake? Woah... you have updated your story a lot! The last time I saw your fan-fic, was about a little interracial couple that met on a pound and some rich guy adopted them (well, that is all I remember).
Crap... I need to catch up!!!!!!!
Looks like I found something to read while on my next summer vacations.

EDIT/UPDATE:
Woot, I finally reached my comment, I am about to catch up!!

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Last edited by Russiarules1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue May 24, 2011 12:07 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
heh, i was wondering what had happened to you, comrade :mrgreen:
well, hope you'll enjoy my text-walls ;)

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
I always copy paste into a Word document to double space, just so I don't lose my place!

Phenomenal as always, at least. Really do enjoy this.

I saw you made a post so I thought it was an update and prepared, but I got juked D:


Tue May 24, 2011 12:56 am
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hah! Tricked ya into commenting. i was getting sort of lonely, here...

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
I feel like Peanut when he was reading through the Pridelands series "Must know what happens!" :lol:

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
9.
Verdana Oasis, Morodia Territories

Do you know about ‘ghost limbs’?
It’s when an amputee’s mind doesn’t understand a limb is gone. He or she will flex fingers, feel itchy, pain… in short, every tactile sensation that belonged to a piece of flesh that is no longer there.
Joel Robinson felt his large triangular ears fold, felt the fur of his back standing on end… but he possessed none of these features. He was no longer King the Corgi, in this fantasy realm created by Peanut Butter Sandwich’s fervid imagination.
He was a human, and he was facing his worst nightmare, a nightmare in the shape of his first and best friend he had ever had.
A friend he was going to lose. “Fox.”
Joel’s life had been marked by bitterness, cynicism, rancor. He had hated animals at large. And a magical griffin had, by the strangest twist of fate, turned him into a dog to teach him a lesson. You blame animals for your problems. You take out your hurt feelings on them, despite all the pain it’s caused you in return. The cycle must stop.
Oh, it had stopped, all right. Joel was still wary of opening his heart to those he had treated as enemies for years… but, as King, he had found a friend in Fox. A friend for whom he’d give his life.
The very same dog he had tried to kidnap.
The very same dog that now was looking at him, through the ‘disguise’ of a Pridelands character.
Joel had thought about a million ways to explain the truth to his friend, one day... But every time he lacked the courage. And then, what could he say? ‘Hey, Foxie-bon, you know that under this fur there lives the very same human being that kidnapped you to set you free and sentence you to a life of pain and perhaps death as well? But now I’m one of the gooood guys, honest-to-Pete!’
He had decided not to tell anything, ever. He hoped that that stupid griffin would just let him stay a dog, use him as his puppet or whatever, as long as he allowed the Corgi to stay with Fox.
He hadn’t expected to be forced into an explanation now, of all times. Taken completely by surprise, Joel didn’t even know what to think. He felt as if a hand had turned his stomach inside out like a glove. His mind was like a blackboard on which he was scribbling and deleting a flood of words.
“Fox, I...” he croaked.
The look of the wild dog was inscrutable. “Will you answer one question? Honestly?”
Joel nodded slowly, as if he was afraid his head would fall down.
“That first day we met...”
The human swallowed. Images of a corgi come from the veterinarian visit, his butt aching from the shots. What’s the point of making me suffer this anyway? I can’t eat what I want, I can’t go where I want, it’s the same thing as a prison! What’s the point? There is none! Nice going, King, now you know the truth, and the truth is that the world is a terrible awful place and everyone suffers alone. And then a husky had come to him, out of the blue, that big smile on his muzzle, saying, Hey there, new dog! You wanna fight over a squeaky bone? And his pain had somehow melted, and not just out of that distraction. No one had been so kind to him. “...Yes?”
“Were you really happy to be with me, or were you pretending out of fear I’d find out the truth?”
“Ah...” Fox, couldn’t you ask for something easier?! “At first I pretended. I was sure that if I said one word too many you’d recognize me and send me to the police. After killing me.” Don’t cry, ******, don’t cry!
Fox (Joel couldn’t even force himself to call him Zifedha, nor to stop focusing to see him as the familiar husky and not as an African wild dog) lowered his head. “I understand.” His tone was so sad…
Joel jumped in front of him. “No, wait! Please, please, hold on, I— I was scared, I couldn’t explain, I’d never been a dog before—” he realized he was rambling. He drew a deep breath to calm down a bit. “You were the first kind soul I’d met. You were so patient with me, did your best to get me out of my shell, invited me to that party and never, never gave up on me, on a complete stranger.
“Fox, I swear on my life, since I was a kid and believed my pets loved me I was never so happy. You are like that great thing I was always missing in my life... and that’s why I never said anything. I didn’t want you to know. I didn’t want you to suffer again. I didn’t want to lose you too. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I swear. If I could go back, and correct one single mistake, I would have turned myself in to the cops rather than kidnap you. Believe me.”
Fox didn’t move. He kept looking at him in that careful, analytical way of his. Joel felt like a piece of evidence in a CSI laboratory. The minutes seem like hours. “Fox...”
In the end, the husky nodded. “I believe you,” he said with his warm smile. And Joel had learned enough about canine body language to know he wasn’t being lied to.
Joel felt so relieved that he almost lost consciousness. “Really..?”
“Yes. Even if Sabrina hadn’t told me everything already, seeing you fighting to defend the others, seeing your agony for the pain of those innocents would be proof enough. Not to mention that, as King, you’ve already proven you’re a better person than the guy in that van.”
Joel blinked rapidly, while giving his friend a very puzzled look. “Uh. What exactly did Sabrina let slip?”
Fox chuckled. “Everything. The whole of your life until your transformation, and what you were doing to keep our friendship strong.”
The human almost lost the ability to articulate words. “You... you...” he was spitting. “You were getting a laugh out of my… You son of charming young woman..!”
The husky put his paw on the hand that still was holding his shoulder. His face was serious again. “How do you think I felt when I learned the truth?”
Joel sagged again. “Furious. Betrayed. Deceived.”
Fix nodded. “I won’t lie to you: if you had been nearby at that time, King or not, I’d have skinned you.”
Joel no longer had the courage to hold his stern gaze. “I almost doomed you to end up like these spirits...” He drew a deep breath, then went to lie down against the tree on which they sat.
Fox put himself on his knees, then cupped Joel’s face between his paws. It was the first time Joel could enjoy that simple gesture on his skin. The man almost purred.
Staring at him with his blue eyes, Fox said, “Before coming here, I wasn’t convinced at all about you. I was sure you had been lying through your teeth for your convenience. But then, again, I saw. I could’ve asked you to suffer for what you did, and I saw you suffer. I could’ve asked you to die for your crime, and here you were, ready to sacrifice yourself. I could have you sent to prison, and then you’d only rot in a cell for a punishment that would be meaningless by now.
“So yes, if there’s anyone who deserves a second chance, it’s you. As I said, once, I believe you are a wonderful… well, dog.” He chuckled then gave him a kiss on the forehead. “Sabrina said that you are walking your path to redemption by your own will. If my forgiveness is what you want, you have it.” The husky pulled the human to him.
Joel sank into Fox’s arms. “Thank you. Thank you so much,” he said, crying. “This means so much to me! You mean so much to me!”
Fox stroked his back and head. “Don’t mention it. This time, you really owe it to yourself for discovering your best side… Heh, forgive me for sounding a bit egotistical, but… will you come back to being King, when this story’s over?”
The human nodded, kissing Fox’s head fur in return. “No matter how I much I will miss this furless hide of mine, I want to be with you as King. I want to talk about books with you and Peanut and Lucky. I want to set up pranks for Bino…”
“Joelll…”
“…and I want to be your babe-magnet. You need me because without me your life would be a boring disaster.” Joel rubbed his knuckles on Fox’s head.
They stood like that for what seemed a sweet eternity, two souls reconciled once and for all… “I don’t want to be human, Fox, ever again.”
“Hm?” the dog didn’t leave the human’s embrace.
Still stroking him, Joel said, “After I’m through with this adventure, I’ll ask the powers-that-be to keep me a dog until the end of my days.”
Fox sighed. “I don’t know… I appreciate you spending part of your existence as a dog, for me… But sacrificing your humanity altogether? That’s really a big step, King – I mean, Joel.”
The man nodded. “You gave meaning to my existence. Giving up a life I don’t recognize anymore is but a small sacrifice, if we can be together.”
“Are you absolutely sure?”
“Just promise me that nothing will part us.”
Fox’s paws squeezed the human’s arms tighter. “And what if something—”
“Just promise. Just promise that you’ll do your darned best to keep this friendship together. Promise that whatever happens, you won’t surrender. Because I promise the same. I will always be there for you, I’ll fight the living and the dead to make sure you’re alright. And if someone takes you away I’ll move the heavens and the earth to come to you.”
Fox wagged as he broke the embrace enough to look at this strange, strange friend in his eyes. “Then I promise, King. If you’re ready to give up your humanity for me, I’ll be with you, I will do my best to take care of you whatever the odds. I shall never give up on you.”
Another weight came off Joel’s chest. “So, you’ll come with us, right? To Morodia, I mean.”
This time, the husky was replaced by the lycaon as shook his head sadly. “Sorry, but in this story I am the lonely hunter who watches over those who come to this oasis. I can’t join you, those are the rules.”
“That’s why you were chosen you to play this role?”
Zifedha nodded. “They wanted to help take away the burdens from your soul, and this was the only chance to speak, undisturbed and in complete sincerity. As soon as you leave Verdana Oasis, I’ll go back to Babylon Gardens.” He touched the man’s chest with a finger.
Joel saw a spark running from Fox’s paw to his chest, disappearing into it. Then Fox said, “I’ll always be there. Sabrina told me how you gave me your light to protect me from the presences of Whiteman House. Now I return the favor. When the time comes, you’ll be protected. More I cannot do.” He licked the man’s cheek, making him blush. “Now you promise me you’ll return safe and sound. I can’t stand Bino all by myself.”
Joel hugged the dog again. “I promise, my dearest friend.”
---
Morodia

The Tower Arcana dominated the city like the finger of God pointing to the sky. The Moon turned the stone from which it was built into a titanic pillar of milky light, encrusted with hundreds of fires burning from its windows.
The city of Morodia slept. Only the patrols of the Dragon council’s Inquisition moved through the streets. It was easy to discern a stranger in the quiet of the night.
Theoretically, it would be a good time to try to reach for the tower, but Lord Parnok, Princess Illaya and Spot the Superdog were too tired for now.
Saso wasn’t tired enough to sleep. Leaning against the window, he kept staring at the huge tower.
“Are you thinking about Zach?” Spot asked, approaching him.
The hyena moved to allow the muscled dog to stand by his side and lean in turn. He nodded. “He’s been through so much, who knows what they’re doing to him now.”
Spot put a hand on his shoulder. “We’ll free him, no matter what...” Then he chuckled. “You know, Tiger, I never thought you were a Pridelands fan. Tarot chose only the most devoted to the series.”
Still staring at the Tower Arcana, Saso said, “Tell anyone and I’ll kill you in your sleep.”
“Lip buttoned.”
“You know, I read your comic, and I wonder how come a superhyperholy hero like you roots for a guy like Saso.”
“I always thought that Saso had been misled. He wanted peace, but used the wrong means.”
The hyena stifled a laugh, to avoid waking the others. “Saso? Heavens, but in where world do you live? For one, he redefines the concept of ‘bad guy’. His appearance was short-lived, but he inflicted more disasters than a divine punishment, and enjoyed every moment of it! Why do you think I like him? No one can resist a male like him. Had he not been betrayed and thrown to the lions, he’d have wiped half of the Pridelands off the map. With style.”
“You’re wrong,” Spot bristled, still trying to keep his voice down. “Saso is a victim of circumstances. His ultimate goal is to put an end to hostilities between the clans, at the cost of making the hardest choices and being labeled by history as a villain. And now you’re trying to be a hero, so you believe in his better self.”
“No, I believe I can succeed where you three failed. You know, I do have a nice surprise for our friends in the Tower.”
Spot raised an eyebrow. “What are you talking about?”
The hyena shook his head. “Let’s just say it’s better no one knows the details, in case the Inquisitors get their paws on us. Like your magic box, it’s a one-time-only trick.” Then he yawned loudly. “Uh, I think I’ll take a nap now. Go get some cuddling with your Princess, while you’re at it. Tomorrow we won’t have much time for intimacy.” He gave him a pat on the back, and went to his bed.
Spot was tempted to listen to Saso’s words, but seeing Parnok and Illaya sleeping together, knowing that Max and Grape were very good friends, and that he could trust his sweet kitten, the dog decided they deserved this moment together.
The Superdog sat down on the floor against the door, and used his cape as a blanket.
---
The dawn tinted the savannah with golden reflections.
The warm light caressed Joel’s face, and he opened his eyes. He rubbed them, then yawned. He tried to stretch out, but a pain in his kidneys from spending a night sitting against a tree suggested that he rethink. “Ouch, stupid tree.”
The human rubbed his sore back. “Hey, Fox, next time we should just lie down, sand is soft—”
But Fox… no, Zifedha, was gone. As he had promised.
Despite the protests of his sore muscles, Joel jumped to his feet. “Fox!” He looked around, and again called for his friend. “Fox! Where are you?!”
The rest of the group was awakening as well. “Joel,” complained Raytan. “Please, let us sleep a little more.”
The human leaned against the palm tree, and hit it with a fist. “Darnit!”
The white raven perched on his shoulder. “Hey, man, you okay? Why are you calling Fox? You look like you lost your best friend.”
Joel nodded weakly. “Ha ha. I… I had a dream. A nice dream, that’s all, and I didn’t want to let it go, I guess.”
Raytan yawned. “Lucky you. I fell asleep and woke up, as if someone had clubbed me, and I also have this headache... Well, let’s get ready: The last leg of this quest awaits.”
Joel went to the wyvern he, Kuragen and Nagara rode. He saw that the female wild dog was in perfect shape. “I’m happy to see you’re fine.”
She flexed the arm holding her shield. “You’re right. Savian did a miracle with his healing arts. I feel like I could keep the whole army of the Inquisition at bay!”
“Be careful what you wish for,” said the white lion, nudging her. “You might get it.”
“And they will get us,” grinned Deathaxe, caressing his namesake weapon, before putting it behind his back.
Before boarding, Joel turned back one last time, hoping to see Zifedha... But the oasis was again deserted.
Thank you, Fox, he thought. I will return to you. Now he too felt ready to face the last challenge ahead. So watch out, Morodia, here comes… Uh?
Everyone had mounted the wyverns.
All except one. “Savian,” said Joel.
The old fennec had remained in the oasis, watching his companions with his inscrutable smile.
Joel ran to him before the others could stop him. “Savian! What are you doing, we’ve got to—” But he crashed into a barrier instead. “Ouch! What..?” He pounded on the invisible wall, sparking light circles out of nowhere. “Hey! This is not funny! Savian! We need to... ogod.” His voice lowered to a frightened whisper, at the ominously familiar sight of three black shadows coming from the rocks that long ago had been a temple.
Garot, Erebus and Dyrus the Immortal had found their prey.
Joel recoiled instinctively. He could brawl against some brainless zombies, not three super-assassins that could kill him with a bite!
The others were getting ready to dismount, when the firm but unexpectedly powerful voice of the fennec said, “Stay where you are.”
The others obeyed, looking stunned.
Savian shook his head, then smiled again to Joel. “I know you’re worried about me, boy, and it does you honor. Fox is right about you.”
Joel didn’t understand. “But you...”
The elder shook his head. “It’s how it must go. You guys have to reach Morodia as fast as possible. I will see to our uninvited guests to keep them off your backs.”
Joel looked at the three blacks warriors advancing. That was outright suicide, and Savian knew it! He could barely hold one attack of that monster of a lion! “We are back in shape, we can do it!” the man insisted, seeing the others too nodding.
Savian nodded. “Possibly. But you would come out weakened. You have to be at your peak for the final fight. I can stay.”
“But...”
“Look at me. Look for real.”
Joel did. And he saw again the Australian shepherd dog named Rufus.
“I am already free, human. I remained on this plane to watch over Grape and Peanut, and I will not fail in this task. I don’t have a life to lose, do you understand? But I can’t let yours be wasted or put into danger for nothing.”
Joel dug into the barrier with his nails, leaving light marks on it. “...I understand.”
Savian nodded. He put a hand against the barrier, emitting a soft luminescence. “Then go. You have walked into your redemption. Now help your brother.”
With a very heavy heart, Joel turned and ran toward the group.

Savian saw him mount the wyvern Tacitus, and with powerful wing strokes, the legendary beasts rose, leaving a dust storm behind them.
The Fennec turned to his enemies. At his gesture, the barrier disappeared. “It is time to get to know each other better, yes?”
Dyrus walked toward Savian. His footsteps shook the ground.
The two animals stared in each other’s eyes. Savian didn’t look down while the titanic figure of the warrior came to tower over him…
...Then, Dyrus began walking again, this time while the fennec moved his gaze to the Panthers.
Erebus and Garot showed open-mouthed amazement.
“Dispose of this fleabag,” said the lion, almost indifferent, without turning.
This time the panthers exchanged a malignant amused look. “We’ll be done in a moment, master,” said Erebus. Then, gallantly, bowed to his sister, his arm extended towards the prey. “Ladies first.”
Garot also gave a short bow. “I’ll leave you the tastier morsels.” And, quick as lightning, she leaped to Savian, claws and fangs bared!
The Fennec remained impassive, motionless, leaning on his trusty walking stick...

Dyrus smiled and shook his head when he heard the blow, followed by a yowl of pain. “Stupid.”

The panther was lying on the ground, doubled over, holding her aching solar plexus. “Curse you, old...”
Savian was now holding a perfect combat stance, the stick kept ready behind his back as the weapon that had protected him in so many battles. “Can’t you two do any better, thugs?”
Erebus charged headlong. His claws flashed out like so many steel blades. He had seen how the trick worked, and he wouldn’t be so easily fooled!
Again, Savian waited until the very last moment, not moving a muscle.
They stared into each other’s eyes.
The claws lashed out.
The stick was cut in two!
But Savian had already jumped out of the claws’ reach. When Garot looked up, he made his biggest mistake, because he also found himself staring at the sun! Blinded, he didn’t see the fennec fall on him with what remained of the stick still in his paws. But he felt the painful blows – first against his face, then behind his ear.
“Ay!” said Savian, landing. He quickly resumed his pose. “Well? My first-grade students fought better than you, and they were puppies!”
This time, the two Panthers didn’t make the mistake of charging without a plan. Together, in perfect sync, they moved in a circle, followed by the cautious movements of their prey.
“We wanted to have some fun first,” said Erebus.
“But I think we’ll just finish with you, instead,” Garot added. “You know you have no way out, right?”
In response, Savian closed his eyes and began to concentrate. Immediately, the arcane energies bubbled around his body. “And you understand that the same is true for you, right?”
The Panthers exchanged a brief puzzled look. “What?” asked Garot. “Do you really think that your barrier will protect you?”
Not the barrier, Savian thought, rapidly reaching his maximum concentration. He wouldn’t waste his life energies, his light, in a sterile and long fight. He’d release them in one single blow, thus ceasing to exist in this transitory plane.
But, as he had said once to Peanut, he had had a long and beautiful life, ending it surrounded by the love of his friends, and had the honor to continue it, however briefly, to help his friends in need. He couldn’t ask for more.
Good luck, my friends! I’m counting on you now!
Roaring, the Panthers jumped on him.

Death had no sound, this time, but even for this it was no less spectacular, as an emerald sun lit up in the oasis, for a moment burning more fiercely than the sun itself.
Joel watched the event, weeping for an animal, praying for his soul as he had never done before.
When the sun was extinguished, a new, tiny star rose from the new crater in the Verdana Oasis. A bright, emerald globe that quickly ascended to the skies.
“The best until the end, ol’ beanbag,” said Raytan, perched on Nagara. The raven then made a sharp salute.
Joel nodded to the figure of Rufus, who was visible in the sky until his Light had disappeared. “We won’t fail you.”
Kuragen and Nagara nodded solemnly, and so did the Dire Pack. Then the wyverns filled the sky with their roar.
The final battle was approaching!

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Tue May 24, 2011 9:48 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
:> Continues to be fantastic. Great work!


Tue May 24, 2011 11:32 am
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Awesome is all i can say

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This final scene needs music! It's so brilliantly sad and amazing! :cry: :D (There is no such emoticon)

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I take it I worked it good with Joel and Fox? :?

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
valerio wrote:
I take it I worked it good with Joel and Fox? :?


Yep awsome. I have been waiting for that scene in every story I read. Your the first I seen and it was just fantasticly done.

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
valerio wrote:
I take it I worked it good with Joel and Fox? :?

It was fantastic!


Tue May 24, 2011 1:18 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Oh no, Update! Maybe I'll start reading next Friday...

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Ha! I have reached another comment of mine. If I keep this pace, I will catch up tomorrow.
Exelente trabajo, Valerio. Estoy realmente orgullozo de tu magnifica historia.
Sigue asi y, en cualquier momento, estaras en la cima!

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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
10.
Morodia

It was the sound of excited voices from the street that woke Spot.
The Superdog had been sitting against the door all night, wrapped in his cape. He gave a long yawn and stretched. Instead Saso the hyena, and the lions Parnok and Illaya were already fully alert. “We may have problems,” said the princess.
Spot was immediately attentive, at last recognizing the alarmed tone of those outside voices. He sprang to his feet and walked to the window. From the attic where they stood, they looked down.
It was morning, the streets were supposed to teem with activity… but in this case the people who were in the street were running to their homes. The guards were taking place with bows and arrows, and catapults. And there was a good bet that the activity in the Tower Arcana was just as frantic.
And everybody was looking or pointing up.
“A skyborne threat.” Saso leaned out more to see who or what was coming, then went back inside. He took Spot by the cape. “Hey, Supermutt, this is our best chance: they’ll be too busy worrying over this thing to care about us. Even better, perhaps this mobilization is in your honor, so they won’t expect us coming to visit by any other means. It ‘s time to use that magic box of yours.”
Spot nodded. “You’re right, but too bad: I was hoping to wave our friends goodbye, first. You know, etiquette.” He took a pen from the collar, and used it to draw a large, perfect rectangle on the floorboards. Then he closed the pen and put it back in his collar. Then he pulled out a small square box with a red button on it. “Now step into the rectangle, and make sure not a part of you protrudes out of the box.”
After the three warriors had obeyed, he too stepped in. He got ready to press the button. “Where to?”
“The armory,” said Saso. “Or we won’t cover three feet before being turned into rugs.”
Lord Parnok nodded. “For once, I agree with the sociopath.”
“Hey!”
Spot nodded, and pressed the button. The device, instead of ‘click’ let out a ‘zonk!’
The result was the same: the group disappeared in a flash of blinding light.
---
The Tower Arcana

The same glow preceded their reappearance in the middle of the armory. The soldiers who were preparing for battle were dazzled as if they had stared at the sun itself!
The group ran to the rack. Saso took a metal shield and sword fit for his abilities. “Much better, now.”
Parnok and Illaya saw their own weapons in plain sight, on a separate rack: a golden spear with a dragon finely carved along the staff, and two swords, bow and arrow with the same carving.
Two soldiers put themselves in front of the lions… and Spot grabbed them then smashed their heads against each other. Birds sang aloud.
“I like your style,” said Illaya, grabbing her bow and arrows, then the swords. Parnok regarded his old battle companion, holding it tight in his paws, with a ferocious grin. “At last!”
The soldiers in the armory had recovered from the flash and were ready to attack.
Parnok roared, and charged. “Suffer the wrath of the Spearbearer!” And saying so, he flashed the weapon at an unnatural speed! The fabled Dragonspear itself seemed to multiply as it found all of its targets, wreaking total havoc in front of the lion! Like leaves in a whirlwind, the hyenas were thrown against the walls and the other racks.
Spot made a total ‘wow!’ face.
“And you haven’t seen anything yet!” said Illaya, watching the now-hesitant soldiers standing at the door…
With a quick move, the lioness sheathed her swords behind her back and grabbed the bow. She nocked an arrow. “Say goodbye, boys,” she said, and let the arrow go!
It was like seeing a small comet crashing into the ranks! The soldiers were scattered like proverbial bowling pins!
“Double wow,” said Spot. How he wished he had his superpowers back! But the orphanite in his bloodstream kept him at a low-level power. He was still very strong and intelligent, but no longer invincible.
Spot went to the corridor. “Clear. Where to now?”
Saso put himself at the head of the group. “I know, follow me!” And he took off.
“How do you know?” asked Parnok. “This place is a maze over a mile tall!”
Saso grinned. “I have loyal followers in this place. They have been disguised as Yesu’s personal watch. At my word, they’ll give him to us and us only.”
“Nice plan,” conceded Illaya, also admiring him for taking the lead.
“I am a leader, what do you think? In all my campaigns, I’ve always been the first to charge and the last to pull back!”
The team ran through a series of deserted corridors. As expected, the military forces were engaged with their invaders, and even if the Inquisition had learned of the attack at the armory, they still were some steps behind…
“There!” said Saso, when they reached the end of the last corridor. There, they found an entire squad of soldiers armed to the teeth, intent on protecting a large iron door.
Four hyena archers launched their arrows.
Spot put himself in front of the group and extended his indestructible cape to block the weapons.
“The others are mine!” said Parnok, lifting his spear. He slammed the tip into the ground, and the stone cracked and heaved as if a powerful fist had struck from below! Fire swept through the cracks, and it consumed the soldiers.
The lion pulled his weapon back, and the flames disappeared.
“Showoff,” said Illaya.
“You know what they say about gift horses,” said Saso, running to the door. He grabbed the handle to knock… and got a shock, instead!
Spot ran to him. “Saso! You okay?”
The hyena was hissing curses through his teeth, while massaging his numb paw. “Mystic seals! Should’ve seen that coming, stupid.”
“You should have foreseen the trap you just put yourselves in,” said another, alas, familiar voice.
The Three Inquisitors had come. Together with a whole army. “We were waiting for you, rebels. Your silly quest ends here.”
---
The Tower Arcana seemed so close that he could touch it with his hand. Joel asked, “Where do we go, now?”
“Prince Yesu is the key,” said Raytan, perched on his shoulder. “We find him, and Martin will be safe! His rooms are located at the base of the tower, but by now there’ll be guards crawling all over the place! What’s more, there’ll be plenty of mystic seals. Much like Savian’s barrier, only more painful.”
“Good,” said the human, still looking at the Tower.
“Good? Mister, you got a weird sense of humor, you know?”
Joel touched his chest, at the height of his heart. Tiny sparkles appeared on his fingertips.
The white raven was flabbergasted. “Whoa, when did you learn to do that?”
“Not me,” said the human, looking at the sparkles fading. “A friend. I am protected, trust me. Just find a back door and I’ll be in before these guys can figure out what’s going on.”
Raytan nodded. “There’s a fast way, but you may not like it.”
The army below looked ready to make hamburgers out of him. Joel knew what that ‘fast way’ was, but didn’t flinch. “Just make it work. I’ll do my part.”
---
“Your majesty?”
Yesu. Prince Cheetah.
In the future, according to Parnok the Rightful, grandfather of the young Spearbearer, he’d become one of the greatest leaders, the first of the three unifiers of the Pridelands, now split by continuous and fierce civil strife fomented by the Laughing Face and the Dhier Order.
Today, the young cheetah had a problem that haunted him.
Peace.
He had agreed to withdraw to this hermitage, hoping to get help from the masters of the Council to elaborate a policy of reunification that didn’t include violence. Yet, even the wisest of the wise Counselors didn’t have a shared view on how to achieve that noble purpose.
Eventually, the young Prince had accepted a... more elegant solution: rather than return to his kingdom where he would find only more arguments, more conflicts to be dealt with, he had remained there. Instead of bringing Morodia’s advice to his kingdom, he would bring Morodia itself over the warring reigns, thus bringing peace without war!
But now, war was here. A handful of foreigners was endangering the tranquility of Morodia. He had been told that among the four enemies, escaped with treachery and deceit from the Pits, there was none other than Saso the Indomitable!
That meant they wanted to kill Yesu, they wanted to forever shut down the only voice of reason in this warmongers’ folly!
“What is it, guard?” Yesu asked, watching the grim scenes of the fighting through the closed window. One of the wyverns had dropped its cargo within the ranks of the defenders and now three Wolves from the Northern Dominions were fighting with their might and magic against the outnumbering defenders. The wyvern sowed destruction with its terrible fire and claws. Yesu sighed heavily: this was so wrong… Why couldn’t everyone just let their minds talk instead of their weapons?
“Maybe you should leave these quarters,” said the hyena. “Here is not safe.”
“Nonsense,” the Prince replied calmly. “Nothing can penetrate the mystics seals, even the fire of those creatures. Hmph, watch that dull monster approaching; does it really think its body could break through the barrier? The creature is doomed to fail.”
“Your Majesty...” the guard tried again.
Only then did Yesu notice the monster was holding something in its claws. Was it perhaps..?
Then the black winged monster maneuvered sideways. At the same time, it launched the thing that was holding in its claws.
Yesu retreated a few steps. That was a human being?!
Instinct told the Prince Cheetah to hit the deck, and he did! A second later, preceded by a flash of light as the seal was broken, Joel Zechariah Robinson smashed through the window. He landed straight on the bed of the Prince, though breaking it in an explosion of feathers and wood splinters. Joel let out a cry of pain.
Yesu stood up. Even his guards, recovering from surprise, prepared to give an unforgettable lesson to the intruder...
Joel, was not feeling very heroic, right at that moment. All of his bones hurt, his heart was racing like an Ascot horse, and he didn’t think he could breathe. His naked arms were covered with minor cuts, and a bad gash ran along his right cheek. He just wanted to pass out, however, with difficulty, he managed to get himself on his knees on what remained of the bed. “I wish I knew how Mel Gibson does these stunts…” A moment later he found himself surrounded by half a dozen swords. He was back to full conscience in an instant, “Woah! Woah, woah, boys! Message from Raytan the Messenger: I’m with your boss... I mean, I’m with Sosa, with Siso, no, yes, I’m with Saso! Saso the Indomitable! Password: liberation!”
The soldiers didn’t seem to believe him, and drew nearer, without lowering their weapons.
Joel closed his eyes, expecting the fatal blow at any moment...
---
The four heroes had that small advantage, the relatively small area of the corridor: it didn’t allow the enemy to make encircling maneuvers.
Unfortunately, it also turned them into an unstoppable river of living blades, shields, fangs and claws.
Saso’s body was filled with cuts, but there were many other scars to prove his worth as a warrior: these were mere scratches. Furthermore, Tiger Arbelt had the rarest opportunity to vent years and years of frustration accumulated since he was a pup and everyone mocked him for his name. And that was a lot of frustration! He was fighting with the strength and agility of three dogs! Ha! If only Bino could’ve seen him now!
Parnok had the biggest advantage: his formidable indestructible spear, handed down in his family generation after generation, scattered the ranks before their own lancers and swordsmen could coordinate their efforts. The powerful blows turned each soldier into a living obstacle for his companions.
Princess Illaya’s swords danced against the enemy blades. She danced in the middle of the hyenas, cutting shields and blades and flesh in two, too fast for a crowd that counted on their numbers only. And those who made it to advance toward her stumbled against their fallen comrades.
But even so, the two lions couldn’t hold a number that was thrown at them with the utmost ease forever. The Inquisition would do everything to dispose of their enemies.
Spot was giving the maximum a Superdog without powers, but still with a Herculean strength, could offer, together with his knowledge of martial arts. Like Saso, he was collecting several cuts, but none serious enough, although together they were starting to hurt him.
At a moment two lancers tried to strike at him from two sides simultaneously.
Spot grabbed the spear to his right, while stepping aside to avoid the other, and pulled hard, ripping the weapon out of the first lancer’s paw. He then spun on one foot almost like a dancer, and used the lance like a club to KO the second lancer!
Then Spot broke the wooden-staff spear in two with a simple twist of the wrist, and now had two sticks with which to continue the fight...
“Enough!” said the Inquisitors with one voice. The soldiers and their enemies stopped where they were, panting, puzzled, bleeding…
The soldiers, growling, their eyes flashing with red light, retreated to allow the three blood-robed hyenas to advance.
“This farce is amusing, but it ends here, now that you have been weakened enough,” the Inquisitor at the center said. Then, he put a paw inside a satchel at his waist.
For a moment, Spot feared it was the Acanta’s Sweet Death. That potent poison could kill with but one drop, immediately… Luckily, that poison worked only if drank immediately. Once it started drying up, it became inert and bitter.
No such luck, after all.
What the Inquisitor showed them was an ovoid emerald. In its center, there sparkled a light so bright that one couldn’t look at it without hurting his eyes.
The same gem that had been used against Spot, Grape and Nevermore back at Babylon Gardens, at the beginning of this crisis…
“We’re toast,” said Saso, finding perfect agreement with Parnok, Illaya and Spot.
“The Marubian Eye,” said the Inquisitor. “The gift of the Ancient Dragons to the Council, the inescapable instrument of divine judgment. You are guilty of violating our peace, foreigners. Now you shall be judged!”
The Eye shone.
A tsunami of mystic energies fell heavily against the four heroes! All four were thrown against the doors to Yesu’s rooms! The contact with the mystic seals inflicted a powerful electric shock to their battle-worn bodies! The heroes’ cry of pain was short-lived as their last fragment of consciousness!
The three Inquisitors smiled. “Silly mortals,” said one of the males. “Did they really think they could… Hm?”
Panting, trembling, his blood matted fur now scorched with black, Spot was standing up. Staring into the hyenas’ eyes, he put himself in front of the bodies of his friends. In front of his beloved Princess, to shield her from harm.
The Inquisitor again lifted the paw holding the fierce-shining gem. “A noble attempt, warrior, but wasted. The love spark shining in your heart is misplaced. But I promise that this time I will guarantee a quick end. Meet your judgment, Spot!”
The Eye shone again. Spot was hit by a flow of energy even more powerful than the first! Every nerve in his body, every muscle, every bone shouted in raw pain! But, by sheer willforce, Spot stood his ground, clenching his teeth, refusing to let go. He was the hero, he would never surrender!
“Accept the judgment!” repeated the hyena, without lowering the talisman. “Give, and the pain will end!”
Spot clenched his teeth even more tightly, until his gums bled. The pain was blinding. Part of him whispered insistently that perhaps it was really better to give, that he had been dead… well, almost dead, once. It wasn’t really bad, and perhaps this time he’d be with his sweet Grape in the afterlife…
Spot screamed in pain one last time, then he fell…

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Wed May 25, 2011 9:05 am
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Can Spot(super dog) withstand the awesome power of The Marubian Eye? Will he be judged or does he have an ace up his sleeve? Tune in next time, same Spot(super dog)-time, same Spot(super dog)-channel!

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Wed May 25, 2011 12:14 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
11.
The royal apartments at the Tower Arcana, Morodia

“Prince Yesu. You don’t understand... They are deceiving you.” Joel could hardly stand, he needed the help of two hyenas of Yesu’s personal watch.
After all, being thrown from a wyvern as a human bomb into the royal quarters was not one of those things that will improve one’s health. Joel coughed a few times, spitting blood. Judging from the pain, there must be one or two broken ribs, darn it… “The Dragon Councile is a hype, a conspiracy. They just want to control you. To be sure that you don’t interfere with their plans. Prince… Zachary Arbelt...” Joel saw all too well the rabbit hidden under the elegant figure of the Prince Cheetah. “They use your fear of violence to create a comfortable prison. As long as you hide behind the fiction to avoid confronting your own ghosts, all efforts to help the spirits of Whiteman House to be free to pass will be in vain. Please, you gotta believe me...”
The cheetah looked at him with genuine curiosity. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, stranger. This is what I always wanted. From here I can do so much without being involved in quarrels and wars. With the help of the Dragon Council, peace will triumph in other ways than those of violence.”
Joel felt himself sinking. All those efforts to get there, Rufus’ sacrifice, everything... useless. Had he had the strength, the human would have kicked the butt of that cowardly rabbit!
If words didn’t work, what else could he do...
Then, he heard the screams! A new surge of adrenaline ran through his veins, awakening him from the lethargy to which he almost succumbed to a moment before. Something slammed against the massive doors, and then the screams started again, albeit briefly. These doors are like walls in themselves! Whatever’s happening out there, it must be really, really bad!
Soon after, the screams started again... no, it was the cry of one animal. It seemed to never end...
Joel could have all the defects in the world, but one thing united him to his brother Martin, now: he cared for animals, now he really cared for them, and there was one out there who was suffering the most terrible torments!
Joel freed himself from the hyenas, and walked to the iron door. “Do what you want, Prince of the Cowards. First I’ll help my pals out there... Then I’ll come back to kick you into doing your part. Guards, if you are faithful to Saso as you say, do not let him lift a finger.”
Yesu threw him an impassible gaze.
---
Spot was the very limit of his endurance. The arcane energies from the Marubian Eye were destroying him. Only sheer force of will and his strength kept him standing on his knees, while using his body to protect Princess Illaya, who was still laying unconscious on the pavement together with Lord Parnok and the rebel leader Saso.
“Your determination is admirable,” said the Inquisitor, without ceasing the mystic attack. “Others would surrender to the might of the divine judgment, but still you resist. You will have a funeral worthy of your prowess, warrior.”
Spot screamed. He screamed, but didn’t buckle. He was bleeding from the mouth and nose, his white fur had burns all over. But he didn’t give...
Then the attack ceased.
Suddenly freed from that stream of energy, Spot collapsed to the ground. His last conscious thought was, I’m sorry, Princess.
But it wasn’t pity, that had caused the blood red-robed hyena to stop. The Inquisitor looked with worry at those doors that the guards were supposed to make sure stayed shut.
The doors that now were slowly opening.
And Joel emerged, together with the four guards. He was panting, wounded, tired, and he was also grinning. “You forgot your math, boys. You ain’t won until all the good ol’ dogs are down. So come on, mister, give it your worst whoever you—” then he paled, feeling the last of his strength failing him. “Oh, no, not you, not now.”
And if there was a time when despair gripped firmly his heart, it was at the sight of the imposing figure of Dyrus the Immortal walking forward between two rows of terrified soldiers. And to make matters worse, on the ground were the very people who theoretically should have been his reinforcements. I’m so toast! Now it was over, it was over for real. Kuragen, Nagara, the wolves Deathaxe, Spacelaser and Lightsaber, the wyverns Tacitus and Tiberius were out, fighting for their lives, and they couldn’t break through the mystic seals anyway. That was why they had sent him here, to convince Yesu to help them all.
And he had failed.
Things couldn’t have been worse. Dyrus was perhaps one of the most powerful warriors of the Pridelands, and lived to sow death and destruction. And Martin’s rescue party was on his black list.
Yet, Joel straightened up. If spitting in the muzzle of that leonine monster was the last useful thing he could do, he’d do it. He owed it to everyone, he owed it to Rufus, he owed it to Fox.
Dyrus stopped in front of Joel. He watched Spot and the others, then the human, showing that familiar smug smile. “You seem very determined to do your part, human Joel.”
Joel gave him a tired smile of defiance. “I aim to displease. You won’t get rid of me so easily, mutt.”
The black lion raised his Ono ax. The blade boiled with energy. Energy that could shatter the mountains. “Then I shall not waste any more time. Goodbye.”
The Inquisitor smiled.
---
The battle outside the Tower Arcana stopped when a swarm of singing blades of light tore through the walls of a large section of the ground floor!
Then, a single, tremendous explosion spewed jets of fire from the northern, southern and western doors, while the walls were shattered like glass.
The invaders recognized at once the hand behind the attack. “Dyrus,” murmured Kuragen. If there was only Joel to face him...
Distracted as he was by those thoughts, he didn’t see the arrow that was coming at him, but he noticed the blaze that incinerated it!
“Try to pay attention,” said one of the black wyverns who accompanied the group, his mouth still dripping flames. “Now we must win this battle, we can’t do anything else!”
The battle resumed with more fury than before.
---
The Inquisitors were alive only because they were protected by the mystic artifact.
Their soldiers had not been so lucky. Dyrus’ devastating attack had turned the corridor into a heap of ruins and charred and broken bones.
“Are you crazy?!” shouted the female hyena, in anger. Her eyes shone with their own red light, the Marubian Eye looked like a sun in her claws.
“Human Joel,” said Dyrus, giving his back to the man. “Help your friends. Save your brother. I’ll take care to protect you.”
Joel was too stunned to even speak. “Dyrus...”
The three Inquisitors joined their paws on the Marubian Eye. “TRAITOR!” They shouted with one wrathful voice. “NOW YOU DIE!”
The Eye shone like never before, and vomited a torrent of energy so powerful to shatter the air with a monstrous roar that echoed the Inquisitors’ rage!
Dyrus lifted his black shield and the energies crashed against it. The shield held, even if the lion had to drop to the floor to stand that assault. The marble under his clawed feet cracked. He grinned “Heh, you can’t do any better?”
“Dyrus... why?” And when Joel saw again the assassin dog superimposed to the black lion, he also saw that this time the creature that had almost killed Martin, the monster born to become a Pet Fighter, his life marked by madness and pain… was smiling. A gentle, warm smile.
“Forgive me for putting you through those hard tests... but I had to make sure you were fit and strong enough to fulfill your mission. My brother and sister didn’t understand, and I had to allow them to die again, so that they wouldn’t be a hindrance.”
“Dyrus…” Funny, he had never known the creature’s name… No one knew it.
“I would never hurt you, but had the others proven weak, then they wouldn’t be worthy to accompany you. You had to have at your side someone who could help you.”
Joel shook his head. He still didn’t understand…
While the bubbling energy from the Eye was tearing apart his shield, Dyrus continued. “I’m free, human Joel. Your brother had every reason to detest me, to hate me to be afraid of me, but he faced me with courage. And on his deathbed, he forgave me. He gave me his blessing.”
A single tear ran from the black eye, and fragmented on the pavement, reflecting the inert figures still laying there.
“He was the only human who has done such a thing for me, and I hoped in vain that my siblings would understand that it was wrong to seek revenge against him.”
“Dyrus...”
The shield was almost in pieces now. “Tell him that I’m sorry. Now do your part,” said the black lion. “Today I repay my debt to your brother. Don’t waste it.”
“NOOOOOO!” shouted the Inquisitors, further enhancing the attack.
The shield was shattered! Dyrus had no choice but use his ax and his own body as a shield.
Joel didn’t blame Saso’s soldiers for standing aside. They’d be turned into charcoal in a second. He thought frantically, but he couldn’t think of anything useful to do! How he was supposed to help Peanut and the others?!
Joel leaned over Spot and slapped his cheeks. He felt his skin burning due to the energies that filled the air. Even without direct exposure, he’d die if it were not for that crazy lion… “Hey, Superdog or what’s your name. Get up, up! Please get up, or we all end up in the great oven in the sky!”
“Blood...” said a voice beside him. Joel turned and saw the lioness trying to get at least on her knees. “Spot... He needs a blood transfusions. There is a poison in his blood, without a transfusion... he is not invincible.”
Joel looked at his hands.
It all comes down to this, Cosmic Nerds? You involved me in this mission to give my blood now that I am no longer a dog?!
Wasn’t life a really darned mess? I so hate irony!
“But I so love it,” said an all-too-familiar voice. At the same time, Joel felt a familiar sensation.
Something he had felt months ago, at Foster Mansion, during that housewarming party.
When Joel turned around, in fact, he saw that all was still. Immobile. Frozen in time...
From the Royal quarters, there came the immense and in its way noble figure of a certain blue-feathered griffin. “Hello, Joel.”
“Pete,” said the human in a dry tone. “Are you here to enjoy your moment of triumph?”
“Actually, no... Well, yes, a little.”
“Sorry if I don’t care about your petty sense of revenge, bird brain.”
“My dear, what bad manners towards a friend that has come to help in this hour of need.”
In the unnatural silence of the frozen spacetime, Joel asked, “Help how?” without hiding his diffidence. “If you can turn me back into a dog, just do it!”
The Griffin smiled in a way that reminded the human of a shark, only without the teeth. “You sound pretty sure.”
Joel looked at Spot, then again at the griffin. “The only canines that could give their blood are out there. The only one who could give blood in here is me. But I guess you won’t do such a favor for nothing, right?”
The Griffin nodded. “I still want you as my avatar. You are the most interesting being I have ever played with, and in a way I am grateful to that stupid dragon for leading me to a second pick after making me fail with Grape. So, yes, abandon of your own will the status of third player, come back to me and you’ll be returned to your dogness. You’ll contribute to save your brother and when this story’s over you’ll be back together with Fox. Is that bad a bargain?”
Joel clenched his teeth and looked at his hands marred with cuts. Was there really a time, a moment in which he had wished to be human again and forever?
If I could go back, and correct one single mistake… he had told Fox, believing every single word spoken. Perhaps he couldn’t go back in time, but this was the best and only chance to really make amends for the mess that was his life.
Free will.
Joel closed his eyes. “I Joel Zechariah Robinson, of my own free will and with full awareness of the consequences that this decision will lead to concerning my existence, accept you, Pete, as my master to be your avatar, as King now and forever, hence forfeiting my humanity. So be it, if in return you will help me to complete this mission. Amen.”
The griffin’s eyes sparkled with a sinister joy. Pete raised an aquiline paw. “So be it, King. This is my Miracle for you. As soon as you return to your proper form, rest your inner wrist against Spot’s. Good luck, my avatar.” He snapped his fingers.
Time was freed of its constraints. And while Dyrus was slowly, inexorably consumed by the Marubian Eye, the appearance of Joel dissolved before Illaya’s eyes. The lioness saw the human disappear, leaving room for a much more familiar figure... “King..?”
“Hush and leave it to the doctor,” said the blue-eyed corgi, leaning his wrist again Spot’s as Pete had instructed. “You better not have been pulling my leash, darned oversized parrot…”
At those words, a delicately multicolored light streamed from King’s wrist to the canine superhero. In seconds, the luminescence became an aura that enveloped the entire body of the Superdog...
But was it working? Spot still wasn’t moving. Time had never passed so slowly..! “Come on, steroid-laden dog! I just got rid of my independence, you can’t play the Sleeping Beauty now...”
He heard a grim thud behind him. King didn’t need to turn his gaze to know that Dyrus the Immortal had finally discovered the limits of his existence.
And when King moved his eyes to the corpse that had been a proud warrior, he cried for him too. I hope I haven’t wasted your sacrifice… Argos, he prayed, thinking right at that moment of a proper name for that brave dog. He deserved one, at least. The faithful dog who had lived and died for his human.
The Inquisitors were panting. They kept talking in unison, but unlike Antares and Aldebaran, they didn’t sound funny at all. They were only rancorous spirits spitting venom. “You can’t beat us. This is our kingdom, not the adolescent fantasy of that dog.” Again they joined their paws to lift the Marubian Eye, aiming at Spot. “Let it end here. We claim this kingdom for us.”
King closed his eyes. At least, now he could say he had tried everything he could until the very end. Goodbye, Fox! I love you!
The energy torrent shot from the Eye
---
There wasn’t much left of the enemy army. Those who were still able to fight kept at a safe distance from the wolves and their titanic allies.
The warriors were covered with various injuries, but they were still standing, panting, proud for their accomplishment. They had proved to be worthy sons, members of the pack!
Tacitus and Tiberius gave a worried glance at the Tower Arcana – why wasn’t their Dad free yet? What did a victory over these spirits matter, if Dad was still somewhere there, in danger?
And once again, a monstrous glare came from the shattered walls of the Tower Arcana’s ground floor. It was so intense that it was as if a new sun had kindled.
“I hope we have an extra miracle left,” Raytan said, swallowing.
---
One, apparently, was enough.
The Inquisitors’ attack was proving useless against a new barrier.
Indestructible.
Invincible.
“Impossible,” said the Inquisitors.
But the reality was right before their eyes: Spot, come to new life, standing between the Inquisitors and their targets, back to full invincibility.
“You’re right,” he said. “It’s over now.”

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Last edited by valerio on Wed May 25, 2011 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
Every time I see an update, I squee. And it continues to be amazing.

Oh the manipulation! How will this work out for Mister King...


Wed May 25, 2011 4:24 pm
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Post Re: HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
12.
The Tower Arcana, Morodia

Princess Illaya was helping Lord Parnok to his knees. “C’mon, overmuscled kitty… You can’t miss all the fun now that things are getting interesting *huff!*”
The lion was still groggy for being hit by a blast of mystical energies at point blank. “Ohh, stop it, man, I’m not fat… Then he blinked. “Uh. What..?” His eyes went to something he hadn’t expected – well, hoped – to see.
Last thing he remembered before fainting, Spot, their supposedly secret weapon to save Uncle Martin, had been disposed of like all of them by the most powerful artifact in the paws of the Inquisition: the Marubian Eye.
And now there he was, Spot the Superdog, clearly restored to full invincibility, advancing toward the Inquisitors, who were desperately trying to use the mystic energies to destroy an enemy that couldn’t be beaten! And if Maxwell/Parnok remembered Peanut’s comic well enough, when it came to brute force, those goons didn’t stand a chance!
When Spot was close enough, he grinned. “This is where I say, ‘my turn’, right?” And without waiting for an answer, he used a single PUNCH to send them flying against the wall!
“Oh, it was worth suffering every moment for this!” said Saso, standing up. He then collected his weapons, imitated by the lions. His loyal guards walked beside him.
Spot walked toward the hyenas. “Game’s over. Now, if you want me to spare you, tell me where Uncle Martin is, or…” He flexed his fists. Now his grin held a ferocious expression.
The Inquisitors stood up. Contrarily to how they were outnumbered and outpowered, they didn’t look worried at all. Instead, their grins seemed… triumphant. “You want him so bad?” The female asked, raising the Eye. “Then look here!”
Spot did… and his heart skipped a beat.
Martin Foster was looking at him with a grim expression, from inside the gem!
The three Inquisitors laughed and spoke together, in that creepy synch again. “Yes, the game’s over… for you! Martin is our power, his Light is strong, he loves us and gives us strength! He’s ours, you wretched ‘heroes’! You can’t have him, you can’t rescue him because he wants to stay with us!”
Spot was still too dumbfounded to comprehend those words. He hesitated.
And the female charged, her fist glowing with energies. “DIE!” and struck at him.
This time, with a yowlp, it was Spot who flew against a wall, smashing the stone!
“This is his judgment,” said the female. “And you are deemed unworthy. You try to hurt us, he’ll defend us. We are his family.”
Oh, no, it can’t be..! At the hyenas’ words, King had focused.
And saw the real directors of that tragedy.
A female white cat, and two greyhounds dogs, although one of them had brown fur. “Helias, Honcho, Ringo…”
“Hello to you, ex-master,” said Helias, her sneer one of pure hatred
“Surprised to see us?” said Honcho,
“Boo!” said Ringo.
King walked to the hyena. “Actually, yes.”
Helias tried to hit him with a blast from the Eye… But this time, nothing poured out of it.
“What?” said the Inquisitors together.
Snarling like a wolf, King grabbed the blood-red robe and pulled down the hyena so that they stood touching noses. “You ungrateful crooks! Of all the people you could choose to torment, it had to be Martin?!” He had never been so furious, not even when he had been facing prison had he felt so angry at someone.
“Ungrateful?” said Helias. “He abandoned us! He abandoned you, too. He lied when he said he’d take care of us!”
King didn’t let go. His tears had misted up. “He made a terrible mistake, he had a moment of weakness for spending a life of beatings and abuse, so sue him! And what about you?! Were you better than him? I wanted to help you to be free, I was your only friend and you treated me like your enemy! Do you think you’re so high-and-mighty? It’s your fault that I wasted years hating your kind!
Only then did the Corgi realize what had just said… in front of everyone.
King facepawlmed. “Crap.” All right, now the secret was out. He drew a deep breath. “Look, we all suffered Martin’s escape from home, but can’t you see he’s doing his darnedest to amend? No, don’t answer, of course you know. You exploited his weaknesses, his sense of guilt, his blood sacrifice, even the Spirits of Whiteman House! You’ve become so obsessed with letting them wallow in their pain to protect your interests!
“Well, I’ve got news for you: Now many other lives, real living beings, not shadows like you, depend on Martin’s job, and if something happens to those lives, this time, it will be only your fault, not his! Do you hate him so much you can condemn more innocents? His family?!
We are his family,” said Honcho and Ringo. “We didn’t push him into our arms. He called to us, he always wanted us to be with him, to talk to him. We just answered his prayers, while you did your best to forget about us.”
Illaya, i.e. Grape Jelly Sandwich was following that argument with a growing sense of anxiety. Uncle Martin had done what? The human who had saved her from sure death when she was a stray, the human who had co-adopted her and Peanut to protect them if anything happened to their parents, the human who had founded the new shelter for the strays and the ferals to provide them at least a decent and comfortable life if they weren’t adopted, the human who had almost given his life to defeat the most terrible of the three assassin dogs… No, it couldn’t be.
And she saw the same surprise in the others.
“His ‘family’?” said Helias. “His new toys, you mean? Oh, it’s easy to be holier-than-thou, Mr. Mary Sue, when you have the money. Wait until he’s penniless, then you’ll see where his priorities lie for real… But it doesn’t matter, ex-master. Now, Martin. Is. Ours. By his own free will. Maybe we can’t convince him to harm his dear brother, but he surely is willing to harm his so-called beloved family, as you put it. Wanna see?” Her arm flashed toward the other animals. The Marubian Eye shone again.
Spot was invincible, but not so much the others..!
“NO!” shouted King. Too late!
The energy flowed in a single, wall-shattering blast! For a moment, the light filling the corridor was so intense it blinded everyone…
“NO!” shouted the Inquisitors, their triumph frustrated into renewed failure.
A barrier stood between the Marubian Eye and its targets.
A barrier erected by the shields of four hyena soldiers. The mystical emerald energy easily outpowered the onslaught.
“This isn’t fair!” The Inquisitors now looked like human children about to turn blue. They were actually stomping their feet in rage. “Those soldiers are not supposed to have powers of magical artifacts! It was Yesu—”
The soldiers lowered their shields. “Yesu was a ruse,” said the guard in front.
“WHAT?!” said everyone else.
The second soldier nodded. “The whole party you fought so far was supposed to reveal where you had hidden Uncle Martin. Tarot and Sabrina knew you were too powerful, and that you would’ve taken every precaution against the most evident threats.”
“And so,” said the female soldier, “the ones who were supposed to be simply henchmen to watch over your precious and useless Prince Cheetah were your real enemies.”
King ‘saw’ them. “Wow.”
Indeed! The four soldiers where Fido! Bino! Joey! Selene!
---
Florence House, Babylon Gardens

The Police dog, the President of the Good Ol’ Dogs Club, the President of the Common Life Society, the President of the Schrodinger Circle – all were sitting in circle around the figures of Sabrina and Tarot, sharing their Light with the two females, eyes closed in concentration.
“You have committed an abomination,” said Tarot, holding a pulsating crystal sphere between her paws. “You have corrupted a soul to do your bidding, to hold on to an existence you no longer have, to harm countless innocents, all because you couldn’t move on. But now that you have revealed yourselves in full, now that all the forces have gathered in one place, it is time you see your errors and accept judgment.”
---
“You’ll be judged in the name of justice for the souls you have corrupted,” said Fido, stretching out his sword. Emerald energy gathered around the blade.
“You’ll be judged in the name of the dogs of Babylon Gardens,” said Bino, posing in the same manner.
“You’ll be judged in the name of the cats of Babylon Gardens,” said Selene.
“In the name of every pet, in the name of love!” said Joey. “Hate shall not prevail! Now...”
The energies from the blades gathered in a single shape, the majestic, immense Spirit Dragon, her muzzle stretched in a ferocious grin!
“…BEGONE” said the four pets, releasing the cosmic power!
The roar from the creature shook the walls, as this time it was the Inquisitors who were on the receiving end of a massive mystical outburst! Their cry of pain lasted an eternity, as their appearance was stripped away, their only defense torn down…
Under that assault, the Marubian Eye cracked with a sound of thousands crystals… then broke into a geyser of sparks!

Outside the Tower Arcana, the battle came to a halt.
“What’s gotten into them, now?” said Deathaxe, panting heavily.
“Not that I mind,” said Raytan.
After that monstrous roar had filled the air, all of the inhabitants and the soldiers of Morodia had fallen still. They stood there, immobile, looking at the Tower, all will to fight gone. Thousands of weapons clattered to the ground

The Inquisitors were gone. In their place, were three pets’ kneeling figures, crying in defeat.
“It’s not fair,” said Helias. “We only wanted to be with you…”
A hand rested on her shoulder.
“And I too want so much to be with you, children,” Martin Foster said, caressing her behind her ears. It was so good to feel her fur again… “But you are dead. And I… I can’t stay with you as long as I have so much to do in my life.”
Dogs and cat hugged the human tight, and he returned the gesture, burying his face in their fur.
“I never forgot you, you know it. I wish I had remained home, to help you and Joel, but…” the man drew his head back to look at them in the eyes, cupping their cheeks. “But from that mistake came some good. Grape is alive, and she lives with a great family and a wonderful mate. Mizar and Alcor have not joined the ranks of the departed, and the same for Antares and Aldebaran…” He sighed. “You are jealous, I know. And nothing can undo the harm I did. But please, please, children: rest in peace now, just wait for me. I can’t promise I’ll be soon, heh, but we’ll be together again, wherever it is. I love you, Helias, Honcho, Ringo.”
“We love you,” said Ringo. “We just… feared you would forget us…”
“Never.” The man shook his head several times as he spoke. “Never, never. In your name, I’ll keep doing all my best for those who now depend on me. New lives will be my inheritance. I will never waste your memory.”
Helias… purred. And for the first time King saw her smiling. He remembered the good days spent together, when they were a family, and hope was still shining in their hearts…
King joined the group. “Sorry for lashing out at you, before. I—”
The cat kissed him on his forehead. The dogs licked his face and wagged.
“Don’t even say that, Joel. May I call you that?”
King nodded. He’d never hear the end of it from the Three Amazing Brothers, but what the heck! He couldn’t care less, now…
“Joel,” Helias continued. “You were right: we hurt you for no other reason than we were angry for all the abuse. You were just a… convenient target, and we are so ashamed of what we did… Can you ever forgive us?”
King nodded, and hugged her by the neck. “Like Martin said, when I’m done with these puny mortal affairs, I’ll be with you as well. And don’t you dare unbook my registration!”
Grape and Peanut lost their heroic appearances, as they approached the old Robinson family. Smiling at Helias, she said, “I too have known the cruelties of so-called parents who never cared for me. Thanks to Uncle Martin, I had my second chance. And I’ll make sure he never sways from his mission. Right, Nutty?”
Peanut wagged happily. “Right, Jellybelly.”
Martin stood up, imitated by the others. “Peanut, I need Spot one last time.”
Immediately the beefy hero took the place of the brown dog. He saluted sharply. “Aye aye, Sir! What do you need me to do, in the name of justice?”
“Destroy the Tower Arcana.”
“Huh?”
“He’s right,” said Honcho. “This place is the manifestation of the physical prison of these poor souls.”
“You mean the tower is a projection of Whiteman House? But I can’t destroy it without…”
Martin nodded, then took a paw of Spot into his hands. “There is no other way. I won’t let these poor creatures waste another moment in this horrible place. For them to pass, Whiteman House must disappear once and for all. I’ll rebuild Foster Mansion elsewhere, but it’s time these innocents found peace. I’m counting on you, Spot.”
The canine hero’s ears drooped. “Aw, but I liked your place.”
Martin shrugged. “It’s only stuff. And I’m insured. Now everyone go, and you give it your best, Superdog. Nothing must remain of this horrible place.”
“You heard the man,” said Saso. “Let’s go everyone, it’s gonna be the 4th of July here, soon!”
As the corridor was cleared, only the old Robinson family was left.
“We’ll stay here,” said Helias. “To make sure the mutt does his job. Ah… Martin? Joel?”
“Yes?” human and dog said together.
The three animals bowed. “Thank you. Now go, please.”
Instead, the other two exchanged a last hug with them. “It was good to be with you again,” said King. “We love you”

“Man, what the heck is going on?” Deathaxe asked, as the thick group came running out of the Tower.
“Time to go!” roared Illaya. “Everybody out and away! You big lummox, make room, there are more to come!”
Tacitus and Tiberius lay down to allow everyone to climb on. Wisely, no one asked questions, for now.
Yesu and Saso, together with Kuragen and Nagara, mounted Tacitus. Illaya, Parnok and the four soldiers mounted Tiberius.
Martin came out carrying King on his shoulders.
“Woo! Hi-oh, Silver!!” said the Corgi waving his fist and whooping.
“Don’t push your luck just cause you grew a little fur, little bro.”
“You’re just jealous cuz I’m way cuter!” Then the two strange brothers each mounted a Wyvern.
The big beasts roared and left Morodia. On the ground, countless souls were gathering around the Tower. Waiting.
Hoping.
“Why is he still there?” asked Lightsaber, indicating Spot, standing close to the Tower Arcana.
“He has one last task to perform,” said King. “You better watch, it’s not something you’ll be seeing every day.” He waved his arm to the canine hero, soon imitated by the others.

Spot watched the wyvern fly away until he calculated they’d be at a safe distance.
Now all of the trapped souls looked at him, smiling at him. Spot saw the illusion fall, and he felt an immense sadness at the sight of the wounds these creatures had suffered. He wasn’t disgusted like he had been when they wanted to take his Light away. He felt only compassion. “Rest in peace, now,” he murmured. “I will help you.”
The superdog drew a deep breath, and took off.

They saw him taking off, like a white/red missile. Then, one by one, the ghosts of Whiteman House turned into so many emerald stars, before leaving for the sky as well.
“It’s beautiful...” Grape whispered, as the stars followed the Superdog’s trail. She felt a lump in her throat – and she was positive she wasn’t the only one – as she heard their voices sing, heard their sheer joy for at last finding the peace they had so long coveted.
The stars gathered around three more brilliant orbs. They all took shape for the last time, cleansed of their wounds, whole as in life, adults, puppies, kittens… All following Helias, Honcho and Ringo toward their new and brighter existence, turning then into comet trails and disappearing from view.
There remained only Spot, and his last heroic deed.
“C’mon,” murmured Parnok.
“Time to go, mutt” King said, clenching his fists.
“Set them free,” said Martin.
Illaya nodded. She knew he was just waiting for her command. He wanted to hear it from her number one fan.
And so the lioness left place to the lavender cat. She smiled, and her voice broke from her lips in a gentle whisper. “Spin.”
Spot spun: his figure became a glowing comet with a red and white spiraling trail, as he flew toward the Tower Arcana at such a speed as to generate a sonic boom.
He struck the tower at its center. The first impact wiped out the mystic seals in a ring-shaped explosion. Then he was in, and his passage from floor to floor was marked by eruptions of fire from the Tower’s windows.
When Spot reached the ground, a few seconds later, the monstrous globe of fire and light engulfed the base of the Tower Arcana, as if it had been turned into a cyclopean rocket a moment before it took off.
Instead, first with a single rumble, then followed by another and another, as if the thunders of a storm had gathered for a single outlash, countless cracks opened in the Tower. For a moment, the structure seemed it would win her futile fight with gravity... But in the end it had to give way.
The Tower Arcana imploded from the top. Thousands and thousands of tons of material joined in a vertical avalanche, shrouded in a thick cloud of dust.
Spot emerged like a living comet from the destruction behind him, while the scenario he had carefully created started to dissolve.
Then it was the whole group’s turn to turn into so many stars, before leaving the spiritual plane, to go home and deal with the aftermath of this adventure…

SEASON I
EPISODE 19
FIN

_________________
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Last edited by valerio on Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:25 am, edited 2 times in total.



Thu May 26, 2011 7:42 am
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